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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 24 Apr 2014

This great article on baptism by JI Packer is from Churchman about 60 years ago. But it’s still a cracker.

As I grew up as a Christian at university, I was given various books and told they were good to read. One of those was Packer’s Knowing God. I have since read many of his other works with great profit.

What I have discovered only in recent years is that our forefathers in the faith also said some very helpful things on subjects which are of continuing relevance and debate today. This short article on baptism is not only brilliant for its summary of covenant theology, but really useful in showing us how such theology applies to practical ministry questions. I heartily commend it.

Packer sees the theme of ‘covenant’ as ‘the key to Biblical Theology.’ Because of the Arminian reaction after 1662 (what Packer calls ‘the semi-Pelagian slippery slope’!), covenant theology was somewhat sidelined within the Church of England after that fateful year. Our theology of the sacraments has been most impoverished by this, he writes. So his article is ‘an attempt to expound the main features of the doctrine of Christian Baptism in the light of the covenant idea.’

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Posted by Rob Brewis, 23 Apr 2014

Rob Brewis listens to a sermon on Genesis 28 by Martin Ayers.

Martin Ayers is a member of Church Society, author of Naked God and Keep the Faith (published by the Good Book Company) and curate at All Saints, Preston.

Preaching on Genesis 28, Martin brings us face to face with the god-ness of God, the grace of God and the life of faith.

‘We want a God that rewards faith with comfort, but he loves us more than that…’ It’s a real faith builder! Hear it here.

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Posted by Mark Smith, 18 Apr 2014

As we come to Good Friday, it’s instructive to see the particular theological and devotional emphases that the Prayer Book Collects appointed for the day aim to bring out. There are three special Good Friday Collects, which I provide below with some brief reflections.

Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

This prayer reminds us what our Saviour endured for us in going to the Cross – he was betrayed, and given over to the insults and scourges of the wicked, to suffer the agony of crucifixion. But as we look to Christ, and his redemptive death for us, we are also bidden to see the fruits of his saving death in the gathering of his holy people – this thy family. On Good Friday, we remember that these men and women sitting to our left and to our right are those for whom Christ died, and we pray for God’s grace to be upon them.

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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