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The noble martyrs of Kent

Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

The noble martyrs of Kent

This is a reprint of a book first published in 1924. It makes the reader aware of the faithful and courageous stand for the truth that cost men and women their lives, particularly in the reign of Mary Tudor, queen of England between 1553 and 1558. The book goes through the towns and villages of Kent giving an account of the stand taken by Protestant martyrs; the persecution they suffered and ultimately their martyrdom for standing for Christ and his gospel. They stood against the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, which was imposing itself on the nation at that time. Each chapter helpfully enables...

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The noble martyrs of Kent
Reformation heroes

Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Reformation heroes

This is a super book that fills a gap in the Christian book market. It is an updated, modernised and expanded version of an earlier work by Richard Newton called The Reformation and its heroes. The book has a threefold aim – first, to teach a general knowledge of the Reformation and the events leading up to it; second, to encourage young people in particular to become familiar with the lives of these great saints; third, to understand and gain a deeper respect for the doctrines fought for during the Reformation period. The book has an attractive format and is well illustrated. Its direct appeal...

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Gospel basics

Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Gospel basics

If you do not know much about Dr Andrew Bonar, then this book’s opening chapter by D. M. McIntyre gives a taste of the man as a preacher. It is clear that he was an understanding preacher of his day. His language was simple. He had a soaring imagination and was a master of constructing sentences. His preaching was clearly Christ-centred; his insistence on Christ as the object of faith an impressive characteristic of both his preaching and writing. The book is a collection of pieces written by Bonar at different times throughout his ministry. Each piece is generally written to meet particular circumstances; therefore,...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

‘Ever, only, ALL for Thee’: Glimpses of the life of Frances Ridley Havergal

I really like this little book and can easily understand how it came to be written and compiled. While proof-reading The complete works of Frances Ridley Havergal, Pamela Bugden realised the many blessings to be obtained through reading and studying Havergal’s hymns and other writings. Many will have sung her hymns over the years, but few may know the story of her life, her many talents and the vast quantity of other written material. She was a talented musician as well as hymn-writer, composing many of the tunes to her hymns, and was also said to be gifted with a beautiful singing voice. Pamela Bugden’s...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Frances Ridley Havergal, the English hymn-writer and poet

To most readers of this review Frances Ridley Havergal is probably best known as the writer of such hymns as ‘Take my life’, and ‘Lord, speak to me, that I may speak’. This book, the latest of the Day One Travel Guides – and the first written about a woman – is both a potted biography and practical guide for anyone wishing to visit the places associated with Frances. Frances was born in 1836, the youngest of six children. Her father was rector in Astley, Worcestershire. She was a gifted individual and wrote hymns (and tunes to accompany them), poems and devotional books for adults and children....

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Christmas Evans – no ordinary preacher

One thing is certain: this book is a conversation starter. Whenever I left my copy on the coffee table, visitors would pick it up and ask in bemused tones, ‘What sort of a name is Christmas Evans?’ I knew a little about Christmas Evans before reading this, but as I read I began to realise he was not dubbed ‘the John Bunyan of Wales’ for nothing.  I learnt of the far-reaching effect of his ministry all over Wales, and that we have Christmas Evans to thank for gospel witness in Anglesey today. It might be fairer to call him the ‘remarkable itinerant evangelist of Wales’....

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Cornelius Van Til: Reformed apologist and churchman

Cornelius Van Til was arguably the most significant and yet most under-appreciated Christian apologist of the 20th century. That is so in part because his writings are not always easy to understand and he has often been viewed as a controversialist. John Muether provides a major corrective to those misperceptions in this new biography. As part of the American Reformed Biographies series, which sets out to chart Reformed church history through biographies of key figures in that movement, Muether views Van Til primarily in light of his Presbyterian convictions and churchmanship. Tracing out his family roots in the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, we are...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Christianity: Is it True?—Answering questions through real lives

This is a really interesting small book consisting of twelve biographies of Christian heroes of faith. They begin with the earliest, St Columba of Iona, then work through history, including John Bunyan and William Wilberforce on the way, before finishing with Joni Eareckson Tada. Each biography covers eight to ten pages with the aim of showing how these people from different backgrounds put their faith into action in different and sometimes challenging circumstances. A short introduction and conclusion put the biographies into the context of the book’s title—Christianity: Is it True? They also answer two other questions which the author sets: ‘does it work?’, and...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Five Half-Truths—Addressing the most common misconceptions of Christianity

This helpful little book aims to help navigate people though confusions that contemporary society generates, and which so often derail those who engage with Christian teaching. It also serves to clearly ground believers in the faith, especially as they seek to help others explore it. The ‘Five Half Truths’ are: 1) The Bible was written by men; 2) all religions are the same; 3) God is love; 4) Jesus is truly a man; and 5) our good deeds matter. The book concludes with chapters on ‘the whole truth’ and a final challenge to think all this through. Positively, the author gives helpful, clear explanations of...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Journal of the Seminary of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Volume 4.

This edition of the Journal contains seven articles, six by contemporary Free Church (Continuing) ministers who have lectured at the seminary, and one by a nineteenth-century Free Church of Scotland theologian, George Smeaton. The work could have done with better editing. There are too many spelling mistakes and examples of incorrect grammar, and occasionally footnotes appear on the wrong page. Three of the articles deal with large theological themes. John Morrison writes on the atonement, William Macleod on Christology, and James Clarke on God’s immanence and transcendence. In a volume of this size, the treatment of these major themes is inevitably sketchy, but the authors...

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News

June 2019
News > Conferences

Male and female roles considered at Free Church (Continuing) conference

A good number of folk gathered in brilliant sunshine for the annual Spring Conference of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), which was held at Culloden-Balloch Baptist Church, Inverness, earlier this year. The speaker was Mr Nigel Kenny, Scotland Officer for the Christian Institute. His topic was the role of male and female in our society. The Rev. Harry Woods, from Beauly, ably chaired the gathering, leading worship before both the morning and afternoon sessions. In the morning session, Mr Kenny addressed the gathering on the role of male and female in society.  He dealt effectively in showing how far removed our society has become...

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News

June 2019
News > Church news

Christian Prison Resourcing open day held

Christian Prison Resourcing (CPR) enjoyed an informative and inspirational Open Day at Elmstead Baptist Church, Chiselhurst, on Saturday 13 April. The day began with training for CPR chaplains and associates, led by senior men in the prison service: James Ridge, the chaplain general; Bob Wilson, the faith adviser to the Free Churches; and Phil Chadder, chaplaincy training and development officer. They delivered challenging, interactive training based around 1 Thessalonians considering: prayer, signs of growth, working in an alien environment, and understanding the theology, all targeted at those working ‘inside’. This was greatly appreciated by the CPR Associates. After lunch, slightly more than 100 supporters of...

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News

June 2019
News > Conferences

Translation update from Trinitarian Bible Society

An annual deputation meeting of the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS) has been held at the Presbyterian Reformed Church, Stockton-on-Tees. Several evangelical denominations were represented and Dr David Allen spoke for the TBS. We began with a heart-warming exposition of Ephesians 3:20 (‘Now to him who is able…’). It was wonderful to be reminded of the richness of God shown in Christ; our heavenly Father not only grants what we need, but also ‘abundantly above all that we ask or think’. We were then reminded of the thousands of languages still without a Bible translation. This situation demands prayer and petition before God. We were exhorted...

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News

June 2019
News > Conferences

‘Not man’s wisdom that saves’ says Mark Stocker at Birmingham Conference 2019

Ebenezer Chapel in Old Hill, Birmingham hosted this year’s Birmingham conference. Approximately 90 people gathered in March to hear Timothy Nelson (Ballynahinch), Mark Stocker (Southampton) and Tom Yates (Devizes). The conference is arranged by the committee behind the Christian Worship hymnbook. Pastor John Thackway provided us with a history of this hymnbook and its associated ministries: the conference, the young people’s summer camps and a new January retreat. Mr Nelson spoke on godly leadership: its importance and character of servanthood, acknowledgement of divine sovereignty and readiness to suffer. Mr Nelson called on us to pray for leaders to be raised up and to carefully watch...

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News

June 2019
News > Conferences

Banner of Truth youth conference attended by 300

Held over the first weekend in April, this year’s Banner of Truth conference took place at Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre in Staffordshire. It was heartening to see 300 people, aged 16 to 30, in attendance; the number has been increasing year on year. The conference is intended to encourage young Christians and equip them to become the next generation of faithful church members and leaders. The conference comprised seven addresses and a question-and-answer (Q&A) session. I have always benefited from the faithful ministry of God’s Word by the speakers selected for the conference. Robert McCollum, minister of Newtonwards Reformed Presbyterian Church, gave a...

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News

June 2019
News > Persecution

Global rugby stars under siege

Polynesian Christian rugby players have spoken out against the draconian manner in which Australian rugby star Israel Folau has been treated over an Instagram post. Mr Folau – an international player with 73 caps – looks set to be kicked out of the sport by Australia’s rugby authorities after posting an Instagram image which was claimed to be homophobic. His code of conduct hearing was held in May in Sydney. Following this, other rugby players have come under pressure. Ireland and Connacht centre Bundee Aki was forced to apologise for mistakenly ‘liking’ the post and for any ‘confusion or offence’. Similarly, Fiji-born Wallabies player Samu...

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News

June 2019
News > International

Kenya: Bible translation pledge

The Deputy President of Kenya, Dr William Ruto, has pledged that the government of Kenya will stand shoulder to shoulder with Bible translators ‘until every citizen of this country will read the Word of God in their mother tongue’. This promise came during a speech he gave in April, in Kilifi, to celebrate the dedication of a full Bible in Giryama, part of Wycliffe’s translation work. The event was attended by over 2,500 people, including church leaders, government officials, Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL) Kenya workers and partners (including people serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators), and Giryama community members. Dr Ruto was the chief guest...

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News

June 2019
News > Persecution

Canada: Asia Bibi reunited with family

Pakistani woman Asia Bibi who was imprisoned for nine years on baseless charges of insulting the prophet Mohammed, has finally been freed to join her family in Canada. Asia Bibi had first been arrested on the false charges of blasphemy in 2009 after sharing a cup of water with Muslim farmworkers, who called her unclean. In 2010 the Pakistani court sentenced her to death, prompting global outrage and calls for a change to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. She was not executed but was kept in prison in appalling conditions as international pressure mounted for her release. Although she had been acquitted by the Pakistan Supreme Court...

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News

June 2019
News > International

India: Decisive victory for religious freedom

A pastor of a small Indian village in Madhya Pradesh was acquitted of the charges held against him under disputed anti-conversion laws, according to religious liberty group ADF International. In 2016, Pastor Balu, his wife, his son, and members of his congregation were violently attacked, later detained by the police and falsely accused of forcing conversions to Christianity. The landmark ruling marks an important victory against India’s anti-conversion laws, which increasingly threaten the fundamental rights of religious minorities. ‘The acquittal of Pastor Balu and his family is a vital step towards the protection of religious freedom and the right to freely live out one’s faith,’...

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News

June 2019
News > International

Sri Lanka: Churches rebuild after Easter bombings

Churches and Christian communities have begun to rebuild after the devastating Easter weekend attacks by Muslim extremists, which saw 253 killed and more than 500 hospitalised. The Islamic State terror group said it had carried out the attacks, with some social media posts claiming this was done in retaliation for the much-publicised Mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year, which sparked mass coverage in Western news. The attackers in Sri Lanka targeted three churches which were packed out for Easter, and three hotels, killing many Sri Lankans and 42 foreign nationals in the bombing attacks. One of the churches targeted was Zion Evangelical...

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News

June 2019
News > International

Yemen: Christians in desperate need

Yemen’s tiny Christian population is in desperate need as the humanitarian crisis worsens in the country. According to various news reports, the Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen, which has been ongoing since 2015, has created a ‘staggering’ scale of suffering engulfing Muslims and Christians alike. Data from Tearfund suggests there are 24 million people needing humanitarian assistance in the country – approximately 80 per cent of the population – and 15.9 million people wake up hungry each day because of the food shortages. In its latest newsletter, Tearfund has warned, ‘large-scale outbreaks of cholera are persisting. According to the World Health Organisation, 30 per...

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News

June 2019
News > International

US: Indiana ushers in pro-life laws

The governor of the US state of Indiana has signed two new pro-life bills into law, protecting the lives of the unborn and the conscience rights of medics. The first piece of legislation bans the use of ‘dilation and evacuation’ (D&E) abortions, which are the most common form of abortion between 13 and 24 weeks in the womb. Nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants will also now be able to refuse to participate in abortions or dispense abortifacient drugs if it violates their conscience, thanks to the second new law. This extends the conscience protection rights beyond doctors and other workers who were already covered. Mike...

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News

June 2019
News > Persecution

Prince Charles speaks up for persecuted Christians

Prince Charles has spoken out on behalf of persecuted Christians worldwide, claiming he has been ‘moved and humbled’ after meeting some victims. Writing in The Telegraph, the Prince of Wales stated he had been overwhelmed by the knowledge that approximately 245 million Christians worldwide have faced persecution. He wrote, ‘The most vulnerable are the women and children. Many have been attacked and made homeless. I have been immensely moved and humbled by the courage and dignity of those I have met’. Prince Charles commented that, this Easter, persecuted Christians were ‘especially in my prayers as they follow in the footsteps of our Lord who died...

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News

June 2019
News > Religious liberty

Christian school worker sacked for Facebook posts questioning sex education

A Christian school worker is to challenge a Gloucestershire school academy’s decision to dismiss her for gross misconduct. Kristie Higgs was dismissed after she shared two Facebook posts that raised concerns about Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at another school in the same village, her own child’s Church of England Primary School. Kristie, mother of two who had been working at the Gloucestershire academy for six years as a pastoral assistant, was told following an investigation and a six-hour hearing that she would be dismissed without notice. Earlier last year, her child’s Church of England Primary School sent out a letter informing parents it was...

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News

June 2019
News > Ethics

Abortion report undermines Northern Ireland devolution

A report on abortion law in Northern Ireland makes recommendations that will undermine devolution and bypass the Northern Ireland Assembly, public policy charity CARE has warned. At the end of April, the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) Report on abortion law in Northern Ireland recommended that devolution be by-passed, and abortion legalised in Northern Ireland in cases of so called ‘fatal foetal abnormality’. However, CARE warned that abortion is a devolved matter and has been the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly since 1921. Moreover, none of the MPs on the committee represent Northern Ireland constituencies, and the Committee was not even unanimous in recommending...

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News

June 2019
News > Religious liberty

Street preacher arrest prompts petition

Christian Concern is petitioning the Home Secretary asking him to review the guidance to police officers regarding street preachers following yet another arrest in London earlier this year. So far, thousands have signed the petition, but Christian Concern has urged for more names to ‘add pressure’ on the Home Secretary and the police to force a change in police practice when it comes to questioning and arresting street preachers. The petition came after street preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi was forcibly arrested on Saturday 23 February outside Southgate Tube station. According to video footage, Mr Oluowole was preaching on the streets as he often does. The police...

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News

June 2019
News > Ethics

Pro-life speech shut down across Scotland

A pro-life student university group has launched a legal challenge against the University of Aberdeen after its attempts at affiliation were repeatedly rejected by the Students’ Union, based on their policy barring pro-life societies on campus. According to the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society (Ales), the case is emblematic of a ‘disturbing trend across over 100 UK universities’, where reportedly 43 per cent have implemented speech codes and policies that limit religious expression. It also claimed at least 108 universities in the UK have actively censored free speech; or have done so through over-regulation. On the abortion issue, there...

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News

June 2019
News > Ethics

Beware of plans to regulate the internet, groups warn

Government proposals to police the internet by imposing fines on websites which fail to tackle ‘online harms’ have come under criticism from free speech groups. Five civil liberties organisations have written a joint letter to the press saying the plans, if enacted, would make China’s state censors proud. The five groups are English PEN, Big Brother Watch, Article 19, Open Rights Group, and Index on Censorship. They said there are fundamental problems with the government’s proposals. ‘Firstly, the white paper proposes to regulate literally the entire internet, and censor anything non-compliant. This extends to blogs, file services, hosting platforms, cloud computing; nothing is out of...

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News

June 2019
News > Society

Parents ‘undermined’ by sex education plans, say Lords

Peers in the House of Lords have expressed their deep misgivings about government plans to make Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in schools. During a debate, a number of Peers said that the plans undermine parents and must not ‘indoctrinate’ children. However, despite the concerns, the House of Lords approved the proposals. During the debate, Lord Curry said that ‘the responsibility for children’s moral and religious education lies first and foremost with parents’. He added, ‘That is not a role that the state should be taking to itself. We in this place should not be cutting across or undermining the influence of parents’. He also...

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Article

June 2019
Articles > World Mission

What in the world is happening to missions? Evaluation, accountability and priorities

This is the third in a series of four articles in which experienced missionary Will Niven asks some searching and important questions about the current evangelical approach to missions. In my previous two articles, I highlighted what I perceive to be some of the problems within the current evangelical approach to missions. I have discussed matters relating to volunteerism, finances, training and parachurch organisations. This month, I discuss some more areas of concern: evaluation, accountability and priorities. Evaluation: the tyranny of the success syndrome and its effects. A missionary to Morocco from my home church told me, before she died, of her family’s labours in...

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Article

June 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Thinking it through… the wisdom of withholding judgement

Oh no. I dread phonecalls like this. It’s from a friend. Ian’s ringing to tell me that he and his wife have left the church they’ve been attending for the past twenty-odd years. It’s a sad story. They were pillars in that church, working faithfully, doing the jobs no one else wanted to do, supporting the leadership loyally:  until two years ago when the church called a new pastor. He came in and changed everything. Introduced all sorts of new ways of doing things. Pushed his favourites into the key positions in the church. Suggested to older folk like them that it was time to...

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Article

June 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A shrink thinks… Pastor vs psychiatrist?

