Is revive any good for students?

Posted: August 27, 2014 by reviveleeds in Leeds, Opinion, Quotes, revive

We asked Clare, a recent graduate, to say something about how revive works for students. We’re not really a ‘student church’ but we are based in Hyde Park, and students have found a home with us throughout our life.


Revive is a community of people supporting each other. We meet in each other’s homes to discuss books, pray, watch films, listen to speakers, make music – previously revive produced a few albums. Technically a Baptist church and having grown out of a youth group, it now consists mainly of families but a fair few 20s/30s too.


Although Revive has had many incarnations over the years, I hazard that its essential character hasn’t changed much. It has remarkably flat leadership with stuff only happening if people do it. People can disagree and that’s ok. You can be open about your mistakes and issues; any question you ask will be considered. We’ve explored things like Jesus’ humanness, truth, new monasticism, sexuality/orientation, socio-economics, feminism, what is the Bible?  Many Revive people are dedicating their lives’ work to being creative and pursuing social justice in Leeds. Examples of stuff Revive has got behind include The Narnia Experience, Left Bank, & Joanna Project.

revive word cloud hand

I might describe Revive as the somewhat funny-looking little toe of the church body – it doesn’t suit everyone. For me, Revive became my spiritual home because it was the only place that could embrace and handle my long-repressed questioning nature while showing me something real. I appreciated the lack of pretence and performance: it is – sometimes uncomfortably – personal. Revive could be a good place for you to grow if you are an artist, you are thoughtful, you don’t like hierarchies, you have an idea, you like being outside the student bubble, you like Jesus but aren’t too sure about church…

If you’d like to know more, email, call 07973756440 or find us at

The at-one-ment

Posted: May 16, 2014 by reviveleeds in Learning, Opinion, revive, Uncategorized
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Today’s post reminds me of the French Knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. When Arthur tells them he is on a quest to find the Holy Grail they tell him they already have one. Last Sunday as I was introducing the five traditional views of the atonement (Ransom, Sacrifice, Christus Victor, Penal Substitution and Moral Influence) Dan King casually told me he two theories of his own! So Dan has kindly agreed to share his thoughts on the meaning of Easter:

Theories of Atonement

Last Sunday at Revive, we talked about 4 different theories of the atonement – i.e. ways of looking at Jesus’ death and resurrection that help us to understand what this accomplished and how it works to achieve our salvation.

On 22nd June Stephen Ibbotson is coming to speak to us about another theory that has recently started to become prominent.

The atonement isn’t something that’s very easy (or perhaps even possible) to completely get our heads around, but there are many metaphors used in scripture to describe it which help us to get hold of it in terms that we can at least partly understand. I’m not sure it’s possible to overestimate the significance of what Jesus’ did on the cross, and I’m sure there are levels to it that we haven’t even begun to appreciate.

In this post I’d like to make so bold as to introduce three of my own “theories of the atonement” that have occurred to me as I’ve pondered this over the years. They’re not in any way meant to provide a complete explanation of what Jesus’ did (and maybe they’re completely wrong!), but I don’t think any of the other theories do that either. These are just my attempts – accompanied perhaps (hopefully!) by a small level of insight – to understand certain aspects of it.

I’ve even thought of posh names for them and everything! :-)

  • Assumed responsibility

The version of atonement theory that I grew up with usually seemed to go something like this:“We’ve all done bad things. Bad things have to be punished. When Jesus died on the cross for us, he took on our “sin” – i.e. our evil thoughts, words and actions – and thus became the guilty one instead of me. So God punished Jesus instead of me and by accepting what He’s done for me, I am able to go free.”That’s a beautiful model of self-sacrifice on Jesus’ part, and indeed on God’s own part if you consider:

a) That Jesus was His Son who he loved, so it must have hurt Him like crazy to do that!

b) Jesus was in fact also God, so God himself actually bore our punishment!

