Justice, The Church and Repentance

My dad tells the story of an occasion when he went to preach at another church. He rode out on his motorbike and arrived at the front door in his leathers with his helmet under his arm. A lady greeted him at the door with the immortal line:

“I don’t think we want your sort here.”

When he explained that he was the visiting preacher, she became extremely flustered. Continue reading

Justice in the Church


One of the fascinating things we see in the New Testament is Paul’s confidence in the local church as a place where justice can be done.

“When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers! Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So, you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? But instead, one believer[b] sues another—right in front of unbelievers!”[1]

This is fascinating. The first place where people should start to receive and experience justice is in the church.  This happens first of all because as we have seen entry to the church is through the Gospel, membership of this new community comes through faith in Christ. This means Continue reading

Justice (Proverbs 21)

In November 1974, the IRA detonated three bombs in Birmingham, two in pubs at the Rotunda and on New Street, one Image result for the birmingham pub bombings
in a bank on the Hagley Road.  21 people were killed. Six men were arrested, charged, convicted and put in prison.  In 1990 they were finally released, new evidence showed that they had been wrongly convicted.  They had suffered injustice. So too had the victims of the original bombing because the true culprits had not been punished.

What is your experience of justice? Some of us as parents, managers, union reps, church leaders etc  have a responsibility for seeing that justice is done.

Most of us will at some point seek justice:  a fair wage, a decent home to live in, an insurance claim, our immigration case. What is your experience of justice? Sadly, many people experience injustice Continue reading

Can I be a faithful follower of Jesus without attending church? (5 Reasons why the answer is “No”)

This is a question that @PremierRadio asked on twitter today. At last count 38% voted yes, 52% voted “no” and 10 % not sure.

How would you answer?

I voted “No.” Here are my reasons.

1.       It is actually the wrong question to start with. Church is not a venue or an event that you attend. Church is the people of God. You don’t attend a church, you are part of the church. If you belong to Jesus then you belong to his family meaning that you are a member of the world wide and historic church. Your membership of The Church is reflected in and demonstrated by your membership of a local church. Continue reading

10 ways to improve Biblical Literacy

Here are some further thoughts on improving Biblical Literacy.

  1. It starts with children.  Look at your teaching programme for your Sunday School and also what you do with your midweek clubs.  We try to use a programme with our 4-11s that will take them through the whole Bible.  With our 11-16s, they are either joining in the main Sunday morning teaching programme at our 9:30 service or have their own study group that follows the same teaching as the main sermon at our 11:15 service.
  2. Encourage people to learn the books of the Bible so that they know their way around it. Talk to them about how and why it is structured the way it is. Explain about the different types of literature including narrative, poetry, prophecy.
  3. Plan in opportunities to give overviews on how the whole Bible fits together. This might include a teaching series or even special days such as “walk through the Bible” events. We have tried

Continue reading

The Challenge of Biblical illiteracy

I was at a conference recently where one of the topics was to do with preaching. The speaker (like me) believed in the importance of expository preaching.  He stated that one of the challenges today is that many people sitting in our churches do not know their Bibles. This means that we are often preaching to and doing bible studies with people who are “Biblically illiterate.” Continue reading

Preaching to the Affections means that we need to read our communities and our congregations (Preaching to the Affections part 2)

What he said was right. It was faithful to God’s Word, the exegesis was spot on, the doctrine sound a the application flowed neatly out of the text -and there was plenty of it. However, something wasn’t quite right.  There was something about the tone. It seemed to miss the mark.  Have you ever sat through a sermon like that? I’m sure most of us have. In fact, if we are honest, most of us who preach will also recognise that we have far too often been guilty of preaching a sermon like that.  Now sometimes it is just that we didn’t quite hit it, sometimes we are tired, sometimes our own circumstances mean that we are passionate about something that is true and right for us but not for the congregation. That’s why I find myself increasingly thinking about how I exegete or read the congregation and how I exegete my own heart as well as the Bible text. Continue reading