Archive for December, 2007


Further updates & New Preaching Sites

December 31, 2007

This holiday I’ve further updated two other sections – Sermon Preparation and Topics. Its been nice to work a little on some sections which I don’t usually have much time to update.


In total, my Workman’s Info includes:

About the Workman
Recommended Audio
Recommended Books
Sermon Preparation

I’m also excited to direct you to two other preaching websites: Expositionalogistix and Encouraging Expository Excellence (formerly A Steward of the Secret Things)


Maintenance Update – Recommended Books

December 29, 2007

What books for the pastors library? Though hardly a comprehensive list, I’ve updated my string of recommendations. There are twenty two books pertaining to preaching, another thirty two on other topics.



Maintenance Update – Audio

December 28, 2007

Another area of Unashamed Workman I’ve done further work on is the recommended audio section. This audio is particularly on the subject of ‘preaching’ (the why, what, how etc) and not so much preaching itself. You’ll find this in the sidebar of the blog near the top.


If you have any further audio recommendations – either individual talks or whole conferences – do let me know.


Tim Keller Interview

December 27, 2007

Tim Keller was interviewed by Preaching Today recently, and I gladly point you to the brief but very insightful article. Last year we also had the joy of asking pastor Keller ten questions. A couple of phrases that stuck out in his recent interview:


” I pastor a large church and have a large staff, so I give special prominence to preparing the sermon. I give it 15–18 hours a week. I would not advise younger ministers to spend that much time on sermon preparation, however. The main way to become a good preacher is to preach a lot and to spend tons of time in people work. That’s how you become something more than a Bible commentator; you become a flesh–and–blood preacher.”

In a similar vein: “To some degree, pastoral care and leadership are sermon preparation! They prepare the preacher and not just the sermon.”

Read the whole article here.


Maintenance Update – Commentaries

December 27, 2007

I’ve added a new section to the sidebar on recommended commentaries. Just in time for your sales shopping!



Christmas Maintenance & A Bit of Fun

December 21, 2007

Well folks, Unashamed Workman is closing down for some rest and site maintenance over Christmas. Workman’s Toobox will be semi-regularly updated but there won’t be any posting until sometime early January. In the meantime, you can enjoy this bit of Christmas fun that puts myself and members of our pastoral team in a different light.

(Edinburgh Christmas Market 2006 – Photo by Steph Gary Evie and Jack, Creative Commons License)


Not Ashamed?

December 21, 2007

Fellow Scottish preachers (sorry everyone else!!) clear out your diaries for the month of March and pen in the following date: Friday 7th of March.


The speaker for the day will be Liam Goligher, of Duke Street Church, Richmond Surrey, who exercises an international preaching ministry, and is a regular speaker at events such as the Keswick Convention. Liam will bring teaching based on 2 Timothy, aimed to encourage, and challenge those in regular preaching ministry.

Dr Ian Shaw, Lecturer in Church History at ICC, will also draw lessons for preachers today from the life of John Bunyan.

The full blurb for the Not Ashamed! event can be found here. Non-preachers should also consider the evening session (open to all) at Harper Memorial Church, with Liam Golligher speaking on “To Preach or Not to Preach?”


Some More From Gordon Cheng

December 20, 2007

“Hi Colin and Scott,

Thanks again for your responses. Yes, the title was provocative, but I’m not sure I want to elevate preaching just *because* our culture tends to denigrate it. I’m not persuaded that the New Testament itself puts pulpit preaching as a word ministry of greater value than any other, and I’m trying to reflect that in my thoughts on the blog (I’ve just posted another Baxter quote, by the way, see:

If you were going to elevate one particular word ministry as more important, wouldn’t it be apostleship? All our other word ministries are, after all, dedicating to highlighting, explaining, and applying the apostolic word above all others (I include the NT gospels as an apostolic word, by the way, on the grounds of John 14:26).

As to your question: How practically can the preaching-pastor elevate the importance of other forms of Word-ministry in his church without diminishing his commitment to pulpit preaching?

By recognizing their complementary nature, as Baxter does. If I meet people one-to-one, I will be a more effective preacher. If other people in the congregation (elders) run better Bible studies, the Sunday sermonizing will have greater impact. And so on. You don’t have to sacrifice the one to build up the other, although sometimes I think we could do with slightly less well-crafted sermon because the minister was too busy trying to meet with and help support Bible study leaders (for example).

Thanks for your kind comments about the Briefing! And God bless your blogging, which is a word ministry in its own right.

Scott: I don’t really agree with any of the assumptions you are imputing to me, so I am more than happy for you to criticize them, as they represent someone else’s position. As far as I am concerned, the New Testament is perfectly clear that some of the believers are set apart for specific roles as elders and teachers, and that should be the norm in our churches today.

(On Ephesians 4, I wonder if you have paid enough attention to the Jew-
Gentile question? Not that this is fundamental to our discussion, but I believe it is fundamental to Ephesians in general and Ephesians 4 in particular).”

