Latest Podcast: Hot Topics - Sexuality


We begin a new series thinking about hot topics in evangelism. In this episode we think about sexuality. It's not the first (or the fifteenth!) topic that we want to raise with non-Christians. Nonetheless it's one of the

Going After Straight Christians


When I wrote "I choose not to be straight" I finished with a flourish: For in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, gay nor straight. This has led some to wonder whether I am

Tweet-o-mania


This is why you all need @PrayerMateApp http://t.co/62JtUJ83d8 pic.twitter.com/BdPiTKiP4l — Glen Scrivener (@glenscrivener) April 17, 2014 I can live with almost Anyone's interpretation of 1 Cor 12-14 (gifts) if we can

I choose not to be straight


This has had 4 million plus views on YouTube but grandpa here has only just seen it. In these vox pops they ask folks whether you're born gay or choose it. Then they follow up with the question: "When did you choose to be

Easter Sunday Sermon - John 20:1-18


http://www.christthetruth.org.uk/John20.1-18.mp3 DOWNLOAD SERMON TEXT  

Good Friday


An hour of hymns and songs. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dvLpalib_zTXFldEBp9oUsO7myHSsNI Rock of Ages When I Survey The Wondrous Cross My Song Is Love Unknown And Can It Be That I Should Gain Alas, And Did My

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?


  I tweeted this earlier... Just did the "Which Good Friday character are you?" quiz. Thought I'd definitely be the crowd. Amazingly I got "Jesus Christ". --Gal 2:20 — Glen Scrivener (@glenscrivener) April 17,

Help with quotes


I've nearly finished writing 321 - the evangelistic book. At the end I'm briefly addressing 10 common objections to Christianity. Can you help me with some quotes of people who have put these objections famously or

Latest Podcast: Hot Topics – Sexuality

Posted on by Glen in apologetics, culture, podcast, sex | Leave a comment

tep-podcastcover-1024x1024

We begin a new series thinking about hot topics in evangelism.

In this episode we think about sexuality. It’s not the first (or the fifteenth!) topic that we want to raise with non-Christians. Nonetheless it’s one of the first that will be put to us. So what do we say?

Andy and I talk about the vital importance of being a sexual sinner and of not being straight.

During our conversation we mention the excellent LivingOut.org website, my earler blog-post on not being straight and I also refer to  this fascinating photo history of male affection.

Enjoy – and do get in touch in comments. We’d love to hear what you think.

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Going After Straight Christians

Posted on by Glen in apologetics, culture, sex | 1 Comment

When I wrote “I choose not to be straight” I finished with a flourish:

For in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, gay nor straight.

This has led some to wonder whether I am abandoning all other identities other than Christian. If so, then my post proves too much. We shouldn’t identify according to modern categorizations of sexuality but neither should we identify as anything. We’re simply in Christ. In every other sense we’re a blank sheet.

But I’m not saying that. Firstly, Paul is happy to speak to people about their particular identities and responsibilities as Jews/Greeks, as slaves/free and as male/female. What he’s saying is that all are on an equal footing and have full access to God in Christ. That’s the Galatians-3-sense in which there is no “gay or straight” – these labels mean nothing in terms of our ability to come to God in Christ.

But of course there are a thousand ways in which our nationality, our gender, our calling and, yes, even our sexuality shape us. Those identities are not eliminated by being “in Christ”  but they must all be re-thought, re-ordered and re-established as sub-identities by grace and through faith.

As we do that – as we re-think sexuality – we come up against something we don’t find with, for instance, gender. From Genesis 1 onwards, gender is a given fact of our humanity. Only in the last hundred years or so have westerners thought of sexuality the way we have. Therefore, when the re-think comes, gender has infinitely more hold on us than these modern categories.

One Facebook commenter took me as abandoning all sub-identities, gender included. Not at all. And one of my biggest beefs with PoMo-Sexuality is its side-lining of gender in favour of a rather Gnostic love of ‘desires.’ One of the great problems with our modern view of sexuality is its disregard for the given-ness of our physical lives. I am male, I am in a one-flesh union – FACT. Who I am determines what I do with my sexual desires, my sexual desires don’t determine who I am.

