The beauty of normal boring liturgy

“A visitor to our church came up to me at the end of the meeting last Sunday and said to me, ‘That was great, where I go to church we don’t normally do that.’

‘Normally do what?’

I asked, casting my mind over what element of the church service was out of left field or could be considered something unconsidered.

‘Read the Bible. Longer bits of it.’

‘You mean the Bible readings?’

‘Yes. Where I go, they don’t do that.’…”

– Stephen McAlpine has a challenge for your church.

The ‘Good Fellows’ Myth

“The ancient Egyptian, so I have read somewhere, did not think of sin as rebellion against God, but simply as an understandable aberration. The ancient Greeks had no idea of the wrath of God, but conceived of their various deities as passionless beings, above being concerned with what man does. The modern Australian accepts both heresies. …”

– Leon Morris addresses our inbuilt tendency to assume that we’re all OK. From the vaults of The Australian Church Record, 19 January 1956.

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.

Reviving the Novelty of Christmas

“The late Archbishop W. Temple once said ‘The wise question is not ‘Is Christ divine?’ but ‘What is God like?’

This was his way of driving home the point that the question of the deity of our Lord is not simply an interesting point of debate among academic theologians who have nothing better to do with their time, but is of fundamental importance to our whole conception of the nature of God. …”

– from Leon Morris, first published in The Australian Church Record, December 22, 1955.

Humanity & Hope in Genesis

“What is the diagnosis of Humanity in Genesis 5-11, and is there any sign of hope? What is God’s assessment of humanity’s state in the world? What hope do we have of building towards something lasting? How can reconciliation with God be achieved?

William Taylor and Mickey Mantle talk with Sam Manchester about these issues in this month’s Preaching Matters.”

The latest instalment of Preaching Matters is out from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.

Principles of Complementarian Ministry

“This is the outline for a brief presentation I gave at the MTS Mission Minded conference On 1 Oct 2017. The presentation was part of an elective panel discussion with Jane Tooher (director of the Priscilla and Aquila Centre at Moore College), Phil Wheeler (director of Evangelism and New Churches) and myself, titled ‘Complementarian Ministry in Light of Eternity’.”

– ACL Vice President Dr Lionel Windsor shares this resource you may find helpful.

Our Strong Right Arm

“Have you ever noticed how naturally we take pride in our own achievement and rejoice in what our own strong right arm has been able to perform?

In matters religious, just as in all others, the tendency is for us to put the emphasis on what we ourselves do. …”

Leon Morris, from the vaults of The Australian Church Record, October 27, 1955.

Humanity’s value and dignity

“Have you ever thought about one of the underlying assumptions behind almost every Hollywood thriller?

It is the value of human life.

Basically, because we value human life, the hero will bend over backwards to ensure that the nerve gas isn’t released into the city’s gas supply or stop the nuclear warhead from being detonated.

These movies would be pretty short if the hero simply did a cost-benefit analysis and concluded that it would be simply too expensive to save the city. No, the underlying assumption is that human life is precious. …”

— Moore College’s Dr Peter Orr reminds us why human life is valuable, when so many around us think otherwise. At

The Purpose of Humanity

“When we know our purpose it has far reaching implications for all that we do and give ourselves to.

Purpose doesn’t determine what I can or can’t do, but it will tell me what I ought to be doing. For instance, a scalpel can have very great or terrible uses depending on whether it is acting in line with its purpose. Similarly, an athlete can forgo all kinds of luxuries, not because they are ‘wrong’ but because they do not fit with their purpose.

So then when it comes to the actions and plans of humanity, discerning the ‘purpose statement’ is of infinite importance. …”

– Sam Manchester, Head of Communications at St Helen’s Bishopsgate, addresses a question few people ask, and to which fewer heed God’s answer. At The Australian Church Record.

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.

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. …

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