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“Just a stomach”

Our Theological Team meets three times a year and last week was one of those occasions. David Shaw, a member of the team and an elder of Grace Church Cambridge, gives us an insight into their purpose and current discussions.

“Just a stomach” primary image

Don Carson once described himself like this:

“I am just a stomach for Christ’s body the church. I take in food and then disseminate that food to the rest of the body.”

It’s a great image of the kind of ministry he’s exercised over the years. Reading widely and thinking carefully before helping the church to be nourished by “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4v8). If we could develop the image a little, he’s also like a stomach in the way that he protects the church. If the body swallows something dangerous the stomach will often reject it – vomiting out the offending item. Not perhaps the most flattering way of describing him (!), but it’s wonderfully true that Don has done as much to protect the church as to feed it.

In the same way FIEC’s Theological Team is a stomach for our Fellowship. As we met last week we had a chance to reflect on what’s been written or said which might benefit our churches: we’ll be digesting those topics over the coming weeks and disseminating them through the website.

We also reflected on some more concerning trends: church leaders and TV documentaries arguing against the historical reliability and inerrancy of Scripture, and the ongoing debates about justification.

A real encouragement in the midst of the areas of concern is how the leading responses to these things are coming from FIEC circles. For example, two elders of Eden Baptist Church in Cambridge are internationally respected authorities on the New Testament documents and their reliability, while Dan Strange, lecturer at Oak Hill and elder of East Finchley Baptist Church, has been offering a significant response to one of the other contemporary challenges to the Bible. 

I sat down with Dan at the end of last week and he explained what’s going on and why the Bible’s diversity is a help rather than hindrance in our witness to the world. You can watch the interview here.

The Theological Team will meet again in June and until then we’d greatly value your prayers as we chew the theological cud…!


Original article image by Anthony Georgeff

David Shaw photo
David Shaw - FIEC Theological Adviser

David is the part-time Theological Adviser for FIEC and part-time Tutor in New Testament and Greek at Oak Hill Theological College. He is married to Jo and they have four children.

Follow David Shaw on Twitter – @_david_shaw