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All articles in category Biblical/theological

Article

July 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Mass migration

In ET, July 2004, I wrote an article entitled, ‘The stranger within our gates’. Our Stockton congregation, like others, was experiencing an influx of asylum seekers. Some of the challenges included providing food, helping with accommodation and attending appeals against deportation. The situation impacted upon our worship and we ended up providing sermon notes in Turkish, and in French for DRC Congolese. Recently we have helped a european economic migrant. He had minimal English, and much time was spent overcoming the language barrier to complete forms for financial benefits so that his landlord could be paid. It is evident that, without border controls, such scenarios...

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The priesthood of all believers

Article

June 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

The priesthood of all believers

Does Protestantism have a priesthood? If so, what is its form and purpose? One cannot read the Word of God without recognising that humanity needs a priest to mediate between a holy God and sinners. Old Testament worship was regulated by this rule throughout its Levitical priesthood, and this system was powerfully reflected in its religious institutions. Christ’s sacrifice In the New Testament era, however, Jesus Christ is the High Priest of the people of God (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:1-6). On the cross he offered himself as a spotless sacrifice to God, to atone for sins not his own (Ephesians 5:2). Risen and ascended, he...

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Article

May 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘Beautiful in his time’ (2)

Jonathan Edwards, in A history of the work of redemption, demonstrates that a soteriological (saving) significance is traceable in nearly all of God’s works. He gives numerous scriptural examples to show how God, in different ways, is always preparing the field for the salvation of sinners. The Lord’s groundwork is even traceable in his acts of judgment. Soteriological fulfilment On using this Edwardsean hermeneutical principle for ourselves in the study of Scripture, we discover that the Lord displays what we might call a ‘soteriological eagerness’ in redemption (see ET, April 2015, p.29). This eagerness is exemplified in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. Here, the...

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Article

May 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Considering the covenants

Have you ever become so familiar with a building that, though you pass it many times, you don’t notice it? Some years ago, I was looking for a particular church in a small town. I went into a shop and asked if they could direct me. ‘No. Sorry, we’ve never heard of it’, was their reply. Walking a few paces away, I suddenly spotted the church on the opposite side of the road, although set well back. It had been there for 150 years or more, but the shop people had never heard of nor noticed it. How often, in the communion service, have we...

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

The works of William Perkins

Recently, Christian literary organisation ‘Books At a Glance’ interviewed Stephen Yuille and Joel Beeke about the recent publication of The works of William Perkins. Here is the substance of that interview. Books: The publication of The works of William Perkins is a landmark event in Christian publishing. Long overdue, the republishing of this ‘father of the Puritans’ will give new life to Puritan studies. Edited by J. Stephen Yuille (Review editor for ‘Spirituality and Christian living’ here at Books At a Glance), under the general editorship of Joel Beeke and Derek Thomas, volume 1 is now available. We are pleased to have Drs Yuille and...

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘Beautiful in his time’ (1)

The New England theologian Jonathan Edwards is famous for his description of the progress of redemption history: ‘It may here be observed, that from the fall of man to our day, the work of redemption in its effect has mainly been carried on by remarkable communications of the Spirit of God.’ ‘Though there be a more constant influence of God’s Spirit always in some degree attending his ordinances, yet the way in which the greatest things have been done towards carrying on this work, always have been by remarkable effusions, at special seasons of mercy’. These words have long provided the church with insight into,...

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘Who raised Jesus from the dead?’

It is natural to inquire about the details of an event so important to us. But we should first remember that the Bible avoids providing us details about what happened within the tomb when Jesus arose in resurrection life. We know he was killed and buried, that the tomb was sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers. But the next thing we learn is that when the women arrive on the third day with anointing spices, the stone was rolled away, and Jesus was gone. The situation here is similar to that of the cross. God does not provide us intimate details of Jesus’ excruciating suffering....

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Meet Joseph of Arimathea – a major, minor character of the Bible

One of the major, ‘minor’ characters of the Bible is a man by the name of Joseph, who hailed from the Jewish town of Arimathea. Truth be told, we do not know a great deal about this Joseph, nor about his home town. It is as though he walks in and out of the limelight in just a few seconds. But the Holy Spirit, who caused the Bible to be written, has ensured that a brief paragraph is devoted to Joseph of Arimathea in all four Gospel accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Spirit would have us know about and learn from Joseph, a...

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Easter and nature

Only in the Bible can we find a final record of God’s amazing plan of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. But once one knows the truth about life and reality, he or she can see many evidences in the physical world of gospel truth. Take for example the fact of resurrection. As Christians, we believe that we are made in the image of God and have an immortal soul. Death does not end all, but is only the beginning of a wonderful life of fellowship with God, if we have received his Son Jesus. All the seasons illustrate aspects of the phases...

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christ’s atoning blood

We see blood in every aspect of the atonement. The blood of Jesus is our redemption — the payment of the price for our freedom from sin. His blood is our justification — the legal basis for the declaration of our righteousness before God. His blood is our propitiation — our protection from the wrath of God. The wonder of the atonement is that we are saved by the shedding of blood: not our own blood, but the blood that God has shed for our sins. Faith The primary thing for us to do with this great doctrine of the atonement is to believe it....

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Saving Faith

How a sinner comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a mystery of grace. How someone who has opposed the gospel for years, suddenly is humbled by that same message is beyond explanation. How a lifetime of indifference to biblical truths is changed into serious devotion to those truths is baffling. There is no explanation for these things, except to say that God has done it. Salvation has to be all of grace, otherwise it would be impossible. The same, yet different Every conversion is essentially the same and yet experimentally different. They are essentially the same, because they need to contain all...

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Article

March 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘You must be born again!’ (2)

Continued from You must be born again (1) Few people would grudge admitting they are less than perfect, that they make mistakes now and again, and could use help to do better next time. But say ‘sinner’ and mention ‘born again’, and their mood darkens. Nicodemus needed to be persuaded that he must be born again (John 3). Jesus answered by setting out the ‘why’, ‘who’ and ‘how’ of the new birth. In this way, he outlines for us all the biblical doctrine of regeneration. Why? Why is this new birth necessary? Jesus expands on his earlier assertion, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless...

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