So gender has a hugely more massive purchase on my identity than “sexuality.” But in my opinion, the way to challenge our modern categories of “sexuality” is to begin with “heterosexual”. Before we say “You mustn’t be a Gay Christian” I’d rather we said “You mustn’t be a Straight Christian.” There are many reasons for this.

Firstly, leading with repentance is a gospel move.  Secondly, if we’re going to subvert a whole system of thought we need to say disruptive and shocking things. But thirdly – and mainly – I think a side-B “Gay Christian”  can end up being far more subversive of our false perspectives on sexuality than an unthinking “Straight Christian.” The side-B “Gay Christian” has done a lot more work on these identity issues and on the meaning of Scripture than your average, unthinking “Straight Christian.” The “Straight Christian” probably doesn’t even know they are capitulating to unbiblical categories. The side-B “Gay Christian” is at least offering a measure of resistance to them. Therefore celibate “Gay Christians” are worthy of far more respect than those who, by default, buy into an unbiblical framework but simply happen to be on the more acceptable end of the spectrum!

This came home to me when I posted an article called “Is God homophobic?” I upheld the biblical teaching of sex belonging solely within the marriage of a man and a woman. This, however, was not enough to satisfy a commenter called “Independent Voter.” He wrote…

Despite your watering down and deflecting, God’s word on this remains the same as it ever was: That homosexuality is an abomination, that God gave them up to their vile passions to receive in them the results of their chosen lifestyle. yell and scream all you want and call me whatever you want to call me. You nor I can change a word of The Bible. (emphasis mine)

Notice the irony? He doesn’t want to change a word of the Bible – so instead he’s changed several. Where the Bible is interested in behaviour, he’s interested in “homosexuality” and in “lifestyle” – terms from Freudian and Adlerian psychology. He has no idea that he has capitulated to an atheistic world-view. He’s just being “biblical.” That’s why we need to go after the “Straights”!

So… Yes to sub-identities. Yes to the importance of gender. Yes to sex belonging in marriage between a man and a woman. But, please No to an unthinking “Straight” Christianity.

Tweet-o-mania

Posted on by Glen in tweets | Leave a comment

I can live with almost Anyone’s interpretation of 1 Cor 12-14 (gifts) if we can first agree to 1 Cor 1-2 (a theology of the cross)

In Christ ur members of God’s flock, purchased by God’s blood, fed by God’s word & surrounded by God’s grace. Acts20 #EnjoyYourDay

The best reply 2 Rob Bell’s Love Wins wd’ve been The LAMB Wins: blood&wrath included. Stay tuned 4 more up2the-minute theological engagement

“The lot is cast into the lap [it's out of your hands],
but its every decision is from the LORD [it's in Good Hands]“
– Prov 16:33

It’ll be alright in the End. If it’s not alright now, it’s not the End. #EnjoyYourDay

Stoics want to correct my spelling. They have no affect.

#Exodus12: It’s not the quality of your life ‘in here’ that counts. It’s the quality of His death ‘out there’ that saves #EnjoyYourDay

“Wait, so, mocking’s BAD??” – me, after every chapter of Proverbs.

** runs back to Job and 2 Corinthians for solace **

Happy Sunday everyone. Your week begins with rest. Before u’ve lifted a finger u have a breath-taking Promotion & a stunning Raise

“The LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.” (Psalm 32:10) #EnjoyYourDay

“Hosanna” they cry (Ps118:25). Two verses later: “Bind the festal sacrifice up to the horns of the altar” (v27) #PalmSunday

By the Spirit of the Son you have a new spiritual heart-beat: Abba, Father… Abba, Father… Abba, Father… (Gal 4:6) #EnjoyYourDay

- Your pedantry is mute.
- That makes no sense, it’s moo…
- I said MUTE

“Supernatural” is a horrible term. We’re the “extra” things. We’re squatters, the triune God is the Landlord.

