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Everything in August 2016 issue

Historical

August 2016
Articles > Historical

Whatever happened at Salters’ Hall (1)

‘History’, said Henry Ford, ‘is more or less bunk’. The Roman statesman Cicero had a very different view: ‘he who is ignorant of what happened before he was born’, he declared, ‘is destined to remain always a child’. But what benefit is there in a knowledge of history? To know that there was such…

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News

August 2016
News

Media – Good for you?

Being strongly religious could significantly improve your physical and mental health and well-being, a study from think-tank Theos has claimed. The research, which analysed 139 separate studies published over the past three decades, confirmed the correlation between religious belief and practice and different elements of physical and mental wellbeing. The report, Religion and health:…

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News

August 2016
News

LETTER FROM AMERICA: How American churches justified slavery

‘There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the coloured race’ (General Robert E. Lee, 1856). No evil…

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News

August 2016
News

Mission – 25 years of the Christian Institute

Spiritual and moral decline is still prevalent in the UK and there is still a need to recover a Christian mind and worldview, the chairman of the Christian Institute (CI) says. In the CI’s 25th anniversary annual review, 25 years of Christian influence, John Burn OBE talked about the reasons for founding the Christian…

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News

August 2016
News

Education – Emmaus School, Staverton

Emmaus School in Staverton, Wiltshire, has recently unveiled its building extension plans. Starting in 1997 with just four pupils, the school, which is rooted in Christian values, has grown to more than 65 students, aged from Reception to Year 11. Occupying the site formerly used by the local primary school, a Victorian building dating…

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News

August 2016
News

Ethics – Abortion call

A United Nations (UN) committee has called for abortion to be decriminalised ‘in all circumstances’ in Northern Ireland. In June, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the Northern Ireland Executive to ‘review its legislation’ to ensure girls have access to ‘safe abortion’. Although the committee’s recommendations are not legally binding…

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News

August 2016
News

Politics – Using common sense

The Evangelical Alliance (EA) has welcomed comments from former Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron stating the ‘Prevent Duty’ has been misused. The Prevent Duty, issued by the Department of Education in 2015, aims to highlight areas of concern over radicalisation; in particular, Islamic extremism. However, it was used earlier this year to prevent a…

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News

August 2016
News

Conference – Pilgrims’ Friend Society

At the Pilgrims’ Friend Society’s (PFS) May 2016 thanksgiving service in  Harrogate, four key speakers gave a well-rounded insight into the ministry of this charity working with older people. Pastor Dr Tim Chester, was the plenary speaker and presented a talk on ‘The beauty of an intergenerational church’, taking Titus 2 as his text.…

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News

August 2016
News

Persecution: Pakistan – More perversion of justice

A Pakistani anti-terrorist court has acquitted five Christians of blasphemy charges, but two more have been jailed for six months under the blasphemy law and an anti-terrorist act. The case was registered on 16 August last year against 16 people for displaying and publishing material considered threatening, abusive and insulting. In a statement from…

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News

August 2016
News

Ethics – Surrogacy confusion

A surrogate mother who gave birth to a gay couple’s baby after meeting them once has been allowed to keep the child, after a judge ruled the baby would be better off with her. The woman, who is in her early 20s, contacted the two men (one of whom is the baby’s biological father)…

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Article

August 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Law and gospel

There is much to discourage us about the state of the church today. We think of its conformity to the spirit of the world, lack of depth in Christian experience, absence of heart religion, paucity of the fear of God, disregard for the Lord’s Day, lax attitude to worship, and absence of seriousness with…

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Article

August 2016
Scientific (including creation)

In six days (2)

Continued from ‘In six days (1)’ Dr Henry Morris, in his commentary on Genesis, asks a question that shouldn’t be necessary but unfortunately is: ‘Suppose the writer of Genesis wished to teach his readers that all things were created in six literal days, what words would he have used to best convey this?’ The…

