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All articles in category North America

Missionary Spotlight-Delighting to serve God
January 2002
Canada

Missionary Spotlight-Delighting to serve God

I was born on 24 December 1958 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My folks were believers and regular church attenders who raised their children to know the Bible and took us to church. As a child I did not really understand that being a Christian should produce a changed life. I only knew that I had a lot more rules and restrictions than other kids on my street, and I actively rebelled against this from very early on. When I look back on those years, I realise that I was a real brat. An overabundance of energy and my sinful tendencies were a constant source of...

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Letter from America
May 2001
United States of America

Letter from America

To make sense of the religious overtones in the recent American presidential inaugural ceremony, we need to understand four things that are distinctively American. They are (1) American civil religion; (2) American folk religion; (3) American transcendentalism; and (4) American rugged individualism.   American culture will remain incomprehensible to those who are unaware of these dynamics. Even Americans may see the effects of these influences without recognising them as causes. American civil religion   Civil religion is found in all societies. It is the ‘lowest common denominator’ in popular religion. American civil religion has a place for a Supreme Being but only in the context...

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Letter from America
August 1999
United States of America

Letter from America

I was in the Pentagon, in Washington DC, the day after the war in Kosovo came to an end. Relief was universal, not just because a resolution to the conflict had been reached, but because people would now be able to spend time with their families again! The Pentagon is a vast structure. Built in 1941 to house the US military headquarters, the building itself covers some 29 acres, with an additional 67 acres set aside to park up to 9,500 cars. Walking inside its 17 miles of corridors, spread over 5 floors, can be highly confusing to the uninitiated! But perhaps the most striking...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – Pastoring in Mill Valley, California
May 1999
United States of America

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – Pastoring in Mill Valley, California

Mill Valley is at the southern end of Marin, which is one of the counties in the San Francisco Bay area. On Easter Sunday somewhat less than 3% of the population there turns out for a church service. As far as I know there is not a Reformed congregation in Marin, apart from Miller Avenue Baptist Church, Mill Valley, of which I am the pastor.   During the 1970s I served as founding and senior pastor of an independent church in central Marin. This was at the height of the ‘Jesus People’ movement. We grew so large so quickly that we were forced to begin...

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LETTER FROM AMERICA
February 1999
United States of America

LETTER FROM AMERICA

It is very cold outside, as I slowly drive to my office in the Northeast of the United States. So cold, that the windscreen washer fluid has long since frozen, with no regard for the anti-freeze that was added to it. On the radio, the presenter announces that today’s ‘high’ temperature will be around 7°F (-15°C). Snow is also on its way. The news presenter drones on in the background, until something catches my attention – today, two mighty heroes have fallen. By the time you read this, you may already know the result of the Senate trial, only the second in American history, in...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-California
January 1999
United States of America

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-California

In season and out of season Paul’s admonition to Timothy needs to be remembered by gospel preachers today: ‘Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season’ (2 Timothy 4:2). These words are reminders that even the clear, strong and consistent preaching of the gospel does not always bring ‘results’. The preacher may be tempted, therefore, to think he is responsible for the lack of response from his congregation. Frustration At Miller Avenue Baptist Church, California, where I seek to preach the gospel, I observe unconverted people hearing sermon after sermon and yet remaining unmoved by what they have heard. They look right...

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A Letter from America
September 1998
United States of America

A Letter from America

written on this side of the Atlantic!) For the more widely-read amongst us, the word ‘Greendale’ will conjure up images of Postman Pat, Mrs Goggins, Ted Glen, Peter Fogg and a black and white cat called Jess. For me, it now has a new association — Heritage Baptist Church, Worcester, Massachusetts.   The notice outside the building says ‘The Greendale Improvement Society’ and the Greendale Improvement Society still owns the building. But for the past few years it has been exclusively the meeting place of Heritage Baptist Church. This is a growing work. Since June 1995 the pastor of the church has been Dr James...

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Letter from America
January 1998
United States of America

Letter from America

In a recent Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal (religion section) my interest was drawn to an entire article titled ‘A Growing Movement: Full-service churches offer programs and activities geared to America’s consumer culture’. The article went on to give an example, namely the First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia. It described the church as ‘one of the fastest growing service-churches’ with its ‘eloquent 235, 000 square foot facilities, staffed with 22 professional ministers [and] a membership of 7689’. The journalist, Gayle White, said its calendar offered ‘everything from a senior adult chilli cook-off to a super-bowl party’. Ms White quotes Scott Thumma, who holds a...

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