Think Theology says on it’s website that it is a collaboration of thinkers and writers who are passionate about the Church, and who enjoy spending time wrestling with deep theological questions and helping others to engage with them. We liked the sound of this, so we took a look.
Alongside the core team, there are some 35 well-known and respected Christian thinkers and guest writers contributing to the content of the site. These include Andrew Wilson, Chine Mbubaegbu, Jennie Pollock, Guy Millar and many others.
Find out more about Think Theology here.
The site looks at a range of topics and current issues. Key themes include apologetics, church history and hermeneutics. Within each of these, and beyond many famous theologians and commetators are referenced and difficult topics tackled such as culture, politics, coronavirus, ethics, Jesus, heidelberg catechism, books, church, prayer, sexuality and many more!
Below are shown the latest few blog posts from the site:
Think Theology Keeping up to date with papers and blog articles from the Think Theology website.
- The Benevolence of Santa Clausby Andrew Wilson on 8th December 2023
As a child I was faced with a phenomenon requiring explanation. I hung up at the end of my bed an empty stocking, which in the morning became a full stocking. I had not worked for them, or made them or helped to make them. I had not even been good — far from it.And the explanation was that a certain being whom people called Santa Claus was benevolently disposed toward me… What we believed was that a certain benevolent agency did give us those toys for nothing. And, as I say, I believe it still. I have merely extended the idea. Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void. Once I only thanked Santa Claus for a few dolls and crackers. Now, I thank him for stars and street faces, and wine and the great sea. Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking. Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside; it is the large and preposterous present of myself, as to the origin of which I can offer no suggestion except that Santa Claus gave it to me in a fit of peculiarly fantastic goodwill. - G. K. Chesterton, Black and White (1903)
- Welcome and Witnessby Andrew Wilson on 6th December 2023
On the final episode of our Post-Christianity podcast we are joined by the excellent Rebecca McLaughlin (who, by the way, is joining us at THINK 2024). We talk about how we reach people with the gospel in the post-Christian West, and how evangelism is hard, humble, hospitable and hopeful. I hope you have enjoyed the series!
- Shoplifting and the Rise of Shameby Matthew Hosier on 4th December 2023
The UK is in the midst of a ‘shoplifting epidemic’, with shop thefts having more than doubled in the last three years. Why is this?As always the answer is probably more multifaceted than simple: the cost of living crisis; the decline in social cohesion; declining respect for authority; covid (every negative social indicator has got worse since covid, or rather, since the imposition of lockdowns in response to covid). I expect someone will lay the blame on Brexit. It’s always Brexit. Perhaps it isn’t just these factors that lay at the root of it though. Perhaps it’s our societal shift away from being a guilt-innocence culture to more of an honour-shame one. In his very helpful book, The 3D Gospel, missiologist Jayson Georges provides a useful summary of these different cultures. First, in guilt-innocence cultures, The notions of right and wrong are foundational pillars… Society creates rules and laws to enforce what actions are right and wrong. These rules and laws define acceptable behaviour. In such a culture people don’t steal because they know it is wrong, because it is breaking the law. Yes, there is always theft, but the more strongly people feel the demands of their guilt-innocence culture the less theft there is. By contrast, Shame-honor societies assume a strong group orientation. Honor is a person’s social worth, one’s value in the eyes of the community. Honor is when other people think well of you, resulting in harmonious social bonds in the community. Honor comes from relationships. In these cultures people don’t steal because doing so brings shame on them; except in those situations where it doesn’t. So to steal from someone outside the group might not be shaming. It might even be a way of accruing honour. It’s why people from honour-shame cultures don’t pay their parking fines while those from guilt-innocence cultures do (see p.41ff in The Weirdest People in the World by Henrich for more on this). What we are seeing in many of the reports of shoplifting is a total absence of shame – the thieves are brazen. And there is clearly a complete absence of guilt. At first this might seem confusing, especially for those of us who still operate primarily within the guilt-innocence framework. Think your way into an honour-shame worldview though and it begins to make more sense: I don’t recognise the arbitrary nature of the law. If someone is foolish enough to not adequately protect their goods from predation that is their problem, not mine. I don’t understand why I would feel ‘guilt’ (whatever that is) about taking what I want from someone who means nothing to me or my peers. When I successfully steal goods I get a lot of kudos from my peers. And it is their opinion of me that counts – not yours. I think this is something of what lies behind the increase in shoplifting. It seems obvious that the shift away from a guilt-innocence culture and towards an honour-shame one is being driven by social media. We are increasingly programmed to seek the accrual of kudos on social media and fear the stigma of a social media shaming. And that changes the way in which we behave – it changes our ethics. So one way the shoplifters might be deterred from their actions would be if their peers (and it needs to be their peers, not people like me) did shame them on social media – but that probably isn’t going to happen. Simply telling them that it is wrong won’t work either, because (as any missiologist would tell you) that’s a category mistake. All of which means we can probably anticipate more changes on the high street: either with retailers giving up and retreating entirely online, or security measures being significantly increased, with the negative impact of that on all of us. Then there is the missiological dimension – that we find ourselves in a context where for a significant proportion of the population the categories of guilt and innocence do not make much sense. And that means you might need to adjust the Christmas message you are preparing this year.
