Interrogating identity: From philosophical theories to Biblical wisdom – with Chris Watkin

From The Pastor’s Heart –

“We traverse the historical landscape of identity, starting from Descartes’ cogito ergo sum or ‘I think, therefore I am,’ to the current age where identity has become a commodity.

Chris Watkin, the award-winning author of Biblical Critical Theory, helps us understand possessive individualism, starting with John Locke, expressive individualism, and how both terms help us grapple with modern identity formation.

Plus, we probe into the delicate balance between dignity and humility in the context of human identity.”

Watch or listen here.

Related:

Andrew Moody reviewers Biblical Critical Theory at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

The book is available from Christian booksellers, including The Wandering Bookseller.

The Reality of Evil in an Age of Confusion: Moral Clarity in the Wake of Barbarity

In today’s episode (Wednesday 11 October 2023) of The Briefing, Albert Mohler speaks about the attacks in Israel and the reality of evil.

He asks, “what (or who) can overcome evil on this scale?”.

And what does our acknowledgement of evil say about reality?

Related:

Anglican pastor chased by mob after waving Israeli flag outside church – 3AW.

‘Your truth’ and the true story: How the gospel of Christ transforms our decision-making

“For many people in our world, what matters most is not some ‘objective’ truth that can be found in history and facts. Instead, what matters most is our own internal emotional experience. This is what the world call  ‘your truth’. That is why emotional distress is now considered one of the greatest evils in our world, to be avoided at all costs. This is a crucial reason why personal stories of suffering are so powerful (and saleable). Indeed, personal stories of suffering are increasingly becoming one of the most effective ways to sway public opinion and to affect policy change. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Lionel Windsor argues we need a better understanding of suffering – and it is found in the gospel.

Gravity Waves and Singing Stars

“Back in June, scientists announced the discovery that the universe is vibrating with low frequency gravity waves. Music analogies proliferated. It was a ‘cosmic bass note’, a ‘hum’, a ‘chorus’, the ‘background sound of the universe’. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Andrew Moody notes the temporary re-enchantment brought by modern astronomy.

Image: James Webb Space Telescope.

Catechising – A short introduction

“Believe me, Sir, the Church of God will never preserve itself without a Catechism, for it is like the seed to keep good grain from dying out and causing it to multiply from age to age.”

“So wrote the Genevan reformer John Calvin to Lord Protector Somerset during the reign of King Edward VI in 1548. He wanted to stress the importance of instructing the youth so that gospel ministry would go from strength to strength during the English Reformation. In other words, it was about children’s and youth ministry. In particular, it was the importance of catechising.

But what exactly is catechising? In short, it is verbal instruction (institutio viva voce). In the context of Christian ministry, it is a way of teaching the gospel to the next generation of God’s people to know, love, and serve the Lord. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Mark Earngey reminds us why the Reformers thought catechesis was so important and challenges us to teach our children (and ourselves) well.

The power and pain of perseverance — CCL event

On 18 October 2023, Moore College Principal Dr Mark Thompson is speaking on “The power and pain of perseverance” at a Centre for Christian Living event.

Watch the 55 second promo video, and register here (it’s free!).

US Survey shows mainline denomination church members are much more conservative than their clergy

In today’s The Briefing podcast, Albert Mohler discusses a survey which shows that in US mainline denominations, the clergy are much more liberal than their congregations.

Yes, this is an American context, but it’s a good reminder as to why Biblical theological education is vital.

The Briefing, Thursday 28 September 2023.

The Gospel Coalition announces The Carson Center for Theological Renewal

At The Gospel Coalition, Collin Hansen writes,

“On behalf of The Gospel Coalition, I’m pleased to announce the launch of a major new initiative: The Carson Center for Theological Renewal.

Around the world today, biblical illiteracy inhibits spiritual depth—not just in the shrinking church of the West but even in the growing churches of the South and East. But there’s no spiritual renewal without returning to Scripture. And while the internet offers unprecedented access to the Bible, many of the most widely used resources for studying God’s Word are unhelpful at best or heretical at worst.

