Micah – what’s it about and why was it written?

Micah preaching gy Gustave Doré

Micah lived in a time in which there was great exploitation of the middle and lower classes by the ruling, Jewish elite. He is appalled at what is going on, and his book is written largely in response. It contains many different styles of writing, and includes some very well know passages that have become part of the churches lexicon – good thing?

Whilst this is quite a technical paper, I found the opportunity to study a book about which I knew nothing most rewarding. I know it raises some difficult questions, especially the violence motiff – with its usual set of questions, ethical side-steps and misunderstandings… All I’ll say here  is that we need to remember that the bible records the spiritual journey of a people as their understanding, like ours, progresses. I certainly am reflecting at length on this as i write.

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Three Points from 2 Peter 2

Three different questions were raised with me after the talk I gave on 2 Peter 2 at Brig. I thought I’d quickly respond to them here.

I do appreciate the conversations and the feedback so feel free to keep the conversation going if you’re interested.

What were those ‘Celestial Beings?’

In 2Peter2:10, speaking of false teachers, Peter writes ‘Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings’

I mentioned how there was a lot of debate about the word/phrase translated ‘celestial beings’ – a better translation of it seems to be ‘glories’ – so the question is what does Peter mean by the glories. I spoke about two possible translations – ‘dignitaries’ in the sense of those in authority and ‘angels’ (note there is no reference to good or bad angels). A third option was mentioned to me, which I did come across i my reading – that of it being the ‘apostles’ – so the false teachers were abusing the apostles – the glories. Whilst indeed this is in the commentaries that I read, it didn’t seem that popular – but it is interesting option.

Am I A Heretic?

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Spirit Baptism. Karl Barth vs those joyful Pentecostalists.

Barth on the cover of Time Magazine

This essay was within the field called ‘systematics’ – which is about drawing out doctrines from the whole teaching of scripture. In this essay I chose to look at the differences between Barth and Pentecostalism. I grew up under a synthesis of Evangelicism and Pentecostalism. Barth has been described as the ‘Most influential theologian since Thomas Aquinas’ – and no, I don’t have a reference for that.

What I found is Barth waffles. Strong statement? Maybe. His ‘Dogmatics’ runs to 13 volumes. Fortunately, his writing on the baptism in the Spirit runs to around 30 pages. Interesting?

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Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa

gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of hyppo

This was a stonker of an essay, which was both a joy and a pain to write. Both of these theologians wrote masses of material. Augustine is in some sense known as the Father of the Western Church, and much of what we believe in the West goes back to him. Interestingly, I recently heard some Orthodox Theologians expresses the opinion that Augustine was a heretic … when considering some of his views. Gregory was new to me, and I was so impacted by him that I am considering doing something on him for my dissertation.

The subject matter of this essay is not for the timid evangelical who doesn’t want to have their reading of scripture challenged. When the eastern and western churches ‘branched off’ they each took some unique theology with them. In my opinion the east has A LOT to teach us.

I couldn’t get enough of the Gregory of Nyssa. What a depth. What an insight. Perhaps the same is true of Augustine, but given the subject matter I’d take the East any time.

Read on… if you dare (well kind of)

Analyse and evaluate critically Eastern & Western views of human nature, sin and salvation evident in Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa as they write on the nature of the fall & God’s response.

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