The opposite of faith

Thought, Sola Panel

We know that the much-misunderstood word ‘faith’ basically means to trust in or rely upon someone or something. And many of us have heard (and used) the ‘chair illustration’ as a neat way of explaining this; that you demonstrate your faith (or ‘trust’) in a chair when you sit on it. Likewise, you only really have faith in Jesus (‘trust in Jesus’) when you rest your weight upon him. (more…)

Re-booting for 2012

A new year dawns. Time to re-boot the exercise plan (for at least the next three weeks), the diet (I’ll give it four weeks), the regular Bible reading and prayer (no comment), and of course contributing to the Sola Panel. (more…)

A better country

Life, Sola Panel

Readers from Melbourne will probably guess this was written a couple of days ago, at the end of a heat wave. But today seemed a good time to post it: it’s Australia Day. For all who feel at home where they live – and for those who don’t.

flickr: Hasitha Tudugalle

It’s been breathlessly hot for days. At night, it’s hard to sleep: we have to choose whether to close the window and swelter in the stuffy room, or open it to invite in the occasional puff of air and the mosquitoes.


No ordinary plan

Resource Talk

Things don’t always go to plan. You try to do your Christmas shopping in October, but somehow you’re still looking for gifts on the 23rd of December. You mean to ask that couple from church around for dinner, but the weeks go by and the invitation slips your mind every Sunday. This is the year you’re going to exercise more and eat better… how did another kilogram sneak on to the scales? (more…)

A statement of purpose for the new year

Life, Sola Panel

flickr: danielmoyle

I’m no great fan of New Year’s resolutions: quite the reverse.1 For a perfectionist like me, resolutions often come unstuck, resulting in legalism, guilt and (once I fail to live up to them) a spectacular throwing-off of the reins. Change becomes about meeting my standards rather than responding to the God who forgives and transforms me.


A common word

Everyday Ministry

In the September issue of The Briefing, Moussa Ghazal wrote about making conversation with Muslims. He spoke of two alternative approaches: befriending Muslims and patiently sharing the gospel, and the polemics of ‘expose-the-errors-of-Islam’. He suggested the former method is something any Christian can do, and the latter is probably best left to experts who have extensive knowledge of Islam (and Christianity!). Samuel Green is one such expert, and although he’s no stranger to warm, personal, gospel conversations, here he takes on the task of responding to ‘A Common Word’, an attempt by Muslims to engage in interfaith dialogue with Christians over what they claim is shared ground: love of God, and love of one’s neighbour.


Which three books?

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

A pastor friend has some book money in his budget and wants to stock up on books he can freely pass out to people he is discipling or those who come through his office. He asks me about my choices. (more…)

Hard words, hard cases


As a counterpoint to the previous article on divorce, the following is an interview with Andrew Cornes about Jesus’ teaching on divorce and remarriage, and the pastoral realities of applying it in practice. Andrew has long held to the view that marriage is an indissoluble union, and that divorce apart from the grounds of adultery (and remarriage under any circumstances) is sinful. He wrote extensively about the biblical and theological reasons for this in his 1993 book Divorce and Remarriage: Biblical Principles and Pastoral Practice. Tim chats with Andrew about his reading of Jesus’ teaching on the matter, his reflections on the implications that teaching has for the church, and the reactions of people over the years.

Tim Thornborough: Andrew, tell us a little about your life and ministry. (more…)

The good news of divorce


Even the most conservative evangelicals hold differing views about divorce. It’s a sensitive issue we don’t often talk about. These articles are an attempt to remedy that, putting forward two views on divorce common amongst evangelicals. We hope they start some discussion.

There should be more divorced people in our churches, and there should be many more divorced people at a church like mine. St Barnabas is an inner city church, and the inner city is often a refuge for people who have left broken lives in suburbia. (more…)

Editorial: A gathering, a bride, and divorce

It was late high school when someone changed my perception of reality.

I can’t remember who it was, but they were a leader on a holiday conference. I was part of a group of students who were spending several days working through a passage in Hebrews, nutting out the context, the flow of the passage, what the main point was, how to express that to someone else, and so on. This guy helped me to read the Bible carefully, and to see the picture painted in Hebrews 12: I am part of that congregation of believers gathered not at Mount Sinai in fear and trembling, but in joy and glory around the throne of Jesus in the heavenly Jerusalem. (more…)