Christian Life

The stench of death

Mon, 30/09/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

2 Corinthians 2:15-17 says this:

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

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Christians and the Stock Market

Wed, 25/09/2019 - 12:10 -- James Oakley

The other day I was asked, certainly not for the first time, whether Christians may invest in the stock market.

Part of my job is to help Christians think through how biblical teaching applies in the nuts and bolts of daily life, so this is a very good question indeed. I've never written down my thoughts on this, and as the question recurs from time to time I thought it would be a help to jot things down.

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Psalm 2 and 2 Peter 1

Tue, 17/09/2019 - 15:55 -- James Oakley

So often, when you read a commentary on part of the Bible you're studying, you have pages and pages of material but the commentator doesn't seem to be puzzling over the same details of the passage as you are.

How refreshing when the commentator asks exactly the questions you were asking, and has some very sensible things to say.

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Neither poverty nor riches

Wed, 28/08/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

This year is the 300th anniversary of Robinson Crusoe, the debut novel of Daniel Defoe published on 25th April 1719. It is said to be the first novel published in the English language, and since 1719 has been printed in many editions. It is many years since I read it, so I thought it time to do so again.

The novel starts with Robinson's father seeking to persuade the stubborn lad not to go to sea. His efforts are sincere and emotional, but in vain.

Love God. Fear God

Mon, 26/08/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley
Fear

There are lots of ways the New Testament is different from the Old. That's why it's called "New". A testament is another word for "covenant", and the book of Hebrews describes this by repeating the adjective "better".

But there are also lots of ways that the New Testament simply builds on the Old, transforming it, fulfilling it, colouring it in, but not replacing it. In fact, this is so much so, that when we read the Old Testament we rarely have to ask: "What is the complete contrast for us?", but far more often ask "What do the lessons here look like for us today?"

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Helpless at the hands of the majority

Fri, 23/08/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

As part of my sabbatical study, I've been reading the late Mike Ovey's book, Your Will Be Done: Exploring Eternal Subordination, Divine Monarchy and Divine Humility.

I'd forgotten Mike's love of the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville, and his concept of "the tyranny of the majority".

On page 119, Mike has a pertinent quotation from De Tocqueville's Democracy in America, I.xv:

Jesus in the Old Testament

Mon, 19/08/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

It's funny how an issue looks different depending on who you're talking to.

When I was at college, my third year dissertation was looking at the faith of the Old Testament saints. How much about God and the gospel did Abraham know? Is he an example that it's possible to be saved without explicitly knowing about Jesus? Or did he know more than we give him credit for.

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