Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bible Doctrine (1)

There is one God in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Wayne Grudem (and others, presumably) writes the three truths of the Trinity in his book:
  1. God is three persons
  2. All three persons are equally God
  3. There is only one God

How do you square these? We talked about several analogies: the egg (shell, white, yolk), a clover (three leaves, one plant), water (ice, water, steam) - and concluded that while they helped in some senses, they all fell short of capturing all three truths. The closest analogy is that of a closed box at 4ºC with water inside. At this temperature, the water can be steam, water and ice all at the same time. Of course, each molecule can only be one at once, but if the box is closed there is a Schrödinger's Cat scenario where you don't know which it is until the box is opened...

Anyway, some scriptural references:

  1. God is three persons: "At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."" (Mark 1:9-11)
  2. All three persons are equally God: "The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
    Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
    Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"
    "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."
    Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?""
    (John 10:24-36) (This doesn't mention the Holy Spirit - He is mentioned as God's agent in the world as early as Genesis 1:2 where He "hovers over the waters" of the unformed Earth)
  3. There is only one God: ""Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me."" (Isaiah 46:9)

Fundamentally, the Trinity is a mystery to us: one of God's eternal characteristics that we cannot understand with our human brains. But praise God for Jesus! God became a man so that we might know God through Jesus.

Bible Doctrine (0)

At ABC's student group (3:16) we've begun to study Bible doctrine, using the UCCF doctrinal basis as a framework. I'll try and blog a summary of each point each week... although we've already had two, so they're coming soon!

Here is the UCCF doctrinal basis. I think it's pretty sound.

The basis of the Fellowship shall be the fundamental truths of
Christianity, as revealed in Holy Scripture, including:
  1. There is one God in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  2. God is sovereign in creation, revelation, redemption and final judgement.
  3. The Bible, as originally given, is the inspired and infallible Word of God. It is the supreme authority in all matters of belief and behaviour.
  4. Since the fall, the whole of humankind is sinful and guilty, so that everyone is subject to God's wrath and condemnation.
  5. The Lord Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son, is fully God; he was born of a virgin; his humanity is real and sinless; he died on the cross, was raised bodily from death and is now reigning over heaven and earth.
  6. Sinful human beings are redeemed from the guilt, penalty and power of sin only through the sacrificial death once and for all time of their representative and substitute, Jesus Christ, the only mediator between them and God.
  7. Those who believe in Christ are pardoned all their sins and accepted in God's sight only because of the righteousness of Christ credited to them; this justification is God's act of undeserved mercy, received solely by trust in him and not by their own efforts.
  8. The Holy Spirit alone makes the work of Christ effective to individual sinners, enabling them to turn to God from their sin and to trust in Jesus Christ.
  9. The Holy Spirit lives in all those he has regenerated. He makes them increasingly Christlike in character and behaviour and gives them power for their witness in the world.
  10. The one holy universal church is the Body of Christ, to which all true believers belong.
  11. The Lord Jesus Christ will return in person, to judge everyone, to execute God's just condemnation on those who have not repented and to receive the redeemed to eternal glory.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jack Bauer Must Die

Check out the trailer for season 6 of 24. It looks AWESOME.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Word of the week


The practice of using the market dominance of your cartel to force suppliers to lower prices. As seen by 5 supermarkets in the UK who control over 60% of the total food market.

A monopoly is one company supplying goods.

An oligopoly is a cartel of companies supplying goods.

An oligopsony is a cartel of companies buying goods: their practices are oligopsonistic.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Time to celebrate

SUCU Celebrate 75

Around 300 people gathered in a church near campus this afternoon to celebrate 75 years of a Christian Union at Southampton University! It was incredibly encouraging to see people of all ages together to worship and give thanks to God for His faithfulness to us. Three people gave testimony - the CU President from 1951 (!); a student from 1970; and Rich Fountain, who became a Christian on a CU mission week in 2003. Roger Carswell - a Soton graduate - preached a great message of encouragement and exhortation for the spread of the Gospel. Hallelujah!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Chop chop

I seem to have been afflicted with a strange sense of enthusiasm on my return to Southampton - perhaps trying to make up for a semester away?

I'm currently studying four courses, which is one too many. One of them stems from the Berlin fieldtrip, so I can't give that one up. The other three have to stand on their own merits, however; which does present a bit of a quandary. I can study Geographies of Welfare and Wellbeing - which is looking very interesting after the first two lectures; European Economic Geographies - which is OK; and Geographies of Retail and Consumption - which is supposedly quite well-known and has produced some successful geographers over the last 15 years. My head says, take the second two, my heart (and spirit) says take the first and last, because I can learn about ethical responses to poverty and deprivation, which I don't understand enough about.

I've also bitten off a lot of CU activities: the evangelism team, where I'll be heading up questionnaires; the Carol Service team, which met today to start planning for the services on/around December 10 for over 2000 people; and I've also been along to the International Café where we befriend international students and build relationships with them. Tonight I met a Pole who likes Zywiec and went to York Canada for an exchange like me! Nonetheless, I feel I might have to reel back a little bit as the work for my courses hots up...

Mmm, wordy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jobs for the boys

I've started watching a great documentary about British politics. It focuses on a new minister in the civil service, and his battle to wrest power from the incumbent (and incomprehensible) civil servants who work there.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I've started a few new things this week. First lectures for over six months and first quiet time for... a few months.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006



I've been back in the fair city of Soton for nearly a week. It's been nice to catch up with several people who I haven't seen for nine months (!), as well as some who I have seen. I had a bit of a Toronto reunion on Wednesday when I visited Chichester, home of Kate, Nat and Polly - three other exchange students who I lived near in Founders. Kate knew I was coming, but Nat and Polly were pretty astonished to see me... which was nice :)

Friday, October 06, 2006


John Piper preaching to students at Wheaton College on "Doing Missions when Dying is Gain" - absolutely worth a listen.


So here I am reading reformed blogs from Canada and the US all the time, when it turns out that the UCCF Staff worker in Reading has a great blog! I'll forgive the greengrocer's apostrophe on his profile page.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Richard Dawkins - "The God Delusion"

The Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins (author of The Blind Watchmaker and other famous books) has turned his hand to theology... interesting, as he has no training in it nor seemingly any knowledge of it! He appears baffled that Christians can be critical scientists, accusing them of "compartmentalised thinking". He also quotes extensively from the Old Testament, rather than the New; and credits the apostle Paul with inventing Christianity. I may try and read this book to find out what the atheists of the next few years will be using to back up their beliefs.

See a preview from two chapters and almost 1000 reader comments on the BBC here.



The summer is nearly over... I'm packing to go back to uni tomorrow. It's going to be pretty weird to live in Southampton again, after more than nine months away. I'll also have to start working again, which will be a rude shock!

Not until next Monday though, so I'll survive. Six months off, finally finished!