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January 2018
Articles > Comment

Something easily overlooked

Last year — 500 years on since the Reformation — was one of joyful commemoration, focusing on the exhilarating truths of the gospel. Scottish Reformer and martyr Patrick Hamilton, explained in his little treatise, Patrick’s Places, why the gospel is such a glad herald: ‘The [moral] law saith: “Pay thy debt. Thou art a sinner desperate. And thou shalt die”. The gospel saith: “Christ hath paid it. Thy sins are forgiven thee. Be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved”. ‘The law saith: “Make amends for thy sin. The Father of heaven is wroth with thee. Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? Thou art...

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January 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

In whose name?

In ET August 2016, ‘Teach us how not to pray’ looked at some bad ways people pray, putting their desires above their legitimate needs and not considering God’s will for their lives. But why do Bible-believing Christians behave this way? It comes down, I think, to at least two issues. One is fear, the other overfamiliarity. The fear issue is probably the simplest to understand. Although we might ‘have the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16), we, like Peter in Mark 8:33, do not always ‘have in mind the concerns of God’. There are times when our concerns appear so overwhelming that, rather than seeking...

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January 2018
Articles > Historical

Pierre Viret (1511-1571) — another forgotten Reformer (2)

The failed attempts to murder Pierre Viret (ET, October 2017) backfired on the Catholics; they were regarded with suspicion and contempt. Geneva was won for the Reformation, yet Viret was not to remain there. He was now entreated to go to Lausanne. Geneva had preachers, but there were none in Lausanne. Viret could not refuse. Sheats writes: ‘Lausanne, seat of the bishop, was perhaps the city most heavily steeped in Roman Catholicism at the time of the Bernese conquest. For 400 years, it had endured the rule of the bishop of Lausanne, the highest ecclesiastic in the country’ (Pierre Viret, the angel of the Reformation,...

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January 2018
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The rainbow flag20

There was a time when the world was overwhelmed with wickedness and the evil of man spread across the face of the globe. The wickedness was so great that God determined to wipe out mankind, together with animals, birds and everything that moved on the ground. His chosen method of judgment then was a catastrophic flood that covered the whole earth. However, there was one man on earth who still trusted God and strove to be holy, preaching righteousness to an unheeding world. God determined to save him and his family, and in addition representatives of all created kinds of creatures; and he did just...

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January 2018
Evangelistic

The terrible, terrific moment

Roger Ellsworth shares a story from My coffee-cup meditations about William R. Newell. The teenage Newell was so rebellious that he brought continual heartache to his parents. His father, a pastor, pleaded with R. A. Torrey, president of Moody Bible College, to accept his son as a student. Torrey refused. The father continued to plead, and Torrey finally agreed. While he was at Moody, Newell encountered the Word of God in a new and powerful way and became a Christian. What did God’s Word do for him? He gives us the answer in his well-known hymn, ‘At Calvary’: ‘By God’s Word at last my sin...

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January 2018
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Seeking, speaking and winning2

They will be missing from our churches next Sunday: that wide variety of individuals — the ‘down and outs’, ‘up and outs’, and all others in between. But one thing is for sure, whether up or down, they are most definitely ‘out’; the majority totally ignorant of the real gospel, living with a blatant disregard for God and his commands. And they live near you. So what? There may just be a Pharisee lurking within us, wanting to scold these ungodly people for not seeking the Lord in his house on his day. However, like Adam, they are cut off from the life of God,...

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December 2017
Articles > Evangelistic

How one Iranian became a Christian

Q. Mark [name changed], what was your life like before you were a Christian? Mark: Actually, my life had a lot of ups and downs, but any happiness was very short-lived. I always believed in God. Looking back, I can see that I was a sinner — and still am. One summer, I was very happy because I had managed to obtain an Iranian passport. I travelled to the UK and really enjoyed my time here. But soon afterwards my sister died. Two years later, my mother died; and, two years after that, my father died. I wasn’t the same after that; I began to realise that...

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December 2017
Articles > Evangelistic

We don’t need to guess

News is out that a certain celebrity has come to town. But why has he come? No one is quite sure. So, everyone’s guessing — one suggesting this, another suggesting that — until someone comes up with the really bright idea: ‘Why not just ask him?’ So they do. And he tells them! It’s now Christmas and lots of people are talking about Jesus. How he came from heaven to earth. How he was born in a stable in Bethlehem and laid in a manger. What a very special person he was, God’s own Son. But the big question is this: why did he come?...

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