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April 2018
Articles > Youth Features

YOUTH FEATURE: Star Wars, Episode VIII, The Last Jedi : a personal reflection

I grew up on TV, and as a child had a particular interest in science fiction. What interested me was not who the actors or actresses were, but what the film was about, how it related to real life, what it meant. I often analysed the films I watched and discussed the characters with my friends. By the time I went to college in my teens, I was well-versed in films, going to the cinema pretty much every Saturday night. I embarked on communication studies at A level, which meant I immersed myself in sociology, psychology and the media. I got an A-grade in exams...

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April 2018
Articles > Youth Features

The RAF at 100; SASRA at 180

The Royal Air Force (RAF) was formed on the 1 April 1918, when the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service merged to form the world’s first independent air force. This took place during some of the most bitter fighting of the Great War (First World War). Soviet Russian forces had signed a peace treaty with the central powers at Brest-Litovsk, on 3 March 1918, ending Russia’s participation in the war. This allowed the German army to transfer large numbers of men and their equipment from the eastern to the western front. On 21 March 1918, with 50 extra divisions at his disposal,...

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April 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christ’s resurrection and our justification

How is the resurrection of Christ linked to the idea of justification in the New Testament? To answer this question, we must first explore the use and meaning of the term ‘justification’ in the New Testament. Confusion about this has provoked some of the fiercest controversies in the history of the church. The Protestant Reformation itself was fought over the issue of justification. In all its complications, the unreconciled and unreconcilable difference in the debate came down to the question of whether our justification before God is grounded in the infusion of Christ’s righteousness into us, by which we become inherently righteous; or in the...

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April 2018
Articles > Historical

The Reformed tradition on Israel is diverse

Is the Reformed tradition historically supersessionist? That is, have theologians following the Calvinist trajectory always taught that the church supersedes Israel without remainder, such that the non-Jesus-accepting people of Israel and that little territory on the Mediterranean are no longer theologically significant? One might think so. After all, John Calvin wrote that because the Jews did not ‘reciprocate’ as willing partners in God’s covenant, ‘they deserve to be repudiated’ (Institutes, 4.2.3). There is only one covenant for Calvin, so the new covenant did not replace the old; yet the church is the new recipient of the Old Testament promises made to Jewish Israel. There is...

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April 2018
Articles > Historical

David Brainerd

David Brainerd was born 300 years ago, on 20 April 1718, and died on 20 October 1747. His father was Hezekiah Brainerd and his mother Dorothy (née Mason). On his mother’s side, an impeccable pedigree of Puritan preachers both in England and New England, and a great uncle who had been Oliver Cromwell’s chief justice, brought prestige and distinction to the family. But it is the sixth of their nine children, David, who we remember. From his birthplace Haddam, in the Connecticut River Valley, David Brainerd’s life has shot a meteoric flame, the likes of which has seldom been known. In David Brainerd, servant of...

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April 2018
Articles

‘He is a Luther’: a sestercentennial (250 years) appreciation of the life and ministry of Joshua Marshman

Stephen Neill, the well-known historian of missions, has observed that the partnership known to history as the Serampore Trio — that between William Carey (1761–1834), William Ward (1769–1823), and Joshua Marshman (1768–1837) — is one that has ‘few parallels in Christian history’. Reading through the letters and journals of these three men, there is no hint of jealousy or attempt by any of them to lord it over the others. The quality of the friendship between them takes on added lustre when it is recognised that it flourished amidst various setbacks and challenges. In the history of this community, however, it is chiefly Carey that...

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April 2018
Articles > Guest column

GUEST COLUMN: A man full of life

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a man who went at all of life full-on. He laughed and cried much; he read avidly and felt deeply; he was a zealously industrious worker and a sociable lover of play and beauty. He was, in other words, a man who embodied the truth that to be in Christ means to be made ever more roundly human, more fully alive. Mr Great Heart It takes no great insight to see that Spurgeon in his ministry was a big-hearted man of deep affections. His printed sermons and lectures still throb with passion. At times the emotional freight of his sermon would...

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April 2018
Articles > Comment

COMMENT: A dangerous new buzz phrase

‘Spiritual abuse’ is a new buzz phrase that is gaining momentum, and I believe it is a dangerous idea. It will become another stick to hit evangelicals with. I first came across this phrase when I heard about the case of Timothy Davis, an Anglican clergyman who was convicted by a church tribunal for the ‘spiritual abuse’ of a teenager in his congregation. Specific case In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, the tribunal held that Rev. Davis had acted inappropriately by, among other things, holding one-to-one Bible studies with the youth over a period of 18 months. Did Rev....

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April 2018
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Who is perverting education?

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector of schools, in a speech to a Church of England foundation (quoting Psalm 119), commended educationalists who made the focus of their schools the teaching of ‘knowledge and good judgment’. She also said, ‘Ofsted inspectors are increasingly brought into contact with those who want to actively pervert the purpose of education’. Since Psalm 119 is all about the Word of God, one might assume Amanda Spielman was targeting those who try to remove or twist God’s Word. But no, her target was those who ‘actively undermine fundamental British values or equalities law’.1 She went on to identify the Christian Institute...

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April 2018
Articles > Scientific (including creation)

Harvard-educated scientist gives four new claims against Darwin

Ever since Charles Darwin’s publication in 1859 of On the origin of species, western civilisation has felt the repercussions of Darwin’s radical ideas. To this day, the vast majority of the scientific community accepts genealogical kinship between mankind and monkeys. Yet, after Darwin died, several scientific developments began to quietly set the stage for a revolution against Darwin. In isolation, each of four events have foretold a minor disturbance in the settled scientific view. Together, they foreshadow a major upheaval in how we understand natural history; they give us four reasons why Darwin’s On the origin of species is no longer a settled point of view. The...

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April 2018
Articles > Historical

William Chalmers Burns (1815-1868)

A missionary in China was once asked if he knew a fellow-missionary by the name of William Burns. ‘Know him, sir? All China knows him; he is the holiest man alive’. Given that it is now 150 years since William Burns died, these words were spoken a long time ago. And certainly he has not been forgotten in the intervening period. But it is inevitable that to a growing number of Christians Burns should be a complete stranger, or, at best, a mere name. Inevitable, but regrettable; Burns for many reasons deserves still to be widely known. Kilsyth William Chalmers Burns was born in Dun,...

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April 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

A glorious resurrection

The Christian believer’s hope of life after death is highlighted by a comment attributed to John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States (from 1825 to 1829) and a leading opponent of slavery. A friend once asked him when he was an old man, ‘How is John Quincy Adams today?’ His reply was, ‘I am doing very fine sir, but the building in which I live is getting rather tottery. I fear I must soon have to vacate it. I expect, however, to move into a new one some day’. John Quincy Adams’ remark was biblical. Death is not the cessation of existence, but...

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