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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 Ros Clarke, 6 Dec 2019

Earlier this year we posted a short series of blogposts reflecting on different aspects of Christmas.

Back in January, we posted a series of three blogs looking at different aspects of the way that churches ‘do Christmas’. It seems like a good time to revisit those!

Adam Young warned of the dangers of compromising in areas that we would not normally dream of doing, just because it’s Christmas.

Michael Hayden reflected on ways in which Christians might positively engage with the Santa myth, without confusing our children.

Ros Clarke reminded us that the normal needs of the church family do not disappear - and may even be more urgent - over the Christmas period.

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Posted by Carl Chambers, 5 Dec 2019

Carl Chambers reviews a practical guide for husbands in the latest edition of Churchman.

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All us husbands know (or should know!) that we can be better husbands, so the idea of reading over 300 pages on that subject might induce the most horrible guilt trip (if it hits close to home) or prove to be a waste of time (if it is too full of bland or impossible instructions).

This book does neither. Yes, it gets under the skin and does not pull its punches. But it is so full of biblical wisdom and grace that it becomes addictive to read. It is full of helpful observations and questions and gives the framework as well as encouragement for building on the marriage any husband has. It is like having a trained biblical counsellor at your side, walking with you on the way to improving your marriage. It does what it says on the cover and is well worth the read for any married man. I dare say, it is well worth the read for any married woman, perhaps principally to fuel her prayers. This is a very easy book to read, but will leave only the most hard-hearted husband unmoved.

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Posted by George Crowder, 4 Dec 2019

George Crowder takes a look at Acts 15, to see what we can learn about gospel faithfulness from the council of Jerusalem.

With what does our evangelical integrity stand or fall?  Not in terms of our doctrinal commitments themselves, but in terms of ecclesial collegiality?  How do we express our doctrinal commitments in our inter-church relationships?

Acts 15 presents a test case.  To require circumcision for all new Gentile believers was not much short of an insult to the death of Christ.  When Paul addressed the Galatians on the matter, he refers to it as a different gospel (Galatians 1:6). While the Spirit carried the gospel to the Gentiles, advocates of this teaching had been at large in Jerusalem.  Some of them had since come to Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas were stationed in furlough after their first mission.  Unsurprisingly, sharp dispute erupted. 

With echoes of Acts 13:2-3, when Paul and Barnabas were sent on their first missionary journey, they are appointed and sent back to Jerusalem.  As an apostle, Paul is once again called by God, but for the second time, God calls him and Barnabas through the assembly of the church. On the way, they reported how the Gentiles had been converted and, “this news made all the brothers very glad,” v.3.  When they got there, v.4, “they reported everything that God had done through them.”

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Reach Build Send book cover

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 2 Dec 2019

The latest book from Church Society focusses on establishing a pattern for long-term gospel ministry in the Church of England.

What is gospel ministry all about? How can we maintain it for the long term? In this book, a group of evangelists, bishops, pastors, and theologians try to unpack what the Bible says about a sustainable pattern of ministry, with particular application to Anglican churches today. United in their conviction that God’s Spirit works through his word, they look both theologically and practically at how to reach out with the gospel, build up the church, and send out gospel workers for the next generation—without losing momentum.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 2 Dec 2019

Glen Scrivener's talk from the 2016 Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference on evangelism through the local parish church.

To celebrate the launch of our latest book, REACH BUILD SEND, our next three Media Monday posts will feature the original talks on which some of the chapters from the book were based, beginning this week with Glen Scrivener’s session on evangelism.

The book also includes chapters on discipleship and raising up gospel workers, as well as several chapters looking at different biblical texts relating to ministry from the pastoral epistles, the great commission and the importance of every member ministry. Find out more here, including details of how to purchase print and digital copies.

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Posted by Jason Ward, 28 Nov 2019

Jason Ward reviews a book on anger and stress management for Christians in the latest edition of Churchman.

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What an inadequate title for such a great, helpful and important book!

Please, dear reader, do not discard this recommendation simply because the title suggests it is some feeble pamphlet for the Christian Businessman.

This is proper theology, Puritan soul-searching and biblical counselling of the highest quality. Read it to learn how to preach, how to counsel the stressed or how to deal with your own sinful anger.
However, don’t take my word for it. The book starts with dozens of recommendations from pastors and biblical counsellors. Finally, Tedd Tripp introduces the book with a glowing appraisal of Mack’s work as one which is thorough on biblical foundation and filled with practical help. He is right.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 27 Nov 2019

Applications are now open for the Spring 2020 modules of the Priscilla Programme

Four Priscilla seminar groups are currently running, consisting of three online groups: Monday and Tuesday evenings, and Thursday mornings, as well as a local group in Sheffield. Next term, two modules are on offer: Doctrine and Bible 2 (New Testament). Term begins on January 13 and ends on March 27 with half term running from February 17-21.

We are currently accepting applications from new students for any of these groups. Application forms can be downloaded from the Union website and should be submitted following the instructions there, by 13th December. Existing students are also encouraged to enrol for next term’s modules as soon as possible!

You can find more details about the course here, and details of fees and the application form here. Contact Ros if you have any further questions.

If you would like to receive occasional news and prayer updates for the Priscilla Programme, please click to join the mailing list.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 25 Nov 2019

Andrea Ruddick speaking at the 2015 Church Society Conference on complementary ministry

Andrea Ruddick explores how we can approach the issue of complementarian theology, especially in churches where this has never been clearly taught.

She also mentions some of the ways that Church Society is involved in enabling complementarian ministry to flourish within the Church of England, and especially within the local church setting. Since she gave this talk, of course, Church Society has launched the Priscilla Programme in partnership with Union School of Theology. Fourteen women are currently studying on this course, becoming better equipped for all kinds of ministries in their local churches. You can find out more about this programme here.  Andrea also helped to put this list of resources on the subject together for us.

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Picture of George Whitefield preaching

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Posted 21 Nov 2019

In this excerpt from his recent Churchman article on George Whitefield's theology of preaching, Frankie Melton Jr describes Whitefield's instructions for hearing sermons.

The weight of God’s call on the preacher made attending sermons a grave and even frightening event. Whitefield’s call influenced his understanding of what it meant to attend a sermon. He came to the pulpit with a prophetic voice that placed hearers under a stricter judgment. Whitefield gave eight instructions for hearing sermons.

Those who Refuse to Hear
First, he addressed those who refuse to hear. Since God showed his love by sending and equipping preachers, to refuse to hear sermons was an act that had no excuse. The very presence of a man standing and preaching was a declaration of God’s mercy for the sinner. Whitefield said those who refused to hear sermons, crucify the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame. He contended that such men will have a dreadful end.

The preaching of God’s word was not to be viewed as “light bread,” as Whitefield warned a London audience. He asserted that those who esteemed the preaching of the bread of life as light bread, will find that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgement for Tyre and Sidon, for Sodom and Gomorrah, than for them. He said, “We may, though at a distance, without a spirit of prophecy, so tell the deplorable condition of such men; and behold them cast into Hell, lifting up their eyes, being in torment, and crying out, How often would our ministers have gathered us, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings? But we would not. Oh that we had known in that our day, the things that belonged to our everlasting peace! But now they are for ever hid from our eyes.”

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 18 Nov 2019

Mark Thompson's talk from the 1996 Reform Conference

Revd Dr Mark Thompson explains the need to speak and live clearly and positively with confidence in the Bible as the word of God in light of attempts to shift the meaning of the term ‘evangelical’.

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