Who’s ready?


Testing the calibre of those preparing to enter Christian ministry

Men or boys? | photo: istock

Men or boys? | photo: istock

During the days of the Cold War, Brother Andrew began what has become the work of Open Doors.

He felt the call of God to run Bibles secretly into Communist countries to beleaguered churches and Christian leaders for their encouragement. It is interesting to read in his famous book, God’s Smuggler, about how the ministry expanded and how he tended to select people to join the work.

‘It wasn’t that we couldn’t find volunteers – almost every time one of us spoke someone offered himself for our work. The problem was to know whether or not these were the people God was sending us. In an effort to weed out the novelty-seekers and the merely curious I often said: ‘As soon as your own ministry of encouragement is started behind the Iron Curtain, get in touch with us and let’s see if we can work together.’1

For those offering to join his ministry Brother Andrew’s approach was to set them a working test of initiative and discipleship…(to read more click here)

Dr. John Benton

This article was first published in the February issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Meet the big guys! (book review)


INTRODUCING MAJOR THEOLOGIANS:Meet the big guys
From the Apostolic Fathers to the Twentieth
Century
By Michael Reeves
IVP. 335 pages. £14.99
ISBN 978 1 783 592 722

Historical theology is a valuable tool for deepening and enriching our understanding of the Christian faith.

While our theology must be based on Scripture as our supreme authority and should also be conversant with the thinking and cultural context of today’s world, we would be foolish to ignore what previous generations have taught. Faithful theology must be deeply informed by the church’s tradition. This is not traditionalism, although that is a constant danger, but rather the way of wisdom as we learn from the best that has been left to us by our forefathers.

However, there is bad and good historical theology. Bad historical theology cherry-picks the bits from the past that we like and that confirm what we think rather than reading the older theologians in their historical context. Sadly there is far too much of that kind of historical theology among evangelicals... (to read more click here)

Kenneth Brownell, senior minister, East London Tabernacle

This article was first published in the February 2016 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit our website or subscribe to en for regular updates.

Serving as a single woman


Rebecca and Eleanor investigate the joys and challenges of the unmarried Christian worker

photo: iStock

photo: iStock

Biblical Christianity values singleness like no other world religion.

It is a prized and precious gift, an encouraged option for a fulfilled life of service. Yet many Christian singles struggle with this ‘gift’. A huge proportion – our estimate is more than half – of women in full-time ministry are single1. We conducted interviews with over 50 people 2 in order to investigate the challenges and blessings for single women working in UK churches, para-church organisations and on the mission field, with the aim of encouraging and affirming them and better equipping those working alongside them.

We will report our findings in a series of three en articles. Here, in the first, we share our summary observations.

Unique ministry

Our respondents were eager to talk of the privilege and joy of serving the Lord. They felt that their singleness forced them to rely on God in deeper ways than colleagues with a spouse to talk to, and several spoke of the sweetness of uttering their first and last words of the day to Jesus. They rejoiced in the.…(to read more click here)

This article was first published in the February issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

I was sick and you visited me.


Mike Mellor, of Hope Church, Ferndown, encourages us to minister hope in times of need

photo: iStock

photo: iStock

She was frail as a sparrow.

Her legs were like pencils and her ill-fitting teeth barely kept up with her mouth as she spoke. But on asking how she was as she lay in her bed, Gracie’s china blue eyes twinkled mischievously as she beamed and chirped: ‘I’m packed and ready to go, pastor!’ And indeed she was and she did, as a few days later the Lord gathered up another of his jewels. It had been my immense privilege on my visits to seek to make her transition a little more comfortable.

Loving channels

I would frequently receive the same message: ‘Gracie’s fallen again.’ I knew the cause of the fall before I called on her, of course. Those legs were just not built for speed. However, I lost count of the times I returned from visiting her thinking the same thought: ‘Just who ministered to whom there?’ Once more I would be reminded of the eternal dimension to this work of ‘visiting the sick’, and the blessing that God grants to those who go in Jesus’s name.