Am I in conflict with myself? I am not referring to Romans 7 and wrestling with my sin, but rather to a potential role conflict. As both a serving elder with some pastoral responsibility and a practising consultant psychiatrist, do I experience a tension between these two roles? Do I find that my ‘psychiatrist self’ has a set of views and practices which are in opposition to my ‘eldership self’? I do not. But if you read my recent article on ‘Unconscious sin’ then you might respond that I am not best placed to answer my own question! For I may unconsciously be working as...

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Article

June 2019
Articles > Guest column

How I am is not who I am

Struggling for the right words, the prop forward tried to answer the question. Talking about his feelings obviously didn’t come easily. ‘I really loved my wife and children’ he said, ‘but then I started to have these urges – and I had to be true to my urges’. The BBC interviewer obviously approved – he did not ask why. The media believes ‘who I am’ is who I feel I am. And since my strongest feelings are sexual, I must define myself by my sexual urges. Not to act to gratify these urges is repression, a denial of who I am. But as Christians we...

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Article

June 2019
Articles > Comment

Online censorship in the name of regulation?

I wouldn’t blame you if it has slipped you by, but the government has released new proposals to regulate the entire internet. It wants to fine websites that fail to tackle ‘online harms’. It proposes to set up a new independent watchdog which will introduce a ‘code of practice’. What’s that got to do with us as evangelicals? Well, the scope of the new proposals is alarming. Everything on the internet will come under the plans – so that includes your church website, or the online content of any Christian organisation, or any pastor who has a blog. The definition of an ‘online harm’ is...

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Article

June 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The Saviour from sin, not just from hell

Jesus Christ offers himself as the Saviour for sinners. As Christians it is our privilege to proclaim this glorious message to mankind. But it is important that all pastors, evangelists, and Christian workers propose salvation on the terms which Christ himself intended. I have a particular point to make in this article relative to the demands of the gospel. It is this: Christ offers himself not so much as the Saviour from hell as the Saviour from sin. In the first chapter of the New Testament, it was announced, prior to the Saviour’s birth, that he would save his people from their sins (Matthew. 1:21)....

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

Called? Pastoral Guidance for the Divine Call to Gospel Ministry

It is a momentous thing for a man to feel that the Lord is calling him to gospel ministry. Michael A. Milton sets out to guide his readers through the various stages of responding to the Lord’s call. His work is full of practical advice, often drawn from Milton’s own experience. A theology of calling is sketched out. Several chapters are devoted to choosing a seminary and the privileges and pitfalls of seminary life. Attention is given to the early phase of gospel service after training has been completed. Then there is the matter of persevering in the work over the long haul. The work...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World (TGC (Women’s Initiatives))

I was looking forward to reading this book as I thought I was quite good at hospitality. However, it put me firmly in my place! Nevertheless I did really enjoy reading it, it’s compelling and full of encouraging testimonies of God’s grace. The book is an autobiographical peek behind the curtains into Rosaria Butterfield’s home. The gospel comes with a house key – so the door is always open to friends, family, neighbours, strangers and foster children. During the average week many people will gather around the family table to enjoy food, fellowship and family devotions. She’ll be walking the dog with neighbours, feeding their...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

A Child’s First Book About Marriage: God’s Way is Always Best

How well are Christian parents teaching their children what God’s word says about marriage? Are they equipped to counter the homosexual rights propaganda which their children will be exposed to at school or through television? This short, colourful book describes the tender closeness of the ‘one flesh’ relationship between man and wife. It emphasises that, more than just love and romance, a marriage is forged by sacred vows which ‘help keep a couple together even when they don’t feel like loving each other’. It is shown that marriage is no human invention, but was created by God himself. Governments do not always recognise God’s laws...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

#TBH: Basic Challenges to Millennials Who Can’t Even

This book provides a balanced and biblical remedy to the issues that characterise the millennial generation (loosely defined as those people who reached adulthood in the twenty-first century). As well as challenging any readers born into that category, the book would also benefit believers seeking to evangelise that young generation. It will help them understand their worldview, their attitudes, their difficulties and how the word of God addresses them. Regan King doesn’t pull any punches when dealing with traits of millennials. Much of his analysis is spot on, much needed and readily identifiable. As a millennial myself, I was also challenged. It helped me see...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

Being a Christian: The Basics of Christian living

Someone in your church has just become a Christian. Now, what do you do? If you are looking for a book to give to them, then I can recommend this one. In eight concise chapters which are written in a popular style, our writer lays down eight basic things that every new believer needs to know. Chapter one is about identifying oneself as a Christian by living in a way that marks us out as being different, but the writer also encourages the reader to identify with Christ through baptism. Baptism can often be a neglected subject when one is dealing with new converts, so...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > World Mission

What in the world is happening to missions? Training and parachurch organisations

This is the second in a series of four articles in which experienced missionary Will Niven asks some searching and important questions about the current evangelical approach to missions. Last time, in my first article, I highlighted what I perceive to be some of the problems with volunteerism and finances within the current evangelical approach to missions. This month, I discuss two more areas of concern: training and parachurch organisations. Training What are we preparing people to do? One of the most enlightening and at the same time crushing moments in my life was when I realised that I was largely unequipped for the job...

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News

May 2019
News > People > Obituaries

Geoff Cox (1946-2019)

‘If any reference is made to me then my faults and failings must be faithfully mentioned, and any qualities and achievements must be attributed to the grace of God.’ With these words, Geoff Cox instructed those who would conduct his funeral and thanksgiving service. It was truly characteristic of the man who over 200 family and friends gathered to remember and thank God for on 14 March. Welcome Hall Evangelical Church in Catshill, near Bromsgrove, was packed as those leading the service gracefully pushed the boundaries of Geoff’s request! John Parker, Geoff’s brother-in-law, reflected on his family and work. Geoff had experienced two careers: one...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

Dewsbury Connected conference focuses on the role of apologetics

The Connected conference is an annual gathering of church officers, workers and future leaders of independent fellowships in the North, taking place in Dewsbury Evangelical Church. Apologetics was the theme, specifically engaging with the secular beliefs of modern society. We were well served by Dan Strange, our speaker for the day. Dan is director of Oak Hill Theological College and elder of East Finchley Baptist Church. Starting from Peter’s exhortation of the believer to be ‘always prepared to give an answer’ (1 Peter 3:15), Dan talked through various texts which help us to give answers which are both faithful and effective. He spoke with wisdom...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

History lectures on Joseph Herrick and the Primitive Methodists

The Christian Heritage Centre in Rowley Regis recently hosted two lectures on church history. The first, by Martin Wells, focused on Joseph Herrick: a 19th century dissenting minister in Colchester. Martin highlighted Herrick’s bravery in the face of opposition, even from his own congregation. Herrick ministered to his church for 51 years, despite ambitions to oust him. Once, the chapel’s trustees even had the roof removed in order to precipitate Herrick’s departure! The ploy worked and Herrick was forced out of the building. However, his congregation remained loyal and they secured a new building. Opposition persisted. Herrick’s detractors sought to regain control of the trust...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

Three lectures on men of the Reformation held near Leicester

Little Hill Church, near Leicester, recently held the first of a series of lectures on the Reformation. This follows the well-received series which took place in 2018. Three talks will focus on different men living between 1560 and 1660. Their responses to being within the ‘partially reformed’ Church of England will be explored. The first lecture took place on 25 February; Dr Lesley Rowe spoke on Arthur Hildersham and his sufferings for conscience’ sake. She began by contextualising Anglicanism in late Elizabethan England. The queen had insisted that no further reformation was permissible. However, many godly ministers took issue with Archbishop Whitgift’s ‘Three Articles’ –...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

Middlesbrough church may pull out of needy area unless funds are raised

An FIEC church serving four social housing estates in Middlesbrough may pull out of the area unless money can be raised to buy the building it currently rents. New Life Church, Middlesbrough, has been meeting in Ormesby Methodist Church Hall since 2014 but the owners no longer need the site and are putting it up for sale. New Life’s pastor, Ian Williamson, said: ‘Apart from the local library, the hall is the last remaining public building in the area. Although our church is quite small, with around 25 regulars on Sundays, we have contact with almost 100 people each week through our outreach activities.’ If...

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News

May 2019
News > International

Australia: Rugby star ‘sacked’ for expressing biblical beliefs

Rugby authorities in Australia have terminated Israel Folau’s contract after a social media post in which he bluntly expressed the Bible’s teaching. The rugby star, regarded as one of the best players in the world, posted an image with a message on his Instagram account. The words in the image said, ‘Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters, hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.’ He accompanied the image with his own comment, ‘Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and...

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News

May 2019
News > International

Germany: Home-school family to appeal to Europe’s top court

A home-schooling family from Germany has asked the European Court of Human Rights to refer their case to the Grand Chamber – the top human rights court in Europe. In January, the Fifth Chamber ruled that the Wunderlich family’s rights had not been violated in 2013 when more than 30 police officers and social workers raided their home and forcefully removed the children from their parents. The children have since been returned, but the family have taken legal action to redress the injustice they suffered and to ensure they don’t face further sanctions in Germany for home-schooling their children. In this latest development, the family...

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News

May 2019
News > International

Netherlands: Amsterdam bans tours around red-light district

Amsterdam is to ban guided tours around its red-light district from January 2020. The city’s Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said it is no longer appropriate to see prostitution ‘as a tourist attraction’. Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000, but for more than a decade Dutch policy makers, police and citizens have admitted it has failed to curb crime or protect women. British author and anti-prostitution campaigner Julie Bindel said that under this regime, ‘trafficking and pimping has increased, organised crime is rife, and the women are not protected from violence’.

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News

May 2019
News > International

Brunei: Draconian new laws affect Christians as much as gay people

Strict new Islamic laws in Brunei which make homosexual activity an offence punishable by stoning to death have received much condemnation in the media and by celebrities. But the laws also affect the Christian community, with conversion from Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad both carrying the death penalty. Some have questioned why the media are focusing on the LGBT community while ignoring the impact on Christians. Open Doors USA told the Christian Post, ‘The newest and third phase of the law is difficult news for Christian converts who are expected to have to go into deeper hiding.’ The first phase, which rolled out five...

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News

May 2019
News > International

China: Cash rewards for turning in Christians

The Chinese government is offering cash rewards to people who inform on underground churches. One city, Guangzhou, is offering more than £1,000 to those who can identify ‘unofficial’ places of worship. The incentive is part of a nationwide effort to bring all religious groups under the control of the Communist Party. Officials within the Chinese government believe the West is trying to use Christianity to undermine the Communist regime. Religious affairs officers in Guangzhou have decided to offer cash rewards for useful information starting from just 100 yuan (£11). But helping to identify and arrest preachers and members of unauthorised religious groups will be rewarded...

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News

May 2019
News > Society

BBC presenters and journalists object to the questioning of LGBT lessons

BBC presenters and journalists have criticised the Question Time programme for allowing a debate on whether LGBT lessons should be taught to five-year-olds. Audience member Keith Broughton was picked to ask panellists on the programme: ‘Is it morally right that five-year-old children learn about LGBTQ+ issues in school?’ But some BBC staff thought the people’s concerns should not be allowed to be aired. BBC Breakfast presenter Ben Thompson said, ‘LGBT “issues”? Like what? That we exist?’ And BBC News senior foreign producer Tony Brown added: ‘Replace LGBT with black or Jewish and this question would never have been asked on national TV.’

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News

May 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Royal College of Physicians drops opposition to assisted dying

The Royal College of Physicians has adopted a ‘neutral’ position on assisted dying, after a highly controversial ‘sham’ poll of its members. The college surveyed its 36,000 members about whether the law should be changed to permit doctor-assisted dying. It found 43.4 per cent of respondents were opposed to a change in the law, little different to a finding of 44.4 per cent when the poll was conducted in 2014. The number wanting the college to support assisted dying increased from 24.6 per cent to 31.6 per cent. Just 25 per cent thought the RCP stance should be neutral, a fall from 31 per cent...

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News

May 2019
News > Religious liberty > Society

Home school registration plans unveiled

Plans to force home-schooling families in England to register with their local authority have been unveiled by the government, drawing great concern. The current law does not require parents to notify the authorities that they are educating their children at home, although some councils run a voluntary register. Many home-schoolers will be wary of increasing state regulation and unnecessary intrusion into family life. But Education Secretary Damian Hinds said the government had a duty to make sure children were ‘safe’ and receiving a ‘good’ education. Hinds said a register would also help the authorities spot young people who may be receiving a ‘solely religious’ education....

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News

May 2019
News > Education > Religious liberty

Mum sues school for forcing her child to take part in ‘gay pride’ parade

A mother, Izzy Montague, is taking legal action against her child’s former school for how they handled her complaint after her child was forced to take part in a ‘gay pride’ parade. She is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, which says Mrs Montague has filed a complaint with the County Court against the Governing Body of Heavers Farm Primary School. She is alleging breach of her parental rights, victimisation and harassment at the hands of the school. The problems began in June 2018 when the headteacher of Heavers Farm Primary School in south-east London made pupils as young as five take part in...

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News

May 2019
News > Society

Journalist investigated by police for opposition to radical gender ideology

Writer and broadcaster Caroline Farrow has been investigated by police for criticising underage ‘sex change’ surgery on Twitter. The incident followed a 2018 debate between Farrow and Susie Green, head of trans charity Mermaids, on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Green now says she has dropped the complaint against Mrs Farrow, and Surrey Police subsequently stopped its investigation. Farrow, a Roman Catholic, said on the programme that boys identifying as female should not be allowed to share tents with girls. The debate continued on social media, and Susie Green lodged a formal complaint with Surrey Police. Mermaids CEO Susie Green evaded UK restrictions when she took...

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News

May 2019
News > Science

Transgender ‘peer pressure’ study upheld

A study which found that heavy exposure to online content about gender transition is partially behind the phenomenon of ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ (ROGD) has been backed following an extensive peer review. ROGD is a term given to teenagers who suddenly express feelings of being ‘born in the wrong body’, despite never having experienced such feelings in earlier life. The study also found that gender dysphoria spread like wildfire among friendship groups where the majority of children were ‘transgender-identified’. The research was conducted by Dr Lisa Littman from Brown University in America. The results were published in August last year, but activists who disagreed with her...

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News

May 2019
News > Society

Schoolchildren given transgender badges to wear

School pupils in Brighton are getting badges saying if they prefer to be called ‘she, he or they’ with the slogan ‘gender is a spectrum’ in a bid to help transgender children. Secondary school pupils across Brighton and Hove are being handed the badges as part of the council’s ‘My Pronouns are…’ scheme that aims to promote trans inclusion and prevent ‘misgendering’. There is also a blank badge that youngsters can use to fill in their own pronouns. Wearing a badge is optional, but the scheme has drawn criticism. One online commenter said, ‘Children are not transgender. They don’t know who they are yet, and...

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News

May 2019
News > Religious liberty

Home Office says Christianity isn’t a peaceful religion in asylum letter

An Iranian Christian asylum seeker was sent a rejection letter from the Home Office which said Christianity is not the peaceful religion he claimed it to be. The claimant said in his application that he had found ‘peace, forgiveness and kindness’ in Christianity in contrast to the ‘violence and revenge’ of his former Muslim faith. But an official in the Home Office challenged his interpretation and quoted several passages from the Bible to refute his claim. The Bible passages included Matthew 10:34 where Jesus says, ‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.’...

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News

May 2019
News

Parents’ opposition to relationships lessons in schools is spreading

An increasing number of primary schools across England are experiencing opposition from parents to new ‘relationships’ lessons. In recent months, Parkfield Community School in Birmingham has been at the centre of controversy over its ‘No Outsiders’ programme of lessons which pushes an LGBT agenda. Now parents in Manchester, Oldham, Blackburn, Bradford and other areas are also protesting against similar classes. But the Education Secretary has weighed into the row, warning that parents should not control what schools teach their children. Damian Hinds said that although it was right that parents were consulted and involved in developing how schools deliver relationships education, he insisted ‘what is...

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News

May 2019
News

Disastrous divorce plans get go-ahead

The Government has announced it will press ahead with disastrous plans to make divorce quicker and easier. The announcement was made following the results of a public consultation, even though 83 per cent of respondents were opposed to the central proposal. The Government attempted to hide the responses from the public, saying that a majority of ‘family justice professionals’ back the plans. But more than eight out of ten of all respondents were against the proposal to remove the ability to contest a divorce as a general rule. Those who disagreed with the proposal argued that it would seem unjust if one party was not...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

THINKING IT THROUGH: Christians facing exams

Over a twelve-month period, we have invited Stephen Rees — an experienced pastor — to share his thoughts on various topics. Whilst his column may be edited for reasons of length or style, his views are his own and may not necessarily reflect positions held by the Evangelical Times. It’s exam time. Over the next few weeks most of the youngsters who attend the church I pastor will be sitting exams of one sort or another. SATs, GCSEs, A levels, university assessments, music exams: from early childhood into our twenties we face one daunting educational hurdle after another. And some of us then go back...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A SHRINK THINKS… God’s gift of time

Time is egalitarian. On each new day we are all allocated the same amount of this precious gift from God. We receive our 24 hours. And we are all responsible every day for how we use this gift in his service. Of course, from a lifetime perspective we are allotted different amounts in this world since God ordains our days and gives each of us our own special portion of time. But the same truth applies. We are given our allocation of this ‘talent’ and are accountable to God for our use of it. We are taught to use our time wisely (Psalm 90; Colossians...

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News

May 2019
News > International

LETTER FROM AMERICA: Southern Baptist Convention abuse scandal

In May 2018, the former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson, came under the spotlight for mishandling cases of sexual assault at the seminary. The Southern Baptist Convention summarily terminated him from his position after investigating his role (Christianity Today, ‘Paige Patterson Fired by Southwestern’, June 2018). While this action won much acclaim (and shock) from its members, this was only the tip of the iceberg for the world’s largest Baptist denomination in its relation to the #MeToo movement. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), while having origins in the southern US, has nearly fifty thousand congregations all over the country and currently boasts...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Guest column

Christian liberty

In different ways the Christian has been set free. Supremely, we are free in relation to sin. Sin made us debtors to divine justice, but Christ has paid the price. Sin made us incapable of godly behaviour, but Christ has renewed our hearts. This liberation from sin is the heart of the gospel. But there is another type of liberty that belongs to the Christian. John Calvin wrote of ‘The liberty of the consciences of believers, which ought to be laid under no obligation in things that are not necessary’ (Institutes, III.xix.3). Of course, this liberty of conscience is not absolute. We are under Christ’s...

