“All Souls, Langham Place was packed on Monday 13th March as hundreds of men and women, young and old, gathered to worship God and give thanks for the life and ministry of Mike Ovey, the dearly loved former Principal of Oak Hill College, who died on 7th January aged 58.
Hugh Palmer led the service, featuring hymns with All Souls’ trademark uplifting music. Current students at Oak Hill read the opening biblical sentences; there were four outstanding tributes to Mike and a sermon based on Philippians 1:21, ‘for me, to live is Christ, to die is gain’.
All the speakers emphasised how Mike Ovey combined robust love for truth with compassion for people.”
– Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes reflects on the Thanksgiving Service for Mike Ovey.
Galatians 6:14 ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’.
The great Apostle Paul thinks this much of the cross of Christ – that it’s his only boast. Let’s go further:
1 Corinthians 2:2 ‘For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.’
Paul says that his repeated and constant theme in preaching is the crucifixion of Christ. When he says: ‘I resolved to know nothing’, it’s not that he didn’t say anything else – it’s hyperbole, to make the point that all his preaching centres on the cross.
We use that word ‘cross’ as shorthand. It’s a synecdoche, where the part stands for the whole, or a single word stands for a whole concept. So the word cross is synecdoche for the whole doctrine that Christ died for sinners upon the cross – or, alternatively put: it stands for the belief that atonement was made for sinners through the suffering of Christ on the cross.
Is the cross sufficient? Are we right in the Christian church to make such a big thing about it, and to centre on it? Surely there’s works of mercy, relief of the poor and other good works to make our focus? Other churches certainly think this way.
Last year, the Uniting Church in Australia’s social services department…
Oak Primary School in the UK, a school boasting that it runs ‘in accordance with the principles of the Church of England’…
A few years ago, the PCUSA removed /Getty’s song ‘In Christ Alone’ from their new hymnbook … ”
– An exhortation we need to hear – from Presbyterian Moderator General, John Wilson. Read it all here.
At the 2015 NEXUS Conference, Chris Braga gave a very helpful 18 minute exhortation.
Does your church or Christian organisation explicitly speak of the Cross of Christ and what it means?
Or is it assumed?
Encouragement: It’s not too long – watch the video in your Parish Council meetings, committee meetings, home groups, staff meetings – at GoThereFor.com.
We cannot hope that somehow we might stumble upon a third epistle to Timothy, which gives alternative ministry options to what Paul exhorts his protégé to do in Second Timothy. Our only hope is to continue to do what Jesus and the Apostles’ commissioned us to do. Whether we find ourselves in circumstances of cultural acceptance or cultural hostility, we must preach the Word.”
– The third and final post in a series on Preaching in a Secular Age, by Albert Mohler, is essential reading.
Related: Why I value expository preaching – Murray Campbell at GoThereFor.com.
“‘Albert McMakin’ is not a name familiar to many today, yet this man has significantly influenced your life. He worked on a farm in Charlotte, North Carolina, back in the 1930s—but it is not by virtue of his agricultural prowess that his influence has extended your way. The reason Albert still rates a mention in books and can be easily found via a Google search is because of what he did in 1934.
That year an evangelist was conducting a series of meetings in Charlotte, and Albert persuaded a young 16-year-old man to attend one of the gatherings. As incentive, he said that the younger man could drive his vegetable truck into town for the meeting. The teenager went and, before long, was converted. The teenager’s name was Billy Graham—the man who went on to preach the gospel to more people in-person than anyone else in human history. Albert’s simple invitation was used by God to play a key role in the conversion of this future evangelist. …”
– To start the working week, here’s an encouraging article from Stephen Liggins, at GoThereFor.com.
Mike was my dear friend and brother, my boss and co-conspirator, my mentor and inspiration. I just wanted to say a few personal words which I know reflect the thoughts of our community at Oak Hill College. …”
– At the Oak Hill College blog, faculty member Dan Strange shares some thoughts and a meditation from C.H. Spurgeon.
I can send you a New Year’s card with the most sincere expression of goodwill: wishing you the happiest year, seeking better outcomes for you and hoping for improved health. But can we, in any way, be sure of such things? Can we be sure that this year will be any better than last? Can we be sure of anything?
It’s the uncertainties of life that are certain. What remains true is that in terms of happiness, better outcomes and good health: 2017 is a complete unknown. BUT, what we can be sure of is that the Apostle Paul is right when he says: ‘God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.’
What remains absolutely true is Paul’s testimony in Philippians 4:19. …”
– Presbyterian Church of Australia Moderator-General John P Wilson has released this God-honouring New Year’s message.
It’s a quieter time of year, with the possibility of catching up on reading. Recently published is Dr Bruce Ballantine-Jones’ Inside Sydney. (We understand there will be copies available at the bookshop during NSW CMS Summer School – as well as lots of other reading.)
See also this interview with Bruce Ballantine-Jones, “Gospel Ministry and Church Politics: What’s the Connection?”
Back in 2012, Dr Mark Thompson (now Principal of Moore College) wrote a series of articles on the theological convictions which undergird Sydney Diocese. We hope you will be encouraged by revisiting those posts below, and ask you to pray that, in 2017, we will cling to Christ more closely, finding our joy in Him –
- Sydney Anglicans I. Biblically confessional
- Sydney Anglicans II. The congregation as the centre
- Sydney Anglicans III. Complementarian ministry
- Sydney Anglicans IV: The Primacy of the Word
- Sydney Anglicans V: A commitment to mission
- Sydney Anglicans VI: An evangelical episcopate
- Sydney Anglicans VII: The value of theological education
“At one recent conference Rico Tice spoke about reading the Bible on four different levels. I am going to borrow his framework and develop it in my own way. So here are five Bible inputs that will help you grow upwards in Christ. …”
– At Unashamed Workman, Colin Adams shares some great ideas about Christian growth.
“From politics to personal life, what more do we want for Christmas than people who will tell us the truth?”
– The Age has this story about the sign-carrying bicycles left in strategic spots around Melbourne.
(Larger version of the photo.)