Welcome to my digest of Christian comment.
For Biblical commentary, use the Bible Study Notes menu above, and for topical comments, use the categories list on the right.
In chapter 13 of The Lost Message of Paul, Steve Chalke asks: Where does the Western church get all its ideas about guilt and unworthiness before God? The Eastern half of the church has never accepted the doctrine of ‘original sin’. That doctrine owes its origin to Augustine of Hippo and was developed much later by John Calvin. It teaches that we all enter the world with Adam’s fallen nature. The analogous doctrine of total depravity teaches that there is ‘no vestige of goodness left in us’. …
‘Just happened to’ visit some friends of my parents, which led to my becoming of follower of Jesus.
‘Just happened to’ see a job advert for nursing assistant, which led to a life-long career in nursing.
‘Just happened to’ attend a Christian w/e at which I was introduced to the young woman who was to become my wife.
Here, we find that ‘minor’ occurrences can have far-reaching effects.
1) The ‘problem’ of answered prayer
God answered Isaac’s prayer (after 20 years!), but a bitter rivalry begins even before the twins are born!…
In chapter 12 of The Lost Message of Paul, Steve Chalke deals with ‘the wrath of God’.
Chalke thinks that the idea that God is capable of wrath, or anger, is mistaken. Three reasons are discernable.
According to Chalke, much of the responsibility for the doctrine of the wrath of God must be laid at the feet of John Calvin, who is described as brilliant but legalistic.
Calvin, it is said, ‘effectively replaced Jesus’ image of God as a loving parent with that of God as a stern, courtroom judge.’
This is a lazy and misleading caricature of the great reformer, and I shall say no more about it at this time.…
Chalke, Steve. The Lost Message of Paul (2019). SPCK. Kindle Edition.
Although I’ve already given a critique of some of the teaching of this book, I’m going to pause in order to give a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the whole thing.
I want to make sure I’ve grasped Chalke’s teaching before saying any more about how convincing, or unconvincing, I find it.
Second only to Jesus himself, Paul is the most influential person in Christianity. …
In chapter 9 of The Lost Message of Paul, Steve Chalke urges us to leave our Reformation-shaped prejudices and get back to the thought world of the apostle Paul. If we do so, he insists, we will discover that the word pistis (usually translated ‘faith’) means something other than we thought it did.
‘I believe,’ says Chalke, ‘that it is far more accurately translated as “faithfulness” than “faith”.’
How does he know that? Well, because Paul was steeped in Hebraic thinking. …
Does the expression pistis Christou mean ‘faith in Christ’, or ‘the faith [or faithfulness] of Christ’?
This post is not an attempt to settle the question once and for all, but rather to respond to an argument mounted recently by Steve Chalke.
In chapter 10 of The Lost Message of Paul (2019) Chalke says that:
‘Martin Luther, John Calvin and countless others following them have chosen to translate pistis Christou as ‘faith in Christ’, and then to hang their whole doctrinal approach on it.…
Although we do not deny that the Holy Spirit, in his inspiration of Scripture, is often happy to give us approximations and generalisations, where necessary he calls our attention to the smallest detail of grammar.
Hebrews 12:27 ‘The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.’
The argument turns on one phrase – ‘once more’.
Galatians 4:9 ‘But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces[a]?…
From Paul Tautges (summarising part of Resisting Gossip, by Matt Mitchell):
#1: The Spy – In Proverbs 11:13, the Hebrew word translated “gossip” means “‘a peddler (of secrets), a huckster/hawker, deceiver, or spy.’ The English Standard Version uses the phrase ‘whoever goes about slandering’….We might use the word ‘informer’….Spies know how to wheedle a story out of us.”
#2: The Grumbler – Another Hebrew word commonly translated “gossip” refers to a whisperer. The Hebrew dictionaries say that this “is one who is ‘murmuring about another person behind their back rather than openly complaining about their behavior.’”
#3: The Backstabber – “Backstabbing gossip overflows from a heart bent on revenge, retaliation and real malice.…