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July 2018
Articles > Scientific (including creation)

What is man (3): The image of God — why Man is unique

The third edited extract from Edgar Andrews’ new book What is Man? Adam, alien or ape? In a previous chapter we considered how humans are unique among animals. In this chapter we shall see why we are unique. Previously we assessed Man’s relationship with the biosphere; now we must explore his relationship with God. So why are human beings unique? I’ll give the short answer now and we’ll work it out in detail below. According to the Bible, we are unique because among created things only Man bears God’s image. Nothing in the inanimate cosmos was made in the image of God. Nothing in the...

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July 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Missionary support: Let’s talk about money

Let’s talk about missionary support —  or, rather, let’s not. I think we have a problem with vocabulary and the language of ‘support’ is not adequate to describe the relationship between a church and the people who it sets aside for ministry. Friends and families support missionaries; they provide finance, they pray, and they send encouraging letters and bars of chocolate. A sending church should have a much broader relationship than this and while they do support their mission partners, I would much rather think of a church having responsibility towards those they commission for mission work (missionaries also have responsibility to their churches —...

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July 2018
Articles > Historical

The Haldane brothers and the quest for evangelical unity (1)

The remarkable Scottish brothers Robert and James Haldane lived at a time of significant spiritual awakening in Protestant churches in Britain. Born in the 1760s and converted in the 1790s, they ministered at a time when Protestant evangelicalism was expanding rapidly in the wake of the Great Awakening of the mid-eighteenth century. Both were actively involved in many of the evangelical enterprises that emerged in this period and characterised it. By any standard, the brothers are remarkable for what they were able to achieve in the course of their full and active lives. They were born (Robert in 1764, James in 1768) into a wealthy...

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July 2018
Articles > Historical

150 years of beach missions

In 1850 Llandudno was laid out as a watering-place for holiday-makers. 18 years later, on 26 August, a small man with thick black whiskers was sauntering along the beach. Heavy bathing machines were either standing or being dragged towards the sea by cart horses, as ladies were taking their dip in flouncing bathing gowns. Gentlemen were requested not to walk on that part of the promenade. The children were from wealthy backgrounds and, for most of them, church attendance and family prayers would have been normal. Josiah Spiers watched the children fetching pebbles and seaweed, when he thought, ‘Why not encourage the children to make...

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July 2018
Articles > Guest column

GUEST COLUMN: Oiling the hinges of the lion’s cage

C. H. Spurgeon famously likened the Bible to a caged lion. To defend it, he said, all we need to do is let it out. But this requires us to open the cage door, and that is no trivial task. Last month (extending Spurgeon’s allegory) I suggested that to open the door involves three steps; (1) we must find the key; (2) we must oil the hinges; and (3) we must open the door wide enough for the lion to get out. In the first Guest Column we saw that the key is the Bible’s own doctrine of Scripture, namely, that ‘all scripture is breathed...

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July 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Sexuality: identifying Our identity

At present, two popular —  yet antithetical — positions about sexuality and identity exist within the orthodox Christian community. In their recent book Transforming Homosexuality, authors Denny Burk and Heath Lambert identify these as the traditional and neo-traditional positions. Both of these positions exclude from acceptable Christian behaviour sexual acts that are outside of scriptural marriage between one man and one woman. Also, both sides should acknowledge that even if they see the other side as wrong, they are Christian brothers aiming to work out a practical and biblical theology to minister to same-sex attracted individuals. So what is the major difference between these positions?...

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July 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

How to be a successful church planter

With all due respect to the various people who write about church planting in the UK, I thought that it was time that I did everyone a favour by writing a short guide on how to be a successful church planter. The first thing to do is to define what we mean by success. Now some people measure church success by the number of people who attend the various meetings — behinds on seats. Obviously, that is not a good criterion by which to measure success in Christian ministry. No, a successful church planter is someone who has been commissioned to write a book, a...

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July 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The Preacher and Politics: Seven Thoughts

This post is addressed to preachers and is about preachers. While many of the reflections may be useful for all Christians, I’m writing specifically with my fellow pastors in mind. [Note from the ET editors: this article was first published within an American context, but the principles are equally applicable here in the UK]. We live in a day where politics are everywhere, and everything is about politics. On one level this has always been true. Jesus is Lord, not Caesar. That’s a political statement. Every sermon touches on the polis, on the city of man, on our earthly citizenship. But that’s not what I have...

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July 2018
Articles > Youth Features

YOUTH FEATURE: Dores Youth Conference Spring 2018

The Dores Youth Conference was held on 24 March. It was well attended, with 19 young people from many parts of Scotland, including Lewis, Skye and Inverness. As we arrived in dribs and drabs, there were snacks available for the hungry travellers. Rev. Davide Ratti opened with a short time of worship. After worship, Rev. Kenneth Macdonald began the morning talk on the theme ‘Running the race’, taking his text from Hebrews 12:1-2, ‘let us run with patience the race that is set before us’. The two main points from the morning talk were Preparation and Patience. We learned that we must be ready to...

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July 2018
Articles > Historical

Patrick Hamilton: first Scottish martyr of the Reformation (2)

The trial of Patrick Hamilton for ‘heresy’ took place in St Andrews Cathedral in Scotland on 29 February 1528. For an eye-witness description of the occasion, we are indebted to one Alexander Alane (Alesius) (1500-1565). Alane had previously spoken out against Lutheran teaching and consequently been sent by Archbishop Beaton to convince Hamilton of his errors. But it ended up with Hamilton converting Alane! Alane wrote: ‘I was myself an eye-witness of the tragedy, and heard him answering for his life to the charges of heresy which were laid against him: and he was so far from disowning them, that he defended and established them by...

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July 2018
World Mission

Warning – dangerous weapons! – A globe and a wall map

William Carey loved maps! He sewed together a large globe made from coloured, left over scraps of shoe leather. He would use it when teaching children. It is said that the young people would sometimes be surprised at his geography lessons. When teaching about some far-off country he would burst out with an agonised, and often tearful, ‘but they are all pagans! All pagans!’ He had also drawn his own large wall map of the world. He would use this map to summarise his research about the different countries depicted. At a ministers’ meeting on one occasion there was some discussion about a small Indian...

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June 2018
Articles > Scientific (including creation)

What is man (2): What’s it like to be a bat?

The second of three edited extracts from Edgar Andrews’ new book What is Man? Adam, alien or ape? How would you like to live in an ultra-modern high-tech house? It has a basement; ground-floor living accommodation; a mezzanine entertainment-suite; and a top-floor bedroom level. On the ground floor, windows look out on the world around you. The same is true of the mezzanine level — except that there the window glass is coloured, affecting the way you see the wider outside world. The bedrooms have video wall displays that can be changed at the touch of a button. The basement contains things you seldom use,...

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