Of Baptists, General and Particular

A question occurred to me this week; Baptist historians are very accustomed to speaking of the ‘General Baptists’ and the ‘Particular Baptists’ to denote the Calvinistic and Arminian streams of the movement in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; but when did those terms become current? Thanks to the wonders of EEBO (Early English Books Online; an utterly magnificent research tool), I can say with confidence that the answer is ‘surprisingly early’. Thomas Crosby’s 1738 History of the English Baptists was my first try: vol. I, p. 173, says this: It may be proper to observe here, that there have been two parties of the English Baptists in England ever since the beginning of the reformation; those that have followed...

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Job opportunities in Durham, UK

I’ve been asked to advertise the following posts, and am very happy to do so. CODEC is made up of great people doing great work. CODEC are pleased to invite applications for three new posts within this exciting and pioneering Research Project based at St John’s College in the University of Durham. CODEC are looking for: Curator for the Digital Discipleship Project (full-time, Grade 6) Research Fellow in Digital Resources (full-time, Grade 6) Research Fellow in Biblical Literacy (full-time, Grade 6) Curator:  http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/codec/JDPSCurator.pdf CODEC is looking for a key creative person with a background in theology to develop and curate a major digital platform exploring discipleship in the 21st century, as well as to engage in research...

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Spiritus: A poem for Pentecost

Spiritus   De sensibili autem demonstratione spiritus sancti sive per columbae speciem sive per linguas igneas… (Augustine, De Trin. IV.xxi)   As dove to him you came; To us you come as fire. Soft, his soul, and smooth Conformed from conception To be your habitation.   We, though, are misshapen, Angular, deformed, refractory. Like agate eggs our hearts Are stone Lined with scattered, shattered spikes, That surround a light-starved void.   We must be Transformed Burnt clean Melted And then remade.   You sear and cauterize us, Holy Dove. You burn long-calcified layers of self; Blazing, you fill the space within, until Our molten souls are ready to be Reformed By some almighty potter Possessed of flame-proof hands.   But when our...

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‘Home for Good’

Home for Good began life as a campaign started by the UK Evangelical Alliance to promote church involvement in fostering and adoption. It has continued as a movement jointly sponsored by EAUK, Care for the Family, and CCPAS. It is now becoming a charity in its own right, to have a permanent existence. I’ve been on the council of the EA for about four years now, and a member of its board for the last couple; I’m honoured to be involved with a great organisation doing many wonderful things, and I’m proud of most of the things to which we, as a board, have been able to give permission, funding, prayer, and encouragement. But Home for Good is probably the one thing we’ve started that I am most inspired by. I remember the lightbulb moment when...

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Baptists and sexuality

UPDATE: I reaffirm everything I said about BUGB handling this discussion astonishingly well, but I now understand that what I heard to be a change of policy was not…

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‘A love I seemed to lose with my lost saints’: Mission and evangelical identity

This weekend passed was our church mission weekend; it was excellent. It was led by Eddie Arthur of Wycliffe Bible Translators, ably supported by Sue Arthur, Judy and Iska, two of our members who spent seventeen years in Papua New Guinea working with Wycliffe, and continue to be involved in Bible translation from their present home in Fife, and Hilary and Peter, who worked with Wycliffe in South Asia and now work in the UK office, and with whom we also have long-standing links. I have, I think, three reflections as a result that I would like to blog about: one on the place of mission in evangelical identity; one on conversion; and one on the Bible. One of the wonderful things about the weekend was the connections: these are our people; we know them and love them;...

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Christianity, Cameron, and Rev

David Cameron’s several interventions during Easter week concerning his own faith and his perception of the UK as a ‘Christian country’ aroused much interest, and more derision; by contrast, in it’s third series, the BBC2 sitcom Rev has apparently reached that level of popularity which requires newspaper columnists to take pot-shots at it (see Tim Stanley in the Telegraph and, much more interestingly in my estimation, James Mumford in the Guardian). Unravelling the various lines of a media and social media feeding frenzy like the one that surrounded the Prime Minister’s comments is not easy. His narrative of his own faith journey, which has clearly deepened in recent years following the death of his son Ivan, deserved much more...

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