Annunciation and Nativitie

Two sonnets of John Donne, from the series of seven entitled ‘La Corona,’ each of which begins with the last line of the previous poem. Salvation to all that will is nigh; That All, which alwayes is All every where, Which cannot sinne, and yet all sinnes must beare, Which cannot die, yet cannot chuse but die, Loe, faithfull Virgin, yeelds himselfe to lye In prison, in thy wombe; and though he there Can take no sinne, nor thou give, yet he’will weare Taken from thence, flesh, which deaths force may trie. Ere by the spheares time was created, thou Wast in his minde, who is thy Sonne, and Brother; Whom thou conceiv’st, conceiv’d; yet thou art now Thy Makers maker, and thy Fathers mother; Thou’hast light in darke; and shutst in...

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Divine generosity

To begin with, a little Christmas quiz. Who wrote the following? I am fully persuaded that the vast majority of the human race will share in the beatitudes and glories of our Lord’s redemption. I’ve noticed a few Methodist friends who blog following a meme asking them to post five things they love about being Methodist. Obviously, we couldn’t do it as Baptists (how to get it down to only five?!), but it has struck me that they, and others they link to, all one way or another pick up on the Arminianism of the tradition, usually by contrasting the openness of Methodist soteriology with an imagined opposing view that salvation is limited to ‘the chosen few’. Chatting with another Methodist friend, Tom Greggs, when he came up to give us...

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Irish Evangelical response to civil partnerships

Glen posted a link to an interesting document produced by the Evangelical Alliance Ireland (an entirely separate organisation from the Evangelical Alliance UK) in response to the current Irish Civil Partnerships Bill. The EAI’s response is well-summed up in the phrase Glen highlights in his blog post: …as followers of a just and compassionate God we can recognise the justice and fairness of providing some legal protection for the reality of both same-sex and opposite-sex cohabiting relationships. As the rest of the document makes clear, the EAI is not softening its commitment to traditional Christian teaching on marriage at all, but arguing that, in a culture where other patterns of family life are now extremely common, it is a matter of justice that...

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Finally: evangelical theology

This is a slightly embarrassing confession to make, but I have just last week come up with a definition of ‘evangelical theology’ which I find convincing. As I have written articles on the subject for significant reference works, intervened publicly in controversies over evangelical identity, and chaired the theological commission of the Evangelical Alliance for the past couple of years, this might seem slightly late in the day – hence my embarrassment. For reasons some will know, I have had to be thinking about defining the boundaries of evangelicalism once again in recent weeks, and I think that I have seen something new (to me at least) and helpful (to me at least). Perhaps some story would help to explain this. I joined the Evangelical...

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