Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2011

Read Full Post »

Text

Audio

 

 

Read Full Post »

Reason and will would ascend and seek above, but if you would have joy, bend yourself down to this place. There you will find that boy given for you who is your Creator lying in a manger. I will stay with that boy as He sucks, is washed, and dies . . . There is no joy but in this boy. Take Him away and you face the Majesty which terrifies . . . I know of no God but this one in the manger.

— Martin Luther, Christmas Sermon 1527.

Read Full Post »

Identity is a new evangelistic course based in John’s Gospel.  It’s by Lee McMunn of St John’s, Newlands in Hull.  I’ve seen the DVDs and they’re terrific.

Each week there is a little Bible study, a talk from Lee on the issue of the day and then a “Big Question” which Lee tackles towards the end of the evening.  The titles for the weeks are:

WEEK 1: The God who created us
WEEK 2: The God who wants to rescue us
WEEK 3: The God we were made for
WEEK 4: The God who wants to comfort us
WEEK 5: The God who loves relationships
WEEK 6: The God who died for us
WEEK 7 The God who wants to persuade us

The Big Questions are:

WEEK 1: Are science and Christianity enemies or friends?
WEEK 2: What about other religions?
WEEK 3: Where can I find lasting pleasure?
WEEK 4: Why do we suffer?
WEEK 5: Do I need to go to church to be a Christian?
WEEK 6: Does God care about justice?
WEEK 7: Do I need to see in order to believe?

Lee teaches with great assurance and winsomeness.  He is a master of illustrations (some of which I’ve stolen already) and both his main talks and his “Big Questions” sessions are marked by a real clarity and simplicity of expression.

I love the idea of a course based in John (after all, it is the Gospel that tells you “I am an evangelistic tract!!“).  Therefore Lee follows the Apostle in putting the Trinity front and centre in his evangelism.  As the course develops, John’s themes come through – particularly regarding “Life to the full” and the relational life of the Christian (both vertically and horizontally).  This is a real plus.

There is also a simplicity to the course, with the Bible studies and talks following a logical flow through John’s Gospel.  And, barring the final “Big Question” (which feels like it should come earlier in the course), the apologetic issues addressed each week tie in well with the teaching.

The strength of the course comes in it’s Johannine flavour and, for what it’s worth, I think there is still room for that to be developed.  John’s “faith” language was more often unpacked as “following Jesus”, “putting Jesus in charge”, “committing yourself to Jesus” rather than receiving the gift of the Son.  Similarly, sin was often spoken of as “rebellion” which is extremely common in modern evangelism but much less common in John.

But all in all it’s a well written and well produced resource that I hope will introduce thousands to Jesus.

Order the DVD and Guide Books from 10ofthose.  And visit the website here.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Not the spirit of Scrooge – which makes its home in the darkness

Not the spirit of Winterfest – which denies the darkness

Not the spirit of Santa – which remains above the darkness

The Spirit of Christ – who enters the darkness.

Audio.

Slides.

Read Full Post »

A common question.  How to respond?

Well let’s think about the assumptions underlying the question.  If I’m detecting them rightly they go something like this:  Faith is an attribute which ‘believers’ rustle up and which God accepts as payment for heaven.  Having accepted the “faith” token from the righteous, God then rewards them with a whole “preferred customers package” of benefits (eternal life, forgiveness, feeling’s of love and purpose, etc).  Meanwhile, God finds ‘unbelievers’ lacking in this attribute called faith and so consigns them to this other place called hell.

So the question then comes, How can that be right?  And of course, if that’s what “God”, “faith” and “eternal life”mean, then it isn’t right – it’s an absurd and capricious set-up which every Christian should repudiate.  Thankfully, it’s nothing like the gospel.

The gospel is this: God gives us His Son by the Spirit.  Christ is Himself eternal life (1 John 5:20).  To receive the gift of Christ is what we call faith (John 1:12).  To refuse Christ is to resist the Spirit.  And it is also, by the very nature of the case, to refuse eternal life.  

Therefore God does not sit back and then reward an attribute called “faith” which sinners bring to the table.  God actively offers Christ to sinners.  As Christ says,

Whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.  (Proverbs 8:35-36)

 

Read Full Post »

The story of Richard Morgan, converted after a Scottish Pastor braved the underbelly of richarddawkins.net…

it was his interest in evolution that led him to follow Richard Dawkins. Upon finding the author’s actual website, Morgan was excited to communicate with scientists and philosophers who could offer more insight into evolution.

