Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2017

What you pray is what you believe: Learning from Tomorrow's Collect

Over the centuries, the Christian church has learnt lex orandi, lex credendi : the law of praying is the law of believing . In other words, what you pray (or sing in worship) is what you believe. There's a set of short prayers which the Christian church around of the world, across denominations, cultures, languages, and centuries, have traditionally prayed on each Lord's Day of the year (and throughout the following week), called the collects. Each collect is a one sentence prayer, which collects together the prayers of the whole congregation as we come together into the Lord's presence in worship.  (I know some Pentecostals might be tempted to scoff at the idea of a set prayer for a particular day, but the same Holy Spirit who can inspire a prayer spontaneously in a service can also guide and inspire the Church over the centuries in prayer. And length is not necessarily a sign of the Spirit's leading. The very shortness of the collects is one of their g

Pastoring as love for Christ

One of the oldest books we have on what it is to be a pastor is John Chrysostom’s Six Books on the Priesthood . John was ordained in AD 386, but this book was probably written at least five years before that. So it isn’t a book by a pastor describing his ministry; but rather, a book written by someone who had refused ordination to explain why he thought he couldn’t be a pastor. The book (yes, I know it’s called Six Books , but ancient books were a bit different to ours, so the whole thing is one rather slim paperback volume in English translation) starts off with the strange account of John’s refusal to let himself be ordained. John sort of tricks his friend Basil into being forcibly ordained while he hides to avoid the same fate! And that sets up the rest of the book as John’s explanation to Basil of why he thought Basil should be a pastor and he (John) shouldn’t. And right at the beginning of John’s explanation to his friend of why it was good for him to be ordained is love. Basi

Catechism Videos for Tenet 1 (The Trinity)

Last week I posted the first of my catechetical videos on the Trinity. But now the full set are ready. So here are six videos working through the 10 questions on Tenet 1 (The Trinity) in the Tenet Catechism . The six videos are embedded below, but if you want to find them on YouTube, I've set them up as a Playlist here . And, if you'd like to get the videos quicker than I gather them up in batches on the blog, you can always subscribe to the YouTube channel .

Christians, the Commandments, and Political Leaders in a Nasty Social Media World

Photograph © UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license . In the wake of a General Election and a Hung Parliament, everything's very political in the UK at the moment. But this is NOT a political post. Rather, it's a pastoral one. Because, as a pastor, I want to speak to Christians about how we react in this nasty social media age to those who are legitimately set in governing authority over us. Lots of things are doing the rounds on Twitter (and I imagine it must be at least as bad on Facebook too, though I try and keep away from there as much as possible!), whether they be comments or memes, about Mrs May, and now, to a lesser extent, Mrs Foster as well. Now, Mrs May is an elected MP, leader of the largest party in Parliament, and has been appointed by Her Majesty as her Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. Mrs Foster is the most recent First Minister of Northern Ireland, leader of the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the

3 Minutes on the Holy Trinity

It's Trinity Sunday this week, so this time I've got a video for you on the Holy Trinity. Q.1 Who is the True and Living God? A. The True and Living God is the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Q.2 Is there more than one God? A. No, there is only one Living and True God, the Holy Trinity. Q.3 How many Persons are there in the Godhead? A. There are three Persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And these three are one God, the same in being, equal in power and glory. Q.4 What is the eternal being of the Triune God? A. From all eternity God is the Father who perfectly loves His Son in the unity of the Spirit. (Tenet Catechism 1.1-4) You can find the video on Youtube here , and you can find the whole Tenet Catechism on the Catechesis page .

Do you want to train for Christian ministry?

In the English-speaking world we are immensely blessed with resources to equip us for Christian ministry. And one of those great resources is the freedom we have to go to a good theological college and be well equipped for the task the Lord has for us. Many believers in other parts of the world long for the opportunities that are right under our noses here in the UK. It's coming up to that time of year again when Bible college applications need to be in if you want to train next year. So I thought I'd just give people a little reminder (as it's easy to forget that applications need to be sent in a few months in advance). If you've been thinking about Bible college next year, now is very much the time to decide. And if you've been thinking about training for Christian ministry or going to Bible College (hopefully you'll already have spoken with your pastor and elders) and are wondering where to go, then I've got a recommendation for you. Union Schoo

Of Charismatics and Pentecostals: Some Reflections on “Bold Faith” by Ben Pugh

If someone asks me if I’m a charismatic, I’ll say no. ‘But you believe in the gifts of the Spirit today!,’ they might protest, and to that I’ll readily agree. But that doesn’t make me a charismatic. While some forms of the charismatic movement share many of the same distinctives as Classical Pentecostalism, others just don’t. And without recognising the difference we end up lumping the entirety of both movements together and then failing to understand either one. Ben Pugh has been both a Charismatic and a Pentecostal, and his newly published book Bold Faith: A Closer Look at the Five Key Ideas of Charismatic Christianity sets out to distinguish between the two and to examine ‘those theologies that are identifiably Charismatic, rather than Pentecostal’ (p.xii). But that’s not to say that these Charismatic theologies are in any way insignificant for Pentecostals, for, especially when we forget the differences between the two movements, many contemporary Pentecostals readily (and o