Monday, December 29, 2014

Erik Satie, as performed by Ian Munro and friends

I love Erik Satie's beautifully handwritten manuscript for his Sports et Divertissements.

And I was fascinated to be given the link to this wonderful page about Ian Munro's ensemble version of the work.

You can listen to the performances as you read.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thinking about God as Trinity

Dan Phillips has posted Warfield's statement on The Trinity in the New Testament and my Facebook friend, Anna Brotherson has posted her article When theology says more than it ought: A critique of the concept of the trinity.

I'm hoping to chew over these in the coming days, and am posting the links here, so I can find them again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Paleo Diet

Is there anything trendier than the Paleo Diet? Is there anything less recommended by dietitians?

People who seem to be reputable scientists and qualified doctors or nutritionists don't seem to think much of it.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki doesn't think much of it.

Scientific American calls it "half-baked"

The current Wikipedia article calls it a "fad diet."

A Sydney Morning Herald article says there is no scientific evidence to support eating the Paleo way.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Helping Jehovah's Witnesses to find the truth

Helping Jehovah's Witnesses find freedom in Jesus.
This web page has plenty of reliable information, which I hope will be useful to me - and maybe to you, too.

Foods and drinks to avoid, according to The Reader's Digest

Foods you should never buy is an interesting Reader's Digest article.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Can we be sure that Jesus existed?

This article in Wikipedia on the historicity of Jesus is a reliable guide to mainstream scholarly opinion of ancient historians.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Why is there an obesity epidemic?

This article seems sensible. It is quite persuasive, I think.

According to the article, we are getting fat because:

1. We are eating more junk food
2. Our sugar consumption has skyrocketed
3. We gain a lot of weight during the holidays, which we never get rid of 
4. We started getting fat when low fat diets [which were high in sugar] were introduced
5. Food is cheaper than ever before
6. We are drinking more sugary soda and fruit juices
7. Increased food variety contributes to overeating and weight gain
8. We don't burn as many calories when working 
9. We are eating more vegetable oils: mostly from processed foods.
10. When we eat in a group, it dramatically increases the number of calories consumed
11. We are sleeping less
12. Our calorie consumption has increased dramatically 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Three Paradoxes of Atheism

Neil Shenvi's Three Paradoxes of Atheism is worth chewing over.
The whole article is worth reading. This is his conclusion:
In conclusion, I want to summarize the paradoxes I believe are inherent to the atheism.
  1. Truth-seeking. If a truth-loving God doesn't exist, then truth-seeking is neither intrinsically good nor morally obligatory. Therefore, paradoxically, the Christian has grounds to urge all people to seek the truth and to claim it is their moral obligation to seek the truth whereas the atheist has no grounds to urge others to seek the truth or to claim it is their moral obligation to do so.
  2. Moral reflection. Suffering and evil in the world is so prolific and horrendous that we instinctively avoid thinking about it to preserve our happiness. If Christianity is true, then all suffering and evil will one day be destroyed and healed. If atheism is true, suffering and evil are pointless and will never be rectified. So, paradoxically, a Christian gains the emotional resources to reflect honestly on suffering by reflecting on reality (as he perceives it) while an atheist gains the emotional resources to reflect honestly on suffering only by ignoring reality (as he perceives it).
  3. Moral motivation. If Christianity is true, then all of our moral choices have tremendous, eternal significance. If atheism is true, then none of our moral choices have any eternal significance. So, paradoxically, the Christian gains the motivation to act morally by reflecting on reality (as he perceives it) while the atheist gains the motivation to act morally only by ignoring reality (as he perceives it).
None of these observations imply that atheism is necessarily false or that Christianity is true. But I hope that they do cause atheists some serious reflection. At least in these three areas, there is a conflict between the general perception that atheists live a life of realism, facing the truth about reality squarely, and the philosophical and psychological reality of atheism itself. In contrast, Christianity not only provides a basis for the idea that truth is of intrinsic value, but provides resources to enable the Christian to conform his beliefs and behavior to the truth. I would like to gently suggest that those who value truth-seeking and realism should consider whether atheism can justify or support either of these ideals.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Old Earth Creationism?

There is a wealth of interesting information on this page about biblical scholars who are open to the possibility of the universe being very old..

Friday, November 21, 2014

Has the author of Hebrews been found?

In this blog post, Aimee Byrd tells us that she finds David Allen's arguments for Luke being the author of Hebrews to be quite persuasive.

So do I. We don't know for sure, but I think there is a lot going for this suggestion. It is much more likely that it is Luke, than any other New Testament writer.

It is well worth chewing over Allen's book, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews

David Alan Black's The Authorship of Hebrews: the case for Paul is also interesting, but not nearly as convincing.

Hebrews has more in common with Luke and Acts than it does with Paul's letters, I think.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fundamentalism is not the real problem

It's not how strongly you believe, but what you believe, argues Clint Roberts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

IS and Israel in Joshua's time: similar or different?

Andrew Shead, of Moore Theological College, Sydney shares some thoughts on how today's Islamic State's actions might relate to Israel's in the time of Joshua, in the Old Testament.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

NIVAC commentaries ebook sale

NIVAC ebooks sale gives you all of the NIV Application Commentaries available at about $5 each, and at last, properly hyperlinked with a decent Table of Contents.

Ebooks with a decent table of contents are not much good! Especially the ones you wouldn't normally read from cover to cover, or need to refer to particular sections thereof.

Can't promise the sale will continue, but the current price is reasonable.

Friday, November 07, 2014

The problem of evil revisited

Dan Phillips has an interesting article on the famous syllogism about God and evil.

You know the one:

  1. If God is all-powerful, He can prevent evil.
  2. If God is good, He would want to prevent evil.
  3. Evil exists.
  4. Therefore, there is no God. (Or: God is either not all-powerful, or He is not good.)
Dan says:

But it's a loaded syllogism — well, both loaded and unloaded, if you follow my meaning. It snips a couple of Biblical truths, but holds them in isolation from everything else the Bible teaches.

A more honest version would be:
  1. If God can do anything He wishes, He could prevent evil if He wished.
  2. If God is good... I can't think of a reason why he would not prevent evil.
  3. Evil exists.
  4. Therefore... um, I don't know why God might choose to permit evil.
That's a lot more truthful, and it leaves the problem where it belongs: not on God, but on the arguer. Here's another:
  1. If God can do anything He wishes, He could prevent evil.
  2. If God is good, He would want to prevent evil.
  3. But I don't believe in God anyway, so I can't have an opinion on what "evil" is or whether it exists.
  4. Therefore, what's for dinner?
Or this:
  1. If God can do anything He wishes, He could prevent evil if He wished.
  2. If God is good, He would want to prevent evil.
  3. I have the vague feeling that the Bible says more about God than that He's almighty and good, but I just really haven't cared enough to study it out for myself.
  4. Therefore... well, nothing about the God of the Bible. But the God I made up might have issues.
Here's the best of the lot:
  1. If God can do anything He wishes, He could prevent evil if He wished.
  2. If God is good, He will not allow evil to go unpunished or reign forever.
  3. Evil exists, will be punished, and it both has been and will be dealt with permanently.
  4. Therefore, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, or be part of that evil that will be judged and dealt with.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Cripplegate Post for Reformation Day

How Christians will know when they can join hands with Rome is a hard-hitting but honest article written to be published today, Reformation Day, 31st October, to remind us that there was a point to the Reformation and there are still huge differences between the Roman Catholic Church and those who want to be faithful to the Bible's teaching.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cherished memory smashed

One of my treasured memories is of the teenage boys next door coming into our little flat in Charlestown in 1974, and playing us a fun arrangement for piano duet, clarinet and euphonium of Danny Boy, in honour of our newly-born, very first child Daniel. It had been written for them by the well-loved Newcastle parish priest and musician, Father Peter Brock.
So you can imagine the shock we felt when we heard that Peter Brock's name had come up in the course of the investigation into Newcastle priests abusing children. Surely this was a mistake? How could such a prominent conductor, composer and Newcastle identity, loved by so many, be included?
A couple of years down the track, we heard he had been exonerated, and were greatly relieved. Then a little later we  attended a performance of Bach's St John's Passion by Newcastle University Choir, which he conducted, and we had almost forgotten that his name had come up in this unsavoury saga.
It was the last concert we attended with Joan's mother, and was professionally and beautifully performed.
But today I read the disturbing news that one of those boys living next door to our first home was the person who contacted the police and blew the whistle that resulted in Strikeforce Georgiana and the royal commission. He came forward and spoke publicly yesterday, following the death of Peter Brock last week.
We are so bewildered to read that a trusted family friend and priest would make our neighbours endure sexual abuse as children, resulting in severe breakdowns as adults and the need for ongoing treatment and support for the rest of their lives.
It seems so unjust that this priest was able to escape punishment for his actions, and could be given an Order of Australia and other honours, without anyone knowing what he did, while his victims endured years and years of suffering.
And our beloved Danny Boy memory is now a pain in The Derry Air.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Comparing attitudes to sexual immorality with religious belief

