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Author Archive | Ian Paul

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The shame of Britain’s prison system

Yesterday I went to London to a meeting of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) which was set up in the 1990s following a clash in Synod about how the Church Commissioners were making investments. It has done some really good work, not only in thinking carefully about complex issues of investment ethics, but also in lobbying industries on ethical practice, and pioneering ethical thinking about investment amongst other investors. 

But the most fascinating part of yesterday’s meeting came at lunch time. We were saying farewell to two long-standing members of the group, and to do so we had lunch at The Clink Restaurant in Brixton’s Category C prison. The project, which is a charity supported through donations, Government funding, and its own income, was set up to address the chronic issue of reoffending in the UK prison system. 

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Is it time to forget about hell?

From time to time, somewhere within the Good Old C of E, I come across a claim so baffling that it stays with me and I struggle to make sense of it. That last happened ten days ago, when I read the article by Dr Sam Wells in the Church Times, which called for a reformation so the Church ‘should rethink its purpose and change the way churches [ie church buildings] are used accordingly’. I was all the more baffled knowing that Wells, formerly Dean at Duke Divinity School in the US and married to Jo Bailey Wells, the Bishop of Dorking, has a reputation as an able theologian.

Wells begins by putting Jesus’ offer of abundant life at the centre of the Church’s mission:

Jesus is our model of abundant life; his life, death and resurrection chart the transformation from the scarcity of sin and death to the ab­un­dance of healing and resur­rection; he longs to bring all humankind into reconciled and flourishing relationship with God, one another, themselves, and all creation.

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Teaching the Whole Story of Scripture

Peter Thomas writes: All ministers want to encourage our congregations in the habits of daily devotional reading and personal Bible Study. To this end each week we publish the Bible passages for the following Sunday’s sermons. From time to time we let everybody choose from the wide variety of styles of Bible reading notes to try […]

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What on earth is God up to?

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by […]

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Sermon series: Signs of Life

Many churches take time out from the rhythm of the lectionary in order to focus on particular issues of faith and discipleship by having a sermon series on a specific theme. Quite a lot of work goes into planning and preparing these—so wouldn’t it be a good idea to share them?! The first of these […]

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What on earth is going on?

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a […]

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Who’s in charge around here?

John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,  and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him […]

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What’s going on with 1 Cor 14?

When an rather obscure argument about a finer point of textual criticism (the study of differences in early manuscripts of the NT) makes it into the mainstream media, then you might be forgiven for thinking that something odd or rather interesting is going on. That’s what happened last week; in Thought for the Day on […]

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