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Everything in May 2019 issue

Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

Called? Pastoral Guidance for the Divine Call to Gospel Ministry

It is a momentous thing for a man to feel that the Lord is calling him to gospel ministry. Michael A. Milton sets out to guide his readers through the various stages of responding to the Lord’s call. His work is full of practical advice, often drawn from Milton’s own experience. A theology of calling is sketched out. Several chapters are devoted to choosing a seminary and the privileges and pitfalls of seminary life. Attention is given to the early phase of gospel service after training has been completed. Then there is the matter of persevering in the work over the long haul. The work...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World (TGC (Women’s Initiatives))

I was looking forward to reading this book as I thought I was quite good at hospitality. However, it put me firmly in my place! Nevertheless I did really enjoy reading it, it’s compelling and full of encouraging testimonies of God’s grace. The book is an autobiographical peek behind the curtains into Rosaria Butterfield’s home. The gospel comes with a house key – so the door is always open to friends, family, neighbours, strangers and foster children. During the average week many people will gather around the family table to enjoy food, fellowship and family devotions. She’ll be walking the dog with neighbours, feeding their...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

A Child’s First Book About Marriage: God’s Way is Always Best

How well are Christian parents teaching their children what God’s word says about marriage? Are they equipped to counter the homosexual rights propaganda which their children will be exposed to at school or through television? This short, colourful book describes the tender closeness of the ‘one flesh’ relationship between man and wife. It emphasises that, more than just love and romance, a marriage is forged by sacred vows which ‘help keep a couple together even when they don’t feel like loving each other’. It is shown that marriage is no human invention, but was created by God himself. Governments do not always recognise God’s laws...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

#TBH: Basic Challenges to Millennials Who Can’t Even

This book provides a balanced and biblical remedy to the issues that characterise the millennial generation (loosely defined as those people who reached adulthood in the twenty-first century). As well as challenging any readers born into that category, the book would also benefit believers seeking to evangelise that young generation. It will help them understand their worldview, their attitudes, their difficulties and how the word of God addresses them. Regan King doesn’t pull any punches when dealing with traits of millennials. Much of his analysis is spot on, much needed and readily identifiable. As a millennial myself, I was also challenged. It helped me see...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

Being a Christian: The Basics of Christian living

Someone in your church has just become a Christian. Now, what do you do? If you are looking for a book to give to them, then I can recommend this one. In eight concise chapters which are written in a popular style, our writer lays down eight basic things that every new believer needs to know. Chapter one is about identifying oneself as a Christian by living in a way that marks us out as being different, but the writer also encourages the reader to identify with Christ through baptism. Baptism can often be a neglected subject when one is dealing with new converts, so...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > World Mission

What in the world is happening to missions? Training and parachurch organisations

This is the second in a series of four articles in which experienced missionary Will Niven asks some searching and important questions about the current evangelical approach to missions. Last time, in my first article, I highlighted what I perceive to be some of the problems with volunteerism and finances within the current evangelical approach to missions. This month, I discuss two more areas of concern: training and parachurch organisations. Training What are we preparing people to do? One of the most enlightening and at the same time crushing moments in my life was when I realised that I was largely unequipped for the job...

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News

May 2019
News > People > Obituaries

Geoff Cox (1946-2019)

‘If any reference is made to me then my faults and failings must be faithfully mentioned, and any qualities and achievements must be attributed to the grace of God.’ With these words, Geoff Cox instructed those who would conduct his funeral and thanksgiving service. It was truly characteristic of the man who over 200 family and friends gathered to remember and thank God for on 14 March. Welcome Hall Evangelical Church in Catshill, near Bromsgrove, was packed as those leading the service gracefully pushed the boundaries of Geoff’s request! John Parker, Geoff’s brother-in-law, reflected on his family and work. Geoff had experienced two careers: one...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

Dewsbury Connected conference focuses on the role of apologetics

The Connected conference is an annual gathering of church officers, workers and future leaders of independent fellowships in the North, taking place in Dewsbury Evangelical Church. Apologetics was the theme, specifically engaging with the secular beliefs of modern society. We were well served by Dan Strange, our speaker for the day. Dan is director of Oak Hill Theological College and elder of East Finchley Baptist Church. Starting from Peter’s exhortation of the believer to be ‘always prepared to give an answer’ (1 Peter 3:15), Dan talked through various texts which help us to give answers which are both faithful and effective. He spoke with wisdom...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

