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Showing posts from April, 2015

Scripture in the 39 Articles

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This year we started preaching through the 39 Articles (the confession of faith of the Church of England). I'm doing short series on groups suggested by W.H. Griffith Thomas' book The Principles of Theology.  Currently I'm on Articles VI-VIII on the Rule of Faith and I've just done Article VI which starts:

VI. OF THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES FOR SALVATION
HOLY Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

If I understand this right, then the intention was to make Scripture the authority in the church and for the individual believer.  In particular, this was in contrast to the Roman Catholic Church, which put church tradition alongside Scripture and possibly it was in contrast to what we might call the more lunatic fringe elements of the Reformatio…

Christians, Language and Authority Part II

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I've been thinking a little bit more about the way people often use language in discussions about Christianity to shut down opposing views (see part 1) and here's another thing that troubles me.  At the moment, it usually comes up when talking about sexual sin of some sort (homosexual relationships, divorce etc.) and it goes something like this: "The church is obsessed with sin X and there are so many other things we don't talk about that are sinful."  I had a conversation a bit like this recently, where someone was upset when I pointed out that something was a sin in the Bible.  Similarly, I recently read a pastor lamenting that all people wanted to know about was his attitude on homosexuality and they never asked about greed even though more people were involved in it, which was another form of the statement I think.

Now this kind of language can point out a problem usefully.  If it's true that I'm taking a biblical line on sexual sin, but I'm igno…

Book Review: What is the Gospel?

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This is a good one perhaps for some Easter week reading to remind yourself why.
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If you've been following my articles looking at the what Christians believe the gospel is and you've thought, “I wouldn't mind a little bit more on that,” then Greg Gilbert's book is an excellent place to go. In fact, if you do go there you will find some similarities I suspect, as I've been reading it alongside writing the articles.
Gilbert is a pastor of a church in Kentucky, and so the book is written to help ordinary Christians have a deeper appreciation of the extraordinary good news of Jesus Christ. The heart of the book is an explanation of the gospel in four chapters (which may sound familiar):
God the righteous Creator Man the Sinner Jesus Christ the Saviour Response – Faith and Repentance
In a straightforward and engaging way, he presents the Bible's teaching on the shape and content of the gospel message. He also has a couple of introductory chapters explainin…