The Despair of Elijah

The prophet Elijah (whose feast day is July 20) is perhaps best known for his final ascent to heaven in a chariot of fire. He is also famous for being fed by a raven, and also for the dramatic contest on Mount Carmel. This last event was arguably the pinnacle of his prophetic career. Elijah served God in very dark days. Israel had always carried on a foolish and fatal dalliance with…

Understanding Pauline Universalism

In any discussion of Christian universalism, sooner or later someone is bound to mention Paul’s words about Christ saving everyone. Some of the passages are Romans 5:18-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:21f. One could add Paul’s words about Christ being the Saviour of all men (in 1 Timothy 4:10) and of Him appearing on earth bringing salvation to all (in Titus 2:11). One might broaden the exegetical field by referring to the Johannine…

Snake Handling

Every religion has odd things on its fringes, things that make most of its adherents cringe and wince, and which they are not eager to share with outsiders. These things are not so much dirty little secrets as examples of pathology, unwell people who express their psychological illness in religious terms. Every religion is keen to put its best foot forward and to present itself to the world in a way which…

A Loving God

Recently I was asked the question, “How can a loving God send anyone to hell?” I appreciated the question because it provided an opportunity to focus more closely upon the question of what we mean by the phrase “a loving God”. It is my conviction that our modern age has no clue what real love means or what the Scriptures mean when they assert that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). That…

Unveiling the Scriptures (entire text)

Some months ago it was arranged by the good people of the Russian Orthodox diocese of Souroz in Britain that I would give a talk at their diocesan conference this May entitled Unveiling the Scriptures. That plan came to grief with the coming of the Covid virus which resulted in our government cancelling flights to Britain and the probable cancellation of the conference itself. But the talk has long since been written,…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 6

We conclude this series by examining the role of the Fathers in Christian Scriptural interpretation and by offering a threefold summary of our study. The Role of the Fathers The Church Fathers were a varied lot. They lived in a number of different centuries, had very different personalities and gifts, spoke different languages, and wrote to answer different questions, in different contexts. There is, in fact, a tremendous diversity among them, including…