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Mike Ovey looks at the government's proposals to tackle extremism.
Shortly after the last General Election Prime Minister David Cameron said that the UK had been a 'passively tolerant society' for too long. 'Passively tolerant', he says, is a society in which people were told 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'.
This is rather odd. For many of us, one of the attractions of a civilised state is that if you obey the law you do not get banged up. It is quite simply freedom from arbitrary or capricious arrest, and, in this celebratory year of Magna Carta, being left alone by the state provided you obey the law sounds like a British value.
Apparently not. The context for David Cameron's comment is the need to counter extremism. By extremism, we are not simply talking about the religious advocacy of violence from mosque or pulpit. We are talking about advocacy that is itself non-violent and does not incite a criminal offence (that is, of course, covered by the existing law about incitement and conspiracy).
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Mike Ovey reflects on Sepp Blatter's election/resignation at FIFA.
Blatter told Swiss TV on Friday: 'Why would I step down? That would mean I recognise that I did wrong.'
What is it about the Sepp Blatter election/resignation at FIFA? It's been a high drama morality play: first the burgeoning hope as the FBI moved against those allegedly taking bribes. Hope heightened by the news that the Swiss police were investigating financial malpractice, an agreeable if given previous conduct - unexpected development. Then hope dashed by the re-election of Sepp Blatter in full denial mode by an electorate in whom not all had, shall we say, unreserved confidence. Then hope improbably fulfilled as Blatter announced his resignation with the priceless observation that, after all, not everyone wanted him.
Vladimir Putin's objections about the FBI confirmed where the moral high ground lay in all this. It is hard to imagine anything more conclusive in favour of the FBI. All in all, we seem to have the happy moral ending that no-one is above the law and that malpractice will catch up on you.
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Mike Ovey responds to a recent video interview with Phillip Jensen.
It is always a tad awkward when two people one highly respects have a go at each other's positions on the Web. Thus, Phillip Jensen has drawn a distinction in a recent video between followers of Calvin and Calvinists, very much to the latter's disadvantage, while Paul Levy has responded with a piece affecting to see this as advanced Australian satire. He suggests this is simply revisiting the tired and discredited old idea that the Calvinists are at odds with Calvin.
I admire and respect both men. As a further complication, my day job involves teaching systematic theology and it is difficult not to feel that I amongst others am in the Jensen crosshairs. What to do?
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Oak Hill Commentary magazine  
The Summer 2015 edition of Commentary: Read here  
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Efrem Buckle talks about his ministry
Efrem Buckle, Pastor at Calvary Chapel in Lewisham, talks about his theological training at Oak Hill.
Open monring at Oak Hill
Thinking about theological training? Come to an Open Morning: meet staff and students, sample some lectures and look round the campus.
Phil Chadder talks about his ministry
Phil Chadder, Chaplain at HM Prison, Brixton, talks about his ministry and theological training.
Tony Ford
Tony Ford is chaplain to Oldham Rugby League Football Club, with many opportunities to do pastoral work and share the gospel.
Daf Meirion-Jones
Daf Meirion-Jones and Martyn Ayers work in a parish with council housing, university halls and three mosques.