Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dr Michael F Bird leaves HTC

Dr Michael F Bird taught his last lecture class at HTC on the afternoon of last Friday, 4 December - the final session of the 1 Corinthians (Greek Text) module. Mike will be missed by all at HTC, and not just at the teaching level. His prolific output has raised the profile of the college no end, and his enthusiasm for the NT has been infectious. I said goodbye to Mike and his lovely family last Friday evening; I returned back to the Outer Hebrides and they will return to Australia over the Christmas holiday. It has been a privilege to study under Mike's leadership and guidance, to worship with him in chapel and hear his chapel addresses, and to know him as a friend, a brother and fellow disciple of Christ. I hope I can witness to what he has passed on to me, in the service of the Church and to the glory of God. I'm sure I join all others at HTC in wishing Mike and his family every blessing and safe travels as they return to the land of the vegemite sandwich.

I leave you with the Bird, speaking about authors that have influenced him...


Monday, December 07, 2009

The Enns Documents

The controversy that followed in the wake of Peter Enns' book, Inspiration and Incarnation resulted in Enns' departure from the faculty at Westminister Theological Seminary under 'mutually agreeable terms'. Much has been written about Enns' book in many fora, often generating more heat than light (see for example the article in the Spring 2009 WTJ that concludes that Enns book 'undermines the whole doctrine of redemption').

Ad fontes is usually the best approach, so I would urge you, if you haven't already done so, to read the Enns documents (click on view as pdf), originally released in April 2008 , published by WTS on their site. Read the HTFC critique. Read the HFC report. Take your time and do it properly. Then you will come much nearer to an informed conclusion on what's been going on at WTS.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Presbyterian in Wales, 1739

In a fascinating passage in The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales (Vol. 1), we read of the following interchange between a parish clergyman in Llanymawddwy and Lewis Rees (Dissenting minister of Llanbrynmair), the year being 1739:


'Where are you from?' asked the clergyman.

'I am from Llanbryn-mair, sir,' answered Lewis Rees, mildly.

'What brought you to Llanbryn-mair?

'The Dissenting congregation was without a minister. At their request I came to them, firstly on probation, and both sides being satisfied, I was appointed pastor over them.'

'How,' said his reverence, 'can you, being a Presbyterian, expect to be tolerated in this country? Go to Scotland. That is the Presbyterians' country.'

'I hope, sir,' said Mr Rees, 'that you act from a higher principle in religion than a regard to the custom of the country in which you happen to live; else, if you were to change your country you would change your religion: if you were to go to Scotland you would turn Presbyterian; if to Italy, a Roman Catholic.'

Thankfully, Dissenting Mr Rees was one of the spiritual forerunners of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, and the vicar was proved wrong!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Toilet Day

Each minute of the day, on average,
  • three children aged 5 or under die because of illness caused by dirty water or inadequate sanitation.

Tearfund is working to tackle this problem in the name of Jesus. And today is World Toilet Day.

(In a fascinating coincidence, today is also World Philosophy Day).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Surprised by Hope

Two quotes from Tom Wright's Surprised by Hope. And why not?

On 1 Peter 1: 4 (...to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you), Wright writes:

If I say to a friend 'I've kept some beer in the fridge for you', that doesn't mean that he has to get into the fridge in order to drink the beer, 164.

And this one on the resurrection life...

Why will we be given new bodies? According to the early Christians, the purpose of this new body will be to rule wisely over God's new world. Forget those images about lounging around playing harps. There will be work to do and we shall relish doing it, 173.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reflections on EDC 2009

Rutherford House has a brief report and some photographs from the 2009 Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference (on the Doctrine of the Church) on its website. Since I'm in one of the photos, I can prove I was there!

For me, this was another enjoyable EDC. Where else can you get speakers of real calibre from such diverse Reformed backgrounds as Henri Blocher, Bruce McCormack, Michael Horton and John Franke, all sharing a platform to speak and debate? That's why EDC is so important. It's dogmatic theology with listening, discussion and reflection. Sure, you don't agree with everything, but this kind of forum is priceless as a setting contributing to reflective theological process in the Reformed church.

Highlights for me were:
  • Prof Bruce McCormack's paper, Credo sanctam ecclesiam: the Holiness of the Church after Barth. The paper was in part a defense of Protestant ecclesiology against fashionable communion ecclesiologies, but for me it was the presentation of the holiness of the church in mission, a reflection of God's own holiness, that spoke to me. I found the paper moving and edifying. That's not always the case at EDC!
  • Prof Henri Blocher's paper on Sacraments. This paper surveyed movements in both Protestant and Roman Catholic views of the sacraments and Prof Blocher's argument was rooted in Calvin's view of the sacraments. Calvin is usually seen as closer to Luther than to Zwingli - Prof Blocher has his doubts! One useful part of the paper was on the paradox of the sign as a sign: it is self-effacing; it fulfils its role when it is not noticed.
  • Prof Michael Horton's paper on Apostolicity. Prof Horton is a good speaker and his paper was challenging: the problem of losing the reached while reaching the lost; the need to feed the sheep, not set them aside as self-feeders; the church for believers and unbelievers (Calvin: 'we are partly unbelievers until we die'); worship as the missionary event.
  • Prof John Franke's paper on Catholicity. Prof Franke worries some people! He worries me! But, I like his challenging approach and I really appreciated this paper. He viewed his journey to Scotland as the Presbyterian equivalent of a trip to Mecca! Good man! His presentation of the reality of the explosion of Christian communities that do not identify with orthodox Protestantism in any way was particularly striking. The tension between Unity and Pluriformity, or diversity were key themes. I continue to have concerns about how Prof Franke's view of things deals with unorthodoxy; lines should be drawn, but (where) would he draw them?

As usual, the Plenary Session with all speakers interacting between themselves and with the floor was also one of the highlights.

There's my twopenneth...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bird Flies South in Winter

Over at Euangelion, Dr Mike Bird has announced the sad news that he will be leaving the staff of HTC in the New Year. He has secured a post teaching Theology and Apologetics at the Bible College of Queensland - and I am pleased for Mike and his family that they can return to family and fair weather in the land down under. The time for eulogies will come later(!), but suffice to say that the NT padawans of HTC will dearly miss their jedi master!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paul in 1 Cor 4:3 and Stendahl

Here's a worthwhile (imho) quote from Thiselton's NIGTC volume on 1 Corinthians on 1 Cor 4:3: It counts for very little with me, however, that I should be judged by you or by any human court of judgement; indeed, I do not even judge myself.



This last phrase (v. 3b) has assumed particular importance for Krister Stendahl's interpretation of Paul, which also paved the way for E. P. Sanders's hermeneutic. Stendahl argued that "the Pauline awareness of sin has been interpreted in the light of Luther's struggle with his conscience."223 But it is "exactly at that point" that a drastic difference emerges between Luther and Paul. Paul, Stendahl argues, was aware of the problem of sin and guilt as an objective state of affairs, but not primarily as the subjective problem of "a troubled conscience." Indeed, he declares that he was "blameless as to righteousness — of the law, that is" (Phil 3:6). "Paul was equipped with what in our eyes must be called a rather 'robust' conscience."224 He is concerned with the objective status of being declared in a right relation with God, not with the problem of "forgiveness," about which he speaks seldom. As a Pharisee he perceives himself to have been obedient (Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6), and as a Christian to have received grace which was "not in vain" (1 Cor 15:10).225 Strikingly, Stendahl asserts, Paul declares "I have nothing on my conscience" (1 Cor 4:4).226 But Western tradition turns Paul into an introspective, guilt-ridden, individual-centered, experience-centered man, misinterpreting the "I" of Rom 7:13-23 as an individual ego in conflict with itself rather than as representative of an objective human condition in relation to divine law and divine grace.227 The upshot is that whereas Paul stressed justification, the Western tradition stresses forgiveness; where Paul stressed call, this tradition stresses conversion; where Paul ascribed a role to weakness, this historical legacy is obsessed with sin.228


The value of Stendahl's approach is both to correct an imbalance and to disengage an obsession with "experience," "relevance," "failure," or even "success" from Paul in exchange for Paul's emphasis on objective acts of God which bring objective consequences for humankind as a social whole. Whether Stendahl can be defended in his further critique of the Lutheran interpretation of "boasting" becomes more problematic, for he concedes that Paul boasts in his "weakness" as against the triumphalism and self-sufficiency of his -opponents.229 His work, however, serves to demonstrate the pivotal importance of 4:3b and 4:4 for Paul's theology. He leaves his successes and failures with God. What has been done is done, and God alone knows and can disclose the worth of it. It must simply be left with God while the servant of God goes on to the next task, at the same moment "judging nothing before the time" (4:5) and "knowing that your labor is not in vain (kevos, empty, null) in the Lord" (15:58).


223. K. Stendahl, "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West" (1961 and 1963); rpt. in Paul among Jews and Gentiles (London: SCM, 1977 and Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976), 78-96. Cf. E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (London: SCM, 1977), 434-47.
224. Ibid., 80-81.
225. Ibid., 89.
226. Ibid., 90-91.
227. Ibid., 86, 92-95; cf. 3-7, 23-40.
228. Ibid., 20-43, 81-82, 86-87.
229. Ibid., 40 and 88.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pradis Fades into the West

The best poor man's bible software around by a country mile has bitten the dust. Zondervan announced yesterday that they are discontinuing Pradis. Oh well, it was good whilst it lasted! Zondervan's Greek and Hebrew Grammar package and EBC under Pradis have (almost) seen me through college and their great advantage (especially for students) was that you could pick them up for not a lot.


Technical support will continue only until 1 June 2010 - after that, you're on your own! Some good news for Pradis users is that existing titles will be migrated to Logos by the end of the year, and the press release indicates that existing Pradis customers will be able to purchase the migrated titles at a discount. Whether it is a true poor man's discount remains to be seen!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Loss of God

'The decisive event which underlies the search for meaning and the despair of it in the 20th century is the loss of God in the 19th century' Paul Tillich

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Semester at HTC

We're already into the second week of the new semester at HTC. This is the start of my fourth year, the Honours level year on the course. Modules and tutors for this semester are as follows:
  • 1 Corinthians (Greek Text) 13 solid weeks of Greek exegesis in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians with Dr Mike Bird. Time spent in the company of Paul and Dr Bird is usually profitable! The key texts for this are Thiselton's NIGTC commentary and Dr Bird has recommended Hays' commentary in the Interpretation series - probably worth a look then!
  • Biblical Theology I The module I've been waiting for for three years! To be followed by Biblical Theology II next semester! A whole year of Biblical Theology!! The module tutor is Dr Jamie Grant and key texts are the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, and the works by Childs (eg Biblical Theology - a Proposal), Vos and Scobie (eg The Ways of Our God) amongst others. Of course, various OT and NT theologies will also come into it. Also ready on my shelf is Volume 5 of the Scripture and Hermeneutics series (edited by Bartholomew et al), entitled Biblical Theology and Biblical Interpretation.
  • Guided Reading in Hermeneutics Level 4 means fewer lectures and more self-study. As part of this, I am able to consult with tutors and concoct a bespoke module! Nice! So, I'll be studying and writing papers on historical approaches to hermeneutics, hermeneutics and literary theory, and hermeneutics and scriptural authority under the guiding hand of Dr Grant.
  • Dissertation 25% of my time over the whole year is to be set aside for the dissertation. Mine is concerned with Intertextuality, Function and Meaning in John 1:51.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Homeless in this world

I'm in Edinburgh at the moment for the 13th Dogmatics Conference. Breathing the rarified air of the systematicians can leave me with theological vertigo - but I found this evening's paper by Professor Bruce McCormack truly edifying. His paper closed with this quote from Karl Barth (who else!)...

Homeless in this world, not yet at home in the next, we human beings are wanderers between two worlds. But precisely as wanderers, we are also children of God in Christ. The mystery of our life is God's mystery. Moved by Him, we must sigh, be ashamed of ourselves, be shocked and die. Moved by Him, we may be joyful and courageous, hope and live. He is the origin. Therefore, we persist in the movement and cry out: 'Hallowed be Thy name! Thy Kingdom come! Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!"