Hoping to be able to find this information again if I need it.

This table shows the correlation between attitudes to various sexual behaviours and Christian belief:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Christian Nobel Prize Winners

There is currently a page in Wikipedia which gives a list of Christian Nobel prize winners. I'm wondering if this page will be easily accessible in the future. I would hope so. But, just in case it isn't:

The Nobel Prize is an annual, international prize first awarded in 1901 for achievements in Physics,ChemistryPhysiology or MedicineLiterature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been awarded since 1969.[5] Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 850 individuals.[6]
According to 100 Years of Nobel Prize (2005) a review of Nobel prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference (423 prize).[7] Overall, Christians have won a total of 78.3% of all the Nobel Prizes inPeace,[8] 72.5% in Chemistry, 65.3% in Physics,[8] 62% in Medicine,[8] 54% in Economics[8] and 49.5% of all Literature awards.[8]
The three primary divisions of Christianity are CatholicismEastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. between 1901 and 2000 reveals that 654 Laureates 32% have identified Protestant in its various forms (210 prize),[9]20.3% were Christians (no information about their denominations) (133 prize),[9] (11.6%) have identified as Catholic[9] and (1.6%) have identified as Eastern Orthodox.[9]
According to study that was done by University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 1998 found that 60% of Nobel prize laureates in physics from 1901 to 1990 had a Christian background.[10]
Alfred Nobel who established the prizes in 1895, through baptism and confirmation Alfred Nobel was Lutheran and he frequented regularly the Church of Sweden Abroad.[11][12]
Christians make up over 33.2% of the worlds population [13][14][15][16] and have earned 65.4% of Nobel prizes.[7]

I often hear people say that all Christians are dim-witted. I think this proves that assertion to be false.
There is also another list doing the rounds of the declared faith of the people who are said to be the most brilliant, in terms of IQ. Again, a significant proportion are at least theists, which at the minimum shows that some brilliant people believe in God, and do not see this as contradictory to being thinking people.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

One explanation

This article gives one explanation of why there is conflict in the Middle East.
Dennis Prager explains simply Israel's point of view.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Crabbit Old Woman again

You will find a few different versions of this poem on the internet, and lots of stories about where it came from. I think the current Wikipedia article is pretty persuasive, which says that it was written  in 1966 by Phyllis McCormack. It is a brilliant poem and deserves to keep reappearing, but it is nice to have the correct information about its origin.

Crabbit Old Woman
What do you see, what do you see?
Are you thinking, when you look at me-
crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice,
I do wish you’d try.
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is loosing a stocking or shoe.
Who, unresisting or not; lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding the long day is fill.
Is that what you’re thinking,
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes,
nurse, you’re looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still!
As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I‘m a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who loved one another-
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet,
A bride soon at 20- my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At 25 now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure happy home;
A woman of 30, my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last;
At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
At 50 once more babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known;
I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel-
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart,
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells,
I remember the joy, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few- gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last-
So open your eyes, nurse, open and see,
Not a crabbit old woman, look closer-
See Me.
By Phyllis McCormack

A Nurse’s reply ” To the ‘Crabbit Old Woman”

What do we see, you ask, what do we see?
Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee!
We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss,
But there’s many of you, and too few of us.
We would like far more time to sit by you and talk,
To bath you and feed you and help you to walk.
To hear of your lives and the things you have done;
Your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.
But time is against us,
there’s too much to do -Patients too many, and nurses too few.
We grieve when we see you so sad and alone
With nobody near you, no friends of your own.
We feel all your pain,
and know of your fear That nobody cares now your end is so near
But nurses are people with feelings as well,
And when we’re together you’ll often hear tell Of the dearest old Gran in the very end bed,
And the lovely old Dad, and the things that he said,
We speak with compassion and love,
and feel sad When we think of your lives and the joy that you’ve had,
When the time has arrived for you to depart,
You leave us behind with an ache in our heart.
When you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care,
There are other old people, and we must be there.
So please understand if we hurry and fuss –
There are many of you, And so few of us.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Walking and memorising

In May, 2013 Joan and i became the proud owners of Baxter, born 10th November 2010, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Louie, born 6th July, 2012, a miniature poodle cross, perhaps a shoodle.

It wasn't long before we realised that walking them individually would be much more peaceful than walking them together.

So, every day [nearly] Joan and I go for about a half an hour walk. Nearly every time, I walk with Louie. Occasionally, we swap, or I walk both dogs.

During the past year I have been attempting to memorise Scripture as I walk. I firstly had a crack at memorising Colossians 1 in the ESV translation, and also tried to learn Genesis 1 and John 1, both in the King James Version.

I have not got very far with this, but I have learnt or relearnt 15 psalms, in the venerable KJV. It has been much harder learning one I had not been familiar with, than revising ones I had learnt in Sunday School.

These are my first 15 psalms. If you look them up, you'll see they are some of  the shorter ones!
Book 1
1, 8
14, 15
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
117, 121
133, 134

There are still about 30 that have less than ten verses, which I hope to draw on, over the next year.

There's a lot of variety in the Psalms. You could study them for your whole life and not exhaust them.

The censored bit in the City of God

I've been reading Augustine's City of God this year. Today, when I read Book XIV:26, I noticed that Marcus Dods had left a passage in the Latin. (I remember this also being done in Calvin's Commentary on Genesis, in the comment on Genesis 30:37-43 [approximately]).

I managed to find a translation in Google Books, here. It is amazing how squeamish a translator can be!

Friday, June 20, 2014

More helpful stuff on sanctification

A summary of Derek Thomas' talk on sanctification at The Gospel Reformation Network lunch.

And a summary of that is this:

Sanctification is not passive and is absolutely necessary

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Another great article from Montgomery, Alabama

When I read this thoughtful, careful, encouraging article on understanding justification and sanctification and discovered it came from Montgomery, Alabama, I assumed it must have been the author of the stimulating article on creation and evolution.

But, it turns out that this city has at least two good writers and thinkers.

The first article was by Alan Cross, of Gateway Baptist Church, who blogs at Downshore Drift

The second was by Tom Hicks, pastor at Morningview Baptist Church.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Wee Flea

Have you come across David Robertson? I'm not referring to the new chief conductor of The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, but to a Scots Presbyterian gentleman who writes very wisely.

I appreciate his review of Engaging with Keller.

And I am greatly awed by his patience, persistence and faithfulness in his interactions with angry atheists, which has resulted in at least a few people coming to faith in Christ.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Who dares to query evolution?

This is a good statement of why someone can dare to query macro evolution.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

What do American Christian teenagers believe about Jesus?

This survey has some sobering information, but it is worth pondering.
Embracing contemporary values seems much more important than holding fast to the teaching of the Bible, it seems.

Friday, May 30, 2014

N T Wright: The Cross and the Kingdom

This article looks really good, but I haven't had time to read it yet.
I find Wright's comment to the effect that the creeds do not really tell the same story as the gospels interesting. He says he agrees with the creeds, but points out they omit Jesus life between his birth and death.

Sandy Grant on Biblical Authority

In the context of a discussion of Paul's words about women speaking and teaching in church, Sandy Grant, rector of Wollongong Anglican Church said this:

My other contribution is to wonder whether in the current vigour from some evangelicals to defend the possibility of women preaching in the mixed congregation (albeit under male eldership) – and hence you can see this comment is far, far broader than Mike – whether there ought to be equal or perhaps even greater vigour to be affirming the final authority of Scripture as God's Word in determining this matter.

