In them, I have tried to reflect on the significance of the Reformation as well as looking at where the Church is today.
I have brought all three of them together in a booklet, which I will post here today. The following is the Preface I have written to them.
This booklet contains the lightly edited transcripts of three sets of talks that I have delivered this year for ‘Minutes that Matter’ on RTHK Radio 4. The format of the programme explains the form and length of the talks! Originally, a piece of music accompanied each of the talks, but I have left the details of the music out of the transcripts. Those who would like to listen to the audio version of the talks together with the music that originally went with them can still do so on the RTHK website in the Radio 4 Programme Archive.
The talks were written with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in mind.
In the first set of talks for March, I address directly issues arising from the Reformation and the division it caused. I argue that while the Reformation emphasized important aspects of the Christian Gospel, it had ‘unintended consequences’ apart from the immediate divisions it caused. The Church is facing the full force of these consequences today.
In the second set for August, the subject is the Holy Trinity. In the talks, I discuss the importance and centrality of the Holy Trinity for the Christian faith and argue against attempts in the present day to see belief in the Holy Trinity as something peripheral, optional, or even to be abandoned altogether. I urge those who continue to believe in the Holy Trinity to lay aside their historical differences and unite in the face of attacks on the historic, orthodox faith of the Church.
Finally, in the third set of talks for November, I examine what it means for the Church to be ‘fruitful’ as Jesus commanded. I argue that the Church in the West, taken as a whole, has ceased to be ‘fruitful’, and has instead opened itself, both consciously and unconsciously, to the prevailing spirit in western society with fatal results. I express the hope that Churches outside the West will take up the challenge to be faithful to Christ and stand firm against the new paganism that, I believe, is threatening the Church.
The title for the combined sets of talks comes from the words of our Lord in Revelation:
‘Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.’ (Revelation 2:10)
All Saints’ Eve, 2017