Konfirmandenunterricht, 1909-1921, 372-3

Dr Mike Bird on Romans 7

Further to my reflections on Romans, I've noticed that Mike Bird (he of the crazed Zonderpunked videos), who teaches the Romans module has been updating the course notes and has published his own thoughts on Romans 7.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reflections on Romans

My reflections on Romans are now ended. I should point out that the last few posts on Romans are my own reflections, and may or may not reflect the content of the taught module.


For completeness, I can reveal that the Romans module on the HTC course (a Level 3 module) is taught by Dr Michael Bird and is split between exegesis of key passages (for which the main textbook is Moo's or Schreiner's commentary) and Wirkungsgeschichte (for which the textbook is Greenman and Larsen's Reading Romans through the Centuries). Needless to say, another excellent module. I should also note that I found Jimmy Dunn's two volumes on Romans in the Word series extremely helpful. If you want to own and use one commentary on Romans, I can't help you. My solution is to own and use two: Moo and Dunn. And to borrow others!

Romans 15:8-9

Our exegesis paper was from this chapter. Thielman writes that the pastoral goal of the entire letter reaches its climax in this chapter. Quite so! For those interested in Paul's argument here, and especially the phrase introducing the catena of OT quotations in the chapter, I offer the following…

The syntax of 15:8-9 has not been finally resolved; Cranfield lists no less than six suggested explanations. Keck clearly sets out the crux of the debate: either there are two parallel purposes to Christ's servant-hood (confirming the promises and Gentiles glorifying God), or there is a single purpose (confirming the promises is the means to the Gentiles glorifying God). Moo believes the first alternative best reflects Paul's theological argument here. However, Lambrecht sets out the key objection to this parallelism: the resulting change in subject between clauses is syntactically awkward. Moo attempts to explain the awkward construction by appealing to Käsemann's noting of the theological tension between the equality of Jew and Gentile, and the salvation-historical priority of the Jew. The NIV adopts the second alternative, and translates the conjunction as 'so that', therefore subordinating Christ's servant-hood to the circumcision to the purpose of leading the Gentiles to glorify God. Cranfield himself reads the conjunction as an adversative: 'but the Gentiles glorify God for [his] mercy'. This gives the sense that the Jews should glorify God, but actually only the Gentiles are doing so. Cranfield's solution avoids the awkward syntax of the first alternative, but does not do justice to indications of parallelism in the text. Dunn concurs with Cranfield's reading, but is more ambiguous as to the meaning: 'Paul's whole point is that Christ became servant of the circumcised not with a view to their salvation alone, but to confirm both phases of God's saving purpose: to the Jew first but also to the Gentile'. Wagner produces what we believe is the most satisfying solution, which is achieved by proposing Christ, not the Gentiles, as the subject of the second clause. Wagner's solution can be represented thus:

For I say that Christ has become
a servant to the circumcision
on behalf of the truth of God
in order to confirm the promises to the fathers
And [a servant] to the Gentiles
on behalf of the mercy [of God]
[in order] to glorify God

In filling the ellipses directly from the parallelism, a solution is obtained which is both syntactically and theologically balanced, where the progression of salvation history from Jew (here denoted by the circumcision) to Gentile is reflected in the differentiated roles of God's truth and mercy, and where equality is powerfully underlined in the servant-hood of Christ to both.

References to authors are usually to their major commentaries on Romans. Wagner's paper is 'The Christ, Servant of Jew and Gentile: A Fresh Approach to Romans 15:8-9', JBL 116.3 (1997).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Romans 11

In Romans 11 I think we find one of the most important pieces of imagery for understanding the relationship of the NT and OT people of God and of the Old and New Covenants. That image is that of the Olive Tree, employed by Paul to impress on the Gentile Christians their indebtedness to the Jews and therefore prayerful humility in their attitude to unbelieving Jews.

The important point is that Gentile Christians are considered as wild (uncultivated) olive braches that have been grafted (contrary to nature) into an already existing cultivated olive tree with a rich (pioths) root. Unbelieving Jews are considered to be broken off. The olive tree therefore represents the covenant people of God which has continued into the New Covenant Age from the Old, onto which Christians are grafted and become members. This idea of a renewed covenant with Israel, of which Gentile Christians then become beneficiaries through their in-grafting is reflected in the New Covenant passage in Jeremiah 31, and in the Pentecost narrative. This strong theme of continuity in Paul's thought must be recognised when interpreting Paul.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Romans 7

In Romans 5 Paul expands the basis for justification by faith (which he introduced in chapter 3) – the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. For Paul, we are 'justified in/by His blood' (5:9). Can't get clearer than that! Chapter 6 then emphasises that believers have been made new (we have died and risen to new life – spiritually). Christians must consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (6:11). That means a commitment to righteous living – hence Paul's imperatives (5:12,13,19).

In Chapter 7, Paul writes specifically to Jews (7:1). If you don't pick that up, then interpreting this next section is (more) problematic. Paul's great concern is to explain that the Law has served it's purpose (the argument here ties in very well with that in Galatians 3:15-29, esp 24-25). Obviously, as becomes clearer later in the letter (and is evidenced in other parts of the NT), Jewish Christians' attitude to the Law was a major stumbling block to church unity. So, Paul tackles this in the Roman church. If he can address it there, then he has addressed in in the congregations at the centre of the known world. The Law is holy and good (but Paul would still maintain that Christ has superseded the Law). It provided a framework for covenantal obedience, and highlighted sin, revealing to the attentive Jew the need for forgiveness and the importance of faith.

In this context, the problematic section in 7:14-25 then is not about the Christian life, but about the experience of a Jew. Paul could possibly be speaking autobiographically, but I prefer the view that he assumes the persona of a faithful Jew. He is obviously not describing a legalistic, or careless, Jew since the 'I' is joyfully concurring with the law of God in the inner man. That he is describing a Christian is unlikely, simply because he describes the general experience of not doing the good that he wishes, and doing the evil that he does not wish. I don't believe that's a description of the Christian life. It is likely that this is a description of life under the Law. Paul then makes the transitional argument at the beginning of Chapter 8 that there is 'therefore now' no condemnation. That's an eschatological 'now': now, in the New Age, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you/me free from the law of sin and death (the situation he described in 7:14-25). If this is true then Chapter 7 helps us to answer the theological question about the different experience of God's people under the Old and New Covenants, leading into the practical effect of the adoption as sons (8:15, cf8:23), which is an eschatological benefit of the New Covenant.

Interestingly, I think Lloyd-Jones recognised the problem of interpreting this as a description of a Christian and took the view that Paul here was describing the experience of someone becoming a Christian. I wouldn’t agree, but this view has more merit than others.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Romans 4

Paul continues his argument in this chapter that justification is by faith in God, not merely by obedience to the Law. This argument serves perhaps two causes for Paul:
  • Soteriological: to reinforce his point that only obedience to God which is the result of faith (inward circumcision in the language of Deuteronomy) is true obedience, because justification is by faith. Paul wants to emphasise that the promises given to Abraham, the foundation for the great hope of all believers are given to those who have faith and are realised in the New Covenant, not in the Sinaitic Covenant.
  • Ecclesiological: to emphasise to the Jewish believers in Rome that the Law was subservient to the true means of justification before God, which is faith. Therefore, Paul can disconnect both circumcision (4:10) and obedience to the Law from justification (4:13, see Galatians 3:17-18). Abraham did not have the Law (contrary to some Rabbinic teaching, which illustrates the problem Paul had!) and so justification cannot rely on the Law. Abraham was justified (his faith reckoned as righteousness) while uncircumcised, so justification cannot rely upon circumcision.

Participation in God's people through justification and becoming a beneficiary of the promises given to Abraham does not depend on circumcision, or on the Law, but on faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Romans 3

In this chapter, Paul hints at the problem of unbelieving Israel (which he takes up properly later) and also emphasises the universality of sin – for the Jew as well as the pagans he has described in chapter 1. This chapter also provides the other half of the problem of chapter 2. If the doers of the Law were justified (2:13), then how come no flesh (comprehensive enough!) will be justified by the works of the Law? It might be that Paul is arguing eschatologically: that the Law is superseded by Christ and so the works of the Law are not relevant. The problem with this is that the eschatological 'now' is in 3:21. So, 3:19-20 are dealing with the Law from within the context of those under the Law. Those who see a problem with a straightforward reading here are not seeing that the doers of the Law are justified (2:13), but not by the works of the Law (3:20). The two statements are entirely compatible and fit totally into Paul's argument. The doers of the Law still committed sin, and their sin could not be atoned for by any works of the Law - they could not be justified by the works of the Law. And yet, they were justified. How? By faith (which is what Paul underlines in Chapter 4), apart from the works of the Law (3:28).

On 3:27, Dunn writes:

Once the centrality of 'faith' in the preceding section is grasped, the movement of thought in v27 becomes clear, for in the resumed diatribe of vv27-31 it is precisely this point which is hammered home: faith as the proper understanding of the law, faith as the indispensible basis of 'doing the law'.

But, for Paul, debates about the Law itself are now academic, because a new eschatological age has dawned. Now, the righteousness of God is manifest without the Law, through faith in Jesus Christ (3:21-22) embracing all nations and peoples. Paul's argument is aimed at showing that it is faith that's essential.

Justification has always been by faith. In the New Age, both Jews' and Gentiles' faith must be in Jesus (Paul's Christology is clear here). In fact, those Jews justified under the Law (their 'doing' of the Law a result of their circumcision of heart, or faith) were also redeemed by Jesus Christ because God had merely passed over their former sins in his forbearance. But now, atonement has been made, and redemption accomplished in Christ.

Romans 3 adequately demonstrates the obstacles in interpreting Paul and the Law. The interpreter is ranging across eschatological and covenantal boundaries. At once dealing with Jewish legalism and obedience under the Old Covenant, and debates on the Law, then with the New Covenant in Jesus Christ, and justification through faith in him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Romans 2

This, according to Tom Wright, is the joker in the pack. Maybe. It's definitely a key spot at which to get your interpretation correct. The direction you take here will have big consequences. It's quite clear that in Romans 2 Paul is attacking a Jewish trust in covenant status, divorced from covenant obedience. To claim to be righteous with an attendant unrighteousness is absurd – and will lead to wrath. Therefore such people are in the same position as the unrighteous pagan. To be justified before God it is not enough merely to hear the Law, it must be obeyed (2:12). This is where some interpretations falter. To 'do' the Law is not to be morally perfect. The Law assumes the moral imperfection of the people of God – it provides for the confession of, and forgiveness of, sin within its rubric. We might best describe 'doing' the Law as covenantal obedience, living a life of obedient faith – a point that Paul goes on to stress.

Paul stresses that circumcision is of value to the one who practices the Law, but to the one who is a transgressor, it becomes uncircumcision (2:25). In the same way, the pagan who is obedient is justified, rather than the Jew who is a transgressor. 'Transgressor' here must be interpreted in as the antithesis of the 'doer' of the Law – it is the person who has no heart concern for obedience. Paul makes clear that this obedience is the sign of an inward change (2:29). Circumcision is of value, if it is followed by circumcision of the heart. The Law itself stresses this – circumcision of the heart, the Law in the heart, is the means to life (see Deut 10:16; 30:6, Cf. 6:4-6; 11:18).

As to who the Gentiles are who instinctively do the things of the Law (2:14,15), or the uncircumcised who keeps the Law (2:27), Paul could be referring to God-fearers (or theoretically to proselytes in the former case), but I think it likely that he here refers to Gentile Christians.

See also my former post on Romans 2.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Romans 1

During the last intersemester I blogged my usual reflections on the previous semester's modules at HTC, with one exception. I didn't blog any reflections on the Romans module, taught by Mike Bird. A crime? Probably close. Anyhow, I am now blogging some brief reflections/thoughts on that module over the next few days, in the form of a few thoughts on selected chapters, beginning with Romans 1.

