Hearing the Scriptures Clearly

Early on in my training for Christian ministry I was introduced to something called ‘the BRIE Diagram’. Based, I think, on Wesley’s quadrilateral (though this term was coined centuries after his death, Wikipedia tells me), the diagram is four quadrants each representing four potential sources of authority, the Bible, Reason, Institution, and Experience. The point…

The Present Crisis: a crisis of the present.

This is the point of the year we are especially conscious of time. Calendars change, new diaries are opened, resolutions are made. Time, that most ubiquitous element of human experience, is always with us but the way we experience it fluctuates. In his provocative work, Why Liberalism Failed, the political scientist Patrick Deneen argues that the…

The Sunset of Liberty

Sarah Gainham’s remarkable novel Night Falls on the City begins in Vienna on the day that the Anschluss, the unification of Germany and Austria under the Nazi regime, is announced. It centres on Julia Homburg, a beautiful, famous, actress, and her husband Franz. Franz is a writer, philosopher, a socialist politician and Jewish. Gainham traces the fate of…

Why John le Carré is still important

Some fifteen years ago or so, I remember turning the final page of John Le Carré’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold as my train rumbled its way to the end of Platform 9 at King Cross station on an autumnal Saturday evening. The story had a visceral, immersive effect, much more akin to watching…

Why C.S. Lewis understood 2020 better than we do.

One reason that C.S. Lewis is such an important thinker for today is his understanding of science. Lewis’ views on the human pursuit of scientia, especially through the physical sciences, is a key theme in many of his works: in essays like The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment and Is Progress Possible?; it lies at the heart, as Michael Ward has…

Is Liberty a Christian concern?

Liberty has not had a good year. I don’t just mean that government legislation has recently prohibited, inter alia, family gatherings, singing, Christian worship and going to the pub, though that is bad. I mean that the concept of liberty itself is increasingly unpopular. The term ‘libertarian’ has become a term of political abuse. Liberty has become…

A Very Modern Plague: Part II

This is the second in a two-part post on the modern roots of the Coronavirus crisis. You can find the first part here. A Very Modern Knowledge So how did the Government know how to act? On what basis did it know that locking down, not just for weeks but months, was necessary? We were…

A Very Modern Plague: Part I

This is the first of a two-part post looking at the modern elements of the coronavirus crisis. You can find Part II here. Back in those strange mid-March days it felt as if the calendar was turning backward. Being confined in our homes because of a plague seemed a resuscitation of history. As the word…

Evangelical Unity, Catholicity and the Conscience

There’s been a debate on Twitter today about how Gospel unity, Gospel clarity and the freedom of the conscience should interact. At one point I was asked how I fitted these together as an Independent and I thought about the essay below, written four years ago, about the famous disagreement between Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John…

Racial Justice and the Church

In light of the horrific death of George Floyd and the recent protests, I wrote a letter to our church, East London Tabernacle Baptist Church. There’s a lot more that needs to be said and heard, I’m sure, but hopefully this is a good start. Dear Brothers and Sisters, I imagine that we will have all…