But rather than discussing the nature of evolution in the “oasis of clear thinking,” Morgan was horrified to discover in his first forum that more than half of the people devoted their time saying rude things about believers using extremely foul language.

“I don’t know if you’ve seen ‘The Social Network’ but there’s one point where a girl says to the main character ‘Just stay in your dark room and make snide remarks because that’s what the angry do these days.’”

After witnessing the discussions firsthand, the newly minted evolutionist agreed that the Internet was more a place where people could hide behind their anonymity and say rude things as a kind of therapy.
Still searching for answers however, Morgan continued to be a part of the community, drawn particularly to a discussion on David Robertson’s open letter replying to Dawkins’ first chapter of The God Delusion.

Prompted to write a response to each of Dawkins’ chapters in the book, the Scottish pastor eventually compiled all the letters into a book called The Dawkins Letters.

Criticizing the book in the forums, members began to attack the letters until one day Robertson himself appeared in the discussions and began defending the points he made.

“I don’t know how many hours he must have spent just replying very calmly and politely to people who were sending out the most vilest insults and criticisms,” Morgan recalled. “He just kept coming back and occasionally with a few words of Scripture thrown into his general discourse.”

Unable to understand what was wrong with Robertson, Morgan himself posed a question on the discussion boards asking members why the pastor kept coming back and what result he expected. One of the seasoned and experienced posters on the forum commented, “It’s just another Christian attention seeker.”

“Yes, David Robertson was seeking attention but it wasn’t for David Robertson. We all know for whom he was seeking attention,” expressed the now Christian Morgan.

For several days the attacks continued, until one day someone replied that David Robertson was a liar. But Morgan throughout all of the threads had not noticed this and asked where the pastor had lied, bringing him a bout of criticisms as well.

“I was probably too unintelligent to see where he was a liar,” remembered Morgan.

As time went on, he began to see more and more the brutality and harshness of the chats, recalling one shocking post where the site administrator had published an article about an extremist Russian prophet who tried to commit suicide when his prediction for the date of the end of the world failed to come true.

A couple of posters in response to the story regretted that the fallen prophet had failed in his attempt to put an end to his life. Stunned by the level of inhumanity, Morgan wondered how any civilized person could say they wanted to see anybody die. Writing a protestation to some form of humanity in the forums about his shock and disappointment in the members, one respected member on the site simply replied to his post with an LOL– laugh out loud.

It was then that Morgan realized he did not want to be a part of these people. “I’m not condemning all atheists,” he clarified in the interview. “I’m talking about anonymous atheists on internet discussion boards and the messages they express which are extremely negative, puerile, [and] full of hate…”

Coming back to Robertson’s replies to all the “nastiness and unpleasantness,” which Morgan himself was a part of, composing a piece of music just to insult the pastor, Morgan reread the debates and was impressed at several aspects of Robertson’s participation.

First, his persistence and continual presence in the discussions astounded Morgan. Robertson always came back and sometimes got up two hours earlier in the morning to give adequate response time to the criticisms.

Secondly he defended himself in a robust manner while not hesitating to wish everyone well. He wasn’t the meek and mild kind of Christian who said “I love you all and you’re all nice,” but the kind of Christian who stood up for what he believed in.

Printing out over fifty pages of Robertson’s posts, Morgan read through all the posts again and found no lies. What he discovered instead was humility, intelligence, sensitivity, and several references to the Bible.

In his confused state, without God or a community of atheists to turn to, Morgan started to post on The Free Church of Scotland’s forum, which the Scottish pastor was a part of.

Writing to Robertson about how he appreciated his responses and comments, Morgan shared how he couldn’t believe in God. “I’m not an atheist because I want to be an atheist. I’m not a happy atheist. I’m an atheist because I can’t believe in God.”

In response to Morgan’s post, Robertson, the “resident fruitcake” at the Dawkins’ forums, asked him two questions which subsequently changed his life: 1) Why don’t you believe in God? 2) What could make you believe in God?

Dismissing the first question as dumb, Robertson’s initial reaction to the second question was “certainly not proof and evidence.”

At that moment, Morgan’s instinctive response conjured up to his memory, probably from his previous Mormon days, the verse, “We love because he first loved us.” And in that instant, Morgan understood the expression “amazing grace.”

“I was certain without having any rational explanation that God existed, that he loved me without waiting for me to love him, that he loved me unconditionally without waiting for me to deserve it.”

Whole article here.

