Everyone a Child Should Know

“Believe it or not, heaven will not be populated exclusively by Sydney Anglicans!

And I, for one, am thankful to God for that.

Because I cannot wait to sing God’s praises shoulder-to-shoulder with JS Bach and Martin Luther. And marvel at the glory of the new creation alongside Rembrandt and Joni Eareckson Tada. And consider the depths of God’s grace that saved a wretch like me with John Newton and William Wilberforce. …”

– Steve Tong highlights a children’s book that’s also good for adults. At The Australian Church Record.

What constitutes Anglican identity?

“There is no doubt that the sixteenth-century Reformation changed the world. From politics and social attitudes to things like work and family life. To the art of Michelangelo, the music of J.S. Bach and the literature of Shakespeare. To those on board the Mayflower and to the establishment of the Thirteen Colonies.

The face of Western culture and society over the past 500 years would have been very different without the likes of Martin Luther, John Calvin and many others.

This is certainly true of the Church of England and the way it has developed into the modern Anglican Communion. And yet today, there is great ambiguity about what constitutes true Anglican identity. Where can we turn to in order to start answering such a vexed question?

Let me suggest that we can begin our answer by turning to reconsider one of the foundational Anglican texts: The Book of Common Prayer, originally composed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

But since the Anglican Church has a five-hundred-year history, which edition of the Prayer Book captures the true essence of Cranmer’s vision for the Church? Is it the 1549, 1552, 1559, 1604, 1662, 1928, or 1979 Prayer Book?

What I’d like to do over the next few minutes is to take us back to the historical roots of the Anglican movement. Right to the heart of the Reformation as it unfolded in England under Edward VI from 1547-1553. And with a particular focus on liturgical reform. …”

– “What constitutes Anglican identity?” In 2017, Dr Stephen Tong spoke on “Liturgy in the reign of Edward VI in 16th century England”at the Anglican Connection Conference in Dallas, Texas.

A current reminder of why this paper is very helpful:

Two Anglican Leaders [Calvin Robinson and Chuck Collins] duke it out over what it means to be Anglican – VirtueOnline.

Portrait of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer by Gerlach Flicke.

David Livingstone brought the Gospel to my Country

“David Livingstone (1813–73) is known as a missionary, explorer, and abolitionist.

He was the first missionary to bring the gospel to my beloved country, Malawi, in 1859…”

– Confex Makhalira gives thanks to God for David Livingstone on the 150th anniversary of his death. (At The Gospel Coalition.)

Photo: David Livingstone by Thomas Annan, 1864.

A tale of two bishops: What happens when apostasy reigns?

“Go back half a century and the most established church of the Protestant establishment was, without question, the Episcopal Church. Never massive in numbers, that historic denomination sat atop the so-called ‘seven sisters’ of the old Protestant mainline (Episcopalians, Congregationalists [now United Church of Christ, UCC], Presbyterians [PCUSA], United Methodists, the Disciples of Christ, northern Baptists, and Lutherans [ELCA]). Those historic churches had outsize importance in shaping the culture. The word ‘mainline’ was not used inaccurately.

Fast forward to the present and all those denominations have been in precipitous decline for decades. The culture has been secularizing and those churches basically decided to secularize with it. …”

– In his latest article, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Dr Albert Mohler looks at the legacy of Bishop Frank Griswold and Bishop Gene Robinson.

Moore Theological College – then and now

Back in 1954 or 1955, this 26-minute film was made to promote Moore Theological College.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into College life in a more formal time.

The film features Bruce Smith as – er- John Smith – a student arriving on his first day at the college, and follows him through to graduation.

Many of Bruce’s contemporary students are seen in the film, as are the Principal, the Rev. Canon M. L. Loane, and the Vice Principal, the Rev. Dr. D. B. Knox. The film is narrated by college student Ron Herbert.

The film is available at both YouTube and Vimeo with thanks to Moore College’s Donald Robinson Library.