Christ crucified IS the proof for God. And it’s proof we don’t care about proof – we want rid of Him. #1Cor1

It’s a shame but, since there are only 22 letters in Hebrew, alphabetizing the pauses in the Psalms will only get you so far. Selah V :(

He didn’t rescue u so He could delight in u. He delighted in u & so rescued u. Ps 18. U’ve been loved at your worst. #EnjoyYourDay

“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross.” (John Stott) Amazing Full Quote

People *crave* Meaning, Freedom & Love. It’s found in God’s Threeness, the World’s Twoness & Our Oneness: Discover @ http://three-two-one.org

At Christmas my feed’s full of preachers insisting u gotta keep crib & cross together. Agreed. But it’s Easter now & incarnation’s forgotten..

…Is it because we’re far more interested in the what of the cross than the Who?

Not just net gainers. Even our greatest suffering redeemed 2 greater glory: More than conquerors thru Him who loved us! #EnjoyYourDay

Resurrection: Not “Return of the Mack” but “Break on Through to the Other Side”

“I’ll tell you what would be *really* hard to believe: Death holding down the Author of Life!” — Peter preaching resurrection (Acts 2&3)

What kind of God is broken apart so the wicked can feast on Him? What kind of God is poured out so you can drink? Your God #EnjoyYourDay

Preparing for Sunday & loving Christ’s resurrection appearances. The Firstfruits are tasty, the full harvest will be blooming marvellous!

Just did the “Which Good Friday character are you?” quiz. Thought I’d definitely be the crowd. Amazingly I got “Jesus Christ”. –Gal 2:20

Even the head-strong have been heart-led.

Our God is none other than the God of the Cross – the God who has pledged His own being for us with every drop of His blood. #EnjoyYourDay

A bishop has called my poem “brap”. Everyone’s rhyming these days

#TGIGF

Memorialism: the ‘hot cross bun’ view of communion Good Friday: Proof that God gives not so much *things* as Himself

 

You are God’s possession. There Might be a hostile takeover. But only if they can outbid the blood of God- Acts 20:28 #EnjoyYourDay

Clouds to the left of me, joking to the right. #holySaturday

“Wd it be as believable 2 have a male Ariel sacrifice&leave home all 4the chance of love w a human princess?” FROM. Well…

Naturally *our* fairytales are somewhat princess-centric

At the 1st Easter they came to honour a dead Teacher but met a risen Lord. Praying that visitors to church tomorrow will experience the same

“But we had hoped…” (Luke 24:13-35) What have you hoped in? It will be transformed and more than restored by the risen Jesus #EnjoyYourDay

But Peter Pan gags DO get old. They DO

The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. Rom8:11 #EnjoyYourDay

Isaiah 60: Now that the Light of the world has risen for you, YOU shine with radiant glory. #passiton #EnjoyYourDay

I choose not to be straight

Posted on by Glen in apologetics, culture, evangelism, sex | 24 Comments

This has had 4 million plus views on YouTube but grandpa here has only just seen it. In these vox pops they ask folks whether you’re born gay or choose it. Then they follow up with the question: “When did you choose to be straight?”…

Here’s my answer: Who said I was “straight”? I’m not “straight”. My desires are twisted in a thousand ways, like everyone’s. Those desires have incredibly complex causes from genetics to environment to experiences and, yes, choices along the way. But I’m a Christian so I don’t really foreground choices anyway. I believe in the bondage of the will for goodness sakes. I don’t really view people as rational, decision-making machines and I reckon the best social science research confirms that. We are all the results of a complex mixture of forces and our individual choices make up just a piece of that pie.

But back to my original point, I am not “straight.” I hate the term “straight”. Lusting after the opposite sex en masse is not a virtue and it should never be held up as an ideal against which to judge others as crooked. So allow me to use the limited power of my choices in this regard: I choose not to be “straight”. I repent of any identity marker called “straight.” Lord forgive me if  I ever take refuge in the label “straight.”

Let me go further. I choose not to be “heterosexual”. The very idea of classifying me according to a “sexual orientation” is anti-gospel. I am a Christian - that’s my identity. Can you seriously imagine Jesus turning to His disciples during the sermon on the mount and saying “Let your sexual desires be unto the multitude of women”? Course not. Jesus is anti-heterosexual and so am I.

