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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.

Grove: Evangelical LeadershipTo learn more about my concerns for ministry, read my Grove booklet on Evangelical Leadership.


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Bust of a Roman woman circa 140 AD. Most statues, frescoes, mosaics, coins, etc, show
ancient Roman women with uncovered heads.

‘Head’ does not mean ‘leader’ in 1 Cor 11.3

The debate about the meaning of ‘head’ and ‘headship’ (even though the latter does not occur in the NT) continues to rumble on. The main reason for this for English speakers is that the term is deeply and widely connected with notions of authority, control and leadership—just think ‘headteacher’ or ‘headmaster’ and other compounds, and […]

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Did Paul have a pastoral strategy?

The apostle Paul is not generally viewed as a pastor. Teaching, fearless advocate for the faith, traveller, apologist, pioneering church planter, yes—but pastor? As we read Paul’s letters, in some part because of our cultural distance, it is easy not to sense that we are encountering Paul the pastor. But the latest Grove Biblical booklet contends that this is exactly what we find when we read what is perhaps Paul’s most important and best known letters after Romans—his first letter to the church in Corinth. Owned by God: Paul’s Pastoral Strategy in 1 Corinthians explores Paul’s pastoral strategy by offering a close reading of the opening verses of 1 Corinthians, and seeing how the terms and ideas here shape and inform Paul’s pastoral strategy throughout the letter in tackling the challenging issues he finds there. It is written by Mike Thompson, Assistant Principal at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, where he has taught New Testament for many years. (Prior to that, Mike was at St John’s, Nottingham, where with Stephen Travis he was my first New Testament teacher.)

Mike begins with an imaginative reflection on the challenges Paul faced in writing his letter:

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Is there hope for unbelieving Britain?

The article that caught my eye this week in the Church Times (which I read every week) was a fascinating reflection by Philip North, the bishop of Burnley, on his visits over the summer to three different Christian ‘festivals’. He visited: the Keswick Convention, a bastion of conservative evangelical devotion, shaped by free church evangelicals […]

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How can we use words well in worship?

 We live in a very wordy world. And Christian faith and worship can often be wordy too. But how can this ‘wordiness’ be used well? Mark Earey, who teaches at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham, explores this question in the latest Grove Worship booklet. We use words a lot in worship—sometimes too much, making worship […]

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How do we make sense of the Beatitudes?

The Beatitudes—the collection of sayings that introduce the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matt 5, with their parallel in Luke 6—are amongst some of the most memorable of the teachings of Jesus. They are often cited as favourite texts, and are referred to as a key element of Jesus’ (challenging and puzzling) radical social ethics. […]

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Evangelical responses to the ‘Nashville Statement’

The ‘Nashville Statement‘ is a ‘manifesto’ comment on the issues around same-sex relations, transgender and the debate on sexual identity issued by the so-called Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), which argues that God intends that men should have authority over women in all spheres of life. It provoked a wide range of reactions, some […]

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Should we read the Bible literally?

Last week it was reported that Dr Hugh Houghton of the University of Birmingham had translated a long-lost fourth-century Latin commentary on the gospels by African-born Italian bishop Fortunatianus of Aquileia, which Jerome had described as ‘a gem’, but which was thought to have been lost, either having perished or having been destroyed. But it turns […]

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Is Sunday a chance for rest?

Is Sunday a day of rest for you? If you are in church leadership, I suspect the answer will be a resounding ‘No’! Quite right too—most full-time church leaders will plan for another ‘Sabbath’ on a day other than Sunday. (If you don’t, you should). But is Sunday a day of rest for members of […]

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