Saturday, January 24, 2009

Is the Bible the Word of God?

There is an interesting discussion on this following this cartoon at ASBO Jesus. I would certainly say that no one version is more inspired than another.

I would also add that literal interpretations must give way to responsible hermeneutics. We must appreciate, for example, the symbolic nature of the book of Revelation and also think carefully about the style of the creation narrative. Too much energy has been wasted debating creationism - Indiana Jones like explorers are even trying to find Noah’s Ark!

I agree that God speaks to us today through the Bible and points us to Jesus who is the word of God. But should we call the Bible itself the word of God too?

On top of this the doctrine of inerrancy has been a big red herring for many Christians. I like David Matthew’s notes on the book Spiration of Scripture that show us we can reject inerrancy and still call the Bible the word of God.

So is the Bible the word of God? Even though I would call Jesus the word of God and I don't think we should always take the Bible literally and I wouldn't agree with inerrancy, I still think that ultimately my answer is... 'Yes! the Bible is the word of God'.

What would you say?

Related Post: Fear, Faith and Change: part of a series on the Awareness Course that compares how Islam interprets Quran with how Christians interpret the Bible.

Update: Here is a good article by Aaron Rathburn. Aaron is a blogger who is connected to the same network of churches that I am: Biblical Inerrancy From The Bible or Enlightenment?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Churches really are working together

Tomorrow and the following Friday I’m covering for Helen in our Drop-In while she and Steve go to Africa for a week. You may recall that I blogged about the Drop-In and our mission to the homeless just before Christmas. But what stuck me today was that fact that there will be other Christians there: Christians who are not part of our church or our network.

Christians from different churches working together is not new. But over the past few years we seem to have increasingly been involved in outworking this idea. For instance, just before Christmas we were involved in a massive food parcel programme with a couple of other churches in our neighbourhood through Hope 08.

It’s not just in one off projects that we are getting to work together. There are couple of people in our church that work for Karis Neighbour Scheme. This is a Christian based charity that works with a number of churches showing neighbourly acts of kindness. It was featured on Secret Millionaire last year. My wife also organises a crèche for the ESOL classes that Karis runs. Through this and Karis’s Welcome to Ladywood project we have had the privilege of meeting refugees and asylum seekers who have come to Birmingham.

We also know people through an organisation called Restore that encourages people in a number of churches to befriend asylum seekers.

And now we're involved in a Drop-In and ministry to the homeless that are also supported by Christians from other churches. Yes, we really are all working together to serve our community.

Update: I've now created a set for the Drop-In on flickr.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

One Million Decide To Follow Jesus Through One Website

Seriously. This is no joke. Just over one million now have decided to follow Jesus by clicking through Of course it’s more than a click. This website, which is already in many languages, leads people through a process that at the end invites them to pray a prayer of commitment. Over at you can watch the decisions in real time and Google Earth them you want to. Thanks to Andrew Jones for showing me this. Andrew has met Eric Celerier the author of this site and has heard some exciting stories.

In order to protect the responders the site only tells you to town or city where the person on the internet accessed the site from. Many of these decisions are coming from countries where Christians are persecuted and where the church is known to be growing. Locals could well respond with violence if they knew any more precise details. So I don’t think there is any provision to put people in contact with churches.

I would not blame people for being sceptical. The site admits that decisions don’t make disciples. And the gospel message comes over a bit too simplistic and sentimental for me. Perhaps I need to recapture a bit of naivety. One million is some claim but if only a tiny fraction of those are sincere it's still thousands swept into the kingdom. "By setting up this website", Andrew explains, "a transparent process has been created that tells its own story". Each person leaves their record behind. I have no problem believing a million people have confirmed that they have said the prayer on this site. I just wonder what exactly that means.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

I’m enjoying re-discovering some Christian classics to read to Callie. This is an abridged version of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe illustrated by Christian Birmingham. I have also recently read her a version of Pilgrim’s Progress. And at Christmas we brought her The Children's lllustrated Bible and have worked out a plan that takes her through all the Bible stories in a year. Callie loves books.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I have had a few new reviews of mine added to the Cross Rhythms site. This means that as well as my carols I’ve had a couple of good gospel albums to listen to over Christmas. But recently I’ve also been listening to the album Going Up? by Zehnder. Thanks to Mike Morrell of the Ooze for sending me a copy.

Zehnder is a Christian band from Los Angeles led by twins Tim and Tom Zehnder. Going Up? is mainly upbeat rootsy pop rock but with a range of instruments and styles mixed in. You may be surprised to here the touch of choral and the touch of world music in there. Zehnder are good but what makes the album for me are their lyrics rather than their voices. I’m not sure why the track that they are pushing is Spirit Born - based on John 3 – but you can get that on a free download from their site. Perhaps it’s just because it is so catchy but I can't help wondering if it's to ensure they get recognition by born again evangelicals.

Anyway for me, the more downbeat track I Believe is the stand out of this album. The lyrics show a degree of honesty about struggling with faith that is very rare in Christian music:

In times of war, in times of doubt,
In desperate times you scream about.
In times of pain and times of loss,
Those desperate times up on the cross.

I believe, help my unbelief. I believe, help my unbelief.

In times of joy and times of bliss,
On sunny days you never miss.
The times with you, together free,
Bring Heaven here with certainty.

I believe, help my unbelief. I believe, help my unbelief.

And oh the grief, to say goodbye,
Sing out wailing through labored sigh.
Swing white hot fury to black despair,
Dare you to find your God in there!

I believe, help my unbelief. I believe, help my unbelief.

You can buy the album from from CD Baby or from Zehnder themselves.