Incidentally, I happen to lust after all kinds of sentient beings – males and females alike. Asked to name a top ten of good looking Hollywood actors I may well name a majority of men. What does this say? Not a lot, except that perhaps our modern, western taxonomy of sexuality is off-target. I don’t find the categorisations of hetero-sexual / lesbian / gay / transgender / intersex / questioning /queer / asexual etc, to fit even our small slice of the global population, let alone the rest of the world, let alone the rest of human history. Most of world history would look in complete bafflement at our sexuality descriptors, therefore I choose not to buy into that categorization. And I choose not to read the bible through those extremely novel lenses – a temptation to which Christians and non-Christians fall in equal measure.

I’ll admit happily, there are very few things I can do to change what or who I desire. But what I do choose is not to define myself by those desires. I choose to let my desires be desires and to let my identity be in Christ. I choose to say No to desires that would harm me or my loved ones (Titus 2:12). When I fail at saying No, I choose not to wallow in self-condemnation. If my “sexuality” doesn’t define me, then neither do my sins. I choose to go to Christ with it all and find infinite forgiveness and love.

At the same time I choose never to condemn others who wear a different label. I choose never to feel superior to another human being simply because my distorted desires are more socially acceptable than theirs. I choose never to treat someone as inferior for their desires or their behaviour. I choose to love people no matter the spectrum they choose or the place they sit on it. And I choose to invite the world – whatever their label – to renounce that identity and find the liberating joy of adoption in the family of God. For in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, gay nor straight.

FOLLOW UP POST

Easter Sunday Sermon – John 20:1-18

Posted on by Glen in resurrection, sermons | Leave a comment

John 20

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SERMON TEXT

 

Good Friday

Posted on by Glen in Cross, music, videos | 4 Comments

An hour of hymns and songs.

Rock of Ages

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

My Song Is Love Unknown

And Can It Be That I Should Gain

Alas, And Did My Savior Bleed

There is A Fountain Filled With Blood

Man of Sorrows (What a Name)

Jesus Paid It All

The Power Of The Cross

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

Were you there when they crucified my lord?

All I Have is Christ Live

Cornerstone

.

 What would you add?

 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Posted on by Glen in Cross | 2 Comments

cross-as-tree-of-life-2

 

I tweeted this earlier…

It’s deliberately provocative and, of course, open to the criticism: “Oooo, look who thinks he’s Jesus!” But here’s why I stand by it. At least a dozen times the bible encourages us to identify with Jesus at Calvary (see below). When the Negro Spiritual asks “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”, a biblical answer is: “Yes. I was at the very centre of it – dying on that middle cross.”

That’s not the first answer that springs to mind is it? Our instinctive response is to say “I was hammering in the nails.” There’s great truth to that. As the wonderful Townend song says, “It was my sin that held Him there.” But that’s not the only answer. And at least 12 times in Scripture we are cast in a different role in this Passion Play. We are placed on the cross with Jesus. For every verse that tells us Jesus died for us there’s another telling us we died in Him. And it’s vital to hold those two truths together. Let me explain…

What’s the very first promise of the Bible?

Nope, earlier than that… Earlier still…  You know what the first promise was from the LORD God to man? ”You will surely die” – Genesis 2:17.

Death is the judgement promised for sin.  No wonder that death would be part of the next big promise – Genesis 3:15. The Seed being struck to save us. Death was the judgement for sin. Death was also the way of salvation!  There is just no escaping death.  We live in the Lamb’s world and we will surely die.  We either die apart from the LORD Jesus or we die in the LORD Jesus. But everyone dies.

I emphasize the point because sometimes we forget this when we speak of Christ’s death for us.  We must never tire of proclaiming Christ’s death for us - it is the blazing epicentre of the gospel! (e.g. 1 Cor 15:3). But we misconstrue this truth if we imagine that Christ dies over there so that I remain unaffected over here.  No, Christ hides me in Himself and includes me in His death. In other words, His death is not only substitutionary. It is substitutionary because it is inclusive.

