Leon Morris at 100

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Leon Morris was born 15 March, 1914. So today marks the centenary of his birth.


If you don’t know his name, he is one of foremost biblical scholars Australia has ever produced. (more…)

Slavery and the Old Testament law


There is a scene in The West Wing where President Jed Bartlett fires off round after round of ridicule as he pretends to apply Old Testament laws to his life. Should he put to death his staffer for working on the Sabbath, or get the police to take over? Should footballers wear gloves to avoid touching the pigskin ball? What price could he get if he sold his daughter as a slave? (more…)

A Sweet Jesse Tree for Christmas

Everyday Ministry, Life, Sola Panel

WARNING: Contains significant use of sugar, artificial colours and flavours, and some traces of nutsSweetJesseTree1

This year the Christmas decorations had well and truly appeared in our local department store by September! Could be a chance to despair over the consumerism of Christmas, or a reminder to prepare early and make the most of the wonderful opportunities Christmas brings. Last year our family managed to get ready early. This year we thought we’d share what we did. (more…)

Being questioned on Q&A#1 – on Mr Rudd

Life, Sola Panel

Well, to think that I almost didn’t write yesterday’s post, because my relatively few friends on Facebook had said it all… Since then I’ve trawled through over a total of 700 comments (and counting), between this blog, the Drum (on ABC) and various friends’ FB links. Today I am going to attempt a few follow ups. (more…)

The Amalekite genocide


One of the standard ways that the New Atheists attack Christianity is by using some of the Old Testament war passages to argue that God is violent and petty. One of the favourite passages for this is the so-called Amalekite Genocide of 1 Samuel 15. But difficulties with passages such as this are not restricted to atheists. In 2009, the popular website Ship of Fools ran a feature called Chapter and Worse. 1 Readers were invited to submit their least favourite Bible passages, and an evangelical acquaintance of mine submitted 1 Samuel 15:3.

Reading Leviticus

Life, Thought, Sola Panel

I’m reading the Bible through, chronologically this time. I’ve just got to Leviticus: the shoal that’s wrecked a million Bible reading plans (at least, it did mine when I was a teenager). Once again, as I read this hard part of God’s word, it seeps into my skin and reshapes my insides. 

flickr: natematias

There’s something beautiful about Leviticus. Sometimes, like those 3D pictures, you have to blur your eyes to see it. As you persevere through the bewildering details (split hooves? a sore with white hairs in it? two materials woven into one?) you begin to sense the outlines. Laws that protect life and relationships. Laws that forbid detestable practices and depraved worship. Laws that uphold justice and provide for the poor.1

There’s also something terrifying about Leviticus. (more…)

Sanctification is not about progress

Thought, Sola Panel

Well, sanctification is not primarily about progress—but I thought I’d get you with the title!

I dislike how so much evangelical discussion speaks of sanctification primarily in terms of progress in holiness. (more…)

Practising Fear


As far as cooking skills go, it’s all well and good if your culinary creation looks like an art exhibit, but that won’t count for much if it tastes like one! In much the same way my aim in this series has been to show that wisdom is far more than knowledge and facts. Looking good is not enough. (more…)

→ Guidelines for Reading Old Testament Narrative


Some useful points about reading Biblical narrative from Julian Freeman:

If you’ve ever begun to read through the Old Testament and been filled with more questions than answers, you’re not alone. Many of the stories of the OT are hard to understand and hard to apply.

Here are ten hopefully helpful principles for interpreting Old Testament narrative. It’s important that we get this right, since this genre of Scripture makes up about 66% of our whole Bible.

For a more extended article on the final point he offers, Gary Millar’s article from November last year is excellent.

Read the Psalms on your knees

Life, Sola Panel

Graeme Goldsworthy:

The Significance of the Psalms for prayer

For any Christian for whom prayer is becoming formal and stereotyped, the Psalms provide a rich source of inspiration. It is true that to read the Psalms on your knees, as it were, can be a great boost to one’s prayer experience. The book of Psalms provides the most sustained and concentrated biblical expressions of prayer. There are two qualifications I would make to this recommendation to resort directly to the Psalms for prayer.