About Me

My photo
Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Theological question of the day

This thought had never occurred to me until just now:

If demons can influence people from within - at the extreme end of the scale we might speak of 'possession' - then can good angels do the same thing?

I credit Jonathan Macy for prompting this question.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Charlie Darwin

The 'Devil' Writes Pat Robertson A Letter

The following article by Frank James is from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/01/the_devil_writes_pat_robertson.html


The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published a letter from Satan to evangelist Pat Robertson, responding to his comment that Haiti's persistent troubles, including the earthquake, are due to a pact the nation made with Mephistopheles.

Actually, it wasn't Satan who wrote the letter but Lilly Coyle of Minneapolis writing in the persona of the hellish one.

I think she got it down pretty well. What say you?

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.

But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.
Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"?
If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.
You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
Best, Satan
LILY COYLE, MINNEAPOLIS

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

What is Messianic Jewish Theology? Mark Kinzer's working definition

Hauerwas on suffering and hope

Suffering is no fun, as Paul knew. Why, then, should we rejoice in it (Rom 5)? We do so only when the sufferings come to us as gift. And we are only able to receive them as such when we hope. Christian hope puts a spin on our suffering, but it is a different spin than that for which it is commonly mistaken, namely the spin of explanation. Hope does not explain to us why we suffer; indeed, precisely because we hope, we recognize that our suffering lies beyond present explanation. Instead, hope places us squarely in a narrative in which our suffering can be endured and accordingly made part of our life. As we enter this narrative we are given the grace to see our suffering as leading somewhere; as a part of a journey that stretches before us toward a destination that includes sharing in the glory of God. Put abstractly this destination sounds fanciful. But Paul does not mean it abstractly. Our sufferings are not so much something that will someday (in the great beyond) bear fruit. Rather they are a form of our participation in Christ.

Stanley Hauerwas and Charles Pinches, "On Developing Hopeful Virtues" in Christians Among the Virtues.

Friday, 15 January 2010

A Radical Reformation Definition of Faith

"Christian faith is an assurance that one can rely on the word and promise of CHRIST"

These are the opening words of Thomas Muntzer's On Counterfeit Faith (Dec, 1523). I rather warm to that definition. Any other good definitions out there?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Ethics of Evangelism

I have just read a very interesting book by Elmer Thiessen called The Ethics of Evangelism (Paternoster, forthcoming). It is

(a) a philosophical critique of the claim that proselytism is unethical in principle.

(b) an attempt to set out criteria for discerning ethical from unethical proselytism.

It is the first book to attempt to do this ... amazingly! The issue is a very contentious one - a hot topic globally and also in Europe and North America.

It is very surprising how little attention the ethics of evangelism receives in evangelical circles given the importance of such practise to evangelicals. Thiessen's book is at once a defence of the propriety of evangelism but also a call to self-examination on the part of proselytisers (including Christians). And for me I think the book will make a very useful contribution both the the general public debate (its target audience is not just Christian) but also to the discussion of praxis within churches.

Rather than spoil the surprise by revealing Thiessen's 15 criteria for ethical evangelism I thought I'd allow you to reflect on examples of unethical practise in evangelism that you have seen or participated in. Perhaps we can, between us, come up with our own criteria.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Richard John Neuhaus on religious tolerance

“The reason we do not kill one another over our disagreements about the will of God is that we believe it is against the will of God to kill one another over our disagreements about the will of God.”

Friday, 1 January 2010

Webster's Wisdom 2

"Scripture . . . builds the church up by breaking the church open, and therefore in large measure by breaking the church down . . . Scripture is as much a de-stabilising feature of the life of the church as it is a factor in its cohesion and continuity . . . Through Scripture the church is constantly exposed to interruption. Being the hearing church is . . . the church's readiness 'that its whole life should be assailed, convulsed, revolutionised and reshaped.'"

John Webster, Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch. Cambridge: CUP, 2003, pp. 46-47.