Mainstream … or on the margins?

“If ever we could have considered the church to be a core part of Australian culture (and that’s not at all certain), the Christian church is now being slowly edged to one side. It is increasingly less mainstream.

Have you noticed though that there are key moments in the year’s calendar and certain elements of our culture where we’re let back in? It’s strange, but true. Consider… ”

– John Wilson, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, offers encouragement to take the opportunities we do have to share the Christian hope.

Earth Day message from Canadian Anglican and Lutheran leaders

“Through our Lenten Journey to Easter we have been reminded once again that Jesus offered his whole life and death for the love of the world …

As followers of Christ, we are also challenged to offer our lives for the love of the world. …  What happens when we touch the earth with faith?

Our churches are committed to responsible stewardship of the earth. As we celebrate Earth Day, we re-commit to our care for creation and commend the efforts of our congregations across the country to live out this call. We recommend that you or your congregation get involved with the Faith Commuter Challenge, a creative way to reduce your carbon footprint …”

– Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop, Fred Hiltz, and his Lutheran counterpart, have issued a message and prayer for Earth Day.

As Anglican Samizdat notes, loving the planet is not what John 3:16 is about.

Photo by Harrison H. Schmitt.

Australian Presbyterians — Taking God Seriously


Presbyterian Moderator-General John Wilson outlines some of the ways Presbyterians in Australia plan to celebrate Reformation 500 – with evangelism!

See the video here. (3’42”)

Is the Cross sufficient?

“Paul thought it was. Let’s do a cross-check on this (pun intended) – the greatest Christian who’s ever lived – what did he say? Among other things:

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.

Related:

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.

Brazilian Anglicans ask for prayer support

Members of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil have written to the ACL and other Anglican groups asking for prayer.

“We are a group of clergy of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, we are being persecuted for defending a biblical position of marriage and asking that the Anglican episcopal church of Brazil maintain its unity with the Anglican communion, which in turn, in voice through the chamber of the bishops want to approve this position by imposition.”

They include these links –

1. Creation of the alliance movement. (Select the English Version tab.)

2. Response of the Bishops – Original PortugueseEnglish translation

3. Letter from Bishop Sebastião (Emeritus Bishop in the Diocese of Recife) to the Bishops – Original PortugueseEnglish translation

4. Letter of Covenant to Bishops.

Related:

Earlier posts on happening in the Diocese of Recife.

Report from Virtueonline.

God will meet all your needs — you can be sure of it

john-wilson-presbyterian-moderator-generalWhat can we be sure of for 2017?

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.

Uniting Church rejects Daily Telegraph criticism

jesus-wipedToday’s Daily Telegraph has run a series of inaccurate and vexatious news items about the Uniting Church and our Uniting community services agency in NSW and the ACT. The accusation on the front page of the newspaper that the Church is removing Christ and religious symbols is totally incorrect. …”

Statement from Stuart McMillan President of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Related: Why parts of the Uniting Church are abandoning its logo. – news.com.au

According to the Daily Telegraph, the church’s services and advocacy arm, Uniting, had decided to do away with “overt” faith-based language and images of the cross in its logo.…”

Light trumps darkness

john-wilson-presbyterian-moderator-generalReformation trumps Halloween. In fact it’s no contest.

For reasons unclear to me we’re being enticed by a dark festival of American origins that brings stocks of evil and bizarre to shelves where weeks before fresh food or other cheery merchandise sat. In supermarkets and $2 shops throughout Australia, the dark, the gruesome, the macabre and the scary hold sway.

Why witches hats, ghoulish masks and spider webs? As if swinging with the breeze, parents bend to accommodate this strange festival, children are attracted to it and society is the worse for it.

By strange coincidence, the same weekend as Halloween, the Presbyterian Church of Australia celebrates light. …”

Presbyterian Moderator-General John Wilson on the light of the gospel, as rediscovered by Martin Luther.

Encouragement from the Pressies in Queensland

pres-life-issue-4-2016The latest issue (4/2016) of Pres Life, the magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Queensland, is now available. It’s a 1.6 MB PDF file.

Rejoice with those who rejoice at the Lord’s salvation in Christ, and join with them in praying for the progress of the gospel in that state.

Russian Patriarch concerned about liberalisation in Church of England

abp-welby-patriarch-kirillOn October 18, 2016, His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, met with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury at the Lambeth Palace in London. …

Patriarch Kirill drew Archbishop Justin Welby’s attention to the Russian Orthodox Church’s concern over the liberalization of the Church of England’s teaching on church order, particularly, the ordination of women as priests and bishops and on the family and morality. His Holiness Kirill expressed hope that the Church of England will oppose challenges of the modern world and seek to preserve the Gospel’s teaching. …”

– from The Russian Orthodox Church. Photo: Lambeth Palace.

Presbyterian Moderator General reports on the General Assembly

john-wilson-presbyterian-moderator-generalThe triennial meeting of the General Assembly of Australia testified to our fundamental unity around the truth of God’s Word and the power of Christ’s gospel.

It’s time to reflect and review a most excellent week…”

– New Presbyterian Moderator-General John Wilson reviews the recent General Assembly of Australia.

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