Tony Payne talks with Phillip Jensen about the history of The Briefing—how it began, what its aims have been, and where we stand now.
I suppose it’s like looking at old baby photos, but over the past month or so I’ve been browsing through some of the classic early articles in The Briefing. I chuckled over some of the ‘Lead Balloons’ we ran in those early days, like the article that proposed we should build deliberately crummy church buildings from now on, so that when the next generation needs to rebuild them or tear them down in 50 years’ time, there won’t be any loud objections from the heritage lobby about the destruction of our beautiful architecture.
This article is an edited transcript of an address given at the 2014 Nexus conference in Sydney.
And when [Paul] had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:36-38)
I am no geneticist, but I love the image of DNA. It is a beautiful creation of God, and I think quite a helpful metaphor for us in discussing what defines us and drives us as evangelicals. In this article, I want to explore the shape of our ‘DNA’ as people of the gospel and what can damage that DNA, and then suggest ways that we can strive to keep our DNA pure. (more…)
I have never thought of myself as a technologist, but now I realize that we all are. As Tim Challies has pointed out in his book, The Next Story, humans are incurably and inherently technological. We shape and form and make things constantly as we fulfil God’s creational purpose for us to multiply and subdue the earth. The things we make are usually neither good nor evil in themselves—a wheel, a fork, an office block, a chair, a screwdriver, a book—but each one can be used well or badly, and each one comes with both risks and benefits. (Some technologies, I would contend, are just inherently evil—such as the office laser printer—but we will leave that discussion for another time.) (more…)
Do we simply share the gospel? Not really.
We present the gospel in a way that is understandable to the person we are speaking to; we take their background understanding about God into account. In the book of Acts we see the apostle Paul do this. To the Jews he presented Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises God made through the prophets. To the Gentiles he proclaims that God is the creator, idols do not represent him, and that his true representative is Jesus who he raised from the dead. (more…)
Leon Morris was born 15 March, 1914. So today marks the centenary of his birth.
If you don’t know his name, he is one of foremost biblical scholars Australia has ever produced. (more…)
We had a talkfest here in Sydney recently called ‘The Festival of Dangerous Ideas’, at which participants could experience the frisson of discussing daring and explosive concepts with a soy latte in hand. Most of the ideas were in fact rather conventionally dangerous in a green-left sort of way, although gay activist Dan Savage received special marks for his dangerous idea that abortion should be made mandatory for 30 years to make a dent in the worldwide population problem. (The audience, having escaped the womb safely themselves, felt confident to clap.) (more…)
As we come to this third article in our series on work, we need to remember again the question that we’re seeking to answer: what place does our work have as we seek to follow Jesus in God’s world? What I have been arguing up until this point is that this question is actually not quite right. A better question, in light of the gospel, is “What works should we do as followers of Jesus in God’s world?” (more…)
We are a society that wants more. More money, more gadgets, more food, more fun. But strangely, wanting more often leaves us feeling dissatisfied. We finally get the thing we longed for, and yet all too soon it is broken, or the batteries have run down or it isn’t as good as we hoped. (more…)
I have never migrated from one country to another. The farthest I have ever moved was 500 miles from our family farm to go to university in Sydney. It was more than 30 years ago, but I can still remember the swirling sense of excitement, anxiety and disorientation of those early months in the Big Smoke. New streets, new transport, new housemates, new church… new everything. (more…)
I published yesterday’s post a little precipitously – one of those moments when you click on the “Publish” button and realise what you’ve done a little too late. So I am going to do what you must never do, and change yesterday’s post, adding an extra point that has been running around my head over the last few days. Here it is: (more…)
Late last year, our ministry team looked at 1 Timothy 3 and 4. We noticed how, smack bang in the middle of these chapters on Christian leadership, is “the mystery of godliness”: that is, Christ our Saviour (1 Tim 3:16 cf 4:10). In other words, to be faithful in pastoral ministry, you have to keep your eyes on Jesus. You have to fight to keep your eyes on Jesus.
And what a fight you will have on your hands. (more…)
I’m reading the Bible through, chronologically this time. I’ve just got to Leviticus: the shoal that’s wrecked a million Bible reading plans (at least, it did mine when I was a teenager). Once again, as I read this hard part of God’s word, it seeps into my skin and reshapes my insides.
There’s something beautiful about Leviticus. Sometimes, like those 3D pictures, you have to blur your eyes to see it. As you persevere through the bewildering details (split hooves? a sore with white hairs in it? two materials woven into one?) you begin to sense the outlines. Laws that protect life and relationships. Laws that forbid detestable practices and depraved worship. Laws that uphold justice and provide for the poor.1
There’s also something terrifying about Leviticus. (more…)