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Letter to the Editor: Prayers for the Dead at Remembrance Services

Prayers for the Dead at Remembrance Services   Sir, Remembrance Sunday is an important and poignant landmark in our nation’s annual calendar, and a day to reflect, give thanks and pray for peace. We see church and civic life combine in silence and remembrance, as...

Evangelical Theological College of Asia

Evangelical Theological College of Asia Have you ever wondered if there was a sound reformed theological training institution in Asia?  The Evangelical Theological College of Asia is just such a school.  It is located in Singapore and its faculty are mostly from...

Prudence Dailey’s Commentary: Should Women Be Afraid of Men?

Prudence Dailey's Commentary Should Women be Afraid of Men? Recently, someone I used to work with shared on her Facebook page a link to an article from The Times magazine by the feminist writer Caitlin Moran. The substance of Ms Moran’s piece—rhetorically addressed to...

FIEC Updates Its “Values Statement”

FIEC Updates Its “Values Statement” The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches recently updated its “Values Statement.”  It is well-worth your time to read.  There are FIEC affiliated congregations in England, Scotland, and Wales.   1. God-honouring and...

Death of LENORA HAMMOND

Lenora Hammond 1960-2021 Mrs Lenora Hammond, wife of Frontline Fellowship founder Dr Peter Hammond, died on 9 November.  She was six days short of her sixty-first birthday.  Frontline Fellowship is headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. Mrs Hammond was born into a...

Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary to Retire

Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary to Retire “The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have paid tribute to the service of Caroline Boddington, who has announced she will be leaving the National Church Institutions (NCIs) at the end of 2021 after 17 years as the...

Book Review: The Lullingstone Secret

The Lullingstone Secret Jill Masters Wakeman Press, 2021 (ISBN: 9781913133115, 97pp, £5.95) Lullingstone Villa in Kent is a fascinating site to visit whatever one’s awareness of ancient history and is lavishly curated by English Heritage. Since its excavation in the...

Book Review: The Welsh Methodist Society

The Welsh Methodist Society The Early Societies in South-West Wales 1737-1750 Eryn M. White University of Wales Press, 2021 (ISBN: 9781786835796, 350pp, £24.99) In many respects, the church in Britain continues to live off the puttering afterglow of the eighteenth...

Eastern Rite Catholics: What Are They?

Eastern Rite Catholics What Are They? Former Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali’s recent defection to Rome has highlighted earlier efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to bring other ecclesiastical jurisdictions into its orbit.  There are a total of twenty-three which have...

Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity

This is a great book that offers true comfort to broken believers and real insights into deep scriptural themes. Rosner takes a biblical theological approach, looking at what it means to belong to and be known by God, seeking to shown how this over-looked theme is developed through the canon. Rosner’s contention is that being known by God and belonging to God are key to self-identity.

After setting out the nature of western society’s contemporary identity angst and assessing our common identity markers, Rosner turns to Scripture to explain what humans are, what it means to be made in the image of God, being known by God in the OT and known by God and Christ in the NT, how our union with Christ affects our identity, how being adopted shapes our self-understanding and behaviour, and finally, how God’s work of salvation in and through Christ gives us a shared memory and defining destiny with other believers.

The final part of the book looks at the impact this material has for questions of personal relevance, humility, comfort in sorrow, and moral guidance. In the last chapter Rosner explores how Christian practices such as baptism, communion, and church, help us know who we are, and that God knows and love us. It would have been helpful for Rosner to reflect on how God knows our sins and weaknesses and that knowing us in our sin he can meet our needs in ways appropriate to us, as seen in, for example, the woman at the well in John 4, or the disciples’ ignorance in John 11. More thinking could have been done in light of the fact God does not need to discover us either, or the method of his knowing.

Throughout the book Rosner brings to the fore the way in which God knows us intimately and personally. Particularly striking was Rosner’s teaching on Jesus in John’s Gospel and the letters to the seven churches in Revelation; as well as the way his understanding of being known by God is shaped by the doctrines of creation, election, redemption, union with Christ and adoption into God’s family. Rosner’s section on how this offers comfort to people with diminished lives and facing the end of life was excellent. Along the way there was great teaching on lots of other topics too, such as how to read Bible metaphors as God intends them to be read, holy communion and the importance of song in Christian meetings.

The book is pastoral, exegetical, theological, and personal. It is a book to read and re-read as its teaching is so importance for all Christians—we desperately need to grasp who we really are! Those who want to think systematically about this topic will find lots of helpful material on which to build, and those who want to encourage others should buy it for them or encourage them to buy it.

Robert Brewis is Associate Minister at Christ Church, Chadderton.  This review was first published in Crossway magazine, July 2020.

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