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Showing posts from April, 2017

The Risen Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (Part 2)

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In part 1 of this mini-series on the resurrection I reflected on the need to hold on to the Easter faith, the gospel that Paul preached, in the light of false teaching from 1 Corinthians 15:1-2. In vv.3-5 Paul goes on to summarise that gospel.

Know the Gospel (vv.3-5) We are to know Paul's  gospel so we can hold firmly to it. The brief summary is in vv.3-5

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5 ESV) It's important to note that these are the things of first importance, i.e. the things you can't reject and still say you are a Christian believer.

1. Christ died for our sins. Christ's death does have many facets and applications in Scripture. For example, it's described as a victory and as an example for us to fol…

The Risen Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (Part 1)

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At the start of Easter week the BBC released the results of a poll on people's beliefs in the resurrection. The headline read:

Resurrection did not happen, say quarter of Christians
Note what that's saying. It's not that a quarter of the population of the UK don't believe - that wouldn't surprise us at all and from the figures it seemed to be that actually half the population don't believe. What it's saying is that a quarter of people who identify as Christians, don't believe.

That would probably shock us, especially if it translated into a quarter of people in our church. 1 in 4 of us! It should shock us, as we'll see, and it should get us to question people's definition of what a Christian is, if they think they are a Christian but don't believe the resurrection.

But it's not a new problem. Paul faced a similar issue with the Corinthian church as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:12-13.

11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so …

A Beginner's Guide to Church Revitalization: What Makes a Church Need Revitalizing (Part V)?

I've considered lots of spiritual reasons for a church to need revitalisation. In considering lack of people this time, we're coming to some more practical ones. The spiritual and the practical are likely to be connected of course. For example, we can't be surprised if bad doctrine leads to a collapsing attendance at a church, nor an insufficient commitment to prayer or evangelism.

There are some increasingly shocking statistics about churches in the UK. The general decline in church attendance and membership of course becomes specific in local churches. For example, in the Diocese of Manchester, around a third of the churches have less than 35 people attending.

So we now have many churches that struggle to keep going because they are too small. Sometimes this is financial (which we'll consider next time) - there are not enough people to pay the bills. But this need not be the case. Sometimes churches are financially quite secure, either for historic reasons, or because…