Thought Leaders: Coleridge, the Clerisy, and Catalyst Live

It was a privilege to be a part of the ‘Catalyst Live’ event organised and sponsored by BMS World Mission a few weeks back. The vision, the mix of speakers, and the organisation, were each simply excellent; I got asked to give a couple of talks, but also to engage personally with Jürgen Moltmann. Hearing him tell his own story, of discovering the hope that is in Christ as he read the Bible whilst a prisoner of war in a camp in Kilmarnock, was profoundly moving; talking to him at some length as we planned the interview sessions – well; I have disagreed with aspects of his theology in public, and I stand by those points; but his personal graciousness, gentleness, and humility were utterly captivating and disarming. (At one point, as we shared a...

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On the Incarnation: Four Chalcedonian Sonnets

‘Haec et mea fides est quando haec est catholica fides’ (Aug. De Trin., I.iv.7) 1. Cyril’s Second Letter to Nestorius  ‘Mother of God’ the Fathers said, and we, If we in faith with them are still to stand, Must say the same. The One born of Mary Is God in truth, united with a man. God – of the Father before all time born; Man of his mother, late in time he comes. God unchanging, not by suff’ring torn; Man in flesh and soul united with the Son. This union wondrous comes not late in life But in the womb occurs at once. And so The Holy Mother does not just bear Christ, But God the Word himself in her does grow.   In pain she pushes God, to this world come; Honour the mother, then, to confess the Son.     2. Cyril’s...

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An Unapologetic Meditation

Francis Spufford’s marvellous Unapologetic turns at key moments on a simple phrase: ‘more can be mended than you know’. This is the phrase that encompasses the resurrection for Spufford, as Jesus speaks to Mary; it is the phrase that ends the whole book. I could write a lot about the book – it is not just brilliant, but necessary for every pastor in Western Europe, at least – but this is a simple and personal prayer growing out of my response to it, and particularly my response to/reflections on the phrase ‘more can be mended than you know.’   A voice cut through her tears, through her grief, through her anger, At the loss of the body That she had come to honour. A voice spoke out her name, As the body it stood, As...

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Once again: on being unapologetically charismatic

‘Are you a closet charismatic, Steve?’ I was having lunch with someone I like and respect greatly when he threw this one at me a month or two back. My response was heartfelt and immediate: ‘What do you mean, “closet”?’ On this issue, I’m out and proud – although hardly uncritical of the movement as a whole, or in its various strands. Because of this, I initially looked seriously at the first reports from the ‘Strange Fire’ conference that happened across the pond a while back; I have to admit that I quickly lost interest: there are some serious theological criticisms to be made of the charismatic movement, but there was no-one on that platform capable of making them. I picked up a farrago of...

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