Stephen Watkinson explains some of the issues that led him out of the Church of England and why integrity is much more important than apparent ministry goals.
When to use your language knowledge
‘I have been arguing that three conditions must be true before you pummel your conversant with your knowledge of the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic text. First, you need to actually know the languages. The second condition, and here we turn to the subject of the present post: there must be no other possible way to make to point you intend to make.’
Should gay conversion therapy be banned?
David Robertson writes: ‘Psychology professor Lisa M Diamond wrote an influential book, Sexual Fluidity, in which she demonstrated from her research that over a period of ten years, a significant number of women involved in that research had reported changing their sexual orientation. I know several people who have done the same. So why should it be that if someone seeks help in trying to come to terms with their feelings and their temptations, they should be denied that? Do people not have the right to seek help? Or does choice and autonomy only apply if we want to make what our moral guardians regard as the right choice?’
Are we missing the bigger point?
‘What the algorithm at its most basic says is; if you are from there you can’t do any better than this. You can’t break free. You can’t get out. You can’t do that well or be that bright. That is tragic, that ought to make us angry at the injustice. But actually it is only putting into numbers and formulas what society already does and says. Inequality is real in the UK and what is desperately sad is that so many of us give it so little thought, content in our middle class bubbles of good schools and high achieving family, naïvely assuming everyone has equality of opportunity and support.’
Success without relevance
‘The fact that an agency is able to tell a number of success stories and can raise support from the church in the UK does not necessarily mean that what it is doing on the field is relevant or appropriate. Boards have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the agencies they govern are relevant to their context. This means that they need to be missiologically aware and that they should have processes in place to regularly review what it is the agency is doing and the context in which they are doing it.’
Wonko the Sane
Keith Mathison looks at an old character from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Wonko the Sane – and wonders if he shines a light on our current cultural moment.
From the archive: When is the Lord leading?
‘The fact is, the Lord is working all the time. Nothing happens that is outside of his control. He guides his people through scripture, circumstance and volition. This means he guides us when we read the Bible, as he opens and closes doors for us and through our own decision-making (which is also – despite what Molinists and Arminians want to claim – under the Lord’s sovereignty). If nothing happens outside of the Lord’s determined will, then all godly and prayerful decisions we take are Spirit-led. If what we are doing doesn’t contravene scripture, our circumstances allow it (how could we do it otherwise!) and it seems right to us, that is a Spirit-led decision – whether we make it spontaneously or not.’