This matters to me even more. It's why I changed my mind, reluctantly, to the conservative position. Because I was convinced that was what the Bible was teaching, and that even though I did not like it much, because of my upbringing, I ought to believe what Jesus believed: that the Scriptures (including those he 'commissioned', if I can refer to what comes in the NT that way) are the Word of God and cannot be broken. Therefore I ought to believe what they are saying.

I realise those who hold a position like Mike's also believe it because they think it is consistent with what the Bible says. And I respect that. (And that's when we do need to go to exegesis and comparing Scripture with Scripture and so on.)

But I'd like to see evangelicals - whether soft or harder on the complementarian position - pull up our friends who cheer our position (whatever it is) for reasons that make it clear that Scripture is not their final authority.

Let's urge them to grapple with this question: if you were convinced from the Bible that this [position X] is what it is teaching, would you change your mind and practice to be consistent with it, that is, with what God declares in his Word?

I like it. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thanks for Rod Decker

I've appreciated Rod Decker's scholarship and wisdom for many years. His New Testament Resources website has been a great treasury of helpful material by him and others.

It is sad to read of his debilitating illness and death, but there is joy in knowing he is with Christ. Forever.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jerry Shepherd on Evangelical attitudes to heresy

Thoughtful comments on a widely publicised misleading article about heresy.
Well worth reading and re-reading.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mark Jones on the Atonement

I'm glad Tony Reinke posted an interview with Mark Jones on Christ's atonement according to the Reformed  and the Remonstrants.

Mark Jones is a careful theologian. I've read his terrific Christian's Pocket Guide to Jesus Christ and one day want to read his book on Antinomianism.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Paul Helm on Packer's Fundamentalism and the Word of God

Paul Helm gave a speech at a celebration of 50 years since the publication of J I Packer's Fundamentalism and the Word of God.
If he keeps this page link I might be able to find his article again.

Monday, May 05, 2014

He really did say it!

There are so many false attributions. Many famous people never said the most quoted pithy statement attributed to them. [They were so busy, they left the quotable quotes to others.]

But Sze Zeng has tracked down the famous comment by Jacob Arminius about Calvin's commentaries. He really did say:
But after the reading of Scripture, which I vehemently inculcate more than anything else, which the entire academy can testify and of which my colleagues are conscious, I encourage the reading of the commentaries of Calvin, which I extol with the greatest praise.... For I say that he is incomparable in the interpretation of Scripture, and his comments are better than anything which the Fathers give us.

And here's a picture:
 Congratulations to Sze Zeng for his detective work!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wonderful story of two holocaust survivors

A terrific Two of Us story from today's Sydney Morning Herald.
This is my effort to be able to find this story again.
This is always one of the best parts of the SMH, and certainly is today.
It is the story of Hanka and Siegmund who are 88 and 89, and met as teenagers in a Nazi slave labour camp.
They have been married for 69 years.
That's all I'm saying. Read it, please!

Broughton Knox on Creation versus Evolution

Interesting quote from Dr Broughton Knox's The Everlasting God, pp 30-31
The doctrine of God the Creator is vivid throughout the pages of Scripture. The gods of the nations are not creator gods and, as the interesting little Aramaic insertion in Jeremiah puts it, the gods that did not create the world will perish, as indeed they have. In our own times idolatry, which was a universal substitute for the Creator God, has been replaced by the widely held theory of evolution. Both are substitutes for the concept of the Creator God. Just as the ancients and the heathen today deified and worshipped the creature as the creator, modelling images of man or birds or animals or reptiles and worshipping these, so for western secular man the modern theory of evolution deifies nature, and acknowledges it as creator of all we see around us. All the beauty and intricacy and all the marvellous arrangements of the natural world are supposed to have been evolved by a thoughtless, purposeless, mechanical operation of nature, and in this way the God who made the world is as effectively shut out of the minds of those who are enjoying the blessings of His creation as He was by the false religions of idolatry. Just as the idolators could not see the foolishness, indeed the stupidity, of worshipping gods of wood and stone, which have no life nor purpose nor mind, so modern believers in the theory of evolution cannot see the foolishness of that theory, which not only lacks evidence to support it, but also runs counter to such evidence of origins as is available. Nevertheless, this false worldview is being indoctrinated into children in the schools with the aid of public money and placarded in natural history museums as though it were the only explanation of the world around us, while those who criticize and expose the theory receive the same intense religious hostility as did those who denounced idolatry in earlier days. The Bible says that if we refuse to have the Creator God in our mind, God gives us up to a reprobate mind.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This pair of links could make you go Ga-ga

The title Against Heterosexuality is designed to arrest you! I found this an interesting article.

