“There is a great deal of comfort in skepticism,” writes Gordon H. Clark. “If truth is impossible of attainment, then one need not suffer the pains of searching for it… Skepticism dispenses with all effort… Skepticism is the position that nothing can be demonstrated.” Sadly, rather than displaying a Berean spirit in sanctified searching and confirming God’s truths, many Christians express a default “authenticity” in skeptical generalities to excuse themselves from determining and affirming specifics in deference to Scriptural authority. Ministerial candidates take flabby, unproven exceptions to the Church’s time-tested confessional standards almost as a rule these days. Few believers would be compelled by R.C. Sproul’s appeal to engage in strenuous study and show oneself approved: “I think that we should seek to be faithful in small things that we may be prepared to be faithful in many things.” Yet, as comfortable as skeptical non-commitment may feel, Clark warns, “Suspension of judgment… is but a disguised, if dignified, form of unbelief.”
We are thankful to the Lord that our CEO, Ben Udejiofo, was able to make a two week visit to Jos, Plateau State. He returned safely on Wednesday 11 August 2021. He was present at the commissioning of the drilling rig, but sadly was not able to see it in operation. The community where the rig was due to have carried out its first project was under heavy and sustained attack by Militant Fulani Herdsmen. These recent attacks devastating homes and crops have exacerbated the communities' need for clean drinking water and good sanitation facilities. Please pray that the rig will soon be able to enter these communities safely and complete these works. Pray for the Lord's presence, peace and protection for communities who are suffering with no help forthcoming from the Government.
Visit our association page and find out more about our commitment to working with other churches, as our confession says, for our "peace, increase of love and mutual edification". While there is so much to cause conflict, division and discouragement, the need for biblical association and communion between our churches is greater than ever.
The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, USA, holds numerous mysteries for the uniformitarian scientists who believe present processes can explain the rocks from the past. The 1,200 m of horizontal rocks showing on the walls of the Grand Canyon was considered to be a library of the gods by John Wesley Powell who first explored the canyon from a raft in 1869.1,2 Powell consider the walls of the Grand Canyon “a place where colourful layers of rock formed the ‘stony leaves of one great book’, in which they could read, line by line, how the universe was made.”1 In other words, Powell thought he could read the history of the earth’s geology from the horizontal layers and from the igneous and metamorphic layers below.
Concerning the determination of society to "convert" our children to its godless world view, Stephen Spinnenweber writes: none of what we’re seeing today takes God by surprise. This alone ought to comfort the fearful parent and concerned church member. Yet God’s Word doesn’t just describe the problem, but prescribes manifold ways in which the church can forewarn and forearm its children against the lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:5). God has not left us to fend for ourselves. He has given his church grace to endure before, and so we are assured that the immutably holy, wise, and gracious God will give his 21st century church everything necessary to flourish even in the midst of cultural upheaval.
After 20 years, it has been suddenly announced that Western troops left Afghanistan. This has become the overriding subject of news and discussions on TV and the internet. We will leave the diverse political aspects and speculations to others. As biblically thinking Christians, however, we need to be reminded of our Lord’s firm exhortation to “first seek God’s kingdom and righteousness” and His perfect design for our daily prayers – the sanctity of our heavenly Father’s name, the coming of His kingdom and the application of His will.
The life of Benjamin Beddome (an 18th Century Confessional Baptist minister and author of the exposition of the baptist catechism) teaches us many lessons about the local church and pastoral ministry. Beddome ministered in the same church for over 50 years, he was thoroughly committed to the regional association of churches and his preaching reveals firm confidence in the Word of God. Listen in to hear more about Beddome's life and work, that God may be glorified and his Church victorious...
3 Friday Expansion of the Eldership: We are trusting the Lord to raise a more men in our midst to join the Eldership. The Elders are in conversation with some brothers in the church, with a view of incorporating them, so that we can be stronger for church planting in the city. 4 Saturday (1) The sisters have the Ladies Breakfast this morning. We pray that this time of fellowship would be for their encouragement and growth in Christ. (2) We thank the Lord that AO met with 3 of the 6 Christians who had been arrested in S0mal1land. He was encouraged by their strong faith and none of them denied Christ despite the pressure. It is probably advisable they relocate because of extremists. Pray that such Christians will stand firm. 5 Sunday Ministry today: (1) EA begins new adult SS classes on the Life of Moses and is preaching from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) in the morning service. DK is preaching in the afternoon from 1 Samuel 20. There are two membership applications to be interviewed. (2) MI is in Iowa.
In this helpful article, Dr Renihan shows how our confessional roots were not exclusive or extreme, but a conscious effort to find common ground upon which orthodox believers could stand together. While it is true that defining the faith requires the exclusion of those who are not true to God's word, it also enables us to stand together with those who are faithful to scripture, and it is this common ground that is wonderfully explored by Dr Renihan as he examines the historical context of our confession.
