On domestic violence

Life, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

In October 2013, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney passed the following motion:

33/13 Domestic violence and educating clergy

Synod requests Moore College and Ministry Training and Development, in consultation with the Safe Ministry Board and appropriate experts as required, having reviewed the input they already provide, to investigate and, as needed, develop an effective approach to educating ordinands and clergy in regards to domestic violence and how to respond when it comes up as an i ssue in marriage (and other relationships).

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Photo: istockphoto.com

Ignore the digital outrage

Couldn't Help Noticing, Everyday Ministry, Life, Sola Panel

Sometimes the best strategy is to say nothing. Ignore the offence. At least be careful how you share your digital outrage! (more…)

Testing your faith in divine intervention

Thought, Sola Panel

In the last few tragic days, I received the following comment in my twitter feed from an Australian journalist.

AIDS researchers and a Catholic nun among #MH17 victims. If you believe in a god, this would seriously be testing your faith.

I replied,
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Frozen my way

In 1624 a cathedral Dean wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” which ends with the famous lines “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

The relationship of the individual with the community is one of the ongoing tensions of life. To what extent is the individual sovereign and how much is the community sovereign?

To what extent should the individual enjoy the freedom to live as the ‘master of my fate and captain of my soul’; not just in the stoic acceptance of suffering but as the motto of life’s action. To what extent is life doing it “My Way”, or as the new Academy Award song would have it “let it go… no right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free”? (more…)

cross

An unavoidable truth: the doctrine of sin today

Thought

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…)

Crouching at the door

Editorial

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…)

Idolatry and the God of History

Life

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…)

→ Hell-raiser

Link

Tim Challies reflecting on Christian leaders who slide into gross moral or theological failure:

Did it begin with becoming a professional Christian instead of a man who communed with God day-by-day? Did it begin with allowing doubt to become a virtue and belief to become a liability? Did it begin with a desire to read the wrong books, to listen to the wrong preachers? Somehow, over months and years, he drifted away from the truth, he began to believe and then teach the lies. And then he followed those lies and celebrated them and destroyed his ministry.

What joy in hell?

Thought

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…)

An anatomy of sin

Life, Thought, Sola Panel

flickr: SashaW

The first stage in Paul’s announcement of the gospel of God’s grace is a concise anatomy of sin (Rom 1:18-32). Sin is, at its heart, a suppression of truth. This suppression of truth has a kind of logical progression to it: rejection of God (vv. 19-21) leads to worshipping the creation (vv. 22-23), then to sexual degradation (vv. 24-27), then to “all unrighteousness”, particularly rejection of family (v. 30), foolishness, faithlessness, heartlessness and ruthlessness (v. 31). Then there is the ultimate suppression of truth: the shameless promotion of sins committed by others (v. 32). At first glance, though, this logical progression might seem a little arbitrary. Does sexual immorality, for example, really lead people to approve of other people’s heartlessness and ruthlessness? (more…)

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Bible 101, Sola Panel

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Here’s a question as old as Christianity: if God has freely and completely forgiven me through the death and resurrection of Jesus—if it is all by grace and not by works—then what possible incentive is there for me to lead a new life of godliness? Why not just keep sinning, since God’s grace and forgiveness will cover it in the end? (more…)

Psalm 51:1-2

Bible 101

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

How aware of your sin are you? I find it’s often easy to minimize or brush under the carpet. Especially if it’s something others don’t know about, it can be easy to hide that aspect of my life, to pretend it doesn’t exist. But over time I start fooling myself, too, and I start to think that that part of my life isn’t so significant. (more…)

Escaping pornography

Review

When my grandfather was a boy, porn was something that was, for most people, hard to come by. It was the postcard passed around, the naughty story shared. While there was a sex industry—prostitutes, strip clubs, and the like—for most people this was the dark side of society, a place they never visited, rarely talked about. It was certainly not mainstream. (more…)