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Brian Talbot

Abstract

The Secord World War was a conflict which many British people feared might happen, but they strongly supported the efforts of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to seek a peaceful resolution of tensions with Germany over disputes in Continental Europe. Baptists in Scotland shared these concerns of their fellow citizens, but equally supported the declaration of war in 1939 after the German invasion of Poland. They saw the conflict as a struggle for spiritual values and were as concerned about winning the peace that followed as well as the war. During the years 1939 to 1945 they recommitted themselves to sharing the Christian message with their fellow citizens and engaged in varied forms of evangelism and extended times of prayer for the nation. The success of their Armed Forces Chaplains in World War One ensured that Scottish Baptist padres had greater opportunities for service a generation later. Scottish Baptists had seen closer ties established with other churches in their country under the auspices of the Scottish Churches Council. This co-operation in the context of planning for helping refugees and engaging in reconstruction at the conclusion of the war led to proposals for a World Council of Churches. Scottish Baptists were more cautious about this extension of ecumenical relationships. In line with other Scottish Churches they recognised a weakening of Christian commitment in the wider nation, but were committed to the challenge of proclaiming their faith at this time. They had both high hopes and expectations for the post-war years in Scotland.

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Ian Stackhouse

Abstract

This essay was delivered as the third and last paper at Spurgeon’s Annual Theological Conference in the summer of 2015. The theme of the Conference was the nature of the trinitarian God, neatly divided a sequence of papers on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In this essay on the person of the Holy Spirit, Stackhouse challenges some of the assumptions we make when we speak of the Spirit as the God who is near. By placing charismatic experience alongside the biblical revelation, he argues for an understanding of the person of the Spirit as no less transcendent as the Father and the Son, and actively engaged not simply in the phenomena of signs and wonders but in drawing the believer into the very life of the trinity. As the essay develops, Stackhouse seeks to draw out the implications of this approach to pneumatology for our notions of identity, holiness, prayer and Christian community. He argues for a much stronger connection in charismatic/Pentecostal experience between Christ and the Spirit; and in so doing, he warns against some of the more popular, and somewhat ironic, emphases on power, method and function. As with the first paper of the day by Dr Nigel Wright, Stackhouse draws upon the work of Jewish philosopher Martin Buber. Like Wright, he regards Buber’s I-Thou construct of religious experience as critical for the future of contemporary revivalism.

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Phia Steyn

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to explore the religious responses within the Orange Free State republic to the environmental crises in the period c. 1896 to c. 1898. During this time the state was subjected to severe drought, flooding, and the outbreak of various diseases. The article examines the way in which these afflictions where interpreted by the Christian and wider community in terms of God’s wrath for unrepented sins. The persistence of synchronistic elements of folk religion was seen to have brought plagues like those found in Exodus which were visited upon the Pharaoh and his kingdom. This interruptive frame work led to calls for national repentance, but also a resistance to scientific and medical resolutions to the crises. It also reinforced racial divisions. Black Africans were perceived as the carriers of the disease so their movement was prohibited. The article goes on to show how the effect of this biblical frame of reference protected the concept of God as the ever-present active God in every aspect of life against the scientific rationalism of the age, while at the same time ironically hindering the work of mission and the life of the church.

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Stephen R. Holmes

Abstract

This article considers the post-Reformation debates over the extent of the Atonement. It traces the origins of these debates from the articles of the Arminian Remonstrance of 1610 through the declarations of the supporters of the Synod of Dort in 1618-19. The debate is then considered in relation to an English Baptist context, and specifically the exegetical dispute over the meaning of the word ‘all’ in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 and Romans 3:23-4. Three options are examined and the various difficulties in arbitrating between these various interpretations. Recognising these difficulties, the article goes on to explore the relationship between scriptural exegesis and theology with reference to the formulation of the ecumenical doctrine of the Trinity in the fourth century. It argues that while theology should always attempt to be consistent with the exegetical data on occasion it proves inconclusive, as in the case of the debate over the extent of the atonement. In such cases the role of theology becomes one of mediation as it seeks a way of reading the texts of Scripture that allows them to be heard without contradicting each other. Again, this is illustrated from the fourth century and the Christology of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa. Returning to the question of atonement with this understanding of the task of theology the article seeks to propose a way to reconcile the biblical texts which speak of the atonement as both universal and limited.

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Ian Birch

Abstract

This article outlines the rise of the Fifth Monarchists, a religiously inspired and politically motivated movement which came to prominence in the 1650s and believed the execution of Charles I cleared the way for King Jesus to return and reign with the saints from the throne of England. The imminent establishment of the Kingdom of Christ on earth was of great interest to Baptists, some of whom were initially drawn to the Fifth Monarchy cause because Fifth Monarchy theology provided a political route to a reformed society in England. While Baptists in the 1650s greatly desired to advance the cause of King Jesus the increasingly revolutionary methods employed by the Fifth Monarchists were at odds with their understanding of the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom, thus exposing differences in their respective eschatologies. Finally, observing the ambitious zeal of the Fifth Monarchist programme Baptists disavowed the anarchic revolutionary approach and distanced themselves from the movement. This breach, regarded as apostasy by the Fifth Monarchists, came at a fortunate time for the Baptist cause before the revolution was stamped out and the leaders arrested. The rise and fall of the Fifth Monarchists, however, helped Baptists to clarify the nature and methods of their approach to establishing the kingdom of Christ among the saints on earth, and is therefore worthy of consideration for those wishing to understand the beginning of the Baptists in England and the nature of apocalyptic during the interregnum.

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Alasdair Black

Abstract

This article considers the theological influences on the Balfour Declaration which was made on the 2 November 1917 and for the first time gave British governmental support to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It explores the principal personalities and political workings behind the Declaration before going on to argue the statement cannot be entirely divested from the religious sympathies of those involved, especially Lord Balfour. Thereafter, the paper explores the rise of Christian Restorationism in the context of Scottish Presbyterianism, charting how the influence of Jonathan Edwards shaped the thought of Thomas Chalmers on the role of the Jews in salvation history which in turn influenced the premillennialism of Edward Irving and his Judeo-centric eschatology. The paper then considers the way this eschatology became the basis of John Darby’s premillennial dispensationalism and how in an American context this theology began to shape the thinking of Christian evangelicals and through the work of William Blackstone provide the basis of popular and political support for Zionism. However, it also argues the political expressions of premillennial dispensationalism only occurred in America because the Chicago evangelist Dwight L. Moody was exposed to the evolving thinking of Scottish Presbyterians regarding Jewish restoration. This thinking had emerged from a Church of Scotland ‘Mission of Inquiry’ to Palestine in 1839 and been advanced by Alexander Keith, Horatius Bonar and David Brown. Finally, the paper explores how this Scottish Presbyterian heritage influenced the rise of Zionism and Balfour and his political judgements.

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Nathan H. Gunter

Abstract

The simultaneous globalization and demographic shift of the Church to the Global South has produced an unprecedented climate for theological work. Pastors and theologians are confronted with the task of developing theological systems that are faithful to the authoritative standard of Scripture, tailored to the increasingly complex needs of their local contexts, and sensitive to the ongoing dialogue of other leaders around the globe. In light of the increasing cross-cultural dialogue among scholars and pastors within a globalized church and a corresponding desire to encourage greater ‘diasporadic consciousness’ therein, this article presents the biblical-theological shepherd-leader motif as a primary metaphor for understanding the distinct nature and role of pastoral leadership. This article presents shepherd leadership as a robust metaphor of pastoral leadership by reviewing Scripture’s use of the metaphor and recent significant works on the subject. In the second section of the article, I propose a model profile of the biblical shepherd-leader based upon the insights of the biblical-theological review.

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Timothy Paul Jones

Abstract

It has become widespread, not only among pastors and conference speakers but also among scholars such as Vern Poythress and John Frame, to utilize the threefold offices of Christ as a typology for church leadership. According to this application of the threefold office, different church leaders possess prophetic, priestly, and kingly capacities in differing degrees, and the most appropriate role for each leader depends on which of these capacities happens to be strongest. According to some proponents, the offices of prophet, priest, and king function as leadership personality types, with prophets identified as those leaders who are gifted as teachers, priests as those who care for people’s needs, and kings as planners and organizers. This article undertakes an exploration of these three leadership roles and contends that, though the munus triplex itself is a venerable and biblical structure, the appropriation of prophet, priest, and king as typological categories for church leadership is not. Through examination both of relevant Old Testament texts and of New Testament appropriations of these offices of leadership, it is demonstrated that the typological categorization of leaders as prophets, priests, or kings falls far short when it comes to biblical support. Particularly absent in Scripture is any clear identification of these offices with specific traits that different church leaders possess in differing degrees. Kingship and priesthood in particular are not individualized traits but a communal identity, shared by the whole people of God and grounded in union with Christ

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Jeffrey M. Horner

Abstract

The apostle Paul employed many techniques that demonstrated his leadership. One of the most understated instances of that is in his ‘Fool’s Speech’ in 2 Corinthians 11:16- 12:13. Paul flaunted his rhetorical skills in calling attention to his own shortcomings, in lampooning his opponents, and in revealing the source of his assurance for foolishness. This article evaluates Paul’s rhetorical masterpiece calling the Corinthians to humble submission to his apostleship by synthesizing the work of both Jennifer Glancy and Lawrence Welborn with Don Howell. [All Scriptural quotes are taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1977]

Open access

Amy L. Crider

Abstract

In his Gospel, John reveals this key leadership principle: effective leaders harness the power of narrative to illuminate the metanarrative and connect people to it. John uses narrative techniques to make invisible spiritual realities visible and thus succeeds in connecting people to the metanarrative. John forges a link between people and the metanarrative by showing individuals how their own stories fit into the biblical metanarrative, fulfilling his purpose: ‘These are written that you may believe…’ (20:31). The church is transmitted through the ages by leaders who write. Because the metanarrative is a story and story is accessible to all audiences, the biblical metanarrative is not dependent on culture, time, or context; it transcends the ages, enabling John to lead and write from the present as well as for the future. Thus, John illuminates the metanarrative not only for the infant church but for all Christians to come. Christian leaders today also need to communicate so their people can see their place in the metanarrative of Scripture.