Later today we'll be off to to London to spend the night at Sarah's parents in Harrow so we can attend the LTS End of Year Service at 2.00pm on Saturday. The speaker will be Michael Haykin. I've really enjoyed some of his books, notably The God Who Draws Near, which is an excellent introduction to biblical spirituality. Michael also graced the "hot seat" for Blogging in the Name of the Lord: Series 2 (see here). So I'm looking forward to hearing him preach God's Word.
One of the highlights of the End of Year Service is listening to the testimonies of the leaving students. That part of the meeting will no doubt take me back to my end of year event in October 1990. Don Carson was the main preacher, speaking on John 1:1-18. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at LTS and found the course hugely profitable in many ways. But at the time, my future was a little uncertain. I was engaged to be married, yet I had no prospect of a call to a church. On top of that, my health was failing due to undiagnosed Addison's Disease. By the time the Doctors found out what was wrong with me later that summer, I was deteriorating rapidly and had to spend some weeks recovering in the Royal Free Hospital. But it wasn't all bad. The Banner of Truth had just published the second volume of Iain Murray's biography of D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Fight of Faith. I was able to read huge chunks of the mammoth 831 page book while languishing on the hospital ward. I may have been unwell, but I was not so poorly as to put me off reading Murray on the Doctor. I was sick, not dead.
We haven't attended the End of Year Service for some time. But we are making the effort this year because Philip Eveson will be retiring as Principal. A special Thanksgiving Service will be held to mark his retirement at 4.30pm. Geoff Thomas will be the speaker. I hope that a good number of LTS old boys will be in attendance. Mr. Eveson has worked at the Seminary since its inception in 1977. Originally he was Resident Tutor, which was the post he held in my day. He was appointed Principal after Hywel Jones left the college in the early 90's. Philip will act as Principal Emeritus for a further academic year, working alongside his successor Robert Strivens. Mr. Eveson was not only my lecturer but also my pastor, as when living in London I joined the membership of Kensit Evangelical Church. He has a rather mischievous sense of humour. He used to tease Sarah and I something rotten when we were courting. Philip preached at my first induction service in Stalbridge, Dorset. He married Sarah and I at Kensit in July 1991. In addition, he conducted the thanksgiving service for our son Jonathan. When I did a theology degree a few years back, he kindly acted as my tutor. Philip Eveson has the mind of a biblical scholar and the heart of Gospel preacher. Thanks, Philip for all your help and encouragement over the years and for being a model pastor-theologian. May the Lord bless you in the next phase of your Christian service.
I'll post a report of the End of Year Service sometime next week. Mr. Eveson has agreed to a blog interview, which I'm hoping to publish soon (well, when he gets round to responding anyway!).