Friday, February 18, 2005

God rules!

Phil just asked me to sum up my week in two words: God rules.

1. God rules:
As in, God rocks and is doing great stuff in peoples lives. This week is the CU events week at Reading University, life. A week of events, cold-contact and generally inviting people to investigate the claims of Jesus for themselves. Its been great to have a team with us, mostly made up of Relay workers and Reading graduates plus a few other gifted people. Great to see many people making new commitments or recommitments to find their treasure in Christ and live under his rule.

2. God rules:
As in, God is sovereign over all things. Last night was the AGM at Surrey CU and Jon Hobbs spoke on Daniel 4 & 5 to complete the first part of their series in Daniel. IT was great to have the gospel preached to us and be painfully confronted with God's rule. As Jon pointed out repetition often indicates what the main point of a passage is, and in Daniel 4v17, 25 and 32 we find:

"the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes" the proud king of the known world, Nebuchadezzar, is humbled. Later, and the contrast between chapters 4 and 5 highlights the message. We find Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar refusing to humble himself in the middle of his insolent and arrogant idolatry. Belshazzar faces destruction, Nebuchadnezzar finds life as he finds that God rules.

It's been a joy to hear the gospel preached time and again, in Reading and in Guildford. To be reminded that I cannot continue in my selfishness and sin. To see that I have nothing but my sin to bring to God. To see that I deserve nothing but God's judgement for my rebellion. And to see, above all else, that his mercy and grace is sufficient for me.


  1. I'm agreed...

    The bible's message preached clearly and consistently is something this world and myself truly needs.

    I find myself in most services nodding along to the preacher, thinking 'that's interesting' or nitpicking but rarely do I find myself challenged nowadays.

    Surely this God-breathed Bible is more than something of purely intellectual curiosity; maybe if it was used for what is mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:16, more consistently, Christians like myself and others would be more challenged and drawn to a repentful and worshipful life.

  2. Mystery is underrated in the Church these days.

  3. As is understanding, as is understanding. Our God is the revealer of mysteries!

    Supremely so in the Event of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the Explanation of it he supplies.

  4. I don't deny that God might express and uncover, revelation can strike with utter clarity. I don't deny the worth of the Church as a guide and witness, helping our wider society to apreciate the God who seeks them and gives us a chance to aid meeting.

    But I do sometimes get the feeling that the Church, particularly in this country, is far too wordy. We tend to get hooked on the notion that people seek and need apologetics-type expositions and expanations of the gospel. Call me an eccentric young cynic, but I would like, for example, to see less rational philosophical-chat and more contemplative story telling.

  5. I don't think telling truth has to be opposed to mediums like story.

    The problem you have, I think, is that the Biblical approach is very much apologetic, proving and persuading people about the true message of the cross.

    Someone once said that "Revelation = Event + Explanation", whether the explanation comes propositionaly or in narrative isn't all that important - the Bible does use both.

    In all cases though the Bible argues its case. Jesus does the same - he refutes error, states truth (albeit using parables to help make the point) and warm appeals for people to believe, with strong warnings for those who wont.

    You're right to think that the church can sometimes be coldly-wordy... and apologetics is often reduced to mere philosophical jousting.... but I think we can look towards a more biblical apologetic which combines defence and attack, persuasion and proof, appeal and warning, argument and imagination, with story and proposition.

  6. "The problem you have, I think, is that the Biblical approach is very much apologetic, proving and persuading people about the true message of the cross."

    This was just what I was discussing with some Jehovah's Witnesses today - they carefully pointed out that the biblical norm we're presented of the first Christians is of prepositional discussion and apologetics discussion. I would hope to make the case for a wider sense of scripturally inspired mission - that takes in St Paul amongst the sophisticated philosophers, the prophets of Israel with their shocking earthy dramas, Jesus with his pithy stories that cut to the chase.

    The range of interactions we read of is wide, let alone the innovatively spirit-led work of each subsequent generation. Specifically in my own experience, though happy to have a wide ranging metta-discussion when they come up, I would tend to lean towards a less consciously discursive approaches. I generally prefer the tangential, openly ambiguous, and imaginatively dealing ways…

    …if apologetics might be able to develop something less 'only one outcome is a success', then maybe I'll be more convinced. This is a personal aversion, rather than a general attack. It takes all sorts in the body of Christ.

  7. Story is very much part of the picture though,

    begins to explore this, its actually why i'm into "biblical theology"... the big story of the gospel.