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Everything in March 2021 issue

Review

March 2021
Reviews > Book

Searching Our Hearts in Difficult Times

It is difficult to do this book justice in a review – the only way to grasp how helpful it is will be to read it for yourself. John Owen has a reputation for writing in a style that is difficult to work through. However, the careful light editing, and the fact that these…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Christians debate vaccines’ abortion links

Ought Christians to have a Covid vaccine or not? A live and lively debate has been prompted, not by wild anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories, but by concerns over abortion. Serious minded evangelicals are on both sides of the debate. Some Christians hold that receiving the vaccine means being complicit in the genocide of the unborn.…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > General

My lockdown stairway to heaven

The first three-month lockdown began with a clang as the heavy gates slammed shut behind him. It took a while for John’s eyes to adjust to the relative darkness of his new, unwelcome home. His sense of smell worked only too well reacting to the dank mustiness. His ears reminded him that the muddy…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Are paper Bibles better? How screens shape our reading

It was a gift from my parents back in 2001. For weeks I had waited, and there it was under the tree on Christmas Eve from Mom and Pop: a first-edition English Standard Version. My first new Bible after leaving home. It would be the first Bible that I would read from cover to…

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Review

March 2021
Reviews > Book

You Could Have It All

What a great idea for a book! In ten short chapters, Geoff Thomas winsomely presents the great blessings held out in the gospel: knowing God and knowing yourself, being forgiven and adopted, all things working together for your good, learning to be content, becoming wiser and stronger, knowing life’s purpose, belonging to the best…

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Review

March 2021
Reviews > Book

Laughing at the Days to Come: Facing present trials and future uncertainties with gospel hope

Reading this book in the middle of a global pandemic, the title alone intrigued me. Who wants to laugh at the days to come when life is not as we once knew it? Tessa Thompson has more experience than many of living with trials that do not induce laughter. Diagnosed with a neurological disorder…

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Review

March 2021
Reviews > Book

An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian vision for every stage of life

This unusual yet valuable book is not a biography of the influential Puritan. Rather its purpose – which it achieves capably – is ‘to discover the kind of life he hoped his readers would experience’ (p.13). Drawing on Owen’s extensive bibliography, it shows his ideal of a God-centred life in the key stages of…

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Review

March 2021
Reviews > Book

Crucified and Risen: Sermons on the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ

This is no five star rating out of deference to the Reformer. This book is worth it all the way, for three reasons. Firstly, Calvin’s sermons are models of biblical masterclass, perhaps only equalled by Klaas Schilder’s twentieth century trilogy on the sufferings of Christ. Calvin concentrates on Matthew 26-28 in nine sermons, and…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Biblical/theological > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Why churches must gather for corporate worship

Qualifications There are scenarios in which there is a convincing case for churches not gathering, for example because of the severity of the health risk if they do gather or because of the vulnerability of a particular congregation as a whole. There are individuals who should not gather because doing so would be recklessly…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Solemnity and celebration, exclusivity and inclusivity

The Lord’s Supper is an occasion that is both solemn and celebratory. In the Lord’s Supper we remember the suffering and death of the innocent Son of God and we confess that it was our sin that made it necessary. In the Lord’s Supper we rejoice that God made a way for us to be saved and we proclaim with confidence that…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The storming of the Capitol

The events in Washington, D.C., on 6 January appeared to take everyone on Capitol Hill by surprise. However, many observers said that though they were shocked, they were unsurprised by what happened. For weeks, people had been breathing the noxious air of unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud and had been told they had been…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Judge people! (like Jesus did)

In his book The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, Eric Bargerhuff surveys an array of popularly botched verses – misunderstood by believers and unbelievers alike. What tops the whole list? Jesus’s statement in Matthew 7:1: ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged.’ One could argue, Bargerhuff says, that this is ‘by far…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The Great Reset

During the last year, there was one phrase that I heard more and more often. I saw it on advertising screens. I heard it on the lips of politicians. I read it in opinion pieces in the newspapers. The phrase was this: The Great Reset. In the end I decided I should find out…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

A good death

A good death. It sounds innocent enough in English. But put this as euthanasia, a transliteration from the Greek, ‘eu’ (good) and ‘thanatos’ (death), and you have a very different feeling, don’t you? Euthanasia is a word now avoided by those campaigning to kill off the unwanted. So the Voluntary Euthanasia Society became Dignity…

