Blog articles from May 2020

Do we have grace? There’s no point talking about the doctrines of grace if we do not have the grace of the doctrines. An interview with Vernon Higham that’s essential listening for pastors and those considering a calling to Gos.pel ministry

The one mark of the healthy church. Mark Dever’s book “9 Marks of the Healthy Church” identifies 9 marks that have been under-emphasised in church life leading to unhealthy churches. They are helpful things to draw to our attention but I wonder if there is one mark that should have been top of the list?

The Scandal of the Evangelical Heart In 1994, Mark Knoll wrote “The scandal of the evangelical mind” and challenged our suspicion of learning. But is there a bigger problem with our hearts?

Put me to what you will… What does the Covenant Renewal Service say about gifts and service

Rival Kings (Matthew 2:1-12) Herod and Jesus

Food for hungry people Jesus said “I am the bread of life”

Love is not … Whilst love may be the key mark of a healthy church, people can also misuse the concept of love in a way that is unloving and abusive

Healthy Church – marks that flow out of the one mark Love may be the vital mark of a healthy church but that should lead to other marks of health

Will God heal me? (Part 1) – Should I pray for healing? Why does God heal some and not others?

Love is not an excuse to tolerate and cover up abuse – A follow on from the “love is not” article responding to misuse of Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 2-3 to coerce women into putting up with abuse in the home

Being filled with the Spirit (Not filled with wine) why illustrations of being filled with the Spirit such as jugs of water and bike tyres are unhelpful.

The problem with test, track and trace. Why would we have struggled to implement this earlier in the pandemic. Prioritising your rights.

Ten Years at Bearwood – opportunity to look back and give thanks to God for his goodness

Marks of a healthy church “humility” – a loving church will have humble, accountable leaders and members who are able to admit their mistakes

When God doesn’t heal me – notes and video discussion on how we respond when we are not healed?

Compliance – what would you prefer: 80% of people complying at 100% or 100% complying at 95%?

Should Professor Neil Ferguson have resigned? A senior advisor to the Government on pandemics resigns after flouting his own lockdown advice.

A way out of lockdown? Why the church needs to be involved in a process to move out of lockdown. Why gathering matters.

A way out of lockdown 2 Here we look at some possible scenarios for how we might come out of lockdown as churches.

Praying for Healing (Will God heal me?) Here we discuss how to pray for healing. Do you need to go to a special healing meeting? How to respond when you are healed.

It is okay to disagree Over the past few weeks I’ve written about how we can be quick to learn the wrong lessons from Coronavirus. This has led to some quite extreme criticism of the Government. However, I want to be clear that this doesn’t mean I believe the Government is beyond criticism or that we haven’t got lessons to learn as a society.

The Difference between an exposition and a meander. Not all that claims to be expository preaching is expository preaching

Coronavirus – do the models work? There have been a number of articles criticising the models used to predict the impact of the pandemic. Can we trust the models especially when they have got predictions wrong in the past?

VE Day -should we celebrate? Some people are uncomfortable with an event that commemorates war.

Learning the right lessons: it is possible to engage The presence of experts does not mean that lay people have nothing to offer in a crisis like Coronavirus because we should all be able to listen and assess the different expert views.

Coronavirus – interview with a doctor We had the privilege of interviewing Dr Steve Sturman on afternoon tea about staying safe during the pandemic, being a Christian on the medical frontline and praying for healing from a medic’s perspective.

HUP Some missiologists suggest we should plant churches focusing on reaching specific cultures as “homogenous units” – here is my response

Church Unity in a time of Coronavirus – unity will depend on the relationships we have already established. Divisions will be highlighted not healed by crisis.

When Tragedy Comes – Reflections on the Bradford fire disaster 35 years on and lessons for facing today’s tragedy.

Coronavirus and the crisis in our care homes – why has the death toll been so high in our social care homes?

An open letter to Boris Johnson – a letter to the Prime Minister about reopening churches

Spatial Awareness – are there holy places or thin spaces which are closer to God? Do I need to go to a church building to pray?

