James's Weblog

Applying the weak and the strong

Mon, 04/06/2007 - 21:03 -- James Oakley

I remember a conversation two years ago with a Christian brother, discussing how to apply Romans 14-15 today. It's really hard. Because, by definition, all the examples Paul picks are areas of life where we think we're right. So how do you judge whether this is (a) an example where you have an opinion and must follow it, but refusing to judge / look down on others who think differently is paramount, or (b) an example where you really are right, and others therefore need to be rebuked, corrected, cajoled into thinking the same as you.

Or is that a dilemma to be refused?

Well - I enjoyed Jam Cary's application on his blog. It's really helpful. Thanks, Jam.

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Excommunicate all without exception!

Wed, 30/05/2007 - 12:56 -- James Oakley

And there's more

"Confusing this 'union with Christ' with visible membership in the body of Christ through outward profession or sacramental expression is a serious error and endangers our church's faithful testimony to the Gospel essential of justification by faith alone." (lines 24-27, page 2214, of PCA on FV).

The force of the argument seems to be that we must not give the sacraments to those who are not elect. But the only way to avoid this, with no risk of false positives, is to give the sacraments to nobody at all. It's back to God's secret counsel again.

But the NT clearly does not say that we don't treat anyone as elect for risk of getting it wrong. At this point, covenantal objectivity is one way to go, and there have been others suggested. But if it is paramount to avoid treating someone who is not decretally elect as though they were, we're stuck with a null church.

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"The nations" in Rev 20:8

Sat, 26/05/2007 - 10:20 -- James Oakley

Can someone help me with this?

In Rev 20:8 the final rebellion is described. Granted, we are not told how long this rebellion will last - and it could be momentary. If it were momentary, there would be no conflict with the idea that the sweep of history is the story of the gospel's progress.

But: Why does the rebellion come from "the nations" qua nations. To stress the point, this is the nations at the four corners = every nation (without exception?). Why do we suddenly find nations - the Father's gift to the Son according to Psalm 2 and Matthew 28 - becoming the proponents of a last-ditch Satanic rebellion?

Comments please!

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Ascension Day... and billows of smoke

Thu, 17/05/2007 - 15:31 -- James Oakley

Today is Ascension Day, when we celebrate Jesus’ return to his Father, the completion of his work on earth, and the fact that he is now Lord of all the kingdoms on earth.

Yesterday I listened to Doug Wilson’s third talk from the Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference. Less content than the first two of his talks there, but very worth listening to. His main point was that we don’t see, on the ground, a world ruled by Jesus Christ. And then made the point that we are better at

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Welcome, Samantha!

Mon, 14/05/2007 - 11:13 -- James Oakley

Now that Sunday has passed, and our church members at St James Audley have had time to read their notice sheet, I can post this.

We have appointed Samantha Pentlow to be our next Schools and Youth Worker. She'll start working with us sometime in the summer - when she's finished her Part Time Oak Hill diploma in Youth and Children's Ministry, and finished off her youth work commitments at All Saints, Riseley, in North Beds.

Welcome to St James, Samantha! It'll be great to have you here. Many people spoke to me yesterday morning to tell me that they were thrilled to read of your appointment.a href=

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Bible Translations

Mon, 14/05/2007 - 11:10 -- James Oakley

I’ve just posted a comment on a friend’s blog. (If anyone is interested, here’s original post). He asks which Bible translation to use for serious study in English.

There’s no shortage of good articles tackling this subject, but I thought I’d post my response here too, just in case it helps anyone else.

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