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Everything in February 2020 issue

Article

February 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Personal holiness essential for leaders

I was recently invited to a ministers’ lunch at Grace Baptist Church, Dunstable. The speaker was Rico Tice from All Souls, London. Around forty people had gathered as Rico spoke on the subject of ‘Personal holiness in leaders’. I was reminded of some basic truths: the reason I am a Christian is because the…

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Review

February 2020
Reviews > Book

The Subversive Puritan: Roger Williams and freedom of conscience

Despite his statue featuring on Geneva’s famous Reformation Wall, Roger Williams (1603-83) is better remembered today by secular historians than by evangelical believers. The Subversive Puritan should help to redress this. The title is apposite. Williams’ theology was thoroughly Reformed, but his unbending belief in liberty of conscience made him a dangerous extremist in…

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Review

February 2020
Reviews > Book

Pressing On, Finishing Well: Learning from Seven Biblical Characters

Not often do we find some of the most stimulating and challenging words of a book in the introduction. But here Michael Black’s personal conviction on the brevity of life and the vital necessity of living each day in the light of the End rings out from the very start. Here is a book…

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Review

February 2020
Reviews > Book

Church life — Its nature, privileges, demands and blessings

‘Whose church is it? How should it then order itself?’ We live in days when ‘God’s / Christ’s’, and, ‘according to the Scriptures’ are sadly not always the answers given, at least in practice. The view of the church as a voluntarist body taking a pragmatic approach, and whose priority is evangelism not worship,…

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Review

February 2020
Reviews > Book

How Shall They Hear: Why non-preachers need to know what preaching is

There are so many books about preaching on the market and here is yet another one. However this one comes with a difference, as its focus is on the hearers of preaching rather than on those who preach. As the book unfolds, the writer seeks to show the listener what preaching is really supposed…

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Review

February 2020
Reviews > Book

The Westminster Standards for Today

It is probably true to say that the Westminster Assembly’s Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms have become the best known but least read subordinate standards in Presbyterian churches the world over. Indeed, late 19th and early 20th century modifications of subscription to these standards have impacted on depth and clarity in…

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News

February 2020
News > People > Obituaries

Dr Phillip E. Johnson (1940-2019)

Author, law professor and ‘Father of the Intelligent Design movement’, Dr Phillip E. Johnson has died aged 79. Following a nominally Christian upbringing in Illinois, Johnson studied English Literature at Harvard and Law at the University of Chicago. He taught criminal law at the University of California, Berkeley, for over thirty years, also serving…

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News

February 2020
News > People > Obituaries

Rev. John M. Davies (1938-2019)

Rev. John M. Davies died last November following a 5-year illness. His last days were characterised by grace and blessing; his faith remained strong and he clearly felt the presence of the Lord. He often said, ‘The Lord is real. This is reality: knowing the Lord Jesus Christ’. John maintained a blog during his…

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News

February 2020
News > Induction

Induction of Rev. Graeme Craig in Ayr

The 18-month pastoral vacancy at Ayr Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) was filled last November as Rev. Graeme Craig was inducted. Held at New Prestwick Baptist Church, the occasion began with public worship conducted by Rev. David S. Fraser, Moderator of the Southern Presbytery of the FCS(C). Mr Fraser preached from 2 Kings 2:14,…

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News

February 2020
News > Church news

Gaulby Fellowship disbands after nine years

With much sadness, members of Gaulby Reformed Evangelical Anglican Fellowship jointly decided to discontinue the church last October. Based seven miles east of Leicester, the Fellowship came into being following the untimely death of the Rector of St Peter’s, Rev. Ashley Cheesman, in October 2010. Since that time, the Fellowship sought to maintain faithful…

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News

February 2020
News > International

China: church responds to pastor’s jail term

China’s Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) has responded to the nine-year sentence handed down in December to its senior pastor, Wang Yi, who had been imprisoned on charges of ‘trying to subvert state power’. He was also charged with ‘illegally operating a business’. The pastor was put on trial at the Chengdu Intermediate People’s…

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News

February 2020
News > International

Netherlands: society ‘rotting’ from the core through drugs

The Netherlands has the ‘characteristics of a narco-state’ and its society is rotting from the core, experts have claimed. In a lengthy report for the BBC in December last year, reporter Anna Holligan cited evidence and testimony from experts which revealed criminal activity has penetrated deeply into Dutch society as a result of The…

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News

February 2020
News > International

India: Christian family escapes mob

Christian villagers rushed to the aid of a pastor and his family who were surrounded by a violent mob in north-east India. According to reports from Release International, pastor Palathingal Johnson, his wife and four children were at home when the mob of approximately ten to fifteen armed Hindu extremists smashed their way into…

