Do we need to take Jesus to our urban areas?

Last week, Philip North, suffragan bishop of Burnley, made a typically challenging and provocative claim in an article in the Church Times: ‘We don’t need to bring Jesus to urban estates’. His central argument is that we have failed to engage with our urban areas because too often we have brought a packaged message from … Continue Reading

What is a biblical theology of sexuality? Part 1

Much of the current debate, both within the Church of England and in other denominations, when it does focus on the Bible, often gets lost in the minutiae of discussion about single verses or even individual terms, as if the debate could be settled in this atomistic way. The details are indeed important—but they also … Continue Reading

Did Jesus come to bring ‘good news’?

I am teaching at New Wine this week, offering sessions each afternoon (from 2.30 to 3.30) in the ‘teaching/theology’ stream on the question of why Jesus came. The subject emerged from an article I wrote in December last year reflecting on the difference between two statements made by Christian leaders commenting on ‘why Jesus came’. … Continue Reading

Why did Jesus come?

Thousands of sermons and talks up and down the land will have attempted to answer this question in the last week. Why did Jesus come, and what are we celebrating at Christmas? Justin Welby’s sermon in Canterbury on Christmas Day focussed on the theme of freedom or liberation: In the manger is something completely different … Continue Reading

What does Christmas mean?

Despite not preaching at Christmas services this year, for some reason I have found myself thinking about the meaning of Christmas more this year than most. To stimulate your thinking this Christmas Day, I simply offer two things—one ancient, the other modern, neither mine. The ancient focuses on the meaning of Christmas—or rather the incarnation—for … Continue Reading

Three Christmas Surprises

Christmas is a time for celebration, for feasting and for relationships. But it is also a time for a mild engagement in iconoclasm, as we peel back the layers of accreted tradition and recover the origins of the Christmas gospel. In that spirit (and Spirit) I offer three Christmas surprises for you to unwrap at … Continue Reading

God’s gifts to us at Christmas

It might seem like time to wish everyone ‘A Happy New Year’. But, contrary to our culture’s assumption that Christmas consists of the busyness of consumption and comes to both a climax and a full stop on Christmas Day, for Christians that is when Christmas starts, and we are still in the Christmas season—for another … Continue Reading