Blogroll: Sussex Parson

I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 35 posts from the blog 'Sussex Parson.'

Disclaimer: Reproducing an article here need not necessarily imply agreement or endorsement!

Subscribe to Sussex Parson feed
Christian Biblical Theology Reformed Evangelical Protestant Catholic Anglican * Scripture & The Lord's Supper Research Project * Thoughts Quotes Sermons Notes Questions Rants Gags Outlines * Please excuse my rubbish spelling etc. - a shrink tells me I have the "gift" of dyslexxia so that lets me of bothering (sic)!
Updated: 4 min 42 sec ago

A prayer of Thomas Aquinas before study

Mon, 27/03/2017 - 20:13
A version of this, which I don't remember coming across before, is quoted by James K. Smith in You Are What You Love, p169f

http://preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Varia/CreatorIneff.htmlMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

John 11 & 12 smells (repost)

Mon, 27/03/2017 - 11:33
John 11 and 12 are deliberately linked together by mention of Mary and the anointing of Jesus in chapter 12 and of Lazarus in chapter 12.

We should note the smells:

http://marclloyd.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/john-11-12-are-smelly.html
http://marclloyd.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/2-smelly-men.htmlMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

John 11 some headings

Mon, 27/03/2017 - 07:42
From a sermon by The Revd David Jackman:


The need that led to prayer


The wisdom that led to delay


The doubt that led to faith


The faith that leads to lifeMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

John 11

Mon, 27/03/2017 - 07:28
Some jottings on the Gospel reading for the forthcoming Sunday:


Jesus the Resurrection, Lord of Life & Death (John 11:1-47)


Trust in Jesus, The Resurrection and the Life, the Christ, the Son of God, the Master à belief / faith vv25-26, 45; 20v31


… even in the face of sickness and death – vv1-2


Take your needs straight to Jesus (in prayer) – v3


… even when he seems to get things wrong – v4


… even when his timing is inexplicable or help is delayed – v6


… even when you can’t understand what he says or does, when your faith is weak or confused – vv4-6, 7-8, 11-13; Mark 9v24


… even when it means persecution and opposition and the dangerous self-sacrificial way of the cross – vv7-8, 16


… even when he seems not to answer prayer as we wanted or when it seems hopeless and too late – vv17, 21


… even in the midst of tears, real grief and pain – v19, 21, 31-33


… because of his great love, compassion, sympathy, empathy, true humanity – vv3, 11, 35-36 – Jesus knows what it’s like to weep


… because of his unique, amazing supernatural God-like Creation power, because the Father hears him – vv41-45; 1vv3-4


… because Jesus rules death – vv33, 38 - and gives new life here and now – 17v3 - death is only sleep for the Christian – vv11-13 à nothing to fear – 1 Cor 15v55; a foretaste of the Resurrection, v24


… because if you do you will see the glory of God – v4, 40 - and your faith will be strengthened, which is for your best. Jesus is in control, has a plan and knows what he’s doing


A picture of spiritual rebirth through the gospel – 3v3, 5vv24-29, Eph 2vv1-6à proclaim the gospel with confidence in Jesus’ powerMarc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Reformation 500 Lent Course Session 3: Grace Alone

Wed, 22/03/2017 - 16:50

Reformation 500 Lent Course 2017 (Session 3)


Sola no. 1: Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone – “formal principle” – method – authority – how?


The other solas material content – what?


Sola no. 2: Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone


Are there certain things you feel entitled to / have a right to / feel wronged if you don’t get?
What do you think you deserve from God and from others?
Would you describe yourself as grateful or resentful?


God’s grace and our answering gratitude not a bad slogan for much of the Bible and theology


The meaning of grace: undeserved love, gift


Relational - not some substance / thing or power but God’s disposition / personal attitude towards us and gift of his presence and activity flowing from his love – a characteristic of God


Hebrew OT, hen, (can denote gracefulness or beauty – Proverbs 22:11; 31:30 – charm could be translated favour or grace(fullness)) favour / mercy – Genesis 19:19; 30:27; 32:5; 33:8, 10, 15; 34:11. – Noah, Genesis 6:5, 8 – Genesis 33:11; 43:29; Exodus 33:12, 13, 16, 17, 19 (quoted in Romans 9:15); 34:9; 1 Samuel 1:18; 27:5; Esther 2:7; Deuteronomy 9:4-6, not based on Israel’s righteousness. Numbers 6:24-26 – Aaronic blessing


Hebrew, hesed, mercy / loving kindness / steadfast love / kindness / love / goodness / loyalty / faithfulness / covenant love – 245x in Scripture – Exodus 34:6; 1 Chronicles 16:34, 41; 2 Chronicles 7:3, 6; 20:21; Psalms 107, 118, 136; Deuteronomy 7:9, 12; 1 Samuel 20:8; Nehemiah 1:5; 9:32


Greek NT, charis (related to the word for rejoicing, something of pleasant external appearance – Luke 4:22; Colossians 4:6, loveliness, agreeableness, acceptableness) , grace / favour / good-will (used to translate henin LXX) – Luke 1:30; 2:40, 52; John 1:14-17; Acts 2:47; 4:33; 7:46; 11:23; 18:27; 24:27; 25:9; 15:11; Romans 3:21-24; 4:4, 16; 11:6; Galatians 2:12; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 12:3, 6; 1 Corinthians 3:10; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:7-8; 4:7; 1 Peter 5:10; 2 Corinthians 9:8 – gratitude / thankfulness, 1 Corinthians 10:30; 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 8:16; 1 Timothy 1:2


Greetings and blessings in Epistles - Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; Romans 6:20, 24; 1 Corinthians 16:23; 2 Corinthians 13:14 – “The Grace”


G. R. A. C. E.


Grace is… Mercy is… (children’s song)


Often the favour an inferior finds in the eyes of a superior – e.g. Genesis 6:8; Numbers 6:25


Welsh preacher: “Love with stoop in it” - The love of the prince for a pauper – no rights or claims before God – not something we can merit / earn / demand / are entitled to


“Love for the loveless shown” not because they are lovely but “that they might lovely be” (Hymn: My Song Is Love Unknown) – cf. human attraction – we are not terribly loveable!


