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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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Why we need Silence

When I started my ordination training, like many others I had come from a busy and noisy culture (in my case, in business) and the idea of silence as a spiritual discipline was strange to me. Encouraged by the weekly quiet hour as part of the spirituality programme, for several years I adopted the habit […]

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Why are ‘progressives’ so anti-freedom?

Will Jones writes: It is increasingly clear with each passing year that public life has been colonised by the zealots of a progressive creed of equality and diversity. It is a continuously evolving creed and you have to keep up. Fifteen years ago it was racist (or even fascist) to bring up the topic of immigration, […]

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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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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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Why read the Book of Revelation?

The Book of Revelation is the most remarkable text you will ever read. Setting aside any claims that we might want to make about it as a result of its being part of the canonical Scriptures of the Christian faith, it is the most extraordinary piece of literature ever written by a human being, and […]

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Is Synod competent?

The General Synod of the Church of England (of which I am a member) met last week in York, and there were many good things about it. We spend most of Saturday afternoon exploring some exciting developments from the ‘centre’ offering resources to dioceses and churches in the task of evangelism and the making of disciples. […]

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