Resources for our new series on the church

As promised last week on Sunday morning, here are a few links to some resources that may be of interest as we begin a new series in our Sunday morning services on the church. We are using as a framework, the 9 marks of a healthy church (Mark Dever). The links below give you an insight as to why these 9 particularly were chosen (with video from the man himself) and then lots of questions and answers that will be very helpful if you have the time to look through them.

For each of the 9 marks, there is a very helpful, brief summary of “what it is?”, “where is it in the bible?” and “why is it important?” Our church has many differences to a big church in Washington D.C. (Capitol Hill where Mark Dever pastors) however we are just as concerned as them to know how to be a healthy church and therefore to know what God has said in his word about his church. Here are the links:

The home page of the 9 marks organisation:

Detail on what the 9 marks of a healthy church are:

A section full of questions and answers for church members:


Latest edition of the Affinity Bulletin

Bethel is a member of Affinity, who produce an online publication called “The Bulletin”. The Bulletin is published three times a year by Affinity’s Social Issues Team to keep evangelical churches and individual Christians informed of the implications of legislation and public policy on social issues in the UK.

Visit the Bulletin page for the latest issue dealing with the following subjects:

  • An Affinity statement affirming the Uniqueness of Marriage
  • Rod Badams on the The Police and the Public Order Act
  • Peter Fearnley on Sex Education in schools
  • Gerald Tanner on Ministry to the Mentally Distressed
  • Dr John Ling with an Update on Life Issues
  • Rod Badams with an update on Significant Individual Cases



We are progressing well with changes to the inside of the chapel and now have new carpet AND chairs!

There is still work to do on the outside and a bit of painting and clearing up inside, but we are getting there. The building will be open on Sunday morning after the service if any would like to have a look.

For a photo record of the work from beginning to present, please visit the Phase 1 page.

Resources on the bible’s teaching on hell

We have been working our way through a series on the issues relating to death and what happens after entitled “Where do we go from here?” (credit to Stuart Olyott and John Blanchard for that title!).

We were looking at what the bible says about hell on Sunday evening past and there are a number of very helpful articles online. We felt it would be good to have the links in one place so that you might read and study this important bible teaching in more depth.

Universalism and The Reality of Eternal Punishment: The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment
1990 Desiring God Conference for Pastors – Sinclair Ferguson
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Hell: Remembering the Awful Reality
A selection of articles on the 9Marks website.

The Importance of Hell by Tim Keller

How Willingly Do People Go to Hell?
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Heaven and Hell – Resources by Don Carson
Some resource by Don Carson on the Gospel Coalition website

A helpful blog post on the subject of Hell as separation from God (by Martin Downes)

Although not limited to the subject of hell, these resources might also be helpful:

What Happens When You Die?
Sermon Series By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

“Where do we go from here?”
Stuart Olyott’s series, “Where do we go from here?” as audio files.

New Affinity website and Foundations journal

As a church, we are supporters of Affinity and have fellowship with other Affinity related churches in Bridgend. The Affinity website has just undergone a radical revamp and is well worth a look. There are a number of very helpful resources under the Resources section and also a comprehensive church finder to locate other Affinity churches.

Just published today, you will also now find the Affinity theological journal, Foundations. This was previously available only by paid subscription but is now offered for free on the website (on the Foundations page). The theme of this edition of Foundations is “The Truth Shall Set You Free – the Doctrine and Function of Scripture in the 21st Century.” It includes most of the papers given at the Affinity Theological Studies Conference held in February 2011.

Latest issue of Affinity Bulletin

The latest issue (March 2011) of the Affinity publication The Bulletin is now available over on the Affinity website. We recommend you have a read to keep up-to-date on the implications of legislation and public policy on social issues in the UK. Here’s the summary of the contents of the March issue:

In Britain, it’s census time again, but it is coincidence that the March issue of Affinity’s social issues publication, The Bulletin, is dominated by statistics.

This issue uses some other recent statistics to show that in all probability, two thirds of Britain’s population will claim to be Christian in the 2011 census. Another recent authoritative survey has shown that the homosexual population of the UK is much smaller than the figures which influenced the introduction of civil partnerships.

Most pertinently, though, Peter Milsom points out some of the implications of the recent survey of 17,000 evangelicals, conducted by the Evangelical Alliance and Christian Research, on issues connected with faith and practice. There are lessons which every evangelical church needs to address.

As always, there is plenty of important reading in The Bulletin – the implications of the Cornish B&B case, admission to Church of England Schools, and both grim and encouraging news of a wide range of life issues. It needs to be reading that leads to action.

The trinity: do you need some help?

At a recent conference, I listened to a speaker called Mike Reeves who works for UCCF: The Christian Unions. His talk was really helpful and another pastor at the conference recommended Mike’s talks on the Trinity at Theology Network. This is a theology resource maintained by UCCF with articles on many aspects of theology.

I recommend Mike’s talks to you on this difficult subject and hope you might find the time to listen to them. Here are the links:

Enjoying the Trinity 1: A delightfully different God

Enjoying the Trinity 2: The spreading love

Enjoying the Trinity 3: This changes everything

regards, Jim (pastor)

Bible reading plans for 2011

In the sermons on Sunday (the first of 2011), I preached from Colossians 1 and Ephesians 4 and emphasised the need for us to be growing Christians (Col 1:10, Eph 4:15-16). One of the areas of growth is our knowledge of God through his word. If you don’t already do this, I want to encourage you to some systematic reading of God’s word, the bible. You can start at the beginning and plough on through to the end, of course, but most people find that approach quite difficult.

As an alternative, why not consider using a reading plan that helps give some structure to your reading and also gives variety. You can Google “bible reading plans” and will find plenty, but here are a couple of really helpful articles with links to some good plans to suit your timing and taste. Most will have a few sheets for you to print out and keep with your bible or some will use email or blog entries to guide you through.

Whatever you decide or however you do it, the important thing is to actually read God’s word and do so prayerfully, asking God to speak to you.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119 verse 11

Two very helpful articles:

Links to other plans:

This is linked from the other Gospel Coalition site above but is worth linking again: