Monday, March 31, 2008
with books read and texts divided.
Will they burn on lips with a holy flame
of consuming fire,
Or will all be dust and ashes?
The preacher rises to his pulpit,
the stained wood
enlcoses him like a coffin.
Will he die once more,
Or will the quickening Spirit give life?
The Wind blows where it wishes
and cannot be controlled
by man's art or sweat.
Will the free Spirit come and
release me from my chains or not?
That's the preacher's risk.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
1. Paranoid Android (OK Computer)
2. Fake Plastic Trees (The Bends)
3. Idioteque (Kid A)
4. Pyramid Song (Amnesiac)
5. Reckoner (In Rainbows)
6. Street Spirit (The Bends)
7. Nude (In Rainbows)
8. No Surprises (OK Computer)
9. How To Disappear Completely (Kid A)
10. Lucky (OK Computer)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Edited by David Gibson and Daniel Strange, IVP Apollos, 2008, 403pp.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
In films like The Passion of Christ, the sheer physical brutality of crucifixion is brought to the fore. Mark, however, places that in the background. However, Mark is very restrained when it comes to the gore factor. He simply says "and they crucified him" (15:24).Mark draws our attention not to the wounds of Jesus but to the words of his enemies. He goes into great detail to record the taunts and verbal abuse that Jesus suffered (15:29-32, 35). Why does he do this? Because this too is a sign that Jesus is dying under God's judgement. Consider Deut 28:37. Also, Psalm 89:38-42 (in context this is about God's king from David's line):
you are full of wrath against your anointed.
You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
you have defiled his crown in the dust.
You have breached all his walls;
you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
All who pass by plunder him;
he has become the scorn of his neighbours.
You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
you have made all his enemies rejoice."
While on the cross, Jesus was plunged into darkness for three hours, Mark 15:33. This recalls the plague of darkness that fell upon Egypt prior to the Exodus. This too was what God threatened Israel with in Deut. 28:29 "and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness." Amos also warned of this sign of judgement (Amos 8:9):
"I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight."
6. Jesus is forsaken by God
Now we come to the words that Jesus speaks in Mark 15:34:
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
"Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them."
The same idea is expressed by Ezra as he acknowledges the guilt of the people of God that led to the exile (the ultimate OT expression of judgement). Ezra 9:7b reads:
"And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today."
In the OT being handed over to the nations was a sign of God's anger. This is happening to Jesus in Mark 15.
"If a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God."
Jesus was not personally guilty of any crime that could issue in his death. His death was therefore substitutionary. For clearly in being hung on a tree, he was "cursed by God" for us. This is reinforced by the crown of thorns that Jesus was forced to wear by the Roman soldiers (Mark 15:17). Thorns are associated with God's curse upon creation after the fall (Gen. 3:17-19). Paul draws our attention to the fact that Jesus was made a curse for us in Gal. 3:10-13 cf. 1 Peter 2:24.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Shane Williams scores his record winning 41st try for Wales
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Some aspects of the Bill are deeply disturbing. Science should not be allowed to operate on the basis of what is possible in the laboratory without regard for ethical principles. The unique dignity of human life should not be undermined by allowing the production of human/animal embryos for the extraction of stem cells. This is especially the case now that scientists are discovering the potential of adult stem cells, culled from human skin. Money should be invested in developing the benefits of this kind of research rather than in ethically questionable work on embryonic hybrids. Then we have the proposals in the Bill regarding therapeutic cloning and in some instances, reproductive cloning. These, once again represent a serious attack on the value of human life.
The Bill will also give an opportunity for M.P.'s to table an amendment reducing the abortion limit from 24 weeks. In specialised neonatal units, up to 82% of babies born prematurely at 24 weeks now survive. Added to this is the new appreciation of foetal sensitivity to pain.
Please will you consider voting against the proposals on embryo research mentioned above and for an amendment that would lead to the reduction in the abortion limit.
It is often said that religious convictions should play no part in shaping the laws that govern our country. If that view had prevailed in the 18th Century, Wilberforce would never have been able to abolish slavery (I'm enjoying William Hague's book, by the way). But the Christian faith, with its insistence that human beings are made in the image of God, provides a bulwark against a wholly pragmatic and utilitarian view of what it means to be human. It seems to me that lack of belief in God is soon followed by lack of belief in man.
The Christian Institute has a helpful Index of resources on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill: http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2007/hte_bill/index.htm
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
GD: Where did you train for the ministry and what did you find most helpful in your studies?
GD: How did you sustain so many years of fruitful ministry in one church?
GD: What is the relationship between preaching and the power of the Holy Spirit?
GD: What kind of ministries are you involved in now that you have retired from full-time pastoral work?
GD: Some men find it hard to adjust to life beyond full-time pastoral ministry. Any suggestions on how preachers can enjoy a happy and fruitful retirement?
GD: Do you believe in revival? If so what is it?
GD: Can we do anything to help promote a revival?
GD: Your latest book is on the canon of the New Testament. Why do we need to give attention to that subject at this particular time?
GD: You have also written biographies of William Tyndale and John Newton. What are the great lessons that we can learn from these two men?
GD: You once made a distinction between "essential truth" that is essential for salvation, "significant truth" covering matters like church government and baptism and "phantom truth". How would you define "phantom truth"?
GD: I would have to agree with you there. We often seem unable to cope with differences over secondary matters in a mature and gracious way. Now, is it possible to be faithful to the gospel and truly contemporary?
GD: You have a website. What kind of thing might readers find there? Ever thought of starting a blog?
GD: It seems to me that evangelical publishers are falling over themselves to publish too many books (your own titles excepted!). For example, Banner of Truth, Evangelical Press, IVP and Day One all have at least two commentary series on the go. Some books I have read were poorly edited, suggesting that they had been rushed to press far too quickly. Isn't it about time that publishers slowed down a little?
GD: That said, what is the most helpful work of theology that you have read in the last twelve months? It is a must read because?
GD: You never know. What is the biggest problem facing evangelicalism and how should we respond?
BE: The downgrading of our Christian values and the upgrading of a wholly secular society. In response, the church must be what she is supposed to be: salt, light and the aroma of Christ and resist the easy temptation to absorb the mindset of the world into the life of the church.
GD: What are your top three songs or pieces of music?
Monday, March 10, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
A difficult game against Ireland. But we did it! The question now is whether Wales can clinch the Grand Slam by beating France next Saturday. See here for match reports and highlights from the BBC. Cymru am byth!
Shane Williams' try
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I don't suppose that I'll ever get round to reading Barth's mighty Church Dogmatics. Life's too short and I haven't even got started on Bavinck's much more profitable Reformed Dogmatics yet. But I thought that I would give Barth's Dogmatics in Outline a read. This little book is not a precis of his larger opus. It is an independent study of the Apostle's Creed, based on a series of lectures in post WWII Germany. The setting gives added power to these extemporary talks as Barth eloquently exposes the evils of National Socialism and anti-Semitism.