Can we redeem Halloween?

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“How should Christians respond to customs, traditions, and stories that have associations with false religions, demonic powers, and evil?

Could a church building be covered in cobwebs and used as an invitation to come inside?

Would you run a Halloween event for the kids of your church so they don’t feel like they are missing out? Or would you run something as an outreach to connect to the neighborhood?

Is it about the occult and to be avoided at all costs and denounced – or is it kids in funny outfits and junk food?

To talk Halloween, kids and churches our guests are:

Craig Roberts, CEO of Sydney’s Anglican Youthworks and former minister of Neutral Bay Anglican Church.

Kristen Young, Director of student and community care at Sydney Missionary and Bible College.”

Watch or listen here.

Richard Dawkins asks an important question and here is my answer

“I can imagine Richard Dawkins sitting in the back row at the Areopagus, stern-faced and shaking head, and leading a small chorus of sceptics.

Richard Dawkins is continuing his mission to evangelise people out of Christianity (and religion altogether) and to secure his message of a world without hope.

Today in a video message, he asks, ‘Do you want to be comforted by a falsehood?’

It’s a good question and an important one. Does anyone want to find consolation in a fabrication? Does anyone want to pour all their hopes into a dead end? For Professor Dawkins death is of course the dead end, with nothing beyond and no light to give hope to either the dead or those who are left behind. …”

– Murray Campbell shares his answer to Richard Dawkins.

The Christian Gospel – a new resource

On the latest Two Ways News podcast, Tony Payne and Phillip Jensen chat about Tony’s new book The Christian Gospel. They also speak about the difference between the gospel and the Gospels.

Listen here.

Read about (and order) the book from Matthias Media.

In their conversation, Phillip Jensen makes a great point:

“…one of the signs of a true fisherman is that they are optimistic and come prepared – they take something with them to carry the fish home in. Any fisherman who goes without some bag or net or bucket to carry home the fish is not a real fisherman.

And so to enter into conversations with people without something that you’re going to put in their hands afterwards is like being a pessimistic fisherman.”

Image of Tony and Phillip: The Pastor’s Heart.

Be encouraged – God is at work!

“I recently preached at a church from Luke 15 about the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son and the lost brother – a great chapter of the Bible for you to read and reread.

It’s one of the great joys of my role with Evangelism and New Churches (ENC) that I get to speak at many churches in this way.

I invited people to come back home to God, made possible through Jesus; to be found by our loving God, who has not given up on searching for them no matter how far away from him they may feel. …”

John Lavender has this wonderful encouragement for you at

Mission & parenting in a post Christian world – with David Rietveld

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“There have been massive social changes as the western world has shifted from a Christian world view to a post Christian world view. In his new book ‘Being Christian after Christendom’, the senior pastor of Dapto Anglican Church David Rietveld analyzes the changes that churches, pastors and parents face in this transition.

Six weeks ago on The Pastor’s Heart David gave his explanation of the problem.

David is back today to paint a positive way forward for evangelism and parenting amongst the post Christian world view.”

Watch or listen here.

What I’d be reading right now (if it had come out before the extended version)

“You might be aware that a couple of years ago, Victoria passed laws to ban certain kinds of conversation about gender and sexual identity—and other states like NSW are considering following suit. The scope of Victoria’s laws goes far beyond the fringe practice called ‘conversion therapy.’ …

Why am I mentioning this? Despite what you might assume, I’m not just lamenting the madness of modern society or trying to stir up some conservative outrage. Instead, I’m mentioning it because I believe it’s essential to ask: Why? Why are we, in our Western world, in this situation? To be more precise:

Why are we in a situation where ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ are so central to our collective modern view of what it means to be a human being that it can trump biological reality and even a person’s own convictions?…”

– At The Australian Church Record, Lionel Windsor points us to a book which will help you understand why our culture is where it is now – so that “through God’s grace, we can proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to real people in our world today”.

John Chapman on What’s really important

John Chapman wrote this article for ACL News in 2001. While set in that particular moment in time, and directed initially to ACL members,  these words speak to us all today —

“There never was a time when gospelling was more important. Freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, unknown in many countries of the world, we take for granted. Do not assume that this will last. It is a great privilege and carries with it a great responsibility.”

