Greetings from Cambridge,
where we are hallowing God’s name, and praying that His kingdom would come!
It was four hundred and ninety-nine years ago today, in another university town, that a young Christian thinker published an evangelical manifesto that was to unleash revival and reformation on an unprecedented scale. The town was Wittenberg in Germany; the man was Martin Luther; the publication was his Ninety-Five Theses critiquing the corruption of the medieval church. At the heart of the controversy was a theological question: what is repentance?.
It was — and is! — a question that cuts to the heart of the Christian faith. Indeed, the biblical summary of Jesus’ message is this: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matt. 4:17). But by the Middle Ages that simple gospel message had been lost under various layers of legalistic tradition and doctrinal misunderstanding. In the original Greek of the New Testament the word for ‘repent’ is Metanoiete–‘to change one’s mind or purpose’. But it the Latin Vulgate translation used by the medieval church it was rendered Poenitentiam agite, which had developed connotations of ritual penitence, giving rise to the notion that divine forgiveness was something that could be earned or bought. Please pray with us that the simple gospel message of free forgiveness through the Cross of Christ would once again impact Europe!
A new DTS has begun
Meanwhile a new Revival & Reformation Discipleship Training School has begun, and God is at work in marvelous ways. Last week I heard two amazing testimonies. One girl was surprised to find that the physical scars of past self-harm had disappeared — they had been miraculously healed! And another was astonished that when she tried to join in with one of the songs of worship at the end of a prayer meeting and suddenly found herself singing out in a language she didn’t know! So praise God for the presence — and presents! — of the Holy Spirit! (And if you’re interested, here’s my attempt to explain my understanding of spiritual gifts.)
This week the team is in Dunkirk, France, serving at the refugee camp. Pray that the Holy Spirit would help them to demonstrate the love of God in word and deed.
Stepping back for a season
But we ourselves are not in Dunkirk — because we are not part of this year’s DTS team. In good missionary style, having spent the last three years pioneering YWAM Cambridge’s DTS we are now stepping back to allow new leaders to step up.
But that makes it sound like we had skilfully planned this. The honest truth is that by the end of the last DTS we were leading, we were feeling pretty burnt out. God had done some amazing things, but we were overstretched — like butter scraped over too much bread. Like Elijah and Jonah, in their less glorious moments. We returned to Cambridge three years ago with a vision for the sort of revival community you see in Acts 2, a willingness to do whatever we could to bring that into being, — and no kids! And now the situation has developed a little!
So we have stepped back from the thick of YWAM Cambridge madness: we have moved house (send Christmas cards to The Prescotts, Oak Villa–Extension Flat, Madingley Road, Coton, Cambridgeshire CB23 7PH), Taryn is working hard looking after Isaac and Anu, and I have stepped off the YWAM Cambridge leadership team and am spending my time working through the whole of the Bible. Which is a real privilege. Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day long!.
One last thing!
Oh, and I must remember to mention the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, that I was at in Indonesia. This was a gathering of a thousand Christian leaders aged 25-35 from around the world–represented in my small group were China, Egypt, Canada, the Philippines, Angola and Malaysia. There was teaching from a broad cross-section of the global evangelical church: old intellectuals like Ravi Zacharias and Os Guinness, younger missional visionaries like David Platt, fiery Chinese house-church leaders; there were opportunities to pray together for the fulfilment of God’s purposes in our generation and to dream dreams of how we might be involved; and there was the delight of Indonesian food! Here’s a short video to give you the flavour (of the Gathering, not the food!)
Peter & Taryn, Isaac and Anu