Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2013

Scribblings on The Book of Daniel

Daniel is something of a pop-favourite when it comes to Bible books. Especially in the student world, because y'know, he was, like, a student, away from home. And that's cool as he works out where not to compromise as he studies, and then you get the challenges to pray even if it's illegal and so on. And then thankfully we run out of time before the crazy stuff in the latter part of the book.

The really famous bits? The lions den and the firey furnace. As Larry Osbourne comments, those aren't really the point because most people thrown to the lions die, and most people thrown in fire die. But something amazing is going on.

The book of Daniel is about dreams and politics and wars and the interactions of a refugee with the Government officials, and about the coming of life to God's people.

Six headings from  book by book with my further notes

1. Praise be to the Name of God forever (Daniel 1-2)
-- Christ the true exiled son pictured in the story of Daniel. We want to…

Gospel convictions aren't the same as gospel posture

In Center Church Tim Keller discerns a difference between theological foundations, philosophy of ministry and practice. Three important things that aren't the same thing. There is a journey to make so that these things sync up.

An organisation, ministry, church or individual isn't faithful merely by holding to the right theological foundations. They have to be worked out in practice.

As much as I can discern this was one of the key critiques made by the first generation of Newfrontiers leaders forty years ago. They were Baptists who saw the theological foundations of their churches having no impact. Dusty irrelevant documents. I think they slightly mistepped by then not wanting to write stuff down... though by the strength of their own unwritten convictions and relationships By the grace of God I think they built a good house in which I enjoy living.

What was needed was to take those gospel convictions and lead them through to the right gospel implications leading to the righ…

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games was published in 2008 with a film released in 2012 featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson and others.

A gripping story
Tim Keller's observation is true: "As hope based creatures we respond to the beauty of narrative." My work keeps me immersed in the true myth and I don't make time to read as much fiction as I should. But, life is better with it. I watched The Invention of Lying last week. It floats the idea of a world without lies in which (unnecessarily) there are no actors, no fiction...   horribly lifeless and subhuman.
I read The Hunger Games in two sittings while on holiday. I was gripped. I'd seen the film earlier this year. I knew where it was going, but story has the power to catch us up and carry us along, drawing us into another world with characters who tug on our emotions. Suzanne Collins has written a book that is hard to put down.

The character's self-consciousness of their media, the effect of imagin…

The Story of the Son

Luke has a clear voice as he writes to Most Excellent Theophilus. Phil Moore argues that Luke-Acts is the defence papers for Paul's trial in Rome, arguing that Paul (and the message he preaches) should be accepted not opposed. To prove the case he tells the story of the Son, for Judge Theophilus and for us. Luke writes that:
Only the Son knows the Father (10:22).But the Son can make the Father known (10:22).And those who hear him are taught to pray 'Our Father' (11:2)Which is the prayer he prays with joy. (10:21)In the garden in anguish, "Father, if you are willing..." (22:42)And in death... "Father forgive them..." (23:34)And "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit..." (23:46)For his Father introduces him as he is numbered with transgressors.In baptism, "My beloved Son." (3:22)And transfigured "My beloved Son (9:35)And genealogy agrees (3:38)Though the devil raises doubts (4:3,9)And the locals doubt him, "Joseph's s…

Interview: Clive Parnell (Amazing Love)

Clive Parnell is a former colleague of mine on UCCF's team for nine years. He has just recorded a new album. The album is available by download from Monday 12th August. You hear the first two tracks for free. Having listened to a free copy I really appreciate this album lyrically and musically - both in the original tracks and his versions of 10,000 Reasons and Our God.

DB: Who is Clive Parnell, what's your journey, what's your story?
CP: Good question - you would probably be better asking my wife or kids if you want the real answer. I started life in Kent but moved to Scotland in my teens and became a Christian living in the highlands at 18 after a couple of pretty or ugly rebellious years. Before coming to faith I had a lot of energy and creativity but did not have a lot of focus.

When I became a Christian I began to learn the guitar and write my own songs. I then went to study theology and worked in a church before setting up a Trust using music to reach people with the…

“But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth?"

It's common today to think that either there isn't a God, if there is then that God wouldn't want to be in relationship with us and certainly not be involved in anything dirty and physical...  and hence Richard Dawkins ridicules the idea of a god interested in what we do with our genitals.


This kind of God whose story the Bible tells. A God who is irrevocably interested in living with people on this earth.

It's the thread running through the opening chapters of the Bible, chapters that are often considered controversial because they clash with scientific inquiry (I'm not sure they do particularly), tell a story of the God who forms and fills a Temple for himself - the land/earth... in which he wants to live with his people. The story builds as he spreads goodness around and creates a life filled place, puts man to work in a temple-garden at the centre of it. Then in Genesis 3v8 God himself, the Word of the LORD, comes walking on earth.


Saying less, saying it better.

Don Carson says that we must be self-theologising, doing our own theological work in our contexts. John Owen, he says, didn't republish Augustine (though I'm sure he read him), he did his own work for his own day, standing on the shoulders of giants but not just repeating their words.

Lewis hits it:
 “Our business is to present that which is timeless (that which is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow) in the particular language of our own age. . . . We must learn the language of our audience. And let me say at the outset that it is no use at all laying down a priori what the “plain man” does or does not understand. You have to find out by experience. . . You must translate every bit of your Theology into the vernacular. This is very troublesome and it means you can say very little in half an hour, but it is essential. It is also the greatest service to your own thought. I have come to the conviction that if you cannot translate your thoughts into uneducated language, th…