Category : Theology: Scripture

(Authority & Interpretation of Scripture)

From the Morning Bible Readings

“Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for thy name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many,
we have sinned against thee.
O thou hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why shouldst thou be like a stranger in the land,
like a wayfarer who turns aside to tarry for a night?
Why shouldst thou be like a man confused,
like a mighty man who cannot save?
Yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us,
and we are called by thy name;
leave us not.”

–Jeremiah 14:7-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Eleanor Parker) A medieval song about the Annunciation

Gabriel, from heaven’s king
Sent to the maid sweet,
Brought her blissful tidings,
And fair he did her greet:
“Hail be thou, full of grace aright,
For God’s Son, this heaven’s light,
For man’s love
Will man become
And take
Flesh of thee, maiden bright,
Mankind free for to make
From sin and devil’s might.”

Gently him did answer
The gentle maiden then:
“In what way can I bear
A child without a man?”
The angel said, “Fear thee naught;
Through the Holy Ghost shall be wrought
This same thing
Of which tiding
I bring.
All mankind will be bought [redeemed]
Through thy sweet childing,
And out of torment brought.”

When the maiden understood
And the angel’s words heard,
Gently with a gentle mind
To the angel she answered:
“Our Lord’s serving maiden iwis [indeed]
I am, who here above is.
Concerning me
Fulfilled shall be
Thy saw, [your words]
That I, since his will it is,
A maiden, without law, [i.e. outside the law of nature]
Of mother will have the bliss.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology: Scripture

Professor Markus Bockmuehl–Seeking to Understand Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)

So why should anyone in their right mind pray, “lead us not into temptation”? Ours is a postChristian society that smells and fears insensitivity far more than it smells or fears evil, and which finds Christian morality no longer just irrelevant but positively offensive. Shouldn’t we should just rewrite the whole thing? “We affirm and celebrate the rich diversity of temptation; deliver us from attempts to resist it, because they are moralizing and exclusive.” To rephrase things like that would certainly spare us the open knives of Christianity’s cultured despisers.

In fact, even for Christians it seems tricky and difficult to know what it means to pray about temptation – particularly when we too often feel pretty clueless as to what it might
be. Is it something to do with food and dieting? With binge shopping or binge holidays? Or with sex? Or ambition for success? The ancient Christian author St Augustine captures
something of this difficulty even for those who might seem morally serious, when he admits that he used to pray that God would give him sexual chastity – “just not yet!”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

A Poem for the Feast of the Annunciation from Andrew Hudgins

The angel has already said, Be not afraid.
He’s said, The power of the Most High
will darken you. Her eyes are downcast and half closed.
And there’s a long pause ”” a pause here of forever ””
as the angel crowds her. She backs away,
her left side pressed against the picture frame….

Read it all.

Posted in Poetry & Literature, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

–Romans 6:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?

–Psalm 42:1-2

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we[d] rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man””though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.

–Romans 5:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

–Romans 4:20-21

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon-Being Exposed by the Light that Breaks Down our Walls (John 4:5-42)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(RZIM) Q&A with Sam Allberry: Same-Sex Attraction, Synod Remarks, and Why The Gospel Is Truly Good News For All

Yes, you described yourself as “same-sex attracted.” What do you mean by that?

The debate was limited to just three minutes per speaker, so I only had time to flag certain things up without the opportunity to properly explain what I meant by them.

When I describe myself as same-sex attracted, what I am saying is that the only sexual desires and feelings I have ever experienced are toward other men, rather than women. I’m not justifying those desires or seeking to validate them. The Bible says that as sinners all our desires are disordered, so it’s actually the case that all of us are fallen and broken in our sexuality. For most, that fallenness will be manifest in an opposite-sex direction; for me (and not a few other believers), it is seen in same-sex attraction.

Some wonder how it is possible to be a Christian and yet experience these things. My answer is that any inappropriate desire is a form of temptation that needs to be fought. Temptation is different to sin. Jesus tells us to pray we’d be delivered from temptation but be forgiven for our sin. Temptation itself is not sin. It is striking that the Bible nowhere promises that temptation will be completely removed in this life; simply that God will enable us to stand faithfully under it.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology: Scripture

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on John 4–Do we have a message to deliver to those in need?

“The Christian is not a seeker; the Christian is one who has found. “Come, see a man” (John 4:29); “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41); “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth” (John 1:45). Christians are men and women who have found; they have found something to give; they are not merely seeking”¦By definition Christians have something; they have something to say”¦ So the great question we must all ask ourselves is this: do we have something to give to people who are in need? I like to think of it like this. Imagine that tonight when you are in your home, somebody knocks at your door or rings the bell. You go to the door, and there you find a messenger. What is the message? Well, it is a request, an appeal, from a man whom you have known for years; perhaps you have known him since you were children together. Unfortunately, poor fellow, he has gone wrong in life, he has lived a godless life, and yet you somehow liked him. Whenever you met him, you were glad to see him, you always spoke to him, and you often tried to urge him to come with you to listen to the gospel. But he would not come; he laughed it off, as such people often do.

Now here is the message this afternoon that poor fellow had a sudden heart attack, and he is desperately ill; in fact, he is dying. The doctor can do no more for him. He has told the family, and this man realizes the truth ”“ he can see it in their faces. And suddenly he has come to himself. He sees that his life is finished, and he is going to the unknown and to darkness. He has nothing ”“ nothing to lean on in his past life, nothing to lean on in the present. Nobody can help him. He is absolutely alone, as we all shall be sooner or later, as our soul passes from time to eternity and into the presence of God. He does not know what to do or where to turn; he is in agony of soul. But suddenly he has thought of you because he thinks of you as a Christian and as a member of a church, because you have invited him to go with you to church. So he has sent for you ”“ that is the message. Of course, you have no choice; you must go. And when you arrive in the room, there is your friend lying on his back in bed.

This is the test as to whether or not we are Christians. Do you have something you can give him that will make all the difference in the world to him? What is the point of telling this man that you are also a seeker and a searcher after the truth ”“ he will be dead before midnight? What is the point of saying to him, “I hope that my sins are going to be forgiven sometime, I’m doing my best, I’m living a good life”? Does that help him? That puts him into hell while he is still alive. Or how does it help him if you turn to him and say, “Well, at last you see it. How many times have I told you that the life you were living was wrong? If only you had live as I live!” What is the value of that? That is sheer cruelty. That, again, is putting him in hell while he is still alive. It is of no value at all.

No, no; that is not the Christian way. Christians are not seeking truth or seeking forgiveness. They are not trying to make themselves Christians by living good lives; they are not merely church members. What are they? Well, in the end it just comes to this: they are men and women who, like the woman of Samaria, have met Christ, the Son of God. They are able to tell this poor fellow that it is not too late, that it is not hopeless, that no one is justified by their works or by their lives, that we are all sinners, and there is no ultimate difference between us at all, but that this is the message: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever [even he] believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Christians can tell this man not about their own experience but about Jesus Christ. There is no time to give experiences; there is no time to go through your drill and mechanically quote this or that. All they can say is, “Jesus Christ ”“ look to him!” They just tell the dying man about him, who he is, what he has done. And that is the only way this man can be helped, the only way he can find peace and rest for his soul.”

–Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), Living Water: Studies in John 4, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in Church History, Theology: Scripture

Augustine on John 4–Who is seeking What in this passage

“But he who was asking drink was thirsting for the faith of the woman herself”

–Augustine, from his 15th Tractate on the Gospel of St. John, cited by yours truly in the morning sermon.

Posted in Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93:4-5

Posted in Theology: Scripture