One of my favourite writers, and one of the greatest Biblical
scholars of our generation, N.T. Wright once wrote the following: I used to tell my students that at
least 20 per cent of what I was telling them was wrong, but I didn’t know which
20 per cent it was: I make many mistakes in life, in relationships and in work,
and I don’t expect to be free of them in my thinking. But whereas in much of
life one’s mistakes are often fairly obvious – the short cut path that ended in
a bed of nettles, the experimental recipe that gave us all queasy stomachs, the
golf shot that landed in the lake – in the life of the mind things are often
not so straightforward. We need other minds on the job, to challenge us, to
come back at us to engage with our arguments and analyses. That is how the
world goes round. Here
is a man who has years of research under his belt, countless books from his own
pen lining bookshelves all throughout the world, a former Oxford professor,
Bishop of Durham and now Professor…
Arguably Gregory of Nyssa's most famous contribution to Christian theology, next to his involvement with the other Cappadocian Fathers in the solidification of the doctrine of the Trinity, is his famous "fish-hook" theory of the atonement. It goes a little something like this...
Humanity is enslaved to sin and the devil by their own free choice to turn away from the Good (i.e. God) and towards evil. God could free humanity arbitrarily, but this would deny his own justice, since it was the free choice of humanity to be enslaved. The slave-master (even if it is the devil) must receive a payment for the slave. What would he accept in exchange for the thing which he held but something... higher and better in the way of ransom. (Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, NPNF 5, 493).
This post follows on from PartOne,Two,Three, and Fourin a series on The Salvation Army's position regarding the sacraments. This will be the final post in this series.
I start with a few cautions for us to consider. The "Prophetic" calling of The Salvation Army - Of late there has been a particular emphasis on our "Testimonial" role on the possibility of a Christian life lived "without sacramental ritual". The big questions for any prophet are (a) are you really saying what God wants you to say, and is that supported by Scripture, and (b) what evidence do you have to support such claims. In response to (a) there is probably more support for an observant position than a non-observant one, and for (b) there have not been any other denominations adopt a stance. Sure, they respect us and admire us, but no one's joining us. Our prophetic role is either ineffectual, or needs closer scrutiny.Who's decision was this? James Pedlar has closely compared Sa…