About Tony Payne

Tony is the Publishing Director at Matthias Media; editor of The Briefing; author of Islam in our Backyard, Fatherhood and numerous other Matthias Media resources; husband to Ali; father of five teenagers; and an avid consumer of books and almost any televised sport.

Sydney’s next Archbishop

Thought, Sola Panel

I enjoyed Paul Levy’s rollicking post on Reformation21 the other day about the current election campaign among Sydney Anglicans for our next Archbishop—particularly the bit where he referred to The Briefing as one of the unfortunate gifts that Sydney has inflicted upon the world. For a mob of upstart colonials like us, having someone from the Mother Country even acknowledge our existence causes an involuntary touch of the forelock. But to admit that we have become the means of God’s grace to the Brits by being a thorn in their flesh—this is a compliment beyond telling. (I will ask our British distributors to inflict a life-time gift Briefing subscription upon Paul as a mark of appreciation.) (more…)

What separates us from the Bible?

Sola Panel, Sola Panel

I was suggesting last week that the Bible is not written from an alien, different world, but addresses the world we live in. But there is something that stands as a divide between us and the Bible; something that prevents us from grasping hold of the Scriptures and applying them rightly to our lives. (more…)

The alien world of the Bible

Sola Panel, Thought, Sola Panel

In a good quality book manuscript recently submitted to us at Matthias Media, I came across the following sentence: “The world of the Bible is not our world—its context, language, customs, knowledge, beliefs and social systems are far from those we experience in the twenty-first century. It is in many respects an alien world, where it is easy to become lost or confused.” (more…)

On second thoughts

Sola Panel, Thought, Sola Panel

I am having second thoughts about my recent post on playing the ball and not the man.

The first stirrings of misgiving came from Tom’s comment, when he suggested that ‘to play the man and not the ball’ originally related to soccer, where it is far more obvious when you are playing the man not the ball—that is, because the ball usually runs somewhat free of the man. And so it is theoretically possible in soccer (although still uncommon) to have contact only or mainly with the ball, and avoid contact with the man. In fact, making contact with the man is often a ‘foul’. Does this better present the kind of lofty ideal that I proposed in the first half of my article: that it is desirable where possible to discuss ideas on their own merits, without reference to the person putting them forward? (more…)

Playing the man and not the ball

Life, Thought, Sola Panel

I’ve been pondering the unwelcome reality of disagreements with friends.

My recent Briefing review of Michael Jensen’s book on Sydney Anglicanism* reflects a difference of opinion between Michael and me that we are still in the midst of discussing. I’m also in the process of writing something in response to John Dickson’s ebook on women and sermons, and this too will highlight disagreements with John about some important issues. (more…)

Memories of Chappo

When a great one like John Chapman goes home, we struggle to express our appreciation and sense of loss. Words like warrior, champion and hero come to mind. (more…)

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:

→ In the nicest possible way


In this Churchman editorial about recently-resigned Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Gerald Bray displays the peculiar genius the British have for politely and respectfully pouring a bucket on someone. (The link downloads a pdf.)

A disturbing review

Life, Sola Panel

It was in the Number 1 Bestseller bin at my local Christian bookstore when I strolled in for a browse last week. And it was hard to miss at other places around the store, with its bold, red, attention-grabbing cover: “Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together” by Mark and Grace Driscoll. (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…)

A thought about teenagers

Life, Sola Panel

I’ve been reflecting on how horrible teenagers can be. Here’s a quick pen portrait.

Teenagers find it very difficult to believe that the world does not revolve around them. They live in a self-regarding bubble, and cannot for the life of them see why things shouldn’t be organized for their convenience. They are quite happy to take, but reluctant to give. And although they do a lot of taking (and others do a lot of giving) words of thanksgiving are rarely on their lips. (more…)