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Everything in November 2020 issue

Review

November 2020
Reviews > Book

Recapturing the Wonder of Christmas

The title implies that there was a time when there was wonder, and somehow we lost it. But is that true? There is certainly wonder in the Incarnation, when God was ‘incomprehensibly made man’. The author writes about what happened 2,000 years ago and the theology around it very clearly with many Scriptures. The…

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Review

November 2020
Reviews > Book

The Pastor of Kilsyth: The Life and Times of W. H. Burns

This is a slow-burn biography about what often looks like a slow-burn life. First published in 1860, its approach can seem ponderous. Some elements might bewilder anyone but a two-hundred year old Scotsman. So why persevere with the book? Because it is at once so far removed from us and so close to us.…

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Review

November 2020
Reviews > Book

Training: How Do I Grow As a Christian?

Training is one of a series of titles that focuses on the unchurched. It is aimed at a new Christian and is very helpful for anyone young in the faith from whatever background. As the introduction says, the theme is about ‘training for godliness’, and the topics covered are: discipleship, the Bible, prayer, worship,…

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Review

November 2020
Reviews > Book

The Christian and Technology

Even the most hardened Luddite will find himself using a satnav, mobile phone, or email on occasion. But John Fesko urges us not to reach for the latest gadget without thinking carefully about how it might shape our minds, relationships, and spiritual lives. While acknowledging the benefits of computer technology for communication, evangelism, and…

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Review

November 2020
Reviews > Book

God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a clear way through the confusion? We see a growing trend whereby biblical truth is…

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News

November 2020
News > People > Obituaries

Obituary: Stuart Sendall-King (1922–2020)

Mission Aviation Fellowship’s (MAF) co-founder, former RAF Flight Lieutenant, and Normandy Landings veteran Stuart Sendall-King has died aged 98. Stuart was one of the early pioneers to take light aircraft from London to the remotest parts of Central Africa in 1948, launching the first operation in Sudan two years later. He passed away peacefully…

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News

November 2020
News > People > Obituaries

Obituary: Gwilym Roberts (1927–2020)

Revd Gwilym Roberts, a faithful minister of the gospel, has died aged 93. Gwilym was raised in Mold, North Wales. He completed National Service in the RAF and was impressed with the Christian commitment of two servicemen he befriended. In 1947, Gwilym attended an outreach event in Mold. He felt convicted but was not…

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News

November 2020
News > People > Obituaries

Obituary: Mary Gladstone (1926–2020)

The importance of the Bible for beliefs and behaviour, as well as lucid books to bring Scripture afresh to each generation – this is what inspired Mary Gladstone’s 35 years as copy editor and proofreader at IVP from 1951 until her retirement. The three-volume Illustrated Bible Dictionary was her labour of love. Her final…

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News

November 2020
News > International

Nigeria & China: Still major concern for Release International

Nigeria and China remain major concerns in 2020 for Release International, according to its latest report. The Christian advocacy organisation cited rising Islamist terrorism in Nigeria and neighbouring countries as a significant cause for ‘alarm’, with Christians increasingly in danger because of their professed faith. In its annual accounts, Release reported, ‘The persecution of…

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News

November 2020
News > International

France: Court rules against ‘mother’ name for man

France’s highest court has ruled that a man who lives as if he is a woman cannot be listed as the mother of his child. The Cour de Cassation overturned a 2018 ruling which gave the 51-year-old man the new status of ‘biological parent’ for his now six-year-old child. He had asked to be…

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News

November 2020
News > International

US: Mark Dever’s church sues local officials in Washington DC

A prominent evangelical church in Washington, D.C., has filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia over restrictions on worship gatherings. The legal action, taken by Capitol Hill Baptist Church, claims that the District’s administration is violating its First Amendment rights by openly tolerating mass protests while prohibiting worship services of more than 100…

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News

November 2020
News > International

Vietnam: Pastor released after four years in prison

A Vietnamese pastor has been released after four years of imprisonment, advocacy organisation Alliance Defending Freemdom International has revealed. Pastor A Dao was imprisoned for his faith in 2016 after attending the Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference. The leader of the Montagnard Evangelical Church of Christ had presented a talk at…

