Expository Preaching on the wane? — David Cook

I studied at Moore Theological College from 1973 to 1975, under the principalship of D.B.Knox.

Those who studied at Moore under Dr Knox always anticipated his Doctrine 1 lectures, held twice a week for the whole of first year.

Dr Knox would usually open the lecture making reference to our text, ‘In understanding be men’, by a former principal of Moore, T. C.Hammond.

These remarks would usually take about 10 minutes and then the rest of the lecture consisted of questions and answers.

Knox would occasionally correct Hammond, who wrote his book on an ocean liner, travelling from Ireland to take up his appointment in Sydney.

Dr Knox would say, ‘the archdeacon may have been seasick at this point’.

What impressed me was that Knox, who rarely corrected Hammond, did so on the basis not of the Anglican doctrinal standard, The 39 Articles, but on the basis of God‘s Word, the Bible.

That was Moore’s enduring legacy to me, through lecture room and chapel service, the Bible was taught and preached as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.

I have recently been part of a committee discussing what it means to be ‘reformed’.

The 5 Solas have been referred to, but finally, I think we have come to the conclusion that the foundation of Reformed theology and conviction, is that the Bible is God’s breathed out word and is our final court of appeal.

We believe what we believe, because that is what the Bible says.

This was the core of Luther’s argument with the Roman church in the 16th Century.

When called upon to retract his writings, Luther said, ‘Unless I am convinced by the text of the Scriptures or clear reason, for I do not trust in the Pope or the Councils alone…I am bound to the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not retract anything…’

It is the influence of the Reformers and men like D.B.Knox, which have led me to seek to have the Scriptures at the centre of my life and preaching.

Calvin referred to the Bible as a pair of spectacles, ‘which dispel the darkness and give us a clear view of God’.

The point of these remarks for preaching is that we preach the way we do because of what we believe about the Bible and how God reveals himself. J.I.Packer said, ‘the text of the Bible is God preaching to us’.

The faithful preacher will be God’s mouthpiece, by explaining, expounding, declaring the Bible.

How foolish to have a word from the mouth of God and to displace it with our own thoughts and inclinations!

Does your preaching show your respect for God, your desire to honour him, by faithfully and engagingly proclaiming the Bible?

Is this consistently true, every time you take the pulpit?

My current screen saver is a quote from the late R.C.Sproul:

‘I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests his power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a programme, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it, His Word!’

David Cook.

The Pastor’s Heart: ‘The Minister Drought’ with Mike Leite and Mark Earngey

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Across the Western world theological college enrolments are down. Today it’s the third part of a conversation about this problem.  Specifically we are focusing on the issues of Sydney.

We’re exploring the joint issues of not enough people putting themselves forward for ministry and the shortage of senior ministers for Sydney’s Anglican Churches.

Moore Theological College Lecturer Mark Earngey and St George North Assistant Minister Mike Leite have been researching for several years the underlying issues that have contributed to the Sydney minister drought.

Mike’s responsible for editing the recently released booklet ‘Sydney Anglican Ministry.’  Mark is behind the latest edition of the Australian Church Record Journal.

Plus we review the important ‘From Sydney to the World’ online conference held on the weekend, which was aimed at putting recruiting for ministry back on the agenda.”

– Watch or listen at The Pastor’s Heart.

Related:

The Minister Drought: A Millennial’s Perspective – Angus Martin at The Australian Church Record.

A Prayer for VP Day

A prayer for the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Pacific – by the Rev Mark Charleston.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Almighty God and Heavenly Father,

Whose kingdom rules over all and in whom there is perfect freedom. We give thanks this weekend for all who served in the defence of this country during the Second World War.

As we remember those men and women who served – in the ranks of our Navy, Army, Air Force and Merchant Navy – we thank you for their sacrifices, in conflict and in captivity, for the cause of peace and freedom.

We pray today for peace in our world.

Have mercy on our broken and divided world and banish the spirit that makes for war. We ask that leaders of nations and governments will pursue freedom, justice and the welfare of all peoples.

In an uncertain world, marked by senseless violence and selfishness, we pray for ourselves. Fill us with courage and love to share the good news of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Have mercy upon all who do not know life through faith in Him. By your Holy Spirit, turn the hearts of nations to our risen Lord Jesus – and to the peace with you that passes all understanding.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

– Source: SydneyAnglicans.net.

ACR Winter 2020 Journal

The Australian Church Record’s Winter 2020 Journal is now up on their website.

Grab your copy for plenty of stimulating reading. And pass on the link to others!

