Progression or Regression?

Posted on February 23, 2020 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars, Opinion

David Cook writes:

On 1st December 2018, election night in Victoria, the victorious Premier, Daniel Andrews stated that ‘Victoria is the most progressive state in the nation.’

Having spent the month of February, 2020 in Victoria, progression is not the adjective l would have used.

How’s this for a ‘progressive list’:

All this in a State with some of our nation’s finest cultural icons, The MCG, The Rod Laver and Margaret Court Arenas, the finest collection of Australian art in the nation, more theatres per head of population than any other Australian city.

I am preaching in a Church in the central business district of Melbourne where my closest Protestant neighbouring Churches both unashamedly endorse the same sex marriage agenda of the state.

And the Premier, Daniel Andrews, who presides over all this, is a practicing Roman Catholic, one wonders when a Priest or Bishop will have the courage to place him under Christian discipline.

In Romans 1 the apostle Paul makes it clear that ‘the wrath of God is revealed from heaven’, he does not say it will be revealed in the future but it is being revealed now. (Rom 1: 18)

Why? Because humankind has exchanged the glory of God for idolatrous images, (Rom 1: 25) and worships and serves the creature rather than the Creator. (Rom 1: 25)

Idolatry is the lie (Rom 1:25) and God’s wrath is evidenced in that he gives mankind up to the fruit of that exchange.

Paul says, God gave them over

(Rom 1: 24) to uncleanness

(Rom 1: 26) to scrambled sexual expression

(Rom 1: 28) to debased mind

The mind, the attitudes, the worldview of humanity is thus under the judgement of God, the mind is counterfeit and incapable of making proper moral judgements. (Rom 1: 28-32)

Such a mind calls regression, progression!

The only hope is the new life, the new heart, which comes through the Christian gospel by the gift of God.

The moral man, Nicodemus, in John 3 must be converted to see or enter God’s  Kingdom and the same opportunity and need is offered to the immoral woman who is offered living water by Jesus in John 4.

Paul makes it clear that due to the mercies of God we are given new minds, from which the judgement of God has been lifted and by the renewing of these minds we are being transformed.

We are people of a new mind, minds which are able to ‘discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect’. (Rom 12: 2)

Pray that Daniel Andrews will experience God’s mercy.

In one of the mid-week services here l preached on John 3, ‘Jesus and Nicodemus’ under the heading, ‘Why Daniel Andrews is wrong’.

Thankfully l am still free to preach in the Commonwealth of Australia if not, it is a quick car trip of 3 hours back to the border, to good old regressive NSW!!

– Rev David Cook 18.02.2020

(David Cook has served as Principal of SMBC and also as Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia as well as in parish ministry. Inset photo courtesy St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.)

Misunderstanding is no Medicine

Posted on February 23, 2020 
Filed under Resources

“What is it with our humanity that we struggle with the nice guy, the good woman, the gentle friend, the wise guide?

Is jealousy the problem? Is it the confronting reality of what we should be, but aren’t, that finds in us an unhelpful reaction? It is an odd thing to find ourselves not liking a person because they are delightful, or truthful, or good, or servant-hearted, or kind or more.

There is something perverse in us when we despise others for qualities we would otherwise admire and be proud of in ourselves. …”

– Rick Lewers, Bishop of Armidale, continues his series of articles written to help people come to know Jesus.

GAFCON Chairman’s Pastoral Letter for February 2020

Posted on February 23, 2020 
Filed under Anglican Communion, GAFCON

Archbishop Foley Beach has published his February 2020 Pastoral Letter:

“Christian discipleship and leadership calls us to make disciples of all nations and it requires us to protect the flock from false teachers. Encountering false teachers is nothing new in the history of the Church. The New Testament is filled with exhortations regarding false teachers. …”

He also recommends the new GAFCON resource, “Anglican Reality Check”.

Videos from the 2020 Priscilla & Aquila annual conference

Posted on February 22, 2020 
Filed under Resources

Moore Theological College has posted the videos and notes from their 2020 Priscilla & Aquila annual conference.

See them at the P&A website.

As well as the Plenary sessions, videos or audio files of the Electives are available.

Training ministers of the Word in a semi-literate world

Posted on February 21, 2020 
Filed under Resources

“While in Australia we take for granted that our schooling system will produce people with good comprehension skills and critical thinking, in Congo and in many parts of the majority-world, this is not the case…”

– Bishop Malcolm Richards, Director of Moore College’s Centre for Global Mission, seeks your prayers and partnership.