Since that film was made, Australian society has changed greatly, but the aim of Moore College – to train people to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) – remains at the centre.

In 2023, Moore College’s May Open Week is a great way to get a taste of college life.

“Visit our Newtown campus during May Open Week to experience a lecture, meet faculty and students, and get a campus tour from a student. Join us for a day or part of a day, and enjoy morning tea and lunch.

To register, please fill out the form [at the link] below …”

‘Vatican sends relic of true cross to Britain’s King Charles’

“As Britain’s King Charles III walks into Westminster Abbey for his coronation, he will walk behind a processional cross containing a relic of Christ’s cross given to the king by Pope Francis. …

Anglican Archbishop Andrew John of Wales blessed the cross during a service April 19.”

– Story from The National Catholic Reporter. Martin Luther

Possibly related:

Abandon the Reformation, Abandon the Gospel – Matthew Barrett at The Gospel Coalition:

“There they sat. Relics. Lots of them. There was a cut of fabric from the swaddling cloth of baby Jesus, 13 pieces from his crib, a strand of straw from the manger, a piece of gold from a Wise Man, three pieces of myrrh, a morsel of bread from the Last Supper, a thorn from the crown Jesus wore when crucified, and, to top it all off, a genuine piece of stone that Jesus stood on to ascend to the Father’s right hand. And in good Catholic fashion, the blessed Mary was not left out. There sat three pieces of cloth from her cloak, four from her girdle, four hairs from her head, and better yet, seven pieces from the veil that was sprinkled with the blood of Christ. These relics and countless others (19,000 bones from the saints!) stood ready to be viewed by pious pilgrims. These relics were the proud collection of Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, Martin Luther’s prince. And they sat in the Castle Church at Wittenberg, prepared and ready for showing on All Saints Day, November 1, 1517. …”

Also, Article XXII of The Thirty Nine Articles.

ACR Journal Autumn 2023 now available

There’s much worthwhile reading in the just-released copy of the Autumn 2023 ACR Journal

Editorial: Taste and see that the Lord is good – Mike Leite

The law of the Lord is perfect – Andrew Leslie

Created male and female: Reflections on Genesis 1-3 – Gav Perkins

God’s goodness in 1 Timothy – Lionel Windsor

Interview: William Taylor – Micky Mantle

How to preach truth yet teach falsely – Mike Leite

A God worth trembling before: Isaiah 66 – Craig Schafer

Preaching a good and powerful word – Paul Grimmond

Will we be teachers who tremble at His Word? – Phil Colgan

Reflections: An interview with Phillip Jensen – Ben George

Displaying God’s love daily: School chaplain interviews – Stephen Tong

This is the Word of the Lord: Thanks be to God – Mark Earngey

You are enough, and other lies we like to swallow – Jocelyn Loane

Richard Johnson: Chaplain under fire – Stephen Tong

From the vault: The evangelical heritage – Archbishop Howard Mowll

From the vault: The cross and the resurrection – John Stott

Book review: Eager to serve by Ray Galea – Ben Pfahlert

Book review: The Doctrine of Scripture: An Introduction by Mark Thompson – Andrew Leslie

Book review: The Life of Faith: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine by Peter Jensen – Sandy Grant

Book review: Biblical critical theory by Christopher Watkin – Rory Shiner.

Download your copy from The Australian Church Record.

Where did all this Expository Preaching come from?

“There’s no doubt that, at least within Reformed churches, this is an age of expository preaching – of preaching sequentially through books of the Bible while always ensuring that the point of the text is the point of the sermon.

Yet you do not need to look far into history to find that it was not always so and that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such preaching was rare.

I was intrigued by Bob Fyall’s explanation of how expository preaching became not only accepted but expected. …”

– Tim Challies writes of key figures who promoted expository preaching in England and Scotland. Let us never take such preaching for granted.

Related: Sydney Church History – David Cook.

