Cruciformity as Biographical Typology (William Tyndale)

Yesterday Dan Allen delivered a biographical sermon on the life of William Tyndale (1494-1536), the father of the English Bible.

Tyndale strenuously and sacrificially dedicated his life to translating the Bible into English, which was illegal at the time given the control of the Roman Catholic Church. Tyndale faced many setbacks along the way, including having his print shop raided, loosing his translation of the entire Pentateuch in a shipwreck, and much more. Eventually this endeavor cost him imprisonment and even his life. At the end of his days, he was never able to see the project through to full completion.

Two years later, however, Henry VIII, King of England, changed his tune and demanded that an English translation be made. … Just two years after Tyndale’s death!

Dan raised the question (at the 38:00 mark): In many ways we could ask, “Why God? Why just two years later? Why not move King Henry to make it legal within Tyndale’s lifetime, and avoid all those troubles he faced? Why have Tyndale experience so many setbacks for something so obviously good? Why have one of the most brilliant scholars and dedicated servants locked up in a cell for the remaining years of his life, unable to continue the work? Why?” It seems so wasteful, pointless, and unnecessary.

As Dan raised this question, my mind went to 1 Peter 2:18-25, in which — among other places in the New Testament — the Christian life is portrayed as following in the footsteps of Christ, namely conformity to his suffering. As Christ’s path to glory was through suffering (death to resurrection), so too our path, as those united and conformed to the likeness of Christ– so too our path to glorification with him is paved by suffering with him as well.

We can think of many other such similar occasions across church history: individuals with great gifts and dedication being cut short and hindered by seemingly needless suffering and pointless opposition.

I wonder, however, as counter-intuitive as it may be to us, if this regular pattern of suffering, if nothing else, is God’s way of testifying to that cruciform pattern of conquering through death / suffering. Maybe it is that God specifically chooses to bring about his purposes this way — bringing about fruit after death and suffering — specially as a way of making his people conform to the pattern found in Christ (conquering by death, and death to resurrection); and this as a way of highlighting, testifying to, and using believers’ lives as a means to point people to that same pattern in Christ.

Call it a “biographical typology” if you will.

How to Relate to the State as Sojourners & Citizens of a Different Kingdom (1 Peter 2:13-17)

How to Relate to the State as Sojourners & Citizens of a Different Kingdom (1 Peter 2:13-17) — Part 1
South City Church
May 7, 2017

Download audio.


How to Relate to the State as Sojourners & Citizens of a Different Kingdom (1 Peter 2:13-17) — Part 2
South City Church
May 14, 2017

Download audio.


See all sermons from this series on 1 Peter.

Questions for a Christian Analysis of Civil Disobedience

What is civil disobedience?

Civil disobedience is the intentional breach of legal duty. It is breaking the law. Those who engage in such disobedience lack the legal right to do so, i.e., their behavior is illegal, not legal. However, this sort of disobedience is to be distinguished from mere defiance, rebellion, or criminality. It is disobedience on the grounds of some claimed moral justification or duty.

One expression of civil disobedience is [a] the refusal to comply with and obey a law based on conscience — it is thought that to obey the law is to do evil, thus justifying (or even demanding) disobedience. The perceived evil may be “sin of commission” (being commanded to do wrong) or “sin of omission” (being commanded to refrain from good).

Continue reading

Christ as the Cornerstone of God’s Redemptive Temple-Building Project

The following is an excerpt from some material I composed for the teaching ministry of South City Church. You can listen to the sermon on which this material is based here — Our Identity and Calling in Christ (1 Peter 2:4-10).


24620615811_d58324f390_o.jpg


In our passage this week [1 Peter 2:4-10], Peter makes use of this idea of temple.

Our understanding of temple begins in the Garden of Eden. If we were to look at Genesis 1-3 carefully, there are signs that we are suppose to see the Garden of Eden as something like a temple — a place where God dwells with humanity. Later when God gives Israel the tabernacle and temple, interestingly enough he tells them to decorate them with trees and things that make them look like a new Eden of sorts. The Garden of Eden is a “garden-temple.” And it is in this garden that God dwells with humanity without hindrance, without the intrusion of sin. Humanity experiences God’s presence and worships him perfectly.

When Adam and Even rebel, however, sin enters the equation. And this breaks the relationship between God and mankind. God, who is immeasurably holy, cannot tolerate sin. God’s, in his perfection, cannot dwell in the presence of sin without destroying it. This is why in the Old Testament, the levitical (temple) Law speaks of things being “unclean” and the sacrifices and their blood “cleansing” and “purifying.” It was through the temple and its sacrifices that God was able to dwell with his people again, despite sin. This is why God gave the temple, so that he could dwell with his people. And this is why he ordered the sacrifices, to deal with their sin.

Continue reading