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Article

May 2019
Comment

A sacking on the other side of the world that should trouble us all

Unless you follow international rugby, you may not have heard of Israel Folau. He’s a super-star Australian rugby player who is also a Christian. But it looks like his career as a rugby player may be over. Why? He committed the ‘crime’ of expressing his biblical beliefs on social media, and the politically-correct elite were outraged. We should all be troubled by this development. But first, some disclaimers. I accept that his postings were rather blunt. I also accept that social media may not be the best forum for these things – I myself keep my own posting mostly to family news. And I accept...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Dr Lloyd-Jones was well equipped to write on spiritual depression: Part 2

Last month Geoff Thomas began looking at why Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was so well equipped to preach, counsel and write on the subject of spiritual depression. He said that Dr Lloyd-Jones was such a well-rounded, intelligent, and tender personality; he was also utterly committed to the faith of the Scriptures; and he was a man who maintained the disciplines of private devotion. Here is the concluding part. He was a man to whom people went for spiritual help. At the end of his services he retired to his room behind the pulpit, was taken a cup of tea and soon a line of people...

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Review

April 2019
Reviews > Book

Pure Church: Recovering God’s Plan for Local Churches

In Pure Church, eleven pastors or workers in ‘Grace Baptist’ churches or organisations set out their position on church order. Its chapters display a strong unity and put forward a cohesive vision for the life and polity of the local congregation. Those familiar with publications from 9Marks Ministries will recognise a heavy reliance on Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever, albeit translated for a British readership. A biblical case is presented for a defined membership roll, consisting of converted Christians who have received believer’s baptism, which is described as ‘the front door to the house of God’ (p.62). The Lord’s Supper is seen as a privilege...

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Review

April 2019
Reviews > Book

Adorned How to grow a Biblically beautiful church:An exegesis of Titus 2

Justin Huffman is an American pastor who trained at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has written this short and easy-to-read book to encourage churches to be healthy. The book draws out lessons from the second chapter of Titus and systematises them into a memorable and logical structure. It is not a commentary but rather is concerned to show that ‘Titus 2 contains a summary overview of life in a healthy local church’ (p.2). He uses a helpful illustration of a flower. Each chapter teaches one major truth for a healthy church and is represented by a part of the flower. The personal authority of Jesus is...

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Review

April 2019
Reviews > Book

Eighteenth Century Christian Leaders

This book is a collection of biographical sketches of evangelical preachers. The first two chapters explain the social and religious setting in which they lived and worked. We then read about J. C. Ryle’s Church of England heroes in the 18th century as if in descending order of greatness. George Whitefield and John Wesley are the titanic figures at the top of the list. Grimshaw, Romaine, Rowland and Berridge follow. Henry Venn and Samuel Walker head up the lower half of the list. James Hervey, Augustus Toplady and John Fletcher complete the evangelical collective presented by Ryle. Ryle himself belongs to the same line in...

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Review

April 2019
Reviews > Book

Heaven on Earth: What the Bible Teaches about Life to Come

Shouldn’t every Christian feel homesick for heaven? Derek Thomas’s inquiry into the Bible’s teaching on this subject stirs up in the believer a deep longing to be with the Lord. The early chapters cover death and the intermediate state. They show that the soul will remain alive and conscious, and suggest that it will have some element of physicality even before the final resurrection. But the book takes off and soars as it describes the final glorious state, when body and soul are reunited. It dispels misconceptions of heaven as an ethereal place of fluffy clouds. Thomas helps the reader visualise a real, physical new...

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Review

April 2019
Reviews > Book

New Covenant Theology: Weighed and Found Wanting

To read this book was like a breath of fresh air. I could not put it down. Despite the traction that has been gained in the UK among evangelicals by the so-called ‘new covenant theology’ (NCT), it is surprising that so little has been written to critique this theological framework. It is perhaps because its theologians do not have a common confession or a systematised body of truth that can be critiqued. Therefore, this author has done well to track down the key proponents and give an assessment of this somewhat amorphous movement. In the opening chapter McGrane contends that NCT is ‘a “third way”...

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Historical

April 2019
Articles > Historical

Dr Lloyd-Jones was well equipped to write on spiritual depression: Part 1

There was no one in the twentieth century more suited to preach, counsel and write on this subject of spiritual depression than Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This subject has always been addressed by pastors, but particularly so from the time of the Reformation when the wrappings of human traditions were removed from biblical Christianity. The Puritan period especially excelled as an age when sermons were life and power, and many kinds of men and women were drawn to faith in the Lord Christ. They brought their past with them into the kingdom of God and were troubled with doubts and periods of darkness. Their pastors...

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Article

April 2019
Uncategorised

Navratilova is hoist by her own prohibitive ‘consequence free’ petard

Martina Navratilova has come under fire for claiming that it is ‘cheating’ for transgender women to enter female sports tournaments. Though she has now rolled back from the word ‘cheat’, she maintains her arguments bear consideration and should be heard without being vilified as ‘transphobic’. She first received criticism when she tweeted: ‘You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards…’ She went on to write in The Sunday Times: ‘To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned,...

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Article

April 2019
Articles > Comment

Society only has itself to blame for sexualising our children

The government’s rationale for making ‘relationships’ education compulsory in all schools from September 2020 is that children are bombarded with sexual information and they need help to navigate these difficult issues. Well whose fault is that? Successive governments have continuously side-lined parents and dismantled the family. Divorce reform and the legalisation of abortion in the 60s got the ball rolling. Other social institutions accelerated the trend. The media constantly push the myth of consequence-free recreational sex. And radicals within the education system have long seen ‘sex education’ as a vehicle for pushing their agenda. Whenever parents raise concerns they are pilloried as backward and out...

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Article

April 2019
Uncategorised

Enduring the cross

Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus ‘endured the cross’. Loch Ness is a narrow stretch of water, yet it reaches depths exceeding two hundred metres. The brevity of that biblical phrase is similarly deceiving. Often perhaps, we read it quickly, barely pausing to consider its fathomless content. Part of the problem is that words become debased. Although we might speak of someone ‘enduring’ an horrific disaster, the term is also used in less momentous contexts. A headline might read, ‘Arsenal defence endures a torrid afternoon’. Being so accustomed to relatively trivial ‘endurances’, we are not inclined to be stopped in our tracks by the mere...

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News

April 2019
News > International

Letter from America: The life and faith of President George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker (H.W.) Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away in his Houston home on November 30, aged 94. During his presidency, Bush Sr. led the United States to prosperity after the fall of the Soviet Union but had been involved in diplomacy and politics long before that. At his funeral, the watching world mourned this quiet, humble man from Massachusetts who, to his dying day, lived out Proverbs 27:2: ‘Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips’. While many remember his political career, or even the fact that he became a millionaire...

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Article

April 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A shrink thinks: Unconscious sin

As you pray, you have finished your adoration of God, thanked him for his amazingly gracious love for us in Jesus Christ and praised him for all his blessings day after day. Then you come to your confession of sin….and grind to a halt. Of course you haven’t physically broken any of the commandments, you haven’t committed obvious outward sins and even the words of your mouth don’t seem to have involved you transgressing against God and man. So what sins do you now confess to God? You search your heart for those inward sins, those desires for what is wrong. Again you find it...

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Article

April 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Thinking it through: Obeying God rather than men

Over a twelve-month period, we have invited Stephen Rees — an experienced pastor — to share his thoughts on various topics. Whilst his column may be edited for reasons of length or style, his views are his own and may not necessarily reflect positions held by the Evangelical Times. Some time ago I attended a conference held to consider a very important subject.  According to the programme the theme for the whole conference was ‘Obeying God rather than men’.  That was an obvious reference to the words of the apostles in Acts 5:29: ‘We must obey God rather than men’. The authorities in Jerusalem had...

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News

April 2019
News > Education > Society

Compulsory relationship lessons for all schools

Schools with pupils of all ages must provide compulsory ‘relationships’ lessons from September 2020, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced. In the past many schools have been allowed to decide for themselves, in consultation with parents, whether to cover the subject. But now all schools, including private schools, will be forced to deliver Relationships Education and secondary schools must run Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). Schools have been told that pupils should receive ‘appropriate’ teaching about gay and transgender issues, and that LGBT relationships must be ‘respected’ This will be mandatory in secondary schools, although primary schools will be free to choose whether they...

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News

April 2019
News > Society

Navratilova criticises transgender athletes, then apologises

Former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova has said it is ‘insane and cheating’ to allow transgender women to compete in women’s sporting tournaments. The tennis star, who is also a gay rights campaigner, said ‘You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards.’ Writing in the Sunday Times she said, ‘To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies...

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News

April 2019
News > International

India: More Christians targeted for their faith

Targeted violence and hate crimes against the Christian community in India continued unabated in 2018, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). The Religious Liberty Commission of the EFI has recorded 325 incidents where Christians have been targeted using violence, intimidation or harassment. According to a report published by the group, ‘More than the numbers, what is disturbing is the sudden spurt of violence in a few districts of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous province, and in Tamil Nadu in the extreme south of the subcontinent’. The report added, ‘Most cases go unreported either because the victim and witnesses are terrified, or the...

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News

April 2019
News > International

UN: Eighty per cent of people live in a ‘religiously restricted atmosphere’

Most of the world’s population do not enjoy religious freedom even though most people are religious, the US religious freedom ambassador Sam Brownback told the UN. Brownback was addressing the UN for the first time since becoming ambassador, speaking at a panel discussion on global religious freedom strategies. He said, ‘Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in a religiously restricted atmosphere. Eighty per cent of the world is religious. How can we tolerate this continuing situation? ‘We need a global movement of religious freedom. The good news: one has started, and it’s starting here today. We can’t just keep talking. We have to...

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News

April 2019
News > International

Cuba: Evangelicals campaign against redefining marriage

Evangelicals and others have campaigned against plans to redefine marriage in Cuba’s proposed new constitution. The draft wording defined marriage as ‘between two people’ rather than between a man and woman — opening the way for gay marriage. But last October, the Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal churches organised a petition against the draft constitution. They delivered 178,000 signatures to the National Assembly, an unparalleled event in Cuba, according to The Observer newspaper. It seems to have been successful in gaining attention. In December, the National Assembly replaced the ‘between two people’ definition with more ambiguous language, saying it would legislate on the issue in the...

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News

April 2019
News > International

Canada: court overrules father and allows child, 14, to change gender

The Supreme Court of British Columbia, in Canada, has allowed a 14-year-old girl to be injected with hormones to change her gender — against her father’s wishes. And the court has ruled, if the father does not refer to his daughter’s new chosen male name or her preferred pronouns, it ‘shall be considered to be family violence’ under the Family Law Act. ‘The government has taken over my parental rights,’ the girl’s father said, ‘They’re using [her] like she’s a guinea pig in an experiment’. The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was encouraged by her school counsellor to identify as a boy...

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Article

April 2019
Uncategorised

Comic book ‘Jesus’ dropped after outcry

DC Comics has announced the cancelation of a comic book series ‘Second Coming’ – featuring Jesus as a superhero sidekick – after nearly a quarter of a million Christians protested against it. Over 235,000 people signed a petition calling the plans ‘blasphemous’ and saying DC comics would never dare print a similar comic book featuring Mohammed or Buddha. Following the outcry, DC has informed retailers that the upcoming series has been cancelled, and that ‘these issues will not be resolicited.’ The organisers of the petition welcomed the news. However, the comic book’s author Mark Russell hopes to get the story published elsewhere. Writing on Twitter...

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News

April 2019
News > Church news

CofE Sunday Services no longer compulsory

Weekly Sunday services will no longer be compulsory for Anglican churches after a vote by the Church of England’s ruling body. The General Synod voted to end the law – dating back to 1603 – which required priests to hold a Sunday service in every church they looked after. The change was proposed by the Bishop of Willesden, who called the law ‘out of date’. Some clergy in rural parishes have been left looking after as many as 20 churches. Previously, they had to get permission from a bishop to not hold a Sunday service in each church. The Bishop of Willesden, the Right Reverend...

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News

April 2019
News > Education > Society

Birmingham primary school stops LGBT lessons after parents protest

A primary school in Birmingham that promoted LGBT issues to pupils as young as four has stopped after hundreds of children were withdrawn by parents in protest. The Guardian reports that about 600 mostly Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day. The school would not confirm the number. Before withdrawing their children, parents had been protesting outside the Parkfield Community School in Saltley, Birmingham. The parents had been carrying placards with slogans such as ‘stop exploiting children’s innocence’, and ‘education not indoctrination’. As part of the LGBT lessons, children were being made to read books like Mommy,...

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News

April 2019
News > Religious liberty > Society

Police standards body investigating arrest of London street preacher

The police Professional Standards Unit is investigating the arrest of a street preacher in London. A disturbing video has been posted online showing officers arresting Oluwole Ilesanmi on Saturday 23 February outside Southgate tube station. The preacher was arrested for ‘breaching the peace’ after a member of the public complained that he was ‘Islamaphobic’. In the video of the arrest, police officers are seen handcuffing the preacher and forcefully ripping a Bible out of his hands. After he was removed from the area, he was de-arrested and no formal charges were brought against him. Many critics have pointed to police double standards, because the police...

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News

April 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Doctors challenge euthanasia poll

A group of four doctors has filed a legal challenge against the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in relation to a recent poll on euthanasia. The group say that the poll is being conducted in a misleading way and is aiming to force the Royal College to abandon its longstanding opposition to euthanasia. The RCP controversially announced that it would change its stance on euthanasia to ‘neutral’ unless sixty per cent of members or more were opposed. The four doctors have said this move is unlawful and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the legal challenge.

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News

April 2019
News > Education > Society

‘Trust Parents’ rally outside Parliament

A group of over 100 people rallied outside Parliament calling on the government to ‘trust parents’ and ‘let parents choose’ when it comes to sex education. The protest was organised by Christian Concern. The group’s CEO Andrea Williams said it showed that ‘we care deeply for our children’. She also said that parents should be the primary educators of their children rather than the state. Several other speakers at the rally said parents are responsible and best-placed to decide how their children are taught about relationships and sex education. A petition to Parliament in support of parental rights over Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) attracted...

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News

April 2019
News > Education

Ofsted told to keep out of ‘identity politics’

Ofsted should focus on the quality of education and not ‘identity politics’, says The Christian Institute. The group called for the government inspectorate to ditch its obsession with forcing primary school children to learn about same-sex relationships. It comes in the wake of remarks made to the BBC by the head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman. She defended LGBT lessons, saying they were ‘about making sure [children] know just enough to know that some people prefer not to get married to somebody of the opposite sex and that sometimes there are families that have two mummies or two daddies. ‘It’s about making sure that children who...

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News

April 2019
News > Society

Britain’s first ‘transgender hate crime’ trial collapses

Britain’s first transgender hate crime trial has been halted after one day, as the judge says ‘there is no case and never was a case’. Miranda Yardley, 51, was accused of harassing transgender activist Helen Islan on social media. But District Judge John Woollard dismissed the case after a one-day hearing, saying there was simply no evidence. Campaigners called the decision a victory for free speech, while the accused claimed police were being used to ‘enforce a political ideology’. Yardley and Islan exchanged strong opinions on whether a person can change their gender. Islan said she felt ‘stressed and sick’ by Yardley’s Twitter posts, and...

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News

April 2019
News > Society

Police Scotland: ‘Smacking ban will be costly’

Police Scotland has warned members of the Scottish Parliament that a smacking ban could result in increased costs to the force as officers spend more time investigating allegations against parents. The force has also raised concerns that the ban, proposed by Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, with Scottish government backing, could interfere with family life. The force’s concerns were contained in a document submitted to Holyrood’s Equality and Human Rights Committee which is examining the proposed legislation. The document said: ‘Police Scotland envisages that the repeal of the defence provided by Section 51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 will result in an...

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News

April 2019
News > Conferences

Wessex Conference 2019

Nearly 150 people were present at Spring Road Church, Southampton on 16 February for the Wessex Conference. Pastor Mark Stocker chaired the conference, opening with some reflections on Psalm 117 concerning God’s faithfulness to his promises and how his greater purposes cannot be thwarted by earthly powers. He also welcomed guest preacher, Pastor Chris Hand from Crich, who introduced his focus for the day: Persecution: its reality and our response. In the first session, ‘Persecution in the west: the new normal’, Chris spoke from 1 Peter 4, particularly verse 12. He explained how there have always been agitators for change in society, some claiming that...

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News

April 2019
News > Church news

Philip Mallon ordained in Westhoughton

On 19 January, a packed congregation gathered to witness the ordination service of Rev. Philip Mallon. He was also installed to the office of Associate Pastor at Westhoughton Evangelical Church, southwest of Bolton. The church there has a long history, stretching all the way back to 1889. Rev. Mallon trained at London Reformed Baptist Seminary. Afterwards, and under the direction and leadership of Westhoughton Evangelical Church, Rev. Mallon continued his training through preaching, teaching Sunday school and evangelistic outreach work. After a period of four years, it was the unanimous call of the church to appoint him as associate pastor. The church’s current pastor, Rev....

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News

April 2019
News > Church news

Reformation Bible Conference 2019

The annual Reformation Bible Conference occurred on 4 and 5 of January at the historic Hill Top Chapel, home of Sheffield Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The speakers were Rev. Richard Phillips, Rev. Andy Young and Rev. Kevin Bidwell. Topics covered included the importance of creeds and confessions, the sovereignty of God, Christ in the book of Ezekiel and Christian dating. It was a joy to see so many people from different UK churches sitting under Reformed, experiential preaching. It was also the first time the conference has benefited from the newly extended Hill Top Chapel – the extra space was much appreciated. The conference first met...

