All are warmly invited to our creation day on May 8th, when we will be hearing about the wonders of God’s creation and the glory it brings to his holy name. We have two sessions planned as follows: 4.00pm Biology and the Bible; Genesis and Genetics - Gavin Cox. 6.00pm Human race; Specially Created – Lucien Tuinstra. Covid regulations will be followed. ALL WELCOME.
Recently we've had the joy of welcoming Femi as a member here at Trinity Grace Church. Our brother has been such a blessing to us and we are so thankful that the Lord has guided him to our fellowship and made him one with us. We commend his testimony to all as a monument to the grace and goodness of our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Click below to go to our testimonies page and read all about what the Lord has done for Femi, and indeed for many others too.
April 2021 update begins with these encouraging lines: What a wonderful month we have had and how we praise God for his goodness to us. Grace and the 3 grandchildren Jason, Christabel and Jessica were able to come to Nigeria and Yusuf joined them. Kumi also arrived. We started off with the wedding of Joshua and Josephine and it was a very lovely service and reception. Joshua was one of the young people from Gwoza given to Mark a few years before Eli and Mark married. The following week Saturday 3rd April was our Golden Wedding Anniversary. What a day !! Grace bought us a lovely golden lace outfit and they and the grandchildren all wore a beautiful golden lemon outfit. The grandchildren with Mark, Grace and Yusuf led us out to our seats.
We invite all our readers to join the Christian Institute in a week of prayer for our nation from Sunday 25 April to Saturday 1 May. Perhaps the most pressing matter right now is the protection of our freedom to preach the gospel in the public sphere and call upon men, women and children to repent and be converted. Right now, the prospect of a catch-all ‘conversion therapy’ ban is very serious. We need to pray that it will not extend to the ordinary, everyday work of churches – preaching, prayer and pastoral care.
Worship, particularly reformed worship, is viewed as boring in our contemporary culture. Here we discuss why corporate worship is the most joyous event that any human being can experience on this earth, as we commune with the Father, through the Son, by the proceeding power of the Holy Spirit. The notion that worship be boring, put next to a scriptural understanding of what true worship is, is simply preposterous. Tune into this devotional episode of Trinity Grace Podcast to hear our exciting discussion about the great joyful reality and experience of corporate worship.
Seeing the sacrificial basis for prayer helps us answer a question people often ask: does God hear the prayers of the ungodly, or does he only listen to Christians? To put the question another way, does God pay any attention to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and others who do not call on him in the name of Jesus Christ? There is a sense in which God hears everyone’s prayers. He is omniscient (all-knowing). Therefore, nothing that anyone ever says escapes his notice. Not one cry for help, not one desperate plea, not one invocation of his divine name (whether in blessing or as a curse) ever goes unnoticed. God hears everything. Of course he does! However, that really is not the question. The question is whether or not he receives every prayer with the same fatherly concern. What does it take for God to accept someone’s prayers? Click below to read the rest of this article from Philip Graham Ryken
Visit our Nigeria page to find the latest update from Ani Ekpo on the work in Port Harcourt. The Lord is faithful and continues to bless the ministry of the church there in many ways.
Many in our society speak about gender ideology as if everyone must agree. Christians are being put on the spot, aware that anyone who objects is quickly labelled hateful or transphobic. It’s no surprise that people are reluctant to say what they really think. A key tactic of activists is to silence debate by declaring it to be intolerant or even unlawful. So it’s crucial to take note of the many times when the freedom to disagree is affirmed by the courts. Recent cases prove there is space to disagree with transgender ideology – and also demonstrate the need for us to speak. Click below to go to our Current Affairs page and read the March 2021 update on freedom of speech in relation to transgenderism from the CI.
Christians worldwide have been following the judicial review launched by 27 church leaders in Scotland, driven by the tireless work of Christian Concern and a very committed legal team. The review itself allowed the petitioners and the respondents to present their arguments to the court to consider the judge’s ruling, Lord Braid. On Wednesday 24th March, the decision was announced, concluding that the Scottish government had been guilty of ‘'disproportionate interference with the Article 9 right of the petitioners and others”. This conclusion is a very significant moment for the church in Scotland. It is a lesson from history and a message for today for several different groups in our land. Click below to read the full article from Parresia Books.
Blackpool Council has been criticised by a judge after she ruled that it discriminated against Christians by banning bus adverts for the Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham. The adverts, which simply displayed the message ‘Time for Hope!’, were controversially removed by the Council and Blackpool Transport Services Limited over Graham’s biblical views on marriage and sexuality. It followed this up by lighting up Blackpool Tower with the colours of the rainbow flag to show support for LGBT activists. But Her Honour Judge Claire Evans of Manchester County Court ruled “overwhelmingly” in favour of Graham and the Lancashire Festival of Hope, stating that the Council’s actions in removing the adverts and taking sides against local Christians were “the antithesis of the manner in which a public authority should behave in a democracy”.
Our summer timetable for Connect (11-18yrs) is now confirmed. Go to our Connect page to find the latest details.
Visit our Kenya page to view the prayer diary for April 2021. In it you will read that a fresh lockdown has been imposed on Nairobi, severely restricting the ability of the church to meet for worship and serve the Lord. Please pray for them in this regard, and especially for Eric Abwao (one of the pastors) who is beginning a series on Chapter 24 of the Confession, teaching on the relationship of the Church to the Civil Authorities. Pray for wisdom and grace in these challenging times, and for a great desire to honour the Lord above all else.
Visit our persecution page to read the latest update from Barnabas Fund regarding the persecution of God's people across the world, and remember all those who suffer for the faith in prayer.
ALL are warmly invited to our special EASTER SATURDAY service at 5pm on April 3rd, "Can I Be Guaranteed A Place In Heaven?" Call Rob on 07989265578 to book your place.
