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

Think Theology - Apologetic Report
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 15:00

What You’ve Been Reading on Think

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In those days Google Analytics issued a report of all that had been read on Think in the entire year. (This was the eighth such report that took place while Pollock, Wilson and Hosier were governors of Think.) And everyone was intrigued by what had been going on.

And lo, a great company has been...

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Monday, 10 December 2018 15:00

What Not to Say When Someone Confesses Their Sin

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Confession: I waste an awful lot of my time. Just comparing Andrew Wilson's reading list for the year with mine puts me to shame. And I haven't written as many blog posts (or books) delivered as many sermons, or organised as many conferences as him either. Not by a long chalk! Where does he find...

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Sunday, 09 December 2018 15:00

(A Smaller Collection of) Books of the Year 2018

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I’m sure that many of us share the same mix of feelings when Andrew posts his annual summary of the best books he has read that year: a combination of gratitude for his hard work, interest in some of the titles mentioned, and a healthy dose of humility as we wonder how a list of almost 100...

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Wednesday, 05 December 2018 15:30

An Interview with David Bennett

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Last month I posted about David Bennett’s new book, A War of Loves. The book tells the story of David’s journey from being a gay activist to a follower of Jesus committed to celibacy. I found one of the real strengths of David’s book to be that he gives fresh and thought-provoking...

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Tuesday, 04 December 2018 15:00

Is Advent Backwards?

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“Does Advent run backwards? The movement is from the second coming to the first coming; it doesn’t seem to make sense. The season begins with the last things and ends with the nativity in Bethlehem. Shouldn’t it be the other way round?

Not really. The rhythm of the church’s...

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Sunday, 02 December 2018 15:00

Books of the Year 2018

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This is probably the best year of books that I can remember (or perhaps I've just had more practice at choosing which ones to read). Several books that would make a lot of top tens didn't quite this time around: Karen Swallow Prior's On Reading Well, Ross Douthat’s To Change the Church and...

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Thursday, 29 November 2018 15:00

The Curious Case of the Growth Conference

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I went to a conference recently that left a rather curious taste in the mouth. If you’ve been around the church for a while, especially in a leadership capacity, you may even have been to it yourself. It was called the Growth conference, and it was all about how people can get bigger. The...

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:30

Why I’m Wary of ‘the Presence of God’

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There’s a lot of talk of ‘the presence of God’ these days. We want to ‘encounter the presence of God’, to ‘be filled with the presence of God’ and to ‘host the presence’. We want to be ‘carriers of the presence’, and we refuse...

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Tuesday, 27 November 2018 15:00

Can We Trust the Gospels?

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In one of the best books I've read this year, Peter Williams asks the simple question: Can we trust the Gospels? It's a question that you know will lead to an affirmative answer (it reminds me of Bruno Gianelli's comment in The West Wing: "Next week: Grandma—Friend or Foe?"), but Peter...

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Sunday, 25 November 2018 15:00

The Revenge of the East

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If you want to understand Asia today, argues Pankaj Mishra in his magnificent From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia, you have to understand that from Istanbul to Tokyo, key thinkers and activists throughout the 19th and 20th centuries were trying to respond...

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Thursday, 22 November 2018 15:30

Christmas in Context

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Christmas only makes sense in context. You quickly realise that when you start to read the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke. Who are David and Abraham and what’s the big deal about this Jesus Christ guy being their descendant? (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 1:27; 2:4) For that matter, what’s...

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Tuesday, 20 November 2018 15:00

THINK 2019: Revelation

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It's exciting for me to launch next year's THINK conference on the book of Revelation, to be held at King's Church London from 9-11 July. You can book in here; I should warn you that over half of the tickets have already gone, so you might want to get onto it now, rather than leaving it until the...

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Monday, 19 November 2018 15:00

When I grow up ...

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For the first couple of decades of life it seems we're constantly - or at least regularly - asked what we want to be when we grow up/leave school/graduate. And in our work-obsessed culture, that's code for 'what job do you want to do?' Unsurprising, then, that by the time we have a job, people stop...

