But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Apologetic Report - Think Theology
Monday, 20 March 2017 16:18

Keep Off the Grass: An Allegory

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Once upon a time, in a college somewhere in England, there was a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass’. Most people, being obedient types, kept off the grass, though once in a while someone did cut across a corner of it, or even run right across the middle if they felt the consequences of not...

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017 17:00

Anglican Observations

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The recent selection, and then withdrawal, of Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield generated a lot of spilled ink and emotional-blood among Anglican commentators. North’s withdrawal seems to mean that it will no longer be possible for a ‘traditionalist’ who disagrees with the...

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Sunday, 12 March 2017 17:00

Sam Allberry, Synod and Same-Sex Attraction

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I don't know why this only appeared in my twitter feed last Friday, but it's a follow-up Q&A by Ravi Zacharias Ministries after 'that' speech at the Church of England Synod last month. (If you don't know to which speech I'm referring, just click through, the short video clip is reproduced...

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Monday, 06 March 2017 15:00

Sympathy for Jonah

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David Benjamin Blower is a musician, writer and community theologian from south Birmingham, UK. For the last ten years he’s been making apocalyptic junk-folk music – sort of protest music in the spirit of the biblical prophets - writing books and, as he puts it ‘experimenting with...

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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 15:00

A Little Communion W(h)ine

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In Andrew's annual Lenten absence from this blog, I feel obligated to try harder than usual to find things to blog about, and since he often posts other people's posts with a bit of commentary, I think I'll give that a go.

This, by Luke T Harrington, is an excellent (in the sense that it agrees with...

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 15:00

What Did the Tearing of the Temple Curtain Mean?

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I've always taught, and assumed, that the meaning of the temple curtain at the moment of Jesus' death is fairly straightforward: it removes the barrier between God and man. I wrote a whole chapter in my book GodStories about this, and it honestly never occurred to me that anything else might be...

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Thursday, 23 February 2017 15:00

The Jewish Calendar

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I don't think I've ever posted here before with a picture as the main item, but this one is so good that I'm breaking the habit of a lifetime. Behold: the Jewish calendar in one picture.

HT Patrick Schreiner

Authors: Andrew Wilson...

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 15:00

One Thousand and Counting

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This past Sunday I preached my one thousandth sermon.

On the advice of an older pastor (well, he was probably the same kind of age then as I am now) I have kept a preaching log, in which I record all the times I speak in public. It’s a somewhat idiosyncratic list: if I do a whole day of...

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 15:00

Your Vision May Not Be What You Think It Is

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The vision you say you have matters less than you think. The vision you actually have matters more than you think. That's my theory.

If you lead a local church, it will be shaped far more by the vision you actually have—the things you are genuinely passionate about and committed to—than...

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Monday, 20 February 2017 15:00

Beauty of the Word

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Do you ever find the Bible hard work?

Probably we’re meant to. It is full of comfort and light and life, but it is also full of challenge, culturally alien references, and hard sayings. Almost every time I read a passage of scripture there is something that I have to wrestle with, and submit...

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Sunday, 19 February 2017 23:00

Substitution in the Church Fathers

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Jesus died as our substitute, argues Fleming Rutledge in her remarkable The Crucifixion. The Bible says so; the fathers said so; the Reformers said so; I say so. This is standard fare in evangelicalism, of course, but given her Episcopalian background, academic context and substitutionophobic...

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Sorry for the double-posting today, but I've just written a review of Fleming Rutledge's magnificent The Crucifixion over at The Gospel Coalition which you might be interested in. Here's how it begins:

Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ is an...

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Thursday, 16 February 2017 23:00

Why Is Theology So Difficult?

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Here's a helpful paragraph from Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) on why theology is so difficult (or, in his words, the incomprehensibility of the divine nature). In his Five Theological Orations (2.12), he suggests three reasons:

... we say that perhaps one reason is to prevent us from too casually...

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017 23:00

What Happened to the Absurd?

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I was in Paris a few days ago, and as luck would have it, I was staying right by the Pompidou Centre on its 40th birthday, so admission was free. I browsed the massive modern art collection for a while—Duchamp, Dali, Picasso, Braques, Miro, Kandinsky, Pollock and so on—but modern art...

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Sunday, 12 February 2017 23:00

Trinity and Akedah

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Here's the conclusion of Fleming Rutledge's wonderful treatment of the Akedah, Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac:

We note two verses especially: “The Lord himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son,” and “You have not withheld your son, your only son, whom you...

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Tuesday, 07 February 2017 23:00

Long Hours and Laziness

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Sometimes we work long hours because we are lazy. It's counterintuitive but, I suspect, true. I'm speaking as a WEIRD man with young children and a desk job, so this may well have nothing to say to people in other demographics, but there are at least three factors that can contribute to laziness at...

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Sunday, 05 February 2017 23:00

Christophanies in the Old Testament?

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There is an ancient practice of identifying Old Testament theophanies as manifestations of the second person of the Trinity in particular, that is, as the preincarnate Son ... In some cases, while the authors were orthodox, they took their positions based on a kind of naive (by which I mean not...

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Tuesday, 31 January 2017 23:00

The Triumph of Religion in the Nineteenth Century

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At a popular level, the nineteenth century is usually seen as a century in which religion begins to decline. Quite the opposite, argues C. A. Bayly in The Birth of the Modern World; it was in fact a century in which religion triumphed. If you look at the global reach of the world religions, the...

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Sunday, 29 January 2017 23:00

Devoted to the Breaking of Bread

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We've been in a short series called Devoted at King's London, based on Acts 2:42, and I just preached on what it means for us to be "devoted to the breaking of bread." It might be that somewhere in this half hour, as I talk about the various names there are for the meal (Eucharist, Communion, the...

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Thursday, 26 January 2017 23:00

Convinced of This (by John Hosier)

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John Hosier is a fairly remarkable chap. In my book, anyone who can pastor a church and raise Matt Hosier at the same time has got to be fairly impressive; John has been doing these things for four decades, and just recently he stepped down after serving as an elder for an astonishing forty-seven...

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017 23:00

Modernity and Man Utd

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One of the challenges faced by any student of "modernisation," or whatever we call it, is how to sail between the Scylla of Eurocentrism and the Charybdis of fashionably inclusive political correctness (as in, "everyone modernised in their own way, and Europe had no more impact than anyone else.")...

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Monday, 23 January 2017 23:00

Is art really all about beauty?

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Recently I was at a gathering of Christian leaders at which we were encouraged to pray for ‘art that releases the beauty and power of heaven’. Now I know that as the head of a Christian arts network, I should have been delighted by such a prayer but instead my mind started whirring. The...

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Sunday, 22 January 2017 23:00

A Fascinating Cessationist Argument

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I find cessationism intriguing. I have a great many friends who are theologically and/or functionally cessationist, and many of them are cleverer than me, but I just cannot see how it convinces them (although I continue to try; I have Dick Gaffin on my desk at the moment, for instance). So when I...

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Thursday, 19 January 2017 23:00

Thinking about Multi-Site

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A conference you may be interested in...

On May 24th Matt Hatch (Mosaic Church, Leeds), Toby Skipper (King’s Community Church, Norwich) and myself are hosting a day on Making Multi-Site Work.

In recent years many churches have ‘gone multi’, with more than one service, and meeting in...

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017 23:00

An Evolutionary Crisis?

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For a brief time between graduating and starting a PhD I worked at London’s Natural History Museum. Each day on the way to the entomology department I had to pass an exhibition about Darwin, and each day I felt an inner conflict about the question of origins.

The Natural History Museum is a...

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