The second chaplain to New South Wales—Samuel Marsden—was born 250 years ago on 28th July 1764.1 He was slandered for most of his life, and the epithet ‘flogging parson’ has (sadly) stuck down the years and prejudiced thousands against a mighty man. Wise historians have recognized that standing so alone for Christ in a colony made up largely of soldiers and convicts it is no wonder Marsden was vilified.2 (more…)
When John Chapman came to your church in the 1970s, it was like the evangelical circus had come to town. I don’t mean that it was entertainment (though he was gripping) or that there were clowns (though he was hilarious) or even that it was a spectacle (though he was larger than life). I mean that it was the best day of the year. (more…)
As promised in Briefing #367, here’s another example of how to speak God’s life-changing word in any and every situation—this time, from Simon Manchester, who writes about what to say when you’re in a taxi and the driver seems talkative. (more…)
I wonder if Tony Payne has created a reductionist focus in pointing the church to act like a “fellowship of the redeemed” when it gathers (Briefing #362, ‘Is church for evangelism?’). In the descriptive ministry of Jesus, he turned effortlessly to the mix of his listeners (Luke 12). Paul could ask his readers to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5). (more…)
Nothing makes a preacher more unpopular than him telling his flock that they are all sinners. Yet nothing, as Simon Manchester discovers, is more essential for them.
When I was invited to write on this subject, my first reaction was to flatter myself that such a theme, though difficult, was merely secondary. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this subject is so central, so urgent and so (ultimately) wonderful, it must occupy our mind in all we do. Knowing how easy it is to begin an article, only to pull out part-way, I want to urge you to persevere so you reach the application (‘Practical issues’) so you will grasp the urgency of the task. Is it too much to say that we will never appreciate our saviour unless we appreciate our sin? Shallow views of sin lead to shallow views of Jesus: