Stephen Hawking explored the universe: Were the mysteries of his heart newsworthy?

“So here is the question of the day: Does it matter that famed physicist Stephen Hawking was – as best one can tell from his complex and even impish way of expressing himself – an atheist who still had moments when he could hint at doubts?

Does it matter that the mind that probed the far corners of the universe couldn’t handle the mysteries of the human heart and that this pained him? After all, in an empty, random universe, there are no moral laws to explain the physics of love and attachment. …”

– At GetReligion, Terry Mattingly asks what journalists writing about Stephen Hawking might have missed.

‘Intersectionality, the Dangerous Faith’

“The demise of religion among American youth is greatly exaggerated. It turns out that America isn’t raising a new generation of unbelievers.

Instead, rising in the heart of deep-blue America are the zealots of a new religious faith. They’re the intersectionals, they’re fully woke, and the heretics don’t stand a chance. …”

– David French in The National Review.


Student mob smashes window in protest against Jordan Peterson – LifeSite. (Language warning in associated video.)

Wearing the Rainbow Badge

“Christians in Ancient Rome were regarded with deep suspicion.

In a nutshell, they did not attend the pagan temples or participate in their rituals and activities.

These were the centres of community. Participation made you ‘one of us.’ It was a seal of acceptance in society.

To walk away from it all was practically an act of subversion.

These people did not belong. They weren’t part of the fraternity. They were not part of society.

They were the subject of suspicion and rumour.…”

– Martyn Iles, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, writes this commentary.

(Photo: The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP / Facebook.)

Reflections on “What can miserable Christians sing?”

“Of all the things I have written, my little essay, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” has provided me with so many delightful surprises over the years.

I wrote it in about 45 minutes one afternoon, infuriated by some superficial comment about worship I had heard but which I have long since forgotten.

And yet this little piece which took minimal time and energy to author has garnered more positive responses and more touching correspondence than anything else I have ever written. It resonated with people across the Christian spectrum, people from all different church backgrounds who had one thing in common: the understanding that life has a sad, melancholy, painful dimension which is too often ignored and sometimes even denied in our churches. …”

– Published at the 9Marks website in 2014, Carl Trueman’s reflection is well worth contemplating. What message do people take away from your church gatherings?

(From the 9Marks Journal issue entitled ‘The Church Singing’.)

Debate or theatre?

“I love our political process and I love the freedom we have in Australia to engage in it. There are many places in the world where old men cling to power without regard to the people. By comparison, Australia’s democratic governance is transparent, consultative and accountable. …

Last week I represented the PCA before the Ruddock Review Expert Panel – a panel charged with the responsibility of constructing an acceptable parliamentary legal framework for the protection of religious freedom in Australia. …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General, John Wilson, reflects on his meeting with the Expert’s Panel, and encourages Christians to pray for Members of Parliament.

Should I do a PhD in theology?

“I’m asked this question every so often, so here’s some questions that help answer it. …”

– Some helpful tips from Moore College’s Dr. Lionel Windsor.

‘Billy Graham was on the wrong side of history’??

“When Billy Graham stands before the judgment seat of God, he may finally realize how badly he failed his country, and perhaps his God. On civil rights and the environmental crisis, the most important issues of his lifetime, he championed the wrong policies.

Graham was on the wrong side of history.

The world’s most famous evangelist let his apocalyptic anticipation of the coming kingdom of God blind him to the realities of living in this world. …”

– Well, that didn’t take long. From The Guardian.

Sadly reminiscent of this April 2000 article by John Shelby Spong, one-time bishop in the Episcopal Church of the USA –

“If Christianity is to survive into the future, it will have to evolve radically beyond the images employed by Billy Graham. It will be forced to become something new and different. It will have to surrender its claims to miracle, magic and exclusiveness. …

A radically reformed Christianity will have to rethink the traditional understandings of Jesus who will become not a rescuing divine savior who paid the price of sin on the cross of Calvary…”

Those who know the Lord Jesus also know that Billy Graham was on the right side of history. Photo: BGEA.

Will we be Free?

“Until last week, Sky News’ Paul Murray supported the same-sex marriage campaign.

But the goodwill is fading. Speaking on his nightly program, Murray conceded what we have always forewarned: rainbow advocates are now asking for all protections for religious freedom to be ‘blown up.’

