Why is the Ascension the most important moment in the New Testament?

In a post republished for Ascension Day, Dr Ian Paul calls us to see the importance of Christ’s Ascension:

“We might miss this because of our theological tradition, but we often miss it because of our failure to read carefully.

In Peter’s Pentecost speech, the climax of what God has done in Jesus is not the resurrection, but Jesus being ‘exalted to the right hand of God’ (Acts 2.33).

In support of this, he cites Ps 110, the most cited psalm in the NT (just pause to take that in…), with its imagery of ‘the Lord’ (messiah) taking his seat at the right hand of ‘the Lord’ (Yahweh, the God of Israel).”

Read it all at Psephizo.

King’s Birthday Conference — Monday 12th June 2023

From Two Ways Ministries:

In May 2023, King Charles will be crowned and all will say ‘Long Live the King’.

But what does it mean? Do we want it? And why do we say it?

The topic of the King’s Birthday Conference this year will raise many issues in the Bible about kings and rulers, as well as kingdoms and our nation.

The conference will be a great time to hear Phillip and Peter Jensen teach the Bible clearly, meet with old friends and new, have a Q&A session and prayer time – all included in your registration for the in-person event at Moore Theological College, Sydney.

Archie Poulos (Head of Department of Ministry and Director of Centre for Ministry Development at Moore College) will be our chairperson for the event. …”

See all the details here.

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.

Key issues in scholarship on 1 Timothy 2:8–15

“In the last few decades, there’s been an enormous amount of scholarship on the meaning and significance of 1 Timothy 2:8–15. The sheer range of interpretations can be bewildering, leading us to throw our arms in the air and declare that it’s all too hard, so we should all just do what is right in our own eyes.

This video is designed to help us to regain some clarity and perspective on the passage by giving a broad overview of the main issues. …”

Lionel Windsor presented this seminar at the recent Priscilla & Aquila Centre conference at Moore College.

See also:

Claire Smith presented an elective on The household of God in 1 Timothy the next day at the inaugural P&A Research Conference, which is for women.

‘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.

Do you know death?

“Over the past three years, it’s been sobering as the world confronts its mortality. Covid’s death toll overwhelmed hospitals, filled the morgues, converted paddocks into mass graves. The words of Hamilton have felt prophetic: ‘Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinner and the saint, it takes, and it takes, and it takes…’

In the wake of Covid, we awoke to the reality of death. Suddenly, the false hopes of medicine, exercise, healthy diets to fix everything were exposed as fake, phonies, flimsy bandaids that offered only temporary solutions. And suddenly the desire for pretty things, faster internet, on-trend fashion, tastier coffee faded in comparison to the desire for life and love and longevity.

But death shouldn’t surprise us. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Jeanette Chin shares something of her story, our story, and the sure hope we have in Jesus.

Book launch – Peter Jensen’s The Life of Faith: An Introduction to Christian doctrine

Moore College has now uploaded the video of the launch of Peter Jensen’s new book, The Life of Faith: An Introduction to Christian doctrine.

Do watch the full video – Peter speaks about his purpose in the book, and explains his use in the lecture room of some of the books he brought along. Very encouraging.

Get your copy of The Life of Faith: An Introduction to Christian doctrine from Matthias Media.

The King?

“On that first Palm Sunday there were joy, acclamation, and tears. Yet, five days later the unthinkable occurred: Jesus was put to death by crucifixion. The contrast between the first Palm Sunday when crowds acclaimed Jesus as king and the day he was strung up on a cross, could not have been more stark. …”

– John Mason reflects on the twin themes of Palm Sunday and Good Friday – at The Anglican Connection.

Why it’s not enough to be a ‘Bible teaching Church’

“When my appointment to St Andrew’s Cathedral was announced about 18 months ago, a godly old Methodist minister wrote to me. He kindly thanked me for my ministry in Wollongong but added this note of caution: ‘Don’t let your boast be, “We are a Bible teaching church”. But rather, like St Paul… “We preach Christ, and him crucified”.’

Was my older Methodist colleague right? …”

Dean of Sydney Sandy Grant writes at SydneyAnglicans.net.

(Also published in the current Southern Cross magazine.)

Boldy and unapologetically trembling at God’s word – with Phil Colgan and Paul Grimmond

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“We are not called to be entertainers, but preachers.  How might we as individuals and as leaders of God’s people tremble before him? And are we going soft on this?

