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We update our blog several times a week, with news and comment on ministry, theology, the Bible, liturgy and issues of the day.

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Posted by Sophia Akouo, 20 Feb 2017

Summary talk by Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, at the JAEC conference last summer.

Revd Dr Lee Gatiss gave us the final talk of the 2016 JAEC conference: “Reach, Build, Send: A Pattern for Anglican Ministry”. In his talk Lee spoke from 2 Tim 2: 1-13, explaining how suffering is a major theme throughout 2 Timothy, for instance Paul tells Timothy to share in suffering in vs 3. Likewise we too should be prepared to suffer for the gospel and not to become entangled in the affairs of this world, but instead, living for God requires hard work (as the illustrations of the soldier, athlete, and farmer show)! It will be worth it though, as godliness is of value now and also in the life to come. Lee then encouraged us to persevere in the Church of England, to remain steady and firm in the face of the difficulties we face, and not to be tempted away into an easier, faithless ministry.

The talk was a useful and helpful summary to the conference, and reminded us of the future glory we will experience if we remain faithful to the end.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss , 15 Feb 2017

God works to provide for both creation and new creation, so that we may patiently strive to please him. Lee Gatiss expounds the lectionary readings for this Sunday.

The readings for the 2nd Sunday before Lent (Year A) are Genesis 1:1-2:3, Romans 8:18-25, and Matthew 6:25-34. In this sort video, Lee Gatiss expounds those readings for us today.

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Posted by Sophia Akouo, 13 Feb 2017

At the JAEC conference last summer, Paul Williams explained how a local parish church can thrust labourers into the harvest fields at home and abroad.

Paul Williams, Vicar of Christ Church Fulwood, challenged us to be ministers who send people out from our churches to minster elsewhere, be they ordinands, cross-cultural missionaries, or other gospel workers. Instead of neglecting this task due to busyness and the priority of reaching and building (made harder when our leading people leave), we ought to prioritise it as Paul models in 2 Timothy 2:2. We were shown the dangers of allowing a church to fill up and get lazy, and shown that sending people out helps people see the need to reach out and equip new converts to replenish the local church. And just as we thought this could only happen in large churches, we were challenged to at least identify and train one person to send.

This talk was a useful reminder of how the local church can be used to advance the gospel in other places rather than just our own parish locality.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss , 9 Feb 2017

Our readings this week present to us three stark contrasts, calling for three different responses. Lee Gatiss expounds the lectionary readings for this Sunday.

This Sunday’s readings for the week known as Proper 2 (Year A) are Deuteronomy 30:15-20, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, and Matthew 5:21-37. In this sort video, Lee Gatiss expounds those readings for us today.

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Posted by Sophia Akouo, 8 Feb 2017

Bishop Wallace Benn speaks on the future for God's people and the future for our denomination.

God’s people will have a future — but the Church of England may not, if God removes the candlestick from her. Not that we need to be alarmist or pessimistic. But we must pray to the Lord who rules and reigns that he will bring a new reformation.

In this talk from the recent Church Society-Fellowship of Word & Spirit Conference, Wallace Benn looks at what Martin Luther said on the issue of leaving the church, and at some of the fault lines and potentials in the church today.

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Posted by Tom Brown, 7 Feb 2017

Tom Brown reports on this year's Church Society-Fellowship of Word & Spirit conference.

A friend of mine recently tweeted, “‘I get to go to one conference a year - which one should I choose?”  With lots of options, all with different aims and offers, it’s an important question to think about. 

This year, for the first time, I joined 50-60 other brothers and sisters for 3 days at the Church Society-Fellowship of Word and Spirit conference (23rd-25th January).

I’d never heard of the conference before but was encouraged by their desire to ‘balance theological rigour and pastoral sensitivity while providing a forum for like-minded evangelicals to encourage one another in biblical ministry.’

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Posted by Sophia Akouo, 6 Feb 2017

At the JAEC conference last summer, Mark Burkill outlined a pattern for discipleship and biblical teaching in the local parish church.

Revd Dr Mark Burkill, Chair of Reform and Latimer Trust, and Vicar of Christ Church Leyton, spoke of how church leaders must build Christian community. We were encouraged from Titus to build with Christ’s teaching in a way that impacts people’s lives, and so in turn have an impact on the watching world. Mark further shared with us what this looks like in a parish church, namely biblical teaching that goes beyond sermons – from the way we conduct services, small groups, right through to one-to-one discipleship – all so that people are eager to do what is good.

This talk was a useful reminder of how the local parish church can be strategically used to disciple and train God’s people.

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John Smyth

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 6 Feb 2017

Lee Gatiss looks at two ways in which truth and justice are not well served in times of scandal, such as the current controversy surrounding John Smyth and the Iwerne Trust.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)

These verses are important because they encourage us to live in the light of the truth because anything less will hinder our fellowship with one another and with God. And they remind us that only the blood of Jesus can purify us from sin: he is the inexhaustible fountain of purity and sanctification, and all we need.

Truth and light are important in times when scandal hits the church. When there are allegations of abuse, such as the current ones to do with John Smyth and others, it’s really important for survivors to feel safe coming forward so the truth can then be properly weighed and established.

Truth is not well served, however, if:

a) the whole thing is politicised so that the victims’ stories are co-opted for someone else’s agenda.

For example, claiming that evangelical theology leads to violence or justifies it, as some have done, is demonstrable nonsense.

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Lee on the Lectionary: Proper 1 (Year A) from Church Society on Vimeo.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 4 Feb 2017

Our readings this week bring an unexpected change of perspective to surprise their worldly audiences, and jolt them into a change of heart and life. Lee Gatiss expounds the lectionary readings for this Sunday.

This Sunday’s readings for the week known as Proper 1 (Year A) are Isaiah 58:1-12, 1 Corinthians 2:1-16, and Matthew 5:13-20. In this sort video, Lee Gatiss expounds those readings for us today.

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Posted by Aled Seago, 3 Feb 2017

Aled Seago reflects on the role of the Anglican liturgy in the context of depression.

There are lots of reasons to love the Book of Common Prayer - not least for the clear Reformed theology that runs throughout its pages.

But I’ve come to appreciate the Prayer Book’s wisdom from a different, more personal angle. 

I suffer from depression.

As a Christian, that means I am battling with objective reality and subjective feeling. I am being fed lies in my own head, about myself and about God. I am being told I am out of reach of God’s love. I am being told only I can solve this. Ultimately, I am being sold the Satanic lie that my life is my own to take away.

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