Leon Morris at 100

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Leon Morris was born 15 March, 1914. So today marks the centenary of his birth.


If you don’t know his name, he is one of foremost biblical scholars Australia has ever produced. (more…)

Luke 4:18-21

Bible Brief

The people of Israel in the first century had been living under foreign occupation for over 500 years. The glory days of King David and Solomon had long since passed, and they were longing for a better time. They had every reason to expect a better day would arrive, for the great prophet Isaiah predicted a time of grace when the Spirit-anointed Messiah would come, bringing freedom to his people: (more…)

photo | thinkstockphotos.coma.au

Re-creation in the words of Jeremiah


It’s been my privilege in two previous issues to be your tour guide for a quick trip through Jeremiah—more of a scenic flight than a safari. Today our tour ends with the book’s final chapters—but here’s the story so far. (more…)

Forgiveness in the words of Jeremiah


In the first leg of our journey through Jeremiah we focused on the man and his preaching of judgement. We will now do a bit of touring through the middle chapters, but most of our time will be spent on just half a verse—a promise:

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…)

The importance of being unlike God

Life, Sola Panel

Much of our Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like God. God is holy, so we are to be holy. We love, because God first loved us. In fact, our English word ‘godliness’ implies that the Christian life is, by definition, ‘God-like-ness’. But sometimes, the opposite is true. Sometimes, ‘godliness’ is about being completely unlike God. Here’s an example:

The hope of biblical peacemaking as a response to the challenge of conflict

Everyday Ministry, Life

The word ‘conflict‘ strikes us hard.

It evokes an involuntary ‘gut level‘ reaction deep within us, perhaps of pain, or danger or fear. It speaks to us of relationships that won’t heal, of people who won’t listen, of wounds never acknowledged, of conduct never discussed. It may be an extreme situation which is splitting a church, school or marriage, or it may be just that lower level of conflict which causes us to avoid some­one’s company in the workplace, avert our eyes at morning tea after church, and be polite and civil when underneath we feel distant or angry.


Forgiveness and repentance (part 7): Does God only forgive us when we repent? (i)


(Read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.)

We have been considering the question of whether we can or should forgive in the absence of repentance by the guilty party. We began by looking at whether we forgive in exactly the same way that God does, and then turned to consider the question in light of a series of pastoral issues. With this post and the next, we will conclude by addressing the really big question in all this—not what we do, but what God does. Is God’s forgiveness of us dependent upon our repentance? (more…)

Forgiveness and repentance (part 6): The pastoral dimension (iv)


(Read parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.)

The time has come to conclude the pastoral dimension of the question of forgiveness being linked to repentance. The final issue is whether we are doing the wrong thing by forgiving someone because then we simply sweep the sin under the carpet and don’t challenge them, thereby removing the opportunity for them to repent. For those who have followed this discussion over the last three posts, you are probably in a position to see what my response is going to be. But we’ll briefly spell it out anyway. (more…)

Forgiveness and repentance (part 4): The pastoral dimension (ii)


(Read parts 1, 2 and 3.)

We’ve been considering the question of whether forgiveness can or should occur without repentance. Last time around, we looked at family life. Let’s turn from the everyday to the extreme. What do we say to the person who is outrageously sinned against? What do we say to the person who was abused as a child, the person who has been raped, the person who survives a murder attempt from a loved one, the person whose spouse commits adultery (and while we’re at it, given that many people think that adultery is not sufficient grounds for divorce, the view that forgiveness can only occur when there has been repentance means that we’re then left with the position that a spouse must not forgive an unrepentant adulterous spouse, but must not divorce them either—a view that people may want to champion, but they should still recognize it is somewhat weird pastoral advice), and the person who has been betrayed by someone close to them? (more…)

Forgiveness and repentance (part 3): The pastoral dimension (i)


(Read parts 1 and 2.)

In this meta-series, we have been exploring the question of whether we (and God) can or should forgive someone when they have not repented. This time around, we are going to turn our attention to some difficult pastoral situations and ask how they work when we hold that forgiveness can only take place when there has been repentance. (more…)

Forgiveness and repentance (part 2): Forgive as Christ in God forgave us


(Read part 1.)

As we head into the issue of whether we should or even can forgive someone who has sinned against us but hasn’t repented, let’s begin with one of the key principles that people raised in our first post—that we forgive others as God in Christ forgave us. As it is stated in Colossians 3:13, we are to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility and so on while “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive”. (more…)

Forgiveness and repentance (part 1): A survey of the landscape


Many moons ago, my wife wrote a post on forgiveness. One of the issues that it raised for people was whether forgiveness could take place in the absence of repentance by the offender. My dear wife kindly semi-promised people that I would one day blog on the topic :). So here we are, with a series of posts designed to unpick why I am convinced that forgiveness must take place in the absence of repentance and that this issue goes to the heart of a Reformed understanding of the biblical gospel. (more…)