Word-watch: lessons from a naïve blogger

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

A few days ago I wrote a short article in which I used the word ‘submission.’ I’ve just now realized that by using this word, I was being a bit naïve. The realization of my own naivety came when I read Kara Martin’s helpful review of the book Fifty Shades of Grey on the Sydney Anglicans website. Kara’s review made me realize that what we Christians mean when we use the word ‘submission’ is often entirely different to what our non-Christian world thinks when it hears the word ‘submission.’ That’s because Christians and non-Christians are spending their time reading two very different books. As a result, Christians and non-Christians are having their passions and desires shaped by two very different worldviews. (more…)

Learning to see God’s glories in a Melbourne spring

Life, Sola Panel

flickr: Pink Sherbert Photography

A week ago it came, kicking its heels like a witless lamb. Spring. Didn’t it know it wasn’t due yet?

We’ve been locked down in cold for months. We swap war-stories of coughs and runny noses, risk suffocation under layers of bedding, and shiver in the school yard as we wait for the kids to emerge from over-heated classrooms. I listen to winter complaints but secretly love it: (more…)

‘Mutual submission’? Scrutinizing a lazy slogan

Thought, Sola Panel

A furore has indeed erupted over the use of the dreaded ‘s’-word in certain proposed new marriage vows. The word ‘submit,’ of course, comes from the Bible (e.g. Ephesians 5:22-24); the proposed vows are an attempt to give couples the option of using biblical terminology in place of the traditional, often misunderstood, term in the prayer book: ‘obey.’ The inclusion of the ‘s’-word, however, has caught many people’s eye (and ire). It needs to be said that the word ‘submit’ can never be understood alone. The concept of submission in marriage is always part of a package deal. It’s one side of a double-sided coin: the other side is the husband’s responsibility to sacrifice himself for his wife, loving her tenderly and caring for her (e.g. Ephesians 5:25-30). That, in itself, should rule out any suggestion of abuse of women by men. (more…)

Apologetic evangelism: an oxymoron?

Everyday Ministry

Apologetic evangelism is neither apologetics nor evangelism. Since the language of today is apologetic, and certainty is considered arrogance, how then can we evangelise modern, or post-modern, society? (more…)

→ Avoiding evangelical civil war


Mark Thompson:

Here then are some suggestions for principles which might help us think through how we might ‘contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ in a way which builds genuine fellowship rather than destroys it.

It’s all excellent. For example,

Recognise that those who disagree with you on this particular theological point are people for whom Christ died. They are inestimably precious in his sight. They must not be regarded or treated as mere theological canon fodder. Even when you are convinced they are seriously in error they must be treated with respect and gentleness.

Giving thanks for suffering

Life, Sola Panel

Edvard Munch: The sick child (detail)

I’m striving to be more thankful. Self-pity is one of my habitual sins, and I’ve found thankfulness to be a wonderful antidote.

There is one place where thankfulness is particularly difficult for me. For many months I’ve watched my son struggle with ongoing sickness. (more…)

Discipleship teams

Everyday Ministry

“…there’s hardly a church I come across that does not have small groups. It seems that if you’re an evangelical ministry that doesn’t offer small groups, you’re not the real deal and you’re not going to be attractive. Sadly, very little attention is being given to small group leaders…” (more…)

→ Guidelines for Reading Old Testament Narrative


Some useful points about reading Biblical narrative from Julian Freeman:

If you’ve ever begun to read through the Old Testament and been filled with more questions than answers, you’re not alone. Many of the stories of the OT are hard to understand and hard to apply.

Here are ten hopefully helpful principles for interpreting Old Testament narrative. It’s important that we get this right, since this genre of Scripture makes up about 66% of our whole Bible.

For a more extended article on the final point he offers, Gary Millar’s article from November last year is excellent.

→ The Path of Least Resistance


Richard Perkins on Ephesians 6.1-2 and instilling obedience in kids:

But child centred parenting is the modus operandi of most of the families I know. It’s what most of us do most of the time, isn’t it? We want a quiet life. And if little Jonny is going to be pacified then we need to surrender to his demands. And so we run up the parenting white flag, he puts down his weapons of mass destruction and we’re all better off, aren’t we? Not in the long run. Can you think of a better way to raise a self obsessed, selfish brat than to reinforce his impression that other people are there to satisfy his needs and that he can get his own way simply by being obnoxious and making a scene?!

NB – “child-centered parenting” has a different usage in some of the circles I’m in. Perks means “running family life around the the needs, desires and tantrums of our kids”. He’s also got a follow-up article on 4 reasons for kids to obey their parents (not that they’ll listen).

When to jump ship?

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Anyone in a mainline denomination infected by liberalism, or some other divergence from the evangelical faith, will have faced the question of when to stay or when to go? How bad does the denomination have to get before you decide to abandon ship?


→ To suffer faithfully


Nicole Starling:

We sometimes tend to focus on those aspects of the Christian life (spontaneity, starry-eyed-ness, passionate intensity…) in which the younger seem to have an advantage over the older, but there are a bunch of other aspects in which the very experiences that knock some of the shine off our youthful naivety are exactly the things that equip us to be better at enduring.

Is this Christianity?

Thought, Sola Panel

Call me a spoilsport, a curmudgeon, or perhaps just confused, but I’ve always felt uneasy about the theology contained in this quote: