"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

God’s moral law

August 16, 2017



It seems that we’re living in a post-truth world, surrounded by fake news in a post-modern culture of extreme moral relativism. How many times have you heard someone say, ‘Well that might be true for you, but it isn’t true for me.’ or ‘This is my truth’?

A difficulty with moral relativism is that right and wrong become simply a matter of opinion. There is no intrinsic rightness or wrongness and no substantive or qualitative difference between 'Don't drive through a red light' and 'Don't murder'. If there is no external source of reference to point to, then everyone makes their own truth claims which are impossible to assess for moral validity (as opposed to social convention). This certainly isn't a new idea (Plato says 'Man is the measure of all things') and there were people in the Bible who just did what they wanted (Judges 17:6 for example). The result is a serious inability to know right from wrong.

However, God defines right and wrong. He has put in our hearts a recognition of these absolutes in the form of our conscience, which we can choose to listen to or attempt to quash because we want to go our own way and live a self-centred life. If we choose to listen to God, he delights to lead us into a life of purpose, direction and joy (although it must be noted that the Bible does not promise freedom from suffering and pain this side of the new creation. In fact, it tells us that we'll expect to suffer as his followers!)

If we see God as a distant taskmaster, setting out rules that we must follow otherwise we'll be punished, then Christianity looks horrible. If, however, we know God to be a kind Father who loves us abundantly, who wants the best for us in everything and is the very definition of love and goodness, then the moral values that derive from him will be freeing and life-giving rather than restrictive.

Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:10 NIV

 

11 Christian musicians who are worth a listen

August 9, 2017


I always like getting recommendations of new artists to check out, so I hope you’ll enjoy discovering some new favourites here. In no particular order:

  1. Jane Kitson
    North-East based Jane Kitson is a talented singer-songwriter, pianist, guitarist (and probably plays other instruments as well), with a great voice.

  2. Aaron Taylor
    Soulful Aaron Taylor is so mellow and his R&B sounds are silky smooth.

  3. mStork
    mStork is ‘not your average rap package, unabashedly expansive and genuinely rebellious'. His l...

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Philip and the Ethiopian: Lessons in evangelism

July 31, 2017


I recently preached at Kelvin Grove church in Gateshead and my text was Acts 8: 26 - 40. I’m not going to recreate the sermon here or go into the background and exegesis of the passage, but I did want to highlight 4 things we can learn about Philip’s approach to evangelism:

(1) Relying on the on the Holy Spirit
Clear that Philip relied on and was directed by the Spirit (v.26, 29, 39). He was open to going where God told him to go in the power that God gave him, and we need to do the same. W...

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Cryptic Christians Quiz

July 24, 2017


Every now and again I like to post something a bit lighthearted on my blog, and this time I've written a series of cryptic clues to lead you to the names of famous Christians past and present. See if you can get them all without looking stuff up on Google!

  1. Redeemed, eighth month, adolescent 
  2. Dad's Army's Mr Dunn, paper-fasteners, Oxford crime-solver
  3. Mr Major has a bony foot deformity
  4. Fairy take goat, Golden cereal
  5. Ultimate, toilet, vehicle, uncooked-bread
  6. Triple-jumping puritan theologian?
  7. Mr Presco...

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The C word: Why is celibacy so misunderstood and undervalued?

July 3, 2017

Celibacy is like a dirty word in our culture - something to be ashamed of. People don't know how to react when I say I'm celibate (but it ranges from embarrassed silence to pity, to disbelief, to thinking that there must be something seriously wrong with me, to being intrigued or impressed). It may be misunderstood in our culture, but celibacy is liberating, demanding, exhilarating and above all, a gift from God. 

Part of the problem is that our society equates intimacy with sex and treats sex...

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9 recommended books for skeptics and those investigating Christianity

June 30, 2017

Maybe you’re already a Christian and would like some good books to give to friends who are interested in your faith, or would like to make sure that you have rigorously thought through what you believe. Or maybe you have doubts about Christianity and objections to the claims Christians make. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, I would highly recommend the books below.

  1. Gospel of John
    The best place to start is with one of the gospel accounts in the Bible itself. They all have their own...

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After the Rain - Stewart Garry

June 19, 2017
I love this piece of music.


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Educational, inspirational and funny treats for your ears: 12 of my favourite podcasts

May 26, 2017


I find that listening to podcasts helps me to engage with big ideas, be more informed about the world around me, and enjoy some top-class entertainment. Maybe you haven’t tried podcasts yet, or maybe you’re looking for some new favourites. There are thousands of brilliant free podcasts out there just waiting to be discovered, but where do you start? Well, hopefully this list of my 12 favourites will point you in the right direction.

All of these are available free through iTunes, Google Pl...

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Doesn’t religion treat women terribly?

May 23, 2017


One of the many reasons that I love Jesus is his radical approach to women. At a time when women were treated as possessions and had virtually no voice in public life, Jesus unequivocally saw women as equal in worth and value to men.

Luke 7: 36 - 50 records the account of Jesus eating at a Pharisee's house when a prostitute weeps over his feet, kisses them and pours perfume on them in an intimate gesture of devotion. It's hard to describe how shocked and horrified the Pharisee (an up...


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Letting God Drive: Pain, prayer and the Holy Spirit

May 21, 2017


I suffer from Bipolar Disorder and have to be careful about my routine in order to keep my mood stable. I definitely overdid things in the first few months of this year, which led to me feeling burnt out and struggling with low mood. The doctor signed me off work so that I could rest and recuperate and my colleagues and friends have been very supportive in recognising this need to regroup.

The first few weeks were very difficult and I didn’t feel capable of much, but I very clearly felt held...

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