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All articles in category Biblical/theological

Disasters and God’s sovereignty
May 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

Disasters and God’s sovereignty

Disasters and God’s sovereignty Recent years have brought wave upon wave of natural calamities. The Asian tsunami on 26 December 2004 killed 230,000, in more than ten countries. The floods in Vietnam (2005), China and Thailand (2011) killed many people. Then there was the category five Hurricane Katrina in the USA; the Chilean and Sichuan earthquakes; the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand; and the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, with resulting nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan — all bringing huge devastation and great loss of life. When the September 11 terrorist attacks happened and 3000 died, many asked the question, ‘Where...

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The resurrection of Christ
April 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

The resurrection of Christ

The resurrection of Christ Louis Berkhof writes, ‘For modern liberal theology the resurrection of Jesus, except in the sense of a spiritual survival, has no real importance for the Christian faith. Belief in the bodily resurrection is not essential [they say], but can very well be dropped without affecting the Christian religion’ (Systematic theology, p.349). Is that true? Or would Christ’s failure to rise from the dead be catastrophic for our Christian faith? Can we trust the New Testament? In answering these questions we must begin with the New Testament Scriptures. What is at stake here is their trustworthiness. The resurrection of Jesus permeates the...

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What the priests saw!
April 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

What the priests saw!

What the priests saw! The priest stood before the altar of incense, the golden censer in his hand. Born of the tribe of Levi to be a priest, this was his big moment, the day for which he had waited. There were, by this time, so many priests in Israel that only once in a lifetime was it an individual priest’s privilege to burn incense before God — in some cases, not even once — and nothing could mar the experience now.     Special day The priest was permitted on this special day to choose two fellow priests to assist him. What did it matter...

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Does God change his mind?
April 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

Does God change his mind?

Does God change his mind? Many statements in Amos could be identified as ‘major points’ within the Minor Prophets, but we will focus on one that should get the attention of any thoughtful reader. After seeing the first vision, about locusts, Amos cried out, ‘O Lord God, please forgive! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!’ (7:1-2).     The prophet’s reaction to God’s warning should hardly surprise us. Any believer whose country is in a moral and spiritual tailspin should pray that God would change the hearts of leaders and followers and reverse the downward trend — for the bedrock biblical reason that, ‘Righteousness...

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Speaking seriously and sensitively about hell
March 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

Speaking seriously and sensitively about hell

Speaking seriously and sensitively about hell What is the preacher to do with hell and eternal punishment? In last month’s ET we noted that preachers must keep in mind several perspectives. For example, they need to read, listen to and learn from the great Christian apologists and apologetic preachers of our time. Scavenge for ideas and angles on this subject, with and from which you can surprise your hearers — to startle them into attention and engagement.    Scripture Many of our hearers may have high views of scriptural authority, and so, if they are shown from Scripture what the Lord says about hell and eternal...

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March 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

Shall we unite with Rome?

Shall we unite with Rome? Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council was convened by Pope John XXIII, ET features W. J. Grier’s far-sighted evaluation of Vatican II, first published by the British Evangelical Council in 1965 and reprinted here in full, by kind permission of Affinity. This month the author traces tensions between Catholic ‘conservatives’ and ‘progressives’. The Second Vatican Council came to a close on 8 December 1965. Has it brought sweeping changes in the Roman Church? There are those who say ‘Yes’ and those who say ‘No’.     In this [account] the whole situation is examined, debates and decisions of the Council...

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A spotless bride – the holiness of the church
March 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

A spotless bride – the holiness of the church

A spotless bride — the holiness of the church Institutions are in trouble these days and professionals are suspect. The political, legal, financial, educational and even charitable realms of the western world are crumbling. A lack of moral integrity is at the core of this disintegration. This is sad to admit, but it is true — and not only the ‘have-nots’ and the cynics acknowledge it. Those who ought to be most protective of an institution’s good name and traditions often seem to be the most indifferent to them.     Intoxicated by prestige and power, they squander their own credibility and the resources of the...

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‘He couldn’t lace his boots’
March 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘He couldn’t lace his boots’

‘He couldn’t lace his boots’ The expression ‘He couldn’t lace his boots’ is used when one person is compared less favourably with another. Think, for instance, of the occasions when you meet an older man who is convinced that the football era of his youth was the greatest ever. He might say with nostalgia, ‘The players of today couldn’t lace the boots of a George Best, Bobby Charlton, Nat Lofthouse, etc.’     Greatness A wag once quipped, ‘Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’! You sometimes meet people who are convinced that the music, sport, working-life, social conditions, and so on, of the past were...

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