“On Palm Sunday in St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, their new diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, made a statement that epitomises the relational dilemma facing Reformed Anglicans in the Church of England.
Introducing his excellent sermon on our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as recorded in Matthew 21, Dr Croft said:
‘It’s my hope to come as a servant to this very large Diocese, to respect and honour all traditions within it and cherish the life of the Church in its many different forms and do my best to lead us in God’s mission.’ …
His sermon was most edifying, biblically faithful and Christ-honouring. Lord willing, he will do a lot of good in Oxford Diocese.
But the difficulty for a Reformed Anglican church such as St Ebbe’s surely comes in their Bishop’s apparently intentional commitment to theological diversity within the Church of England. …”
– The Rev Julian Mann wonders what reformed Anglicans should do when their bishop endorses ‘theological diversity’.
Photo of Bishop Croft: Diocese of Oxford.
“Totalitarians and fascists have always sought to demonise their opponents, in part by marking them out from the ‘normal’ majority. They are clearly identified one way or another as recalcitrants, and treated accordingly. Simply consider how Jews fared as the Nazi regime occupied various European countries: being forced to wear a yellow badge in the form of a Star of David.
Millions of our young men gave their lives to fight these totalist regimes and to preserve our cherished freedoms. But a new totalitarianism is descending upon the West, and it comes in the form of the militant and totalitarian rainbow activists. …”
– Bill Muehlenberg at CultureWatch has more on the ‘voluntary’ wearing of rings to promote same-sex marriage.
“I don’t think we should go back to using hymnals. But I do think there’s value in considering what we lost when, over the course of a relatively short period of time, we gave up hymnals for PowerPoint projection. Not all of us, mind you, but most of us.
It’s worth considering because it helpfully shows what we stand to lose when we switch from one media to another, and especially when we do so quickly and without due consideration. …”
– Tim Challies makes some very valid observations about singing in church.
Related: Songs of the Saints – by Mike Raiter and Rob Smith, from Matthias Media.
“If you’re a conservative evangelical Christian who feels called to ministry, you’re welcome to attend Princeton Theological Seminary. But you’re not worthy of honor there. That’s the message sent by PTS’ president, Craig Barnes, today. …
If Christians like Tim Keller are unworthy of honor and deserve to be marginalized, American Christianity is in serious trouble. …”
– Jonathan Merritt writes at Religion News Service.
Related: What Hath Amsterdam to do with Princeton? – Reformation21.
“In 1898 B.B. Warfield invited the Dutch Reformed theologian Abraham Kuyper to deliver six lectures at Princeton Seminary for the inaugural Stone Lectures. These lectures were eventually bound and printed as Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism. In these lectures, Kuyper discussed what he believed to be the manner by which a Calvinist and Reformed worldview ought to be applied to quite a number of spheres of life.
The inaugural Stone Lectures forever linked the theology of Dr. Kuyper with Princeton Seminary. This connection was further solidified in the creation of the Kuyper Prize, awarded by the Kuyper Center for Public Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.”
The Rev. Gavin Ashenden gives his reasons for leaving the Church of England in this video released overnight.
While our readers might hold to a somewhat different theological perspective (Gavin speaks from an Anglo-Catholic position), he raises concerns which many would share. The video runs for 27 minutes.
Princeton Seminary cancels award to Tim Keller after LGBT complaint – Christian Post.
Princeton Seminary reforms its views on honoring Tim Keller – Christianity Today.
“The Bible Society of Australia has recently celebrated its 200th birthday – a significant milestone in a country whose European settlement only took place about 230 years ago. It decided to celebrate the event by way of connecting with popular Australian culture – and in a fairly secular country, a key aspect of that culture is beer!
So in a creative move, the Society formed a partnership with Coopers, a long-established but slightly “niche” brewery, to arrange the release of cans of “Coopers Light”, a low-alcohol beer, with Bible verses on the cans. (The link was all the more appropriate because the motto of the Society was “Live Light”. Coopers also claims to be “Australia’s longest living family brewery”, having been established in 1862.)
So far, so good …”
– At MercatorNet, Neil Foster recounts the disturbing tale of the “Keeping it Light” video.
Sadly, the answer provided by the recent decision in Chief of the Defence Force v Gaynor  FCAFC 41 (8 March 2017) is, No, not without having their service terminated. …”
– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster (Associate Professor in Law at Newcastle), looks at an important free speech issue in Australia.
Bishop Philip North’s election to the Diocese of Sheffield was a litmus test. … a serious test for the much vaunted ‘Good Disagreement’ that Archbishop Justin Welby has staked his archiepiscopal strategy on.
It has all gone badly wrong.”
– Dr Gavin Ashenden guest posts at Archbishop Cranmer.
“Remember that ‘radical new Christian inclusion’ Justin Welby spoke of in the wake of Synod’s decision not to ‘take note’ of the Bishops’ report on marriage and same-sex relations? Well, you can forget it. …”
– ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ argues the hounding of Philip North demonstrates that ‘radical inclusion’ is not possible in today’s Church of England.
(Photo of Bp North courtesy Diocese of Blackburn.)
“In the middle of last year I had an eye operation that left me unable to read for some time. Instead I began to analyse Sydney sermons, since so many churches now record the preacher and have sermons available on their websites. In just a few months I listened to about 40 sermons. …
For the sake of analysis I used the time-honoured technique of asking myself about matter, method and manner. I also checked things such as Bible passages used, length, fairness to the text and exhortation.
Here is what I have found so far …”
– Originally published in the Diocese of Sydney’s Southern Cross, Dr Peter Jensen, former Archbishop of Sydney, and now General Secretary of GAFCON, takes a look at Sydney sermons.
“Though most evangelicals mention the preaching of the word as a necessary or customary part of worship, the prevailing model of worship in evangelical churches is increasingly defined by music, along with innovations such as drama and video presentations. When preaching the word retreats, a host of entertaining innovations will take its place. …”
– Albert Mohler writes about the central place of expository preaching in the life of the church.