History lectures on Joseph Herrick and the Primitive Methodists

The Christian Heritage Centre in Rowley Regis recently hosted two lectures on church history. The first, by Martin Wells, focused on Joseph Herrick: a 19th century dissenting minister in Colchester. Martin highlighted Herrick’s bravery in the face of opposition, even from his own congregation. Herrick ministered to his church for 51 years, despite ambitions to oust him. Once, the chapel’s trustees even had the roof removed in order to precipitate Herrick’s departure! The ploy worked and Herrick was forced out of the building. However, his congregation remained loyal and they secured a new building. Opposition persisted. Herrick’s detractors sought to regain control of the trust...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

Three lectures on men of the Reformation held near Leicester

Little Hill Church, near Leicester, recently held the first of a series of lectures on the Reformation. This follows the well-received series which took place in 2018. Three talks will focus on different men living between 1560 and 1660. Their responses to being within the ‘partially reformed’ Church of England will be explored. The first lecture took place on 25 February; Dr Lesley Rowe spoke on Arthur Hildersham and his sufferings for conscience’ sake. She began by contextualising Anglicanism in late Elizabethan England. The queen had insisted that no further reformation was permissible. However, many godly ministers took issue with Archbishop Whitgift’s ‘Three Articles’ –...

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News

May 2019
News > Church news

Middlesbrough church may pull out of needy area unless funds are raised

An FIEC church serving four social housing estates in Middlesbrough may pull out of the area unless money can be raised to buy the building it currently rents. New Life Church, Middlesbrough, has been meeting in Ormesby Methodist Church Hall since 2014 but the owners no longer need the site and are putting it up for sale. New Life’s pastor, Ian Williamson, said: ‘Apart from the local library, the hall is the last remaining public building in the area. Although our church is quite small, with around 25 regulars on Sundays, we have contact with almost 100 people each week through our outreach activities.’ If...

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News

May 2019
News > International

Australia: Rugby star ‘sacked’ for expressing biblical beliefs

Rugby authorities in Australia have terminated Israel Folau’s contract after a social media post in which he bluntly expressed the Bible’s teaching. The rugby star, regarded as one of the best players in the world, posted an image with a message on his Instagram account. The words in the image said, ‘Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters, hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.’ He accompanied the image with his own comment, ‘Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and...

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News

May 2019
News > International

Germany: Home-school family to appeal to Europe’s top court

A home-schooling family from Germany has asked the European Court of Human Rights to refer their case to the Grand Chamber – the top human rights court in Europe. In January, the Fifth Chamber ruled that the Wunderlich family’s rights had not been violated in 2013 when more than 30 police officers and social workers raided their home and forcefully removed the children from their parents. The children have since been returned, but the family have taken legal action to redress the injustice they suffered and to ensure they don’t face further sanctions in Germany for home-schooling their children. In this latest development, the family...

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News

May 2019
News > International

Netherlands: Amsterdam bans tours around red-light district

Amsterdam is to ban guided tours around its red-light district from January 2020. The city’s Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said it is no longer appropriate to see prostitution ‘as a tourist attraction’. Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000, but for more than a decade Dutch policy makers, police and citizens have admitted it has failed to curb crime or protect women. British author and anti-prostitution campaigner Julie Bindel said that under this regime, ‘trafficking and pimping has increased, organised crime is rife, and the women are not protected from violence’.

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News

May 2019
News > International

Brunei: Draconian new laws affect Christians as much as gay people

Strict new Islamic laws in Brunei which make homosexual activity an offence punishable by stoning to death have received much condemnation in the media and by celebrities. But the laws also affect the Christian community, with conversion from Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad both carrying the death penalty. Some have questioned why the media are focusing on the LGBT community while ignoring the impact on Christians. Open Doors USA told the Christian Post, ‘The newest and third phase of the law is difficult news for Christian converts who are expected to have to go into deeper hiding.’ The first phase, which rolled out five...

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News

May 2019
News > International

China: Cash rewards for turning in Christians

The Chinese government is offering cash rewards to people who inform on underground churches. One city, Guangzhou, is offering more than £1,000 to those who can identify ‘unofficial’ places of worship. The incentive is part of a nationwide effort to bring all religious groups under the control of the Communist Party. Officials within the Chinese government believe the West is trying to use Christianity to undermine the Communist regime. Religious affairs officers in Guangzhou have decided to offer cash rewards for useful information starting from just 100 yuan (£11). But helping to identify and arrest preachers and members of unauthorised religious groups will be rewarded...

