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Showing posts from March, 2017

Conservative Evangelicals and Homosexuality - The Bible and Homosexuality (Part 8)

Having covered the Old Testament passages that refer to same-sex sexual relationships in the last blog in this series, this time I want to turn to the New Testament. We could consider a number of passages which refer to "sexual immorality" (the Greek porneia and related words). Given the Old Testament background and the culture of the time, these almost certainly often include reference to homosexual sex (see for example Mark 7:21, Ephesians 5:3 and Revelation 22:15). However, for brevity we will consider those passages that refer specifically to homosexual sex. We have already briefly considered Jude 7 in light of Genesis 19, so there are three more passages to consider.

Romans 1:26-27

The second half of Romans describes how God's wrath against humanity's sin is expressed as he gives them up to ever-increasing sin. Vv.26-27 are given as a particularly clear example of this.

The verse describes as shameful and unnatural the homosexual acts of both men and women. Effor…

Future Church of England: Philip North and Non-Conservative Horror

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I wrote briefly about the response of conservative evangelicals to the debacle with Philip North stepping back from being Bishop of Sheffield. However, I have seen another response which I find intriguing if a little frustrating.

It's the response the non-conservative evangelical who is horrified at how North has been treated. They are shocked that the 5 guiding principles have not been abided by. They are appalled to see that conservatives don't actually flourish in the church.

I wonder if you can guess why I find that a little frustrating. When they were involved in pushing through the legislation and the principles with respect to women bishops, I wonder what they thought would happen.

Let me make a few of observations to those non-conservative evangelicals who are now expressing such horror.

1. You broke the promise of 2 integrities. Well just as that promise was broken, it turns out this one can be.

2. You created an incoherent and impossible situation. The 5 guiding principle…

Future Church of England: Philip North and Conservative Evangelical Horror

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Well here we are again. Philip North has been put forward as the new bishop of Sheffield and forced to stand down. Conservatives of all stripes, including Conservative Evangelicals, have taken to social media to express their horror. In particular, there is horror that the settlement over women's bishops and the "5 guiding principles" have not been respected.

It seems to me we are naive if we're surprised, even if we are angry. From the process that forced women's bishops on us and those five guiding principles, it was clear that our "flourishing" was a sop that had already been undermined. The five guiding principles were always a dog's dinner. When you have to preface something with "they need to be read one with the other and held together in tension, rather than being applied selectively," you know that they are incoherent, which indeed they are.

Despite valiant attempts by some conservative evangelicals with respect to the principles…

Ministry Opportunities in Rochdale

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Sacrifice and 21st Century Conservative Evangelicals

It has become almost a truism to note that conservative evangelical churches find their strongest homes in either leafy suburbs or vibrant city centres. I say almost, because, as with all stereotypes, it is note quite accurate. There remain many churches working in what might be described as more complex areas and some of the leaders of those churches are getting airtime at conferences and the like. However, it is probably accurate to say, in rather brutal terms, that the power and the money (not surprisingly)  reside in middle-class and higher contexts.

Is this a problem? In and of itself I would want to say no. Shouldn't we primarily be grateful that ministry has been effective in those areas? It does, however, lead to some questions, some of which might make us uncomfortable. Why have we not been effective in reaching tougher areas? Why is it hard to get trainees and ministers to come to jobs in those areas? Why are those working in these areas so short of money and resources? …