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Article

August 2016
Articles > World Mission

ACTS continues to amaze and reach out

When an experienced prosecuting barrister passionately shares common ground with ‘Chris’, a convicted prisoner, we need to see why. When the son of an Imam unconditionally endorses their agreement, there is something special. That ‘special’ thing is, of course, the wonderful good news about what Jesus Christ has done and continues to do for…

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News

August 2016
News

Conference – London Theological Seminary

Ten students completed the two-year pastoral studies course at London Theological Seminary (LTS) in June. At the LTS Annual Thanksgiving Service, which was held on 25 June, they spoke of their plans for future ministry or, in some cases, further studies. Between them, they would be going to preach the gospel in South Africa,…

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News

August 2016
News

Russian crack-down

The Kremlin’s anti-terrorism laws have serious implications for biblical Christianity in Russia. Christians in Russia have been praying and fasting after their government approved a series of anti-terrorism laws that will have serious repercussions on Christian worship and witness. On 24 June, the Duma (lower house of the Russian parliament) approved laws to curb…

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Article

August 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Priscilla and Aquila: ‘working together with him’ (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Priscilla and Aquila are two lesser known characters in the New Testament. The impression we get is that they were a man and wife team ministry, for the New Testament references to them are invariably as a couple, and not as individuals. Their ministry was not a high profile, public one, yet it was…

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News

August 2016
News

Ethics – Assisted suicide voted down

A vote by doctors against assisted suicide has been welcomed by campaign groups and charities. In June, 198 doctors voted to maintain their opposition to assisted suicide at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual meeting. 115 voted in favour of a motion which called for the BMA to take a ‘neutral’ stance on the…

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News

August 2016
News

Conference – Family Education Trust

The latest Family Education Trust conference, in central London, faced up to challenges posed by new reproductive technologies and an intrusive State. Dr Calum MacKellar, director of research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, examined how we are to view identity and parenthood in a non-ideal world in which children can be produced…

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News

August 2016
News

Education – Ergon Fellowship

All Souls, Langham Place, has launched a programme called the Ergon Fellowship. The fellowship is a 10-month programme, designed to equip workplace disciples to realise a deeper biblical understanding of their paid work. The aim is to establish a small Christ-centred community, whose understanding of God’s word and mission for those in paid employment…

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News

August 2016
News

Church – Synod on same-sex marriage

Bishops, clergy and lay members of the Church of England’s ruling body, the General Synod, have been urged to sign a pledge to uphold biblical marriage. Before its closed session in York, which was held from 10-12 July, pro-biblical marriage supporters called on the Synod not to water down the church’s teaching on marriage,…

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News

August 2016
News > Youth Features

University link-up 2016

Christian Unions (CUs) exist on university campuses primarily to give every student on campus the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of nationality, language, background, culture, age or religion. CUs are part of an organisation called UCCF (University and Colleges Christian Fellowship), which helps set up events and…

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News

August 2016
News

International: USA – Seminar backfires

More than 30 people who paid to walk on hot coals at an event with motivational speaker Tony Robbins were treated for burns. According to an Associated Press report, the people had attended the convention in Dallas to conquer their fears. Thirty were burned, five seriously enough to be taken to hospital.  Dallas Fire-Rescue…

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Article

August 2016
Articles > Comment

Coping with tragedy

How can we cope with the constant stream of calamities reported almost daily in the media? How can we absorb all the heartaches and disappointments a fallen world confronts us with? For every new event we may consider ‘good’ or even ‘very good’, there follow ten ‘bad’ ones hard on its heels. Surely we…

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Article

August 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Fishers of men (1)

One dreary January day, a discouraged young pastor sat down and wrote himself a letter. He saw scant success in his ministry: no real fruit, no changed lives and, as far as he knew, not a single convert to Christ from all his preaching, visitation and counselling. Nor was he alone in this, for…

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News

August 2016
News

Events – Encounter the Ark

‘Noah’s Ark’, which has taken many years to complete, has finally opened to the public in Kentucky, USA. The Ark Encounter, the brainchild of Answers in Genesis, is 40 miles from its popular sister attraction, the Creation Museum, and aims to provide visitors with a life-scale idea of what the biblical Ark would have…

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News

August 2016
News

Family – Safe Families

A seriously ill mother, who was scared to go into hospital for treatment in case her children were taken into care, has been thrown a lifeline by Christian charity Safe Families for Children UK. Single mother Deborah Stephenson, who is chronically ill with fibromyalgia, refused to get the urgent knee replacement she needed, in…

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Article

August 2016
Articles > Guest column

The Trinity and Public worship

The Trinity needs to become much more central to public Christian worship and preaching. Each part should be richly infused with the knowledge of Jesus Christ — the mediator of the new covenant and second person of the Trinity — and the Trinity itself. Preaching should draw out a strongly trinitarian understanding, so the…

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Historical

August 2016
Articles > Historical

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

We are living in days when we can be easily intimidated by institutionalised atheism. Children in school science lessons may detect a sneer when they say they believe God created the earth and the first humans. When we enter museums, we are bombarded with information which promotes Darwinian evolution and its associated timescales, to…

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News

August 2016
News

Politics – Freedom of speech threatened

A new European Union (EU) agreement with major internet providers would have ‘a chilling and damaging effect on freedom of religion and speech’, Barnabas Fund has claimed. In June, the EU made an agreement with Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and other internet companies, that if any civil society organisation raises concerns about an article or…

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Article

August 2016
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Hospitable hearts

More than 20 years ago, a shy, humble, elderly man transformed the fellowship at our 6.00pm church service. How did he do it? He brought a packet of biscuits and butter menthols to church. Up until that point, people didn’t stay around for ‘supper’. But little did this elderly man foresee the impact his…

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Article

August 2016
Obituaries

Geraint Fielder (1935-2016)

In generations past, at least in Wales, we venerated our preaching stars — the ‘pulpit princes’, whose appearance at special events could always draw a crowd. In yet earlier generations, however, men of great talent gave themselves largely to serving a local church. In some humble ‘Bethel’ or ‘Calvary’ they would delight in the…

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News

August 2016
News

Conference – P-word

Two Christian organisations hosted a crucial conference, on Thursday June 23, to educate and equip church leaders to resist the damaging culture of porn. Christian charity CARE and the Naked Truth project, an organisation which works with people suffering from pornography addiction, hosted ‘The P-word conference’, which explored the issue of pornography and practical ways…

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News

August 2016
News

Repentance, the need of the hour

While the Church of England’s general synod met in emergency debate after the vote to leave the European Union (EU), Andrea Williams and Pastor Ade Omooba, co-founders of Christian Concern (CC), issued a call for repentance. In a CC statement entitled ‘A manifesto of hope — Christ Jesus the cornerstone’,they said the church needs…

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News

August 2016
News

Conference – Release Women

A persecution conference in London heard about the long-term impact on Christians in Pakistan, of the Lahore bomb attack and the growing violence against the Christian community in Pakistan. Release International staged the conference, ‘Blessed are the Persecuted?’ at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, London, in June. Release is sending counsellors to Pakistan to…

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News

August 2016
News

Evangelical Times International

The editors of Evangelical Times (ET) are grateful to the many subscribers who have generously included donations to Evangelical Times International (ETI) along with their regular ET subscription renewals. The editors have conducted a survey among ETI readers over its last two editions to allow opportunity for comment and feedback. We have been heartened…

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Article

August 2016
Slovakia

A summer visit to Slovakia

I have known Branislav Micieta, pastor of Soli Deo Gloria Reformed Baptist Church in Žilina, Slovakia, for several years, having first met him at the Metropolitan Tabernacle School of Theology. Two-thirds of the population of Slovakia profess to be Roman Catholic and the influence of the Church of Rome there is quite strong. At…

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News

August 2016
News

Education – Religious education

Religious education in schools is set to be overhauled after a new, high-profile, independent commission was established. The Commission on Religious Education (CRE) will have a remit to make wide-ranging recommendations, as it reviews the legal, education and policy frameworks for religious education in all primary schools, secondary schools and further education colleges in…

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News

August 2016
News

International: Belgian death wish

Catholic care home St Augustine has been fined for refusing euthanasia to one of its residents. The rest home, in Diest, Belgium, operates a strict pro-life policy. However, when it prevented doctors from giving a lethal injection to Mariette Buntjens, a 74-year-old woman suffering from lung cancer, it was fined 6,000 euros. According to…

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News

August 2016
News

Politics – Named Persons update

Scotland’s largest teaching union has backed a motion calling for the ‘workload, contractual and legal implications’ of the Named Person scheme to be investigated. At the Educational Institute of Scotland’s (EIS) annual general meeting, delegates asked its council to investigate and report on how the role of named persons — which will fall to…

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News

August 2016
News

Mission – TBS on Teesside

On the evening of 7 June, Dr David Allen of the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS) visited the Presbyterian Reformed Church at Stockton-on-Tees. He gave an address entitled ‘A word for times of difficulty’, based upon Matthew 14:24-25. While in the path of godly obedience, the disciples alone on the boat were overtaken by a storm, just as…

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News

August 2016
News

Conference – Jonathan Edwards Conference

On 9-10 June, in the comfortable surroundings of Radisson Blu hotel, Durham, 60 attendees were treated to a theological feast, focused on the New England theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), whose seminal ministry has helped mould Reformed evangelicalism for three centuries. This conference followed an inaugural one held in Durham in 2014. The theme this…

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News

August 2016
News

Politics – Counter-extremism fog

A leading Parliamentary committee has been left ‘none the wiser’ about government efforts to crack down on extremism, despite a Home Office minister appearing in front of them to explain it. Karen Bradley was facing the Joint Committee on Human Rights as the government prepares a consultation on its plans. Ms Bradley, a counter-extremism…

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Historical

August 2016
Articles > Historical

Seven marks of true revival

Knock & Point Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), on the Isle of Lewis, is a congregation with a history of revival over the last 100 years, and some of our members can remember seasons of remarkable blessing during the 1940s and 1950s. Sadly, revival has not been much experienced in recent years, but we…

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News

August 2016
News

Media – Cliff Richard

Sir Cliff Richard was unduly hounded by the British judiciary, Canon J. John, director of the Philo Trust, has claimed. After the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) announced Sir Cliff Richard ‘will face no further action over allegations of historical sex abuse’, Canon J. John called the manner of the investigation ‘disquieting’. He said: ‘Whether…

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Article

August 2016
Poland

Pray for Poland

Imagine a door that has incredible powers. It has the ability to cleanse you from every sin that you have committed. All you need to do is walk through it. But, it is a door that only opens once every 25 years. You would need to travel to Rome and walk through the doors…

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Politics – ‘Remember me’

News

August 2016
News

Politics – ‘Remember me’

David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the UK, has asked the UK to remember him as the man who brought in gay marriage. Mr Cameron, who claims to be a regular church-goer, told the press during his resignation speech outside 10 Downing Street that same-sex marriage was one of the ‘great steps’ this country…

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Review

August 2016

BST – The message of Joshua

A college lecturer specialising in the Old Testament, David Firth has authored several commentaries on the Hebrew Scriptures prior to this volume. His expertise in the Hebrew language and Israelite customs inform this book throughout, making it an enjoyable read. Part of the ‘Bible speaks today’ series, the book aims to guide lay readers…

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Review

August 2016

Serving with Calvin

Serving with Calvin is a sequel to the author’s earlier work, Worshipping with Calvin, in which he argued for ‘the historic ministry and worship of Reformed Protestantism’. In this later book, he sets out to show us how to do it. There is much that is helpful. An introductory chapter surveys the church scene…

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Review

August 2016

Focus on the Bible – Joel & Obadiah

This is an edifying commentary, in the Focus on the Bible series, on Joel and Obadiah. It is readable, concise and well structured. It focuses on expounding the text of these two books, pulling together larger themes, as well as selecting key phrases and words for more detailed exposition. Iwan Rhys Jones is Director…

