Putting Theology Back into Practice

John Owen Centre conference 7-8 September 2015

What is the role of theology in our pragmatic age? That was the theme of this year’s conference run by the John Owen Centre at London Theological Seminary. Six speakers tackled the subject ably from a variety of viewpoints over two days. Beginning with the biblical data, Colin Burcombe (Northern Ireland) and Alistair Wilson (Highland Theological College) addressed Old and New Testament respectively. Colin took the account of Isaac in Genesis 26 to show both principle and pragmatism in the patriarch’s life and how each worked out for him.

LTS students to go to prison

by Robert Strivens9 July 2015

I spent Monday afternoon in prison, with Brad Franklin, pastor of St Giles Christian Mission. He and Andrew King, pastor of Highbury Baptist Church, visit each week to lead a Bible study with men in the prison who sign up for it. I was there to see what they did.

I had never been in a prison before. It was not quite as daunting as I had anticipated. After the study, Brad showed me round a couple of the wings. What struck me was the numbers of people everywhere and the noise.

Who governs the church?

by Robert Strivens7 July 2015

Church government has been a vexed issue for Christians since the time immediately following the apostles. An examination of the Greek terms used in the NT will not solve every question, but it does shed considerable light on the issue. Four Greek terms, in particular, are closely intertwined in this context.

Let me pray

So who's praying?

by Robert Strivens2 July 2015

What do you say when you are about to pray at a meeting? ‘Let me pray’ is very popular at the moment.

However, this is not the best way to introduce prayer, even a short prayer before preaching or doing something else in the meeting. I suggest rather that we should be saying, ‘Let us pray’.

The reason is simple: the prayer that is about to be prayed is a corporate prayer - we hope that everyone will be joining in the prayer in their hearts. ‘Let me pray’ implies that everyone else sits by and listens while you do the praying. That is obviously not what we want.

Vos, Reformed Dogmatics

by Robert Strivens30 June 2015

Book Notice: Geerhardus Vos, Reformed Dogmatics, trans. R. B. Gaffin, 3 vols. (Lexham Press, 2012-14)

What kind of leaders should we be?

by Robert Strivens18 June 2015

At the end of his letter to the Hebrews, the author refers three times to the church’s ‘leaders’ (13:7, 17, 24). In the first instance, the reference appears to be to former leaders, who have perhaps passed away; the second and third times, he is speaking of their current leaders, urging obedience to them and sending them his greetings. ‘Leader’ is an unusual word to find in the New Testament in relation to a church. Normally, church leaders are referred to in the NT as pastors, elders or deacons.

Fearful Oaths

by Robert Strivens16 June 2015

How do we emphasise to someone the seriousness of what we have to say? ‘Now listen very carefully’, or ‘I want you really to pay attention to what I’m going to say’. This is how Paul does it: ‘I command you before God who gives life to everything and before Christ Jesus who witnessed before Pontius Pilate the good confession ...’, and ‘I bear witness before God and Christ Jesus who is coming to judge those who live and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom ...’ (1 Tim. 6:13; 2 Tim. 4:1).

Preach the word!

by Robert Strivens3 June 2015

One of the texts most often preached at induction services must be 2 Tim. 4:2, ‘Preach the word!’. It is an obvious choice. But does it mean quite what we think it means? We probably take it to refer to the regular, week-by-week preaching and teaching ministry that a pastor normally exercises from his own pulpit. We imagine, perhaps, Paul instructing Timothy to work his way systematically through Isaiah or 1 Kings, chapter by chapter, expounding the meaning and applying its message to his congregation in Ephesus. But is that quite what Paul meant?

Pastoral ministry: life and word

by Robert Strivens27 May 2015

Every occupation or profession needs a clear focus: we need to know what our core work is, otherwise we will be constantly distracted from it and are likely ultimately to fail.

Preaching from the Song of Solomon

by Stéphane Simonnin17 February 2015

I think it is fair to say that the Song of Solomon is one of the least read and studied books in the Bible today. When did you last read it or hear a sermon on it?