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Everything in December 2020 issue

The good old days

Article

December 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical > Evangelistic

The good old days

Nothing wrong with getting nostalgic at Christmas, is there? Do you remember the feel of that thin, shiny foil Christmas presents used to be wrapped in? Or the Georgian soldier and his sweetheart on top of the tin of chocolates you were not allowed to touch until Christmas Eve? Can you recall the excitement…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

Coming home for Christmas

The nights may be dark and long and the weather wintery but the journeying home for Christmas is usually fully of eager excitement and thousands of memories.  It may be old, but the song ‘Driving home for Christmas’ still plays out each December! Millions of miles in the air, on rail-tracks, and roads are…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

This year has been dark, yet after darkness comes light

The year 2020 has been lived in ‘darkness and the shadow of death’. The whole world has been plunged into gloom by the coronavirus pandemic. Many lives have been lost. Many more people live in fear: fear of Covid-19, or fear of its effects on their families and their finances. A second spike always…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

Are you going to miss Christ this Christmas?

During the 1930s depression a small town on the east coast of the USA held a public meeting to discuss the serious financial problems faced by the town. Among those present was an out-of-town visitor whom no one knew. He seemed very interested and started to make helpful suggestions, but was interrupted. He stopped…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A question of trust

The year 2020 has raised many issues of trust. Can we trust the government? What’s their strategy? Haven’t they flip-flopped numerous times? And scientists? Have they really been objective in presenting data about coronavirus? We know MPs, scientists, and other advisers have broken lockdown rules themselves. We are also aware of the rise of…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

The Christmas census

The Christmas story began with a census, and the Bible itself ends with a different registration. 2021 is the year of the UK’s next census. William the Conqueror carried out the first one in England, the results of which were published in the Domesday Book in 1086 AD. Since 1801, when the first census…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Biblical/theological

The light shines in darkness

Are you someone who really looks forward to Christmas? It’s a special time that brightens up the long, dark days of winter. For many it’s a joy to spend quality time with family and friends. Because of Covid-19 of course, Christmas 2020 will be very different. In October people in Scotland were told by…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Biblical/theological

Advent in a global pandemic

These have been dark days in 2020, even in the light of spring and summer. A global pandemic and fever-pitch identity politics. Protests devolving into urban warfare and civil division. Fierce hurricanes and raging wildfires. Those spared great personal suffering and pain haven’t lived under such ominous clouds in decades, if ever. The anxieties…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Why are pastors resisting the Welsh government’s order to close the churches?

On 19 October the Welsh government announced that all the churches in Wales must close from Friday 23 October for 17 days, for three Sundays. In response, 37 ministers of the gospel signed a letter to the government asking it not to ban or restrict services, and giving notice that, if necessary, they would…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Biblical/theological

The Word became flesh

Have you ever looked out of an aircraft and considered the reality of powered flight? There is something spectacular about what is taking place, and yet – when we understand the principle – there is a profound simplicity that underpins that reality. The Gospel of John is similar: it carries us away from the…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

I was an actress in a hit US TV show, but there was still a void within me

The sun was setting across the dazzling Pacific as I contemplated my life. Was I happy? I was a success – that much was obvious. Successful in the eyes of my parents and friends back home in the UK. I’d effectively ‘made it’, if the objective was to get as far away from my…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

I thought I was living in the fast lane by clubbing and partying

When I was a child I was dragged out by the collar on Sundays to Sunday School and different things like that. I absolutely hated Sunday. But it did give me some foundation of knowledge of the Word of God, even though at the time I had no interest in it. After I left…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

Practising Islam was simply our way of life. Then I found Christ.

I was born in the West Midlands but my family is from South Asia. I always thought that to be Asian was to be Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim – and that to be anything else would be following Western ideas. Nearly everyone at my local school was Muslim. However, they fell into two…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

Stephen’s day of salvation

Stephen, a young blind Jewish man, contacted the missionary charity Christian Witness to Israel wanting to learn more about the Christian faith. However, he was worried about how his Orthodox family would react. The CWI office put him in touch with their Director of Ministry, Richard Gibson, who contacted Stephen to find out more.…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

I came to understand God’s immeasurable grace

I grew up in Hungary where I was baptised into the Roman Catholic Church as an infant for cultural reasons, even though my family are not Christians. I had been thinking about Christianity for a couple of years after some difficulties in school because of my own sins and sins against me. I felt…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

I kept asking, ‘What will happen to me if I become a Christian?’

