Expository preaching — The antidote to anaemic worship

“Though most evangelicals mention the preaching of the word as a necessary or customary part of worship, the prevailing model of worship in evangelical churches is increasingly defined by music, along with innovations such as drama and video presentations. When preaching the word retreats, a host of entertaining innovations will take its place. …”

– Albert Mohler writes about the central place of expository preaching in the life of the church.

The pernicious evil of the prosperity gospel and the theology of the cross

“Several years ago now I was travelling down a road in Nigeria on which, at almost every corner, there stood a church with a name that promised their members, and all who would join them, success, victory, wealth and happiness. …

Of course the prosperity gospel is not just a feature of aspirational Christianity in the majority world. It is alive and well and destroying lives in Western countries too. In fact there are very large churches which, in one way or another, are making similar promises right here in Australia.  

The prosperity gospel sees God’s glory and God’s blessing in all the wrong places and in so doing it draws attention away from what matters most and the reason why Jesus came, and lived and taught, and died and rose again, and is ruling now. …

– Dr Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore Theological College, and a Vice President of the ACL, writes at Theological Theology. Read it all there.

A Listening Exercise for Friends of the Bible Society of Australia

“You may be aware there’s a debate among evangelical friends of the Bible Society of Australia – especially those from a reformed perspective – who have very different views about the venue and speakers for the 200th anniversary of that excellent institution.

I want to propose a listening exercise I’ve attempted to sharpen understanding of each other.

It’s this: 1. Listen to the other. 2. State your own concerns. 3. Review whether you felt the force of the alternative view. Then we may see better ways forward. …”

– Sandy Grant writes at Thinking of God.

Don Carson: How to destroy Evangelism with political animosity

“When you’re busy hating everybody and denouncing everybody and seeking political solutions to everything it’s very difficult to evangelize, isn’t it? It’s very hard to be compassionate, to look on the crowds as though they’re sheep without a shepherd…”

Wise words from Don Carson, from a lecture he gave on Revelation in 2005. via Tony Reinke.

Manipulative, domineering revisionists must be opposed, not appeased

“I can already hear the shocked gasps from some as they read this title. ‘Oh, can’t we have a nicer tone in this debate?’, some are thinking, as they cover their ears, desperately thinking happy thoughts and hoping the whole nasty issue will go away. …”

– As the Church of England’s General Synod debates ‘same sex marriage’ this week, Anglican Mainstream’s the Rev. Andrew Symes calls on Christians believers to stand for the apostolic truth.

(He mentions a segment on BBC TV from Monday 13th February. The link at Anglican Mainstream is viewable only in the UK. Here is another source. And another one, though in one minute segments.)

Why proposed same-sex marriage balancing clauses would be constitutional and right

“Last week I had the privilege of giving evidence to the Australian Senate Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill.  … The Committee was considering the terms of an Exposure Draft Bill which had been released last year by the Commonwealth Attorney-General, as the sort of legislation which might be introduced were Australians to support change of the law in this way in a plebiscite. …

While the proposal for a plebiscite on the issue was defeated in Parliament last year, the Senate obviously considers it worthwhile discussing the merits of the Exposure Draft, as it represents to some extent Government thinking on what the change might look like. …”

– at Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster argues that “balancing clauses protecting the religious freedom of those involved in solemnising and celebrating same sex marriages must be an important part of any legislation introducing same sex marriage into Australia”.

Dying with dignity

Recently, the South Australian Parliament debated and rejected the Death with Dignity Bill, which proposed to legalise euthanasia. It was the 15th time a euthanasia bill had been rejected by the house.

The bill’s proposer predicts that this is not the end of the debate, referring to the overwhelming public support for “the right to choose and have a dignified death”. With Andrew Denton regularly advertising his desire for legal euthanasia with evangelistic fervour, I agree that we have not seen the end of the debate. But I still hope for a more honest one. …”

– This is an important article by Dr. Megan Best, bioethicist and palliative care doctor who works for HammondCare. She serves on the Social Issues Committee of the Diocese of Sydney.

From SydneyAnglicans.net.

(Dr. Best is also the author of Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, from Matthia Media.)

Is GAFCON the problem?

Abp Peter Jensen“An interview with the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, was recently published as an article in the Church of Ireland Gazette. The newspaper’s website carried the audio of the interview in full here.

For a self-confessed Ambassador and reconciler, Archbishop Josiah Fearon uses some undiplomatic language. The frank expression of his views on the Anglican Communion and the sexuality debate, and his sweeping dismissal of GAFCON and African church leaders have caused considerable dismay. However they reveal the thinking of the Anglican Communion Office and presumably those who endorse its leadership…”

– Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen, GAFCON General Secretary, responds to strong criticism of GAFCON, and what that criticism appears to say about the senior leadership of the Anglican Communion. Well worth taking the time to read. (link fixed)

The Christmas of Cultural Christianity

Phillip Jensen“Christmas is the high point of Cultural Christianity. It creates joy and confusion; joy to our culture and confusion to Christians.

Cultural Christianity is a reality that would be helpful for both Christians and non-Christians to accept if not embrace. It is seen in the famous atheist Richard Dawkins’ love of singing Christmas carols. …”

– Phillip Jensen observes the difference between Cultural Christianity and Christian Christianity.

John Chapman, Mark Twain and the Twenty Minute Sermon

David MansfieldJohn Chapman and Mark Twain both had much and little in common.

Both were great communicators and raconteurs with a razor-sharp wit. But Chappo loved his golf while Twain is thought to have said that golf was a good walk ruined. Chappo’s spirituality was biblical and evangelical. Twain’s was anything but.

However, when it came to preaching, they had something very much in common. They had little patience for preaching that was unnecessarily long – or even longer than twenty minutes. …”

– At SydneyAnglicans.net, David Mansfield would love to hear better preaching.

Democracy Trumps Meritocracy

Phillip JensenIn 2016 the sleeping giant of democracy has awakened. In the rise of minor parties in many Western democracies, in the UK Brexit vote, and now in the USA Presidential election – we have witnessed the power of people rejecting the power of the elite who rule over them. This is democracy in action.

However, this kind of democracy has shocked and rattled the complacency of the elite who have ruled unchallenged for most of this generation. The pollsters and pundits as well as the media and markets, have failed comprehensively to predict or even understand what has happened. The big guns were wheeled in to oppose the popular sentiment but it has not worked. In the polling station, in the privacy of the voting booth, the people have voted in ways they weren’t supposed to…”

Phillip Jensen reflects on democracy, and how Christians should understand it.

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