Not just narrowly about salvation - Grace is the very definition of who God is - The overflowing generosity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit – “Although all three persons are involved in everything that God does, we may assign to the Father… the giving of the lovethat creates (originating grace); to the Son… the giving of the life that redeems (saving grace); and to the Spirit … the giving of the lightthat sanctifies (illuminating grace).” (Vanhoozer, After Babel, p36 cites Calvin, Institutes1.13.18)


“In sum, the grace that God communicates is ultimately himself, and he does so by uniting people to Christ through the Spirit…. Grace points us to… the priority of God’s presence and activity: his shining face.” (Vanhoozer, After Babel, p57)


Creation an act of the generous over-flowing grace of God – God does not need the world – he does not create the world e.g. because he is lonely!


Our creation is a matter of grace – what do we have that we did not receive? – 1 Corinthians 4:7 – no such thing as a self-made person - my birth, my next heart beat are all a matter of grace – everything I have is an undeserved gift of my loving heavenly Father – it is sheer grace all the way down


Theologians sometimes contrast Common Grace (God’s goodness to all people) and Special Grace (God’s covenant love towards his chosen people). John Murray defines common grace as “every favour of whatever kind or degree, falling short of salvation, which this undeserving and sin-cursed world enjoys at the hand of God.” (quoted in Frame, Systematic Theology, p247) - Psalm 145:9; Matthew 5:44-45


God graciously revealshimself – creation, Israel and the prophets, Christ, Scripture, Spirit all a matter of grace


Jesus was full of grace – John 1:14


God graciously makes covenants(agreements, deals, contracts with promises) with the people he chooses


Why did God choose Israel according to Deuteronomy 7:6-9?


The grace of God in redemption / salvation


Essential to understand our sinfulness and the fact that we deserve God’s righteous judgement – the good news only makes sense because of this bad news – the diamond of the gospel shines brightly in front of this black back-cloth – Romans 6:23; 1:18-3:20 - The amazing thing is not that any are lost but that any are saved – unless we see that we are sick and need a doctor, Jesus’ mission will never make sense to us – Luke 5:31-32


How do the following passages describe people’s condition without Christ? John 3:19-20; 8:34; Romans 3:10-18; 8:6-8; Colossians 3:5-7


Ephesians 1:4-6; 2:1-10 – notice the prominence of faith, Christ and the glory of God too (the other solas)– what is the turning point in 2:1-10?


The initiative is God’s – grace fits with election / predestination / God’s sovereign choice – God chooses us out of undeserved love – left to ourselves we would not choose him – John 3:19; Romans 8:28-39; 9:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-10


We are free in the sense that we do what we want, make real choices, are moral agents accountable to God, but we are not free to live a perfect life – or indeed to want to. We are by nature slaves to sin. Luther’s, On The Bondage of the Will (1525) in response to the Humanist Erasmus’s, On Free Will (1524) – Romans 6:16-23; John 8:34-36


The nature of grace as gift fits with faith, which is the empty hand which receives the gift – faith itself is a gift (God’s gracious work in us)


The Reformed argue that God’s saving grace is irresistible – all whom he effectually calls to the Son come – John 6:37, 44


And since salvation is all of grace, the glory goes to God – all we contribute to our salvation is our sin – all the credit / praise goes to God; all the blame for sin belongs to people


Grace produces humility - attitude to others: there but for the grace of God go I!


Of course, again the RC church agreed that God is gracious – but sola gratia – grace alone – salvation entirely of the grace of God, his work alone – The Council of Trent, Session 6, Concerning Justification ( 1547)


Cf. RC church grace mediated by the church / priests through the sacraments – The Reformed agree that the sacraments are indeed amongst the “means of grace” but not automatic / magic / ex opere operato (from the work worked) – not an independent power, effective for salvation only when received by faith


Cf. Merit – RC church - treasury of surplus merit from the goodness of the saints which the pope could dispense as indulgences


Luke 1:28 – Angel Gabriel: “Hail, Mary, full of grace” – Vulgate made Mary sound like a reservoir of grace (which might be available to others) – better translation: “Greetings, you who have been highly favoured!” – Mary is the recipient of God’s grace


Mercy not merit - Jesus came not as a reward but as a rescue


Other religions, how to somehow reach up to God; Christianity, how God reaches down and lifts us up


Christianity is fundamentally about what God has done in Christ, not about what we must do – Martin Luther: “The law [of God] says, “Do this,” and it is never done. Grace says, “Believe in this,” and everything is already done.” (Heidelberg Disputation, Thesis 26) – One of the purposes of the Law of God is to show us our sin and our need for grace


Luther: “before you take Christ as an example, you accept and recognize him as a gift, as a present that God has given you and is your own.” (A Brief Instruction on What To Look For and Expect in the Gospels)


The Christian life is all of grace – not God saves us but then we must get on by our own unaided efforts / keep ourselves in God’s good books – we work as God works in us – Philippians 2:12-13 – not that we are entirely passive / “let go and let God”


God gives grace to the humble – James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Proverbs 3:34 – not that God is rewarding merit but he is responding to his own prior work in us – grace is effective for those who humbly receive it – the proud don’t think they need grace


God gives the gift of his Holy Spirit to his people (Acts 2:38; 10:45) and various other spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Hebrews 2:4; Ephesians 4:11-14) - Holy Spirit the Spirit of grace – Hebrews 10:29


The protestant scholastics distinguished:
(1) prevenient grace – the grace of the Holy Spirit bestowed on sinners in and through the Word which must precede repentance
(2) Preparing grace by which the Holy Spirit gives us a knowledge of our sinfulness and inability and a desire to believe the gospel
(3) Operating grace, the effective grace of conversion by which we are regenerated (born again), illuminated, granted faith, justified (put right with God and accounted righteous) etc.
(4) Co-operating grace / indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit, working in the believer to make us more like Jesus (sanctification – by which we become more holy)
(5) Conserving / preserving grace which enables the believer to persevere in faith (Muller, Dictionary, p129f)


Responses to grace


Does grace alone mean we can live however we like?


The Libertines in Calvin’s Geneva – we have received grace so we can live as we like – turns grace into licence – God will forgive us – Calvin argues that God’s grace always leads to inner transformation so that we begin to love God and want to please him – we are saved from sin not for sin – Romans 6:1-2; John 14:15


Titus 2:11-14 – What relationship between grace and good works does this passage suggest?


We are not saved by good works but we are saved for good works (Ephesians 2:9-10)
Not good works àsalvation; but salvation (God’s gracious work in us) à good works


Grace à Gratitude, Graciousness, Generosity – The parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35)


Do you find God’s grace amazing? Why or why not?
What difference should the grace of God make e.g. to our attitudes, evangelism, prayer?


Further reading / resources:
James Montgomery Boice, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? Rediscovering the Doctrines that Shook The World (Crossway Good News / Paternoster Authentic Lifestyle, 2002)
John Cheeseman, Saving Grace (Banner of Truth, 1999)
Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace
Carl Trueman, Grace Alone - Salvation as a Gift of God: What the Reformers Taught... and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series) (Zondervan, 2017)


http://christthetruth.net/2010/08/09/grace-alone-sermon/

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Half baked jottings on nature / grace / creation / salvation / sacraments and incarnation and so on

Tue, 21/03/2017 - 10:06
So, we know that we are not meant to be Gnostics. Creation is good.

We must always remember the Creator-Creation distinction, but it is not so much our creatureliness that makes it hard for us to relate to God. Indeed, God made us in his image for relationship with Himself.

The barrier or problem in relating to God is (chiefly?) due to sin.

Creation is God's good work which proclaims his glory. It is a work of art which reflects its maker.

Unfallen creation could be said to contain the sacraments of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Assuming for a moment that it is sensible to speak this way and that we can speculate about such things, some have argued that the incarnation would have taken place even if the fall had not.

The relationship between nature and grace is a complex and controversial matter. Creation / nature is always already a matter of grace - God's generous and unforced, undeserved choice to share his overflowing life.

But this side of the fall, talk of incarnational and sacramental ontology must take account of sin, perhaps more fully than is sometimes the case. This, the Reformed might especially bring to the party. How does God's saving intervention transform creation?

Salvation fulfils creation. It is more than a restoration. Because of the fall radical resurrection life must be given entirely from outside.

(vaguely prompted by mulling over bits of Vanhoozer, After Babel, e.g. roughly pp48-55)Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Christ really present in his Word of promise

Sun, 19/03/2017 - 16:31

“Luther calls the gospel a verbum efficax, an efficacious word that does not simply promise freedom but, in promising, actually frees. Oswald Bayer explains: “That the signum itself is already the res, that the linguistic sign is already the matter itself – that was Luther’s great hermeneutical discovery, his reformational discovery in the strictest sense.” [citing Bayer, Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation (Eerdmans, 2008), 52] Christ is “really present” in his promise.


In sum, we might say that Luther, and the Reformers in general, experienced grace verbally, through the various ways in which the Bible presents Christ – the gift of God.” (p45)


Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity (Brazos, 2016)

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Simon Vibert on John 4

Thu, 16/03/2017 - 11:49
Some jottings from / prompted by Lives Jesus Changed: Lessons About Life From John's Gospel (Christian Focus, 2010) on Sunday's Gospel reading:


Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman are as different as day and night.
In fact, he comes to Jesus at night and she meets him at noon.


It’s not only mad dogs and Englishmen who go out in the mid-day sun, but lonely and socially unacceptable women too.


Questions the Samaritan woman asks:


(1) Religious questions (vv7-10)


It’s not just the woman’s bucket that is empty


(2) Practical questions (vv11, 15)


Jesus offers water which will refresh the parts other (ordinary) water can’t reach


(3) Historical questions (v12)


(4) Theological questions (vv12-15)


(5) Geographical questions (vv20-24)


Things that really matter: (issues Jesus raises)


(1) Ethics (v16)


“the key challenge of the Bible is not that it contradicts itself but that it contradicts me” (p86)


(2) Christology (vv25-26)


Why has John recorded this incident?

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Reformation 500 Lent Course Session 2 - Sola Scriptura - By Scripture Alone

Wed, 15/03/2017 - 17:04

Reformation 500 Lent Course 2017 (Session 2)


Reminder: A summary of key Reformation doctrines - 5 Solas – “Alone”s – Big Ideas


Sola No. 1: Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone


What possible authorities (or influences) are there for our thinking (especially on theology and ethics)?


Scripture – Tradition – Reason – Experience often cited as possibilities – relationship between them?


(Sola Scriptura actually a post-reformation slogan but the idea is key to the reformation)


Authority (Method / “Formal principle”) – foundational – how do we know anything? – on whose say so?


The essence of this claim: the supreme and final authority of Scripture – the last word – top trumps – the supreme court of appeal – allowing the Bible to transform individuals, churches, societies etc.


The importance of the Bible in the Reformation


Ad Fontes! – Humanist Renaissance cry: Back to the sources! – Drink from Scripture, from the pure life-giving source! – original languages and directly not via medieval glosses and commentaries – Magisterial Reformation arguably a theologically conservative project (much tradition retained, high view of Patristic theologians esp. Augustine of Hippo, stressing continuity with early church whilst purging later corruptions – reformed catholicity cf. Radicals)


Luther beating on that verse of Romans – Worms: conscience captive to the Word of God as superior authority to popes and councils – “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing.  And then, while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip [Melanchthon] and my Amsdorf [Nicholaus von], the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it.  I did nothing.  The Word did it all.” - "Sermon on Monday after Invocavit" (1522) Works51:77- perhaps not quite so simple but certainly a great return to the Word


Historical reminder: Jerome’s Latin Vulgate from 4th C


1408 Constitutions of Oxford created by Archbishop Thomas Arundell: “It is a dangerous thing, as witnesseth blessed St. Jerome to translate the text of the Holy Scripture out of one tongue into another, for in the translation the same sense is not always easily kept. . . . We therefore decree and ordain, that no man, hereafter, by his own authority translate any text of the Scripture into English or any other tongue . . . and that no man can read any such book . . . in part or in whole.” – But Wycliffe’s Bible - vernacular Bibles prohibited and burnt in England - 1519, 7 parents burnt for teaching their children English versions of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostle’s Creed


Erasmus’ Greek New Testament (1516) - Printing


Execution of Tyndale for translating the Scriptures from the original languages - The Bible for every Christian - Tyndale on the boy at the plough


1538 – all parishes in England required to purchase and display an English Bible “in some convenient place within the … church” where “parishioners may … read it”


The Book of Homilies begins with a sermon “A Fruitful Exhortation to the Reading of Holy Scripture”


1520 Sola Scripturaeffectively decreed in Zurich – all preaching to be according to Scripture avoiding “human innovations and explanations” – but what does that mean in practice? Controversies follow over Lent fasting and sausages and clerical marriage (extra-biblical traditions)




The inspiration, truth, authority of Scripture as The Word of God Written


Common ground with the RC church


The Bible’s view of the Bible


2 Timothy 3:16 – Spirit / breath / wind (Hebrew & Greek) – not just inspired or inspiring but Spirited – God-breathed – origin, sufficiency, purpose, effectiveness of Scripture – (primarily OT of course)


Calvin – Bible writers secretaries / notaries of the Holy Spirit (though not necessarily dictated!)


Acts 4:25 - 2 Peter 1:21 - Hebrews 3:7 – 2 mistakes! – speaker, tense


Psalm 19:7-11 – descriptions, characteristics and effects of God’s Law / Word


The word of God reflects the character of God – Titus 1:2 – i.e. truthful, trustworthy, authoritative etc.


Infallible (a term used of the Scriptures in Homilies 4, 9, 10) / inerrant – true in all that it affirms


How we respond to someone’s words is how we respond to them – e.g. if you reject my letters, phone-calls and emails you are not just rejecting my words but me – Isaiah 66:2 – Calvin (on 2 Tim 3:16-17): “we owe to the Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God, because it has proceeded from him alone, and has nothing of man mixed with it” – not the physical object of the Bible, but the Bible as God’s voice, God speaking to us today by the Spirit


Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) and on Biblical Hermeneutics (1982) – e.g. not an excessive wooden literalism – parables – phenomenological language


Jesus’ view of the Bible – not just believe the Bible because the Bible tells us to! – Jesus quoted 49 different OT verses - Jesus recognised the Old Testament as the Word of God – “It is written…”; “Have you not read…” – John 10:35 – Matthew 5:18; 15:3; 19:4-5; 22:29 - Mark 7:13 – Scripture must be fulfilled - Luke 4:21; 7:27; 18:31-3; 21:22; 22:37; 24:25-7, 44-7; John 13:18; 15:25; 17:12 – Depends on exact words - John 10:34; Mark 12:26


Jesus seems to presume the historicity of the Old Testament e.g. Luke 4:25-6; 6:3-4, 23, 26; 10:12; 11:31, 51; 13:28, 34; 17:26-32


The NT apostles authorised and commissioned by Jesus, guided by the Holy Spirit - John 14:25-26; 15:27


The Apostles wrote with authority self-conscious authority as Jesus’ authorised representatives – 2 Corinthians 14:37-38; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; 1 John 4:6


In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul quotes Jesus’ words from Luke 10:7 as Scripture
              
Peter recognised Paul’s writings as Scripture – 2 Peter 3:16


Other reasons for believing the Bible e.g. philosophical and psychological sense, influence, artistry, archaeological confirmation, witness of the church / Spirit etc.


The unity and coherence of Scripture – Article 7; also Article 20 – since God does not contradict himself


The power and effectiveness of God’s Word – Genesis 1:3 – Isaiah 55:10-11 – Psalm 29:3-9 - V. J. Menon – Security check: “What have you got in your briefcase, Sir?”


Areas of dispute in Reformation times


The importance of the “alones” - In contrast to what?


(a) The Roman Catholic Church – Tradition – Magisterium (teaching office of the church) – The Pope


Who can (authoritatively) interpret / apply / validate Scripture?


Heretics had appealed to Scripture!


John Dryden, The Hind and the Panther. The second part (1687)


For did not Arius first, Socinus now,                            
  The Son's Eternal Godhead disavow?
  And did not these by gospel texts alone
  Condemn our doctrine, and maintain their own?
  Have not all heretics the same pretence
  To plead the Scriptures in their own defence?
How did the Nicene Council then decide
  That strong debate? was it by Scripture tried?
  No, sure; to that the rebel would not yield;
  Squadrons of texts he marshall'd in the field:
  That was but civil war, an equal set,                             
  Where piles with piles, and eagles eagles met.
  With texts point-blank and plain he faced the foe.
  And did not Satan tempt our Saviour so?
  The good old bishops took a simpler way;
  Each ask'd but what he heard his father say,
  Or how he was instructed in his youth,
  And by tradition's force upheld the truth.


John Dryden, Religio Laici (Or A Layman’s Faith) (1682)


The Book thus put in every vulgar hand,
Which each presum'd he best could understand,
The common rule was made the common prey;
And at the mercy of the rabble lay.
The tender page with horny fists was gall'd;
And he was gifted most that loudest bawl'd:
The spirit gave the doctoral degree:
And every member of a company
Was of his trade, and of the Bible free.
Plain truths enough for needful use they found;
But men would still be itching to expound:
Each was ambitious of th'obscurest place,
No measure ta'en from knowledge, all from grace .
Study and pains were now no more their care:
Texts were explain'd by fasting, and by prayer:
This was the fruit the private spirit brought;
Occasion'd by great zeal, and little thought.
While crowds unlearn'd, with rude devotion warm,
About the sacred viands [food] buzz and swarm,
The fly-blown text creates a crawling brood;
And turns to maggots what was meant for food.
A thousand daily sects rise up, and die;
A thousand more the perish'd race supply:
So all we make of Heaven's discover'd Will
Is, not to have it, or to use it ill.


