God’s purpose of grace

God’s purpose of election is bound to be mysterious to men, for we cannot aspire to an understanding of the secret thoughts and decisions of the mind of God.  However, the doctrine of election is never introduced in Scripture either to arouse or to baffle our carnal curiosity, but always for a practical purpose.  On the one hand, it engenders deep humility and gratitude, for it excludes all boasting.  On the other, it brings both peace and assurance, for nothing can quieten our fears for our own stability like the knowledge that our safety depends ultimately not on ourselves but on God’s own purpose of grace.

From: Authentic Christianity 1995 John Stott and Timothy Dudley-Smith.


The mystery of election

“Many mysteries surround the doctrine of election, and theologians are unwise to systematize it in such a way that no puzzles, enigmas or loose ends are left. At the same time, in addition to the arguments developed in the exposition of Romans 8:28-30, we need to remember two truths.

First, election is not just a Pauline or apostolic doctrine; it was also taught by Jesus himself. “I know those I have chosen,’ he said. (Jn. 13:18).

Secondly, election is an indispensable foundation of Christian worship, in time and eternity. It is the essence of worship to say: ‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory’ (Ps. 115:1). If we were responsible for our own salvation, either in whole or even in part, we would be justified in singing our own praises and blowing our own trumpet in heaven. But such a thing is inconceivable. God’s redeemed people will spend eternity worshipping him, humbling themselves before him in grateful adoration, ascribing their salvation to him and to the Lamb, and acknowledging that he alone is worthy to receive all praise, honour and glory. Why? Because our salvation is due entirely to his grace, will, initiative, wisdom and power.”

Quoted from Authentic Christianity 1995 John Stott and Timothy Dudley-Smith.

The Incredible Power of Faith in Suffering

Spoiler alert – this video will affect you emotionally. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy!

Rebecca and Joanna Barnard were born by emergency caesarean section at 28 weeks. Doctors predicted that Joanna would not survive outside the womb due to her underdevelopment. Their parents, Brandon and Jessica, along with their family and friends, prayed that God would miraculously heal their baby daughters. This brief documentary records their journey of faith and their resolute confidence in God.

Source: www.vimeo.com

Is the 40-Minute Sermon Passé?

We live in a highly visual, interactive environment in the 21st Century. This has led to significant changes in the means of communication and of concentration spans. Some have argued that the church should respond to this and abandon the ‘traditional’ 40 minute sermon. John Piper argues strongly in this 6 minute podcast that the sermon is a unique genre of it’s own and that it is a vital component of a local church’s corporate worship. You can listen to what he says here: Is the 40 minute sermon passé?

An evening with Justin and Caroline Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury)

I stumbled across this video recorded at the 2013 National Leaders Conference for Vineyard Churches. In it John Mumford interviews Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, and his wife, Caroline. It provides a fascinating insight into the spiritual journey of the man charged with leading the Anglican church; a perspective that rarely gets reported in the press. I pray that this godly man will have the courage and freedom to lead the eclectic mishmash that is the Church of England into biblical faith and an experience of the Holy Spirit for the glory of Jesus.

Originally posted at An evening with Justin and Caroline Welby