Along similar lines is Nobody is born that way, gay historians say

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Madam, Where's Adam?

I enjoyed Richard Gaffin's contribution on the historicity of Adam on the Logos academic blog today. I don't know if it will be accessible in the future, but this might get me there, if so!

Inerrancy, Adam and the Gospel from Justin Taylor's Gospel Coalition blog is also promising.

Jared Oliphint gives a list of links on the topic which looks fairly comprehensive.

Keith Mathison's Top Commentaries list

There are some great recommendations in Keith Mathison's list  of top, mostly single volume Bible commentaries.

I like his comment on Leon Morris, born 100 years ago in Lithgow, New South Wales:
4. Leon Morris — The Epistle to the Romans(Pillar New Testament Commentary, 1988).
Students of Scripture should read anything they can find by Leon Morris, and his commentary on Romans is no exception. Morris is always careful and considered in his judgment. Highly recommended.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

I've just finished listening to Faith Comes By Hearing's [also known as] lightly dramatised King James Version audio Bible. It was very well done, with only a few irritations. The speakers read with meaning and very good pronunciation of Jacobean English and biblical names.

I'm now re-reading The Books of the Bible, which is an innovative and inviting Bible, designed to make it easy for you to read the whole thing. This version removes the chapters and verses [but does use space creatively to show logical sections].
It rearranges The First Testament to be closer to the Hebrew Bible format, re-ordering the Prophets chronologically, and dividing into large sections approximating the Hebrew Bible's Law, Prophets and Writings sections.
If the Bible seems like a book of great stories, interrupted by genealogies, this statement from the article introducing Genesis-Kings (The Covenant History) might make better sense of it:
A simple list of people or places provides a "skeleton" that an inspired author fleshes out by telling the stories of the various people or places on the list. This turns each list into a chronicle that traces the unfolding larger story of God.
The New Testament begins with Luke-Acts and Paul's letters, arranged chronologically [because of Luke's connection with Paul], then Mark and Peter's letters [because of Mark's connection with Peter], Matthew, Hebrews and James [the Jewish-flavoured New Testament writings], and ends with John's Gospel, letters and the Revelation.

If you would like to read the whole Bible, I can't think of a better one to use in your project.
But, if reading is a chore, listening to The Bible Experience, an African American presentation of the NIV, could be a good plan.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Four reasons Christianity is wrong

I like James Anderson's series of responses to common objections to Christianity. He is a smart cookie. His book What's your worldview? is well worth reading. I like the way he has used the Choose your own adventure format.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Singing from Jesus' Hymnbook

This is a great post about the benefits of singing the Psalms. The author, Joe Holland, is the pastor of Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church in Culpeper, Virginia

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fred Sanders on Calvin on Union with Christ

Fred Sanders writes some terrific stuff.
Here, he unpacks one paragraph in Calvin's Institutes.
I hope this note helps me to find his article again!

How Jesus Became God - or How God Became Jesus

Rob Bowman's review of Bart Ehrmann's latest book (and Mike Bird and colleagues' response) is well worth reading and whets my appetite to read the books themselves.

James Anderson on the importance of Adam as an historical individual

Did Adam exist? Or is he a myth? More and more folk today say that there never was an Adam and Eve, both those who don't believe the Bible is God's Word, but now, also folk who say they do.

I like what James Anderson has to say on most things, at least the bits I understand! 

In this article, James gives twelve reasons why "an evangelical view of the Bible commits one to the existence of Adam as a real historical individual."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Challenging topic handled skilfully

I think Tony Reinke answers a question about God hardening people's hearts very well.
This would have to be one of the most challenging topics in the Bible. I think Tony's answer is true to what the Bible actually says.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Getting into the Book of Psalms

There are lots of great resources to assist you in studying Psalms, but here are three of my favourites:
1.  Memorising some Psalms. Getting them into your head allows you to chew them over.
2. You really can't beat John Collins introduction and notes in the ESV Study Bible. They are tops. Looking up some psalms I've been memorising showed the value of this great resource again, today.
3. Geoffrey Grogan's Two Horizons Commentary on Psalms is also very useful and answers questions that  some other commentaries don't.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chantry versus Frame

I like what Fred Zaspel has to say in his Credo magazine blog article about Tom Chantry's harsh words about his former teacher, John Frame.
And then, Dan Phillips sent this link to an interchange between Chantry and Frame on Dan's Biblical Christianity blog, which clarified things more.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Marquis Laughlin: dramatic Bible presenter

Marquis Laughlin recites extracts from Genesis

This bloke is good!

