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Everything in October 2020 issue

News

October 2020
News > Persecution > Religious liberty

Belfast hotel says sorry for ending marriage meeting

A church minister in Northern Ireland has won his legal battle against the hotel that shut down his meeting about traditional marriage after it was already underway. Revd Harry Coulter was set to take his case to trial, but the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast has settled out of court and apologised for ending the…

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Review

October 2020
Reviews > Book

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has about three chapters unpacking and applying biblical teaching and includes a testimony of someone…

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Review

October 2020
Reviews > Book

God on the Brain: What Cognitive Science Does (and Does Not) Tell Us about Faith, Human Nature, and the Divine

The title of this book, and its associated subtitle referring to cognitive science, are misleading. A title like ‘Philosophical Reflections on the Mind-Brain Relationship’ would have been more accurate. Parts of it do have some engagement with neuroscience, but these are the weakest parts. In chapter 4 Sickler engages with something called ‘Cognitive Science…

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Review

October 2020
Reviews > Book

Ecclesiastes: Life in a Fallen World

Ecclesiastes is regarded by many as one of the most difficult books of the Bible to read. Here Benjamin Shaw (a Hebrew and Old Testament professor) gives us significant assistance, with a very readable commentary on the whole book, in 22 short chapters. The opening chapter gives a useful framework for understanding the book.…

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Review

October 2020
Reviews > Book

Never Enough: Confronting Lies about Appearance and Achievement with Gospel Hope

Never Enough is a well-written, thoughtfully structured series of ‘teachable moments’ based on the author’s own testimony of suffering from eating disorders and a battle between fitness and obsession. Ivill talks of how her need to be romantically loved made her forget that her first love ought to be Christ; and how focusing on…

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Review

October 2020
Reviews > Book

Veiled in Flesh – The Incarnation: What It Means and Why It Matters

Although this book deals with a profound mystery, it is written in an accessible style. It falls into two parts: an exposition of the Christological elements of the opening verses of Hebrews followed by an historical and systematic theological discussion of the incarnation. Having been led by the end of chapter 5 to praise…

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Review

October 2020
Reviews > Book

The Creaking on the Stairs: Finding Faith in God Through Childhood Abuse

This is a theodicy with a difference! There are many books written on the question of why God allows suffering, but few are as personal and painful as this one. Beginning with the author’s conflicted emotions on learning that the woman who had repeatedly abused him as a child had died, his experiences are…

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Review

October 2020
Reviews > Book

A Beginner’s Guide To Church History

This book is a must-read for every Christian, which covers a wide period from the apostolic age to the church under Communism. There are numerous excellent works on church history, like Philip Schaff’s eight volumes, or Andrew Miller’s three volumes, or Nick Needham’s four. Yet these may be too daunting for a first-time reader…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Personal view > Uncategorised

PERSONAL VIEW: Why Christians must question ‘the science’ right now

This article is here published as a personal view by the author. Almost never before in history has it been more important for Christians to question ‘the science’. Why? Because your understanding of ‘the science’ will entirely affect your belief about how the worldwide church should respond to the unprecedented measures she is being…

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News

October 2020
News > People > Obituaries

Robin Dowling (1946–2020)

Robin Dowling, a former Grace Baptist pastor, missionary, and theologian, departed to be with Christ in July. He will be sorely missed as a much-loved husband, father, and grandfather. He served his generation in gospel ministry from the 1970s until fairly recently. Coming from Bristol, he was well known among churches there when he…

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Article

October 2020
Uncategorised

Obituary: Revd Dr Peter Golding (1933–2020)

Peter was raised in a Christian household and the eldest of three siblings. He was evacuated during World War 2 but returned to London and worked at the Harrods Depository by the River Thames. He attended Westminster Chapel and sat under the ministry of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Peter saw Dr Lloyd-Jones as his mentor…

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News

October 2020
News > International

Finland: Third interrogation for former interior minister

Päivi Räsänen, former minister of the interior and serving member of the Finnish Parliament, has faced her third police interrogation in recent months. The investigation against Räsänen started in June 2019, when she directed a tweet at the leadership of her church denomination and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event ‘Pride 2019’.…

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News

October 2020
News > International

Kazakhstan: pastors appeal to president over church land

Two pastors in Kazakhstan have appealed directly to the country’s president asking him to stop local authorities seizing the land on which their churches stand. City authorities in the capital Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building and the Agape Pentecostal Church building, which was under construction on…

