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All articles in category Ecclesiological & Pastoral

September 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Answering difficult questions (2)

Continued from Answering difficult questions (1) Jesus’ enemies often tried to trap him with ‘clever’ theological questions, such as the one about marriage and the resurrection in Mark 12:18-27. ‘Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to [Jesus]; and they asked him, saying: Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. ‘Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the...

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September 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Talking to yourself

I have heard it said that talking to oneself is the first sign of madness. Well, if that is the case, then I am mad! And, I sincerely hope that there are many more mad people who are reading this article! I have often talked to myself. Is that such a bad thing? I know that there are people who suffer from schizophrenia, which is defined as a ‘mental disorder involving deterioration of or confusion about the personality’. Now, I am clearly not meaning this, nor am I seeking in any shape or form to be flippant about it. But there is biblical warrant to...

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September 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Home alone: a Christian widower’s struggle

‘You don’t get married to live on your own!’ Yet, in this world of disease and death, that loneliness comes to many men and women who have spent much of their adult working-life in the joy of a deeply satisfying Christian marriage. About two years ago, my wife for four decades fell asleep in Jesus, after a fairly brief illness. Wrench Sue was the delight of my life, my best friend and my soulmate. Her passing has left a huge hole in my world. Nothing is the same now. Nothing is as good as it was with her around. I miss her in a myriad...

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September 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Humility: a neglected Christian virtue?

‘I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think’, wrote the apostle Paul (Romans 12:3). An apocryphal story relates how, at the funeral of a successful businessman, tribute was paid to him, saying, ‘Bob was a self-made man, and he worshipped his maker’. Humour apart, such pride is antithetical to the faith of the Bible. When the Israelites were about to enter and inherit the promised land of Canaan — a land which, in contrast to the desert-wilderness, was characterised by great abundance — God warned them, ‘Beware lest you say in your heart, my power...

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August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The art of raising spouses

Shortly after our second child was born, we were at a fundraising event. I was sitting at the back of the hall, having just finished feeding my new-born, when a lady came over to me and said, ‘Oh what a privilege and a blessing to raise a son for the Lord!’ I looked at my sleeping baby and beamed with pride. Yes, I am indeed raising a son for the Lord. What a privilege! Later that same evening, while tucking my first-born daughter into bed, I began to wonder if raising a daughter for God is any less of a privilege than raising a son....

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August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Teach us how not to pray

‘But He has to do it; it says so in His Word!’ I’m pretty sure it was the worst prayer meeting I’ve ever attended! A friend had mentioned how people in the flat above were making life intolerable with their door-slamming, aggressive language and loud music. At the end of her tether, she needed prayer. Our hearts went out to our friend. Then another church member leaned forward. ‘Right! We all know this has gone on too long and their behaviour is totally unreasonable’. We nodded. ‘So, as we’re all in agreement, let’s pray the landlord throws the people out. The Bible says when two...

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August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

How are the mighty fallen!

David hears of the death of two of Israel’s heroes, and exclaims three times that two mighty men have fallen. He laments, ‘Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon’ (2 Samuel 1:19-27). He is ashamed that such news is proclaimed among his enemies. At the same time, he asks how such a thing could have happened. It has been terribly sad recently to hear of serious moral lapses in Christian leaders. These have been reported in our national press, ‘published in the streets of Ashkelon’, and believers now find themselves ashamed by the subsequent mocking of Christianity. Another repercussion...

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August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Answering difficult questions (1)

We live in tricky times for Christian witness and living. There is hostility to the gospel and its proclamation. We see the hand of the evil one in laws against extremism manipulated against believers, even though their lifestyle is opposed to violence and they only aim to live out Christ’s words, ‘Love your enemies’. Political correctness In this politically correct world disagreement equals ‘hatred’, and the suffix ‘phobia’ is readily attached to words describing those who oppose sin. In the open air and in private, we can be sure to be asked difficult questions about the Christian faith, as was Jesus. How to answer them...

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