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All articles in category Biblical/theological

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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November 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Jonah for today’s church (3)

Mercy is a quality rarely seen in the world today. Instead, we see a competitive spirit, a ‘get all you can, while you can’ attitude. Thankfully, when we look at the God of the Bible, we see mercy. ‘Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s...

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November 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

A tale of two wives: Eunice

In ET, October 2016, we looked at the marriage of Priscilla to Aquila. This month we consider the marriage of Eunice, the mother of Timothy. Perhaps Priscilla’s marriage being such a good example has left some readers saying, ‘That’s all fine for Priscilla. She made the perfect marriage. Some of us have not had that blessing’? But the amazing comprehensiveness of the Word of God provides a role model for women with difficult marriages too. Maybe the marriage was a huge mistake, through your own fault? Or maybe the man you thought would be an Aquila turned out otherwise? If we know little about Priscilla,...

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October 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

A tale of two wives: Priscilla

The Bible tells us tantalisingly little about Priscilla: just enough to piece together about 17 years of the life of an amazing woman (see Acts 18; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19), but leaving plenty to ask her when we meet in heaven! Her real name was Prisca, Priscilla being the diminutive — ‘little Priscilla’; a feisty little lady, perhaps! She and her husband Aquila are always mentioned together. Was she like her husband from Pontus, on the Black Sea coast of what is now Turkey? Or did she fall in love with the dashing stranger who arrived at the synagogue when she was a young...

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