Paul's critique in Romans 1 bears similarities to Jewish renunciations in Wisdom 11-15. Dodd characterises God's wrath (1:18) as the inevitable process of moral forces. Dr Bird's notes rightly reject this. But, I wonder whether perhaps we should add a 'merely'. It is a theme apparent in OT Wisdom that God's order is stamped in the fabric of the world. Therefore God's wrath is not merely eschatological, or a proactive discrete intervention, but also it is outworked in the fabric of the world, in the structure of his order, and in the effects of the disorder of chaos which works against God's order through the forces of darkness. The giving up (or handing over) of 1:24ff suggests God's grace in holding back the consequences of his wrath revealed in the natural order, but when this grace is removed sinful societies as well as people begin to debase and destroy themselves (they receive the due penalty, 1:27). This is an aspect of God's wrath.

If we want to square this with a conception of 'active wrath', it's not difficult. Paul in Colossians writes of the role of Christ in God's maintaining of the order of matter - at that level natural processes are founded on the order generated by God himself.

Perhaps another neglected aspect of God's wrath is its relationship to salvation and the righteousness of God. Part of the function of God's righteousness is to remove (ultimately) from creation all that will despoil it - and to protect the seeds of the new creation in this age in the church. His wrath is the operative energy in this process, the aim of which is to secure the salvation of the cosmos, with the new humanity at its centre in Christ. Only when we keep salvation and judgement connected will we avoid some of the pitfalls in our conceptualisation of God's wrath.

As with all of these, there is much more I could write, but I'll leave it there...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Apostle Paul on Radio 4

I should be revising, but I gave myself 45 minutes off to listen to In Our Time, which today was on the subject of the Apostle Paul. The contributors were:
  • John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews;
  • John Barclay, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University; and
  • Helen Bond, Senior Lecturer in the New Testament at the University of Edinburgh.

The treatment of Paul was generally very good. It was good to hear Haldane's comments on the influence of philosophical thought on biblical criticism, on the progression from rationalist scepticism to the acceptance that belief in the miraculous is not absurd, and the concomitant shift back towards a straightforward reading of the NT documents; and Barclay's continual emphasis on Paul's eschatological belief that the cosmos was turning on its hinge with the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. There are also good comments on the reconciling death of Jesus.

Listen to the programme at 9.30pm tonight or here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Brueggemann on Easter

In the same vein as my recent post on NT Wright and Easter, I offer this quote from Brueggemann. I especially love the first sentence...!

Easter is the extreme case of God's sovereign action. The resurrection of Jesus must not be trivialized around a biological question of resuscitation of a dead body, nor around questions of curiosity about immortality or life after death. That Jesus is risen is not a statement about heaven, but about the transformation of earth. Proclamation of the Resurrection in the OT, Journal for Preachers, 9 no 3 Easter 1986

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Near-Disaster of the Simple Gospel

Last semester I submitted an essay on the purpose of Paul's epistle to the Romans, in which I took the view that the driving (but not the only) purpose behind the letter is the delineation of Paul's grand eschatological vision of God's redemptive purposes for humanity and the cosmos, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Last week, I submitted an essay on the cross in the apostolic kerygma in Acts. Very interesting. One cannot but be struck by the redemptive-historical schema that the apostles adopt in kerygmatic settings - as is also true for the didactic material in many portions of the epistles. Anyhow, there is a cogent challenge here to the preaching of the church today to present this grand vista, expressed in the following quote from William Still:

You will notice I have not spoken of the ministry of the Gospel but of the Word of God, and this I do advisedly. It is not that I want to avoid the word 'Gospel', but because I want you to be very sure what I am talking about. I am not talking about a set of fundamental doctrines of the Word of God, systematic or otherwise, nor any formulation of doctrine (sub-Apostolic, Patristic, Reformed or Modern) culled from the Word of God, but the whole Bible itself. In evangelical circles the danger that the Gospel may be equated with the mere rudiments of the Word of God has become almost a disaster, for these rudiments are only the beginning of the Good News. There are profounder things by far in the Bible than what is called 'the simple gospel', although they issue from it. Indeed, in a sense, those who proclaim almost exclusively forgiveness of sins and justification, only make known the preliminaries to the best Good News, which is not that our sins are put away and that we are justified in God's sight, wonderful though that is, but that God wants us for Himself and to that end brings us to the birth in Christ. After all, the death of Jesus, for all its wonder, is a means to an end, which is not merely that we might be right and clean but that we may be His, which involves personal relationship in love. The Work of the Pastor, 62-63.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Calvinism, Multiformity and Scripture

In view of the recent clashes over the Reformed Doctrine of Scripture, particularly the confrontation between the Princetonian and European views, I thought that this quote (taken from Peter Enns' site, A time to tear down-A Time to Build Up) was worth reproducing here...

Harvie Conn citing Herman Bavink, 'The Future of Calvinism,' The Presbyterian and Reformed Review 5 (1894): 23:

'All the misery of the Presbyterian Churches is owing to their striving to consider the Reformation as completed, and to allow no further development of what has been begun by the labor of the Reformers…. Calvinism wishes no cessation of progress and promotes multi-formity. It feels the impulse to penetrate ever more deeply into the mysteries of salvation and in feeling this honors every gift and different calling of the Churches. It does not demand for itself the same development in America and England [and the author of this volume adds, Africa, Asia and Latin America] which it has found in Holland. This only must be insisted upon, that in each country and in every Reformed Church it should develop itself in accordance with its own nature, and should not permit itself to be supplanted or corrupted by foreign rule' ,221-222.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Soul cannot Survive without God

In our Greek Texts class we are now undertaking translation and exegesis of Psalm 42 (41 LXX)...my soul thirsts for the living God...the God of my life. Mays, in commenting on this Psalm, writes this:

The soul cannot survive without God. That is true of every human soul, not just the deeply pious. Many or most may not understand the thirst that disturbs and drives their living, but it is there because God created the human soul to correspond to God. Where that correspondence is weakened, disturbed, or interrupted, the experience of its lack becomes like the thirst and hunger that is the opposite of being satisfied. The advantage of the psalmist is that he knows what is missing.
Psalms, Interpretation

Friday, April 17, 2009

Goldsworthy on Maturity

Paul's expressed hope for believers is that they might be perfect, or complete (eg Col 1:9-10,28) - it is the goal of Christian maturity. This maturity is connected to wisdom, as the comprehension of God's ultimate purpose in Christ, which in turn connects to the discernment of God's primeval intentions in the Old Testament. Goldsworthy offers this 'tentative definition' of Christian maturity:

