Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blog Off!

Right, we've just collected lots of lovely fancy dress (but sadly perhaps no hats and kid gloves) and arranged for the champagne substitute and the rings to get to Manchester.

Tommorow first thing we drive up to The Grim North and on Sat at 1pm its the nuptuals. Looking forward to a couple of good meals, the odd pint and a glass or two of decent red before then.

Must learn the vows, print out some maps and think lovely thoughts about the speech. Better nice and dull than crass or crude, don't you think?

We're off the the Amalphi Coast of Italy a couple of hours north of Naples for a couple of weeks and then moving house.

But check back here eagerly on Friday 14th July and there might even be some pretty pictures of DY looking too wonderful for words and Marc happily filling his morning suit.

Ta. Blessings.

Cockfosters: delights, disappointments and dangers

Cockfosters (just up the road from college) is much better than nasty Southgate or average Enfield but amidst its undoubted delights (The Cock & Dragon, The Deil, The Coffee Shop, Miracles, The newly discovered bar and eatery at the Chickenshed - drinkable cold Boddies - there are disappoinments and dangers.

The hot cheese and bacon cwason I had for breakfast this morning in the bakers nearest college was excellent. Unfortunately the woman who served me barely spoke English and was very slow and seemed like she'd much rather have her feet up at home. She'd enjoy herself rather more if she put her heart and soul into optomising my pleasure and her profits, I think. The price was good but the instant Nescafe coffee was bad - it hurt to drink it.

The newspaper shop next door is excellent too: good range of stationary, folders of different colours, lots of envelopes and The Spectator. Lots of porn, though, quite prominently displayed. And the postcards in the window are truly alarming: most offer massage. Some 100% massage. The hair colour, nationality, gender and weight of the messaur is mentioned, but her qualifications never are. The most worrying advert just says: "Nice young girl. Blonde. Discrete. N21 area." and gives a mobile phone number. The handwriting is shakey and looks semi-literate. Now surely this is criminal soliciting and the Newsagent is a pimp? Women who are arrested in red-light districts surely do not have to put up a price list of services to be guilty of an offense? Should I have complained to the newsagent, phoned the women or called the police? Or is praying and blogging sufficient?

Rhetoric Volume Control

Pastor Douglas Wilson is of course in favour of motherhood and apple pie, of being nice and kind and humble and generous and so on, but he also enjoys expressing himself pithily and punchily, at times, it seems to me. There are times when we should turn the rhetoric up and we need to keep it turned on at all times and the volume control close at hand.

Here are the Rev'd Mr Wilson's suggestive reflections on having a taste for strong rhetoric in its place and from time to time:

If I get a chance, I would like to post something later about Coulter's rhetoric, and what it is about her writing that seems to whip mild-mannered people into a froth. In writing about this, I would, of course, comport myself with modesty and decorum, and not contribute to the anguish of these mild-mannered people myself. Or at least, not any more than is necessary. What is it that makes some people believe that salt and vinegar potato chips are a sin? You don't have to eat the whole bag, and it is all right to get something out of the fridge to drink if you like.
(see Wilson's Blog, linked on the right - appropriately, perhaps! :) )

Loving Cup

Do you think it would be a good idea to use a nice loving cup (the two handled, designed for sharing and passing on variety) for the administration of the wine in the Lord's Supper?

This would emphasise our unity and the fact that we commune together. The style of holding both handles to drink also encourages a good hearty draught of joyful imbibing.

I reckon that'd be a great liturgical reform. Maybe The House of Bishops could commission a report and commend it to the church for study?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Themelios (31, no 3, '06)

There's much worth reading and signposts to other stuff worth reading in the latest edition of Themelios, which strangley, although it only arrived in the Oak Hill library recently says April 2006 on the cover, which was yonks ago.

Carl Trueman always writes engagingly and is sound as a pound and provocative. The spirit of his editorial, a tribute to the late great Bob Horn (sometime Gen. Sec. of UCCF) is excellent: humble yet willing to contend. There are some reflections on British evangelicalism and 3 things to learn from Mr Horn.

I only ever met Bob Horn properly once when he gave a paper at an RTSF conference on historical theology which I organised in Oxford. He spoke about his secret writing projects and his desire to see a biography of Warfield. I remember he kindly came for the whole day and quitely worked on a pile of admin he held together with elastic bands on his knee while he listened to different people give their papers.

Also worth a look in Themelios is Fesko's controversial article critqueing N T Wright's Prolegomena (ie stated methodology and aims). It will be interetsing to see if Fresko is really fair to Wright.

Now I come to think of it, I'd like to read Paul Wells on The Social Covenant and Reformational Thought, Thomas Schreiner on NT & Homosexuality and Robbie (Surely, Robert?) F. Castleman on Surprise as the essential nature of grace too.

Highlights amongst the book reviews include:

Craig Blomberg, 3 crucial QQ on the NT (looks a bit predicatble and derivative)

Dunn's New Perspective collected essays with a previously unpublished essay "Whence, Where and Whither" on the history of the approach.

Also reviews by Dave Gibson, Marcus Honeysett and Graham Bynon.

There arent enough hours in the day, are there? So many books so little time (and energy).

PS. No taking Themelios out of the library and make sure you put the journals back in alphabetical order by title when you are not using them, not leaving them on desks nor on the trolley (The Student Librarian)

Spending my days

You can see an updated version of a presentation I gave in Feb on my big fat research project via my other web space here.

Its called 'Legible Words and Edible Sacraments' and it examines the Reformed Evangelical doctrines of the Lord's Supper and the Scripture in the light of one another and tries to relate them to one another for Evangelical Anglicans.

The lovely research degrees panel of the Church of England kindly noted the importance of the project, gave full funding and reccomended that it be turned into a PhD as continuing ministerial education in the parish. Praise God!

Now I ought to stop blogging and get on with some work on it.

I'm going to be spending my days on it over the summer, after marriage and honeymoon and moving house and around camp and an Oak Hall trip and blogging, of course.

Comments and questions and all your help are most welcome!

The Bibliography You Want!

You can see a 9 page word document giving bibliography on The Lord's Supper and Scripture here. Mainly books available in the Oak Hill College Library, and with an emphasis on Reformed Evangelical Anglicanism. Niche, eh?

You'll never have to type in those pesky references again!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Musical Analogies in Theology

For those with eyes to see them, or should I say ears to hear them, it is suprising how often one comes across music analogies used in theological explanation or argumentations.

Examples include Barth, who had a portrait of Mozart on his study wall and even wrote a book about him. Tom Wright seems to like his music too: his anology of improvising on the theme of the Bible has been badly misunderstood by some.

Or take this, from Dr Field's blog:

We men may do what we will, Nebuchadnezzar may come and Genghis Khan and Mao Tse-tung; none of them can break God’s plans, but rather must fulfil them – against their will! Even though what we hear now is the dark minor tone, what is being played is still God’s symphony, and it will be played out to the end. The individual tones may think they are who knows what; they may want to assert themselves and swing out on their own. And yet they have all been composed into a score of which God alone is in command and in which everything, when it is heard from heaven’s vantage point, has its place in God’s succession of tones that end in his final chord. “The rich of this world are in process of going, but the kingdom of God is in process of coming,” Blumhardt once said. (Helmet Thelike's Sermons, p.295)

I know a woman in Christ who often says of these theological musical goodies that they are such "unmusical" comments: no contemporary musician or musicologist would have put it like that, she says.

Admittedly I don't know what I'm talking about when I try to do that kind of thing, but I imagine probably someone like Wright does. Maybe its a good thing to have harmonious theology that we can sing?

Vanhoozer's essay on praising God in song might have interesting things to add to this discussion - see my essay on my website.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sad & impossible & bad & ... oh dear!

"It seems the Episcopal Church has lived up to the name of its great missionary and former presiding bishop, Rev. Philander Chase, who founded Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus in 1817. Trinity was the site of the Gay Eucharist on Friday evening. Finally, Trinity has embraced the legacy of its founder by becoming the Church of Philanderers." --Hans Zeiger, VirtueOnline correspondent at GC2006.

The Danger of Blog Ads

What do people think about the little ads on Google's blogger or say on Ros' sight?

I believe Google's adds allow some control / filtering to the owner and they often look interesting and sometimes helpful. And on my blog sometimes I fear they advertise things I might not approve of? I've agreed never to click on them as I'm going to make my millions by other people doing so, so hence I've no idea what they say! But perhaps its obvious I dont necessarily support them?

I imagine that David Virtue of Virtue Online: The Voice of Global Orthodoxy in Anglicanism might not have been delighted, for example, by the Amazon advert and photo that was showing on his website advertising French Crotchless Panties. Of course, nothing wrong with that, but maybe not that helpful and not what I wanted to be confronted with before breakfast this morning.

PS. Trust Chris Green is still checking daily what links I've been clicking on? :)

Nazir Ali: Horray; ECUSA: Boo! (Again!)

Neil Jeffers tells me that the wretched "Episcopal" "Church" of the USA has passed an official synod resolution (which has no binding canonical or legal power) exhorting that the Bible be criticised as Anti-Semitic. What a shameful disgrace. How dreadful it will be on the great final day for the so-called Pastors of ECUSA.

ECUSA seems to have stepped outside the Catholic Church by "appointing" (electing) a "Woman" "Bishop". 1 Cor 11: On Women's Ministry: "we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God". Well, not any more, Holy Apostle. ECUSA knows best?!

Christina Rees (a member of the C of E General Synod) said she (the lady minister) is clever and sensitive so it'll all be a good thing. Oh dear.

It seems to me that ECUSA is not worthy of the name. There must be no effective and proper overight (Gk: episcopalness and all that) and it is probably no longer a church. Do they have the Word of God and justification by faith alone and the sacraments duly administered and church discipline? Not doing too well on the old Reformed Church Check-list, ECUSA. Maybe an inter-regnum is called for. Or mass excommunication? Could Rowan impose an interdict (as in the Middle Ages) and lock up all the churches untill people are crying out for Word and Supper in repentance? Perhaps the Pope should say something to his strange half brothers in ECUSA?

If anyone would like me to chain myself to anything with a sandwich board either in London or in the United States, if expenses are paid, I'd be more than happy to do so. I could even shout loud protests, if you like? Any slogans or chants to suggest? Some Psalm curses, perhaps? Exerge domine?

Who will deliver us from these terbulent priests?

The Right Reverend Doctor Michael Nazir Ali has said (in the Daily Telegraph today, I beliebe) that we now have Two Religions in Anglicanism, the splits between conservatives and liberals are so profound. One must choose between the Bible and new-fangled 21st Century sell-out religion. Schism is inevitable. Who is on the Lord's Side? Choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my household (with God as our gracious helper) we will serve the Lord!

How do I plight my allegence to the Good Bishop?

Amazing what they can do these days

Well, well, well.

It turns out one can post immediately or save drafts to this Google Blogger by email (including headings and HTML in your message) or in the US one's mobile phone texts and images can be added by straight away to one's blog by text message! Quite amazing. Whatever will these clever people at Google come up with next?

I trust Google arent a sinister force taking over the world, by the way? Is one allowed to say that here? :)

So there's really no excuse (or at least no necessary technological reason!) for "I'm going away and I won't be blogging for a while cos my web access wont be great".

Blog on!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Christ Like Ministry / Jesus' Thorn In The Flesh

In contrast to the worldly-glory, selfish-power-hungry, Chris-maniac, "Super Apostles",

Paul presents his own power and glory through and in weakeness minsitry

as Christ-like and authentic.

Paul follows Jesus in the way of the cross, looking for the crown.

Paul had a "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12), like the Lord Jesus Christ who literally had a thorn in the flesh as they thrust a counterfiet crown onto his head.

As Jesus "prayed 3 times" (perhaps) that God would remove the crown of thorns and save him from the cross, in the Garden of Gethsemene, so Paul asked, perhaps, for a quick-fix, suffering-free salvation. The Apostle certainly asked God three times for the removal of the (crown?) thorn in his flesh.

Both thorns were both the work of Satan and the triumphant good-out-of evil plan of God.

Neat, eh?

These thoughts suggested by a great sermon by Rev'd Charles Dobbie this morning. Soon available (as every week) for download or to listen online at (link on righ). Blessings.

There's some work to do on the Greek text of the above observations, I think. I believe the word Paul uses for his thorn is a hapax, though not entirely related to other thorny (or even stake (of wood) therefore cross) words in the NT. Happy hunting. Please do report back below!

I'm Getting Married in the Afternoon!

Well, d.v., I think we're more or less all set for the nuptuals on Saturday. Woo hoo!

The old marriage prep. has been a bit disrupted (as the minister of the church in which we are getting married is not marrying us - there's an interegnum).

We've tried to do some marriage prep. while being fairly busy and living in different cities, but we'd value any last minute tips. The 3 most significant things I wish I'd known before I got hitched... That sort of thing would be great.

Someone at college said to us: the only useful thing I learnt in marriage prep is that men are like a gas hobs and women are like an electric ovens. So there you are.

We've had even more helpful discussions and advice from two older and wiser couples we had supper with and those others we've grilled. It's been great to feel that others at college and church and so on are rooting for us!

We read the Alpha Marriage Book by Nicky & Sila Lee. Some useful tips for a more successfull (middle-class) marriage - but not especially Christian.

Looking Up The Aisle? by Dave & Joyce Ames was better, though harder to get hold of and felt a bit dated. The book works by giving some written input, then a questionaire after each chapter, which one is encouraged to complete on one's own and then discuss together. Perhaps that would have been more worthwhile if I'd put in more effort on my own thinking around the questions but often we felt we just didn't know what we were going to do untill we'd given it a go or untill we knew the circumstances of where we'd be living and what work would be like etc.

We both agreed that by far the best thing we read was Douglas Wilson's Reforming Marriage, though some of his applications seem a bit American at times. I also benifited from Federal Husband and my beloved found The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson helpful, encouraging and challenging. Wilson also has a book on courtship, called Her Hand In Marriage, perhaps ideal for those just starting college, which I wish I'd come accross earlier.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Racist Pianos

Well, my vain and half-hearted attempts to understand all things (proper-) musical continue. My apologies to all those who know so much better, they don’t know where to start with my ignorant and irritating questions!

I had always assumed that the poor little black keys pushed away at the back of the piano were in some way less important or significant than the big white ones at the front. I imagined that one could always bang out a melody on the white keys and the black ones were just for adding frills, or something. But it turns out it is not so.

I think I had gathered that the black keys are flats and sharps which implied to me that they were deviations from “proper” notes. But it turns out all this is merely conventional.

To my beloved all this seems the obvious natural order of things, works perfectly well and should be accepted with gladness. But it seems to me that the field is wide open for piano keyboard re-design.

There are certainly other possible sensible arrangements of white and black keys. Indeed, you don’t really need a distinction at all, do you?

There is no reason, for example, why one couldn’t have a black note between each white note. This would give scope for more versatility. It might be harder to play in some ways (you wouldn’t want your keyboard too wide to reach good ranges of notes), but you muso. guys love a challenge: just look at the stops, pedals and keyboards on different levels on a big old organ. Isn’t that just showing off?

Another potential difficulty might be that the conventional pattern of white and black notes is used to easily identify particular notes and octaves: it lets you spot middle C straight off. But come on, there are ways around this: why not paint middle C red and all other Cs green. Simple. And a more fun keyboard. Even better, why not label the keys too? You’re going to tell me that a beautiful Steinway with the alphabet spilt over it would be ugly, aren’t you?

I trust my musical readers will feel free to correct any errors of fact above and make alternative suggestions of taste. “Shut up, Lloydie! what do you know? Pianos are lovely as they are. Maybe you should learn to play chop-sticks before calling for the overturning of the Western Musical Tradition”, and so on, shall be taken as read, if you don’t mind.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Clarity & Sufficiency

This from Van Til:

The fact that originally general revelation needed supernatural revelation [even for unfallen Adam in the garden] does not mean that it lacked clarity. To do their work effectively your hands and feet need eyes to direct them and these eyes, in turn, need the light of day to do their work. But the need of light does not spell any inherent defect in the eyes as the need of eyes does not spell any inherent defect in hands and feet.
In Defense of the Faith volume 1: The Doctrine of Scripture (Philipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967) p64

So, then, a doctrine of clarity and sufficiency for the purposes given as part of God's overall provision. Happy, eh?

In Defense of Presuppositionalism?

Does anyone have any suggestions for good, clear, short, water-tight statement of the presuppositionalist case?

What I think I’m after is something like “without the Triune God of the Bible, no knowledge, facts, science, logic … because...”.

I’m very much enjoying this sort of thing:

Only the Christian theory of knowledge, based as it is upon the absolute authority of the Word of God speaking in Scripture, makes communication of any sort possible between men. Without this presupposition men would have no integrated selves and the world would be a vacuum. Without this presupposition of the Christian theory of being there would be no defensible position with respect to the relation of men and things. Neither men nor things would have discernible identity. There would be no science and no philosophy or theology, for there would be no order. History would be utterly unintelligible….

[O]nly the truth of Christianity furnishes a foundation for the laws of logic…. Logic that does not rest upon the presupposition of the creation of the laws of reality in general and of human thought in particular is a pure form without content. To talk about the law of contradiction without asking with respect to the metaphysical foundation upon which it rests is to talk into the air.

Cornelius Van Til’s In Defense of the Faith volume 1: The Doctrine of Scripture (Philipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967) p61f

But it feels a bit too much like mere assertion. I could use it spelling out a bit more for it to really be convincing.

Warfield "virtually Arminian"

Cornelius Van Til's In Defense of the Faith volume 1: The Doctrine of Scripture (Philipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967) just hotted up with this paragraph:

Unfortunately, however, even Warfield himself, after having perhaps done more than anyone else in modern times to set forth the true view of Scripture, reverts to what is virtually an Arminian view of its defense.

Fighting words!

It looks like Van Til is going to take Warfield to task for being too evidentialist and not sufficiently presuppositionalist because Warfield thinks that “… we first prove” the Scriptures “authentic, historically credible, [and] generally trustworthy, before we prove them inspired.” (CVTp59 citing BBW, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, (Philadelphia, 1948,), p210).

John Wenham advocates a similar approach to that attributed to Warfield in his very helpful book, Christ and the Bible where he shows that it is historically plausible that Jesus believed in plenary verbal inspiration and that lots of the alleged inconsistencies in the Bible can be cleared up quite happily.

How exciting!

I'm feeling my lack of Apologetics 1.1 here, were I'm sure Rev'd Dr Mike Ovey sorts all this evidentialist / presuppositionalist stuff out? Do the presuppositionalist basically win with the evidentialists still allowed to play ball?

Indeed, Van Till concedes that:“To be sure, if Warfield’s appeal to the natural man were an ad hominem nature, then it would all be well.” (p61)

Companion reading might also be John Frame, 'Machen's Warrior Children' in Chung, Sung Wook (ed), Alistair E. McGrath & Evangelical Theology: A Dynamic Engagement (Carlisle / Grand Rapids, Paternoster / Baker Academic, 2003).

Right, back to it!

Finished Work; Finished Word

I’ve been on the look out for parallels between the Lord’s Supper and the Scriptures. Perhaps one is evident in comparing the Roman Catholic and Reformed accounts of the Work and Word of Christ.

For the RC, the saving Work of Christ continues in the Church's sacrifice of the mass and his Word continues to be mediated to the Church by the living voice of tradition, aided by the Spirit.

For the Reformed, the saving Work of Christ is finished on the cross and so is his Word in Scripture.

Maybe there's also something to explore around the fact that as Roman Catholics add to the two dominical sacraments, so also they add to the supreme authority of Scripture, the supreme authority of the teaching office of the church?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Facts without Christ

I’m looking forward to a healthy dose of Presuppositionalism (which I’m convinced is worth some serious thought) from Cornelius Van Til’s In Defense of the Faith volume 1: The Doctrine of Scripture (Philipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967), but how about this as a taster:

Has not the whole history of human philosophy shown that if the “facts” of the world were not created and controlled by the redemptive providence of God, they would be utterly discrete and therefore undiscoverable? … [I]t is the Christian’s task to point out to the scientist that science needs to stand on Christ and his redeeming work if it is not to fall to pieces. Without Christ he has no foundation on which to stand while he makes his contradictions. A scientific method not based on the presupposition of the truth of the Christian story is like an effort to string an infinite number of beads, no two of which have holes in them, by means of a string of infinite length, neither end of which can be found.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gardens: Biblical and Philosphical Themes

You can read a version of my Christians in the Modern World Scrapbook assignment:

Gardens: The Flowering of Biblical Truth, Philosophical Thought and Human Invention


The task was something like to pick 5 items that allow for the exploration of some philosophical themes and to write a short commentary on them.

Is Faith In Public Life Good For Britain?

You can read a version of my Evangelical Public Theology assignement:

Is Faith In Public Life Good For Britain? - a contribution to the Faithworks debate


Embarassing Photos?

There's been a new outbreak of snaps over on my photos blog.

You can see exclusive footage of the great Oak Hall Ball, including DJ Nick Alexander, with Ros, My Lord Bishop of Hull and Dr Renz strutting their stuff.

Jeffers asked my parents to provide him with some embarassing photos from my childhood, which I believe he's plotting to use in some inappropriate way in his best man speech. You can see some of them on my blog too: lots of me in fancy dress and even some that are approaching involvement in sporting activity. Not at all amusing, I'm sure you'll agree.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New In Cyberspace

I have been aiming to keep my devoted readers, both of them, informed of the latest Oak Hill blogging.

Now you can see inside Andrew's head at:

So far (since Saturday), Mr T has thought on some highlights from The Pilgrim's Progress and observations on our often funerial manner of "celebrating" the Lord's Supper.

I always try to recline (influenced by the Beloved Disciple) after recieving the elemenst, by the way. I agree with the spirit of Andy's post: a big satisfied grin and an upward took seems better to me that more frownig and staring at one's shoe-laces.

And maybe in the future we can expect Towner's mind to turn to great thoughts on how to use the Psalms in gathered worship, and perhaps some fruit from all that toil on The Lord's Day service of Worship as covenantal renewal?

The History of Conversational Theology

It turns out that Conversation Theology has a noble heritage at Oak Hill College:

Many students of this era [1945-1960] will recall with affection the various 'coffee schools' that met after lunch to hammer out doctrinal and ecclesiastical affairs.

Heinze, Rudolph and Wheaton, David, Witness to the Word: A History of Oak Hill College 1932-2000 (Carlisle, Paternoster, 2002), p102.

Thanks for pointing this out, Neil.

Stolen Ordination?