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News

February 2020
News > International > Persecution

Nigeria: persecution continues into 2020

Nigeria has been named as a key Christian persecution hotspot in 2020, with organisations such as Amnesty International, Barnabas Fund and Release International expressing grave concern over the escalating violence. The Global Terrorism Index (GTI), a report published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace, cited Nigeria as being the third worst country…

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News

February 2020
News > Conferences

‘By the Bible alone!’: the Essex Puritan Conference

The third Essex Puritan Conference was held at Stranger’s Rest Evangelical Church, London, in late October. Around forty delegates came from far afield, including South Korea and Singapore.The theme was ‘By the Bible alone!’, emphasising the Reformed doctrine of sola scriptura. Over three days, lectures were given by Dr Robert Oliver (‘The Geneva Bible’),…

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News

February 2020
News > Church news

Bangor Evangelical Church celebrates 50th anniversary

In 1971, the front-page headline of an edition of Evangelical Times read ‘Revival Church Reborn’. Two years before, a bilingual church had formed in Bangor, North Wales, when various small groups of believers came together for worship and prayer, initially meeting in various homes. After adopting a doctrinal basis grounded in the Westminster Confession…

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News

February 2020
News > Conferences

Christian perspectives on mental health at education conference

In recent years mental health has become a high-profile issue, especially among young people. Thanks to the pervasive presence of social media, the youth of today are under unrelenting pressure to conform and to be ‘liked’. Additionally, the absence of moral absolutes and the prominence of the LGBT+ agenda have compounded confusion in the…

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News

February 2020
News > Media > Uncategorised

Netflix under pressure

Thousands of Christians in the UK joined forces with fellow believers around the world to cancel their Netflix subscriptions over a blasphemous Brazilian film which was streamed on the site over Christmas. Called ‘The First Temptation of Christ’, the so-called ‘comedy’ film insinuated Jesus had homosexual relations. More than 2.5 million people signed a…

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News

February 2020
News > Society

Scottish councillors oppose smacking ban

Scottish councillors have expressed significant concerns over the country’s incoming smacking ban, claiming it would be difficult to police effectively. A poll carried out among nearly one in five of all councillors across Scotland found the vast majority did not believe it should be a criminal offence to smack a child. The poll, organised…

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News

February 2020
News > Society

Controversial archbishop appointed to York

Evangelicals have expressed concern over the appointment of the current Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, as the next Archbishop of York. According to reports in Pink News and church newspapers, Bishop Stephen has previously told faithful clergy in his diocese that they ‘could leave’ if they did not agree with his approach on human…

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Article

February 2020
Uncategorised

Researcher loses employment case over transgender tweets

A researcher who did not have her contract renewed after she said people cannot change their biological sex has lost her case at an employment tribunal. Judge James Tayler ruled that Maya Forstater’s views did ‘not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief’. Forstater, 45, posted a series of tweets questioning government plans to…

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News

February 2020
News > Society

Northern Ireland consultation on helping problem gamblers

A consultation has been launched in Northern Ireland on new proposals which may help problem gamblers. The consultation was launched by the Department of Communities (DoC) and will remain open until 21 February. It covers a wide array of issues, such as tighter regulation around casinos and online gambling, as well as better research,…

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News

February 2020
News > Society

Trans woman hounded by transgender activists

A transsexual, pro-trans rights activist faces being booted from an LGBT committee over repeated assertions that biological sex is fixed and cannot be changed. Dr Debbie Hayton, who was born male but transitioned to female as an adult and now lives as a woman, has been targeted on social media and by colleagues on…

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News

February 2020
News > Ethics > Society

Down’s syndrome test has led to sharp drop in birth rates

The number of Down’s syndrome babies carried to term has dropped by nearly one-third in the space of just four years, a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed. Campaigners from the Don’t Screen Us Out group issued a series of FOI requests, which showed that the number of babies born with Down’s syndrome…

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Article

February 2020
Uncategorised

Warning on trans identification in 2021 census

More than eighty experts have written an open letter to the Government and the Office for National Statistics, warning against allowing people to pick their own gender on the 2021 census. The letter from academics, published first in The Sunday Times and picked up by other publications, such as the Daily Mail, stated that…

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News

February 2020
News > Politics

No-fault divorce back on the agenda

Marriage is once again under threat after plans for a no-fault divorce was put back on the agenda by the new Government. Following December’s General Election, the Queen’s Speech was presented to Parliament and, within the programme, 29 bills were mentioned, one of which was the proposed Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill. Under this…

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News

February 2020
News > Society

NI gains marriage protections

Free speech and religious liberty protections will be put in place alongside the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, the Government has promised. With the first same-sex marriages expected to take place in February the Northern Ireland Office had been warned that it faced possible legal action if protections were not in place.…

