The community gospel part 2

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

In my previous post, I mentioned a powerful and dangerous combination:

A need in the world

+ an implication of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This formula is like dynamite. Used properly, it has the power to move mountains. But unless it is handled with care, there is the potential for grave and even life-threatening danger. (more…)

The community gospel part 1: A powerful and dangerous formula

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

On 7 May, 1867, a man called Alfred Nobel obtained patents for a very powerful and potentially very dangerous formula:

3 parts nitroglycerin—C3H5(NO3)3

+ one part diatomaceous earth

+ a small admixture of sodium carbonate—Na2CO3

This is the classic formula for dynamite. Used properly, it can move mountains. But unless it is handled with care, it can destroy lives.

Similarly, but far more seriously, there is another powerful and potentially dangerous formula:

A need in the world

+ an implication of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Podcast: Holding onto the gospel: An interview with Grant Retief


Grant Retief talks to Paul Grimmond about enormous social issues in South Africa, and what it means to hang on to the gospel and serve people there (MP3).

Audio MP3

Smell the coffee

Up front, Sola Panel

A recent edition of our denominational newspaper here in Sydney featured an extended and very positive series of articles on the Fairtrade movement. Fairtrade is a ‘think global, act local’ sort of initiative which involves consumers in the West attempting to improve the lot of poor and exploited farmers in the third world by buying ‘Fairtrade’ products. By buying certified ‘Fairtrade’ coffee, for example, you ensure that a higher income flows to the cooperatives that produce it (usually 10% or so above the market price). The edition featured stories about Christians involved in the Fairtrade movement, and contained strong encouragement for churches to get involved—not only as a means of adding valuable momentum to the whole movement, but as a culturally attractive way of building links with our community and sharing the gospel. (more…)

Aliens and strangers: The scope of the Kingdom and the logic of the gospel


This article was published in Issue #292 (January 2003).

No one approaches an emotionally and politically charged issue like refugees out of disinterested neutrality. The very labels we attach, whether asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, puts us for or against refugees from the moment we open our mouths. In such a climate, it is only fair that I disclose the standpoint from which I approach the subject, by way of reminder that for many of us certain topics in Christian ethics, as well as being academically challenging, are highly personal. (more…)

The Christianity of Costello


The Reverend Tim Costello is famous. Not simply because he’s the brother of the Australian Treasurer, but for a ministry of social action which in its own right has had a wide influence and enjoys a good reputation. From legal practice and street ministry in St Kilda, to being the Mayor of that same city, to having an increasing national voice on social issues, and now as the President of Australian Baptists, Costello’s responsibilities and profile have grown. He is actively sought out by the Australian media for his opinion on a whole range of issues, religious and social. With this high profile, Costello is able to speak passionately and articulately about issues such as gambling, and so bring attention to the damage and injustice that are taking place in the name of ‘progress’. For this we must be thankful. (more…)

Evangelism and social responsibility


How should Christians relate to society at large? To what extent should we be involved in social and political action? Evangelicals are divided on the issue. This article by John Woodhouse is taken from a longer paper that first appeared in Explorations 3: Christians in Society.


A Phoney War

A war against the drug problem–that is what our governments have promised us, and we are still waiting for the battle to begin. So far, the authorities have done little more than engage their pea-shooter: a novel advertising campaign and an education pack for the kids. As the lives of our young people are ruined (and prematurely ended) and our crime rate soars, the casualties seem to be all on the wrong side. (more…)