GD: Hello Gary Benfold and welcome to Exiled Preacher. Please tell us a little about yourself.
GB: A Yorkshireman by birth and conviction, I've pastored two churches. The first was in Aylesbury, 1981-97, and now here in Moordown, Bournemouth since 1997.
GD: Your blog is rather grandly called "The Preacher". Please explain why.
GD: After a little technical advice from yours truly, it looks as though you are now A Yorkshire Preacher in Exile, which is a bit less pretentious. The "Exile" bit sounds a bit familar, though. Now you'll probably get e-mails from concerned readers in the States asking why you've been banished to Bournemouth. What made you start blogging?
GB: Somebody's got to tell the truth...
GD: That's true. What are the strengths and weaknesses of blogging as a medium for theological reflection?
GB: The major weakness of course is that the ignorant can pretend to be knowledgeable and mislead others. A major strength though is that it can help those of us who want to learn, by encouraging interaction with people we may rarely, or never, see. Then, too, there are some very fine people blogging: I discovered Helm's Deep recently (through your blog, I think) and have discovered that Paul Helm ruminates there, on questions big and small, in most helpful ways.
GD: Who has had the most influence on your theological development?
GD: Who has taught you most of what it means to preach the Word of God?
GD: Describe your call to the pastoral/preaching ministry.
GD: Where did you train for the ministry and what did you find most helpful about your studies?
GD: They were still there when I studied at LTS from 1988-90. Their godliness, giftedness and passion for preaching in the power Spirit has had a deep and lasting impression on my life. What do you find most difficult and challenging about being a pastor?
GD: What do you find most thrilling and encouraging about being a pastor?
GD: If time travel were possible, which figure from post-biblical church history would you like to meet and what would you say to him/her, assuming they didn't run away?
GD: I can't think of anything better. Name your favourite contemporary theologian. Why so good?
GD: The Don is certainly one of the best. You are a member of the FIEC Council (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches). What is your vision of the role of the FIEC in the contemporary church scene?
GD: You've just come back from the Affinity Study Conference: The End of the Law. Did you find it helpful?
GD: Did you find out what happened to the Autumn 2008 edition of Foundations?
GD: Oh well. Maybe it'll turn up some time. Have you ever been mistaken for Gary Brady? If so did you feel flattered or depressed?
GD: Thinking about it, Gary Brady was the guinea pig for Blogging in the name of the Lord. He sat in the "hot seat" for the very first interview (here). The fact that you've both featured here will probably add to the confusion. Now, what do you make of the new Gospel Partnerships that are springing up around the UK, bringing Evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists together? Is separation from the mixed denominations now a non-issue?
GD: What features of the Reformed scene in the UK cause you concern and what fills you with hope?
GD: With 2009 being the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth, tell us three little known Calvin facts.
GD: What a vexing question. We'll have to ask Paul Helm. With his Calvin, A Guide for the Perplexed, he should know. What is the biggest problem facing Evangelicalism today and how should we respond?
GD: What is the most important theological book that you have read in the last twelve months? It is a must read because....
GD: I really must get around to reading that book, especially as its available online for free! Which blogs do you enjoy reading and why?
GD: Thanks for those kind words, although the choice of guests has been going down hill a bit recently. Well Gary Brady, er..... Benfold. Thanks for dropping by. Great talking to you!