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All articles in category Biblical/theological

July 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

Are there apostles today?

This is a vital question, since, in our own day, extraordinary claims are sometimes made and extraordinary practices undertaken on the basis that a contemporary ministry is supposed to be ‘apostolic’. To answer the question, we must first look carefully at the teaching of Scripture, to see what the biblical qualifications of New Testament apostles really were. Authority First, apostleship was sometimes linked to the actual writing of the New Testament books. Peter also says at the start of both of his letters that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. While John didn’t use the word ‘apostle’, he made it abundantly clear at the...

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July 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christ, the olive tree

The olive tree is synonymous with the land of the Bible. The ‘promised land’ is described in Deuteronomy 8:8 as ‘a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey’. The olive harvest was integral to the economy in Bible times. At a basic level, olives provided both food and light: they were a staple of Israel’s diet, and olive oil was the normal fuel for lamps. Olive oil Olive oil was also used medicinally, being employed as a soothing lotion for the skin. And it was used in religious ceremonies: prophets, priests and kings...

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June 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

Flood theology: why does Noah’s Flood matter? (1)

The account of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 comprises 56 verses, while the account of the Flood in Genesis 6–9 comprises 81 verses — nearly 50 per cent more. Many volumes have been written on the theology of creation, but very little on the theology of the Flood. Sermons on creation are far more common than those on the Flood. Noah’s Flood appears to have little significance to modern Christians. Why? For many the Flood is sidelined as a children’s story. Despite the fact that it entails the most horrific, large-scale mass killing in history, it is seen as ideal Sunday school material, perhaps because it...

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April 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

The suffering of Christ

'For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit?' (1 Peter 3:18).

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April 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

Defending rights

Christians in the West are familiar with apologetics as an intellectual or world-view exercise. We are less familiar with apologetics as a legal defence. This is an unfamiliarity that needs to be quickly remedied.

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April 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

The cross and the crown

While writing the book God's trees - trees, forests and wood in the Bible, I was often asked about the crown of thorns and especially what wood was used for the cross. We can't be certain about either, but Christ's suffering is too central a part of our faith to ignore these questions.

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April 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

Unusual events at Calvary

When the apostle Paul came to Corinth, he 'decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified' (1 Corinthians 2:2). The cross of Christ lies at the heart of the Christian faith.

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Deeply humiliated
April 2015
Articles > Biblical/theological

Deeply humiliated

We hate to be humiliated in any way. But our sin forfeits our right to honour and praise. Consider who we are: in ourselves, fully leprous in our souls and deserving of shame. But we crave praise, honour, and glory. Consider who Christ is: in himself, fully righteous, and deserving of praise, honour, and worship. But he received shame and ridicule in every way.

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