- More Books of the Year 2023by Matthew Hosier on 2nd December 2023
I’m sure that many of Andrew’s fans, like me, felt somewhat short-changed by his pared down Top 20 this year. We have been denied that moment of delicious self-flagellation as we compare the full strength espresso of Andrew’s reading list with the soy-latte wateriness of our own. This has become as much a Christmas ritual as brussels sprouts and the John Lewis advert.I’m seeing Andrew next week so will be able to rebuke him to his face (Gal. 2:11). In the meanwhile, let me try to make up some of the ballast. Surely, at No.1 spot on this year’s reading is Remaking the World, by….Andrew Wilson! I did genuinely enjoy this, having, it must be said, been somewhat sceptical. Generally I don’t like the ‘This Was The Most Important Year/Month/Week/Event in the History of History/Economics/Rock Music/Etc.’ format, but Andrew’s book is splendid. Granted, at times it felt like he was having to work hard to demonstrate that 1776 was the year above all other years, but there is so much here that is illuminating and interesting and “A-ha!” The opening illustration alone is worth the price of the book. If you haven’t yet read it, make sure it’s top of your Christmas list. It’s always good to be able to recommend books by one’s friends, so two others: Metamorphosis by Matt Hatch. Matt is one of the best put-it-in-to-practice pastors I know and this book on discipleship practices is excellent. Pastoring Small Towns by Ronnie Martin & Donnie Griggs does exactly what it says on the tin. Most enjoyed fiction I really enjoyed reading Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings again, for the first time since I was 15. So much more rewarding than the movies, although I loved them too. Mark Helprin, Paris in the Present Tense. Helprin is one of the more interesting and intelligent writers I know. Most helpful Christian books Abigail Flavale, The Genesis of Gender Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals
- Books of the Year 2023by Andrew Wilson on 1st December 2023
Choosing a book of the year is incredibly difficult. How do you compare a witty, creative and thrilling novel like Rebecca Kuang's Yellowface with Emily Wilson's beautiful translation of Homer's Iliad? What criteria could anyone use to declare that Simon Gathercole's The Gospel and the Gospels was "better" than Tara Burton's Self-Made, or Peter Williams's The Surprising Genius of Jesus, and what would it mean to anyone else if they did?Admittedly you can group some books together. I read Andrew Roberts’s and Julian Jackson’s biographies of Churchill and De Gaulle, respectively, and was dazzled by both: two extraordinary leaders, nearly contemporary with each other, and both brilliant, infuriating and hilarious, although in very different ways. Yellowface and Pachinko have obvious points of overlap, but while the former is exciting and clever, the latter is sweeping and evocative. Two books on the seventeenth century, Katherine Rundell’s Super-Infinite on John Donne and Anna Keay’s The Restless Republic on the 1650s, were thoroughly absorbing and marvellously written. I also used over a dozen Christian books in my devotional times, and was captivated by Gathercole and Williams on the Gospels, John Oswalt on Isaiah, David Gibson on Psalm 23, and (my favourite Christian book of the year) John Starke’s magnificent The Secret Place of Thunder. My habit of counterpoint reading doesn’t always come off. I read Peter Frankopan’s The Earth Transformed and Simon Sebag Montefiore’s The World: A Family History, expecting to love both on the basis of their previous work, and found the former a bit underwhelming (and with several odd inaccuracies), and the latter a thoroughly overwhelming, cluttered and tenuously connected list of facts. But more often than not, it proves illuminating. Chris Watkin’s Biblical Critical Theory and Tim Keller’s How to Reach the West Again were a great combination. Although neither of them made my top twenty, Susan Neiman’s Left is Not Woke and Tomiwa Owalade’s This is Not America gave two intriguing perspectives on some very important issues. In the end, my Book of the Year came down to a choice between two utterly different sorts of books. Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century blew me away with its portrait of a strange and disturbing period. Her characterisation and analysis are crystal clear and her writing is just sublime; I have just bought her The Guns of August. Even so, I think the book that will make the most lasting impression on me, and cause me to see the world more differently than any other book in 2023, is Iain McGilchrist’s extraordinary The Matter With Things: a totally fascinating and hard-to-describe cocktail of neuroscience, philosophy, psychiatry, science, music, history and imagination that connects the way our brain works with the way we conceive of reality. Volume 1 was breathtaking in its scope and insight. Volume 2 awaits me in January. Top Five Christian Books to Fuel Joy Simon Gathercole, The Gospel and the Gospels: Christian Proclamation and Early Jesus Books John Oswalt, Isaiah 1-39 John Starke, The Secret Place of Thunder: Trading Our Need to Be Noticed for a Hidden Life with Christ David Gibson, The Lord of Psalm 23: Jesus Our Shepherd, Companion and Host Peter Williams, The Surprising Genius of Jesus Top Five Christian Books to Help You Think Tara Isabella Burton, Self-Made: Creating our Identities from Da Vinci to the Kardashians Collin Hansen, Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation Rebecca McLaughlin, Does the Bible Affirm Same-Sex Relationships? Examining Ten Claims About Scripture and Sexuality Karen Swallow Prior, The Evangelical Imagination: How Stories, Images and Metaphors Created a Culture in Crisis Christopher Watkin, Biblical Critical Theory Top Ten Other Books of the Year Homer, The Iliad, tr. Emily Wilson Julian Jackson, A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle Anna Keay, The Restless Republic: Britain Without a Crown Rebecca Kuang, Yellowface Min Jin Lee, Pachinko Iain McGilchrist, The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World, vol. 1 Andrew Roberts, Churchill: Walking With Destiny David Rooney, A History of Civilisation in Twelve Clocks Katherine Rundell, Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne Barbara Tuchman, Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
- Faith and Fruitfulnessby Andrew Wilson on 29th November 2023
Episode 7 of our Post-Christianity podcast is out today. Glen and I get practical on the ways in which Christians can respond to the all the developments we've been talking about:
- Selves and Psychologiesby Andrew Wilson on 22nd November 2023
The sixth of our eight Post-Christianity episodes has just dropped. Glen and I talk to Carl Trueman about selves, psychologies and individualism:
- The Secret to Pastoral Longevityby Matthew Hosier on 22nd November 2023
From Wesley’s Journals: This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering, How is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now, and my nerves firmer, than they were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age, and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is, the good pleasure of God, Who doth whatsoever pleaseth Him. The chief means are, 1. My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years. 2. My generally preaching at five in the morning; one of the most healthy exercises in the world. 3. My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.
