Did John ‘see’ Jesus?

Revelation has been hugely influential on the history of Christian art. If you are in the habit of visiting church buildings that have stained glass, you won’t have to travel far to find images drawn from the book. But what is striking in the images of Jesus, based on Revelation 1, is that Jesus is … Continue Reading

Resolving tensions in our reading of Scripture

Following my previous observations about Tony Campolo no longer calling himself evangelical, Tony himself responded on Christian Today. Every once in awhile unfair judgments are made. That was the case when Christian Today contributor Ian Paul wrote that I, along with other Red Letter Christians, emphasised the red letters in the New Testament, which in many Bibles highlight … Continue Reading

When is God ‘coming on the clouds’?

Quite early on in Revelation (1.7) we find the phrase ‘I am coming with the clouds’, and it is striking that the near universal view of commentators on this verse is that it is a reference to the return of Jesus to earth, as promised in Acts 1 and elsewhere. (Note that the New Testament never uses the now-popular phrase ‘second coming’ of Jesus, since this pairs the future with his ‘first coming’ in the incarnation, whereas the NT always pairs his return with his departure, as in ‘he will return in the same way you have seen him go’ in Acts 1.11).

Can evangelicals be redeemed?

What do you do when you find someone in your family behaving badly and bringing the family name into disrepute? There are two main strategies: either you can try and reason with them to bring them round and restore your shared reputation; or you can leave the family, change your name, and hope that the … Continue Reading

Compassion and power in John 11

If someone is in a fix, do you listen sympathetically and show you understand, or do you try and remedy the problem? Of course, that is a false dichotomy, but it a challenge we face often. If you want to take a stereotyped or generalised view of sex difference, by and large women tend to … Continue Reading

How often did Jesus and his followers fast?

How often did Jesus and the first generation of his followers fast? Was it an occasional thing, focused on specific events or causes? Or was it something more habitual and regular, an integral part of their devotional life? As most studies of the subject point out, fasting in the Old Testament was associated either with … Continue Reading

Does Jesus call us to ‘repent’?

The idea of ‘repenting of sin’ causes us a bit of a problem nowadays. It causes us a problem in relation to those outside the Church as well as those inside the Church and faith. For those outside, there is a sense that Christians are ‘holier than thou’, and are telling them that they are … Continue Reading

Is grace opposed to law?

It is relatively commonplace, in ordinary discussions about Christian discipleship, to hear the idea expressed that grace is the opposite to ‘law’. I think this is intended at a number of different levels: we are forgiven by God’s grace, and not because of (or in fact despite of) how we have lived our lives; our … Continue Reading