Which came first, the wedding or the marriage

Thu, 07/09/2006 - 16:35 -- James Oakley

I’m often saddened when, in these days, weddings seems to matter more then marriage. (How encouraging, by contrast, to be helping one couple, who have recently become followers of Christ, to organise a wedding in the shortest possible time. They are keen to be married and are prepared to sacrifice lots of elements of “the ideal wedding”).

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Jesus on divorce in Matthew and Mark

Wed, 30/08/2006 - 10:19 -- James Oakley

I've just noticed the really obvious.

It isn't just the lack of an exception clause that makes Mark 10 different from Matthew 19. The question Jesus is recorded as being asked is different too.

Matthew 19: Is divorce lawful for any reason?
Mark 10: Is divorce lawful?

Matthew 19: Except for unfaithfulness (notwithstanding the debate about how to translate that word)
Mark 10: Yes - but not that way from the beginning.

The difference in the question helps a lot with the difference in the answer. Matthew has focussed on the precise nature of the exception. Mark has focussed on the intended permanence of marriage which makes any premature ending a tragedy. Because that is Mark's focus, he doesn't appear to preclude exceptions - whether there are exceptions is not his interest.

The call to the ministry

Thu, 10/08/2006 - 22:44 -- James Oakley

The debate has often gone on: Should someone experience a personal call from God to pastoral ministry before they start out? Some say yes (DMLJ), others have said that there is no evidence for this in Scripture, and the wisdom of the church is what counts.

Does it help to consider the parallel debate about assurance (or, more properly, reflex faith). Can I know that I have faith or not? The Roman Catholic church teaches that this cannot be known. Scripture, by contrast, tells us to be motivated in certain ways by our reflex faith. This presupposes that it is possible to have this kind of assurance.

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Watered down gospel?

Fri, 04/08/2006 - 15:49 -- James Oakley

I've just read a beautiful phrase from my friend Dan Young.

The gospel should not "be watered down or diluted to taste, like orange squash".

Helpful for the vivid way it puts it!

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Bible in the driving seat?

Thu, 29/06/2006 - 23:00 -- James Oakley

Enjoyed a stunningly helpful and refreshing lecture from David Jackman at the Proclamation Trust's Evangelical Ministry Assembly.

He had a particularly helpful illustration on the difference between preaching that is expository and preaching that merely delivers our theological framework.

Is the Bible in the driving seat for the sermon - it decides the course the sermon takes?
Or is the Bible in the passenger seat? A useful point of reference, but ultimately we decide where the car goes, not the Bible.

I'm sure that oversimplifies things slightly, but a helpful illustration nonetheless

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Found a new children's Bible I like

Wed, 12/04/2006 - 10:29 -- James Oakley

I found it in Morrisons the other day, at £3.99, called "My First Bible". It was with all the Mr Men books etc.

It has about 60 OT stories, and 55 NT ones. Each is short - one or two sides, with a well-drawn colour illustration. Looking at the stories that are hard to do (or hard to do right), like the fall, the healing of the paralytic, etc., it does a good job. Like it!

ISBN: 1873824831
Authors: Leena Lane and Gillian Chapman

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