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All articles by Peter Barnes

Rev Dr Peter Barnes is a Presbyterian pastor who lives in Sydney, Australia. He has served on the mission field in Vanuatu, ministered on the Nambucca River in northern NSW, and is currently pastor at Revesby Presbyterian Church. He lectures in Church History at the Presbyterian Theological College in Burwood.

He is editor of the periodical Australian Presbyterian (AP), and has written several books.

Historical

July 2015
Articles > Historical

John Hus (1372–1415)

Protestants have generally looked to the Englishman, John Wyclif (1330?–1384), and the Bohemian, John Hus (1372–1415) (spellings vary, e.g. Wycliffe, Huss), as the two most significant reformers before the Reformation. Occasionally it has even been suggested that they are the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3. Hus has been owned by many who are hardly evangelical Protestants. In 1913 Benito Mussolini (or his ghost writer) wrote a biography of Jan Hus, supposedly to arouse ‘a hatred of every form of spiritual and secular tyranny’! Unitarians often use the flaming chalice of the Hussites as one of their symbols, despite Hus’ commitment to the triune God. It...

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Avoiding silly mistakes

Article

June 2012
Articles > Biblical/theological

Avoiding silly mistakes

Avoiding silly mistakes People who claim to believe the Bible can still manage to draw false deductions from it. Over the centuries there have been some strange efforts in this regard. Sometimes the result is almost amusing — except that it is God’s Word that is being mishandled. At times an argument which contains a fair measure of truth can lose much of its cogency because of the misapplication of Scripture.    Misapplication In telling us not to worry, Christ points out that we cannot add a cubit to our stature, which is usually taken as a proverbial saying meaning that we cannot add an hour...

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If the foundations are destroyed … What are the issues?

Article

August 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

If the foundations are destroyed … What are the issues?

If the foundations are destroyed … What are the issues? The modern world is dominated by shades of liberalism. According to Alasdair MacIntyre, there are ‘conservative liberals, liberal liberals and radical liberals’.1 For our purposes, we can say that there would seem to be three main ingredients in the present make-up of present day Western societies — humanists who oppose saying that anything sexual is wrong; Muslims with varying degrees of commitment to the rising tide of Islam; and churches that by and large have capitulated to the world.     In short, unfaithfulness on the part of the professing church has led to an increasingly...

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If the foundations are destroyed … The church’s responsibility

Article

July 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

If the foundations are destroyed … The church’s responsibility

If the foundations are destroyed … The church’s responsibility There is always a temptation for Christians to wring their hands, and declare that what is wrong with the modern world is Darwin, Marx and Freud, who are popularised today by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. Certainly, the West is a different place to what it has been. From his Nazi prison cell in the final years of World War II, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer perceived something of what had happened: ‘The west is becoming hostile towards Christ. This is the peculiar situation of our time, and it is genuine decay’.1     The West has...

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If the foundations are destroyed … Descent into barbarism

Article

June 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

If the foundations are destroyed … Descent into barbarism

If the foundations are destroyed … Descent into barbarism   Democracy cannot long survive without moral foundations. The second president of the United States, John Adams, is noted — and sometimes resented — for his observation in 1798 that ‘Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other’.   In 1807 he commented that ‘without national morality a Republican government cannot be maintained’.1 In the 1940s T. S. Eliot warned: ‘If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture...

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If the foundations are destroyed… Maintaining the myth

Article

May 2011
Articles

If the foundations are destroyed… Maintaining the myth

Continued from Living with an echo The Dome of the Rock, erected on the site of the Jerusalem temple, has inscriptions on it from the Qur’an that declare: ‘Praise be to the God who begets no son, and has no partner’; and ‘He is God, one, eternal. He does not beget, he is not begotten, and he has no peer’. Islam thus sees itself as the aggressive successor of both Judaism and Christianity. Muslim expansion and Catholic Crusades dominate European responses in the 7th-13th centuries. Then the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453, and in 1529, and again in 1683 were besieging Vienna. Yet, by...

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‘If the foundations are destroyed … ‘ ­- Living with an echo

Article

April 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

‘If the foundations are destroyed … ‘ ­- Living with an echo

Continued from Undermining the Foundations Cicero defined a people as an association brought together by a common sense of what is right and by shared utility. Augustine took this up and wrote: ‘A people is the association of a multitude of rational beings united by a common agreement on the objects of their love’ (Augustine, The City of God, XIX, 24). That is now lacking in Western society. With Christianity supposedly discredited and largely abandoned, alternative schemes of salvation were concocted. Utopian hopes have been embraced, but sweet dreams have not been matched by any translations into reality. As Hamlet lamented, ‘the time is out...

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