The second chaplain to New South Wales—Samuel Marsden—was born 250 years ago on 28th July 1764.1 He was slandered for most of his life, and the epithet ‘flogging parson’ has (sadly) stuck down the years and prejudiced thousands against a mighty man. Wise historians have recognized that standing so alone for Christ in a colony made up largely of soldiers and convicts it is no wonder Marsden was vilified.2 (more…)
Of those who witnessed the evangelistic crusades of Billy Graham at their high point, many would later ascribe his success to a combination of gospel preaching and gospel singing. Of these two elements, it seems that the latter was at least as potent—if not more so—than the former. As one observer recalls:
In the last few tragic days, I received the following comment in my twitter feed from an Australian journalist.
AIDS researchers and a Catholic nun among #MH17 victims. If you believe in a god, this would seriously be testing your faith.
We’re just back from a far-from-perfect holiday. There were many lovely moments: winter’s wind blowing spray backwards from the waves; the golden lights of evening on the harbour; sampling the world’s best coconut ice cream. (more…)
At the church I serve, we’re about the preach the book of Revelation across all our congregations, as well as studying it in our growth groups concurrently. (more…)
This week is NAIDOC week across Australia, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. What many don’t realise is that it was Aboriginal Christians that started NAIDOC week. Specifically, it was the initiative of an Aboriginal Christian, William Cooper, who asked the churches to start praying for aborigines on what would become known as ‘Aboriginies Sunday.’ (more…)
I have never thought of myself as a technologist, but now I realize that we all are. As Tim Challies has pointed out in his book, The Next Story, humans are incurably and inherently technological. We shape and form and make things constantly as we fulfil God’s creational purpose for us to multiply and subdue the earth. The things we make are usually neither good nor evil in themselves—a wheel, a fork, an office block, a chair, a screwdriver, a book—but each one can be used well or badly, and each one comes with both risks and benefits. (Some technologies, I would contend, are just inherently evil—such as the office laser printer—but we will leave that discussion for another time.) (more…)
Just as Christians can never retire from serving the Lord Jesus Christ, so also we can never retire from serving other people. The work of prayerfully proclaiming Christ, his cross and resurrection is a way of life more than an occupation.
One form of this service is that of a pastor: that is a shepherd or under-shepherd of the Great Shepherd. Being a pastor involves caring for and leading a flock. We misuse the word ‘pastor’ when we confine it to ‘counselling’, especially counselling an individual. Pastoral work is different to the work of the modern counsellor and a pastor does more than care for an individual sheep; he leads a flock. (more…)
The third principle of children’s ministry is to reach the family and friends of the children we are ministering to with the message of the gospel. (more…)
Social justice issues are not the core business of Matthias Media and The Briefing. Nevertheless evangelicals are always intereste, nay committed to social justice. In my view, social justice is not the gospel, but one of its fruits. (more…)
“Hello, my name is Bill, and I’m an alcoholic.”
So goes the usual opening of testimonies at Alcoholic’s Anonymous. The willingness of Bill, to accept and openly testify to the fact of his addiction to alcohol is a great step forward in addressing his problem. But is Bill telling the truth when he says “I’m an alcoholic”? Is that his true identity or should he be saying “I’m a human who is addicted to alcohol”.
Are there bad children or only children who do bad things? Are there liars or only people who tell lies? Are there thieves or only people who steal? Do we punish criminals or crimes? Does God love the sinner but hate the sin? (more…)
I think my daughter is a better evangelist than I am. She’s five years old.
Largely it’s because she hasn’t yet learned the unspoken rules: that other people might find what you believe to be offensive; that it’s just not ok to discuss religion or politics in polite company; that you must simply conceal, by whatever means necessary, any suggestion that you are part of, attend, or are in any way associated with church. (more…)