Since Irenaeus of Lyon (d. c. 202) Tradition as an established way of reading the Bible (agreed interpretations) but increasingly in late medieval period, Tradition as separate source of unwritten revelation going back to Christ and the Apostles - tradition as a coequal norm with Scripture (a view formalised at Trent)


Sylvester Prierias: “Whoever does not hold fast to the teachings of the Roman Church and of the Pope as the infallible rule of faith, from which even Holy Scripture draws its strength and authority, is a heretic.” De potestate papae dialogus (1518)


“Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established.” (Trent, Session 4)


Trent required printers to have a license to print the Scriptures. No one to publish or possess anything related to the interpretation of Scripture unless vetted and approved.


Luther, “when the attempt is made to reprove them [the Romanists] with the Scriptures, they raise the objection that only the pope may interpret the Scriptures.” To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520)


Traditions and the Word of God – Mark 7:1-13 esp. v8


Papal infallibility – speaking ex cathedra - not formally defined until First Vatican Council (1870) but the majority RC opinion at the time of the Counter Reformation – Pope Pius IX, “I, I am Tradition, I, I am the Church” – Sola Roma?! (Vanhoozer, After Babel p119)


(b) The Radicals


Rejection of tradition - Sebastian Frank, Radical (1530): “Foolish Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Gregory – of whom not one even knew the Lord, so help me God, nor was sent by God to teach. Rather, they were all apostles of Antichrist.” (McGrath, Reformation Thought, p146)


(i) Mystics / Spirit / “charismatic” types - experience


(ii) Rationalists - reason


Pure individualism – often a stress on equality, rejection of hierarchy (goods held in common) – recipe for theological chaos – Luther called it a new Babel


The Magisterial Reformers and Tradition


Not Solo / Nuda (naked) Scripture – it is not good for Scripture to be alone (Vanhoozer, After Babel, p144); “Our final authority is Scripture alone, but not a Scripture that is alone” (Mathison, p259) not just me and my Bible (and the Holy Spirit) and a blank sheet of paper - the fellowship of the church down the centuries and around the world - a role for God-given God-gifted teachers (Acts 8:30-31; Ephesians 4:11-16) - a role for scholarship, original languages etc. - the valuable role of Tradition – the church gives more weight to the Council of Nicaea’s Doctrine of the Trinity  than to how every Tom, Dick or Harry reads his Bible


“Although tradition does not rule our interpretation, it does guide it. If upon reading a particular passage you come up with an interpretation that has escaped the notice of every other Christian for 2,000 years, or has been championed by universally recognized heretics, chances are pretty good that you had better abandon your interpretation.” (R. C. Sproul, The Agony of Deceit, pp34-5, quoted in Helopoulas, These Truths Alone, p9)


Ashley Null: “Although it is common among Anglicans to speak of the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, in which each leg is equal, it is far more accurate to speak of Scripture as a garden bed in which reason and tradition are tools used to tend the soil, unlock its nutrients and bring forth the beauty within.” (Lecture quoted in Null and Yates, Reformation Anglicanism, p86)


Tradition / church has a ministerial authority derived from and subordinate to the Scriptures – testimonial rather than judicial authority (Vanhoozer, After Babel, p144) Article VIII. Of the Three Creeds - “The Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius's Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy Scripture.- Article 20


The authority of Bishops and councils etc. in so far as they are faithful to the Word of God – doctrinal rather than historical / institutional continuity – cf. Apostolic Succession – unbroken chain of Bishops back to Peter?


What are our traditions? Are they good / helpful / biblical?
What role, if any, might creeds and confessions have? Are they helpful?


The canon (measuring rod, ruler, rule, norm) – which Scriptures? How do we know? No inspired contents page!


John Eck, Luther’s opponent at Leipzig Disputation 1519, “Scripture is not authoritative without the authority of the church.”


OT already agreed by the time of Jesus


In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of all the books which became our NT and he used the word "canonized" regarding them. The first council that accepted the present canon of the New Testament may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (393).


Criteria for acceptance: Apostolicity – written by or from the circle of / endorsed by the Apostles and holding to their teaching – e.g. Mark the interpreter of Peter


The Bible (Word of God) makes the church. In a sense the church makes the Bible (people write it and then others agree it is authoritative), but the Bible’s authority comes directly from God rather than from the church. The church recognises the authority of the Bible; she does not make the Bible authoritative. The church must interpret the Bible, but the Bible also interprets the church (tells her her nature and function).


The Bible as self-authenticating (a ring of truth) / The witness of the Spirit in the church / Providence


The Apocrypha (see Article VI) – included as Scripture by The Council of Trent session 4 (1546) – cf. Jerusalem Bible today – praying for the dead 2 Maccabees 14:40-46


Trent – Scriptures “as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition” – “the said old and vulgate edition, which, by the lengthened usage of so many years, has been approved of in the Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic; and that no one is to dare, or presume to reject it under any pretext whatever.”


The sufficiency of Scripture – cf. e.g. Apocrypha, Tradition and new revelations of the Spirit


Not strictly Scripture alone – e.g. not Scripture as opposed to Christ! - as part of God’s economy of salvation, accompanied by the Spirit for the church


Thomas Cranmer: “If anything is necessary to be learned, of the holy Scripture may we learn it.” (Preface to the Great Bible, 1540)


Sufficient for what? Not sufficient as a car manual or phone book


“there is no truth, nor doctrine, necessary for our justification and everlasting salvation, but that it is, or may be, drawn out of that fountain and well of truth.” “For in the Holy Scripture is fully contained what we ought to do and to eschew, what to believe, what to love and what to look for at God’s hands at length.” (Homily on Holy Scripture)


Article VI. Of the Sufficiency of the holy Scriptures for salvation “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.… And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine”


Nothing needs to be added to it – Revelation 22:18 - Luke 16:29, 31


Not exhaustive, of course – sinful creatures’ knowledge of God always partial – humility – pause before I identify my reading of the Bible with the voice of God


The clarity / perspicuity (transparency) of Scripture – for all God’s people, Pope not needed to interpret it!


