I was reminded today of a tremendously important and compelling argument against redefining marriage—not from a Christian point of view, but a libertarian one. The case was made—cogently, I believe—by Jennifer Roback Morse last year. (more…)
On Tuesday evening, our mid-week church group enjoyed an American-style Thanksgiving dinner together. The Thanksgiving dinner has been a group tradition for a number of years now, although this is the first time our family has been part of it (we joined the group in January). It was a great time of fellowship and fun. We had a couple of real live Americans and a Canadian present, and I’m pleased to say that the dinner—complete with turkey, stuffing, corn bread, mashed potato, pumpkin pie and other tasty & filling dishes cooked by group members—received thumbs-up for authenticity! (more…)
The heart and wellspring of all evangelical theology is the cross of the Christ. It is in the light of the cross that we truly understand God and truly understand ourselves.
It demonstrates God’s deep and determined love and it demonstrates God’s deep and determined love for sinners (Rom 5:8). I cannot avoid the reality and seriousness of my sin when I attend to the awful glory of what happened outside the walls of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. I cannot avoid the determined and loving purpose of God when I consider who it was who died there. The innocent Christ of God, the Word made flesh, the glorious Son who took to himself in the fullest way possible the form of a servant, was butchered as an insurrectionist by those who denied the Father who sent him. Since God was certainly not powerless to prevent it, nor does he take some kind of perverse pleasure in such acts of gross injustice and cruelty, especially when directed towards his Son, we are forced to ask what made it necessary. What was so serious that such a grim remedy was needed? What turns this divine and human tragedy into an act of love? (more…)
In the last issue of the Briefing, we began a little quest to understand what God has to say about work. And, perhaps strangely, we ended up spending a whole article speaking about the creation mandate (God’s command to humanity to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it). Whether you found this helpful or frustrating will probably depend on two things. (1) Are you a big picture person or a details person? and (2) What were you expecting to hear? (more…)
Last night, on a serious Australian current affairs program, Q&A, our current serving Prime Minister, a self-professed Christian, grossly caricatured the Bible. (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…)
This is a great reflection on the temptation of Jesus in the desert by Byron Yawn, and a worked example of how to mis-apply Jesus’ actions to ourselves, and in so doing domesticate them entirely.
Seriously. What’s the assumed application of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness? By assumed I mean – What have we been told (over years of preaching) this event is about? Is it not usually offered as a set of “principles” on how Christians can resist temptation? Or to put that another way, it’s about us. But honestly, is this really what’s happening at this moment? Is Jesus really offering an example how we can personally resist the temptation of the devil? Is this a tutorial for daily living? Of course not! A “how to” on resisting temptation is a secondary application at best if not tertiary. He’s not telling us to do anything. He’s actually doing it for us. There is something much greater under way in this moment. More importantly, do we need to be standing within view of the actual site to realize how misguided our take on it is?
One of the standard ways that the New Atheists attack Christianity is by using some of the Old Testament war passages to argue that God is violent and petty. One of the favourite passages for this is the so-called Amalekite Genocide of 1 Samuel 15. But difficulties with passages such as this are not restricted to atheists. In 2009, the popular website Ship of Fools ran a feature called Chapter and Worse. 1 Readers were invited to submit their least favourite Bible passages, and an evangelical acquaintance of mine submitted 1 Samuel 15:3.
Athanasius didn’t think Trinitarian deviation was a case of “all one in Christ”.
Yes, I’m talking about Hillsong Conference 2013 with TD Jakes on the platform. Jakes has come from Oneness Pentecostalism—a modalist trinitarian heresy—and still equivocates about orthodox trinitarian confession. (more…)
It’s lunchtime. A young mother sits on the bench, painting her eight-month-old’s face with food—that mouth is hard to find. With her spare third eye she watches her toddler negotiate the finer points of park etiquette with the oversized gorilla who isn’t interested in sharing the springy rocker thing—he’s four! For just a moment she gives herself permission to dream about being the council worker digging a trench on the other side of the park. What a life! (more…)
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…)
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…)
I have heard the claim that Jesus never died on the cross many times over the years, in person, in the press, on the web and via social media. Here is my reply. (more…)
Deep darkness is punctuated by the flash of a thousand cameras; rumbling bass rattles through my bones. Throughout the arena I can hear the burbling, surging, building crescendo of music ready to erupt—and then, with a synthesizer burst, lights erupt throughout the stadium, only to be extinguished just as quickly.1 (more…)