How should we respond when a church leader is guilty of abuse?

“I have been asked to reflect, in the light of the bible and Christian theology, on how we should respond when it comes to light that a church leader has been guilty of abuse.

I recently wrote a blog post asking in more general terms, how we should respond when a church leader falls. All that is said there applies here.

But this paper addresses a more particular situation involving abuse, and two kinds of abuse in particular. …”

– Christopher Ash (pictured) has written a very helpful paper (PDF file) to assist Christians responding to some distressing news which has recently come to light, and which was discussed in public at last week’s Evangelical Ministry Assembly in London.

Reading or speaking the Bible?

“Words are the lifeblood of relationships.

When a person speaks to another, the speaker reveals something of themselves to the hearer; when the hearers listens, they come to know the speaker better. …“

– At The Australian Church Record, ACL Council member Scott Newling reflects on reading and hearing the Bible.

Some Research on Preaching in the Presbyterian Church of Victoria

“In March each year the Presbyterian Theological Centre in Victoria runs a Pastors’ conference to encourage faithful and engaging expository preaching in our churches. … I presented an audit report on preaching in Presbyterian churches in Victoria.

In conducting the audit I listened online to 40 preachers, with at least one from each of the 13 Presbyteries in the state. …”

David Cook shares some encouragement – at AP, the National Journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

(You might remember that Peter Jensen conducted a similar exercise in 2016.)

New look for Phillip Jensen’s website

Phillip Jensen’s website has a new look. As previously, it is packed with helpful resources.

See it at phillipjensen.com.

Caring for single mums at church

“Church is a place of labels. Some are useful – for example, we wear name tags so we can more easily engage with others in fellowship, or sometimes we’re categorised into groups so we can be pastored more easily.

But some labels are burdensome to the bearer and scary or embarrassing to the reader – unless you know what to do with them. Then these labels can become a signal for knowing how to love and care for that person.

‘Single mum’ is just such a label. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Ruth Baker shares some encouragement for you and your church.

Queen’s Birthday Conference 2019

Two Ways Ministries’ Queens Birthday Conference for 2019 is coming up on Monday 10th June at Moore College.

Phillip Jensen is speaking at this free (but valuable!) conference. The topic?

The Idols of the Eyes (it’s not about pornography!)

John wrote “Little children, keep yourselves from idols”. Paul commanded the Corinthians “Flee from idolatry”. But what is idolatry?
Where do we see it today?
What is its danger to us?
In the of age of digital cameras, television, and computers – what place do eyes have in our worship of God? What is the bad eye?

Download a two-page flier (2MB PDF file) and be encouraged to share widely.

Why we should thank Israel Folau

“You might have had the experience, especially with a mobile phone in hand, of someone suddenly grabbing you to hold you back from crossing a busy city street.

At that point, you can do one of two things. You can accuse your fellow pedestrian of assault – even false imprisonment – or you can look up to see that they have saved you from being run over and thank them profusely.

It all depends on whether you perceive a danger and how you understand the intention of the other person. …”

– Bishop Michael Stead has written a very helpful piece which is ideal for sharing with your friends.

Before you vote

“… I need to inform the church on recent events, and then I add my own plea based on the conviction that now is a critical moment in the life of our nation. Clearly, we have moved into a post-Christian world, and we expect this not to be reversed soon. But this doesn’t mean Christians lay down and roll over.

Because I was out of the country, on my invitation our Clerk signed letters on behalf of the PCA to Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten asking a series of searching questions ranging from religious freedoms in general, to employment in Christian Schools and holding to biblical views on marriage. The letters contained the same eleven probing questions, but couched differently according to the track record and previous statements made by each leader on particular subjects. They were co-signed by several evangelical churches and Christian schooling groups.

Yesterday, we received a reply from PM Scott Morrison. I encourage you to read the letter yourself …

No reply has been received from the Labor Party, except an automated confirmation that our concerns have been forwarded to their Campaign Team. …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General John P Wilson shares the responses (so far) to the letter from Christian leaders to Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten.

Read it all, with the attachments linked to that post.

Religious Freedom and the Federal Election

“Australia goes to the polls in a Federal election on May 18, 2019.

It seems worthwhile to note, for those interested, some recent information about the views of the major political parties on religious freedom, and to report an important study of public opinion on the topic. …”

– A new post from Associate Professor Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia.

The Book your Pastor wishes you would read (But is too embarrassed to ask)

“While there are thousands of books meant to teach pastors how to serve their churches, this is the only book I know of created specifically to teach churches how to serve their pastors. In a sense it’s the most obvious topic in the world, yet one that remains largely unexplored, at least as far as I know. …”

Tim Challies provides a brief review of Christopher Ash’s new book The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read (But Is Too Embarrassed to Ask).

News update George Whitefield College

The first quarter of the year has seen much progress for the College, both here in Muizenberg as well outside of South Africa. Locally speaking, our larger than usual group of first years have shown great desire to knuckle down and do all that is required of them. Outside the country, our Explore team (of which I was a part) visited Accra in Ghana and spent a week there engaging almost 50 people in facilitator training. …”

– Dr Mark Dickson at George Whitefield College in Capetown writes in their latest newsletter (PDF). Fuel for prayer.

Are your church structures undermining the gospel?

Many churches seek to reach specific groups of people by engineering services to suit each group. I remember as a teenager going to a ‘Hawaiian’ themed service, not trying to reach Hawaiians, but people that preferred a relaxed island environment with music played on an ukulele. While many of our churches aren’t so specific about the affinity groups they seek to reach, they are clearly divided on demographic and interest lines.

For example, one church I was previously a member of operated something like this …”

– Moore College’s Chase Kuhn asks some simple questions you might not have considered. At the Gospel Coalition Australia.

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