There are a couple of things about this model that bugged me for some time though:

a) What does it mean for Jesus to “take on my sin”? How is that actually possible? How can Jesus really be guilty of something that’s been done by somebody else?

b) Why does God need to punish anyone anyway? If someone “sins” against me, then I can just forgive them. If they’ve done something really terrible, then that might be difficult and will involve recognising and acknowledging the enormity of their offence and then choosing not to hold it against them, but it is still possible for me to do this. Why can’t God do that as well?I think that both points, but particularly the first one, can be answered by the fact that we are – as is frequently stated in the New Testament – “in Christ”, but what does that mean? I think it means that we have submitted our lives to Jesus and He has become our Lord and Master. He has taken us on, we have become His charges and He has assumed responsibility for us. So imagine this scenario on the day of judgement:We’re all standing before the judgement seat, and God declares me innocent – without charge! Then someone at the back stands up – angrily – and says, how can you so that God? You’re supposed to be just! You have to punish him for what he did to me! Then Jesus stands up and says, “No! I’m responsible for this one. He belongs to me”. Robbed of justice against me, my accuser’s anger might – perhaps rightly – turn to my protector, but it’s no use. He’s already accepted responsibility for that and justice has already been served. Whether Jesus is rightly responsible for me in spite of my accuser’s protestations, or whether He has denied them justice and is thus deserving of their ire – either way, He has suffered for that choice, made in love – the price has been paid!In this particular model it is my accusers – rather than God Himself – who are demanding that justice be served, and in His role of judge of the Universe, God is obliged – by His own standards – to ensure that this is so. God’s righteousness is perfect and complete in every detail, such that ultimately no-one will ever have a legitimate reason to complain. Jesus’ death and resurrection makes it possible for Him to “bend His own rules” on behalf of those who put themselves in His care, since He has already paid the full penalty for doing so.

  • 2) The God of Suffering

In Cafe Theologique a little while back, we discussed evil and suffering and whether God could be said to be responsible for those things, or whether in fact, if there is such a thing as free will, then evil can be said instead to come from individual agents like us whose choices God doesn’t control and may not even be able to fully predict.In the Old Testament there seems to be quite a strong tradition of “blaming” God for things. In 1 Chronicles 21, we are told that Satan incited David to take a census of Israel and that God was angry about this, but when the same story is told in 2 Samuel 24 – with the same outcome – we are told that it was God who incited David to do this! Job constantly blames God for his suffering, even though we are told it was Satan who did this to him (although interestingly, it was God who permitted him to do so…). Naomi declares in Ruth 1 that, “the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty … The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me”.At some level – regardless of free will – as the creator and sustainer of everything, God has to accept some kind of responsibility. He set the ball rolling, knowing (or at the very least having a very good idea) how much evil and suffering would result, and he chooses constantly – however noble his reasons – not to prevent a great deal of it from taking place.So where am I going with this? I’m certainly not suggesting that God himself is a sinner who needs to be punished – just in case you were wondering! What I am saying is that there is another aspect to the cross – not really a complete theory this time – which is that in spite of all the sin and suffering in the world, God really is a good God, who takes seriously His responsibility for what He has created! Yes, He did unleash incredible suffering – by giving autonomy to His creatures – but He didn’t, and doesn’t take this lightly. He bears, and expects to bear, the full weight of this on Himself – He doesn’t just leave it to us to get on with – because He knows that ultimately it will be worth it for all of us!

  • 3) The Suffering God

Many years ago – when I was struggling with the feeling that God seemed rather aloof from His suffering creation – I bought a book by Japanese theologian Kazoh Kitamori, called, “Theology of the Pain of God”. Kitamori takes as his starting point a somewhat obscure verse in Jeremiah about the pain in God’s heart (some translations soften this to “yearning”) over his rebellious “son” Ephraim, and then goes on to unpack the intimate and inseparable relationship in the heart of God between love and pain.However intense and terrible the sufferings of Christ on the cross were, they are actually just one aspect of the suffering that God continually goes through, as He watches the people who He loves continually abusing themselves, one another and the amazing and beautiful world that He created.This model of the atonement then, is not about punishment. Instead it focuses on Jesus’ suffering from a different angle, which is that when Jesus suffered and died on the cross at the hands of those He loved, He incarnated the anguish and suffering of the Father, by not just emotionally but physically exposing himself to the pain of the world and to the pride, selfishness and rebellion of those who cause it. For our part, we demonstrated that we are God-killers. It was a particular group of people in a particular time and place that did this to Him, but actually, that potential is in all of us. All of us have something deep within our souls that says, “Me first, I’m number one!”, and ultimately, if carried through to its conclusion, this has to come into conflict with God. I can’t be number one if God exists and He is Lord, so ultimately, the only way past this is to kill God! Our only safe way out of this impasse is to submit to Him and be reconciled to Him in love. God offers us forgiveness and reconciliation, but it isn’t an easy way out. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can now see very clearly what we’ve done to Him – but by confronting this along with God’s grace and forgiveness, we can now also be truly reconciled.

