John complains, “I simply cannot resolve this calculus problem.” Sarah offers a solution: “Let’s read some Shakespearean sonnets.” I’ve got a problem with my car: it won’t start. But no problem: I know what to do. I’ll go and practice my guitar. That will fix it. My cakes always used to fall when I took them out of the oven. But my friend showed me how to fix the problem. He showed me how to adjust the timing on my car engine. Ridiculous, of course. . . .
Does someone have the right to harm their own soul? Or if you don’t much like the talk of ‘soul’, does someone have the right to do themselves moral harm? For many years the assumption in the UK has been that the individual does have the right to do themselves spiritual harm. This came to a very visible head in the controversy in the British Parliament this year about laws permitting same sex marriage, but it had been coming for some time. . . .
Jesus was a theological educator. He was, of course, much more than that, but certainly no less. He taught the twelve, and he taught the crowds. The Gospels frequently call him ‘teacher’ or ‘rabbi’, suggestive of the popular reputation he gained for teaching. Indeed, more than once he identified himself as a teacher, confirming the assessment of others: ‘You call me “Teacher” and “Lord”, and rightly so, for that is what I am’ (John 13:13; cf. Matt 23:10; 26:18). . . .
The nineteenth-century Scottish Presbyterian theologian William Symington wrote concerning Christ’s intercession, “in a practical and consolatory point of view, its interest is not exceeded even by the Atonement. The two are, however, inseparably connected; although we fear that, in this instance, men have not been sufficiently aware of the evil of putting asunder what God has joined together.” It seems that in much contemporary evangelical thought the doctrine of Christ’s intercession has been underappreciated . . . .
As Jonathan Edwards’s reputation for defending moderate New Light revivalism grew in the 1740s, others increasingly sought him to preside over the ordination of ministers in nearby churches. Edwards used these occasions to explore the various dimensions of gospel ministry and the solemn responsibilities that both minister and congregation embrace when joining in an ecclesial union. What Edwards took to be the ministerial ideal shines forth brightly in these sermons . . . .
In 1983 the Christian social critic Os Guinness commented, ‘Christians are always more culturally shortsighted than they realise. They are often unable to tell, for instance, where their Christian principles leave off and their cultural perspectives begin. What many of them fail to ask themselves is, “where are we coming from and what is our own ‘context’?” . . .
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a prayer-expert. I’m not. But that’s one reason I find praying Scripture so helpful (more on that later). My argument is simple: You should pray Scripture. Three qualifications . . . .