Here is another fabulous chat by Jeff and Jon, this time with former Spurgeon’s tutor Rev’d Dr John Colwell.
I met Dr Colwell when he taught on one of my Masters modules in 2009/10 at Bristol Baptist College (Where Helen Paynter has now been appointed – see her interview on one of her areas of great expertise: Violence and the Bible). At the time he taught Systematic and Historical Theology for over 20 years.
Rev’d Dr John Colwell is a wonderful man, and I was so privileged to have him as a mentor for several years during my early pastoral ministry. These days I meet with him in a theology symposium group which is wonderful, and occasionally, for lunch where I can pick his mighty brain on a whole range of issues. I always find it helpful to make the first half dozen questions a mixture between Thomas Aquinas and the nature of God (mental note: It’s John’s shout next time)!!
Having participated in two funerals in the last week, I offer this prayer that I have adapted to allow for two perspectives: the beloved one who has died and the beloved ones who are grieving. I wanted to share this because the experiences have been so unusual given the social distancing and other attendant Coronavirus limitations, that loss and grief have been made more complex and our grief more exposed.
I offer it here for those who have lost loved ones, for whatever reason, and are grieving, whether in the UK or around the world.
“When we speak of the centrality of the Atonement, I have said, we mean much more, worlds more, than its place in a religious system. We are speaking of that which is the centre, not of thought, but of actual life, conscience, history and destiny. We speak of what is the life-power of the moral world and its historic crisis, the ground of the Church’s existence, and the sole meaning of Christ himself. Christ is to us just what His cross is. All that Christ was in heaven or on earth was put into what he did there. And all that man’s moral soul needs doing for it eternally was done centrally there.
Jon Stannard and Jeff Jacobson speak with Dr. Helen Paynter.
Helen is a tutor at Bristol Baptist College, director of Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence and an author. In 2019 she wrote God of Violence Yesterday, God of Love Today?, which explores the theme of violence in the Old Testament.
Buy her book at Amazon here: https://bit.ly/GVYLT
Helen is producing a video every day on a book of the Bible: https://bit.ly/TourBible
Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence https://www.facebook.com/CSBVBristolB… https://www.csbvbristol.org.uk/
See my review for Helen’s book ‘Reduced Laughter’ here.
Enjoy this excellent interview:
Having just read G. K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, so much stood out as, frankly, pure genius. However, these few lines were among many that were just stunning, and I hope they inspire you to read this incredible journalistic and dare I say, playful, account of history, religion and the fact of Jesus of Nazareth….
“‘The first rational explanation of his life was that he never lived…
Then the idea that he was a divine being who did not exist gave place to the idea that he was a human being who did exist.
In my youth it was the fashion to say that he was merely an ethical teacher in the manner of the Essenes, who had apparently nothing much to say that Hillel or a hundred other Jews might not have said…
Then someone said that he was a madman with a Messianic delusion. Then others said that he was indeed an original teacher because he cared about nothing but Socialism; or (as others said) about nothing but Pacifism.
Then a more grimly scientific character appeared who said that Jesus would never have been heard of at all except for his prophecies of the end of the world… Among other variants on the same theme was the theory that he was a spiritual healer and nothing else…
There is another theory that concentrates entirely on the business of diabolism… as if Christ, like a young deacon taking his first orders, had got as far as exorcism and never got any further.
Now each of these explanations in itself seems to me singularly inadequate; but taken together they do suggest something of the very mystery which they miss.
There must surely have been something not only mysterious but many-sided about Christ if so many smaller Christs can be carved out of him…
It were better to rend our robes with a great cry against blasphemy… rather than to stand stupidly debating fine shades of pantheism in the presence of so catastrophic a claim… when a strolling carpenter’s apprentice said calmly and almost carelessly, like one looking over his shoulder: ‘Before Abraham was, I am.'”
Many people will be in despair and hopelessness.
Asking: Where is the hope in the midst of such unusual events worldwide?
The Apostle Paul said that ‘Love never fails’ (1 Cor 13:8).
He went on to say, “these three remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love” (v.13).
I’ll say something about this love in a minute.
But as for hope? It is seen and acted out in and through the Church of Jesus Christ.
Just as Jesus was incarnated,
God becoming a man;
So the Church is incarnational.
It is the people.
The bodies are the Body of Jesus Christ in the world.
That’s where hope lies.
It occurred to me in the last few days that there is a comparable situation between two unlikely events, that can end up producing similar outcomes.
At the turn of the millennium, I was a YWAM missionary, first training in the UK then in the Middle East. Part of my own research and study involved coming to factual terms with what is termed “culture shock,” which is a very real, dynamic and potentially dangerous event.
Different cultures operate in different ways. Hot climate cultures differ from cold climate cultures. Even one hot climate culture may differ quite dramatically from another hot climate culture, to lesser or greater degrees. Most people who go abroad will know in tiny part what I mean. We go for a week or two, enjoy the experience, soak up the atmosphere, enjoy ourselves. Laugh or frown at the driving, customs, language or principle mood of the place, but in the end, the return ticket is in our pocket. We’re going home, and we know it. Imagine going to a place so alien in language and custom, not to mention temperature and (from a Western perspective), hygiene – with a single ticket. You’re there for the long-haul and you’ve got to deal with what comes your way. And anyone who thinks or assumes this is easy has not experienced what I am attempting to articulate.