On English Bible versions

The first thing to say is that, as English speakers, we are blessed with many many extraordinarily good Bible translations; compared to almost anyone else around the world, our riches are embarrassing – in fact, have you considered keeping your old church Bibles and giving the money you would have spent to Wycliffe, Bible Society, or another Bible translation ministry? That said, the decision which Bible version your people will read is a serious one for a minister to take…

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Rutherford House Blog Competition

An announcement from the Research Committee of Rutherford House: The 2013 Rutherford House Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference will take place on September 2-5 (details here); the subject will be ‘The Doctrine of Scripture’. To promote engagement with the topic around and beyond the conference, we are pleased to announce a competition for the best blog post on the topic of the doctrine of Scripture published between now and 31st August; the prize will be six books from Rutherford House, likely to be proceedings of previous conferences, which feature essays by Bruce McCormack, N.T. Wright, Richard Bauckham, John Webster, and others (but we’ll negotiate with anyone who already has a complete set!) Rutherford House will feature links to some entries on its Facebook...

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Online objects of spiritual significance

Tomorrow I am heading down to London to take part in the (so far excellent – tomorrow might pull the average down) Westminster Faith Debates series. One of the organisers contacted me and the other speakers to introduce us to an artist, a photographer, who is working on a series of portraits of people holding an object that is of spiritual significance to them. Would we like to take part? Yes, I said, and then today thought about what to take… What objects matter to me, spiritually? My initial thoughts could not get very far beyond a Bible. This seemed rather cliched, and I wondered whether just to pull out. I did what every good digital native would do, and crowd-sourced the question on Twitter. A rapid and fascinating exchange ensued with – as...

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Of a troublesome comma in the Creed

The morning office I presently use to structure the first part of my prayers invites me to recite the Apostles’ Creed each day. Famously, the Christological clauses of that Creed begin: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried… The comma at the end of the second line has become rather notorious; it is apparently sufficient to summarise the entire earthy ministry of Jesus, and that is regularly held up as an indication of  the weakness of the Creed as a summary of the Christian faith (focused as it is on Jesus); sometimes it is held up as an indication that the traditional formulations of...

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Gay relationships in the Bible?

I have been reading the new edition of Jeffrey John’s book, now titled Permanent, Faithful, Stable, Christian Same-sex Marriage,in preparation for writing a couple of pieces on human sexuality. In the course of his discussion, Canon John makes brief reference to the miracle of the healing of the Centurion’s servant in Lk. 7:1-10 // Mt. 8:5-13, and draws on Theissen and others to suggest that ‘[a]ny Jew … would almost certainly have assumed they were gay lovers.’ (p. 14) On this basis, and because ‘the possibility that the relationship was homosexual would not have escaped Jesus, Matthew or Luke’ (15), Canon John argues that ‘it is a real question whether we are intended to see Jesus deliberately including a gay...

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