The Shack: re-inventing God

Image from the film’s promotional material – image:


It hit the screens in June. Church leaders – are you ready to guard the flock?

Wonderful science

…As the facts of science are uncovered the basis for a totally chance universe seems to be getting smaller and smaller by the day. The world in its rebellion is against God, but the evidence is against the atheist and it will continue to accumulate….

Bad day tonic (book review)

POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGEPostcards from the edge
Finding God In Hard Places
By Ian Coffey
IVP. 135 pages. £7.99
ISBN 978 1 783 592 050

The words we write ‘from the edge’ can often be the most insightful and profound, encapsulating what really matters when our journey is dark and challenging.

The rubbish is cleared away and the values that are lasting come to the fore. With warm transparency, a strong degree of emotional intelligence and a big pastoral heart, Ian Coffey explores the depths that many of us can experience when circumstances are desperate and we need to discover the God who walks with us during our most difficult times.

Characters in crisis

Each chapter deals with a biblical character facing crisis, but begins and ends with a contemporary story, or a personal illustration from the author himself. This adds to the book’s authenticity, making the applications real and giving a tone of relevance and integrity. The tough issues are addressed, the doubts and fears are explored and there is a refreshing absence of simplistic clichés and trite platitudes. The content is both substantial and accessible, an effective and helpful combination.

Postcards from the Edge could very easily be used as a study guide in a group context (to read more click here)

Sian Baker
Lansdowne, Bournemouth.

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.

Facing a gunman (book review)

Prepared for a purposePREPARED FOR A PURPOSE
Antoinette Tuff with Alex Tresniowski
Bethany House Publishers. 232 pages. £9.99
ISBN 978 0 764 212 635

How do you prepare for a crisis? Can you ever be mentally, physically and spiritually ready if a disaster, or another devastation, occurred to you or to those you care for? In the material comfort of our Western culture we can be lulled into a false sense of security. How then can we prepare ourselves so that we are ready when the need arises?

Prepared for a Purpose relates the story of Antoinette Tuff, who found herself on 20 August 2013 as the last line of defence between 840 school children and a masked gunman in a school in Georgia…. (to read more click here)

Amy Adcock
Christian, wife, mum, pastor’s wife,
Great Whyte Baptist Church, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire

This article was first published in the October 2015 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit our website or subscribe to en for regular updates.

So you have no children?

Pastor’s wife, Tracey Richards, shares her story

No children

We had known much excitement in the week and a half of moving to Marlow.

It was October 1998. We had been married for three years and we were excited by the new opportunity to minister to God’s people in our first pastorate. All these joys and prospects were magnified by the fact that I was pregnant with our first child. We both wanted children very much.

Before leaving for our first church meeting I felt a sudden sharp pain in my abdomen. Hoping that the pain would pass I continued to get ready to leave, but the pain only became worse and more intense.

Life shattered

My husband, Evan, went alone to the meeting, which left us both feeling disappointed and sad.

On arriving home and discovering my worsening condition (to read more click here)

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

Rejoice in the Lord

Paul Mallard tells us how to avoid making our ministry into an idol

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

There is nothing wrong with enjoying the glorious honour of preaching Christ.

Indeed, preachers should worry if they don’t enjoy it. However, they must never allow it to take the place of Christ.

A few decades ago my wife became seriously ill with a neurological condition, which could have resulted in the end of public ministry for both of us.1 I remember having to face this as a very real possibility. Amidst the tempest of painful and confusing thoughts that roared through my mind at the time, one of the greatest challenges was the realisation that I might never preach again.

It felt like a bereavement.

The Lord challenged me about my love for him. What was first in my affection? What did I love more: the proclamation of Christ or the Christ I proclaimed? I knew the right answer. I also knew my own heart. After a fierce battle, I remember sitting on a bench and then getting down onto my knees and praying something like this: ‘OK, Lord, I surrender. I want to love you more than my ministry. If you are going to take it from me, then I accept your will. Help me to delight in Jesus.

My ministry did not end. In fact, my wife and I discovered that we were able to minister out of the pain that we felt. And that’s another story. But the battle to keep Christ central has never gone away. It is a daily battle. Something in my heart always wants to replace the love of Jesus with the love of the things that I do for him.

What is the secret of victory?

It is to be utterly

(to read more click here)

This article is an edited extract from Staying Fresh: Serving with Joy by Paul Mallard, recently published by IVP and is used with permission.

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

Is there anybody out there?

Paul Copan and Kenneth D Litwak critique Naturalism and Scientism from the Christian point of view



Most children read Dr Seuss at some stage.

In Dr Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, a mean-spirited kangaroo opposes the elephant Horton’s conviction that small persons can exist in an invisible world on a flower Horton found. Despite Horton’s conviction about what he clearly heard, the kangaroo announces, ‘If you can’t see, hear, or feel something, it doesn’t exist!’

This pretty well summarises the view of many scientifically-minded academics on campuses today. They are opposed to the postmodern mood embraced by many of their peers, but they venture into another form of academic dogmatism.

Science alone?

