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What is the pastoral impact of eschatology?

In my new Grove booklet on eschatology, after outlining eschatological expectation in Old and New Testaments, I end my reflecting on the pastoral implications of what we have found.There are many aspects of Christian living which are affected by our understanding of eschatology, and where misunderstanding creates serious obstacles both within the church and at […]

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Why don’t we talk about the end of the world more?

My latest Grove Booklet is now available and it offers an overview of eschatology—beliefs about the end things—starting with background ideas in the Old Testament and looking at the key issues in the Gospels, Paul and Revelation. My introduction explains why this is such an important issue. Eschatology, meaning ‘understanding of last things,’ is of […]

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What does ‘abundant life’ look like?

I’ve recently noticed how often people quote John 10.10 ‘I have come that they might have life, and life in abundance’, often in the context of ethical debate. (I am not sure whether it is happening more, or just whether I am more alert to it.) When one person is arguing for a more restrictive ethical […]

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Did John ‘see’ Jesus?

Revelation has been hugely influential on the history of Christian art. If you are in the habit of visiting church buildings that have stained glass, you won’t have to travel far to find images drawn from the book. But what is striking in the images of Jesus, based on Revelation 1, is that Jesus is […]

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When is God ‘coming on the clouds’?

Quite early on in Revelation (1.7) we find the phrase ‘I am coming with the clouds’, and it is striking that the near universal view of commentators on this verse is that it is a reference to the return of Jesus to earth, as promised in Acts 1 and elsewhere. (Note that the New Testament never uses the now-popular phrase ‘second coming’ of Jesus, since this pairs the future with his ‘first coming’ in the incarnation, whereas the NT always pairs his return with his departure, as in ‘he will return in the same way you have seen him go’ in Acts 1.11).

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How soon will God act?

Unless you are a deist (even perhaps a moral therapeutic deist) then belief in the orthodox understanding of the Trinity implies an expectation that God, by his Spirit, is at work in the world and in the life of the believer. In 1 Corinthians, Paul describes the active work of the Spirit in the congregation […]

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The meaning of martyrdom

Whenever I travel on the train, I have to think carefully about whether I wear my clerical collar, or whether I travel in ‘mufti’. It partly depends on what kind of meeting or event I am travelling to, but it also depends on whether I want to work quietly on the train, or am happy […]

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Should we aim for a pure church?

I have just been doing some writing on the anthropology of the Book of Revelation, and it is quite a challenging topic. In exploring how a book depicts human existence, you might (for example, in Paul’s letters) look at theological terminology or (for example, in the gospels) explore the narrative construction of reality. Neither of […]

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