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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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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 […]

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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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Evangelical responses to the ‘Nashville Statement’

The ‘Nashville Statement‘ is a ‘manifesto’ comment on the issues around same-sex relations, transgender and the debate on sexual identity issued by the so-called Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), which argues that God intends that men should have authority over women in all spheres of life. It provoked a wide range of reactions, some […]

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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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A Cardinal adjusts his mitria cap as he attendsthe celebration of the Easter Vigil service presided [by German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger] in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 26, 2005. [For the first time in his pontificate, now in its 27th year, the Pope has been forced to delegate senior cardinals to represent him at all Holy Week leading up to Easter on Sunday.] - RTXNCSN

Why bishops should throw away their mitres

Why do Church of England bishops wear mitres? In our age of visual media, there is a tendency to reach for visual symbolism; it seems sometimes that those on television they don’t think they are actually talking to a bishop unless the person is wearing a purple cassock. But there are many reasons for saying […]

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(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), […]

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