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News

April 2019
News > Church news > Induction

Magherafelt Reformed Baptist Church induction

Magherafelt is a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is largely made up of Roman Catholics but has a significant Protestant community. Some 22 years ago, a Reformed Baptist Church was formed in the town. They now have an attractive building and a committed membership, eager to serve the Lord in their community. Over the years, retaining a pastor has proved difficult and the church has often relied on the oversight of other local churches. Initially, these were Baptist churches in America but more recently Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley (conveniently situated near Gatwick airport) provided assistance. In September 2018, the church were able...

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News

April 2019
News > People > Obituaries

Dr Keith Small (1959-2018)

Dr Keith Small was one of the foremost Quar’an scholars of our time. His work on early manuscripts provoked new questions among secular and Islamic scholars alike. While at Dallas Theological Seminary, Keith read of Henry Martyn, and resolved to give his life to work among Muslims. He married Celeste Gardner in 1985, equally committed to the Muslim world, and they moved to the UK the following year, settling in Dewsbury. The family later moved to London while Keith completed a doctorate. Taking the earliest 21 Qur’anic manuscripts, he applied to them the same tools used for examining biblical manuscripts. His ground-breaking work showed that...

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Article

April 2019
Articles > World Mission

What in the world is happening to Missions? Volunteerism and finances

In a series of four articles starting this month, experienced missionary Will Niven asks some searching and important questions about the current evangelical approach to missions. Countless millions are passing into eternity without Christ. Over four billion people on this planet do not know Christ. They are standing under the wrath of God and one day, if they do not turn to him, will face the terror of the fullness of that wrath. The most urgent matter facing the church today therefore is fulfilling the Great Commission. The question is however, how is the church responding to this task? Is the modern missionary movement among...

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Can science explain every thing?

Review

April 2019

Can science explain every thing?

Can Science Explain Everything? John C. Lennox The Good Book Company 2019 127pp ISBN: 978-1-78498-4113 Faced on all sides with the world’s assumption that it isn’t intellectually respectable to believe the Bible, we prize men like John Lennox (actually is there anyone else like him?), Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and the scourge of Richard Dawkins and atheists everywhere. Early in this book we have an inkling of future battles in the hostile reception he received from Cambridge dons on arriving as a Bible-believing undergraduate there in 1962. Two generations later, it is a joy to read such a convincing statement...

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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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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Review

March 2019
Reviews > Book

Teaching Ruth & Esther (Proclamation Trust)

This helpful aid for Bible study leaders and preachers will certainly remove any thought that these two very different Biblical books are strictly for ladies’ meetings. Boaz and Mordecai are shown to play as significant a part as Ruth and Esther. This handy-sized resource does not claim to be a commentary, but it will certainly be a most useful guide to understanding the historical background, local customs and main thrust of the individual narratives. It does not skirt over some of the more difficult passages either. The author’s main concern is to show how these biblical books do not merely illustrate but foreshadow the gospel...

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Review

March 2019
Reviews > Book

The Christian Mind: Escaping Futility (Banner Mini-Guides)

The Banner of Truth are producing a series of mini-guides concerning major themes and issues related to the Christian faith. They are to serve as a taster to their various subjects, enlarging the understanding but also stimulating a desire to go further. Bill Edgar has written about the Christian mind. He challenges the idea that Christians do not use their minds, and encourages us to engage thoughtfully with all areas of life, such as science, history and the arts. He outlines the limitations of reason and helpfully analyses the noetic effects of sin – the fact that sin affects our ways of thinking and not...

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Review

March 2019
Reviews > Book

A Face Like A Flint

The title is inspired by Mark 10:32, where Jesus’ disciples were awestruck by the single-minded manner in which he made his way toward Jerusalem. Jeremy Walker describes movingly how the Lord Jesus recognised and embraced his identity as the Son of Man (Daniel 7). He knew and understood the Old Testament Scriptures which foretold the Messiah’s sufferings, but pressed on, resolved to glorify God, save his people, and win joy for himself. The book shows that the determination seen in Christ is the same spirit in which salvation is obtained and pursued by the believer. Meditations on Psalm 119:30-21 move into challenging application. Have you...

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Review

March 2019
Reviews > Book

The Grace of Shame: 7 Ways the Church Has Failed to Love Homosexuals

By God’s grace, the authors’ church ministry has led a large number of homosexuals to repentance and godly living. This change has involved more than simply abstaining from prohibited sexual activities, but a turning from the sin of ‘effeminacy’ (1 Cor 6:9-10) in every part of life. Whether or not one agrees with their description of ideal masculinity (and many will not), the principle is that the homosexual must be called to reject his or her homosexuality and positively embrace their God-given sexual identity as male or female. The Grace of Shame demonstrates how easily conservative evangelicals have given ground on this issue in the...

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Review

March 2019
Reviews > Book

Can We Trust the Gospels?

This is almost unique as an apologetic resource. Christians usually must choose between big books which are scholarly or popular books which are simplistic. This book presents robust arguments that ordinary people can follow. In eight digestible chapters Williams serves up the cream of recent apologetics on the gospels. He does not attack straw men or fight yesterday’s apologetic battles. Being both Bible scholar and personal evangelist, Williams knows the kind of objections currently heard on the streets, or popularised on Youtube. He not only rebuts the scepticism of men like Bart Ehrman but exposes flaws in their reasoning, demonstrating that it is the sceptic...

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Article

March 2019
Articles > World Mission > Asia > South Eastern Asia > Indonesia

Indonesia: blessed by courage and wisdom

Indonesia is often called the largest Muslim nation, but this gives a wrong impression. While a large majority identify as Muslim, most of these barely know enough about Islam to be considered true Muslims. Indonesian folkways prevail, despite the saturation of the country with mosques of different sizes. These are built by generous gifts of oil wealth from the Arabian Gulf. The same wealth finances Indonesian clergymen, but their influence is largely limited to poor, uneducated village communities and remote areas. Attacks against Christians and church meeting places can happen in these areas. From time to time, there is discrimination and even occasional violence from...

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Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

THINKING IT THROUGH: Celebrating mothers

Over a twelve-month period, we have invited Stephen Rees — an experienced pastor — to share his thoughts on various topics. Whilst his column may be edited for reasons of length or style, his views are his own and may not necessarily reflect positions held by the Evangelical Times. Yes it’s coming up again. That Sunday, dreaded by fathers all over the UK, Mothering Sunday. It is the 31st of March this year. No doubt it will be no different from last year or the year before: countless panic-stricken men queuing down at the late-night Tesco on Saturday night to buy last moment flowers, chocolates,...

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News

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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Article

March 2019
Articles > Guest column

Humour in the Bible

Different parts of the Bible affect us in different ways. Reading Isaiah 6, we tremble before the majesty of the transcendent Lord. Studying the New Testament passion narratives, we are moved by the sight of our suffering Saviour. Poring over the book of Revelation, our minds reel at this kaleidoscope of lurid imagery. But there is another response which Scripture can evoke. There are passages which make us smile. We may even at times find ourselves chuckling. Why is that? The Bible is not a piece of light entertainment. It is the weightiest of books, dealing with the most serious matters of all. Why then,...

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Article

March 2019
Articles > Comment

Ashers have made a humble, wise and selfless decision

The McArthur family — owners of Ashers bakery in Northern Ireland — have made a humble, wise and selfless decision in not seeking to recover costs of their legal defence from their opponents. No doubt there will be those who wanted to give a bloody nose to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, to make them pay for hounding the McArthurs through the courts. Perhaps a hefty legal bill would have made the Commission think twice before doing something like this again. But throughout the lengthy legal struggle the McArthurs have acted with grace and dignity. They have never expressed any hatred or hostility towards...

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Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

John Knox on prayer

When John Knox, the Scottish Reformer, was laid to rest in his grave, the Regent of Scotland said of him ‘There lies he who never feared the face of man’. This reminds us of the paraphrase of Psalm 34:9, which reads: Fear Him (that is, God) ye saints and you will then Have nothing else to fear; Make you His service your delight, Your wants shall be His care. I came across the following gem of a quote from John Knox. It concerns John Knox’s view of prayer. John Knox defined true prayer as: ‘An earnest and familiar talking with God, to whom we declare...

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Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The purpose and benefits of lay preaching

This article is dedicated to the brethren in Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, Old Hill and Pastor Roland Burrows and Mrs. Anne Burrows, who retired in December 2018. Several men influenced me to pursue my call to lay preaching, my late father-in-law Mr Kenneth Harris, Colonel Don Underwood and Pastor Burrows. It was through the advice and support of Pastor Burrows that I managed to preach in various churches while juggling a young, growing family and a job as a biological science researcher. We know that church attendance is falling, and local churches are closing their doors in the UK. There is a crying need to pray...

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Article

March 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Is congregational singing dying out?

‘And when they had sung a hymn, they went out’ (Matt. 28:30). There is not a lot of information in the New Testament about music, but what there is certainly is very instructive. For example, in the text above we can see that singing was a part of the worship of the church which Jesus established. Pastors and worship leaders need to carefully study the Scriptures, to see how they should lead God’s people in worshipful singing. In the last few years, since I left my pastoral ministry (44 years in the same church), it has been my privilege (I use that term loosely) to...

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Article

March 2019
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

8 ways your church should respond to the transgender agenda

In the last edition of ET, I examined the transgender agenda. What is it? Where did it come from? Where is it heading? This time I ask, how should churches respond? I suggest there are at least eight things we must do. 1. We need to provide biblical teaching about God’s good purpose in creating men and women. Our congregations need to be equipped to respond to the demands for ‘transgender rights’ with scriptural truth. The transsexual maintains that their felt ‘gender’ overrides biological reality. But our creation design teaches us that God has made us male and female to reflect his glory in every...

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Article

February 2019
Articles > World Mission > Africa > Eastern Africa > Mozambique

Mozambique: Visit from the Former Vice Minister of Health

When I arrived in Mozambique back in 1990 the government was still Marxist and aligned with the former Soviet Union. Throughout the 1980s the nation was the poorest country on earth. At the beginning of that decade, only two countries had fewer doctors per capita than Mozambique. So Americans were rare and trained surgeons even scarcer. From 1990 to 1998 the Lord brought a lot of attention to the surgical program in the small government hospital where I worked five miles outside of Nampula. The work being done at this 150-bed hospital became known throughout the north of Mozambique. People trekked from all over Nampula...

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Article

February 2019
Articles > Guest column

Healthy Christianity: Transformed Life and Conduct

In previous articles we have been looking at the importance of balance in the Christian life, following the lead of William Williams, Pantycelyn (1717-91) who wrote a letter at the end of his life in which he said, ‘I have come to see that true religion consists of three parts: first true light respecting the plan of salvation; … [second] intimate fellowship with God … Lastly, … life and conduct, such as would reveal to the ungodly that there is a great difference between us and them’. This month, I want us to consider the third element Williams identifies, the practical character of the Christian...

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Article

February 2019
Articles > Evangelistic

Freed, but at a price

Just days before Easter 2018, Redouane Lakdim, a 25-year-old Moroccan criminal, opened fire on passengers in a car in southern France, killing one.  Minutes later he fired on a group of police officers who were jogging near the castle in Carcassonne. He then drove to the town of Trèbes and stormed a supermarket, shooting dead the shop’s butcher and a customer, a retired bricklayer, whilst screaming ‘Allahu akbar’. Police arrived shortly after the start of the siege, managing to get some people out.  But the attacker kept one woman hostage. It was then that Arnaud Beltrame, a 44 year old lieutenant-colonel in the gendarmerie, offered...

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Article

February 2019
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Are churches keeping our children and vulnerable adults safe?

Safeguarding practices have been an important part of churches since the late 1990s, but as society has changed, has the way we safeguard our children changed? Paul and Sue Harrison, who started Christian Safeguarding Services (CSS), are concerned that some churches are ‘stuck in a time warp’ when it comes to this area. ‘As we started to work with churches’, said Paul, ‘we realised that there were some significant gaps in safeguarding knowledge and practice’. Many churches established safeguarding systems in the late 1990s to early 2000s, and have continued at the same level; assuming that they are still in line with legislation and guidance,...

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Article

February 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘You once were, now you are not’

Practising homosexuals who profess to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are demanding that they should be welcomed as equals in faith into the mainline denominations. They also argue they should not be excluded from enjoying the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as heterosexual believers, including the role of pastoral leadership within the local church. ‘Our faith’ they say ‘is a real faith in Jesus’. How should the local church of Christ respond to such statements? Firstly, local congregations, generally speaking, will welcome all persons who attend their Sunday worship services without distinction of age, ethnicity or gender, in the hope that those who...

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Article

February 2019
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Thinking it through: Crying out for justice

For the next twelve months, we have asked Stephen Rees – an experienced pastor – to share some thoughts on various topics. Whilst his column may be edited for reasons of length or style, his words and opinions are his own and may not necessarily reflect the views of the Evangelical Times. What is the most important duty of a government, any government?  Is it to make sure that the country becomes and stays as wealthy as possible?  Is it to keep the citizens happy?  Is it to provide education, health treatment, an efficient transport system for all? Well, a government may rightly aim at...

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Article

February 2019
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

What is the transgender agenda?

No one can ignore the current demands for ‘transsexual rights’. Both the UK and Scottish governments are considering proposals to make ‘changing sex’ as easy as buying a TV licence. Our instinctive reaction may be to assume that the demand for ‘transsexual (or transgender) rights’ is mainly about protecting a tiny minority of troubled people from unfair discrimination. But, in reality, the underlying ideology of ‘gender identity’ is toxic. Ultimately, it aims to legally eliminate male and female sex distinctions. This ideology is now promoted in primary schools. The Gender Fairy, a story written for four-year-olds, says: ‘Only you know whether you are a boy...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Persecution > Religious liberty > Society

Christian magistrate can challenge his dismissal over gay adoption comments

A Christian former magistrate has won the right to legally challenge his dismissal over remarks he made about same-sex couples adopting children. Richard Page, from Kent, lost his role after saying in a BBC interview that a child would be better looked after by a man and a woman rather than a gay couple. His comments came after Mr Page, along with two other Magistrates, considered an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child in Kent in July 2014. He was later sacked for ‘serious misconduct’ by the then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas, who said his comments suggested he was...

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Article

February 2019
Comment

We must be on alert to the transgender agenda

You may be tempted to think the transgender ideology has come from nowhere. From relative obscurity, it is now dominating the equalities agenda wherever you care to look: schools, government, media, public services. But the truth of the matter is, the transgender agenda has been simmering away in the background for many years. And keen observers of the sexual revolution have known for a long time that it would be the next big issue to challenge social norms. Make no mistake about it, the socio-political goal of the movement is to dismantle the biological reality that human beings are either male or female — and...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

How the Bible Can Change Your Life: Answers to the Ten Most Common Questions about the Bible

This book started as a series of sermons preached at Wheaton Chapel in which Pastor Moody aimed to answer questions about the Bible. I appreciated Moody’s aim in addressing these questions. His points were often fresh, illuminating and helpful. One example is his discussion of the relevance of the Bible. He highlights the common but mistaken view that unless what is read is immediately useful it is unhelpful. Moody points out that this attitude is a consumerist approach to the Bible and cannot address the deepest needs of the human heart. ‘Is the Bible interesting?’ is a further issue that is well addressed. Moody demonstrates...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

Long Story Short: The Bible in 12 Phrases

This is an ambitious little book. The eponymous ‘long story’ is the Scriptures. The subtitle describes what Scrivener is attempting: ‘The Bible in 12 phrases’. There are nine pithy chapters covering the Old Testament. Three are given to the New Testament. The implicit aim of this well-known evangelist is to put over the storyline of the Bible in a brief, compelling way. His prime audience appears to be young people, including unbelievers. The assumption is that they read very little. There are many encouragements along the way to read the real thing. At the end of the chapters, biblical passages to read are included, along...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

John Newton (Christian Biographies for Young Readers)

Christian Biographies for Young Readers seek to introduce seven-to twelve-year-olds to some important characters from church history. This addition to the series is well researched and documented. The author takes care to set John Newton in his historical setting, explaining events and customs likely to be unfamiliar to modern readers. Illustrations are used on almost every page. Some are scenes from Newton’s life, such as you might expect to find in a child’s story book. Others are pertinent contemporary illustrations which help bring the eighteenth century to life. Maps and modern photographs of places associated with the story can also be found. In a work...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

The Pastor’s Soul

On the basis that pastors live and work under considerable pressure, this short and lucid book aims to offer them some of the help they so greatly need. The authors are both Baptist pastors in Louisville, Kentucky. They write with concern for the wellbeing of the pastor. They argue that it is not uncommon for pastors to neglect their own souls either through the sheer demands of ministry or through wanting to avoid looking within themselves for fear of what they might or might not find. The authors have concern that many pastors fail to ‘take [due] heed to themselves…’ (Acts 20:28) and so fail...

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News

February 2019
News > People > Obituaries

Obituary: Reverend Timothy Alford 1933-2018

Rev Timothy Alford went to be with the Lord on 6th December 2018, aged 84. Raised in Colerne, Wiltshire, Timothy believed from an early age under the influence of his family and Colerne Evangelical Church. His pastor, Harry Matthews, brought Timothy to a turning point as he challenged him with Scripture. While still a teenager, he dedicated himself to serving God. For years, Timothy was heavily involved in child evangelism. During this time, he married his beloved wife, Pansy (also from Colerne). In the 1950s, Timothy was called to a pastorate at Saltford Evangelical Church, Somerset. While there, his two daughters, Sharon and Deborah, were...

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News

February 2019
News > Church news

Two churches in Coventry merge

Two Coventry churches have merged to further the gospel in a needy area. Described as an ‘enfolding process’, a small church with diminishing resources has been lovingly taken in by a neighbouring congregation to form one new fellowship across two locations. Lower Ford Street Baptist Church, founded in 1857, has been experiencing growth in recent years. Two Sunday morning services are needed to accommodate attendees during term time. More space was a pressing need. In contrast is Hillfields Evangelical Baptist Church. Ten minutes’ walk from Lower Ford Street, it recently celebrated its centenary. Recent years have seen a decline in attendance. This has followed a...

