Saturday, April 21, 2007

Word Alive and Well

Anyone wondering about the reason for Word Alive and Spring Harvest parting company could do worse than to have a look at this blog entry. It boils down to a sad, necessary, gospel-affirming, Christ-exalting stance taken by the Word Alive people on the cross.

Also, the Bluefish has helpfully blogged about current blogosphere activity on all this.

Did Jesus take our penalty on the cross? Does God justify and forgive sinners whilst establishing and magnifying his own justice and righteous wrath against sin? Is this penalty-bearing element of the cross worth struggling and contending for? These are the questions which, when answered with a joyful 'yes', have made this sad parting of the ways necessary.

I don't really have anything to contribute by way of new insights into the doctrine or what this says about the poverty of current UK evangelicalism. But I for one am extremely glad for the stance UCCF and others have taken over this issue. I am equally disappointed, angry, frustrated, confused and saddened by the lack of clarity and passion for this central plank in God's salvation amongst loads of evangelicals.

All that aside, New Word Alive looks like a great new alternative.


dave williams said...

Talking of which Tom Wright's response to Sach Ovey and Jeffries is on the Fulcrum website

generally it says

"Steve Chalke can't be against penal substitution because I endorsed his book and I am never wrong"

"I'm the only true Biblical scholar around and therefore as S J and O don't cover the whole ground of Jesus and the Victory of God in their book they must be unbiblical"

Pete said...

I've just read said article but I've not yet read 'pierced for...' so I'm reluctant to comment.

I suspect Bishop Tom is actually arguing against the politics behind the book (which as a Bishop and Fulcrum member we shouldn't expect him to like) rather than the theology. Hence the thing he gets angriest at is not the doctrinal conclusions the writer's come to but rather the fact that their methodology does not align with his story-driven understanding of the scripture. It feels like he's angry at what they haven't said rather than what they have, at the wya they reached their conclusions rather than their conclusions. This makes his anger (it feels like rage at points?) seem disproportionate.

I have to say I think Wright has some excellent insights into the relationship between story and theology but at times he seems too averse to abstraction and systematic theology. Or, to abstraction and systematics that don't explicitly state all the story stuff too.

Pete said...

And I've just seen that on the 'pierced...' website J, O and S give a response to N T Wright's article. It is well worth a read.

Dave Williams said...


Yes have seen their response -hopefully Fulcrum will put something up. It really would help if Chalke put out a clarification himself. Although that doesn't change the fact that many opponents of PSA as well as proponents interpreted Chalke as being on their side of the argument -so if Wright is right it isn't just us who got Chalke wrong!

Pete said...

Yes, and if Wright is right then Chalke has been irresponsible in throwing the Church of Christ into confusion and not retracting or clarifying his position. We can only act on positions that are made personally and publicly, not the hearsay and interpretation of those who've had private communication with Chalke.

dave said...


That is the important point -a willingness to recognise when one is wrong and has caused serious hurt and damage not just to hard line theological types but to ordinary church members -and then to have the humility to apologise.

With due respect to Chalke he is not alone at that and conservative evangelicals (me included) have a lot to learn about grace and graciousness

Pete said...

Thanks Dave. Sometimes it feels like the Christian life is one long 'learning to apologise'

btw, which 'Dave' are you (there are so many!).

Dave Williams said...

sorry -missed my surname off
not as many as there are petes to be fair!

dave williams said...


I'm actually playing catch up on PFOT (isn't it great the book now has an popular anacronym -they really have made it into the "Big boy theologians world")-I only got my copy yesterday -but I'm tearing through it -it is easy to read so you can cover it quickly -another postive

Anyway having read the chapter on assembling the pieces I'm left wondering whether Wright read beyond chapter 2. Chapter 3 is soaked in Biblical and Gospel exegesis -maybe not as JVOG orientated as he would like -but the charge that it ignores the gospels is false. It's almost like people read chapter 2 thought "That's the Biblical bit over then -well that was a bit thin" and then assumed that the systematic bit would ignore the Bible. Well I guess if your idea of Systematic Theology is Tillich and Maquarie then you might well blanche at the coming chapter -but when you have Ovey at his best its a different matter. I treated ch 2 as the appetizer -maybe that's a design flaw and 2nd edition can drop that chapter if it puts others off rather than draws them in