What is the connection between the text and the preacher? As a preacher, how long since you have been rebuked and repented? How has your world view has been challenged recently?

Paul Grimmond is Dean of Students at Sydney’s Moore Theological College.

Phil Coglan is senior pastor at Sydney’s St George North Anglican Church.”

Watch or listen here.

Moore College welcomes back Peter Jensen to launch his latest book on The Life of Faith

“On Tuesday night Matthias Media held a book launch for Peter Jensen’s new book The Life of Faith: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine at Moore College. The event was a resounding success, drawing an engaged and enthusiastic audience of over 80 people.

Peter’s book is the fruit of his more than thirty years of teaching Christian doctrine. Many graduates during Peter’s time as Principal of Moore College can testify to the brilliance of his teaching and the invaluable resource his lecture notes have been over the years. These are now, freshly edited, available more widely. …”

Full report and photos at the Moore College website.

Photo: Archbishop Kanishka Raffel, Carmelina Read and Archbishop Peter Jensen with the new book. Courtesy Moore College.

Complementarian Ministry in small group leadership – with Kara Hartley and Tony Payne

This week on The Pastor’s Heart:

“How do we work together in complementarian ministry as we lead small group bible studies/growth groups/community groups

Small groups are the heart beats of our churches, where we wrestle together on how God might have us live.

Most groups have a male and female leadership paired together in leadership. But how do those two people work together?…”

Kara Hartley and Tony Payne discuss with Dominic Steele.

See also last week’s discussion, where Dominic speaks with Bishop Robert Forsyth and Assoc Professor Neil Foster:

Supreme Court clears pastor of defamation.

The Life of Faith — by Peter Jensen

New from Matthias Media, The Life of Faith by Peter Jensen.

“An introductory-level systematic theology from one of the evangelical world’s most influential theologians, perfect for the keen layperson but with enough depth and stimulation to be relevant and interesting for full-time gospel workers.

The Life of Faith sits within the tradition of books like In Understanding Be Men by TC Hammond and Concise Theology by JI Packer, written for today’s audience.”

We’re sure there’ll be much more said about this book which will be launched at Moore College on Tuesday 14th March, but is available to order now.

See the Matthias Media website for all the details.

Also see the Recommendations, including this one from William Taylor, Rector of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in, London –

“This is a magnificent book. There is gold on every page. For those who benefitted from the blessing of being taught by Peter Jensen at Moore College it will be a must-have – if only to remind of privileges once enjoyed. Those who missed such riches now can play catch up. Knowledge of God is the beautiful theme – through the Scriptures, in salvation, as Lord and by faith.

This is no dry textbook. Every page drives towards practical knowledge of the living God. It will fill your mind, delight your soul and, above all, enrich your relationship with God.”

How can we bless what God detests?

“Arguments against the use of Leviticus 18 in any serious discussion in the church about same-sex relationships have become so commonplace as to feature in everything from Radio 4’s The News Quiz to Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing.

If we want to argue that homosexual sexual activity is wrong, the argument goes, we must stop eating prawn sandwiches, put people to death for working on the Sabbath, and get rid of any polycotton garments we might own.

And yet, even a quick glance at the chapter in question will show that none of those things are mentioned. In fact, the list of things prohibited in Leviticus 18 is rather more sinister: various forms of incest, child sacrifice and bestiality. I wonder whether President Bartlet would have been happy to make those things legal. I certainly doubt that Bishop Stephen Croft would want to support them, despite his willingness to use the argument of President Bartlet his recent publication Together in Love and Faith (p31-32).

I suggest that we need to take a clearer look at (i) the place of the Old Testament law in Christian ethics and (ii) the particular context of Leviticus 18, rather than rely on the tired lines of stand-up comedians and political satire. …”

– This was written in December 2022, after the Bishop of Oxford had released his booklet endorsing same-sex marriage. Church Society’s Associate Director, Dr. Ros Clarke addresses the big question behind the call for the church to bless same-sex relationships.

In her conclusion she asks,

“How can we tell people that something God has said will lead to death, will actually lead to life? How could we be so wicked as to lie about something so important? How could we hope to avoid God’s judgment on us for knowingly leading people astray?”

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.)

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