What (or who) is inspired?

A recent issue of JETS has an interesting article on inspiration that resonated with some conversations I’ve been having with others recently. Grubbs and Drumm (who wrote the article) cite various recent evangelical theological definitions of inspiration (Warfield, Henry, Chicago, Grudem, Grenz, Erickson, Geisler) and correlate them with generally-accepted accounts of the origins of the texts in Biblical studies, including the use of secretaries, co-authorship, compilation and revision history. They suggest that the former accounts are inadequate to cope with the latter evidence. I think they are right, but I am not sure that the doctrine of inspiration is where the problem lies. In the verse that is the basis for all such claims, it is text, not its...

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Teaching people to be congregational: renarrating voting

To continue, in a very different key, the theme of the last post… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we do church meeting badly… (‘we’ = ‘most British Baptists of whom I am aware’.) A part of the problem is, that we are very poor at teaching our congregations to be congregational. This is compounded by the fact that we have chosen to make use of artefacts borrowed from the world around, which stand in profound need of detoxification and renarration before they can be adequately employed. One such is voting. I touched on this (and more on another similar artefact, the ‘business meeting’) in a contribution to a Festschrift in honour of Brian Haymes. Voting at church meeting is a fairly recent...

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Congregational government and missional church

The excellent BUGB news sweep highlights Mark Driscoll in Belfast [link opens MP3 download] offering his views on congregational government and missional church life. The headline ‘it is almost impossible to be both congregational and missional’. Some thoughts occur to me in listening, that seem worth recording just because Driscoll makes mistakes that seem to me to be endemic: 1. This is an off-the-cuff response at a Q&A session; we should not treat it as his considered and final word on the subject. That said, Mars Hill have chosen to make the MP3 available; the comments are published, with no rider to the effect that ‘I wasn’t sure about how well I handled that one,’ so they are fair game for discussion and response. 2. The...

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Evangelical ecumenicity, networks, and denominations

A good day yesterday at the Scottish Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting, seeing lots of old friends, including our pastor-elect and his wife, speaking on ‘Evangelical doctrine: basis for unity or cause of division?’ and listening to Fred Drummond, of EA Scotland, talking about the various ‘magnets’ for evangelical unity emerging around the country, mostly focused on prayer or mission. (The theme of the conference was ‘Evangelical Ecumenicity: can evangelicals really work together?’) Fred gave a very hopeful account of the Scottish scene, with many emerging missional networks providing real evidence that people are working together, thinking strategically, and praying unitedly much more than has been the case for a...

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