See how Paul teaches this over and over in his letters:

All of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  (Romans 6:3-4)

Our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with.  (Romans 6:6)

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin… (Romans 6:11)

You died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to Another.  (Romans 7:4)

Christ died for all and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

I was crucified with Christ and I no longer live.  (Galatians 2:20)

[I belong to Christ and thusmy flesh has been crucified.  (Galatians 5:24)

I am crucified to the world.  (Galatians 6:14)

 In Christ you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism.  (Colossians 2:11-12)

You died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world (Colossians 2:20)

You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Christ indeed died for us. He bore the wrathful brunt of the Father’s condemnation.  But He did so in order to carry me with Him through that death sentence and out into His risen life.  Christ died for me but – just as important to say – I died in Him.

If we speak of Christ dying for us without being clear that we died in Him, we can get into trouble. Let me briefly outline two potential problems:

Firstly, the Romans 6 problem: We think of grace as licence.  If we just speak of Christ over there paying for my sins over here, it makes no sense for me over here to live in connection with Christ over there.  Basically we imagine that Jesus over there underwrites my sinful existence over here and therefore anyone calling me to live beyond sin, death and judgement sounds absurd.

But Paul’s argument is that we died in Jesus. The old self is crucified and the new self is risen in Christ. The cross was not the underwriter for my sin, it was the undertaker!

Secondly, we might imagine that Christ’s sufferings for us mean that we shouldn’t suffer ourselves.  It’s ironic, but the cross is sometimes used to prop up a theology of glory!

Here’s how it usually happens… Someone prays for healing and invokes Isaiah 53: “By Christ’s wounds Susan IS HEALED, we claim this healing paid for in full by the cross.”  Well there’s great Scriptural precedence for linking Isaiah 53 with healing (Matthew 8:17). I’m all for it.  And I’m all for praying earnestly for healing.  Jesus is kind and He may want to give us a picture of new creation glory even here in the midst of this old dying world.  BUT… Jesus did not die so that we won’t. Jesus died so that we might die in Him.

The path to new creation restoration is through death.  The cross does not eliminate that pathway, it is the pathway to glory.  The cross proves once and for all that Jesus is not committed to prettying up this old world. He is committed to summing it up and plunging it into the fiery death it deserves. Only through that furnace will it be reborn.

Jesus has not promised to prolong this old world of Adam’s. He has promised “You will surely die!”  But through that death comes a new heavens and a new earth.  That’s where we must set our hopes.

Just imagine if Jesus kept on healing our old bodies.  At what point should He let us die? At 90? 100? 150?  When can He say ‘enough is enough’ and bring us through death into resurrection life?  That’s His purpose.

The cross does not mean we will avoid suffering and death.  It means we will go through it – but hidden with Christ. And – yes indeed – by His wounds we are healed.  But that healing is not the prolonging of the old man – it’s the resurrection of the new.

This Easter don’t forget – Jesus did not just die for you, you died in Him. The Christian life makes no sense until you put yourself on the cross with Christ.

 

Help with quotes

Posted on by Glen in apologetics, evangelism | 8 Comments

I’ve nearly finished writing 321 – the evangelistic book. At the end I’m briefly addressing 10 common objections to Christianity. Can you help me with some quotes of people who have put these objections famously or powerfully?

Ok, but is it true?

Can we trust the Bible?

I’m not religious, why bother with God?

How can anyone join the church with all its hate and hypocrisy?

How does a Good God fit with evil and suffering?

Isn’t religion one of the world’s great problems?

Why not other faiths?

How does a loving God fit with judgement?

Why are Christians so weird about sex and sexuality?

Aren’t believers anti-science?

Podcast: Easter Edition

Posted on by Glen in Cross, podcast, preaching, resurrection | Leave a comment

In this episode we talk about Easter. In particular we spotlight our latest spoken word video: “Bread of Heaven.”

We also speak about Easter preaching.

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In the podcast I mention 8 Easter sermons I’ve given in other settings.