Bible teacher and author Warren Wiersbe rightly states.…(to read more click here)

Mike Mellor

This article was first published in the January issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

When sharing isn’t caring


Gervase Markham challenges our Internet behaviour

photo: iStock

photo: iStock

Sharing – who could be against that?

Or, in today’s online world, who could even avoid it? Anyone using the web will have noticed that every article sports multiple ways of letting your contacts know what a great read it was. Twitter uses ‘retweeting’; on Facebook it’s ‘liking’; on Pinterest it’s ‘pinning’. We wander through the virtual world, scattering reproductions of what we encounter to left and right. These sharing mechanisms are a big part of why they call it social media.

But it’s very possible to share from bad motives, or to share with bad effects. Beware in particular of the following five evils:.…(to read more click here)

Gervase Markham lives in Darnall, Sheffield with his wife and three small boys, and is a member of The Crowded House church. You can reach him at gerv@gerv.net

This article may be reproduced and modified under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 International licence . Contact the author for an electronic copy.

This article was first published in the January issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

The working class and Christ


David Binder interviews SixtyEightFive founder, Ian Williamson.

Ian Williamson

Ian Williamson

Many have argued that the evangelical church in the UK has been largely dominated by the middle class.

More should be done to reach those in poorer, working-class areas. Christ’s Great Commission demands it.

One example of working-class gospel ministry already taking place is through the charity Sixtyeightfive, founded by married father of two Ian Williamson. Working in some of the most deprived wards in the country, this ministry seeks to evangelise and disciple men and women in the North East England town of Middlesbrough who have been raised in a fatherless environment.

I caught up with Ian to chat more about his own testimony, the work of the charity and how it is reaching the working class for the gospel.

en: Tell us more about your personal connection with the issues the SixtyEightFive ministry engages with.
IW: I was raised in Middlesbrough by my mum, who was a lone parent. I longed to have my dad around and as such I suffered from fear, anger and found it difficult to understand what it means to be a man. I didn’t have anybody to tell me about cars, football, how to fix a puncture or to shave, for example!

My mum became a Christian when I was 14 and the family went to church with her.

The youth group at the church had an invisible but very noticeable divide between the estate kids and the church kids and I soon became dissatisfied and started knocking around with friends from school rather than the kids from the church.

Before I left the church at 16 I spent some time with a young man living on the estate who was also raised in a fatherless environment.… (to read more click here)

David Binder blogs at http://thoughtsofbinder.wordpress.com/

This article was first published in the December issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

When is failure faithful


Dr. Mike Ovey asks if current evangelicals are in denial about some important matters

image: iStock

image: iStock

A week ago I was at a major Church of England jamboree as a friend was installed in a new and more senior post.

The cathedral was packed, hats and dog collars were on view and just for a moment it was easy to pretend. Easy to pretend that the Church of England was central rather than peripheral in the life of our country and its citizens. Easy to pretend that we are a success story rather than a tale of failure. So too, frankly, with evangelicals. We meet at our conferences, theatres are packed, cafés overflow and for a moment we forget.

Some encouragements but…

I quite appreciate that it is emotive and depressing to talk of ‘failure’, and that most of us prefer something more upbeat. On the other hand, isn’t there a risk of denial? Again, I am not saying there are no encouragements. It is great to hear of church plants, of sinners turning by God’s grace to the Lord Jesus through our outreach. And there certainly is a contrast between an evangelical movement that clings on and just holds its own numerically and the catastrophic downturn in churches that thought theological liberalism was some kind of answer. Obviously, by almost any measure, liberalism has failed in our country, failed numerically, failed in the popularity stakes and failed in faithfulness. If anything, I think those obvious points need to be made even more forcefully now.

Who are we not reaching?

But I wonder whether this doesn’t lead us to gloss over some of our own realities. We rightly admit that there are unreached people groups in the UK, thinking largely of race. We are far less comfortable admitting there are also increasingly unreached classes, and not just the various underclasses in our cities, but classes of entrenched interest and power in the creative and media sectors.

These classes have enormous influence, not wrong in itself, but that influence has been used to reframe what counts publicly as right and wrong. Notable examples have been the support for…(to read more click here)

Dr Mike Ovey

This article was first published in the November issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.