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News

October 2020
News > International

Lebanon: Christians offer help to Beirut explosion victims

Lebanese Christians have driven efforts to help families and communities affected by the dockyard explosion in Beirut in August. One church relief project has helped scores of needy families to receive comfort as well as clean-up and repair assistance. A team leader reported, ‘Although Beirut’s explosion was so big that it has affected hundreds…

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News

October 2020
News > International

US: Court injunction against MacArthur’s church

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Grace Community Church in Sun Valley from holding indoor services. The church, led by its pastor John Macarthur, has been holding full worship services for several weeks in defiance of lockdown rules. The court ruling said that Grace Community Church should follow…

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News

October 2020
News > Persecution

India: Christians suffer lockdown persecution

India’s Christian communities have reported an alarming escalation of persecution while the country has been in Covid-19 lockdown. According to a 33-page report by the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), there were more than 135 confirmed attacks against Christians in the first half of 2020, including a lynching. The report, Hatred and Violence Against…

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News

October 2020
News > International

Global: Bible now in 700 languages

New translations of the Bible which have been completed this year means the Word of God is now available in 700 languages. According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, while it is not possible to say which of the translations completed this year made the milestone, the fact that 700 translations now exist is indicative of…

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News

October 2020
News > Conferences

Webinar: design in virology?

In July the UK Centre for Intelligent Design organised three webinars on the topic of design in virology. Three distinguished presenters (Prof. Michael Behe, Dr Jonathan McLatchie, and Prof. Hugo van Woerden) with expertise in academic research, teaching, and public health gave fascinating insights into the molecular structure, biochemistry, and function of viruses, including…

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News

October 2020
News > Conferences

Compass Camp goes online

Compass Camp is a Bible-centred summer camp for 11-17-year-olds based in the heart of the Lake District. Unable to meet physically this year in Coniston, camp went online. From 3 to 5 August, campers from all over the UK were able to meet on Zoom for six intensive sessions of fun, craft, games, Bible…

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News

October 2020
News > Media

Morningstar Wycliffe film in production

Production company Trinity Digital are continuing work on Morningstar, a documentary about 14th-century Bible translator John Wycliffe. The film combines interviews with historians as well as dramatic recreations of events from Wycliffe’s life. Interviews have been recorded ahead of the dramatised scenes due to be shot next year. Location filming in key sites such…

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News

October 2020
News > Education

Christian Heritage Centre receives Mayflower painting

One positive aspect of recent lockdown conditions has been the opportunity for many to tidy up, sort out, and even rediscover household objects and keepsakes they forgot they ever had. Some of these forgotten treasures of local and wider interest are donated to the Christian Heritage Centre in Rowley Regis. A recent addition took…

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News

October 2020
News > Conferences

Origins 2020: creationist scholars meet online

Origins, the annual meeting of the Creation Biology Society (CBS) and Creation Geology Society (CGS) was held online in July for the first time in twenty years. Over 100 registrants enjoyed talks on topics as diverse as fossil reptiles, fish hybrids, human chromosomes, and ice cores. I’ve participated in this annual meeting since 2004,…

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News

October 2020
News > Church news

Affinity calls on the government to relax church lockdown rules

The director of Affinity – a network of about 1,200 churches and Christian agencies across the UK – has written to the government to ask for lockdown restrictions to be relaxed. Graham Nicholls sent the letter to Lord Greenhalgh who is the government minister responsible for regulations regarding churches meeting in the post-lockdown period.…

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News

October 2020
News > Ethics

Christian rugby star refuses to ‘take a knee’ for BLM

Christian rugby star Billy Vunipola has defended his decision not to kneel in support of Black Lives Matter. For the restart of Premiership rugby matches following lockdown, all clubs chose to show their support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The Saracens, the club for which Mr Vunipola plays, were asked if they…

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News

October 2020
News > Ethics

Teenage girl to challenge prosecutor’s impartiality

A teenage girl who challenged the Crown Prosecution Service over guidance it had put in place for schools earlier this year is now taking them to the High Court. The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review in September over the CPS’s continued membership…

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News

October 2020
News > Church news > Persecution

Attacks against churches rise in Northern Ireland

There have been more than 600 attacks on places of worship in Northern Ireland in the last five years, prompting renewed calls for action to protect churches and other religious buildings. According to a Freedom of Information request to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), charity CARE NI revealed that, since 2014/15, there…

