Here are a handful of news-bites included in the January issue of en. Please use these articles to spur your prayers, personally or in regular prayer meetings, as we pray for our country.
Open Doors celebrated 60 years of missionary work on 14 November.
An event was held at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Birmingham.
In 1955, Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, followed a prompt from God to visit Communist Poland to bring ‘greetings’ to the church there. Now 2,300 friends from all over the world flocked to the ICC – an incredible thing to witness having begun with just one man on an adventure.
Brother Andrew began smuggling Bibles into Eastern Europe in 1957. Today Open Doors missionaries are supporting the persecuted church in over 50 countries.
The 60th anniversary edition of God’s Smuggler includes photographs from Brother Andrew’s travels and an exclusive interview with him about his more recent adventures in Gaza and the Middle East, China and Africa, as well as his thoughts on the challenges facing the church today.
Brother Andrew had always sought after some great adventure. His boyhood was mischievous and his years in the Dutch Army were wild, though none of it would match the things the Lord had planned for him. He had searched for an adventure and all he found was vanity – until he found Christ.
He made a decision to be a soldier for the Lord on the frontlines of the growing struggles of the persecuted church, starting in Eastern Europe. Prayer was his shield and faith his sword.
We read over and again of God’s faithfulness to Brother Andrew and the church, and we bare witness to this 60 years on – generations later. By grace the Open Doors ministry is able to... (to read more click here)
Out now in the JANUARY 2016 issue of Evangelicals Now…
An atheist told me last month that though he did not believe in God, but if he were to believe ‘it would have to be the God of hell and brimstone.’
He was sharing a general distaste for modern, liberal presentations of God and a preference for more traditional views. Of course, all such conversations are a little pointless. It matters very little what kind of God we would like to believe in. What matters is who God is – not who we would like God to be. However, the comment was perceptive. A God of holiness and judgment commands interest and respect.
Presenting the doctrine of hell
One aspect of this problem is the way we present the doctrine of hell. For many, hell has become such an embarrassing theme that it is dropped out of Christian vocabulary. Attempts to restore the word are not helped when the concept has been changed out of recognition.
In Rob Bell’s Love Wins there is a clear drift towards…(click here to read more)
Chris is lecturer at Moorlands College and pastor of Alderholt Chapel. His books include Confident Christianity and Time Travel to the Old Testament published by IVP.
We live in a time in the West which has become suspicious of all authority. It is generally seen as oppressive and demeaning of others.
This fuels the argument concerning the roles of men and women in the home and in the church. The battle over the legitimacy of authority, in matters such as male headship in the family has now led right back to God, with questions concerning the relationships between the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Pro-feminist, egalitarian theologians have recently tried to argue that any thought of the eternal submission of the Son to the Father inevitably undermines the true deity of the Son and leads towards the error of Arianism.
This book is a robust rebuttal of this charge. It is written by complementarians who believe that both the Scriptures and the fundamental creeds of the church have always taught that the Father, Son and Spirit are identical in essence and equal in status, but that there is a structure to their relationship. In particular they argue that the Son’s obedience to the Father during his incarnation is rooted in his eternal willing subordination to the Father.
The first chapter sees Wayne Grudem uncovering the doctrinal deviations into which evangelical feminists… (to read more click here)
Professor John Wyatt explains why Christians ought to be against this
In September, the MP Rob Marris will introduce a Private Members Bill into the House of Commons.
It is designed to allow doctors to assist in the suicide of patients with a terminal illness who have less than six months to live. Those in favour of this Bill argue that it will allow a small number of determined individuals who wish to kill themselves to be given a medically and legally approved method to achieve their wishes.
Support and wording
There is no doubt that there seems to be widespread public support for a change in the law, although in public surveys the percentage in favour changes dramatically depending on the wording of the question.
Lord Carey, former archbishop of the Church of England, has added his voice in favour of a change in the law. Speaking in a debate in the House of Lords in 2014, he said that he had changed his previous opposition to assisted suicide. ‘When suffering is so great that some patients, already knowing that they are at the end of life, make repeated pleas to die, it seems a denial of that loving compassion which is the hallmark of Christianity to refuse to allow them to fulfil their own clearly stated request– after, of course, a proper process of safeguards has been observed. If we truly love our neighbours as ourselves, how can we deny them the death that we would wish for ourselves in such a condition? That is what I would want… .’
Best compassionate response?
Lord Carey and others are arguing that Christian believers have a duty to provide the option of a quick and painless suicide for those who request it at the end of life. The emotional power of Carey’s words are obvious. Both Christian teaching and common humanity demand that we respond with… (to read more click here)
John Wyatt is Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics at University College London. His book Matters of Life and Death is published by IVP. Finishing Line, a series of five Bible discussions for church groups or individuals, is published jointly by Keswick Resources and CARE. His new book ‘Right to Die – euthanasia, assisted suicide and end of life care’ was published by IVP in November 2015.
Half a lifetime ago, a good friend, David Porter, a gifted writer and editor, now with the Lord, spoke at our church on the subject of rock music and the Christian. It was a fascinating evening, illustrated by a number of rare recordings. What stuck in my mind was the similarity between the Stones’s 1965 hit The Last Time and an ancient tape of a US black church choir. The choruses seemed very alike, but the choir’s theme was the return of Christ. No one knows the day or the hour. This could be the last time we meet as a church. And similarly we could say this could be the last time we meet for prayer, or for a Christmas carol service. He comes at an unexpected hour (Matthew 24.44). ‘This could be the last time – I don’t know.’ Quite a thought! …(to read more click here)
On 30 September David Robertson participated in a debate with the Revd Scott McKenna, in his Mayfield /Salisbury Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.
This debate had arisen because of Mr McKenna’s sermon on YouTube in which he declared that Christ dying for our sins is ‘ghastly theology’. David Robertson, who is Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, wrote a response to which McKenna objected. The two men met and had a good conversation and decided to hold that conversation in public.
The subject of the nature of Christ’s work on the cross as substitutionary atonement is crucial for Evangelicalism and drew many to come and listen. Over 250 people gathered on a Wednesday evening to hear this theological discussion.
David Robertson reflected on the debate, answering a number of questions for en.
en: How would you describe the strength of the evangelical view of the cross?
DR: The liberal gospel cannot stand before the biblical gospel. The narrative is usually that an evangelical biblical understanding is a dumbed-down fundamentalism that is easily swept away by the enlightened, compassionate learning of the liberal interpretation.
The trouble is that contemporary liberal theology is a house of cards. When it comes into contact with a more robust, solid biblical theology it is easily blown apart. There were so many examples of this in the debate itself. (You can read the full transcript at http://www.theweeflea.wordpress.com/2015/10/0 8/a-theological-conversation-with-scott-mckenna/) The liberal often uses a simplistic version of theology/history and language to confuse people. Scott, for example, at first declared that the doctrine of the atonement came about through Anselm, but during the debate he said it was invented by Calvin! Scott tried to claim that the Church Fathers supported his view, but was unable to substantiate his claims (at this point I was very thankful for the habit I have had for many years of reading ten pages from the church fathers each day!).
en: What do you think the debate says about the Church of Scotland?
DR: Sadly, I think the liberal establishment of the Church of Scotland is rotten to the core. I don’t say this because… (click here to read more)