Saturday 23 June 2007

Don't you like blogging too?

This is a exclusive interview with the king of blog chat, the host of Blogging in the name of the Lord. Yes, it's.....
DS: Hello Guy...

GD: Wait a minute, why did you use that photo of me in a dinosaur park? What are you trying to say? When I do an interview I always try to use a decent photo of the guest. You're just trying to make me look silly.

DS: Keep your hair on (if you've got any under that stupid hat!).

GD: Thanks a lot. I knew that this interview was a bad idea.

DS: Moan, moan, moan. Right let's get down to it. Tell us a little bit about yourself (not that anyone will be interested in your sad life).

GD: What? My sad life. You were a free stuffed monkey from a box of tea bags before I made you into "David Sky" the theoblogger. Anyway, I was born just outside Newport in the old Lydia Beynon maternity hospital. The building is now part of the glamorous "Celtic Manor Resort". I was brought up in....

DS: Yawn.... This is so tedious. I didn't ask for your whole life story. Right, your blog is called "Exiled Preacher". Is that because they chucked you out of Wales and won't let you go back home?

GD: No. "Exiled" has deep spiritual connotations. You just ask N.T. Wright. He's always going on about it. And "Preacher"...

DS: Yes, obviously, we know that you are a preacher. Now, why did you start blogging. Too much time on yours hands or sheer vanity?

GD: Actually, I think that blogging is a good way of discussing theology with people from all around the world. I don't sit on endless committees, collect stamps or make replicas of the Titanic from spent matches, I blog. I think that the apostle Paul would have been a blogger if he were alive today and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Jonathan Edwards would definitely have been up for it with a Religious Affections blog. He virtually predicted the advent of Christian blogging (here). Anyway, you can't talk, you blog-headed monkey. Where do you think that this interview is happening, on a clockwork radio? Besides, many of today's big name preachers and theologians blog, like Mark Dever, Geoff Thomas, John Piper, Paul Helm and John Frame.

DS: So, big name preacher-theologian now are we? Yeah, yeah. You've got delusions of grandeur, mate.

GD: That's not what I'm saying.

DS: Yeah, right. Next question: What are your three favourite songs?

GD: You do Something to Me by Paul Well, I just bought The Fray's new album How to Save a Life and I like the track, Over my Head (Cable Car) and One by U2.

DS: What, nothing by The Monkees? You have seriously bad taste. Oh well, I can't be bothered with this anymore. That's it.

GD: Eh? Aren't you going to ask me some theological stuff or anything?

DS: No.

GD: Don't you want to know what I think of the state of evangelicalism today, or hear about my theological book recommendation, or my favourite blogs or .....


GD: This was a very massive bad idea. Why on earth did I say yes to an interview with you cheeky little monkey?
DS: He he he!

Wednesday 2 May 2007

Why I haven't blogged for a while

Dear reader,

You may be wondering why I haven't been doing much posting of late. There are two main reasons for this:
1) Indolence.
2) I can't be bothered.
I mean, thinking of something new to say almost every day is just too much like hard work. It may seem to you that I'm effortlessly brilliant at blogging, but to tell the truth... WHATEVER!!!!
Anyway, I'll be back sometime. In the meantine, instead of logging on to read the thoughts of a theological monkey, why don't you go and read a proper book? Remember what they look like? Covers, paper, words; beginning to come back to you now is it? Or why not have a conversation with a real human being, or play football with your kids, or take up cake decorating? Do you realise that visiting this blog makes you a very sad person? Go and do something with your life!!!

Monday 23 April 2007

Sheer poetry

You've found my site,
so cool and funky,
hosted my me,
a theological monkey.
"The sky's the limit"
is what they'll say,
'cos every monkey's
gotta have his day.
*Oh yeah!

*This is the blog that
broke the mold
all the rest are
scabby and old.
*Oh right!

Blue sky thinking,
that's the way to go.
Just take a glance
at my manifesto.


Don't disagree,
it makes me grumpy.
I'm always right,
an infallible monkey.
D'you hear?
So take a look round,
read and weep.
The blogging monkey,
he 'aint no geek.
*Let's freak!

Friday 20 April 2007

Banner of Truth Minister's Conference

From Monday 23rd April, I'll be away at the Banner of Truth Trust's Minister's Conference in Leicester. Check out the Exiled Preacher's blog for the lowdown here.

Ten proposals for being a pastor-theologian

This is a guest post by my great friend Jake Coolicus.
1. You cannot be a pastor without being a theologian. If you think you can, you're a poor pastor and a rubbish theologian.
2. You can be theologian without being a pastor, but if your theology is of no use to pastors, give up.
3. A pastor who thinks that he can do without theology is like a fish who despises water.
4. The aim of the pastor-theologian is not to study so much that his sermons are very clever but incomprehensible. The aim is to immerse the people of God in the clear depths of the Word.
5. If all a pastor reads is the stuff he needs for sermon prep, he will dry up and blow away.
6. Preaching is not warmed over precious thoughts with some funny illustrations thrown in, it is theology on fire.
7. If you haven't yet read Kevin Vanhoozer's The Drama of Doctrine, then you are a slacker and you should be ashamed of yourself.
8. If you haven't even heard of the above book and you think that reading Louis Berkhof is the way to keep up-to-date, then you are a very sad man.
9. Read books that will stretch your mind and stir your soul, not just to get sermon stories.
10. If you have read down to this point then you need to get a life. Go and read something deep and doxological like The Holy Trinity by Robert Letham.

Thursday 19 April 2007

Exiled Preacher interview

I've made such a splash in the world of theo-blogs that the great Exiled Preacher has given me a special Blogging in the name of the Lord interview (first series here). Some people have been waiting for years to sit in the hot seat. I've only been at this blogging lark for a week and I'm already getting noticed. This means that I'm right up there with blogging Leviathans Byron Smith and Michael Jensen (son of Abp). See here for our little chat.

Wednesday 18 April 2007

What's it all about? The New Perspective on Paul

N. T Wright
The so-called new perspective on Paul (NPP) is based on the assumption that Protestants have misunderstood Paul's teaching on justification. Scholars associated with this revisionist stance include E. P. Saunders, J. G. D. Dunn and N.T. Wright. All NPP proponents are usually named using their initials.
Reformers and Revisionists
The Reformers, in their simplicity used to think that 1st century Jews believed in salvation by works just like 16th century Roman Catholics. Saunders challenged that view by saying that "Second Temple" Jews believed that they were saved by God's gracious election. They may have taught that they had to "stay in" the covenant relationship by works, but they "got in" by grace.
When Paul wrote that we are saved by faith in Christ not by the works of thew law, he was not condemning legalism. He was saying that faith in Christ is that badge that now identifies us as the people of God, not the works of the law like circumcision under the old covenant. Justification by faith, then is about the question, "Who are the people of God?" The answer is, "Jews and Gentiles whom confess Jesus Christ as Lord." Jews who insisted that Gentiles get circumcised and obey the law to be "proper" Christians were being nationalistic rather than legalistic.
Can the NPP be justified?
The Reformers understood that justification is God's declaration that we a right with him on the basis of the obedience and sacrifice of Christ. For them, faith is not a "badge", but the empty hand that lays hold of the righteousness of Christ. In that case, justification is a legal category. It is the opposite of condemnation. It concerns our status before God rather than our identity within the people of God. Strangely, this is exactly what Paul says in Romans 8:33 & 34, "It is God who justifies who is he who condemns?" [Emphasis added]
Second Temple Jews may have believed that they "got in" by grace, but if they had to "stay in" by works, then this is still salvation by works. It seems that in terms of getting through the judgement of God into eternal bliss, many believed that they had to "get there" by their works. NPP scholars like N. T. Wright teach that final justification is on the basis of the whole life of faith, including works.
Paul's pespective on Paul
Paul's great argument in Romans 1-3 is that "by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified in his sight, for the works of the law were the badge of membership under the old covenant." Not really, the text says that we cannot be justified by the works of the law because "by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20). We have broken God's law. We are guilty before him (Romans 3:19). We cannot bring ourselves into a right relationship with God because we stand condemned as sinners. God justifies us on the basis on the atoning work of Christ (Romans 3:24 & 25). We are declared to be in the right with God because Christ has redeemed us. Justification is primarily about our standing before God, not our membership of his people. It is true that justified sinners are God's people, but justification by faith is not a "Jesus is Lord" badge. How could such a badge help us before the bar of God's judgement?