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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, 17 Oct 2018

Our readings this week show us that the service of the weak is more effective than the power of the strong.

This week’s lectionary readings are Isaiah 53:4-12, Hebrews 5:1-10, and Mark 10:35-45.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 15 Oct 2018

Ros Clarke and Amanda Robbie discuss Krish Kandiah's book, Faitheism

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Posted by Michael Dormandy, 12 Oct 2018

Michael Dormandy reviews the new edition of the Greek New Testament from Tyndale House, Cambridge

Academic heads have recently been turned by a new edition of the Greek New Testament, produced by a team of evangelical scholars, based at Tyndale House, Cambridge. The Tyndale House Edition (THE) has a number of advantages over other editions of the Greek NT, relevant for scholars, pastors, students and any Christians keen to read the Bible in its original languages. It would make a lovely gift to someone starting on Greek. I was involved peripherally in producing the THE and my doctoral supervisor is the senior editor, so I must admit a degree of bias.

What, then, are the advantages of the THE? First, and least importantly, aesthetics. The THE looks and feels like a Bible, not a mere tool for academic research. There are a number of hard-back and leatherbound formats, produced by both CUP and Crossway. All of them are beautiful to hold and read. Most modern editions of the Greek NT fill about a third of each page with symbols and notes on variant readings, of interest only to scholars. The THE presents only the most important and interesting information, which means the page is uncluttered and clear. Secondly, reading the New Testament with the early Christians. The editors of the THE have attempted to reproduce the writing conventions of the earliest scribes and readers for whom we have evidence. Most modern editions of the Greek New Testament use a system of spellings, breathings and accents dating to the Middle Ages. Where possible, the THE uses the forms from the early papyri.

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Picture of St Thomas's, Kidsgrove congregation; St Peter's, Harold Wood church building; a street sign and bike in Cowley, Oxford.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 10 Oct 2018

Church Society regularly advertise vacancies which might be of interest to our members, including those in Church Society Trust parishes.

On the Church Society vacancies page at the moment, we have listings for a Schools’ Chaplain and Youth Worker, an Associate Minister, and a leader for a new church plant.

There are also clergy vacancies in Church Society Trust churches, currently including parishes in Southwark, Chelmsford and Derby dioceses.

St Paul's Brixton; All Saints, High Roding; Immanuel, Stapenhill

If you are interested in being considered for a position in a Church Society parish, you will find the application forms on the Vacancies page. You are encouraged to complete these even if there is no current position, so that the Trustees are aware of your interest and might consider you when vacancies arise. These could include House for Duty posts suitable for retiring clergy, as well as incumbencies.

 

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Photo by Photograph of Cowley by Kamyar Adl, used under Creative Commons licence.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 10 Oct 2018

Our readings this week show us that if we are to be saved, Jesus must be merciful to us because he knows our hearts and can detect our lack of dedication to him, especially regarding our use of wealth.

This week’s lectionary readings are Amos 5:6-7 and 10-15, Hebrews 4:12-16, and Mark 10:17-31.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 8 Oct 2018

Ros Clarke chats to Ed Drew from Faith in Kids about children's ministry in churches and helping parents talk to their children about Jesus.

Find out more about Faith in Kids.

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Posted by Simon Vibert, 5 Oct 2018

Simon Vibert explores the role of hearing the word of God in preaching, in this excerpt from an article in the latest edition of Churchman

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Mark 4:9; Matt 11:15; 13:9,43; Luke 8:8b)

With the overall goal and desire of allowing the word of God to penetrate the minds and hearts of hearers through the preaching of the Word, this article will cover the following the areas: We learn why hearing is important from a brief look at relevant biblical texts. We will consider how to hear a sermon in a brief literature review. We then turn to a particular slice of history, namely Puritan writers who have given thought as to how to hear a sermon. Finally, there are lessons from contemporary experience, including a brief survey. Conclusions for hearers and implications for preachers, then follow.

Why We Need to Hear the Word of God
In his explanation of the parable of sower and seed, Jesus makes a number of assumptions about the necessity of fruitful hearing. In Luke’s account we are told, “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). This alludes to the power of the word of God: as the Kingdom of God is proclaimed, within this message is the potential to produce abundant fruit, albeit only for those who “hear the word, retain it, and by preserving produce a crop” (8:15b). It is worth spending a little more time in the version found in Matthew 13:10ff. We note first that the seed of the word is broadcast (rather than “narrow-cast”). In other words, Jesus assumes that the message of the Kingdom is generously preached to all-comers even knowing that not all will be fruitful. This parable would seem to indicate that it is not the job of the preacher to ascertain the potential fruitfulness of the ground upon which the seed falls, although Matt 10:14 might seem to imply that if there is unfruitfulness then his disciples should move on elsewhere and not pursue ministry where it produces nothing. Nevertheless, the preacher’s job is to sow the seed of the word, with clarity, to ensure good understanding, and with an awareness of the distractions which compete for the hearers’ attention.

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Posted by James Halstead, 4 Oct 2018

James Halstead reviews a valuable handbook to life in theological education.

SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN SEMINARY: An Academic and Spiritual Handbook, H. Daniel Zacharias, Benjamin K. Forrest

Cover of Surviving and Thriving in Seminary

This is a really helpful book, intended for those just starting (or about to start) a course of theological training for ministry. It’s written by two American seminary professors, and is a mix of their experience, practical tips and larger questions. The book is presented in three parts.

Part One raises important questions about preparation for theological training. It asks the reader to consider their readiness to face some of the challenges and temptations which ‘seminary’ brings - from feelings of inadequacy or pride, to the importance of engaging with different points of view. The authors don’t identify issues or problems which wouldn’t appear in other literature or seminars (although there is a particularly helpful emphasis on spouses), yet they explore the questions with clarity and honesty. Mind, heart and family are the key themes and, in truth, very much of what is written applies to life beyond college - I found it an encouragement as someone in parish ministry with college some years behind me.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 3 Oct 2018

The theme of our readings this week is the image of God and the redemption of the family.

This week’s lectionary readings are Genesis 2:18-24, Hebrews 1:1-4 and 2:5-12, and Mark 10:2-16.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 2 Oct 2018

The latest edition of Crossway is now available.

The autumn 2018 edition of Crossway has a ‘Back to School’ theme with articles from Tim Edwards on the value of being a school governor, and Jo and Tudor Boddam-Whetham talk about all kinds of opportunities to be involved in ministry in local schools. We’re also thinking about how to teach the Bible - all of it! - to young children, with the help of Robin Barfield’s article on ‘Innocent Children, Ugly Scripture’ and Ros Clarke’s piece on the importance of teaching doctrine to our children. You can purchase the recommended Songs for Saplings CD’s from Church Society here.

There are also articles from Rod Thomas and Lee Gatiss based on their talks at this year’s Church Society Conference. Rod examines the opportunities - and challenges - for flourishing gospel ministry in the Church of England today. Lee draws parallels with the early church to consider how we can continue to flourish despite opposition.

Purchase this edition here, or subscribe to the magazine here. Church Society members receive Crossway as part of their membership package, and if you enjoy the magazine, you might want to consider becoming a Church Society member.

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