Paul’s “Women Problem” and #churchtoo (part 1)

“What do we do with 1 Timothy 2:15? How does it fit with Paul’s theology?” asked one of our Union Learning Community students?

This is the verse that goes:

15 But women will be saved through childbearing,[a] assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty

It’s the kind of verse that preachers hope someone else on the teaching team will get.  It’s not just something for theological students to puzzle over before sitting their exams. You will have read my recent post that picked up on the #churchtoo hashtag and one of the arguments being made is that the cover for sexual harassment and abuse in the church is provided by our theology. Therefore, the answer is to change our theology and to stop interpreting the Bible, especially verses like this so literally. Continue reading

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Scandal (2 Samuel 13)

Q “How do I balance knowing that I am forgiven with not excusing my sin because I have eternal life as a free gift?”

A “You don’t. Instead we need to know the difference between excusing sin and knowing that we are justified. I excuse sin because I think I have still got to carry the burden of guilt and shame. So I am tempted to try and minimise it. The gospel tells me that I don’t need to. God forgives me and calls me righteous. Jesus takes the burden of my guilt and shame on himself. This means I can be and must be completely honest about the full weight of sin, guilt and shame I carry.

That’s why 2 Samuel doesn’t back off from the full horror of David’s sin and its awful consequences.  That’s why we can step into this story even though it will be challenging and painful as our own hearts are revealed. Continue reading

Power, sex, abuse and the local church

On Sunday I stated that the church should not be a place where people are made vulnerable because of harassment and abuse from others (often though not exclusively men) who use power to manipulate and control for their own personal gratification. Continue reading

Sex and power

What is power?[1]

Q asked at 21 CD youthclub last week

-Power = strength, might, force, dynamic. It’s to do with authority. It’s often linked to money.

-Power at play – Westminster, Hollywood

-Sin and power – who is in control …what kind of authority?

“God’s power is very different” – place your life within his power, authority and care.

Why? Continue reading

Temptation, Power and Sin (2 Samuel 11)

Why we need to talk about Sin

We need to talk about sin. It’s the last thing we want to talk about, especially in church. Church is where we sing happy songs and talk about how God is love and we are saved by grace.  Sin encroaches on our safe space. Continue reading

Politicians, Power, sex and scandal (2 Samuel and the current crisis)

We’re about to teach through a section of 2 Samuel that includes

–          The humiliation of David’s ambassadors by foreign ruler

–          David’s affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah

–          David’s son Amnon raping his half-sister Tamar

–          Absalom’s coup and public taking of his father’s concubines to have sex with

A common theme throughout this story of men exercising their power through sex, controlling and harming others for their own satisfaction.  They do that with the knowledge and implicit support of others who use this knowledge for their own gain.[1]

This series has been planned for a long time, so God’s timing is perfect. Here we are with sex scandals in Hollywood and Westminster, with men standing accused of using power to exercise control over others, tales of harassment and sexual violence whilst people in the know kept their mouths shut.  Particularly in Westminster, the suspicion is that party whips, journalists and rival politicians may be tempted when scandal comes to their attention to stay silent and use the knowledge for their own advantage. Continue reading

The problem with prejudice – another perspective (part 2)

Last week, Sarah Champion was forced to resign from the Shadow Cabinet. What did she do wrong? Well she wrote an article for the Sun in which she said

“Britain has a problem with Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”[1] Continue reading