Monthly Archives: July 2010

Keswick 2010; the dumbing down of Christian music

Last year, I wrote an entry expressing my concern at the dumbing down of music at the Keswick Convention (Cumbria, UK) and in the Christian Church generally. This year, I again attended Keswick, but chose the first, rather than second or third week, as this has the reputation of being a little more ‘traditional’ on the worship side of services (1).

Once again, I’m afraid my review is critical. The music has, if anything, moved further down the route of the outdated, middle of the road sounding pop song. There are hardly any traditional hymns left. It saddens me so much to see our great hymnody discarded in this way and strikes me as irresponsible and almost criminal. I felt so miserable and angry about this, that one night I couldn’t sleep and lay awake for hours, my mind running across the words of so many wonderful hymns; Love Divine, all Loves Excelling; O Love That Will Not Let Me Go; Tell Out My Soul, the Greatness of the Lord! And so on. What will happen to these and thousands more? Well, if we leave it to people who organise large Christian events, they’ll be forgotten, that’s what. Read more »

Linguistics for Biblical Studies Students

I sometimes think it’s a shame that Linguistics isn’t taught more widely and this is especially true with Biblical Studies where it can be a valuable subject when taught in association with Greek/Hebrew and Hermeneutics/Exegesis. A number of seminaries run Master’s degrees in Linguistics and Biblical Exegesis but for those interested in small-scale personal study, there are a couple of books worth reading. A student recently asked me for some book recommendations on the subject and I suggested the following:
Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek by David Alan Black. (There’s a full review available here)
Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation by Peter Cotterell and Max Turner.

Dr Black’s book is highly recommended: readable, scholarly and useful. (One of my professors once told me that usefulness is a much forgotten factor in academic books!) Later this summer, we will have an interview with Dr Black on our Talks With Scholars page.

For accredited, online and distance learning courses in Theology and Biblical Studies visit the King’s Evangelical Divinity School website.

Free book online: J. I. Packer, Truth & Power: The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life

J. I. Packer, Truth & Power: The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, IL: 1996.

A friend once asked me where my interest in Bible translation originates and my answer was that it stems from the doctrine of Scripture. A great place to understand the place of the Bible is Packer’s excellent little book, which is now available for free online at
Here is the blurb on the back cover:

In the face of theological upheavals and trendy philosophies, J.I. Packer boldly challenges the church to keep the Bible and keep to the Bible. Through centuries of use, abuse and disuse, the Bible remains the foundational document of the Christian faith.

In this book the author offers a masterful overview of the doctrine of Scripture. Beginning with the authority of the Bible, he then considers how it has been challenged through church history. In addition he examines the unity of the Bible, methods of interpreting it and the role the Bible must play in preaching. Through all of this Packer demonstrates how the Bible offers each Christian the spiritual essentials of life, health and peace.

Here is a careful and colorful restatement of the grand truths about God’s Word and the church.

Dr Packer is Professor of Theology at Regents College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Free online course: Introduction to the Religion of Islam

The excellent website is providing a free online course taught by Dr. Timothy Tennent, formerly of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and now President of Asbury Theological Seminary.

This course is an introduction to the religion of Islam. There are 24 separate lectures totaling approximately 16 hours. These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. There is also a summary course for this class.

Course Description:
The purpose of this course is to provide an introductory study of the structure, beliefs and practices of Islam. Special emphasis will be placed on a study of the theology of the Koran. The student will read and study the entire Koran along with important selections from the Hadith, Shari`a material and Sufi writings. The actual historical manifestations of contemporary Islam will be explored with a special emphasis on Islam in the African context. Throughout the course there will be a concern to demonstrate how Islamic thought is different from Christian thought and how the gospel can be most effectively communicated to members of the Islamic faith, the second largest and fastest growing religion in the world today.

See the link here

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Andy Cheung
For accredited, online and distance learning courses in Theology and Biblical Studies visit the KEDS website.

Joy over Braille translation of Bible in Welsh

The Wales Online website reports the completion of a recent project to create a Welsh Braille version of the Bible.

The project was co-ordinated by the Bible Society on behalf of an appeal committee, with the Royal National Institute of Blind People taking care of printing.

The Union of Welsh Independents also backed the campaign, saying blind people had the right to read the Bible in their own language. Alun Lenny, secretary of the appeal committee, said: “The response was amazing. Following substantial contributions by the Bible Society and religious denominations in Wales, money poured in from chapels and churches, schools and individuals.

“Some £15,000 was raised in less than four months, enabling the work to be given the go-ahead.” The project was completed in six months.

See the full story here

Andy Cheung
King’s Evangelical Divinity School.