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All articles in category Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Article

February 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘Countless things women can do’

‘I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, Here am I. Send me!’ (Isaiah 6:8).When the prophet Isaiah encounters the glorious holiness of the Lord, he is humbled, aware of his complete sinfulness. But God cleanses Isaiah and calls him to take the Lord’s message to the nation of Israel, and promises to bring men and women into his kingdom as a result. The same is true of Christian women who respond to God’s call to serve him in their family and community, in the UK or overseas. We need to know...

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October 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Contending for the faith (2)

Continued from Contending for the faith (1) The church in the eighteenth century suffered from the attack of atheistic philosophers, but in the nineteenth century there was an even more subtle attack that came from within. Higher Criticism and the theory of evolution cast doubt upon the accuracy of the Bible. So-called Christian scholars, particularly in the Free Church of Scotland, thought they could accommodate these views with continued evangelical belief. Deception Their approach came to be described as the ‘new apologetic’; they thought they were providing a basis for faith more stable than ever before. The result was that they were the unconscious instruments...

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Article

October 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Harvest expectations

‘And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart’ (Galatians 6:9) When it comes to Christian service, I wonder what our expectations are. Do we have great expectations? Do we eagerly anticipate a great outpouring of God the Holy Spirit? Do we really believe that souls will and can be saved, even through our own feeble efforts? Low expectations If we are constantly harbouring thoughts of doubt in our minds, then we will continuously be disappointed. Why should we expect someone to be delivered from darkness to light, if our expectations of...

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Article

September 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Contending for the faith (1)

When we view the situation in some of the historic denominations in the United Kingdom, we see how they are dominated by false teachers. Ministers and elders can hold the most outrageous opinions and yet no action is taken against them. Trials for heresy seem to have become a thing of the past. We are living in a day when such matters have ceased to concern the evangelical church. Professor Thomas C. Oden has said: ‘The very thought about asking about heresy has itself become the new heresy. The arch-heresiarch is the one who hints that some distinction might be needed between truth and falsehood,...

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Article

September 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Are you called to gospel ministry?

If there is anything else a man can do other than preach, Martyn Lloyd-Jones maintained, he ought to do it. The pulpit is no place for him. The ministry is not merely something an individual can do, but what he must do. To enter the pulpit, that necessity must be laid upon him. A God-called man, he believed, would rather die than live without preaching. Lloyd-Jones often quoted the famed British pastor Charles H. Spurgeon: ‘If you can do anything else do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry’. In other words, only those who believe they are...

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Article

September 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Lessons learned from a crank sensor

Trials are part and parcel of the Christian life. We may not like that, but it is a fact we have to face up to. Trials refine us and remove the dross. But, I never imagined in a million years that I would learn something about trials from a ‘crank sensor’! What on earth is a crank sensor? Well, any car mechanic reading this article should know what it is, but for those ignorant like myself here is an explanation (if you can follow it! In the diagram of the sensor, 1 = coil, 2 = soft iron, 3 = magnet, 4 = electrical connector), courtesy of Wikipedia: ‘A...

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Jonah for today’s church (1)

Article

September 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Jonah for today’s church (1)

I once heard a prominent British preacher say the book of Jonah might well be the most underrated book in all of Scripture. Having just taken a Bible study group through this little book, and having also taken a local church through it in recent years, I agree with that statement. The book of Jonah was written around 770-750BC. This was at the time of Uzziah’s reign in Judah, Jeroboam II’s reign in Israel and Assurdan III’s reign in Assyria. It was also the era of Isaiah’s birth. So what does this book and its main character Jonah have to say to the contemporary church?...

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Article

August 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Hospitable hearts

More than 20 years ago, a shy, humble, elderly man transformed the fellowship at our 6.00pm church service. How did he do it? He brought a packet of biscuits and butter menthols to church. Up until that point, people didn’t stay around for ‘supper’. But little did this elderly man foresee the impact his simple act of hospitality would make. I will never forget the way Vic quietly shuffled around the building each week, wearing his familiar brown coat and carrying a plastic bag full of goodies. With the very little that he had, he showed great generosity and love to those around him. After...

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Article

July 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The worst day of my life

The best day of my life (apart from becoming a Christian) was 22 July 1978, when I married Maureen Margaret Ann Taylor at Cosheston in Pembrokeshire. The worst day of my life was 25 November 2014 when Maureen, my wife for 36 years, died peacefully at home. Earlier that day, a district nurse had told me that she had only five or six hours to live. I prayed, ‘Oh God, I don’t want to be alone when she dies’. That evening the phone rang. It was Nigel, ‘Would you like some company?’ We were playing chess when she slipped away. My grief was mixed with...

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Article

July 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Overcoming your doubts

Mr Doubtful couldn’t believe it! There he was standing at the entrance to the Celestial City. Was it all a dream? Had he really been summoned to live with Prince Emmanuel and his people? Were they all expecting him? Would he be welcomed or turned away? He stood frozen to the spot. Suddenly, the porter appeared with two guards. ‘Have you a summons?’ ‘Er, here it is, I think’, answered Doubtful, in a quivering half whisper. Out of his inside pocket he retrieved, hesitantly, a crumpled piece of paper. The porter turned towards the two guards behind him, ‘You may open the gates. The document...

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Article

June 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Sleeping well

Insomnia is an unpleasant experience which can afflict us all from time to time. Our cat Sally never used to have any difficulty in sleeping. We humans though are not quite like that. It can be as though the whole world is peacefully asleep, but we are awake, tossing and turning. The anxieties of the day — and perhaps bodily pain — can prevent our falling asleep at night. Acts 12 relates a time when the apostle Peter was put into prison. Peter was a leader in the infant church of Christ. It was a period of church growth, with many coming to saving faith...

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Article

April 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Smiles amongst sorrows

‘I’m pregnant!’ Two words I could not wait to shout to the world. Everything was moving along swimmingly in my life plan. I could tick off good results in school and university, a loving husband, a job, even a dog! Now, just like pretty much anything else, I had put my mind to do, I had gotten pregnant. Life was on track; everything was going according to my plan; and life was good. How easily we get on in life without God, when everything is ‘good’. Yet, how quickly we blame God, when everything goes wrong and bad things happen. In April 2014, my ‘life plan’ reared...

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