I first met John Webster in 1996 when he began as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University of Oxford. He was, as a friend of mine and I observed at the time, ‘quite frankly the most impressive theological voice in Oxford today’. We went together to every one of his lectures that was advertised. His very first lecture series on Christology was full of insights that have served me well ever since. It was from John that I first heard the common sense observation ‘we can never talk about God behind his back: our thinking and speaking of God is always done in his presence’. Theology suddenly becomes an intensely serious matter when that simple truth is remembered. It must never be a guise for intellectual self-assertion or ecclesiastical control.