In these times, can we have a hope that is more than the empty platitudes of blind optimism?
My review of David Bentley Hart's 2019 book "That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation".
Exploring what libertarianism is and evaluating it.
A post explaining why I choose to refrain from calling the Scriptures of Israel the "Old Testament", and from calling the Christian Scriptures the "New Testament", as well as an unpacking of the fulfilment theology I personally hold to.
A post exploring if suffering is a problem to be solved or a mystery to be lived with, grappled with and wrestled with. Is it only a mystery/problem for believers?
Examining the premises and presumptions which may be behind the question of the classic problem of suffering.
In a sex-obsessed world, what is the purpose of sexuality for Christian celibates and singles?
A description of mental illness, the relationship between mental health and Christianity, the antinomy between self-denial and self-love, discussion of the meaning of life, and examination of what really brings about happiness.
An evaluative discussion of the politicisation of modern Christian theology and the resulting implication.
A Book review of David Bentley Hart's 2011 book "The Doors of the Sea: Where was God in the Tsunami"
A discussion of my favourite book, “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man” by Fyodor Dostoevsky and how its critique of nihilism can be applied to the so-called “New Atheism” of our day.
Where can we find joy, contentment and satisfaction? How can we pursue wholeness?
Miracles are not just party tricks or magic, but are instead important, deep and powerful signs of God’s existence, His power, His love and His providence.
It is with great pleasure that I reblog this excellent piece I stumbled across recently which simply and accessibly discusses C.S. Lewis’ wise, complex and nuanced general view of Scripture, its authority and Biblical Hermeneutics. Well worth a quick read!
It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers will bring us to Him. When it becomes really necessary (i.e. for our spiritual life, not for controversy or curiosity) to know whether a particular passage is rightly translated or is Myth (but of course Myth specially chosen by God from among countless Myths to…
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You can now listen to the "Theology Seeking Faith in Durham" podcast accompanying this blog for free On iTunes here. as well as on SoundCloud here. and Podbean here. By Ben Somervell
Here are some of my own personal redlines, non-negotiables and positive principles and guidelines for charismatic Christianity and worship: (1) It must be accepted that God gives us a vast, broad, diversified and varied array of different, special and unique gifts including administration, preaching, teaching, explanation, etc... as well as certain very noticeable, clear and … Continue reading A New Manifesto for Charismatic Christianity
Following on from my earlier article: “What is God-breathed all about?”, I would like to focus here on why precisely, how exactly and in what limited and precise set of circumstances, I may finally and reluctantly deem a particular text to not be completely perfect in every way, meaning or sense.
Interactive, Clickable List of Contents (1) Introduction, Disclaimer, and Why I chose to write this piece (2) Is Christian faith rational? If so, to what extent? (3) Why haven't more Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah? (4) Why the "Religious Pluralism" stance does not necessarily and inevitably lead to some significant difference and divergence in … Continue reading ‘But it is not as though the word of God has failed’: A Response to a Comment
A brief article, explaining why and how precisely the “God-of-the-Gaps” argument falls at the first hurdle and does not stand up to proper scrutiny.
https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-gaxad-ba886f Today's podcast features a brief discussion of what we really know about the Kingdom of Heaven, what we think it will be like, how helpful it really is to imagine it, how we can get there, and why, where and how some charismatic evangelical Christians and other radical Christians have made mistakes when trying … Continue reading The Kingdom of Heaven
Interview itself starts at 9:17 with a general introduction and background from 0:00 to 9:16. Welcome to this, the first-ever episode of my new podcast. This week I interviewed a member of the leadership of the True Freedom Trust, "TFT" on human sexuality, particularly focusing on what they same-sex attraction and homosexuality. The discussion was … Continue reading Sexuality Interview
What are the unanswered questions surrounding the Church’s official status quo view of human sexuality?
My review of "Single-Minded: Being single, whole and living life to the full" by Revd Kate Wharton
Is Christ offensive? How, why and to whom? How can He simultaneously be both loving and offensive? How can He be both forgiving and just? How can He be both loving and righteous?
How and why we sometimes slip into the trap of choosing the wrong surrender.
‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you’ (John 15:16) Our wholeness comes from ‘him who calls’ (Romans 9:11).
Great blog post by Neal Abbott on the motives, purpose, meanings, intentions, and literary style and approach of Chekhov from his “A Word Fitly Spoken” blog (view the full article as initially posted on his blog here: https://nealabbott.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/writing-advice-from-anton-chekhov-part-three-ambiguity/comment-page-1/?unapproved=3349&moderation-hash=379fe5ae36cd0d349f5fb4e15d913fc4#comment-3349)
’It seems to me that the writer should not try to solve such questions as those of God, pessimism, etc. His business is but to describe those who have been speaking or thinking about God and pessimism, how and under what circumstances. The artist should be not the judge of his characters and their conversations, but only an unbiased observer […]
You are right in demanding that an artist should take an intelligent attitude to his work, but you confuse two things: solving a problem and stating a problem correctly. It is only the second that is obligatory for the artist […]
When I write, I reckon entirely upon the reader to add for himself the subjective elements that are lacking in the story’
(The Letters of Anton Chekhov)
Anton Chekhov is held up as the paragon of Minimalism. To me Minimalism is another way of describing good writing. In fact, I once heard Minimalism called Essentialism. Everything in the text is essential to the text.
To include the unnecessary is therefore bad writing. This is more than in details given in scenery or physical descriptions, it also has to do with subject matter and theme. No one ever called Chekhov an activist writer. Such he would abhor. One of the greatest contributions Chekhov ever made to the realm of Creative Writing was perfecting and demonstrating the craft of Ambiguity. None achieved it better with the possible exception of Shakespeare.
The Unbiased Observer
“It seems to me that the writer should not try to solve such questions as those of God, pessimism, etc. His business is but to describe those who have been speaking or thinking about God…
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I have long had a philosophical difficulty with the purpose of petitionary prayer. This is when a Christian prays to God, asking Him to bring something about. For example, a married couple may pray to God for a child, or one may pray for success or healing. Now traditional Christian belief holds that God is … Continue reading What’s the Point of Prayer?
A discussion of whether or not the claim that all religions lead to God is rationally, philosophically, theologically and Biblically credible.
(Guest blog written by Aaron Burrows) In this article, I shall attempt to discuss some of the tensions at play for modern Christians when attempting to imagine and understand the divine. It should be noted that I have, in this article, interpreted the divine to be the same as the God of Christianity. From the … Continue reading How should we think of God? (Guest Blog)
A rough, brief, step-by-step guide to the Church of England's Discernment Process for Young prospective Ordinands.
It just so happens that my great, great grandfather, Sir Arthur Somervell (1863-1937) was an English Romantic composer who was apparently, according to Wikipedia, 'after Hubert Parry one of the most successful and influential writers of art song in the English music renaissance of the 1890s-1900s'. This is an extraordinary coincidence, considering my strong interest in what I see … Continue reading Love Songs by my great, great grandfather, Sir Arthur Somervell
A very thorough, well-written and informative piece by Guestspeaker on the “Stepping Toes” blog. Well worth a read, particularly if you enjoyed my recent article entitled “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid” which the author references in the following piece:
In this world there are lots of denominations in Christendom. Lots of Christians say that the non-trinitarian christians belong to cults or sects, but clearly than they forget what the characteristics of a sect or cult are.
The many non-Trinitarians who found one or another denomination in which they go to meetings are all free people with no obligations to that meeting, congregation or church except to live according to the commandments of God. In nearly all other Christian denominations of trinitarians we can find churches which dare to say they are the only church by which people can be saved or “go to heaven”. Nearly all of them are weekly asking money to their parishioners or even ask a tithing. Whilst in most of the non-trinitarian churches the parishioners are free to give or not to give any amount of money and are not…
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A discussion and evaluation of the Charismatic Movement and its impact.
An article encouraging those with misgivings and concerns about elements of their church's leadership, structure, worship, services, and preaching to be brave and speak out, and an explanation of the potential and possible eventual consequences of people not doing so.
A discussion of what the Biblical phrase "God-breathed" could mean and of how this could tie in with one's hermeneutics/exegesis/interpretation, and one's general view of Scripture and its authority.
In this article, I will discuss precisely what it means to be an "evangelical Christian" and explain whether or not I myself would choose to describe myself as one and why/why not.
In this article, I examine and discuss some of my favourite quotations about unrequited love.
Is the concept of "The One" in human love really true? If it is, how can we know who "The One" is? If it isn't true, then how can we make sense of God's sovereignty and predestination and the Christian commitment to monogamy in relation to this realisation? Has God prepared a partner for us in advance and, if so, how can we have any freedom in this area? If the concept of "The One" is not true, then how should we interpret the passages within Song of Songs which seem to suggest the truth of this concept?
An examination and discussion of questions including: What exactly does it mean to say that love is blind? Are both human love and divine love blind? If love is blind, is that a good thing?
I have listed below the books, poems and films which I personally have found most helpful in investigating the the definition, nature and philosophy of love.
In this article, I assess and examine love's powers of self-discovery, self-examination, and self-transformation, reform, and change.
I have listed below my favourite quotations about romantic love between humans. I personally am particularly interested in the nature, definition and philosophy of human love and so this may be reflected in my choice of quotations.
I have been thinking and reading about romantic human love a lot recently. In this article I will comment on quotations from my reading and try to derive and draw general, broad themes from my reading such as the immutability and eternality of love.
The story of my return to faith told through the lens of the Calvinism-Arminianism debate.
An examination of Luke 12:47-48 and its possible implications on questions such as "Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?" and doctrines of salvation and Heaven and Hell.
In this article I will explore why God gave his eternal, everlasting covenant to David and his descendants rather than Eli, Samuel and Saul who committed seemingly less serious sins. How do these decisions from God cohere with His justice? I will also discuss why they, unlike David, had the covenant taken away from them.
An introductory post, explaining who I am, what I do, what this blog is going to be about, and why I decided to create it in the first place.