Suppression – the problem with suppressing a virus is that suppression is a temporary solution and what we suppress bounces back up. What are some of the other things we suppress?

The Care home scandal we cannot ignore – why have so many died in our care homes?

Don’t forget about children during Coronavirus Church – we can be so focused on providing content for adults that we forget the need to disciple children and young people

Coronavirus in our care homes: Why does sorry seem to be the hardest word?

Church in long term lockdown – Discussion on how we face church together in what is likely to be the “normal” situation for some time to come?

Assumptions, lockdown and the urban church – When thinking through life through lockdown we also need to consider how those most affected by the virus and cared for spiritually.

Why I changed my mind about diversity in the church – I recently republished an article on the homogenous unit principle (HUP), looking back I have changed my mind on one aspect of if and how we should seek to encourage diversity (especially relating to class) in the church

Living through a lengthy lockdown -how we respond emotionally to lockdown and its links to the grieving process

Everyone needs a code to live by – learning about law and grace with Gibbs and NCIS

What do we do with the end to Mark’s Gospel – Mark 16:9ff doesn’t appear in the earliest manuscripts, so what do we do with it?

Messy church in a messy world – This was the very first faithroots blogpost on the original site explaining why we need good theology to help us face the big pastoral challenges of life

The crucial difference between at the earliest and at the latest. The Government aims to start opening schools from 1st June and churches from 4th July at the earliest. However we should not see this as pressure to do so before we are ready.

A quarantined world. CS Lewis in “Out of the silent planet” turns our assumptions about science fiction on their head

Leaders repent first – If you are claiming that COVID-19 is a judgement for sin in the church and you are a church leader then you need to take responsibility.

What I want for my enemies – reflections on Psalm 110 starts with a look back to the previous Psalm for context

Whose enemies are they anyway? – Reflections on Psalm 110 and the one who puts his enemies underneath his feet.

Preaching longer passages during lockdown – discussion about a question regarding online services. If we need to preach shorter sermons, should we tackle shorter passages?

Preaching shorter passages (do we need to online?) – do people have shorter attention spans when watching online talks? How should preachers respond?

Good news for the childless – Psalm 113 makes amazing promises to those unable to have children. But it is vital that we handle those promises truthfully and sensitively

The King and the Priest – Further reflections on Psalm 110 and the NT’s portrayal of Christ as a King and Priest like Melchizedek

Becoming like our idols – when we worship free speech. Freedom of Speech is a good thing but if we turn it into an idol, there are horrific consequences.

Coronavirus and the battle of three fridges – how we need to learn to use sticky language in order to communicate

Attention Span – three questions How do we really know if people are staying with us through our sermons?

Application Overload – Perhaps when it comes to sermon application, less is more!

Should we sympathise with Dominic Cummings? Opinion has been polarised. Some say that they have sympathy for the PM’s advisor. Some say that they have no sympathy for him. Can we genuinely sympathise with wrong doers?

Cummings and Goings – Did Dominic Cummings break the lockdown rules? What does this incident teach Christians about rules, legalism and grace?

The shaming of the shrew – our society chooses to use the court of public opinion with the media acting as judge and jury. This court depends on shame culture. Is there a better alternative?

God is love and God is Trinity – “A taster from Who is God?”

The Father and the Son – This is our second taster article from “Who is God?”

Do not judge – when people challenge certain behaviours and actions an immediate reaction is often “Don’t judge others if you don’t want to be judged” and “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” But does the Bible completely forbid us from making judgements?

So what were we doing it all for? Did we really keep lockdown to follow Dominic Cumming’s example or to avoid getting fined?

Who judges? Who is actually responsible for judging guilt? The role of the police, judges and juries.

The danger of identity politics to love and truth. Beware the temptation of classifying people by political or social identity.

How do we make moral decisions? – A look at different approaches to ethics

Is God for you – discussing the UK blessing

The Greater Good – Another approach to ethics – the problem with utilitarianism

What if lockdown was the wrong decision? Should we still comply? -Some people are arguing that lockdown was the wrong response to Coronavirus and that society in general and the church in particular shouldn’t be complying with it.

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