Subscribe now

All articles in category Comment

Article

October 2017
Articles > Comment

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...

Read more

Article

August 2017
Articles > Comment

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...

Read more

Article

July 2017
Articles > Comment

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...

Read more

Article

June 2017
Articles > Comment

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...

Read more

Article

May 2017
Articles > Comment

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...

Read more

Article

April 2017
Articles > Comment

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,...

Read more
Hybrid religion

Article

March 2017
Articles > Comment

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...

Read more

Article

February 2017
Articles > Comment

Essential truth

In four addresses on ‘What is an evangelical?’ given in 1971, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminded his hearers of the vital distinction between what he called ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ biblical truths. Safeguard His was no plea for doctrinal indifferentism and laxity, as the addresses made abundantly clear, but an impassioned call to define the heart of the gospel and thereby help safeguard the precious gift of evangelical unity among believers. In words quoted from John Calvin’s Institutes, book 4, Dr Lloyd-Jones said: ‘For not all the articles of true doctrine are of the same sort. Some are so necessary to know that they should be certain...

Read more

Article

January 2017
Articles > Comment

Ten commandments for pastors

1. Give priority to your personal communion with God. Put your own soul first: your maintaining communion with God is a prerequisite for being an effective pastor to your people. ‘Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers’ (Acts 20:28). 2. Give priority to prayer and holiness. Undertake no sermon, no pastoral work, no task of the ministry without seeking God’s face in Jesus Christ. Follow John Bunyan’s advice: ‘You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed’. Personal holiness is not...

Read more

Article

November 2016
Articles > Comment

Ten commandments for church members

1. Don’t idolise your pastor. Don’t expect him to be able to do what only God can do. Don’t make a saviour of him. 2. Don’t criticise your pastor, unless he departs from the truth, and then do it with tears. And please don’t expect perfection. He is a mere man — a weak, sinful man at that, just like you. His office is divine, but his person is human. He sets before you treasure in an earthen vessel. If you don’t remember that, you will cry hosanna today, but crucify him tomorrow. 3. Don’t avoid your pastor. Go to him, tell him your needs,...

Read more
The Trinitarian benediction

Article

October 2016
Articles > Comment

The Trinitarian benediction

‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen’ (2 Corinthians 13:11-14). I once heard a pastor say, ‘I don’t care what doctrine people believe, as long as they love Jesus’. Does it really matter what you believe? Can we love Jesus without believing the Bible’s teaching about Jesus? Jesus certainly never drives a wedge between love for him and knowing and believing his doctrine as revealed in all Scripture (John 10:35b). He is ‘the truth’ (John 14:6; Ephesians 4:21), and he says, ‘If you love me,you will keep my...

Read more

Article

September 2016
Articles > Comment

The Pole Star

One of the blessings of believing in God is to stand in wonder and worship while beholding the glory of God’s creation. Many of you may know that a few miles north of me here, in Lexington, Kentucky, there is a building phenomenon, a huge wooden boat built by Answers of Genesis, that is modelled after the dimensions of Noah’s ark as described in the Bible. Bill Nye the so-called ‘science guy’ has ridiculed it as a bogus from a scientific standpoint. Bill, who describes himself as an agnostic, like all unbelievers looks upon the wonderful universe around us as empty of any Creator. What...

Read more