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Is openness the highest virtue?

I have just read a really interesting reflection on the larger context of the ‘gay debate’ by Anna Norman Walker, whom I knew in passing from theological college, and who is now Diocesan Missioner in Exeter Diocese. In it, she puts her finger on a number of issues which are particularly pertinent for those from evangelical backgrounds who have changed their minds on this subject.

She talks of her conversion from ‘middle of the road Anglican’ to enthusiastic evangelical:

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Same-sex marriage and moral debate

In the C of E, and more widely in the UK, the church discussion about the moral status of same-sex unions tends to take place in isolation from other moral issues. (Perhaps the one exception to that is the recent debate about women in leadership—but I argue here that these two questions are quite distinct.) […]

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Does ‘Israel’ have a divine right to the land? part 2

In my previous post, looking at the function of the land in the OT, I concluded that the land is the arena in which the people of God both receive God’s blessings, and take on the responsibility of obedience to God’s commands. How is this idea developed and adapted in the New Testament? There are […]

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Does ‘Israel’ have a divine right to the land? part 1

Martin Saunders (of Youthscape) wrote an excellent article highlighting four issues which often prevent evangelicals from understanding what has been happening in the Israel/Gaza conflict. First, he comments ‘It’s not as simple as good guys vs bad guys’, something which I have also been trying to point out, though social media is not helping with […]

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Preaching the wisdom of James

Preaching on wisdom literature is always a challenge, since it is the text most likely to lead us into moralism or simplistic reading. The letter of James is perhaps the closest we have to wisdom literature in the NT, and it shares these challenges. This is the script of a sermon I preached a few […]

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When does help harm?

This guest post is a book review by Peter Bates, a friend and member of St Nic’s Church who works in community development. Robert Lupton’s book Toxic Charity (Harper Collins, 2012) is essential reading for anyone who gives time or money to assist the less well off. It’s a remarkably easy read that requires no background […]

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The meaning of the Millennium

It is curious that we get more excited about the supposed events leading up to Jesus’ second coming than we do about what that coming itself will bring. It is a bit like being more excited about the fixtures and fittings on a train than where the train is actually going to take you. My […]

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Making sense of the Second Coming

I’ve come to realise that there is one verse in the gospels which can unlock our whole understanding of what to expect in looking for Jesus’ return, the ‘second coming.’ The verse is Matt 24.34: ‘Amen I tell you, there is NO WAY this generation will pass away until all these things have come to […]

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What is prayer?

I recently preached at another local church, and a member of the congregation there is running a project to encourage prayer. He has recorded a range of leaders talking about prayer, and incorporated this into a website which includes a course on prayer making use of Richard Foster’s book Prayer: finding the heart’s true home. Find […]

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Israel v Gaza: taking sides

It is astonishing to find that the level of violent conflict in the world at present has pushed stories about ISIS rape and murder of Christians in Mosul down to third place in the news. Western military intervention in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan was in large part based on a narrative that as countries become […]

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What are (women) bishops for?

I am heading back (on Sunday) from what I can only describe as an inspirational service at Canterbury Cathedral where my friend Rob Innes was ordained as the new Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe. (Yes, formal Anglican services can be inspirational!). The recent debate about women bishops (which might continue, for reasons below) raises the […]

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