‘Don’t scratch NSW lottery moratorium’ — NSW Council of Churches

Posted on January 28, 2015 
Filed under Australia

NSW“The NSW Council of Churches has urged state politicians to extend a moratorium restricting the sale of lottery tickets to newsagents and convenience stores …”

A Media Release from the NSW Council of Churches.

GAFCON Chairman’s Pastoral Letter — January 2015

Posted on January 27, 2015 
Filed under Anglican Communion, GAFCON

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Chairman of the FCA Primates Council“My dear brothers and sisters,

As I send this first pastoral letter of 2015, receive greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever! …

One of the great challenges for African Christianity is for the many who identify as ‘born again’ to become mature disciples of Christ. This is especially necessary given the challenge of what Pope Francis last week described as ‘ideological colonisation’, which is the practice of tying aid and development resources to the promotion of alien understandings of gender, the family and sexual behaviour.

Money is a very powerful tool and manipulation can happen with varying degrees of subtlety.”

Read it all here.

Committed to the Gospel

Posted on January 26, 2015 
Filed under Resources, Theology

Peter BoltAt the Thinking of God Conference, held last November, Dr Peter Bolt spoke on Evangelicalism, calling his hearers to be discerning and uncompromisingly gospel-focussed.

Take the time to be challenged and encouraged. Watch or listen here.

Richard Johnson — the background

Posted on January 24, 2015 
Filed under Australia, History

St John's Boldre“In the summer of 1784, the Newtons took their orphaned niece Eliza to bathe at the seaside for her health.

John Thornton had invited Newton to accompany him to Lymington and the Isle of Wight. A stranger, Charles Etty, invited Newton to stay at his home near Lymington en route.

In December 1783, Richard Johnson had been licenced as curate to St John’s, Boldre, a village in the New Forest only 3 miles from Etty’s home.

It is conceivable that Newton and Johnson may have met there in the late summer of 1784. Certainly they subsequently knew the same group of friends in the Lymington area.

And it was only a few months later, on 25 March 1785, that Newton reported to William Bull:

“Yesterday I put Mr. Johnson in my pulpit,
(who I think gives us an earnest of a judicious good preacher).’…”

– Marylynn Rouse at The John Newton Project has been researching how John Newton came to know Richard Johnson and came to recommend him to be Chaplain on the First Fleet.

It’s a fascinating work-in-progress with more to come – read it here.

Related: St John’s Boldre is having “Australia Day Matins” on Sunday 1st February.

Photo courtesy Google Maps.

‘Go, bear the Saviour’s name to lands unknown’

Posted on January 23, 2015 
Filed under History, Resources

The Rev. Richard JohnsonThis Australia Day long weekend, it’s a good time to bring the people of Australia before our heavenly Father in prayer.

Even before European settlement, the inhabitants of “lands unknown” were in the prayers of men and women like John Newton.

On 8th July 1777, Newton wrote this in his diary –

“My leisure time and rather more than I can well spare taken up with reading the accounts of the late voyage of Capt. Cook in the Southern Ocean and round the Globe.

Teach me to see thy hand and read thy name in these relations. Thy providence and goodness are displayed in every clime. May I be suitably affected with the case of the countless thousands of my fellow creatures, who know thee not, nor have opportunities of knowing thee.

Alas that those who are called Christians, and who venture through the greatest dangers to explore unknown regions, should only impart to the inhabitants examples of sin and occasions of mischief, and communicate nothing of thy Gospel to them. Lord hast thou not a time for these poor benighted souls, when thou wilt arise and shine upon them?”

(Special thanks to Marylynn Rouse of The John Newton Project, who transcribed this entry from Newton’s diary.)

Part of the answer to John Newton’s prayer was the Rev Richard Johnson (pictured), who sailed, in May 1787, on the First Fleet as the first Chaplain to the Colony to be established at Botany Bay.

Newton wrote to Johnson –

“Go, bear the Saviour’s name to lands unknown,
Tell to the southern world his wondrous grace;
And energy Divine thy words shall own
And draw their untaught hearts to seek his face.”

So let’s give thanks for Richard and Mary Johnson, and for those who sent them – and be committed afresh to “bearing the Saviour’s name” to all in our land.

Related: Richard Johnson’s An Address To The Inhabitants Of The Colonies
Established in New South Wales And Norfolk Island (pdf).

A letter from GAFCON Primates — responding to the ‘Transformation Through Friendship’ communiqué

Posted on January 22, 2015 
Filed under Anglican Communion, GAFCON

GAFCON“A Consultation of GAFCON Primates and Bishops of Africa was held in Nairobi on 3rd & 4th December 2014 to consider a response to the ‘Transformation Through Friendship’ communiqué released from New York on 28th October, signed by five African Primates, including the Chairman of CAPA (the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa), Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

A letter was sent from the Nairobi meeting to Archbishop Ntahoturi, copied to the other African Primates and as no reply has been received, the letter is now being made public in order to avoid misunderstanding.

The New York Communiqué does not speak for the Anglican Provinces of Africa and it is a matter of very great regret that the ‘Continuing Indaba’ strategy has led to the division of African Anglicans.”

From the letter:

“First, the document itself is a manipulation. It is in fact, not principally about “Friendship” but is in fact an attempt to further advance the unbiblical and false teaching of The Episcopal Church.

Second, we reject the characterisation that the communiqué represents “African Primates and Bishops.” Given that there is absolutely no acknowledgement that there are other African Primates and Bishops who do not agree, the document, of which you were a collaborator and signatory, presents itself falsely. It does not represent the faith of the overwhelming majority of African Christians…”

Read it all here.

How then, should we live?

Posted on January 22, 2015 
Filed under Theology

David Cook“Defective theology will inevitably lead to defective Christian living.

There are three areas of systematics which require our careful attention – these truths often get lost in larger theological tomes, but they need to be taught thoroughly to our people.

I intend to write about each of them in my next three columns.

The first is the place of the law in the believer’s life, this bears on the relationship of old and new covenants…”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General David Cook begins a short series on key aspects of theology.
(Photo: St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.)

25 Truths about Preachers

Posted on January 22, 2015 
Filed under Resources, Theology

2-timothyAt Unashamed Workman, Colin Adams has some reminders and encouragements for preachers, drawn from 2 Timothy.

Read them here.

Possible first-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel discovered

Posted on January 20, 2015 
Filed under History

Dr Daniel Wallace“In 2012, Dan Wallace dropped a bombshell during a debate with Bart Ehrman. Ehrman had pointed out that our earliest copy of Mark’s Gospel is dated 140 years after the gospel was first written. It’s a point often made by critics to show the unreliability of the New Testament. Wallace then revealed that he had knowledge that a first century copy of Mark’s Gospel had been discovered. …

LiveScience.com has a report today verifying Wallace’s claims about work being done on a fragment of Mark’s Gospel that appears to be from the late first century”

Denny Burk has a little more on Daniel Wallace’s 2012 claim.

And some cautionary thoughts from Justin Taylor

“Let’s think critically and wait to see the published results. Until then, debating the details won’t get us very far.”

and Peter Williams, Warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge.

(Photo: Dr. Daniel Wallace at Dallas Theological Seminary.)

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