5 Questions on Christianity, Life and Books
The Latimer Trust interviews Peter Blair
How did you become a Christian?
In God’s kindness, I grew up in a Christian home, and attended a Bible believing church. Although I remember “asking Jesus into my heart” as young boy, it wasn’t until my late teens that I understood and believed that I was saved by grace alone - not by works (Eph 2:8–9).
Who is or has been an influential person in your Christian pilgrimage?
There have been a number of influential men who have taught me so much about what it means to follow Christ. The most prominent figure has been my rector, Trevor Johnston (All Saints’ Church, Belfast). I met Trevor when I was 18 years old; at that time he was the Ireland Team Leader of BCMS Crosslinks and I was an insufferable undergraduate theology student! Trevor instilled in me the central importance of the scriptures for the Christian life and Christian ministry, and introduced me to the world of reformational Anglicanism. He took me on as a ministry apprentice, and then sent me to Moore College in Sydney, Australia, to be trained and ordained. Whilst in Sydney, I had the privilege of working under Phillip Jensen of Two Ways Ministries, and serving under Simon Manchester in St. Thomas’, North Sydney. Both of these men invested deeply in me, for which I am deeply grateful.
What piece of advice would you give young ordinands going into ordained ministry today?
As an evangelical, I would point them to the Bible’s definition and expectation of ministry: “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” (2 Tim 4:1–5).
As a reformed Christian, I would remind them that though we plant and water, it is God who gives the growth (1 Cor 3:6–7).
As an Anglican, I would counsel them to read and reread the Ordinal, particularly the bishops words following the Gospel readings in The Form and Manner of the Ordering of Priests.
Which is the best book you have read in 2022?
I found both of Carl Trueman’s books, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self and Strange New World, immensely helpful in 2021 and 2022 respectively. They provide a thorough (Rise and Triumph) and accessible (Strange New World) analysis of how the West has arrived at its current fractious state.
What are your working on at the moment?
Ministry in Belfast keeps me very busy, with weekly preaching, and leading weekly classes for our Ministry Apprentices. I am also involved in leading our evangelistic LIFE Course. In my spare time, I am working (slowly) on a modernised version of James Ussher’s Body of Divinity.