Thursday, March 15, 2007

Reflections on Three Years in Uist

I posted before that three years have passed since we came to Uist. What has changed compared to the pre-Uist days? Many things: 50% higher mean wind speeds and no Indian takeaways, for instance. But, what's changed theologically for me? Well, from my reformed baptist position of yore, I'm now a full-blown presbyterian - a theological transition that I can see was starting back in Wales. My main sticking point was unstuck by Marcel's excellent book 'The Biblical Doctrine of Infant Baptism' which I read soon after arriving here. Marcel's influence unlocked other doors. My view of the church shifted consequential to this and suddenly so much of what I had been thinking about back in Wales was falling into place. Being a part of the Free Church here has been an essential part of the mix: the positive faith of the leadership, the enterprise, the sense of mission, the love expressed through mercy ministries to the needy, the organic nature of the witnessm, the challenges of the pastoral task as an elder. All of these have transformed my practical views of how a church should work - picking up on so much of the NT witness and reinforcing the importance of community within the church, the didactic needs in preaching to the whole church, and of caring for the community outside. Semper Reformanda has never been so important! My experience of the presbyterian system which has facilitated the planting of the church here has been overwhelmingly positive - it really is a fantastic feeling to belong to 'something bigger' and to share in a vision. And my personal theological transition goes on through HTC. My first experiences of biblical studies and my introduction to biblical theology have been inspiring. It's strange to think that if we hadn't left Wales to come to Uist, I probably would not have found my way to HTC. In God's providence I've wound up exactly where I need to be. God is good.