Skip to main content

Compassionate Evangelists Know Love Wins

From Robert Gordon's introduction to John Howe (May 17th 1630-April 2nd 1705), The Redeemer's tears wept over lost souls (p23)
"Every believer can bear witness that thus it has been with him - that the love of God in Christ Jesus has melted and subdued the obstinacy which no dread of punishment ever could have vanquished - and that the small still voice of the gospel is the only melody that can expel from the human soul, the evil spirit of distrust and of unbelief. And where is this melody to be heard, if it is not in the simple, and unadorned narrative of the inspired writer, when he tells us, on our Lord's approach to Jerusalem, the place where he had been reviled... he beheld the city and wept over it..."
The love of God melts us, and makes evangelists like Jesus - who weep. John Howe was a large-hearted man who "never made an enemy and never lost a friend" ministering in Devon and London. Howe preached on the Spirit from Ezekiel, lamenting the lack of the Spirit in his days:
"When the Spirit shall be poured forth plentifully I believe you will hear much other kind of sermons, or they will, who shall live to such a time, than you are wont to do now-a-days …It is plain, too sadly plain, there is a great retraction of the Spirit of God even from us; we not know how to speak living sense [i.e. felt reality] unto souls, how to get within you; our words die in our mouths, or drop and die between you and us. We even faint, when we speak; long experienced unsuccessfulness makes us despond; we speak not as persons that hope to prevail …When such an effusion of the Spirit shall be as is here signified…[ministers] shall know how to speak to better purpose, with more compassion and sense, with more seriousness, with more authority and allurement, than we now find we can"
HT: Ray Ortlund whose tweet put me on to Howe.

Comments

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 (http://planningcenteronline.com/) 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…