Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jersey

We've gone to the lovely island of Jersey for a half term break. Far from the madding crowd.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch by John Webster

Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch, by John Webster,
Cambridge University Press, 2007, 144pp

Christian theology is an attempt to articulate the gospel in accordance with the witness of Scripture. But how should we view Scripture in the context of the church's theological task? Should we see the Bible simply as a human book that speaks of man's consciousness of the divine? Or would it be better to regard Scripture as a God-given text that the church must seek to understand and obey as best it can? Both positions are obviously reductionistic. The first fails to take seriously Scripture's own claim that it is the living and enduring Word of God. The second recognises the divine origin of the Bible, but does not give sufficient attention to the place of Scripture in communicative action of the triune God. How then may we understand Scripture in relation to God's self-revelatory presence and saving purposes? This book is John Webster's attempt to sketch out an answer to that question.

In the first chapter Webster discusses Revelation, Sanctification and Inspiration. From the outset Webster makes it clear that he does not want to consider the Scriptures in isolation. A theological account of Scripture must set the Bible in the context of God's self-revelation and the reception of that revelation by the church. Webster's concept of revelation has a decidedly Barthian emphasis. For him revelation is reconciliation. But it is possible to hear of God's offer of reconciliation without actually being reconciled to him. Revelation is only reconciliation in the context of the effective call of the Gospel. Webster is right, however to stress the role of Scripture the communicative action of the Triune God. Scripture serves the revelatory presence of God, as the Father brings his people into fellowship with himself through the work of the Son in the power of the Spirit.

The biblical writings are distinguished from all other literature by the designation “Holy Scripture”. Webster invokes the concept of the ‘sanctification’ of Scripture to hold together both the divine and human aspects of the Bible, “the biblical texts are creaturely realities set apart by the triune God to serve his self-presence.” (p. 21). But the theologian is unhappy with the oft drawn analogy between Scripture as a divine/human book and the union of divine and human natures in the person of Christ. He suggests that the analogy blurs the distinction between Christ and the Bible. Webster prefers to speak of Scripture as a witness to God’s Word. This was Karl Barth’s preferred way of viewing Scripture, to the extent that he viewed Scripture as a fallible, human witness to the divine Word,

“The men whom we hear as witnesses speak as fallible, erring men like ourselves. What they say, and what we read as their word, can of itself lay claim to be the Word of God, but can never sustain that claim”, (Church Dogmatics Book I, 2, p. 507).

Webster formulates the idea of Scripture as testimony with greater care and respect. He does not want to so stress the fragility of Scripture’s human witness to the divine Word that the relationship between the Bible and God’s self-revelation become almost accidental. We have to bear in mind the work of the Spirit in the production, preservation and interpretation of Scripture.

What Webster wants to avoid in rejecting the analogy between Christ and the Bible is the attribution of divine properties to the text of Scripture. At this point he draws on Herman Bavinck’s idea of the ‘servant form’ of Scripture. As developed by Berkhouer, this perspective is taken to suggest that in the Bible we have the treasures of God’s self-revelation in ‘earthen vessels’, subject to human weakness. Webster does not spell out what he means by human 'weaknesses', but I guess he has the traditional Evangelical doctrine of biblical inerrancy in his sights. This calls for a couple of comments. First, in Bavinck, the notion of the ‘servant form’ of Scripture is explicitly rooted in an incarnational analogy,

"The incarnation of Christ demands that we trace it down into the depths of its humiliation, in all its weakness and contempt. The recording of the word, of revelation, invites us to recognise that dimension of weakness and lowliness, the servant form, also in Scripture. But just as Christ's human nature, however weak and lowly, remained free from sin, so also Scripture is 'conceived without defect or stain'; totally human in all its parts but also totally divine in all its parts." (Reformed Dogmatics Volume 1, Herman Bavinck, Baker Academic, 2003, p. 435).

Second, I agree that it would be wrong to attribute divine properties to a text. But the Bible is not simply an inert text. It is the product of the God's communicative action. As Timothy Ward points out, Scripture is better described as ‘Word’ or ‘message’ than ‘text’. In Scripture we have God's speech acts performed through the words of Scripture. This construction does not entail divinizing the biblical text, but it does mean that Scripture will reflect the divine identity of its ultimate author. As God’s speech act, we can expect that Scripture will be wholly reliable and without error. (Words of Life, Timothy Ward, IVP, 2009. See p. 78ff for his interaction with Webster).

