Thursday, 26 May 2016

If a Wicked Man

Just finished reading the biography of John Lawson, my interest was peaked when I heard him give his Christian testimony of BBC Radio Scotland. During that interview he came across as a humble and articulate man, deeply sorry for the crimes he had committed and someone who now
 loves his Saviour.

The book is a little different, its quite large but very readable, it tells the sordid details of much of John's past including his difficult upbringing in Drumchapel, Scotland and Birkenhead  in England. As well as how he was involved in violent crimes and was in fact a nasty piece of work.

The title of the book is taken from Ezekiel chapter 18 where God speaks to the prophet, telling him to warn people, if he warns a wicked man and he turns from his ways, God in mercy would forget his passed. In his conversion God used this passage as John turned to it randomly.

I found the book a compelling read, from start to finish, for the most part it flowed beautifully and I was taken on a dark journey with a wonderful outcome. I started it on Saturday morning and found myself sneaking off at home to read a chapter or 2 or 3. Yet it is not without disappointments, I was disappointed that the conversion story felt rushed and not as detailed as the sordid past. His Mom for instance was a big part of his life, she gets converted and then we don't hear about for several chapters, yet she must have been around somewhat. Another disappointment is that its full of spelling mistakes, or duplicate words, very poorly edited, in fact one chapter title changes to a previous title part way through. The prologue really belongs to the middle of the book and you miss its presence from where it was taken. It also feels like the book ends abruptly with Lawson newly converted just out of jail waiting to see how God works in his life. I would loved to have seen some of that, how John develops in his walk with the LORD.

Its not written by the humble man, John Lawson who I heard on radio Scotland but by an author John Sealey and I wonder if something of the shame that John Lawson felt towards his former life was lost in the writing. Nevertheless I did enjoy this biography and will be interested to see how John's ministry to hard men, criminals and prisoners develops.

I believe Lawson to be a converted man, that is the man I heard on the radio, I do worry though about his involvement with Tony Anthony of the infamous Taming the Tiger saga, where much of Anthony's story has been discredited. In the dedication he thanks Anthony for being a mentor, he plays a small but significant part in his post conversion experience.  Watching and waiting to see how it all pans out.

Stephen <><

Monday, 16 May 2016

Jerry Bridges

I love the late Jerry Bridges writing, I love that he gets the difference between Grace and works, between morality and Gospel. In this quote he also gets to the difficult that some moral people have with the gospel. I believe it was harder for Nicodemus with his great learning and morality to accept Christ's message than the woman at the well.

I believe that human morality, rather than flagrant sin, is the greatest obstacle to the gospel today. If you ask the average law-abiding person why he expects to go to heaven, the answer will be some form of "because I am good." And the more religious a person is, the more difficult it is to realize his or her need of the righteousness of Christ.' Jerry Bridges The Gospel for Real Life.