It was a joy to get to know Matt Woodley for a few hours as he was passing through London last summer, and I’m really grateful to him for the opportunities to write for PreachingToday of which he is editor (it’s an online journal part of Christianity Today family in the US). He had been reading A Wilderness of Mirrors and kindly asked me to write a piece on how the issues of suspicion and power relate specifically to the task of pulpit preaching.
Since this was close to the raison d’être of the book (namely the urgent need to take seriously how power operates within the church), I was thrilled to do so. And I’m pleased to say that it has just gone online for their first article for 2016.
Spending nine years on the preaching team of All Souls, Langham Place was a rare privilege. A nerve-wracking one, too. Especially when Uncle John (Stott) was in the congregation (see right, in his prime)! But as I’ve reflected on my preaching over the last twenty-five years or so, I’ve sensed that very different things affect my nerves these days.
The All Souls pulpit was donated in the 1970s by John Stott’s friends and admirers when he stepped back from the overall leadership of the church. In common with many others, it has a little inscription that always caught my eye as I climbed its three steps: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (see below) They’re great words—important words. Every preacher would do well to honor them.
A photo of the All Souls pulpit (donated in the 1970s as a commemoration of Uncle John’s extraordinary ministry). The inscription is clearly visible at the bottom of the lectern.