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News

November 2020
News > International

Russia: Draft bill aims to curb foreign-trained pastors

Lawmakers in Russia are proposing a bill to restrict foreign-trained pastors from preaching. Commentators warn it could deal a ‘powerful blow’ to religious freedom in the country. In September, the bill on freedom of conscience and religious association amending federal law was expected to be passed by the State Duma. The original date of…

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News

November 2020
News > International

Iran: Research suggests big surge in number of Christians to one million

Fresh research has revealed the rapid growth of the church in Iran, with Iranian Christians now thought to number around one million. The study was conducted by The Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran (GAMAAN). The Netherlands-based research group seeks to access the opinions of Iranians on sensitive issues that cannot be…

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News

November 2020
News > Mission

London City Mission closes cafes

LCM has made the decision to repurpose two cafés which the missionary charity owns and uses for evangelism. For many years LCM has utilised its cafes as a means to bring the gospel to Londoners who would perhaps not step into a church building. Husk Café in Limehouse closed in August and Café Forever…

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News

November 2020
News > Events

Bible Spreading Union’s 126th annual meeting

The 126th annual meeting of the Bible Spreading Union was held in September at Bexley Strict Baptist Chapel, Kent. The preacher was Mr F. M. J. Raynsford who helpfully spoke from Genesis 3, emphasising the literal truth of the Bible’s opening chapters. Genesis 3 documents the entrance of sin into a perfect creation through…

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News

November 2020
News > Events

Truth in Science Summer School online

The second annual Truth in Science (TiS) Summer School was held online in early September. The conference attracted 67 registrants (including 55 students) – a marked increase from 30 delegates last year. TiS aims to give university students a foundation enabling them to stand firm for biblical truth in the face of anti-Christian sentiments…

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News

November 2020
News > Church news

French pastor dies in climbing accident

Édouard Nelson, a US-born French pastor, Vice-President of the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF), and father of four, has died aged 45 following a tragic climbing accident. In August he was holidaying with his wife, Laura, and children in Chamonix, southern France. They went rock climbing at the cliffs of nearby Les…

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News

November 2020
News > Church news

Burghead Free Church induction

In late July, members of Burghead Free Church (BFC), Morayshire, gathered online to witness the ordination of their new minister, Peter Turnbull. The service was led by Revd Calum Iain Macleod who very appropriately preached from Mark 1:1-15 on beginning a new ministry. Ordinarily, this would be celebrated by the gathered church family and…

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News

November 2020
News > Education > Society

School worker loses wrongful dismissal case over LGBT social media postings

A Christian school worker who was sacked for criticising LGBT lessons on Facebook has lost her appeal. Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, last year after sharing two Facebook posts. At an employment tribunal in Bristol, she claims her sacking breached her freedom of speech and…

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News

November 2020
News > Ethics > Society

NHS taken to court in landmark legal case against children’s gender clinic

A woman who was given puberty blockers as a teenager has taken legal action against an NHS clinic in a landmark trial in the High Court. Keira Bell, now aged 23, was just a teenager when she was given hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones to give her the appearance of being male. Having since…

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News

November 2020
News > Education

Government guidance on gender lessons welcomed

Christian groups have welcomed guidance from the Department of Education (DfE) which says schools must not use gender stereotypes to tell children they might be transgender. In new guidance for schools on how to plan their Relationships and Sex Education curriculum, the DfE told teachers to present equality issues in a balanced way. The…

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News

November 2020
News > Society

Opposition grows to Scottish hate crime bill, with John Cleese voicing concerns

Opposition to the controversial hate crime bill has grown in recent weeks, with comedian John Cleese voicing his strong objections. The bill, as currently drafted, could outlaw any content that someone finds offensive. Atheist groups have already said they would use the proposed laws to monitor the content of sermons, evangelism, and the Bible.…

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News

November 2020
News > Society

Please don’t shut our doors again, say over 700 church leaders in open letter

More than 700 church leaders have signed an open letter to the governments of all four UK nations, urging them not to ask churches to stop services again. By the start of October, national and even international newspapers had picked up the story, interviewing some of the signatories and asking why it mattered to…

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News

November 2020
News > Society

Don’t shut churches again, says Tim Farron

Churches should not be asked to close their doors again during the Covid-19 crisis, says Tim Farron, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats. ‘Over the past few months, the physical closure of churches has troubled me,’ he said in an article published by the Financial Times. ‘Now, as Covid-19 cases rise and we…

