What the Preacher Saw (The Enigma Sermons 4)

Ecclesiastes brings us the observations of Qoholet (the preacher) who is king in Jerusalem (1:12). He sees himself as in position to do this because of his great wisdom (1:16) and so he makes the pursuit of understanding his life project (1:13, 17). Remember that we have seen already how his perception is that life is an enigma, vapour like, hard to pin down, like chasing the wind (1:2, 14. Here are some of the things he observes about this enigma as he tries to pin things down). Continue reading

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Who is anti-Semitism a problem for?

I wrote a little while back about anti-Semitism.  I also had a little disagreement with a Christian news editor who tweeted the image at the heart of part of the recent political controversy (the painting removed in Tower Hamlets). It was my view that republishing the offending image was unnecessary we don’t need to show something for people to know it is wrong (you didn’t find people publishing examples of the type of pornography that Damien Green was alleged to have on his computer).  The response I got back was that people needed to see the image in order to decide for themselves whether it was anti-Semitic. Continue reading

How should Christians respond to the military action in Syria?

Yesterday, the US, Britain and France launched a military attack against Syria in response to chemical weapons attacks against Syrian civilians believed to have been perpetrated by the Assad regime? Military action has divided public opinion here in the UK. Gone are the days when war and airstrikes were a convenient way for beleaguered governments to galvanise public support and distract attention from domestic politics. Continue reading

Under the Sun

One classical assumption about Ecclesiastes is that it offers a negative view of life because Qoholet embarks on a thought experiment with certain constraints that will lead to a negative outcome. Specifically, he limits his observations to life “under the sun.” This is sometimes read as suggesting that he is only looking at life in natural terms, “under the sun” is treated as excluding “heaven” and God from the picture. Life within the bubble is “meaningless” or “empty.” Continue reading

Vapour (The Enigma Sermons part 1)

Fog Forest Mist Mysterious Vegetation ForeOne word can stand out as iconic making a whole passage or book memorable. It can shape how we think about that passage or book, how we read it, how we understand it.

One such word is “vanity” and the book is Ecclesiastes. Continue reading

Reasoning in an uncertain world – The Enigma Sermons and Straight & Crooked Thinking

When we started faithroots.net we said that we had two key purposes. First, this is a teaching and training hub. Our aim is to help equip people to be better able to serve the Gospel. Secondly, we also said:

“This website is for people living in a messy world.  The evidence of the mess is all around us.  I grew up towards the end of the Cold War and remember the day that the Berlin Wall came down.  We were promised that this would usher in a new era with a peace dividend.  One writer even claimed that we were seeing the end of history.  We seem to be a long way from that day now.  9/11 shattered those hopes so that we now live once again under a shadow of war and terrorism.”[1] Continue reading

How did we get here – Creation conclusion

As we’ve been looking at the Doctrine of Creation, the great encouragement has been to see that our world is here because a loving, sovereign creator God intentionally put us here.  The Doctrine of Creation points us back to God’s character as good and great. Continue reading