I didn’t grow up in a Christian family. My mum did take us to church when we were children, but I had no concept of a relationship with God. I do remember praying once when I was an adult. That was when a good friend was terminally ill with cancer. When she died shortly…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Evangelistic

Jesus’s personality and character really struck me

I didn’t grow up in a Christian household, so I was never sure if there was a god of the universe out there. Even in the fleeting moments while I wished there was a powerful god, he just seemed vague and distant. Like many, I wanted to seek happiness and fulfilment, so a successful…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Comment

Churches, not Boris, must decide to be open or closed

As this editorial went to press, the closure of churches in England was still in force. Our sincere hope and prayer is that, by the time you read this, they will be open again. Regardless of where you may stand on the justification for the second coronavirus lockdown, as evangelicals we must surely all…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Scrooge’s Christmas conversion: A psychiatrist reflects on its credibility

Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the most famous names in English literature. Scrooge has become a synonym for miser as a result of his brilliant characterisation in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, a family film favourite each Christmas. In this short novel Dickens commits many errors about the afterlife, if we take his description…

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Article

December 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

To drink or not to drink: the Christian’s dilemma

Christmas is coming. This Christmas will certainly be different from other Christmases. Covid has made sure of that. We may be unable to hold carol services (and what sort of carol service will it be if we’re all wearing masks, and we’re told we shouldn’t sing?). There will be fewer family get-togethers. There will…

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News

December 2020
News > Society

Churches urge Boris, do not shut us down again in 2021

Church leaders from across England and Wales have urged the government not to close down places of worship again after lockdowns were imposed in November. There was widespread opposition to the second Covid-19 lockdown, imposed in England last month, which banned communal worship. A similar lockdown was imposed earlier in Wales. Writing in this…

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News

December 2020
News > Society

‘Stasi-like’ plans for hate crimes laws to reach into private homes

Conversations in people’s own homes could be caught by Scotland’s draconian new hate crimes bill. Meanwhile in England, a review of hate crimes legislation is calling for similar laws south of the border. The Scottish proposals have been championed by Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf. But free speech campaigners says the plans are lacking…

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News

December 2020
News > Society

Kids told to report parents to the police as Scottish smacking ban becomes law

Scotland’s ban on smacking has come into force, with children being encouraged to report their parents to the police if they are smacked. Members of the public have also been urged to call the authorities if they see a mum or a dad smack their child. Despite assurances that parents would not be turned…

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News

December 2020
News > Church news

New pastor for Thornton Heath

Under the title ‘The pastor’s last exhortation’, Gordon Bull delivered his last sermon to the congregation of Thornton Heath Evangelical Church (THEC) as pastor. Mr Bull has taken up the gospel call to mission work. Together with his wife Sandra and children Joel and Rachel, he is heading off with Operation Mobilisation (OM) after…

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News

December 2020
News > Conferences

Webinar considers faith of Michael Faraday

Professor Andy McIntosh recently delivered a webinar exploring the life and faith of 19th century scientist Michael Faraday. The event was hosted by Answers in Genesis UK, which has provided several online talks on creation during the Covid-19 lockdown. Prof. McIntosh’s own background is in science, having lectured at Leeds University. His infectious enthusiasm…

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News

December 2020
News > International

Poland: Court’s abortion ruling protects disabled unborn babies

Poland’s highest court has ruled that abortions on the grounds of disability will no longer be permitted. The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the current law is unconstitutional. It is under this law that 98 percent of the country’s abortions are carried out, including for conditions such as Down’s syndrome. Once the court’s decision comes…

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News

December 2020
News > International

Pakistan: Reports of ‘extreme’ persecution against Christians

Advocacy organisations have warned against rising threat levels against Christians in Pakistan, highlighting the continued use of highly contentious blasphemy laws and institutionalised aggression. Open Doors has branded the persecution level in the country – which is the fifth-largest by population – as ‘extreme’. In its 2020 World Watch List, it cited ‘dozens of…

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Review

December 2020
Reviews > Book

Christ Victorious: Selected Writings of Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1822–1885) was one of those 19th century Scottish theologians whose published works have stood the test of time. With good reason, for his works are consistently sound, reverent, edifying, and challenging to mind and heart. This is a volume of theological substance. It comprises a collection of ten sermons, eight essays, and…

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Review

December 2020
Reviews > Book

God is Always Better Than We Can Imagine: 31 Meditations on the Greatness of God

This is a very encouraging book. It is written as 31 daily meditations to help readers ‘magnify the Lord’. The theme is clearly developed in every chapter: God is always better than we can imagine, for however much we see of him, he is always greater, wiser, more generous, more lovely. This truth should…

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Review

December 2020
Reviews > Book

Survival Tips for Mums: Practical ideas for thriving in the early years of motherhood

This is a great little book for anyone about to become a mum or in the first few years of motherhood. It’s honest about the challenges, but full of gentle, practical advice in the face of them. The first half of the book shows how mothers need to look after themselves in order to…

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Review

December 2020
Reviews > Book

In God’s Company: Christian Giants of Business

Never again will I be able to clean my teeth, drink Tropicana, or spread jam on my toast without thinking of this book, in which seven born-again entrepreneurs are revealed in painstakingly-researched detail. There are heart-moving details of God-ordained romances and marriage partners enlivening commercial history. Their nineteenth and twentieth century storylines are riddled…

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