Posted by Ros Clarke, 6 Dec 2019
Earlier this year we posted a short series of blogposts reflecting on different aspects of Christmas.
Back in January, we posted a series of three blogs looking at different aspects of the way that churches ‘do Christmas’. It seems like a good time to revisit those!
Adam Young warned of the dangers of compromising in areas that we would not normally dream of doing, just because it’s Christmas.
Michael Hayden reflected on ways in which Christians might positively engage with the Santa myth, without confusing our children.
Ros Clarke reminded us that the normal needs of the church family do not disappear - and may even be more urgent - over the Christmas period.
The Complete Husband
Posted by Carl Chambers, 5 Dec 2019
Carl Chambers reviews a practical guide for husbands in the latest edition of Churchman.
All us husbands know (or should know!) that we can be better husbands, so the idea of reading over 300 pages on that subject might induce the most horrible guilt trip (if it hits close to home) or prove to be a waste of time (if it is too full of bland or impossible instructions).
This book does neither. Yes, it gets under the skin and does not pull its punches. But it is so full of biblical wisdom and grace that it becomes addictive to read. It is full of helpful observations and questions and gives the framework as well as encouragement for building on the marriage any husband has. It is like having a trained biblical counsellor at your side, walking with you on the way to improving your marriage. It does what it says on the cover and is well worth the read for any married man. I dare say, it is well worth the read for any married woman, perhaps principally to fuel her prayers. This is a very easy book to read, but will leave only the most hard-hearted husband unmoved.
Posted by George Crowder, 4 Dec 2019
George Crowder takes a look at Acts 15, to see what we can learn about gospel faithfulness from the council of Jerusalem.
With what does our evangelical integrity stand or fall? Not in terms of our doctrinal commitments themselves, but in terms of ecclesial collegiality? How do we express our doctrinal commitments in our inter-church relationships?
Acts 15 presents a test case. To require circumcision for all new Gentile believers was not much short of an insult to the death of Christ. When Paul addressed the Galatians on the matter, he refers to it as a different gospel (Galatians 1:6). While the Spirit carried the gospel to the Gentiles, advocates of this teaching had been at large in Jerusalem. Some of them had since come to Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas were stationed in furlough after their first mission. Unsurprisingly, sharp dispute erupted.
With echoes of Acts 13:2-3, when Paul and Barnabas were sent on their first missionary journey, they are appointed and sent back to Jerusalem. As an apostle, Paul is once again called by God, but for the second time, God calls him and Barnabas through the assembly of the church. On the way, they reported how the Gentiles had been converted and, “this news made all the brothers very glad,” v.3. When they got there, v.4, “they reported everything that God had done through them.”
Photo by Jean Baptiste Paris