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All articles in category Comment

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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February 2017
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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...

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January 2017
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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...

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November 2016
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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,...

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The Trinitarian benediction
October 2016
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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...

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September 2016
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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...

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August 2016
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Coping with tragedy

How can we cope with the constant stream of calamities reported almost daily in the media? How can we absorb all the heartaches and disappointments a fallen world confronts us with? For every new event we may consider ‘good’ or even ‘very good’, there follow ten ‘bad’ ones hard on its heels. Surely we live in a world where ‘all is vanity’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2)! Hatred, murder, abuse, division, war; tragedies, natural and human, unplanned and deliberate, avoidable and unavoidable: it is hard enough for onlookers to cope with it all, let alone victims — the real people who experience the suffering. Humility But in asking...

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July 2016
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Let us pray for our nation

•  What is my own personal standing before the Lord? For God to hear my prayer, I myself need to be in a right relationship with him. We come before God’s throne of grace, not trusting in our own righteousness, but in his mercy. •  Pray most especially for the nation’s repentance and that people may come to truly know the Lord and follow him. May there be heartfelt repentance for our sins. ‘Righteousness will exalt a nation but sin will destroy any people’ (Proverbs14:34). •  We have driven the Lord Jesus Christ out of our culture, our government and the education of our children. We have...

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May 2016
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COMMENT: Relating to the state

Unusually, our comment column this month takes the form of a book review, submitted to Evangelical Times in the normal course of its book-reviewing service for readers. The book it focuses on — God and politics — is a brief but excellent and accessible treatment of a vital issue; and one that draws ever closer, it seems, to evangelical churches. The question pressing upon us is, ‘Will we or will we not agree to do what the state demands, whatever it does demand?’ While God and politics does not go into the specific matter of teaching the Word of God to children and youth in...

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May 2016
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Brexit

I am an enthusiastic European. Europe has given the world great art, literature, architecture and music. It was here that the Reformation was birthed, and the scientific revolution. I have personally enjoyed visiting many European countries, including France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Poland and Albania. I’m even trying to learn the rudiments of the Polish language! It’s because I’m an enthusiastic European that I am in favour of Britain leaving the political project known as the European Union. The EU has been bad for Britain and is increasingly turning sour for the rest of Europe too. Sound political arguments apply to Christians and non-Christians alike and,...

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