Category «Church Matters»

The strange warming of the heart

Today, 24 May, is what Methodists call ‘Aldersgate Day’. It marks the day in 1738 when John Wesley experienced the assurance of his salvation. As he wrote at some length in his journal: In the evening I went very unwillingly to a [Moravian] society in Aldersgate Street [in the City of London], where one was …

What happened at Pentecost

“All the believers were gathered together in one place” (2.1 GNB). Luke in Acts 1.15 speaks of there being “120” believers. It has often been supposed that the 120 were gathered together in the ‘Upper Room’ where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples (Luke 22.12), and where the apostles and the women gathered …

Books for Today – May 2018

Books of the month The Revised New Jerusalem Bible: New Testament and Psalms with study notes (Darton, Longman & Todd, London 2018. 749pp: £9.99. 978-0-232-53361-3) is one of this year’s great Christian publishing events. This is a superb Roman Catholic translation, in which Protestants can have full confidence. It is a wholesale revision of The …

The Ascension – three chapters in one day

For many the Ascension belongs to the world of myth. “No doubt those who lived before Copernicus could believe that Jesus went up vertically and sat down as few miles above the visible sky. But we live in the 21st century – we can no longer believe in a three-decker universe, with a heaven above, …

A Broad Place

One of my favourite hymns is Christopher Idle’s paraphrase of Psalm 18: “I love you, O Lord, you alone, my refuge on whom I depend” (Baptist Praise and Worship 341). Sung to ‘Jane’, the stirring tune written by David Peacock, it comes to a crescendo in the final lines of the last verse: “Lord God, …

Let’s affirm our faith in death

I am at the stage in life when I read the death announcements in the daily paper – in my case The Times. Now that I have passed my three-score and ten, the numbers of those I have outlived are beginning to grow – but still very slowly. Many now go on unto their nineties, …

The Risen Jesus is Lord of all

Easter Sunday is the most exciting day of the year. This is the day when Christians proclaim, ‘The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!’. When I was a pastor, every Easter Sunday I used to begin the service with this traditional Easter greeting. ‘The Lord is risen!’ I would shout. ‘He is risen …

We all have a story to tell

We all have a story to tell – alas not everybody tells their story. My ‘Grandad’ fought at Gallipoli and suffered terribly as a result: I vividly remember that years afterwards, whenever he combed his hair small pieces of shrapnel would emerge from his scalp. But he never told me his story – and I …

Books for Today – March 2018

The Book of the Month: Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved (First British edition SPCK, London 2018. 178pp: hardback £14.99) by Kate Bowler, assistant professor at Duke Divinity School specialising in the history of the American Prosperity Gospel. It is a savagely witty account of the aftermath of her diagnosis of …