“You Are Still a Mother”

“I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.” One week away from her due date, Jackie Gibson and her husband, Jonny, heard those words cut through the silence of the room in the hospital. Their daughter, Leila, died before she was born. In You Are Still a Mother,[1] Jackie Gibson quotes those crushing words several times as she chronicles navigating her grief.

The Gibsons know, and knew at the time of Leila’s death, the Good Shepherd, the Man of Sorrows, who knows our grief and suffering. He, his person and work, form the basis for the hope mentioned in the subtitle. Yet the book is utterly honest. There is no shortcut through grief. It continues. Jackie writes:

I am not the same person I was before Leila died. The trauma of my devastating loss has etched itself onto my heart and body. Grief has taken up residence in my heart and is now my companion for life. Sometimes its presence is loud and clanging, and other times it is tucked away and so quiet that I forget for a moment that it is there. But grief is there. And whenever I feel that pang in my heart, I remember that Leila’s death has changed me. (54)

Wisely she wishes that debriefing in the hospital had included information about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Continue reading

Grace and Truth for Life

Grace and Truth for Life: Charles H. Spurgeon’s devotionals from his 1865 classic, Morning by Morning, paraphrased, updated, and adapted for following Jesus in the 21st century, by Larry E. Wilson, 2023, paper, 368 pages (available from Amazon here, $US 9.99)

For a number of years I received regular emails from my fellow pastor, Larry Wilson, with the slightly cryptic subject line. “G&T4L.” To help him concentrate on his own devotional reading (beyond the Scriptures themselves) he was working through Spurgeon’s daily devotional, Morning by Morning, doing exactly what the lengthy subtitle of this book suggests — making a well-loved classic more accessible for contemporary readers. As quite a few of us discovered what he was doing, we requested to be included in his email distribution list.

As the email recipient list grew, so did encouragements to Wilson to make his work available in more permanent form, which he has now done. Not only did he update the language, he also has tried to identify Spurgeon’s biblical quotes and allusions, as well as other references the great preacher made. Spurgeon generally did not cite sources, perhaps assuming (probably correctly) a certain degree of biblical literacy and familiarity with hymns.

Continue reading

One reader’s impression of Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views

A few weeks ago on a week of (mostly) vacation I found time to finish reading this book, which arrived in early June. The publisher’s description is:

Publisher’s Description: In recent decades biblical hermeneutics has been an ever-expanding field of thought and research, with new viewpoints unfolding and debated. The views selected for this volume cohere with a broad center of orthodox interpretation of Scripture. But while they share a common ground and a collection of common tools, their distinctive emphases are at points profound.
In Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views five proponents of differing hermeneutical approaches each describe their approach to interpreting Scripture, put it to work on Matthew 2:13-15, and respond to their dialogue partners. The discussion is introduced and concluded by the editors.

The five views and their essayists are:

Historical-Critical/Grammatical, Craig Blomberg
Literary/Postmodern, F. Scott Spencer
Philosophical/Theological, Merold Westphal
Redemptive-Historical, Richard B. Gaffin Jr.
Canonical, Robert W. Wall

Anyone interested in the ongoing quest to responsibly interpret Christian Scripture for the church will find this a wonderfully informative and constructive dialogue.

224 Pages
Published June 2012

As you gather from above, each author presented his view, then each has a chapter responding to the others, focusing on Matthew 2:13-15 and its use of Hosea 11:1. Given the composition of this forward list, it will come as no surprise that it was the identity of the author of the Redemptive-Historical view that prompted me to purchase and read. I have read his two chapters carefully Continue reading