James's Weblog

Boulders in Rivers

Fri, 24/11/2006 - 10:26 -- James Oakley

Thanks to Graham Wintle for this one: friend, my vicar 10 years ago, now at St Stephen’s Willoughby in Sydney

A stone can affect a river in one of two ways. It can cause the waters to ripple – in slight, but intriguing ways. Or it can be a large boulder that diverts the entire course of the river.

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Smart Tags in Word

Wed, 22/11/2006 - 10:44 -- James Oakley

You have to love Microsoft Word’s “smart tags” feature.

Screenshot of the Smart Tags feature in operation

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Has liberalism vanished?

Fri, 17/11/2006 - 21:46 -- James Oakley
Candles
Image Credit: Esteban Chiner

Liberalism is no longer spoken of as a church tradition. Does this mean that it no longer exists? Quite the reverse. It's on a mission to take over entirely, eclipsing all the previous churchmanships within the Anglican church. Read on to see what I mean

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The real presence

Thu, 26/10/2006 - 23:07 -- James Oakley

Thanks to Marc Lloyd for this one.

Doug Wilson is very helpful in articulating with clarity a Calvinist view of the Lord's Supper.

In a nutshell: Are the bread and wine that we share just bread and wine? His answer is: Yes... In the same sense in which the words on the page of the Bible are just words on a page.

The comments beneath his post are as worth reading as the post itself, because they clarify precisely what he is and is not saying.

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The magicians and the plagues

Sat, 21/10/2006 - 22:19 -- James Oakley

I love the fact that the Egyptian magicians think it is clever to copy the first few plagues. (They run out of steam when it gets to the gnats).

The Egyptians "grow weary of drinking water from the Nile" (7:18 - !), because it is turned to blood. So the Egyptians produce... more blood.

Pharaoh is pleading (not very dignified for a king of Egypt, 8:8) with Moses and Aaron to take away the frogs. But that's alright - his magicians can produce... more frogs.

I mean: What use is more blood and more frogs?! The one thing they cannot copy is Yahweh's ability to take away the plagues. Thus it's clear, even from plague 1, that Yahweh is without rival in Egypt.

There are many temporal expressions of God's anger in today's world. The false gods we all serve to varying degree can replicate many of these expressions of anger. But there is no god in the world, except the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who can take away the anger of God.

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ECU - Another Irony of "Equal Opportunities"

Sat, 21/10/2006 - 21:50 -- James Oakley

I don’t know whether this week’s Church Times’ reporting of the Exeter CU (sic) debate is accurate or not. But:

The ECU had hoped to have a ruling overturned that had forced it to add the word ‘Evangelical’ to its title. Instead, it had its Student Union bank account frozen, and was banned from free use of Student Guild premises, or advertising events within the Guild.

The new equal-opportunities policy was introduced this term by the Students’ Guild. The Guild told the ECU that it failed to meet the criteria because of a doctrinal statement that all speakers and committee members have to sign.

The Guild asked that other people who did not abide by the statement should be on the ECU committee.

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Long live King Joash!

Fri, 20/10/2006 - 09:43 -- James Oakley

I like the story of King Joash / Jehoash (1 Kings 11-12).

When he was just born (under a year old, comparing 11:3 and 11:21), the person who thought they ruled Judah (Athaliah) killed all the kings sons. Why such ruthlessness? She wanted to rule, and felt threatened that a new heir to the throne had been born.

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"The Father's Love Letter"

Mon, 16/10/2006 - 16:15 -- James Oakley

Someone recently pointed me to this poem, where each line is associated with a verse of Scripture, entitled The Father’s Love Letter.

One of the things I like about it is (even allowing for several / many misappropriations of Bible verses) that it is a heart-warming exposition of the love of God for his people. God’s love for his people is part of his glorious character, and it is good to see facets of it laid out.

But I have to admit to not being too keen on it as a piece of writing.

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Peter Enns on Exodus

Sat, 14/10/2006 - 18:28 -- James Oakley

I’m enjoying Peter Enns, NIV Application Commentary, Exodus more than I expected to. He has clearly spent a lot of time with the Hebrew text of the book, and has a lot of helpful observations to make.

For example, the word for “worship” in 4:23 is of the same root as the word for “work” in 5:9. (‘bd). The conflict between Yahweh and Pharaoh is being seen in yet one more respect – which king will successfully command the work/worship of the Hebrews.

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