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Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?

The short answer is: no. The slightly longer answer is: there is absolutely no reliable evidence that this was the case, and if Jesus was married, then we would see at least some indication of that in the New Testament documents—just as we know that Paul was not married, and Peter was, from a throw-away comment about the rights of an apostle (1 Cor 9.5). More to the point, there is some awkwardness in Jesus not being married. It was not unknown, but normally taking a wife and having children would be expected of a rabbi, and Jesus was at least unusual in not being married. It is one of several awkward things that, had the early ‘church’ (i.e. the Jesus movement) been making up stories about Jesus, they would have ironed this out, along with other embarrassing awkwardnesses:

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Should Christians be pro-Israel?

Margaret Thatcher managed to achieve so much in transforming the face of modern Britain because she was specially blessed by God. And she was specially blessed by God because, on becoming Prime Minister, one of the first things she did was to meet with the Israeli ambassador and state that she would actively support the […]

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Do we gather to worship or to learn?

One of the slightly odd things about the Christian church is that there is no agreed pattern to what we should do when we meet together. In the Western (and probably the global) church, there seem to me to be three different strands of emphasis: We meet to experience an affective encounter with God (charismatic/Pentecostal) […]

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‘Judge not’…or ‘Judge for yourselves’?

I have a guilty secret. Every Saturday morning, whenever I am at home, I have a lie-in—not just any old lie-in—it follows a particular routine. I get up, go downstairs, and take our dog for a walk. Then I prepare breakfast and take it upstairs again, and my wife and I have breakfast in bed. […]

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The Extinction of the C of E: Two Issues

There has been some very interesting discussion on Facebook and the blog following my previous post ‘When will the C of E be extinct?’. Out of this, two issues stay with me. The first comes from John Hayward’s comment in his original article on reasons for decline that the three episcopal churches he compares with the […]

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When will the C of E be extinct?

This month’s news from British Religion in Numbers carries a link to an interesting mathematical study on church attendance and membership. John Hayward is a mathematician who applies statistical methods to analysing issues of church growth. As we shall see, he is well aware of the limitations of such methods, but is also convinced that they can […]

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Introduction to the Study of Paul

Review of David G. Horrell, An Introduction to the Study of Paul, 3rd edn (T & T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies; London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2015), ISBN 978-0-567-65625-4, p/b, 230 pp. The third edition of David Horrell’s introduction to the study of Paul has the great strengths of its predecessors – above […]

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Should Christians care for the poor?

With Jeremy Corbyn likely to be elected as the next Labour leader, there is a good chance that we will all be faced with a much clearer choice at the next election. For Christians, this will raise more acutely the question of how important care for the poor is in their voting decisions. (Whatever else […]

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Services of Remembrance

Which form of service is growing fastest in the Church of England? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is services of remembrance for the bereaved. Despite the fact that there are now many other options than the Church for the taking of funerals, the reality is that no-one does follow-up and continued pastoral care like the Church—and […]

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Why I love New Wine

I have just returned from our 19th visit to New Wine in Shepton Mallet—though a good number of our visits have been to New Wine [Gateway to the] North in Newark. We first attended when our eldest was 1, and continued attending each year, even when number 2 was one month old and number 3 was two […]

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We worship a baffling God

There are two twin themes that wind around one another all through the Scriptures. The first is that God communicates—he speaks to us, reveals who he is, and makes himself comprehensible. The other is that he hides himself, keeps himself at a distance, and remains incomprehensible. These two ideas depend on each other, a bit […]

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