Need Ministers be Theologians?

John RichardsonAt Church Society’s blog, Kirsty Birkett (who now teaches Pastoral Counselling and Youth and Children’s Ministry at Oak Hill College) reminds readers of a 1994 Churchman article by the much-missed John Richardson.

In his article, John draws some important conclusions for evangelicals in the Church of England, reflecting on his year of study at Moore College.

(Readers can also rightly give thanks to Almighty God for the growth of Oak Hill College in London in the years since John wrote that article.)

‘Doubting Thomas Welby is no help in these terrible times’

Archbishop Justin Welby“I doubted God after the Paris attacks, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby told a reporter for the BBC’s Songs of Praise. He said when the jihadis struck in Paris he was left asking why? …

I hate to think where Christianity would be if Welby’s predecessors had suffered from the same lack of conviction.”

– Opinion from The Conservative Woman.

On freedom of speech

Dominic Perrottet MPIn a Private Members Statement on Tuesday, Member for Hawkesbury, Dominic Perrottet, spoke in NSW Parliament on the importance of freedom of speech in democratic societies.

In particular, he referenced the controversy in Tasmania regarding the “Don’t Mess with Marriage” booklet (“A Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops of Australia to all Australians on the ‘Same-sex Marriage’ Debate”).

You can watch his speech here, or read the transcript.

Related: First they came for the Catholics…Law and Religion Australia.

‘We are at war’, but ours is not against flesh and blood

The Rev Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream“In the Archbishop of Canterbury’s short and moving statement in response to the Paris attacks, the terrorists, their beliefs and actions are described as ‘evil’, ‘wicked’ and a ‘demonic curse’ which Christians are called to oppose. What does he mean by these words, and how are Christians practically to engage in this opposition? …

Whether the Archbishop is referring to this or not, it’s important once again to remind ourselves of what the Bible teaches about spiritual warfare…”

Andrew Symes writes at Anglican Mainstream.

A Call for Christian extremists

Tim Challies“The effects of extremism have been on display all weekend. Even this morning they are splashed across every television screen, every news site, the front page of every newspaper. The attacks in Paris have shown us extremism at its most brutal and bloody, the kind that celebrates death, destruction and mayhem.

But did you know that the Bible calls Christians to extremism as well? It calls Christians to be zealots in a cause, to go to great lengths to carry out extreme deeds in the name of Jesus. We see this in Paul’s little letter to Titus where we are reminded of Jesus Christ ‘who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works’ (Titus 2:14)…”

– Tim Challies calls on Christians to examine their own levels of ‘extremism’.


At Lapido Media, Mark Durie speaks of the religious and cultural background to the Paris attacks.

“ISIS believes that killing disbelievers is a moral act, in accordance, for example, with Sura 9:5 of the Qur’an…”

First they came for the Catholics…

Assoc Prof Neil Foster“The proposed action for sexual orientation vilification against a Roman Catholic bishop for teaching what the Roman Catholic church believes about marriage, which I noted at an early stage in a previous post, is now becoming broader…”

Associate Professor Neil Foster expands on his previous posts about the anti-discrimination case brought against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hobart.

Related: Bishops face discrimination caseThe Australian.

“All Australia’s Catholic bishops have been drawn into a national test case for freedom of religion and speech after Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commission found they have a case to ­answer over humiliating gay, ­lesbian and transgender Australians by distributing a booklet supporting traditional marriage.”

Article 32 and the CofE Same Sex Marriage case

Peter Sanlon“The case of a gay clergyman whose Permission to Officiate was revoked and who was refused a licence to minister after marrying his same-sex partner, has hit the headlines again. Peter Sanlon reflects on Jeremy Pemberton’s defensive use of Article 32.”

At the Church Society blog, Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St. Mark’s Tunbridge Wells, looks at the use and misuse of The Articles in the case of a gay clergyman who married his same-sex partner.

Feed the Woman Meat

Sarie King“When I became a Christian at the ripe age of 16, I was immediately introduced to the extraordinary treasure trove of riches to be found amongst the pages of some of the greatest Christian writers, theologians, apologists, philosophers and thinkers of our time. …

But as I moved on into adulthood and the circles of influence shifted, so did the books offered before me to read.”

– At Effective Ministry, Sarie King has some great advice for Christian women (and men, for that matter), when deciding what to read.

Abortion ‘buffer zones’, free speech and religious freedom

Assoc Prof Neil Foster“Governments around Australia are showing a sudden enthusiasm for introducing restricted ‘zones’ around clinics offering abortions, in order to prevent protestors from operating in those areas. Tasmania has introduced such legislation…”

Dr Neil Foster looks at some of the ethical and legal implications of ‘buffer zone’ legislation. Where does freedom of religion fit in?

Why every seminary student should read J. C. Ryle

Bishop J C Ryle“I began my study of J. C. Ryle (1816-1900) more than six years ago, and my interest in him was primarily historical. However, as I prepare to defend my dissertation and end this leg of my journey with him, I am absolutely convinced that he has a lot to offer you as a minister-in-training…”

– At the Southern Seminary blog, Ben Rogers explains why it’s advantageous to follow J. C. Ryle down old paths.

(In this Crossway video, J. I. Packer recommends Ryle’s Holiness.)

Is the Reformation Over?

Dr R C Sproul“There have been several observations rendered on this subject by those I would call ‘erstwhile evangelicals.’ One of them wrote, ‘Luther was right in the sixteenth century, but the question of justification is not an issue now.’ A second self-confessed evangelical made a comment in a press conference I attended that ‘the sixteenth-century Reformation debate over justification by faith alone was a tempest in a teapot.’…”

– Dr R.C. Sproul writes of the danger of forgetting the reason for the Reformation.

See also: Dr Carl Trueman, “Why the Reformation Isn’t Over”.

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