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).
On Monday 7 August, 2017, I had the privilege of leading the Thanksgiving Service for my wife's Nana's funeral; Joyce Estelle Smyth. This was an immense privelege for me. I thought I would share here the sermon that I had prepared for that occasion. I hope you find it helpful. _______________________
I was 17 and Megan was 15 when
we started going out at Music Camp in September of 1994. A week into our
relationship Megan rang me to say she was going shopping for her Year 10 formal
dress with her mother, Pam and Nana; would I like to come? Being young and in
love I immediately said yes. Now, there are some here today who knew me at the
time and you may recall that these were the days, being 17, when I had long
hair, was tough and knew everything. Oh, the things that time robs us of.