New to Synod? The Synod Survival Guide (4th edition), by Robert Tong is an invaluable help to make sense of it all.
Presented by the ACL as a service to the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, you can download your PDF copy here.
From Bishop Richard Condie:
“Making disciples is our great task, set for us by none other than the Lord Jesus himself. But the task is challenging, especially in our present time. We need help and assistance to know how we are going to do it effectively and confidently.”
It’s always better when we’re clear on our theology, and for that nothing beats writing it down on paper. Writing does not guarantee infallibility, of course, but it does make it easier to determine whether the doctrine we’re confessing aligns with Scripture.
Second, the point of a confession of faith isn’t to put something above Scripture. The point of a confession is to ensure the public teaching of the church is as close to the teaching of Scripture as possible. When we don’t write down our theology and confess it publicly as a church, it leads not to healthy freedom but to unhealthy restriction.”
– Is it biblical for the church to use confessions of faith? How should a confession be used? What makes a good confession of faith?
At The Gospel Coalition, Jeff Robinson put these and other questions to Ligon Duncan, Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary.
Sadly, many churches seem to think creeds are outdated. It’s not too late to repent – check out:
Creeds and other affirmations of faith – from the Diocese of Sydney’s Better Gatherings.
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.
In NSW, Daylight Saving begins in 2016 at 2:00am on Sunday 2nd October.
Might be worth reminding congregations.
“This post is about a core habit that helps me to reduce everyday stress: emptying inboxes. I’m not just talking about getting my email to ‘inbox zero’ every so often. I’m talking about identifying all my inboxes in life, and daily emptying them. That means getting all the vaguely undefined and stressful “‘stuff’ out of those inboxes and into my trusted system, where they can do some good.”
– At Forget the Channel, Lionel Windsor continues his series on “sustainable sacrifice” in Christian ministry.
One of the most enduring is that the battle for same sex marriage is impeded by a supposedly shocking set of amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 which were made by conservative Prime Minister John Howard in 2004.
To take some recent quotes which illustrate the points:
“It was the Howard Government that in 2004 changed the Marriage Act to specifically refer to marriage being “the union of a man and a woman,” locking out any possibility to include gay couples in the definition without a change in the law.”
“[T[his weekend marks the twelfth anniversary of John Howard’s amendments to the Australian Marriage Act. You know, those amendments that didn’t require a plebiscite? Those amendments that made it a legal requirement for celebrants to remind champagne-tipsy wedding parties around the country that marriage was between a man and a woman at the exclusion of all others?”
At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster tackles two oft-repeated myths –
“Myth 1: the 2004 amendments redefined marriage” and “Myth 2: Celebrants reading out the words”.
“Moore College exists for one reason: to see Christ and his gospel proclaimed in all the world. We want everyone in this city to hear what God has done in Christ and have an opportunity to respond with repentance, faith and a new life. We want to see them knit into local churches and built up in the faith. We want to see them being shaped in the way they think and the way they live by the Bible’s message about God and his purpose, with its focus on his Son.
But there’s more than that. Our vision is not limited to one city or one denomination. We want to see men and women in every nation and people-group on this planet hear the good news of Jesus and be brought from darkness to light. So at the heart of what we do is a message: God’s message about his Son. And that message gives us the twin priorities of mission and ministry.”
Mark goes on to outline what people should look for in any theological college:
“Without doubt the first answer is ‘Look at the faculty’. Don’t just ask whether they are clever, well-qualified, skilled in teaching, with a long list of publications to their name, and all of that. No doubt at least some of that’s important. You want to be taught by people who will stretch you and help you grow in the knowledge of God. But more important is the orientation of the faculty…”
“It is a sad feature of our moment in time that Christians are ridiculed for their confidence in the Bible as the word of God and that this ridicule has an edge of suspicion about it. Our appeal to the Bible is understood by some as a personal power-play. We are simply trying to impose our own opinion or our own religious preferences.
Others suggest even darker motives. Five decades ago a visiting American evangelist could repeat ‘the Bible says …’ and Sydney took notice. Hundreds of thousands wanted to know what the Bible says, what God says. What he has to say changes everything for good. Today, however, the response is more often ‘How do you know?’ or ‘Why should I listen to your inhumane religious bigotry?’…”
A Small Alteration, A Significant Statement – Change To Ordination Vows – Gary Ware on a proposal to change the ordination vows of Ministers and Elders in the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
“Come with us on a journey from sin and death to redemption and new life, in a series of master classes on the value of theology for the life of the church at the 2016 Moore College School of Theology.”