On Sunday, I preached my first sermon in my new role as Assistant Minister at St Augustine’s Neutral Bay.
Identity and reality in the modern Australian and ancient Jewish diasporas
Our family has been away from Australia for almost 3 years now. One of the funny things we’ve noticed about ourselves is how much our Australian identity is wrapped up in symbols and dreams that have little to do with reality. For example, this 1-minute ad for Tourism Australia–based on Les Murray’s poem, “The Dream […]
Scripture and the Authority of God – again
I notice Tom Wright has re-released his book, Scripture and the Authority of God (first published in 2005). I guess that gives me an excuse to re-post my review of the book [PDF], originally published in The Briefing 330, March 2006. HT Scot McKnight.
What’s the point of having your own blog if you can’t occasionally share a good old rant? I’ve noticed recently that educated people speaking extemporaneously in public often randomly pepper their discourse with the term, “innasense”. I have had two theories as to how this term came about. The first theory was that these people […]
God, the universe and all that: Part 3
From the Sola Panel: This is the third instalment of a five-part series (read parts 1 and 2.) We’ve been looking at Psalm 8 and have discovered that stargazing should make us wonder why God the creator should have anything to do with us. At this point, if you were sceptical about the existence of […]
God, the universe and all that: Part 2
From the Sola Panel In the second instalment of a five-part series, I contemplate the extent of our significance in the universe. (Read Part 1.) We’ve been looking at Psalm 8, and we’ve discovered that stargazing helps us to see how insignificant we really are. Just think about the size of space for a moment. […]
The Bible doesn’t say
A few weeks ago, Bobby died. It happened quite quickly. On Thursday, he was sitting merrily on his perch. On Friday, he was shivering and looking pretty unimpressed with life. On Saturday morning, he was standing on the floor of the cage with his eyes half open, rocking back and forth. At lunchtime, when the kids and I took him to the vet, he had decided it would be best to have a little lie down. The vet was kind but decisive. We took Bobby home in a very small plastic bag. There were tears. My wife’s former history teacher (that’s a whole other story) dug a hole in the backyard, and another friend of ours found a little mournful-looking stone dog to act as headstone. Family, friends and the former history teacher prayed together that God would comfort us in our loss. Then came the inevitable question from the 6-year-old: “Is Bobby in heaven now?” Hmm. I know that there will be a new, physical creation (Isa 65:17), and it seems like the new creation will contain, at the very least, contented wolves, baby sheep, lions, cattle and humiliated snakes (Isa 65:25). But will there be a spiritual continuity of identity between the Bobby we knew and a particular budgie in the hereafter? There didn’t seem to be enough biblical data to form a meaningful answer. So I answered as I only could: “The Bible doesn’t say”.
Life is full of decisions. Where do I go on holidays? What job should I choose? What should I have for dinner? Which side of the bed should I get out of? Should I get out of bed at all? Making decisions is a fundamental part of being human; we can’t avoid it, and we […]
Is the wisdom literature of the Old Testament an exercise in natural theology?
Introduction Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes have posed a puzzle for interpreters eager to account for their place in the canon. What, if any, connection there is between the Old Testament Law and Prophets, whose topic is the Israel’s history, and this ‘wisdom literature’, which, at best, seems only to allude to Israel’s history? One popular […]
The Bible alone: what does that mean in practice?
This is an imaginary dialogue between a Roman Catholic and an Evangelical written to help Christians better understand the Reformation principle of “Scripture Alone”. “Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word.” (Ps 119:169) (Nigel’s words are from an anonymous pamphlet written and distributed by a Roman Catholic […]