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News

February 2020
News > Religious liberty

Doctor’s victory in prayer case

A Christian doctor who faced censure for offering to pray with a patient has had the case against him dismissed by the General Medical Council. Dr Richard Scott from Margate in Kent faced complaints from the National Secular Society following comments he made to the BBC. However, the GMC has ruled that there is…

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News

February 2020
News > International

‘I won’t be reading ET again’, says President Trump in Twitter error

US President Donald Trump mistakenly tweeted about ET in response to a different evangelical publication welcoming his impeachment. Christianity Today (CT) had published an opinion piece by editor-in-chief Mark Galli calling for President Trump to be removed from office. Trump responded by sending out a tweet saying, ‘No President has done more for the…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Speaking up for God’s name

It’s a dilemma. I’m talking with a non-Christian acquaintance, a neighbour whom I chat with from time to time. We’re not talking about anything in particular – the weather, how the children are doing, whether man-made climate change is a reality, what we make of the election result. He knows that I’m a minister…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Depression: a wimp of a word

William Styron was an award-winning US novelist, who is most well-known for Sophie’s Choice and The Confessions of Nat Turner. I haven’t read these. To me, he is the man who wrote lucidly about his depressive illness in his short book Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. Based on an ancient Greek theory of…

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News

February 2020
News > International

Evangelicals protest against President Trump’s plans to deport young immigrants

On 12 November 2019 the Supreme Court of the United States began hearings on details pertaining to the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Originally put into law by former President Barack Obama in 2012, current President Donald Trump has furiously sought to eradicate the program as well as many…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Humble yourselves like little children

In Matthew’s Gospel chapter 18 the disciples come to Jesus and Peter asks, ‘Who is the greatest?’ Ever since they had come to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, they had been eager to share in the glory of the kingdom. That is not wrong of itself. The…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Comment

Trump’s mistaken tweet reveals troubling tribalism

For a few hours on the evening of 20 December this newspaper was caught in a bit of a storm because the US President Donald Trump had mistakenly tweeted ‘I won’t be reading ET again’ when he meant to say ‘CT’. As a result, ET staff had to deal with an angry online backlash…

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Historical

February 2020
Articles > Historical

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)

Often described as the greatest Scotsman of his age, Thomas Chalmers was something of a polymath. He became a colossus for evangelical historic Calvinism in Scotland in his day and arguably the most influential instrument used by the Lord in his Church in Scotland since John Knox. It wasn’t like that initially though, for,…

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Historical

February 2020
Articles > Historical

SASRA ‘peace2020’ initiative: Responding to conscription

On 8 May this year, Britain will commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day – the end of the Second World War in Europe.  SASRA (Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association) is marking this anniversary with the ‘peace2020’ initiative. This includes: a daily devotional (‘40 Days to Peace’); a pack to help churches organise…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Why we should avoid using the term ‘Christophobia’

One of the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians was to ‘Name the phenomenon of Christian discrimination and persecution and undertake work to identify its particular character alongside similar definitions for other religions, to better inform and develop tailored FCO policies to…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Outgrowing facts: Inaccuracies in Richard Dawkins’ new book

Richard Dawkins was asked by journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy in an interview recently, ‘If you could change the world, how would you change it?’ His answer was that he would rid us of ‘anything that’s not evidence-based, where factual knowledge is concerned’. Unfortunately for Dawkins, that may mean he needs to start ripping pages from…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Orderly worship as a witness to the world

Walking into an unsupervised toddler nursery is enough to overwhelm most people. It’s chaos. The children might be screaming, fighting, throwing toys, holding their hands over their ears, or doing any number of other things all at once. Children need unstructured play time or ‘free play’ for their development, so it’s not necessarily a…

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Article

February 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Look at the birds, are you not of more value than they?

In his wonderful ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Jesus Christ was encouraging his disciples not to worry or fret about materials things, such as what they would wear or eat. I like to think that these men to whom Jesus was speaking were showing signs of concern at that time about how they were to…

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Historical

February 2020
Articles > Historical

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)

Often described as the greatest Scotsman of his age, Thomas Chalmers was something of a polymath. He became a colossus for evangelical historic Calvinism in Scotland in his day and arguably the most influential instrument used by the Lord in His Church in Scotland since John Knox.                 It wasn’t like that initially, though, for,…

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Review

February 2020
Reviews > Book

Just Words?

There is nothing in this book that has not been said by others in greater length. However the value of Just words? is that so much that has been said by Reformed theologians over the years is presented here in a succinct and easily read form. We are reminded of the divine origin of…

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