Welcome to Banbury Evangelical Free Church

Banbury Evangelical Free Church was founded in 1984, as a Bible-based, Christ-centred congregation seeking to proclaim the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ and to serve Christ in every aspect of our lives, both as individuals and together.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Cricket or baseball?

I am writing this on holiday in America, where my wife & I are currently staying in Greenville, South Carolina as guests of Prof. John Carrick and his family. John observed to me that he had noticed that many Americans have difficulty in distinguishing between the objective and the subjective. He attributes this to the failure of the Americans to play cricket, preferring (as they do) baseball instead.

Leaving aside the Professor's analysis of the American pysche and the extent to which it is impacted by sporting preferences, it seems to me that in the Christian life we need to have a healthy grasp of both the objective and the subjective. For example, Romans 5.1 tells us that, being justified by faith, we have peace with God. That is an objective statement of how matters stand for the believing sinner: it does not depend on how he feels about it at all. On the other hand, when urging believers to be anxious for nothing but in everything let our requests be known to God, Paul continues, “...and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. While objectively true, it is evident that Paul here refers to the peace and comfort that that will be subjectively experienced by the believer who heeds his exhortations.

Later in this holiday, we expect to be spending time with another theological Professor who is known to be a keen baseball enthusiast. I hope that we will be able to agree that in the Christian life at least, it is not a matter of baseball or cricket – we need both!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Calvin on Psalm 73.25

Writing on Psalm 73.25, John Calvin observed, “If we give the smallest portion of our affections to the creatures, we in so far defraud God of the honour which belongs to him”. Considering this Psalm yesterday we observed that Calvin is surely going too far in making this statement! (And Calvin himself did not – thankfully! – entirely practise what he preached here: when his wife died, he wrote, “I have been bereaved of the best companion of my life” – he evidently had had a happy marriage and had shown his wife some affection!) But Asaph’s words are a salutary reminder to us: if we place our hopes for enduring happiness in circumstances or in other people, we are bound ultimately to be disappointed – witness the all-too-predictable outcome of England’s football World Cup campaign! And indeed, even the most blessed of human relationships will terminate at death. But if God Himself is the Rock of our hearts and our portion forever (v.26), we shall never be disappointed! How satisfied are you with God Himself?