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Does the NT contradict itself? Does it matter?

Last month, Mark Woods wrote an article in Christian Today exploring the apparent contradictions between the two accounts of Judas’ death, in Matt 27.3–8 and in Act 1.18. In the first, Judas hangs himself, the priests buy the field, and it is named ‘Field of Blood’ because of the betrayal by Judas. In the second, briefer account, Judas buys the field first, falls to his death there, and it is named ‘Field of Blood’ because of Judas’ death. These differing accounts have recently become a focus for attention on whether the NT is reliable, and no wonder. Biblical scholar Richard Longenecker believes that the difficulty of reconciling these two accounts is ‘often considered the most intractable contradiction in the NT’. Yet this is hardly a new problem; Augustine was aware of the issue, and it is not much different from reconciling other differences within Acts itself, such as the three accounts of Paul’s conversation in chapters 9, 22 and 26.

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What does it take to grow?

A few years ago I was in conversation with someone who had been in theological education, but was now returning to parochial ministry. ‘I am going to go and grow a church’ he quipped; ‘It’s not that hard.’ He was heading to an inner urban area, and whilst I admired his optimism, I winced at […]

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Transgender parenting

Question : When a human with XY chromosomes contributes sperm towards the conception of a child, are they are the father or mother of the consequential child? Answer : It’s a bit complicated… Peter Ould writes: The news this week that transgender model Fay Purdham is asking for donations to help her conceive a child with […]

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Mark 10 and the contradictions of grace

I am preaching tomorrow on the lectionary reading, Mark 10.2–16, as many of you will be—and I feel not a little intimidated by the challenge. It feels though there was a time when reading and preaching on this passage was a lot more straightforward than it feels now. (Life as generally a lot less complicated […]

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Can we undo the consumer frenzy of Christmas?

I am told that there are ‘only’ 83 days, 15 hours, 41 minutes and 46 seconds until Christmas. Although the autumn term has only just started, there is already a sense that Christmas, with its relentless build up to the frenetic worship at the altar of Mammon, is just around the corner. Christmas is the […]

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Labour’s crazy economics

Having commented from time to time on politics and the elections, I found it fascinating to see the rather muted response to John McDonnell’s speech at the Labour party conference. Reaction to the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has mostly focussed on things he said in the past and terrible things he would […]

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Do we need male leaders?

Following my discussion about Synod elections and gender (sex) representation, I came across an article in Harvard Business Review on why women find it hard to break into secular leadership. (A friend tagged me in a link to it on Facebook—but in fact I heard it mentioned on Radio 4 a few days previously.) Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic […]

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Gender, representation and Synod

There have been some interesting responses to my previous post on Synod, representation and gender—thanks to all who provided corrections to the data for individual diocese, and filled the gaps. Two kinds of responses predominated in the conversation on Facebook, which became quite lively. They are encapsulated by the response of my colleague Amanda Digman […]

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Synod, representation and gender

It is with some trepidation that I have offered myself as a candidate for General Synod for the next quinquennium (five-year term), having been a member for Salisbury Diocese in 2000–2005. During that time, we signed off the last stages of liturgical revision (remember that?!) including the ordinal and alternative collects, and received the excellent Some […]

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The Meaning of Death

It is remarkable to think that it is only 11 days since the vote on the Assisted Dying Bill—a week is a long time in social media ethics. As part of ongoing reflection on this issue, Matthew Kirkpatrick of Wycliffe Hall in Oxford offers this reflection on The Meaning of Death—A Response to Lord Carey […]

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A Bluffer’s Guide to the Anglican Communion

This is the full text of my article published on the Christianity magazine blog on Friday: What has happened? The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has made a significant announcement about the future of the Anglican Communion. He has issued an invitation to 37 Primates of the Anglican Communion (archbishops who lead the different provinces) […]

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