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News

November 2020
News > Religious liberty

Call to outlaw churches that teach biblical sexual ethics

Churches should face ‘high-profile prosecutions’ in the future if they preach, pray, or offer pastoral counselling according to biblical sexual ethics. That’s the call that has been made by former evangelical, Steve Chalke, who has organised a conference on the issue. A press release sent by Chalke’s organisation, the Oasis Charitable Trust, outlandishly claims…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

When sleep her balm denies…

The Covid-19 epidemic and the changes it has brought have affected us all in many ways. Some of them were immediately obvious, some less so. Some of us have been more directly impacted than others. But I suspect that most of us would say that our lifestyle has changed significantly. During the early days…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The problem of answered prayer

Last month we reflected on the absurd approach of ‘prayer experiments’ which assume a kind of slot machine view of how prayer is supposed to work, with God as the Great Provider, jumping to do our bidding. But let us approach this from a different direction and ask: ‘why should God answer prayer at…

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News

November 2020
News > Guest Column

Should we be doing more to establish Christian schools?

About 25 years ago I attended a Christian Institute event where the title of the meeting was ‘How we can exert a Christian influence in education’. I had experience of teaching in a state secondary school and the question in my mind at the end of the meeting was this: can we exert a…

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A ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ should trouble us all

Article

November 2020
Articles > Comment

A ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ should trouble us all

The government is actively considering introducing a law to ban ‘conversion therapy’. If you haven’t heard of it, ‘conversion therapy’ is any attempt by any means to alter the behaviour or identity of anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This is tricky territory for us as evangelicals. There are some extreme charismatic…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Cults and other religions

Why Agnosticism is more harmful than Atheism

According to most recent surveys, over half of people in the UK no longer affiliate with any religion, representing a spiritual agnosticism which continues to flood our country. Faced with this however, many Christians still view convinced atheists, who in comparison constitute a measly 13 percent of the population, as the greater threat both…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Profanity is worse than you think

Growing up, ‘phooey’ was my U-rated response when disappointed with circumstances. If I was mad at a person, I’d go ‘PG’ once in a while (when my parents weren’t around) by hurling a few ‘stupids’ at my verbal victims. That’s about as rough as it got. My childhood home-life was pretty strict that way.…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Christianity and public life: Critiquing national leaders

If you are politically minded you will have read many different views on our government’s actions recently. During times of unrest and uncertainty it’s natural that we judge our national leaders on how ‘well’ or ‘badly’ they respond. Is it helpful that we engage in this way? And if so, what principles should Christians…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Train hard, fight easy

A good friend of mine spent part of his career as an elite infantryman. Despite attaining a place among the ranks of his regiment, he is self-effacing and devoid of arrogance. His military background gave him a wealth of attitudes and axioms which cross over into everyday life. My favourite of his aphorisms is,…

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Historical

November 2020
Articles > Historical

250th anniversary of George Whitefield’s death

During the 250th anniversary of George Whitefield’s birth (1714), Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones described Whitefield as the ‘greatest evangelist England has ever produced’, but also as the ‘most neglected man in church history’. Were ‘the Doctor’ with us today, would he think Whitefield as neglected on the 250th anniversary of his death (30 September 1770)?…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The blessing of ‘No Men’

I still recall as a small boy learning in Sunday school about Rehoboam’s great folly. Perhaps you remember the history. Solomon had died and his son Rehoboam became king. The people of Israel came to him and asked that he lighten the burden that Solomon had placed on them. At that point, Rehoboam had…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Lockdown lessons: Have we learnt anything at all?

The coronavirus lockdown, when it was imposed in March, came so swiftly upon churches that we barely had to think through the implications. Nightingale hospitals were being set up with the help of the military, and the government was desperately calling for ventilators to be manufactured as a matter of urgency. At that stage,…

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Article

November 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Live not by lies: Is soft totalitarianism coming to the West?

I grew up in the era of the Cold War. From my youngest days I was taught that the West was the bastion of democratic freedom and the Soviet Union the stronghold of oppressive totalitarianism. We knew who the enemy was, and we knew he was across the ocean, behind the Wall. On our…

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