A mature Christian is one who is able to look at the whole of reality through Christian eyes. He is in the process of achieving an integrated overview of reality in those areas that belong to his experience as well as in those areas that he knows only theoretically. He is learning to understand all things in terms of what they are in this corrupted realm and of what God intends them to be by virtue of his redeeming work. Thus, he is an integrated person who is learning daily through the gospel how to relate, not only to himself, but to all things according to the creative purpose of God. Trilogy, 356

The challenge to the Church is to make maturity the goal of ministry. Making disciples must be defined in these terms, not merely to bring people to the point of professing faith.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NT Wright on Easter

Over at Euangelion, Mike Bird has reproduced a quote from an article in The Times by the Bishop of Durham entitled The Church must stop trivialising Easter - Christians must keep their nerve: the Resurrection isn’t a metaphor, it’s a physical fact. I wanted to reproduce a different part of the article (dare I say it, a better quote!):

What God did for Jesus that explosive morning is what He intends to do for the whole creation. We who live in the interval between Jesus's Resurrection and the final rescue and transformation of the whole world are called to be new-creation people here and now. That is the hidden meaning of the greatest festival Christians have.

This true meaning has remained hidden because the Church has trivialised it and the world has rubbished it. The Church has turned Jesus's Resurrection into a “happy ending” after the dark and messy story of Good Friday, often scaling it down so that “resurrection” becomes a fancy way of saying “He went to Heaven”. Easter then means: “There really is life after death”. The world shrugs its shoulders.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Principal at HTC

I've just returned from a refreshing week's holiday in the Pentland Hills. While I was away, Rev Hector Morrison was appointed as the new Principal of HTC, succeeding Rev Andrew McGowan, with whom he founded HTC back in 1994. This is excellent news. Hector Morrison is a skilful biblical theologian, a good exegete and a very effective Hebrew teacher to boot! His series of talks on The Mountain of God, delivered in HTC chapel over a few months were truly inspirational and will remain a highlight of my time at HTC, whatever happens in my remaining time there. Just as importantly, he has owned and developed the vision of HTC over the last 15 years, and is especially committed to the high academic standards that make HTC the institution it is as part of UHI. The press release follows:
Following a search and selection process, the Board of Governors of Highland Theological College UHI has unanimously approved the appointment of Acting Principal Hector Morrison as Principal of the College, with immediate effect.

In an announcement to staff today, Chairman of the Board of Governors, the Reverend Alexander Murray, said, “Always passionate about theological education, Hector is committed to wanting the best for his students. He has a very clear vision for the future of HTC as an independent constituent college in its role within the UHI network. In the best sense of the term, Hector is a ‘godly’ person and minister and, as a capable academic, theologian and leader, has a wealth of experience to bring to the role of Principal. We look forward to working with Hector as he leads HTC forward to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Hector gained the degrees of BSc, BD and MTh from Glasgow University. He is a Church of Scotland minister, having worked in parishes in Glasgow, the Western Isles and Lochalsh. Along with the Reverend Professor Andrew McGowan, he founded Highland Theological College and has been its Vice Principal since its inception in 1994. With research interests particularly in the discipline of Biblical Studies, most of his teaching concentrates on Old Testament and Hebrew. As well as his teaching commitments, Hector has been a key figure within the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences faculty of UHI. He is Subject Network Leader in Theology & Religious Studies for UHI and also has responsibilities for Academic Management, Quality Assurance and Enhancement and Subject Reviews, amongst other things.

Hector has been Acting Principal at HTC since the former Principal, Andrew McGowan, left in January to become minister of the East Church in Inverness.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Cross

A couple of Sundays ago, I was preaching on Jesus' words from the cross as recorded by Mark: 'Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?' I came across this quote from Ben Witherington III:

The passion narrative at its heart is about the cross, and it still holds true that how we react to the cross of Christ tells us a great deal about ourselves...The cross is the great truth serum and litmus test. Our reaction to it shows what we really believe about God and about life. Some are all too ready to wear the cross, but not to bear the cross. We often prefer a health-and-wealth gospel to one of suffering and service. We join churches because they meet our needs, not because they give us the most opportunity to serve and sacrifice for the gospel. Yet still, the cross beckons us to come and stand in its shadow. Whether we do so or not is the ultimate test of our discipleship. Mark, 409

Friday, April 03, 2009

Brueggemann on Wisdom

For the OT Themes module this semester, I'm reading a bit of Brueggemann's Old Testament Theology and finding it very stimulating. In dealing with Creation as Yahweh's Partner, he observes that creation requires that humans, given dominion over it, practice wisdom, righteousness and worship. He offers this description of wisdom:

Wisdom is the critical, reflective, discerning reception of Yahweh’s gift of generosity. That gift is not for self-indulgence, exploitation, acquisitiveness, or satiation. It is for careful husbanding, so that resources should be used for the protection, enhancement, and nurture of all creatures. Wisdom is the careful, constant, reflective attention to the shapes and interconnections that keep the world generative. Where those shapes and interconnections are honored, there the whole world prospers, and all creatures come to joy and abundance. Where those shapes and interconnections are violated or disregarded, trouble, conflict, and destructiveness are sure. There is wisdom in the very fabric of creation. Human wisdom consists in resonance with the “wisdom of things,” which is already situated in creation before human agents act on it.
Brueggemann, Walter: Theology of the Old Testament : Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy. Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1997, S. 532

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paul and Wisdom

In preparing for a recent set of sermons on Ephesians chapter 1, exploring the link between wisdom, maturity and knowledge of God's purposes (which is Paul's great concern), I came across some good stuff from Graeme Goldsworthy. Commenting on Ephesians 1:9-10, he writes:

Paul thus points to the intellectual content of the gospel as it reveals the ultimate plan of God. It shows us that this plan is much bigger than we may be used to thinking of it...here Paul put's forward what we might refer to as the cosmic dimension in salvation. That is to say, God's plan, which he revealed in Christ, is to bring the whole universe or cosmos to its proper goal in Christ...Paul's purpose is not to define wisdom but to describe God's ultimate purpose. Yet wisdom is closely related to the knowledge of this purpose. Goldsworthy Trilogy, 354
And again, he writes that wisdom for the Christian...
is not first and foremost a knowledge of how to perform good works, but of what God has really accomplished for us in Christ. 355

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Late Reflections on Wisdom Literature

These reflections on last semesters Wisdom Literature course should have been posted back in the inter-semester break. But they weren't. And here they are now.

