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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 Lee Gatiss, 20 Apr 2017

This Sunday's readings naturally focus again on the resurrection of Christ, and particularly on the deep inexpressible joy it brings to believers who have not seen Jesus in the flesh.

The readings for the Second Sunday of Easter (Year A) are Acts 2:14 & 22-32, 1 Peter 1:3-9, and John 20:19-31. In this short video, Lee Gatiss expounds those readings for us today.

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Posted by Jemima Sohn, 20 Apr 2017

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Church Society will be held at Oak Hill College on Saturday 13 May 2017, commencing at 12.00Noon.

At this meeting, held every year as part of our annual conference, we elect our honorary officers and Council, hear reports from the Director and Chairman of Finance, and have a chance to discuss issues of importance to us as a Society. If you are a member of Church Society, please come along to exercise your vote and make a contribution.

Please download the official notice of the AGM and the nomination form for those who might wish to stand for election to Council.

There will also be a vote to make Amendments to the Society’s Articles of Association, proposed by Church Society Council. The full list of proposed changes can be viewed here. The current articles of Association can be viewed here.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 13 Apr 2017

Ros Clarke concludes our series on the 39 Articles with a look at Christian honesty in a post-truth world.

ARTICLE XXXIX — OF A CHRISTIAN MAN’S OATH
As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet’s teaching, in justice, judgement, and truth.

And so we come, if not precisely to the climax, certainly to the end of the 39 Articles, with this brief statement permitting the swearing of oaths in court. Oath swearing was an extremely significant feature of both political and spiritual realms in the sixteenth century. Indeed, it could be argued that the English Reformation as a whole was enacted through the swearing of oaths. The assent of the people to the will of the monarch was achieved by compelling them to swear oaths of loyalty and obedience.

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Posted by Ed Shaw, 12 Apr 2017

Ed Shaw balances out the two parts of Article 38 on the Anglican doctrine of possessions.

XXXVIII — OF CHRISTIAN MEN’S GOODS, WHICH ARE NOT COMMON
The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

Go back a generation or two and the Church of England was often labelled “the Conservative Party at prayer.” More recently perceptions have changed and the left-wing bias of the established church (and most especially that of its bishops) has been the focus of much criticism — especially in the right-wing press. Reflecting on this transformation no less an authoritative figure than Sir Humphrey Appleby posed this question in the 1980s BBC TV series Yes Prime Minister: “Isn’t it interesting how nowadays politicians talk about morals and bishops talk about politics?”

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 12 Apr 2017

The readings for the coming Easter Day put the resurrection of Christ into the perspective of his life, death, and second coming — and urge us to believe that he is risen indeed. Lee Gatiss expounds the lectionary readings for this Sunday.

The readings for Easter Sunday (Year A) are Acts 10:34-43, Colossians 3:1-4, and John 20:1-18. In this short video, Lee Gatiss expounds those readings for us today.

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Posted 11 Apr 2017

The Spring 2017 edition of Churchman is now published.

This edition includes articles by Mark Thompson on Mike Ovey; ‘Personal Reflections on Modern Evangelicalism in the Church of England’ by Jonathan Fletcher; ‘Theodicy and the Problems of Open Theism’ by Rohintan Mody; ‘The Role of Fathers in the Purposes of God: An Investigation and Application of the Instructions in Ephesians 6:1-4’ by Benjamin Sear; and ‘“Whenever the Psalter is Abandoned, an Incomparable Treasure is Lost”: Bonhoeffer, the Psalter and Pastoral Identity’ by Rhys Bezzant, as well as the usual range of book reviews and an editorial by Professor Gerald Bray.

Click here for full list of articles and to subscribe.

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Posted by Geoffrey Firth, 11 Apr 2017

Geoffrey Firth examines the doctrine of the 39 Articles on church and state relations.

XXXVII — OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATES
The King’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction.

Where we attribute to the King’s Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God’s Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.

The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.

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Posted by David Peterson, 10 Apr 2017

David Peterson looks at what the 39 Articles say about ordination services.

XXXVI — OF THE CONSECRATION OF BISHOPS AND MINISTERS
The Book of Consecration of Archbishops and Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, lately set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed at the same time by authority of Parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering: neither hath it any thing, that of itself is superstitious and ungodly. And therefore whosoever are consecrated and ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the forenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.

As Rod Thomas has already made clear, Article 23 asserts the need for those who assume the office of public preaching or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation to be ‘lawfully called and sent to execute the same.’

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Posted by Gerald Bray, 8 Apr 2017

Gerald Bray explains the background and usefulness of the Anglican Homilies, referred to as “godly and wholesome” in the 39 Articles.

XXXV — OF THE HOMILIES
The second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.

Of the Names of the Homilies

1. Of the right Use of the Church.
2. Against peril of Idolatry.
3. Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.
4. Of good Works: first of Fasting.
5. Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.
6. Against Excess of Apparel.
7. Of Prayer.
8. Of the Place and Time of Prayer.

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Posted by James Taylor, 7 Apr 2017

James Taylor explores what the 39 Articles say about tradition and uniformity.

XXXIV — OF THE TRADITIONS OF THE CHURCH
It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word.

Whosoever through his private judgement, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.

Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

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