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

Thursday, 23 January 2020 15:00

Bart Ehrman Has a Change of Heart

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Exactly nine years ago to the day, in the very first week of this blog, I referred to Bart Ehrman as the New Testament scholar most likely to be cited by atheists. Much of his reputation has been built on critiques of Christian (and particularly evangelical) beliefs. Within the last few days,...

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Thursday, 23 January 2020 04:22

Responding to Trans Questions

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What’s your response when someone tells you their daughter is now a boy?

At a pastors’ breakfast this morning the hot topic issue of transgender came up in conversation. This wasn’t a subject that would have been raised a few years ago but is now something we are all having to...

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Tuesday, 21 January 2020 21:25

The Chariturgical Guide to Loitering

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It is with very real, though truly humble, excitement that I can announce my forthcoming book (the latest of dozens), The Chariturgical Guide to Loitering.

As my many faithful readers will know, I have in recent years been urging the more shallow waters of the church towards a deeper experience of...

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Tuesday, 21 January 2020 15:00

The Ministry of Loitering

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We had the privilege of having David Devenish with us recently on Catalyst Leadership Training. He was talking about the difficult but vital balance we have to strike, in church leadership, between learning from worldly corporate principles (on governance, procedures, child protection, financial...

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It is a great privilege to have your academic work reviewed in the Review of Biblical Literature, and by Victor Paul Furnish at that. He has read my book carefully, summarised it clearly and critiqued it fairly, which is exactly what I would have hoped for after spending six years writing it!...

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Thursday, 16 January 2020 15:00

Praying the Cursing Psalms

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We had a wonderful discussion with Trevor Laurence recently on the Mere Fidelity podcast, on the subject of the cursing (or "imprecatory") psalms. Of all the episodes we've recorded, this is one of my very favourites (up there with Karen Swallow Prior, Preston Sprinkle and Carl Trueman), and if...

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Wednesday, 15 January 2020 15:00

Seeing Both Sides

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‘How can we best love and support gay/same-sex attracted Christians?’ I love being asked this question. There’s so much that can be said in response, but there’s one particular area I’ve been reflecting on recently.

One of the things I find most difficult about being a...

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Tuesday, 14 January 2020 15:00

Eucharismatic Signs

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There are seven signs in the Gospel of John, and they follow a 1-2-1-2-1 pattern. (I'm excluding miracles which John does not identify as signs, such as the walking on water and the miraculous catch of fish.)

1. The wedding at Cana (2:1-12)   2. The healing of the centurion’s son...

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Thursday, 02 January 2020 15:00

Sex and the Sacred

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What’s the connection between sex and the sacred? They are two elements of life that many people think are far apart, or even in tension, but perhaps the reality is somewhat different.

Sex Replacing the Sacred

In his fascinating analysis of the sexual behaviour of Americans, Cheap Sex,...

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Monday, 23 December 2019 14:48

Don't Skip the Genealogies

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If you were compiling the New Testament and had been told by God that yes, he really did want all four of the Gospels in there, which one would you have chosen to put first?

If it were left to me, I think I’d be torn between Luke and John. John’s wonderful echoes of Genesis 1 would be...

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Thursday, 19 December 2019 15:00

The Relevance of Romans 7

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I think we really need Romans 7, but perhaps not in the way we tend to think we do.

Romans 7 is famous for its egō. Who is the egō (the ‘I’) who speaks in verses 7-24? Is it Paul or someone else or just a rhetorical device? Is the one who died with the arrival of the law Paul...

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Thursday, 19 December 2019 13:32

The Lodestar of Western Morality

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The absolute standard of Western morality used to be Jesus, and now it is Hitler. That is the remarkable conclusion of Alec Ryrie's remarkable book, Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt, which I have just reviewed for The Gospel Coalition. It may just be me, but I think the following 275...

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A social researcher and former Labour employee has recently described the three myths of the populist Left. Chris Clarke’s Warring Fictions: Left Populism and its Defining Myths is summarised by David Aaronovitch in today’s Times, and it makes for fascinating reading—not just...

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Tuesday, 17 December 2019 15:00

Review of the Year 2019

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Here's a bunch of things (mostly online) which I enjoyed this year. If you're on Twitter, get in touch and let me know what I missed!

Post of the year: Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine on America’s New Religions. “Seduced by scientism, distracted by materialism, insulated, like no...

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Monday, 16 December 2019 15:00

The Courage To Say “Help”

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“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy. “Help,” said the horse.

These simple, profound words, and the pen-and-ink drawing that accompanies them, have turned artist Charlie Mackesy into the author of Waterstones’ book of the year. The book, The...

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Wednesday, 11 December 2019 15:00

Manhood and Womanhood: What's the Problem?

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Several cracking articles have appeared in the last week or so on the subject of men and women: at TGC, Jesus Creed, 9Marks, and other places. I want to highlight two in particular.

The first is from Jonathan Leeman at 9Marks, and is an attempt to tease out the different pastoral intuitions we feel...

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Sunday, 08 December 2019 23:00

The Heart of the Jungle

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Last night saw the final of this year’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! I have to confess that I’m a fan. I like people watching; I like the contestants’ amusing reactions to the trials (not that I’m claiming I would do any better!), and I even like some of Ant and...

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Thursday, 05 December 2019 06:17

Where is Your Affection?

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OK, you’ve had a couple of days to recover from Andrew’s Books of the Year list and the annual sense of shock, disbelief, or inadequacy that overcame you at his prodigious reading. Really, you shouldn't have been surprised: he posts this kind of thing every year – you knew it was...

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Tuesday, 03 December 2019 15:00

Books of the Year 2019

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I had a number of reading surprises this year. Several books which I expected to be great turned out to be only OK; some books I expected to be OK turned out to be great. (The life of Olaudah Equiano is a good example of the latter: an extraordinary autobiography, travelogue, critique of slavery...

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Wednesday, 27 November 2019 23:20

Evangelism as Exiles

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Andrew’s much anticipated annual review of books is just a post or two around the corner. If I were to compose a similar list, Elliot Clark’s Evangelism as Exiles would be right at the top of the pile. This is a book all too rare in Christian publishing: deeply biblical, profoundly...

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Tuesday, 26 November 2019 22:20

Praying for the Election

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It is a truism that the healthier and more pain-free a society is the more fear and anxiety there seems to be in that society about health and pain.

This is true in Christian apologetics, where one of the biggest western ‘defeater beliefs’ is the problem of suffering – a problem...

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Thursday, 21 November 2019 15:00

Why, why, why, Delilah?

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The story of Samson is both comic (killing a thousand men with a donkey’s jawbone) and brutal (killing a thousand men with a donkey’s jawbone). It is also a story rich in applications for us.

In his encounter with Delilah (told in Judges 16), Samson provides us with a picture and...

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019 15:00

The Poverty of Prosperity

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While in the States recently many of my friends had their heads in their hands over Paula White, President Trump’s ‘spiritual adviser’.

For those in the UK who may not be so familiar with White there is a helpful briefing available from The Gospel Coalition – but the main...

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Sunday, 17 November 2019 15:15

Alleged Spots on the Sun

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The world really pays the supreme compliment to the Catholic Church in being intolerant of her tolerating even the appearance of the evils which it tolerates in everything else. A fierce light does indeed beat upon that throne and blacken every blot; but the interest here is in the fact that even...

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Thursday, 14 November 2019 15:00

Seeing The Accuracy of the Bible

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Do our English Bible accurately reflect the writing of the original authors? It’s an important question. Some would argue (or more often assume) that they don't. The view that that the text of the Bible has been corrupted and changed over the centuries is commonplace even among those who have...

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