Reproduced with permission from the reviewer. Copyright 9Marks, February 2013. (more…)
We live in a time of unprecedented change. For the first time in history we have access to the world in our pocket. The Internet has changed everything. The way we work and learn, communicate and connect has dramatically altered. And while some may argue that this is not good, it’s here and we can’t turn our back to it. How can we possibly ignore the billions of people who use social media every day?
This raises many questions. One of the most important is: how will the church adapt to make the most of this new situation to advance the mission of Jesus? (more…)
I sat down to write this editorial the week before the Australian federal election, and there was a controversy raging over the current Prime Minister’s comments about the New Testament, slavery, and same-sex marriage. (more…)
THE INTOLERANCE OF TOLERANCE
DA CARSON, EERDMANS, 2012, 186PP.
You might have noticed a strange kind of double-speak going on around us. If you dare to hold a different opinion to the broader culture on a contentious issue, whether on marriage, sexuality, God or something else, you have a reasonable chance of being told to keep quiet because you’re being intolerant. I’m not talking about sanctioning or acting against those with whom you disagree; just holding a different position. If you dare to point out that perhaps your alternative views ought to be tolerated—well, heaven help you. (more…)
Back in 1981, Christian hearts thrilled to see a mainstream popular film treat Christian conscience positively. The film was Chariots of Fire and the Christian conscience was that of Eric Liddell, the man who refused to run in the Olympics on a Sunday. It was just so different to see a man of genuine faith presented in a film as a hero instead of a moral failure or a narrow-minded hypocrite.
Yet there was something odd about the insistence on the Lord’s Day Observance. If we were going to stand for principle somewhere should it really be about not running on a Sunday? It was not like having sport organized for every Sunday in opposition to Church as we have it today. It was the once every four years Olympics drawing people from all over the world to Paris in 1924 for a short period of competition. Is it really forbidden in Scripture to run on a Sunday in such a circumstance? (more…)
Well, to think that I almost didn’t write yesterday’s post, because my relatively few friends on Facebook had said it all… Since then I’ve trawled through over a total of 700 comments (and counting), between this blog, the Drum (on ABC) and various friends’ FB links. Today I am going to attempt a few follow ups. (more…)
Late last year we were confronted by news of the horrific shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, USA. The senseless massacre of six adults and twenty children quickly sparked calls for governments to consider reforms for gun control, so as to protect lives and prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. (more…)
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…)
Geoff Robson has been writing a series on voting as a Christian—a topic particularly relevant for Australians at the moment, but for many of us around the world. He’s concluded the five parts with four ways to vote, and a broader reflection on the role and limitations of government:
Where governments can pass laws to protect people and restrain evil, they can never change the heart. But Jesus can. Jesus changes his people from the inside. He doesn’t just give us an example to follow: by dying to make us his people and pouring out his Spirit, he gives us new hearts so we actually can consider others better than ourselves. We can begin to love God and live for him. We can love our neighbour as ourselves, even using the privilege of our vote for the sake of others.
The whole series is well worth reading. If you missed it, the first post is on how God thinks about government, and is an excellent place to start.
[Prayer] is probably the most distinctive Christian contribution to the political process. We can vote, act, speak out and protest in much the same way as our non-Christian neighbours. But we can do something they can never do: Pray to the God of the universe. Your most important contribution to the political process happens not when you step into the ballot box, or when you write a letter to your MP, or when you take part in a peaceful protest march. It happens on your knees.
Australians are going to the polls soon to elect their national representatives. In light of this, Geoff Robson is posting up a series on how Christians ought to think about politics. For readers outside of Australia, read on too, and squirrel it away for May 2015, or November 2016, or whenever you’re next called on to vote.
My goal over these five posts is simply to provide an overview of how Christians should think about politics. I hope to cover:
1) An introduction to Christians and government
2) Christians and interacting with our government
3) How not to vote
4) How to vote (NOT who to vote for!)
5) The limitations of government
As well as addressing the specific topic, I have another goal in mind. Too often, Christians segregate their faith from other parts of their life – including their views of politics. We can completely divorce our faith in Jesus from our voting patterns. Or we can connect the two – but in a superficial way. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul says that Christians are to “take every though captive to obey Christ”. At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, in the Great Commission, Jesus says that ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him – meaning he has total authority over every single part of our lives. We may confess these things to be true and important, but the reality of sin means none of us acts or thinks as though they are really true. While these posts will only scratch the surface on one area of thought, I hope that thinking about these issues goes some way towards helping us all see that the Lordship of Jesus has to impact and transform every single aspect of our lives, without exception.
Even in a fallen world there is great joy in living. God has created a wonderful world in which his pleasures seem prodigal in their distribution. At every turn there are more things to enjoy. While sin mars and distorts our joys, it does not seem to overcome them.
Amongst the pleasures of this world are eating and drinking. For God has created all foods “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:3-4). While endless TV cooking shows exhibit our sinful preoccupation with what we eat and what we drink (Matt 6:25ff.), there is nothing wrong with finding joy in preparing food nor pleasure in eating it. Indeed, food generously and thoughtfully prepared for others’ enjoyment can be one of the great ways of expressing our loving service. (more…)
There was no eulogy at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.
Some would say there was no good word to be spoken about her, but that was not the reason. Rather it was the funeral of a woman, not the celebration of her life. And a funeral is not a celebration. (more…)
If the Holy Spirit was my personal shopper I wouldn’t have a problem. Long pants: modest. Short shorts: immodest. Long sleeve shirt: modest. Plunging neckline: immodest.
Modesty seems obvious, and would be simple if I could just get the right skirt length and be done with it—unfortunately the heart issue is more complicated. This is what Tim Challies and RW Glenn explore in Modest. (more…)
Africa is a beautiful continent. There is stunning scenery—the mountains, valleys and lakes of the Rift Valley—and world-famous wildlife. It is also poorer and much less developed than in the West. The majority of people live in villages. There is a shorter life expectancy, and a tragically high incidence of HIV-AIDS. It is less politically stable than countries like Australia. But, most significantly, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most Christian places on earth! (more…)