Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.
Peter must have been an interesting preacher to listen to. Not afraid to speak his mind. Contentious. Divisive. (more…)
I’d like to conclude this series, over these last two posts, by looking at a version of atheism that I think could be a more serious challenge when and if New Atheism fades away, and to flag how I think this should inform our rhetoric towards New Atheism. (more…)
Further to my last post on being hated, Jean Williams posted this insightful comment and question on my wall:
Here’s a verse I’ve been reflecting on that came to me as I read the post: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). Sobering words, and ones that challenge me.
Maybe you’re a people-pleaser (like I am), and like to be liked by the smart and the sensible. If that’s you, then I wonder if Jesus’ words in John 7 will cut you like they did me this morning. (more…)
Lent was trending on Twitter in my part of the world yesterday. Here’s a sample from the people I follow…
First the funny…
The third group is Christian leaders. The issues here are usually much the same as the second group, and the solutions will work much the same. The distinctive extra element leaders bring to the table is the particular demands that come from exercising some kind of leadership role. On the one hand, they usually (if they’re any good) have high expectations of themselves. So the ambiguities and compromises of life can often vitiate their sense of the vitality of the Christian life more than for ‘run of the mill’ believers. The right expectation that they will be an exemplar of the life of faith puts pressure on them that sometimes ends up being directed to the reality of God himself. Their falling short in life and godliness can make the whole faith seem less real. This in turn can leave them vulnerable to arguments that the faith is merely a human construct, with no inner objectivity or power. (more…)
by Andy, age 5
The other day, my husband Steve told our four children to grab a piece of paper and a pen. Then he rolled out those old, familiar words: “God is the loving ruler of the world…”.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
In the first century, a fight broke out between rabbis at the Jewish Council of Jamnia. The issue? Should Ecclesiastes be removed from the generally accepted books of the Old Testament. (more…)
Which Christians are particularly vulnerable to New Atheism’s polemics? The first group is teenagers and young adults growing up in some kind of Christian framework. This group will generally be relatively ignorant of the content of the Christian faith and how it can answer challenges such as that presented by New Atheism, as they haven’t had time to mature and sink their roots down deep. They are in the process of transitioning into the man or woman they are going to be and so are usually, whether they realize it or not, coming to conclusions about where they stand in relation to the God they have grown up with. They are in the process of deciding whether or not, and if so to what degree, their life will be a pursuit of the kingdom of God. (more…)
Many North Americans readers will know the second great anniversary that occurs this Sunday is that 200 years ago today, Adoniram and Ann Judson sailed from Massachusetts, on February 19, 1812, apparently the first Protestant American missionaries to travel overseas. (more…)
This Sunday, on February 19, two very different anniversaries occur.
Because Australians are not always very good at history and The Briefing originates here, I think they are worth noting. They may be of interest to others too. (more…)
The third group New Atheism has an effect on is Christian believers. It seems to have some success in persuading some people to abandon their faith. My impression is that the numbers involved are fairly small, and New Atheism’s effect is usually only one of a constellation of factors; there’s usually a number of other things going on in that person’s life. Nonetheless, given New Atheism’s weaknesses and flaws it’s a bit surprising it has any effect at all. (more…)
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Last year I attended the Oxygen conference in Sydney for ministry workers. During one of John Piper’s talks, he got to a point where he realized he had been talking about ‘the gospel’ as foundational to the Christian life without ever telling us what he thought that gospel was. So he told us he was about to outline ‘John Piper’s gospel’, which had six points to it. (more…)
By the time you read this I will have dispensed with a house of belongings, left the best job I’ve ever had (enjoy, new assistant Briefing editor!), kissed my nephews goodbye, and cried all over my parents at the airport. My husband and I are moving from Australia to Mongolia, to join with the body of Christ in Ulaanbaatar. And the question on the lips of most people I meet is “Wow, are you excited?” (more…)
Late last year I wrote about praying for our school and loving people at our school. Today I conclude my mini-series with the bit I find the hardest: gospel speech.
I’m no saleswoman. I don’t have the thick skin, the showmanship, or the gift of the gab. But apparently, that’s not what I need to help people get to know Jesus. The best salespeople, I’m told, show genuine concern and sympathy, and believe in what they’re talking about. That sounds a bit more like me. I can love; I can believe; I can pray. But I also have to open my mouth and speak.
That, I’m not so good at. (more…)