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All articles in category Biblical/theological

Article

April 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

A pocket guide to visiting God.

Hebrews 10:19-22 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.* Even when the Obama’s visited Buckingham Palace they still needed to be aware of the correct protocol for entering the presence of the Queen. There is a correct way to behave. There is a...

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Children, fathers, youths (3)

Article

April 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

Children, fathers, youths (3)

Continued from Children, fathers, youths (2) In previous articles we considered the passage in 1 John 2:12-14, where the apostle addresses his readers as ‘children, fathers, and young men. I suggested that John was not writing to three different groups within the church, but to the whole church as having the characteristics of children (new life and innocence through the forgiveness of sins), parents (spiritual wisdom), and youths (spiritual vigour and strength). Finally, then, in what way do believers resemble ‘young men’? What are the characteristics of spiritual youth? John gives the answer in the closing words of this passage: ‘I have written to you young...

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Article

April 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

The face of Christ

Once, when saying bedtime prayers with a grandson, he asked why he couldn’t see God, saying, ‘It would be easier to believe in him if I could’. This was not such a childish question. Moses made the same request, but God replied, ‘You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live’ (Exodus 33:20). Jesus told the Samaritan woman, ‘God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth’ (John 4:24). In other words, God the Father is an invisible spirit. My grandson had to be satisfied that, when Jesus was on earth people could certainly see him,...

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Article

March 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

Children, fathers, youths (2)

Continued from Children, fathers, youths (1) ‘I write to you fathers because you have known him [God] who is from the beginning’ (1 John 2:13). Clearly, every believer knows God, even the most recent convert. Indeed, this is particularly true of ‘children’ because the kind of maturity implied by this statement stems from an experience of the fatherhood of God. Wisdom and foolishness This maturity is the birthright of every believer. It is a maturity of knowledge and understanding of the things of God. Of course, Christians are to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 3:18). In that...

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Article

March 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christianity stands or falls on the historical accuracy of Genesis

Thomas Huxley (1825–1895) was a prominent nineteenth century agnostic, and a friend and supporter of Charles Darwin. Regarding biblical authority, he wrote: ‘I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how anyone, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures…’ He continued: ‘If Abraham is more or less a mythical hero … the story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have...

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Article

January 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

Jonah for today’s church (4)

In our three previous articles on the book of Jonah, we have seen God sometimes uses even negative circumstances to grab our attention to his calling of us. We have also seen that God is the God of resurrection and restoration, graciously bringing his Word to us, if necessary, a ‘second time’. In this final article, we see that, although Jonah was ultimately obedient, his heart was still in need of divine surgery. Nineveh repented, ‘but it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in...

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Cradled in a manger

Our familiarity with the first Christmas scene can easily blunt us to its staggering wonder. Luke 2:12 records the infant Christ as ‘lying in a manger’. Think of that! Here is condescension and humiliation of the highest degree, for here is the eternal Son of God — the One through whom God made all things and who is dependent on nobody — now lying in a manger as a helpless baby, completely dependent on others for support. A well known carol is right when it states, ‘Lo within a manger lies, He who built the starry skies’. A less well-known carol likewise runs: ‘The eternal...

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Do we have enough evidence to trust the Bible?

People today must judge between two contradictory worldviews: the biblical worldview and the evolutionary worldview. I’m a lawyer, so I think about this like a legal case. Juries have to judge between opposing litigants, like we have to judge between worldviews. Juries do it by weighing the evidence. Let me give an example from a case I worked on. The power of an eyewitness account The case turned on whether the plaintiff’s wind turbine functioned properly on a certain date, years earlier. The wind turbine no longer existed, so we couldn’t run tests to establish whether it worked. Therefore, this dispute couldn’t be solved by...

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Who is Jesus?

When Richard Dawkins claims, ‘There is no good historical evidence that [Jesus] ever thought he was divine’, he is tripping blindfold over the truth. C. S. Lewis gets us on the right track when he writes, ‘The doctrine of Christ’s divinity seems to me not something stuck on, which you can unstick, but something that peeps out at every point, so that you would have to unravel the whole web to get rid of it’. Direct claims We can begin to see this by looking at three other direct claims Jesus made. The first was when one of his disciples asked for concrete evidence on...

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

The wonder of Christ’s person

Is Jesus really God? In AD 319, Arius, a deacon in Alexandria, fired the first shots in a 60-year war that would come to engulf all of Christianity in the Roman empire. Arius argued, ‘If the Father begat the Son, then he who was begotten had a beginning in existence, and from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not’. By these words Arius denied the full deity of Jesus and gave birth to Arianism. Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, assisted by his chief deacon Athanasius, stood against Arius. In 321 they deposed Arius from his office, declaring his views heresy....

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christmas wonder

At this time of year, our minds are drawn to the wonder of the birth — the incarnation — of Jesus Christ. Referring to Christ’s incarnation, the Bible says: ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross’(Philippians 2:5-8). Divinity What...

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Mary’s song

There seem to be two views of a 21st century Christmas. The first owes something to Charles Dickens and Bing Crosby: chestnuts roasting on an open fire; the Christmas of jollity and plenty; merry Christmas! It is a time centred around an excess of food, booze and presents; a time to forget the cold weather and have fun. The second view is quite different; it is the angst-filled Christmas. John Lennon sang, ‘So this is Christmas; what have you done?’ It is the Christmas of Bob Geldof, where we are urged to get out and do something. We read of ‘Crisis at Christmas’ and are confronted...

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