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All articles in category Biblical/theological

November 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological > Scientific (including creation)

Paul’s use of Genesis 1-3 in Romans 1

What the apostle Paul teaches in Romans 1:18-32 is central to an apologetic argument for the existence of God; and central to understanding why people reject God’s existence, and the consequences that flow from that rejection. We can see Paul working out Genesis 1-3 in Romans 1 in three specific areas — creation, spirituality and sexuality — as he explains what unbelievers do in their response to God’s revelation in creation. These relate to three fundamental areas of human existence. In each of them sinful man exchanges the truth for ‘the lie’. Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-21: ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from...

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November 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Bible superlatives

One of the late Muhammad Ali’s catchphrases was ‘I am the greatest’. In his prime, of course, Ali was an outstanding boxer and, as a man, transcended the sport, becoming one of the most well-known men on the planet. Yet the best of men are men at best. Ali was only human, with all our human weaknesses and foibles, as his three ex-wives would no doubt testify. In the English language, an ‘-est’ on the end of an adjective is referred to as a ‘superlative’, so we have ‘great’, ‘greater’ and ‘greatest’. Superlatives in the Bible though are a little different. These use the word...

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September 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Praise and prayer: reflections on Psalm 134

Psalm 134, which has only three verses, is the last of the fifteen psalms with the heading ‘A Song of Ascents’ (ESV).  In the Jewish Scriptures the headings were part of the Psalms. The pilgrims sang these psalms when they travelled to Jerusalem for worship. As they ascended up to Jerusalem they lifted up their voices in praise. Singing made the journey seem shorter! The three shortest psalms are included in the Pilgrim Psalms: 131 which focuses on humility; 133 on the theme of unity, and 134 calling us to praise and prayer. Psalm 134 begins with a doxology, ‘Come, bless the LORD’ (v.1), and...

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August 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

The lost art of biblical meditation

When you mention the word ‘meditation’, people react in different ways. This is because, sadly, the term has become rather plastic, capable of meaning different things. For most it speaks of Eastern religion, relaxation techniques and New Ageism. For Christians there is a puzzling divide between a christianised form of Eastern meditation and true, biblical meditation. While confusion reigns, most Christians feel safer having nothing to do with the subject, preferring to throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. But the fact remains that ‘meditation’ is a biblical term and can’t be ignored. We are commanded to meditate: ‘This book of the law...

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August 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

The wonder of you

One of Elvis Presley’s many number 1 hit records has the lyrics: ‘When no-one else can understand me, When everything I do is wrong, You give me hope and consolation, You give me strength to carry on. And you’re always there to lend a hand, In everything I do. That’s the wonder, the wonder of you’. Although Elvis sang many gospel songs, this is not one of them. It is purely a love song between a man and woman. But the words quoted could be turned into the prayer of a Christian; indeed, into a cry from the heart to God. Idol Now, it may...

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August 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

The election of grace

‘Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace’ (Romans 11:5). Although many preachers are allergic to the matter of ‘election’, it was obviously deemed important by the prophets and apostles. The word ‘election’ appears five times in the New Testament, not to mention all the times the words ‘chosen’ and ‘elect’ occur. It greets us on the threshold of several books of the New Testament (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9;1 Peter 1:22; 2 John 1). The fifth article of the Southern Baptist confession of faith says that election is the ‘gracious purpose of...

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August 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

The men who would not bow, budge or burn (1)

‘To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble’ (A. W. Tozer). Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty monarch, a successful general who never lost a battle, who reigned in Babylon for 40 years. God had spoken to him in the past, and he had even appointed God’s people to high positions in the land. But he over-stepped the mark when he sought to create a unified, universal religion, building a lavish god for all to worship. Nebuchadnezzar was seeking to cement his conquered, diverse people into a common kingdom, built on Babylonian values. However, in straying into worship he was crossing the Rubicon...

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August 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Three true things said by Jesus’ enemies

Throughout his ministry the Lord Jesus Christ was subjected to intense scrutiny and criticism from his enemies. They made all sorts of false accusations against him. Yet some of these accusations were gloriously true, in spite of their wicked intention. In this article we look at three occasions when Jesus’ enemies said, in hostility, true things about Jesus. ‘Only God can forgive sins’ (Luke 5:17-26) This ‘accusation’ comes in a well-known account of a healing by Jesus. A paralytic’s four friends had let him down through the roof of the house where Jesus was preaching. ‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins...

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June 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Should we celebrate the sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?

Recently hearing a disturbing sermon from an elderly brother, I was constrained to respond to the things he was saying. This is how this article came to be written. He was a dear brother, a good-hearted man, who seems to have been shaken not by old Adventist arguments but by a new group, who are part of a modern Judaising movement. Their main argument is that, for the Saturday observance of the sabbath to be changed to Sunday, a new commandment is required. Fourth Commandment The day of ‘rest’ was established at the completion of the first creation, based upon the Lord’s cessation from his...

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June 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

God is no man’s debtor

In the 1960s I was engaged to a young lady whose father was a self-employed mechanic. He purchased a plot of land and obtained permission from the local planning authority to construct a garage complete with car showroom, vehicle repair workshop, MOT testing facility and petrol sales forecourt. He entered into a financial agreement with the Mobil Oil Co., whereby, in return for exclusively selling that company’s petrol and oil products, Mobil would provide a loan that would cover the cost of building and equipping the garage. The loan was to be repaid through a sales incentive bonus, which required a minimum quantity of petrol...

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May 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Jesus’ Prayer Life

If we are to be Jesus’ disciples, then by definition, we are to learn of him. How then are we to learn from one we have never met? We cannot hear the words that come out of his mouth as those described in the Gospels did; but we can read those words, and hear those instructions and commands as we read the Gospels. How much we can learn as we read, for example, the Sermon on the Mount or the Upper Room Discourse (John 14-16). But there is another way in which we can learn from Jesus, and that is by his example. Peter tells...

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May 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Growing older: From one degree of glory to another

A middle-aged man looks in the mirror, puts on a bright orange wig to cover his bald head and suddenly he’s young again – allegedly! But why does he do it? If you see him in the street, it’s obvious it’s a wig! The colour doesn’t match his eyebrows or stubble and you can clearly see the join. And yet, somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, he’s still in his thirties or forties. He may not look young, but he still feels young — or at least feels younger than he looks. So by using a wig it provides him with an illusion...

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