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I hope you find material here to enrich, resource and inspire you as you learn and grow in your own discipleship and ministry.

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Can we use social media for evangelism?

What is the new environment of the world of social media like, and how can we fruitfully share faith in it? In some ways, there is no bigger question facing the church in the West, and it is key in our engagement with the under 40s, Generations Y and Z. And it is the subject of the latest Grove Evangelism booklet by Bryony Taylor, based in part on original research that she has undertaken:

The church is struggling to adjust to its new environment in the technological advances of the twenty-first century—we are no longer even in a postmodern age but something indescribably beyond even that. Most consider us to be living, in the West, in post-Christendom. This does not mean we are secular in the UK necessarily; we are simply ‘haunted,’ as Rowan Williams memorably put it, by the memory of Christianity. Along with all other large institutions the church seems to be losing its hold and authority. Into this we can insert the charge to all Christians, and particularly to the ordained in the Church of England, to ‘proclaim the gospel afresh in each generation.’

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Searching for Super(wo)man…?

Three years ago, Trinity College Bristol were looking for a new Principal, and for some reason several people drew this to my attention. So I looked at the ad, and this is what I found they were looking for: a person of integrity, humility and wisdom; a leader of leaders, who thrives on the sharing and multiplying of leadership; […]

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Did John ‘see’ Jesus?

Revelation has been hugely influential on the history of Christian art. If you are in the habit of visiting church buildings that have stained glass, you won’t have to travel far to find images drawn from the book. But what is striking in the images of Jesus, based on Revelation 1, is that Jesus is […]

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Letter to the College of Bishops

I am publishing here, with permission, a letter that has been sent to all members of the College of Bishops prior to their next meeting to decide what proposals to bring to General Synod in February. I am not offering here a full exposition of the text, but there are a few things worth noting […]

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How do we reach the under 40s?

Here in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, we are just completing our diocesan conference at Swanwick, and it has been focussed on issues around our aspirations for growth under the heading ‘wider, younger, deeper.’ This includes seeing, by 2023: 7,000 new disciples in the Church of England in this diocese; 1,000 new young leaders; a […]

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Is Pastoral Accommodation the way forward?

Andrew Goddard writes: As we move from shared conversation to shared deliberation, initially among the bishops, there are a number of important elements which must be at the heart of the discussion. We do not start from a blank sheet. The Church of England has set out its official teaching and discipline in relation to sexuality […]

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What should ecumenical unity look like?

Last the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, meets Pope Francis in Rome, their third meeting since taking office. There was a time when such meeting at all, let alone with this frequency, would have been considered unthinkable, and this meeting will celebrate the first meeting of an Archbishop of Canterbury with the Pope since the Reformation—that […]

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Resolving tensions in our reading of Scripture

Following my previous observations about Tony Campolo no longer calling himself evangelical, Tony himself responded on Christian Today. Every once in awhile unfair judgments are made. That was the case when Christian Today contributor Ian Paul wrote that I, along with other Red Letter Christians, emphasised the red letters in the New Testament, which in many Bibles highlight […]

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Is ‘mindfulness’ Christian?

Mindfulness is the topic of the moment. The father of one of our daughter’s friends was seriously injured in Iraq, and he has only been able to recover a sense of stability in life by means of mindfulness. (He was part of Gareth Malone’s Invictus choir at the Rio Paralympics.) Mindfulness is increasingly being seen […]

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Five essentials of Biblical Interpretation 2: context

I am here continuing the repost and revision of my series from three years ago on the essentials of interpretation. Having established that we cannot avoid the task of interpretation, my first ‘essential’ set out the reasons why we need to read any particular text in the Bible in the light of the whole—to read in the light […]

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When is God ‘coming on the clouds’?

Quite early on in Revelation (1.7) we find the phrase ‘I am coming with the clouds’, and it is striking that the near universal view of commentators on this verse is that it is a reference to the return of Jesus to earth, as promised in Acts 1 and elsewhere. (Note that the New Testament never uses the now-popular phrase ‘second coming’ of Jesus, since this pairs the future with his ‘first coming’ in the incarnation, whereas the NT always pairs his return with his departure, as in ‘he will return in the same way you have seen him go’ in Acts 1.11).

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