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All news in March 2019

News

March 2019
News > People > Obituaries

Megan Franklin (1981-2018)

London Christians are groaning mutely at a fearful providence that has humbled us all, particularly the family of Brad and Megan Franklin. Brad is an American pastor of St Giles Christian Mission in north London. He has six young children (all under thirteen years old) and his wife, Megan, was expecting their seventh. Three days after Christmas, Megan sustained a small cut, leading to a Group A Strep infection. Her brain swelled, causing catastrophic damage. Megan underwent a C-section and successfully gave birth to a sixth son, who is doing well. However, Megan did not recover from her infection and tragically passed away on 6th...

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News

March 2019
News > People > Obituaries

Douglas Dawson (1922-2019)

On 17 January, Douglas Dawson passed into glory. He had pastored several churches, including fellowships in Stretham, Borough Green and Leyton. Grace Baptist churches underwent much change during Douglas’ life. Along with Clifford Pond, Jack Hoad, John Appleby and Frank Ellis, Douglas played a pivotal role. Clifford, Jack and Douglas were leaders in the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches at a critical time in the 1960s and 1970s. This coincided with a further liberalising of the Baptist Union. Many young preachers were unwilling to pursue ministry within the BU. Where could they turn? Strict Baptist churches offered help as Clifford and Douglas interviewed and...

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March 2019
News > Church news

Roland Burrows retirement

On 8th December 2018, a service was held at Ebenezer Baptist Chapel in Old Hill, West Midlands to give thanks for the pastoral ministry of Mr G Roland Burrows. Several hundred people gathered from local churches as well as further afield. Mr Stephen Ford chaired proceedings. He explained how his friendship with Mr Burrows developed during their involvement with the Christian Worship Hymnbook Committee. Mr Alun McNabb preached for the occasion. Under his ministry at Dudley Baptist Chapel, Mr Burrows was converted, married and called to the ministry. He spoke profitably from 1 Corinthians 4:2, ‘Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be...

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March 2019
News > Conferences

Carey Conference 2019

Some would consider early January an inopportune time for a conference, but for many years good numbers of attendees have arrived at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanick for 48 hours of teaching and fellowship. This year, the main subject was the Trinity. It was good to have Dr Robert Letham with us again to faithfully guide us over this terrain. His three sessions on the topic were supplemented by other papers from Jonathan Worsley (worship), David Campbell (holiness), Robert Strivens (Synod of Dort), Henry Dixon (prayer in the Spirit) and Jonathan Bayes (zeal for God’s glory). Most of the hundred or so men present...

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March 2019
News > Church news

Hambleton Evangelical Church’s 50th anniversary

On the first weekend of 2019, members and friends of Hambleton Evangelical Church, near Thirsk, met to give thanks to God for his faithfulness over the fifty years since the church was founded. A list was compiled of fifty things for which to feel gratitude. The Saturday afternoon saw a time of recollection. A display around the church illustrated various activities which had occurred since the church’s founding. This was followed by a time of informal fellowship and a buffet. An illustrated talk by Malcolm Peters followed. Malcolm was the first pastor and spoke of its founding. Three couples with young families had covenanted together...

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March 2019
News > International

China: Government bans first commandment in church

The Chinese government has ordered one church to remove the first commandment, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’, from its wall. Chinese officials claim that displaying the first commandment contradicts the policy of China’s president, Xi Jinping. It is yet another example of increasingly intense persecution of Christians and churches by the Chinese state. Meeting places are being closed down, and pastors and church members are being imprisoned. The Chinese authorities are issuing a new state translation of the Bible to establish the ‘correct understanding’ of Scripture. The current approach has been deemed the worst religious persecution since Chairman Mao’s attempts to eradicate...

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News

March 2019
News > International

US: New York State legalises abortion up to birth

The American state of New York has passed ‘horrific’ legislation which allows abortions up to the point of birth in many cases. Democratic state governor, Andrew Cuomo, directed the One World Trade Center and other landmarks to be lit in pink to celebrate the passage of the ‘Reproductive Health Act (RHA)’. Under the new law, non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure could be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is endangered or if the foetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk. The...

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March 2019
News > Ethics

Netherlands: Quarter of all deaths ‘induced’

Fifteen years after euthanasia was legalised in the Netherlands, over a quarter of all deaths in 2017 were ‘induced’, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper. In the report, journalist Christopher de Bellaigue traces the history of euthanasia in the Netherlands from when it was introduced for extreme cases to now being applied more freely. ‘The process of bringing in euthanasia legislation began with a desire to deal with the most heart-breaking cases — really terrible forms of death’, said Theo Boer, who teaches ethics at the Theological University of Kampen. ‘But there have been important changes in the way the law is applied....

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News

March 2019
News > Persecution

Pakistan: Asia Bibi’s acquittal upheld

Asia Bibi, the Roman Catholic woman who has been on death row in Pakistan for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam, has had her acquittal upheld. The Supreme Court of Pakistan maintained its decision to overturn her conviction and death sentence. She was originally convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours and spent eight years on death row. But the Supreme Court quashed her conviction last October, sparking protests by Islamic hardliners who petitioned the court to overturn their ruling. Asia Bibi, also known as Asia Noreen, was unable to leave Pakistan while an appeal request...

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March 2019
News > Media

Experimental puberty blockers examined in BBC documentary

A new documentary called Pausing Puberty on BBC Radio 4 has investigated puberty blockers, the controversial drugs given to children who are confused about their gender. The drugs were originally designed to pause development in children suffering from ‘precocious puberty’, where they begin to go through puberty at a very early age. They are, however, largely untested on healthy children who are given them to aid ‘gender transition’. Presenter Britt Wray spoke to Dr Stephen Rosenthal, from the Child and Adolescent Gender Center in San Francisco, who is researching the long-term impact of hormone blockers on young people. He said using drugs to pause puberty...

