Southern Cross May-June 2022 now out

The May-June 2022 issue of Southern Cross (the magazine of the Diocese of Sydney) will be available in churches this week.

You can also download a PDF version here.

Southern Cross will now be published by Anglican Media Sydney every six weeks.

Lots of encouraging reading.

Sunday morning encouragement

After an exhausting week for General Synod members (and those watching the stream of reports), we thought it might be a good idea to post this. With thanks to Emu Music.

Bishop Julian Dobbs on when Doctrine goes Bad

“I’ve been this week at the conference of the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word (ACNA), led by Bishop Julian Dobbs.

The bishop gave his annual address on Friday morning, and … Lord have mercy, if only ten percent of bishops and pastors talked like this man, we would be living in a different country. I present to you here the entire text…

Imagine a bishop talking like this! Catholics and Orthodox can scarcely wrap our minds around it. I asked the diocesan communications director to send me the text, which was so extraordinary. Here it is…”

– At The American Conservative, US conservative writer Rod Dreher shares his gratitude at hearing an address by Bishop Julian Dobbs.

Bishop Dobbs has seen what happens when a denomination turns away from the Bible to embrace the surrounding culture.

From his address –

“One of the many reasons why I am so sensitive to wokeness and this pattern of capitulation within the Anglican Church is because I am, and many of you are, refugees from a church that lost her way when she began to succumb to appeals for compassion, tenderness and a capitulation to culture as the justification for dismantling the faith ‘once for all entrusted to the saints’.

I am a refugee from a church that deposed the late Dr. J.I. Packer from the ordained ministry. I am a refugee from a church that put our own assisting Bishop William Love on trial for believing the bible. And I am a refugee from a church which just three days ago reaffirmed its commitment to the murder of unborn babies and said, ‘As Episcopalians, we have a particular obligation to stand against Christians who seek to destroy our multicultural democracy and recast the United States as an idol to the cruel and distorted Christianity they advocate.’

Brothers and sisters, when doctrine goes bad, so to do hearts, minds, churches, nations and eternal destinies. That is why this matters. …”

Read it all. Or, better, watch it all. Most edifying.

Preacher, do you pray?

“Have you ever stood at the pulpit, about to declare, ‘This is what God says,’ about to preach the living word of God, to souls in desperate need of his voice, and realised you’re about to pray for the preaching and hearing of the sermon for the first time?

Have your prayers for the preaching of the word grown perfunctory and superficial? …

We know.  We believe.  But we need help in our unbelief.  We need belief that drives us to wrestle in prayer, sleeves rolled up, never pushing it aside because we are busy – for ourselves, for our hearers, for our preparation, for our preaching.”

Encouragement, and three helpful prayers, from Janet Riley at The Expository Preaching Trust.

How do we read the Bible differently as Followers of Jesus?

“The Christian attitude toward the Bible is part of Christian discipleship. To follow Jesus is to follow him in this too. Put simply, we want to have the same attitude toward the Bible as Jesus had.

We must not pit the authority of Jesus—or the power of the Holy Spirit, for that matter—against the teaching of Scripture. Jesus himself turned to the Scriptures as the final word: sufficiently clear, true, and powerful to make known the person and purposes of God, and to direct a faithful response to what God has done for us in his Son. ‘It is written,’ Jesus said. ‘What does the Scripture say?’ asked his faithful servant, the apostle Paul.…”

– Crossway has published this encouraging article by Moore College Principal Dr Mark Thompson.

It’s adapted from his just-released book, “The Doctrine of Scripture: An Introduction”. (It’s available to order from these booksellers.)

Evangelism and New Churches Conference

Here’s an encouraging conference to help train and equip you for effective gospel conversations.

Saturday 4th June 2022 at St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Ryde.

Details from Evangelism and New Churches.

The latest “TOP CENTRE” from the Northern Territory

The Diocese of the Northern Territory has published the first Top Centre magazine for 2021.

It includes news of several new faces in the diocese.

Bishop Greg Anderson explains why they produce Top Centre:

“This is the fourth edition of Top Centre with Anne Lim as our editor. It seems a good time to say something about Top Centre and its place in the Diocese of the NT, to draw attention to why we commit time, energy and money to producing it, and what value it has. …

Having a diocesan magazine reminds me of the importance of stories. Our Christian faith is based on a story – real, not made-up – comprising events that unfold the work of God in rescuing the world he made and loves, and that reaches its high point in the arrival, death and resurrection of Jesus. At the heart of the work of the diocese is sharing about this rescuing work that the Bible’s narrative recounts.”

– Read it all on page 3 of this edition.

The latest Armidale “Link”

Admittedly we’re a bit late in posting this link to The Link, the magazine of the Diocese of Armidale.

The March 2022 issue is now up on their website.

