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All articles in category Guest column

December 2017
Articles > Guest column

William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade

This month marks the end of Kingston upon Hull’s year as the UK’s City of Culture. One part of Hull’s celebrations has been remembering William Wilberforce, ‘the friend of humanity’ and Hull’s ‘most illustrious son’. Wilberforce’s untiring efforts to abolish the slave trade were rewarded with that famous Act of Parliament of 1807, an event which historian G. M. Trevelyan called ‘one of the turning events in the history of the world’. William Wilberforce was born in Hull on 24 August 1759. He dedicated his life, to a great extent, to the abolition of the slave trade and ultimately of slavery itself. He said, ‘I...

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October 2017
Articles > Guest column

Still not known

It is the glorious privilege of every believer to be able to say, ‘I know the Lord’. But how well do we know him? That is the issue we began to look at last month. The Saviour is ever with us, as he promised, and his Spirit is ever active within us. Yet our understanding and experience of the Lord is far from what it could be. The disciples had walked together with Jesus for three years, heard the most amazing teaching, seen wonderful displays of compassion and power, spent quiet times in conversation together with him and heard his sublime prayers. Life with Jesus...

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September 2017
Articles > Guest column

A desire to know Christ

‘It is a wonderful thing to know Jesus!’ We would all agree with that. It is something we sing about and rightly rejoice in. Indeed, it is what God promised his people: ‘No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, Know the Lord, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more’ (Jeremiah 31:34). Every believer who has their sins forgiven has a knowledge of the Lord. Jesus confirmed that in John 17:3: ‘This is eternal life: that they may...

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August 2017
Articles > Guest column

Coping with suffering

In responding to suffering, some Christians have wrongly thought that God can only meaningfully comfort us if he suffers with us in his divine nature and experiences our pain (ET Guest Column, July 2017). This is a tempting point of view, but it is the wrong answer to suffering, because God is transcendent and immutable and not acted upon or changed by his creation. He cannot suffer as God. However, his impassibility is good news for men — especially when we consider God’s ultimate answer to sin and suffering is in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Innocent Christ Man’s instinctive question to suffering...

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July 2017
Articles > Guest column

Right and wrong answers to suffering

Suffering is a reality we all experience. Although it is used by some to reject God’s existence, when properly understood, it confirms just how much we need God. But what kind of a God do we need? It is important that we find a thoroughly biblical answer to this question, because many sincere people have proposed wrong answers. Chief among these is the idea of a ‘suffering God’. This is not a new idea. Forms of it arose and were rejected by the early church, for example, patripassianism. New versions became popular in the 20th century with the rise of modern psychology and the tragedy...

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June 2017
Articles > Guest column

Suffering — a real problem

One thing common to all humanity is the perplexing experience of suffering. Notable examples, like wars and earthquakes, make the news headlines, but most suffering is not on the ‘news’. Yet it is known to all as it walks among our friends, family and communities: the loss of a spouse, the death of a child, mental illness, degenerative disease. I sat with a middle-aged woman, her body worn out by long-term drug abuse, recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. She and her partner had decided to marry before she died, but a few days after, he died suddenly beside her at home. She had no...

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May 2017
Articles > Guest column

It’s okay not to be okay

It could be argued that there is something very wrong with the prevailing subculture of much evangelicalism today. We preach the brokenness of life in a messed-up world, but expect our churches to be full of near perfect people. The story is told of a church, outside of which was the following notice: ‘Workshop downstairs; showroom upstairs’. In other words, down here we’re all works-in-progress; in heaven we’ll be the finished products. And workshops are messy places. Yet many people in our churches are struggling massively. The pressure is to keep up appearances. So long as that is achieved, it’s assumed all is well. But,...

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April 2017
Articles > Guest column

Don’t forget that Jesus is alive!

The words of the angel to the two Marys, ‘He is not here; for he is risen’ (Matthew 28:6), changed everything. Despair was vanquished by hope, faith triumphed over doubt, and weakness gave birth to strength. As then, so now. We rightly emphasise the centrality of the cross to our Christian faith. At Calvary, the Lord Jesus Christ took our place, paid the penalty for our sins, and reconciled us to God. Having lived our life, he died our death. The empty tomb, however, is perhaps neglected. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus as both historical fact and doctrinal necessity, but subconsciously at least,...

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