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Review

February 2019
Reviews > Book

The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith

This book aims to provide a simple expression of the core beliefs of the Christian faith. What better way to do this than to work systematically through the Apostles’ Creed? There has been a recent survey in order to answer the question: ‘How much do people in Britain today know about God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ?’ The short, unsurprising answer is not much. But it appears that there is more theological ignorance than hostility, many answers to questions being ‘I don’t know’. This book could be a useful tool to dispel ignorance. The introduction to this book on doctrine (first published thirty years ago)...

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News

February 2019
News > Church news

New building in Ealing for the International Presbyterian Church

The International Presbyterian Church recently opened a new building in Ealing. The IPC was founded in 1969, having emerged from the work of L’Abri. In 1979, it acquired St Helena Chapel which provided a wonderful home for the next 25 years. In the course of time, plans for redevelopment were needed but were slow in coming. The plans were first mooted in 1990 but the building committee was not formed until 2005. Once appointed, the architect needed to factor in the listed status of the old chapel. The end result has been well received. The total cost of the project was about £3.2 million, but...

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News

February 2019
News > Church news > Conferences

Reformation and Revival Fellowship Conference

Every year, in mid-November, about 70 people make the journey to Swanwick in Derbyshire for the annual conference of the Reformation and Revival Fellowship. There were two speakers this year, Geoff Thomas and George Macaskill. Both men were faithful to Scripture and warm in the delivery of the messages that the Lord had laid on their hearts. Geoff expounded the first seven verses of Zechariah 3. The glory of forgiveness and salvation was seen as Joshua’s rags were removed and he is clothed. Geoff also looked at the commission given to Joshua, reminding us all of the calling to serve God in our day and...

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News

February 2019
News > Church news > Conferences

Westminster Conference 2018

December 4-5 witnessed two days of excellent ministry at Regent Hall, London. Six papers were read on a variety of subjects. Paul Wells opened with a treatment of Amyraldism. He analysed Amyraldism in conflict as well as the nature of the divine decree and election. It was a technical, balanced paper prompting helpful discussion. Geoffrey Thomas spoke warmly on A.W. Pink. He covered his life, conversion and pastorates. Pink’s magazine, Studies in the Scriptures, was discussed and reference made to the industrious support of his wife. Pink was a gifted expositor, exemplified in such works as The Sovereignty of God, The Life of David and...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Family > Society

‘There was no way we could kill our babies’

A mother has explained how she refused to consider abortion when doctors told her that her triplets were not developing as expected. Katie Johnson and her husband Patrick were told at a twelve-week scan that their babies, Oscar, Aurelia and Oliver, had life-threatening growth problems. Doctors advised Katie to abort one or two of them to give the others a better chance of survival. She said: ‘There was a risk to all of them. Oliver was 25 per cent smaller than his brother, and the blood flow wasn’t getting to him properly. If Oliver died, Oscar could have died too. ‘But there was no way...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Ealing censorship zone to be reviewed by Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal a High Court decision that upheld a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around an abortion facility in the London Borough of Ealing. The Ealing PSPO, which took effect in April last year, imposed a censorship zone that criminalised a wide range of conduct, including prayer, peaceful protest and the offering of leaflets. The PSPO was subject to a legal challenge shortly after coming into force in April of last year, but in July the High Court found that Ealing Council’s PSPO was lawful. However, the Court of Appeal has now agreed to hear an appeal. Laurence...

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Abortion rate highest in 10 years, Down’s abortions up 50%

Revised abortion statistics published by the Department of Health (DoH) show that the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales is at its highest in ten years. The DoH revealed that in 2017 more than 197,000 abortions were carried out, the highest number since 2008. The statistics also revealed a large increase in abortions among women over the age of 30. The abortion rate for 30 to 34-year-old women has climbed the highest since 2007, to a rate of 18.5 abortions per 1,000 women, up from 15.1. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said: ‘Showing the extent to which abortion is...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

Scottish teachers advised to break law by ‘outdated’ Named Person advice

The Scottish Government has again come under fire for its controversial Named Person scheme, and Education Minister John Swinney has been advised to drop it altogether. The No To Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign says teachers are being encouraged to break the law by ‘outdated’ guidance on sharing pupils’ information. The group wrote to the Education Minister to point out that sex education guidance referring to Named Person is yet to be updated, despite being ruled unlawful in July 2016. The guidance claims teachers must share a pupil’s private information with the child’s Named Person if it ‘affects or is likely to affect’ the child’s wellbeing....

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News

February 2019
News > Persecution

Jeremy Hunt calls for review into global persecution of Christians

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged the ‘dramatic rise in violence’ against Christians globally, and launched an independent review to investigate. An estimated 215 million Christians faced discrimination and violence last year, and an average of 250 were killed for their faith each month. Mr Hunt says Britain ‘can and must do more’ to help persecuted Christians and has commissioned the review to determine how it can do that, with the report expected by Easter. Led by the Bishop of Truro Rt Rev. Philip Mounstephen, the review will focus entirely on Christian persecution. Its aims are to map the persecution of Christians in the Middle...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

Professor says Wales smacking consultation ignored research

An academic who contributed to the Welsh Government’s consultation on criminalising parents who smack their children says his research has been misquoted and ignored. Professor Robert Larzelere called on politicians not to introduce a smacking ban in defiance of the ‘relevant evidence’. He said: ‘The consultation document also failed to summarise all of the most important studies, before claiming that it provided an evidentiary base for a smacking ban’. Welsh Assembly Member Darren Millar said: ‘The Welsh Government seem determined to implement their unpopular smacking ban in the face of a lack of public support and opposition from esteemed academics’.

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News

February 2019
News > Society

NHS staff told using ‘he’ or ‘she’ could offend transgender people

NHS staff in Lothian have been told to refer to patients as ‘they’ to avoid offending transgender people. Managers have been offered training courses to show them how ‘gender neutral’ language can be ‘normalised’ in the health service. NHS Lothian is running courses for staff in conjunction with the Scottish Trans Alliance and LGBT Health and Wellbeing. A handout advises staff: ‘Don’t assume you know which pronouns and titles people prefer — ask what they prefer’. Staff are being encouraged to use gender neutral language at home in their personal lives, as well as at work. A senior figure at NHS Lothian who attended an...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

Gym under fire for asking man to leave woman’s changing area

A gym has been criticised after it asked a man, who self-identifies as a woman, to leave the women’s changing area. Female customers told staff at PureGym that they felt ‘uncomfortable’ getting changed in the same room as the man. The transgender customer rejected PureGym’s offer of an alternative, gender neutral changing area. The gym’s customer told BuzzFeed News, ‘The manager said that men weren’t allowed in the women’s locker room. ‘The manager said ‘I’m afraid you have to leave’ because someone was made uncomfortable by me being in there.’ Staff told the customer that he was welcome to use the disabled changing room, which...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

£1m lottery grants given to transgender lobby groups

Lottery grants totalling about £1millon have been awarded to two lobbying groups to push transgender campaign issues. On the face of it, the grants appear to break the rules about lottery grants not being given to support political campaigning. The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) was set to award £500,000 to Mermaids, a transgender charity. And it was set to award a further £494,000 to gay rights group Stonewall to ‘empower trans leaders and organisations’. But the Sunday Times criticised the grants, questioning whether other causes were missing out on funding. The newspaper polled its readers, asking whether BLF is supporting the right causes, and found...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

Mother threatened by social workers after she raised transgender concerns

A mum who raised concerns that her daughter, 14, was being encouraged to change her gender has been threatened by social services. The 45-year-old mother has been told that her daughter could be placed under the care of social workers. It came after the mother lodged complaints that her daughter was being ‘encouraged’ to change sex by a therapist and her teachers. The mother gave an interview to the Mail on Sunday, who protected her identity for the sake of her daughter. The mother told the newspaper that an NHS psychotherapist had told the girl she could take hormones to stop her periods and give...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

Gender-confused schoolgirls sent breast binders by trans group

A publicly-funded transgender group has been sending breast binders to schoolgirls as young as thirteen and hiding the practice from parents, a newspaper investigation has revealed. Trans organisation Morf were found to be sending the binders to schoolgirls in unmarked packages after a Mail on Sunday journalist posed as a 13-year-old girl. Critics have branded the practice as self-harming. Breast binders are used by an increasing number of young girls to disguise their chest to make them look like boys. A 2015 study revealed that using them could have physical consequences, including broken ribs, collapsed lungs, back pain, spinal compression, blood clots and breathing difficulties....

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News

February 2019
News > Ethics > International

Netherlands: Dementia patient euthanised despite saying she ‘didn’t want to die’

A doctor has been charged with unlawfully ending a patient’s life in the first case of its kind since euthanasia was legalised in the Netherlands in 2002. The nursing home doctor, who remains anonymous, administered a lethal injection to a 74-year-old dementia patient despite the fact that her will was ‘unclear and contradictory’. Prosecutors have said that the doctor had ‘not acted carefully’ and ‘overstepped a line’. Though the dementia-sufferer had earlier expressed a desire for euthanasia when ‘the time was right’, in the days before she was killed, she had said she did not want to die.

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News

February 2019
News > International

Germany: Court upholds removal of children from home-school family

The German state acted within Convention law in removing children from a home-schooling family, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. The Wunderlich family are considering a potential appeal to the Grand Chamber of the court. In August 2013, more than 30 police officers and social workers stormed the home of the Wunderlich family. The authorities forcibly removed the children from their parents and their home, leaving the family traumatised.       The children were ultimately returned to their parents but their legal status remained unclear as Germany is one of the few European countries that penalises families who want to home school. After domestic courts...

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News

February 2019
News > International

Greece: Court rules against the forced application of Sharia law

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Greece in a case involving the forced application of Islamic Sharia law in an inheritance dispute. The case centred on a Muslim Greek man’s will in which he bequeathed all he owned to his wife. But it was deemed invalid after it was challenged by his sisters. However, the man’s widow appealed to the European court in 2014, having lost three quarters of her inheritance. She argued she had been discriminated against on religious grounds as, had her husband not been Muslim, she would have inherited his entire estate under Greek law. The European court agreed. In...

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News

February 2019
News > International > Persecution

China: Police given quotas for arrests of Christians

The religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter is reporting that police stations in the major port city of Dalian (a population of 6.6 million) in northeast China are being evaluated based on the number of Christians they arrest. A police officer from Dalian, the second-largest city in Liaoning Province, near the North Korean border, told the magazine that his station had received a notice from the National Security Bureau which, as part of a performance-assessment plan, set out how many Christians they would have to arrest. The officer said that all stations in the city had received a similar plan, assessing the station’s performance with a...

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News

February 2019
News > International > Persecution

Iran: More than 100 Christians arrested amidst Govt crackdown

More than 100 Christians have been arrested in Iran in just one week and ordered to cut all contact with religious groups and house churches. They were detained by Iranian authorities, questioned on their involvement in Christian activities, and told to expect a call from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. Christian charity Open Doors UK, which speaks out against persecution of believers, has described the news as ‘highly concerning’. Many of the 114 believers were converts to Christianity from Islam who were accused of proselytising. Conversion to Christianity is an offence punishable by more than ten years’ imprisonment. The recent events are part of a growing...

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News

February 2019
News > International

Vietnam: Napalm girl testifies, ‘Those bombs led me to Christ’

In 1972, at the height of the Vietnam War, a picture of a young girl shocked the world. She had torn her burning clothes from her skin, and was screaming in agony as the napalm continued to burn into her flesh. But Kim Phuc Phan Thi survived the napalm attack and has now explained how her horrific experience brought her to Christ. Aged just nine at the time of the attack, she awoke in a morgue, and was rescued by her parents, but her agony would continue. She was also ostracised when she returned to her village because of her disfigurement. She initially prayed to...

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News

February 2019
News > International

US: Christian teacher fired for not using preferred pronouns

A Christian schoolteacher has been fired from his position at West Point High School, in the US state of Virginia, after he refused to use a student’s preferred pronouns. Peter Vlaming, a French teacher, said that using male pronouns for a female student identifying as ‘male’ violated his conscience. Despite offering to use the student’s name the school board dismissed him on the grounds of discrimination. Mr Vlaming stressed that he was not intending to be offensive or discriminatory saying: ‘I’m happy to avoid female pronouns not to offend because I’m not here to provoke’. ‘I can’t refer to a female as a male, and...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

Schoolchildren told all genders have periods

New guidance encourages primary school teachers to tell children that ‘all genders’ can have periods. The guidance has been approved by Brighton and Hove City Council which, in a 2016 survey, gave schoolchildren 25 ‘gender options’ to choose from. Critics have said this latest move is ‘deliberately misleading children’. The schools’ guidance states, ‘Trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods’ and ‘menstruation must be inclusive of all genders’. It asserts ‘language and learning about periods is inclusive of all genders’, before suggesting teachers use the phrase, ‘girls and women and others who have periods’. Sanitary-product bins must also be provided in male...

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News

February 2019
News > Society

Warning over government’s Sunday school safeguarding consultation

Warning bells have been sounded over the government’s plans to introduce a ‘voluntary’ safeguarding code of conduct for out of school settings like Sunday schools and church youth groups. Concerns are being raised that the Department of Education is hinting at regulation and the consultation has prompted fears that new controls could be foisted on church clubs. Similar plans were floated in 2015, which included proposals for Ofsted to become in effect the ‘state regulator of religion’. These were dropped after opposition from Christians and others. MP for Monmouth David Davies said: ‘Madrasas radicalising young people is something people would expect the Government to try...

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News

February 2019
News > International

US remains polarised after mid-term elections

When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, the nation, and indeed the world was stunned to see such a monumental political upset as Trump won against Hillary Clinton in 2016. The election baffled pundits and populace alike as Trump won the electoral vote whilst losing the popular vote to Clinton. Despite his political incorrectness and explosive personality, his mantra of ‘Make America Great’ won the hearts of the rural and working class population. Since his election, the country has only become more demarcated, especially in regards to race issues, foreign policy, and immigration. According to the Pew Research Center, 54 per cent...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal

Alister McGrath has written a masterly biography of the distinguished and influential Swiss theologian and professor, Emil Brunner (1889-1966). If you studied theology in the 1970s or 80s, Brunner’s name would have soon come up. Who then, was Emil Brunner? He was the dominant writer for the revolutionary new currents of German theology that began flowing after World War I. Karl Barth was another key figure and the revolution is often called ‘Neo-orthodoxy’. This label is rejected by McGrath — rightly, in my view (it does no justice to the sheer complexity of what was taking place in German theology). Brunner, although connected with Barth,...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

The Genesis of marriage – God’s Declaration, Drama and Purpose

Rick Shenk’s noble project is to elevate Christian marriage, reinstating its sacred character. Secularists may hijack the term ‘marriage’ but Christians must live by God’s revealed teaching. Destructive human meddling in this institution cannot change God’s original design. The blurb says the book is ‘stimulating and provocative’. I did find it exciting but also exasperating. Professor Shenk adopts a twin creation account, making aspects of his exegesis of Genesis 2 troubling. For instance, ‘God made the creatures to resolve Adam’s situation (aloneness), but this did not “work”’ (p.32). Adam’s aloneness is seen as an incomplete image of God and necessitates the creation of Eve. It...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

The Ark of Safety: Is There Salvation Outside of the Church?

Tucked away in Chapter 25 of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is a reference to ‘the visible Church… out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation’. To lovers of Protestant theology, this statement may sound a little, well, Roman Catholic. However, The Ark of Safety demonstrates persuasively that, when understood correctly, it is true and biblical. Ryan McGraw goes on to provide that correct understanding, albeit taking a rather circuitous route to get there. He begins this little volume by delving into the subject of the church’s invisible and visible natures. His survey of the writings of various Reformers reveals a consensus...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

John G. Paton: Missionary to the Cannibals of the South Seas

This is an excellent book. John Paton left his native Scottish soil and set sail with his wife and infant son for the mission field 160 years ago. His destination was the New Hebrides: a cluster of islands in the Pacific discovered by Captain Cook in the previous century. Tragically, one of Paton’s first tasks was to bury his wife and son, both of whom had succumbed to tropical fever. Such afflictions were endemic in the low-lying swampy region he had unknowingly selected as a place to settle. Made clear by the book’s title, the tribespeople were cannibalistic. Other missionaries had died in that most...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

Scripture Reading to the end

Most of us will be familiar with the ministry of the Army Scripture Readers working under the auspices of SASRA (Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association). They have been faithfully witnessing for Christ for almost 200 years. Scripture Reading to the End is one of three books published in the 100th anniversary year of the end of the First World War, recording the ministry of the Scripture Readers during those dreadful years (the other titles being Rough Journal and SASRA at the Somme). Soon after the outbreak of World War I, SASRA was given permission to post Scripture Readers to army bases set behind the...

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Review

January 2019
Reviews > Book

Strength for the Weary

Are you weary, fellow pilgrims? Then let the ordained writer, Isaiah, speak to you in graphic terms through Dr Thomas, especially from chapters 40-46. Upon receipt of this book, I soon became engrossed. In keeping with its title, my own sense of weariness was lifted as I read this exploration of the final chapters of Isaiah. Dr Thomas unpacks the Jewish historical issues and shows how Isaiah received revelation concerning events 150 years ahead. This involved the kingdom of Babylon and how Cyrus the Great, a heathen king of Persia, conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to their land. An outline is provided...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > World Mission > Africa > Kenya

North West Kenya: Growth in Reformed teaching

In Britain today we live in days when the gospel is being attacked from many sides. Some churches face decline. Some have grown.  Efforts are being made to revive declining churches and also to plant new ones. There are both discouragements and encouragements. The church is violently under attack in some parts of the world with some believers suffering and some even losing their lives. But in other parts there has been remarkable growth. I have made several trips to Kenya over the last 10 years.  There many are under the influence of the so-called prosperity gospel, which is not the gospel.  By the mercy...

