Blog Posts

Warning and hope

Paul was no lone ranger. In general church life and in gospel ministry he surrounded himself with those who would encourage and strengthen him. Sometimes, however, other Christians deeply disappointed him. His honesty about both his encouragements and his disappointments serves to warn us…

Bushfires and the Bible

Australia is no stranger to seasonal bushfires. Stories and images of this season’s fires are impossible to miss. While the current disaster is hardly the worst in recorded history (the 1974–75 fires consumed in excess of 95 million hectares, compared to the present approximate…

All the King’s men: Introduction

Jesus’ compassion always turned into mission. His compassion for his people drove him to die for them so that they might live (John 3:16). His compassion also drove him to ensure that his mission was carried out by men—initially, twelve men—who shared his compassion…

The most optimistic time of the year

If Christmas—“with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer”—is the most wonderful time of the year, New Year’s is probably the most optimistic time of the year. It is the time of year in which, having taken some time…

Doctrine and devotion

In every generation there have been those who have downplayed the importance of doctrine. These detractors claim that it doesn’t matter what one believes so long as one lives a life of love and compassion. Doctrine causes division, they say. It is far better…

A confessing community: Salvation applied

Redemption is something that has been achieved through the historic life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That does not mean that it is an academic, intellectual reality. Instead, redemption is something that must be applied to God’s chosen people in space-time history. Confession…

Reviews

Review: Unfollow

It began in 1991. A local independent Baptist Church in Kansas began picketing at a nearby park popular with gay men. Citing Romans 1:32, the protestors paraded handmade signs proclaiming that gays deserve death.

The church’s pastor, Fred Phelps, had taught his small flock that loving one’s neighbour meant warning them of judgement to come. “We always equated love with rebuke. As long as we believed our words to be truthful, we were free to rebuke the rest of the world at any time, in any place, and in any way we wanted.” Before long, protests expanded to include demonstrations at the funerals of gay people, military veterans, and disaster victims. The church believed that these deaths were divine punishment for a nation with corrupt values. They alone knew the truth and were God’s vehicles for warning the nation of coming destruction.

Review—What’s a Girl Worth?

Rachael Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics doctor, of sexual assault. What’s a Girl Worth? is her story of survival, unmasking Nassar as a sexual predator, and the institutional cover-ups that allowed him to perpetrate his behaviour for more than twenty years. It is a gripping, if at times uncomfortable, read, detailing her childhood, her gymnastics career, Nassar’s assault at the Michigan State University clinic, the long road that led to her speaking out, and the victory that the survivors achieved after the lengthy investigation and trial process.

Hymn Stories

Hymnody: “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”

John Fawcett was born on 6 January 1740. Orphaned at age 12, he gained an appreciation for Scripture, and for Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, from a young age, but it was under the ministry of George Whitfield in 1755 that he came to faith….

Hymnody: “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”

James Milton Black (1856–1938) was an American hymnist, youth leader and Sunday school teacher. It is said that Black had a great passion for reaching children with the gospel. One day, while on his way to a meeting, Black cut through an alleyway in…

Hymnody: “This is My Father’s World”

“He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD” (Psalm 33:5). Maltbie Davenport Babcock was an American Presbyterian clergyman and hymn writer in the 19th century. He was born on 3 August 1858 and died on 18…