And…
Easter songs and resources - especially for all-age services

 

Steaming Piles of Tweet

Posted on by Glen in tweets | 3 Comments

Don’t feel Jesus in your heart? First know that you are on His. (Ex 28:29; Heb 7:25) #EnjoyYourDay

Nothing a resurrection won’t fix. #EnjoyYourDay

He came to a poor teenager, a northern backwater, a ravaged people. He came to diseased, dying, damned sinners. He’s for you.#EnjoyYourDay

Fig-leaf coverings? The children of Adam have followed suit.

Isaiah’s vision of the future: “On THAT day… On THIS mountain.” (Everywhere, see eg Is 25) Our home is HERE but it’s not NOW.

The Word of God spoke with an accent #incarnation

My future inheritance = Grandpa’s stamp collection. Oh, and the universe. Oh, and GOD! Yes GOD! (Romans 8:17) #EnjoyYourDay

Tempted to correct a friend’s spelling of “no affect” when I realised it would neither have effect nor affect.

New life is not a condition of the gospel it’s the offer.

‘Union with Christ’ is not a way of escaping ‘discipleship’ – it means entering into it truly and deeply

Forget human elections, our Man is on the true seat of power. Just, Gentle, Wiser than Solomon, Beyond reproach & ONE OF US! #EnjoyYourDay.

Did the sun come up this morning? Then God’s not going to break His covenant with your Royal Priest (Jer 33:14-22) #EnjoyYourDay

The Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing your full redemption. And God aint gonna lose His deposit. #EnjoyYourDay

You might prefer physics to metaphysics, but that’s a metaphysical judgement.

God’s being in sending => Our character in mission.

#1Sam16: Bad news- u’ve not been chosen as King. Good news- yr Brother has & He shares His royalty & victory with you #1Sam17 #EnjoyYourDay

Just spoke to a bus driver who much prefers driving teenagers. The elderly are far ruder. A reminder: growing old gracefully aint automatic

“You are my Beloved Child, I’m thrilled with you” – the Verdict we all want from the Father we all crave. It’s ours in Jesus #EnjoyYourDay

Only *sinners* love (Luke 7:36-50). Therefore every sin is an opportunity to know yr indebtedness and the forgiveness of Jesus #EnjoyYourDay

I bet the Spanish are constantly overwhelmed by their todo lists :-/

“My child, get up” He will say. And u will rise 2 feasting joy, complete astonishment & face-to-face with Jesus (Luke 8:40-56) #EnjoyYourDay

My hunch: ‘Noah’ Will get people talking about ‘God’, but unless ur wise it’ll be a ‘God’ who makes talking about God *more* difficult

<< But, again, by all means see it, enjoy it, engage in conversations – just be aware is all

Easter video taking shape :) pic.twitter.com/sp7aBiGMqt

— Glen Scrivener (@glenscrivener) April 4, 2014

 

Who qualifies 4 Christ’s Kingdom? The powerless, the wicked, the little children: Lk18:1-17. Don’t reach up, receive where u r #EnjoyYourD..

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean throwing away your brain. It does mean crucifying your need to be brainy

In becoming a Christian, don’t throw away your brain. You’ll need it in order to become consistently and biblically foolish

Paul did not seek credibility from the wise, he sought to shame them – thru the foolishness of the gospel #1Corinthians

You know the tree of life in the garden of God? That’s not just for religious art. That’s for *you* to eat from (Rev 2:7) #EnjoyYourDay

Preaching John 6 this evening. Here’s a good reminder of why we need the Bread of Heaven pic.twitter.com/xkklyEahfo

— Glen Scrivener (@glenscrivener) April 6, 2014

 

Your sorrows He carries, your infirmities He takes up, your sins He bears. (Is 53) Your weaknesses only draw Him closer #EnjoyYourDay

He’s the Judge of the world, the Revelation of God and a gentle, lowly Rest-Giver: Matt 11:20-30. #EnjoyYourDay

God is Joy – Ps 45:7; John 15:11; 1 Tim 1:11. #EnjoyYourDay

Illustrations can add colour&warmth to preaching but if they’re in to add *interest* it’s not illustrations u need but the *gospel*

Be as incarnational as u like but there was 1 unrepeatable incarnation.
Be as pentecostal as u like but there was 1 unrepeatable Pentecost.