Subscribe now

All articles in category Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

THINKING IT THROUGH: Celebrating mothers

Over a twelve-month period, we have invited Stephen Rees — an experienced pastor — to share his thoughts on various topics. Whilst his column may be edited for reasons of length or style, his views are his own and may not necessarily reflect positions held by the Evangelical Times. Yes it’s coming up again. That Sunday, dreaded by fathers all over the UK, Mothering Sunday. It is the 31st of March this year. No doubt it will be no different from last year or the year before: countless panic-stricken men queuing down at the late-night Tesco on Saturday night to buy last moment flowers, chocolates,...

Read more

Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

John Knox on prayer

When John Knox, the Scottish Reformer, was laid to rest in his grave, the Regent of Scotland said of him ‘There lies he who never feared the face of man’. This reminds us of the paraphrase of Psalm 34:9, which reads: Fear Him (that is, God) ye saints and you will then Have nothing else to fear; Make you His service your delight, Your wants shall be His care. I came across the following gem of a quote from John Knox. It concerns John Knox’s view of prayer. John Knox defined true prayer as: ‘An earnest and familiar talking with God, to whom we declare...

Read more

Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The purpose and benefits of lay preaching

This article is dedicated to the brethren in Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, Old Hill and Pastor Roland Burrows and Mrs. Anne Burrows, who retired in December 2018. Several men influenced me to pursue my call to lay preaching, my late father-in-law Mr Kenneth Harris, Colonel Don Underwood and Pastor Burrows. It was through the advice and support of Pastor Burrows that I managed to preach in various churches while juggling a young, growing family and a job as a biological science researcher. We know that church attendance is falling, and local churches are closing their doors in the UK. There is a crying need to pray...

Read more

Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Is congregational singing dying out?

‘And when they had sung a hymn, they went out’ (Matt. 28:30). There is not a lot of information in the New Testament about music, but what there is certainly is very instructive. For example, in the text above we can see that singing was a part of the worship of the church which Jesus established. Pastors and worship leaders need to carefully study the Scriptures, to see how they should lead God’s people in worshipful singing. In the last few years, since I left my pastoral ministry (44 years in the same church), it has been my privilege (I use that term loosely) to...

Read more

Article

February 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘You once were, now you are not’

Practising homosexuals who profess to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are demanding that they should be welcomed as equals in faith into the mainline denominations. They also argue they should not be excluded from enjoying the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as heterosexual believers, including the role of pastoral leadership within the local church. ‘Our faith’ they say ‘is a real faith in Jesus’. How should the local church of Christ respond to such statements? Firstly, local congregations, generally speaking, will welcome all persons who attend their Sunday worship services without distinction of age, ethnicity or gender, in the hope that those who...

Read more

Article

January 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A view from the piano

Most people have probably never thought about what it’s like to be an accompanist, to play the piano or another instrument whilst we sing to God. That’s because most of us don’t have to do it. But even those of us who do play don’t always think carefully about what we are doing or trying to achieve. For most people, when first asked to accompany the congregation, it’s a terrifying prospect; your greatest concern is to get through without making any mistakes and embarrassing yourself. Nothing else is really on your mind except that. Perhaps as time goes by you get more comfortable and stop...

Read more

Article

January 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Are fallow seasons a normal part of the kingdom’s pattern?

Many of nature’s processes have phases to them: the timetable of the tides, the patterns of weather, the life-cycle of flowers, the four seasons. Human life has its phases too. There are those which form the overarching timeline of conception to death. There are also those which come round in regular cycles, as famously captured in the ‘Life is a hamster-wheel’ poem of Ecclesiastes 3, with its drumbeat of ‘a time to…’ Phases, however, are not limited to the physical realm. When you read of God’s dealings with Israel in the Gospels and Acts, you discover the spiritual realm has such features too: there were...

Read more

Article

November 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Discerning and obeying God’s will

Many today seek guidance over such things as work, education, employment and financial planning. But Christians have an omniscient and omnipresent Consultant, ever ready to help us when we call on him. Paul warns us in Ephesians 5:15–17: ‘See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is’. Many issues Many have had distressing experiences after learning it is not God’s will for them to do something. There was someone who migrated to another country only to return in about a...

Read more

Article

November 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

On His Majesty’s service

The Bible contains startling stories of slave girls and slave drivers, but what does it say about being a servant? My children are great, and generally do what they’re told. But there are times when, if I ask them to help, they sometimes say, ‘Not now, Dad. I’ve been working all day, I’m too tired!’ I think Christians can be a little like that. We all like the idea of being a servant, providing someone else is doing the serving! But that isn’t of course how it should be. Although Jesus took the nature of a servant and washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:1-11), he...

Read more

Article

October 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The ‘problem’ of unanswered prayer

‘Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies’. So states the Shorter Catechism, Q. 98. Its answer to the question ‘What is prayer?’ here is hard to better. Prayer is one of the Christian’s great privileges. Through Christ, we actually have the ear of God the Father, and may talk to him in prayer and spread out our needs before him. No subject or circumstance is out of bounds when it comes to prayer. The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians...

Read more

Article

October 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The number one reason youth leave the church

When churches find a dearth of young people in the congregation, it is never long before questions start being asked. The questions become even more pointed when children, who otherwise seemed engaged, drift off when they become teenagers. Were there not enough programmes available for them? Were they isolated from their peers? Did we just not pay them enough attention? The hand-wringing begins and the cries of ‘won’t somebody please think of the children?’ go up. The fact is however, the lure of the world is as great among adults as it is teenagers. Nor do teenagers leave the church because there are not enough...

Read more

Article

October 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Treasures at Geanies House

A few years before the last battle on British soil fought at Culloden, a fine country manor was being completed. The owners may have heard the gunfire on that April day in 1746. Today the Jacobite cause is forgotten, but the old manor still stands and contains more treasures than it ever did in past centuries. Not only did I recently see them but I carried a number away, as any visitor to that beautiful corner of Scotland may do. Or, if that is impractical, the same result may be obtained by contacting the present owners at Geanies House, Fearn, Tain, Ross-shire, IV20 1TW. As...

Read more