Top posts of 2018

This year, my blog has received c. 180,000 views. To put that in perspective, and to paraphrase Alan Partridge, that’s sixty times the population of Hemsby. It is the equivalent of having reached the entirety of either Swindon, Ipswich or Wigan and is bigger than the populations of Oxford, Gloucester, Huddersfield, Middlesborough, Cambridge, and dozens of other places. It is twice the size of Chester, Derry or Darlington and three times the size of Torquay, Hereford, Scarborough or Margate.

Clearly, in the grand scheme of things, this is all pretty minuscule stuff. There are people who can churn out those sort of numbers in a single blog post, let alone across a year! But I am genuinely grateful to all of you who continue to read, even those of you who read because you enjoy getting annoyed by it.

Anyway, it has become de rigeur to do a review of the year in posts. So, here are the top 10 posts of the year by viewing stats.

1. The most concerning thing about the royal wedding was the Evangelical reaction

My thoughts on Michael Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. It was particularly interested in the Evangelical reaction to the sermon. It was the most viewed post of the year, eclipsing the next nearest by nearly 3000 views.

2. What is the biggest problem facing Evangelicalism? Comfort

This post looked at the idol of comfort affecting the Evangelical church. It focused particularly on the UK church and our general unwillingness to move to areas that are considered ‘hard’. It called us to think where the Lord might be calling us for the sake of the gospel.

3. Biblical CBT vs Worldly CBT

This post encouraged us to compare the way the world offers succour to the depressed and the way the Bible deals with feelings of depression. It was borne out of my own experience of secular mental health support.

4. Why do I believe in credobaptism?

This one does what it says on the tin. It is an explanation as to why I believe credobaptism is the Christ-ordained means of entry to the church. It wasn’t meant as a dig at those who disagree, just a statement of some of the key reasons I hold to a baptist position on this ordinance.

5. Don’t say we didn’t warn you

In the wake of a news story regarding the placement of a m-2-f transgender prisoner into a women’s prison, I offered these comments. Given the history of violently sexually assaulting women as a man, this placement unsurprisingly led to further problems during incarceration. These are warnings that have been made ad nauseam but have repeatedly not been heeded.

6. “No one wants to be the Grinch” but Polly Toynbee reluctantly takes up the mantle

In their now annual hit piece on the Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee attacked their supposedly hidden agenda and warned people away from them. I think there are genuine operational issues that are worthy of discussion, but the hypocrisy of Toynbee’s comments called for a refutation.

7. How do we encourage our children to see the church as valuable?

Most Christian parents worry about how to encourage their children to stay in the church and treat it as valuable. This post explored some of the ways we can help our children to love the church.

8. If every past version of you is an idiot, there’s an inescapable conclusion about the current you

This is one in which I call you, and everyone else, an idiot and then explain why that’s OK.

If the person you were a few years ago is an idiot, basing that on the version of you considering the matter today, the person you will be a few years hence will inevitably look back and consider your current self a blockhead. If you consider your past self an idiot today, and your future self will consider you an idiot tomorrow, we are led to one inescapable conclusion: we are all idiots…

… You may wonder why I bother to bring this up. Isn’t it a bit insulting to call you an idiot on your commute to work, or over your cornflakes, or whenever it is that you read this? Well maybe. But you are, and so am I. Don’t take my word for it, just ask yourself in five or ten years time. The reason I say it is to suggest that you give yourself a break.

9. What do people mean by ‘coming into the presence of God’?

This post offered some reflections on the language of ‘coming into God’s presence.’ It attempted to break down how it is commonly used and why the way it is often employed is less than Biblical.

10. Should we expect to see miracles today?

I am not a Charismatic. There is much that alarms me about the Charismatic movement. But nor am I a convinced Cessationist. Certainly, I don’t subscribe to Cessationism as it is commonly described and defined. I struggle to see Biblical grounds (as, seemingly, do Cessationists like Tom Schreiner) for insisting certain gifts have ceased. But I do see solid ground for suggesting miracles – of the order performed by Jesus and the apostles – have ceased. This post explores why and how I draw that conclusion.