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News

October 2020
News > Society

Church receives arson threats, but police tell pastor not to offend the LGBT community

Gay activists have threatened to burn down a Baptist church in Newquay, but when the pastor reported it to the police he was warned not to offend anyone in the LGBT community. The arson threats arose after pastor Josh Williamson welcomed the cancellation of the Newquay Pride event, which was called off because of…

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News

October 2020
News > Conferences

Concerns raised over LGBT and racism seminars at Aber Conference

Concerns have been raised over two seminars broadcast on YouTube by the Evangelical Movement of Wales. The seminars were aimed at young people. One seminar dealt with issues relating to LGBT rights, and another tackled the matter of racism. The seminars were part of an online alternative to the full conference which could not…

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News

October 2020
News > Religious liberty

I will ban the Bible using Hate Crimes Bill, says atheist

An atheist has written to a newspaper saying he welcomes Scotland’s proposed Hate Crimes Bill because he will be able to monitor all holy books and sermons and report any ‘hatred’ to the police. The letter, by Ian Stewart, Convener of Atheist Scotland, stated, ‘Atheists see some merit in Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf’s Hate…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Copyrights and wrongs

Let me tell you a cautionary tale. It concerns a pastor – we’ll call him Simon – who found an envelope in the church mailbox. He opened it and read the contents with a mixture of surprise and alarm. The letter was from an agency based in France which handles copyright claims on behalf…

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Article

October 2020
Uncategorised

Slot machine prayer

Some readers may be aware of scientific experiments that have purported to assess the efficacy of prayer. It appears that some Christians decided that they could show that prayer works by such experiments and thus indirectly provide scientific evidence for the existence of God. I suspect most ET readers will be surprised by this…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Guest column

Have we lost our vision for Christian education?

S. J. Curtis, in his History of Education in Great Britain tells us, ‘The important fact, so often forgotten in modern times when the State plays such a predominant part in education, is that the English schools were the offspring of the Church, which regarded them as one of its chief instruments in the…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Comment

Are we to be shaped by Scripture or culture?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, says Scripture. It is in the spirit of friendship that this newspaper takes the unhappy step of raising concerns about recent online seminars broadcast by our friends in the Evangelical Movement of Wales. There were a number of seminars aimed at young adults, as part of AberLite,…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > General

The enigma of J. I. Packer

In 1958 at a boys’ grammar school I was awaiting my move in the autumn to a university in Cardiff. An Anglican friend at school told me I would meet two religious groups there, the SCM and the IVF. For me to understand the difference he gave me Gabriel Hebert’s Fundamentalism and the Church…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

A day of national tragedy

Wednesday, 17 June 2020, was a day of national tragedy, made all the more poignant by the fact that few will regard it as such. On that day Members of Parliament in Westminster voted 253 to 136 to impose radical new abortion laws on Northern Ireland. The regulations make abortion on-demand available until 24…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Inspiration in isolation: Learning from the letters of Samuel Rutherford

For many years now my go-to author in times of difficulty has been Samuel Rutherford. My thoughts have been turning to him again recently because almost 400 years ago he experienced exile under house arrest – confined indoors and allowed no contact with his loved ones. This was all long before the days of…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

When authorities conflict: The separation of church and state

The author, who is here responding to recent articles by Paul Yeulett and Mark Richards, wishes to emphasise he is writing in a personal capacity. The 2020 Covid-19 crisis has been a tragedy for human society. National economies have been shattered; the familiar pattern of everyday life of only a few months ago is…

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Article

October 2020
Articles > General

Concerns raised over online Aber conference

Many Christians, whether from Wales, England, or further afield, have happy memories of the Evangelical Movement of Wales (EMW)’s Aber Conferences.  The move online this August – branded as ‘Aberlite’ – led some to enjoy the main sessions instead of their midweek meetings. The main speakers were Stephen Clark, Ian Parry, and Phil Swann. …

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Article

October 2020
Articles > Biblical/theological

Filtering for repentance

A pitfall of contemporary evangelicalism is to mistake quantity for quality. How many attended the meeting? How many hits has the website had? What’s the view count of that uploaded video? These can easily become acid tests for how well ministries are faring. However, surveys and statistics concerning the spread of the gospel do…

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