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News

May 2019
News > Society

BBC presenters and journalists object to the questioning of LGBT lessons

BBC presenters and journalists have criticised the Question Time programme for allowing a debate on whether LGBT lessons should be taught to five-year-olds. Audience member Keith Broughton was picked to ask panellists on the programme: ‘Is it morally right that five-year-old children learn about LGBTQ+ issues in school?’ But some BBC staff thought the people’s concerns should not be allowed to be aired. BBC Breakfast presenter Ben Thompson said, ‘LGBT “issues”? Like what? That we exist?’ And BBC News senior foreign producer Tony Brown added: ‘Replace LGBT with black or Jewish and this question would never have been asked on national TV.’

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News

May 2019
News > Ethics > Society

Royal College of Physicians drops opposition to assisted dying

The Royal College of Physicians has adopted a ‘neutral’ position on assisted dying, after a highly controversial ‘sham’ poll of its members. The college surveyed its 36,000 members about whether the law should be changed to permit doctor-assisted dying. It found 43.4 per cent of respondents were opposed to a change in the law, little different to a finding of 44.4 per cent when the poll was conducted in 2014. The number wanting the college to support assisted dying increased from 24.6 per cent to 31.6 per cent. Just 25 per cent thought the RCP stance should be neutral, a fall from 31 per cent...

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News

May 2019
News > Religious liberty > Society

Home school registration plans unveiled

Plans to force home-schooling families in England to register with their local authority have been unveiled by the government, drawing great concern. The current law does not require parents to notify the authorities that they are educating their children at home, although some councils run a voluntary register. Many home-schoolers will be wary of increasing state regulation and unnecessary intrusion into family life. But Education Secretary Damian Hinds said the government had a duty to make sure children were ‘safe’ and receiving a ‘good’ education. Hinds said a register would also help the authorities spot young people who may be receiving a ‘solely religious’ education....

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News

May 2019
News > Education > Religious liberty

Mum sues school for forcing her child to take part in ‘gay pride’ parade

A mother, Izzy Montague, is taking legal action against her child’s former school for how they handled her complaint after her child was forced to take part in a ‘gay pride’ parade. She is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, which says Mrs Montague has filed a complaint with the County Court against the Governing Body of Heavers Farm Primary School. She is alleging breach of her parental rights, victimisation and harassment at the hands of the school. The problems began in June 2018 when the headteacher of Heavers Farm Primary School in south-east London made pupils as young as five take part in...

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News

May 2019
News > Society

Journalist investigated by police for opposition to radical gender ideology

Writer and broadcaster Caroline Farrow has been investigated by police for criticising underage ‘sex change’ surgery on Twitter. The incident followed a 2018 debate between Farrow and Susie Green, head of trans charity Mermaids, on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Green now says she has dropped the complaint against Mrs Farrow, and Surrey Police subsequently stopped its investigation. Farrow, a Roman Catholic, said on the programme that boys identifying as female should not be allowed to share tents with girls. The debate continued on social media, and Susie Green lodged a formal complaint with Surrey Police. Mermaids CEO Susie Green evaded UK restrictions when she took...

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News

May 2019
News > Science

Transgender ‘peer pressure’ study upheld

A study which found that heavy exposure to online content about gender transition is partially behind the phenomenon of ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ (ROGD) has been backed following an extensive peer review. ROGD is a term given to teenagers who suddenly express feelings of being ‘born in the wrong body’, despite never having experienced such feelings in earlier life. The study also found that gender dysphoria spread like wildfire among friendship groups where the majority of children were ‘transgender-identified’. The research was conducted by Dr Lisa Littman from Brown University in America. The results were published in August last year, but activists who disagreed with her...

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News

May 2019
News > Society

Schoolchildren given transgender badges to wear

School pupils in Brighton are getting badges saying if they prefer to be called ‘she, he or they’ with the slogan ‘gender is a spectrum’ in a bid to help transgender children. Secondary school pupils across Brighton and Hove are being handed the badges as part of the council’s ‘My Pronouns are…’ scheme that aims to promote trans inclusion and prevent ‘misgendering’. There is also a blank badge that youngsters can use to fill in their own pronouns. Wearing a badge is optional, but the scheme has drawn criticism. One online commenter said, ‘Children are not transgender. They don’t know who they are yet, and...

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News

May 2019
News > Religious liberty

Home Office says Christianity isn’t a peaceful religion in asylum letter

An Iranian Christian asylum seeker was sent a rejection letter from the Home Office which said Christianity is not the peaceful religion he claimed it to be. The claimant said in his application that he had found ‘peace, forgiveness and kindness’ in Christianity in contrast to the ‘violence and revenge’ of his former Muslim faith. But an official in the Home Office challenged his interpretation and quoted several passages from the Bible to refute his claim. The Bible passages included Matthew 10:34 where Jesus says, ‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.’...

