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 →

Perhaps no Bible text illustrates the dangers of a simplistic reading of Scripture than 1 Cor 14:34. If we tear this verse from its cotext,1 and then read it as if the Bible were “God’s instruction manual for life” and even worse read it also literally then we are in trouble! The verse (in the fairly literal NET)2 reads: the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. The verse is full of oddities.3 Not the least of which is that in 1 Cor 11:4-6 Paul assumesRead 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 →

Judges is one Bible book where it has been common to recognise humour. Ehud killing the fat and oppressive king Eglon in the toilet has been a popular example, though  I’ll pretty much leave the scatology to David and others who appreciate it 😉 I’d rather focus on gender. In Judges relationships between men and women are either funny or horrible. The story of Deborah (Judges 4) may provide examples, but the humour in the poem (Judges 5) is much clearer. It shows all nine of my diagnostic signs of humour. And develops some powerful (and this being Judges disturbing) gender bending humour. Though afterRead More →

In this short series (of two podcasts) I’ll describe two things I think I know, two stakes in the ground when I come to think about the topic of “universalism” that has been much discussed (and even more an excuse for slanging matches) recently around the Bible-focused blogs. Let’s start by admitting there are many many things on this topic that we simply do not know. I list a few of the many things that I am firmly agnostic about in a blog post OK, till now I’ve held my peace, and avoided discussing that Bell fella and universalism. But….In this podcast and the nextRead More →