He Did Not Save Us From A Safe Distance…

“God did not save us from a safe distance. He did not deal with our guilt and corruption and alienation from him and enslavement to sin in a superficial way. He bore all of it. He exhausted the penalty that we deserve. he face it up close, where its twisted character and insidious power is most keenly felt by us. In the weakness and humiliation of the cross, the sovereign God triumphed over it all and has left no aspect of it intact. God is completely and utterly Saviour. Those who are his have absolutely nothing to fear. Jesus has the keys of death and Hades.”

Mark Thompson, “The Descent of Christ Into Hell” in Churchman (2019:133/1), 20.

The Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many

From JC Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, commenting on Mark 10:

Let us mark, lastly, in this passage, the language which our Lord uses in speaking of His own death. He says, “The Son of Many came to give His life a ransom for many.”

This is one of those expressions which ought to be carefully treasured up in the minds of all true Christians. It is one of the texts which prove incontrovertibly the atoning character of Christ’s death. That death was no common death, like the death of a martyr, or of other holy men. It was the public payment by an Almighty Representative of the debt of sinful man to a holy God. It was the ransom which a Divine Surety undertook to provide, in order to procure liberty for sinners, tied and bound by the chain of their sins. By that death Jesus made a full and complete satisfaction for man’s countless transgressions. he bore our sins in His own body on the tree. The Lord on Him the iniquity of us all. When He died, He died for us. When He suffered, He suffered in our stead. When He hung on the cross, He hung there as our Substitute. When His blood flowed, it was the price of our souls.

JC Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark, pp219-220.

MacCullough on the Myth of the English Reformation

Great blog post with quotes from MacCullough on how the Reformation foundations of Anglicanism are so often forgotten.


Unfortunately the full article from MacCullough is not available online (though I have a pdf copy). Wallace summarises MacCullough’s conclusions approvingly:

“Diarmaid MacCulloch has pinned down particularly the Oxford Movement as the greatest impetus to this reinterpretation of the English Reformation. He has argued in an essay that when the anglo-catholic offspring of the Oxford Movement came to dominate English academic life, they rewrote the history of the Church of England, providing for themselves the usable past of a via media from which Puritans and Calvinists were excluded. Indeed, for some anglo-catholics the Church of England was defined by a Catholic persistence from which the Protestant Reformation was almost entirely excised,” Wallace, “Via Media? A Paradigm Shift” in Anglican and Episcopal History 72, no. 1 (2002), p20.

Chairman’s February pastoral letter | News

Very encouraging letter from the chairman of the GAFCON Anglican movement:

The lesson I believe we have learned from the failure of institutional attempts to restore unity by accommodation is that we must be more radical. We must return to the ‘narrow gate’ and come together on a strong and clear doctrinal basis. The GAFCON movement has been able to act as an instrument of unity in the Communion because it has the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which together give us a clear, faithful and contemporary statement of Anglican identity. 

via Chairman’s February pastoral letter | News.


How to be a smarter reader | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian

The author suggests that comprehension is much worse for e-readers. I think I agree!

How to be a smarter reader

There’s plenty of advice out there to help you read more – but what about how to get more from what you read? Here’s how

via How to be a smarter reader | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian.


At the Close of the Year – John Newton

A Poem/Hymn for the Close of the Year by John Newton:
Let hearts and tongues unite,
And loud thanksgivings raise:
‘Tis duty, mingled with delight,
To sing the Saviour’s praise.

To him we owe our breath,
He took us from the womb,
Which else had shut us up in death,
And prov’d an early tomb.

When on the breast we hung,
Our help was in the Lord;
‘Twas he first taught our infant tongue
To form the lisping word.

When in our blood we lay,
He would not let us die,
Because his love had fix’d a day
To bring salvation nigh.

In childhood and in youth,
His eye was on us still:
Though strangers to his love and truth,
And prone to cross his will.

And since his name we knew,
How gracious has he been:
What dangers has he led us through,
What mercies have we seen!

Now through another year,
Supported by his care,
We raise our Ebenezer here,
“The Lord has help’d thus far.”

Our lot in future years
Unable to foresee,
He kindly, to prevent our fears,
Says, “Leave it all to me.”

