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All articles in category Comment

November 2017
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The Royal Speech

More than eight million people in the UK watched the Queen’s message on Christmas day last year. Millions more throughout the Commonwealth saw her, some in different time zones many hours before our 3 o’clock slot. Always eagerly anticipated, the Queen’s message has a certain predictability about it. She reflects on the world scene, shares some family moments and commends those who sacrificially serve. She anchors all she says in the first Christmas, when God came into our world in the person of Jesus, born in Bethlehem and destined to die to ‘save his people from their sins’. 1939 Christmas message The tradition of our...

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October 2017
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Reformation 500

It is exactly 500 years since 31 October 1517, the day when Martin Luther placarded 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. This seemingly obscure event was arguably the flame that lit the touchpaper and the beginning of the sixteenth century Reformation. Luther’s theses went viral in Germany and Switzerland. There followed a storm of protest against the mediaeval Catholic church as their contents were digested. A year later Luther was cited in Rome for heresy. What was the furore all about? And are its issues still relevant today? In a word, yes, the issues are still absolutely vital. At the...

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August 2017
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Fear and persecution

One of the signs of the end times, as predicted in Scripture, is the rise of fear within human hearts and the persecution of the Lord’s people. This is nothing new. We cannot overstate the warning given to the early New Testament church of such tribulation and suffering. Take the words of our Saviour: ‘But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time … with persecutions…’ Or the comfort given by the apostle Peter to the early church, ‘If ye suffer for righteousness sake … be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled’ (Mark 10:30; 1 Peter 3:14). Revelation We cannot only add...

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July 2017
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Bad news or good news?

Sometimes the news confronting evangelicals seems particularly bad, even appalling. Regular readers may have felt that way when reading, in last month’s Evangelical Times, the article entitled ‘Shocking disclosures for Christian churches’ (p.11). This article named names and reported on some serious sins and failings committed by previously respected Christians in leadership roles. In part, the motive for publishing it was a commitment to ET’s own ‘code of conduct’ (https://www.evangelical-times.org/about-et/code-of-conduct). This code aims, among other things, to ‘resist threats, inducements or bias to influence, distort or suppress information’ (the prevalent temptation to sweep, in some unethical way, the serious sins of evangelicals under the carpet...

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June 2017
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Make it simpler?

Sometimes people urge preachers to make their preaching and Bible teaching simpler. Those who ask for this simplicity mean well. They think that, because our age is visually orientated and biblically illiterate, it will not readily grasp intricate biblical ideas and themes. They rightly want the gospel to be accessible. But is their analysis correct? While there is always a market for simple and undemanding ideas of all sorts, it is surely undeniable that most people are far more insightful about issues than they are given credit for? The complexities of political argument; the twisted plots of crime thrillers; the tangled affairs of celebrities filling...

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May 2017
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Scripture truth harmonises

Scripture truth hangs together; displace a part of it and you distort the whole. Treating Genesis 1-3 as allegory rather than history not only undermines the doctrine of special creation but the gospel itself. Christ could only be a real ‘second Adam’ if the federal headship of the first Adam was historically true (Romans 5:12-21). While many evangelicals stand for special creation — which is good — not a few have embraced some erroneous elements. They reject theistic evolution and death before Adam’s Fall; they rightly insist on a ‘young Adam’ and a ‘young Fall’ (thousands of years), but still wrongly talk of an ‘old...

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April 2017
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The Reformation

The commemoration of the Reformation this year, 500 years from its start, is a welcome reminder of the precious and refreshing truths that lie at the heart of the gospel. Nothing has changed in these truths in 500 years, since they are the truths of Scripture. The Roman Catholic Church, however, has changed its strategy since it first tried to browbeat Luther and his associates into submission. Today it is a skilful marketer of its religious commodities, able to assume conciliatory tones when talking to its ‘separated brethren’. But it has not changed its core beliefs. Rather, it has increased the sum of its heresies,...

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Hybrid religion
March 2017
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Hybrid religion

‘They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods’ (2 Kings 17:33) A hybrid is something that is a mixture or combination of two different elements. For example, a mule is a hybrid union of a donkey and a horse. A hybrid car is one that combines the use of both gasoline and electric power to propel the vehicle.  Hybrid religion, in this sense, is one that has elements of Christianity yet also incorporates, sometimes deliberately and sometime inadvertently, elements of surrounding idolatry and pagan culture. Israel and the nations A classic example of hybrid religion can be found in the Old Testament when the...

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