After discussing the sanctification of Scripture, Webster moves on to reflect on the inspiration of the Bible. He holds to the verbal inspiration of Scripture. But the theologian rightly insists that inspiration does not simply have to do with the original production of Scripture, as God moved men to write the Bible. As Bavinck points out, theopneustos (2 Timothy 3:16) means that Scripture is both God-breathed as to its origin, and God-breathing as he continues to speak through his written Word.

Despite the strictures noted above, there is much that is helpful and thought provoking in Webster’s treatment of the relationship between God’s self-revelation and Scripture. In setting Scripture in the context of the communicative presence of the triune God, he is able to conclude, “what we encounter in Scripture is the terrifying mercy of God’s address.” (p. 41).

Webster also discusses Scripture, Canon and the Church. He provides a good Protestant account of the canon of Scripture in terms of the Church recognising what God has given in the sacred writings rather than the Church conferring its authority on the Bible. He interacts with Gerorge Lindbeck’s postliberal approach to the Bible. Lindbeck lays great stress on the role of the Church as an interpretative community. What the Church makes of the Bible is what seems to matter above all else. But this proposal virtually ignores the self-communication of God in Scripture. The Church is enabled to understand the Bible by the witness of the Spirit. Her authority is not the voice of the Church as an interpretative community, but the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture.

A rich chapter is devoted to reading in the economy of grace. Shortcutting complicated hermeneutical theories, Webster commends a simple, trusting and attentive reading of Scripture, saying, "Faithful reading of Holy Scripture in the economy of grace is an episode in the history of sin and its overcoming." (p. 87). How we ought to remember that when tempted to skim through our daily Bible readings! We need to cultivate a deep, meditative and prayerful engagement with Scripture.

Finally, drawing on the teaching of the Reformers, Webster makes a case for Bible-based theology in the context of the secular university.

Webster’s dogmatic sketch of Holy Scripture helps to place the Bible in its proper theological context – the self revelation of the one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has attempted give a us coherent account of Scripture as the living and active Word of God to human beings, through human beings. He could have gone further in asserting the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible as God’s authoritative speech. We certainly need to avoid giving the impression that we attribute divine properties to Scripture. We do not worship a Book. But ‘bibliolatry’ is not the only danger we face. We also need to avoid driving a wedge between the eternal and omniscient God of the Gospel and his communicative action in Scripture. God’s Word is ever God’s Word.

“‘The grass withers, and the flower falls but the word of the Lord remains forever’. And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:24-25).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What a State!

For days the media has been full of embarrassing stories about MP's expenses. Honourable Members have been claiming for all kinds of things from gardening bills to extravagant furnishings. One Tory grandee apparently billed the taxpayer for the cost of cleaning his moat. Yesterday the Speaker announced his resignation due to criticism of his handling of the affair. This was an historic event. The last time a Speaker was ousted from office was 300 years ago. The Prime Minister announced that measures to reform the MP's expenses will be hastily implemented.

Of course, were it not for the harsh glare of the media and widespread public outrage, it is doubtful that the system would have been reformed so quickly. The sad thing about this whole business is that it has made people even more cynical and distrusting of those who are meant to be governing our country. The State is in a rather sorry state. Churchill famously said that democracy is the least worst system of government. But does democratic government in the UK have to be quite this bad? Far right parties like the BNP are looking to exploit this sorry mess in the forthcoming local and European elections.
No doubt many MP's have not been abusing the expenses system. There are still men and women of integrity in Parliament. But we are reminded that the best of men are men at best. Sadly, not even our legislators can be trusted to regulate themselves. This has happened as the State has become increasingly secular and intent on removing faith-based values from public life. But more than ever we could do with some men and women with strong Christian faith and gritty integrity in Parliament. This is no time for believers to withdraw from the political process. Think of what Wilberforce acheived, when at first the tide of opinion was against him.

