A New Name
Two weeks ago, I was at a conference that drew speakers from a very different corner of Christendom from the circles that I normally move in. That in itself was refreshing and I particularly enjoyed meeting, hosting and listening to Hugh Palmer (All Souls, Langham Place). Hugh is a superb Bible teacher and an outstanding leader and ambassador in the conservative evangelical world. For me the highlight of the conference, however, was an opportunity to meet Emma Scrivener. I have known Emma’s husband Glen for a number of years. He is a gifted young evangelist but I had never met Emma up until this point. We were introduced; I bought her book, A New Name, which is an autobiography, intending to give it to my wife. Earlier in the week, however, I read it and was blown away by the power of her testimony.
You might be reading this and thinking that this is a bit of a lightweight blog for this website – “I thought this site was meant to be about serious, theological and weighty matters” type attitude. Of course you are right and that is exactly the point I am trying to make. You see Emma was anorexic and nearly died as a result of this horrible illness. Even as a Christian, as someone who had gone to Church for years and was married to a gifted and godly Christian leader, she found her life was slowly ebbing away. What changed for Emma was a radical encounter with Jesus in the book of Revelation. As I read Emma’s story, I found myself moved to tears (something that doesn’t happen to me very often) at the transforming power of the word of God. As she saw Jesus, the all-conquering lion and the gentle lamb, her life was changed. Jesus was revealed to her in His Word and one of blazing power and intensity, but also one who was broken and weak. The kindness of God in His Son overwhelmed her.
This is a raw hard-hitting book which is by no means full of glib answers to life’s difficult questions and issues. It is beautifully and quirkily written (as an Oxford English Literature graduate, Emma is no fool). Most of all, it helped me understand afresh why I do what I do. As I preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8) lives are rescued, restored and transformed by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Theology changes lives!
Please watch Emma’s testimony: