I wonder whether you’ve read the recent news about those within the Church of England who wish to begin addressing God as ‘She’? Of course, this is no new idea; the femininity of God is suggested in a small number of places in scripture, and occasionally, cults have arisen which emphasise God’s feminine nature. (1) In this case, a group which meets at Lambeth Palace with the snazzy name of the “Transformations Steering Group”, is calling for a rethink on language about God and is seeking to have changes made to the liturgy; changes which are, in some places, already taking place on an informal basis, with ‘He’ being changed to ‘She’ for example, when talking of, or addressing, God. The Daily Telegraph on 31st May, 2015 notes that ‘Hilary Cotton, chair of Women And The Church (WATCH), the group which led the campaign for female bishops, said the shift away from the traditional patriarchal language of the Book of Common Prayer is already at an “advanced” stage in some quarters.’ (2)
Sexual Orientation, ‘Commited, Loving Same-Sex Relationships’ and The Biblical Prohibition of Homosexuality.
When considered contextually and objectively, the Scriptures are not silent concerning homosexuality. They always, without exception, treat homosexuality as a violation of the divine order; that is the biblical witness clearly and counter-culturally prohibits all forms of same-sex intercourse. Whilst justification of this statement and consideration of the biblical witness is impossible here, suffice it to say that the arguments advanced by those who propose that scripture is ambivalent or accepting of same-sex relationships are exegetically weak. Consequently, if the authority of Scripture means anything, then those who take a revisionist approach and seek to overturn scriptural core values must meet an extraordinary and overwhelming burden of proof.
I’ve always been a great fan of the writings of Malcolm Muggeridge – ‘St. Mugg’ as he affectionately became known in his later years. Muggeridge led an interesting life; as a young man he was the Guardian correspondent for the USSR, and during World War 2, a secret agent. In later life he became editor of Punch magazine, and later still found celebrity status in the UK and America, largely due to his new-found Christian faith, which eventually led to the nick-name.
Yesterday (Good Friday, 2014) I joined many other local Christians of different denominations in the annual Good Friday ‘procession of witness’ through our village. This begins with a 20 minute service at the Roman Catholic Church; the congregation, of maybe one hundred, then silently moves on in double file, with someone carrying a large wooden cross at the front, to the Anglican Church, where another short service takes place. And finally, the procession snakes its way back through the village to the Methodist Church, where another 20 minute service ends the morning. During the outdoor processing, the traffic is seriously held up on two occasions and it would be difficult for anyone in, or passing through, the village, not to notice it. Of course, behind the procession is an unspoken announcement ‘we Christians are still here in this village, and we want to remind you what this day is really about!’
I’m sure everyone at KEDS will be interested to hear about Mike Brownnutt, one of our students in the third year of his master’s course. Mike, who already holds a PhD in Physics from Imperial College, London, has recently finished running a three week course at Hong Kong University, in collaboration with the Faith and Global Engagement Initiative, entitled “Belief in Science and Religion.” Slides for this may be found at; http://beta.gened.hku.hk/archive
Following this, on 13th March, Mike gave a lecture at an interdisciplinary workshop for the Department of Christian Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, entitled; “Determinism/ Indeterminism in Nature: Agency, Genetics, Quantum Mechanics.” The workshop website is here:
Mike currently lives in Innsbruck, Austria with his wife and two children (they have a third child due at the end of March). In between writing his thesis, looking after his family, and giving interdisciplinary lectures in far-flung places, Mike is busy as an assistant professor of experimental quantum mechanics at the University of Innsbruck. When asked if he had any encouraging words for other students, Mike replied; ‘A spouse that supports you is worth more than their weight in gold. Hold on to them!’
I’m sure everyone juggling families, work and studies will want to add a heart-felt ‘Amen’ to his words, and wish Mike all the best for his future work and ministry.
Moo, Douglas J. (2013). Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Reviewed by Dr Andy Cheung
[Douglas Moo is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School.]
This is a commentary long awaited by many Biblical scholars and students, partly because of Douglas Moo’s reputation, and partly because Galatians is not well served with technical, conservative commentaries. It does not disappoint and that in itself is part of the expectation with a Moo commentary; that not only will it be well written, judicious in exegesis, and reasonable in conclusions, but also of consistently high quality. There’s an evenness in Moo’s work stretching back several decades and it is perhaps unsurprising that this commentary fulfils expectations of excellence. For many, this will be the new ‘go to’ commentary on Galatians.