Christianity and the Dark Side — What about Halloween?

“Over a hundred years ago, the great Dutch theologian Hermann Bavinck predicted that the 20th century would ‘witness a gigantic conflict of spirits’. His prediction turned out to be an understatement, and this great conflict continues into the 21st century.”…

– Albert Mohler addresses the issue of Halloween.

On Demythologising

“A pocket diary can be a mine of information.

Lest you be tempted to forget, and go to work when you should stay at home, it lists the Public Holidays. It carries a range of postal information. It may include such valuable information as that russet brown is a combination of orange and purple, or that sound travels at the rate of 1,132 feet per second. …

And sometimes they include succinct statements that the sun rises at such and such a time, and sets at a certain hour.

It is with this latter pair of statements that we are concerned.

Who, we might ask, are these compilers, who apparently belong to the Middle Ages, for they think that the sun rises and sets, whereas the veriest schoolboy in these enlightened days knows that the sun does neither?…”

– The latest post from the Australian Church Record archives, by Leon Morris.

How to pray soul-in-hand

“Many people never rise above the infant stage in the all-important matter of their prayer life.

It is the most natural thing in the world for the babe to regard the world as his oyster. From early days he makes the tacit assumption that everything that there is, is for his benefit, and in truly lordly fashion he makes his demands. …”

– From the archives of The Australian Church Record, Leon Morris challenges us to actually pray.

Here we stand

“But Luther did not stand alone. The Reformation was not about one or two big names — Luther, Calvin, Zwingli — but about a massive movement of Christian conviction, boldness, and joy that cost many men and women their lives — and scattered the seeds that are still bearing fruit in the twenty-first century.

Not only was Luther surrounded by many Reformers in Germany, but lesser-known heroes of the faith rose up all over Europe. Heroes like Heinrich Bullinger, Hugh Latimer, Lady Jane Grey, Theodere Beza, and Johannes Oecolampadius. Luther was the battering ram, but he ignited, and stood with, a chorus of world changers.

And here we stand today, 500 years later. Luther wasn’t alone then, and he’s not alone now.”

– All month, Desiring God has been posting brief biographical sketches of key Reformers. Read or listen here.

Con Campbell’s video series on Paul

“I recently purchased and watched Con Campbell’s seven episodes in his video series In Pursuit of Paul the Apostle. …

New Testament scholars know of Con as an expert on the ancient Greek language. He’s also skilled at presenting the historical-cultural context of the New Testament in an interesting and accessible way.

I look forward to his forthcoming videos series on Peter (2018) and John (2019).”

– from Andy Naselli.

It’s available is Australia from The Wandering Bookseller.

Shadows of the Cross — new devotional book from Mike Raiter

Shadows of the Cross by Michael Raiter is to be published by Anglican Press Australia in November.

“In these 40 daily devotions, Michael Raiter encourages readers to reflect on the death of the Lord Jesus by exploring how the Old Testament foretold the coming of the death of the Messiah in pictures, poems and prophecies.

While we may not see Jesus as clearly in promise as we do in fulfilment, the Old Testament is like a shadow that points to the reality – the gift of God’s Son which demonstrates the length, breadth, height and depth of God’s love for us. In this way the Old Testament calls all people to put their faith in Jesus.”

– See Christian Education Publications for a preview and ordering details.

New book equips Christians under pressure in the UK

“This is an unusual book for unusual times.

Reading the timeline the author has constructed connects many events most Christians are already aware of and puts them in a format that allows a proper assessment of the flow of history in our time.

The scenarios the book presents are a clarion call to wake up to the situation we face and a reminder that our sovereign Lord is at work in all that happens. Julian Mann is assisted by contributions from journalist and author Peter Hitchens, and Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream.”

– Read about Julian Mann’s Christians in the Community of the Dome at Anglican Mainstream. The book is published by Evangelical Press.

Purposefully porn-free

“The Archbishop’s Taskforce for Resisting Pornography is preparing an information website for those in the Diocese and further afield who need tools to help support the rejection of porn.

“Many Christian leaders today are declaring that pornography is the single greatest issue confronting the church,” the Rev Marshall Ballantine-Jones (pictured) told members of Synod. …”

– Story from SydneyAnglicans.net.

Remembering Martin Bucer

“On the right-hand side of the chancel floor of Great St Mary’s Church, in the centre of Cambridge, lies a small brass plaque.

The Latin inscription, its obscure location and small size do not make it a very accessible tourist attraction. However, as X marks the spot for pirates’ treasure, so this plaque commemorates one of the most influential sixteenth-century reformers: Martin Bucer. …

Perhaps the most prominent way Bucer influenced the English Reformation was via liturgical reform. He spent 1550, among other projects and lecturing responsibilities, reviewing the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Bucer’s Censura was a thorough critique of Cranmer’s first attempt to revise the Prayer Book. The result was a much more conspicuously evangelical liturgy in the 1552 edition. ”

– Steve Tong, who is studying at Cambridge, is thankful for Martin Bucer and his legacy. At The Australian Church Record.

See also: Celebrating the Reformation: Its Legacy And Continuing Relevance, edited by Mark D. Thompson, Edward Loane and Colin Bale.

Freedom to provide religious instruction in Australian schools

Associate Professor Neil Foster writes,

“I am presenting a paper on this topic at the University of Notre Dame (Sydney) Law School’s Second Annual Religious Freedom Conference, “Freedom of Belief, Freedom of Action”.

The paper is linked here: Freedom to Provide Religious Instruction paper, for those who would like to read it. It surveys recent challenges to the provision of special religious education in public schools, from a religious freedom perspective.”

– from Law and Religion Australia.

How do I serve Jesus when my family doesn’t want me to?

“Here’s how it is: You’re the only Christian in your family. You’re an active member of your church. But there’s a clash! Your parents have booked a restaurant for Wednesday night …”

– At The Australian Church Record, James Sneddon shares some practical advice.

Responding to the Transgender Revolution

“… In light of such a divide, and the social, medical, political, and legislative changes being wrought by the widespread acceptance of transgender claims, Christians have an urgent need to search the Scriptures carefully and prayerfully to see how God would have us think about and respond to such revolutionary developments.

The main purpose of this essay is to begin such a search and to outline such a response. However, before we embark on this task, it will help us, firstly, to clarify a number of key terms that are a basic part of the current discussion and, secondly, to probe a little more deeply into contemporary gender theory and where it is taking us as a culture. …”

– Here’s a very helpful article by Rob Smith, republished at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

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