John Stott at Urbana ’67

I attended the great triennial missions convention sponsored by Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship as a freshman in 1967. John Stott was the expositor that particular years. He was stunningly biblical, insightful, careful and yet expressing a fire that was at a hot burn.

Here is a link to the transcripts of those messages. Over the years Stott has been a first performer in matters of preaching, faithfulness to the fullness of God’s Word and sophisticated cultural engagement. On a couple of issues I continue to wonder “where in the world did he get that?” but on the whole Stott expresses the best of evangelicalism in the deepest part of its stream.

If I had the gifts and could choose a preacher whom to model, it would be Stott. I have come to terms long ago with my own style and gifts, but in my mind the blend that Stott represents is a “best practices” kind of model.

Francis Schaeffer’s Lectures available online

When I was a freshman in college, Schaeffer was a major help, particularly his book Escape From Reason. He enabled me to move beyond a pietistic fundamentalism to a more thoughtful world and life view. Schaeffer and InterVarsity Press were constant companions. Schaeffer himself has escaped from fundamentalism but was, in my view, recaptured by it in his later ministry as cultural and political lines crossed.

Justin Taylor has linked Schaeffer lectures online from the Wheaton archives.

A Congressman refusing a benefit? It can happen!!

A newly-elected GOP Rep. announced that he is refusing the congressional health insurance plan in a show of solidarity with the American people.

Rep-elect Joe Walsh (R-IL) told the New York Times that he will stick to his Tea Party roots and decline the government health care provided to members of congress.

“I don’t think congressmen should get pensions or cushy health care plans,” he said. But it‘s a decision that’s not being welcomed by everyone in his family. Walsh’s wife has a pre-existing medical condition, and she’ll now be charged with the difficult task of finding a plan on the open market.

Walsh joins two other Republicans in declining the government’s health plan. So far, incoming Reps. Bobby Schilling (IL) and Mike Kelly (PA) have made similar decisions.

 

In Massachusetts, we don’t just tolerate madness; we export it.

Here is Joe Fitzgerald’s column in the Boston Herald. The cop killed in the Christmas shootout in Woburn was killed by a (stop me if you have heard this before) man on parole.

This is a story often told here in the “compassion” state.  Who can forget Willie Horton, who sunk Dukakis’ chance to be President? This is perhaps the only good thing Horton did in his life. With Dukakis as President prison doors would have needed some WD40 for all the swinging open they would have been doing. Of course, not all those who are released from prison on early parole recommit crimes in MA. They go to other states to display their madness. See Fitzgerald’s column.

Many evangelical progressives attempt to Christianize the state. They mean to make forgiveness and mercy the chief characteristics of the government at the financial costs of the citizenry and often at their own risk.  It’s a sort of “what would Jesus do?” if he was governor.

I continue to be committed to the position that the chief role of the state is order and justice. No one is saying that government is not tempered with an understanding that it is with weak mortals with whom we have to do. But those appointed to rule must be able to look the criminal in the eye and pronounce justice. If one cannot sustain courage and insistence in such a position, then go into the ministry with me.

On my end of things, in the ministry, my #1 job is the Gospel. That is not the Governor’s job. I bring to the table the miracles of forgiveness and new beginnings. I bring to the table a spiritually revived citizenry who are filled with charity and works of beneficence. I see in every man what Christ can do. I see no man outside the sphere of grace. Once we get these two spheres confused neither the Gospel nor government will be at their best.