“The Surprising Genius of Jesus” — Peter Williams

Tyndale House Principal Peter Williams gives three lectures at the Southern Baptist Seminary.

The title for his talks, “The Surprising Genius of Jesus“, is drawn from his forthcoming book.

Fascinating and enlightening. Well worth setting aside the time to watch and listen.

How we got the Bible: The story of Scripture

“Countless lives have been changed by the preaching of the word of God. Since human beings tend to look at the outside and not at the inside, we often attribute the power of this transformative teaching to the preacher. We all know on reflection, though, that the real power does not rest in humans but in God’s word itself.

Reading Scripture is the most immediate exposure to the word of God. In practice, this means picking up a physical book and opening it to a specific page, or opening up an app on our phones and scrolling to a specific location. In either case, we trust that the word has not been corrupted and that the message of the Bible we hold in our hands was not changed or lost altogether. We believe that we are reading the actual words that God spoke.

In what follows, we will think about what has gone before that moment when we open Scripture and read it. What happened to the Bible between the earliest times and the twenty-first century? How did God bring his word to us? The reverse of this question—how he brought us to his word—is part of our individual testimony. But the way in which God brought about the Bible is the story of his providence in history, played out over thousands of years. And by understanding what God had done over the ages, we will see that it is reasonable and justified to trust that the Bible in our hands is a translation of the trustworthy words of Scripture. We could talk about ten reasons why to trust the Bible. But it may be more effective if we understand the larger narrative of the history of the Bible. …”

– Dirk Jongkind, Vice Principal at Tyndale House in Cambridge, takes a long look at the story of how the Bible came to us. Very helpful and worth sharing.

Image: A 3rd Century fragment from Egypt, of Revelation chapter 1, in the Chester Beatty collection, Dublin. Photo with thanks to Kevin Murray.

You can’t be yourself by yourself

“Men and women cannot be fully themselves without one another.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my alone time. I am “me” when I’m by myself. But Genesis 1:27 complicates my idea of myself by saying that God created humankind in his image, as male and female. Somehow, by myself I’m not enough. It takes both men and women to fully express the divine image.

This turns out to be a hugely important truth not just for my self-understanding, but for our relating as men and women in the church (note: this is not an article about marriage!) The foundational text comes in Genesis 2…”

Here’s a very helpful an thought-provoking article by Dr Andrew Shead at Moore College.

At SydneyAnglicans.net and also in the June-July 2023 edition of Southern Cross magazine.

The Gender Revolution – with Patricia & Kamal Weerakoon and Rob Smith

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“What is meant by each of the terms biological sex, gendered behaviours or expressions, sexual orientation and gendered identity? How do the various terms relate?

We talk to former director of Sydney University’s  Graduate Program in Sexual Heath, Dr Patricia Weerakoon, Rob Smith, who is head of doctrine at Sydney Missionary and Bible College and Rev Kamal Weerakoon, who has done masters studies in this area.

Rob, Patricia and Kamal  are encouraging us to treat with love and compassion those with gender dysphoria or gender incongruence. …”

Watch or listen here.

King’s Birthday Conference 2023 Talks now available

The first King’s Birthday Conference from Two Ways Ministries was held at Moore College on 12th June.

Peter Jensen spoke on True Government and  Philip Jensen spoke on Long Live the King?

Watch or listen to the whole conference via this link.

The Peace-Maker

Alienation is a word often used to describe our human plight. Everywhere relationships are broken – between or within nations, in the workplace, between friends and within families. The phrase ‘the power of love’ or ‘love is everything’ is said to be the cure-all for brokenness and division. But what do these expressions really mean? What does real love look like?

Throughout the Bible, especially as it relates to God and his relationship with us, we find a radically different way that love is understood.…”

– At the Anglican Connection, John Mason doesn’t want us to forget the wonder of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God’s goodness in 1 Timothy

Paul’s first letter to Timothy is full of goodness. Terms for ‘good’ appear 25 times in the letter.

That should lead us to expect that 1 Timothy would bring us delight, joy, peace, and satisfaction in God’s goodness. But when we come to read or teach this letter, there’s often a measure of anxious apprehension. That’s because to our modern ears, some of the things Paul writes in 1 Timothy, especially about human relationships, sound naïve, harsh, or just plain bad.

In this short article, I want to help us to grasp the fundamental goodness of 1 Timothy. I want to help us to better know and share that delight, joy, peace, and satisfaction in God’s word and his world that resounds throughout the letter. Seeing this goodness in 1 Timothy can be chal­lenging, as we grapple with our own and our modern world’s assumptions about what is truly good. But I’m convinced it’s worth the challenge. …”

Here’s some great encouragement to read 1 Timothy – from Lionel Windsor at The Australian Church Record.

Walking Together?

“There has been much talk in the church of ‘walking together’ despite differences.

Obviously on some issues and in some ways that is good. We don’t want a new church every time we disagree about the colour of the carpet. Churches can endlessly fracture over secondary matters, as the proliferation of denominations and congregations shows. But we must ask: walking together despite what differences? Walking in what direction? In what manner? What is the basis, purpose and mode of our unity, of our walking together? …”

Marc Lloyd looks at what the Bible says about ‘walking together’ – at Church Society’s website. (Emphasis added.)

A possibly related photo: The Bishop of London speaks at the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2023.

Three lies of Pride Month

“From a Biblical perspective, there are remarkable parallels between Pride Month and idol worship under King Nebuchadnezzar II. Just as the Babylonians were mandated to worship the golden image, LGBT activists demand that we pledge allegiance to the rainbow flag. While the stakes aren’t as high as they were under Nebuchadnezzar, there are real risks involved in refusing to bow the knee.

If my suspicion is correct, most Australians are not particularly concerned about Pride Month. In fact, many are beginning to feel uncomfortable with how politicised and intolerant the LGBT movement has become. In response, many people have flocked to culture warriors like Jordan Peterson for answers.

While figures like Peterson are insightful and worth listening to, their answers are ultimately psychological rather than spiritual. They don’t acknowledge that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only truth that sets people free. It is only the grace of God in the person and work of Jesus that gives answers and hope to a world lost in sexual confusion.

What follows are three of the lies paraded during Pride Month, along with the gospel answers Jesus provides. …”

A very helpful article by James Jeffery in AP, the National Journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

The law of the LORD is perfect

“During the lead up to the same-sex mar­riage plebiscite in 2017, I remember being surprised at the number of Christian peo­ple in my own circles who could confidently say ‘I know what the Bible teaches about homosexuality’, whilst at the same time having no idea why that teaching is right and good, other than for the bare fact that God says it is.

I have even heard people make apologies on behalf of the Apostle Paul’s teaching on mar­riage, as if to say, ‘I’m sorry he says what he says, but because he does, I’m afraid that’s the way it is.’ …”

– Andrew Leslie helps us see why we can cling to God’s Word even when our culture demands we change. At The Australian Church Record.

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.

Why is sexuality such a big deal?

“Why is the debate on sexuality and marriage in the Church of England (and other churches) such a big deal? Why can’t we just agree to disagree—to get on together and learn to live with difference?

Two groups regularly say that to me.

The first is those who want change in the Church’s teaching. Why are evangelicals making such a fuss? they ask. The Church has altered its practice on marriage in various ways in the past? Why can’t we make this adjustment now?

But the other group are those who are busy getting on with the business of planting new churches, growing current ones, and reaching young people. They are often younger, and have not been engaged so much with the ‘politics’ of the Church (lucky them!). Why can’t we just get on with the business of ministry? Will this issue really make much difference? After all, we have continued with gospel ministry in the past when the leadership has believed all sorts of questionable things—so why is this different?

An immediate response to both groups might be to say – you are right, it is not such a big deal. We are not talking about central Christian doctrines like the incarnation, salvation, or the Trinity. But here’s an interesting test case …”

– At Psephizo, Ian Paul lays out why sexuality is such a big deal, and a huge debate for the Church of England.

The Jewel and the Sun: Justification and Union with Christ according to the Reformers

“Jewellery and sunshine. These are two powerful images used by the Reformers to describe our relationship with God by his grace. The reality they illustrate is still vital for us to remember today.

One key issue the Reformers were wrestling with was understanding and explaining justification by faith. …”

– Lionel Windsor writes in the Moore Matters for Winter 2023.

Read the article on the College website – or (better still) read the complete issue online – or pick up a printed copy at church.

Created male and female — ACR Journal

Gav Perkins writes in the latest ACR Journal (Easter 2023 – PDF) – and now featured on the ACR website –

“It is foundational to what we know of God, as the one who speaks his pow­erful word to bring all things into be­ing, and who then orders, arranges, and blesses.

It is foundational also to what we know of ourselves, as uniquely cre­ated in the image of God, and commis­sioned to rule and subdue.

We learn here what it means to live and work in God’s creation and relate to the rest of that creation, leading to a genuine Christian – rather than pagan – envi­ronmentalism.

We also learn what it means to have a genuine Christian – rather than pagan – understanding of gender and sexuality. These chapters are simultaneously timeless and pro­foundly pertinent within our culture.

In Genesis 1 and 2 we see that our gender, male or female, is a central part of who we are, as created by God. …”

Read here. Very timely.

Concupiscence and Sexual Same Sex Attraction? – The Pastor’s Heart

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“What is the relationship between concupiscence and sexual same sex attraction?

One of the most contentious issues facing the Christian Church at this moment is how can Christians think and speak truthfully, clearly and compassionately about desire and temptation in a way that does not condone or encourage sin? …”

– Rob Smith is this week’s guest with Dominic Steele. Watch or listen here.

If “Concupiscence” is a new idea (or you’re feeling a bit rusty on the idea) this will be especially helpful.

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