Not banned in China

One bonus of switching from Blogger, hosted at, to WordPress, hosted on my own site, is that my blog is apparently no longer blocked in China. I discovered this by testing this blog’s URL at (which I found from here via a link in the WordPress documentation, but see the cautions in the comments on that blog entry), which gave the result “Your URL is available”, whereas for both my old blog and Better Bibles Blog the result is “Your URL is Blocked!” And I know that they really were blocked, because a friend who was in China couldn’t read them.

Meanwhile my ClustrMaps map shows that I do have at least one reader in China. But then I was getting the same result with my old blog, so maybe that one reader is a censor. Well, I hope he or she finds this blog interesting, but in a positive sense and not one which provokes a ban.

Good advice for controversial writers, like myself

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds quotes John Newton, writing in a letter on controversy (The Works of John Newton, 1:273-274):

It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers. If ever such defences were seasonable and expedient, they appear to be so in our day, when errors abound on all sides, and every truth of the Gospel is either directly denied, or grossly misrepresented.

And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which at most are but of a secondary value.

This shews, that, if the service is honourable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made! …

(Justin’s quote continues, see also another post on the same subject.)

Good advice for bloggers and other writers of controversy on the Internet. I can think of others who I think should read these words. But first of all I need them for myself!

Different by Design?

I can’t help being amused by the following post at Between Two Worlds:

CBMW has now made available the audio from the “Different by Design” conferences, which have featured C. J. Mahaney paired with Wayne Grudem, and Ligon Duncan paired with Russell Moore.

So, if these pairings were features of these conferences, was their point to tell us how Mahaney is “Different by Design” from Grudem, and Duncan from Moore? From these pictures it seems that the design difference between Mahaney CJ Mahaney and Grudem Wayne Grudem is not in their amount of hair!

Nor, unfortunately, is the difference in my appreciation for them. I have serious issues with the teachings of both Mahaney and Grudem.

Moshe's Search For Truth

I can’t match Ben Witherington or Tim Chesterton by blogging my own novel (by the way, both of these authors would do well to provide a contents page for their novel with links to each chapter). But I can point you to a short story written by my friend, actually my vicar’s (pastor’s) wife, Sally Farah. This story, “Moshe’s Search For Truth”, is intended for children but is also interesting for adults. It is about a boy’s experiences in Jerusalem at the time when Jesus died.

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Iraq – a clash of worldviews

I don’t very often write about politics on this blog, especially about American politics. But I do sometimes comment on posts on other blogs which have a political slant, especially where they relate this to the Christian faith. Here for once I am posting on a political issue, on the situation in Iraq. But I am making this a post only because my attempt to write this in a comment was frustrated.

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Fighting spam with the sword of the Spirit

To make things harder for spammers, I have replaced the short list of biblical names which I was offering as verification words with a much longer list of 6 and 7 letter biblical names, over 1000 of them from “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 TNIV). The names are taken from RSV, because I had a handy list; other Bible versions differ.

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New blog takes shape

As Lingamish rightly pointed out, the design of this blog was lacking something. It was in fact the WordPress default template based on Kubrick. This is a nice clean design, but not very interesting and overused. So I have at last got round to finding something different, an impressive (I hope – I didn’t take it) picture of a large qaya – not the church in the foreground, but the mountain behind it. I also chose a new theme, Ocean Mist 1.2 by Ed Merritt, and edited it to show my chosen picture, and so that the blog name and tagline appear on the picture instead of above it. Lingamish, I hope you now consider this “cool”.

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Was Calvin really an inerrantist?

Adrian Warnock claims that the reformer John Calvin

could easily have signed the Chicago Statement

on Biblical Inerrancy. He bases this claim on a rather short extract from Calvin’s Institutes.

I cannot agree that this claim has been adequately justified. For I note several things in the Chicago Statement (in fact I looked only at the Articles part of this Statement) which Calvin does not affirm in this extract from the Institutes:

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A well-functioning head has ears

I think that I failed to understand that, though the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 5:23), a well-functioning head has ears. Perhaps if I had listened more and involved her more in the process, many of the details of the decision would have been different.

Who wrote this? Believe it or not, it was the same Dr Wayne Grudem whose teaching on gender issues I have criticised so often here and elsewhere, especially in comments on Adrian Warnock’s blog. This is an extract an interesting article, from 2001, in which Dr Grudem explains how he and his wife came to the decision to move to Arizona.

If we heard less from Dr Grudem, or from others quoting Dr Grudem, about how wives should submit to their husbands, and more about how husbands should listen to their wives (and vice versa), less about how “headship” means authority and more about how it means mutual care and responsibility, then maybe I wouldn’t have such a negative attitude towards Dr Grudem and the complementarian teaching which he promotes.

Thanks to Wayne Leman for bringing this page to my attention.