Spent the day with Keller who gave the first of three day conferences that will happen over the next six months and was on truly fine form. It was great to see a few familiar faces-my pal Mark was over from Amsterdam, Will up from Sussex, Simon D, Steve and Chris from Lewes, Tom from St Judes and- Atco/Heather, Lizzy, Wayne, Rob and Les from college.
Now spending the evening preparing a sermon for the girls of Wycombe Abbey on Sunday but also very quickly putting down the thoughts of the day before they depart.
The big chunk things that struck me
1. It is about being able to discern the things that truly matter and integrating any new information into what you already know or have observed. Keller is a master at it.
2. We need to disciple people better for their workplaces
3. We should preach the gospel to those who are not yet coming
4. We must be people who 'listen to the questions'. Your theology is the answers to the questions you have asked the text (Edmund Clowney)
The morning was spent with Keller telling us many things but the point that stuck is that God always tends to do a new thing-and it is not like the old. I was reminded of reading Iain Murray's book on Edwards and the impact Whitfield had on the great awakening with his radical innovation of outdoor preaching. Someone else who I have listened to recently who might be just such a radical innovator is Craig Groeschl and his book "It" and despite not wanting to like him he really impressed me. One of the many things that struck me about him was his giving up all reading for a year except the scriptures which he read until his passion for Jesus was renewed.
Perhaps he might be doing the new sort of thing that Keller was talking about this morning?
Is this the never seen before gospel initiative unlike the past but for our times and in the city? Or is it mad? (There again they thought Whitfield was a cross-eyed lunatic!).
INTERNET CAMPUS IN LONDON
Loving the poor.......
Just a food for thought detour (Get hold of Groeshl's talk to the Willow conference if you can).
The day encouraged me 1) Due to the amazing content 2) Due to the unifying tone across the various evangelical tribes.
Looking in my notebook these are some of the things I wrote down.
-The delta effect was a Richard Lovelace term for what happens when revival comes
-"Noone ever learned they were a sinner by being told they have to be shown" John Newton
-Moralism doesn't change the heart it only restrains it
-"Get married to the area"
-Carson's four part biblical model: Creation-Fall-Redemption- Restoration
-The four planks 1. Light 2. Salt 3. Institutional Church vs Organic Church (Abraham Kuyper) 4. Disciple people for their public life as well as their private life. Do it all in a city
-Gather people by vocational field
-'Christ-haunted' Flannery O'Connor
-Non-believers should 'overhear' the gospel in our churches
-There is a surplus of meaning in the bible
He talked a lot about culture and you might like to check out Six ways to engage with culture and to read Culture Making by Andy Crouch to fuel your thinking (his Blog is on my side-bar).
He recommended a few things- the writings of James Hunter (not yet published). Also 'Soft difference' an article by Miroslav Volf which you can find the full article here-below is a great summary quote.
It might be appropriate to call the missionary distance that 1 Peter stresses soft difference. I do not mean a weak difference, for in 1 Peter the difference is anything but weak. It is strong, but it is not hard. Fear for oneself and one's identity creates hardness. The difference that joins itself with hardness always presents the other with a choice: either submit or be rejected, either "become like me or get away from me." In the mission to the world, hard difference operates with open or hidden pressures, manipulation, and threats. A decision for a soft difference, on the other hand, presupposes a fearlessness which 1 Peter repeatedly encourages his readers to assume (3:14; 3:6). People who are secure in themselves—more accurately, who are secure in their God—are able to live the soft difference without fear. They have no need either to subordinate or damn others, but can allow others space to be themselves. For people who live the soft difference, mission fundamentally takes the form of witness and invitation. They seek to win others without pressure or manipulation, sometimes even "without a word" (3:1).
(H/T Blogging Parson)
He also spoke a lot of Don Carson whose resources are all collected here and Abraham Kuyper and Alan Hirsch
Try and make the next one in Feb if you can..