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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 29 Apr 2016

The great Calvin scholar, THL Parker, has died aged 99. Lee Gatiss looks at three great quotes, and three articles he wrote for our journal, Churchman.

I was saddened to learn that Thomas Henry Louis Parker died on Monday just short of his century. Born in 1916, he was a student here in Cambridge at Emmanuel College, was ordained into the Church of England in 1939 after training in London, and served a number of churches as curate and rector, including a spell at Christ Church Cambridge (my own church) during the war. He became a lecturer at Durham University in 1971 and retired ten years later. He was a prolific and brilliant scholar, particularly of the great Genevan Reformer, John Calvin.

I have many of his books on my shelves, including superb studies of Calvin’s Old Testament and New Testament commentaries, Calvin’s preaching, and a biography of Calvin—all of which I have greedily devoured. I never met him, unfortunately, but those that did speak very warmly of him as a person and as a lecturer. Three of my favourite quotes from the book on Calvin’s preaching are these. First, he laments the nature of modern theological training:

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Posted by Tim Ward, 28 Apr 2016

The idea that God is love is very popular today, but what does it mean? Tim Ward reviews a book that will grow our hearts and minds:

This is the most deeply enriching book, in its address both to the intellect and the soul, that I have read in a good while. It’s relatively brief and also profound; learned and also lucid; doctrinal and also deeply applied to life. Williams keeps a consistent aim in view: to describe the love of God as we find it revealed to us in the Scriptures, and not (and this is something we fall into so easily) as a magnified projection of love as we experience it in this world. He offers the book, he says, as ‘a form of inoculation that will protect you against…

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Posted by Tom Woolford, 25 Apr 2016

We must call out the church for her failure to reach and disciple men effectively; but in so doing we must not abdicate our responsibility to call out men for their proud, sinful, 'oh-so-masculine' rejection of Christ and contempt for his people.

Two weeks’ ago, Steve Ransley posted a provocative piece about why and how to do men’s ministry in the local church. The importance of addressing that issue comes from the statistical evidence that women outnumber men in our pews at a ratio of roughly 3:2. Steve observed that “the church seems geared rather more to the feminine than to the masculine,” and that some models of men’s ministry are little more than “women’s ministry for men” – the same assumptions and format, only with added bacon.

My instinct is that there is a lot to those assessments, even if the brevity of a blogpost precluded the stacking up of evidence. But the alleged unbalance of the modern church toward a more feminine spirit is, even if accepted, only half of the reasons for the relative lack of men in church. The other half of the equation is in the sin of the men themselves: in their – and our – warped conception of ‘masculinity’ that gives men more reasons (excuses) for thinking Christ and his church are not for them.

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