That’s why TGC has started The Carson Center for Theological Renewal, named in honor of TGC cofounder Don Carson. …”

Read all about the plans here.

The train is leaving the station

In his The Briefing for Wednesday September 20, 2023, Dr Albert Mohler examines the trajectory of a well-known US pastor and his church –

When a Conference is More Than a Conference: The Trajectory of Andy Stanley and the “Unconditional” Conference

and in his remarks, he gives some background to, and reads from, his current article in World MagazineThe train is leaving the station:

Andy Stanley, one of the most influential pastors in the United States, has been moving in this direction for years, often by suggestion and assertion but clouded by confusion and the deliberate avoidance of clarity. Back in 2018, he called for the church to be “unhitched” from the Old Testament, arguing that the Old Testament should not be understood as the “go-to source regarding any behavior in the church.” There goes “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). But, in truth, there goes the entire Old Testament. …

ACR Journal for Synod 2023

A special issue of ACR Journal – from The Australian Church Record – is out in time for Sydney Synod.

Download your copy from the Church Record’s website.

2023 ACL Synod Dinner Address — Archdeacon Simon Flinders on The Importance of the Local Church

Archdeacon Simon Flinders gave the address at tonight’s ACL Synod Dinner in Sydney.

His topic? The Importance of the Local Church.

Take the time to listen to his most encouraging address:

 

or download the audio by right-clicking here.

The transcript is available as a PDF file.

This would be great to share with members of your church.

Related:

The Robinson-Knox view of Church — Interview with Chase Kuhn.

Scams… and how to avoid the worst sort

“Have you ever received an SMS telling you to urgently pay a toll?

An email informing you of an incredible investment opportunity?

An unsolicited telephone call apparently from a reputable organisation asking for your personal details?

Or a Facebook friend request from someone whose name you don’t know and whose somewhat provocative profile photo you suspect is probably not a photo of them at all?

If so, you have almost definitely been the target of a scam. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition of Australia, Stephen Liggins wants Christians to avoid the most dangerous scams of all.

Preaching the Doctrine of the Church

“In April 1979 I attended the Pastors’ Conference held at St Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney, which coincided with the Billy Graham Crusade being held at Randwick racecourse at that time.

One of the speakers was John Stott, and I remember him saying that if he were going into ministry at that time he would spend the first year preaching on the doctrine of the church.

Much has changed since, but the vital relevance of that doctrine has become more apparent. Post Covid, our people have become more used to staying away from the Sunday gathering and following church online, either our services or someone else’s…”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook argues that understanding the nature of the Church is vital  – and, very helpfully, he suggests a series you could use or adapt.

Photo: David Cook preaching to a live congregation at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in London, August 2022.

Songs for Today – Doubt

“One of the things I love about the Bible is its earthy realism. It understands the world we live in – the good and the bad, the grief and the joys. It also understands how we feel about life’s injustices especially when we see people who mock the notion of God, enjoying success. Nothing ever seems to go wrong for them.

And as well as the unfairness we often feel, there are the realities of droughts and famines, floods and fires, earthquakes and ruthless autocratic rulers. Why doesn’t God step in? It seems so out of character, if he is all-powerful and truly good. …”

– In his latest Word on Wednesday reflection at the Anglican Connection, John Mason looks at Doubt.

Turning Biblical Convictions into Practical Expectations

“At the end of 2021, Suellen Milham was feeling unsettled. As the Women’s Ministry Worker at Orange Evangelical Church (OEC), there was a lot of change happening in her ministry space. The Covid years had meant she felt some disconnection with the women; there had been virtually no opportunities over the previous couple of years for large gatherings in the women’s ministry context; the church was just about to transition into their new building; and there were 3 new ministers on the staff team.

One of the tools that Suellen devised to tackle this unease was to hold a number of Women’s Focus Groups – just to see where the women were at, spiritually, and to pull women together after this period of disconnection. …”

– At Equal But Different, Lesley Ramsay shares a story of one church’s journey towards clarity.

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