That is, the scant protections that already exist. Not new ones.

Murray agrees that there are people in the activist parts of the rainbow movement who will force churches to marry same-sex couples and deny Christian schools the right to hire staff who share their faith. …”

– Martyn Iles, the new Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby writes about the battle ahead, and shares his organisation’s submission (PDF) to the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom.

The Tragedy of Adultery

“The adultery of the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has raised many questions for public debate. But sadly, the debate has only illustrated the incompetence of our media and politicians, and the inadequacy of the Australian culture to deal with these questions.

From the outset, let me make it clear that this article is not written from a political bias. Similarly, I have no private knowledge or personal involvement with the people caught up in this tragedy. I call it a ‘tragedy’ because it is. Nobody involved is now happier than beforehand. While I am sorry for them and would offer to help if I knew them, I am writing about the principles this tragedy illustrates, not sitting in judgement on the people involved (I know I’m a sinner unable to throw any stone, John 8).

My concern is the inadequacy of the debate and the way principles have been ignored, obscured or distorted by the media and politicians alike …”

– Take the time to read this strong piece by Phillip Jensen – read right to the end.

Related: To walk away from marriage is to abandon your duty (link via Anglican Mainstream).

When heresy is accepted in the Church of England

“If one is to claim that a certain teaching is heretical, we need to be clear what we mean by the term.

Alister McGrath writes, ‘Heresy arises through accepting a basic cluster of Christian beliefs – yet interpreting them in such a way that inconsistency results. A heresy is thus an inadequate or deficient form of Christianity. By its very deficiency, it poses a threat to the Gospel.’ The reason why heresy gains traction in the church is because it contains at least an element of truth; as such it is parasitic on orthodoxy. ‘In the Catholic faith, we recognise that a heresy is not so much a false doctrine as an incomplete doctrine. It has rejected part of the truth and is representing what is left over as the whole truth. But what a heretic usually ends up doing is attacking the greater truth.’

Jayne Ozanne illustrates this well.

In July 2017, Ozanne placed a private member’s motion to the General Synod meeting in York (GS 2070A) calling upon the Synod to effectively repudiate the practice of conversion therapy for those who experience same sex attraction. …”

– Melvin Tinker takes a sobering look at a very important topic.

Top image from Jayne Ozanne’s persuasive speech at the Church of England General Synod, 8th July 2017. (Youtube.) How persuasive was it?

See the voting result for the Private Member’s Motion.

The full text of the Private Members Motion may be found here.

Religious Freedom Implications of Same Sex Marriage in Australia

“I am presented a paper at a conference on “Freedom of Religion or Belief: Creating the Constitutional Space for Other Fundamental Freedoms” … The paper, “Protection of Religious Freedom under Australia’s Amended Marriage Law: Constitutional and Other Issues” is linked here for those who are interested: Freedom of Religion or Belief paper Foster.

I argue that, while some religious freedom rights are protected under the amended marriage law, there are some serious gaps in protection for some involved deeply in the celebration of same sex weddings, and also a failure to deal with a range of other issues, such as the ability of faith-based schools to operate in accordance with their fundamental commitments in both engagement of staff and teaching pupils, and whether people who conscientiously believe that same sex relationships are not best for human flourishing will be penalised in the workplace or elsewhere.

I note that at least one State in the US has enacted legislation to deal with these issues, which has survived one challenge in the US Supreme Court, and I recommend that Australia seriously consider also legislating in this way.”

– Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Challenge for new Oak Hill President in avoiding ‘Good Disagreement’ trap

“With the leadership of the Church of England increasingly expecting its future ministers to be enthusiastic about theological diversity, the new president of the one distinctively Reformed Anglican training college, Oak Hill in north London, faces a demanding task.

The Revd Jonathan Juckes took up the newly created role of college president last month at the age of 56. This was after the college council decided to appoint a president to work alongside the academic principal following the sudden death last year of former principal Dr Michael Ovey (1958-2017).”

Julian Mann’s opinion piece is a good reminder to continue to pray for Oak Hill College – and to give thanks for the great blessing that college has been for so many.

And continue to pray for Moore College, of course, as the ministry year begins.

Photo: Jonathan Juckes at Oak Hill College.

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