Blog Menu

Tag Archives | evangelism

sheep_goats

Who are the sheep and the goats in Matt 25?

Jesus’ ‘parable’ of the sheep and the goats in Matt 25.31–46 is very well known and widely misinterpreted. (It is not actually a parable, since it is not introduced with the typical ‘The kingdom is like…’ and it is not making use of a story from another context, such as farming and economics, to draw out a principle.) It forms one part of the extended teaching about ‘the end’ distinctive to Matthew (compared with Mark and Luke). It is most commonly interpreted as an injunction to help the poor; most Christians (in the West at least) read this more or less as the sheep being Christians, the goats being non-Christians, and ‘the least of these my brothers [and sisters] being the poor in general.

I thought this too, until I had to read this in the context of the all-age part of our main service about 20 years ago. It is quite a long reading, so I was worried that the children and young people would get bored. But then it occurred to me: in the gospels, no-one ever tells Jesus that he is getting a bit boring. (What is it we do to Bible reading which makes it boring?!)

So I decided on Saturday night to learn it and recite it by heart. (I can still recite it word for word many years later.) The effect was electric, and particularly memorable for those sitting on my left…and it made me change my mind about the meaning of the parable, which is a good argument for learning Scripture.

Continue Reading
God-is-love

Is it true that ‘God is love’?

It seems to be increasingly common in a range of ethical debates in the public sphere for one protagonist or other to reach for the formula ‘God is love’ as a quick resolution to disagreement. But this is usually done in a particular way, in the form of a progressive from God to us and […]

Continue Reading
BC8800-001

(How) should we proclaim bad news?

A little while ago, I preached on Isaiah chapter 1, and it challenged me to think through how we proclaim bad news in our preaching. I have generally observed a striking divide between theological traditions in relation to whether the gospel is in fact ‘good news’ (as the word ‘gospel’ tells us—a ‘good spell’ or word), […]

Continue Reading
hfgoodshepherd-copy-2

Are unbelievers ‘lost’?

Before you came to faith, were you ‘lost’? Many Christians, and particularly evangelicals, would answer ‘yes’ for a range of reasons. Most often this question is answered in relation to theological categories, and the ‘objective’ sense of the term: being ‘lost’ can mean that we are lost to God, or that (in Pauline terms) we […]

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
51AsFjyJ7CL

(What) do we think about Messy Church?

I am very excited to announce that the book on Messy Church which I have contributed to and edited is out this week. Being Messy, Being Church includes a wide range of reflections from some fascinating contributors (including three bishops and contributions from Switzerland, South Africa and Australia) and tackles key practical, pastoral and theological questions […]

Continue Reading
globe-arrows

What is mission all about?

The Grove Evangelism series is taking a slight change of direction by incorporating thinking about mission into its agenda of practical evangelism, working in partnership with CMS. As part of this, the latest title is an exploration of mission and evangelism from a theological perspective. It is written by Tim Naish, who teaches at Ripon […]

Continue Reading