‘The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s long and boring shuffle out of Christendom’

pcusa-interreligious-gathering“The drift from biblical orthodoxy to spiritualized leftism has profound real-world consequences. The church isn’t just shuffling out of Christianity, it’s shuffling out of existence. The church has lost 37 percent of its members since 1992, and the trend is accelerating.”

National Review. Photo: PCUSA.

Related: How to tell the difference between The PCA and PCUSA – Joe Carter.

How can we pray for terrorists?

Canon Phil Ashey, American Anglican CouncilCanon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council writes to encourage Christians to pray for those involved in terrorism.

What is the gospel? — An appeal for clarity

Dr Mark Thompson“I remember, more than twenty years ago now, an international visitor to Sydney being asked this question. Throughout the week that he had been here, the speaker had appealed to the gospel many times.

Clearly in a part of the world well-known for the strength of its evangelical witness, such an appeal was essential if he was to get a hearing. But the appeal had not been convincing and it had become increasingly obvious that at this most basic level our guest had a very different idea of what exactly it was that he was appealing to repeatedly throughout the week. So some brave soul — someone braver than me — publicly asked him the question. What is the gospel?…”

– Dr. Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, tackles a crucial question in a new essay.

Take the time to read it all here. [Slightly updated version.]

You can also download it as a 240kb PDF file.

‘Submission’ to my husband allows us both to flourish in our marriage

SMH Comment“Recent articles in this newspaper about evangelical churches’ “oppressive” doctrine of male headship reveal a complete failure to understand the Christian psyche…

Some see inconsistency between the Bible’s teaching of “Christian freedom” on the one hand, and female submission on the other.

However, it is precisely the Bible’s teaching on freedom which so transforms a person’s thinking once they become a Christian that they are ready to submit to others.”

– Sarah Colyer writes this helpful opinion-piece in The Sydney Morning Herald.

For Christians who missed the memo: the Bible abhors all domestic abuse

Canon Sandy GrantI’m thankful for the many in our community from Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, to the Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘shine a light’ campaign who are speaking out on domestic violence. Even if it makes me and my own tribe – more theologically conservative Christians – uncomfortable.

I’m grateful since one of the best-known facts of Jesus Christ’s life is his compassion to women, especially those in need. Jesus protected women.…”

– Sandy Grant writes an opinion-piece for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Phillip Jensen on Anglican Evangelicalism

Phillip JensenIn the latest Preaching Matters video from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, Phillip Jensen speaks about what it is to be an Evangelical Anglican.

In doing so, he explores the difference between ‘followers of Calvin’ and ‘followers of Calvinism’. (Mike Ovey responds here.)

Bearing the cross: a letter to the Islamic State

Dr Mark Durie“The Islamic State sent me a letter this week. This letter was in the form of a short film produced by the Islamic State’s Al-Hayat Media centre.

This was not addressed to me personally, but to all Christians everywhere…”

– Mark Durie reflects on the meaning of the message sent by ISIS in their murder of Coptic Christians.

Related: What ISIS really wants (The Atlantic)

Notes from another country

adrian-reynolds-sm2“I’ve been leading a small Cornhill missions team this last week. We’ve been abroad somewhere hot and somewhere increasingly difficult to be a Christian. It’s probably not appropriate for me to say where (or necessary, even) because I don’t want to put believers at risk.

But, as ever, my heart has been stirred and my faith has been challenged by being with believers from a different culture. For sure, other cultures have their blind spots – and they are painfully obvious. But, more to the point, being with Christians in another culture allows us to see our own blind spots more clearly. And it’s this I want to write about this week.”

– Adrian Reynolds briefly shares some challenging observations at Proclamation Trust:

Part 1 – Preaching.
Part 2 – Salvation.
Part 3 – Prayer.
Part 4 – Colonialism.
Part 5 – Persecution.

50 Shades of Confusion

confusion“The coming days offer an extraordinary opportunity for Christian growth. As the trailer hits our screens, as the chance to buy tickets drops into our inbox, we each have a choice to make… Let’s make choices that help us – and those around us in church – grow in Christ.”

– at The Good Book blog, Helen Thorne has some much-needed advice for Christians regarding a certain film and book.

Related:

Fifty Shades of Shame — The Evolution of Pornography – Albert Mohler.

“Going to see Fifty Shades of Grey, or reading the book series, is an exercise in pornographic intent and effect. It is also an act of defiance against the goodness of the gift of sex as granted to humanity by God. Furthermore, the series is an assault upon the dignity of every human being.”

The Real Abuse at the Heart of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ – Relevant Magazine.

“The message is clear: by turning these same behaviors around to market them as ‘romance,’ this film effectively silences the experience of millions of victims of abuse.”

NZ church offers to exchange Fifty Shades of Grey tickets – Bible Society.

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