Skip to main content

The Affections and a Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship: "teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea"

Adrian Reynolds notes that the why of partnership is affections "a lot of Christian "partnership" is based on toleration. "I can just about put up with you." Or "I know we are different, but I can live with our differences."

Reflecting on what's happening three hundred miles away from here at Pwllheli at the second New Word Alive conference (#nwa9) [and delighting to hear from #nfellingham that Jerry Bridges and Wayne Grudem are appearently going to be there next year] I love that Christians can stand together. Not because we're lily-livered people who will overlook differences to be together and put up with one another, but big as our differences are we're people who want it all, we want to big-up our joy in the gospel and foster affection for those who share our love for the gospel.

Initiatives like New Word Alive offer surely opportunity for robust unity grounded in relationships - witness the affection developed from the first conference that led to Hugh Palmer preaching recently at Tope Koleso's Newfrontiers church, not from obligation but out of warmth of relationship. Sometimes you have to travel five hours cross-country to make it twelve miles up the road.

Not everyone is going to join the celebration, but some surely will, not just at a conference but on the ground discovering that we can be together in the gospel. Steven Camp makes a humble confession of how this has been happening for him towards Mark Driscoll of whom he has been a vocal critic.

The gospel is the blazing centre of unity, and gathered around the gospel it's all about relationships. Stephen Murray, links from Justin Buzzard to quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” 

How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity...  And for what its worth, its this kind of gospel-affection that makes me link often to Marcus Honeysett and Adrian Reynolds often. I know them, know their love for the gospel, and deeply appreciate that.

Driscoll - on not shooting other Christians:


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…