11 (November 2013)

Persistently Preaching Christ

Persistently Preaching Christ
Paul Brown
Paul Brown Paul is a retired pastor now living in Lancashire.
01 November, 2013 2 min read

Persistently preaching Christ — fifty years of Bible ministry in a Cambridge church
Ed. Christopher Ash, Mary Davis & Bob White
Christian Focus, 192 pages, £10.99, ISBN: 978-1-84550-982-8
Star Rating : 3

It is essential to take note of the subtitle of this book. It is not, in the first place, about how to preach Christ and persist in doing so. It is the story of the Round Church in Cambridge, now meeting in St Andrew the Great.
Although many other people are mentioned and played their part, it is, in particular, the story of the ministries of two remarkable and dedicated men, Mark Ruston and Mark Ashton.
The book is divided into three parts. The first consists of an essay by Mark Ashton entitled ‘Eight convictions about the local church’. The second is the story of the Round Church (1955-1994), and the third the story of St Andrew the Great (1994-2010). There is also an appendix consisting of personal reflections and extracts from letters appreciative of the ministries of the two Marks.
Quite clearly the academic centre of Cambridge is not the milieu of most local churches, but it is the same Lord Jesus Christ who builds his church and the story told here is both encouraging and instructive.
Pastors and leaders are likely to find the first part of the book the most helpful. It is not necessary to agree with every detail of the eight convictions, but there are searching and important priorities in this section.
In the second and third sections allowance has to be made for the particular circumstances of the church, but there is much to inspire and principles that can be applied to the different circumstances in which other churches find themselves. Inevitably, there is a measure of repetitiveness in a number of the contributions.
We can be grateful for the witness and blessing that the 50 years recounted here have been to the city of Cambridge and to the many students who found their way to this church. It is an inspiring account to read and will act as a spur to prayer and the faithful preaching of a Christ-centred gospel.
It is perhaps also valuable to note what Mark Ashton has written elsewhere: ‘If a church is growing, it is because God is being good to it, despite all its sin and failures; it is not because it has suddenly struck upon the right method for church growth’.
Paul E. Brown
Halton, Lancaster

Paul Brown
Paul is a retired pastor now living in Lancashire.
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