Five Foundations that Lead to Compromise on Sexual Ethics

“Even if all roads eventually lead to the sexual-ethics-line-in-the-sand, they don’t all originate in the same place. It’s helpful to consider some of the different, subtle shapes Christianity can take that at first might seem benign – but will later set up a Christian for compromise.

From what I’ve observed, most deconstructing Christians who shift on sexual ethics come from a faith background that has one (or more) of these precarious foundations…”

– Brett McCracken at The Gospel Coalition seeks to help Christians stand against the tide.

What should we say about vaccines + vaccination passports for church?

At The Pastor’s Heart, Dominic Steele speaks with Phillip Jensen, Ray Galea and John McLean on what pastors should say about vaccination. An helpful discussion with plenty of food for thought.

Faith

“It must be heart-breaking for someone with a life-threatening condition to know about a new treatment but have no access to it.  Family and friends will campaign and fundraise.  Every effort will be made by them because they know that there is a solution to the problem, and that they just need to get hold of it somehow.

For Christians, salvation is like that …”

– George Crowder at Church Society begins a series of posts on the Christian essentials of faith, hope and love.

9Marks Journal July 2021 — The Ordinary Means of Grace — Or, Don’t Do Weird Stuff

“For several years now, erstwhile 9Marks editor and now full-time pastor Sam Emadi, with a wink, has summarized our ministry, “Yeah, I just tell people, 9Marks exists to tell pastors not to do weird stuff. Just do what’s in the Bible.”

Not a bad summary, that.

If you’ve not heard the term “ordinary means of grace” before, Sam has captured what many pastors today need to hear: don’t do weird stuff in your church. Don’t take your growth cues from a marketing team. Don’t lead church services that would make P. T. Barnum or J. J. Abrams proud.

Don’t, in short, think you can offer something extraordinary based on your creativity or ingenuity, or that you can manufacture the extraordinary through reverse-engineering the results you want.

The Spirit has already revealed everything we need for gathering and growing churches. And, yes, it’s pretty ordinary stuff. …”

– Jonathan Leeman at 9Marks introduces the latest 9Marks Journal. Very encouraging.

‘Caught Up in God’s Epic…’

“Everyone loves a story. Stories grab our attention and draw us in. Some stories don’t satisfy – perhaps because there’s no conclusion, or injustice and evil succeed. Great epics, such as Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings stir our imagination and touch our inner longings for a better world. We don’t want epics like this to end: we become involved with the characters and the plot. But they do end, and we have to come back to earth.

Significantly, in a world that is crying out for identity, there’s a very real interest in the ‘story’ of family forebears, or culture.

The Bible has been described as the greatest story ever told. But it is an epic with a difference – it is set in the context of real events that point to a future. …”

– At The Anglican Connection, John Mason is continuing to share his challenging and encouraging “Word on Wednesday” meditations. He’s currently writing on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.

J I Packer on the Death of Death

Today marks one year since J. I Packer was called home to be with Christ.

It’s very appropriate that the Gospel Coalition has republished his Introductory Essay for John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

“There is no doubt that Evangelicalism today is in a state of perplexity and unsettlement.

In such matters as the practice of evangelism, the teaching of holiness, the building up of local church life, the pastor’s dealing with souls and the exercise of discipline, there is evidence of widespread dissatisfaction with things as they are and of equally widespread uncertainty as to the road ahead.

This is a complex phenomenon, to which many factors have contributed; but, if we go to the root of the matter, we shall find that these perplexities are all ultimately due to our having lost our grip on the biblical gospel. …”

Read it all here.

Image: Regent College, Vancouver.

Application

“Applying the truth of the ‘there and then’ of the Bible to the ‘here and now’ of life today, is a challenge for every preacher. No part of preparation is easy but I think most preachers find application and illustration especially challenging.

David Veerman, the editor of The Life Application Bible, says this is partly due to a lack of training, and to the fact that application is hard work. However we must not make the mistake of leaving it to our listener, thinking that the listener will make the connection between then and now. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook writes to help preachers.

J. I. Packer’s Final Book

“J. I. Packer, who went to be with his Triune covenant Lord on July 21, 2020, was never able to see this final book in print. But The Heritage of Anglican Theology was near and dear to his heart, the one book he wanted to give his last years to. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor introduces J. I. Packer’s last book.

Image: Regent College, Vancouver.

The Importance of Complementarianism

“I was asked recently about the role of women at my church. This is a topic I love to speak about and I am always excited to list off the many ways that women serve.

As an example, last Sunday we had women leading music, praying, reading the Bible, teaching kids’ church, and leading an easy English Bible study. Outside of Sunday ministry women serve as parish councillors, wardens, small group leaders and, in many other ways.

While I am thankful for each of the ways women serve, I made a mistake by answering the question about the role of women when I answered it in this way. …”

ACL Council member Rev. Kate Haggar writes at The Australian Church Record.

Review: Priscilla and Aquila Conference, 2021

“The Priscilla and Aquila Conference at Moore College on February 1st this year was another in that long line of what we have to come know as… pandemic conferences.  Much reduced physical attendance, large numbers of online attendees, a virtual speaker broadcasting from another state. Yet it proved to be first rate. If I was writing this for millennials, I’d say it was a ‘cracker of a conference’!

Gary and Fiona Miller joined us from Queensland Theological College (complete with backdrop of the Brisbane CBD) for the 2 plenary Bible talks on ‘Genesis Women: Why the patriarchal narratives aren’t patriarchal’. …”

– At Equal But Different, Lesley Ramsay commends the talks given at this year’s P&A Conference.

Queen’s Birthday Conference 2021

“Our society has removed all reference to, or analysis of, ‘evil’ and yet wants to engage in moral discourse! How can Christians engage with our world, when our message is all about the evil within the human heart and God’s removal of it.

The Queen’s Birthday Conference 2021 gives Christians an opportunity to think through The Removal of Evil.

The conference is a great time to hear Phillip Jensen teach God’s Word clearly, meet together and discuss the implications with each other during refreshments, pray and ask questions in the Q&A session – all of this is included in your registration for the In-person event at St Andrew’s Cathedral. (Update: In-person registration is no longer available, but you can register to watch online!)

Our MC for the afternoon is Simon Gillham, Vice Principal and Head of Department of Mission at Moore Theological College.

You can register for the Online event …”

– Details and register at phillipjensen.com/qbc2021.

The Importance of Fellowship

“In Sydney, our evangelical theology is one where we treasure the local parish and congregation. This is an absolutely right thing to do at a scriptural level but we need to recognise that there is also a bigger fellowship that occurs between like-minded people.

So, one of the things that the diocese has been, really since Bishop Barker, is a movement. That is, we are not just a group of people, nor just as a denomination, nor just people who share a common ordination, but we have been a movement of Anglican evangelicals.

Indeed, this movement is about wanting to see the glory of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. That is really what we are about as a diocese, and it has been the beating heart for a long time. …”

– In this piece which was first published in the latest ACR Journal, Autumn 2021, Archie Poulos has a challenge for parishes great and small.

The Importance of the Gospel

“Where would you be without the gospel? I shudder to think of where my life would have headed without it, and it horrifies me to hypothesise about a future without it.

Wonderfully, I am not weighed down by such thoughts. For I love to remember when I came under the sound of the gospel, and I am enthusiastic and excited (sometimes nervously!) at the prospect of ministering the gospel wheresoever the Lord takes me, and howsoever long the Lord grants me. The gospel matters to me. And I strongly suspect the gospel matters to you, in much the same way. …”

This piece by Dr Mark Earngey at Moore College was first published in the latest ACR Journal, Autumn 2021.

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