The Bible teaches us to value the State, which has been appointed to maintain law and order in society (Romans 13:1-8). Christians should pray for those who wield power in the land (1 Timothy 2:1-4). But we should not expect too much from our fellow human beings, "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save." (Psalm 146:3).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The speech acts of Scripture and God in action

I'm really enjoying Words of Life (2009, IVP) by Timothy Ward. Here's a taster,

"Whenever we encounter the speech acts of Scripture, we encounter God himself in action. The Father presents himself to us as a God who makes and keeps his covenant promises. The Son comes to us as the Word of God, knowable to us through his words. The Spirit ministers these words to us, illuminating our minds and hearts, so that in receiving, understanding and trusting them, we receive, know and trust God himself." (p. 97)

Friday, May 15, 2009

An interview with Stuart Burgess

I quiz Professor Burgess about the interface between his Christian beliefs and his work as a scientist.
1. Who are you?
I am married to Jocelyn and have 5 children. We attend Zion Baptist Church. I am a Professor at Bristol University in the department of Mechanical Engineering. I have also taught at Cambridge University where I was a Bye-Fellow of Selwyn College. Before academia I designed spacecraft for the European Space Agency.
2. How did you become a Christian believer?
I come from a non-Christian home in the Bristol area. When I went to University in London in 1981 I attended an independent evangelical church and was soon converted on hearing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. One of the things that impressed me was the kindness and hospitality of a couple called David and Ruth. They still send Christmas cards to me to this day!
3. The world of science is often assumed to be anti-religion. What do you think about this?
I do not see true science as being anti-religion. In fact I believe that science was pioneered by religious people such as Newton, Pascal, Kelvin, Faraday and Maxwell. Since God is the author of both the Bible and creation there should not be a conflict between science and the Bible. One key to seeing there is no conflict is to recognise God's greatness. God is so powerful that He can create the world in any way He likes whether it is 6 days or 6 seconds.
4. What is Intelligent Design (ID)?
The key idea behind Intelligent Design is simple - that design reveals a designer. In the same way that the intricacies in a spacecraft reveal a designer so the intricacies in a bird reveal a designer.
5. Can ID on its own lead people to God?
ID only shows that there is a Creator not necessarily that the Creator is the God of the Bible. However, having said that, I believe that the design of the earth shows that the Creator is a 'caring' God. The Psalmist says that earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
6. Do you agree with the ideas of Charles Darwin?
Darwin was correct to say that creatures like finches adapt to the environment by changing beak shape. However, he was wrong to then assume that creatures could undergo enormous changes (change into other types of creature) that are thousands of times greater than minor adaptations. Modern studies show that whilst birds adapt to the environment, they always remain birds. Adaptation can be illustrated by the shuffling of a pack of cards and randomly choosing a subset of cards from the pack. A pack of cards represent the gene pool between parents. Whilst shuffling the genes and choosing a new subset of cards can produce some adaptations, the amount of adaptation is limited by the cards available in the pack. No amount of shuffling can produce dramatic changes. This is why changes through adaptation are very limited.
7. Do you believe that man evolved from an ape-like creature?
I have written a book about this question called The Origin of Man. There are enormous differences between humans and apes and I believe this makes it impossible for man to have evolved form an ape-like creature in the past. Some of the main unique features of humans are: upright stature, fine hands, fine skin, intricate facial expressions, fine language, long childhood, unique marriage and birth, unique brain, unique beauty and unique DNA.
8. What do you think of theistic evolution?
The whole point of evolution is to say that there is no designer, so I cannot see how theistic evolution is compatible with the Bible. Evolution also involves a violent struggle for survival which is not compatible with the Garden of Eden. Evolution involves death before the Fall which is theological against the fact that creation was 'very good'. Even if evolution could work, I do not believe God would use it because it is such a clumsy way of creating. In reality God creates in a very elegant way by just speaking the word (Ps 33).
9. Do you think creation should be a positive message rather than arguing over old bones?
I believe that the creation message is a positive one - that the beauty and intricacy of creation reveals a Creator. You do not need a PhD in genetics or design or biology to see that there is a Creator. A young child can see evidence for a Creator as much as a professor at University. But people will always argue over bones and scientific data because data can always be interpreted in different ways. Having said this, there is a place for Christians who are scientists to stand up for true science.
10. Do you believe in six-day creation?
I believe that God created the Universe in six 24 hour days as described in the book of Genesis. I believe that He made a mature fully functioning Universe that would have had the appearance of age from the beginning of creation. Adam and Eve would have looked adults, and trees would have been mature and producing fruit. In the same way, stars were already sending light to the earth. The idea of mature creation is logical to me since engineers do this all the time. When an engineer makes car or an aeroplane it is a mature fully functioning system that in some ways has the appearance of age. Because creation is a supernatural event, it is impossible to scientifically measure or prove the age of the earth.
11. Well, thanks for dropping by Stuart. You can discover more books by Professor Burgess at Day One Christian Books.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gender inclusivity and the Bible