Medieval quadriga 4-fold sense of scripture (literal, allegorical, tropological / moral, analogical / what to hope for) – reformers stress plain / natural / grammatical-historical / literal sense though Christological and prophetic not literalistic


Zwingli, On the Clarity and Certainty of the Word of God (1522), “The Word of God, as soon as it shines upon an individual’s understanding, illuminates it in such a way that he understands it.”


Psalm 119:105, 130; Ephesians 3:4 a very encouraging verse!


The Bible everywhere assumes that it can be understood – Deuteronomy 6 – ordinary people can teach it to their children – Jesus assumed it and blamed people when they did not get it – “Have you not read…” etc.


Some Scriptures are hard to understand – 2 Peter 3:16 – but the problem is with us not with the Bible


“There is nothing spoken under dark mysteries in one place, but the self same thing in other places is spoken more familiarly and plainly, to the capacity both of learned and unlearned.” (Homily on Holy Scripture)


“VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1)


Scripture helps us to interpret Scripture – clearer texts help us understand the more obscure ones – the parts interpret the whole, and the whole the parts - value of a system, though reformable by Scripture – virtuous spiral not vicious circle - Calvin’s Institutes(French edition 1541, preface) “could be like a key and entrance to give access to all the children of God, in order that they might really understand Holy Scripture” – Christ and the gospel as interpretive keys


Prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit - 2 Timothy 2:7


Protestantism’s dangerous idea? A Pandora’s box of unchecked subjectivism? Everyone reads as is right in his own eyes - The multiplication of interpretations, divisions, denominations etc. – splits over everything! E.g. Luther and Zwingli disagree over Matthew 26:26 - Christians disagree about the meaning and application of some Scriptures, even though it is clear in essentials - “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity (love)” (often attributed to Augustine; German Lutheran, Rupertus Meldenius (c. 1627), quoted by Richard Baxter, English puritan).


The centre and goal of the Scriptures is life-giving faith in Christ


John 5:37-47 – You can have a PhD in Biblical Studies and miss the whole point – Bible knowledge not an end it itself


Luke 24 – The risen Jesus leads a Bible Study and says it’s all about him!


Luther: “There is no doubt that all the Scripture points to Christ alone” (WA, 10:73) “All of Scripture everywhere deals only with Christ’ (WA, 46:414); “In the words of Scripture you will find the swaddling clothes in which Christ lies. Simple and little are the swaddling clothes, but dear is the treasure, Christ, that lies in them” (LW, 35:236) – Sola Scriptura means that it is in Scripture that we definitively meet Christ, the real Jesus of the Bible not some Christ of our imagination


How does the Bible feature in your life? Do you agree it was worth people dying for the sake of an English Bible? Does your use of it reflect its value?
How can we “continue in what” we “have learnt and become convinced of” from the Holy Scriptures? (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
What ways of interacting with the Bible have you found helpful / would you recommend?
Have you found any resources / translations / notes / groups etc. helpful?
What fuel is there for prayer and praise in what we have thought about in this session?


Collect for the second Sunday in Advent: “BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”


Further reading / resources:
Matthew Barrett, God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture – What the Reformers Taught … and Why it Still Matters (The 5 SolasSeries) (Zondervan, 2016)
Roger Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church (1985)
Timothy George, Reading Scripture with the Reformers (IVP Academic, 2011)
Anthony N. S. Lane, ‘Sola Scriptura? Making Sense of a Post-Reformation Slogan’, in A Pathway Into the Holy Scripture (ed. by Philip E. Satterthwaite & David F Wright; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994)
Marc Lloyd, ‘What the Bible Says, God Says:  B. B. Warfield’s Doctrine of Scripture’ Ecclesia Reformanda 1.2 (2009): 183-210 https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ecclesia-reformanda/1.2_183.pdf
Keith A. Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura (Canon Press, 2001)
John Murray, ‘Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture’ https://www.the-highway.com/articleNov06.html
Michael Ovey and Daniel Strange, Confident: Why We Can Trust the Bible (Christian Focus, 2015)
John Piper, ‘Always Singing One Note—A Vernacular Bible - Why William Tyndale Lived and Died’ http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/always-singing-one-note-a-vernacular-bible
Mark Thompson, A Clear and Present Word: The clarity of Scripture (IVP, 2006)
Timothy Ward, Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God (IVP, 2009)
John Wenham, Christ and the Bible
Andrew Wilson, Unbreakable: What the Son of God taught about the Word of God (10 Publishing, 2014)
Douglas Wilson, ‘Sola scriptura, creeds, and ecclesiastical authority’ pp. 255-286 in Mathison, Keith A., ed. When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism(P & R Publishing, 2004)


Glen Scrivner Sermon – Scripture Alone - http://christthetruth.net/2010/08/27/scripture-alone-sermon/


http://www.warbletonchurch.org.uk/sermons-talks/?sermon_id=173– The Bible and what it can do for you (all age talk) – 2 Timothy 3: 3:14-4:2, Psalm 19:7-14 - February 5, 2017
http://www.warbletonchurch.org.uk/sermons-talks/?sermon_id=174– The Bible view of the Bible – its authority and inspiration – John 10:31-39 – Feb 12 2017
http://www.warbletonchurch.org.uk/sermons-talks/?sermon_id=181– The clarity, sufficiency and purpose of Scripture – John 5:31-47 – Feb 26 2017

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Scripture not ex opere operato

Tue, 14/03/2017 - 17:59
"Scripture's clarity does not mean that reading works ex opere operato, as if simply pronouncing the words magically yields understanding." (p113)

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity (Brazos, 2016)Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Romans 5:1-11

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 14:37
While we are on the subject of the lectionary readings for the forthcoming Sunday, here is my attempt at a sermon on Romans 5:1-11

http://www.warbletonchurch.org.uk/sermons-talks/?sermon_id=141

and some text for a handout:


Romans 5vv1-11 (page 1132)


Since we have been justified through faith in Jesus (vv1, 9) …




grace (v2)






3 Things the Christian Believer
Can & Should Rejoice In:




(1)  in the hopeof the glory of God (v2)


Because:


(a) God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (v5)


(b) Christ died for us sinners (vv6-8)


(c) God has forgiven us and made us his friends and will certainly save us (vv9-11)




(2) in suffering (vv3-4)


Because:


suffering à perseverance àcharacter à hope




(3) in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received reconciliation (v11)



Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

She left her bucket

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 08:39
Why does John bother to tell us this detail in 4v28?


