10 out of 10 for Luther and the 9.5 Theses
Ken Brownell’s (East London Tabernacle) book, Luther and the 9.5 Theses is a little gem of a book. 100 small pages of church history coupled with compelling contemporary application and exhortation.
“In short, while our circumstances are very different from those of Luther in the late 16th century…, the need for the Christianity that emerged from the reformation is still as great if not greater.” (p.4)
It is very much a book of two halves. The first couple of chapters are the historical background to the posting of the 95 theses, the run up to 31st October 1517 and the ramifications afterwards. The second half is looking at the detail of the 95 theses and applying their significance for the church in the 21st century.
The analysis of the 95 theses and the context surrounding their posting is spot on, with pithy observation and enough detail to inform without swamping the reader. The following 10 short chapters are heart warming, zeal nurturing and challenge bringing.
“What needs to be recognised is not only we need academic training but also that such learning must fear God and be intellectually rigorous.” (p.44)
Ken has done a wonderful job in writing this book, the tone is just right, the content intriguing without being exhaustive and the message much needed in our churches.
This would be a great book to leave with someone after a pastoral visit. Something that is an easy and a worthwhile read that will hopefully resonate with a church member and join some of the dots in their understanding of the seismic events that happened during the reformation and the legacy of which they inhabit today.
“Reformational Christians and churches must commit themselves afresh to the gospel of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ that Luther and other reformers rediscovered in the 16th century.” (p.97)
This book will also be our £1 exit book on Tuesday 27th at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly so be sure to have raided your piggy bank.
There is such a thing as a free lunch…
New for EMA 2017 – we are holding a Newcomers Reception at lunchtime on the first day of the EMA (Tues 27th June).
It can be unnerving turning up to a big conference not knowing many people. So, to help those attending for the first time to settle in quickly, we want to invite all first time delegates to join us for lunch at 1pm in the 1st floor Balcony Room.
We will be sending out invites and further details to all first time delegates in the coming days, so if you still haven’t booked, book now, we would love to welcome you.
5 Ministry Benefits from Spring Younger Ministers’ Conference 2017
Stick just under 100 ‘younger ministers’ in a conference centre for the best part of a week and what do you get? Strutting stallions? Ministry-jostling? Thankfully not. Here are 5 blessings I’m thankful for as I look back at the recent Spring Younger Ministers’ Conference 2017:
1. Being inspired to stick at a ministry of the word and prayer. It’s hard, isn’t it, this pastor-teacher thing. But I came away renewed to give myself to it. In particular, the time we spent in our preaching workshop groups, with eight or so other delegates and one senior minister, was just what I needed. Digging into Song of Songs with Vaughan Roberts and a bunch of peers was a fresh reminder of the richness of God’s word, both feeding my own heart and demonstrating its irreplaceability in ministry. Having renowned NT professor Doug Moo take us on a ‘mini-break’ jaunt through Hebrews in the main conference sessions was a bonus.
You can listen to the talks from the conference here.
2. Quality time with your mates. Definitely not to be under-estimated. Five of us from the same year-group at college had all committed to booking onto the conference together, and it was such a gift to have that extended time to informally hang out and talk life, the universe and everything. Friendships with ministry peers are hard enough to maintain, so for me, a conference where you’re all staying in the same place – with the even braver option of staying in the same room – is always going to beat day-only events.
3. Being exposed to others’ creativity and ministry ideas. As well as seeing old friends, there were a handful of stand-alone conversations with people I’d either never spoken to before, or didn’t really know personally, and yet they were chats that really set me thinking. For example, I had some creative conversations about church-planting and keeping going.
By the way, I happened to ask a mate beforehand if they were going on the conference and they said they weren’t really the ‘Proc Trust’ type. Hmm! Looking around the centre, ok, yup, most of us were probably early-to-mid-30’s and working as assistant pastors/curates (although even that certainly wasn’t everyone) – but amongst those of us fitting that ‘mould’, I reckon there was still a decent ‘spectrum’. So, wherever you’re coming from culturally, and whatever your church is like, if you’re convinced about prioritising the ministry of the word, then I’d hope you’d find the conference a blessing.
4. Getting tooled up by the ‘experts’.
Here I’m thinking particularly of Rico Tice’s double-session on ‘The Pastor & Personal Evangelism’ and ‘The Pastor & Church Evangelism’. Just brilliant. I haven’t taken notes so furiously since that Christian dating seminar I went to at uni. Of course, I’m sure Rico would object to the notion of ‘expert’, but his trademark honesty, unashamed conviction, and well-trodden practice make for a killer combo.
5. Ahh, rest.
Ok, it’s not a holiday – but I got a whole load more sleep than usual, and I didn’t have to do any washing-up. Hothorpe Hall is a top-notch venue for the week: excellent food, glorious surroundings (I even went for a run. I never run!), as well as a fantastic bar & lounge area for downing endless macchiatos or catching up over an evening beer.
See you next year….?
The next Spring Younger Ministers Conference is 30th April – 3rd May 2018 at Hothorpe Hall where we will be joined by Gary Millar who will be helping us think through preaching Deuteronomy. Bookings will be open soon.
Robin Ham is involved in church-planting in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. He blogs here. Twitter: @rhamage
We’re looking for an events manager (maternity cover)
Welcome to Jon Gemmell
We’re delighted that Jon Gemmell has joined us as Associate Director for Conferences and Resources. Jon was at the younger ministers’ conference last week and is in the office from this week. Jon joins us to work three days a week primarily on our conference programme. He comes to us from Scotland where he was senior pastor of Bruntsfield Evangelical Church in Edinburgh for 7 years, during which time he was also Director of Edinburgh City Mission and chairman of the East of Scotland Gospel Partnership. We’re looking forward to Jon being on the team!
Cornhill next year
Details of our plans for the future of Cornhill are now online.
At the thanksgiving service for 25 years of Cornhill I outlined the plans and the thinking behind them – you can watch the video below.
The Cornhill pages of our website have now also been updated to reflect the new structure of the course (details particularly in the Content section). And applications for next year are also now open.
Past, present, future
Here’s Christopher Ash’s short exposition from the Cornhill 25 and Counting thanksgiving service.
Cornhill: looking back
Another excerpt from the Cornhill 25 and Counting celebration last week. David Jackman interviews some previous students, together with some videos from former students who are now overseas.
Cornhill: how it all began
Over the next few days we’ll be posting video highlights from the service of thanksgiving for the 25th anniversary of the Cornhill Training Course, held last week.
First, here’s a brief interview with Dick Lucas on how it all began.
Please pray for this week’s Autumn Ministers conference
Please pray for the Autumn Ministers conference which began yesterday. Christopher Ash is speaking on Ruth, and I’m speaking on Principles of Application. Plus a couple of sessions from Vaughan Roberts, our hallmark preaching workshop groups, and time for relaxation and fellowship.