John Chapman, Mark Twain and the Twenty Minute Sermon

David MansfieldJohn Chapman and Mark Twain both had much and little in common.

Both were great communicators and raconteurs with a razor-sharp wit. But Chappo loved his golf while Twain is thought to have said that golf was a good walk ruined. Chappo’s spirituality was biblical and evangelical. Twain’s was anything but.

However, when it came to preaching, they had something very much in common. They had little patience for preaching that was unnecessarily long – or even longer than twenty minutes. …”

– At, David Mansfield would love to hear better preaching.

Democracy Trumps Meritocracy

Phillip JensenIn 2016 the sleeping giant of democracy has awakened. In the rise of minor parties in many Western democracies, in the UK Brexit vote, and now in the USA Presidential election – we have witnessed the power of people rejecting the power of the elite who rule over them. This is democracy in action.

However, this kind of democracy has shocked and rattled the complacency of the elite who have ruled unchallenged for most of this generation. The pollsters and pundits as well as the media and markets, have failed comprehensively to predict or even understand what has happened. The big guns were wheeled in to oppose the popular sentiment but it has not worked. In the polling station, in the privacy of the voting booth, the people have voted in ways they weren’t supposed to…”

Phillip Jensen reflects on democracy, and how Christians should understand it.

Understanding the electoral forces behind a stunning victory

Albert Mohler, The BriefingIn his daily broadcast, The Briefing, Albert Mohler turns to the news of the day – the election of Donald Trump as US President.

Love your neighbour enough to speak truth

Rosaria Butterfield. Photo: Desiring God 2015“If this were 1999—the year that I was converted and walked away from the woman and lesbian community I loved—instead of 2016, Jen Hatmaker’s words about the holiness of LGBT relationships would have flooded into my world like a balm of Gilead. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition, Rosaria Butterfield responds to some comments by a ‘best selling author’ (whose books have just been pulled from LifeWay Christian bookshops).

Make the time to read Rosaria Butterfield’s observations about the nature of sin and the Christian life. (Image: Desiring God.)

The uglier side of humanity

Rick Lewers“Tolerance and acceptance is important for a nation’s well-being but tolerance and acceptance is a lot easier when people are respectful. This is particularly important in the current climate of debate on issues of human sexuality and marriage.

Before people misunderstand or misquote me, by tolerance and acceptance I do not mean that I agree with all the sexual choices people make. …”

— Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers writes on the need for genuine civility.

The New ‘Jerusalem’ Papyrus: Not so Fast…

papyrusHere are some things to remember, as this Jerusalem Papyrus garners attention:

The fact that the papyrus itself has been carbon dated to the 7th century BCE certainly does not mean that the writing on the papyrus is ancient In fact, it really means nothing. After all, ancient papyrus is readily available for purchase online (check the web and see!), thus, no modern forger worth his or her salt would forge an inscription on modern papyrus. …”

– Dr. Christopher Rollston, at George Washington University, shares his thoughts on the Papyrus which is making news.

Thanks to George Athas for the link.

The Ashers “Gay Cake” appeal — one of these things is not like the others

tid-cakeWhen our children were watching Sesame Street one of the regular clips featured the song “one of these things is not like the others“, training children to look carefully and make distinctions where things are different. In a case involving Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has shown that it is not very good at making distinctions between things that are different. …“

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster considers the latest ‘gay cake’ court case, this one in Northern Ireland.

Related: Many links on stories related to the case – at Anglican Mainstream.

Legal implications of same sex marriage for Christian life and ministry

Assoc Prof Neil FosterI was privileged today to present a paper on issues from a Christian perspective raised by the possible introduction of same sex marriage – at a seminar on the topic held at the Lower Mountains Anglican Parish centre at Glenbrook. …”

– Neil Foster from Law and Religion Australia provides a link to the paper he gave.

Suggestions from a Scottish Sabbath

kirsten-mckinlay-1Kirsten McKinlay, who has recently come to Sydney from Scotland, reflects on what is different about Sundays in Sydney – and how we might be missing out.

“… I do miss that rest was standard on a Sunday in Scotland. It turns out that it’s much harder to cease from my work when it isn’t the cultural norm, and no one else is doing it! Whether a biblical mandate or not, it’s possible that Sydney Christians have missed out by neglecting the Sabbath.

Whether we see it as obligatory or not, it is good to have a set pattern of expecting our work to stop on a certain day, because our restless hearts won’t always feel like stopping. Having this rhythm of rest can be a useful check on our pride—when we think the world depends on us—and stops life from becoming overwhelming.”

– Read it all at

The Open Letter from Evangelicals to C of E Bishops: a commentary

The Rev Andrew Symes, Anglican MainstreamOn Wednesday 12th October a letter was sent to the College of Bishops, signed by nearly a hundred evangelical leaders, making it clear that “further changes to practice or doctrine” on sexual ethics would result in serious damage to the Church of England. The letter isn’t titled. There was no sophisticated media strategy involved in getting it out, other than asking signatories to make it more widely known.

There was initially some confusion about whether it was meant to be kept ‘in house’ among the evangelical constituency, or publicised in the wider media. The organisers, led by John Dunnett of CPAS and some of the committee of the Evangelical Group on General Synod, then let it be known that it is a public letter.

The issue is considered to be of sufficient urgency that it can’t just be a private communication with Bishops, but must also be a signal to the wider church. …”

Andrew Syme at Anglican Mainstream, provides some commentary about that letter.

‘Accusations laid bare: In defence of the Archbishop’

accusations-laid-bare acrFrom The Australian Church Record:

“The editor of the Australian Church Record has penned a important response to a recent article by Julia Baird concerning a group of Anglican church leaders who have accused Archbishop Glenn Davies of silencing supporters of same-sex marriage.

The ACR response can be downloaded by clicking on ‘Download Special Issue’ from”

Direct link to the special issue – PDF file.

Related: Same-sex marriage: Anglican Church leaders accuse Sydney Archbishop of silencing supporters – by Julia Baird, ABC News.

In other media news this week, David Ould has received an apology from The Sydney Morning Herald.

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