Monday, December 11, 2006

Aggresive Secularism

Further to my previous post on how secularism is the real enemy of the Christian message, it was good to read Gordon Brown and John Sentamu's further contributions to the debate. This is how it was reported by Bible Society's Newswatch:

Gordon Brown has condemned some of the playgroups started as a result of his Sure Start programme for replacing Christmas with 'winter celebrations'. Speaking to a mixed faith audience in Wembley, he said 'children of all faiths in Britain will be looking forward to Christmas in a few weeks' time'. His comments came days after a survey found that 74 per cent of employers had banned Christmas decorations for fear of causing offence to other faiths. Meanwhile, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, stepped up his attacks on 'aggressive secularists' for 'throwing out the crib at Christmas'. 'Aggressive secularists' were unfairly using the sensitivities of other faiths to advance their own narrow, anti-religious agenda, he claimed.
Sources: Daily Mail (8/12); Daily Telegraph (8/12)

On Radio 4s 'Any Questions' on Saturday last, the panel were united on identifying an 'aggressive secularism' and in opposing it. The audience responded with enthusiastic applause. Ken Clarke pinpointed its source: public sector, politically-correct beaurocrats. Does this mean that these beaurocrats are all aggresive secularists? It puzzles me how a panel and audience can so wholeheartedly reject this militant anti-Christian agenda, and all the while it is being actioned by democratically elected Councils.

Friday, December 08, 2006

VdT evolving

VdT is evolving. My fellow bloggers and I are moving over to a new team blog at 100prophets and VdT will be my sole enterprise. Is it narcissism? I hope not! It's my interactive record of how my preconceptions are challenged as a 30-something theology student. I hope it helps me to reflect on God's word and the world and I hope that it will offer a forum for me to connect with, and learn from, other theo-bloggers, including my colleagues at 100prophets. It may prove to be an interesting record of my own Progress through Theology.

Monday, December 04, 2006

12 theses for biblical study

Check out Mike Bird's blog for something useful from Ben Witherington. It's 12 theses for biblical study, which are well worth a read and a few moments thought (more if you can spare them)....

Number One Theologian of the Week

Number One Theologian of the Week this week goes to Patrik Hagman, if only for the fact that he describes himself thus:

I am a Finnish theologian working on my Ph.D on a mystic named Isaac of Nineveh. I live in a house with my wife. There is a big garden around the house. I used to be a kind of religous fanatic, now I am a Radiohead fanatic, which is a great improvement (I'm still religous though).

See it for real at

The centre of NT Theology

I've just submitted my essay on What is the Centre of NT Theology? for my NT Introduction module. I slated mono-centric proposals, arguing that the narrative nature of salvation-history demands a multi-centric approach (a molecular rather than a nuclear model). I proposed a narrative approach to NT Theology as the way forward (not quite an original idea) and also had the temerity to propose that the overarching paradigm for New Testament Theology was likely to be the Kingdom of God. If you are bored, you might want to comment on this (but you might have better things to do...).

Federal vision and NPP

'I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll, this time...' Radiohead. But, I am on a roll with this blog today. If you're interested in the Federal Vision or the (so-called) New Perspective on Paul (preferably both) then you must/could/might check out the article Within The Bounds of Orthodoxy? An Examination of Both the Federal Vision and the New Perspective on Paul by Joseph Minich, on the link below. Why? Because John Frame said this about it:

I have read the article, and my judgment is that it is a wonderful piece. It is by far the best thing I've ever read on the Federal Vision and/or New Perspective. I hope this essay gets the widest possible distribution. People concerned with these issues, whatever their persuasion, need to meditate deeply about it. And it provides a model of careful, thorough, thoughtful theological criticism. Mr. Minich . . . has a great future as a Reformed theologian.

Link follows:

Thielman on righteousness

In Frank Thielman's New Testament Theology (which I like a lot) he says this about the righteousness of God (in a section entitled The Criterion for Acquittal in God's Court):
It is not merely the verdict of innocence that God pronounces over the one who has faith in Christ, but it is also a saving power by which God rescues those who have faith in Christ.


God's righteousness is a power that radically changes believers - it both saves them and demands their obedience (p462).

Stick that in your theological pipe and smoke it. It's good tobacco.


The Tabernacle. We're perhaps used to the complicated descriptions of the role of each of the pieces of funiture in the Tabernacle, but for me I've never been satisfied by an overarching metaphor that captures its purpose. Until now. I'm only starting on the road but Hector Morrison (my OT lecturer) believes that this metaphor is the Garden of Eden. This ties in with a view of the Garden of Eden as a sanctuary - and Waltke (good ol' Bruce) sees the Garden as a place in the earth set aside for communion with God in the context of work and life outside of the garden (if I understand him correctly). For me, this is all very exciting! To you, it may be boring....!