Why do Matthew and Luke offer different birth narratives?

James Bejon writes: As Christians, most of us are familiar with harmonised versions of the NT’s birth narratives. We see them acted out each year in Nativity plays (if we subject ourselves to such things). Considered in isolation, however, the birth narratives are less familiar, and even slightly awkward. They gloss over major events. Or, … Continue Reading

Who Are the Seven Spirits in Revelation?

Brandon Smith writes: Who are the seven spirits in Revelation? This question arises in the opening lines of John’s vision in which he refers to “the seven spirits who are before [God’s] throne” (Rev. 1:4). The seven spirits are named again in Jesus’s message to Sardis (Rev. 3:1), as well as twice in the throne-room scenes … Continue Reading

What is distinctive about Luke’s gospel?

Richard Bauckham writes: This is the text of a sermon I preached originally in Christ Church, Chelsea, in order to introduce the congregation to the Gospel of Luke near the beginning of a year C in the Lectionary (year of Luke). There is one difference between the Gospels that anyone can see quite easily without even reading … Continue Reading

Are there Two Types of Men in Leviticus 20:13?

Michael Messenger writes: Some months ago, I was alerted to an article in which David Instone-Brewer suggests that the prohibition of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 might apply only to activity between “heteroerotic males” (“Are there two types of men in Leviticus 20:13?”). While admitting that the evidence is “not enough to be certain” and “we … Continue Reading

Who needs a Trade Union for Faith?

Pete Hobson writes: Who needs a Trade Union for faith? When I started out in ordained ministry in the Church of England in 1977 I would have barely understood the question – and having grasped it would have quickly concluded it was not relevant to me. Over 40 years later I find myself chair of CECA … Continue Reading

Where is good and evil in Afghanistan?

Tom Bowring writes: I fall into writing this piece from a place of unwilling necessity following a period of reflective silence. If you were to ask my wife, she’d tell you I never talk about Afghanistan and, as psychologists do, go on to suggest this is as much about personal growth and transition as it … Continue Reading

Do we need to ‘Save the Parish’?

Frog Orr-Ewing writes: On Tuesday 3rd August, a gathering was hosted by Marcus Walker in St Bartholomew the Great, London’s oldest parish church, to launch a campaign to “Save the Parish”. This small conference was intended to begin a campaign for General Synod, expressly to stop resources being siphoned away from parishes, and to ‘resist any … Continue Reading