Thursday, July 22, 2010

Danehill 1

Please pray for the 50 11-14 year olds and 30 leaders who will be at Danehill 1 CPAS Venture from Saturday for The Best Week of the Year.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Preaching Plans

Here are my preaching plans for Sundays at Holy Trinity (Sept - Dec 2010). I'm performing a little more often than usual due to the interregnum.

12th Sept AM – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 – Shut up & listen up!

19th Sept AM – Harvest Family Service – Mark 4:1-20 – How to have a bumper crop

26th Sept AM – Back to Church Sunday – Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12 – Money & Meaning: Are the better off better off?

3rd Oct PM – John 13 – Jesus serves

24th Oct PM – John 14:1-14 – The Way to a Heavenly Reservation

31st Oct AM – Ecclesiastes 7 – Better Wise Up!

7th Nov PM – John 14:15-31 – Father, Son and Spirit

21st Nov PM – John 15:1-17 – How to be a fruitful Christian

28th Nov AM – Ecclesiastes 8-11 – Knowing how to live when you just don’t know

5th Dec PM – John 15:18-16 – What to expect

19th Dec PM – Christmas Carol Service – Bible passage TBA

24th Dec PM – Midnight Communion Service – Bible passage TBA

25th Dec AM – Christmas Family Service with Communion – Bible passage TBA

26th Dec AM – Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 – Resolve to remember your creator & fear God

PT Conferencing

I've recently booked myself on to the Proclamation Trust Autumn Joint Ministers' Conference (8th - 11th Nov), details of which are here. See some of you there, perhaps?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Can We Trust The Bible?

Here's the text of my handout:

Can We Trust The Bible?

Yes! And we can trust the God who wrote it!

The burden of proof / unjustified scepticism? - Why wouldn’t we trust it?

A very important question – central to Christianity, big claims, life changing, eternal significance

World’s best selling book - both revered and rubbished – popular rejection / ignoring of the Bible (myths, legends, fairy tales, maybe moral or theological truths but not history)

The basic Christian view of the Bible / what the Bible claims about itself:

Historic / traditional consensus of the church: God’s words – inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) - God’s Word Written – What the Bible Says, God says – God’s Word reflects the character of God - true / authoritative / reliable in all that it affirms – inerrant / infallible (no errors)

Not just believe the Bible because the Bible tells you to (not a circular argument)!

Some reasons to trust the Bible:

Main argument (for Christians!):

Jesus is Lord and Jesus viewed the Bible as God’s trustworthy Word and therefore so should we. He accepted the Old Testament as God’s words and authorised the Apostles to write the New Testament

E.g. John 10:34-36; Matthew 5:17-18; 19:4-5; 22:29-32; John 14:26; 16:12-16

à Are Jesus’ claims about his own identity and authority convincing? E.g. the quality of his life and teaching, the evidence for the resurrection

Supporting arguments:

We can be confident we know what the original manuscripts said since the evidence for the original text of the Bible is very strong. The original text is very well preserved in our Bibles. Relatively few texts are disputed and no major doctrine hangs on any of the mostly trivial disputed texts

Manuscript Evidence for Ancient Writings

Author / Work

When written

Earliest fragment / copy

Time span between writing and copy

Number of manuscripts


100 – 44 BC

AD 900

1000 years



427 - 347 BC

AD 900

1200 years



460 - 400 BC

AD 900

1300 years



AD 100

AD 1100

1000 years



AD 75 – 160

AD 950

800 years


Homer (Iliad)

900 BC

400 BC

500 years


New Testament

AD 40 – 100

AD 125

25 – 50 years


(from Orr-Ewing, p43)

The Gospels were written very close to the events they describe by eyewitnesses or drawing on eyewitness evidence

E.g. Luke 1:1-4; John 20:29-31; 21:24-25; 1 John 1:1-4

The Apostles clearly believed Jesus was who he claimed to be, since they were willing to be persecuted and killed for trusting in him. Christianity is not a fraud job by the disciples!

The extraordinary unity of the Bible – agreement of 66 books, over 40 different authors, written over a period of ? about 1600 years

Where the Bible can be checked, it has proved to be accurate e.g. by archaeological discoveries of inscriptions confirming previously questioned details from the book of Acts

Many Bible prophecies have been remarkably fulfilled (e.g. history of Israel, Jesus)

Professor Peter Stoner took just 11 fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament and tried to calculate the probability of them being fulfilled by chance. He reckoned it was 1 in 8X10^63 (Blanchard, p28 citing Stoner, Science Speaks, Moody Press, pp67-96).