The Family Education Trust have released their spring bulletin, which you can read on their website. We warmly commend their materials and reports.
In an historic judgment, today a judge has ruled that the Scottish Ministers’ decision to ban and criminalise gathered church worship during the current lockdown was unconstitutional and a disproportionate interference of Article 9 ECHR rights. The ruling is believed to be the first successful legal case against covid regulations in the UK. Handing down judgment, Lord Braid also ruled that online worship is not real Christian worship, stating that it is not for the Scottish Ministers to: “dictate to the petitioners or to the additional party, that, henceforth, or even for the duration of the pandemic, worship is to be conducted on-line. That might be an alternative to worship but it is not worship. At very best for the respondents, in modern parlance, it is worship-lite.” Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, 27 Scottish church leaders, from a range of Christian denominations, had brought the legal action stating that the unprecedented closures were unlawful and breached Human Rights law and the Scottish constitution.
In this podcast we speak with Austin Walker, previous minister at Maidenbower Baptist Church, about the importance of particular redemption. Is this a secondary issue, the type that we can sweep under the carpet and do away with for the sake of greater outward unity with other believers? It is certainly not secondary, and as Austin shows, we must confess particular redemption alongside all the critical aspects of our faith that it is intertwined with, from the absolute sufficiency of Christ's work to the way that we offer the gospel in expository preaching.
God-willing, we plan to restart our ladies meetings in April 2021.
Praise God for Indonesian Reformed Fellowship (YPRI) teams reaching out with the gospel by radio and online to the multi-lingual 276 million Indonesians on the many islands. The ministries are in 5 major regional languages plus Bahasa Indonesia, the national language. Pray for the churches to grow in number and in faith. Visit our MERF page to read the latest news.
Expressive individualism drives our culture. This is the idea that we find our ultimate meaning only when we express our own feelings and desires. We are thought to be most authentically ourselves when we perform outwardly what we are feeling inwardly. Anything that restrains or restricts our ability to do this is seen as the great enemy. The very idea of moral authority denying what we choose for our happiness and freedom is viewed as repressive, even morally wrong. If self and personal fulfilment are the ultimate-if they are sacred, then the very idea of self-denial is utter heresy. Yet it is exactly what Christ calls His disciples to. We cannot avoid it simply because it goes against the grain of our culture. If we really want to be salt and light, we need to take self-denial seriously, however uncomfortable it may be. What do we mean by self-denial and how do we pursue it?
The Christian Institute are continuing to appeal for prayer regarding this dangerous challenge to the gospel call for men and women to repent and be converted. They report that many of those campaigning for a ‘conversion therapy’ ban don’t just want to protect gay people from quack medical treatments; they want the ban to extend to the ordinary work of churches. Last week MPs attacked prayer and pastoral support for same-sex attracted people. The agenda is clear and we need to pray! Visit our Current Affairs page for the latest news on this and other issues.
In December 2017, Dr R.C. Sproul went to be with his Lord and Saviour in glory. His life and legacy are invaluable to all who care about gospel truth in these days of downgrade. His biography is due for publication later this month, and in anticipation of that Ligonier Ministries have produced this heart-warming interview with his wife, Vesta Ann Sproul. Listen in and your spirit will be stirred, your heart warmed and your mind renewed as you hear this godly lady share her story of life with R.C.
Standing still may not sound right when we are used to throwing ourselves into a whirlwind of activity and our desire is to make progress. Of course, standing still in spiritual things in the sense of indolence or complacency is not healthy. But there are times when God in His providence forces us to stand still. We cannot move forward due to the circumstances no matter how much we wish to. We are not to make haste (Isaiah 28:16; Ruth 3:18). Our strength is to sit still and wait on God as an act of obedience (Isaiah 30:15). Being still and waiting on God brings hope and strength to us (Psalm 27:14; Psalm 62:1,5). The Israelites were like this when they were hemmed in at the Red Sea, they were told to stand still and see the Lord’s deliverance (Exodus 14:13). It is a lesson we still need to learn.
Visit our Kenya page to see the full report for March 2021 and let it fuel your prayers. The needs and the opportunities are so great that it should cause us all to appeal to our God in heaven for his blessing upon this great work. May the Lord be praised in all that is done.
How did the Second London Confession come to be lost to Baptists in the early 20th Century, and how was it recovered? What were the influences that led to its re-printing after many decades of neglect? Why did that “new dawn” of appreciation for Reformed doctrine peter out? What are the consequences of that for us, and what should we do about it? These and many other critical questions are address by Dr Robert Oliver in this valuable historical review, which is all the more poignant because he has lived through these times and knows better than most the consequences of neglecting our confessional roots.
Please pray for the success of a legal challenge over the ban on church worship in Scotland. Hearings are being held today and tomorrow in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. A judicial review is being sought by a group of 27 church leaders with the help of Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre. This is a very important case. It has the potential to help gospel freedom throughout the UK. Please pray for the success of the case.
The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith is inherently communal. It is to be confessed by a communal body of believers- the local Church- and then moving outward this faith is to be confessed between Churches together. In a society of hyper-individualism, Churches are under pressure to fall into line and emphasize 'my faith' over 'the faith', in actively confessing the communal faith of scripture we avoid this tripwire and stand on the whole counsel of God.
We can praise God that he has been kind in answering our prayers for the needy children at House of Ants in Mozambique - God is indeed very good! Visit our Mozambique page for the latest news and to find out more about three of the children who are being helped. Please continue to pray, especially that the Lord will bless unto salvation in these young lives.
God is at work in Nigeria! You will read much about the troubles and challenges faced by so many in that great land, but that does not constrain the hand of almighty God, and he is at work in surprising ways through his people as they make Christ known. Visit our Nigeria page to get the latest news from TASTE and the Gulas as you are moved to give thanks and pray.
In lieu of the usual OAM three-day event in a conference centre, they are holding one-day event online. In-depth reports from three of their Evangelists and ministry from God’s Word brought by Committee member, Mark Fisher. Monday, 8th March 9:30am – 4:00pm Free admission The conference will take place on ‘Zoom’ for which booking is required.
James Coates, a minister of the gospel in Alberta, Canada, has been arrested and imprisoned for preaching to his congregation in the church building. Listen to Jared Longshore and Tom Ascol of Founders Ministries as they speak with Erin, James’ wife, about the events and how we can pray for them. The persecution of the churches in our atheistic and aggressively secular western cultures is gathering pace and we must all be mindful, courageous and prayerful.
What happens in a society if we forget how to forgive? What is the consequence for human communion where there is no possibility of forgiveness? What if there is only recrimination and self-justification and offence and condemnation? We should know because that is what has happened in the UK today! In this helpful article, Justin Poythress shows how we have come to this terrible position and how Christians should be so very different.
Visit our Kenya page to download the prayer diary for March so that your prayers can be fuelled to the glory of God in that great land.
When a fellow believer falls into sin, even gross sin, how do we respond? Perhaps there is outrage at the fall from grace, distress because of the dishonour brought to the name of Christ and concern for the victims of the sin; all such responses are of course right and proper from a biblical perspective. Yet they miss a critical element: the need for self-examination and assessment of our own propensity to sin. We need to say with John Bradford of old, “There but for the grace of God go I”, and cast ourselves upon the mercy of God seeking grace to help us in our own weakness. In this article, Simonetta Carr helpfully explores these matters in relation to the recent “fall” of a prominent leader. May we seek the grace of God to keep us from sin.
Read the Barnabas Fund Prayer Focus Update for March 2021 on our Persecution page
Daniel & Kathleen have been labouring faithfully in Nigeria for over 50 years and need our prayers in these challenging days. Visit our Nigeria page to read their latest prayer update and lift up before the throne of grace the needs of this land and its people.
Lilian Petch was the longest-serving member of Trinity Grace Church, having been part of the fellowship from the very beginning until her home-call in January 2021. Please visit our heritage and legacy page to read the order of service, listen to the funeral sermon and consider her legacy in all the memories we have recorded. These were some of her favourite sayings: If you’re serving God, you should be working not shirking. I’ve never had a lot, but I’ve never been short. Do your best for God, because only your best will do for God. Lilian lived in the faith, died in the faith, and has now gone to dwell with the Christ of her faith. As she is added to the cloud of witnesses, let us all follow in the same faith to attain the crown of glory that can never fade or spoil.
Here we interview Sam on his new book 'Deity and Decree'. We discuss God's Unity, God's Trinity, God's Decree, Divine Simplicity & the inferiority of short and shallow statements of faith.
In the past year we have lived through a period of uncertainty that has been described repeatedly as unprecedented. We have asked so many questions and received so few reliable answers. But are we asking the right questions? And when we do pose the right questions, where can the answers be found? In this article, Oliver Allmand-Smith shows how Christ poses all the right questions, and he alone has all the answers, for in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Two little boys and an adult hanged on the same tree - probably a family, who died together at the hands of one of the most savage terrorist groups currently operating in our world. In life, this little family were so poor that the older brother, aged about five, has several holes in his worn-out shorts. In death, they do not have even the dignity of a grave, but are left dangling among the branches. This is Mozambique’s far north, nowadays known as the “land of fear”.
The Government has announced a range of tough new measures to ensure that free speech is not restricted at universities. After an increasing number of students, staff and academics have been silenced or no-platformed, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson warned of a “chilling effect”, leaving people feeling they cannot freely express themselves. Places of higher education will now be subject to a new free speech condition in order to be registered in England and access public funding. If universities and colleges break this condition, the Office for Students (OfS) will have the power to impose sanctions upon them, including financial penalties.
What does it mean to be Christ-centered? Here we discuss the rich implications of seeing the work of Jesus Christ in relation to covenant theology. The 1689 Confession presents 'Of God's Covenant' in chapter 7 next to 'Of Christ the Mediator' in chapter 8 for a reason, our discussion gets into these connections and shows the beautiful implications of this for Church life.
Racism is endemic to the fallen human heart, which is the reason why it is such a serious problem in Britain and across the world today. Many recognise the problem and propose their own political, sociological, philosophical and even revolutionary solutions. None of them have proven sufficiently powerful to deal with the problem. But the Christian already knows the remedy – the Christ who is revealed to us in the scriptures has already secured the antidote to all racism. There will be no racism in the new earth when he consummates all things, and even now in his church racism can be overcome by his redemptive power. In these two articles, published in Reformation Today magazine and available online, Ronald Kalifungwa helpfully outlines the Bible’s antidote to racism, which is not political, sociological, philosophical or revolutionary, because it is far more radical than any of these! Ultimately, the answer is Christ himself. But how? Read on to find out more. Ronald Kalifungwa is Pastor of Lusaka Baptist Church, Zambia and teaches at Trinity Pastors College in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nelson McCausland, a former minister in the NI Executive, recently used Facebook to share the testimony of Becket Cook, an American who lived a homosexual lifestyle until he turned to Christ. LGBT activists denounced Mr McCausland as a proponent of ‘conversion therapy’. Some, including elected officials, called for him to be sacked from his position on the Board of the NI Education Authority. But Becket Cook’s testimony is about his Christian conversion and has nothing to do with ‘conversion therapy’. The vitriol experienced by Nelson McCausland shows that the real target for these activists is the gospel. As a church, we have been calling our members to a greater awareness that targeted persecution is now upon us, and that government is using newly-acquired powers to try and silence the sound of the gospel in our land. Listen to Nelson’s account of his experience in this interview with Ciarán Kelly of the Christian Institute and let it be a spur to renewed prayer and courage in these challenging times.
Somaliland is a self-declared nation state (not recognised officially by the UN) to the north of Somalia in the horn of Africa. As with their neighbour to the south, persecution of Christians is very severe, especially for indigenous people who convert from Islam to Christ. Please pray for these suffering saints, and visit our persecution page to find out more.
You can now watch all of the messages from the recent Reformation Bible College Winter Conference, Everyone’s a Theologian, for free on YouTube. Start streaming now to consider the central biblical themes that the founder and first president of the College, Dr. R.C. Sproul, proclaimed as he strove to help every Christian become a better theologian. Warmly recommended!
The Westminster Government is consulting on making its DIY home abortion scheme in England permanent. The deadline for responses is 26 February 2021. Please respond as soon as you can. Since March 2020, women in England have been permitted to have an abortion at home in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Pills are posted after a telephone or video consultation. Women do not need to attend a hospital or clinic in person. When introducing the change, the Government claimed it would be a temporary measure because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now it is seeking to make the change permanent. It is crucial that Christians take this opportunity to bear witness to the truth of God’s Word and the sanctity of life. If we stay silent, the only voices that will be heard will be those pushing for yet more liberal abortion laws. We must speak out against this new way of making abortion even easier to access. PLEASE NOTE: Oliver has already responded on behalf of the church, but AS MANY AS CAN RESPOND PERSONALLY will help greatly in days when decisions are often made on the basis of those who "shout loudest".
To be a confessional Christian is to be a creedal Christian. What does this mean? We approach the question of why creeds are so useful and furthermore, why the Scriptures require us to be creedal. If we are to follow the New Testament we must be creedal people. Tune in for our discussion.
The recent pandemic and its accompanying lockdown have highlighted some of the problems the Church is facing in the 21st century. We are unsure about what it means to be a local church, to meet as a church, and what the implications are for the individual Christian. In an increasingly global world, what is the point of committing to just one church in one place? And in an increasingly connected world, why not make use of the myriads of excellent sermons available online?
Our culture has certainly self-destructed–morally speaking. Values have been turned upside down. We can also discern things collapsing in on themselves spiritually. This is because sin constantly pushes towards self-destruction. These are times when nations and Churches seem to have destroyed themselves just like Israel (Hosea 13:9). Will the Church survive? Will we and our children come through it with the same faith and values? Other generations have been here before us. We can learn much from those in the past who brought God’s truth to bear on their situation.
Upholding a reformed confession of faith means upholding the holy scriptures in all their excellence and majesty as the highest authority for all Christian faith and practice. In this episode, we will not just discuss the scriptural nature of confessions of faith, but we also discuss the scriptural mandate for confessions of faith.
English and Welsh Church leaders have dropped their own action against the UK government in light of the freedom granted during the current lockdown, but have backed Scottish church leaders in their on-going claim against what we believe to be the illegal closure of churches north of the border. To find out more about the reasons for these moves and how you can pray for the present situation, click on the links below.
We can easily be more taken up with the plans of purposes of people (influential and otherwise) than those of God. Certainly, we must take account of how they affect us, but this should not make us neglect the overarching thoughts of God. Scripture speaks frequently of God’s thoughts and David often wonders at the multitude and majesty of God’s thoughts (Psalm 139:17-18; Psalm 92:5; Psalm 40:5).
Visit our Kenya page to download the prayer diary for February
Read the February 2021 prayer update from Barnabas Fund by visiting our persecution page.
Tune into this podcast where we speak with Brett Shaw about his background, God's calling of him to the ministry and his reasons for coming to the UK all the way from Illinois.
For forty-eight years, the United States has enshrined the legal right to abortion, and the UK has shared in this wickedness. Millions of unborn lives are taken by abortion each year, and this practice appears only to be on the rise. However, the abortion industry is in serious trouble, and the single greatest reason for this is that there is a holy God who reigns in heaven. Read the article from Ligonier Ministries by Dr. George Grant, pastor of Parish Presbyterian Church in Franklin, TN, to consider why time is running out for the industry driven by abortion and the culture that has far too long tolerated this evil. Be instructed, challenged and encouraged as you read.
Parrēsia is a Reformed Baptist Publishing house in Scotland “which exists to produce gospel-centered, God-glorifying publications” according to the 1689 Confession of Faith. The Word of God is to be proclaimed with all boldness and simplicity (Parresia) and therefore they are appropriately holding a conference on the 1689 Confession of Faith. Rather than confessions being a hindrance to the proclamation of the gospel or the well-being of the Church, they are necessary for these purposes. The Church as the pillar and ground of truth must guard, codify and pass down the faith, so that it might be proclaimed and confessed in all the earth. This faith we believe is best summarized in the 1689 Confession of Faith. We recommend this conference to you on the doctrine, necessity and utility of the Confession of Faith.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) recorded 327 instances of discrimination and targeted violence against Christians in India in 2020, including five murders, at least six churches burnt or destroyed and 26 incidents of social boycotting, according to its yearly report published on 14 January.
How we listen to a sermon may have more impact on our spiritual growth than anything else. Since the sermon is the chief means appointed by God for the edification and blessing of his people, and since we can only participate in sermons by listening, HOW we listen must be critical. Yet it is something that we rarely consider. We are so grateful for the series on this theme that our pastor Tony has preached to us, and you can find that on our SermonAudio page under the title: Making The Most Of The Sermon. This article from Reformation Scotland is also warmly recommended.
As many are aware, a Democratic congressman in the USA ended an opening prayer to “the monotheistic God” on the first day of the new Congress by saying not simply “amen” but “amen and a-woman.” The phrase of course is a Hebrew word with no connotations of gender. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a United Methodist minister, responded by saying that it was intended to be “a light-hearted pun in recognition of the record number of women” serving in Congress. Clearly it was a mockery of a prayer. But it certainly got people reaching for the definition of Amen as “so be it”. Yet few perhaps realised just how far it cheapened such a vital word. There is far more meaning to the word than we may realise.
What is providence? In this "Renewing your Mind" broadcast, the great Reformed theologian RC Sproul answers this question with his usual combination of depth and clarity. We commend it to you for your encouragement.
Visit our Nigeria page for the latest news from Port Harcourt
It is excellent news that communal worship can continue in the English lockdown provided the safety rules are followed. But some are saying that churches should be closed again by law. That is why we are asking you to contact your MP today, and say that public worship should continue.
Release International reports that persecution is rising in many places as dictatorial regimes use the Covid-19 crisis as a cover for their wicked treatment of Christians. However, in many places the churches are growing in spite of such trials. Visit our persecution page to find out more.
Read the latest news from the Christian Institute to be informed for prayer concerning some of the great challenges we face as our society continues to resist God and his laws. Let us do so in faith, knowing that the Lord is sovereign and he will work out his good purposes even through all the trials and persecutions of this age.
There are some things we do in church that go completely unquestioned—until they are. One such usually-unquestioned part of worship is preaching. You all know what preaching is. Preaching is basically a monologue where one person addresses the whole congregation at some length from a place of prominence. This has certainly been a conspicuous part of Reformed worship ever since the Reformation, and in fact, a part of Christian worship since the dawn of Christianity. But today its character and even its validity is being questioned. Click below to read the rest of this article by Sam Waldron from Reformation 21.
As we begin a new year, let us be much in prayer for the work of God in Kenya. So many exciting opportunities are opening up across the country and the January prayer diary encourages us to pray with understanding and zeal.
The great hymn, “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts, sung frequently at Christmas is a hymnic presentation of Psalm 98:4-9. Verse 4 of the Psalm reads “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.” Yes, indeed, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” Read more about this wonderful hymn, and how it teaches us what Christ has done to overcome the curse, not only in the world at large, but even in our hearts.
As for many, 2020 has been a challenging year for our brother Miki and the church in Budapest. Yet the Lord has graciously kept him in his kindness, and there have been recent encouragements and baptisms, as can be seen in the picture. Read Miki's latest report and be moved to thankfulness and prayer.
Five Christian businessmen have been prosecuted by Chinese authorities in Shenzhen for selling audio versions of the Bible as part of the Chinese government’s ongoing policy to eradicate “illegal publications”.
Murungi Igweta writes: We praise and glorify the Lord, that in spite of the frowning cloud of providence which Covid-19 has brought, He has been at work ensuring that the Gospel continues to speed ahead. At TBC Nairobi, we have known God’s grace from many different angles. In this update allow us to especially focus on the various prospects of establishing new churches in different towns of Kenya. These open doors for church planting/revitalization work are indeed a gracious answer by God to your prayers for us. It is only fitting that as we sing a song of praise and thanksgiving to God for answered prayers, we also invite you to join with us in exalting the Lord for His kindness.
The Westminster Government is expected to consult soon on banning practices that seek to change someone’s sexual orientation – so-called ‘conversion therapy’. The phrase has been deliberately chosen by campaigners to impinge on the heart of the gospel, which is a call to all people to repent of their sin and be converted. As being proposed, such a law would interfere with the core activities of churches, limit evangelism and even affect what is taught to children in the home. Read the Christian Institute briefing for more information and let us be much in prayer about this rising tide of Christian persecution in our land.
Praise God for the continuing work caring for the children at House of Ants, Mozambique. Visit our Mozambique page for the latest prayer news and an opportunity to make a donation in memory of Liz Stredder, who loved these children so much - the work of House of Ants was very close to her heart.
Continue in prayer for this vital work, bringing clean water and sanitation to suffering believers in Nigeria.
Pastor Tony Flanders is chariman of the LRBF and he writes: We greatly value our fellowship with the churches of our region. The Lancashire Reformed Baptist Fellowship provides an opportunity for such fellowship in prayer and under the word of God. Take a look at the programme for 2021 on our LRBF page, and save these dates in your diary.
Over a hundred and forty years ago, J.C. Ryle wrote that “heart-trouble” is the most common thing in the world. He also said that no one is exempt from it, and that there is nothing that we can do to avoid it. The world has changed quite a bit since Ryle penned those words, but his observations remain true as ever. If anything, this past year has served to confirm them as the pandemic has prompted an upsurge of worry, fear, panic, anxiety, loneliness and other forms of heart-trouble. So how do we handle heart-trouble? John 14 provides some answers.
One of the current charges leveled against Christians (largely on social media) is that Christians are being selfish by insisting on worshiping even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. How do we answer that charge? Read this very balanced and helpful article from Reformation 21 and consider the case for continuing to meet for gathered worship.
Why did Jesus need the Holy Spirit, since he is fully divine as well as fully human in his own right? What role does the Spirit play in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus? And how does this affect our own experience of God and his presence in our lives? Mark Jones helps us to understand in this very helpful article.
Why doesn’t God immediately take His beloved ones to Himself out of this world of sin and sorrow? It’s a real question that occurs to many at some time or other for various reasons. Why the affliction and troubles? Perhaps it is an abiding question for those who are lingering in this world when they would long to be out of it. Yet the Lord still has a purpose for their prayers and testimony however small they feel their contribution may be. Others are worn down and wearied with the constant reminders of sin and sorrow. What a world it is where this is brought before us wherever we look. Perhaps they mourn over the pitiful progress they seem to make in spiritual things. Wouldn’t it be best for them to be taken from this world? Yet it is Christ’s purpose for them to be here, He has prayed for them to be left in the world (John 17:15). He has eminently wise reasons for that. What are those reasons?
