Sunday, February 26, 2006

I've been kidnapped...

I have little time before my captors return but I wanted you know that I am alive, although sadly with little chance of further communication in the forseeable future. I would give me up for dead if I was you - I may never be able to escape their grasp again.

If you see any of the following culprits, please do not approach them yourself - they have taken away the best years of my life... and worst of all I have let them.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Posts worth chewing over

This is a well written post by Alistair Roberts with much to think about for Calvinists like me.

This one is also worth thinking about for those of us much influenced by John Piper's particular emphases.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Moral Climate Change

Tom Wright being a senior bishop in the established Church got to speak on the recent Religious Hatred Bill in the House of Lords (after the vote bizarely). His speech was top notch:

What we face, my Lords, is ‘moral climate change’, comparable to other forms of climate change and equally dangerous. The 1960s and 1970s swept away the old moral certainties, and anyone who tries to reassert them risks being mocked as an ignoramus or scorned as a hypocrite. But since then we’ve learned that you can’t run the world as a hippy commune. Getting rid of the old moralities hasn’t made us happier or a safer. We have discovered that we do indeed need some guidelines if chaos is not to come again. But once the foundations have been eroded, where will you find firm ground on which to build new moral fences? Can we, as a recent correspondent to the Times suggested, invent and agree upon two or three basic moral standards out of thin air?

This uncertainty, my Lords, has produced our current nightmare, the invention of new quasi-moralities out of bits and pieces of moral rhetoric: the increasingly shrill and polymorphous language of ‘rights’, the glorification of victimhood which enables anyone with hurt feelings to claim moral high ground, and the invention of various ‘identities’ which demand not only protection but immunity from critique.

It was this messy but potent combination of neo-moralities, my Lords, that generated the Religious Hatred legislation of which your Lordships, rightly in my opinion, took a dim view, and whose key elements were narrowly voted down in another place last week. It is the same combination which has produced a world in which it is thinkable for a University Christian Union to have its funds seized, and to be denied the right to meet, because it will not allow non-Christians equal membership. Many other examples could be given.

...Within the new world of civility for which we must work, we desperately need to take the religious dimension seriously and not wave it away as irrelevant. I quite see that some secular commentators are now dismayed to discover that neither Christianity nor the other great religions has withered on the vine as they had expected – indeed, as their ideology had demanded. But it is only these late-modern shibboleths, I believe, which are preventing us from realising that healthy religion and healthy public life do truly belong together and that the attempt to keep them apart leads to a dangerous vacuum which may well be filled by unhealthy styles of religion and by unhealthy forms of public life. All this is clearly visible in some parts of America as well as elsewhere....

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Mark Lauterbach writes:

one of the turning points in my own thinking on this was to notice the "tone" of the NT. As I read through the apostolic letters I was struck by how, with the exception of Galatians 1, there is always a sense of patient hope in the background. Try reading Colossians or 1 Peter with an angry voice -- then try with gentleness and clarity. It is clear that the realities of the new creation controlled their perceptions -- both in addressing sin clearly and in fueling faith for the pursuit of Christ. No self-righteous or chiding tones here! And even Corinthians and Galatians move into a confidence in the Gospel mode very quickly


Hmm.. on second thoughts maybe it needs some caveats... I'll have to think about that...

a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him." And Jesus answered, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me." (Matt 17)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Lord's Service (our service to God or his to us?)

I never have any time at the moment, but I figure I can spare a few minutes to share a quote from The Lord's Service by Jeff Meyers. I think I deserve some blogging time, especially as I managed to recently read the entirety of Against Christianity (a brilliant book, and ridiculously quotable) without posting on it. I recently posted on how I could not understand how Meyers could find fault with David Peterson's book on worship. The chapter this quote came from made it clear for me.

'In view of the one-sided emphasis in some Evangelical and Presbyterian circles that the congregation gathers to give praise to God and not to get anything. I must insist on the lopsided, impoverished nature of this posture....The first sentence in John Frame's popular book on worship is "Worship is the work of acknowledging the greatness of our covenant Lord"....This notion must not be permitted to go unchallenged. It is only half of the truth, and the second half at that.

First, and above all, we are called together in order to get, to receive.' (his emphases, p. 93f.)

If you have any problems with this idea a little musing over what we know of OT worship confirms this was certainly the case then, and I do not think there is enough in the NT suggest that this was overturned with Jesus. And to bring Christian Hedonism into the discussion (something Meyers does not do), there is nothing more honouring to God than coming to him to receive. Entering his presence with the idea that you have something to offer to him really is ridiculous.

I am learning a lot from this book, although, Meyers has failed to convince me of many things he believes. Despite this his book asks many questions that English Evangelicalism could do with thinking about. The least effect he would have would be to challenge people to think purposely about what church services should look like; sadly though, I cannot see many in Britain reading it.

I do wonder about a couple of things though. Firstly, what conclusions Meyers would have come to if he had spent his life in a country with centuries of experience with an institutional church that worships much as he suggests. Secondly, why he only seems to think about one sort of church gathering, the main meeting on a Sunday, and how he would apply his insights to the varying church meetings from the very informal meeting of two Christians for coffee, to prayer meetings, to home groups.

...I really would love to sit in on a conversation between him and Tim Chester and Steve Timmis in Sheffield (A conversation with Pete Ward would just be messy).

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Note to self...

Re-read Mark Horne's sermon on 1 Corinthians 14 and properly digest it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

God's gifts

I just feel like broadcasting to the world how great it is to receive prayer letters from people I know. I have received a few recently and it is so, so encouraging and praise-inducing to hear about the amazing diversity and quantity of different ways that God is working in our world.

I am in a great mood... I must just determine to be more disciplined in praying the requests.

If you open your eyes you can see how God is working, and praise him for it. So often I wander around with my head down, and eyes shut and wonder why I am not 'in the mood' to praise God.

Back to work at 9am tomorrow, 3rd floor of Yorkshire House. I wonder what God is doing there...?