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News

January 2019
News > Conferences

‘God’s Glory Our Joy’ conference 2018

For the last 18 years, the ‘God’s Glory, our Joy’ conference has been held in the North West of England. This year’s trio of talks was on the theme of ‘Courage and Consistency’. Mike Judge (pastor of Chorlton Evangelical Church in Manchester and editor of this august publication) gave the first talk on ‘Cultural Shift and Evangelical Compromise’. He charted some of the major changes in UK society over the last 60 years and some of the ways in which evangelical Christians and churches have gone soft. Mark Stocker (pastor of Spring Road Evangelical Church in Southampton) gave a talk with a title borrowed from...

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News

January 2019
News > Events

Grace Baptist Mission Day

‘Facing a task unfinished, that drives us to our knees, a need that undiminished, rebukes our slothful ease’. Although written almost 90 years ago these words from the hymn by Frank Houghton are as true today as they were then. Some 700 believers from Grace Baptist Churches all over the UK gathered for the 2018 Grace Baptist Mission Annual Mission Day, the theme of which was ‘Every People, Every Nation — Committing Ourselves to the Task Unfinished.’ During a stimulating and challenging day missionaries spoke of their work including church planting in Poland, Bible translation in West Africa, ministry to Asian women in the UK,...

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News

January 2019
News > Conferences

Almost 900 attend FIEC leaders conference

Almost 900 people attended the annual FIEC Leaders’ Conference in Torquay in November. The theme was ‘Here and now: communicating the gospel in our post-Christian culture’. Don Carson’s outstanding exposition of Isaiah 6 brought a majestic view of the holiness of God, and also a sense of reality to gospel ministry. There is a note of hope for Isaiah in the chapter, but it would be fulfilled 700 years later in the coming of Jesus We are also caught up in the wider sweep of the rise and fall of nations and cultures, within God’s good purposes, and we should view our ministry in light...

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News

January 2019
News > Conferences

Scottish Reformed Baptist Conference 2018

As Christians gather from often small and scattered churches, few things refresh and bless the soul as gathering with like-minded believers and spending time together under the ministry of God’s word. The theme of the third Scottish Reformed Baptist conference in Pitlochry was ‘Lessons for Life’. Stephen Rees, pastor at Grace Baptist Church Stockport, was our main speaker. He spoke about Samson as a man of faith and deliverance. Samson grew up with every advantage, with godly parents in a godless Israel, but despite this, he went astray. We were encouraged that those with ungodly children can trust the sovereignty of God, as God was...

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News

January 2019
News > Conferences

Presbyterian Reformed Autumn conference

‘Why Creation not Evolution? The Bible and Science’ was the theme of the 2018 Autumn Conference of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Stockton-on-Tees on 27 October 2018. Addressing the interdenominational gathering of 80 people, Pastor Roger Fay spoke from Psalm 19 and Genesis, saying that God’s revelation of Himself in creation impacts everyone everywhere. Though non-verbal, the revelation concerning the Creator’s eternal power, goodness and Godhead is absolutely clear, universal, and eloquent. Genesis 1 reminds us that the creation was a work of the Triune God: Father, Son and Spirit. The account is not metaphor or myth but historical prose — miraculous, ex nihilo creation...

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News

January 2019
News > Conferences

Belarus: Reformation Day conference

Reformation Day was commemorated at a conference in Minsk organised on behalf of Evangelical Press Missionary Trust (EPMT). Around 40 attended the Belarus conference chaired by Pastor Slava Viazovski. The speaker was Jonathan Stobbs, chair of EPMT and pastor of Penzance Baptist Church. He spoke on Martin Luther and John Calvin, and how these men helped to shape the reformed faith throughout Europe for generations to come. The truths of the Reformation remain highly relevant to today’s church today. The enthusiasm of all attendees and their desire to see the gospel spread throughout the Russian-speaking world was encouraging.

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News

January 2019
News > Persecution

Europe: Christians marginalised across the continent

Christians across Europe, including clergy, have experienced hostility, marginalisation and violence, with 500 documented cases of intolerance and discrimination recorded in 2016-17. The finds come in a report from the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe. Its 2018 report states that since 2005, it has documented more than 2,100 cases of Christians killed or attacked for their faith, fired, sued or arrested for exercising their freedom of expression or conscience. Christian-run business have been ruined financially. Christian student groups have been silenced, and Christian symbols and celebrations have been removed from the public square. Churches across Europe were vandalised, robbed and...

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News

January 2019
News > International

Netherlands: Man fails in bid to legally change his age

A 69-year-old Dutchman who tried to argue he should be allowed to officially change his age because he ‘feels’ 20 years younger has lost his legal bid to do so. Emile Ratelband claims he faces discrimination as a 69-year-old. He said, ‘We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?’ He also wants to change his legal age so that he is more appealing to younger women on dating websites and apps like Tinder. However, a court in the Netherlands refused to allow him to legally change his age. The judges said,...

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News

January 2019
News

Nigeria: Thousands of Christians slaughtered in worsening attacks

Fresh back from a fact-finding mission to Nigeria, Baroness Cox reports that thousands of Christians have reportedly been killed in escalating attacks led by Fulani militia. She visited the Anguldi Refugee Camp in Jos, Plateau State, which provides shelter to 2,600 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and spoke to a number of survivors. Deaconess Susan Essam in Jos said, ‘They shot Sarah’s husband and children and so she begged them to kill her too, but they refused, saying that they wanted her to cry and bear the pain.’ Margaret from Ngar village said, ‘My sister was raped and her wrists cut off before she was shot...

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News

January 2019
News > Church news

Derby Cathedral ‘bans’ evangelical preacher, Melvin Tinker

An evangelical Anglican minister says he was banned from preaching at a carol service in Derby Cathedral because he had criticised the Archbishop of York for liberalising the church’s approach on gay and transgender issues. The Rev. Melvin Tinker, 63, who had been lined up by the University of Derby Christian Union to give a sermon at the event, was told that permission had been refused because of his relationship with the diocese of York. Rev. Tinker said this could only refer to a dispute between his church, St John Newland in Hull, and the archbishop, John Sentamu. Derby Cathedral has attracted controversy in the...

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News

January 2019
News > Society

BBC accused of distorting news and promoting a liberal agenda

A new book by a man who worked at the BBC for more than 25 years asks whether the broadcaster is a fair arbiter of the news, or a conduit for pervasive and institutional liberal bias. In his book, The Noble Liar: How and why the BBC distorts the news to promote a liberal agenda, Robin Aitken doesn’t pull any punches. He writes, ‘The BBC has wholeheartedly thrown its lot in with the liberal reformers; there has been no “impartiality” on any of the big moral issues of the past half-century. ‘In every instance, the socially conservative argument has been depicted as callous, reactionary and...

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News

January 2019
News > Education

Faith schools top primary league table

Faith schools account for almost half of the top 500 state primary schools in the UK, latest league tables show. Out of the top 100 state primaries 48 are faith schools. The good performance comes in the face of pressure from humanists to end the Government funding of faith schools. Professor Alan Smithers, Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research, said faith schools were doing so well because they shared a set of religious values, based around a moral work ethic. He said, ‘Faith schools are our best schools as these tables show and it would make no sense to dismantle some of...

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News

January 2019
News > Ethics

Young woman with Down’s syndrome campaigns against disability screening

Heidi Crowter, a 23-year-old woman from Coventry, has voiced her experience of life with Down’s syndrome and spoken out against disability screening, in an interview with The Christian Institute. Heidi said that parents ‘are being told lies’ about Down’s syndrome and she hopes that her example of life and faith will challenge the misconceptions. She is actively involved with ‘Don’t Screen Us Out’, a campaign group highlighting that Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is likely to result in a large number of abortions in the UK. Latest figures for Great Britain reveal that around 92 per cent of pregnancies, where Down’s syndrome is identified, result in...

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News

January 2019
News > Ethics

Government launches ‘safeguarding’ consultation for Sunday schools

The Department for Education has launched an open consultation to write a draft code of practise on safeguarding in out-of-school settings, Premier Christian Radio reports. This will affect various groups like the Scouts, but it will also include any religious settings which offer education in their own faith, such as Sunday schools. The Department for Education is asking for contributions of opinion to try to provide a sector-wide safeguarding framework for all out-of-school settings, saying, ‘While the majority do behave in a safe environment, there are some settings which do not.’ The department said, ‘We are inviting the views of out-of-school settings providers, staff and...

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News

January 2019
News > Society

School wanted boy to take part in ‘gay pride’ march. Mum told to ‘be quiet’

Christian mum, Izzy Montague, went to her child’s primary school to raise concerns that her five-year-old son had been asked to take part in a ‘gay pride’ march, but was confronted with a member staff wearing an insulting T-shirt. The T-shirt carried the slogan, ‘Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could just be quiet?’. Mrs Montague has since removed her five-year-old son from the school. She is taking legal action against the school, claiming victimisation. She is being backed by the Christian Legal Centre. Mrs Montague told the Mail on Sunday, ‘Given the nature of my complaints it was obviously a deliberate...

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News

January 2019
News > Society

Pro-life groups banned by Student Unions at two Scottish Universities

Pro-life groups at universities in Glasgow and Aberdeen have been banned from affiliating with the Student Unions, denying them access to facilities and resources available to other groups. Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) says it has a pro-abortion policy and will not offer ‘funding, facilitation or platform’ to the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society. Glasgow Students for Life applied to become a registered society, but were turned down by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC). The decision means the pro-life group will be denied funding, and barred from using meeting rooms, advertising events, and even having a stall at the Freshers’ Fair.

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News

January 2019
News > Society

Church of England begins new services for transgender people

The Church of England has issued new pastoral guidance, creating baptismal-style services to welcome trans people into the Anglican faith. The guidance urges clergy to refer to transsexuals by their new name and suggests presenting them with gifts, such as a Bible inscribed in their chosen name, or a certificate. The guidance notes, ‘For a trans person to be addressed liturgically by the minister for the first time by their chosen name may be a powerful moment in the service.’ It says a special service would enable trans people to ‘renew the commitments made in baptism and in a public setting and provides space for...

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News

January 2019
News > Society

Government closes consultation on no-fault divorce

A public consultation on the government’s ‘dangerous’ new proposals to introduce radically liberal no-fault divorce laws was closed last month. The government wants to change the law in England and Wales so that married couples no longer have to prove the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Instead, the government proposes to replace the current ‘fault’ system with a notification scheme which will make divorce quicker and easier. This would mean that one spouse would be able to unilaterally end their marriage whenever they wanted by notifying the court. Then, after a short period of time, a spouse would receive a final divorce decree. This amounts...

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News

January 2019
News > Ethics

Assisted suicide appeal denied at the Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to legalise assisted suicide. The ruling by Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Reed upholds the decision by the Court of Appeal, which rejected the same arguments in June 2018. The Supreme Court’s decision means that Mr Conway’s case cannot proceed any further in the British courts. Right to Life spokesperson, Clare McCarthy said, ‘We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision. ‘Our current law protects people with disabilities and vulnerable people from being coerced into ending their lives. This ruling upholds previous decisions by Parliament and judges making it clear that the current protections provided by the current...

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News

January 2019
News > Society

Consultation launched on plans to criminalise smacking in Scotland

A proposal in Scotland to criminalise parents who smack their own children is being put out to public consultation. The consultation, which ends on 25 January, asks people for their views on the ban which has been proposed by Green Party MSP, John Finnie. The government says it will support Mr Finnie’s bill — The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill — meaning it stands a prospect of becoming law. The Scottish parliament’s equalities and human rights committee wants to know what the public thinks about the plans. Under the proposals, the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ would be removed from the law and parents...

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News

January 2019
News > Ethics > Uncategorised

Peers criticise PM over failure to grant asylum to Asia Bibi

In a letter to The Times, members of the House of Lords have strongly criticised the UK government over its handling of Asia Bibi’s plea for asylum. Asia Bibi was convicted in Pakistan of blasphemy against Islam and sentenced to death, but was recently acquitted. However, there are fears she will be killed by hardliners unless she flees the country. Lord Alton of Liverpool, Baroness Cox and other peers said in their letter that failing to offer her sanctuary here was a ‘serious betrayal’ by the UK. They wrote, ‘We are deeply concerned by reports that Theresa May is refusing asylum to Asia Bibi, who...

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News

January 2019
News > Media

Roger Fay retires after 11 years as editor, succeeded by Mike Judge

Roger Fay has announced his retirement as Senior Editor of Evangelical Times, effective from this January 2019 issue, a post he has held for the past eleven years. Roger’s involvement with ET stretches back over some twenty years and he will continue as Chairman of the Board for a further period. During his time as editor he has successfully guided the paper through many changes, not least in the recent economic climate where all newspapers have experienced a decline in circulation. As he hands over the work of editor to Mike Judge he does so in the knowledge that ET continues to be in a...

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News

January 2019
News > Society

Indoctrination not education as schools follow trans agenda

A teacher has revealed that 17 pupils at a single British school are in the process of changing gender, and most of them are autistic. The teacher felt compelled to speak out, but has chosen to keep her identity hidden for fear of dismissal, she told the Mail on Sunday. She says that schools and some politicians have swallowed ‘hook, line and sinker’ a politically-correct ‘fallacy’ peddled by a powerful transgender lobby. She says she was advised to keep parents and other teachers in the dark if a pupil claimed to be transgender. And she claims that older pupils at her school who changed gender...

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News

January 2019
News > Guest Column

GUEST COLUMN: Healthy Christianity: Fellowship with God in the Whole of Life

Last month we began considering the whole issue of balance in the Christian life. We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and strength and mind. This means that the truth of God’s Word, under the blessing of God’s Spirit, needs to be grasped by the mind, ascend to the heart, and be worked out in the life. This is true Christianity, and Christian growth is merely this process happening more deeply, and affecting and transforming us more profoundly. William Williams, Pantycelyn (1717-91), shortly before his death, identified the three parts of true Christianity as follows: ‘first true...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > Comment

COMMENT: New year, new design, new editor, but some things must never change

It’s a new year, and we have a new design for ET — we hope you like it  — and myself, Mike Judge, as the new editor at the helm. But there are some things that never change. God never changes, the gospel never changes, and our commitment to the Reformed Evangelical faith will, God willing, never change. It’s only since I have sat in the editor’s seat that I have truly appreciated all the hard work that Roger Fay has done over the years. So, let me put on record my admiration for his many years of faithful service to this paper, and my...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > General

Introducing Compass Camps: Bible-centred summer camps

Compass Camp is a week-long activity for 11-17 year olds which is set in the heart of the Lake District. The camp combines sound Bible teaching with challenging activities, fun and appreciation of the wonder of God’s creation. It is borne out of the desire to see young people’s lives transformed through the teaching of God’s Word from the Bible so that they may go out and live for Jesus. The Camp which has been in operation for over 40 years, is overseen by the Grace Baptist Churches at Accrington and Lancaster and led by Christians who have many years’ experience both of spiritual issues...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > Evangelistic

They shall not grow old

The Great War, the war to end all wars, seems far away from our world today. A hundred years have gone by since the end of that war and all those that could tell us about their experience, yet Peter Jackson’s film, They Shall Not Grow Old, brings their voices to our ears. The film was a wonder. The cinematography was great, the blend of genuine footage from 1914-1918 with colour and giving them sound drew me deep into the experience of those there. Yet it was the story of the men who went to the front that hit the heart. Seeing the faces of...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A view from the piano

Most people have probably never thought about what it’s like to be an accompanist, to play the piano or another instrument whilst we sing to God. That’s because most of us don’t have to do it. But even those of us who do play don’t always think carefully about what we are doing or trying to achieve. For most people, when first asked to accompany the congregation, it’s a terrifying prospect; your greatest concern is to get through without making any mistakes and embarrassing yourself. Nothing else is really on your mind except that. Perhaps as time goes by you get more comfortable and stop...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Are fallow seasons a normal part of the kingdom’s pattern?

Many of nature’s processes have phases to them: the timetable of the tides, the patterns of weather, the life-cycle of flowers, the four seasons. Human life has its phases too. There are those which form the overarching timeline of conception to death. There are also those which come round in regular cycles, as famously captured in the ‘Life is a hamster-wheel’ poem of Ecclesiastes 3, with its drumbeat of ‘a time to…’ Phases, however, are not limited to the physical realm. When you read of God’s dealings with Israel in the Gospels and Acts, you discover the spiritual realm has such features too: there were...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > World Mission > Europe > Western Europe > France

Islamism on the rise in France

‘The lost territories of the Republic’: this is how entire French suburbs plagued by violence and various gangs are now known. In French, the word banlieues is equivalent to the Anglo-Saxon ‘inner cities’, with their related social problems. Police forces, insufficient and inadequate in terms of numbers and equipment, do not even dare to attempt to restore law and order there. Without even mentioning the alarming rise of violent crime in Paris itself, the département of Seine-Saint-Denis, the eastern suburb of the capital, has become the most troublesome of these ‘lost territories’. By subway, it is merely twenty minutes away from the Elysée Palace where...

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Article

January 2019
Articles > Evangelistic

A soldier’s story

The last article in a three-part series of Gavin Dickson’s testimony I was truly sorry for my rotten sin. God sent his Holy Spirit to dwell within me, and my heart, the real me, was changed. This new relationship with God was so real. Now, of course, I know verses from the Bible that explain all this, but that night in my car in the north of England was when God saved me and became real to me. The following weekend I went with the battalion to Wales. But although outwardly in my uniform I looked the same, inwardly something radical had happened. I knew...

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Review

December 2018
Reviews > Book

In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City

Until the publication of In the footsteps of King David, the prevailing approach to biblical archaeology has often been denial of the factuality of biblical texts. From 2007 to 2013, a team of archaeologists (led by the authors of this fascinating volume) excavated Khirbet Qeiyafa. This is located in the Elah Valley on the border of ancient Judea and Philistia, close to the location of David’s battle with Goliath. They concluded that they had uncovered the biblical city of ‘Shaarim’ (Joshua 15:36; 1 Samuel 17:52; 1 Chronicles 4:31). Garfinkel, Ganor and Hasel utilised cutting-edge cyber tools, aerial photography and 3D-imaging during the excavation at Khirbet...