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March 2019
News > Society

Scottish nursery staff told not to say ‘boys and girls’

Nursery staff in Scotland have been told not to call children ‘boys and girls’, or tell them stories about male characters, in an attempt to stamp out gender discrimination. The guidance from the Care Inspectorate also cautions against using words such as ‘man-made’ and ‘mankind’ and urges staff to change story characters such as Mr Squirrel to ‘Squirrel’. Nurseries are also encouraged to display male ballet dancers to break down gender divisions. But critics have called the guidance ‘patronising’ and ‘out of control’. The Inspectorate urges nursery staff to ‘retell nursery rhymes or fairy tales in a more gender-equal manner’ and not to greet children...

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March 2019
News > Church news

Archbishop Justin Welby prays ‘in tongues’ every day

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says he prays ‘in tongues’ every morning and he expects to hear messages and prophecies from God through others. He made the disclosure in an interview with Christian radio station, Premier. He said, ‘In my own prayer life, and as part of my daily discipline I pray in tongues every day – not as an occasional thing but as part of daily prayer’. He added: ‘It’s not something to make a great song and dance about. Given it’s usually extremely early in the morning it’s not usually an immensely ecstatic moment because I’m sort of ‘Urrgh’ – struggling’. He...

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March 2019
News > Religious liberty

Free speech guidance issued for Universities

New guidance has been published for students and universities setting out the legal rights and obligations to help protect free speech on campuses. In recent years, Christian and pro-life groups have been forced off campus because of their religious and ethical beliefs. And well-known feminists like Germaine Greer have been banned from giving lectures to students because of her views on transgender people. But now new guidance produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission says student unions and universities must do more to protect free speech. David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: ‘The free expression and exchange of different...

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March 2019
News > Ethics

Woman launches court case to liberalise abortion law in NI

Abortion activist Sarah Ewart has started a court case to force the liberalisation of the abortion law in Northern Ireland. She has launched a judicial review of the legislation in Northern Ireland, and the case will be ruled upon by judges in the High Court. It comes after a previous Supreme Court appeal, led by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), failed last year. In that case, the judges said Northern Ireland’s ban on abortion was incompatible with human rights laws in the case of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime. However, the case failed because the judges said the NIHRC did not have...

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March 2019
News > Society

Britain’s ‘first trans family’ now changing their son, 5, to a girl

A Scottish couple once dubbed Britain’s ‘first transgender family’ have announced that they are encouraging the gender transition of their five-year-old son, Jayden. According to the couple, Jayden, a male, likes dresses and hates ‘everything about being a boy’. Parent Greg Rogers, who was born a woman, said: ‘We’ve had people saying we’re using Jayden for attention and that she just wants to be a girl because I changed sex’. Greg’s partner Jody said Jayden ‘came out and told us she hates being a boy and that she’s actually a girl. She wanted to wear girls’ clothes so we decided to go with the flow...

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March 2019
News > Church news

Baptist figurehead Andrew Fuller’s shorthand notes cracked by student

The shorthand notes of leading Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller have finally been deciphered, after baffling academics for generations. Hundreds of pages of his sermon notes are held in archives, but until now they have been a mystery to researchers. Andrew Fuller, who was born in Cambridgeshire in 1754, became a Baptist minister, and is best known for founding the Baptist Missionary Society. Such was his international standing, he was offered honorary doctorates by both Yale and the College of New Jersey — now Princeton — although he turned them down. His early sermons and other documents have survived only as shorthand notes, although a number...

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March 2019
News > Society

Children in two-parent families do better

The absence of one of their parents has a big negative impact on children’s lives, according to two large research studies in the UK and the US. The British and American studies have been following children growing up since about the year 2000. The academics involved say this is not about judging or blaming but rather capturing the challenges some families face when there is one parent. The American study recruited 5,000 children and their parents in large cities. Even allowing for economic disadvantage, data began to show the impact of instability on a child’s life. Those whose parents had divorced were more likely to...

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News

March 2019
News > Religious liberty

Bid to force churches in England and Wales to perform same-sex weddings

There was an attempt in the House of Lords to change the law so that clergy in the Church of England and the Church in Wales would be forced to perform gay weddings. The amendment was signed by Lord Collins of Highbury, but it was withdrawn before it could be voted on. In 2013, when the UK government brought in same-sex marriage, it promised ‘iron clad’ protections so that ‘those who do not want to conduct same-sex marriages will never have to’. Clergy in the Church of England and the Church in Wales need specific legal protection because they are otherwise under a legal duty...

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News

March 2019
News > Ethics

Ashers bakery will not seek costs over ‘gay cake’ case

The owners of Ashers bakery in Northern Ireland say they won’t seek to recover legal costs from those who pursued them in the courts. The bakery’s backers, The Christian Institute, said Ashers do not wish to set a precedent which may damage other religious liberty cases in the future. And the Institute also says that by not seeking costs, Ashers are being consistent with arguments made at earlier stages of their legal case. The case centred on whether the Christian owners of the bakery could be forced to provide a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’. When the case first went to trial, the...

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March 2019
News

Frank Reich: from seminary president to NFL coach

In the world of professional sport, it is a rare and joyous thing to hear a Christian share their love for Jesus Christ. When Frank Reich became the head coach for the NFL team Indianapolis Colts, perhaps few knew his amazing story and unique career. Starting as a backup quarterback in university football, Reich not only went on to become an NFL player but also went on to pursue an MDiv degree at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina and served as its director for a number of years. This is remarkable, especially if you consider the atmosphere of NFL locker rooms and the...

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