An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Roques: The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails

The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails
Creative Ways of talking about Christian Faith
Mark Roques
Leeds: ThinkingFaith Network
ISBN 978-0-9957572-0-2
Pbk, 182pp, £8.99

For many evangelism is a difficult ask. We often dread talking about our faith. Not because we are ashamed of it but because we are afraid of coming over as sounding a bit naff. However, there is good news - and not only in the Gospel - Mark Roques has written a book that will help us share our faith without being naff.

This book will revolutionise how we evangelise. Roques shows us creative ways in which to share or faith. His basic premise is that we need to tell stories that provoke and ask questions that expose religious beliefs. He takes his cue from Jesus’ approach. Roques shows how Jesus used humour and stories to reveal the heart of God. Roques shows how we can do the same. He draws upon his vast experience as a school teacher and as a speaker to provide a myriad of examples of how this can be done. He gives illustrations of how to communicate awe and wonder, to expose and challenge contemporary idolatries. As suggested by the title of the book Roques makes good use of examples from James Bond films, from rats and from a bed of nails.

If you want to share the good news of Jesus in a way that engages, inspires and brings glory to Jesus - you will do no better than drawing on the resources that Roques provides in this book.

The book can be obtained from here

Kuyper on 'What is a Christian family?'

Abraham Kuyper on what it is to be a Christian family:

"For a family to be Christian, three things must be present in it through the Spirit of Christ and the result of his work. The first is the restoration of what sin and misery have corrupted. The second is the elevation of original family life to its ideal. And thirdly, in order that this blessing might not be passing but fix its roots in the family and seek to be nourished there, the family must sanctify its communion by establishing a family altar before which the entire family (that is, parents, children, and servants) kneel so as to give to God the honor and worship he is due for what he in his grace has given the family and to ask him to bless its life. Only in this way can Christ exercise his dominion as our King over the family as well. Only in this way will he be honored as King in the family and through the family. The good things that happen will proceed from him through his Spirit. And Christian parents who with their baptized children and Christian staff live together in such a family will know that not only their personal salvation, but also the exalted grace they enjoy in family life, comes to them from their God only for the sake of Christ."
Pro Rege: Living Under Christ’s Kingship
Volume 2: The Kingship of Christ in Its Operation. Lexham Press, 2017.  p. 317

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Review of Greidanus Preaching Christ from Psalms

Preaching Christ from Psalms
Foundations for Expository Sermons in the Christian Year
Sidney Greidanus
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7366-8
Pbk, xx + 595pp, £28.99

Sidney Greidanus is the  Emeritus professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids. He has long been concerned with preaching Christ from the Old Testament. His concern dates back over 30 years.  After preaching a sermon from Ecclesiastes a member of the congregation came up to him and asked a provocative question: ‘I like your sermon … But could a rabbi have preached that in a synagogue?’ Was Greidanus’ sermon a Christian sermon? This question stirred him into action and the theme of preaching Christ from the Old Testament was developed in his 1989 book The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text as well as in his Preaching Christ from the Old Testament (1999). Since then he has produced books on preaching Christ from Daniel, Genesis and Ecclesiastes. And now we have the latest - and what sadly seems to be the last - on Preaching Christ through Psalms.

This book is a brilliant fusion of hermeneutics and homiletics. The opening chapter takes an overview of the issues of preaching from the Psalms - including examining some objections others have from preaching the Psalms. As always with Greidanus there is much wisdom and excellent advice. The rest of the chapters examine different Psalms in detail (ones covered include Pss 122, 72, 146, 80, 96, 29, 2, 51, 32, 121,95, 23, 130, 118, 22, 118, 47, 104, 8, 100). Greidanus has followed the Revised Common Lectionary in selecting these Psalms from year A and has linked them to the Christian feasts.

He looks at ways of seeing Jesus in the text; these include redemptive-historical progress, promise-fulfilment, typology, analogy, longitudinal themes, New Testament references and contrast. These approaches have been explained and justified more fully in his Preaching Christ from the Old Testament. Obviously, not all these are applicable all the times to great variety of Psalms

The remaining chapters, each of which looks at a different Psalm, all follow a similar structure:

  • Text and context
  • Literary interpretation - including parallelisms, imagery, repetitions and structure
  • Theocentric interpretation
  • Textual theme and goal
  • Ways to preach Christ
  • Sermon theme, goal and need
  • Liturgy, scripture reading, sermon outline and PowerPoint
  • Sermon exposition

As can be seen from the structure of each chapter, his approach is one that grapples with the text, its structure and purpose before seeing how a Christological approach arises from it. There is also lots of practical advice, including suggestions for PowerPoint slides. In the sermon exposition, we are shown the fruit of this digging down would look like in a well-crafted sermon (at the end there are even examples of a prayer and song to use). Also included in the Appendices are examples of sermons on Psalms 72 and 80 by a former student of Greidanus, Ryan Faber.

The Bible is often compared to a stick of seaside rock with Jesus’ name written all the way through it. Here, Greidanus breaks open the Psalms and shows us Jesus written all the way through it. This book will be an invaluable resource for any preacher who plans to preach from any of the Psalms and do so in a way that brings glory to Jesus. Greidanus’ Preaching Christ through … books are all a wonderful gift to preachers and to the institutional church.