Archive for November, 2010

They’ve posted up the video of last week’s panel discussionDownload video here. Original page here.

(If you don’t have Windows Media Player (eg if you have a Mac) you can download VLC Player and paste in this URL: http://www.eastbournelive.org.uk/faithforum2010.wmv)

We didn’t know the questions in advance and we were given 90 seconds each, so this was my off-the-cuff effort.  There are a few things I’d say differently now and next time I’ll remember to sit on my hands, but… here it is.

UPDATE:  Here are my answers as short youtube videos.

The questions were as follows (you can fast-forward to my answers at the times given below):

If a believer thinks their faith has a monopoly on the whole truth how can they respect any other?
My answer 4:57

Should there be Bishops in a reformed House of Lord?
My answer 11:50

Do the Adherents of your faith represent your faith accurately to the world?
My answer: 26:00

How can we know God?
My answer:  31:16  (I pick up on the Muslim panelist’s comment that “we know God through God.”)

In inter-faith discussions, do you think there is a danger of slipping into a subtle form of intolerance i.e. to think that there are no real differences and that what you believe is just another way of expressing what I believe?
My answer:  46:43

In the past 4 decades we have seen great change in the faith structure of Britain with major immigration to the UK.  From the faith perspective, can and how can serious conflict be avoided in the next 50 years?
My answer: 51:00

Do faith schools encourage greater tolerance and understanding between faith communities or are they more divisive?
My answer:  1:03:40

What is your faith’s view of women?
My answer:  1:19:05

What is your faith’s view of other religions?
My answer: 1:23:58

Answers on youtube.

Some other questions I’ve been considering recently are here:

Is homosexuality wrong?  What is your position on gay marriage?

How should ‘faith schools’ be treated in a multi-cultural, multi-faith society?

Should there be blasphemy laws?  Who should they protect?

Can there be a place for Sharia law in our multi-cultural society?

What common ground do you share with the other panelists?

Does your faith community represent your faith well?

How do we avoid war when the religions just can’t agree?

How do we avoid the dangers of religious extremists?


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And another thing…

How do we avoid the dangers of religious extremists?


Why should we worry about religious extremism?  What is dangerous about the phrase “religious extremism”?  The dangerous part is not the “extremism” – the danger lies in which religion we’re speaking of.

No-one was afraid of the religious extremism of Mother Teresa.  No-one is afraid of the religious extremism of the Amish.  There’s a worldwide network of cells that meet to devote themselves ever more fully to their religious fundamentals  – they’re called Quakers.  No-one is afraid of them.  Why?  Because it all depends on what your fundamentals are.  It all depends on which religion it is your are pursuing to extremes.

If you put Jesus Christ at the centre and truly pursue Him fanatically and to extremes it ought to produce communities of radically loving, radically other-centred people.  The more you become like Christ the more you are likely to die for your enemies.

Of course this is not true of all religions.  Neither is it true of all worldviews considered more broadly.  Some religions have been founded by those who have killed their enemies (rather than been killed by them).  To pursue these to extremes will indeed lead to war.  By the same token, naturalism taken to  extremes is incredibly dangerous.  It is a short step from “the stongest do survive” to “the strongest should survive.”  It’s a step we’ve seen taken by extremists last century, and the body count was the highest the world has ever seen.

It’s not the “extremism” that matters.  Pursuing something to extremes can be wonderful for this world.  Christians giving their lives to the world in Jesus’ name have made an incredible impact for good.  Don’t fear ‘extremism.’  Fear the religions and worldviews that can’t be pursued extremely.  And for my money, that’s all of them, except for Jesus.


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MP3 Audio


Words and Guitar Tab below


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Continued from here.




Jesus is THE Revelation of God.  Not just the Best or the Final Revelation – THE Revelation.

If we want to know God, we need to begin again with Jesus and let Him reshape our vision of God.

When we do that we discover a God totally different to the Omnibeing of western imagination.

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: He is full of the Spirit and Son of the Father.

Therefore Jesus reveals to us the Trinitarian God

Trinity is not a maths problem but a simple truth: God is Three Persons United in Love


Wonderfully, through Jesus, we are invited into the God who is Love.

Jesus became what we are through the crib and the cross.

Believers become what He is as the Spirit incorporates us into Jesus.

We now participate in the Son’s union and communion with the Father

In Jesus we become children of the Father, filled with His Spirit.

Thus we are christs, sons of God IN Jesus – the Christ, the Son of God.

In the words of 2 Peter 1:4 we participate in the divine nature.



“Feelings are feelings, they’re neither good nor bad, what counts is what you do with them.” Discuss.




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Release Sherif Hassan

Sherif is a friend of a friend, a Christian Egyptian newly married at All Souls, Langham Place this summer.  He visited his native Egypt with his English wife two and a half weeks ago.  They were detained at the airport, his wife was deported and he was taken by police and has not been seen since.

Please visit Release Sherif to learn more.

Please pray for his release.

Please write to the foreign secretary, your MP, the Egyptian embassy.

And please link / Facebook / re-tweet this (with hash tag #ReleaseSherif)


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From Emma’s blog:

“Scripturally, sex is not whambamthankyouma’am. It’s a covenant promise, part of a total self-giving of which the body is the final handshake.  Where, within the safety of the marriage relationship, two people are emotionally, spiritually and finally, physically naked and – crucially, without shame.  Where men step out in strength and gentleness to love and give, whilst women are liberated to receive with joy and peace.

“In contrast, what do these sexualized images offer?  Sex without intimacy.  Invitation without delivery.  Toying, teasing, frustrating.  Everything on show, flesh exposed, but nothing really given.  A plastic, disposable body.  A plastic disposable person.”

Read the whole thing.

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Happy Friday

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