The gospel for criminals (Ephesians 4:28)

“I owe a huge debt to prison chaplains. My whole nation does. Richard Johnson and Samuel Marsden were foundational figures in the history of Australia. Johnson came out on the First Fleet in 1788, and Marsden followed him.

They were evangelical ministers, and they were prison chaplains. That’s because the whole colony of New South Wales was a prison. Apart from the original owners of the land which became known as New South Wales, everyone was involved in the correctional system in some way: either as a customer, or as a service provider.

As the colony was being set up, mission-minded evangelicals in England knew that this new prison needed the gospel of Jesus Christ. So they made sure that the position of chaplain was included in the colony, and they provided gospel ministers to fill it. …”

Biblical encouragement from Dr Lionel Windsor at Moore College.

A family shares all of life

“In Galatians 6, Paul shows us how the grace of God operates in the life of the church family as we live for others, bearing one another’s burdens. Although it can seem difficult and so is often neglected, this is an important part of Christian fellowship. Is this how your church family helps one another? …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Ben George writes to encourage Christians to genuinely support each other.

What sins are you killing today?

“I admit it is an intrusive question, and one that tends to stop a conversation! 

(The context is someone I am mentoring or advising or counselling, not everyday conversations! And it takes place some months after the serious conversations begin.)

If I ask it of someone I am talking with, I always allow time for a stunned silence. Then say, ‘I don’t want to know what they are, I just want to know that you are doing it.’ That allows some colour to return to the cheeks of the person I am talking with, and the conversation continues. …”

Very helpful article from Peter Adam, at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Who am I? And why was I saved?

“As Christians, we sometimes get so preoccupied with being better and more effective, that we forget just how special it is to be born again – that we are safe in the arms of Jesus.

Yes, sin is still present in our lives. Yes, our settled posture as Christians is constant repentance. But when we are feeling so crushed by sin that we don’t even have tears to cry, I am so thankful that God reminds us of who we are because of Jesus. …”

– A wonderful reminder from Ben George at The Australian Church Record.

Playing your part (Ephesians 4:16)

“I’m a very amateur and extremely part-time jazz piano player. I’ve had the opportunity to be in a few bands over my life, and I’ve loved the experience.

In a band, each member has different skills and different roles. In fact, each role tends to have a personality type associated with it. There’s jokes to go with each personality type that you can tell each other at practice sessions. Keyboard players are pedantic and dull (these are stereotypes, right? Well mostly…). …”

– At Forget the Channel, Dr Lionel Windsor continues his tour through Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.

Claire Smith interviewed about God’s Good Design: What the Bible Really Says about Men and Women

“It is an especially sensitive subject in our culture, but Christians still must come to grips with the biblical teaching regarding the roles of men and women in the church and in the home – perhaps especially so since it is such a sensitive subject.

Claire Smith’s book, God’s Good Design: What the Bible Really Says about Men and Women, is a refreshingly clear study of the subject, and we are happy to see it now available in its second edition. …”

– Fred Zaspel, editor at Books At a Glance, speaks with Claire Smith.

(The book is available from Matthias Media.)

Christ’s body: A brief history (Ephesians 4:11–13)

“…if you care a lot about organisation, strategy, and leadership, then you can end up reading the Bible entirely through the lens of those particular concerns. You can start to believe that the most important questions in the world are pragmatic questions.

And so you can assume that the Bible is written to give you answers to those questions.

So, for example, you can end up reading passages describing the church and ministry as if they’re extracts from a handbook designed to answer Roman-style questions: Who’s in charge? What does the organisational chart look like? What are the various offices and what exactly do they do? What’s the division of labour? …”

– At Forget the Channel, Lionel Windsor draws our attention to Ephesians 4.

Male and female: Equality and order in Genesis 1:27

“I’ve recently picked up the Kindle version of Kevin Giles’s book What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women (Eugene: Cascade, 2018).

While I’m not in agreement with Giles on every issue, I expect to learn some things from his book. I expect come to a greater understanding of how egalitarian exegesis works, from an influential and prolific exponent of this position. And I expect to be challenged to see areas where I and other complementarians need to change in some way: perhaps repent, or at least sharpen up. Indeed, I have learned a number of useful things already (for more, see below).

Yet I’ve also been a little disappointed at certain points by how Giles treats his complementarian opponents. … I think the way this particular discussion has proceeded ends up hindering, rather than helping, constructive discussion about the Bible.”

Dr. Lionel Windsor interacts with the latest contribution from Kevin Giles.

Reading the Bible Upside Down

“As the dust settles around Pope Francis’s approval of changing the translation of the Lord’s Prayer, there is one vital angle on this that has not received much attention – the implications of the pope’s rationale for the change.

The pope’s decision to approve the change from the traditional translation “‘Lead us not into temptation’ to ‘Do not let us fall into temptation’ was based on this reported rationale…”

John Piper writes about the issue of authority in what we believe about God. The authority of the Pope? Or the authority of God’s revealed Word. (This is the same issue Martin Luther tackled five hundred years ago.)

Wrath: The Divine Reality we’d like to gloss over (but mustn’t)

“On July 8, 1741, in a church in Enfield, Massachusetts, USA, Jonathan Edwards rose to preach what has become probably the most infamous sermon of all time. His text was Deuteronomy 32:35 –

‘ …their foot shall slide in due time’. But it was the title that has stuck in our collective imaginations: ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.’

It conjures up images of poor helpless sinners being dangled by their ankles above the roaring fires of hell. At the time it is reported that many of the listeners were hysterical with fear afterwards. Some have labelled it ‘the most powerful sermon ever preached’. …”

– Tim Thorburn writes at the Gospel Coalition Australia.

Grounding fellowship in truth

“Paul’s final words to the church of God in Corinth are well known to all Christians. They are simply referred to as ‘The Grace’, though not to be confused with giving thanks before meals!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14).

The apostle’s prayer is both simple and profound, trinitarian in character as it reflects the commitment of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to all believers. …”

Archbishop Glenn Davies writes, in a very practical way, about genuine fellowship. Published in the June 2019 issue of Southern Cross.

Quick wrath, quick atonement; stored up wrath, planned atonement

“Let’s step into dangerous territory and speak directly about the anger of God.

Our own worldly hearts testify with the liberalism entrenched in Western churches: speaking on this topic is both dangerous and unpalatable. Preachers, including this author, dance around hell when speaking to a friendly congregation, let alone the outside world. A colleague answering a work-mate during a smoking-break waters-down God’s wrath to make Christianity seem almost acceptable.

We never quite succeed, but we do our best to make God more like us, or at least how we like to project ourselves. …”

– Andrew Barry calls for serious thinking about the wrath of God. At The Australian Church Record.

This unity (Ephesians 4:2–3)

“Maintaining the unity of the Spirit is intimately connected with the way we live our daily lives with one another. That’s why Paul says at the start of these verses: ‘Walk with all humility and littleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love’. …”

– Dr Lionel Windsor continues his journey through Ephesians.

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