Blog Menu

Welcome—thanks for visiting my blog!

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.


If you value this ministry and would like to support me, please visit my crowd-funding Patreon page. You can become a regular supporter from as little as £1.20 a month.


questions

Should faith be ‘certain’?

Dave Tomlinson is a well-known author who came to fame with his book The Post-Evangelical in 1995—reprinted in 2014 as an SPCK Classic! The book was launched at Greenbelt, and Tomlinson talks of himself as a ‘progressive orthodox’, language which might characterise the Greenbelt movement. His latest book is Black Sheep and Prodigals: an antidote to black and white religion, and my eye was caught by the strapline used to promote the book: ‘If you’re blessed with spiritual certainty, this book may not be good for you!’ You won’t dear reader, be surprised to know that I couldn’t resist making an observation in response, and the short dialogue that followed was enlightening:

IP: Did Jesus suffer from ‘spiritual certainty’?

DT: a) I’m not Jesus; b) but yes absolutely Jesus experienced doubt and uncertainty which can be seen in the temptations, Gethsemane and other places in the gospels. If he hadn’t lived with uncertainty the notion of incarnation would be a nonsense!

IP: a. I’m not Jesus either, but Jesus offers himself as a model for the new humanity.
b. he lived with uncertainty…but even a brief reading of the gospels seems to suggest that he had a spiritual certainty to go with that that you appear to have a problem with…?

Continue Reading
Door60

Tyndale NT Study Group July 2017

We have a fantastic line-up of papers for the NT Study Group this year—come and join us to engage in some world-class scholarship! The Tyndale New Testament Study Group is part of the Tyndale Fellowship for biblical and theological research, based at Tyndale House in Cambridge, and including evangelical scholars from all over the world. This year’s NT Study […]

Continue Reading
Champaigne

Have we got the schedule for Easter wrong?

Have you ever sat and read through the gospel accounts of Passion Week, and tried to work out chronologically what is happening? And have you done that with the four gospels? (It is easiest to do that latter using a synopsis, either in print or using this one online.) If you do, you might notice several […]

Continue Reading
JesusTomb-1200x760

What is the evidence for the resurrection?

When considering the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, we need to separate two issues. First, what are the historical facts that require an explanation? And, second, what is the best, most plausible, explanation for those facts? What are the facts to consider in relation to the resurrection? First, Jesus died on the cross, a victim of […]

Continue Reading
36771-1485CCC17F94CFD425F

Did Jesus die to ‘satisfy God’s wrath’?

Four years ago I commented on the well-known hymn (which you might have sung yesterday), ‘In Christ Alone’ by Stuart Townend. This had been prompted by the decision in the Presbyterian Church (USA) to drop the  hymn because the song’s authors refused to change a phrase about the wrath of God. The original lyrics say that “on […]

Continue Reading
Resurrection3-600x405

Do Christians really not believe in the Resurrection?

Peter Ould writes: The recent BBC commissioned poll on belief in the Resurrection of Jesus has attracted a lot of media attention. Gavin Ashenden, the former Queen’s Chaplain, pointed out in a letter to the Times (and subsequent news piece) that belief in the resurrection is a core Christian doctrine. If you don’t believe in the resurrection, […]

Continue Reading
feelings

Can feelings lead us to truth?

David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s, wrote a curious piece last week on the power of feelings. The piece begins with a straightforward observation about the power of feelings in the debates about Britain’s role in Europe. The Leave/Remain divide operates at different levels. During the campaign there were many arguments and claims made on both […]

Continue Reading
www-st-takla-org__jonah-and-the-whale-1

Can all-age worship be cringe-free?

Over Easter, there are likely to be several times in any church where the worship service will include all ages together. Some time ago, I helped to lead an all-age service at St Nic’s, where I am Associate Minister, looking at the story of Jonah. I had some interesting and encouraging feedback from the congregation; one person […]

Continue Reading
Palm-Sunday-2013

Palm Sunday according to Matthew

It is always a relief when we celebrate Palm Sunday from Matthew or Mark’s account. Luke 19.36 in his account talks only the garments, and does not mention palm branches, so in those years we have to call it Garment Sunday (which doesn’t have the same ring about it). In fact it is only John, […]

Continue Reading
1431771097370-easterfinal

Should we be bothered about losing ‘Easter’?

There has been a mighty ruckus about the National Trust and Cadbury’s decision to rename the traditional Easter Egg Hunt on National Trust properties the Cadbury Egg Hunt. Two things are quite striking about this story: first, that it concerns something pretty trivial; and second, that there has been widespread and strong reaction to it.

The National Trust was facing a membership boycott amid a growing backlash over the decision to drop “Easter” from the name of its annual Easter egg hunt. The charity and Cadbury’s faced criticism from all quarters including the Prime Minister, other faith leaders, and members of the Cadbury family over the “frankly ridiculous” decision to rename their annual event. Members said that they were reconsidering their payments to the National Trust as many took to social media to ask the charity how they could cancel their subscriptions.

Continue Reading