He is arguably the leading historian in the evangelical world today. And he has been in Auckland for a few days. David Bebbington from the UK. Yeah - I know that sounds a bit like Daniel Bedingfield, but I assure you that this guy is very different.
Last night he spoke at the annual dinner of the Baptist Historical Society. Stick with me here... For almost 40 years Bebbington has been keeping meticulous details of every single church worship service he has attended. He has been filling notebooks with the information. Right down to the exact number of people - increasing each decade it must be said - that raised their hands at a specific Baptist church in the UK which he regularly frequented. He kept track of everything. I mean everything. It makes you wonder how he managed to worship God as well as writing all this stuff down!
His address was so absorbing as he reflected on the changes in public worship over these four decades. During the Q&A the predictable question emerged: 'what would be your biggest concern about where we are in worship now, compared with 40 years ago?'
Bebbington's response? It came very, very quickly... The lack of prayer for other people. The demise of intercession in public worship. We tend to pray just about the things that concern us.