Not until people return in their thinking to the standards of God’s Word will the rights of the unborn be protected. Babies in the womb are fully human, made in God’s Image. The research described in this article should shock the conscience of people in every nation which practices abortion, and permits the insidious medical research that exploits it. However, the sad reality is that consciences will not be stirred unless people face up to the consequences of breaking God’s moral law. Evolutionary thinking sees humans and rodents merely as distant cousins, therefore the unborn have no inherent dignity or worth. Only Genesis provides the moral framework for protecting humans created in His Image.
Click the link to read the article "Does the Church still care about abortion?"
There is no time or place better than in corporate worship on Sunday for us to find rest in God. It is the closest we get to heaven on earth. It is the highest expression of our chief end of glorifying and enjoying him forever. Given Scripture’s high view of the Sabbath day and all the blessings promised therein, the more appropriate question to ask is not, “Why can’t I do x?,” but, “How is it that I get to do all that is available to me on the Sabbath?” Thomas Watson once wrote, “What does he lose who parts with a flower and gets a jewel?” All that which we forego pales in comparison to the worth of that which we gain on the Lord’s Day. So long as we keep this in the forefront of our minds, that feeling of resentment that we so often feel will soon give way to gratitude and delight in being able to commune with our bridegroom once again.
The first thing to grasp about the law is that it was for Adam’s good, God’s good gift in kindness to him. Due to Paul’s later teaching on the law in Romans, many Christians have a negative perspective on the law of God, as if it is always against us and harming us – but that is not the case at all. God gave Adam a law written upon his heart for his benefit. Possessing such a law was not Adam’s right or prerogative. However, a benevolent and kind condescension on the part of God towards man is that he did not write this law on the hearts of the fish, birds, or animals; it only belonged to Adam out of the goodness and lovingkindness of God. This law separates us from the animal kingdom and makes us moral creatures in essence. It enables us to commune with God and distinguishes us as those made in God’s image.
The ladies meeting here at Trinity Grace is a warm, welcoming place where we seek to grow in our faith and in our love for God and each other as we study the word of God together. We usually have our meetings once a month on Saturdays from September to June. All ladies are welcome. For more information and a full schedule please click below.
The situation in Afghanistan is deeply concerning, but how do we know what is happening on the ground and how should we pray? Through SGA we are receiving trustworthy and helpful updates to direct our prayers. Click below for the latest news, including these prayer requests: Pray for our Afghan brothers and sisters to experience the peace of God with them and guiding them. Pray that the Holy Spirit will bring Scripture to the minds of our brothers and sisters so that they can stand firm in these uncertain days.
Trinity Grace Church will host 3-4 IRBS courses in 2022, starting with covenant theology. We are pleased to have Dr Samuel Renihan with us to teach covenant theology, January 10th – January 14th. Dr Renihan has lectured and written on Baptist history and covenant theology, including his works, From Shadow to Substance: The Federal Theology of the English Particular Baptists (1642-1704) and The Mystery of Christ, His Covenant and His Kingdom.
I began coming to a saving knowledge of Christ during my first year of University. Reading Psalm 22, the words started to carry weight, which I had never experienced from the Bible before. Of course, I did not understand the words much at first, but I continued to be drawn to them like a magnet and began studying them to discover their meaning. Martin Luther once described his experience of understanding the letter of Romans like savagely beating on its doors until it opened up its meaning.
The contrast that is given in the New Testament is not that this life is bad and the next life is good. On the contrary, the apostle Paul says that this life is good, but to die and to be with Christ is better. So death represents for the believer a gain, indeed, an extraordinary gain. When we close our eyes in death, we do not cease to be alive; rather, we experience a continuation of personal consciousness. No person is more conscious, more aware, and more alert than when he passes through the veil from this world into the next. Far from falling asleep, we are awakened to glory in all of its significance. For the believer, death does not have the last word. Death has surrendered to the conquering power of the One who was resurrected as the firstborn of many brethren.
An objective survey of our media, advertising, social media and popular culture reveals a culture obsessed with physical beauty. It is so obsessed with it that beauty has become everything and important things are neglected. When it reaches this point it is according to psychology professor Renee Engeln, a “beauty sick” culture. It amounts to a society-wide psychological illness. What we see in the mirror consumes so much time, attention, and emotional resources that becomes harder see other aspects of our lives. How we look (often measured by reactions on social media) is more important than who we are. The ugly truth about such beauty sickness is that it is physically, mentally and spiritually harmful. Anthropologists observe that obsession with physical beauty is a common phenomenon of societies in decline. Cultures have been here before and the Bible has great insight about such tendencies of the human heart. It points us away from beauty sickness to true beauty.
