Friday, 22 November 2013

When no-one can tell the difference

George Orwell's political satire Animal Farm ends with these words; 'The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.' The group which had sought to provide a better alternative to the previous regime, had now become so like those whom they had sought to replace, that it was no longer possible to tell the difference between the two. This illustration can also be applied, not only to the political sphere about which Orwell wrote, but also to the religious world today. The church, instead of providing a better alternative to what the world has to offer, has in many cases become so like the world, that it has become difficult to tell the difference between them.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Husband and wife co-pastors

There is a growing trend within Christianity today, particularly among churches of a neo-evangelical persuasion, for husband and wife co-pastors. Indeed more than a growing trend, it now seems to have become the preferred model of ministry for many churches. Joel and Victoria Osteen, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Randy and Paula White are examples of high profile couples who have adopted this approach to ministry, yet this is not a purely American phenomenon, nor is it restricted to mega-churches. The same pattern can also now seen in many smaller churches. It is quite likely that the new, vibrant, modern, family friendly church which just recently established itself in your town will have a husband and wife co-pastor team. Vineyard Church, Exchange Church and Life Church are but three local examples of churches in Belfast where both husband and wife are described as pastors or leaders of the church. Yet whilst this may be an increasingly popular approach as to how the leadership of a church is organised it raises many questions when compared with the Word of God. It has long been the traditional and biblical view that the position of pastor is not to be taken by a women (a view which has been abandoned by many denominations), but what of a co-pastor? Is that any different? Is it acceptable for a woman to take this position alongside her husband and to join him in the pulpit in a teaching capacity?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Reasons to remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

If all four lines of this verse are not familiar to everyone, the first line most certainly is. Who has not heard of the phrase 'Remember, remember the fifth of November'. Yet the reasons why the events of that date ought to be remembered are almost forgotten. We know a little of the events; that on this date a plot to blow up Parliament was foiled with Guy Fawkes being discovered underneath Parliament surrounded by gunpowder. Whilst the event is commemorated across Britain with the burning of a 'Guy' little thought is given to why we should remember 'the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot'. It is our desire to simply highlight three reasons why we ought to remember this event, that we might know better how God delivered the nation on that occasion.