Review: “The Old Evangelicalism”


The Old Evangelicalism: Old truths for a new awakening
Iain H Murray
Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 2005, 226pp.

Recent debates in my circles (about the nature of the Trinity, and about who is suitable to be ordained or to preside at the Lord’s Supper) show an uneasy footing with regard to theologians of the past. Sometimes we are keen to legitimate our standing in the apostolic tradition, and so we selectively cite those earlier divines who shared our opinions. Sometimes we confer on some past thinker a godlike authority, and then proceed to marry our thoughts precisely to theirs. Sometimes we are so convinced of an historically eccentric view, we ignore all our forebears, rebuffing them with a cry of “Sola scriptura!” (more…)

Preaching the Cross


Sometimes it can seem futile preaching the Bible week in and week out. But, as Gary Koo discovers, it’s the most important thing God wants you to do as a pastor. (more…)

Dying alone

Couldn't Help Noticing

A recent news item was profoundly sad and troubling. A man who had died in his bed possibly as long as a year ago, has only just been discovered. (more…)

Emoting about idols

Couldn't Help Noticing

They say that the psalms are the hymnbook of Israel. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is I sometimes wonder what the atmosphere in ‘church’ was like back then. (more…)

WordWatch: Evangelical

Word Watch

Is it time for us to stop using the word ‘evangelical’ as our primary self-label?

We have long been used to the media being thoroughly muddled about those who count as ‘evangelicals’ and those who don’t. Odd American televangelists (even the use of that word is a bit of a give away, isn’t it?) and people we would regard as full-on heretics are labelled in the popular media as one of us— as ‘evangelicals’. More recently (over the past six months or so), I have noticed more and more people from a very wide spectrum calling themselves ‘evangelicals’: when asked, charismatics, pentecostals, fundamentalists and others (some from the fringe of their movements rather than centre) identify themselves as ‘evangelicals’. (more…)

Nine reasons to work at one-to-one ministry

Couldn't Help Noticing

With the help of The Reformed Pastor (written by Richard Baxter) and the Bible (written by God), and in no particular order, I have thought of nine good reasons why Christian leaders and preachers should work hard at one-to-one ministry.

Back to mission

Couldn't Help Noticing

How times have changed. When I first went on beach mission *umphh-murmur-cough* years ago, we lived in tents, built a beach pulpit, put up with an appalling ‘amenities block’, got washed away when the inevitable rain came, and spent at least some part of every day whooping and hollering through the caravan park dressed in weird costumes to ‘scoop’ in the kids. That was then. After a very lengthy break, Ali and I have recently gone back to beach mission—this time with a family in tow. Now I am that old guy who used to hang around the place, and try a little too hard in the competitive games: the Camp Dad. And that’s not all that’s changed: the mission we are part of now runs in mid-January rather than straight after Christmas, it is located in a school rather than a caravan park (there’s covered concrete walkways and carpet on the floor!), and it is aimed at the locals rather than the holiday-makers. However, even though some of the surface details have changed, in all other respects everything that was wonderful about beach mission in the old days still applies—even for the Camp Dad. There’s the fun, challenge and joy of mucking in together and working hard with 40 or so other keen Christians for a week; the priceless opportunities for training younger Christians to have a go at things they never would have dreamed of doing at home; and the scary but vastly encouraging experience of telling kids and adults about Jesus. And here’s the kicker: you get to do all this alongside your own kids. It’s tiring (of course!), and Camp Dads don’t sleep as easily on camp mattresses as they once did. But let me testify to the fact that it’s one of the best Christian things we’ve done as a family in years. If you’re keen to give it a go, it’s not hard to sign up. Just let it be known quietly that you’re thinking of going back to beach mission. Word will quickly reach the ears of a Team Member near you. You will be pounced upon! (more…)

Starting with God: The Bible’s guide to ministry training

Everyday Ministry

There are a range of different opinions on how people should be trained for gospel ministry. But, as Gordon Cheng reveals, the right starting point for ministry training is God and his gospel.

How should Christians be trained in gospel ministry? Some churches are happy to leave the details of this and all related questions to their denominational authorities. As long as their minister is duly appointed, the manner of his training is of secondary interest. Whether it has involved Bible college, some other theological training, or just a lot of practical experience, the question of how they are trained is not an issue that raises a lot of concern. As for going further and training the non-ordained church members, the very suggestion seems alien and out of place. On this view, the job of church members is not so much to be trained as to turn up at church, receive ministry and contribute money. (more…)