Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Brand new logo, new design, new fonts, yet more fresh, new articles and a themed edition to boot. Even so, I hope you will forgive me for providing a couple of caveats before you read on through the journal this quarter:
First, this is by no means a comprehensive treatment of the relationships issue. There is little mention of singleness/marriage; if and whom to marry; homosexuality, or other problems you may care to highlight. Indeed, those of you receiving this with our quarterly mailing will also read a new booklet, What the Bible says about going out, marriage and sex, written by CMF doctors Chris Richards and Liz Jones. This is highly recommended, and reviewed on p41.
In general, how should we choose what to read on subjects like this? Chosen for Good, an excellent, but unfortunately out-of-print book edited by Bob Horn, former UCCF general secretary, agrees that topical books and publications are very useful, but suggests that the Bible deals with problems very differently from our approach. Partly paraphrased, he puts it like this: ‘We are like students approaching an exam...not on top of the syllabus, so we look for quick solutions. We may pass, but this tactic will give us no grasp of the principles. [But the Bible] takes us through a lively and vital syllabus; it will not all seem relevant right now, but later on it will enable us to face and answer the questions which the examination of life will pose in each successive test.’ Far from treating Nucleus, July 2005 as Scripture’s ‘real alternative’, the actual Bible is the best text.
Second, this is still likely to be one of the more well thumbed editions, but while everything in here we pray is biblically sound, we hesitate to promote this issue beyond its place in God’s perspective. While relationships and sexual matters are important, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that they form only a part of our lives. 1 Corinthians 7:17 urges us to be content with each of our situations, instead of being saddled with worries about ‘what we need’ in life. A healthier outlook would be to consider ‘how we live’. In reading this issue, rather than feeling guilt or condemnation, we should strive for holiness (Col 3:1-5).
Ethical enigmas has been our successful, long running staple, which has carried through to our new format. Wondering what to say to your putative consultant obstetrician about his attitude to prenatal screening? Check John Wenham’s answer (pp38,39).