Volume 4 - Issue 3


By Robert Norris

Theological study is both diverse and yet integrated in its component parts. By this we mean that there are many wide and various aspects to the study of theology, but that all inter-relate, and must interact.

In this edition of Themelios something of the diversity of theology is reflected for we have five very different contributions, and yet there remains a basic uniting element.

At the same time there are various levels of studying theology, as is obvious from the fact that there is much written that few if any can understand. The difficulty in a journal such as ours is knowing just where to pitch the articles to meet the needs of those embarking on theology, and yet to be a resource to those seeking answers to difficult problems. To maintain a value we must seek to meet both areas of need, and at the same time keep the fact of the practical issues before us. In this edition of the journal I think we have been as comprehensive as it is possible to be.

In republishing the substance of a lecture given by Dr Packer at the ‘Islington Conference’ we draw attention to the continuing debate about Christological questions. Dr Packer’s contribution offers a succinct analysis of many of the modern positions and offers both a critical re-appraisal of traditional positions, and the possibility of a way forward.

Dr Kendall’s article brings to the attention of those who are likely to forget that theology is a tool for those engaged in a practical life of ministry. It is not difficult to see the relation of preaching to the whole theological enterprise, yet often it is an emphasis that is sadly neglected. Here Dr Kendall raises the immensely practical task of preaching and assesses its place in worship.

David Wenham, in his contribution, with proper exegesis sheds new light on the understanding of the problematic passage in Matthew 5:17–20 where the whole question of the ‘Law’ is raised. It is appropriate that a journal such as ours should deal with scripture as well as carrying articles about it. It is a necessary bias that we should tend towards the needs of those who are handling the Bible and act as a resource to those who are seeking answers to difficult questions. In this area Dr Amerding’s article on ‘Structural Analysis’ provides a useful tool and gives penetrating insight into this whole area of concern.

Our final article is an introduction to a statement that has been produced in Chicago on the question of ‘Inerrancy’. The debates in recent years have been confused and the complicated issues raised have led to a great deal of acrimony. In this statement we have a firm position outlined and yet it is presented with an irenic spirit, conscious that not all will agree with what is said, but laying down in a clear and precise way articles that can be debated and defended. It emerged from a joint consultation of many prominent British and American scholars. The document is in three parts, only two of which we are carrying, the third is an exposition of the whole thing which is too long for us to publish.

I am confident that our readers will find as much of interest and variety in this issue as I have, and that it will help stimulate to further thought.

Robert Norris

Robert Norris holds a BA degree from Kings College in London and dual doctorates in history and dogmatics from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He serves as pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland and has taught at Washington DC’s Reformed Theological Seminary, and in seminaries in Ukraine, Malta, Japan, and Sudan. He and his wife, Caren, have five children.