Read Full Post »

[From Glen] The following, from Paul, was too long for this fascinating thread, but it’s also too good not to post in its own right. (Please refer to these older comments if you’re not sure what Paul is referring to)…

First, Chris, the wedding ring analogy is very helpful.  Yes, we need to be within the relationship with Christ to understand the significance of the heavens and the earth.  On their own, out of the context of marriage to the Son in the fellowship of the Spirit to the glory of the Father, all the many details of the universe could be viewed as nothing but just one thing after another, especially if we are materialistic reductionists.

Second, the tabernacle point from Glen is helpful too.  The connection between the tabernacle/temple and the whole creation is common throughout the Bible.  The tabernacle was given by the LORD God to be a kind of “pocket-sized map” of the heavens and the earth – a multi-media microcosm with verbal explanations.  I wonder what a person might make of a replica tabernacle even today if they had no contact with the Bible.  They might study all the different features of it – from the embroidered curtains to the gold-plated wood, from the altar to the ark of the covenant.  Perhaps they might think it was an elaborate barbecue set-up with some kind of family-sized tent for sleeping it off. Who knows?  Without the proper relationship with the Designer, and His explanations of it, nobody could make any sense of it.

Although all the many features of the tabernacle were intended by the author to convey meaning, to embody truth, to illustrate eternal realities, yet none of these can be really seen or heard unless there are eyes to see and ears to hear – unless there is a relationship to the Designer with a knowledge of His written explanations. [It is interesting how Jesus repeatedly states how only those with ears to hear may understand what He is saying.  His parables could sound like nothing more than short stories without the awareness and appreciation of the deeper message that lies behind them].  Until we have been redeemed by His mighty saving power; until He has opened our eyes and raised us from the dead we cannot begin to really appreciate His handiwork as the author intended.

There used to be a series on TV where the camera would go around an anonymous celebrities house and based on the features that the camera suggestively lingered over, the identity of the owner had to be guessed.  Without knowing the owner all the different features might seem strange or odd, but when they were revealed at the end, all the different features made sense and we could all breath a kind of “aha” as we realised why they had that kind of furniture, with that wallpaper, with those paintings and with that kind of kitchen.  I think it was called “Through the Keyhole”.

In that same way, the Eternal Word has designed and decorated the heavens and the earth in His own style, imprinted with His own character, as an expression of the invisible Father.  On their own, out of context [viewed from ‘outside’ in that CS Lewis sense] all the details of creation are just an overwhelming collection of details.  They can be related to each other to a degree so that we may build up something of an account of the mechanisms and structure of the whole, but the meaning and “authorial intent” of the decor is missed… UNLESS we know the ‘celebrity owner’ and have His own written account of His character and ways.  THEN we constantly look about the ‘house’ and recognise all kinds of things as being “just like Him”.  On the original TV programme, after the secret identity is revealed, people would say things like “Oh, yes, it is just like her to have that kind of wallpaper and that rug in her bathroom” or “after what happened to him that year, we can see why he had that photo on the wall” etc.

In just this way, after we come to know the LORD Jesus Christ and as the spectacles of Scripture give us better and better vision of reality, so we can begin to see the whole creation in that way – “oh, it is just like Christ to make the trees in that way and the stars like that” or “given what happened to Him, we can see why He designed seeds to be like that”.

In other words, the non-Christian who does not know the LORD Jesus Christ or the Scriptures of course cannot make any sense of all these things… but that is precisely why the judgement falls upon us as a sinful, ignorant race.  We were designed to know Him and we were created in the Garden of God in a gracious relationship of love and openness.  The fact that we have lost this position is the reason that we no longer have that constant sense of “aha, it is so like Him to make moss, rocks, fish, birds, clouds, grass, arms, hair, water, gravity etc etc like that”.

I think this is why there never can be a natural theology and why we really must say “No!” to it at every point.  A natural theology attempts to build a knowledge of God on some kind of ‘neutral’ ground or common point of contact that tries to begin without the ‘special revelation’ or redemption of Jesus Christ.  Obviously this is absurd and offensive.  As Barth says, we do not need to establish a point of contact because that has already been done in Jesus.  So the idea of an ‘a priori’ natural theology must be firmly rejected, but the idea of an ‘a posteriori’ theology of nature or appreciation of the LORD Jesus Christ in creation is required.