Fuel for your prayers.

North West Network March 2022

The latest issue of North West Network, the newsletter of the Diocese of Northwest Australia, is now available.

Download your copy and use it as fuel for your prayers for the churches and people of the North West.

Scripture Alone — David Cook

Even if you haven’t, David Cook has seen the preaching and the damage done –

“Coming from a Presbyterian background I had personally experienced the destructive effect of modernism or liberalism; preaching was hesitant, indefinite, and unclear. There certainly was no sense of authority. All one could say, after hearing a sermon, was that the minister believed in some sort of divine being!”

He writes at The Expository Preaching Trust:

Attending Bible College in the 1960s involved a two-year course, each year having three terms.

This meant that six areas of Systematic Theology were covered, the first being the foundational Doctrine of Revelation—what we believe about the Bible.

Entering Moore College in 1973 meant attending the transformational lectures of DB Knox as he led us through TC Hammond’s, ‘In Understanding Be Men’, the first chapter of which is entitled, ‘Final Authority in Matters of Faith’.

All other doctrines flow from a right understanding of what we believe the Bible is, its source, its nature and its purpose.

Coming from a Presbyterian background I had personally experienced the destructive effect of modernism or liberalism; preaching was hesitant, indefinite, and unclear. There certainly was no sense of authority. All one could say, after hearing a sermon, was that the minister believed in some sort of divine being!

The available Presbyterian Theological Schools, with a non-commitment to the inspiration of Scripture, its supremacy, authority and sufficiency, had produced a generation of preachers with nothing to say, apart from vague, theistic, positive psychology.

When Paul urges Timothy in 2 Timothy 3 to understand the times, avoid the alternatives and preach the word, all these imperatives are based on a firm conviction about Scripture’s divine source (2 Timothy 3:16).

Abandon the foundation of what God tells us about Scripture and the pulpit, and all true pastoral ministry will be lost!

Fifty years on and we need this reminder because fewer of us have experienced those empty, powerless days.

Scripture’s inspiration means that its authority is supreme, over church and culture.

Scripture’s inspiration means that it is sufficient, we need not, and should not look for any other special word from God, that extra word is at best a hunch.

Scripture is God’s word, not yours or mine, therefore we have no right to add to it or subtract from it.

Scripture is the instrument God uses to bring the lost to life and to bring the believer to maturity (Isaiah 55:11; Acts 12:24; 19:20; 20:32; 1Cor 1:18;1:21; 15:2; Eph 1:13;  2Timothy 3:15-16).

As disciples of the Lord Jesus, we share his conviction as to the authority and centrality of Scripture (Mark 12:10; John 10:35).

Thus all Christian leaders must be awake to what our recent history has taught us, and actively resist any influence to water down the central and supreme authority of Holy Scripture.

As our old friend John Chapman used to say, ‘The authority is in the text, brother. Preach the text’.

‘It is at the very root of the Evangelical position that the supremacy of Holy Scripture be held in its fullest sense… no words can too strongly express the importance of securing, beyond doubt, the unsuperseded authority of the Sacred Scriptures in all religious discussions whether of doctrine or practice’. (TC Hammond, ‘In Understanding be Men’, p.39).

First published at The Expository Preaching Trust.

Single Minded 2022

The Single Minded Conference for 2022 is coming up soon –

“We live in a world which says our bodies exist for pleasure and self-expression, and that this must be pursued at all costs. But the Bible tells us that our bodies have been made for holiness and self-control, and that rejecting this comes at great cost.

Such conflicting messages can leave us feeling that the world says nothing but “Yes!” to our bodies, while God says nothing but “No!”.

But is that true? Is ‘No’ really all that God has to say about our bodies?

Join us for Single Minded 2022 as Sam Allberry helps us explore what it means for us to have been created with bodies, what it looks like to have a body that belongs to the Lord in a world of confusion, and how God’s word helps us to live this out in our everyday lives.”

Learn more, and Register, at the link.

Shepherds of Assurance

“How did the Puritan pastors use their doctrine of personal assurance of salvation to assist believers in living the Christian life?

And what lessons can we learn today from their pastoral specialization in the vast field of experiential Christianity connected with the assurance of salvation?…”

– At Desiring God, Joel Beeke looks at the Puritans and outlines how their examples are a great encouragement to pastors in understanding their roles today. (link via Tim Challies.)

Three Encouragements for Pastors Pursuing Wandering Sheep

“One of the unintended consequences of the pandemic has been the disintegrating weekly habit of attending the Sunday gathering. What should a pastor do when faced with wandering sheep, those who have left the safe pastures of the local church and found themselves in dangerous territory away from the herd?

Let me encourage you, pastor, to consider three things as you seek out wandering sheep. …”

– At 9Marks, Nick Gardner has some encouragement in these changing times.

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