Sunday, January 6, 2008

N.T. Wright on sola scriptura

I am sooo jealous of Trevin Wax for getting the opportunity to interview N.T Wright. I have posted one of his blog entries below for your enjoyment. Check out Trevins website, he has some really good content.

Trevin Wax: How does the doctrine of sola Scriptura influence your work and your method?

N.T. Wright: Well, in terms of method, sola Scriptura is what I’ve always tried to do, basically. You could put it negatively… If you find yourself thinking down a track where you think, Oh, well, if I go there, that’ll mean ditching this bit of the Bible or that bit, then all sorts of warning lights flash and say, “You probably shouldn’t be going there!” It may be that you’ve misheard your own mind, as it were, and there may be a way through this because there are always puzzles that we hit, but basically, my aim has been to expound Scripture and to expound Scripture in such a way that I do not set one Scripture over against another.

However, I have to say, and my work on the authority of Scripture, which you probably know – a little book called The Last Word in America. Silly title, by the way. That was Harper’s folly to call it that. It wasn’t my idea. Fancy having a book called The Last Word! I mean… it’s very silly. If I was going to write a book called The Last Word it would be on Christology, not on Scripture. “In the last days, God has spoken to us by his Son…”

But I’ve been trying to stress that the risen Jesus does not say to the disciples, “All authority on heaven and earth is given to the books you chaps are going to go off and write.” He says, “All authority on heaven and earth is given to Me.” So that if we say that Scripture is authoritative, what we must actually mean is that the authority which is vested in Christ alone is mediated through Scripture.

That’s a more complicated thing than simply having a book on the shelf, full of right answers that you can go and look up. It’s more a way of saying that when we read Scripture and determine to live under it, we are actually saying we want to live under the sovereign lordship of Jesus mediated through this book.

When you say it like that, then all sorts of other things happen as a result, like what is the sovereign lordship of Jesus all about? Is it simply to fill our heads with right answers to difficult questions? Well, right answers to difficult questions are better than wrong answers to difficult questions. But no, the authority of Jesus Christ is there to transform and heal and save the world, to make the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. So the question then is, how does the authority of Scripture serve that purpose?. And that’s actually much more interesting than simply using Scripture to settle or raise indeed doctrinal disputes within the church.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Love is a Verb

This post was written by my dear friend Russell Roberts.

Love, as taught in the Bible, is a verb, not an emotion. It is a choice, a determination to seek the benefit of another, even at the expense of ones self. It was supremely and graphically demonstrated on the cross when Jesus 'loved his disciples unto the end.' It is an amusing fact that we don't necessarily have to like those whom we choose to love. It is wonderful when those two ideas coincide but they don't always. The failure to understand this principle is the reason that most marriages fail. The chemicals in the brain that caused the excitement we once felt eventually wear off. Then, hopefully, we make the choice to love.

My pastor is fond of joking that the only thing that kept Peter's sword out of Matthew's back is that Jesus slept between them. For those who don't know, Peter was a Zealot, a patriot bent on overthrowing Roman oppression of the Jews. Matthew was a tax collector who, in effect, worked for Rome. Tax collectors were considered to be traitors. You can understand how there might be some animosity between them but you can rest assured that they loved each other. The characteristics of love are described in I Corinthians 13 in the Bible.

1Co 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.
6 It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends............

Love is a death to self. As such, love transcends life. That is what Christmas is all about. God loved his creation so much that he sent Jesus, gift-wrapped in swaddling clothes, to accomplish what nobody else had been able to do: To light the way for the rest of the world. From the cross Jesus shined forth like a beacon to humanity crying out "This is the Way". Jesus had every right to stay where he was in heaven with God the Father. He is equal with God. But Jesus understood his equality with God, not as a right to be exploited, but as something that uniquely qualified him for the task at hand, to save creation.

We Christians ought to think the same way. God, dwelling in us, is not a right to be exploited but uniquely qualifies us for the task at hand, to love as Jesus loved, to voluntarily offer our lives as a sacrifice on behalf of others. Merry Christmas my beloved blog readers!

Php 2:4 Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.
Php 2:5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had,
Php 2:6 who though he existed in the form of Goddid not regard equality with Godas something to be grasped,
Php 2:7 but emptied himselfby taking on the form of a slave,by looking like other men,and by sharing in human nature.
Php 2:8 He humbled himself,by becoming obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross!
Php 2:9 As a result God exalted himand gave him the namethat is above every name,
Php 2:10 so that at the name of Jesusevery knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth —
Php 2:11 and every tongue confessthat Jesus Christ is Lordto the glory of God the Father.