- Written by: Chris Appleby
Is 'Conservative Evangelicalism' a contradiction in terms?
When Anglicans talk about the theological parties, factions, tribes and movements that inhabit the global Communion, there is frequent mention of 'conservative evangelicalism' as though conservatism and evangelicalism belong naturally together. After all, it is widely thought, Evangelicals are usually conservative while Evangelicalism usually attracts conservatives. In parts of the Anglican Communion (and I am thinking here predominantly of affluent First World nations with large liberal constituencies like the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) the fact that someone owns up to being an Evangelical is bad enough; that most apparently exhibit the attitudes and actions of social and political conservatism makes them doubly reprehensible. Am I exaggerating? No, I don't think so.
There are senior Anglican leaders in Australia who fear that the rise of the Religious Right in America might be replicated in this country if all forms of religiously inspired or expressed forms of conservatism are not denounced. This leads them into outright opposition to all complexions of Evangelicalism because, they would contend, it leads to an ideological and ecclesiological agenda that is anti-democratic, anti-intellectual, anti-libertarian and anti-modern. This is a very serious allegation. But what of the evidence cited in support of the charge? In my view it is very thin and inadequate to sustain a conviction.
- Written by: Chris Appleby
by Paul Barker
In 2005 I preached a series of sermons on the so-called Seven Deadly Sins. That focused my thinking to reflect on the nature of preaching to bring about change in people's lives. I looked at the ethical injunctions in the epistles and considered how they indicated a move from sin to virtue can happen.
The doctrine of mortification of sin is not considered much. I don't recall a lecture on it when I trained for ministry. However this article is not so much a theological argument. Read John Owen for that.1 I am addressing preachers. It seems to me this is a crucial doctrine for preachers to grasp if our preaching is to be truly powerful under God.
The issue is, how do we put sin to death? If preaching is, in part, to train in righteousness, where does the power to change come from? Can human beings change themselves to be more righteous? Paul says in Romans in 6:12 "Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions". And, in Romans 8:13 "If by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live".
Please! No more boring sermons
- Written by: Chris Appleby
"Please! No more boring sermons"
Book Review by Peter Brain
Editor Keith Weller Acorn Press 2007
This book will prove to be a very practical help for preachers. Its strength lays not so much in its express purpose of no more boring sermons but the clear conviction of each of its ten contributors that Biblical preaching is essential to God's purposes.
The first two thirds of the book contain eleven articles covering the importance of preaching, its character, preparation, its orality and sound, preaching and liturgy, preaching the Old Testament narrative, series, occasional and evangelistic preaching.
These are thoughtfully developed by eight experienced practitioners including now retired veterans like Harry Goodhew, David Williams, Keith Rayner and John Chapman along with those who teach and train new preachers, Peter Adam, Adrian Lane and Robin Payne and from the busy and experienced Vicar of St. Judes, Carlton, Richard Condie.
The Messiah and Malachi 3:1
- Written by: Andrew Malone
In the previous edition of Essentials, Simon Flinders invited us to reconsider in what ways we should — and should not — interpret the messianic content of Genesis 3:15. We can avoid a simplistic approach, where the answer to every question is Jesus, and use responsible biblical theology to plot an equally-exciting trajectory concerning God's plans for his world and for his victory over Satan.
Similar caution should be applied to the third chapter of the last book of the Old Testament. And similarly-exciting results can be found…
Malachi 3:1 has long been considered a messianic proof text. To his people who had resettled in Judah after returning from exile, Yahweh Sabaoth announces:
See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.
Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple;
the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come. (NIV)
What do you understand these words to promise?
God s Mission Our Mission
- Written by: Tim Harris
"This is certainly part of the core mission of the church." A comment to this effect came at the conclusion to a presentation on climate change at General Synod, and it certainly stimulated conversation. Just what do we consider to be the 'core mission of the church', and how does it relate to evangelism? Are evangelism and mission essentially the same? Should not our core focus be in saving souls?
This is more than a matter of semantics. With the attention given to 'mission-shaped' ministry and rediscovery of what it means to 'be church', notions of mission can mean very different things to different people. However, it may be that we are framing our questions the wrong way round. Does the church have a mission in its own right, and is it in any position to decide what such a mission is?
Who is like God?
- Written by: Richard Condie
Micah was writing to the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the reigns of Kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (1:1) which places him somewhere between 750-686BC. This period was a time of great affluence in Judah and the lure of wealth and power led to sins of corruption and idolatry. We see these sins among the people of God, germinating in the fertile ground of wealth and prosperity, growing up into their day to day dealings, into business, leadership and religion. Micah speaks strong words of judgement against these sins. He denounces the idolaters, the wealthy landowning classes who oppress the poor and marginalised, the civic and spiritual leaders who take the law into their own hands, and informs them of the coming judgement of God.
But the book is not all judgement. The fabric of the book is also woven with a strong message of redemption for the faithful. These signs of hope in the God of the covenant intersperse the messages of condemnation against sin. There is a vision of the renewed Jerusalem as the sign of hope and restoration beyond the exile. There is the promise of the ruler who will be born in Bethlehem of Ephrathah. There is the wonderful note of forgiveness and mercy that rings in the readers' ears as the book draws to a close.
Rethinking Gen 3:15
- Written by: Simon Flinders
'SERPENT CRUSHER OR SERPENT CRUSHERS?'
RE-THINKING THE TRAJECTORY OF GENESIS 3:15
About two years ago now I came to preach on Genesis 3, and I found myself thinking again about how it points us to Christ. I'm convinced it does. But in what way? So I found myself pondering again the ways in which I've heard others answer that question. Because on many occasions, at least in the circles I move in, I've heard people explain the Biblical Theology of Genesis 3 in a way that I'm not sure is right.
I'm referring to the idea that Genesis 3:15 is the first explicit statement of Messianic expectation in the Old Testament. From that moment on, so people say, the narrative invites us to await the appearance of the Serpent Crusher- the one who will crush Satan under his feet and thus reverse the effects of the fall. Furthermore, as Christian readers of the Old Testament, people have taught that we should see in this verse God's plan to send his Christ to deliver humanity from themselves. Jesus is the Serpent Crusher of Genesis 3:15. Or so the story goes . . .