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

Advertisements

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!
Continue reading

Resurrection: Fantasy, Fact, Faith.

Surprised-by-Joy_CS-Lewis_620

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

Questions

Outline:

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

Revved up with somewhere to go!

Saturday 27th September will be forever engrained on my memory. My Ordination Day and Induction at Worthing Tabernacle. It was such a precious day in so many ways – but it was also a ‘weighty’ day as I made promise’s before Almighty God and before a congregation of church members, family and friends:

Doug, before Almighty God and before this congregation, we ask you:
Do you believe in the One Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and are you trusting Him for your salvation?
Reply: I do so believe and trust.
Do you believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God and the only rule of faith and practice?
Reply: I do so believe and practice.
Is it your intention to love and serve the Lord your God and the members of Worthing Tabernacle, working together with your brothers in leadership, for the good of this local church and for the glory of the Lord?
Reply: By the grace of God it is.
Will you preach the Word of God, do the work of an evangelist, shepherd the flock and discharge your calling faithfully, according to the grace and the gifts given to you?
Reply: With God’s help I will 
Doug, in view of the promises you have made, we now commission you to serve as the Assistant Pastor of this church. May God bless you and be with you as you serve with us. 

It’s a week on now from when I made those promises and as I reflect on them I am excited, Continue reading

Why ‘Not Very Reverend’?

So getting to complete 3 years of theological education is a great blessing and a privilege. You learn a lot, you change A LOT and you mature a lot – what doesn’t change or go away is the memories of all your friends ‘back home’ who grew up with you! (Mark 6:4!) Growing up I never took myself too seriously, and was always available for a laugh. I was a joker (and occasionally bordered on being an inappropriate one!). So you can imagine it was met with a bit of a chuckle when I told a friend that I was going to be ordained by the church and would technically be a Reverend! “Doug the not very Reverend more like” she said. I of course laughed at this, but it made me think – she was absolutely right! The title of reverend has long been associated with ordained ministers of the church, but what does it really mean? If you investigate the definition of ‘reverend’ you’ll find it means ‘worthy of being revered; entitled to reverence.’ Worthy? Worthy to be revered – I don’t think so! There is one man only who is truly worthy of being revered, who is entitled to reverence. That is of course the God-man Jesus! He is the one who is worthy of reverence, and it is he whom we all should be pointing towards, not ourselves, or even other great men. Anyway, when my friend said that, I thought it would make a good title for my blog – kinda sets the tone of what you might be looking to read here!

Thinking things through

I could be better at thinking.

I’m a pretty simple guy (keep your comments to yourself) and naturally take things at face value. This of course has its draw backs in that not many things in life are as simple or straight forward as they may seem to be – and so I want to be better at thinking about things and reflecting on the things that I see, read and think about. This is increasingly an important thing for us as Christians to do as we seek to understand and engage with the world around us – and therefore, perhaps even more important for church leaders as we seek to demonstrate how to engage with a post-christian culture.

I have found, through completing my theology degree, that I am best at thinking about things when I have been given something to write about (nothing gets the old grey matter working like an assessment!). This is where this blog comes in – I have started it to give me somewhere to write about the things that I read, watch and play – hoping that having an outlet for my thoughts will cause me to think deeper and more carefully about those things.

Whilst this blog is a personal blog, there is a few things it is not: Its not a daily diary of my life, or of my Family. In fact, my wife and kids will rarely be mentioned here – not because they are an unimportant part of my life – they are incredibly important, and it is because of that that I’m not going to be sharing every funny and precious little thing they say – they’re mine. Its also not trying to be deep or original – thousands of people will have had these thoughts before me and will have expressed them better and more clearly.

So – welcome to my head! I know its a little bit scary and empty in here, but hopefully it will fill up with thoughts, ideas and reflections on the books I read, the films I watch and the games I play. All of these thoughts will be from an unashamedly Christ-centred worldwide. These are my thoughts, and I reserve the right to change my mind and most importantly…. to be wrong!