Biblical and Systematic Theology

Thought, Sola Panel

My last three posts are examples of a church-history long debate. One on the merits and primacy of systematic theology verses biblical theology. (Being trained at a liberal seminary, I also recognize it as the way liberals pit bible passages against others) (more…)

Are holidays Christian?

Life, Pastoral Ministry, Thought, Sola Panel

flickr: andrewmalone

There’s a certain amount of discomfort in Christian circles when it comes to annual leave and long service leave – or any kind of holiday, for that matter. The workaholics and type-A personalities amongst us (I’m putting my hand up now) can be even more uncomfortable about taking holidays. Perhaps they’re right. (more…)

Trellis & Vine Talk 2 – who is your sheep?


This is the second episode of Trellis & Vine Talk, in which Tony and Col discuss discipleship gurus, what (or who) exactly is a lay pastor, a shepherds heart, and ministry of the word. Listen to it here, or download the file to catch up on it later (MP3).

Audio MP3

The Surprise of Glory

Thought, Sola Panel

My last post started us down the track of trying to figure out what Paul was thinking when he wrote in1 Thessalonians 2:19-20: (more…)

Speech and salvation 2: Shut your mouth

Thought, Sola Panel

Maybe you think that you’re not qualified to speak the gospel to people because you’re not godly enough. If you feel this way, then you’re absolutely right and you’re absolutely wrong at the same time. You’re right that you’re not godly enough. And you’re wrong about the gospel. (more…)

SSM – Not Again

Life, Thought, Sola Panel

Friends, this is a post I’d prefer to avoid. Same-sex marriage (SSM) is not something I want to focus on. But we don’t always get to choose which issues to discuss. And SSM really is the issue of the times. Everyone agrees, even if they’re weary of the topic. (more…)

The Surprise of Paul

Thought, Sola Panel

Coming from my last post, we are looking at 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20:

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”

With this passage alone, Paul would fail miserably in the Reformed Evangelical circles here in the US.  We are rightly taught Sola Christus (in Christ alone) and Sola Gratia (by grace along) and Soli Deo Glori (for the glory of God alone). (more…)

Psalm 46:10 – Stop Fighting

Thought, Sola Panel

Like many people on September 11, my thoughts turned to the Scriptures.

In particular, I wondered what I should read to our congregations, since the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington occurred on a Sunday. (more…)


Life, Sola Panel

flickr: gogoloopie

Sometimes I feel so unlovely.

Sometimes it rises up and sickens me: the horror of my lovelessness, the ugliness of my self-absorption, the scandal of my greed. How God hates my impurity and despises my pride and abhors my complaining (Psalm 26:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; 1 Cor 10:10; Ephesians 5:5).

I’m left gasping for breath, as if the possibility of God’s love has been sucked from the air. My sudden self-awareness squeezes out any sense of God’s grace. Stripped of my defences, I’m naked, ashamed, exposed.


Speech and salvation 1: Are all Christians commanded to evangelise?

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Does God command every individual Christian to evangelise? Or is evangelism
just a job for specially gifted individuals?

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, it’s likely that these questions have popped into your head from time to time. You might remember an initial burst of enthusiasm for Jesus at some time in your life. Maybe you remember burning with a passionate desire to tell as many people as you can about the wonderful news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. After all, this news had recently rocked your world and given you hope and life and meaning; why wouldn’t you want others to know it? But by now, maybe, you’re feeling a bit jaded. Of course, you acknowledge that the ‘gospel’, the message about Jesus, is quite important. But you’ve come to realise that you’re not really the kind of person who feels comfortable talking about Jesus to other people. Maybe you just feel ill-equipped. Maybe it’s not your personality type. Maybe evangelism just feels plain weird to you. Maybe you’ve had a few bad evangelistic experiences. Awkward moments. Maybe you’ve lost friends. Maybe you’re getting fed up with that vaguely guilty feeling that nags away at you whenever preachers tell you you’re not doing enough evangelism. And so you might be asking: does God really want me to do this evangelism thing anyway? Does he actually command it anywhere? (more…)

The Surprise of God

Thought, Sola Panel

I can keep my kids busy for quite a while when I tell them that there is a surprise hidden in a certain area of the house. Their determination is unmatched as they search high and low. (more…)

The daily exhort

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

My kids can’t remember a time before the internet and mobile phones, and they find it hard to imagine how such a world existed. But I got thinking the other day—can we imagine a time before Bibles? That is, a time before the widespread availability of cheap, accessible Bible translations in the common language of our culture? A time when literacy was not as universal as it is in most modern Western societies? (more…)

“Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar”?

Thought, Sola Panel

This headline, or something like it, appeared around the globe on news sites last year (e.g. The Telegraph, CNN’s religion blog, and others). The story was also picked up (and embellished) by various blogs. Before you check out the links, let me ask you: What’s your gut reaction when you read a headline like that? Are you annoyed or disgusted that yet another ivory-tower scholar is denying the fundamental truths of the Christian faith? Are you in despair at the relentless attacks of the media on the church? Or maybe you’re pleased that the truth of science and reason is yet again prevailing over the religious dogmas of the past two millenia? (more…)

The idols of a parent

Life, Sola Panel

flickr: mermay19

There’s nothing like parenting to reveal your true values.

My 12-year-old daughter started secondary school this year. It’s an anxious time for any parent. Your mind fills with questions: will she settle well into her new school? How will she cope with the extra homework? Will she make good friends? Will she make any friends?


Trellis & Vine Talk 1 – not about small groups


In this first episode of Trellis & Vine Talk Tony and Col discuss—amongst other things— why the ideas in The Trellis and the Vine are not about small groups and one-to-one. Listen to it here, or download the file to catch up on it later (MP3 | M4A).

Audio MP3