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All articles in category Guest column

July 2015
Articles > Guest column

The Lord’s Day and the day of the Lord

We have been exploring the Bible’s teaching on the Sabbath as the special day of rest God has given his people. We have seen how the church has largely forgotten it, in our day, but also why it needs to be rediscovered.  One of the reasons many Christians have abandoned the idea of such a day continuing for the church is, they say, because the idea of a Sabbath day belongs to the Old Testament and is not replicated in the New. Those who disagree would say that it is replicated in the New Testament — and offer significant arguments by way of support. Clearly,...

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June 2015
Articles > Guest column

Rest and restoration

A recurring error of evangelical Christianity is to dislocate itself from the evangel, the gospel. That is, despite its claim to be gospel- and grace-centred, it slips all too easily into being law-centred, and grace becomes the casualty.  To say this is in no way to imply that God’s law is not important or does not have a place in the life of the church. Rather, it is to say that the relationship between law and grace is reversed often without realising it. Grace relationship We are never the recipients of God’s grace because of our efforts to obey God’s law; but we are enabled...

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May 2015
Articles > Guest column

The day the church forgot

The past 30 years have witnessed huge moral and spiritual changes, not just in the life of our nation but also of the church. Much of that change is a reflection of the cultural revolution that started to sweep through the Western world when the so-called Baby Boomers of the late 1940s and 1950s began to come of age in the 1960s. The church, despite its valiant efforts to resist what was happening, in many ways could do little to stem the tide. However, arguably, it unintentionally played a part in this seismic moral and spiritual shift. Through its own complacency, it assumed its position...

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April 2015
Articles > Guest column

The signs of true discipleship

What does Jesus demand of his followers for them to be recognised as true disciples? A brief look at the Sermon on the Mount helps us find out.

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March 2015
Articles > Guest column

Hosea – a servant of God

The book of Hosea relates the story of a man with a divine message that was out of sync with the outlook of his age - and yet very suitable for his age.

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A gospel invasion
February 2015
Articles > Guest column

A gospel invasion

There will be important events during 2015 and, no doubt, significant changes in both state and church. We all know that a general election will take place, and perhaps we may see so-called minor parties receiving a greater influence than could have been imagined a few years ago. The situation in politics that we have been familiar with for a long time may be disappearing. Such a change should not be surprising, because society, or, if we prefer to call it, national life, is also breaking up into a wide range of interest groups, each wanting to have its beliefs and practices tolerated by everyone...

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Sacrificing sacrifice
January 2015
Articles > Guest column

Sacrificing sacrifice

There are some trends in evangelical thinking that delight me; others create concern. I am still shocked by how quickly fads come, cause immense fascination and euphoria, and then disappear like a vapour. How much evangelical energy is wasted on these is beyond calculation. But, since I have been a Christian, I have noticed a diminishing interest in — in fact, almost an antagonism towards — such challenging concepts as the Bible’s teaching on sacrificial Christian living. We expect comfortable homes near the finest schools in the best areas; we insist on our right to play whatever games we prefer, go on exotic holidays and...

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November 2014
Articles > Guest column

Jeremiah – a man for our times

I have never been to Israel, and have no burning desire to go. But, if I did, I would want to visit Anathoth. It was there that my Old Testament hero was born. Called as a young man to leave an obscure, restricting, yet predictable ministry of maintaining the status quo (he grew up in a family of priests and was destined for the priesthood), he became the sensitive prophet to a nation set on a course leading to judgement. Commencing 60 years after the death of the great evangelical prophet Isaiah, Jeremiah for more than 40 years preached God’s Word. His proclamation spanned the...

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October 2014
Articles > Guest column

Doctrine and mind-renewal

Countries are not Christian; only people are, and they become Christian by believing biblical truth through the work of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul makes mind-renewal the lynch-pin for Christian living: ‘Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). The new birth brings us into spiritual standing with the living God and it never happens without a change of mind. The mind is an agent in ongoing transformation. Our feelings roller-coaster and our will wobbles like jelly, but our knowledge of biblical doctrine becomes clearer as divine truth cuts deeper into our lives. Should...

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September 2014
Articles > Guest column

Doctrine-building

Evangelical churches would do well to upgrade their thinking about and use of biblical doctrines. How is doctrine-building possible? I think of it as something like making a Lego model, fitting the bits together when reading Scripture or listening to biblical preaching. And the big thing is that, unlike merely human ideas, this brings us face to face with God. What does this knowledge of God do? The first thing is not perhaps what we would think. God’s ‘Ten Words’ on Sinai identify who God is, as our Lord and Saviour, and banishes other gods (Exodus 20:1-3; Isaiah 44:9-20). The idolatrous systems of human thought...

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Why bother with doctrine?
August 2014
Articles > Guest column

Why bother with doctrine?

More Christian teaching than ever before is available today in books, on the internet and via special events, but many evangelicals and churches seem strangely indifferent to doctrine. The doctrinal indifference of evangelicals is only bettered by the flabbiness found in liberal churches. This doctrinal downgrade has been going on for a long time. Suspicion Doctrine is viewed with suspicion because of some common shibboleths: doctrine is thought to divide, whereas activities unite; intellectualism is dangerous and discourages evangelism; doctrine is dry and uninteresting, not conducive to worship; and young people need entertaining not indoctrinating. Some evangelicals seem to live with three assumptions: doctrine is...

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July 2014
Articles > Guest column

Truth is what you hit when you’re wrong

I have a number of books on my shelves with ‘truth’ in the title: No place for truth; Scripture and truth; Thy Word is truth; The Word of truth; Truth under Attack. These remind me that the life of a Christian, and especially a Christian minister, is based on truth and dedicated to living and preaching the truth. Fundamental What Paul called ‘the truth of the gospel’ or simply ‘the truth’ (Galatians 2:14; 5:7) is fundamental to my existence as a believer and pastor. But do I realise just how fundamental? It is perilously easy to slip into the modern mindset: truth that you believe...

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