Welcome to my digest of Christian comment.
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In 2013, Andrew Lincoln published Born of a Virgin (SPCK).
I still haven’t read the book, but I would like to note some of the points raised in it, as presented in this review by Jason Engwar.
As Jason Engwar says, ‘Lincoln is a supernaturalist who accepts traditional Christian concepts like the deity of Jesus and his resurrection, but rejects other traditional positions, such as Biblical inerrancy and the historicity of the virgin birth. He thinks Joseph was Jesus’ natural father.’
‘Lincoln argues that the New Testament presents at least two views of Jesus’ conception.…
2 Corinthians 5:21 ‘God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.’
1. Some think that Paul means that Christ was made a sin-offering. This is supported by Paul use elsewhere of sacrificial terminology to bring out the meaning of Christ’s death, Rom 3:25; 1 Cor 5:7; and by the use of the same word in Lev 4:24 and 5:21 (LXX) for ‘sin’ and ‘sin-offering’. …
D. A. Carson quotes Richard Topping:
“Remember we live in a time when six of the seven deadly sins are medical conditions—and pride is a virtue.”
Reading this, I hurried to remind myself of the list of seven sins Here it is:
Yes, it’s true: we’ve turned all but one into a disease. And the last we’ve turned into a virtue. We’re not guilty; we’re ill. We’re not culprits; we’re victims. …
As I like to point out to anyone who will listen, a number of features in the ‘traditional’ story of Jesus’ birth cannot substantiated from the Bible, and may actually be misleading.
There is, for example…
…and so on.
But with such features so deeply ingrained in our story-telling, how can we take people with us as we seek to be more faithful to the text?…
With thanks to Tim Chester:
One verse in the New Testament suggests that reading is not without its dangers and pitfalls:-
Acts 19:19 – ‘Large numbers of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them up in the presence of everyone. When the value of the books was added up, it was found to total fifty thousand silver coins.’
Another verse points to the benefits and blessings of reading:
2 Timothy 4:13 – ‘When you come, bring with you the cloak I left in Troas with Carpas and the scrolls, especially the parchments.’
Geraint Fielder offers some helpful thoughts on the dangers and benefits of reading.…
“Excuse me. May I ask you a question? Is that man a preacher?” asked the nurse at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital.
“Yes. Why do you ask?” I said.
“Well, after a long day, when all visitors have left, he gets out of bed and goes from room to room. I think he is preaching and praying with people. Frankly, we cannot keep him in bed at night. We say, ‘Mr. Green, you must rest and get back into bed.’ He did just have a heart attack you know.…
Romans 1:5 ‘Through him we have received grace and our apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles on behalf of his name.’
What is meant by ‘the obedience of faith’? Here are the main interpretative options:-
(a) ‘Faith’ may mean ‘the faith’, or the body of apostolic teaching. Compare Acts 6:7 – ‘obedient to the faith’. But the definite article is absent in the original, and the context in Romans (which emphases ‘faith’) is against this interpretation.…
Mark 2:25f – “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry—2:26 how he entered the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the sacred bread…?”
According to 1 Sam 21:1-6, Ahimelech was high priest at this time. His son, Abiathar, became high priest shortly afterwards. Various attempts at reconciling this apparent discrepancy have been made:-
(a) Some think that Mark is plainly mistaken. …
Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”
Christians regularly appeal to this saying in order to reassure themselves that, no matter how few their numbers when they gather for public worship or for prayer, Jesus himself will be present.
Matthew Henry: ‘Every believer has the presence of Christ with him; but the promise here refers to the meetings where two or three are gathered in his name, not only for discipline, but for religious worship, or any act of Christian communion.’
Ryle: ‘There is comfort in these words for all who love to meet together for religious purposes.…