A Miscellany…

Here’s a collection of things I have come across in the blogosphere recently.

Firstly, thanks to Jon here’s a site that can waste lots of your time. Type in a word and you get a list of silly words back. I’m afraid this kind of thing sends me into a very unbecoming fit of giggles.

Also, a very useful resource for any Americans wanting to enjoy these pleasant shores. Perhaps slightly more useful than the orientation course some American former Rolls-Royce colleagues told me about. Now that was funny! (BTW thanks Iconoblog.)

Then, on a more serious note, here is a thought on pragmatism in the church (via Jollyblogger). Perhaps it was made more poignant by the post of Messy Christian who is clearly struggling with this form of results-based ministry. The pastoral issue she presents is as a result of bad theology arising from bad biblical study.

Finally, since some others are intimating their favourite preachers, here are a couple who were influential on me during my student days in Glasgow: Eric Alexander, who was the minster at St. George’s-Tron church, and Sinclair Ferguson, the then associate minister who was just getting his feet under the table at Westminster. Sound quality is pretty poor, but enjoy!

A Miscellany…

Good Morning!

Well, I got fed up with the decor again. I also got fed up with the DIY approach, and since Blogger has come out with a brand new range of stylish off-the-shelf numbers, I thought I would choose one of them. So here it is…

It hasn’t stopped my daughter complaining that she liked the orange back ground I once had. Orange? Eh?

Anyway, I’ve also jettisoned the Haloscan comments in favour of the new fangled Blogger option. This seems to have the advantage of keeping the comments with the original post, which I like. It has the disadvantage that I think commenters have to register with Blogger to ‘sign’ their comments, otherwise they are anonymous. (This doesn’t stop people signing within the comment itself, I suppose.)

We’ll give it a couple of weeks and see how it goes.

Have a nice day!

Good Morning!

Physics in Theology

Richard Gaffin says this:

Since these two aspects of the believer’s experience [i.e. resurrection in his own experience in the past and anticiplated future bodily resurrection] are integrally related to each other as well as to the past event of Jesus’ resurrection, the unity involved may be expressed by saying that the resurrection of Jesus is refracted in the experience of the believer in a twofold fashion. (Resurrection and Redemption, P&R 2nd ed., 1987, p.60)

‘Refracted’? I like how theologians use the language of physics to explain theological ideas. Gaffin seems particularly good at it.

Physics in Theology

Come on Men!

A couple of people have posted on the problem of the feminisation of the church recently. Jollyblogger has written a long article here and a follow up here, while Discoshaman, while reflecting on 5 years in the PCA, has written some interesting comments on feminisation in the charismatic churches.

These are written from an American perspective, but the UK is not insulated from the same problems. In summary of these two gentlemen there are three obvious symptoms, perhaps reflecting three stages of decay (?):

1) Liberal dying churches where the women are in the majority. They are doctinally ruined. This may mean >70% are women. Men are few and far between. I have had experience of this many times. I have found after such a service, some women coming up to me and telling me how wonderful it is to hear a man’s voice sing. Now, I don’t have a great singing voice or anything, but I can belt it out with the best of them! So I stand out. Most men have taken flight. Mothers bring the children. So the boys learn that church is for girls.

2) Loosely evangelical churches where there is a better balance of men and women. However the active people are the women. Men have simply stepped back from responsibility. As a result there are women place in inappropriate leadership roles. Women will even teach in church. The concept of pastoring is seen as a feminine thing, but is reduced to helping out with practical needs, listening to problems, but lacking the skill to apply biblical doctrine to real life. Women are only too willing to do this work. Men back out.

3) Evangelical churches with good strong teaching ministry, yet are concerned that men bond, share struggles etc. The strong emphasis on the relational however, is causing men difficulties. Some will like this, but frankly many are driven away by it. Here’s Jollyblogger:

And, when the Christian faith is expressed in such sentimental and emotional terms, it will be a turn off to men. Along those lines, think of how it plays to men, when we call the Christian life a “love relationship with Jesus.” That sure sounds something like a marriage relationship, but does this mean that I, as a man, am to have that kind of relationship with another man?

I have a lot of sympathy with this. And there is the problem: the Christian life is not a “love relationship with Jesus” but a covenant bond to God in Christ. If anyone asks, “What’s that?” then at least you’re asking the right question. It is the answer to this that needs to proclaimed from the pulpit week by week. What does it mean to be “in Christ”?

I once heard a preacher tell of how he had been to the Urbana conference in the US. He related how, when he was speaking, he had pressed the need for real “manly godliness”. When the transcripts were published, for PC reasons they had changed “manly godliness” to “vigorous godliness”.

But the preacher was right the first time.

Come on Men!

Servo

I’ve also noticed that some people’s conception of God’s sanctifying activity is rather like that of a servo motor in power assisted steering.

Servo