Thursday, 27 January 2011

Teaching - a bad word?

Mike Reeves 'table talks' with Carl Trueman in the latest podcast from, on doctrine. Bad word? A few choice crumbs from the table:
Doctrine is an articulation of God's claim on us.
Doctrine should drive us to our knees - it leads to doxology (praise of God).
God's love is creative and prior - it has the first word. (Gen 1 & 2 Cor 4)
The gospel is a proclamation that Christ has died and risen: it does have practical implications, but it's not a technique. So read books which tell you about God and what he has done - not primarily about you and how your life can be better.
Mike and Carl also take time to consider that common contemporary assertion: doctrine divides (so let's not consider it) - and perhaps you've met people into doctrine who're all arrogant about it - they talk about that too, and the dangers involved.

Now take half an hour to listen over a cuppa / the ironing / making dinner.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Your call is important to us

Deep reflections on online bookings websites (ok, this one), bookings lines (10 minutes of 'Your call is important to us.' followed by, 'We can't do bookings online because the web traffic is too high'), and on the difficulties of trying to book accommodation for disabled people, in competition with everyone else:
Vapour! All is vapour, grasping for the wind!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Escapable meaning

If Screwtape had been considering things in a multi-cultural situation, perhaps he would have given this tip: 
So, you have failed. You tell me that your man insists on hearing the Enemy's book read and taught each week - and now, despite your 'best efforts', has a copy to read daily! But there is still hope. You must keep him content to read it, and hear it - keep him from considering believing it and changing. And this is your main hope for this:
If I'm not mistaken, his copy of the Enemy's book, and the teaching he hears, is in his country's national language. This is not the language in which he berates his wife (competently done, by the way). It's not the language in which his wife complains. It is not the language his friends use to joke as they drink after a hard day's work. It's not the language he heard his father use when he learned trade from him. So there is still hope: we will avoid having the Enemy's word take root in his heart and transform his life, because he won't hear it. By all means, don't let them get the idea of translating it - let them be content that they have it, and hear it, in their national language.

Alternatively, read what God's doing through his Word, translated: one story here. '...when he heard it in his own language, the meaning was inescapable.'

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Quote of the day: in his steps

From In Christ Alone, Sinclair Ferguson:
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. [1 Peter 2.18-21
'The word "example" here (hupogrammos) is very evocative. It was used of the copper-plate handwriting of the teacher that was to be imitated by the pupil. Jesus has written out the vocabulary of Christian living for us; we are to copy it on the pages of the autobiography we are writing. Some words are not easy to learn - especially these ones: p-e-r-s-e-c-u-t-i-o-n and s-u-f-f-e-r-i-n-g. But they are key words if the name of Jesus is to be legible in our lives. ...

'Jesus was crucified by this world. To become a Christian by definition means to follow a cross-bearing Saviour and Lord. It means to be identified with him in such a way that opposition to him will inevitably touch us.'