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Everything in December 2016 issue

News

December 2016
News

Persecution: Uk – Ashers cake row

Ashers Baking Company owners Daniel and Amy McArthur have stated that God has been ‘bringing about good’, despite the Belfast Court of Appeal ruling against them in November. The couple told Sky News how their beliefs about marriage have been rooted in the ‘unchanging truth of the Bible’ and, although they have been dragged…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Cradled in a manger

Our familiarity with the first Christmas scene can easily blunt us to its staggering wonder. Luke 2:12 records the infant Christ as ‘lying in a manger’. Think of that! Here is condescension and humiliation of the highest degree, for here is the eternal Son of God — the One through whom God made all…

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News

December 2016
News

Ethics – Aisling Hubert

Pro-life campaigner Aisling Hubert has seen her challenge against the unjust costs awarded against her adjourned until January. The 23-year-old Christian woman, whose attempt to bring gender-abortion doctors to justice was derailed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), is facing crippling legal costs. Ms Hubert aimed to bring two doctors, who in 2012 were…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Do we have enough evidence to trust the Bible?

People today must judge between two contradictory worldviews: the biblical worldview and the evolutionary worldview. I’m a lawyer, so I think about this like a legal case. Juries have to judge between opposing litigants, like we have to judge between worldviews. Juries do it by weighing the evidence. Let me give an example from…

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News

December 2016
News

Christmas – Operation Christmas Child

Christmas shoe box gifts have been dropped off over November, with thousands of churches across the UK preparing to send gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need across the world. As the packing got underway, more than 20 million people worldwide watched Operation Christmas Child videos from Samaritan’s Purse, which showed the joy these boxes…

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Historical

December 2016
Articles > Historical

Remembering Martin Luther

A blue touch-paper was lit 500 years ago which brought about an explosion that changed the course of the world. Martin Luther, a German monk and university professor, nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg in Germany. The Theses were points Luther was making that were indirectly questioning…

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News

December 2016
News

International – Jakarta fury

A Christian governor in Jakarta has faced calls for his prosecution for ‘blasphemy’ from Muslim hardliners in Indonesia. Reports from the BBC showed angry protests in November, as tens of thousands of hard-line Muslims marched against the governor of Jakarta, demanding he is prosecuted for blasphemy. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, is the first…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

A freedom campaigner finds Christ

My name is Julian Sebothane Bahula, and I was born and brought up in Pretoria, South Africa. In the 1960s, I became a professional musician and composer, and was very famous throughout South Africa with the Malombo Jazz Men. In those days, all South Africans were political in one way or another and, while…

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News

December 2016
News

Christmas – Traidcraft upturn

Fair trade retailer and charity Traidcraft has witnessed success for its Show You Care marketing campaign and supporter call to action. The campaign prompted a 10 per cent rise in sales during its key 2015 pre-Christmas trading period, which set the scene for the successful year ahead. According to Traidcraft, nearly 560,000 people in…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Evangelistic

Wise men from the east

‘Now after Jesus was born, in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?’ (Matthew 2:1-2). The visit of the wise men to worship our Lord at the time of his…

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News

December 2016
News

Politics – Extremism laws

A top QC has blasted the UK government’s counter-extremism plans as ‘dangerous, alarming and quite wrong’. In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Law in action programme, David Anderson QC said the new laws being proposed by government were ‘dangerous and quite wrong’. The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation commented that the 2015 draft…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

My wonderful Saviour

Brought up in a Hindu household, I was exposed to rites and rituals of the religion, most of which I failed to grasp the meaning of. But, even as the Bible forbids worshipping and serving the creature rather than the creator, it didn’t sit right with me — I did believe that there was…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Who is Jesus?

When Richard Dawkins claims, ‘There is no good historical evidence that [Jesus] ever thought he was divine’, he is tripping blindfold over the truth. C. S. Lewis gets us on the right track when he writes, ‘The doctrine of Christ’s divinity seems to me not something stuck on, which you can unstick, but something…

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News

December 2016
News

Anniversary – Wensleydale church celebrates 25th

On Friday 7 October, Wensleydale Evangelical Church, Leyburn, celebrated its 25th anniversary. The history of the church goes back to 1985, when two families moved near Catterick Garrison. They were then members of an evangelical church 15 miles away, and shared concern about the lack of evangelical churches in this area. They began to…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

How I became a Christian

I was not born a Christian just because I was brought up in this country with its Christian heritage, or because I was baptised and confirmed in the local Anglican church and became a choirboy. My parents had no interest in the Bible, and so there was not a copy to be found in…

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Article

December 2016
Finland

From blasphemer to preacher

I was not brought up in a Christian home, although my mum and dad were in certain ways quite religious and members of the Russian Orthodox Church in Finland, where I was baptised as a baby. My mum and dad divorced when I was about seven years old, leaving me and my younger brother…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

More than words

For the Christian, carol singing should be about more than hitting the right notes, Simoney Kyriakou explains. Carols by candlelight, Michaelmas music, Christmas carol service, nine lessons and carols: whatever we call it, this is the one event nearly every Christian denomination spends a lot of time, money and dedication in preparing. Each year,…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

The angels’ message to the shepherds – and to us

Angels and shepherds. It’s hard to escape them at this time of year. You’ll find them on Christmas cards, in shop windows and at the school nativity play; not to mention the carols we hear as we turn on our radios and TVs, or make our way through shopping centres and major railway stations.…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

The wonder of Christ’s person

Is Jesus really God? In AD 319, Arius, a deacon in Alexandria, fired the first shots in a 60-year war that would come to engulf all of Christianity in the Roman empire. Arius argued, ‘If the Father begat the Son, then he who was begotten had a beginning in existence, and from this it…

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News

December 2016
News

International – Ukrainian suffering

Christians in the so-called ‘grey zone’ of Ukraine are in urgent need of help as winter approaches. According to reports from Barnabas Fund, the conflict between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists is still continuing. But with the bitter winter months, many of those in exile are without fuel, food, life-saving medicines and basic…

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News

December 2016
News

Media – Bible evidence unearthed

Archaeologists in Israel have found evidence supporting the Bible’s account of the fight against Ba’al worship. According to a report in Christian Today, written by Ruth Gledhill, archaeologists have proved that passages of the Bible about the triumph of Judaism over the pagan Ba’al worship are true. The report cited the fight against paganism…

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News

December 2016
News

Ethics – Disability double-standard

Disability debates have exposed deep hypocrisy at the heart of parliament, a leading peer has claimed. As Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill sailed through its second reading in the House of Lords, some peers argued strongly against limiting the rights of the parents to abort a disabled child. Currently, abortions on grounds of…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

The light has dawned

Winter is here again with its dark evenings and mornings. We will often find ourselves walking in its darkness; it’s not surprising that Christmas lights are so popular. Every year more of us fight the darkness by brightening up our homes and gardens with hundreds of festive lights. Worldwide darkness Do you feel that…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

50 years on

I was born in Nottingham in 1949. My family was respectable, but with no serious interest in God. Church was only for family occasions like christenings and weddings. 50 years ago this month, I trusted in Jesus Christ to be my Saviour and Lord, and my life changed direction. Superficially, that change seemed to…

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‘For a while’

Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

‘For a while’

Bala in North Wales is a very Welsh town. The language spoken in the homes and shops is Welsh, and the names of the houses you pass are, with very few exceptions, Welsh. One of these exceptions is the nameplate on a house passed if you enter Bala from the Dogellau road. The name…

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News

December 2016
News

Christmas – Host a student

Charity Host, founded 29 years ago by the British Council, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and Victoria League, is encouraging UK families to offer up their home for one to four days to foreign students this Christmas. Many adult international students from across the world would love to spend a few days with a British…

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News

December 2016
News

International – Trump, Christianity and Evangelicals

Christians on both sides of the Atlantic are reacting very differently to the news that Donald J. Trump has become president-elect of the US. In the UK, known critics of Mr Trump, such as Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, expressed caution over the decision and called for prayer. A statement issued by the…

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Article

December 2016
Obituaries

Rev. Alec Motyer (1924-2016)

Earlier this year, John Alexander Motyer — Alec Motyer — was called to be with the Lord, aged 91. Rev. Lee Gatiss of Church Society has written this tribute: Mr Motyer studied at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was awarded BA, MA, and BD degrees. He trained for the Anglican ministry at Wycliffe Hall,…

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News

December 2016
News

Event – Creation in the USA

Truth In Science’s director Professor Andy McIntosh headed to North Carolina, US, in November, hosted by the Grace Reformed Baptist Church at Mebane. The ministry was to students at two universities and meetings at the church, where 200 people listened to a talk on ‘The wonder of hearing’. He spoke on how the intricate…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christmas wonder

At this time of year, our minds are drawn to the wonder of the birth — the incarnation — of Jesus Christ. Referring to Christ’s incarnation, the Bible says: ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to…

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News

December 2016
News

Christmas – Shine for ShelterBox

Britons have been encouraged to get together with friends and family to brighten evacuees’ lives, through a new campaign from disaster relief charity ShelterBox. Its Christmas season ‘Shine for ShelterBox’ campaign aims to encourage people to get together for a candlelit winter feast, and raise funds to help people around the world who have…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

Taking God seriously

Recently I read of an unnerving experience that happened to a pastor and his wife flying back from a Christian conference abroad. The conduct they witnessed teaches us a great deal about human behaviour and attitudes. They were flying from Portland back to Los Angeles and all seemed to be going well. All of…

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News

December 2016
News

International – Help for Haiti

Haiti is recovering from another devastating weather front, and Christian organisations such as Siloam Christian Ministries, in partnership with Childcare Worldwide (CCW), are providing ongoing critical care. Richard Norton, Siloam’s UK director, said, ‘We want to relieve suffering and recognise that the impoverished benefit from a “hand-up” rather than a mere hand-out. On the…

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News

December 2016
News

Conferences – ‘Authentic – inside and out’

This was the title of the 2016 London Women’s Convention, held at the Emmanuel Centre, London on Saturday 15 October.We took ourselves and some young ladies from Thornton Heath Evangelical Church’s groups: Impact (for teenagers) and Vibe (20s-30s). I was encouraged to see the hall filled with hundreds of young women. Too often photographs…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

Two views from space

The year 2011 was remembered as the 50th anniversary of the Russian Uri Gagarin’s first flight into space. Though his exact words have been disputed, and communist propaganda was undoubtedly at work, Gagarin is famously said to have quipped, ‘I see no God up here’. In 2012 the American Neil Armstrong passed away. He…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

Christianity and Christmas

Paul Mackrell encourages both Christians and non-Christians not to confuse true Christianity with the trappings of Christmas. Annual national events seem to be getting bigger and bigger. More chocolate is now eaten at Easter than ever before. The mix of childish and sinister rituals that is Halloween grows with each succeeding year. And Remembrance…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

Knowing true peace with God

I grew up in a family which went to church every Sunday. Gradually I came to realise that attending church and living an outwardly respectable life did not make me a Christian. I needed to accept that God’s definition of sin included the self-centred attitudes of my heart. Only by believing that Christ died…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

Freedom in Christ

My name is Demi. I’m 25, from Bulgaria, but have been living in London for five years. I graduated from Middlesex University and since then have been working as a guitar and piano teacher. I was raised in an Orthodox country, where the majority of people identify themselves as Christian, but have no idea…

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Article

December 2016
Finland

God’s perfect plan

For the first 18 years of my life, if anyone had asked me if I believed in God, my response would have been a firm, ‘No!’ I had no religious upbringing, having only attended a church a few times in my life. What I knew about Christianity, I had been taught at school and,…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

God’s amazing love

At one time, there was no more to my life than the plans I’d made of going to university, getting a job, maybe marrying, and having a family; then, I suppose, retirement and a few relaxing years — and what then? I knew from reading the Bible and going to church that there was…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Guest column

Who is in control?

Over the years, I have heard people express views that Jesus Christ’s return is imminent. As a young Christian, it was difficult to match such clear supposed insights with Jesus’ teaching, about only the Father knowing the appointed time.  I now receive a state pension and I find myself doing a lot of reflecting.…

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News

December 2016
News

Youth – SALT Youth Conference

Grace Baptist Partnership and Trinity Baptist Church, Dundee, held their twelfth and largest youth conference on 25September, in north Edinburgh. It was great day of lively and applied Bible ministry. It is encouraging to see an increasing number of teens and twenties being drawn to solid teaching and Christian fellowship. The theme was timely…

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News

December 2016
News

Media – Worth of a soul

Billy Graham’s month-long London Crusade in 1966 is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the release of a new film. Franklin Graham is spearheading the new gospel message in the film The worth of a soul, as a free evangelistic resource for churches across the country.  The 2016 instalment features an evangelistic message from Mr…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

From crime to Christ

In April 2016, John Lawson shared his spiritual experience with BBC Radio Scotland (interview in full at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03r150l). This report is made available from the Christian Institute. A man who ran London’s biggest brothel and was planning a murder has told the BBC how his life was turned around by Jesus Christ. Criminal life John…

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Article

December 2016
Nepal

Nepal’s most unlikely church-planter (1)

Down the valley from Kathmandu, the ancient capital of Nepal, rests an even older city. In Bhaktapur, the timeworn traditions of Hinduism sink as deep into the dry soil as the white-capped Himalayan mountains rise in the background. Bhaktapur looks like it was built one brick at a time. Narrow, brick-paved city streets are…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

Jesus never forsakes us

‘I believe that when we accept the claims of Jesus on our lives he never forsakes us, even when we stray’. This has proved to be the Christian experience of church member, John McKay, as he explains: I was converted, baptised and received into membership of a Baptist church 50 years ago. ‘Four years…

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News

December 2016
News

International – Iranian pastor

Iranian pastor Behnam Irani has been released from prison in Iran after being jailed for six years for leading a house church and sharing his faith. Partners of advocacy organisation Release International have confirmed Behnam Irani has finally been freed, although he is said to be in poor health following his ordeal in Ghezal…

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Article

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Mary’s song

There seem to be two views of a 21st century Christmas. The first owes something to Charles Dickens and Bing Crosby: chestnuts roasting on an open fire; the Christmas of jollity and plenty; merry Christmas! It is a time centred around an excess of food, booze and presents; a time to forget the cold weather…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

The joy of restoration

I was brought up in a broken home with little Christian influence. Aged 19, I was invited to a Christian convention in Keswick. After a week of learning how spiritually dead I was and seeing first-hand Christian love expressed towards me and others, I began to read the New Testament that I had been…

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Article

December 2016
Evangelistic

The twelve days of Christmas

The baby lying in Bethlehem’s manger on that first Christmas so long ago was none other than the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We must say this because the angel Gabriel said it to Mary in no uncertain terms (Luke 1:31-33). The wise men, who journeyed far to find Jesus, made…

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Conferences – Leicester Creation Conference

News

December 2016
News

Conferences – Leicester Creation Conference

Brockington College, Leicester, was the venue on 7-8 October for the Leicester Creation Conference 2016. There had been meetings in the run-up to this, held in different churches in the East Midlands area, earlier in September too. Attended by many from across the Midlands, and even as far as the Netherlands, people from different…

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Review

December 2016
DVD

A Survey of Church History Part 5 (DVD)

W. Robert Godfrey is president and professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, California. He here provides an informative, insightful and interesting series of twelve lectures on 1800-1900. Although produced primarily for an American audience, there is much that is applicable to the UK. The lectures average around 24 minutes each, which makes…

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Review

December 2016

One Man & One Woman

This little book makes a compelling biblical case for heterosexual marriage over against same-sex unions. It is a theologically robust response to the sexual obsession and gender confusion of contemporary Western society. The book comes from a US Reformed church context and references the Westminster Confession, Larger Catechism and Heidelberg Catechism. It seems mainly…

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Review

December 2016

Creation Points – Genesis 1-11

Christians stand in debt to Andy McIntosh and his friends who labour so effectively in the battle for the truth of creationism. In this book, the battle lines are drawn between Christians who stand for biblical inerrancy and those Christians who try to impose the evolutionary viewpoint onto the text of Scripture. McIntosh challenges…

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Review

December 2016

Wonderful! Blythswood People share stories of God’s faithfulness

Here are 13 miracles of grace, which in time have led to so much good. It is a most apt title! This book commemorates 50 years of gospel and Christian witness, first started in Glasgow and then spreading to European, African and Asian countries. I eagerly read the foreword written by Lord Mackay, a…

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