Category «Church Matters»

God chooses the nobodies of this world

Most mothers are excited when they know a baby is on the way. Mary wouldn’t have been human if she too hadn’t experienced similar excitement.  But the song Mary sang was not inspired by the thought of impending motherhood, but by the growing sense of wonder that God should have chosen her to play a …

Books for Today

“Not all readers are leaders”, said Harry Truman, a former US American President, “but all leaders are readers”.   What is true of leadership in general, is true too of leadership in the church.  Rick Warren, the founding pastor of Saddleback Community Church, advanced four reasons why church leaders must read:

There is no ban on women preaching

Earlier this autumn a headline in The Telegraph proclaimed: ‘Bible passage used to stop women become ordained “added later”, academic claims’. The academic in question is Dr Philip Payne, who in the October 2017 issue of New Testament Studies argues that 1 Corinthians 14.34 (“Women should be silent in the churches. For they are not …

60 years ago I was baptised

On Sunday morning 17 November 1957, along with eleven others, at the relatively young age of thirteen, I was baptised in the ‘Church of Jerusalem’ (Salemskapelle), the large Baptist church in the centre of Zurich.  Why Zurich? Because at that time my father was the professor of New Testament at the International Baptist Theological Seminary …

Pruned for growth

We have had a wonderful harvest this autumn.  The small vine on the south side of our house produced a super-abundance of grapes.   When I took them to a local vineyard for processing, I discovered that my grapes weighed in at 51 kilogrammes: this means that by next May I will have 51 bottles of …

Celebrating Martin Luther

2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  For it was on 31st October 1517 that Martin Luther protested against the practice of indulgences by nailing his 95 theses to the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenburg.

Learning to re-member

November is a month for remembering. November 1st is All Saints Day, when many remember past friends and loved ones. November 5th is ‘Bonfire Night’ when Brits remember Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. November 12th is Remembrance Sunday when we remember before God those who gave their lives …

Fellowship Group – what is in a name?

There is never a week when I do not get a response to my blog.  So following my recent blog, Without fellowship groups church life is a sham, I was delighted to receive a number of super comments: Great blog, Paul. Couldn’t agree more. Fellowship groups are all that you say and, in my experience, …

Loving the odd balls – or kissing frogs

Every church has its odd-balls. I certainly have had my fair share of people who for one reason or another do not fit in. I think of a young man who when he visited our home would frequently propose to our ‘au-pair’, and then on one occasion felt so down that he threw himself off …