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Book Give Away!

I wrote a new book which came out last Easter just after the first lockdown started, and so, well, even I sort of forgot about it. But, I eventually got my hands on a few copies, so, I'd like to give two of them away.  The book is about the theology of the founders of the Apostolic Church, so it should hopefully be of interest to Apostolic pastors, which means one of the copies is reserved for any pastor in the Apostolic Church. The other copy is for anyone in the UK (because international postage is too expensive, sorry!). Here's the link to enter the competition. (I've never tried making a competition before, so sorry if it's not the most slick!) There are four ways to enter.  1) Subscribe to the blog by email. 2) Follow me on Twitter. 3) Tweet about the competition using via the competition page above.  4) For the pastor copy, any pastor can email me at the address in the Apostolic Church UK Staff Address Book.  You can see the full table of contents on the Google b

Missing Verses and Theology

Long mine imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound by sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light:
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

So goes the fourth verse of Charles Wesley's well-loved hymn And Can It Be. Or at least so it goes if you live in the UK, for one day I was leafing through the hymnbook of a certain American Pentecostal denomination which happened to be lying around at work (yes, it's true, that is the sort of place I used to work) only to find that their version of And Can It Be only has 3 verses (as opposed to the traditional 5) and that this particular verse is one of those missing.

As this is one of the greatest of all hymns, and this verse is a great verse in its own right, I've been wondering why it's missing from aforementioned American hymnal. As I see it, there are two possible reasons (okay, I admit there are in fact more possibilities, but these are the two big ones): either it's missing for cultural reasons or theological ones. As America is a different country on a completely different continent with a vastly different culture, one cannot ignore the possibility that some unknown aspect of American culture has resulted in the deletion of some great theology from the hymnal. However, the compilers of hymnbooks are (or at least were - the book in question dates from the 60s and shows no hesitation over copious quantities of thees and thous) generally more interested in theological criteria then cultural ones when deciding what to include and what to omit.

So is there a theological difference between British Pentecostals and their American counterparts when it comes to the fourth verse of And Can It Be? It does speak very strongly of the utter depravity of human nature, but is that something that some Pentecostals don't accept? With that in mind I had a look at a few Pentecostal statements of faith and found that, while they all speak of the fall and man's sinfulness, it is only the Apostolic Church which explicitly affirms the doctrine of utter depravity. That's not to say that the doctrine is denied by other Pentecostals, but it does seem to be one they don't deem essential.