Worth the wait

Resource Talk

Should I decline to co-lead a Bible study if there are men in the group? Should I cover my head (and if so, would an old towel do)? Should I keep silent during the public question time in church at the end of the Bible talk? To whom am I to submit, since I don’t have a husband—to all men? In everything? (more…)

→ Why do our churches seem so different


Kevin de Young:

Have you ever been talking to a pastor or someone from another church and it seems like you should be kindred spirits. The person you meet is obviously a warm-hearted, sincere Christian. They don’t have a problem with any of the doctrines you mention as precious to you and your church. They don’t affirm liberal positions on major theological questions. They nod vigorously when you talk about the Bible and prayer and church planting and the gospel. And yet, you can’t help but wonder if you are really on the same page. You try to check your heart and make sure it’s not pride or judgmentalism getting the best of you. That’s always possible. But no, the more you reflect on the conversation and think about your two churches (or two pastors or two ministries) you conclude there really is a difference.

And what is that difference?


You may have noticed some slightly different posts over the last couple of days. We’re adding a fairly regular link section here, highlighting something of interest elsewhere.1 The title of the post will have an arrow (→) in it, and clicking on it will take you directly to the external link, whether it’s an article, audio link, video, or something else. If you’re looking at the site, the posts are styled slightly differently too. (more…)

→ A talk on gender


A thought-provoking talk from Andrew Errington on gender, given to the Christian group at Sydney University:

In fact, what we see here, I think, is a practice that is in a profound sense one of freedom. This may seem ridiculous, but I believe it is true, and indeed, at the heart of what the Christian vision has to offer. Because what we see here is a way of life that is anchored in the profound security that comes from knowing you have been loved and accepted, and that your future is eternally secured; and that is therefore able to act without fear in the midst of a broken and distorted world. In the face of threat and terror, the wife here is able to not give in to a simplification of the meaning of her sex in terms of outward appearance, but also not reject her sex as unimportant, but to acknowledge the goodness of her husband’s authority. And the husband is able to see his wife as a partner in prayer and an equal in the kingdom without her becoming a threat, so that his strength becomes an opportunity not for selfishness, but for love.

Read the whole thing.

→ Alain de Botton interviewed


As I’ve said before, I’m simultaneously fascinated and unconvinced by Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists. Brian Rosner recently interviewed de Botton for the Centre for Public Christianity:

In [the interview], Rosner canvasses a range of topics, asking de Botton about his own journey to atheism, and how he accounts for our human longing to believe in something greater than ourselves, and whether the fruits of religion can survive if they are, so to speak, cut off from the tree.

de Botton, in turn, responds that while he is moved by aspects of the Christian story, he doesn’t believe that we need to be ‘true believers’ to enjoy its benefits, and he remains firmly convinced that we can train our hearts and minds to our individual and social benefit without an appeal to the divine.

Go read the whole thing.

Keep the faith


When the evangelist Graham Daniels wrote a little book about the gospel for non-Christians, he insightfully called it My Mate’s Gone Mad. For a new Christian, making changes to their life that their friends find mystifying, the book’s title makes it easy to give away. That’s what everyone’s thinking. You’re mad to start going to church. You’re mad to stop living like everyone else. And above all, you’re mad to believe all that made-up stuff about Jesus. (more…)

Back to the Beginning (2)

Life, Sola Panel

Following on from my previous post, I am still thinking of beginnings. This time it is in a different way.

I am in Wheaton, Illinois this week. I’m attending a Charles Simeon Trust workshop for people who teach the Bible. I am here as a participant as well as on behalf of Matthias Media. Vaughan Roberts, rector at St Ebbes in Oxford, is leading the workshop alongside Josh Moody, pastor of College Church. (more…)

The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion


It’s hard to think of anyone better equipped than Tim Challies to write a book about the impact of technology on the Christian life. He’s a husband, father, and pastor; a web designer by trade; and a popular evangelical blogger (at challies.com). Living a life interrupted by the ‘beep’, in the glow of the latest iDevice, he began to suspect his technologies owned him as much as he owned them. The Next Story is the fruit of his reflections. Its goal is to enable us to live in the “sweet spot” where practice, theory and theology overlap, helping us to use technology in a way that’s thoughtful and biblically informed. (more…)

Back to the Beginning (1)

Life, Sola Panel

It has been some time since I posted last. I am supposed to be posting a short piece every week. Further, I am to be writing one longer piece every month. I haven’t lived up to either commitment yet. I haven’t come close. (more…)

What is distinctive about the ministries of women?

Pastoral Ministry

As I said in The Briefing #398, these are some of my reflections on what God has taught me about the ministries of women. Following on from the importance of women in ministry considering themselves to be Bible teachers and of cultivating joy in evangelism, in this article I want to talk about the central place of training, the necessity of teamwork, and the mixed emotions of sending. All of these elements are necessary not only for any woman in ministry to be committed to, but also for any man wanting to encourage women in ministry. (more…)

Happy Birthday, New Bible Dictionary

Review, Sola Panel

This month marks the 50th anniversary of The New Bible Dictionary [Amazon], first published by IVP back in May 1962. Initially edited by James D. Douglas, it featured contributions from a host of evangelical scholars, including Australians like Leon Morris, Donald Robinson, Edwin Judge, Alan Cole, Broughton Knox, and more recently, Peter Jensen and David Peterson. (more…)

Devoted to ministry and prayer

Everyday Ministry, Life, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

flickr: notsogoodphotography

You know those times when you read a Bible passage so familiar that you barely see it any more? Then a word or phrase jumps out at you, your perspective shifts, and you see it clearly. It’s like those 3D puzzles where the picture suddenly comes into focus.


The future of complementarianism (4): things people do and don’t fear


This debate between complementarians that the Piper incident has helped highlight has reinforced my growing impression that there are significant differences between the egalitarian and complementarian “sides” in how they approach ‘in house’ differences. Some reflections on this is my fifth and final observation and will take up the whole of these last two posts. (more…)

Not a lot of hope in humanity

Reading Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists is like watching a train-wreck of a sermon.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a remarkable combination of astute observation and analysis of how religion and ritual affect our relationships and us alongside such a bare-knuckled insistence on missing the point of it all. He freely acknowledges this, of course: