Like all good stories, and the Bible is before and after everything else a story, Scripture begins at the beginning. The beginning of everything, and a garden planted by God. Everything falls apart, for humans fall apart, and many of the stories in Scripture are horrible, grotesque or inspiring, for such a mixture describes the world we inhabit. In the middle of the Bible story, at the start of the second part of the library of Scripture, we hear the story of Jesus and his teaching, his death and resurrection. This is prolonged into the beginning of the story of the new humanity and illustratedRead More →

In this second episode about the ‘prosperity gospel’ I turn to questions of love and money. Again I argue that if we think about this claimed good news of prosperity in the light of the Bible it fails. If you have not seen Part 1 it is here. [Warning: reading the Bible may damage the health of your faith in TV preachers.]  Read More →

There is a lot of discussion (at least there is in the online circles I move in) about claims to a doctrine of “headship” that is biblical and that means husbands should take a leadership role with respect to their their wives. Or possibly that men should over women more generally. In a recent discussion someone objected to my presentation of these issues “Headship”: What did Paul really mean? by pointing to the fact that the Bible seems on a “literal” reading to support this idea, by using “head” in e.g. Eph 5:23. This is my response.  Read More →

These two chapters, as well as some (now several millennia later) boring stuff about wells, contain some of the heights and depths of human experience. A birth to a childless couple, well well after normal childbearing years, and nasty vindictive selfishness. But also an outrageous demand from God, blind obedience and a few hints of something greater to come…Read More →

As part of my seminar on Bible abuse at Easter Camp I talked about how a couple of sorts of context (cotext or social setting and culture) help us understand Jesus parable of the Big Feast (Luke 14:16ff.) more sharply. This podcast is a quick version of that focusing on questions of context. [Updated with screencast version from 2010 original.]  Read More →

I’ve been asked about the prosperity gospel, which claims that not only does God want to bless us, but that if we do the right things God will bless us. In the context from which it was asked it’s a really important question, in my context too it’s a question that matters. Here’s part one of my answer. Basically it is not about a prosperity law but God’s grace! And as a bonus I confess that on this John MacArthur has it right 😉1   The better you know me, the better probably you will understand how unusual this is… [↩]Read More →

People like “old time religion”, “Give them more hellfire and damnation pastor!” the elders plead (somehow it is always “them” not “us” in this case), churches were full when preachers really put the fear of God into their audiences! But is ‘hell’ an important Christian doctrine, should every preacher touch on torment every month or two? On the importance of hell in Scripture I suggest a close look at the Bible (which we’ll begin here, with Gehenna in Matthew). On preaching I suspect it’s a case of WDJP or you’d better have one hell of a good reason 😉Read More →