Suggestions from a Scottish Sabbath

kirsten-mckinlay-1Kirsten McKinlay, who has recently come to Sydney from Scotland, reflects on what is different about Sundays in Sydney – and how we might be missing out.

“… I do miss that rest was standard on a Sunday in Scotland. It turns out that it’s much harder to cease from my work when it isn’t the cultural norm, and no one else is doing it! Whether a biblical mandate or not, it’s possible that Sydney Christians have missed out by neglecting the Sabbath.

Whether we see it as obligatory or not, it is good to have a set pattern of expecting our work to stop on a certain day, because our restless hearts won’t always feel like stopping. Having this rhythm of rest can be a useful check on our pride—when we think the world depends on us—and stops life from becoming overwhelming.”

– Read it all at

The Open Letter from Evangelicals to C of E Bishops: a commentary

The Rev Andrew Symes, Anglican MainstreamOn Wednesday 12th October a letter was sent to the College of Bishops, signed by nearly a hundred evangelical leaders, making it clear that “further changes to practice or doctrine” on sexual ethics would result in serious damage to the Church of England. The letter isn’t titled. There was no sophisticated media strategy involved in getting it out, other than asking signatories to make it more widely known.

There was initially some confusion about whether it was meant to be kept ‘in house’ among the evangelical constituency, or publicised in the wider media. The organisers, led by John Dunnett of CPAS and some of the committee of the Evangelical Group on General Synod, then let it be known that it is a public letter.

The issue is considered to be of sufficient urgency that it can’t just be a private communication with Bishops, but must also be a signal to the wider church. …”

Andrew Syme at Anglican Mainstream, provides some commentary about that letter.

‘Accusations laid bare: In defence of the Archbishop’

accusations-laid-bare acrFrom The Australian Church Record:

“The editor of the Australian Church Record has penned a important response to a recent article by Julia Baird concerning a group of Anglican church leaders who have accused Archbishop Glenn Davies of silencing supporters of same-sex marriage.

The ACR response can be downloaded by clicking on ‘Download Special Issue’ from”

Direct link to the special issue – PDF file.

Related: Same-sex marriage: Anglican Church leaders accuse Sydney Archbishop of silencing supporters – by Julia Baird, ABC News.

In other media news this week, David Ould has received an apology from The Sydney Morning Herald.

A world without God

David RobertsonWow. How did this one get past the censors? It was incredible. And moving beyond words.

What am I talking about? Sally Phillips most extraordinary documentary, A World without Down’s Syndromewhich screened on the BBC this week.

Sally is well known as the TV comedy actress from TV shows like Miranda and the Bridget Jones films. She is also a Christian and her oldest son Olly has Down’s syndrome. …

I’m not ashamed to admit I wept – not just a wee cry, but sobbed. I don’t know when I last saw something so moving, profound and world revealing.

– David Roberston (Minister of St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee) writes at The Wee Flea. The documentary is available here.

Related: Mom of baby with Down syndrome sends remarkable letter to doctor who recommended abortion.

Jesus Always, the sequel to Jesus Calling

jesus-alwaysThis book is going to be big. Huge, even. Its predecessor has sold well over 10 million copies and more than a decade after publication has no less than 6 editions on the list of Christian bestsellers.

Today, at last, comes the long-awaited sequel, releasing to great fanfare—a million-copy first printing backed by a huge $300,000 marketing spend. One way or another you will come across this book and so will most of your friends and neighbours. You will see it on Amazon, in Costco, in airport bookshops, and perhaps even at your church’s book table. It’s Jesus Always, Sarah Young’s sequel to Jesus Calling. …

The big claim in her little books is that the words come to the reader from Jesus through her. At least, that was the claim of Jesus Calling and, as far as I know, it has not been retracted. Instead, it has been removed. If you are enthusiastic about Jesus Calling or wondering about Jesus Always, this is the one claim you must face head-on. You cannot treat Jesus Always as just another Christian book when Young herself claims it is so much more.”

Tim Challies confronts the huge problems caused by a book which seems to claim to contain revelation direct from the Lord Jesus.

Here’s a promotional trailer for the new book.

Some of Victoria’s ‘inherent requirements’ amendments may be unconstitutional

victoria-mapThe Victorian Government introduced the Equal Opportunity Amendment (Religious Exceptions) Bill 2016 into its Parliament on 30 August 2016. It has passed the Legislative Assembly without amendment, and is presently before the Legislative Council. …

I have commented in a previous post as to why I think this is poor legislation from a policy perspective. In that previous post I briefly noted that an argument could be made that some of the amendments, at least, would be unconstitutional. Since that previous post I have looked into the area further and am fairly sure that this is the case. Here I want to develop the case a bit further. …”

– In his latest post at Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster sheds light on the proposed Victorian bill.

No need for a censor if we censor ourselves

Tony PayneIt happened again this week. It will doubtless happen many times in the weeks and months and years to come.

A Christian dared to elaborate publicly on why he thought homosexual practice was morally wrong, and was greeted not with counter-argument or rebuttal, but outpourings of abhorrence and anger, as well as regret and apology on the part of the event organisers (that such a view had come to be to be expressed on their platform)…”

– At Moore College’s Centre for Christian Living, Tony Payne writes about the strong temptation for Christians to ‘self censor’.

Related: “Can we talk about same-sex marriage?” – Wednesday 19th October at the Centre for Christian Living.

For the Bible tells me so: Biblical authority denied … again

Albert Mohler“‘Jesus loves me — this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ This is a childish error

Evangelical Christianity has a big problem, says Andy Stanley, and that problem is a reliance on the Bible that is both unwarranted and unhelpful. In a recent message delivered at North Point Community Church and posted online, Stanley identifies the evangelical impulse to turn to the Bible in our defense and presentation of Christianity as a huge blunder that must be corrected.”

– Albert Mohler warns against diluting Biblical authority in an attempt to connect with our culture.

Science and the Bible, debates about committees, hope and courage in mission

The Rev Andrew Symes, Anglican MainstreamAnother week, another revisionist Church Times leader article penned by an academic heavyweight.

This time a consultant psychiatrist and Professor of Theology insists that we need to allow the latest scientific findings to inform our understanding of Scripture…”

Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes comments the state of the Church of England.

Related: GAFCON UK Statement following the appointment of a ‘Bishops’ Reflection Group’ on homosexuality.

A Plea for Hymn Books

common-praiseIt has become fashionable to dispense with hymn books, but they have a number of advantages over screens. Here are three …”

At Church Society’s blog, Liam Beadle wonders what we are losing when we just project the words on a screen.

The Intolerance of Tolerance

raj-guptaIt was only in 2012 that Don Carson published a book with the title The Intolerance of Tolerance.

It is a book that traces the development of so-called ‘tolerance’. How far we have come from the days of ‘I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ The philosophical shift has happened so quickly, and it looks set to impact many areas of life.

The matter is worth contemplating afresh in the midst of the current discussion about same-sex marriage in our country. Or rather, the current discussion about whether or not our country should even have a national discussion!…”

– Over at, Raj Gupta reminds Christians of the huge shift taking place around us.

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