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Kyle Harper has an outstanding essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books on the Nazareth Inscription, an intriguing prohibition of the removal of corpses from tombs from the early years of the Roman Empire. This section is especially good:

The Christian proclamation is rooted in time and space. The...

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Sunday, 31 July 2016 00:00

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 31

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[What are the keys of the kingdom? And how do they work? In ten years of training pastors in theology and leadership, I have never once been asked this question—but to my mind, that is a reason to post on it, rather than a reason not to post on it. In any case, Heidelberg makes the decision for me by making it the subject of an entire Lord's...

Friday, 29 July 2016 00:00

Augustine and Australia

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I've made the point before that if our reading of Genesis is challenged by evolution, or dinosaurs, it should also be challenged by Australia. What I only discovered this last week, while reading Augustine's City of God, is that this is far from a hypothetical scenario, let alone a joke. For all the brilliance, scope, readability and genius of the...

Thursday, 28 July 2016 00:00

Trumped

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What is the appeal of Donald Trump to millions of American voters? In the best explanation I have seen, Rod Dreher interviews J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis.

Vance is hardly unique in locating Trump’s success in the way he connects with those who feel marginalized by the...

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 23:47

Two Things I Learned from THINK

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Earlier this month I hosted the THINK conference at King's Arms Church in Bedford, and it was on the theme of "Understanding Genesis." You always learn a lot running conferences like this—particularly in the preparation, and in the answering of people's questions—and this year I think I learned two big things in particular.

The first is...

Monday, 25 July 2016 00:00

The Outsourcing of Morality

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Here's a splendid few paragraphs from Jonathan Sacks on what he calls the "outsourcing" of morality:

It took me years to work out what had happened. Morality had been split in two and outsourced to other institutions. There were moral choices and there were the consequences of our moral choices. Morality itself was outsourced to the market. The...

Saturday, 23 July 2016 23:01

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 30

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[I had a long conversation with a good friend of mine about "online church" this week, and much of our conversation revolved around whether, and how, you can meaningfully take the Lord's Supper if you're not physically present. It was a fascinating discussion. Heidelberg has no notion of that sort of thing, obviously, but

*Q81. Who should come to...

Saturday, 23 July 2016 23:01

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 30

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[I had a long conversation with a good friend of mine about an experimental model of church this week, and much of our conversation revolved around whether, and how, you can meaningfully take the Lord's Supper or exercise church discipline if you're not physically present together. It was a fascinating discussion. Heidelberg has no notion of that...

Friday, 22 July 2016 00:00

Competition and the Fall

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I introduced Hannah Anderson's excellent Humble Roots on Monday, and today I wanted to post a very different excerpt. She is talking about humility as competition, and basing her chapter on local honey (of all things!), and she frames the competition introduced by the fall in a very helpful way. She writes:

The first hint of the competition between...

Thursday, 21 July 2016 08:56

How Close Sin Lies

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“Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

One of the challenges of Christian ministry and witness in the late-modern Western world is our reluctance to speak of sin. The fear of hypocrisy is significant in this. We are so used to accusations about the double standards of Christians, of sexual...

Tuesday, 19 July 2016 23:00

Our Addiction to Theological Novelty

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We live in an age addicted to novelty, from the editorial requirements of peer-reviewed journals to the algorithms of social media to the slogans of the marketing industry. And this poses quite a challenge for theologians given the profound constraints their field operates under—bound to the limited data of Scripture and the strict canons of...

Monday, 18 July 2016 00:00

How Does Humility Respond to Inequality?

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I've just finished reading Hannah Anderson's excellent Humble Roots, and I highly recommend it. It is a remarkably creative book, which meditates on humility through both creation - honey, tomatoes, blackberries, soil - and the scriptures. Here she is on the (ever-pressing) question of how we should respond appropriately and humbly to the fact...