Showing posts from March, 2016

Article IV – Of the Resurrection of Christ

I wonder if you remember the Bishop of Durham in the mid-80s – David Jenkins.  Probably the thing he remains famous for is publicly expressing his doubt in the physical resurrection of Jesus.  He made a comment about “a conjuring trick with bones,” which is debated but seemed to be a way of expressing his doubt in the physical element of the resurrection.  He was consecrated in York Minster and shortly afterwards the Minster was struck by lightening and it was said to be God's judgement.

At the time he was thought to be an outlier someone who expressed the more extreme liberal views in the church and the academy, but interestingly (and sadly) a survey of clergy in 2002 revealed that a third disbelieve or doubt the physical resurrection. And it's not just the clergy.  A survey in 2011 of those who ticked the Christian box in census showed that only a third believed in the physical resurrection.

The picture that paints is of a fairly dismal level of belief in the physical resurr…

A Beginner's Guide to Church Revitalization - What Makes a Church Need Revitalizing (Part II)

As I mentioned in my last post in this series, I think it's worth thinking about some of the marks of a church that needs revitalizing. Those marks are often continuums, i.e. they can be present to a lesser or greater degree. It's also true that churches needing revitalizing may manifest any number of these marks and in varying degrees.


Last time, I talked about doctrinal failure. This time, I want to consider holiness. A church that has let standards slip with respect to holiness is on the verge of free-fall. That's why Paul deals so urgently with the Corinthians, why Jesus deals so firmly with the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira (Revelation 2:12-28) and why Paul so firmly emphasizes the need for holiness on Crete to Titus.

I think that holiness problems can strike in two areas, both of which are significant. First, there's the holiness of church leaders. We find a particular emphasis on the need for holiness in church leaders in the lists of qualifications …

Conservative Evangelicals and Homosexuality - The Authority of the Bible (Part 3)

When there are controversial theological or ethical questions, such as those related to same sex relationships, conservative evangelicals look to the Bible for our answers. Why? In short, we believe that the Bible is the word of God (what God says to us) and so if we want to know God's view on an issue, we look to the Bible's view. Put another way, God's authority is expressed through his word, the Bible.

So if the last post in this series was addressing a broad range of people to explain why Christians look to the Christian God as their authority, then this post is addressing a narrower audience of people - those who would define as Christians (or at least have some interest in doing so) - and explaining why I, as a conservative evangelical, look to the Bible as authoritative.

Now there are good books written on this subject, a few of which I'll mention below. A blog post can't possibly cover all the arguments. However, hopefully we can sketch some of the main poi…

Reading Challenge Book Reviews

I'm using Goodreads to do something of a reading challenge this year (I want to try and read 50 books but we'll see!). So from time to time I'll post some mini-reviews of what I've been reading. See if there's something for you.
1. Confident: Why We Can Trust the Bible by Dan Strange and Michael Ovey

This was my half-term read and it was great.

Dan and Mike were my lecturers and college and I think they've brought out a brilliantly helpful book to help Christians be confident in the Bible.

The first half has short, punchy chapters which addresses how Christians might discuss the Bible and it's authority with unbelievers - the main point here is an apologetic getting people to think about their ultimate authority and the plausibility of biblical authority. The second half has longer chapters addressing some of the questions about Scripture we might find bubbling around Christian circles (certainly useful in terms of Church of England circles) - the challenge …

The Great Easter Transfer

My March magazine article:


God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

If you follow football, then you'll know that twice a year (pre-season and mid-season) the sports news is full of the transfer market. Which players are going to which clubs? Has your club got the new striker, goalkeeper or defender that they so desperately need? Who has spent good money and who has wasted it? As a Manchester United fan it's been a disappointing few years in the transfer market!

Well the Easter season which we are approaching is also full of news about a transfer. It's not the news of a transfer of a footballer, but of the transfer of sin.

Sin is the rebellion against God of which every human being is guilty. We reject God's rule and his ways for our life and decide to run things on our own without him. It's a disastrous thing to do, because it destroys our relationship not only with the rule…