The Bible is remarkably realistic and insightful on many matters, makes psychological sense, interprets our experience. It is a work of supernatural genius

The Bible has the ring of truth about it (J. B. Phillips), it speaks with convincing power

Countless peoples have met with Jesus and been transformed by reading the Bible

à Try reading it (perhaps one of the Gospels in a modern translation) and pray that God would show you whether it is true or not

Further reading:

Paul Barnett, Is The New Testament History? (originally Hodder & Stoughton, 1986; Paternoster, 1998)

John Blanchard, Why Believe The Bible? (Evangelical Press, 2004) – only 40 pages
Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospel (IVP, 2nd ed. 2008)
F. F. Bruce, New Testament Documents: Are they reliable? (Eerdmans / IVP, 1943)
Walter Kaiser, Old Testament Documents: Are they reliable and relevant? (IVP, 2001)
* Top Recommendation? * Amy Orr-Ewing, Why Trust The Bible? Answers to 10 tough questions (IVP, 2005) – includes consideration of some more modern and postmodern type objections e.g. the Bible on sex, matters of interpretation

J. B. Phillips, Ring of Truth: A Translator’s Testimony (Hodder & Stoughton, 2nd ed. 1978)
John Wenham, Christ and the Bible (Baker) - deals with a number of supposed "difficulties" with the text. Argues, as above, that Jesus thought of the Bible as the authoritative Word of God and so should we
Brian Edwards, Why 66? The Canon of Scripture (Answers in Genesis, DVD, 2008) - how do we know we have the right books in the Bible?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seeking A New Vicar (worksheet)

What should we look for in a new Vicar?

Or (rather!),

Biblical qualifications for Pastor-teachers

Look up the passages below and see what you can discover about:

(A) The person specification for a Pastor-teacher – who are we seeking?

Consider (i) character (ii) skills etc.

(B) The job description / work of a Pastor-teacher – what should he do?

Be ready to feedback

(1) Mk 9:35; 10:42-45

(2) Acts 20:17-38

(3) Eph 4:11-16

(4) 1 Tim 3; 4:6-16; 5:17-22

(5) 2 Tim 2; 3:10-4:5

(6) Titus 1:5ff; 2:1, 15; 3:1, 8-11

(7) 1 Peter 5:1-4

(8) (Heb 13:7, 17)

Can you think of any other teaching of Jesus / the example of Jesus or other people in the Bible (e.g. Paul) or any other relevant Bible passages?

Bishop of Chichester re Women Bishops

A pastoral letter from The Bishop of Chichester to the Diocese in the light of movements in the C of E towards women bishops (PDF file).

Bible Prophecy a Fluke?

Professor Peter Stoner took just 11 fulfilled prophecies from the OT and tried to calculate the probability of them being fulfilled by chance. He reckoned it was 1 in 8X10^63. In other words, mind bogglingly unlikely.

(John Blanchard, Why Believe The Bible? Evangelical Press, 2004, p28 citing Stoner, Science Speaks, Moody Press, pp67-96).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Classically the Church of England is Reformed and Evangelical. The historical formularies of the C of E unmistakably take such a position. But there is great (and not so great!) variety within Anglicanism today and much confusion about what it means to be an Anglican - not to mention what it means to be Reformed or Evangelical!

For these and other reasons, The Church Society's new Reformed Evangelical Anglican Library, edited by Rev'd Lee Gatiss is to be welcomed. They've kicked off with some Whitefield and I look forward to seeing what the subsequent publications will be.


Ouch! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Poetry to go with Ecclesiastes 3

Shakespeare’s All The World’s A Stage / Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It - Jaques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139-166)

Solomon Grundy

Andrew Marvel, To His Coy Mistress – “Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime…. But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near;”

Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill

The Weaver by B.M. Franklin

Contrast W. E. Henley’s Invictus – “In the fell clutch of circumstance … I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul”

Ps 31:15 - “My times are in your hands”

Ps 33:10-11 – “The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

Is 45:6b-7 – “I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”

Ps 131 – “My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have stilled and quietened my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and for evermore.”

Prov 26:1-12