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Review

December 2018
Reviews > Book

Why Is There Evil in the World (and So Much of It?) (The Big Ten)

Anyone who regularly engages in outdoor evangelism will tell you that the question of this book’s title is the one most frequently raised by people on the street. It is good to know, therefore, the solid biblical answers with which Christians can respond and, hopefully, help people. This is especially true for helping those who may themselves be suffering in some way. This book points the reader to some excellent biblical answers to the issue, based on several case studies, which culminate in the experience of the Lord Jesus himself. The book doesn’t claim to give all the answers to every aspect of suffering, but...

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Review

December 2018
Reviews > Book

What is Man?

In this book, Professor Andrews (see article on page 3 of this ET issue) distils a lifetime of meditation on the titular question into 14 rich and readable chapters. He unpacks the issues behind what scholars have called ‘hard problems’ and shows us how biblical revelation brings understanding to our minds and gives humans a meaningful place in our world. The first section examines responses to the question from people speaking in the name of various scientific fields. These include neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology. This critical scrutiny reveals a fundamental disparity between modern secular intellectuals and Christian apologists. The contrast is between seeing man...

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News

December 2018
News > Induction

Induction – Hitchin Grace Baptist welcomes pastor

Hitchin Grace Baptist Church welcomed its new pastor Tom Forryan at a service attended by 200 people, in the Priory School, Hitchin, on 13 October 2018. Ashkan Sarmadi, current pastor of Derby Road Baptist Church (DRBC), Watford, commended Tom’s previous ministry as former pastor at DRBC and as a worker with Grace Baptist Mission in Paris. Elder Richard Lambert explained the challenges of the church’s three-year search for a pastor, in particular a ‘somewhat sombre’ evening gathering of church officers in January, when they seemed to be out of options. But, in the providence of God, it was just a couple of days later that...

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News

December 2018
News > Church news

Church – Pioneers for London

The Bishop of London is backing the identifying and training of new pioneer leaders in order to birth ‘new churches, for new people in new places’, across London. In a joint venture between the Centre for Church Planting and Growth and Church Mission Society, the School of Pioneers will, for the first time, allow the diocese of London to offer formal training to lay pioneers. This move, the centre said, testifies to the growing importance of ‘pioneering’ in the Church’s strategy to reach a generation who have grown up in a post-Christian culture. The 2017 electoral roll figures for London showed a 13 per cent...

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News

December 2018
News > Church news

Church – Church Society Council

Church Society’s Council met in October to discuss the ‘memorandum of agreement’ made between Church Society, Reform and the Fellowship of Word and Spirit, made prior to a recent merger between these groups. The items discussed by the council were: relationships with other Anglican bodies; Church Society’s commitment to contending for the true gospel; the appointment of additional staff; and a review of the new group’s name and branding. Dr Ros Clarke, associate director of Church Society, said in a newsletter: ‘Praise God for our partnership in the gospel, expressed in our prayers, and bearing fruit in our discussions. We are moving forward in all the...

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News

December 2018
News > Events

Events – What is man?

The latest ‘Alpha and Omega Conference’ took place on Saturday 6 October, when Professor Edgar Andrews (see p.3) delivered two lectures based on his new book What is Man? Adam, alien or ape? These half-day conferences are held usually twice a year at the Campus Church, Welwyn Garden City, and feature issues of current interest and concern to Bible-believing churches and Christians. On this occasion, 12 local churches were represented in the audience of some 40 people. Like the book, the talks were presented in lay-person-friendly terms, with a judicious use of illustrations and humour. The two addresses were video-recorded and can be downloaded from...

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News

December 2018
News > Events

Events – 50th anniversary in Wolverhampton

An anniversary gives us another opportunity to remember, and on 15-16 September 2018 the members and friends of West Park Church, Wolverhampton, recalled and celebrated God’s goodness since the founding of the church 50 years ago. In those days it was called Merridale Church and was in a different part of the city. Much has happened in those years, including a new location, outreach, conversions, but always with God’s inerrant Word central to all, and preaching deemed to be of vital importance in our worship. During the weekend, Geoff Thomas preached Christ-exalting sermons. The history of the church was briefly recounted. Fellowship and friendships were...

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News

December 2018
News > Society

Society – European Court upholds conviction for insulting Islam

In a troubling legal ruling for free speech, a woman who insulted the Muslim faith has had her conviction upheld by the European Court of Human Rights. The woman, known only as Mrs S, had made disparaging remarks about the prophet Mohammed, calling him a paedophile, because one of his many wives was only six years old when they married. She was convicted in Austria by a lower court in Vienna for ‘disparaging religious doctrines’ and was ordered to pay a 480 euros fine plus legal fees. Mrs S was holding a seminar during which she was found to have made the remark about Mohammed....

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News

December 2018
News > Society

Society – Stem cell hope for cleft palate babies

Adult stem cells could be used in the future to heal babies with cleft palates, a pioneering new treatment in Colombia has shown. The condition is an abnormality whereby the part of skull which connects the mouth to the nose has not developed. It affects around one in every 700 births. Cleft palates, although treatable, have been labelled as a ‘serious handicap’ under UK abortion law. It means that an unborn child with a cleft palate could be aborted right up to birth. Cleft palates are usually repaired with surgery in early childhood, which often involves bone grafts and carries the risk of complications. But...

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News

December 2018
News > Society

Society – Focus on actual crimes, says senior police officer

The police should focus on actual crimes like burglaries and robberies, and not waste time recording incidents which are not crimes, a senior officer has said. National Police Chiefs’ Council chairwoman Sara Thornton warned forces are too stretched to take on issues such as logging ‘hate incidents’ where no crime has been committed, even though recording such matters may be ‘desirable    and deserving’. Several police forces have used ‘hate incident’ policies to unjustly take action against numerous Christian evangelists who have been sharing their faith in public places. In some extreme cases, the police have been successfully sued for the unlawful arrest or detention of...

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News

December 2018
News > Society

Society – Children complain about gambling ads bombardment

Highschool children in Salisbury have spoken out about being bombarded with gambling ads. St Joseph’s School has been helping its older pupils to understand the methods gambling companies use to get and keep customers. 15-year-old Bryn, from St Joseph’s, recalled seeing a gambling ad where a James Bond-style character was shown to be gambling successfully. He said the advertisements show this lifestyle as being ‘glamorously wealthy’ and that they promote a ‘false idea that you’ll always be a winner and be like this man’. St Joseph’s pupil Catherine, 15, said the dangers of gambling, like smoking, need to be publicised. ‘You never see a lottery...

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News

December 2018
News > Society

Society – Baroness tables grooming question

Christian Peer Baroness Cox has tabled questions in Parliament asking the government about victims who have been groomed by gangs, the Christian Legal Centre reported. The question reads, ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are aware of the case of Sarah who was held captive by a grooming gang for 12 years as reported in the Daily Mail on 15 September, and if so, what assessment they have made of that case and its implications.’ The woman, named ‘Sarah’ (not her real name) in the Daily Mail report of 15 September 2018 was kidnapped by a Muslim gang at the age of 15 and...

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News

December 2018
News > Events

Event – The art of faithful failure

Seventy per cent of Christians know who they want to invite to church, but never do — something Michael Harvey, founder of the National Weekend of Invitation and Back to Church Sunday, reckons can change if Christians think differently. Talking to a packed hall at the Christian Resources Exhibition 2018, at Sandown Park in October, his audience gave him a number of reasons why they might not invite others to church: fear of rejection; not knowing a neighbour well enough; frightened they would be considered as harassing; and concerned that, if accepting, the friend might not like the style of worship in the church. He...

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News

December 2018
News > Events

Event – Christian Heritage exhibition

The Christian Heritage Centre continued to see a good number of visitors visit its exhibition during this summer. Situated in Providence Chapel in Rowley Regis, near Birmingham, it was set up to demonstrate the impact that Christianity has had on our country. The story of Christianity in Britain is told through a series of nearly 50 illustrated and written panels, along with a large collection of artefacts and objects. Besides regular visitors, in August the centre was pleased to welcome a group from City Church, Birmingham. That same month was the occasion of our summer cream tea and second-hand book sale, which was extremely well-attended....

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News

December 2018
News > Church news

Church – Respected Bible teacher John L. Mackay dies

Professor John L. Mackay, lecturer and author of numerous Bible commentaries, has died aged 70. Prof. Mackay was formerly Principal and Professor of Old Testament Studies at the Free Church of Scotland College in Edinburgh (now Edinburgh Theological Seminary). He passed away peacefully at home on 25 October and is survived by his wife Mary and their children John and Fiona. Prof. Mackay was a well-respected author of many Old Testament commentaries, including on Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Hosea. The Free Church described him as a man of ‘immense intellect’, who was a ‘much sought after lecturer’. Originally ordained and inducted as minister of Rosskeen Free...

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News

December 2018
News > Education

Education – Parental rights consultation

Religious think tank Theos is calling for a number of improvements to Religious Education in schools, in a report which summarises a series of high-level conversations on the effectiveness and future of RE. Recommendations include ending parents’ right to withdraw their child from RE, ensuring Ofsted take action against schools not teaching RE well, and exploring structural reforms to improve consistency and quality among RE syllabuses nationally. The report stated, ‘It is essential that all children have the opportunity to receive a high-quality, critical education in school about religion or belief. Yet it is increasingly clear that Religious Education in English and Welsh schools is...

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News

December 2018
News > Mission

Mission – Alternative advent calendar

How can someone call on the one they have not believed in? How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? For over a year, 10 global Christian mission organisations have been working together under the #HowWillTheyHear campaign, which seeks to respond to Paul’s questions in Romans 10:14 by proclaiming Christ amongst refugee and migrant communities. The second 10:14 prayer initiative began this October. It committed to God the mission work of reaching refugees with the light and hope of Jesus. Thousands of Christians around the world committed to praying for...

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News

December 2018
News > Mission

Mission – Serving in Mission: 10:14 prayer project

How can someone call on the one they have not believed in? How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? For over a year, 10 global Christian mission organisations have been working together under the #HowWillTheyHear campaign, which seeks to respond to Paul’s questions in Romans 10:14 by proclaiming Christ amongst refugee and migrant communities. The second 10:14 prayer initiative began this October. It committed to God the mission work of reaching refugees with the light and hope of Jesus. Thousands of Christians around the world committed to praying for...

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News

December 2018
News > Mission

Mission – EMF moves headquarters

The European Mission Fellowship is in the process of relocating to Leicestershire. After a long history of being based in the home counties, the charity is moving its headquarters to Glenfield, a village in the Blaby district of Leicester.

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News

December 2018
News > Mission

Mission – Bible camp defies statistics

Twenty-seven young people mostly from one-parent families chose to follow the Lord Jesus at a Bible camp in Peru. Arriving with a back-pack full of expectations and enthusiasm, 66 youths in total between 12 and 16 years old attended the camp in Comas, a deprived area of Lima, the capital of the South American country. The camp organisers Siloam Christian Ministries said a heartening 41 per cent of those who attended are looking to the future with hope after the camp, the theme of which was ‘Our Eternal Father’ and which held special meaning for the underprivileged youths who attended. Most were from one-parent or...

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News

December 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – ‘Locked-in’ syndrome teenager recovers

A teenager is recovering after a bleed on the brain left her with ‘locked-in’ syndrome. Miranda Meldrum suffered a near-fatal stroke in April last year, aged 13, leaving her almost completely paralysed. ‘Locked-in’ syndrome leaves people with fully functioning minds but with little or no ability to communicate. The condition is frequently used by campaigners as a reason to legalise assisted suicide in the UK. Miranda’s mother Stella was asked at one point if she would agree to turn off her daughter’s life-support system. But then the teenager began showing signs of recovery. Miranda initially had to communicate by blinking to answer basic yes or...

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News

December 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – Christian and anti-slavery campaigner honoured

Two-hundred and fifty years since his birth, one of the men who fought to end slavery has been honoured with a memorial plaque in St George’s Gardens in London. Zachary Macaulay was born in Inveraray in 1768, but after getting a job in a merchant’s office in Glasgow, he spent much of his youth drinking. Aged 16, he left Scotland for Jamaica, where he would become an overseer at a sugar plantation. There he was confronted by the reality of slavery. The slaves often worked for 16 to 18 hours a day, discipline was brutal, and many slaves lost fingers to machinery. Three years was...

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News

December 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – Radical abortion motion

Campaigners have expressed relief that a radical abortion motion brought forward by Diana Johnson MP, Labour MP for Hull North, is unlikely to become law. The motion, which MPs passed by 208 to 123 votes in October, sought to impose abortion on Northern Ireland and remove many of the current legal safeguards around abortion provision in England and Wales. As the debate was a ‘10 Minute Rule Motion’, it is unlikely it will be given further time by the government in Parliament, or become law, according to the widely based charity Right to Life (https://righttolife.org.uk). Right to Life added that Ms Johnson’s proposals for England and Wales...

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News

December 2018
News > International

International – Brunson: ‘Millions prayed for Turkey’

Pastor Andrew Brunson believes that God was sovereignly involved in his two-year incarceration in Turkey because ‘millions of people prayed for Turkey during that time, and God is bringing blessing out of it’. In an interview with American TV programme CBS This Morning after his release, Pastor Brunson revealed that the book of 2 Timothy sustained him during his two months in a Turkish prison. ‘Where Paul talks about suffering and finishing the race well, and this became my prayer: I want to be faithful and endure and finish well’. Pastor Brunson was originally arrested along with his wife. On being arrested they were both...

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News

December 2018
News > International

International – OM update on Sulawesi

Christian missionary organisation Operation Mobilisation (OM) has thanked its supporters for backing its work in Indonesia with prayer following the devastating 7.4 earthquake which struck in the Central Sulawesi region on 28 September. Over 2 million people were affected by the impact of such a large-scale disaster. Homes, hospitals, water and communication lines were destroyed, making thousands homeless, afraid and in need. In the midst of such suffering OM said it continues to call out to Jesus in prayer and ask that comfort and aid would surround the people of Indonesia as they struggle to piece together their lives and communities after such a catastrophic...

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News

December 2018
News > International

International – Rising intolerance among India’s youth

There is increasing intolerance in India amongst Hindu youths towards other religious minorities, one Indian Christian leader has told a meeting in the House of Lords. Speaking at a reception organised by religious freedom group ADF International, Dr Michael Williams blamed India’s ‘fundamentalist’ government. He said it was comparable to Islamic radicalisation or fascism in Germany in the 1930s. He quoted government statistics showing attacks in the communities have risen 30 per cent in over three years, with almost 1,000 incidents recorded in 2017, leading to 111 people being killed and over 2,500 being injured. Dr Williams, who is Dean of Mount Carmel Schools in...

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News

December 2018
News > Persecution

Persecution – Pakistani Christian pupil expelled

A 13-year-old Pakistani Christian boy was sent out of his classroom for turning off a tap that had been left running. Fourth grader student Sharjeel was expelled from his class on 16 October 2018 because it was believed that by touching the tap he had tainted the water and therefore he should be punished. Head teacher Nusrat Shaheen, of Government Boys Primary School, Dhok Fatah, District Attock, beat and abused him, before chasing him out of the school saying Christians are supposed to clean drains and not be educated. She further asked the child to bring his mother to fall at her feet. When Sharjeel’s...

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News

December 2018
News > Persecution

Persecution – Asia Bibi ‘freed’

Britain and other nations should offer asylum to Asia Bibi and her family, Christian campaigners said after the Catholic mother-of-five was acquitted of blasphemy charges in Pakistan on 31 October. A three-judge bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court saved the illiterate farm labourer from execution, with its decision to acquit and release her. In a 56-page ruling the court stated that ‘the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt’. The judges also asserted that ‘it is not for the individuals, or a gathering (mob), to decide as to whether any act falling within the purview of Section 295-C has been committed or not’....

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News

December 2018
News > Persecution

Persecution – Eastern Ukraine bans church meetings

An evangelical church group in eastern Ukraine has been outlawed by authorities, and Christians face a fine or arrest if they meet together, even in their own homes. Now called the Luhansk People’s Republic and controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, the area’s officials imposed a re-registration process for churches in February 2018. But Ukraine’s Institute for Religious Freedom said evangelical Christian communities have been barred from re-registration, meaning they are breaking the law if they do not cease to operate. Barnabas Fund reports congregations emptying church buildings of books and furniture, and church leaders have asked for prayer ‘that God gives wisdom and strength...