Ministering from a distance: Paul’s ministry from prison

“Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from prison. He would doubtless have preferred to be with them in person (Phil 1:8), but as he was kept apart from them he ministered from where God had placed him as best as he could.

We don’t get any sense that Paul felt his life was on hold: he continues to make the most of his daily circumstances (Col 4:3ff), preaching to the palace guards and all those around him (Eph 6:19; Phil 1:13), and sending out messengers with hand-written letters to the churches to encourage them and receive news for his own prayers and encouragement (Eph 6:22; Phil 2:18; Col 4:7-9). And we see clearly that although his relationships with these churches were different, his priorities – for clear gospel teaching and for the church to be built up in maturity in his absence – remained the same. …”

– A very relevant article by Caroline Clark at The Australian Church Record.

Matters of moment from Luke 15 — Dick Lucas

St. Helen’s Bishopsgate is continuing to post helpful resources for preachers from Dick Lucas.

In the latest release, he wants to help preachers “dig for treasure” in Luke 15.

CMD Media Training for churches

“We at CMD are very conscious of the enormous challenge it has been for many churches to conduct their services online since late March and now the challenge continues in another form.

Many church leaders need to consider how to continue providing church online whilst beginning to conduct live services on site with reduced numbers.

For many this will mean that pre-recording services is not realistic and therefore they are considering running a ‘hybrid model’ or church services whereby the live service is streamed live to those at home. …”

The Centre for Ministry Development at Moore College is looking at how they might support churches with all these changes.

Evaluating Evangelistic Courses

“Pastors regularly ask for a recommendation on evangelistic courses. What works best? What do you think of X or Y course? Do you have something that suits English second language contexts or a less literate demographic?

Recently, that question has been sharpened around the course best suited for an online ‘digital’ presentation of the gospel (as COVID 19 has revealed more engagement than expected through digital platforms/social media). …”

— Phil Wheeler, Director of Evangelism and New Churches in Sydney, wants us to ask key questions in looking at various evangelistic courses.

Care for Beirut

Anglican Aid has launched an appeal

“Anglican Aid is working closely with Christian partners in the Middle East to care for people affected by yesterday’s explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

We are providing relief and aid funds through the Baptist Association of Lebanon, to enable them to support their neighbours and be a light in the darkness at this critical time.”

Update:

“Our brothers and sisters in Lebanon were already battling a health and economic crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This tragic explosion has compounded their suffering,” said Canon Tim Swan, the CEO of Anglican Aid. “We ask our supporters to pray for Beirut, and to show the love of Christ for them by giving to this appeal.” – SydneyAnglicans.net.

Leading for endurance not recovery!

“Australian church leaders need to make a philosophical shift in every aspect of our ministry, away from leading for recovery and towards planning to lead for endurance.

We need to start using the catchcry, ‘Not Recovery, But endurance, ’ in order to set our people’s expectations right.”

– At this morning’s EFAC/Peter Corney Institute online conference, Dominic Steele contributed these thoughts about endurance.

‘Come, let us sing!’ with Rob Smith

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Rob Smith has been a global leader in evangelical music for three decades. He has a new book out ‘Come, Let us Sing!’ just as singing has been restricted in many churches due to COVID-19.

Rob joins us to talk about some of the principles he’s discovered in a lifetime’s work in Evangelical Music, plus how the current pandemic has caused course corrections. …”

Helpful and encouraging.

– Watch or listen at The Pastor’s Heart.

(Image: Rob Smith at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, courtesy Anglican Media Sydney.)

“We must do better” — Simon Manchester to Sydney Anglicans

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy,” says Proverbs 27:6 – or to put it another way, we often benefit more from being rebuked than praised.

The Rev Canon Simon Manchester has delivered a firm rebuke in this month’s Southern Cross and, although he risks upsetting some, he observes that “the stakes couldn’t be bigger”. …

– Sometimes being blunt is very helpful if we are to desire ‘The things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:10). Along with the loving rebuke, there is much that is encouraging in the linked video as well as the article in Southern Cross (page 33).

Photo: EMA, 2016.

The Sins of Old(er) Christians – Especially Pastors

“John Chapman, the gifted evangelist now with the Lord, would often say two things as he moved into his senior years: (i) Getting old is the pits, and (ii) Another year, another specialist.

He was no fan on the ageing process and, as an active man, found the breaking-down of his body frustrating and he refused to ennoble it.

I don’t mean he complained about it. He remained thankful and faithful to the end. Chappo was only doing what Ecclesiastes does in chapter 12 – being honest about the brevity of life and the pain of drawing closer to the end of it. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Ray Galea has some sobering encouragement for older Christians, and pastors in particular.

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