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July 2018
Articles > Historical

150 years of beach missions

In 1850 Llandudno was laid out as a watering-place for holiday-makers. 18 years later, on 26 August, a small man with thick black whiskers was sauntering along the beach. Heavy bathing machines were either standing or being dragged towards the sea by cart horses, as ladies were taking their dip in flouncing bathing gowns. Gentlemen were requested not to walk on that part of the promenade. The children were from wealthy backgrounds and, for most of them, church attendance and family prayers would have been normal. Josiah Spiers watched the children fetching pebbles and seaweed, when he thought, ‘Why not encourage the children to make...

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July 2018
Articles > Guest column

GUEST COLUMN: Oiling the hinges of the lion’s cage

C. H. Spurgeon famously likened the Bible to a caged lion. To defend it, he said, all we need to do is let it out. But this requires us to open the cage door, and that is no trivial task. Last month (extending Spurgeon’s allegory) I suggested that to open the door involves three steps; (1) we must find the key; (2) we must oil the hinges; and (3) we must open the door wide enough for the lion to get out. In the first Guest Column we saw that the key is the Bible’s own doctrine of Scripture, namely, that ‘all scripture is breathed...

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July 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Sexuality: identifying Our identity

At present, two popular —  yet antithetical — positions about sexuality and identity exist within the orthodox Christian community. In their recent book Transforming Homosexuality, authors Denny Burk and Heath Lambert identify these as the traditional and neo-traditional positions. Both of these positions exclude from acceptable Christian behaviour sexual acts that are outside of scriptural marriage between one man and one woman. Also, both sides should acknowledge that even if they see the other side as wrong, they are Christian brothers aiming to work out a practical and biblical theology to minister to same-sex attracted individuals. So what is the major difference between these positions?...

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July 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

How to be a successful church planter

With all due respect to the various people who write about church planting in the UK, I thought that it was time that I did everyone a favour by writing a short guide on how to be a successful church planter. The first thing to do is to define what we mean by success. Now some people measure church success by the number of people who attend the various meetings — behinds on seats. Obviously, that is not a good criterion by which to measure success in Christian ministry. No, a successful church planter is someone who has been commissioned to write a book, a...

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July 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The Preacher and Politics: Seven Thoughts

This post is addressed to preachers and is about preachers. While many of the reflections may be useful for all Christians, I’m writing specifically with my fellow pastors in mind. [Note from the ET editors: this article was first published within an American context, but the principles are equally applicable here in the UK]. We live in a day where politics are everywhere, and everything is about politics. On one level this has always been true. Jesus is Lord, not Caesar. That’s a political statement. Every sermon touches on the polis, on the city of man, on our earthly citizenship. But that’s not what I have...

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July 2018
Articles > Youth Features

YOUTH FEATURE: Dores Youth Conference Spring 2018

The Dores Youth Conference was held on 24 March. It was well attended, with 19 young people from many parts of Scotland, including Lewis, Skye and Inverness. As we arrived in dribs and drabs, there were snacks available for the hungry travellers. Rev. Davide Ratti opened with a short time of worship. After worship, Rev. Kenneth Macdonald began the morning talk on the theme ‘Running the race’, taking his text from Hebrews 12:1-2, ‘let us run with patience the race that is set before us’. The two main points from the morning talk were Preparation and Patience. We learned that we must be ready to...

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July 2018
Articles > Historical

Patrick Hamilton: first Scottish martyr of the Reformation (2)

The trial of Patrick Hamilton for ‘heresy’ took place in St Andrews Cathedral in Scotland on 29 February 1528. For an eye-witness description of the occasion, we are indebted to one Alexander Alane (Alesius) (1500-1565). Alane had previously spoken out against Lutheran teaching and consequently been sent by Archbishop Beaton to convince Hamilton of his errors. But it ended up with Hamilton converting Alane! Alane wrote: ‘I was myself an eye-witness of the tragedy, and heard him answering for his life to the charges of heresy which were laid against him: and he was so far from disowning them, that he defended and established them by...

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