Read the latest Barnabas Fund Prayer Focus Update on our Persecution page using the link
Pray for our brethren in Kenya throughout December with the help of the updated prayer diary.
In the midst of much upheaval, many difficulties and temptations to discouragement is it realistic to expect us to give thanks? It’s easy to be worn down into a discouraged murmuring spirit. Yet, in spite of the difficulties we always have much to be grateful for to God. Thanksgiving can never be untimely because we are continually receiving good things from God, even if it is only life and breath. As we trust God’s wisdom in ordering all things for our good and His glory, we can give thanks (Romans 8:28). It is good to be able to thank God in adversity.
Read the latest news, and get your free December devotional written by faculty members to help you prepare for Christmas!
It is of the highest importance that men are trained well and rigorously for the work of the gospel in Kenya and Pastor Oliver Allmand-Smith gives us some insight into the training and context there. Alongside this, we discuss the importance of biblical Christian evangelism and the danger of the altar call. Is it important that we do evangelism according to scripture or can we just use any methods and practices that we like?
Clearly, we live in times of sexual identity chaos. Arguments that would have sounded unconscionable just a few decades ago are now plausible, and are defended, adopted, even pridefully celebrated. How did we get here? What seeds were planted that flourished into the modern thinking of sexuality as one’s primary or even sole identity? The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution is Carl Truman’s most recent release and may be one of the most significant books of 2020. Trueman goes back a few centuries to analyze the philosophical underpinnings that gave rise to modern thought, changing even the meaning of language. Join the Mortification of Spin podcast for an intriguing conversation about a topic that—as time passes—hits ever closer to home.
We thank God for his goodness in enabling the November classes to be taught by Oliver online. Read a brief report from one of the students on our Kenya page (scroll to the bottom of the page to find the link). Keep praying that each of the students will complete all their studies and be fully equipped for their ministry.
Read the latest report from MERF about how thousands of Arabic speakers are being reached with the gospel. Click on the link for the pdf, or visit the MERF page and website for more details.
What does Jesus mean when he says in John 10:30 that "I and the Father are one?" Are the words self-explanatory, or do we need the theological language of creeds and confessions to understand precisely what he means? And does it matter if we are not precisely clear on his meaning? In this very important article, Richard Barcellos explains what Jesus means, why it matters so very much and how valuable the language of our creeds and confessions can be.
View our 1689 page to see the flyer and book your place for these critical days of study on the doctrine of the church.
A group of church leaders has launched a claim for judicial review of the English and Welsh government’s unprecedented decisions to close churches during lockdown. 122 church leaders from different streams and traditions are pursuing legal action against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care claiming that the decision to ban worship services during the current lockdown is unlawful. The leaders will also challenge the Welsh Assembly’s decision to close churches during its three week ‘firebreak’ which ended on November 9, but which could be in place again in the New Year.
Politicians continue to wrestle with how to deal with the “four harms” caused by COVID-19. These are: the direct health impact of the virus, impact on other health areas, impact on society and on the economy. They are profound issues, but spiritual harm does not register in public policy, except as a tiny aspect of society. Spiritual harm is not irrelevant to Christians, however. We need to think about it in general as well as the impact of COVID interventions. We need to think of it in the same terms as we do harms to physical health. Harming spiritual life is more serious but much more common than we have realised. In fact we do it all the time in ways that we barely acknowledge.
Oliver was due to speak at the Nigerian Reformed Baptist Conference in Port Harcourt later this month, but has not been able to travel. Please visit our Nigeria page to find the details and pray for our brethren as they meet for this important conference.
Watch this video to see Oliver give ten reasons why we should be free to gather for worship.
The Christian institute writes: We must keep urging the Government to think again on the closure of public worship. Churches operating COVID-safely must be allowed to reopen. Ask your MP to please support early day motion (EDM) 1089 tabled by Labour MP John Spellar. It calls on the Government “to reach a better arrangement” than closing places of worship during this lockdown period. It also asks for the Government to publish evidence to justify banning public worship to tackle COVID-19.
Jihadists behead more than 50 people in football pitch massacre in Mozambique
In the latest "lockdown", many social activities have been prioritised over gathered worship. How should we respond? Listen to Oliver being interviewed on TWR-UK.
“We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature…” Boris Johnson said at a recent press conference. This recognises the limitations of science and human ability; we thought we had nature under control. However, it is clearly easier to humble ourselves before a blind force rather than the God of nature. It doesn’t dent our pride nearly so much. Yet it ought to lead us to this. How indeed should our smallness in relation to God’s creation lead us to true humility before the Creator Himself?
Oliver joins Christian Concern on this discussion forum covering the issues surrounding the ban on church worship services and the silencing of Christians in the public realm.
A group of church leaders in has agreed to start a legal challenge of the government’s decision to close churches in the new lockdown set to begin this week in England.
Over 1,000 church leaders have called on the Government to reverse its decision to close church services during the second lockdown.
I recently received this email and link from a friend in the USA. Be encouraged in these challenging times! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, As we await the results of our nation's presidential election and wonder anxiously about the future of our country (regardless of which man becomes president), I would encourage you to take 5 minutes out of your day to watch the link below. The kingdoms of this world are, at best, shifting sand. Kings and kingdoms (and presidents) rise and fall all the time according to God's sovereign decree. But there is one King who shall ever endure. His kingdom will never be marked by scandal. He will never resign. No one will dispose Him, though millions upon millions have tried, but all in vain. His kingdom is the only one that will endure. He is the superlative King above all kings, and the superlative Lord above all Lords. He is the blessed and only Potentate, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. So, with that in view, I truly think that viewing the link below may be the very best thing you will see today on any media outlet.
With another shut-down of churches threatened by the government, it is imperative that we make clear the priority of worship under the call of God. Please follow the guidelines given by the Christian Institute and contact your local MP today.
Listen to this mind-stretching and God-exalting discussion about the doctrine of God that ties in so well with our current studies.
Paul calls us to pray for those in authority over us, but often we neglect this duty. He also shows us HOW we ought to pray and WHAT we should be praying for. In this article, Fred Malone helpfully encourages us to pray and directs us according to the scriptures.
Find out about the work of SGA, reaching out to the Slavic people of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Far East Russia.
While we enter the early stages of suffering for our faith in the West, the experience is all too immediate and terrible for so many of our brethren across the world. Read about the experience of Christians in China and pray that the Lord will keep them in his mercy.
The subject of this episode is simple, we speak about God. It is crucial for Christians to testify that "God Is" in this age where the world openly confesses that "God is Not", he is not in our lives, he is not in our government and he is increasingly ignored in more and more of our Churches. Listen to this episode and be encouraged to study the Triune God of Holy Scripture in your life so that you may develop a rich and deep communion with our wonderful creator.
The Welsh Assembly has ordered churches in Wales to close their doors for the second time this year. Read about the action being taken by Church leaders urging the Assembly to reconsider.
What is at stake if abortion law discriminates between different kinds of human beings in the womb? What is the effect of having different rules for different babies based purely on the number of chromosomes in their DNA? Nothing short of eugenics and discrimination on the basis of value-judgements concerning the worth of different human beings. That is why we support this case against the UK Govt being brought by Heidi Crowter, a courageous & intelligent young woman who is fighting for the very survival of a category of human being whose worth to us all can only be imagined.
October 31st is REFORMATION DAY. Prepare with these special offers from Banner of Truth.
Repentance is not a small work in the Christian life; it IS the Christian life. Martin Luther said, "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, 'Repent,' he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." John Calvin taught, “Repentance is not merely the start of the Christian life; it IS the Christian life." Read this challenging article from Reformation 21 on the need for men to lead the way in repentance.
As churches in Wales are ordered to shut their doors once more and seats are empty on the Lord's Day, what are the implications for freedom of religion? Have we forgotten the battles that had to be fought over many centuries to secure the freedoms that we are now so willing to surrender? And what are the implications for freedom of religion across the world? This article by Christian Concern helps us to consider what is at stake.
Read the latest news about the work of MERF in North Africa by visiting our MERF page in the overseas missions section
Please read this latest update from the Christian Institute and continue in earnest prayer that our nation might yet bow the knee before our sovereign Lord in true repentance for all our sins.
In a court of law, we understand that stating part of the truth can be a clever way of deceiving others, why is why the witness must promise to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Every error that comes into the church and causes so much damage begins as a part-truth and ends up being a full-blown deception. In this article, our colleagues at Reformation Scotland helpfully show why being committed to the whole counsel of God as defined in a confession of faith guards against this danger.
In this podcast from IRBS TS with Dr James Dolezal, the question is asked: How is it possible for us to comprehend a God who is beyond our comprehension? Dr Dolezal helps us to see that while we can never comprehend God comprehensively, nonetheless we can know God with assurance and be confident that our understanding is right. He also shows us why the reality of God's infinite and transcendent glory is the reason that eternity in heaven will always be satisfying as we seek to fathom the depths of an unfathomable God.
At the present time, great emphasis is placed upon the preservation of the body, and that is certainly important; but isn't the soul even more important? Jesus points the people of his own time to Lot's wife as a lesson in what happens if you concentrate 100% on preserving the body and neglect the soul; the outcome is not good for either body or soul. The writer of this excellent article challenges us to be counter-cultural at this time and give greater priority to the needs of the soul than the needs of the body.
How easy it is to allow our minds to be overwhelmed by modern media: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, TV etc... Although there are exceptions, so much of what we read and see there is unprofitable, profane, godless, superficial and even deceptive. It would do us good to tune out and read the Puritans. This article explains why and shows us where to start.
Following the entrance of our dear sister Liz into the presence of her Lord and Saviour, we now have the opportunity to reflect on her life and testimony. View the Love From Liz page to see the hymns we sang, the memories we shared and the scriptures we read on that memorable day; also listen to the messages we heard from the word of God. And remember in everything that all the glory belongs not to Liz, but to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Our culture views having children as a choice and a sacrifice but seldom as a responsibility and a blessing. The Bible sees things very differently being pro-child, pro-procreation and pro-conception. We need to be counter-cultural in our view of the womb and its fruitfulness.
Latest prayer update from JP & Fiona with news on the work of Open Air Mission
No-one can fail to have noticed that there is an election coming up in the United States. In this article, we are helpfully reminded of the priorities that should direct such voting. Let us seek to be biblical and God-honouring in all things.
SIX-YEAR-OLD AMONG VICTIMS OF FULANI MILITANT ATTACK IN NIGERIA; RELEASE INTERNATIONAL PARTNER’S LIFE THREATENED IN UNITED STATES
Communist party officials in China have rewritten one of the Bible’s most powerful accounts of Jesus Christ’s grace and divinity by blasphemously claiming the Saviour stoned to death the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
In this episode Keith Underhill, a former missionary to Kenya gives his experience of God's providence in mission work. We explore why it is critically important for the local Church to be at the heart of supporting missions and for servants to go out into the mission field and preach the gospel in all parts of the world. May God lead us to pray for his work in these countries & for local Churches to send out men to give the gospel to the unreached.
