David (almost 68), wife Lynda, Children - Gina, Irene,(both born in Philadelphia) Edessa, Elizabeth, Susan, Christine, John.
Where have you lived in your life?
I grew up just out of Ashburton on a farm, went to boarding school in Timaru, then back to the farm and then on to Lincoln College. Five years after returning to the family farm and having spent some time teaching Bible Class and lay preaching (and getting married to Lynda) we headed off to Philadelphia where I studied at Westminster Theological Seminary for 3 years to gain my M.Div. (Peter and Marg Reynolds were there at the same time).On our return, we spent a couple of years at Duntroon where I was Student Supply. Then I had a spell in Christchurch, Dunedin, Oamaru, and back to Christchurch with the Reformed Churches of New Zealand. After that, I studied for a Masters of Business Administration at Canterbury University and a did a stint as a self-employed business consultant., while counselling and doing occasional preaching and teaching. In 2001 we re-joined old friends in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (now Grace Presbyterian) as I began assisting in the work of establishing Grace Presbyterian Church of New Zealand which occurred in February 2003. After a time of preaching in Ashburton from Christchurch, I was called and installed there in 2006. And here I still am, back in Ashburton.
When did you become a Christian and what did God use to make you a Christian?
I grew up in a Christian family but without sound, Gospel preaching at our local church. During a time of farming experience during my Lincoln days, God convicted me of being a Pharisee who was unable to live up to the standard I had set for myself and caused me to look to Him for salvation. (Interestingly He used neither Church nor interactions with Christians nor Christian tracts – but Scriptures memorised as a child). My newfound joy and faith were subsequently nourished in the remainder of my time at Lincoln College in the context of the Christian Fellowship there and attending an evangelical church.
If you were trapped on a desert island which three books would you bring outside the Bible?
Boatbuilding for Beginners! Probably “A Permaculture Manual” by Bill Mollinson, to assist in meeting physical needs; something substantial by Sinclair Ferguson and Nick Needham’s “2000 years of Christ’s Power”.
How long have you been a Minister?
Nearly 35 years since ordination – but was fulltime as stated supply for 3 years before that, and had been a ruling elder for a decade.
What is your favourite passage in the Bible?
That is really too hard to choose! Ephesians 1 and Romans 8 would have to be up there in the top 10
What do you do to “wind down” on your day off?
I haven’t done so well at taking a day off in the past. These days I try to spend some time in the open-air – gardening, walking etc. Maybe one day I will get back to fishing, or indulging in hobbies that can be done away from the computer.
Three preachers that have impacted you and your development?
I read way faster than I listen/watch, so most of the impact that preachers have made on me have been through their writings, not their preaching. For example, in earlier years Martin Lloyd Jones (Preaching and Preachers), later still Haddon Robinson (Biblical Preaching), more recently Bryan Chappell (Christ-Centred Preaching). But it seems a shame not to have Ed Clowney in the list – among other things he was my lecturer in Ministry of the Word. It was reading their books on preaching and seeking to distil what I can most profitably use in preaching myself, which has had more impact than listening to them preach.
What is the ideal holiday for you?
A quiet spot in the High Country with a huge pile of books, where I can divide my time between enjoying the outdoors with Lynda and looong times of blobbing with the books (with a big mix of genres)
Three theologians, that have impacted you and your development?
Francis Schaeffer got me started on the road to apologetics and thinking of art and culture and philosophy and how the Christian faith speaks into everything. John Murray’s 4 volume work (Banner of Truth) got me thinking about how doctrines were based on careful exegesis and were also related to each other. These men influenced me significantly before going to Westminster to study. Once I got there I was exposed to a range of theologians that had an impact on me. I’ll choose Sinclair Ferguson out of that bunch – I really appreciate the way he can take complex subjects, express them in quite precise language and yet do so warmly and simply.
What is the most hilarious thing that has happened to you?
Coming back late one night to my room at Lincoln (3rd floor), only to find my neighbours doors wedged shut, light bulbs removed and a rustling sound from within plus a distinct animal smell.
It turned out to be a sheep – which, when I nervously entered the room (in the dark) leapt onto my bed, and disgraced itself!