Showing posts from October, 2013

Humble Servants: November's Magazine Article

This coming month's article for the church magazine.
“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” Mark 9:35 (NIV)
Humility is not a common characteristic of people in our media and in our culture.  We live in a culture obsessed with the importance of self, whether it's self-confidence, self-help, or self-esteem.  For the Christian, Jesus turns this attitude on it's head.  If you want to be great in his eyes then you need to be a servant of all.
In the past I've done school assemblies focussing on Jesus' attitude to children in Mark.  I wanted to show the children how much Jesus cared for them, but I was struck by the challenges for adults.  In this passage in Mark 9, where Jesus is teaching his disciples the principle of humble service, he brings a child in front of them as a kind of visual aid.  To be a servant of all, you need to be willing to serve even this child.  Perhaps that is not as radical today as it was then.  We …

Review: The Faith We Confess

What does the Church of England believe?  The frustrating lack of an answer to that question was one part of an earlier post.  However, despite the practical evidence on the ground, the Church of England is a confessional church and its position is found in the historic formularies, i.e. the 39 Articles, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.

In recent times, less and less attention has been paid to these formularies, which is sad, particularly for those in the Church of England who identify with the Reformed faith which they represent.

In The Faith We Confess, Gerald Bray has provided an excellent introduction to the 39 Articles, which in particular focus on the doctrine to be believed in the church.  Anyone who reads the Articles will see how incongruous much Church of England belief and practice is with them.  Bray skillfully and engagingly takes us through the Articles reflecting on history, theology and the contemporary situation.

The main substance of the book is 39 chapter…

A Future Church of England: Doctrine

I heard a story recently of a family who came to a Church of England church children's holiday club.  One of the ministers was talking to them afterwards and they were shocked to find out it was actually a C of E church.  Why?  Because they thought the Church of England was for people who didn't believe anything!  Clearly there had been some content in the holiday club.

But I think that is a common perception of the C of E.  It seems that pretty much any view within the C of E is tolerated.  Although the irony is that traditional views are perhaps the least tolerated!  You may have seen the reports in 2002 about the belief of ministers in the C of E, which disclosed that around a third of ministers doubted the physical resurrection of Jesus, around half doubted the virgin birth and half don't believe Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Certainly, anyone who's been on the inside of the C of E for any time knows that the sheer variety of what people (perhaps especially …