With the Gospel, there is never time to relax.

I have just returned from the funeral of a friend who was also a clergyman. He is, in every way, Mr. Valiant-for-Truth. He preached with clarity and passion about the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He urged people to ‘turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the coming wrath’.

He could be trusted to do this whenever you heard him. However, he also worked hard for the defence of that gospel. He was determined that he would take whatever steps were necessary to see that the gospel was available when another generation came along.

As I thought about his life and witness, I thought about the ACL. Its members are dedicated to see that, to the best of their ability, the gospel will be known and passed on to generations yet to come.

Much of the League’s work could be described as ‘behind the scenes’ work. They help us by finding committed Christians, who know and understand the gospel, to serve on the many councils and committees which comprise the working groups in our Diocesan life.

Have you ever noticed, as you have read the messages which the Glorified Christ gives to the Seven Churches in the Revelation, that by the close of the Apostolic Age many of them have lost or forgotten the gospel message? Some are on the brink of extinction. Some are warned by the Risen Christ that if they do not repent they will be abandoned by Him! It is an easy thing to ‘let the gospel slip through our fingers’.

We are in a period of change. Peter Jensen has become our Archbishop. The ACL has a new President, Zac Veron. This is a time to recommit ourselves to the preaching and preservation of the gospel.

From a denominational point of view we may be happy and have a feeling that ‘all is well’. However it is to the world around us that we need to look.

We need, as never before, to be trying with every means at our disposal to get the gospel out to our city and country. At a time when God has brought the nations to us, our opportunities seem limitless.

There never was a time when gospelling was more important. Freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, unknown in many countries of the world, we take for granted. Do not assume that this will last. It is a great privilege and carries with it a great responsibility.

Nothing matters more than that a person should come to know Christ!

John C Chapman.

ACL News October-November 2001Published in ACL News, October–November 2001.

John Chapman, 1930-2012, was one of Australia’s best-known and loved evangelists.

He was also a long-serving member of the ACL’s Council.

Top photo courtesy of Matthias Media.

What is a Christian? — book by Dave Jensen

Here’s a new book by Dave Jensen which is worth checking out –

“What Is A Christian?” is a short book explaining Christianity and what it means to be a Christian.

This book can be read in one sitting and clearly explains why Jesus came, what he did and what it means for us today.

This book is great for churches to have on book stalls or to give away to new Christians or those seeking to learn more about Jesus and Christianity!”

Here’s the structure of the book:

Introduction: What is a Christian?

Part 1: God made it

What kind of life do you want to live?
God created everything
What does Jesus say? 

Part 2: We broke it 

What’s wrong with the world?
We’re to blame
Reality check

Part 3: Jesus fixed it 

Why did Jesus live?
Why did Jesus die and rise from the dead?
The consequences of what Jesus has done 

Conclusion: What is a Christian and how do you become one? 

Learn more and order here.

Copies also available from The Wandering Bookseller.

What is conversion?

“Conversion is a U-turn in a person’s life. It is turning with one’s whole person away from sin and to Christ for salvation. From idol worship to God worship. From self-justification to Christ’s justification. From self-rule to God’s rule. …”

– 9Marks has a brief and helpful reminder of what conversion is – and isn’t.

Image: NSW Government.

Know and Tell the Gospel — 42 years on!

Back in October 1991, the ACL’s newsletter featured this short article by the Rev Brian Telfer, Rector of Christ Church Gladesville. Brian was writing on the tenth anniversary of the publication of John Chapman’s book Know and Tell the Gospel.

Without doubt, our culture has changed a great deal since the book was published in 1981, but every Christian will benefit from reading it – for the first time, or the tenth time – and may our hearts be stirred to know, and to tell, the gospel.



Ten years, and nearly 45,000 copies down the track, John Chapman’s book on Evangelism is still required reading.

But it may be that some have not yet discovered this most useful and encouraging book!