Website making links from Melissa Freeman

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is David Attenborough an Atheist?

Sir David Attenborough does not believe that an understanding of evolution is incompatible with faith in God, he will tell Radio 4 listeners on Sunday.
Attenborough, who was invited back to Desert Island Discs to mark the 70th anniversary of the radio programme, explains that, while he is still agnostic, he does not rule out the possibility of the existence of a deity.
"I don't think an understanding and an acceptance of the 4 billion-year-long history of life is any way inconsistent with a belief in a supreme being," the 85-year-old broadcaster and writer will tell presenter Kirsty Young. "And I am not so confident as to say that I am an atheist."

Hard to understand?

“The Bible is very easy to understand. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” Kierkegaard

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Is atheism irrational?

Another attempt to bookmark an article, so I can find it later.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meditating and night

When I started walking with Louie, half-way through 2013,  I decided to recommence memorising Scripture. After some to-ing and fro-ing, I've settled into working through Psalms.

We learnt Psalm 1 and Psalm 23 in Sunday School, and so I first began revising those. Then I remembered that I had learnt musical versions of Psalms 150, 100, 121, and part of 46 in the 70s, in Scripture in Song versions, and so found it fairly easy to relearn them.

I think the King James Version has a lot going for it. It isn't perfect, but it certainly has power, and I'm enjoying learning these psalms in that venerable edition of God's Word.

So far I have learnt eleven psalms and am currently tackling my first lengthy one: Psalm 73. This is going to take some time!

For a sixty-one year old, learning an unfamiliar isn't easy, so I cheated and began with 117 - the shortest one! I've also tackled two other short psalms [70 and 82].

I hope to learn psalms from each of the five books, and intend to expand my repertoire proportionately, so that I learn a similar amount of each of the books, and gradually commit the same proportion of Psalm 119 to memory.

But I'm only going to be able to do this with God's help, as the opening verse of Psalm 127 reminds us:
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:
except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Engaging with your opponents

I was surprised to read that Wheaton College had students demonstrating at their own conservative college about a lecture by someone presenting conservative views. The world is so different now from the late 70s when I attended Kenmore Christian College.
But I think the first link shows how well Dr Butterfield engages with those who disagree with her.

Don't neglect the LXX

Some interesting reminders here:
It is the largest extant piece of Ptolemaic Greek.
• It is one of the major works of Egyptian Greek literature.
• It is one of the first works of Hellenistic Judaism, though mostly ignored in books on the subject.
• It is (possibly) the largest work of translation literature from antiquity, offering valuable insight for translation studies on both bilingual interference and translation technique.
• It is a work of sub-literary Greek that demonstrates the complexities of Greek register.
• It is a major lexical resource for lesser-known koine words. (not only illustrated by papyri, but illuminating for papyri).
• It testifies to a distinct Jewish-Greek (even Egyptian?) identity.
• It tells us much about educational levels in Egypt and among Jews.
(To understand its theology, we must place it in its context first).

Monday, February 03, 2014

Facts about boat people

Yet another link to help me find a good link again!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well spent journey is an interesting blog. But I wish the author would tell us who he [or she] is
The author debunks several hoary old myths in this article.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Do you believe in miracles?

I think this article makes a valid point and makes it well. The Poached Egg website has an article called The Four Miracles of Atheism in which the writer points out that even naturalism has its miracles:
1. Getting Something from Nothing
2. Getting Life from Non-Life
3. Getting Order from Chaos
4. Getting the  Immaterial from Physical matter


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Poetry of a Murderer

Richard Beck muses on whether we would be comfortable singing songs in church by a murderer and adulterer.

A thought-provoking article.