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Review

August 2016

Starting out in Children’s Ministry

In this short book, Alison Mitchell gives helpful and clear advice on setting up and running children’s ministry. Alison is the commissioning editor for the Good Book Company and has been training children’s and youth leaders for over 30 years. She is author of the ‘Click’ teaching material, has written several tracts for children…

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Review

August 2016

I was sick and you visited me

This is a short, helpful and practical book on ministering to those in need. It is full of wise advice, and thoroughly biblical in its approach. It addresses many practical questions, such as who should visit the sick and why we should visit them. The author also addresses the issue of ‘how’ to visit…

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Review

August 2016

A Christian and an Unbeliever discuss …

Rob Slane tells us he was a committed and dogmatic atheist who became a committed and dogmatic Christian. This book is an imagined conversation between one who is still the former and himself as the latter. It is a composite of conversations he has actually had. This makes the transitions between topics clumsy at…

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Review

August 2016

Exploring the Bible – Ecclesiastes: Joy that perseveres

The message of Ecclesiastes is as timely in the 21st century as when first written some 3,000 years ago. In this readable devotional commentary, in the Exploring the Bible series, Dr Michael LeFebvre defines the message of Ecclesiastes as showing that ‘living in the fear of God gives us grounds for joy, despite the…

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Review

August 2016

The Call

The aim of this book is to provide information and guidance for those who are considering full-time Christian ministry. It is divided into an introduction, two main parts and two appendices. Part one is about the ‘Call to ministry’ and has a twelve-part description of what to look for in a person considering full…

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Review

August 2016

The Lord Shepherding His Sheep

This is a revised and expanded version of Beeke’s earlier work, Jehovah shepherding his sheep. Rather than a commentary on Psalm 23, it is a series of 19 expository sermons, originally preached in 1980. The sermons are Puritan in style and theology, but the language is contemporary, with short sentences making for easy reading.…

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Review

August 2016

Grace – The remarkable life of Grace Grattan Guinness

This book is based on letters, diaries, journals and notebooks written by the grandmother of the author’s husband. She has filled gaps in the journals and diaries using information from others in the family, and woven the historical information into a ‘fictionalised’ biography. The author concedes she had to ‘imagine’ Grace’s responses to letters…

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Review

August 2016

Awe – why it matters in all we think, say and do

Tripp sets out to explain things: why we sin, complain and crave stuff; why we forget to live in the awareness of eternity, and why we are dissatisfied in church, frustrated in family and unfulfilled in work and ministry. Tripp blames ‘awe wrongedness’. Being in awe of self instead of God means that life…

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Review

August 2016

Bitesize Biography – Griffith John

Who was Griffith John? In a readable manner, the author answers this question for this remarkably talented and dedicated Welsh missionary to China in another EP Bitesize Biography. Born into a godly home in Swansea in 1831, Griffith was converted at an early age. His preaching gifts were recognised during his teenage years. His…

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Review

August 2016

Ecclesiastes – A Quest for Meaning

It is commonly acknowledged that Ecclesiastes is one of the most difficult biblical books to understand. Many believers puzzle over its meaning, as they grapple with the author’s seemingly bleak view of life, where ‘all is vanity and grasping for the wind’. However, this commentary, unfolding the message of Ecclesiastes in a straightforward way…

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Review

August 2016

And so I began to read

This latest of Faith Cook’s books is autobiographical and reveals difficult periods in her life. These include when she was a mother of five small children, as well as a four-year period during which her husband was unwell and unable to minister. Faith is certainly gifted poetically and a writer of repute. In this…

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Review

August 2016

Are we together? A Protestant analyses Roman Catholicism

‘Given the attraction that Roman Catholicism is exerting on some Protestants, it is essential that its errors be exposed’. So writes Sproul in the closing pages of this book, explaining his aim in writing this short volume. It is striking how many Protestants are clamouring for greater closeness with Rome. Yet, as Sproul carefully…

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