At the risk of quoting myself, last January there was a post here concerning Divine Simplicity that has some relevance.  Towards the conclusion of that it was suggested that the “Eternal, Divine Logos is the One through whom all things were made.  His ‘logic’ is written into the very fabric of the universe.  The universe is not a distraction from the life of the Trinity, but a manifestation of that life through the Son.  The life of the Divine Logos is “the light of men.”  Our lives are always illuminated by Him.  Although we cannot exhaustively comprehend the life of the Trinity, yet we can truly know the divine life because we have been created through the Logos and He still ‘shines’ upon us.  He is [John 1:9] the “True Light that gives light to every man.”  Those that despair of human minds knowing anything of the inner life of the Trinity must take refuge in the Divine Logos, in Jesus of Nazareth.”

The world is not a neutral setting but it was designed from the very beginning to be the everlasting home of righteousness [2 Peter 3], when the Father Himself will come down from the highest heaven to dwell with His people [Revelation 21:1-4].  The Garden of Eden was nothing less than the Garden of God [Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8] because it was all designed to be the eternal home of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit centred on the marriage of the Son to the Church.

The reason that the Physiologus is such a beautiful work is not that the animals are so accurately understood – because some of the accounts are very inaccurate indeed.  It is a fascinating work of Christian thought because it essentially tries to think through what the LORD Jesus Christ might have had in mind when creating all these different creatures.  Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful book, Chris, with the links to Peter Harrison’s work.

[I’m still thinking through his overall argument about the rise of modern science – which was my post-doctoral research – but his material is packed with treasures.  I wonder if the weakness of the Physiologus is the lack of a proper examination of and appreciation of the world in its own inter-relatedness (as Colin Gunton might say).  If the ancients rushed from a superficial examination of the world to an in-depth analysis of the cosmic meaning and the moderns tend to stick with an in-depth analysis of the world and refuse to examine the cosmic meaning, then yes, we need a robust science and also a robust cosmic Christology.  The Reformers are right to insist on a more literal examination and appreciation of the text of Scripture but if they thereby reject the original authorial intent to also speak about the deep gospel/theological themes then there is a real loss.  With some of the Puritans we obviously get something of a recovery of the earlier perspective but with more of the Reformation appreciation of grammatico-historical study.  Peter Harrison’s work is fascinating.  If you haven’t clicked to Chris Oldfield’s site with Peter’s two papers… please have a look this very weekend].

Job 12:7-9 – “ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?”

In Job chapters 38-41 onwards, we have that wonderful confrontation between the LORD and Job.  The LORD lists so many features of the creation that display His character and ways – even noting how the dawn is designed to shake out the wicked or the lack of good sense in the ostrich is balanced by her great speed.

The deep issue is not whether we may use these things as illustrations of our own beliefs about the Living God, but whether He was already set these things as illustrations of His own character and ways.  When Jesus indicates the rain, sun, seeds, flowers or birds as presentations of His own teaching, He is speaking as the very One who actually designed all these things in the beginning.  They are just as they are because He says that they are so.  In that sense, Jesus references to the creation are inter-textual references – whereby He refers to what He has already displayed/spoken in His other Book. The fact that He is the Lamb slain from before the foundations of the earth and that the whole creation will eternally praise Him for His atoning death means that it is no great surprise to see how from the very beginning He sprinkled expressions of this great work throughout the heavens and the earth.

George Robinson still strikes a chord with his classic hymn of 1876.  The whole world looks different to us when we love the LORD Jesus and learn more and more about Him because we know the Designer and appreciate how His character and works are reflected throughout the creation.

Heav’n above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green!
Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen;
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine.

Read Full Post »

Happy Friday

 

 

Read Full Post »

This is part of the Preface to The King’s English.  Here I explain the point of daily ‘Bible time.’

To live by faith means looking to Jesus for all our hope, joy and peace. In doing so we recognise that we have no spiritual resources within ourselves.  Instead we must constantly seek the gracious gift of Christ, given to us by the Spirit. The Christian life is a constant dependence on the Word from beyond. Every day I must hear of His grace and trust Him afresh. Why? Because every day I forget His good news and live in the flesh.

The Scriptures are where we meet the risen Christ.  We read the Bible, not as a spiritual offering but as a desperate receiving.  We open the Bible not to impress God, but that He might impress us again with His gospel.  We approach our daily devotions as beggars asking our gracious Father to please feed us again with the Bread of life.

In the history of the church there has been no better description of the Bible than: ‘The Spirit’s testimony to the Son.’  It is not a road map or an instruction manual for life.  It is a biography of Jesus: commissioned by the Father, authored by the Spirit and addressed to the church.