During the Covid-19 crisis, many churches have made it possible to "worship" online. The question now being asked is whether or not folk will ever return to worshipping in person? Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt discuss this vital subject and encourage every Christian to return to worshipping in their local congregation as soon as they are able.
Kenya Prayer Diary October 2020
At the heart of assisted suicide and eugenics is the belief that some lives are worth more than others. In this interview with The Christian Institute, bioethics expert Calum MacKellar exposes the terrible inequality that arises from this view. He powerfully and concisely advocates the dignity of all human life based on the biblical truth that we are all made in the image of God.
Read some very important articles about marriage, divorce, relationships education, abortion and transgender issues in relation to teenage girls. It is so important that we are informed of what is really happening regarding these critical matters, and you will not find this information on the BBC or Sky News or most of the media outlets. Keep revisiting our latest updates page to keep up to date for prayer and action.
Uncertainty is nothing new but the coronavirus crisis has taken this to more extreme levels. There is even a degree of uncertainty about facts, numbers, transmission, symptoms and science. No doubt there may be times and places that have experienced more uncertainty but for many this is at a new level. Disruption and uncertainty have impacted most aspects of most people’s lives. All these unknowns are personal as well as social and economic. We do not know how long the impact of the crisis will last and this creates fear and anxiety. How should we respond?
The proposed Hate Crime Bill in Scotland will open the possibility for people to be charged for having a Bible on their person or believing basic biblical truths. In this podcast, we discuss the proposed bill with Pastor Ali McLachlan, of Grace Baptist Church Edinburgh.
At least 58 people were killed and 17 kidnapped when Muslim militants attacked two villages in the mainly-Christian north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in early September. Please pray for these Christian communities.
Devon and Cornwall Police have told a Christian pastor that if he offends the LGBT community he could be breaking the law after he posted a comment on a social media thread that welcomed the cancellation of a local gay pride event. Pastor Josh Williamson, 34, of Newquay Baptist Church, was warned by police to keep his views in a ‘safe environment’ after being targeted by a wave of anti-Christian abuse – including threats of violence and calls for his church to be burnt down.
"We humbly confess that we deserve Thy chastisement, because of our many national sins. But spare us, good Lord, according to Thy many mercies. Deal not with us according to our sins. Withdraw from us this grievous plague, and restore health to our people. Above all, stir up amongst us true repentance, and increase true religion in the land. We ask all in the name and through the mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory. Amen." A prayer by J.C. Ryle in the 19th Century amid the Cattle Plague.
Murungi has recently been on a trip to West Kenya and has written a prayer update alongside the prayer diary for this month. Read and pray.
The model of Puritan family life was powerful enough to establish joy in a household where eight children died in infancy, the father had to bury eleven out of his fourteen children, there was almost unremitting sickness and massive personal problems, as attested by Samuel Sewall and his family.
Carl and Todd are virtually visiting the beautiful state of Georgia, sipping some peach sweet tea with Rev. David Hall. David is the senior pastor at Midway Presbyterian Church in the Atlanta area, the hot spot for a yearly conference on reformed worship emphasizing the simplicity of worship and the centrality of preaching. Due to changes in state guidelines, this year’s event was canceled, so David chats instead with our heroes about the newest social phenomenon: Puritanical perfectionism.
At issue, the emergence of a secular kind of absolute morality, which punishes violators to the fullest extent of “woke” standards, leaving the perpetrator without any chance for redemption or forgiveness. Is this “new morality” a good thing for society? David reviews the “Five Points of Neo-Perfectionism,” discussing each in light of their social implications.
Read the latest of how God is using MERF for his own glory & in the Beirut disaster
We discuss the bombardier beetle, irreducible complexity & "Wonders of Creation"
A massive explosion rocked the Lebanese capital, Beirut, early on Tuesday evening (4 August 2020), causing utter destruction in the port area of the city and damaging homes up to six miles away. It was followed moments later by a blast wave that knocked people to the ground. At least 135 people were killed, about 5,000 injured and hundreds of thousands made homeless.
Read part 3 of Oliver Allmand-Smith's article on the Puritan family. "In any organisation, a worthy goal is not sufficient to ensure success; there must also be an agreed means to get there. The Puritans were no different, and they held up biblical love as the fundamental means in reaching their shared goal of God’s glory. In their view, such love had to flow out from the marriage that lay at the heart of the family."
When some deface statues of abolitionists in an effort to speak against racism, while others defend the past by keeping it under a veil of comfortable silence, we wonder what happened to sound reason. To resurrect reason, we need a serious commitment to honesty, humility, and hope in our study of history—and in how we present that history to our children.
The latest edition contains articles from our friends in Kenya, Keith Underhill & Oliver Allmand-Smith.
Pray for the brothers and sisters in Kenya as they seek to glorify God in their labours. Please pray for these friends.
Video footage has revealed the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) illegally posting abortion pills to a woman who said she wanted to terminate her pregnancy because she didn’t “want to look pregnant on holiday.”
Read about the glorious doctrine of adoption into God's family.
Cultural Marxism has infiltrated the West and is increasingly showing it's ugly face in culture, the media and most worryingly, the Church. Melvin Tinker helpfully guides us through how the West was "lost" to this philosophy, what their anti-God agenda is and where it will guide our country in the future. Churches and Pastors must be prepared to take up their cross and stand for the truth of the gospel, even if this means suffering and oppression. We have a gospel of hope and salvation, but it is useless if we remain silent. Listen to this special podcast episode to find out more.
Read this article by the Christian Institute on this dangerous bill. Please pray that freedom to preach the gospel may remain.
We don’t have to sweep tricky phrases from Scripture under the carpet, says Christopher Ash. In many cases, Bible scholarship can help us make sense of them.
Please pray that God would bless their labours, that their witness on English streets would bear good fruit.
Some thoughts on the recent death of J. I. Packer.