Over on Facebook I've been having a discussion with Chris Bennett on gender inclusivity in Bible translation. Chris favours the inclusive stance of the TNIV, while I prefer the less radical policy of the NKJV and ESV. His comments have got me thinking. But Facebook is a bit limiting when it comes to theological discussion, so I thought I might continue to reflect on the matter here.
Exact gender correspondence is impossible in translation as the Hebrew has no neuter. We would not want to refer to inanimate objects like the an altar in the temple as "he" or "she". In English it's an "it". Also, it would be theologically insensitive to refer to the Spirit as "it", although in Greek the pronoun for pneuma is neuter (the AV does this somewhat pedantically in Rom 8:16.)
But, to take an example, when TNIV translates anthropou as "human being" rather than "man" in 1 Cor 15:21, the specificity of the two men, spelt out in 1 Cor 15:22 is lost. Adam as man/male is head of fallen humanity. Christ as man/male is head of God's new humanity. Unless we are saying that Adam's maleness was incidental to his headship, we have no right to translate "human being" rather than "man". The same is true for the second "man" in 1 Cor 15:21, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor 15:47, where "man" is used of "the first man" and "the second man" in TNIV). Was maleness incidental to Jesus being God as man for us and for our salvation? Clearly not. Presumably the Son of God incarnate could not have taken a female human nature. As the last Adam he had to be male. The translation "human being" in 1 Cor 15:22 weakens the link between this text and the broken symmetries of Paul's Adam/Christ parallels Romans 5:12-21, where "man" is rightly used in connection with both figures in TNIV, rather than the non-gender specific, "human being". Also note that Paul makes Christ's headship of the church a pattern for male headship in the home, (Eph 5:22-33).
It is true that in Christ there is neither male nor female, (Galatians 3:28), but that does not mean that gender specificity has no place in English translations of the Bible. In taking gender inclusivity too far TNIV is depriving its readers of some of the rich connotations of the biblical text that can only be expressed in gender specific terms. The ESV is right to be gender inclusive when anthropos means humanity whatever the gender. But it is also important to retain gender specificity when the theological concerns of the text demand it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bavinck on God's Word in Servant Form


I've been reading the relevant chapters of Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics Volume 1 in preparation for paper on inerrancy. (You can see an earlier version of it here). It is sometimes suggested that the Dutch theologian's emphasis on the servant form on biblical revelation meant that he had problems with inerrancy. Judge for yourself whether this is the case:
"The incarnation of Christ demands that we trace it down into the depths of its humiliation, in all its weakness and contempt. The recording of the word, of revelation, invites us to recognise that dimension of weakness and lowliness, the servant form, also in Scripture. But just as Christ's human nature, however weak and lowly, remained free from sin, so also Scripture is is 'conceived without defect or stain'; totally human in all its parts but also totally divine in all its parts." (Reformed Dogmatics Volume 1, Baker Academic, 2003, p. 435).
Unlike Charles Hodge and B. B. Warfield, Bavinck did not reflect at length on the integrity and purity of Scripture. He regarded such matters as the domain of biblical scholars rather than dogmaticians. His treatment of the attributes of Scripture is limited to the authority, necessity, sufficiency and perspicuity of the Bible. The main opponent for Princeton theologians was sceptical liberalism, which is why they concentrated their firepower on inerrancy. In discussing the attributes of Scripture, Bavinck has Roman Catholicism in his sights, hence the difference of emphasis.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Themelios 34:1 out now

Themelios Volume 34, Issue 1 is online now. Amongst other things, this issue includes a couple of helpful articles on biblial inerrancy. Plus there is the first in a promising three part series on power in preaching. Check it out. You know it makes sense.
Oh, and Jason Sexton's piece on inerrancy references my interview with Kevin Vanhoozer. Fame at last.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

ESV Study Bible

I'm thinking in investing in the new ESV Study Bible, but I have some questions. Is it as good as the publicity suggests? I would prefer the anglicized version published by Collins. But can I get access to the free online stuff if I buy the Collins edition? The anglicized text is important for me because I don't like reading the Bible in stupidised Americeen 'English'. I mean, 'color' for 'colour', 'ax' rather than 'axe' and 'dirty critters' instead of 'unclean creatures'. What's the point in that?
Answers on a postcard please, or if you prefer, leave a comment.
Update:
Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds, who works for Crossway, the USA publisher of the ESVSB says,
"Collins does do a number of anglicised ESVs, but they are not doing the ESVSB. They are simply importing our edition of it, which would include the free online access."
So there we have it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism by G. K. Beale

The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism:
Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority
,
by G. K. Beale, Crossway, 2008, 300pp.
The doctrine of Scripture is one of the most highly contested areas of Christian theology. Evangelicals and liberals have been fighting hammer and tongs over the Bible for many decades and there is no sign of the war reaching a conclusion any time soon. One feature of the conflict in recent years has been the blurring of the battle lines. It could once be assumed with a degree of certainty that Evangelical and Reformed theologians held to biblical inerrancy while almost everybody else, from liberals to Barthians rejected that view. Now that is no longer the case. The traditional Evangelical take on the Bible is being questioned within the fold. Recently the prominent Scottish Reformed theologian Andrew McGowan argued in The Divine Spiration of Scripture that we should jettison inerrancy in favour of a reconfigured notion of infallibility (see here). Across the Pond, Peter Enns raised issues relating to biblical inerrancy in his book, Inspiration and Incarnation. It is all rather confusing for those who knew where they stood when Evangelicals wearing white stetsons challenged the villainous, back -hatted liberals to a draw at High Noon over the inerrancy of Scripture.
Greg Beale wades into the debate as a New Testament scholar. His main purpose is to interact with the proposals of Peter Enns, who was suspended from his post at the Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) because of concerns regarding his views on biblical inerrancy. Beale does not get involved in the rights and wrongs of this suspension. He concentrates his firepower on Enns' teaching.
The main areas of discussion are the relationship between ancient near east (ANE) mythology and the Old Testament and the New Testament's use of Old Testament texts. According to Enns, Old Testament writers incorporated ANE mythology into the biblical text, not realising that what they regarded as historical fact was really myth and legend. The Genesis accounts of creation and the flood are cases in point. Enns finds examples of this approach in the New Testament as too, with Paul citing the Jewish myth of a moving well in 1 Corinthians 10:4. This approach clearly raises problems for the inerrancy of Scripture. Beale argues that the Old Testament alludes to ANE myths for polemical purposes, to insist that the Lord God rather than the gods of the nations created and ordered the universe. But the Old Testament narratives in Genesis and elsewhere are essentially historical rather than mythological. He takes issue with Enns' interpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:4, providing a more cogent explanation of the verse than the 'moving well' proposal.
On the New Testament's use of Old Testament texts, Beale scrutinises Enns' view that the writers of the New Testament paid little attention to the contextual meaning of the Old Testament. In sum, he claims that they obtained the right doctrine from the wrong texts. Beale shows that the apostles were sensitive to the original meaning of Old Testament passages, even as they understood the Old Testament in the light of its fulfilment in Christ.
A chapter is devoted to specific problem the unity of the Prophecy of Isaiah. Many Old Testament scholars hold that the Isaiah should be divided in two, with chapters 1-39 written by the eponymous prophet and chapters 40-66 penned by a post-exilic author. The New Testament however attributes texts from both supposed sections of the Prophecy to Isaiah. Is this a case of New Testament writers unwittingly suggesting that the Book of Isaiah was the work of one prophet, while critical scholarship has shown that this does not match the facts? Beale presents detailed arguments in favour of the unity of Isaiah and argues that respect for the authority of Scripture demands that we take seriously what the New Testament says regarding the single authorship of the Book.
A major plank in Enns' proposals is that the Old Testament's account of creation incorporates elements of ANE myth. To counter this Beale includes two major chapters on Old Testament cosmology. In common with ANE mythology, the Old Testament seems to depict a three-tier universe, comprising of the earth, the domed sky and the heavenly realm beyond the dome. This model is obviously unscientific. But is it even intended to be a scientific description of the universe? Beale carefully relates the Old Testament's vision of a three-tier creation to Israel's Tabernacle and Temple. Both constructions were three-tierd. The outer court represented the earth, the holy place signified the sky, and the most holy place stood for God's heavenly dwelling place. The lamp in the temple with its seven lights symbolised the sun, moon and five visible planets in the heavens. The temple was intended to be a microcosm of the universe. Beale tightens the link between temple and cosmos by drawing on Old Testament texts such as Isaiah 66:1-2, where creation is described as a huge temple. In other words, when Old Testament writers spoke of a three-tier universe, they were not trying to give a scientific account of the world, so much as emphasising that creation is God's great temple. This is hinted at in the temple-like description of Eden and finds its fulfilment in the new creation, where the tabernacle of God comes to the earth and God dwells among men, Revelation 21:1-3.
Jesus affirmed the Old Testament creation and flood narratives and seemed to hold to the unity of Isaiah. If we say that the Old Testament presented myth as history and the New Testament's attribution of Old Testament Books is to be doubted, that raises questions regarding the authority of Jesus. Was he simply accommodating himself to the knowledge of the times although he knew better, or was he also mistaken? Either option causes problems for our understanding of the person of Christ. The Father through the Holy Spirit revealed to the incarnate Son whatever he needed to know for the purpose of salvation and for the instruction of his people. If we believe that Jesus is the final revelation of God, then we must accept his word as truth without reservation. The disciples learned their method of Old Testament exegesis from the Master (Luke 24:45-49). To cast doubt on the reliability of the apostle's use of the Old Testament is to question Jesus' ability as a Bible teacher.
The book concludes with a series of appendices. The problems entailed in Steve Moyise's postmodern approach to interpreting Scripture are discussed at some length. Beale draws heavily on the work of Kevin Vanhoozer at this point. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is reproduced. What an amazing, all encompassing statement on Scripture it is too. Finally Beale gives some selected quotes from Karl Barth, where the theologian explicitly denies the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible.
The book is a little choppy in style. The first two chapters reproduce Beale's review of Inspiration and Incarnation together with Enns' response in summary form, followed by further comments by the writer. Yet Beale argues his case well and the chapters on Old Testament cosmology are simply outstanding, yielding fresh insights into creation as God's temple. The author has highlighted some recent challenges to biblical inerrancy from within the world of Evangelical biblical scholarship. He gives a cogent response to the new teaching and in so doing has helped to bolster our confidence in Scripture as God's inerrant Word. Beale clearly wears a white stetson still. It seems that Enns' headgear is a rather vague shade of grey. How about you?

Ska revival

I don't know whether it has anything to to with the credit crunch, but I notice that there has been something of a revival of ska music of late. The Specials have reformed and Madness have a new album out. I was a mod rather than a rude boy back in the 80's, but I still had a liking for ska. There is something eerily contemporary about 'Ghost Town' by The Specials, a 1981 track released during the Thatcher recession years. 'Baggy Trousers' by Madness is just for fun.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Being is becoming in Bavinck

I've just finished reading Bavinck on 'Revelation in Nature and Holy Scripture' in Reformed Dogmatics: Volume One. The great Dutch theologian anticipates the language of Karl Barth, who famously suggested that 'God's being is in becoming.' Bavinck rightly relates the being and becoming of God to the enfleshment of Christ,
"The incarnation is the unity of being (ἐγὼ εἰμί, John 8:58), and becoming (σὰρξ ἐγένετο, John 1:14). - p. 380.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

'God is the real God' - 1 Kings 18 illustrated

It was a case of "musical pulpits" today as local Ministers did a swap in the wake of last week's Banner Conference. That way we didn't have to prep fresh sermons for today. Dig old sermon out of fridge. Defrost. Heat thoroughly. Preach.
This morning I preached on John 13:1-17 to North Bradley Baptist Church, while their pastor, Ben Midgley preached at Penknap Providence Church. This evening I preached to Bradford on Avon Baptist Church on 1 Kings 18 and their Minister, Paul Oliver preached at Penknap. After the evening service, a little girl handed me a tightly folded piece of paper. On it was the above illustration of my sermon. Seems that she got the main point of the message - "God is the real God".