With this in mind, I’ve not written a daily pep-talk to inspire you to greater deeds. I have no idea what you face day to day. Most of the time, neither do you.  What I do know is this, whatever you face, you need Jesus. My prayer is that you will meet Him as you read the Scriptures.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes I use the Valley of Vision prayers like a starter motor for my own prayer life.  (Some of them are here).

This morning I was praying through Consecration and Worship.  It reminded me of a lot of the issues I tried to raise with my ‘Christ our Substitute‘ video.  Here’s the prayer.  Note the ending especially:

My God, I feel it is heaven to please Thee, and to be what Thou wouldst have me be. O that I were holy as Thou art holy, pure as Christ is pure, perfect as Thy Spirit is perfect! These, I feel, are the best commands in Thy Book, and shall I break them? must I break them? am I under such a necessity as long as I live here?

Woe, woe is me that I am a sinner, that I grieve this blessed God, who is infinite in goodness and grace! O if He would punish me for my sins, it would not would my heart so deep to offend Him; But though I sin continually, He continually repeats His kindness to me.

At times I feel I could bear any suffering, but how can I dishonour this glorious God? What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of beings? O that I could consecrate my soul and body to His service, without restraint, for ever! O that I could give myself up to Him, so as never more to attempt to be my own! or have any will or affections that are not perfectly conformed to His will and His love! But, alas, I cannot live and not sin.

O may angels glorify Him incessantly, and, if possible, prostrate themselves lower before the blessed King of heaven! I long to bear a part with them in ceaseless praise; but when I have done all I can to eternity I shall not be able to offer more than a small fraction of the homage that the glorious God deserves. Give me a heart full of divine, heavenly love.

I can pray this prayer with heartfelt devotion.  I empathise completely with the sense of inadequacy from which it springs.  But I always feel a little odd about it.  As though the Father will be forever short-changed.  As though angels and men will do their best into eternity but it won’t be enough.  I mainly feel odd because Christ our High Priest – i.e. our Worshipper! – is not being credited with a job well done.  So, I think I’d like to rework it:

I confess Father that I do not consecrate my soul and body to Thy service and I grieve over my dry and sullied devotion.  Indeed Father, I cannot consecrate myself as I might, as I would, as I ought.  Woe, Woe is me that I am a sinner.  Therefore I look again to Thy Son – given up to Thee, without restraint and without ceasing; every will and affection perfectly conformed to Thy will and love.  I look to Jesus, the heavenly Worshipper, the Director of music, the eternal High Priest.

O may Christ glorify Thee incessantly.  He who stooped to depths far deeper than men or angels have trod; He who has paid homage at infinite cost; He whose blood speaks a better word than all creation ever could; He who is full beyond measure with Thy Spirit of truth and of glory and grace; He who was born and baptised, who was raised and appointed to be Thy Priest and mine – may He offer my praise.   And will you accept mine from Him – my Amen a faint but hearty echo from below.  I thank Thee and bless Thee for Thy perfect rest in Christ, confident of a full share in that homage that echoes into eternity with ceaseless praise.

.

Read Full Post »

Travel through the Bible, phrase by phrase, with this daily devotional from the King’s English.

The first quarter takes in Genesis to Ruth – “In the beginning” to “Shelter under his wings.”  Each day there is a suggested reading and then thoughts from Glen Scrivener.

Day by day you’ll be drawn to the centre of the Scriptures – the Lord Jesus.  These are not daily pep-talks aimed at the will.  They are daily doses of the grace of Christ to warm your heart and establish you in the truths of the gospel.

Order now to be ready for January 1st!

Read Full Post »

Slides for all talks

Three – God is THREE Persons united in love (Galatians 3:26-4:7)

Text    Audio

.

Two – The story of the world is the story of TWO men (Romans 5:12-21)

Text    Audio

.

One – Who are you ONE with?  Adam or Christ? (John 15:5; Rev 19:6-9; Heb 4:14-16; 1 Sam 17)

Text    Audio

.

Seminar on Answering Questions

Audio of opening teaching.

.

Read Full Post »

Santa giving Arius the slapdown at the council of Nicea.

Read about it here.

Happy St Nicholas’ day!

Read Full Post »

Happy Friday

It might not make a lot of sense to those outside the UK.  It doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to those here. But no-one does fun like Harry Hill…

Read Full Post »

1) The sermon of creation is not a minimal thing – it’s maximal.  Romans 1:19 ‘what may be known about God… God has made plain.’  Colossians 1:23 ‘the gospel… has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven.’  Psalm 19:2 ‘Day after day they pour forth speech.’

