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HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle. Please join us in prayer: O MERCIFUL God, the Father...

He Will Burn Up the Chaff with Unquenchable Fire

Bishop JC RyleHe Will Burn Up the Chaff with Unquenchable Fire In 1878, two years before he was made the first Bishop of Liverpool, The Revd JC Ryle delivered a sermon on the biblical teaching regarding the doctrine of hell. His words are as pertinent today as they...

Pilgrim’s Process

By The Revd Dr Peter Sanlon In our journey to heaven we are to be thankful for the world we pass through. One of the great prayers of the Book of Common Prayer (there are many!) is the General Thanksgiving. In it we pray, 'We bless thee for our creation, preservation...

Original Sin is the fundamental systematic cause of abuse

Original Sin is the Fundamental Systematic Cause of Abuse The Christian world has recently been shaken by revelations that two high-profile Evangelical leaders—the late Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; and, closer to home, the Revd...

Letters To The Editor – Graham

Dear Sir, The organisers of an evangelistic event in which Franklin Graham preached have won a legal dispute with Blackpool Council. The Lancashire Festival of Hope took place over three days at Blackpool's Winter Gardens in September 2018, which saw hundreds make...

Letter To the Editor – Government

Dear Editor, Readers may appreciate the relevance of the following comments by Bishop Ryle in his Expository Thoughts on John 18:36 (Volume 3 page 274): “No government can expect to prosper which refuses to recognise religion, which deals with its subjects as if they...

Lancashire Judge Rules in Favour of Franklin Graham

In a strong and clear rebuke of the cancel culture sweeping the UK, a court ruled that the 2018 Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham was discriminated against by the Blackpool Borough Council and Blackpool Transport Services Limited by taking down bus ads...

Spectator Cover Shows Empty Tomb for Easter Edition

Many of the readers of the English Churchman are also readers of The Spectator but the 3 April edition was a rather nice surprise. If you missed it, the cover featured an artist’s rendering of Jesus’ empty tomb. Bright morning sunlight showed the inside of a tomb,...

BCP Worship

The Second Sunday after Easter 11 April 2021 Psalm 81:1-4Ezekiel 37:1-101 John 5:4-12John 20:19-23 BCP Collect “Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification: Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice...

St George’s Church Crowhurst Promotes Wider Use of the BCP

A parish church in East Sussex – located next to the ruins of King Harold’s Saxon Manor, mentioned in the Domesday Book – has joined the Prayer Book Society in a bid to strengthen its campaign promoting wider use of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) by young people as...

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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