The context for Gordon Cheng’s latest response is a series of previous posts: A Bit Less Preaching Please?, A Bit More Preaching in Pulpit and Beyond and What’s the Big Deal About Preaching? (R Scott Clark)


The Greatest Danger in Sermon Preparation

December 18, 2007

“The greatest danger you will face is that you will focus too narrowly or too quickly on certain features of the text and, by neglecting the surrounding details, will misinterpret the whole. I confess that at times I have discovered, only moments before preaching a sermon, an aspect of a text that eluded my attention (and undercut my conclusions) because I had focused too exclusively on the part of the text that interested me.”

(Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, page 107)


The Campus and a Christian Worldview

December 17, 2007

As one who spends part of his time working with University students here in the UK, I am excited about a new series of papers being made available over at the Gospel Coalition website.

(Photo by Patrick Q, Creative Commons License)

The Christ on Campus Initiative (with lead editor Don Carson) “commissions top evangelical scholars to oversee the creation and distribution of a variety of resources for university students. The goal of these resources is that they be intellectually rigorous, culturally relevant, persuasive in argument and faithful to historic, evangelical Christianity.”

The first such paper is now available for download:
“Do Christians Have A Worldview?”
by Graham Cole


Revival in Rose Street

December 17, 2007

(extract from Titus2talk)

Some of you might like to know that one of our former church secretaries, Dr Ian Balfour has just had his book published – ‘Revival in Rose Street’ charts 200 years of Charlotte Chapel history recounting the ministries of some well known preachers – Christopher Anderson (it’s founder), Joseph Kemp, Graham Scroggie, Sidlow Baxter, Gerald Griffiths, Alan Redpath, Derek Prime (& one of his assistants, Alistair Begg) and Peter Grainger, the current senior pastor with 15 years of faithful ministry under his belt, and counting.


The book is amazingly available for the bargain price of £10 and can be purchased at the church itself or by emailing

Standard Parcel postage in the UK is £5.68 for one copy, £8.24 for two, £9.35 for three, £10.97 for four, £11.45 for five and £13.13 for six to ten (same price). Surface mail to anywhere else (European Community, the Americas, India, Australasia, etc) is a standard £10.66 for one copy. Airmail to overseas countries is £20.66. Weight is 1.916 kilo.

You might like to know that our wee blog of only 15 months even gets a mention!


A Bit More Preaching, In Pulpit & Beyond

December 15, 2007

I always appreciate it when people help clarify the articles they write. It is so easy to misread people: to assume what they are arguing and misrepresent them. I therefore wanted to post Gordon Cheng’s further clarifications which he put in our comments section. Below Gordon’s comments, I have added one further observation and also asked him a question (if he has time to answer it!).

Hi Colin

Thanks for the link to my post. R.Scott Clark alerted me to his reply on Heidelblog, which I also appreciated and completely agreed with. I also thought, with respect, that it answered a point I wasn’t making. I am a great fan of preaching, having been well taught over the years by Phillip Jensen, Peter Jensen, John Woodhouse and many other fine Sydney evangelical preachers.

(Incidentally, I see that you have the 9 Marks blog listed right up the top of your blogroll. Recently my boss here at Matthias Media, Tony Payne, and Phillip Jensen, spoke at a Matthias Media conference in Washington alongside Mark Dever).

My point is, I think, essentially the same as the one that Richard Baxter makes not only in the quote from *The Reformed Pastor* but also in the whole book. You are no doubt aware that Baxter was a regular and faithful public preacher whose habit was to preach twice weekly to his congregation at Kidderminster.

Like him, I am a regular preacher (I won’t claim to be as regular or as faithful!) at my church, St Paul’s Carlingford in Sydney, where I have been leading one of the congregations in 2007. So I am not at all anti-preaching, any more than Baxter was.

But my point—and I’ve expanded on it in various ways back at my blog—is that all word ministry that is based on the explanation and application of God’s inerrant saving word, the Bible, is equally a way that God uses in a ’sacramental’ sense (not language that I would use, but it may help make the point) to bring grace to us by his Spirit.

I’ve tried to point to some of the biblical arguments for this in my follow-up blog entry, here,which I’ve entitled “OK, a bit more on preaching then.” 😉

Thanks again for the blog link, and God bless.

PS You can find a slightly more respectable version of both posts, merged into one at the Matthias Media Briefing website.

In the comments section, I then replied as follows:


Thanks for your very helpful clarification on the post. I can now see where you are coming from, and don’t think I would disagree with you on the overall point you are making (promoting non-pulpit Word-ministry). However, one observation and one question.

First, the observation. I’m not sure the best way to frame the point is by saying “a little LESS preaching please.” Perhaps this is simply a deliberately provocative ‘post title’? (Haven’t we all done that to make a point?!) However, might it not be a better approach to talk of ‘elevating’ other word ministries to their rightful place – providing we can substantiate that place from Scripture? With preaching getting such a bad wrap in secular culture (and, in my opinion, in much of evangelicalism) we don’t want to further help its critics by reducing the stock of preaching, even in the language we use.

Second, the question. How practically can the preaching-pastor elevate the importance of other forms of Word-ministry in his church without diminishing his commitment to pulpit preaching?

On another front, I really appreciate your ministry over there with Matthias. I enjoy reading The Briefing and heartily recommend it to others.