John Richardson analyses the latest statistics from the Church of England. Worth reading the whole thing.
Interesting (to me, at least) is his comment about women clergy and liberalism:
[A] 2002 study commissioned from the Christian Research Association by Cost of Conscience showed that women clergy were demonstrably more theologically liberal than their male counterparts.
Thus the statement ‘I believe Jesus Christ died to take away the sins of the world’ was ‘confidently asserted’ by 76% of male clergy, but only 65% in women clergy. Again, Jesus as the only way to salvation was asserted by 53% of male clergy but only 39% of female clergy. Confidence in the bodily resurrection of Christ divided 68%, and 53% between male and female clergy, and confidence in the Virgin Birth divided 58% and 33%.
I think I kind of knew that.
Paul Levy points to a good quote which I thought I would nick and put here:
A happy church is one that is giving and going, one that is reaching out, that does not have time to think how it feels today, because it is in the business of sharing the life of Jesus with the world in which Christ has placed it. And that should be the purpose of our fellowship. We do not just gather together as the be all and end all of everything. We gather to scatter. You do not go to church on Sunday morning and night only in order to have a good time together with other Christians. you go in order to prepare to penetrate your world during the week more effectively for Christ. We are not to devote all our resources to pampering ourselves. The church is not a health farm, nor is it a beauty parlour. The church is a battle hospital.
(David Jackman – Understanding the Church, p65,66)
I recently had an email from Mike Partridge who used to be one of the teaching elders at Woodlands and who is now studying at WEST, where I studied. Perusing Mike’s website pointed me to a couple of great articles by Dr Robert Letham (currently at WEST) entitled, An Educated Ministry, and Support for the Ministry. Both articles are worth studying. Here’s a taster: writing of the tendency to deride the need for an educated ministry, Letham makes the following observation:
It is a striking fact that the average tenure of a pastorate in the United States is little more than two years. Why is this? In recent decades many seminaries have focused on practical matters, shying away from the theoretical or merely cerebral. Surely, our pulpits need men with experience who can address real-life issues?
Well, yes. But without the tools to unlock the Scriptures and to place those Scriptures in historical, theological and contemporary context, many end up preaching the same sermon over and over again — an enigma with few