Category Archives: Formation and Discipleship

Why is there suffering?

These notes are not intended to be a comprehensive discussion of what is a difficult and complex topic, but they lie behind the points that I made in the dialogue with Ian Hickingbotham at North Ringwood Uniting Church on 3rd April 2011.  They may help anyone interested in thinking further about this important issue. These notes can also be downloaded as a pdf file.

This is a world with tragic death, third world suffering and lingering, painful illness.  And so people ask questions like:

  1. Why do good, innocent people suffer? Why do bad things happen to good people?
  2. Why do the wicked prosper?
  3. What about accidental death and suffering?  Why does this happen to some and not others?
  4. Is this God’s judgment for sin?
  5. Is it persecution for being a Christian?
  6. Why doesn’t God prevent ‘natural’ disasters like tsunamis?

Well, the first thing to do is to remember that for every difficult and complex problem there is a simple solution………….. that is wrong!  The problem of evil and suffering is difficult and complex and no one ever said there had to be a single solution for all suffering. Trying to explain human accidents, perfectly natural events (like dying), natural disasters and deliberate suffering all with one simple explanation is probably impossible. Read More »

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Enhancing Christian Formation

On July 9 I gave an address at the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools conference at Trinity College, Melbourne. Part of it related to my paper “The Theology of Theological Education” but it was adapted for the situation.

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The Trinity and life in God

By Brian Edgar

The Christian doctrine of God as Trinity is fundamentally simple, thoroughly practical, theologically central and totally biblical. It is not, as sometimes suggested, an abstract or philosophical construction with an unusual perspective on mathematics which makes three equal to one! Read More »

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Resurrection and discipleship

By Brian Edgar

Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus is the only one with a decisive ending. The gospel of John may have originally finished at the end of chapter 20,[1] the ending of Mark is uncertain[2] and Luke’s gospel finishes so it can move on to the sequel in the book of Acts. Matthew, however, chose to finish clearly and decisively and to leave his readers with the final words of the risen Lord Jesus ringing in their ears. Read More »

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Faith that works – studies in James

By Brian Edgar

Today, with rapid scientific, technological and cultural developments the ethical challenges we face mean we can find ourselves off the known ethical map and facing unknown dangers. And where will we find the right direction? Read More »

Also posted in Everyday Theology, Public Theology | Comments closed

Time for God: the stewardship of time

By Brian Edgar

We tend to take space and time for granted, as basic categories of human existence. They exist as the framework of the world in which we live and observing the detail, the form, the structure and the significance of such basic elements is not easy.

Usually they are the means by which we analyse objects which exist in space and events which occur in time, rather than being themselves entities and events to be investigated and examined. It is easier to comprehend the objects which exist in space than the space in which the objects exist and it is a more straight forward process to analyse the movement or the change which occurs to entities than to examine the time or duration through which that change occurs.

Yet it is, obviously, of the utmost significance that to be human is to exist in time and space and to be conditioned by those realities. Read More »

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Sent to heal – Taylor

By Brian Edgar

There was a time, not so long ago, when many churches held healing services in addition to, or as part of, regular Sunday services.  Now it seems that over the past decade or so this ministry of the church has virtually disappeared. Or at the very least it has become the preserve of some Pentecostal churches with their particular understanding of what it involves.

The loss of the healing ministry from other traditions  means not only the loss of an important, corporate activity of God’s people in offering prayer for physical, emotional and spiritual healing but also the loss of a constant, public reminder to Christians and the wider community of the fact that there are dimensions of life which lie outside human control. Read More »

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Speaking my mind – Campolo

By Brian Edgar

By its very nature evangelicalism should be prepared to test conventional wisdoms by the light of scripture.  It ought to be a mixture of theological conservatism (holding to orthodox, scriptural faith) and social radicalism (refusing to accept any view – whether secular or religious – which does not align with obedience to Jesus Christ).

Integrating these two dimensions is Tony Campolo’s aim in Speaking my mind: the radical evangelical prophet tackles the tough issues Christians are afraid to face Read More »

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