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The Trinity — The sign of God’s continuing transforming grace

A Christian teacher of my acquaintance says he would judge that belief in the Trinity is the fundamental belief-basis of the Christian Faith. This seems not to be a fashionable thing to say these days. People seem to be saying that when something is difficult to understand or visualise, or when it all seems rather abstract, it really can’t matter that much. And yet, those who do say such things are being inconsistent. Physicists and mathematicians are expected to know how important it is to get the reaction equations right, even when these are entirely invisible and abstract. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a nuclear reactor designed by someone who didn’t think these things were important. That is partly why independent scientists find it so hard to get adequate attention paid to their proposals; the scientific community cannot bear to think they haven’t already got everything just about right. ...

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The work of the Spirit — Preservation in the truth

There are many who present to the world a version of the Holy Spirit that emphasizes excitement, loudness and extreme manifestations of joy. Churches that see the work of the Spirit in this sort of way are often called “charismatic”. While the classic and orthodox Christian doctrine of Holy Baptism regards it as a Baptism both in water and the Holy Spirit, charismatic churches tend to separate water-baptism and Spirit-baptism, so that for them there are two categories of Christian, those who have been baptised with the Spirit, and those who have only been baptised in water but not in the Spirit. For them, a Christian becomes empowered or complete or effective as a Christian when he undergoes this second baptism, and the sign of having done this is when he speaks in tongues. ...

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The Truth — Testimony of the Father and the Son

There is a great concern expressed in the New Testament, and particularly in the writings of St. John, for Truth. It is in St John’s account of the passion of the Lord, that an exchange between Jesus and Pontius Pilate ends with Pilate asking, perhaps mockingly, “What is Truth?” In St. John’s Epistle and Gospel also there is considerable emphasis on testimony or witness, terms that we sometimes encounter in judicial proceedings of various sorts. St John emphasises that God provides reliable testimony concerning His Son, and in John chap. 17 Jesus affirms that He has declared the Name of God and the words of God to His followers faithfully, and that in receiving them they enter into the realm of Truth. ...

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Called to be overcomers by love and obedience

I wonder if St Peter realised what a project, what a battle he was taking on in the church when, as it is recorded for us in Acts 10: 34-48, he saw very clearly that Gentiles were as eligible to receive faith in Jesus Christ and baptism into His Name as were Jews. At every step St Peter was obedient to the divine leading, in spite of whatever personal doubts he had about what he was being impelled to do. Through his vision he was led to go to the Gentile Cornelius’ home and share the Gospel with those who were gathered there. Then the Holy Spirit was poured out upon these Gentiles, and that was to instruct Peter and the believers, all Jews, that accompanied him, as much as it was to benefit the Gentiles themselves. ...

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The calling to be fruitful in God’s love

It might seem to be a cliché to say that the first thing we should do after waking up in the morning is to thank God for making it possible for us to wake up. It turns out to be not just a cliché but a sane and sensible thing to do, because the conditions that keep us alive on this planet are extraordinary. The equilibrium of physical factors upon which we depend for safety could change suddenly and our lives could be snuffed out in a trice. In fact, it is a sane and sensible thing to believe that the physical conditions of our existence are held in sufficient balance and that the solar system and the Earth and the galaxies are sustained by divine Providence. ...

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From glimpse to certainty

Both in the world in general and in the Church in particular, Easter is perceived to be a time of joyful celebration. For the world perhaps it’s like a smaller version of Christmas and a few distinctive touches like Easter chocolate eggs. As a child I used to look forward to my Easter egg on the breakfast table on Easter Sunday. In the eastern parts of the Church the egg retains more of its Easter symbolism of the egg or the tomb being cracked open by the new life springing from it, and such eggs are given out as part of the Easter service at church. The general life-bearing fruitfulness of springtime after the deadness of winter perhaps also retains for some a Resurrection symbolism. ...

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The effective passion

In S. John 12: 27 - 28 Jesus says, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say - ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.” In fact, Jesus referred several times in the Gospel according to St. John to His “hour”, which up to this point had not yet come. One can imagine the general of an army approaching a decisive battle which could win or lose the entire war. Some ...

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