How I Left My Clown’s Nose Behind

I read an article this morning by Dr. Carl Trueman which stirred up a good many memories.   He wrote of the blessing that came to him as a young Christian through the writings of Packer and Lloyd-Jones.  I  too was converted as a young man from a completely pagan background.  God began to surround me with good, godly and stable older men.  Many of these men are still living and still a part of  my life.  Their stabilty and maturity challenged me and changed me.  Though I still enjoy a good laugh, I  have not made my Chrisitian life about ‘fun’ nor have I sought to shape my public ministry around my native personality.   If  I had been left to my devices and my own inclinations I would have preached often with a clown’s nose upon my face.  I would have gravitated toward the silly and the sensational.    I am thankful for the influence through the years of mentors who labored and preached in the full confidence and joy of  redemptive realities but also in the fear of God.  I am thankful for the stablity of a confessional heritage.  I am thankful to have  the Reformers and the Purtians and their true heirs under my feet as I strive to minister faithfully in my generation.

Trueman puts it this way in his article:

Looking back, I now realize how much of my thinking on everything was decisively and permanently shaped by these early influences.  There are things in one’s youth that one remembers and which later seem something like Houseman’s blue remembered hills: the happy highways where I went but cannot come again.  Not in this case: all the theology I have is basically an elaboration of what I learned from reading these two giants; my cares and concerns, my core understanding of the gospel, is what I received from them.  The authoritative revelation of God in the scriptures; the fall, the incarnation, above all the cross and resurrection and the hope of the life to come. These are still foundational to my understanding of the gospel and I hope they are still my priorities. 
Someone asked me recently why I seem so alienated from what appears to be the cutting edge in American conservative evangelicalism.Frankly, I have stopped regarding myself as an evangelical over here, in a way that I do back home.  Why?  Well, at a time when Christian leaders in the USA are apparently writing explicit sex books, when there are confused signals on the Trinity, when art and cultural transformation and social justice are increasingly the talking points and the kind of themes and priorities I learned from Drs. Packer and Lloyd-Jones are at best assumed, at worst eclipsed by such things – frankly, it is very hard not to feel alienated, and an alien, in such circumstances.


You can read the full article here:


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