Monthly Archives

Does God know the future?

Sun, 30/09/2007 - 09:49 -- James Oakley

That depends on which God you are talking about.

People who embrace a set of views known as “open theism” like to say that God does not know the future (either his own, or that of his world, or both – there are different versions).

I’m reading Isaiah 41-44 again, and am freshly struck by what is here. God sets out one test or characteristic that will distinguish him, the true God, from an idol or false God.

God can tell you what is going to happen; an idol cannot

Here is the test, for example, in 44:7

“Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.

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The Jerusalem conflict section of Luke

Fri, 28/09/2007 - 11:23 -- James Oakley

In Luke 20:1-21:4 we have a section characterised by

  • Geographical location of Jerusalem
  • Conflict stories between Jesus and the religious hierarchy.

The section is framed by:

  • Jesus arrival in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday (19:28-48). The crowds’ cheering has not even died down before he weeps in public over what will happen to the city. The explanation given here for Jerusalem’s fate is her failure to recognise that God has come to visit. He then prophetically enacts this by driving out those who are misusing the temple.
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So why was Jesus baptised?

Tue, 25/09/2007 - 17:05 -- James Oakley

I don’t know.

But it must be something to do with this:

Mark 1:2-8 leaves us with two expectations of what God is about to do. From Mark 1:2-3 (quoting Isaiah 40), God is about to bring his people back through the wilderness to the promised land; he is about to remake his people. From Mark 1:7, he is “the stronger one than John” who will operate on his people’s hearts by his Spirit to bring about true repentance. There is no clear indication from Mark 1:2-8 that either “the Lord” or “the stronger one” is anyone other than God himself. We’re not looking for a human being (yet).

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I'm back

Tue, 25/09/2007 - 15:42 -- James Oakley

Hello everyone!

Some of you may have wondered why I took a two week break from posting as I didn’t let on much. Others will have seen the issues clearly. Personally, I’ve valued having a couple of weeks to give serious thought to some of the issues that were raised with me. It’s easily to be cheaply dismissive or (equally easily) blown here and there by everything everyone says. I wanted to be neither, but to listen and think with care.

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Temporary moratorium on posts

Mon, 10/09/2007 - 15:39 -- James Oakley

I’ll be taking a 2 week break from posting on this site from now.

Comments still welcome of course – especially in response to this post. I had a really useful conversation with two good friends yesterday about the tensions of blogging. Specifically, what we were talking about was how blogging sits with serving the church in pastoral ministry.

  • Is it wise for a minister of a local church to blog?
  • How is that changed if I am, more precisely, an assistant minister?
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Luke 21

Fri, 07/09/2007 - 17:01 -- James Oakley

I’m preaching a series of 3 sermons on Luke chapter 21 in November. They make a series, but numbers 1 and 3 are 30-minute sermons to adults, whilst number 2 needs to stand alone as it is a 10 minute talk on Remembrance Day with all-ages still in church.

I could give sermon number 2 a title: “The war to end all wars”.

But that’s about as far as I’ve got with any of it.

What I’m really looking for at this point is some help. What should / could I read that would help me get the broad direction right. And the details. And the contemporary applications. Books. Papers. Articles. Blog posts. ... all those are welcome.

Suggestions please!

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(Spiritual = Unmediated) = Romanticism

Mon, 03/09/2007 - 09:18 -- James Oakley

I find myself having this thought over and over again.

Popular evangelical Christianity is frequently confused as to how to identify / seek / encourage / authenticate the genuine work of the Holy Spirit.

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