Showing posts from July, 2015

Review: God with Us - Themes from Matthew

This is an excellent short commentary for congregation members and Bible study leaders by a reliable scholar-pastor.

Each chapter covers 2 or 3 chapters of Matthew in about 15 pages. The focus is on bringing out the main points and themes of each section. At the end of each chapter there are questions to encourage further reflection. 

Carson has produced both a detailed commentary on Matthew and a number of popular level expositions, showing his ability as both a scholar and a pastor. This book combines the scholar (he is a reliable guide to the main points) and the pastor (he applies those points).

It is clearly not enough for the pastor preparing his sermon (although it may help him get an overview), but it is good devotional material, good for helping Bible study leaders to get the main points in Matthew and perhaps good for enthusiastic congregation members to be reading alongside a series on Matthew.

I picked it up second hand, which you still can from Amazon although it's shippe…

Disicpleship 101

I'm starting a new series on discipleship basics in our church magazine.


In the last mini-series in Ministry Matters I looked at the foundation of the Christian faith by asking the question: What is the Gospel? The next question I want to consider is: What is a Disciple? In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says to his disciples:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)
In other words, the focus of the church is to be a group of disciples who go and make more disciples. The first step in this process is for someone to trust the gospel, which is why I started there in the previous series. A natural next step is for them to be baptised (we will at some point consider questions about baptism and communion as well!). After that, what does it mean to be a discip…

New Ministry Trainee Advert

Ministry Trainees St Luke's, Deeplish St Peter's, Newbold
We are offering an exciting opportunity to experience ministry in two churches in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. The aim is to provide a one (possibly extendable to two) year ministry training experience for those who are considering full-time Christian ministry in the context of service in local churches.
The roles consist of three parts:
Bible teaching training on the North West Partnership training course Bible teaching and ministry experience in the local church context Practical service within the churches
Deeplish and Newbold are in the 10% most deprived areas nationally, according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation. Both parishes have a large and increasing Muslim population (Deeplish ~75% and Newbold ~45%). St Peter's and St Luke's are small Anglican Evangelical churches with rich opportunities for gospel ministry in a challenging context.
We would be interested in applications from committed evangelical …

Future Church of England: Thinking About the Thirty Nine - Part 2

A while ago I wrote some reflections on the place of the 39 Articles in the present day Church of England. In this blog I want to reflect on how the Articles might take a place in a reformed or reforming Church of England. In other words, suppose for a moment that something like the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans were to set a confessional statement for a reformed Church of England (I know about the Jerusalem Declaration, but run with me for a minute), what place would or could the 39 Articles have? Could we adopt them as our confession of faith?

I want to say up front, that if all churches and clergy in the Church of England subscribed to (as in believed!) the 39 Articles with their intended meaning, we would be in a significantly better situation than we are now. However, I want to suggest two problems/issues that I think we would need to resolve.

There is the uncomfortable issue that the articles would probably split those that we might like to think of as orthodox within the C…

The end of reason?

Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 ESV)

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2 ESV)

For the Christian, using our mind for the Lord and reasoning both in understanding and explaining our faith are important. The problem is that we live in a society, in the UK at least, that is averse to reason.

It's a media problem. How often have you watched a media report or read a newspaper article and thought: "that's not what he or she said?" The recent case with Melvin Tinker would seem to be a case in point. But we also see it in the way the media manipulate storylines and catchphrases to push an ideology without providing any reasonable foundation.

It's a social media problem. Sometimes it's almost comic. Someone pointed out a comment on th…