James Mendelsohn and Bernard Howard have recently published a thorough and well-documented, analysis of the antisemitism of Anglican evangelical vicar Stephen Sizer, the repeated complaints of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and close to a decade of almost total silence from Anglican evangelicals.
Learning Christ Posts
In the darkness in a world in darkness, two small lungs fill with air. A piercing, angry squall of newborn shock, a mother’s smile and tender…
Having assigned John Webster’s essay, ‘Biblical Reasoning’ for the first week of an introductory course in systematic theology, I re-read it and discovered that it’s denser and more difficult than I remembered. So I produced this short guide which summarises the different sections of the essay, offers definitions of difficult terminology and translations of bits of Latin, and suggests some questions to aid reading. I post it here on the off-chance it might be useful to someone else.
Grace restores and perfects nature. This has profound implications for our understanding of the place of the procreation, nurture and discipling of children in families and in the church. The future belongs to the fecund people of God.
What to say when Easter joy
Is silent? When in my heart
I sense a still-sealed tomb?
When death has won and cries of peace
Are violent intruders, mocking
in the gloom.
A man I never knew has died and I am sad.
Parents, not my own, are sick,
and I am anxious as I wait for news.
In our current trials, painful as they are, we are being given a gift—a gift as Christians, a gift as pastors, a gift as churches and a gift as nations, if only we will take it. This time of losses, restrictions, anxieties and griefs, it also a matchless opportunity for grace.
I’ve been trying to work out why I’m feeling existentially disconnected from Covid-19-related fears. I’m taking it seriously, but it’s not registering in any deeply personal way. Partly it’s that my routines are largely undisrupted. But as I reflect on people’s reactions I think there’s more, because a lot of these feelings have been my friends for more than 2 years now.
The recent and growing number of stories—sadly all too believable—of repeated and grotesque abuses of power by evangelical leaders are wearying and burdensome to read. But it is important not to shut our ears and close our eyes to them, nor to close ranks and shut down those who cry for justice. Equally, it is important to consider these things theologically.
“Something is always going. Something is always disappearing.”
Those words of a friend, still young, still near the beginning of adult life, haunt me. In early adulthood, so much of life is flux: jobs, relationships, housemates, houses. Friends drift into and out of our lives. They move cities and they get married and they have kids. The relationship changes. Ambitions are frustrated, dreams die.
In middle life, hair grays, skin starts to sag, waistlines expand, illness hits, parents die. Decades pass like years. Muscles wither, joints stiffen, bending down becomes a major chore. Friends die, siblings die, spouses die, children die.
All flesh is grass (Isa 40:6).
For even as it is better to enlighten than merely to shine, so it is better to give to others the fruit of one’s contemplation than merely to contemplate.Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II.188.6
Last time, with the help of John Webster’s essay “Theology in the Order of Love”, we considered the shape of the God-given order within which we do our theological work in relation to God, and in relation to the communion of saints. And we thought about the necessity of gratitude to God for making us his friends, and giving us a share in his knowledge.
This time we will explore what Webster says about the need for gratitude in the communion of saints, and generosity in sharing what God has given us to know.