Letter: Evangelical BINOs?

Letter Evangelical BINOs? Dear Editor, Your editorial on the Rise of the BINO (Bishop in Name Only) highlighted what church members have observed many years, how bishops have kept their titles, robes and status while emptying their role of defending and upholding...

Who’s Who at St Hugh’s? Secret Conversations on Sexuality Come to Light

Who’s Who at St Hugh?Secret Conversations on Sexuality Come to Light Recent correspondence and blog posts have revealed the existence of a hitherto-secret meeting between conservative/evangelical groupings and liberal/progressive bishops, seeking to reach structural...

Book Reviews: Baptism & Confirmation & Patterns for Baptism

Book Reviews Baptism and Confirmation Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123522, 468pp, £40) Patterns for Baptism Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123492, 392pp, £25) These handsome volumes are the latest additions to Common Worship, the Church of...

The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ: Gospel-Driven Anglicanism

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ  The American Theologian and Pastor, Jonathan Edwards (1703 -1758), once preached a sermon entitled “The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Jesus Christ”. The...

The Cancelling of the Creator

The Cancelling of the Creator The headline from a national newspaper popped up on my phone: “Daniel Radcliffe is surely the world’s most ungrateful man”. It’s not a title many would be scrambling to win for themselves, but the opinion-piece made the case. Daniel...

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen Melville-Knox Christian School Aberdeen officially opened on Monday 7th November after years of prayer, planning and organisation. We give thanks to the Lord that we have been able to reach this significant milestone;...

Barnabas Report: At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique

Barnabas Report At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique During October At least 21 Christians have been killed by Islamist extremists in violent attacks throughout October in northern Mozambique. Jihadists set fire to a church building and several houses in the...

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource  Sanctuary Foundation has been aiding those trying to offer assistance for those fleeing the war in Ukraine through its, “Homes for Ukraine” scheme.  The charity has been serving as a liaison by resourcing hosts and...

Annual Clive West Memorial Lecture Set for Belfast

Annual Clive West Trust Lecture Set for Belfast The 2022 Clive West Trust Lecture will take place on Thursday, 22 November at St Nicholas’ Church on the Lisburn Road in Belfast at 19:30. This year’s featured speaker is the Revd Dr Tim Ward.  Ward earned his PhD from...

Church of England Council Rejects Croft’s Position

Church of England Evangelical Council Rejects Croft’s Position In a press statement following the pronouncements of Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, the Church of England Evangelical Council repudiated the departure of biblical teaching advocated by Croft. It said,...

Pilgrim’s Process by the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon

Pilgrim’s Process

“The Faith that Saves”

By Revd Dr Peter Sanlon

As reformed believers we are rightly concerned with what we believe. We enter the celestial city through —as Luther rightly discerned — ‘faith alone.’

Our awareness of the importance of what we believe and what we place our faith in, leads us to take great efforts to teach and explain the content of the Faith. We read books, listen to sermons and tell others what we have come to believe. In a very real sense, what we believe about Jesus determines our eternal destiny.

It is easy for right belief to be corrupted. We are warned often in the Bible to be on our guard against false teachers who soften, dilute or alter the faith handed down to the saints. So pilgrims know that what we believe matters.

The religious part of all our hearts longs to find something to do which makes us acceptable to God. We so easily find security in ritual, ceremony or effort to do good works. And so it is important that pilgrims know they go to heaven through faith alone — not on the basis of good works. Pilgrims know that what we believe matters.

With such insights about the importance of faith — and the dangers of corrupting it — Luther suggested that the book of James ought to be removed from the New Testament. He called it an ‘epistle of straw.’ The letter places a major focus on the importance of actions, good works and changed behaviour. 

That the former monk God used to unleash the reformation could have been so wrong on such a basic matter as the canon of scripture, is a reminder that nobody has perfect aces to all truth. How are we to defend the value of changed behaviour and good works, in a way that holds tighter the insights of James and the rest of the Bible?

Two suggestions: 1. Let’s remember there is always a danger of empty intellectual faith — which is really no saving faith at all. Gal. 5:6 tells us that genuine ‘faith worketh through love.’ 2. The logic of James is that how we behave reveals what we really believe. People often like to think they have faith in Jesus — while actions and bank balances and schedules evidence that the gods trusted are precisely the ones the pagans are enslaved to. James challenges those of us who ‘believe’ right doctrine to ask what evidence our lives give to that claim? The faith that saves is that which shows itself to be saving faith, by real actions, good works and time spent in loving others.

Revd Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: