What type of State?

I’m writing these articles about Public Theology in the context of a General Election and that should act as a cautionary reminder. Our Public Theology is likely to be affected by our context. Here we are talking about the role of the state, where its boundaries are and whether it is benign or evil in the context of a modern, western democracy.

Would our view of the State be the same if we were living in Nazi Germany under a tyrannical dictator? What about if we were living in an Islamic theocracy like Iran (it is possible that some readers are)?  When Samuel Rutherford wrote Lex Rex, he was assuming that his readers would be living in a Christian state where the rulers and wider society where at least nominally Christian.  His assumption was that the State was benign but that its role was limited. Continue reading

Decision Making and Discernment (More on Servant Leadership)

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How should we make decisions in church life? This is important when decision making is done by the group not by an individual. At Bearwood Chapel, we believe in plural leadership. We have a team of elders, whilst I’m paid as a full time pastor, I am not above the other elders in a kind of hierarchy but part of that team. We ask the church members to be involved in many of our decisions too. Continue reading