How to prune for fruitfulness

With the end of the big freeze promised, the time is coming for the first pruning of Spring. I love this time of year, and have reflected from my previous years’ experience on why pruning is so important and satisfying. These truths apply to the garden and to our lives. Pruning needs confidence. You only prune … Continue Reading

Can Spirit-led worship be structured?

What is the relationship between duty and joy—discipline and desire? Is it possible to have formal, liturgical, structured worship services in which there is also freedom and space for distinctive ministries of the Holy Spirit? Are formal liturgies themselves ‘gifts’ of the Spirit to the church for enabling our worship? Is Holy Communion ‘like the … Continue Reading

How does the Spirit help resolve critical questions about the Bible?

In my previous post, I highlighted the dilemma we find ourselves in when there is a dissonance between our experience of hearing God speak through Scripture and our experience of engaging in more reflective study of the same texts. I characterised these two sets of experiences as follows:   Immediacy — Delay Clarity — Ambiguity Relevance … Continue Reading

The dynamism of Pentecost

Coming once again to the New Testament texts about Pentecost, I have been struck by the extraordinary dynamism which seems to be present in every aspect. In the gospels, Jesus is the dynamic focus of action—constantly on the move physically as a way of expressing the dynamic presence and movement of God in his ministry—and … Continue Reading

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

Do Evangelicals have a Spirituality?

Last week I was travelling with an evangelical clergy colleague to an event, and mentioned that I was writing something on evangelical spirituality. ‘That’s a bit of an oxymoron!’ came the immediate response, followed by laughter. Some years ago Michael Green, former Principal of St John’s College and Rector of St Aldate’s in Oxford, had … Continue Reading

Does God meet us in particular places?

On our recent trip to New Zealand, I was struck by the traditional Maori emphasis on the sacredness of particular places. In being introduced to Maori culture and religious belief, we were asked to respect this rock as of being of sacred significance, or that mountain, or this other place. In some ways this practice is … Continue Reading