History and Truth (greatness and brokenness)

History is always told from a certain angle or perspective.  We’re told that history is written by the winners; and that the only thing we ever learn from history is that we never learn from history or that we are condemned to repeat the history we do not know!  Even good history is offered from a particular perspective, no less than a good map is produced from a certain angle for a particular reason.

Rowan Williams writes, “Good history makes us think again about the definition of things we thought we understood pretty well, because it engages not just with what is familiar but with what is strange.  It recognises that “the past is a foreign country” as well as being our past.

In the context of “truth”, history can be told from multiple angles, and seeming opposites.  “Well they can’t both be true!”  Yes they can.  I recently discovered my notes taken from an unknown place and time given by Bible scholar D. A. Carson.  He spoke of the same [American] history being told in two different ways, both accurate, both true, both very different!

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Women in Ministry

I am going to do some personal research of a biblical theology of women in ministry.

Why is the church struggling, in some quarters, to come to terms with this great egalitarian-complimentarian divide?  I for one am tired of the way this hurts churches and seems to limit ministry potential in so many women.

I’ve already revealed my preference (bias?), but so what!  Why should I, and who am I, to limit the ministry and giftings of women who are born to teach biblical truth and sound doctrine?  What notion of patriarchy do we inhabit when we fail to ‘fan into flame’ the gifts of God so evident in many godly women.

hush-womanAbove is a picture with text I for one find insulting to humanity!  Below is an outline of where I would like to go.  They are discussion points and areas of particular study necessary for exegesis to trump eisegesis (although this comment in no way is meant to undermine a complimentarian view that has been thought out; my point is simply to counter the infantile notion that claims “that’s what the bible says” as though anything that counters it clearly isn’t taking the Bible seriously.  This study, as the outline below shows, focuses on a biblical theology of women; historical, contextual and grammatical detail, as well as applying this study to the contemporary church today.

The categories and questions are:

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Aliens Are People Too

ET-Extra-Terrestrial-PSDo you remember when E.T. first came out?
It was literally a block-buster! And rightly so, what a great film that finally proved, once and for all, that aliens existed in our universe!
I never really doubted – did you?

To be terrestrial is to be related in some way to earth – as distinct from “other planets”!
So “Extra” terrestrial is something from “out there” or not from earth, coming to earth – it is “extra” – thus, E. T. stands for: Extra-Terrestrial a “thing” originating from outside or beyond earth!

So that makes all of us “Terrestrials”. We belong on earth, we are from this earth, and it is all a gift from God who made it.

Another word we have to describe E. T.’s is Alien. Many of us have seen various science fiction films with both friendly and non-friendly aliens and so on.

Some of us may even believe that aliens “out there” exist, and there are some weird and wonderful theories out there, by some very weird and wonderful people – but that’s irrelevant for my purposes here.

When Adam and Eve did the only thing they were not to do (Gen 3), they who had been created by God for the earth and the earth for them, were now banished by God within the earth – they became “alien” to the loving, saving, tender mercy of God.

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Despite Local Imperfections and Dullness

“Surely, if ever there was one who might justly plead that the common worship of the community had nothing to offer him it was the Lord Jesus Christ. But every Sabbath found him seated in his place among the worshipping people, and there was no act of stated worship which he felt himself entitled to discard.

Even in his most exalted moods, and after his most elevating experiences, he quietly took his place with the rest of God’s people, sharing with them in the common worship of the community. Returning from that great baptismal scene, when the heavens themselves were rent to bear him witness that he was well pleasing to God; from the searching trials of the wilderness, and from that first great tour in Galilee, prosecuted, as we are expressly told, “in the power of the Spirit”; he came back, as the record tells, “to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and”—so proceeds the amazing narrative—”he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue, on the Sabbath day.” “As his custom was!”

Jesus Christ made it his habitual practice to be found in his place on the Sabbath day at the stated place of worship to which he belonged. “It is a reminder,” as Sir William Robertson Nicoll well insists, “of the truth which, in our fancied spirituality, we are apt to forget—that the holiest personal life can scarcely afford to dispense with stated forms of devotion, and that the regular public worship of the church, for all its local imperfections and dullness, is a divine provision for sustaining the individual soul.”

