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All articles in category Articles

May 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Jesus’ Prayer Life

If we are to be Jesus’ disciples, then by definition, we are to learn of him. How then are we to learn from one we have never met? We cannot hear the words that come out of his mouth as those described in the Gospels did; but we can read those words, and hear those instructions and commands as we read the Gospels. How much we can learn as we read, for example, the Sermon on the Mount or the Upper Room Discourse (John 14-16). But there is another way in which we can learn from Jesus, and that is by his example. Peter tells...

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May 2018
Articles > Scientific (including creation)

What is man (1): Are we alone in the universe?

The first of three edited extracts from Edgar Andrews’ new book, What is Man? Adam, alien or ape? It’s easy to confuse SETI with YETI because both relate to creatures that probably don’t exist. The Yeti is a proverbial beast that inhabits the Himalayas and walks upright like a human, but leaves huge footprints in the snow and strikes fear into the local populace. Related to America’s Bigfoot, it is sometimes called the Abominable Snowman (apparently due to a mistranslation of its Nepalese name). SETI, on the other hand, stands for ‘the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence’ — the hunt for an intelligent alien who is...

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May 2018
Articles > Historical

Billy Bray (1794-1868)

There is a genre of Christian biography which delights in recording the doings and sayings of eccentric preachers, and William Trewartha Bray – Cornish miner and Methodist local preacher, small, spare and wiry of build – falls into that category. If his name is mentioned, most people know little if anything about him beyond the occasion when he said, ‘If they were to put me into a barrel, I would shout Glory! out of the bunghole’. There is, however, much more to this servant of God than some of his more remarkable sayings. He was born in 1794 near Truro, in Cornwall, at the village...

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May 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Refreshment for gospel ministers

There is a problem in our churches with many empty pastoral positions across the UK. There are many reasons for this problem, one that could possibly get worse as the ‘baby boomer’ generation steps down from ministry responsibilities. The FIEC identified a possible obstacle to ministry staffing as the lack of clearly defined access, training and progression routes, but the problem is clearly more complex. Retention Recently I was talking with a Christian brother, who is a manager in a large international warehouse chain. I was struck by how much emphasis he placed upon staff retention. The staff incentives, management training and work ethos all...

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May 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Pastoring a victim of abuse in the glare of the media

Pastoring a church member who has suffered childhood sexual abuse is hard enough. Doing so when the person in question has entered the national and international media spotlight is even harder. That is precisely what Jim Savastio has faced in recent months. Jim is the pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky. It is the church were Rachael Denhollander and her husband Jacob are members. Rachael’s televised ‘victim impact statement’ in the case of sex abuser Larry Nassar was reported globally. Her words were full of courage and grace, justice and forgiveness. Speaking in court to her abuser, Rachael said, ‘Should you ever...

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May 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Growing older: From one degree of glory to another

A middle-aged man looks in the mirror, puts on a bright orange wig to cover his bald head and suddenly he’s young again – allegedly! But why does he do it? If you see him in the street, it’s obvious it’s a wig! The colour doesn’t match his eyebrows or stubble and you can clearly see the join. And yet, somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, he’s still in his thirties or forties. He may not look young, but he still feels young — or at least feels younger than he looks. So by using a wig it provides him with an illusion...

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May 2018
Articles > Comment

COMMENT: The right priorities

Only divine wisdom could have enabled the apostle Paul to handle a church like Corinth. And today we need biblical wisdom to avoid the sort of errors prevalent at Corinth. Things were bad in Corinthian culture — in Roman society ‘to Corinthianise oneself’ meant to abandon yourself to unbridled immorality. And things were bad inside the church; Paul’s two letters to the Corinthians reveal how much was at stake. But perhaps that church’s biggest problem was how it viewed itself — as actually in pretty good shape, and considerably wiser than the others! It is this flawed self-knowledge that accounts for Paul’s irony about the...

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May 2018
Articles > Guest column

GUEST COLUMN: A Christ-centred pastor

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. Christ and the Bible Spurgeon was soaked in scripture. You can pick almost any sermon — and most of his letters — to prove the point: scriptural images, idioms, and references crowd Spurgeon’s every paragraph and seemed to spill out of him in an entirely natural and unforced way. It was really the natural consequence of having the highest and warmest view of the Bible. For Spurgeon,...

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