St Patrick’s Day is a Saint’s day. There is nothing wrong with celebrating saint’s days, though there is nothing particularly right either. As our Apostle says: “One man esteems one day as better than another while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).
Legendary stories make it hard to know the truth about early saints. We do not know anything about some saints, like St Valentine, and what we know about other famous ones, like St Nicholas, is contradictory and confusing. Even for some Biblical saints there is very little information, like St Matthias or St Bartholomew. (more…)
I love art. I have to say that because nobody believes I do when I speak on idolatry. It’s the same with music. I have to protest my love of music whenever I question something about the use of music in Christian life. My protestations matter little to those who have art or music as their idols. However, I hope that you, dear reader, will not dismiss my criticisms as the mere prejudice of a Philistine. I do love art. (more…)
This Christmas the American Atheists have posted a large billboard in Times Square New York. It has two pictures: one of Santa Claus and the other of Jesus on the cross. The captions under the pictures are “Keep the Merry” and “Dump the Myth”. Apart from having the captions under the wrong pictures, the sentiment is one I agree with. (more…)
One holiday I read a book entitled “What If…’. It contained a series of essays posing questions about the great turning points of history and asking the simple question “What if something different happened?” What if Alexander the Great had been slain in battle? Or what if the Spanish Armada had landed successfully in Britain?
At the base of this book is the great truth that the world as we now know it is the result of earlier decisions and actions. Our life and society is contingent on past lives and society. (more…)
Last week, I wrote Submission and the Clash of Cultures. This week I want to follow it by writing about subjugation and the clash of cultures. For in website and blog comments regarding last week’s article the clash of world views became very obvious. The word ‘submission’ is, as I suggested, the presenting issue of something much bigger; it is a difference over “the nature of marriage, of human relationships and humanity itself”. (more…)
Behind the media brouhaha about the word “submission”, lies a clash of world views. It is a clash that feels difficult because of the heat of debate, but one that exposes something of the difference the gospel makes—not just in theory but also in practice. (more…)
When you are little your father is very big; you are weak, but he is very strong; you know very little and he seems to know everything, you feel feeble compared to his powerful presence.
When your father is very powerful, you are able to do so much. You feel safe and secure in his great arms. You are comfortable, if not confident, to ask him for anything. He takes you to places, shows you things, entertains you, houses, feeds, clothes and educates you. (more…)
Apologetic evangelism is neither apologetics nor evangelism. Since the language of today is apologetic, and certainty is considered arrogance, how then can we evangelise modern, or post-modern, society? (more…)
It’s amazing how culture changes and we don’t notice it. The practices that one generation took for granted become unknown, and slightly shocking, to a later generation. Even for those of us who live through the change it happens too incrementally for us to observe it. It is when we revisit the old times that we detect how much we have changed—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and often without any real difference. (more…)
One of the good news stories for Christians is the ministry amongst university students, and this story is just about to get better still. For this area of effective ministry is about to see a significant increase, thanks to recent Government decisions.
Contrary to popular opinion, or that of their parents, university students are not the most important people in the world. Nor is ministry amongst them important because of some supposedly elite status—“the future leaders of industry, government and the professions”. The world may think like that, but it is not a gospel perspective. (more…)
Censorship was a debate most people thought was won (or lost) in the 1960’s. But it has been neither won nor lost—just changed—and that for the worse. (more…)
There is no joy in hell.
Its very existence reassures us of ultimate justice. Where else can the victims of the Holocaust find justice? But justice is little comfort when we consider hell’s horror. (more…)
“This is as good as it gets” the man assured me. I was initially shocked, but then deeply saddened by his statement. It was an astonishing statement—but there was no doubting the sincerity with which he was speaking. (more…)
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…)
We Christians are very interested in church, and we have vested interests in church. So the question of what is church—and what is it for—is important to us. But is it the right question? (more…)