Neil Jeffers, who has yet to fully join the blogging revolution, drew my attention to this:

Following the Reformation the classic dress of clergy of the Church of England had been the cassock and surplice, with scarf and hood of their degree, and until the early years of the twentieth century most bishops had required their ordinands to robe in this way for their ordination service. However, in the late 1940s certain bishops of more advanced Anglo-Catholic views, notably Wand of London and Kirk of Oxford, had insisted that their ordinands wear stoles, a custom introduced by those wishing to show the church’s affinity with Rome on this occasion. Several men had felt uneasy about this – they would never otherwise use the stole, and wearing different vesture for different services would be a denial of the unity of the ministry of Word and sacrament to which they were being ordained. In addition the use of the stole had been deemed illegal in a judgement given by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1871 (the so-called ‘Purchas Judgement’), and in spite of its subsequent widespread use there was still a degree of doubt as to its legality. This was one of the issues Fisher hoped to resolve by revising the canons to legalize all forms of vesture…. The result was a joint approach from the principals of the evangelical colleges. In response the archbishop wrote to all diocesan bishops and college principals to the effect that in future no candidate should be refused ordination solely on the grounds of being unwilling to wear the stole.

Heinze, Rudolph and Wheaton, David, Witness to the Word: A History of Oak Hill College 1932-2000 (Carlisle, Paternoster, 2002), p100, citing Lambeth Palace Library records, Fisher 109, 210.

By the way, the Word and sacrament argument above seems a little strange to me. The Church of England does not in any case recognise ordination as a sacrament.

It may also be worth thinking about James Jordan’s arguments that white cassock-alb and blue or green stole are the most biblical dress for the minister.

Friday, June 02, 2006


We might not agree with all his policies, but I thought Dave C came accross v well on Desert Island Discs today.

Maybe he was just doing a v clever Tony, but I thought he seemed a good guy doing his best.

His family life, disabled kid, vegetable gardening, hearty meet eating, love of sing malt and anual holidays in Scotland all played well with me.

His Conservative principles of trusting people (ie individual responsibility) and the government doesnt have all the answers (ie small state) really seem to go in the right direction to me.

He resisited re branding as New Conservatives well.

Yeah, a triumph. Vote Tory and put not your trsut in princes.

Oh, and his music: REM, The Smiths, Radio Head, Dylan was all good - if ideologically problematic. And did the spin Drs tell him, "nothing classical, Dave"?

Right Again - on Scripture - and play it again, church!

I've not read the Freso piece in the latest Themelios yet - it hasn't arrived in the library yet and the copy I've borrowed is still sitting on my desk.

But Dr Field's comments on his blog look accurate and significant to me. And not uncharitable - though I quite like my rhetoric on full blast.

* * *

I have read every word of Wright's Scripture and the Authority of God and as I recall it seemed to be a fine and helpful book. I would give it my Nihil Obstat.

There was a silly review of Wright's book in the Briefing lately. Again, I'm sure write had been misread. The "improvise on the theme of Scripture" stuff could sound worryingly wrong out of context.

It seems to me the Briefing has decided Wright is a bady because he doesnt sound like Luther on Paul.

Maybe the Briefing coould publish and entirely positive article called: "What's Right With Wright? Learning form Scholar-Bishop."

Much depends on Wright's audience, I think. Had he been writing Scripture and the Authority only for a conservative evangelical constituency, he should have said more clearly on page one "look, I believe all the inerrency, plenary verbal inspiration stuff and I love and preach my Bible with all the faithfullness I can - I dont feel free to make it up - but please have a think about this...".

We must not misunderstand the musical metaphor here: the theme set by the original composer really is authoritative and controlling. The theme cannot be changed. Our improvisations will be grounded in what has come before and more or less harmonious with it. The theme anticipates the climax and the composer has already written the final bars.

Wright seems to like his musical metaphors, doesnt he?

Do the Sydney boys ever go to the Opera House, do you think?

* * *

In Churchman in response to Professor Bray, Bishop Tom says "I am a conservative evangelical and I believe in cross and Bible just like you" - even if he is a bit dodgey on women!