V28 – “leaving her water jar”?

Previously the woman had been fixated with getting water from the well, but now she forgets all about water from Jacob’s well because she’s received living water from the Lord Jesus.

She has given up perusing water that cannot satisfy.
She forgets the water jar because she’s so taken up with Jesus.
Perhaps she's so excited to tell others about Jesus that she doesn't want to be slowed down by her bucket!Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

John 4vv27-42

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 08:33

Jesus’ Secret Food Supply
John 4:27-42


Vv10-14: Jesus is able to give Living Water


V32: Jesus has a secret food supply (cf. v8, v27, v31, v33)


What is Jesus’ food?
Jesus’ food is to do the will and work of the Father (v34)
That is what sustains and satisfies him (cf. Dt 8:3).
à What keeps you going? Where do you look for satisfaction?
à When did you last miss a meal you were so taken up with something else? Would you put yourself out for this work?


What is the Father’s will and work?
What has Jesus just been doing?
Seeking worshippers (v23 cf. v27)
5:17-21; 6:38-40; 9:3-4; 17:4; 19:30
Jesus the Saviour of the World (v42; cf. 3:17)
Look: a great harvest has begun (vv35-38; cf. v30)
à Do not delay the work of evangelism (vv35-36)
à Open your eyes; look for opportunities


How is this work done / this harvest brought in?
Jesus is sent by the Father (v34)
Jesus sends his disciples into the harvest field (v38; cf. Mt 9:38)
Believers will do even greater works than Jesus (14:12)
à Be involved in this great work of evangelism
A partnership in which there are different parts (vv36-38)
The Samaritan woman is involved in the harvest; the Samaritans are part of the crop
The value of personal “testimony”, bearing witness (v39)
Speaks of her own experience about Jesus (v29, v39)
à Could you give your testimony?
The priority of Jesus’ words (vv41-42)
à Work for this food that lasts and satisfies (6:27-29)Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

John 4vv1-26 - a handout

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 08:33

 John 4:1-26 LORD Seeks Tart to Worship Him


A typical boy meets girl story – Gen 24, Isaac & Rebekah; Gen 29, Jacob & Rachel; Ex 2, Moses & Zipporah; John 4, Jesus & the Samaritan woman
Jesus at a wedding, 2:1-12; Jesus the Bridegroom, 3:29; Eph 5:32
The LORD the husband of an adulterous people, Hosea 1:2


The Samaritan woman’s 3-fold exclusion: (1) woman, v27; (2) Samaritan, v9 (3) notoriously immoral, v6, 6th hour = noon, v18


The good news about Jesus is for everyone – good and bad alike
Nicodemus also needs to be born again of water and Spirit, 3:5


Living water: refreshment, satisfaction, (eternal) life, v13, 10:10, cleansing = Spirit, 7:37-39
We are all thirsty, v7, v10, Jer 2:13 – what is your broken well?
Jesus is the only fountain of living waters, nothing else can satisfy, vv13-14, Ps 42:1-2
A free gift, v10 – just ask Him


We can’t pretend to Jesus, vv16-19, v29, 1:47-50; 2:24-25; Ps 139:1-4. We might as well be honest with him.


It is not where you worship but whom you worship and how you worship that counts; Jesus the New Temple, 2:19-22
Jesus the Truth, v24, 14:6
We can worship God only through Jesus and the Spirit he gives


Jesus thirsts, v7, 19:28, Ps 22:14-15, so that we can drink - water flows from Jesus, 19:34


Jesus says “I AM”, v26, Ex 3:14


A betrothal of belief – engage yourself to Jesus, be faithful to him

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Who is thirsty and for what? (John 4)

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 08:30



Another great surprise of this passage is that it seems Jesus is the thirsty one (vv6-7), but it turns out that the Samaritan woman is really the thirsty one!
Initially, Jesus asks her for a drink
But then:
V10 - Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
Jesus has a secret abundant supply of living water.


The woman misunderstands:
Vv11-12: "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"


Jesus is far greater than Jacob.
Drink from Jacob’s well and you’ll be back again in a few hours.
Drink from Jesus and you’ll be a spring of living water for others.
V13 - Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
The woman is a fountain of life for the Samaritan townspeople.
She overflows with who Jesus is.
Sinful and weak as we are, if we are trusting in Christ, we can bring spiritual life to others
This Samaritan woman becomes a great evangelist!
v39 - "Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony"


Our insatiable thirst – not only physically but spiritually
We are all thirsty


Jeremiah 2:13 - "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.


 – what is your broken cistern, your cracked well, your leaky bucket?


Where do you look for identity, meaning, security, satisfaction, fullness?
My life would be fine, if...
I'd be okay so long as...


For this woman perhaps men
Mr Right – who always turned out to be Mr Wrong
Sex, relationships


Maybe for you its: Money, work, alcohol, drugs, family, power / influence, false religion, good works


Famous journalist: Malcolm Muggeridge:


"I may, I suppose, regard myself, or pass for being, a relatively successful man.
People occasionally stare at me in the streets—that's fame.
I can fairly easily earn enough to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Inland Revenue—that's success.
Furnished with money and a little fame even the elderly, if they care to, may partake of trendy diversions—that's pleasure.
It might happen once in a while that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time—that's fulfilment.
Yet I say to you, and I beg you to believe me, multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing—less than nothing, a positive impediment—measured against one draught of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are.
What, I ask myself, does life hold, what is there in the works of time, in the past, now and to come, which could possibly be put in the balance against the refreshment of drinking that water?"


