Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How do we read the Bible?

Special Guest Post by Chick Yuill. This was posted by Chick recently on his Facebook page, and is reproduced here with his kind permission.

This year we celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible. And this week two things have stimulated my thinking in relation to Scripture.

Men and Women
Firstly, I read an email from a young woman who has joined the Christian Union at her  university only to discover that a woman is not allowed to do the weekly talk. Neither is she allowed to stand for president of the CU because they believe she would not have 'the necessary authority'. I responded to this by describing it as 'gender bigotry masquerading under the cloak of biblical loyalty'.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An eventful honeymoon... 11 Years On

I posted this last year, and repost it today as the 27th March is the 11th Anniversary of this event.

It's been 10 years since the disastrous events of my honeymoon and in that time I've told this story plenty of times, but have never actually sat down to write it out. I thought that since it's now 10 years since my diagnosis I would take the time to write out what happened to my wife and me on what was supposed to be a celebration of our new marriage...

So here goes...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: Helps to Holiness

Samuel Logan Brengle, Helps to Holiness. London: Salvationist Publishing and Supplies, 1955.
Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle (1860-1936) is a name familiar to Salvationists all over
 the world and rightly so. His name is synonymous, in Army circles, with "holiness teaching" largely because of his writings on this topic, but also because he was, in fact, a holy man. Every year Officers are selected to attend "Brengles" at which holiness teaching is high on the agenda. It is with a great deal of respect that I offer this critique of this particular book, and whilst it will become very clear that I do not agree with all that he says, it is because I respect him and his legacy that I, in fact, do this. We do not respect any writer in anyway if all we do is accept what they say uncritically. We must engage with what has been written; applauding that which is worthy of such, similarly but offering correction when it is necessary. For Christians (and for me as a Wesleyan), this means testing what has been said through the lens of Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience.

So, here goes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Free Seats

During some time I spent in England in 2010 I happened to come across a shop that sold old maps. It was a very small shop with lots to see throughout. Maps from all over the world, and of varying histories, were displayed on the walls, and others were available to pick up and hold and purchase. There were some incredibly detailed and very old drawings. My fascination with history was enthused and so I spent a good hour looking around.... then I discovered a small staircase leading upstairs. There was even more to see.

The upper room held different artifacts, though. Here there were clippings from old newspapers and books. Many of them were fascinating drawings of historical events, some cartoons, and others of a more serious nature. 

Then I found it. An absolute gem of a picture that I knew I had to have.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Eternal Conscious Punishment - To Hell With It!

Special Guest Post by Matt Cairns

It was a relatively quiet night at work until I walked into a hearty discussion between two of my work friends. One, a sincere Christian, and the other, a sincere agnostic. My Christian friend was trying, somewhat in vain, to convince my agnostic friend about God's existence and the consequences of not living God's way. Then came the line that seems to be the sticking point - “I refuse to believe in a God who would torture you forever just because you don't believe in him”. My Christian friend tried the whole it's God's justice line but it seemed a deal breaker – she just wasn't going to buy it. But it got me thinking. Do I believe in a God who would torture someone for all eternity just because they choose by their own God-given free will not to believe in him? It had been something I had been wrestling with for a few years but my friend’s conversation bought it to a head – I needed to know what I believed and here are my conclusions. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Love wins? I hope so!

In the last 10 days or so there has been some significant discussions taking place in the bloggisphere and twitterverse, particular since Rob Bell's publishers released a tantalisingly worded preview of his upcoming book. The negative responses posted by those who immediately wanted to label Bell's theology as universalism (particularly John Piper and Justin Taylor) meant that "Rob Bell" began to trend in Twitter. The other reaction has been to the book itself. It hasn't even been released, but as at today it's number 13 on Amazon.com's Top 100 list. As one other author commented "I wish Justin Taylor had labelled me a universalist too".

Friday, March 4, 2011

St Macrina's Deathbed Prayer

This would have to be one of the most beautiful prayers I've ever read. I hope you agree. It is from Gregory of Nyssa's Life of St Macrina. Macrina was his older sister, and clearly from this hagiography (account of the life of a holy person) she was a woman whom he greatly respected. His other work On the Soul and Resurrection is portrayed as a dialogue between Gregory and his sister upon the death of their brother, Basil the Great (one of the other so-called "Cappadocian Fathers"). There it is Macrina consoling the younger brother, Gregory, through his grief.

Of course, this prayer is Gregory writing after the fact, and so it's likely to have been embellished somewhat, given his great respect for his sister, and that grief always colours our recollection of events (either for good or for bad). Still, it's a beautifully poetic piece of writing, laden with Biblical imagery and theological significance and yet it remains strikingly timeless.

Sermon: Matthew 13:1

I love questions. Many here would be aware that I’m working on a PhD in theology. I’ve also been a teacher of theology, worship, and critica...