Yea, Lord, we wish to cast
Our cares upon thy breast!
Help us to praise thee for the past,
And trust thee for the rest.


Packer on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer Liturgy

Amen, Amen:

I seek to be, not only humbled and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Savior continually. This is the religion that pervades the whole Liturgy, and particularly the Communion Service; and this makes the Liturgy inexpressibly sweet to me. The repeated cries for mercy to each Person of the ever-adorable Trinity for mercy, are not at all too frequent or too fervent for me; nor is the Confession in the Communion service too strong for me; nor the Te Deum, nor the ascriptions of glory after the Lord’s Supper, Glory be to God on high, etc. too exalted for me this shows what men of God the framers of our Liturgy were, and what I pant, and long, and strive to be. This makes the Liturgy as superior to all modern compositions, as the work of a Philosopher on any deep subject is to that of a schoolboy who understands scarcely anything about it.

From JI Packer, “The Gospel in the Prayer Book”, 1966.

Smartphones – the positives

Here is what is good about smartphones (remember I’ve got Android in mind here):

  • they have beautiful typography (on anything with pixel density greater than 300 pixels per inch)
  • they make it easy to process emails that require a quick response
  • they make it easy to send short text messages
  • they make it easy to process emails that simply need to be read and archived. This helps significantly in keeping inboxes to zero – you can keep up with prayer letters while standing in a queue etc.
  • Google Maps is amazing and the navigation is very useful. Up to date, takes traffic congestion into account, accurate time estimates, all good. Google maps is great for holidays also.
  • Google Contacts (part of Gmail) is amazing, once you have gathered all the right data into it. Makes it very easy to get directions between someone’s house and a hospital for example. Great for a pastor doing alot of visiting.
  • They make it pleasant to make calls. I’m putting numbers for everyone I ever see into my Gmail contacts. As a pastor it makes it easier to use the phone quickly and effectively (especially combined with in-car bluetooth – see below).
  • The Android Gmail client is very nice. Works well for me because I use gmail and labels for my todo lists.
  • (Google calendar on the desktop and Android seems pretty awful – I’m still on an A4 week to a page paper diary.)
  • The instant messaging apps are a great alternative to SMS. I’m often using Android google chat to my wife on her gmail desktop (she is not a mobile phone user at all!).
  • Mobile data speeds are fantastic these days – I get 5-10Mbits on Telstra in Melbourne in most places.
  • Tethering via usb or wifi to my netbook helps to redeem time very well when stuck somewhere
  • They replace ipods and mp3 players – they make it really easy to listen to sermons and music.
  • Bluetooth is wonderful if you have it in your car – jump in, keep listening to the sermon, phone rings – sermon fades out – take the call – sermon fades in etc. Get bluetooth in your actual car stereo, don’t just buy a bluetooth unit as an add-on.
  • Battery life is no issue because you can get micro-usb (for Android) dongles in everyplace you are – home, car, work.
  • Smartphone camera and video are pretty good and the convenience is outstanding. Especially combined with dropbox auto upload.
  • Dropbox is a killer app – I can see all my files, all my photos any time from my phone – incredible.

Tomorrow I will post what is wrong with smartphones.

New Principal for Ridley Melbourne

Give thanks to God for this appointment of Dr Brian Rosner.

A few years ago I blogged a review of his book “Beyond Greed”.  I’m also a fan of the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology which he co-edited.

The Board of Ridley Melbourne is delighted to announce the appointment of New Testament scholar and author, Dr Brian Rosner to the position of Principal. Dr Rosner will take up the role at the beginning of second semester, July 2012.

via Ridley Melbourne, Theological College –.

Type and anti-type in the New Testament

The use of tupos and antitupos are the clearest examples of typology in the New Testament. They are a good starting point for developing typology as an approach for reading Scripture.

