Sunday, August 12, 2007


Just a random selection of things I have been thinking during the last month of blog-silence...

1. According to 1 John 1, the only way that sin can ultimately hurt me is if I allow it to force me "into the dark", rather than me forcing the sin "into the light". Which is to say, sin confessed and brought out into the open before God is sin forgiven. Therefore, there is no need to hide my sin, but only to present it with repentance and accept God's grace.
2. According to Thessalonians 1, the life of the church comes from God's word, received with power, the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. Therefore no clever strategy will help us - only the gospel coming in the power of the Spirit. I preached something to this effect today.
3. I really love Great Britain. Boo to everyone who would like to arbitrarily override hundreds of years of shared history and partition this wonderful nation.
4. If I weren't theologically opposed to the idea of monkery, and if I didn't have a beautiful and wonderful wife, I would become a monk. This random thought arises from having a great deal of time to read over the last month or so, something I've hugely appreciated.
5. Buying a flat is hard work. Or at least, it is long work. I am bored of it already.
6. I really don't approve of Anglicanism. Expect a more constructive series of thoughts on this in the near future.

That is all.


  1. Anonymous5:27 pm

    I hope that the congregation at Magdalen Road were listening to what you preached from 1 Thessalonians 1. I think a few more people really need to hear this. While much good comes from him, I think Phillip Jensen's recent visit to the UK to talk about church growth was based on business management principles. There's a lot of thinking along the lines that only put on such-and-such an event, or dress up the gospel in such-and-such a way, or do church in a particular modern and supposedly accessible way or try and convert a particular group of people, then there will be church life and growth. Maybe that's an Anglican evangelical thing. It probably also lies behind the reluctance I've seen amongst other students in Oxford to do things that rely on the preached word of God alone and without any worldly appeal (like open-air evangelism, for instance).

    I have always thought there is something appealing about the monastic life, and I was musing on the whole concept as I was walking home this afternoon before reading your 'blog post. Time to study and pray, an ordered, disciplined life, living in close community with other Christian brothers, meeting together daily to read God's word, encourage one another and sing God's praise - theological reasons notwithstanding, it's a wonderful idea! And I don't have the burden of a wife...

  2. She's actually much less of a burden than you'd think... ;o)

    I think that you're right in pointing to Sydney as a source of pragmatism in current evangelical circles. I would humble suggest that this is due to a hugely inadequate pneumatology that, in my opinion, sails dangerously close to deism.

    Vis a vis the open-air evangelism: as someone who's preached in the open air before, I have some scepticism about it. This is because I think an essential part of evangelism is people listening. If you can get that in the open air, great - but often I suspect much speaking (or indeed shouting) is done without very much evangelism. Also, people involved in OA have a tendency to major on certain things that I don't agree with or don't care about, like sabbatarianism and 6 day creation. But that's incidental...

  3. I think your humble suggestion regarding Sydney may be right. The stereotype of the beginning of a Sydney church meeting says it all: "We gather together to meet with the Father through the Son around Holy Scripture." I think that may have actually happened. Also woefully inadequate is their ecclesiology and sacramentology.

    (Of course, you might think that my pneumatology was also hugely inadequate.)

    On open-air evangelism, I think you'll find people are really quite willing to listen in Oxford. Of course, the gospel is doing its work when it is hardening people as well as when it is saving people. We try not to shout at people. And I particularly share your frustration with those who bang on about six-day creation. I just don't even go there when I'm speaking. We do not need to spend all our time trying to disprove evolution and prove 6-day creation. We need to preach Christ and him crucified.

    You should come and join us when we start up next term. Some students might see it and actually get involved - you never know.

  4. I heard a talk once in which an Australian gentleman announced that "for the Christian, to all intents and purposes, the Holy Spirit is the Bible".

    Which if seriously believed is certainly outside the bounds of Nicene orthodoxy!