Tag Archives: Telford Work

Telford Work on science, religion, and facing reality

Literalistic creation science must disregard or distort the massive and accumulating credible evidence of humanity’s evolutionary origins and character as well as the signs that the Bible’s creation accounts are not literal chronologies. Intelligent Design theory, already unattractive to scientists as a “science stopper,” cannot match its rival’s elegance and explanatory power. Likewise, naturalistic accounts of “religion” misrepresent traditions such as historic Christianity that do not fit their scientific paradigms. [Daniel] Dennett’s and [Michael] Shermer’s learned speculations on the rise of religious ideas and experiences uncannily ignore two thousand years of insistent Christian testimony that the bedrock of our tradition is not some mystical experience, archetypical figure, or compelling idea, but simply the apostles’ testimony to Jesus’ death and resurrection and the powerful outpouring of his Holy Spirit. In other words, neither side can really afford to take the other side’s evidence seriously. Both of these camps of imperialists are fighting for what all empires treasure: its vision of reality, whose most stubborn enemy is not disbelievers but reality itself.

from “What Have the Galapagos to Do with Jerusalem? Scientific Knowledge in Theological Context,” in Eds. James K.A. Smith and Amos Yong, Science and the Spirit: A Pentecostal Engagement with the Sciences (Indiana Univ. Pr., 2010).


when your enemies AREN’T God’s enemies

Link: Radner on the gospel and the perception of enemies

Just over a month ago Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College @ the University of Toronto, preached the following sermon. I hope it reaches a wide audience — it deserves one. You can find it here: “Hope for Our Enemies.” His text was Acts 9:1-20, Ananias’s healing of Saul.

For those who’d prefer an abridged edition, Radner speaks to how “No one is beyond the work of the Living Lord. No one. [Even our enemies.]”

Don’t let this preview prevent you from reading the text in full, though; it’s worth the time to see how Radner reaches this point. It’s both a convicting antidote to self-righteousness and an eye-opening account of the scope of God’s mercy.

(P.S. for extra credit)

For another solid treatment of what the gospel has to teach us about our perceived enemies, consider the following sermon from Telford Work: “Bible Stories You Didn’t Outgrow: Jonah.”

Telford Work on Christian Resilience

The Christian thing to do when things seem askew is not to reject the God of Israel as king of the universe or set ourselves against him, as skeptics do. It is not to retreat into wishful thinking, selective memory, forced biblical interpretation, or revised theology to construct more palatable positions, as some liberals do. It is not to dismiss the problem stoically or fatalistically under the guise of “faith,” as some conservatives do. It is not to turn away in bitterness or pout and wish that things were better. It is to pray.

from Ain’t too Proud to Beg, (Eerdmans, 2007), 25.


Telford Work on scripture as the church’s language

There is perhaps no adequate way to condense the main dimensions of Scripture’s relationship to Jesus Christ. But since twentieth-century philosophy’s linguistic turn, the term language has acquired a richness that makes it an appropriate term. Scripture is Jesus’ heritage, his horizon, his formation, his practice, his authority, his instrument, his medium, his teaching, his crisis and vindication, his witness, his confession, his community and his glory. The Bible is the very language of the Messiah.

[…] In describing the relationship between Scripture and Christ, we have all along been describing the relationship between those in Scripture and Christ. Holy Scripture is also the Church’s heritage, its horizon, its formation, its practice, its authority, its instrument, its medium, its teaching, its criterion, its witness, its confession, its community and its glory.

No other institution pervades the Christian life like the Bible. […] It is the language of the Triune God, the language of Israel, the language of Messiah, the language of the Church, and the language of salvation.

Living and Active, Eerdmans, (2002), 212, 269, 315.

Telford Work on the Second Epistle of John

“What use is this tiny little letter? Is it in the New Testament by accident? Not at all. Rather, it’s a sign – a sign pointing to the kind of community that could have authored it. It greets us as beloved cousins in an extended family: “The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings” (2 John 13, cf. 2 John 1b). It is a call for us to be the kind of community that can say, and not say, the same things, share the same joy, and know the same truth. It calls us not only to make our churches that kind of church, but also to make our college [Westmont] that kind of college.”

Telford Work, “Less is More: The Joy of Preaching About Almost Nothing.”

Available in full here