Assessing Christian election guides

Life, Sola Panel

I certainly won’t be telling you how to vote here.

But as a complement to Geoff Robson’s series on Christians and voting, here I assess various ‘voting guides’ produced by Christian groups in the lead up to Australia’s federal election in September 2013. (more…)

Challenging the rushed ministry decision

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Every person involved in leading or organising a church or Christian ministry activity will have had the experience of a member dropping out at short notice, leaving sudden gaps to fill, even gaping holes at times. (more…)

Editorial: Critical Thinking


To be frank, putting this issue together was tough. That’s largely because the main article, written by yours truly, is in places fairly critical of others and their ministry—with good reason, mind you, but the point still stands. Despite what you might think, calling others out is not something that comes easily to me, nor do I enjoy it.

→ Seven cautions for eager polemicists


Kevin DeYoung on fighting:

I am not against polemics. It is a necessary virtue for Christians in so far as Christianity believes in the immovability and central importance of truth. Where would the church be today if Athanasius, Augustine, and Luther eschewed polemics? Christians must be willing to enter the fray and engage in controversy if they are to be faithful in a fallen world.

I also know there are many dangers with polemics. I see them in myself and can spot them (more easily, sadly) in others.

All seven are worth reading.

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?


An updated attack


Muriel Porter has been attacking Sydney Anglicans for years. In synods, committees, and in print, she has vociferously opposed the position of the Diocese of Sydney on a whole range of issues. Never very far from the surface, though, is her anger at the diocese’s attitude towards female priests and bishops. (more…)

What is an evangelical?

Review, Sola Panel

“Labels are for boxes and dieters” a friend told me after I asked him his theological
persuasion. Many of my new Christian friends tell me basically the same thing. Most of them are under the age of forty, and none of them want to be labelled. They don’t want to identify themselves as Baptist or Presbyterian or Calvinist or conservative. They just want to be known as Bible-believing Christians. (more…)

The mistakes of Phillip Jensen

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Tony Payne: Phillip, you’ve been in ministry for quite a long time…

Phillip Jensen: Well, ever since I became a Christian; that’s when you start ministering, and that was back in ’59. (more…)

My twit’s view of Lent

Life, Thought, Sola Panel

Lent was trending on Twitter in my part of the world yesterday. Here’s a sample from the people I follow…

First the funny…

After the NIV: Appendix 1—Gender

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

The NIV11’s approach to gender—variously described as gender neutral, gender inclusive or gender accurate—has been its most controversial aspect and deserves a special comment.

A starting point is to observe that all recent translations, including the ESV and HCSB (e.g. 1 Tim 2:1, 4), are more gender inclusive than the NIV84, when it wasn’t an issue. As Rod Decker suggests, “The issue involved is not if some form of inclusive language should be used, but what specific types of language are legitimate and how extensive should they be.” (more…)

Talkin’ ’bout my generation (part 3): On giants’ shoulders

Pastoral Ministry

This is the third post in this series; you can read part one, and part two.

There is a famous phrase about intergenerational dependence: that ‘we stand on the shoulders of giants’. It reminds us that whatever we have we owe to those greats before us. But let me remind you of Isaac Newton’s specific use of the phrase: “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. In other words, the upshot of standing on a giant’s shoulders is that you tend to have a better view than the giant himself does. As we build sensibly on the greats of previous generations, we also have the privilege of seeing better than they.


Talkin’ ’bout my generation (part 2): Stepping aside (not out) so others can step up (not in)

Pastoral Ministry

This is the second post in this series; you can read the first post, Unassuming generations.

It can be very tempting as an elder (in whatever context: family, school, youth group, church, denomination, organization, committee, etc.) to just do things yourself; you’re more experienced, more capabable, and can get things done quicker. And as time goes on and you keep doing things yourself for those very reasons, those reasons become self-perpetuating: you are more and more experienced than anyone else will ever be because they are never given a go.