Showing posts from June, 2017

An off-topic post: Footnotes in Blogger

This is an off-topic post, but it might be useful to someone. Like others (to judge from various blog posts) I have struggled with creating Wikipedia-style footnotes in Blogger. I want a click on the footnote reference in my text to take the reader to the footnote itself at the bottom of the page. And I want a click on the footnote number to take the reader back to the footnote reference in the text. Finally I seem to have got it right.
A word of caution: you do this by inserting code in the HTML of your post (remember the two tabs ‘Compose’ and ‘HTML’: you need to click on the HTML tab). But once you have done this, you mustn’t go back and save/update from the ‘Compose’ tab, otherwise it will mess up the code you’ve inserted. This is a flaw in Blogger.
Another word of caution: if you don’t understand basic HTML coding, don’t try this.

CSS codeBefore I put Wikipedia-style footnotes in a post for the first time, I added a chunk of CSS code to Blogger’s internal CSS. You only need to do th…

How should we read the Bible?

Christian Smith, 2011, The Bible made impossible: Why biblicism is not a truly evangelical reading of scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.

In his introduction Christian Smith explains, ‘By “biblicism” I mean a theory about the Bible that emphasizes together its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability.’ (There is a short blog post on a related topic here.)

Smith’s book is a critique of biblicism, an analysis of what it is and why it exists (the author is a sociologist) and of the harm it does to evangelicalism in the USA by rendering it less Christ-centred than it could be. Central to his critique is the fact that biblicists try to treat the Bible as a book of rules, resulting in distorted readings of its texts. Ironically, given the claims of biblicists, different biblicist groups draw different conclusions from it, a problem that Smith labels ‘pervasive interpretive pluralism’ . …

How God became King

I’ve referred once or twice in this blog to N.T. (Tom) Wright's 2012 book, How God became King: Getting to the heart of the Gospels (London: SPCK).  What follows is a brief review I wrote for a book group I belong to. The book has a similar theme to McKnight's The King Jesus Gospel, but is work of exegesis, whereas McKnight's is one of exhortation.

Basic thesis: modern evangelical Christians tend to read the Gospels (and the rest of the New Testament) in a less than adequate way.

(Liberal interpretations are even less adequate. Wright is very clear in asserting that the miracles, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension all occurred, and are not to be explained away. If anything, he suggests that we don't take them seriously enough, don't grasp their full import.)

What is an adequate reading of the gospels? One that sees them in the light of Jewish understandings at the period of the incarnation. (Wright is a historian.) One that sees them as the culmina…

Thinking about life after death

I've just turned 75, so perhaps that's why I’m more curious than I used to be about life after death. Recently I came across Scot McKnight’s 2015 book The Heaven promise: Engaging the Bible’s truth about life to come (London: Hodder Faith; synopsis here). That reminded me that in 2010 I had read Tom Wright’s 2007 Surprised by hope (London: SPCK), so I dug out my ‘notes’, if you can call them that: 28 pages on a 300-page book.[1]

Both books pay close attention to scripture, and their exegesis has the same theological result. Both look forward to the new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1) that will replace the current heaven and earth and in which God’s people will have new bodies like those of the risen Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23) and live in God’s presence as they never can on the present earth. Both anticipate that after death and before God inaugurates the new heaven and new earth (a perfected version of the earth on which we live now), his people will …