Courage Trust

This is a link to Courage Trust, a Christian Charity that serves LGBT people both inside and outside the church.

Jeremy Marks, their director, will be visiting revive on Sunday 2nd March to share his own story as a gay Christian who started an ‘ex-gay’ ministry, only to change his views on sexuality and end up supporting the Equal Marriage act. There are lots of articles on the site if you would like to read about the organisation ahead of the meeting. If you would like to read material from an organisation that would uphold traditional teaching on sexuality, just google ‘True Freedom Trust’.

Link  —  Posted: February 24, 2014 by reviveleeds in Uncategorized
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We met, we talked, we conquered… our agenda.

Posted: February 24, 2014 by reviveleeds in Uncategorized
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So revive met eight days ago to plan our future a bit.

We made a bunch of decisions, including changing our Sunday meeting schedule, doing more worship and planning our 21st birthday celebrations. If you are part of the revive family and would like to know how things went, just email Joelle at

So Joelle is going to communicate with you via email, here’s the first:

Hello all,

February Fun Fact: Worms in a worm farm are special worm-farm-worms… (say that fast three times!)
[second fun fact: did you know that we used to have a printed monthly newsletter?]

In this Edition (of the Becoming-More-Regular-Revive-Email-Dispatch):

  • Day Away Loose ends
  • Upcoming Events
  • Slightly Less Upcoming Events
  • Singing at Left Bank

Day Away Loose Ends

We hope you enjoyed the Day Away (on Saturday 1st) with the Valerios, and felt encouraged and inspired (The Braithwaites have become ‘worm-farmers’ as of today).

If you have any feedback (that didn’t go up on Facebook), please email me.

A huge thanks to Sam Evans for her work with the kids and to the Powells for excellent catering.

If you were under-cashed on the day and owe £10, please give it to Clare at a Revive Meeting soon.

Upcoming Events:

  • This Sunday (Feb 9) will be a regular 8.00pm meeting at the      Flints’ (looking forward to more Jesus films).
  • The Girls God Group will be meeting      Monday Feb 10. If you want to become involved, please email me or      contact Luisa.

***Business Meeting***

  • We have altered the calendar to      accommodate a Business Meeting – Sunday Feb 16. 8.00pm at the      Flints.

                 There are a number of important planning items to discuss so please make it a priority to come along. Please RSVP by responding to this email.

Slightly Less Upcoming Events

Left Bank Labyrinth

There are plans afoot for a Labyrinth in Left Bank April 7-10. Stewards are required and we’d really like Revive to be involved. Stay tuned for more information.


Plans are being considered for Revive Easter celebrations, so if you have any ideas / input. please email me.

June Day Away:

In lieu of a weekend away in June, we were thinking another Day Away. Probably June 14. What say you?

Revive Birthday Bash

Simon sent out the date of this celebration weekend in the last few days. Please put November 8th (and surrounding weekend-days in your diary). More details to follow soon.

Sing at Left Bank

The Left Bank and Narnia community have formed a singing group / choir / vocal collective that will meet on Thursdays (fortnightly) to sing a cappella music in the ‘atmospheric’ Left Bank. It’s inclusive and no pressure. Revive people are invited to be apart of it. Please email if you want to join in. There is a small charge per rehearsal to cover costs. Next gathering is Feb 13.

Please keep an eye on the Revive Calendar  for what is happening in our Revive Community.

Remember, if you don’t wish to receive Revive emails, please reply to this email and kindly ask me to remove you from the list.


Put this date in your diary NOW!

Posted: February 6, 2014 by reviveleeds in Events, Leeds, Left Bank, Music, revive, Uncategorized

So this year we are going to have a 21st birthday for revive. I will be on 8th November in Leeds. There will be a family-friendly thing going on during the day, and then a big party in the evening.

Just so you know!

Revive Day Away: our contributors

Posted: January 23, 2014 by reviveleeds in Uncategorized
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Hi everyone!
Have a look at these links
This should tell you a little bit about Greg and Ruth who are going to be speaking on the day.