Author Archives: King's Evangelical Divinity School

Sword Imagery and the Word of God

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

Scripture sometimes evokes sword imagery when referring to the word of God. This is particularly so in the book of Revelation: “From his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword” (1:16), “The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12), and “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron” (19:15). 

These verses echo passages in the Old Testament, for example concerning the branch of Jesse: “But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4). Elsewhere, Ephesians 6 urges believers to put on the armour of God and take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (6:17). 

Such imagery is essential to our understanding of the biblical theme of the word of God, whether His spoken word (by which He created the world), His living, active and powerful word (eg Jeremiah 23:29), the Incarnate Word (John 1:1, 14) from whose mouth comes a two-edged sword, and finally the written word “breathed out” by God for our instruction and correction: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). 

Which brings us right back to Hebrews 4:12. This verse is the culmination of the author’s exposition of Psalm 95 urging the need for perseverance, striving to enter God’s rest and the “penetrative power” (RT France) and testing of God’s word by which we will give an account (4:13). May we strive to love, learn, obey, observe, be guided by and study the word of God, in all its manifestations.

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Former Student’s Talk on 1859 Ulster Revival

Having carried out an examination of the place of prayer in the Ulster Revival of 1859 for her M.A. dissertation taken through KEDS, Donna Orr (now an Associate Tutor at the school) has been asked to give an historical talk on this revival for Libraries N.I. at the end of October. A good number of attendees is expected, and Donna requests our prayers, particularly that although this is essentially a historical talk, many will be encouraged to seek and pray for a similar revival in Northern Ireland at this time.

For any KEDS students who live in Northern Ireland and would like to attend, the talk takes place on Thursday, 24 October 2013 in Greenisland Library, Carrickfergus at 6.30 p.m. Admission is free, but booking is advised.

KEDS student’s new pastorate in Australia

KEDS Student Chaplain Revd Chris Lazenby writes:

I’m sure all our students and tutors will wish to congratulate KEDS student Lee Wardle on his appointment as pastor of the Gospel Light Evangelical Church, Pymble, Sydney, NSW, Australia on 19th August this year. Lee, who originally hails from Scotland, UK, and has been a member of the church for around five years, tells us that he’ll be ‘carrying out all teaching and preaching duties (as well as all those other things a pastor does, evangelism, visiting, arranging church outings etc.’). Lee and wife, Lorraine, who have five children, Luke, David, Sarah, Lea Ann and Caleb, are looking forward to the many challenges to come.

Lee wishes to extend his appreciation and thanks to KEDS lecturers who have helped him over the years, adding that his experience with the college has enriched his growing knowledge of God’s word. He also wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Lorraine ‘for the way she has fully supported and encouraged me to keep going despite all my health issues.’

On this latter point, I know Lee would value the prayers of our students and faculty regarding his recent heart problems – for healing, and for strength to deal with any problems to come. Let’s pray too, that God’s light truly will shine through Lee’s work in his new role as pastor. Further information about Lee and the church can be found at http://www.glechurch.com/about and http://www.glechurch.com/ respectively.

Foreignisation and Bible Translation

The current edition of Tyndale Bulletin (63.2, Nov 2012, 257-73) includes an article by KEDS tutor Dr Andy Cheung which considers the notion of foreignisation with respect to Bible translation, a concept which originated with Schleiermacher.

The title of the article is “Foreignising Bible Translation: Retaining Foreign Origins when Rendering Scripture.” In his summary of the article, Andy writes: ‘”Foreignising translation” aims to relocate the reader in the world of the source text and attempts to make obvious the alien origins of the original text.’ Although foreignisation is well established in “secular” translation studies, it is less commonly used in biblical translation.

The article, which will be of interest to all students who are currently studying exegesis and hermeneutics, is available online.

New Publications By Visiting KEDS Tutor

KEDS tutor Dr Derek Tidball has many books and other published works to his name (for details view his Faculty page). His most recent titles are The Message of Holiness: Restoring God’s Image(Nottingham, IVP, BST, 2010) and The Message of Women: Creation, Gender and Grace (Nottingham, IVP, BST 2012), which is due out in October.

But perhaps of special interest to students of theology at this time (considering the furore over Rob Bell’s Love Wins) would be his article; ‘Can Evangelicals be Universalists?’, published in Evangelical Quarterly 84.1 (2012).

Apart from his busy life as a writer and visiting tutor for KEDS, Derek is also visiting Scholar at Spurgeon’s College, London.

Compassionate eating? Christians and vegetarianism

KEDS Dean of Students, Dr. Stephen Vantassel has a very interesting piece in the Evangelical Review of Society and Politics which should be of interest to students, especially those with a concern for animal welfare and ethical food production. Does the compassion of Christ really suggest that Christians should reduce animal suffering by abstaining from meat? And does the Bible have anything to say about factory farming? Dr. Vantassel, with Dr. Kloosterman, evaluates the claims made by Mark C. Halteman, (Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and Professor at Calvin College, a prestigious evangelical college in the U.S.), in Compassionate Eating published by the Humane Society of the United States.

They demonstrate that Dr. Halteman’s arguments calling Christians to increased adoption of vegetarianism lack logical necessity and fail to give due attention to all the available data. Vantassel and Kloosterman conclude that if there is a convincing argument in favour of vegetarianism, Dr. Halteman has failed to make it.