2) Our blindness/deafness to this sermon is not minimal either – it is maximal. Note that in Psalm 19 David trusts that the creation daily pours forth speech in intentional evangelism.  In Ecclesiastes 1 his son sees the exact same heavens.  Yet even with all his wisdom, the ‘teacher’ of Ecclesiastes finds it utterly meaningless.  The circuit of the sun which was such a vivid portrait of the Bridegroom Champion in Psalm 19 becomes, in the eyes of the ‘teacher’, a futile and meaningless cycle.

Humanity is blind to the things of God (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:21). We cannot judge what the sermon of creation is saying by what we see. We naturally only see what we want to see.

3) The sermon of creation is not a static thing, it’s dynamic, it’s about movement and action and inter-relation. Literally Ps 19:2 says “Day unto day is a pouring forth of speech; night unto night is a displaying of knowledge.” The sequence of day and night and day and night is itself a display of knowledge.  This proclamation involes ‘sun, moon and stars in their courses above.’  The sermon of creation is expressed in dynamic action, it does not simply speak to us in static snap-shots of beauty.

So often people simply characterise the sermon of creation as something like “Look at a snow-capped mountain range, doesn’t it fill you with awe. Well, now you should direct that awe to the God who is big enough and clever enough to have made it.” That is certainly an element to what creation is saying, but it’s not what David is drawing our attention to.

Psalm 19 highlights the progression of day and night, the movement of the sun across the sky, the heavens in their courses.   The dynamic sermon of creation tells far better of the Glory of God who is not a static, unmoved deity simply waiting for people to give Him glory. The Living God acts and moves and relates.  And His Glory, according to the Bible, is His Son acting, moving and relating. The theist will think of the sermon of creation in static terms because her god is static. The Christian knows the sermon is dynamic – just like our God.

4) The sermon of creation is ‘the word of Christ.’  It is not about abstract qualities of power or wisdom but about the Son.  Of course this is so since Jesus is eternally the image of God (Col 1:15).  There is no revelation that is not in Him.

In Romans 10 Paul asks if any have not heard the word of Christ (v17)?  He answers, of course not and quotes Psalm 19!  The sermon of creation is the word of Christ.  When we examine Psalm 19 we see this to be so.  His example of the sun is a dead giveaway.  This sun is like a Bridegroom Champion who moves from east to west (like the journey the high priest makes from altar to ark) as the light of the world. (Ps 19:4-6; cf Ps 45). Here is a sermon regarding Christ.

Think also of John 12. When Jesus picks up a seed He doesn’t say “How pretty and how intelligently designed” – He says “This seed proclaims my death and resurrection and, though this, the life of the world.”  The sermon of creation is a gospel word concerning Christ.

5) The sermon of creation is seen only through the spectacles of the Scriptures (Calvin’s famous image).  Ps 19 continues ‘The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving/converting the soul.’ (v7)  That which left even Ecclesiastes’ ‘teacher’ looking into the meaningless cycle of life and death is that which, through the spectacles of Scripture, becomes the dynamic proclamation of Christ and His gospel.

6) Now with Scripture’s spectacles on, we can learn much from creation.  We can ‘go to the ant… consider its ways’ (Prov 6:6); we can ‘consider the ravens’ (Luke 12:24); we can ‘reflect on’ farming, athletics and soldiering (2 Tim 2:4-7) and be given insight.   This revelation is in a sense beyond Scripture.  But it is never apart from it.  We learn more from Christ’s creation by doing this than if we stay in church and read our bibles.  But if this ‘more’ is to be considered a revelation – if it is ultimately about Christ (which it really is) – then such learning must begin in the Scriptures and be co-ordinated by them.

But now, bible in hand, the Christian becomes an eager biologist, geologist, cosmologist, anthropologist, etc, etc.   As we happily march off to our labs and digs and libraries the naturalists will frown at us and accuse us of treating the bible like a science text-book.  Of course, this accusation is backwards.  The real problem is that they treat naturalism like a revelation. But, never mind.  This just shows how much they need the Scriptures.

The truth is that the Bible is not a container into which the Christian tries to shrink all scientific knowledge.  It is a lens through which we hope to see the heights and depths.  We do not think that the Scriptures exhaustively reveal the world to us. Instead, we believe that they uniquely reveal the way to know this world – by the Spirit and in Christ alone..

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts