Friday, March 08, 2019

If you would prefer a milder god please ask - Article 7/39

THE Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

I've recently enjoyed the company of a small group of people who make up what we call the Bible Book Club. We have a set book, or a clear narrative section from a longer book, which we read in advance. Then, over a drink for an hour, we discuss questions from Book Club world. Did you enjoy the book? Did you follow the plot? If you were making a film who would you cast in the various roles? If it were a separate book what artwork would you put on the cover?

The stories from the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) have been a wonderful resource to us. We do not come away with the feeling that 'milder gods are available' but that the great tales represent a striving for meaning which finds completeness in the Gospels. The Bible is the story of what O'Donovan calls 'an emerging theological idea'. The Articles are proof that the written word of God is complete but the ideas continue to emerge – or I wouldn't be writing this.

At BBC (yeah, great initials) we read each story separately and treat it on its merits. If you are local to Nailsea you'd be more than welcome to join us; faith experience not necessary. Contact me for joining details or visit the church web-site.

It has been reformed Christian teaching, ever since the Articles clarified it, that post-Jesus' time on earth we are freed from the burden of the ceremonial and festival law but not the ethical. The commandments (not just the ten) are still a good limitation on human weakness, but we can eat what we want and the pigeons live.

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