Type (tupos):

Adam a type of Christ:

Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type (tupos) of the one who was to come.  Romans 5:14

Tabernacle a type of Heaven:

They serve a copy (upodeigmati) and shadow (skia) of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern (tupos) that was shown you on the mountain.Hebrews 8:5 (see also Acts 7:44)

Wilderness generation experiences a type of warnings for the Church:

 “Now these things took place as examples (tupoi) for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.1 Corinthians 10:6

Anti-type (antitupos):

The flood a type of baptism:

Baptism, which corresponds to this (antitupon), now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ1 Peter 3:21

Tabernacle a type of Heaven:

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies (antitupa) of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:24

This last example is slightly strange as we would expect the holy places to be described as type, not anti-type.

These uses of type and antitype are explicit examples in understanding how to read the Old Testament in light of the New. There are many examples that don’t use the terms but use the methodology. For example, the comparison between the sacrificial system and the sacrifice of Jesus is conceptually typological in Hebrews 5-10, without formally using the term.

Drawn together, such examples set a framework and trajectory for interpreting the whole Bible as Christian Scripture.

Great article on the Trinity

My friend Andrew Moody has finished his PhD on Trinitarian relations and has a fantastic paper in the latest Themelios.

His article argues for “benefits” for the Son and the Godhead in the work of creation and redemption. It is also a wonderful understanding delineating the work of each person of the Trinity.

Here is a great sampler commenting on Revelation 4-5:

In the cross-event, the Son becomes worthy of praise in a new way.  Alongside his eternal inclusion in the nature, works, and praise of the Father (cf. 1 Cor 8:6), he now earns a particular and distinct worship that is different from, but equal with, that accorded to the first person of the Trinity.

And this takes us beyond mere manifestation. The Son’s achievement here is not simply to reveal the Father. It is also to establish a new relationship with the universe in which the Son himself is the focus and hinge. The world, hitherto seen as the Father’s by virtue of his creation (Rev 4:11) now also becomes the Son’s by virtue of redemption. 26 The culmination of the arc is praise to both God and the Lamb together: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!” (Rev 5:13).

Tour of Doug Wilson’s Study…. not quite

Someone asked Doug: ”Can you show us how you organise your study?  Can you take us through a normal day in the life of Doug?”

Unfortunately Doug did not let the cameraman give us the tour of the study/library. Not happy!

Ask Doug – “How do you organize your study?” from Daniel Foucachon on Vimeo.

I’m sure that the person who asked Doug this didn’t get what they were hoping for. I imagine that guy is really frustrated.

A Sermon: Biblical Foundations for Family Life

No mp3 of this one, but this is a sermon I preached on “Biblical Foundations for Family Life” at our Mandarin congregation. I’m still working on this material so if you want to see/hear the English version you’ll have to invite me to run a biblical parenting seminar at your church. 🙂

Biblical Foundations for Parenting Mandarin HTD June 2008 translation.doc

The Religious War Against Marriage » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch

Muehlenberg’s direct but wise response to a recent Porter piece:

Funny, but I bet big money that Mrs Porter wants the church to speak out publically and loudly on all sorts of moral issues, be it racism, environmentalism or sexual assault. But when it comes to her pet sin, homosexuality, then the church should just shut up and keep out of the public discussion.

Sorry Muriel, but it does not work that way. The truth is, you have just entered the public arena (in the form of an article in the national press) telling us that your version of events is the right one, and the Christian one. Yet when others who disagree with you seek to enter the debate, and in fact support the biblical position on this, you want them to butt out and just stay silent.

The Religious War Against Marriage » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch

Charles Widmore and Lost Season 4 spoiler

This is my current theory on Lost. Charles Widmore is actually Jim Robinson from Neighbours, that much is clear. The island where Lost is set is actually a medium size parkland in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Remember the church that Eko was building in Season 2? That is actually Holy Trinity Doncaster where Scot and Charlene were married. The valley of houses where “the others” used to live is a replication of Ramsey St.

In 1996, he purchased the journal of the first mate of the Black Rock, a 19th century British slave ship, at a Southfield’s auction. Desmond found him at the auction, demanding to know Penny’s new contact information. Widmore asserted that it was Desmond’s cowardice that separated Desmond from Penny. Desmond asked Widmore why Widmore hated him; Widmore retorted that it wasn’t he who hated Desmond. He then gave Desmond Penny’s address.Charles Widmore – Lostpedia