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 At least, that was the claim of Jesus Calling and, as far as I know, it has not been retracted.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 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.

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