Posted 12 Aug 2019
Book asap for this year's JAEC!
It’s not too late to book for this year’s Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference, featuring John Dunnett, Mark Tanner, Andrew Towner and many others. All the details and the booking form are here. Please contact the office as soon as possible to confirm your place.
Suffer the little children: Guarding Children and Young People against Spiritual Abuse
Posted 30 Jul 2019
Robin Barfield continues our series of posts on the subject of spiritual abuse by considering some of the particular dangers and temptations in ministry with children and young people.
Children and young people are the most likely to be spiritually abused, since spiritual abuse is most likely to occur in a relationship between a significantly more powerful individual (most likely an adult) and a less powerful individual (often a child or young person). The only successfully prosecuted criminal case of spiritual abuse in the UK so far was between a vicar and a teenage boy. This means that those of us with responsibility for the care of children and young people in our churches have to be particularly vigilant.
We need to understand the ways in which children and young people are particularly vulnerable and then think carefully about how we guard against spiritual abuse occurring.
Children are Theologically Vulnerable
Children are full of questions and naturally curious about everything, including Christian things. Adults are seen as people who know more, who can answer their questions and who are, therefore, in a position of power and influence over the children they are in proximity to. Generally speaking, that is all children an adult is in proximity to. I minister in a primarily working class context, and I realise that in these circumstances, and others, it does not always feel as though all adults have this type of power over a child, but they do.
A child will listen to whatever you tell them about Jesus. If you say Jesus was half man, half goat a good number of younger children will nod and accept that without question. An adult would not. This makes children theologically vulnerable to whatever you want to tell them to believe, do, say or think. Evangelicals are therefore particularly open to this kind of spiritual abuse because we love the truth and we love people hearing the truth of the gospel. We are truth people. We recognise that the gospel cannot just be invented on the whim of the human heart but is revealed to us often in ways that rebuke and correct our own thinking and feeling.
Posted by Ros Clarke, 29 Jul 2019
Ros Clarke offers some suggestions for summer podcast listening.
With no new episodes of the Church Society podcast over the summer, now is a great time to catch up on some of what you may have missed. Here are eight of our most popular episodes, along with a handful of suggestions of other great podcasts you may not have come across:
Evangelism Four Ways
Singing the Psalms
Ministry and Mental Health
To Lithuania and Beyond!
Matt and Anne Kennedy
Have you tried:
Simply Put: Barry Cooper
Preventing Grace: Matt and Anne Kennedy
Talking Theology: Cranmer Hall