Monday, June 05, 2006

John Stott

On Saturday night, I, like 700 others, were brought to the Spires Conference Centre (better known as Church House) with the promise of spending an evening with John Stott. Stott, as you may well know, is a prolific writer on the Bible and Christianity, having been the New Testament editor on the Bible Speaks Today commentary series from Inter-Varsity Press, and was for many years the Rector of All Souls, Langham Place in the centre of London's shopping district of Oxford and Regent Streets.

Stott preached on Luke 14, the cost of discipleship, and was very clear and ordered, although being 85, he was very frail and got lost in his notes a few times. All in all, it was great to see him in the flesh and to hear him preaching. And his accent wasn't quite what I was expecting - I was thinking it would be more the posh English accent of Dick Lucas, but he wasn't!

However, the evening turned into a bit of a fundraiser for the work of the Langham Partnership, with them plugging their membership and donation packages so many times... Yes, they're doing good work, but it seemed a bit of a money-grabbing exercise. And as someone said after, it was wonderful to be in the holy huddle in the hall, but how many of the 700 would be so keen to go out onto the streets afterwards to take the message of the gospel to the homeless and drunks etc?

I ended up seeing lots of people I knew though, which was good, and we even managed to have a bit of an ordinands conference, as four of us were there - the four remaining Down and Dromore ordinands in college, as it turns out!

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