Thursday, 21 May 2009

A man with a plan

Last week I got to attend an event at Inshes Church of Scotland, chaired by Lord Mackay "introducing" the new principal of HTC. Hector Morrison was the former vice principal under professor McGowan so there will be no surprises or sudden changes in theological emphasis. On the night it was good to hear several students and former students tell of their experiences of the college and how God has used it to shape and develop them.
The best part for me was hearing Hector share his vision for the college. He spoke of all the different ministries former students are involved in, in various places throughout the world. He then shared how he would like the college to partner more with the local churches. He is a passionate man with a pastor's heart, in fact during my undergraduate time at HTC if there was a situation brewing it was Hector that people turned to for help, for his spiritual wisdom and tender heart. Hector would like the college to train people in evangelism by introducing courses and through evangelistic activities. The college is in good hands, because God's man for this season is in place.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Gospel freedom

Tim Chester sums up the freedom and joy of Christian living in 'You Can change' :-
Freedom and Love
Let's sum up our motive for change: to enjoy the freedom from sin and delight in God that God gives us through Jesus. I want to highlight four things arising from this definition.
First, growing in holiness is not sad, dutiful drudgery. It's about joy. It's discovering true joy- the joy of knowing and serving God. There is self-denial, sometimes hard and painful, but true self-denial leads to gaining your life (Mark 8:34-37). There will be times when we act out of duty, but we do this believing that duty leads to gaining our life (Mark 8:34-38). How often have you reluctantly dragged yourself out on a cold night to pray with others only to find yourself energized and blessed?
Second, change is about living in freedom. We refuse to go back to the chains and filth of our sin. We live in the wonderful freedom that God's given us. We're free to be the people that we should be.
Third, change is about discovering the delight of knowing and serving God, our job is to stop wallowing around in the dirt and instead to enjoy knowing God. We give up our cheap imitations and enjoy the real thing. All too often we think of holiness as giving up pleasures of sin for some worthy but drab life. But holiness is recognizing that the pleasures of sin are empty and temporary, while God is inviting us to magnificent, true, full and rich pleasures that last forever.
Fourth, becoming like Jesus is something that God gives to us. It's not an achievement that we offer to him. It's enjoying the new identity he has given us in Christ. it begins with his work for us. He has set us free from sin and offers us a relationship with himself. P.41
As Evangelicals we are often lapse to fall into legalism or liberatianism the cure is still the gospel as Piper says, "you'll never,never, never, never, never, never, never out grow your need for the gospel"

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Calvin and the Gospel

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? Ezekiel 18:23

'In the gospel, we hear how familiarly God addresses us when he promises pardon (Luke 1:78). We can know salvation by embracing the mercy of God that he offers us in Christ.
It follows, then, that what the prophet now says is true, that God does not will the death of a sinner. God meets the sinner of his own accord. He is not only prepared to receive all who fly to his pity, but also calls them toward him with a loud voice when he sees how alienated from all hope of safety. Note that the manner in which God wishes all to be saved, namely, that they turn away from their wicked ways. God does not wish all men to be saved to renounce the difference between God and evil. Rather, he stresses that repentance, or turning aside from wicked ways, must precede pardon.'
365 days with Calvin published by Day One

I love it that Calvin lets the text speak rather than imposing a different position on the text, Calvin was prepared to hold his beliefs in tension.


Sunday, 3 May 2009


I have decided today to change the name of my blog to reflect more my personal testimony, one of my first blog articles was called the testimony of a defrosted Calvinist. I have always loved reading and the discovery of reformed theology made a deep impact upon me. Over time though my heart grew cold and I replaced God with Theology. Praise God though several events led to my defrosting. Reading Desiring God several years ago introduced me to a warm hearted Calvinism, (it is actually at the heart of Calvinism and you can find the same heart attitude in Calvin, Edwards, the Puritans and the moderate English Evangelical's of the C18th), a theology that delights in the transcendence of God in all His glory and seeks to live a life of service from the heart. Then a while later we were singing Matt Redman's 'I'm coming back to the heart of worship' at church and as we sang it I thought to myself, its good that Redman realised that worship music isn't the heart of worship but God. That night I realised that I had replaced God with Theology and so I prayed to give up the books and the studies because it's all about God. In the morning I was reading Acts chapter 18, the part where it talks about Apollos 'who was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public dispute, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.' I felt the LORD had given me back theology but now it was as it should be centred on Him. I want my life and my blog to reflect the theology of Jesus, that loves God and seeks to love and serve all people in the church and without. To reflect the freedom that Christ has bought for us at Calvary's cross. The re branding is inspired by a quote from John Flavel who said " never look for warm fire underneath cold ice."