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News

May 2019
News

Parents’ opposition to relationships lessons in schools is spreading

An increasing number of primary schools across England are experiencing opposition from parents to new ‘relationships’ lessons. In recent months, Parkfield Community School in Birmingham has been at the centre of controversy over its ‘No Outsiders’ programme of lessons which pushes an LGBT agenda. Now parents in Manchester, Oldham, Blackburn, Bradford and other areas are also protesting against similar classes. But the Education Secretary has weighed into the row, warning that parents should not control what schools teach their children. Damian Hinds said that although it was right that parents were consulted and involved in developing how schools deliver relationships education, he insisted ‘what is...

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News

May 2019
News

Disastrous divorce plans get go-ahead

The Government has announced it will press ahead with disastrous plans to make divorce quicker and easier. The announcement was made following the results of a public consultation, even though 83 per cent of respondents were opposed to the central proposal. The Government attempted to hide the responses from the public, saying that a majority of ‘family justice professionals’ back the plans. But more than eight out of ten of all respondents were against the proposal to remove the ability to contest a divorce as a general rule. Those who disagreed with the proposal argued that it would seem unjust if one party was not...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

THINKING IT THROUGH: Christians facing exams

Over a twelve-month period, we have invited Stephen Rees — an experienced pastor — to share his thoughts on various topics. Whilst his column may be edited for reasons of length or style, his views are his own and may not necessarily reflect positions held by the Evangelical Times. It’s exam time. Over the next few weeks most of the youngsters who attend the church I pastor will be sitting exams of one sort or another. SATs, GCSEs, A levels, university assessments, music exams: from early childhood into our twenties we face one daunting educational hurdle after another. And some of us then go back...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

A SHRINK THINKS… God’s gift of time

Time is egalitarian. On each new day we are all allocated the same amount of this precious gift from God. We receive our 24 hours. And we are all responsible every day for how we use this gift in his service. Of course, from a lifetime perspective we are allotted different amounts in this world since God ordains our days and gives each of us our own special portion of time. But the same truth applies. We are given our allocation of this ‘talent’ and are accountable to God for our use of it. We are taught to use our time wisely (Psalm 90; Colossians...

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News

May 2019
News > International

LETTER FROM AMERICA: Southern Baptist Convention abuse scandal

In May 2018, the former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson, came under the spotlight for mishandling cases of sexual assault at the seminary. The Southern Baptist Convention summarily terminated him from his position after investigating his role (Christianity Today, ‘Paige Patterson Fired by Southwestern’, June 2018). While this action won much acclaim (and shock) from its members, this was only the tip of the iceberg for the world’s largest Baptist denomination in its relation to the #MeToo movement. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), while having origins in the southern US, has nearly fifty thousand congregations all over the country and currently boasts...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Guest column

Christian liberty

In different ways the Christian has been set free. Supremely, we are free in relation to sin. Sin made us debtors to divine justice, but Christ has paid the price. Sin made us incapable of godly behaviour, but Christ has renewed our hearts. This liberation from sin is the heart of the gospel. But there is another type of liberty that belongs to the Christian. John Calvin wrote of ‘The liberty of the consciences of believers, which ought to be laid under no obligation in things that are not necessary’ (Institutes, III.xix.3). Of course, this liberty of conscience is not absolute. We are under Christ’s...

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Article

May 2019
Comment

A sacking on the other side of the world that should trouble us all

Unless you follow international rugby, you may not have heard of Israel Folau. He’s a super-star Australian rugby player who is also a Christian. But it looks like his career as a rugby player may be over. Why? He committed the ‘crime’ of expressing his biblical beliefs on social media, and the politically-correct elite were outraged. We should all be troubled by this development. But first, some disclaimers. I accept that his postings were rather blunt. I also accept that social media may not be the best forum for these things – I myself keep my own posting mostly to family news. And I accept...

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Article

May 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Dr Lloyd-Jones was well equipped to write on spiritual depression: Part 2

Last month Geoff Thomas began looking at why Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was so well equipped to preach, counsel and write on the subject of spiritual depression. He said that Dr Lloyd-Jones was such a well-rounded, intelligent, and tender personality; he was also utterly committed to the faith of the Scriptures; and he was a man who maintained the disciplines of private devotion. Here is the concluding part. He was a man to whom people went for spiritual help. At the end of his services he retired to his room behind the pulpit, was taken a cup of tea and soon a line of people...

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