Its as if we try to satisfy our thirst with salt water, with things that only make us more thirsty we deadened our spiritual taste buds but never satisfy our thirst
Life dry and empty without Jesus


Jesus is the only fountain of living waters, nothing else can satisfy
Jesus offers us everything we could ever need.


Living water: refreshment, satisfaction,
Life – die very quickly without water – hot country without a constant supply of water in a tap
“(eternal) life”, v13,
10:10 – full, abundant life,
Cleansing
Spirit, John 7:37-39
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”


Even as a believer, are you longing for God?
the Psalmist says (Ps 42:1-2):
“As the deer pants for streams of water,
So my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Where can I go and meet with God?”


A free gift, v10 – just ask Jesus


Jesus thirsts, v7,
“I thirst” - 19:28,
Ps 22:14-15,
Jesus is made thirsty so that we can drink
water flows from Jesus’ side, 19:34 – more than a coroner’s report
Fountains of living water welling up from him.Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Contrast Nicodemus and The Samaritan Woman

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 08:26
John 3 and 4 contain two one-to-one conversations with Jesus, but the conversation partners are very different.


The good news about Jesus is for everyone – good and bad alike
You could hardly get two more different people than Nicodemus the Pharisee from John 3 and the Samaritan woman from John 4
But they both desperately need what only Jesus can give
Nicodemus also needs to be born again of water and Spirit, 3:5
The respectable, educated, religious, moral, powerful, influential man tells us that we can’t be so good that we don't need Jesus
The unrespectable, immoral, peasant woman tells us that we can’t be so bad that Jesus wont give us what we need
The good news of Jesus is not just for religious somebodies like Nicodemus (ch 3) but for irreligious nobodies like this woman

Kostenberger, John, p112 contrasts:
place - Jerusalem - Samaria
time - night - noon
occasion - planned visit
sex - providential encounter
ethnic group - Jew - Samaritan
social status - high; ruler / teacher - low; immoral woman
attitude - respectful but incredulous - from antagonistic to witness
discourse - from dialogue to monologue - dialogue throughout
message - must be born again - worship God in Spirit and in truth

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

A surprising match (John 4)

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 08:21

Jesus says to the Samaritan woman: “will you give me a drink?” (v7)


The Samaritan woman seems surprised and defensive.
V9


It’s surprising that Jesus should ask this woman for a drink for 3 reasons:


The Samaritan woman’s 3-fold exclusion:
(1) woman
feminism had not yet reached ancient Palestine – women’s lib had a long way to go
V27 – the disciples are surprised to find Jesus talking with a woman - it was not done for men to talk to women in public
Jewish prayer, “Blessed art thou O Lord who has not made me a woman”


An unusual leading lady
Not the most eligible of brides:


(2) Samaritan, v9
traditional enemies of the Jews – that’s why the Good Samaritan is a surprising hero in Jesus’ parable
Samaria was captured by the Assyrians centuries ago. Assyrian Conquest - 720BC ? - Large numbers of the inhabitants were deported from the Northern Kingdom of Israel and replaced by people from the Assyrian empire in 729BC. (2 Kings 17:24.)
The worship of idols was added to the worship of the true God and there was a multi-cultural, multi-faith society
Hostility between the Samaritans and the Jews who returned from exile (Ezra 4:2, 9-10)
The Samaritans had built a temple on Mt Gerizim (v20) in around 400BC which was burnt by the Jews around 128BC.
The Jews saw the Samaritans as political rebels, racial half-breds and as theologically tainted religious mongrels


(3) notoriously immoral
a tart, a slut – the people of Samariaprobably found worse things to call her
v18 - Jesus says to her: “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband”
Unusual today – unheard of in 1st C Palestine
this woman had quite a reputation
social outcast, perhaps that is why she comes to the well at the “6th hour” (v6) = noon
the hottest time of the day, in the heat of the baking Palestinian mid-day sun
hardly the hour for manual labour
deliberately choosing the time when no one else would be around
mad dogs and Englishmen and social pariahs go out in the mid-day sun


Especially unusual for a rabbi to speak to a sinful woman like this
Jesus doesn't care about his reputation or what others think of him
Jesus bothers to stop and talk to this woman and engages with her
Who knows how many sexual partners this woman had had
Perhaps Jesus is the only man in a long while to be interested in her for anything other than her freely available body
Jesus treats her with respect and dignity


Jesus isn’t bound by social convention
His love reaches across every conceivable barrier and embraces all
(Lessons for us there)

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

The LORD seeks tart to worship him (John 4)

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 08:17



It’s typical boy meets girl story
A man goes to a foreign country seeking a bride, meets a woman at a well, asks for a drink, gives her water, and then they get married.
It might not sound very romantic to us, but it’s the Bible equivalent of the classic Hollywood love story.


Think of:
Gen 24, Isaac & Rebekah;
Gen 29, Jacob & Rachel;
Ex 2, Moses & Zipporah;


And now in John 4, Jesus & the Samaritan woman


The context in John points to this theme too:
Jesus at a wedding, 2:1-12;
Jesus the Bridegroom, 3:29;


In the wider Biblical theology – Jesus is the bridegroom, his church is the bride. Eph 5:32
The LORD the husband of an adulterous people e.g. Hosea 1:2


The chat up line comes in verse 7:
Jesus says to the Samaritan woman: “will you give me a drink?”Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

The Holy Spirit can even work if the preacher uses a handout!

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:21
It is good to see that Ralph Cunnington (Preaching with Spiritual Power: Calvin's Understanding of Word and Spirit in Preaching, p124) insists on this against Hywel-Jones ('Preaching the Word in the Power of the Holy Spirit' Foundations 60 (2011), p85)!Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Pages