Sunday, January 29, 2006

We Like David

David Field blogs, from Oak Hill College.
"Biblical theology is the discipline which takes that unfolding revelation on its own terms and in its own words and themes and proceeds to study God’s truth by means of storylines and multiple perspectives. There are no definitions of Biblical theology which do not make it sound either esoteric or dull but biblical theology at its best - combined with exegetical carefulness and systematic rigour - is a truly exhilarating way into the Bible. (BT & The Book of Revelation)
David Field's Lecture Notes

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Birmingham University Christian Union Banned, And Accounts Frozen

I post this for your information and for your prayers:

Issued On Behalf of Birmingham University Evangelical Christian Union

Press Release

For Immediate Release

24 January 2006


BIRMINGHAM University's Evangelical Christian Union has been banned from using Student Union Guild rooms and facilities, and has had its bank accounts frozen by Guild authorities after refusing to make politically-correct changes to their charitable constitution on religious grounds.

The Students Union at Birmingham University wanted to impose one of their own leaders onto the CU executive, open membership to people of all faiths and beliefs, and instructed the Christian fellowship to change its constitution. The Guild raised concern at the words "men" and "women", as it could be seen as excluding transsexual/transgender persons.

When the CU tried to book rooms with the Guild after the summer break for normal CU activities, they were told the Guild couldn't accommodate them, because the CU was involved in too many activities.

Then, when Christians in Sport (whose high profile supporters include Olympic Gold Medallist Jonathan Edwards) attempted to book a room in the CU's name, the Guild insisted on checking the CUs constitution. The Guild objected to many clauses, even though the constitution has been consistent for many years, and its polices are not a new issue for the Guild. The CU has been operating at Birmingham University for the past 76 years, and currently has well over a hundred people attending the CU's meetings.

Andy Weatherley, CU staff worker in Birmingham, said: "The Guild insists the CU constitution must be amended to include 'mandatory clauses', insisting more control and more intrusion by the Guild and open membership to those who would not call themselves Christians.

"Christian Unions should be permitted to restrict membership to only those people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and that leadership positions are also restricted to the same criteria and the beliefs outlined in the University and College's Christian Fellowship Doctrinal Basis. It is a fundamental right of any organisation to be able to include in its membership only those who abide by the ethos and focus of the organisation. We believe this to be true for all organizations within the Student Union, not just religious or ethnic ones. We are not a special interest group there to attract people with similar interest but a Union of Christians. Whilst our meetings are open to all people, believers and unbelievers when it come to being a voting member or leader of the Christian Union we feel it is perfectly respectable to restrict access to people who call themselves Christians.

The Vice Chancellors report "Extremism and intolerance on Campus", advises Universities "some clubs of societies to have restricted eligibility, say on religious or nationality grounds. Otherwise, it could be open to a group hostile to the club or society to join and take it over in a way that would be quite wrong. But we urge care in this area."

Despite the CU agreeing to consider some re-drafting of their constitution and to offer a re-draft to the Guild at their mid-January meeting, the CU were suspended from booking rooms for a week-long Christian Awareness event at the end of January named "Truth". The Guild has de-recognised the Christian Union and frozen its bank account, including money donated by the public and churches to be used for Christian work in the university. The "Truth" week will only now go ahead because of the good grace offered by the university allowing the CU to place a marquee on a central location on campus.

Birmingham Christian Union has instructed solicitors, who have advised the Guild that unless funds are returned, and a democratic way forward can be found, they will be forced to issue court proceedings against them.

Birmingham University Christian Union is affiliated to UCCF, which has over 77 years experience of working with Christians at universities and colleges of higher and further education throughout the UK.

Pod Bhogal, its communications director said: "In all our years of working with hundreds of HE establishments, this action by Birmingham's Guild is unique. We support the Birmingham CU 100 per cent and will back them in standing up for their rights, and the democratic rights of every student grouping in the university to be able to constitute themselves and to pursue any lawful aims and objectives in a free society. We would not dream of telling a Muslim group or a political society how to elect their leaders or who could or could not become a member, that's entirely a matter to them, based on their own faith principles, the same applies to a CU."


For further information:

Andy Weatherley, UCCF Staff Worker: 0121 475 0972; 07788155885 (mobile)

Pod Bhogal (UCCF Communications Director) 0116 204 7684; 07769 688073 (mobile).

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wilson reads Wright

Over at Blog and Mablog (surely still the best titled blog?), Doug Wilson has posted a review of Tom Wright's recent book on Scripture, The Last Word.

I think it's a great review and, as ever, it's writing as writing should be written.

Earlier this month Doug Wilson also gave his thoughts on a 2004 Wright talk on women in ministry.

And while I'm at it, let me also recommend Wilson's extended and detailed (chapter by chapter) review of Brian McClaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy - see Wilson's Archives from about November 2005 onwards. I think these posts form an excellent review.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Commentary on Mark

I'm preparing a sermon for Sunday on Mark 1:1-15 and have been immensely helped by James R. Edwards' Pillar commentary on Mark (Apollos, 2002).

It's a sermon I've preached before but am now revisiting and actually changing quite a bit. Edwards wasn't available last time I preached this and I'm glad to have it now.

He's extremely good on the kind of scholarly details that commentaries need to go into - clear without swamping and showing how they are pertinent to Mark's argument, but also steps back in a few places to give the kind of theological comment that helps the preacher and which commentaries often don't give.

On vv.1-15 he stresses the point of the OT prophetic quotations as all clearly related to Jesus' identity and mission, and also gives an excellent treatment of the divine voice at Jesus' baptism: linking issues of kingship, suffering servant, and baptismal identification with sinners, Edwards says things like: 'Jesus is Israel reduced to one'; 'where Israel failed, Jesus takes its place'.

Highly recommended

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Women in the Church

Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15

Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner (eds.)

(Baker Books: 2nd Edition, 2005)

On 1 February we'll be adding my review of this book to beginningwithmoses - here's my intro as a preview.
This excellent book deserves a review on a website devoted to biblical theology for a number of reasons. First, the passage in question ties the issue in question right back to the pre-fall Genesis narrative. This means that, whether being read in a complementarian or egalitarian way, the text itself forces the reader to adopt a way of interpreting the Bible that takes in the big picture and not merely the immediate passage. Following the text, this book actually makes biblical theology key to its interpretation. Second, the reference to Genesis in this passage notwithstanding, the issue of men and women’s roles in Christian ministry is often contested within some pre-conceived framework of redemptive history, usually that provided by Galatians 3:28 and the numerous hermeneutical issues that a text like this throws up. Some form of biblical theology tends to exist in the position we adopt on women in ministry whether we aware of it or not. Third, on the micro rather than macro level, this volume models in an exemplary way the various aspects of a biblical theology that is exegetically responsible in relating the parts to the whole and then vice-versa. This can be seen not just in the way the contributors co-ordinate their exegesis of this passage with the rest of Scripture but also in the way the study deliberately moves from socio-religious-historical-context, to lexical study, then to syntactical exegesis, then to an overall reading, then to a discussion of hermeneutics (that takes in both the hermeneutical approach of the writers and the dominant differing approach), then to application. This is how biblical theology should be done. I will outline a few exceptionally minor quibbles and then review the book’s contents with some comment along the way.

A Note for Reviewers

Just a quick clarification of our call for possible reviewers of books on The Biblical Theology Briefings website.

I'm afraid we need to limit this to UK folks only at this point.

Until the site makes money - and there's no chance of that! - we pay for the postage ourselves and it isn't really feasible to have a large amount of overseas postage. Sorry!

Thanks to those of you who have responded so far; we'll try to take you up on your offer soon.

Monday, January 09, 2006

UK Blog Offer

Are you a UK blogger?

We'd like you to help us get some book reviews done. Publishers send us free copies of books so we can publish the reviews at We can't keep up with the demand on our own so we need your help!

What we'd like you to do is to email us with your blog-url and your postal address. Please also let us know whether theological textbook or popular level best suits the context you're in and the training you've had. (And hey, tell us anything else about you that you think we'd like to know!)

Then when a suitable book becomes available to review we'll get in touch, sending it to you with our book review guidelines.

And then you have bit of time to read the book, write the review, email it to us to be checked (for whether it meets our requirements for a review, rather than for "content"), then publish it on your blog, send us the link, and we'll publish it on the site too, with a nice link back to your blog... and you get to keep the free book!

You'll probably want to read some of the reviews already on site to get a flavour of what we're looking for too.

We Like You

Yes, you...

Could you write a Biblical Theology Briefing?

We're on the look out for new contributors to give us Biblical Theology Briefings. These are papers that expand on a sermon you've given that models good Biblical theology in action.

Read our Guidelines for Contributors
Read the existing papers -BT Briefings
Then Email - The Editors

Sunday, January 08, 2006

We Like Dan

Preaching Matthew 18v15-20 from a Gospel-centred perspective. Dan lays out the principles of approaching a passage in the context of the gospel, in this case the tricky issue of church discipline.
See also: Dan's Top 10 posts from 2005.

(HT: Milton Stanley)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

We Like Rob

Some Biblical Theology in action that we spotted out in the blogosphere, on the incarnation...

Matthew 1v21-23 - Jesus, God with us

Isaiah 7v1-17 - The Comfort of Immanuel

Rob is consistently gospel-centred. Essential daily blog-reading.