The wisdom literature module is taught by Dr Jamie Grant. It deals with themes and genres in the OT wisdom corpus, takes an overview of Proverbs and then a more detailed look at the book of Job. To round off, an assessed book review is thrown in - last semester this was of Jacque Ellul's (French Protestant Neo-Orthodox Techno-critical Philosopher) work on Ecclesiastes, Reason for Being (!). Sitting in the first lecture, I remember thinking: I'm not sure about interpretative principles for this corpus and I don't know much about wisdom as a genre. I think that just shows that the OT wisdom corpus is neglected, precisely because interpretation is far from straightforward. It just doesn't fit easily in OT theology (as Von Rad's omission in his OT Theology illustrates). So, what is wisdom? Bartholomew offers this pithy definition:
Wisdom in the OT is about how to negotiate life successfully in God's good but fallen world. Reading Proverbs with Integrity
Perhaps I'll post again on that...yes, perhaps some Goldsworthy and Brueggeman. But for now, here are a selection of the many highlights from this excellent course:
  • Wisdom and creation - wisdom is closely linked to creation theology. This is brought out in Bartholomew's definition above; wisdom affirms the doctrine of common grace, the goodness of God's revealed primordial intention for human life and society, and the continuing value of these despite the fall, especially with reference to the covenant people. If wisdom relates to the task of life, then this is not merely an activity for the fallen creation.
  • Wisdom and scripture - wisdom is to a degree empirical, dealing in observation. Wisdom statements are not to be interpreted as rules or laws, but rather generic norms. For example, reflection on the very first proverb 'A wise son makes his father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother' makes the point - it is not universally true. Therefore the human component of scripture is very much to the fore and presents challenges to any hermeneutic that is not attuned to this.
  • Interpreting Proverbs - One of our major assessments dealt with this question. Some interpreters recommend that proverbs are paradigmatic; any situation can be informed by them as long as you pick the correct proverb or combination of proverbs. However, my view (after the course!) is that proverbs have a more significant role as pedagogical rather than epistemological statements. They require interaction as well as interpretation - the empiricism requires reconciliation with the foundational epistemology of Israel, found in the revelation of Yahweh. It is not enough to view the proverbs merely as a toolbox for God's people, pulling out pithy statements to effect guidance in a certain situation; proverbs are more than this - they require interaction, reflection, and become a training ground for the godly...

    The didactic function of collected proverbs was not to produce proverbial parrots, but students of wisdom who understood the purposes of Yahweh. In learning wisdom – how to apply the revelation of God in Christ to our topsy-turvy world – proverbs remind us that we do so not by mere rote application, but through having the 'mind of Christ'. Proverbs still function as a training ground for the Church, since Christ is the telos of Yahweh's revelation.

This module has been hugely instructive. Engaging with the wisdom literature has been hugely rewarding.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Emerging from Stasis

The blog has been in stasis for six weeks (stretching sporadic blogging to breaking point). I have not been, and here lieth the problem. During the last six weeks I have done many interesting and exciting things: a birthday (a significant birthday), some preaching, some climbing in my favourite, long-unvisited mountains, time with my family, a church planting conference, drinking coffee with friends, driving 2000 miles...and the studies of course. Blogging is sliding down my list of priorities - although I do have another blog for my family and close friends which I keep going. Perhaps two sporadic blogs equals one more regular blog...?

Some time back, I wrote a series of articles for Free Magazine about young people, technology, Christianity and culture. One of the key emphases was the importance of the real over the virtual - therefore I intend to keep my blogging sporadic, and my involvement in the real regular and frequent.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Semester Starts

Semester two of Year 3 at HTC has started this week and I'm over in Dingwall on campus for the start of the new modules. This semester, my four modules are:
  • Amos (Hebrew), taught by Hector Morrison, covers the whole of the Hebrew text of the prophet Amos looking at text critical issues, exegesis and theology.
  • Luke-Acts, taught by Dr Mike Bird, sees us each week spend some time in key themes in the Lukan corpus, exegesis of key passages linked to that theme and a linked mini-seminar.
  • Old Testment Themes, taught by Hector Morrison, is really an introduction to Old Testament Theology I suppose, and forms an immediate background to the Biblical Theology modules of the honours year.
  • Greek Texts III, taught by Dr Mike Bird, continues our exegetical and text critical work in the UBS4, working this time through the final chapters of Mounce's Graded Reader, including a stab at the LXX and the Didache.
I've posted the key books for these modules over on the left.

The new semester also sees HTC under the guidance of Hector Morrison as Acting Principal, following the return of Rev Prof Andrew MacGowan to pastoral ministry at East Church, Inverness; he remains a tutor at HTC, teaching Systematic Theology. Dr Jamie Grant is now Acting Vice Principal.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Reflections on Hebrew Texts

Reflections on last semester's modules continues with Hebrew Texts, taught by Hector Morrison, currently the Acting Principal at HTC, who also sits in worship with a BHS in front of him - respect! The module covers three texts: first, there's the beginning of the Book of the Covenant, as found in Exodus 20-22; second the prophet Hosea, chapters 1-4, and third, the wisdom of Qohelet in Ecclesiastes 1-4. This way, you get to deal in different Hebrew styles and genres. The highlights of the module are somewhat dulled (!) by the problems of reading and translating the Hebrew, which I find a bit more of a struggle than the Greek.

At this point can I highly recommend to any theology student intending to pursue Greek and/or Hebrew throughout their degree (and why wouldn't you?!) the Original Languages software from Olive Tree. I run it on my Loox PDA and what a help it is - parsing and lexical data at the touch of a stylus! I bought the Original Languages Package when the pound was still a meaningful currency and bought lots of dollars, but even in these days of the weakling pound , I would say it would be a worthwhile investment. Of course, its no help in the exams, but it assists in the learning.