- Slippery Slopes & Finding Alliesby Matthew Hosier on 20th November 2023
Does egalitarian theology inevitably lead to an acceptance of same sex relationships? In response to the decision made by the Church of England to allow the blessing of same sex relationships, John Stevens, national director of the FIEC, made the observation that, One thing that I have seen is that a number of evangelical women suffragan bishops are actively campaigning for biblical orthodoxy. I think this ought to be noticed and put an end to a common complementarian argument that supporting women’s ordination is automatically a slippery slope to compromise on human sexuality. This was an argument easy to maintain when the battles being fought over women’s ordination were largely waged by liberals. However, it is abundantly clear that there are evangelical women clergy and bishops who are thoroughly committed to Scripture and standing firm on the issue of sexuality. I agree with John. We need to find allies wherever we can and support and encourage those who are courageously standing for orthodoxy. In my own context, I am regularly in gatherings of local pastors, including women, who are equally committed to holding the line. I’m grateful for our common purpose and commitments. Yet (and while not wanting to confuse correlation with causation) it seems unarguable that an egalitarian perspective is more likely to end up as an affirming one. I’ve never known someone who supports same sex marriage who isn’t also a full-blown egalitarian, while I’ve never known a complementarian who also supports SSM. Perhaps such strange creatures exist, but it seems unlikely. This is most definitely not to say that all egalitarians will end up in the SSM camp – the evidence against that, as Stevens points out, is solid. But it also seems true to say that all those who endorse SSM do have their tents pitched in the egalitarian camp. I’ve been in gatherings of pastors recently where biblical orthodoxy in regard to marriage has been strongly expressed, but egalitarian arguments have been just as forcibly presented. It feels to me that it is difficult to ride these two horses. Certainly it can be done – but there’s always the risk of a tumble. I’d rather stay securely in the saddle of the complementarian horse. I’m a complementarian because I believe that is the most biblically faithful position. I do think that the theological jumps made in egalitarianism create, if not a slippery slope, a scaffold for further theological innovations to be made in respect of same sex relationships, even though many egalitarians will never follow that route. I do believe in eldership as the pattern of new testament church government and I do believe that the new testament is implicit that elders are men. I do believe that to be an elder is to be like a father and that by definition only men can be fathers. And I believe that the church needs spiritual mothers, and only women can be mothers. I do see a pattern of male headship in the biblical narrative: that Adam is the representative head of all humanity; Abraham the representative father of all who are God’s spiritual children; Moses the representative liberator of God’s people; David the representative king of God’s people – and Jesus the one who completes, fulfils and renews all this as the new Adam, the one by whom we are welcomed into God’s people, our great Saviour and King. Jesus had to be the Son: he had to come as a man, because God’s representative head is always a man. And in that I also see complementarity as without Eve Adam could not have been the father of all humanity; without Sarah Abraham would not have been the father of faith; without Rahab and Ruth David would not have been born and come to the kingship; and without the bride Jesus would not be the Saviour. And I do believe this has ongoing relevance in how we are to understand ‘headship’ in the home and church: that we are called to reflect the beautiful difference in which we are created. These are biblical convictions that don’t stop me from fellowshipping with my egalitarian brothers and sisters. I want to hold onto my convictions while also holding onto my allies. So my appeal to my fellow complementarians would be that we are generous to those who hold different convictions to us on this. As John Stevens writes, Same-sex relationships are not in the same category [as egalitarian convictions]. They are a salvation issue, not a secondary issue. No one was ever excluded from the kingdom of heaven because of the gender of the person who preached them the gospel faithfully, but people are excluded from the kingdom of heaven by those who teach them that it is okay to enter into same-sex sexual relationships. At the same time I would urge my egalitarian brothers and sisters to be generous to those of us who are complementarian – to acknowledge that our position is born of biblical conviction, not misogyny. To say that all complementarians are misogynists is as much of a category mistake as to say all egalitarians support same sex marriage. It’s hard to be in settings where I want to stand with you around sexuality but feel hostility from you because of my biblical convictions around complementarity. Yes, it’s true, sadly, that sexism has been a greater reality in complementarian settings than egalitarian ones, just as it’s true, sadly, that support for same sex relationships exists in egalitarian settings in a way it doesn’t in complementarian ones. All of us need to be alert to the ‘shadow sides’ of our theologies. Let’s avoid the slippery slopes and find our allies.
- This isn’t about same sex marriage. It’s about the authority of scripture.by Matthew Hosier on 18th November 2023
If you haven't already seen it, this is worth a few minutes of your time - from last week's synod of the Church of England.