During the Protestant Reformation, renewed emphasis was give to certain doctrines that had been diminished over the centuries: sola scriptura (‘Scripture alone’ is ultimately authoritative and, when push comes to shove, trumps church tradition) solus Christus (‘Christ alone’ is the basis of our salvation), sola gratia (God’s ‘grace alone’ is the source of our salvation) and sola fide (the means of salvation is ‘by faith alone’ rather than human effort). Well, in the academy, we regularly encounter the quasi-religious dogma of sola scientia, that ‘science alone’ can give us … (to read more click here)

This article is an edited extract from The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas by Copan and Litwak, published by IVP, ISBN 978 1 783 591 282, and is used with permission.

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

Is there anybody out there?

What set Mez McConnell on the road to becoming a Christian?

Mez McConnell

Mez McConnell

My story starts before I was even born.

My parents’ marriage was doomed from the start. I was only two when my mother ran off leaving my three-year-old sister and me with our grandparents. From that point, childhood memories are a mixture of anger, pain and loneliness. Abandoned by my mother, I was often clueless about my father’s whereabouts, while his girlfriend – a cruel, angry and violent woman ‘looked after us’. She wasn’t nice and would get angry with us kids and hit us. She would get angry a lot.

Dad wasn’t there

One day, Dad left us at a big house. He said we were there to stay for a while. I cried a lot, but nobody hit me and there were loads of other children. I celebrated my seventh birthday at the big house. They gave me my first-ever party with a cake and everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’. But Dad wasn’t there. I felt so alone. This was my first experience of… (to read more click here)

Mez McConnell is the pastor for Niddrie Community Church, near Edinburgh. He is also the Director of 20schemes which is dedicated to revitalising and planting gospel churches in Scotland’s poorest communities. Previously he was a missionary with street kids in Brazil. He is married and has two children. This article is an edited extract from his book What’s the Point of Life, published by Christian Focus, £0.85, ISBN 978 1 781 913 550 and is used with permission.

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

The Doctor’s Bible

Doctors BibleLeaving his anxious Christian family behind, he went off to become a medical student… Faith Cook tells the story.

It was 1856.

Seventeen-year-old William Mackay was about to leave his home in Montrose, Scotland to start his medical studies in Edinburgh. An ambitious and intelligent young man, he was eagerly anticipating his future career, but as his mother helped William pack his belongings, she felt a dart of anxiety.

Would her son remember the faith that his parents had taught him? Carefully she slipped a parting gift into William’s trunk – a Bible, inscribing it with her son’s name and with her own. Underneath she added a verse as a beacon to guide the young man through the maze of temptations which might so easily entangle him.

Despising the Scriptures

Quickly absorbed into his new surroundings and studies, William paid little attention to his mother’s gift. The Bible lay in his room neglected. His new friends had little time for those truths that William had been taught to respect. Unbelieving and cynical, they looked with contempt on anyone who held such long outmoded ideas. Soon William, too, started to spurn the faith he had learnt at home. Like his peers, he began to drink indulgently and would frequently be seen with a tot of whisky in his hand whether he was studying or socialising. Gradually drink became his master, draining his resources.

To the pawnshop

Eventually William had no money left to finance his craving. His mind turned to the nearest pawnshop. What could he pawn to buy himself more whisky? He glanced round his room. His eyes fell on the Bible his mother had given him. He blew off the dust. Little used, it should fetch a good price, and of course he would redeem it one day, he told himself. At least it would meet his present needs. Hardening his conscience the medical student took the Bible to the local pawnshop.

Read full article here.

This article is an edited extract from Surprised by God: lives turned upside down, by Faith Cook, recently published by Evangelical Press, ISBN 978 1 783 970 087 and is used with permission.

This article was first published in the September 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Notes to growing Christians from David Jackman: Where your treasure is…

Notes to Growing Christians

Biblical truth is never given simply to increase our knowledge, but always to change our lives.

At the end of his first letter, the apostle John reviews a number of Christian certainties, with sentences beginning ‘we know’ (1 John 5.15-21). Among them is a statement which we often forget, or ignore, as children of God: ‘we know that the whole world is under the control of the evil one’ (v.19). Whenever we are surprised or overwhelmed by the tidal waves of godless rebellion sweeping through our culture, we have forgotten what we ought to know and to expect. But a couple of sentences later, this knowledge is applied to our living, with John’s concluding exhortation: ‘Dear children, keep yourselves from idols’ (v.21).

Exchanging truth for lies

Idolatry has always been a major means by which the devil keeps the unbelieving world in his grip. From the time that Adam and Eve capitulated to his subtle invitation to ‘be like God’ (Gen 3.5), we human beings have always wanted to exchange the truth of God for lies and so to worship and serve ‘created things rather than the Creator’ (Roman 1.25). The way we do it is by idolatry, because worshipping what we invent or construct is ultimately about worshipping and serving ourselves, and that is what our sinful hearts most desire. We are not willing to let God be God.

Read full article here…

David Jackman is the past President of the Proclamation Trust and writes the ‘Notes to growing Christians’ column for en.

This article was first published in the September 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.