Richard Johnson’s Address to the Inhabitants of New South Wales


This Australia Day, give thanks for the Rev. Richard Johnson, Chaplain to the First Fleet and first Chaplain to the Colony of New South Wales.

In 1792, Johnson wrote a tract designed to be distributed widely in the Colony. He gives his reasons for doing so:  Read more

Sydney Church History — repost

We first posted this link in August 2020. As CMS Summer School at Katoomba concludes for 2023, here are even more reasons to give thanks to God:

“In 1965 John Stott, the Rector of All Souls Langham Place in London, visited Sydney to preach on 2 Corinthians at the CMS Summer School.

‘I heard only one of those Bible studies but I was so taken by the way he stuck to the text and stayed with it. He could show you the logic of the argument in the Scriptures, prior to that I had tended to get an idea from the passage and to leap all over the Bible supporting the idea from other parts, so that the people I taught knew the ‘idea’ but not the passage from which it came or how that passage fitted into some overall argument from the Scriptures. It is to John Stott I owe what ability I have to expound the Bible.’

Those were the words of the esteemed Sydney evangelist and preacher, the late John Chapman…”

– David Cook writes to remind us of our history, and how God works. At The Expository Preaching Trust.

(David Cook has served in parish ministry, as the Principal of SMBC, and as the Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.)

Amazing Grace shown to sinners like us

Two hundred and fifty years ago today, the hymn Amazing Grace was first sung. The Rev. John Newton wrote it to accompany his sermon on 1 Chronicles 17:16-17 on New Year’s morning 1773.

At the time, Newton can have had no idea of what a blessing that hymn would be to millions.

There’s no better way to begin a new year than by remembering God’s grace shown to us in Christ, to bless God, and to tell others of him.

JohnNewton.org has resources linked from their front page.

Update: Marylynn Rouse, Director of the John Newton Project, has contributed this piece just published in The Times.

(What is the good news Newton knew? Glad you asked.)

Twenty-three years closer to Eternity

Sydney celebrated the beginning of 2000 by displaying on the Harbour Bridge the word Eternity in the iconic copperplate handwriting of Arthur Stace.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and in many ways the world has changed. But the basic and urgent need of men and women is the same – to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved.

In 2023, be encouraged to continue to trust Christ, and to live in the light of eternity. Romans 13:11.

Faith in the historical Jesus

“One of the great joys of 2022 has been The Rest is History podcast with Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook. I don’t think I have missed any of its 288 episodes! It is informative, entertaining, accurate, stimulating, challenging and never dull. It is also remarkably balanced and fair in its treatment of Christianity. Nonetheless I was a little apprehensive when I heard that they were doing a double edition on the historical Jesus.

I need not have feared. As usual it was interesting, informative and fair. There was much I could agree with but there were some things that were a little more challenging.

Tom and Dominic demonstrate the historicity of Jesus and offer some insightful and helpful historical background details. For example, no credible historian thinks that Jesus is a myth. They also acknowledge the enormous impact of Christ on human history. It is interesting to note that the name of Jesus is used every minute of every hour of every day on this planet! …”

– David Robertson writes at about the historicity of Jesus.

Freedom, Faith and Forgiveness — Os Guinness

In another ‘must see’ interview, John Anderson speaks with Os Guinness.

55 minutes, well worth your time.

Was Luke wrong about the census?

“One of the best-known elements in the Christmas story is the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, despite Mary’s advanced pregnancy, to participate in a census associated with a Roman official named Quirinius. At the centre of every nativity play is the resulting crisis, as Mary and Joseph hurry to Bethlehem but – unable to find accommodation – take up residence with the livestock. …

Given Luke’s professed aims, his careful use of external historical markers elsewhere, and his probable access to at least one of Jesus’s family members, the idea that this story is a fiction invites scepticism.”

A fascinating article by David Armitage, Academic Administrator at Tyndale House in Cambridge. (Maybe don’t put all of this into your Christmas morning sermon…)

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