Some brief highlights:
  • The material from the Book of the Covenant is fascinating, not least the question of the relationship of the Book to the Decalogue. Also, comparisons to the parallels to other ANE Law Codes, such as those of Hammurabi, emphasise the contextualisation of God's revelation to his people Israel, but also the counter-culture that the Laws of Yahweh represented. Especially striking is the sanctity of life and the egalite of the Mosaic Law, as well as the important of family respect, in contrast to other ANE codes. I found Peter Enns' commentary on Exodus (NIVAC), whilst not technical, helpful and readable. As a technical commentary I used Childs' volume (OTL).
  • Interpretation of the book of Ecclesiastes is difficult. I used Longman's recent NICOT volume, in which he propounds the view that the teaching of Qohelet is somewhat heterodox, and is presented by another orthodox author who composes a frame around the work. Longman's commentary is certainly valuable, but I wonder whether his view does justice to the complexities of life as a believer, the absurdity that we do find in existence in a fallen world, as well as the pedagogical role of contradiction in wisdom texts. In any case, reading Qohelet gave me my first experience of enjoying the metrical rhythms of wisdom texts.
  • Hosea contains the most difficult textual problems in the whole of the Old Testament. Some of these huge problems are found in Chapter 4 and this is where the passage for the assessed exegesis paper was found. In this chapter, the sins of the people are laid bare, sins which are pictured in Gomer's own promiscuity. Reading around the ANE background to this passage in the fertility cults of Baalism is not particularly edifying, but does shed light on Yahweh's indictment of his people through the ministry of Hosea. Some scholars propose a narrowly spiritual reading of the promiscuity of God's people, but I think it more likely that the promiscuity of Gomer is not officially cultic, but associated with the activities of the hoi polloi at cultic sites - promiscuity had become a practice of the worshippers. Therefore Yahweh's judgements are against the literal, as well as the spiritual (the two being connected) fornications of the people. Also, I must mention Hosea 2:18, which foretells the Edenic peace which is the telos of the New Covenant (and which is also within its scope) - a definite highlight.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Reflections on Greek Texts II

Reflections on last semester's modules kicks off with Greek Texts II. What can I say....? It falls between Greek Texts I and Greek Texts III....self-evident. These three modules take us through Mounce's Graded Reader of Biblical Greek and it's not just about learning Greek, it's a bout learning exegetical skills, learning theology and hearing God's word. Each week we have to prepare translations and do some reading from the commentaries and lexica (when I say 'have to', I mean 'are supposed to'). The module was assessed on an exam (on sight exegesis with nothing but UBS4 in front of you) and a exegesis paper (which this year was from 1 Peter 1:13-17). It's hard to pick out a few highlights when you've ranged across the gospels and epistles during a module, but my main highlights come from our studies in Philippians...
  • In exegeting the Christ hymn of chapter 2, Muller's old NICNT volume (produced under the editorship of Ned Stonehouse) was very helpful. Of course, the meaning of harpagmon in 2:6 is debated; I opted for the translation prized possession, following Muller: 'in combination with hegeisthai it is used to denote a much-valued possession or gain, and the pregnant meaning of robbery has been ousted'.
  • In 2:6, Paul writes that Christ Jesus existed in the morphe of God. Lightfoot writes that morphe is the 'outward display of the inner reality or substance' as opposed to the schema, which is merely outward appearance, something changeable. In Plato (although the use is rare) it is 'the impress of the idea on the individual'. Therefore here morphe is expressing the essential unity of the pre-existent Christ with deity. There is a problem with most translations of the remainder of this verse. NASB renders it 'did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but...'. The problem is that this can be made to imply that Christ gave up his equality with God, since he did not regard it as a thing to be grasped (or a prized possession). Muller's exegesis of the phrase to einai isa thew is therefore interesting. He translates it as to exist in a manner like unto God rather than to be equal to God, arguing that isa is an adverbial form carrying the sense of in such a way or manner, rather than the substantive isov, which Paul would have used if he wanted to denote equality. This avoids the problem since Paul's thought is therefore that Christ did not consider existing in the same manner as God, i.e. his pre-incarnate spiritual existence, as a prized possession, but emptied himself. To my mind, this is theologically more satisfactory, although I'm sure arguments could be brought against this interpretation of isa.
  • The Christ hymn is a sublime passage of scripture which Paul deploys in order to encourage the Phillipian believers to humility and service - something that ought not to be overlooked as we seek to glean Christology from it.
Other highlights can only be mentioned in passing:

  • In James, we noted the connections with wisdom literature, and with the Sermon on Mount, which also has connections with wisdom literature.
  • The similarity between James 1 and 1 Peter 1 on faith and testing is striking.
  • Christ's quotation from Isaiah whilst explaining the parable of the sower in Matthew's gospel can be compared to the Isaianic source in both the MT and LXX. The differences are very interesting indeed: are the parable spoken because the people don't understand, or so that they will not understand?
  • Ephesians 1 is another sublime passage and can be characterised as a berakah psalm....
Greek is becoming more familiar, which is a good feeling! Some might question the need to do so much Greek (or Hebrew for that matter). Well, I've heard a few dodgy exegeses over the last couple of years (not in my own congregation!) that would have benefitted from some awareness of the fact that the Word of God was not given to us in English! Anyway, it's on to Greek Texts III this coming semester...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inter-Semester

This blog is getting ridiculously out of date with the last post still being 'Advent'! There's only so far you can stretch a claim to be a sporadic blog! It's intersemester break right now and since the last post I've put 1800 miles on the car in two weeks on a trip to Wales for Christmas and New Year, written a book review, revised, had the flu, done my exams, had a bad cold and been catching up on the piles of stuff that didn't get done during the last few manic weeks of last semester.
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It's always good to be back in the homeland, to see family and (long lost) friends, and to get along to churches with which you have enduring connections through family ties and prayer. Whilst we were there we worshipped at Borras Park, Wrexham; Free School Court, Bridgend; and Malpas Road (Newport) - a select band indeed!
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Anyway, I hope to get a few posts done over the next few days, including reflections on last semester's modules and a look forward to next semester's modules. I might also post on my reading for the intersemester:
  • The Divine Authenticity of Scripture, McGowan
  • The Mabinogion, trans. Guest
  • Jesus and the Victory of God, Wright
but no promises; after all, this blog is sporadic.