Repent! Or don't

This post is my sermon for Sunday, based on the Gospel reading Matthew 4:12-23. It draws attention to a well-known but often-repeated mistranslation.

Did Jesus really begin his public ministry by telling people to repent?

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Religious and political values (4): the agenda

At election time every political party promotes its agenda. It tells us what it thinks most needs to be done. It appeals to values voters like. Most voters inherit their values from their society without knowing where they come from.

Our left-right debate has a long history. It goes back to different systems justified by different gods. The Bible contains one side of a debate – against different gods with different political implications.

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Religious and political values (3) the will of the people and the will of God

Democracy is supposed to mean government by the will of the people. But which people? And don’t the people sometimes get it wrong? Ten days before yet another British general election, it is far from clear what the people’s will is, let alone that it is competent to produce a satisfactory government.

The idea of government according to the people’s will is usually dated to around the seventeenth century. Before then, government was supposed to be by the will of God. Today, nobody admits to believing that; we have inherited the mantra that ‘religion causes wars’. But given the uncertainties we now have, can we learn something from it?

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