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 SydneyAnglicans.net, Raj Gupta reminds Christians of the huge shift taking place around us.

Is Reformed faith without Reformed works dead?

Ian Carmichael“For many of us, the label ‘Reformed’ is one we would happily apply to ourselves. …

But I want to ask you today if, when push comes to shove, you really are Reformed. I want to ask if your (Reformed) faith apart from (Reformed) works is dead (if I may borrow from James 2:26).

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure you can call yourself ‘Reformed’ and, firstly, not be active in reaching out to the many Roman Catholics around you, and secondly, not call on the Reformed brothers and sisters in your church to see Catholics as a people group who need to be brought under the sound teaching of the gospel of grace.”

– At GoThereFor, Ian Carmichael wants to know if you are genuinely convinced of the truths of the Reformation.

Is denying same sex marriage unconstitutional?

Assoc Prof Neil Foster“An article in The Conversation on 30 August 2016,  “Marriage ‘inequality’ is a threat to religious freedom – and it is probably unconstitutional” by academic Dr Luke Beck, Lecturer in Constitutional Law at Western Sydney University, suggests that, far from proposals to redefine marriage to include same sex couples being a threat to religious freedom, the current law (which does not recognize such relationships) is itself in breach of free exercise of religion principles.

Dr Beck, it has to be said, is one of Australia’s foremost legal experts on s 116 of the Constitution (I regularly cite his many articles on the topic to my students in the “Law and Religion” course I teach.) So it is with some hesitation that I have to say I disagree with his view on this issue. But disagree I do.”

– Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia lays out the reasons he is not convinced.

The C of E: Limits to diversity and the inevitability of separation?

The Rev Andrew Symes, Anglican MainstreamIs the Church of England basically orthodox in its beliefs, and if so, is this a good thing for the Church’s mission to the nation and in fact its very survival? …”

– At Anglican Mainstream, Andrew Symes asks what is the future of the Church of England if so many in its leadership see orthodox belief as a stumbling-block to connecting with the nation.

After “Shared Conversations” what Gospel will the Church of England share?

Canon Phil AsheyIn Nairobi, Kenya I still remember a Sunday lunch Archbishop Eliud Wabukala hosted for Archbishop Justin Welby and other Archbishops, bishops and honored guests gathered the day before GAFCON 2013 began.

During that lunch, Archbishop Peter Jensen gave the opening remarks. He reminded all those present—and as he looked directly at Archbishop Justin Welby—that he and other GAFCON Primates had been asked not once, not twice, but three times to go back to their Bibles and reread what it had to say about issues of sexuality. Archbishop Peter Jensen said that he and the GAFCON Primates had done so, and had concluded that God’s word on homosexuality and same-sex marriage was clear, authoritative and unchanged. On the eve of GAFCON 2013, he cited this conviction as among the principal reasons he and others in GAFCON were standing for Biblical clarity and authority.

Immediately following, Archbishop Welby was invited to give remarks. He came forward and thanked Archbishop Jensen for his stirring speech. He then gave brief remarks that concluded with, “please don’t forget lost people.” And then he sat down.

The Archbishop of Canterbury failed to engage Archbishop Jensen’s remarks about Biblical clarity and authority. In that context, his plea not to forget lost people reveals the false dichotomy that seems to be at the heart of Canterbury’s thinking and the ‘Shared conversations.’ It is just this: that if we hold fast to the clarity and authority of the Bible, we will never reach lost people…”

– American Anglican Council’s Canon Phil Ashey writes about a revealing incident in Nairobi, and the apparent thinking behind the Church of England’s Shared Conversations. Emphasis added.

(Photo: Canon Ashey reporting from Nairobi in 2013.)

The evangelical predicament: What will a faithful vote look like in November?

Albert Mohler, The BriefingIn his latest issue of The Briefing, Albert Mohler looks at the uncertainties of the modern world – and comments on the predicament facing American evangelical Christians in the coming US election.

What should we think about Pope Francis?

Pope Francis. Photo: The Vatican“Pope Francis in one of the most liked leaders in today’s world. …

An increasing number of Evangelicals say: ‘I like this pope, he talks about Jesus a lot…’

True, Francis knows the language that Evangelicals use (e.g. ‘conversion’, ‘mission’, ‘personal relationship with Jesus’) and is able to articulate it in a winsome way. …

The basic rules of interpretation, however, tell us that using the same words does not necessarily mean saying the same things. …

Evangelicals have to do their homework in order to go beyond the surface of mere phonetics in order to grasp the profoundly different theological vision underpinning Francis’ language. They may find it surprising how far Francis is from the standard evangelical understanding of the biblical Gospel. …

– At Vatican Files (Evangelical theological perspectives on Roman Catholicism), Leonardo De Chirico and Greg Pritchard write about the current Pope.

Our Father knows best

David CookTucked away in the catalogue of sins resulting from humankind’s rejection of God, are the words, ‘they disobey their parents’ (Romans 1:30)…”

– David Cook, Presbyterian Moderator-General, reflects on the importance of families in God’s economy.

‘Cover-up — can’t stop truth coming out’

safeschools“The story of Cheltenham Girls High School is a textbook example of the subterfuge involved in the controversial Safe Schools Coalition and how far education authorities and governments will go to preserve and conceal a program that subverts parents rights and values. …

It all began last week with our story of how teachers at the all-girls school in north-west Sydney were asked in a staff meeting to stop referring to students as “girls”, ladies” and “women”, but to use “gender-neutral” language instead.

– At The Daily Telegraph, columnist Miranda Devine looks at one particular school, and also publishes a recent list of schools involved in the ‘Safe Schools’ programme.

The Hunting of Andrea Leadsom

David RobertsonIt’s the hunting season again.

With the Tory party in the throes of choosing a new leader its time for our PC secularists to start trawling the web in order to find dark and hidden secrets of the various candidates. Have they ever lied in the past? Cheated on their taxes? Kicked the cat? Gone fox hunting?

But the big sin – the one that guarantees the Twitterati and Facebook pages go ballistic – is ‘are they Christian?’. Like, really Christian. Not David Cameron’s ‘my faith is like the patchy reception of Magic FM in the Chilterns’. Instead, a Christian who actually reads the Bible (!), goes to church (!) and even prays!!!

If so, they must be hunted down and burnt at the secular stake…”

– Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, David Robertson, comments at The Wee Flea.

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