“We cannot afford to be wiser than our Lord in this matter. If any one could have pled that his spiritual experience was so lofty that it did not require public worship, if any one might have felt that the consecration and communion of his personal life exempted him from what ordinary mortals needed, it was Jesus. But he made no such plea.

Sabbath by Sabbath even he was found in the place of worship, side by side with God’s people, not for the mere sake of setting a good example, but for deeper reasons. Is it reasonable, then, that any of us should think we can safely afford to dispense with the pious custom of regular participation with the common worship of our locality?” Is it necessary for me to exhort those who would fain be like Christ, to see to it that they are imitators of him in this?”


This is part of an exhortation by Benjamin Breckinridge (B. B.) Warfield (1851 – 1921), who was professor of theology at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey, USA.

The complete article can be found here.


Invited Into Christ’s Life

41FeXMjiYYL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_“Although it is commonplace in some circles to talk about “inviting Jesus into your life”, it is more appropriate to turn the invitation around the other way because, in fact, it is Jesus who invites us into his life.

The essence of the Incarnation is that Jesus has entered into solidarity with humankind in ways which may be ontologically mysterious but which are existentially compelling.  As our brother, He has entered fully into our humanity – He needs no invitation into our lives because He is already in intimate solidarity with us.

But it is a solidarity which is not invasive or imposed.  Rather, it invites us to respond in the same way a guest responds to an invitation with a clear sense that what is being accepted or rerjected is a gift which is simply waiting to be claimed.

It is rather like the gift which we are told simply awaits our collection in the latest Reader’s Digest draw – but in relation to God’s grace the gift is real, really worth having and waiting to be claimed by everyone and not just the lucky few!”


John Saxbee, No Faith in religion, p.91

Clown Europe


Call them what you want,

Asylum seeker, migrant, refugee;

But see, a face that looks like me.


Watch them flee from land and sea,

Shining out from our latest HD TV.

Packed in boats and rafts;

Longing for half a chance.


Despising even the rank air they breathe.

No room to move or sit,

No food to eat no drink to drink;

While Europe waits and chats and thinks.


They want to live and work and play,

To see a new day, as the sun goes higher;

Just trying to live that’s all, beyond the dire,

But is this necessary, brand-new razor-sharp wire?


And they’re the lucky one’s,

For too many drown,

In the not too funny sea,

While Europe looks on, like a clown.


We all know this world is unequal,

Too few have had too much for too long.

“Fortresses of wealth in many seas of mass misery,”

No act of God, but acts of man,

A kind of perverse and sinful symmetry.


It is time to wake up, look up and see,

These are not asylum seekers, migrants or refugees;

But a stunning and worthy humanity. . . . seeking dignity.

Look closely:  they are all just like you, and just like me.

Absolutes, Possibilities and Silence – how to read the Bible properly

Any doctrinal study of any kind must be thorough.  Beginning with the Old Testament, via the inter-testamental period (if necessary) and progressing through the ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, and concluding with Acts and the Letters.  Every study must work through the whole of what every text is a part!  Of course, this approach assumes that Scripture is authoritative and inspired by the Holy Spirit – the Third Person of the Trinity!  To not be convinced of this will lead to eisegesis, a form of study that merely seeks to bolster and promote a view already held – although a belief in the Trinity is no guarantee at all that eisegesis will not win the day!

Cultural and linguistic background studies must be exhausted, followed by exegetical questions about the passage in question, with whatever doctrine is in mind; this is especially true in our day when many within and with-out the Church seem to foam at the mouth regarding “the authority of women”, “women in the Church” or “homosexuality” or whatever!

I think the Bereans of Acts 17:11 are a great acid test here:  “With great eagerness [they] examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true!”  Note: if what Paul said was true!  They surely knew not of whom they spoke!  But all credit to them.  Integrity, openness, honesty and desire all the way.

Anyone engaging in exegetical study, or Bible study, must use sound principles of interpretive method and procedure.  Openness and honesty, as already stated, is primary, especially in any polarised topic or doctrine.

The exegetical student must recognise and distinguish between:

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