Brian Telfer gives Know and Tell the Gospel a timely plug…

Many books written on Evangelism could be described as HOW TO books. John Chapmans’ book is a WHAT and WHY book first and a HOW TO book second.

1991 marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of Know and Tell the Gospel – and it has gone through eight subsequent printings.

What makes it so popular?

There will be as many reasons as readers. You’ll probably add others, but let me share with you a few that immediately come to mind…

John Chapman has been a friend and encourager to many— not only in this Diocese, but throughout the world. We “put not our trust in men”, but approach Know and Tell the Gospel with confidence in the writer as a teacher and preacher of the gospel.

It is a lifetime reflection on the nature of the gospel — having grown out of discussion and debate with friends and opponents alike — the result of 30 years of preaching. It is vintage Chappo.


Know and Tell the Gospel refuses to avoid the difficult questions like God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility and sets the gospel where it ought to be — at the heart of Biblical Theology.

And it is readable — accessible to those who wouldn’t call themselves readers — as well as to those who are theologically trained.

When I first read the book I saw its value as a study book for the congregation.

It begins dealing with basic questions such as — What is the gospel? Why must it be preached? and What is God doing in Evangelism?

It continues by looking at the Howto’s — giving us a model to follow and suggesting ways to answer difficult questions.

As we studied the book I was again impressed — it was rooted in Scripture and centred on Jesus. It helped people understand their faith and convinced them they should share it.

If you are looking for some thing to help you and your congregation “get started” in telling the gospel, you can’t go past Know and Tell the Gospel.


Of course Know and Tell the Gospel is still available – now in its fifth edition – from Matthias Media .

Evangelism – A Priority in Your Parish? — Neil Prott

“There is nothing more wonderful we can do for anyone than introduce them to Jesus Christ.

However, this is not reflected in the programme of many parishes today.

No doubt there are numerous reasons for the current state of affairs. Our analysis should take in the Scriptural factors as well as the obvious ones. …”

– The late Neil Prott wrote this article for ACL News back in 1989.

(We gave thanks for Neil when he was called home in April 2022.)

Integrating missional and attractional evangelistic strategies – with Richard Borgonon

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Richard Borgonon is the author of Word 1-2-1.

He presented at the recent Gafcon Conference in Kigali alongside Christianity Explored’s Rico Tice on how a church might have an integrated evangelistic strategy incorporating both an evangelistic course and a program where members are encouraged to personally evangelise their friends through personal bible reading.

After Rico Tice headed off for a coffee, we sat down to ask Richard how might this work.”

Watch or listen here.

Moore College Missions 2023

Teams from Moore College are partnering with churches far and wide this week.

The College has this page with a feed of news from all the different teams.

It’d be good to pray for them, the churches where they are serving, and opportunities to share the saving gospel.

How can we best support gospel growth beyond our church? — with Mikey Lynch

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“How might our church best relate to other organisations (churches, denominations and parachurches) who are also engaged in the grand cause of reaching the world for Christ?

What is the difference between a church and parachurch and how might they best interact? …

Mikey Lynch is a Director of Reach Australia and is the new editorial director for the Gospel Coalition Australia. Mikey leads the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students staff team doing ministry in Hobart at the University of Tasmania.

Matthias Media have just released his new book ‘The Vine Movement – supporting gospel growth beyond your church.’…”

Watch or listen here.

And also note how you can support the coming “Heart of GAFCON” broadcasts from Kigali.

What are we unable to stop speaking about?

“Every time I read Acts 4:20 I am struck by how the message about Jesus should work. As the book of Acts begins, what Peter makes clear in each of his first Christian sermons is that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah.

For example, Acts chapter 2 and the coming of the Holy Spirit is much more about God declaring Jesus as Lord and Messiah then it is about the coming of the Holy Spirit on God’s people (though it is about that too!).

It’s the fact that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah that means the Holy Spirit now comes (Acts 2:32-36).

Or, take the healing event of chapter 3 with the lame man. It is by the name and power of Jesus, who is both Lord and Messiah, that this man is now healed. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Mike Leite has encouragement to speak the best news of all.

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