How we relate to leaders

We’ve taken time in recent posts to show that leadership is not about hierarchy, inner circles, power or control. Leaders are not to Lord it over the church, nor to rely on their position or charisma to push things through. Church leadership should not be authoritarian.  Leaders and teachers are gifts to the church and so we should focus on being gifts rather than on status and titles (cf Ephesians 4:11). Continue reading


Complementarianism – a family perspectice

For most of my adult life, one of the most potentially contentious conversations in church life has been the question of men and women in church leadership.  Women have been allowed to preach in the Methodist Church and some other denominations for a long time, they have also served as ministers/pastors in those contexts.  However, it was only in the 1990s that the Church of England allowed women to be ordained into the clergy and very recently indeed that the bar was lifted on women bishops.

Generally speaking the view within independent evangelicalism has remained that eldership and public teaching roles should be restricted to men, though some churches have started to include female elders.  A lot more churches would include female deacons but there are still some who see this role as male only. Continue reading


When I first came to Bearwood Chapel, one of the things I said at the start was that I cannot guarantee that I will get everything right.  I am human and fallible, I will make mistakes. So, the promise I made was that when I get things wrong I will be the first to hold my hand up.

I’m reflecting on that for two reasons as we talk about leaders in the church. First of all, I have always felt that an important requirement of leadership is that leaders should be teachable. We must not put them on a pedestal and infallible. Continue reading

What does it mean to “touch the Lord’s anointed”?

In 2 Samuel 1:14, David asks the Amalekite messenger:

                         “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?”

The phrasing is familiar because in 1 Samuel when David and his followers have the opportunity to kill Saul themselves, David tells Abishai:

“Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one?”

Here, the phrase “the anointed one” is seen to refer to the chosen king over Israel although Psalm 105 refers plurally to the whole of Israel as the Lord’s anointed ones and so under his protection. 

Is there a relevant application of the command not to touch, attack, kill or destroy the Lord’s anointed one for today’s church?  On Sunday, we primarily focused on a “How much more” application. If David could say this of a flawed man like Saul, then how much more should our concern be for Christ’s honour as the perfect and eternal King? Continue reading

Clarifying Faith

You ask, “So when did you become a Christian?”  One person replies “I went forward at the Billy Graham Rally in 1984.” A second person says “Ooh I think I’ve always been one.  I can’t remember a day when I didn’t love Jesus.”  Which one do you consider to be a believer? The first, second, neither or both? Continue reading

Guarding against cults and false teachers – teach what it means to be saved

Our biggest concern when dealing with false teaching is that people will be robbed of the joy of salvation. Cults want to control and manipulate people and to do that they need to take away their assurance. This enables them to use guilt and shame to control people. Continue reading