Special Announcement – The John Peck Website

John Peck holding a tiny BibleI am very pleased to announce that a website has been launched to carry the sermons and other talks of late Revd John Peck, British theologian, philosopher, and so much more. Revd Peck was an extraordinary person, family man, preacher, teacher, and mentor to many. To see why people say this, check out this memorial to him.

John and I were close for 30 years. He was my mentor for many of those years, and we collaborated on a number of projects, including co-authoring a book. His sermons and other talks are real gems. You won’t get a rehash of what you already know. So I highly recommend this new site. Have a look-see for yourself, and a listen. I would love to hear your impression of it, and of John.

If you have never heard of Revd Peck, you can get a quick taste by reading his compelling his vision for a vibrant church. Or a bigger drink from this exclusive interview from 1998.

To visit the new site for his sermons and talks.

Thank you.

Photo of John holding a tiny Bible courtesy of Peck estate.

A note from Charles: If you want more of the perspectives that Waging Wisdom seeks to present, I want to invite you to follow this blog. Just click here and find the “Follow” button in the right margin, enter your email address, and then click “Follow.” You will then receive a very short email notice when I publish a new post. Thank you.

©2016 by Charles Strohmer

The Revd John Peck (1924-2016)

John Peck smilingThis is just a short personal note from me to readers of this blog to express my appreciation for everyone’s notes, good wishes, and prayers after hearing news of the death of John Peck, a dear friend and mentor. On July 5, in memory of John, I posted his “I Have a Vision” statement for the church, written nearly 40 years ago, but timeless in essence. We have been astounded at the large number who have read it, liked it, and shared it. Just today, when I thought the sharing had ended, I saw another blogger who had picked it up. Cool.

For those who would like a glimpse behind the scenes at what made John Peck a remarkably admired and sought-after Christian leader and thinker in the UK, and in parts of the US and Europe, the official obituary has captured that. If you would like a taste of his wisdom on a wide range of issues, within and outside church walls, check out this interview with John.

I am also very glad to be able to say that the project to put John’s sermons and other talks on the Web for a new generation should soon be completed. Stay tuned.

That website is now up and running. Here it is.

“If you belong to Christ, then his history has changed what you are.” John Peck, British theologian

©2016 by Charles Strohmer

Photo courtesy of Ann Horn (check out her photographs).

A note from Charles: If you want more of the perspectives that Waging Wisdom seeks to present, I want to invite you to follow this blog. Just click here and find the “Follow” button in the right margin, enter your email address, and then click “Follow.” You will then receive a very short email notice when I publish a new post. Thank you.

“I Have a Vision,” John Peck

John Peck at his deskSomeone has said that a sunset on earth is a sunrise in heaven. Last week the Rev. John Peck passed away peacefully in his sleep, three days into his 93rd year. A godly, noble man who overflowed with wisdom. A true mensch. A dear friend. I knew John closely for thirty-three years and we collaborated on a number of projects. Since receiving news of his death I have been thinking: how strange it will be not to have this unique outlier in the world with us.

John, who has been called “The Least Known Best Theologian in the World,”* had an exceptional passion for the church. It would be hard to top his lovely and concise picture of a healthy church. It has been printed and framed and hangs on the wall of pastors’ offices. Part of John’s enduring legacy is being experienced today in churches who have taken his vision to heart and found ways to live it. Here is it is in his own words.

I Have a Vision

Of a church whose worship seeks out all the resources of its members and utilizes all their skills.

Where the hymns are sung with zest, perception, and expression, and accompanied by every instrument anyone can play, including hands, and feet, and smiles. And where the unfamiliar music of another generation is learned until it is loved.

A church with liturgies that are never mechanical, and spontaneity that is never trivial.

Where the least of its meetings are conducted like royal appointments, and its greatest days are marked with solemn hilarity.

Where organisational efficiency is always at the service of caring love.

Where even poor efforts are done with painstaking diligence, and commended with tolerant hope.

Where brilliance of mind or skill only serves to light up Jesus Christ and His Gospel; where no one can hog the limelight, no one gets too much attention, and no one gets left out.

Of a church were outsiders get as much welcome as old friends; were no one stands alone unless they need to; where the awkward ones are accepted, and the pleasant ones are disturbed by hard realities.

Where the first to hear a complaint is the offender, and the last to air it is the sufferer.

Where people’s interests are worldwide, without being worldly, and personal without being petty.

I have a vision of a church which shares an invincible passion for learning and giving, whose life is energised by a glad acceptance of the Cross as a way of life.

Whose self-critical humor puts people at ease, and whose self-denials disturb and brace them.

Whose sympathy is so warm and imaginative that no one has the nerve to indulge in self-pity; and whose ideals are so high that slightly soiled notions are shamed into silence.

Whose convictions are firm without being rigid; whose tolerance extends even to the intolerant; whose life is an admonition, whose love learns even from its opponents, and whose faith is infectious.

I have a vision of a church that is like that because from time to time it hears its Redeemer’s voice speak with such authority that nothing will do but obedience, nothing matters but God’s love, and others coming in can only wonder, and wish, and ask. . .

John R. Peck, B.S., A.L.B.C.
March, 1979
Earl Soham, Suffolk, England

*The art historian Karen L. Mulder’s apt description of John Peck.

Image of John Peck laughing courtesy of Karen L. Mulder.

A website has been created to continue the legacy of John Peck’s exceptional teaching ministry to a new generation. Here’s that site.

For more about John Peck, see:

A major interview with John in 1998

Martin Wroe’s tribute

Baptist Times (UK) tribute

The extensive obituary.

©2016 by Charles Strohmer

A note from Charles: If you want more of the perspectives that Waging Wisdom seeks to present, I want to invite you to follow this blog. Just click here and find the “Follow” button in the right margin, enter your email address, and then click “Follow.” You will then receive a very short email notice when I publish a new post. Thank you.