In the first part of this look at biblical inerrancy, we examined the answers to two questions: “What is the Bible?” and “What is ‘inerrancy’ when it is applied to the Bible?”. We determined that the Bible is God’s words—which have at their heart God’s promises and what flows from them—and that inerrancy makes a statement about God’s trustworthy and truthful character and our faith in him. (more…)
In many circles, especially those influenced by American evangelicalism (which seems to be everyone!), biblical inerrancy is a hot topic. Even if you haven’t come across the issue very much it’s still an important concern, as it goes to the heart of why we believe what we believe. John Woodhouse recently spoke on biblical inerrancy at a conference on Christian leadership; what follows here (and in a follow-up article next issue) is an edited version of that address. (more…)
Who would you regard as the more significant influence upon your Christian life and thinking: John Stott or Mark Driscoll?
In Sydney, where I live, nearly everyone over the age of 40 has only one answer to that question: through his books and articles, and his occasional visits over three decades, John Stott shaped a generation of Sydney evangelicals. If we add other names like JI Packer and Dick Lucas, it is uncontroversial to say that English evangelicalism has had a profound influence on the thinking, practice and ‘culture’ of Sydney evangelicalism over the past four decades—much more influence than, say, North American evangelicalism, even including the contributions of men like Billy Graham and Bill Hybels. (more…)
Have you noticed the way in which ‘divisiveness’ has become a completely negative word? If an idea, a statement, a strategy, a proposal is judged to be ‘divisive’ then it is unwelcome. For example in my part of the world, in the Anglican denomination, there is a proposal to authorise lay persons to administer the Lord’s Supper in church, just as lay persons may be authorized to preach God’s Word. This is opposed by some who have no fundamental objection to it, except that it would be ‘divisive’. Therefore it ought not to be pursued.
The Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians
In the last Briefing, I suggested that if you built your understanding of Christianity by studying the whole New Testament (except 1 Corinthians 10-11), you would not have any reason to think that Christianity involves a sacramental meal instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, in which the bread and the cup are given symbolic significance. In this article, I want to ask whether the relevant texts in 1 Corinthians really change that understanding. (more…)
The key to church music
As far as we can tell, music has always had a place in the lives of Christians, particularly in our corporate experience as the people of God. There is a wealth of evidence for this in the Old Testament; it is not so obvious in the New Testament, but passages such as Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 suggest that singing was part of normal Christian activity. Today, music still has a place in most Christian gatherings.
Slogans are dangerous things. But they are also useful things. Great movements and companies and even nations often develop slogans. ‘In God We Trust’ is a slogan. It can be a dangerous slogan when taken one way: “Nothing can stop us with God on our side!”—a statement of pride and self satisfaction.
There is something of a crisis among many Christians today over the question of ‘experience’. If not a crisis, there is at least much confusion and uncertainty—a fascination and a longing—perhaps even a vacuum. This goes back some time.
Hebrews appears to be so formidable that many do not begin to study it in detail and benefit from its riches. An easy introduction would be Donald Guthrie’s contribution to the Tyndale series (1983) or Raymond Brown’s commentary in the Bible Speaks Today series (1982). (more…)