Friday, May 31, 2013

Beautiful Jenson quote

My esteemed colleague, Lincoln Harvey, sent this beauty through recently. The line “the very occurrence of what could have separated him from us he chose as his life” deserves extended and delighted pondering.
The cross is the place where we could have said our final and definitive "No" to God by pushing Christ into death. Instead, God chooses precisely this place to reveal, define and enact his unconditioned love for humans. There is, therefore, nothing which can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
What Jesus decided in his life was to be for us no matter what. The gospel says that this decision of Jesus is the final one about us, the last judgement which settles our destiny. That is, Jesus' decision not to resist evil is God.
The decision which is God is the decision which was made in Jesus' life to be with and for sinful men. God chooses us to be his, despite our rebellion. He chooses himself to be ours, despite our rejection. Indeed, he chooses to be ours precisely as the rejected one. He chose to happen for us as the Crucifixion, as the very event of our hatred and suffering - and is therefore the God who cannot be separated from us, for the very occurrence of what could have separated him from us he chose as his life.
Robert Jenson, A Religion Against Itself, pp. 40-41

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Teaching the Apostles' Creed: videos

Some good stuff, here, on the Apostle's Creed by Ben Myers. I have only listened to the third, so far, but his engagement with those who think the confession "Jesus is Lord" is backward, exclusive and oppressive is rather helpful. I think that the Christian confession is simultaneously exclusive, inclusive and even universalist. Ben explains a little of why that might be the case in his very own style.

Teaching the Apostles' Creed: videos

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lovely chess combination from the greatest of all, Kasparov

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Blogged for no sensible reason ...

... other than this: the picture makes me laugh

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A highly anticipated Francis Watson book has arrived!

Thanks to Eerdmans for the review copy. I can’t wait to get my teeth into this one. Gathercole’s gushing blurb only made my impatience worse: “One of the most significant books on the gospels in the last hundred years”. Wowzers. But gladly it has now arrived:


Fairly sizeable, as you can see and very wide-ranging. We shall see if his engagement with the loaded word “canonical” opens up new avenues, and I am particularly interested to see what he does with John.

Some theological products for your consideration

1) Your “Jesus Action Figure” ( for a mere £6.38

One reviewer comments: “If Jesus saves, why is this item still full price?”

2) What about a “grow your own Jesus”? (

One astute reviewer remarks: “Amazing for the first few days, your own personal Jesus Christ. Lifesize, full robe costume and everything, just as he was all those years ago. But the novelty soon wore off…”

3) I was of course particularly tempted by the “Holy Toast Miracle Bread Stamper” (

Until I read a review:

“WARNING! Do not under any circumstances use this product upside down. I made this mistake and instead of having a delightful print of the Mother of God bestowed upon my toast, imagine my shock to see the devil himself staring back at me like a weird breaded paedophile. As a result of my actions, my youngest son has now been possessed by the devil and his constant satanic ramblings are becoming quite tedious. Aside from this, the inconvenience of ridding the beast from my youngest has come at great cost; I've lost my job. Apparently, 'attending an exorcism' isn't a valid reason to claim for a days paid leave.”

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Labelling Evangelical Christians

Don’t like labels? Just wanna be called “Christian” or “Follower of Christ”? MAN UP! Let’s get specific, my Reformed Premillennial Calvinist Progressive Dispensationalists friends.
With that in mind, perhaps it is time to dispense with some titles that qualify "Evangelical" as they tend not to say what is really going on. "Conservative", for example, doesn't reveal what is very often driving matters in theological terms, nor does "moderate", "biblical" etc.
So, as this idiot with a keyboard has a moment to waste, what about:
  • Angry Moralising Evangelicals (they often like to use the word "biblical" as descriptive of their own beliefs in contrast to other orthodox Christians, and are often self-declared gate-keepers of the orthodoxy of some kind of universal foundationalism. If this post offends you, I suspect you know I am speaking about you!).
  • Don't Really Know What to be Confident About Anymore so Bang on About Whatever Certain Famous Academics Say (social justice/environment) Evangelical. Yes, thanks, it took a while to come up with this punchy title. Heretic Tree Hugger Evangelicals, was another option.
  • Pop Culture be Ultra Nice and Believe Tolerance is Primary Virtue Smile Lots Evangelical (my favourite sort, in truth. Cos they are nice. Semipelagian tendencies, though, and the [usually] charismatic leader hero worship does make me reach every now and then)
  • A cheeky friend on Facebook, Nathanael came up with: Condescending Evangelicals - theologians who pigeon hole and categorise other evangelicals. Haha, yea, right…
  • So there must also be: Condescending Dilettante Evangelicals - Evangelicals that criticise Academic Evangelicals (there’s another!) for making legitimate categories to pigeon hole others. BOOM! Touché
  • Friend, Daniel, rightly noted one more: Holders Of Absolutely No Evangelical Views Whatsoever (For Very Sensible Theological Reasons) But Too Afraid Of The Power The Evangelical Tribe Exercises To Adopt The More Sensible Prefix "Not" Evangelicals, which is so long it is silly.
  • Finally, and I think it is more or less where I will stand, let us speak of Evangelical Evangelicals (Barthians). Of course, it may be that some Barthians could lapse into uncontrollable fits of ponciness and therefore subliminal truth-before-and-apart-from-Christ-in-practice-even-though-they-vigorously-deny-it-but-we-know-what-is-going-on-butterfly-chops. So to distinguish myself from such potential worlds, I will introduce myself as follows:
    • “Hi, I’m an Evangelical Evangelical Evangelical Christian. Nice to meet you. Have you read Church Dogmatics IV/1?”.