Evangelistic opposition: Are we up for it?

“I am all for avoiding unhelpful gender-sex-role stereotyping, but one fact that continues to amaze me is the almost universal incapacity of men to see stationary objects in the refrigerator. We can spot moving objects with great skill—for example, a flying football, or a fish near the surface of the water far up-stream—but faced with the challenge of locating the margarine we stare blindly before in desperation seeking the assistance of the most proximate female, who simply glances inside the fridge and hands it over.

I have read the book of Acts a lot over the years, and love it—the outreach, the growth of the church, the missionary journeys. I have even done a PhD on it. But recently, perhaps because of my familiarity with it, I had stopped seeing (at least, stopped properly appreciating) something that had been staring me in the face, and which I was very much aware of in days gone by.

The truth that I have re-noticed is the fact that gospel proclamation, no matter how it is carried out, will result in opposition! …”

– At GoThereFor.com, Stephen Liggins points out the obvious. But have you missed it too?

Daylight Saving in NSW begins 1st October

In NSW, Daylight Saving begins in 2017 at 2:00am on Sunday 1st October.

Might be worth reminding congregations this weekend.

What is at the centre of God’s mission for the church?

The latest Preaching Matters from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate –

“What activities distract us from the central priority for which God sent His Son into the world? Denesh Divyanathan talks to Sam Manchester about these issues in this month’s Preaching Matters.”

Most encouraging and timely.

Flowchart: Christians and same sex marriage

“This flowchart aims to show pathways people may take on this issue. … The diagram aims to tease out points of distinction, but is unable to display the breadth and complexity of this issue. Please prayerfully consider this topic, seeking advice from godly and wise Christians.”

– The team at St. Thomas’ North Sydney have published this flowchart as a “springboard for productive conversations”. See if you find it helpful.

Martin Luther Exhibition at St. Andrew’s Cathedral

Don’t miss the free Martin Luther Exhibition, on at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, until Friday 29th September.

For opening times, see the Cathedral website.

Faith in a time of crisis

“This is a book written by people of gospel conviction who are calling all those with gospel conviction to stand for that gospel. And it is not just for Anglicans.”

– ACL Council member Nigel Fortescue reviews “Faith in a time of crisis” by Vaughan Roberts and Peter Jensen – on the GAFCON website. (Originally published in Southern Cross, August 2017.)

See also this earlier review by fellow ACL Council member Dan McKinlay, published in June.

The book is available from Matthias Media (AUS), The Good Book Company (UK) and Amazon (for fun, click on ‘Peter Jensen’ in the Author line at Amazon, to see other books written, or nor written, by Peter Jensen.).

The Reformation’s Continuing Legacy and Relevance

“Moore College has published a significant collection of its 2017 Reformation papers through Apollos an imprint of Inter-Varsity Press. The book was launched at morning tea on the second day of the two-day 2017 School of Theology conference held this week, which had 80 people in attendance. All copies of the book sold out in minutes at the launch. …

You can purchase the book in paperback through the Wandering Bookseller here, or the Book Depository here, or hard copy or Kindle at Amazon here.”

– Read all about it at the Moore College website.

Gems from Leon Morris

The Australian Church Record team have been digging into their archives to republish classic articles by Leon Morris.

Here are excerpts from some of the recent posts –

Three in One – And One in Three.

“Some people seem to think that the doctrine of the Trinity is the result of a concerted effort by the theologians to make it difficult for ordinary men to understand the nature of God. So far from this being the case history shows that theologians tried every alternative they could, and the Trinity is simply man’s effort to say what he can about the deity in the light of Scripture and the history of Christian thought.

Moreover, it is a doctrine of practical importance for every-day living, and ought not to be relegated to the position of a piece of unimportant theological lumber, as so many Christians do. …”

God and “The Wrath”.

“C.H. Dodd prefers the translation ‘the Wrath of God’ to Moffatt’s ‘God’s anger’ in Rom. 1:18, ‘because such an archaic phrase suits a thoroughly archaic idea,’ while Nicolas Berdyaev writes ‘Anger in every shape and form is foreign to God.’ And again, Sydney Cave speaks of law and Wrath as ‘almost personified powers, which, owing to God their origin, act on in partial independence of God, and are hostile to men as He is not.’

In such words many modern writers give expression to their conviction that God cannot be thought of as exercising wrath towards men, so that where the Scripture speaks of “the wrath of God’ it must either be explained away or abandoned. …”

Unless you see Signs & Wonders.

“Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe,” said Jesus to a well-educated man of the first century, but in modern times the situation seems to have reversed. Whereas in earlier days the miracle authenticated Christianity, to men of our day they often present a stumbling-block, so that they find it difficult to accept a Christianity which speaks of the miraculous. …

‘O Come, Let Us Worship’.

“O come, let us worship,” sang the Psalmist, and it seems certain that he found a more ready response among his fellows than his modern counterpart would among the men of this generation were he to sing a similar song. Whereas in earlier days it was usually accepted without question that man must worship, to-day this is often doubted even among men who have some idea of the existence of God. …

Free speech and vilification in the marriage law postal survey

“Australia is involved in a debate about whether same sex marriage should be introduced. The question is being put to the electors in the form of a voluntary postal survey, the question in which is simply: ‘Should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry?’

The original intention of the current Government had been to put this question to the people of Australia in a compulsory plebiscite. This option being defeated twice in Parliament, the postal survey has been designed to be run without explicit authorising legislation. However, once it was decided that the survey would proceed, concerns were expressed that the debate might contain misleading and deceptive advertising, which would usually have been dealt with under the electoral laws (but since the survey was not being run under those laws, no such protections applied for the survey.) In addition, concerns were expressed about hateful and harmful speech on both side of the debate.

In response to these concerns, the Commonwealth Parliament today (in a rare example of swift bipartisan action) saw the introduction and enactment of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017(which has now received the Royal Assent, and become Act No 96 of 2017). The Act will come into operation on Thursday 14 September, 2017 (tomorrow, as I write.) …”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster has published some important information about legislation coming into effect tomorrow.

Anyone who plans to comment publicly on the plebiscite and related issues would do well to read it.

Praying together this Sunday

“Archbishop Glenn Davies has urged churches to set aside this Sunday as a day of Praying together for Marriage.

The Archbishop foreshadowed the initiative in this month’s edition of the Diocesan magazine, Southern Cross, which includes a prayer Dr Davies wrote for the day.

The Australian newspaper last week reported the initiative, set down for this Sunday, September 17th. …”

– Read the story from SydneyAnglicans.net, and please be encouraged to pray.

Related: Archbishop Davies’ prayer.

Church Society launches a Podcast

The first episode includes an interview with the Church Society’s President, Bishop Wallace Benn.

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