I noted on Q&A, Monday night that Senator Chris Evans was rather concessive repeatedly saying the Bill was a draft, capable of amendment.

The Senate legal Committee is to report Monday, 18th Feb. I expect there will be a majority and minority report. The majority (Labor/Greens) will propose tinkering but also, quite likely, some narrowing of the religious exception clauses which the Government will not accept whilst the minority (coalition) report will oppose the Bill outright and instead propose a more straightforward amalgamation of the various existing bits of law but including eliminating the section in the existing racial discrimination act that led to Andrew Bolt’s downfall.

I think there is a good chance the Government will quietly shelve the legislation in an election year.

There, you’ve heard it on Sundry Matters.

Goodness me, Tamara O’Dyne, informed us last night on ABC 7pm news that January set new records around the country for the hottest January on record, breaking the record set 80 years ago.

80 years ago?!

Say that again.

What happened to all that global warming that we should have to wait 80 years for the record to be broken….?

For the cessation in global warming the past 15 years see here and here.

(My own position on climate change and what to do about it is to be found here , including the 2011 AP article and longer paper)

Last July I wanted to take on a Baptist who reckoned on being a 5 point Calvinist and therefore Reformed. His name is Jeremy Walker and posts on the blog, reformation 21, which doesn’t allow comment. However Jeremy has his own blog and I posted there. My point was that Baptists belong to the Anabaptist stream of the Reformation and although they, at least initially took up the 5 points, it takes a lot more than the 5 points to be called Reformed.

To be Reformed means to have a covenant view of baptism of children, a certain form of church government which is not independency and a high view of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, i.e. an understanding of the Lord’s Supper as more than a mere remembrance, but rather through the partaking of the elements of bread and wine a real, spiritual participation in the body and blood of Christ.

Anyway, I came across this article by Richard Muller, the present day doyen of Calvin scholars.

Says, Muller,

there cannot be such a thing as a “5 point Calvinist” or a “5 point Reformed Christian” who owns just those five articles taken from the Canons of Dort and refuses to accept the other “points” made by genuinely Reformed theology.

(PS I got to Muller’ article through this post on R Scott Clarke’s Heidelblog – which raises other interesting issues)

I thoroughly recommend Muller as a good and thought provoking read, rather more perceptive than my effort on Jeremy Walker’s blog. However, as Muller says, he will also step “on a few religious toes” (mine included) in the process, but if we are willing to carefully consider what he says in the context of our confessional standards, he does so in a way that is both challenging and helpful.

Coming to Melbourne in 1976 from Sydney I had a big decision to make – which footy team?

Well workmate, Ian Leckie took me to see a number of games featuring Hawthorn, but what a hateful choice of colours! Can you imagine, yeller and brown, the colour of mud.

Well I worked in the Western Suburbs, listened to 3LO’s Saturday footyshow hosted by Doug Bigalow (who I think got into trouble, but that’s another story). Anyway, there was a gang of ex players on the panel and I always liked the dulcet tones and common sense of ex Footscray player, Ray Walker, so it was the Bulldogs for me – a bad choice you might say going from the Hawks to the Doggies, but if you make a choice you stick to it, a bit like marriage.

The Doggies had a shocker last year, but I met Ray Walker yesterday at Richard O’Brien’s Thursday Lunchtime gig at The Assembly Hall (which was terrific and deserved a lot more bottoms on seats) and Ray reckons we might win a few more this year….

Well, anyway, here’s hoping. Go Doggies!

Over the next few months I’m making my way through Romans with Calvin’s Commentary. In his introductory remarks Calvin says “if we have gained a true understanding of this Epistle, we have an open door to all the most profound treasures of Scripture”.

I have been very struck by his comments on Roms 3:21, 22:

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – (even) the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction…….”

Calvin does the medieval thing of splitting an action into its component parts saying, when we are justified, the efficient cause is the mercy of God, Christ is the substance (materia) of our justification, and the Word, with faith, the instrument.

I find those distinctions helpful.

However he goes on to say something  I’ve never thought of:

When we are made partakers of Christ, we are not only ourselves righteous, but our works also are counted righteous in the sight of God, because any imperfections in them are obliterated by the blood  of Christ.  The promises,  which were conditional,  are fulfilled to us also by the same grace, since God rewards our works as perfect, inasmuch as their defects are covered by free pardon.

Our own works, not just ourselves are counted righteous in God’s sight, of course subject to the qualifications given by Calvin!

This insight brought to my mind something else.

I’ve always been fascinated by Rev 21:24 where John in speaking of the new Jerusalem writes, by its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, ever since I read Anthony Hoekema’s comments many years ago (The Bible and the Future) to the effect that a reasonable conclusion to be drawn from Rev 21:24 is that there will be some kind of continuity between the culture of the present world and that of the world to come.

In fact Hoekema goes further (p 286) asking;

Is it too much to say that, according to these verses, the unique contributions of each nation to the life of the present earth will enrich the life of the new earth? Shall we then perhaps inherit the best products of culture and art which this earth has produced?

Well, we don’t know the answer to that, but I do find it a tantalising question and I’d like to think the answer is, yes!