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News

December 2018
News > Persecution

Persecution – Secular aggression shuts churches in Rwanda

Church attendance has declined in Rwanda this year and church leaders live in fear, as the government continues to close churches amid increasing aggressive secularisation by President Paul Kagame. More than 8,000 churches have now been closed in the Christian-majority country, and the number keeps growing, on the pretext of failing to meet requirements laid down at the beginning of the year, according to the pro-government KT Press. World Wide Monitor says new requirements set in place for congregations that want to continue ministry are also complicating efforts to comply. The closures began in the East African country in February. World Watch Monitor reported that...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Guest column

Healthy Christianity

Christianity is to affect the whole of life, and one of the great dangers Christians face is that of imbalance. They must always be on the lookout not to overemphasise some things and underemphasise others. Church history teaches us that imbalances not corrected can lead Christians away from the faith altogether. If Christianity is predominantly in our heads (intellectual understanding of the faith), with little emphasis on the heart (what we experience and feel) or hands (how we live from day to day), then we are in danger of a dry or dead orthodoxy. Balance If we overemphasise experience and feeling, it can lead to...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Burden of guilt removed

I was born in Sticker, near St Austell in Cornwall, and my earliest memories are of attending the local Methodist chapel and Sunday school. When I was 15, I saw a film on the crucifixion at the cinema and was challenged by an evangelist afterwards. Then, when I was 17, I left school and got a job in local government. At this point I began to pray, and considered I was a Christian because of my religious observances and reasonably upright life. But I realise now that I was mistaken. About two years later, I was invited to a mission meeting at Nanpean where I...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

From creation to Christ

I was brought up in a Christian family where the Bible was taught, and from a very early age was surrounded by other Christians. However, this did not mean that I was a Christian myself, although at times I thought I was. But I had not personally accepted Jesus into my life. Deep down, I could see the urgent need for having a Saviour, but ignored it, and decided to become a Christian a lot later on in life, so that first I could live my life the way I wanted without having a higher authority that I had to explain my actions to. When...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Drawn by God’s Word

I was born in 1964 and brought up in South Yorkshire. I have been married now for 28 years. Before my marriage, my interests were football, going to the pub and just having a good time, and I still wanted this life to continue after marriage. Neither my wife nor I had any interest in Christian things. Two beautiful girls were born to us. Our eldest daughter had a serious illness and died aged six years. The loss of our child affected us both terribly and, in my ignorance, I actually acknowledged God in a way, because I blamed him for the pain and suffering...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Growth in Christ

I was born into a Christian home in Brunei. As a child my parents taught me about the Lord Jesus Christ from the Bible. My father is a preacher in our home church and my mother translates the sermons into Mandarin. However, it was not until I was 13 that I realised that I personally was a sinner and needed to believe for myself in Christ. I then accepted him as my Saviour and I experienced the joy and peace that he brings. When I was 16, I was baptised as a believer. In 2014 I left Brunei to study at the University of Sheffield...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

From confusion to conversion

My mother very sadly died when I was only 11 years old. My uncle and aunt, who already had five children took me in. They were kind but poor. After the war I was introduced to a very lovely man, who became my husband. The marriage produced two children, a son and a daughter. I recall that the thought of becoming a mother filled me with delight and also fear. What a huge responsibility! Could I, could we cope? However, the children did survive! We had them christened, as we thought that was the right thing to do. But we really had very little knowledge...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Overwhelmed by God’s love

Many years ago, I found myself in a hopeless, helpless state; at a place in my mind where nothing made sense. I had become extremely cynical and could see no point in anything. The world seemed to be a place of suffering. Happiness had become an elusive state of mind that didn’t last and I didn’t expect it to — it never had and couldn’t be trusted. I had my own business. I travelled. I had friends, and outwardly was ‘doing okay’, but inwardly I had arrived at a place where peace didn’t seem to exist. Towards my friends and family my face was false,...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

What Jesus means to me

The Bible says that to believers Jesus Christ is ‘precious’. They love to speak of him and what he means to them in their lives. Jesus Christ means more to me than anyone else. As the apostle Paul says: ‘To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:21). He is more important than my parents, my children, my delightful grandchildren; yes, even than my wife, and she is very dear to me and has been for the last 37 years. She couldn’t have been a better and more loving wife, but then, I got her from the Lord! I cannot remember...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Hearing the true gospel

I was not brought up in a Christian family, but my parents had a friend who helped with leading a Sunday school. Therefore, my sister and I went along. I don’t remember much about it and it didn’t seem to make any impression on me at the time. Despite this, I often used to come home from playing with friends or from school saying to my parents, ‘Do you know that so-and-so doesn’t believe in God?’ I don’t know what my parents thought of that, as there was never any discussion about it. My sister and I also used to go to Girl Guides, part...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

God’s love working everything for good

Having grown up in a Christian home and attended church since I was born, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. I definitely had a good understanding of the fundamental core of Christianity: that I was a sinner, that I was loved by God, and that there was forgiveness and salvation in Jesus’ death and resurrection. But, as I was aware from the age of eight, I didn’t know if I was necessarily a Christian. Even though I knew the information, the way I lived my life wasn’t much changed by it. Transforming power It is here that I want to...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Found by the Good Shepherd

I was born into a Christian home in Sheffield and lived in the city during World War II. I had two sisters and two brothers. My parents took us to church and Sunday school. I loved reading and, at the age of 11, read a Christian book written for children that explained Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who came to seek and to save the lost. This book set me thinking and, as I then began to read the Bible, I very gradually came to understand what Jesus had done for me in dying on the cross. Eventually I came to experience the joy and...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

A sudden realisation

Growing up in a Christian family has meant that I learnt about God from a very young age. For as long as I can remember I’ve believed in God, attended church services, prayed and read from the Bible. I used to assume that this made me a Christian. But when I was around 15 years old I started attending Bible study groups held by a local church, where I learnt even more about God, as well as meeting some amazingly kind people. Gradually, it began to feel as if every church sermon at the time was aimed at me and the wrong things I’d done....

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Finding the Creator

As a teenager, sadly, I had no time for God, but I believed that there was a Creator. In the early 1950s I left Sheffield, having been called up for national service and I was stationed at RAF Chivenor in North Devon. One day when off-duty and visiting Rock Park in Barnstaple I noticed how beautiful the flowers were. A local man approached me and engaged me in conversation. He recognised that I was from Chivenor and kindly invited me that day to have tea with himself and his wife in their home. They were Christians and they also invited me to attend a service...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

From traditional to real

Born in Poland, I followed the traditions of the Roman Catholic religion for the first 18 years of my life: christened as a baby, having religious lessons, and attending Sunday ‘mass’ with my parents, as all the other children in my village did. I was taught to believe in God’s existence, the concept of sin, hell and heaven. What I lacked, however, was peace with God. I questioned the purpose of life and felt a deep sense of unhappiness. I have always enjoyed reading and was led to a book called The Master. Based on the Gospel of John, this book presented the life of...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Who do you think you are?

My uncle David is the family historian. He has spent many hours researching the family tree and has discovered relatives in Australia and Argentina. My uncle is not alone in his desire to trace his genealogical roots. The BBC series Who do you think you are? is very popular. In the programme, famous people research their family history, in an effort to discover how the past has shaped their lives. Family trees Family trees can give us a sense of identity and provide an historical anchor for our lives. In times of increased social mobility and family disintegration, we want to know who we are...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

My Lord and my God!

It’s exciting! It’s amazing! It’s fantastic! As incredible as it seems, yet by faith I believe it’s true. Permit me to give a testimony, a wonderful witness that I could only make by God’s sovereign grace. Here it is: ‘The God of the Bible is my God!’ Let me be specific. My God is the God of creation, the one who spoke the world into existence. The Bible begins with this marvellous statement, ‘In the beginning, God’. He is the one I worship. My God is the God of Noah, who secured this man’s family from the Flood which came upon the world because of...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

The wise and the foolish

History is littered with dead kings. Destined to reign from the beginning of life, they have come at last to their throne. But only for a time. Always, sooner or later, they have come into conflict with death. And death has always carried the day. There is, however, one remarkable exception to this universal rule. Long ago a child was born to be king, encountered death, submitted to it, but could not be held by it. He now sits upon the throne of a kingdom that is coextensive with the whole of physical and spiritual reality and he is destined to reign forever. Real facts...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Joseph — unsung hero of Christmas?

Joseph — the legal guardian and earthly father of the Lord Jesus — is often overlooked in the Christmas story. Matthew’s Gospel however relates the account of the birth of Christ more from Joseph’s perspective than Mary’s. Matthew tells us: ‘Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly’ (Matthew 1:18-19). From the above, if we could picture an...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

A hymn of hope for those in despair

Who wrote this song? The author is most surprising: a Jewish priest who’d been struck dumb for nine months! Zacharias was his name, and the cause of his lack of speech was unbelief. Zacharias just hadn’t reckoned that his elderly wife could possibly become a mother for the first time, even though God himself had sent an angelic messenger to confirm it to him. Now the period of waiting had ended, the miracle baby had arrived, and the name John had been given to him, in accordance with God’s direction through the angel. As the Baptist, John would be the forerunner of the Lord Jesus...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

‘The Word became flesh’

In just these four words John the apostle, in the first chapter of his Gospel, gives us the reason for celebrating Christmas. It is amazing how much can be said in a few words. Four words to describe one of the most significant, amazing and pivotal events in the whole of human history. John is speaking about the birth of Jesus and is telling us that the baby born at Bethlehem already existed before this birth. Indeed, in another four-word statement John tells us that, ‘The Word was God’. In the same way, the first chapter of the first book of the Bible (Genesis) opens...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Facing the future

Mary’s hopes and dreams for her firstborn son were overshadowed by prophecy, but she never forgot who held the future for Jesus. Last year I wrote about the difficulties facing childless parents at Christmas, when everything seems to focus on ‘family’. This year we will be celebrating our own family ‘miracle’: a son finally granted to us, expected shortly before Christmas Day. While we give great thanks to God for the medical breakthroughs that made this possible, and for God’s protection over us during a testing and traumatic loss of his twin sister Diana at 5 months, we also are full of wonder and questions...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Mary’s Song

This month people all over the world will celebrate Christmas. For many, it will simply mean time off work to sit back, relax and indulge in chocolates, presents, and elaborate roast dinners. However, the true meaning of Christmas is much deeper. Christians celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died and rose from the dead as a sacrifice for sinners. As the Bible says: ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11). Often the Bible passages which are read out at carol services are accounts...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

A sight for sore eyes

Our eyes are wonderful things! Each one is a slightly asymmetrical globe, about an inch in diameter. The front part of the eye that you see in the mirror contains the iris (the pigmented part), the cornea (a clear dome over the iris), the pupil (the black circular opening in the iris that lets light in), the sclera (the white part), and the conjunctiva (a thin layer of tissue covering the front of the eye, except the cornea). Just behind the iris and pupil lies the lens, which helps to focus light on the back of the eye. Most of the eye is filled with...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Scientific (including creation)

The perils of scientific illiteracy

When Pope Francis addressed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he argued that ideas like the ‘big bang’ and evolution are perfectly compatible with the Christian faith (Address on occasion of inauguration of bust in honour of Pope Benedict XV1, Plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 27 October 2014). Astonishingly, he declared: ‘When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so’. That someone claiming to teach the Christian faith could have made such a statement beggars belief. Job said to God ‘I know that you...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Angels and shepherds

Tea towel-turbaned children and cosy Christmas card scenes often spring to mind when we think about the shepherds. But what were these first eyewitnesses of the manger really like? Our research takes us to the account by Luke, the historian amongst Jesus’ four biblical biographers. But what would it have been like for Luke to do his research. We imagine a conversation with a shepherd, as Luke interviewed him when writing his Gospel. Luke: I’m glad to find you, because in my research I keep coming across stories about shepherds seeing Jesus in the manger. Shepherd: I’m not surprised. We were so excited that we...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

A soldier’s story (2)

Gavin Dickson continues sharing his life story (begun in November’s ET ): When the Scots Guards returned to Iraq in 2007 for Telic 7, an insurgency was raging throughout the country. So we had to exchange our berets for helmets and full body armour. In fact, you didn’t travel unless you were in an armoured vehicle. In 2005 we had moved around by driving in snatch wagons or cut-down Land Rovers, which were very exposed to the elements, especially the wind. Yet in 2007 we moved around in the Warrior, a 26-ton armoured fighting vehicle. The full force of the insurgents was felt by their...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

From pavement to palace

Mark was a 27-year-old from Clwyd, working for a firm that fitted ten-pin bowling alleys. It was a job that many lads of his age would have been happy to have had, but Mark had bigger dreams. Like other young boys in North Wales he had grown up with the idea that London was a million miles away. It might as well have been! London was the place of excitement and endless opportunities. It was where young people wanted to be and where they could thrive. After all, there were only so many ten-pin bowling alleys that the people of Clwyd wanted. And what then?...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Happy Christmas?

Gary Clayton reminds everyone, including Christians, what the Christmas season is all about. To millions around the world Christmas is the most eagerly anticipated time of the year. For some, it’s a time of joy, celebration, family and worship. For others, it can be a profoundly lonely, materialistic or depressing experience. Christmas, however one celebrates it, presents a number of problems, whether past, present or future. Some years ago, a parent taking on the role of Santa at a school fair departed from the traditional script when one of his young visitors went blank, having forgotten the presents he wanted. ‘Surely you’d like something for...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

The perfect man

Has there ever been a perfect human being? In spite of the praise and adoration we lavish on our heroes, saints and pop-idols, the answer has to be ‘no’. The Bible, however, claims a single exception to this rule. Jesus Christ, the Bible maintains, was the perfect man who shows us what humanity should look like. But who was Jesus Christ? Did he even exist historically? And if he did exist, who was he and what claims did he make? Historical evidence No serious historian doubts that Jesus of Nazareth existed — the son of a working-class family in first-century Roman-occupied Israel who became an...

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News

December 2018
News > Society

Light has dawned

‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned’. This beautiful verse, from chapter 9 of Isaiah’s Old Testament prophecy, is set within a wonderful passage often read at Christmas. It describes the coming of the Messiah. The Gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 9, expands the theme: ‘The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world’. At Caring For Life (www.caringforlife.co.uk) in Leeds, we spend each day seeking to reach people who live in utter darkness, both physical and spiritual. Yet we are...

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Review

November 2018
Reviews > Book

Dying Well: Dying Faithfully

Referring to ‘dying’ in the title of a book is perhaps off-putting to many readers. With a title such as Dying Well, you’re also not quite sure what aspects of death the book will address. However, it’s soon apparent that this book has potential as it ventures into an area of social discourse taboo. In the foreword, Rico Tice goes so far as to say it makes him feel ‘excited about preparing for my own death’. Indeed, the Bible is clear that we should view death as ‘gain’ (Philippians 1:21). The book springs from the author’s personal experience of suddenly losing his father. Moreover, the...

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Review

November 2018
Reviews > Book

The Bible: God’s Inerrant Word (Banner Mini-Guides)

According to the back cover, this book intends to ‘provide an entry point for those who know little about the “Book of books”, but it is written ‘in such a way as to encourage those who know it better to explore it more fully’. The book begins well. The first chapter explains that our God communicates: through creation, through chosen people such as prophets and apostles, and supremely through the Scriptures and the Lord Jesus Christ. The second chapter then bogs us down in a debate. Do words have any meaning? Ask modern poets and writers. Yet surely readers of this book would have no...

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Review

November 2018
Reviews > Book

The God of Creation

Writing clearly and concisely, Richard Phillips explains how a correct view of God informs a correct reading of Genesis. He shows how liberal, non-literal views of the creation account are inadmissible if careful hermeneutic principles are followed. The book summarises arguments for a literal view of Genesis. Alternatives like the framework hypothesis, which see Genesis 1-3 as a poetic device, are shown to be false and theologically dangerous. I would have liked Phillips to have also examined the recent idea of a ‘cosmic temple’ interpretation, as advocated by John Walton in The Lost World of Genesis One. Phillips shows that even evolutionary cosmology points to...

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Review

November 2018
Reviews > Book

The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ’n’ Roll

In pacey style, The Devil’s Music traces the turbulent relationship between pop music and American evangelicalism from the 1950s to the present day. The story begins in the revivalist meetings of Pentecostal churches in the southern states, characterised by shouting, foot stamping, ‘holy dancing’ and flamboyant showman preachers. This is the world in which Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Little Richard developed their love of music and from which they went on to develop and popularise the phenomenon that was dubbed ‘rock ’n’ roll’. Through extensive research, Randall J. Stephens shows how the new music was seen almost universally as antithetical to...

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Article

November 2018
Articles > Youth Features

Singleness

A man gives his testimony I was single until I got married in my mid-forties. I can testify to the many temptations and challenges to my purity during that time. There were times when I felt frustrated by my singleness, and jealous of the married people around me who seemed to be enjoying fulfilled sex lives. So, what helped me to obey God in singleness? Here are a few considerations that helped me along the path of sexual purity. It helped me to realise that I was in a spiritual battle. Satan is an active agent in the battle to draw Christians into sin and...

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Article

November 2018
Articles > Youth Features

Finding the right marriage partner

Marriage might not be as popular as it once was, but many young people will still look forward to that special day when they will stand next to the person they have chosen to spend their lives with and say, ‘I do’. Indeed, in a recent survey, 72 per cent of 18 to 35 year olds still intend to marry. Over 40 years later, I look back fondly on that day when we were all dressed up and celebrated our wedding day with our friends and family. Of course, it is more than a party; it has a very serious side, as we are making...

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Article

November 2018
Articles > World Mission > Europe > Northern Europe > United Kingdom

Ligonier survey of UK

What do professing evangelicals in the United Kingdom actually believe about God, Jesus Christ, sin, and eternity? Ligonier Ministries’ — founded by the late R.C. Sproul to support local churches in gospel ministry — recent State of Theology survey for the UK uncovers some answers. For the first time, Ligonier has taken the theological temperature of the UK, the purpose being to help Christians better understand today’s culture and to equip the church with another tool for discipleship. Some of their key findings and their reflections on those findings are given below (also, see TheStateOfTheology.co.uk): Evangelicals Only 2-3% (up to about 2 million) of the...

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Article

November 2018
Articles > World Mission > Asia > Central Asia

Central Asia clampdown on Christians

Christians in Central Asia are facing worship bans, arrest and torture, as Islamic nationalism gains ground in their countries. Pastors in the underground church have been describing their ordeal to Release International, which supports persecuted Christians around the world. Release has launched an appeal to help the church in Central Asia. Security police in Tajikistan arrested and fined ten Christians in August for handing out gospel literature. Release International says the group had gone to the Pamir mountains to give out tracts. They were fined about £750 — more than most Tajiks would earn in six months. In neighbouring Kazakhstan, a new religious survey has...

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Article

November 2018
Articles > World Mission > Europe > Eastern Europe > Russia

To the ends of the earth!

For almost 70 years, SGA(UK) has been ministering in the former communist-dominated countries of Central and Eastern Europe, often in areas formerly unreached by the gospel. Some 20 years ago a link was forged with believers in Kazakhstan, Central Asia. Ministry engagement there led to involvement in other central Asian republics. The mission’s activities are centred in leadership training but include many other support ministries for churches, leaders, and needy groups such as orphans and widows. Now SGA(UK) is going where we have never been before! In fellowship with the four other SGA ‘families’, in USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we are supporting a...

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