Thursday, October 29, 2009

Key to the kingdom...?

I've been a Christian for 21 years. Exactly.

If you want the precise details it was about 8:30 in the evening, on Saturday 29th October 1988, somewhere about here:
I was on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train and hadn't quite reached Falkirk... So now you know.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Speaking the truth in love...

Inspired by last week's sermon from The Meeting House... It was a good one, why not download it?

Ephesians 4v14-16
[14] Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. [15] Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. [16] From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
[Back in June I commented on the verses immediately preceding these. I'm not that slow a reader to just be getting to this now...]

What does it mean to "speak the truth in love"?

So often I've come across folk who're prepared to use that verse as a justification for pointing out the errors of others: "Brother I love you, so its my place to point out that your behaviour in this area of life is not good, and you need to change your ways..."

That's speaking the truth in love, isn't it?

But how does that fit with Jesus's words in Matthew 7v3-5?
[3] "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [4] How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Here, speaking the truth would involve the admission that "I've got a whopping big log in my eye". In other words, my problems are bigger than yours, I can't claim the moral high ground. And the 'in love' bit only comes into it because I'll only speak the truth about me in the context of a love relationship where I know I won't get abused because of it...

Also, how about James 5v16?
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
That's more speaking of truth in love. Wow. Does anybody do this in church these days? Not confessing your sins to the priest in the confessional, but to each other.

speaking the truth, in love.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Following a challenge by a friend of mine, I've been listening to some sermons by an American theologian whose position is considerably more conservative than mine. On the whole, I've found it to be a reasonably interesting experience and there's surprisingly little I'd disagree with the guy on.

But one thing struck me while listening to the sermons. He is very hard-line on the unchanging nature of God and the infallibility of the bible. Fair enough, many Christians are. You can find my thoughts on the infallibility of the bible in several of my previous blog postings. And while I've previously doubted the unchanging nature of God, I remain reasonably agnostic on the issue.

But the thing that struck me about this guy was not that he stuck to these 'foundations', but rather his reason for sticking to them. He didn't seem to justify them from the bible itself, or from some other first principles. No, his main reason for holding to these two foundations seems to be along the lines of "this must be true, or else we couldn't be certain of anything...".

So its not that he has good reasons for holding to those things, its just that the worldview he has chosen requires them to be true. His whole theology would fall apart if they weren't true. For him they appear to be unquestioned foundations. And he daren't question them, because if they turn out not to be solid foundations, then the world becomes a much more complicated place and everything becomes uncertain.

I can't go along with this line of reasoning. The universe is an uncertain and complicated place.

But what do you lot think?