Strength to Stand

In his short book, The Sacrifice of Praise, Herman Bavinck writes a chapter on the ‘The Strength of Confession’. The chapter speaks about ‘the courage to give witness to the truth of God in Christ in a firm, trusting faith, openly and freely before each and every one.’ In the chapters leading up to this Bavinck demonstrates that he is aware of the challenges to a faithful confession of Christ. He discusses the elements that fight against us: the world, the flesh, and the Devil. By the time you get to this chapter the question lingers, ‘How does one stand and give a faithful confession of Christ?’

Theology and Grace

The longer I am working on this thesis, the more I realize the place of grace in theological reflection. Grace is one of those interesting concepts to consider. We often talk about it in our salvation (special grace) or in the way the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked (common grace). We call it God’s unmerited or even demerited favor. However, I wonder if we consider how from the very start, the very ability to know God, to do theology is a gracious act.

Why We Adopt

Last Saturday we had a fundraiser here in Edinburgh for our adoption. We raised just under £1500 (that’s about $2000). It was a fun night and pretty amazing to think about. After that fundraiser we find ourselves one step closer to bringing Grace home. We only need to raise another $23,000. It is always amazing to think about how many people have come on board to help out with this adoption. We are blessed to have great friends and family surrounding us through this journey.

Being Forgotten

One of my friends here (a fellow PhD candidate) and I have an on going conversation about what makes a theologian have a lasting impact. When talking about someone like say, Karl Barth, there is a school of thought that says he had some sort of innate genius. There are others who would argue that he happened to be the right person at the right time. As we discuss it more, I think that we are both convinced that lasting impact has more to do with the environment surrounding a person than the innate genius of the person. That is not say many of the people we remember weren't geniuses. It is just acknowledging that there are many who were geniuses but have been forgotten.

Having a Good Fight

I was reading Proverbs the other day and Proverbs 18:13 hit me. It was particularly poignant because I have been thinking about how I communicate to people. Whether it be talking to Taryn, friends at New College, people at church, or in my thesis.

I Believe in the Church

This last Sunday was communion Sunday at Christ Church (the church we attend in Edinburgh). Unlike Parish where I am the assistant pastor, Christ Church partakes in communion one week every month. At Parish we would take communion every week. However, at both churches before we come to the table we confess our faith together. That confession of faith usually takes the form of reciting the Apostles’ Creed.

Blasphemy Trials

In Scotland there is a blasphemy law on the books. It has been around for hundreds of year. However, the last person to get brought up on blasphemy charges was a couple hundred years ago. Right now there is a debate in the larger society (and it has made its way into the government) as to whether this law should still be part of the Scottish law code. I am no expert on these things, and I have my own opinion about governmental enforcement of religious beliefs, but it is really an interesting debate in the wider culture. My supervisor, Dr. James Eglinton, was interviewed about it.

For Us but Not Of Us

A paragraph from the new translation of Bavinck’s The Sacrifice of Praise has been stuck in my head. It comes right after Bavinck quotes from Matthew 10:37-38, 16:25, 18:18, and Mark 10:29-30. If you look at these passages they are all about the cost of discipleship. The cost of following Christ. To follow Christ, we must take up our cross, deny father and mother, tear out our eyes or cut off our hands if they are causing us to sin.