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All articles in category Biblical/theological

Article

June 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

Who was Adam?

Who was Adam? Some people are especially remembered because they are the first to do something. Neil Armstong’s name cannot be mentioned without thinking of the event for which he is most famous- the first moonwalker! Adam is to be remembered as Adam the first! He was the first in countless different ways but he is especially to be remembered as the first in the following ways: He was the first embodied consciousness! He was a material person. He was the climax of the whole creative work of God. He was the image bearer of God his maker. All the other aspects of creation led...

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Article

June 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

Recovering the gospel

We must ask ourselves this question, ‘How can I know I have been born again, that I am truly a child of God? How can I know that I have believed unto eternal life?’ The relevance of these questions becomes apparent as we consider that we live in an age when many claim to have some sort of eternal hope in Christ, yet reflect so little of his teachings in their lives. The seriousness of the matter becomes even more acute because twentieth-century preaching and evangelism radically altered the content of the gospel, the gospel call, and the means by which people obtain assurance of...

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Article

May 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

What did the Reformers believe about the age of the earth? (2)

One great effect of the 16th century Reformation was to return the church to the literal sense of the Bible. Though God worked through many Reformers alongside and after Luther, none is so well known as John Calvin (AD 1509–64). Like Luther, he read Genesis as ‘the history of creation’. He believed that ‘the duration of the world . . . has not yet attained six thousand years’ (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.14.1). He also rejected Augustine’s belief that creation was completed in a moment, writing, ‘Moses relates that God’s work was completed not in a moment, but in six days’ (Institutes, 1.14.2). Atheistic...

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Article

May 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

Does God suffer with us? (and why it’s great news that he doesn’t) (2)

In April’s ET, we saw that the doctrine of God’s impassibility — his immunity to suffering and human-like emotions — has had a rough ride in recent years, particularly following the great anguish of two world wars and much more suffering besides, during the last century.   It has often been thought that the best way to bring hope to those suffering is to posit that God suffers with them. We saw last month, however, that this approach casts aside the virtually unanimous witness of theologians through the ages.   Now we turn more positively to what the Bible actually teaches, and why it’s actually...

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Article

May 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

Back to the gospel

‘I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do...

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Article

April 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

Latimer’s Sermon of the plough

The late fifteenth century was a desperately dark time of spiritual ignorance dominated by Roman Catholicism. There were probably only a few pockets of true Christian believers, in particular among the Lollards and those who followed John Wycliffe. It was into this religious context that Hugh Latimer was born, around 1485, in the county of Leicester. Despite his family’s poverty he was able to receive a good education, ultimately graduating from Cambridge University. J. C. Ryle tells us that, ‘up to the age of 30, he was a most violent and bigoted papist’ who regularly preached against such Reformers as Philip Melanchthon (Light from old...

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Article

April 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

What did the Reformers believe about the age of the earth? (1)

All Christians believe that God the Father Almighty is the maker of heaven and earth. This belief is like a great river that runs through Christian history. It distinguishes Christianity from other forms of spirituality. Yet within this river there have been two streams of thought about how to understand Genesis: the allegorical reading and the literal reading. The Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries marked a return to the literal reading of Scripture. The Reformers taught that God revealed in Genesis that he created all things in six ordinary days about 6000 years ago. I will sketch these two streams of thought, describe...

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Article

April 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘I thirst’ (John 19:28)

It is surely understandable why the Lord Jesus experienced terrible, raging thirst while he hung on the cross. He had suffered much blood loss; and also, before the unusual noontime darkness when ‘the sun’s light failed’ (Luke 23:45) (or ‘was eclipsed’, margin), he had been hanging in the fierce heat, as the sun beat down on a cloudless Middle Eastern day. Need Thirst is one of the most unpleasant, uncomfortable and, if left, fatal of human conditions. The Lord Jesus experienced this on the cross. In his extremely dehydrated state he expressed his need — ‘I thirst’ (John 19:28). John notes that Jesus’ expression of...

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Article

April 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

The anointing! (1)

‘The anointing! This is the whole thing, isn’t it?’ That is what I heard Paul Cain say some ten years ago at a nearby Pentecostal church. Rev. Paul Cain is a big name among the so-called Kansas City Prophets, along with a number of others like Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, John Paul Jackson, Francis Frangipane, Lou Engle and James Goll. The Apostolic-Prophetic Movement, sometimes known as the Third Wave, was to work for the re-establishment of a five-fold ministry of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher, according to Ephesians 4 (as they saw it). (C. Peter Wagner was claimed by some to be...

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Article

April 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

Does God suffer with us? (and how that question is misunderstood) (1)

The memory of ‘the war supposed to end all wars’ has raised big questions for many theologians over what God is actually like. Christian men and women grappling with the sheer scale of suffering throughout the last 100 years have often searched hard for answers to the horrors of the Somme, Auschwitz, Darfur and Homs. One commonly explored, potential source of catharsis is in the nature of God himself. Perhaps it is, some say, helpful and true to say that God participates in the suffering of the sufferers — he suffers with them — and, in doing just that, provides the greatest comfort imaginable to...

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Article

March 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

God’s only Son

The Apostles’ Creed dates from the end of the second century. It confesses Jesus Christ to be God’s ‘only Son’. Scripture, however, affirms that God has many sons (Hebrews 1:10). So in what sense is Christ God’s only Son? The rise of heresies resulted in the Nicene Creed of AD 325, universally accepted by Christian churches (although the Greek Church maintains the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father, not from the Father and the Son). The Nicene Creed affirms Jesus Christ to be ‘the only begotten Son of God’. This significant phrase shows that the church universal eventually considered ‘His only Son’ to be...

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Article

February 2014
Articles > Biblical/theological

Job and the fear of God

Life is always changing, and in the book of Job we have the history of one man and his family and the events that changed their lives for ever. Those unexpected changes were unpleasant and painful, and none more so than the sudden deaths of all Job’s children.   The problem of suffering is very real, especially when death or illness confront us. Job’s family and business life went into meltdown, and his wounds were deepened by his multiple bereavements. In a matter of moments, his world was turned upside down and inside out. But he did not take the name of the Lord God...

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