Trick or Treat!

Tonight I went Trick or Treating for the first time in my life… and I’m thinking about doing it again…

You would think that a good Calvinist and Reformed Baptist would be writing about the 500th anniversary of the reformation today, and not Halloween – but it is precisely because of reformation theology that I can write this post, where as a few years ago I never would have dreamt of it.

We never went ‘Trick or Treating’ when I was a kid, it just wasn’t something our family did. “Well, we’re Christians, and Christians don’t really ‘do’ Halloween.” I grew up accepting this, and believing it – I didn’t fully understand it, but I trusted my parents, and the teaching of my church’s tradition. I love that my mum and dad were careful about what they exposed me and my brother to, and that they trusted their own church leaders. But now that I’m a pastor and a parent myself ‘because my mum said so’ is no longer a good enough answer! I needed to work through it myself. And part of that process was talking to my mum about how they came to the decision they did when I was a child.

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Because He Lives

Today marks the anniversary of Nana’s death.

Nana was a really special lady, and I still miss her, I still get a catch in my throat whenever I sing ‘In Christ Alone’ or when singing the third verse of ‘Because he Lives’ (we happened to sing that several weeks in a row at church whilst Nana was ill in hospital). But whilst I still get choked up because I miss her, I’m not scared for her, I’m not even worried I won’t see her again – in fact I’m certain I will!

I take great comfort in knowing that Nana knew Jesus – Continue reading

Mary did you know?

“Mary did you know… that a song was going to be written on the assumption that you suffered a severe bout of amnesia the moment the angel had left you…”

Pentatonix did a great rendition of this song a couple of years ago, and its currently got over 91.5 Million views on YouTube! But the problem with that is that over 91 million people have heard some pretty poor theology…

Theologically it is a weak song. But…I have a confession…I quite like it! Having said that, I also enjoy Wizzard’s ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ and Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas everybody’ but I don’t want to sing them in church! Nor does me enjoying them mean there is any spiritual worth to them. But I think there is something about ‘Mary did you know’ that is worth commending, and it is this: Continue reading

Back to it?

5 posts in 2 years! Boom!

Yeh – I’ve not yet found my inner blogger – something which I’m hoping to change. I really like the idea of blogging as a means of helping me grapple with issues and think things through (as I said in my first post). But I think I’m also worried about writing something stupid! If you know me at all, you’ll know there is a very good chance of that happening! And so I don’t want to write anything until I have worked out exactly what I think, why I think it, and what objections might be brought by others to my thoughts. All this of course means that I never write anything!
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Resurrection: Fantasy, Fact, Faith.


Over Easter at Worthing Tab we had our usual Maundy Thursday seminar. For the last couple of years we have looked at the subject of suffering and how we can only understand the suffering in the world by understanding the suffering of the cross. This year however we had a seminar on the resurrection of Jesus. In the seminar I wanted to explore the resurrection under three headings – fantasy, fact and faith. You can listen to a rough audio recording of the seminar via SoundCloud linked below – I’ve also given the seminar outline below. I should also say thanks to Glen Scrivener for his help in thinking through some of the issues for this seminar.

Resurrection Seminar Part 1

Resurrection Seminar Part 2



1. Welcome

2. Introduction

The purpose of our Seminar this evening is to examine the Resurrection of Jesus Continue reading

Lost in translation?

I was thinking about bible translations recently, and the importance of selecting one to use consistently through a preaching ministry. I think it is important for a church to be taught from the same translation every week or the danger is that the preacher might lean towards selecting the translation that best suits the preachers point from week to week. Using a translation consistently gives a congregation confidence in the bible and the integrity of the preacher. But the question then is which translation do you select? I’ll make no secret of the fact that I have been a fan of the ESV ever since I came across it about 6-7 years ago. For me it combines the accuracy of a more literal ‘word for word’ translation philosophy such as in the KJV with the relative readability of the NIV. Of course some people would disagree with that! There was one church that I was in discussion with about a pastoral position who were in the process of changing from the NIV84 translation and were on the verge of deciding to use the NIV11. I am quite concerned about some of the desicions made in the NIV11,  and so during the interview process I asked how open they would be to using the ESV instead, they said not at all, that the ESV was not readable and as they were seeking to reach non Christians, it was more important that the translation the church uses be readable. I pushed the point and asked what was more important to them as a leadership team – whether something was readable, or the content of what was being read. Yeh…I didn’t get offered the post! This was one of the many reasons I was so thrilled when I was called to the Tab. They were in the process of doing the same – moving on from the NIV84 – but they had already settled on the ESV. Win!

The problem is that the NIV11 uses a ‘thought for thought’ translation rather than a ‘word for word’ translation which causes the translators to make exegetical decisions, instead of just translation decisions. Continue reading