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Showing posts from January, 2012

1 Timothy 2: on prayer, unity and the role of women in church

1 Timothy 2:1-15 Timothy has been urged to hold on to faith and to keep a good conscience. Now Paul turns his attention to the God who desires all people to be saved. Salvation is the big idea which controls this passage. Paul begins by speaking about the God who desires for all people to be saved (2:4), he speaks of the one mediator between God and men (2:5), and he finishes the chapter speaking about how specifically women will saved (2:15) - which is really rather odd. And it is important to remember that for Paul salvation is both a moment, when a person is saved and passes from death to life, but it is also a process. So, for instance, in 1 Timothy he writes, "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Timothy 4:16) And it is important that we hold this big idea in mind as we look at a passage about which there are fundamental disagreements. There are three sub-theme

How to become radiant

2 Corinthians 3:7-18 We are looking through the book of 2 Corinthians. And forgive me for spending a bit of time explaining a bit about the background to 2 Corinthians It is a letter written by Paul to the church in Corinth. It is possibly 2 of Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth put together. It is principally a defence of his ministry. It is the most personal of all the letters. We glimpse Paul the man. He shares some of his deepest trials and some of his most profound experiences. But if it is a defence of the messengers, it is even more a proclamation of the message and the person who the message is about. And so, in our reading next week, we have those fantastic words: “For what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5). So Paul defends his ministry He affirms that he is trustworthy . His accusers were saying – we see this in chapter 1 – that he had said in an earlier letter that he was going

on Icons: their origins, meaning and use

THE ORIGINS, MEANING AND USE OF SACRED ICONS For two years my wife and I had the great privilege to live in the Orthodox Theological Academy in St Peter sburg . We were sent from 1993-1995 by the Church Mission Society, an Anglican mission agency, to establish links with the Orthodox Church which was beginning to emerge from 70 years of persecution under the communist regime. When we went, I had a very western and Protestant suspicion of icons; and yet by the end of our time I had come to cherish both icons and the tradition for which they stand. I could, did and do now venerate icons (the Orthodox make a clear distinction between the veneration of an icon and the worship which is due to the divine person which they may represent). Occasionally, when I am away from home, I may take out a photograph of my wife and kiss it. I do not confuse the photograph with her, but it is a way of expressing my love for her. We became very aware of how significant icons were