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Everything in April 2019 issue

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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