Responding to disaster

Life

 

Earthquakes, floods, snow storms… It wouldn’t take much thought to start a list of all the disasters that have occurred in recent times. Death and misery fill the news websites and television broadcasts, as people lose their homes, livelihoods and loved ones at the hand of nature.

D Broughton Knox, the influential 20th century Australian theologian, also saw disasters come during his lifetime. We thought that this article by him, published in the Selected works of Broughton Knox (Volume III) and originally a radio broadcast from January 1975, would be relevant and thought-provoking.

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The God of infinite power

It is easy to read about God in the wrong way. Yes (*yawn*), he is big. Certainly (*stretch*), he is powerful. Absolutely (*droop*), he does stuff in our world. These truths are so commonplace, they sound boring to sinful ears. But this extract from D Broughton Knox’s The Everlasting God unfolds the biblical witness to reveal a God whose power is so immense, it’s frightening. And yet his power is the only guarantee of comfort in a broken world. We pray that you might read this slowly and learn again of the God who is there—the God whose infinite power is directed towards you, his friend.

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What is the gospel?

Thought

What is the gospel? This may seem an obvious or even a stupid question. Of course we all know what the gospel is. This essay by DB Knox may make you think again.1 Is the gospel we preach the same gospel preached by Jesus and the apostles?

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The Gospel, the Whole Gospel and Nothing But the Gospel

The Protestant Faith radio broadcast, 23 February 1975.

On more than one occasion, Jesus said that those who follow him would not be popular. “If they have hated me, they will hate you also”, were his words. They have proved true. Christian believers and Christian clergy are constantly under ridicule. In other societies such as Russia, they are actively persecuted. On the other hand, we all like to be popular with our fellows, so there is a constant temptation for Christians to play down the gospel message of salvation. For the message is about the awful judgement of God and of Jesus, the only saviour. This message is resisted by the conscience of the hearer, and so there is a temptation to change it into something more acceptable, for example, into a call to set right wrongs and injustices.

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Duty of a minister

The Christian church is a fellowship and it is a reflection of the heavenly fellowship. This fact is the standard to test certain theories and activities connected with the church. For example, our church services—are they run in a mechanical way, or do we recognize one another’s presence as we sing or pray? Take another example: how should a denominational organization be structured? It is plain that central organization can only be justified if it is a strengthening of the fellowship of the congregation, and this means that centralized authority must be very carefully used so as not to impair the responsibility and reality of the local fellowship. Power is temptation, for power destroys fellowship.

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Let the word do it

Church attendance is one of the duties of those who profess to obey Christ, and is a God-ordained means for growth in the christian life. Accordingly, a clergyman often finds himself urging reluctant members to attend more regularly.

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Repentance

It is always interesting to hear the first sermon a minister preaches in his parish, as this is often a key to what he regards as his most important message. And so it is of special interest to note what Jesus preached in his opening sermons.

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The Christian and money

Life

Money figures largely in our thoughts. We occupy a lot of time thinking about it, about how much we have got, how much we need, how much we earn, how much we spend. The New Testament also has a lot to say about money, and what it says is quite remarkable because it is the opposite to what we normally think about money.

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The joy of ministry

Pastoral Ministry

In Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, verse 20, we read ‘Howbeit in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’.
This verse comes at the end of a short passage reporting our Lord’s words to the seventy disciples on their return from the ministry on which he had sent them. They came back full of joy in the success of their ministry. (more…)

Seven Principles of Prayer

Life

Prayer is a universal phenomenon amongst mankind. Men and women have always prayed everywhere. It is a natural consequence of believing in God. Humanity, by nature, believes in the existence of deity, that is, in a super-human, powerful, eternal being or beings with whom we are related and on whom, in some way, we depend. It is a concept congruous with our knowledge of ourselves and of the world. And so prayer is a natural activity. It springs out of our sense of need and of God’s relationship to us and his ability to help.

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The Church and the denominations

Thought

Used by permission. First published in Reformed Theological Review, 23 (1964).

The important word ‘church’ is used in current language with at least six different meanings. For example, it is used for a building, a denomination, or a profession. But interestingly enough it is seldom used in its basic New Testament meaning.

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