I don’t really know who Brodie McGregor is, but he left a comment on my blog and on visiting his blog in return I found an excellent (and more detailed) post about the discussion between Dr Rowan Williams and Mona Siddiqui. The post is focused more on detailing the exchange between the two scholars than on any judgement or personal view on what was said. My previous post, on the other hand, was more of the latter!

Also, if you are even more interested in this discussion than reading some thoughts from someone else on it, and you wishyou had been there. Or more worryingly, you were there and would like to watch it again, Glasgow University provide the webcast in their archive, and you can find it here. You will have to have windows media player to watch this wmv however.

Brian McLarenBrodie, however, also reminded me that Brian Mclaren is coming to Glasgow at the beginning of December. Precisely, he will be speaking on Sunday 7th December and also two times on Monday 8th December. I plan to attend both events on the Monday (11am -3pm at ICC, focusing on the topic ‘A new kind of Christian’, and then laterly at the Vertigo Bar in Strathclyde Student Union from 7.30pm) as I am otherwise engaged with work on Sunday evenings.

And for some added information, I wanted a picture for this post, so choose Brian Mclaren, but found it funny that Google Images more or less only has two different pictures of him, this one, and another with him sitting next to a cross. Either that, or her just poses the same way quite a lot.


real persecution?

real persecution?

Today we continue our series on Romans 12 with verse 14. We are looking at the following verse:


Rom 12:14  Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse.


The image I have used from the Simpsons to illustrate the point which I intend to make may seem a little crude to a few of you, but I just had a feeling when researching into today’s verse that very few of us actually understand persecution. Persecution is not just someone mocking us, scoffing at us, sidelining our views in society, although ultimately these things can be part of persecution in a larger scale. Rather, persecution is the systematic mistreatment of a person/persons. This could involve, arrest, imprisonment, beating, torture or in extreme cases execution. And yes, this still happens, but fortunately not to us. So, how then, do we understand persecution in our contexts? My initial response to my own question would be that we do not fully. However, we must attempt to understand this concept as comprehensively as we can. Therefore, we must look forwards, backwards as well as examining our present circumstances in order to gain an answer.


Here are the following three parts I feel would help us understand persecution and this verse: Continue Reading »

So, here we are, finally getting round to adding more to our Romans study after a good long while of selective forgetfulness. For this I apologise, much as been going on, as you will appreciate from toher posts here.


However, this apology made, let us get round to reading the scripture and deciphering yet another verse from Romans 12.


Rom 12:13      communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality.


Now, this verse is one which I had to read in many different versions in order to attempt to understand its meaning. In the KJV the translation is not particularly useful for a comprehensive understanding, but looking at the Greek words behind this translation helps a little. In simple terms, and from my simple understanding, this verse tells us that in amongst these other attitudes which we should have as a Christian, we should also be seeking to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, those who have faith like us, especially if they have need in their life. In all circumstances we should seek to pursue hospitality. Hospitality being the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

  Continue Reading »

Romans 12:12  rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in   prayer;

JOYFULLY in hope

This verse is typical of the a new testament paradox which tells us so often to be glad in all that we have but also to be glad in all that we don’t have – i.e. in our trials and tribulations; the times on the mountain tops and the times in the valleys. We obviously know that circumstances in this life often do not give us reason to be joyful, but we do know that “Hope” is the anticipation of what is going to come.  The main point to this is often take as the believer eventually rising from the dead, becoming like Christ, and going to heaven for eternity. The concept of Joy is mentioned 165 times in 155 different verses through the entire bible (KJV) and therefore there’s no doubt that it’s something that Christians do not live in fully. The Joy of the Lord, count it all as Joy, having the Joy of the God in the Lord and even Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross..,”   What a powerful concept, Matthew Henry writes that: “He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honour and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.”  There’s a lot in that, and we don’t have time to go into it all in this post, but if anyone’s interested then be sure to ask.

PATIENTLY in trials

What does it mean to be “Patient in Tribulation”?  I highly doubt that it means that we must lay down to our trials and troubles and let them overcome us.  But, we do know that patience is a desirable character for a Christian.  Hebrews says that we should be making the choice “to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time.”  Does this mean that we should endeavour to be patient in all that we must go through in order to endure until the end of the race? Why, yes, I think it does!  It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy, and it doesn’t mean that we should try our hardest to find an opt-out, but it does mean that we should trust in God, trust in Jesus and rest in patience throughout the hard times.  We also know that this patience and waiting is something which is often linked in with the serving of the Lord, a theme which I have occasionally touched upon in this blog. Serving the Lord can often mean “waiting on the Lord”. Just as those who serve you in a restaurant are called “waiters”, so also Christians are “waiters” too.


Finally, we come to the aspect of faithfulness in prayer, which is closely linked with the idea above.  The Greek word, προσκαρτερέω (proskartereō), used for faithfully or continue or whatever else you have in your own translation means “to persevere, or to be constantly diligent” from Strong’s concordance.  So it basically means that we have to be steadfastly attentive to prayer, i.e. praying without ceasing – oh wait, we’ve heard that somewhere before haven’t we?  So in giving complete care an attention to prayer, we are following the will of God also, but we often find that we can get easily discouraged when we feel that our prayers aren’t being answered – particularly when there are no visible results. However, 2 Corinthians tells us that we should “walk by faith and not by sight” we should continue to devote ourselves to praying regardless of how we see things are turning out. Instead we must have faith in all things and faith that everything will turn out for the good. (Romans :8:28)

Although I’ve dealt with these in three different sections, it is important also to consider their relation to one another.  We see in Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: “since it is “prayer” which strengthens the faith that begets hope and lifts it up into an assured and joyful expectancy, and since our patience in tribulation is fed by this, it will be seen that all depends on our “perseverance in prayer.””

Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this study here, and check back for completion of the series.

Romans twelve (specifically 12:11 today) is one of the few chapters in the bible which deals extensively with the attitudes and characteristics of our Christian life. The idea behind this, and one which I personally strongly adhere to, is that these should be carefully outworked by us in our lives rather than just ‘believed’. Today we will deal with the only one verse in chapter 12 and if you missed the first part on “Worship, Loving and Devotion” then you can check it out here. There will be more to come. Please feel free to share with me what you think on these verses.

Rom 12:11 Don’t be lazy in showing your devotion. Use your energy to serve the Lord.

    The Apostle Paul writes so many times about “Zeal” throughout his many letters, and as the Christian Church (I refer to this without denomination, of course!!) it is important that we begin to take heed of these words. He has spoken about the dangers of Zeal previously, in that we must be careful that our zealousness is for good (Gal 4:18) and that also we must avoid zealous Hypocrites, i.e people who looks only for others to enlarge their own ranks and nor the ranks of Christ. It is in this that this very in the book of Romans tells us its true purpose. Therefore zeal should only be used with the sole perspective of serving Christ the Lord.

    Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this study here, and check back for completion of the series.

Romans twelve (specifically 12:1 through 10 today) is one of the few chapters in the bible which deals extensively with the attitudes and characteristics of our Christian life. The idea behind this, and one which I personally strongly adhere to, is that these are out-worked too.

Check out part 2, part 3 and part 4 of this study here, and check back for completion of the series.

Rom 12:1 Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you.

    Worshipping God is not something which is done as a ritual in Christianity. There is so much more to it than that. Everything we do and think should be a dedication to God. The rest of Romans 12 explains the breadth and depth of this act of worshipping.

Rom 12:2 Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect.

    As we walk through life, we are constantly pressured to change our ways, to conform to something other. We are asked to change our values, morals, and our perspective on life. People who don’t conform to this pressure can feel dishonoured, and can be faced with hostility, contempt, loss of relationships and loss of security. The only comfort Christians have on that subject this is that “…they are not of the world…” John 17:16 instead they have “citizenship in heaven” Philippians 3:20.

Rom 12:3 Because of the kindness that God has shown me, I ask you not to think of yourselves more highly than you should. Instead, your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers.
Rom 12:4 Our bodies have many parts, but these parts don’t all do the same thing.
Rom 12:5 In the same way, even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other.
Rom 12:6 God in his kindness gave each of us different gifts. If your gift is speaking God’s word, make sure what you say agrees with the Christian faith.
Rom 12:7 If your gift is serving, then devote yourself to serving. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching.
Rom 12:8 If it is encouraging others, devote yourself to giving encouragement. If it is sharing, be generous. If it is leadership, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping people in need, help them cheerfully.

    This is the almost-cliché that Christians band around without much realisation of the principles behind it. In order for us to truly appreciate the diversity of the body, it involves us almost depreciating ourselves in that when we think too much of ourselves then we think less of others. In particular we think too little of their gifts and perhaps hinder their usage of their gifts. It is also possible to think too little of ourselves and place all responsibilities on others, hence the workload again is unbalanced. Sticking to an even balance helps both ourselves and others around us to serve most efficiently.

Rom 12:9 Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good.

    Love which is not meant or unconditional is not of God. There are those who pretend to love and this can flatter others temporarily or it can further that persons own needs; this type of ‘love’ is not true. Christian love, however, is sincere. It is not a compromise of truth nor does it compromise holiness. Love, to an extent, tolerates sinfulness of others, but at the same time, it despises sin. Love hates what is evil.

Rom 12:10 Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.

    Devotion should be representative of our Christian family. We need to meet regularly to edify each other. However, a Christian may be devoted to others, but those others may neither appreciate such devotion nor reciprocate such love. Devotion doesn’t rely on or demand any reciprocal relationship. A Christian who loves is not one who demands to be loved. In this way others are honoured above yourself.

Check out part 2 of this series