Walking with the Suffering Church during Lent — GAFCON

Posted on February 21, 2020 
Filed under GAFCON, Resources

GAFCON is producing daily devotionals to which you can subscribe.

During Lent 2020, there is a special focus on walking with the Suffering Church.

An Appreciation of Archbishop Glenn Davies

Posted on February 21, 2020 
Filed under People, Sydney Diocese

“In his recent and final Presidential address to the third ordinary session of the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, Archbishop Glenn Davies remarked that his primary responsibility was to be a guardian of “the faith that was delivered once for all to the saints” (Jude 3).

The Australian Church Record wishes to thank Glenn Davies for faithfully serving in this, and myriad other ways – especially through the proclamation of the gospel and prayer for gospel ministry – over the past seven years. …”

Many will echo the words of this appreciation which was first published in the Australian Church Record’s Journal for Summer 2019.

Updated Christianity Explored website

Posted on February 20, 2020 
Filed under Apologetics & Evangelism, Resources

Christianity Explored Ministries have updated the Christianity Explored website.

Take a look.

How can pastors support couples in our churches impacted by abortion

Posted on February 19, 2020 
Filed under Resources

“There are women in all our lives and churches who have had an abortion. Men, women and children who have been touched by abortion – in our workplaces, churches and families.

Senior pastors need to stop turning a blind eye to this subject and talk much much more about abortion in church.

New Testament scholar and former nurse Dr Claire Smith says we are currently not meeting this pastoral and evangelistic need. …”

– Dr. Claire Smith speaks with Dominic Steele at The Pastor’s Heart.

Also at The Pastor’s Heart this week, Dominic speaks with Mez McConnell and Matthew Spandler Davidson about Abuse in the church – with particular reference to recent events.

A Short Book About Paul: The Servant of Jesus — review

Posted on February 18, 2020 
Filed under Resources

“Historians don’t merely assemble a puzzle. Before considering how the pieces fit together, they need to determine which ones belong in the box. Some subjects offer an abundance of resources, while others leave us wishing for more.

The historian and theologian Paul Barnett combines mastery of his craft with a subject that provides plenty of pieces for someone who knows where to look. The result is that this portrait of the Apostle Paul, while relatively brief … offers a rich presentation of his life and work.”

– Moore College’s Philip Kern reviews A Short Book About Paul: The Servant of Jesus by Paul Barnett. At SydneyAnglicans.net.

Book availability.

Nexus20 — How to Save a City

Posted on February 17, 2020 
Filed under Encouragement, Resources

The Nexus20 conference is set for Monday 23rd March at a new location: Moore College – and at a new time: 2:00 – 8:00pm.

From the Nexus website:

“No matter where God has placed us – in the suburbs, in the inner city, in a regional or rural area – our task is to bring the message of salvation to the people we’ve been given to serve.

At this year’s Nexus conference, we’ll be thinking about what it means to be part of God’s extraordinary saving purpose in the particular place we’ve been given to reach, how important the local church is in that purpose, and how God uses decidedly ordinary people and methods to do extraordinary things.

Our focus this year will be on how to bring salvation to our particular city (of Sydney) and the challenges we face in our gospel fellowship (that is, among Sydney ministry workers, many of us Anglicans).

But as always, we’ll be having this discussion with one eye on the broader fellowship around Australia (and beyond) who tune in to Nexus via Livestream. Our hope is that by talking honestly and theologically about our own patch, we can encourage, challenge and stimulate everyone to do the same, wherever God has placed us.”

– Watch the promo video, and register, at the Nexus website.

Ordinations in Sydney

Posted on February 15, 2020 
Filed under Sydney Diocese

Twenty-two men and women were ordained as deacons at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney today.

“The ordinands will disperse to ministries all over Sydney including parish postings, multicultural work and Hospital, Defence Force and School Chaplaincy. …”

– Russell Powell has this story at SydneyAnglicans.net.

(Photo: Archbishop Glenn Davies, The Rev Stephen Gibbons, and Archdeacon Kevin Russell.)

Daniel Willis to be GAFCON Operations Manager

Posted on February 14, 2020 
Filed under GAFCON, People

GAFCON General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, has announced that Canon Daniel Willis will take on the position of Operations Manager for GAFCON from March 1st.

He succeeds Mr James Stileman, who has stepped down for health reasons.

Many will be aware of Daniel’s key role in organising Jerusalem 2018, as well as his many years of ministry in Sydney, including at Frenchs Forest, the Cathedral, and with the Bible Society, as well as on the ACL’s Council.

(Photo of Karen and Daniel Willis, courtesy of GAFCON.)

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