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Article

March 2021
Comment

Prayer is not abuse

The remarks of a Conservative MP who placed ‘prayer sessions’ alongside ‘corrective rape’ are outrageous. As reported in this edition, Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, thinks there should be a complete ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’. Campaigners want to ban any praying, preaching, or pastoral counselling that teaches biblical sexual ethics. In…

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Article

March 2021
Articles > Guest column

Why creeds are biblical, part two

In last month’s article, I made two observations which set the context for the biblical basis of creeds: 1) The Bible itself contains various creeds and confessions. 2) The church is commanded to ‘confess’ Christ (Romans 10:9-10). For the church to obey the command to confess our faith, we of necessity are going to…

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News

March 2021
News > Religious liberty

Tory MP compares prayer to rape and calls for a ban on ‘conversion therapy’

A Conservative MP has listed ‘prayer sessions’ alongside abhorrent acts such as ‘corrective rape’ as she called on the government to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’. Campaigners want a complete ban on any institution urging anyone, by any means, to change or resist LGBT practices. This could make it illegal for churches to advocate biblical…

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Danish plan to monitor sermons

News

March 2021
News > International

Danish plan to monitor sermons

Concerns have been raised over new laws being proposed in Denmark to monitor all foreign language sermons. Under the draft legislation, all sermons in languages other than Danish will have to be translated and submitted to the authorities for inspection. The Danish government says it wants to curb Islamic extremism, but a number of…

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News

March 2021
News > Church news

Ravi Zacharias report ‘shattering’

The full report into allegations of misconduct by the late Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, has been published. It found ‘significant evidence of sexual misconduct’ with female massage therapists, and the associated misuse of ministry funds. An interim report was made public in December, and now the full report has been published by Ravi Zacharias…

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News

March 2021
News > Society

Calls for NI politician to be sacked for sharing conversion story on social media

A politician in Northern Ireland has been besieged by campaigners demanding his resignation because he posted a link to the testimony of a gay man who became a Christian. More than 3,200 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Nelson McCausland to resign his position on the Northern Ireland Education Authority Board. In…

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News

March 2021
News > Society

Welsh education changes ‘driven by secularists’

New legislation in Wales that will remove parental right of withdrawal from certain lessons is a ‘major reform’ that has been driven by secular campaigners. According to John Denning, education officer for The Christian Institute, the Wales Curriculum Bill is exceptionally broad, but there are two areas of particular concern around the teaching of…

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News

March 2021
News > Society

Psychotherapist blocked from researching ‘trans regret’ takes his case to the European Court of Human Rights

A psychotherapist who was refused permission by Bath Spa University (BSU) to study cases of people who have surgery to reverse gender reassignment is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). James Caspian, 61, a counsellor and registered psychotherapist with 10 years of experience specialising in therapy for transgender people,…

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News

March 2021
News > Ethics

Down’s abortions set to increase as new NHS tests begin in June

Abortions of babies with a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome in the womb are likely to increase in number after Public Health England (PHE) stated it would introduce its controversial screening test across the NHS from June 2021. Despite strong lobbying and campaigning against the screening test, PHE announced that the non-invasive prenatal testing technique…

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News

March 2021
News > Church news

Judge gives go ahead for Scottish churches to challenge closure

A judge has granted permission for a group of 27 church leaders to challenge the Scottish government’s ban on gathered worship. Ruling that the case has merit, a hearing has been ordered to take place remotely on 11 and 12 March. It could result in churches being allowed to reopen. Supported by the Christian…

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News

March 2021
News > International

Cayman Islands: British barrister under fire for defending government over gay marriage

A leading female barrister, Dinah Rose QC, has come under fire for defending the government of the Cayman Islands in a case over same-sex marriage. Rose, who is also president of Magdalen College, Oxford, has been subjected to concerted abuse on and off social media from activists who are putting pressure on her to…

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News

March 2021
News > International

Myanmar: Concerns for Christians following military coup

Thousands of Karen Christian villagers have been forced to flee military bombardment in Myanmar ahead of the coup which took place in February. Increased military action over January escalated into a full coup on February 1, when the Myanmar leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was ousted from power. The Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a…

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News

March 2021
News > International

US: Twitter bans Christian magazine over factual transgender comment

A Christian magazine in America was temporarily suspended by Twitter because of a tweet about President Joe Biden’s nomination of a transgender person for a federal position. The president has nominated Dr Rachel Levine for Assistant Secretary for Health. If appointed, Dr Levine will be America’s first openly transgender federal official. On 19 January, The…

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News

March 2021
News > International

Israel: Researchers find royal purple fabric from the days of David and Solomon

Purple-dyed fabric dating back to the days of Kings David and Solomon has been discovered in Israel for the first time, according to archaeologists. Radiocarbon dating confirmed the samples date from approximately 1000 BC, corresponding to the monarchies of David and Solomon in Jerusalem. ‘Royal’ or ‘Tyrian’ purple dye, which is believed to have…

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News

March 2021
News > International

Turkey: Pastor says he was banned because he was ‘too evangelistic’

A pastor who was kicked out of Turkey and banned from ever re-entering the country says he was targeted because he is too evangelistic. David Byle had been living in Turkey for 19 years and had been arrested multiple times for evangelising on the streets of Istanbul. He was forced to leave Turkey and…

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News

March 2021
News > International

Malaysia: Wife of missing pastor has faith and hopes for his return

The wife of a pastor abducted in Malaysia four years ago has spoken of her faith and her hope that he will be returned. Raymond Koh went missing on 13 February 2017 on his way to a friend’s house, with CCTV believed to have recorded the moment of his abduction The footage shows a…

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News

March 2021
News > Conferences

Conference looks at ‘silent scandal’ of DIY abortions

An online conference last November lifted the lid on the silent scandal of ‘DIY’ abortions. More than 110,000 babies have been killed in England and Wales since March 2020. This has followed government policy allowing abortions at home under coronavirus emergency measures. Two mothers have also died through these unattended, self-administered abortions. Andrea Williams…

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News

March 2021
News > Church news

EMF missionary discusses faith and fighting cancer

Elisa Rodrigues and her husband José have been missionaries in Portugal for the European Mission Fellowship for over 34 years. They live in Alto do Moinho, six miles south of Lisbon, where José pastors an evangelical church and oversees a nearby church plant. The couple spent some time in England in the 1980s, based…

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News

March 2021
News > Church news

Delayed service marks 100 years since merger of Brixton and Surrey Tabernacles

Towards the end of 2020, we held our delayed anniversary service to mark the centenary of the merging of Brixton and Surrey Tabernacles. The Surrey Tabernacle was the largest Strict Baptist church and chapel there has ever been, and was started through the preaching of one man: James Wells. Born in Alton, Hampshire, in…

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News

March 2021
News > Church news

Pastors launch website following Covid concerns

In late 2020 three pastors – Dale Mcalpine, Angus Cameron, and Stephen Holland – began to meet via Zoom for mutual support and fellowship during the Covid-19 pandemic. They shared common concerns and frustrations over the blanket closure of UK churches. Each believed in obedience to the government, but also held strongly to the…

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News

March 2021
News > Church news

Neal Gordon inducted in Comber Baptist Church, Northern Ireland

Comber Baptist Church grew from humble beginnings in 1966. Initial meetings were held at the Band Hall in Mill Street, Comber. Later, worshippers moved to a new building in 1976. This was expanded in 1986 to accommodate higher numbers and provide more modern facilities. In January this year, a new chapter was written in…

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Article

March 2021
Articles

Obituary: Revd Allan Murray (1938–2020)

Allan Murray was a native of Shawbost on the Isle of Lewis where he was born in 1938. Upon leaving school, he went to Glasgow University to train as a dentist, a profession he commenced in 1962. The following year he came under conviction of sin and, as he put it afterwards, he was…

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News

March 2021
News > People > Obituaries

Obituary: John MacLeod (1948–2020)

The sudden passing of Revd John MacLeod (Portmahomack) last December came as a shock to his beloved family, his congregation, and the wider FCS(C). A native of Fearn in Easter Ross, John was born in 1948 and converted in his youth. After studies at Aberdeen University, he worked as an insuranceunderwriter with Standard Life…

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