‘Imagine’, the best-selling single by John Lennon is one of the most recognisable melodies in pop music and opens with the line ‘Imagine there’s no heaven’. What follows with the lyrics is a picture of a world without borders, possessions or religion where some kind of utopia exists and where division would be replaced by unity. Here is the opening section:
In our church landscape, we tend to accept a structure where our church leaders are paid workers who draw a salary that comes from the tithing of the fellowship. However, it is worthwhile to see how this measures up to NT teaching on church function. What does the Bible teach about paid ministry? Furthermore, did the early church set a precedent where leaders made a career of paid ministry?
Those who use Scripture to support the concept of paid ministry tend to lean heavily on one seemingly obscure verse from the OT which would attract very little attention were it not quoted twice by Paul in the New Testament:
‘Do… Continue reading
The vast majority of those living in the United Kingdom will have only known one monarch. Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952 which means you would need to be in your mid-seventies to remember her predecessor and father King George VI.
It would be hard to find anyone on the planet with a broader wealth of life experience given her array of duties which include meeting people and dignitaries from cultures all around the world throughout such a long time period. It is staggering to think the fourteen different UK Prime Ministers have sworn allegiance to her since she ascended to the throne, the first of which was Sir… Continue reading
There may not be a year in recent history that we’re more glad to get to the end of than 2020! As we are in December and approaching Christmas, people know that the end of the year is near. Typically, once their Christmas holiday starts, the festivities begin, and then not back at work until a New Year begins. For this reason, and particularly this year, people have been wanting Christmas to start sooner, encouraging the decorations to go up in November to help the ‘Christmas spirit’. The real reason for Christmas is all but lost in our society, advent time is now more about Christmas parties and having a… Continue reading
2020 will go down in history as one of the most eventful years of our generation. While it is a year that most people want to see the back of, it should really act as a catalyst to grab our attention! 2020 has seen major events that will undoubtedly shape our future – there will be no going back to ‘normal’ as new ways and ‘rules’ will be introduced that will be here to stay. This should be a wake up call to each of us to look at what is happening around the world and see that we are heading to events of Biblical proportions.
The year… Continue reading
Taking any Bible verse in isolation should always be done cautiously and will often lead to a distorted view of Scripture. The context and co-texts around any Bible passage are crucial when seeking an accurate interpretation. It is not unusual to be confronted with a barrage of isolated verses that are used to attack or silence someone, usually within the church environment. The ‘Do Not Judge’ phrase used by Jesus Christ is one of the classic examples and may well be the most misused verse in the Bible.
‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged.’ (Matthew 7:1 NIV)
This verse is often used as though it is the… Continue reading
Over recent weekends, we have witnessed violent protests as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement responds to the tragic and indefensible death of George Floyd in the US. As the fallout spills into the UK, last weekend’s protests were met with counter-protests this weekend which also ended in violence; a situation made worse by the unqualified endorsement of BLM by most of the mainstream media. The sight of the UK police ‘taking the knee’ before BLM protesters and the defacing of symbols of British history has added to the sense of unease and polarised an already volatile situation.
Although we unequivocally support the notion that black lives matter, we fear… Continue reading