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All articles in category Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Article

March 2021
Articles > Biblical/theological > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Why churches must gather for corporate worship

Qualifications There are scenarios in which there is a convincing case for churches not gathering, for example because of the severity of the health risk if they do gather or because of the vulnerability of a particular congregation as a whole. There are individuals who should not gather because doing so would be recklessly…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Solemnity and celebration, exclusivity and inclusivity

The Lord’s Supper is an occasion that is both solemn and celebratory. In the Lord’s Supper we remember the suffering and death of the innocent Son of God and we confess that it was our sin that made it necessary. In the Lord’s Supper we rejoice that God made a way for us to be saved and we proclaim with confidence that…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Judge people! (like Jesus did)

In his book The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, Eric Bargerhuff surveys an array of popularly botched verses – misunderstood by believers and unbelievers alike. What tops the whole list? Jesus’s statement in Matthew 7:1: ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged.’ One could argue, Bargerhuff says, that this is ‘by far…

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Article

February 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Life in a goldfish bowl

The following is an excerpt from the book, ‘The Last Valley’, written by Graham Heaps and published by Evangelical Press. The book is an honest, graphic, and affectionately told account of the closing year of the life of Graham’s wife, Sue, dying of cancer. A review of the book is published in this edition…

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Article

February 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

I fear God, and I’m afraid of God

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Not only that, but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of the Christian life. The Bible makes it clear that to love God, to honour God, to obey God, we must fear God. But ‘fear’ is a word with many dimensions, many…

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Article

February 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Burnout and the minister

Have you heard of the phrase ‘moral injury’? Probably not. It is more likely you have if you are American because moral injury is a medical term used in the United States for what we have long called burnout. This occurs when someone becomes chronically exhausted and forms highly negative views about themselves and…

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Article

February 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The Apocrypha: those mysterious extra books

How well do you know the Apocrypha? The what? The Apocrypha. The word means the ‘hidden’ works. And it’s a collection of writings that you’ll find in some Bibles, usually placed between the Old Testament and the New Testament. They were written (with one exception) in the 400 years after the Old Testament had…

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Article

January 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The search for assurance

Over the years Christian friends have come to me with all sorts of questions and problems. Of all the personal problems they share with me, perhaps the one that comes up most often is the problem of assurance. And it’s also one of the most difficult problems to address. The problem of assurance What…

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Article

January 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Dealing with criticism

‘Save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me, lest they tear me like a lion, rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver’ (Psalm 7:1-2). How do you react when you are criticised for who you are or what you do? Do you automatically become defensive and start screaming…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

This year has been dark, yet after darkness comes light

The year 2020 has been lived in ‘darkness and the shadow of death’. The whole world has been plunged into gloom by the coronavirus pandemic. Many lives have been lost. Many more people live in fear: fear of Covid-19, or fear of its effects on their families and their finances. A second spike always…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A question of trust

The year 2020 has raised many issues of trust. Can we trust the government? What’s their strategy? Haven’t they flip-flopped numerous times? And scientists? Have they really been objective in presenting data about coronavirus? We know MPs, scientists, and other advisers have broken lockdown rules themselves. We are also aware of the rise of…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Scrooge’s Christmas conversion: A psychiatrist reflects on its credibility

Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the most famous names in English literature. Scrooge has become a synonym for miser as a result of his brilliant characterisation in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, a family film favourite each Christmas. In this short novel Dickens commits many errors about the afterlife, if we take his description…

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