Festival preaching

Neil posted a comment today about what he hopes to get out of this year’s ‘Baptist’ (sic, ‘English and a few Welsh Baptist’) Assembly. In it he offered two version of a criterion for judging the quality of the preaching: I trust that those who speak in the main celebrations will ensure that their words are driven by the Biblical text, showing an appreciation of the theological questions that surround the text and their subject and communicate with clarity, conviction and character in a way that inspires us with a grander vision of God. (My private test is whether I would want to invite them to preach in church here, which is a marginally more humble way of asking if I think they are better than me). This caught my eye, because it...

Read More

Tom Wright appointed to chair in St Andrews

N.T. Wright will be joining the School of Divinity here in St Andrews as Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity from September this year. Full announcement here. This makes me wish I knew how to do one of those smiley things…

Read More

Being Baptist at Spring Harvest

Just back from Spring Harvest, which (as ever) was generally exhilarating, often encouraging (our eldest daughter making visible strides through the week in her own faith), and occasionally bizarre (dancing on stage with a rap band in front of some thousands of people; wondering quite what to do with the guy who I gave the microphone to in a live vox pops as he was describing a ‘profound sexual awakening’). The highlight for me was preaching on Tues night. It wasn’t a great sermon (the opening was pitched wrong; the end was weak; the delivery was a bit stilted; and one of the running gags was, on reflection, probably inappropriate – on the plus side, the content was  OK), but the people I was working with were wonderful – I have...

Read More

Preaching the resurrection

I heard an excellent Easter sermon from one of our pastors, Liam, on Sunday, which got me thinking. Generally, over the years, I have been disappointed with the preaching I have heard on Easter Sunday – not always, of course, but often enough that I am aware of it as a trend. Further, I recall that when it used to be my lot to preach the Easter sermon I found it a difficult task. My problem over the years has not been hearing ridiculous attempts to make the Easter message into some generic truth about death and rebirth – thankfully, the preachers I have sat under have not been so faithless or so vacuous. They have wanted to preach the wonderful, unique, gospel truth that God raised the crucified one from death. Which makes it all the odder that it...

Read More

William Dunbar, On the Resurrection of Christ

The greatest of Scots poets – a claim I make with no apology to Burns – Dunbar’s life is shrouded in mystery, but I hope that the tentative identification of the great poet with the Dunbar who took his MA from St Andrews in 1479 might be correct; certainly the timing is about right. His greatest works are court satires; but his exercises in piety are, in my estimation at least, honest and heart-felt. Here is one: Done is a battell on the dragon blak, Our campioun Chryst confountet hes his force; The yettis of hell ar brokin with a crak, The signe triumphall rasit is of the croce, The divillis trymmillis with hiddous voce, The saulis ar borrowit and to the blis can go, Chryst with his blud our ransonis dois indoce: Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro....

Read More
get facebook like button