Last month, the BBC asked all staff to state their pronouns in their email signatures in a drive to be more inclusive of transgender employees. The BBC employs 400 people who identify as transgender according to internal surveys – that is nearly 2 percent of the 22,000 employed by the broadcaster. The Scottish government has also asked its 8,000 civil servants to ‘take a pronoun pledge’ and add pronouns to their email signatures. This is in spite of an internal survey showing that almost 60 percent of civil servants disagreed with the move and did not want to add pronouns to their emails.
It was never my intention to plant a Reformed Church in Finland, indeed, if I was to be honest, at that time I did not even know there was such a thing as a “Reformed Church”. I am Kyle McCartan, a Northern Irishman and I have been living in Finland together with my wife Sara since the year 2000. In the summer of 2009, we were sent out to begin a church plant. Our sending church was a small independent church based in Jakobstad, a town and municipality in the Ostrobothnia region of western Finland. The town has a population of around 19,000. Finland is a part of Scandinavia, in northern part of Europe, and shares land borders with Norway, Sweden, and Russia. The country is fairly large, it almost the size of Germany, but with a fraction of its population. Germany having 83 million citizens and Finland having only 5.5 million. Nearly two-thirds of Finland is blanketed by thick woodlands, making it the most densely forested country in Europe.
The rains are good for which we praise God and we have started to eat potatoes from the farms. The IDP's are good to us and bring potatoes so we don't have to buy . The corn on the cob is doing well too. Continue to pray for Vom. There was a terrible attack over the weekend, about an hour from here. All of the houses, more than 200,were burnt and the families were running to Jos. We don't know what will happen to them but we can pray. We just carry on and see what God will do.
In the middle of a long race, doubt can be a killer. Realizing how far you have to go, the present ache in your body can make finishing seem unlikely. Doubt then quickly transforms itself into certainty and you give up. Likewise, it is with the Christian life. If we doubt our ability to trust and obey the Lord until the end, then we will make it even harder to persevere and we might be tempted to quit. Therefore, when we find the race that God has set before us difficult, we need to run with confidence. How might we do that?
Owls are intriguing, majestic birds, with their large eyes, earlike tufts on their heads, noiseless flight, and characteristic night-time hoots. They live on every continent, except Antarctica. These birds are solitary and are usually active during twilight or at night. Some species, such as the burrowing owl (Speotyto cunicularia) and the short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) are active during the day.
Civility has disappeared from a great deal of public discourse. Words such as “toxic”, “venomous” and “poisonous” are used to describe it. Political discourse seems to major on insults. It is not difficult to see that language can be not only divisive but degrading. In a polarised world, how should we respond to the invective directed against our views? How do we avoid worldly spite infecting our response? Disagreements among Christians also arise. Sometime there are necessary differences for the sake of truth, but is it possible to handle them peaceably?
View our new page on the work of IRBS Theological Seminary and how men are being trained for the ministry even here in the UK.
5 Thursday The Kahures have continued to labour in establishing a local church at Meru Town – they are calling it Trinity Reformed Baptist Church. The first Sunday morning worship was on July 4th with 7 attending, by the 3rd Sunday of July the number had almost doubled. The afternoon service is even better attended. 6 Friday The Korr church building was being completed between June 28th to July 23rd. The brethren there are so encouraged. Stephen & Esther Silamo got a baby daughter and the mother is recuperating well. Please pray for Ogom as he labours in the gospel ministry amongst his people around Korr. 7 Saturday The Men’s Breakfast is taking place at 08:00 today on the subject Becoming Intentional Men. There will be an Elders & Deacons Meeting at 10.00 and we trust the Lord for fruitful discussions. Pray for the Lord’s provision during these times of difficulty and distress, that the cause of Christ will not be hindered.
The work of the gospel in Albania began with the apostle Paul. In Romans 15:19 he says “from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.” Titus also would have passed through Albania on his way to Dalmatia; modern day Croatia (2 Timothy 4:10). Yet from around the second century to the 1800’s we have no record of any evangelical witness, any evangelical churches or indeed evangelical believers. Through the British and Foreign Bible society the New Testament and other Scriptures were translated into Albanian and sold by travelling evangelists in the 1860’s and 70’s. Gerasim Qiriazi, an Albanian from what is now called Northern Macedonia, was employed by the Society and came to Albania. He was used of God to establish an evangelical church in the south western town of Korçë despite deep opposition from the Greek Orthodox church there.
INDIA: Extremists have destroyed the homes of eight Christian families and forcibly expelled them from their village. The attack was carried out in the remote community of Sikapai village, in Rayagada district of Odisha, in April 2021. The mob devastated the Christians’ homes and forced them to leave the village. Initially the Christian families were not allowed to recover belongings before police intervened to calm the situation. The families took refuge in a forest nearby. Of the 40 families in Sikapai only these eight are Christian. A pastor paid tribute to the Christians’ strong faith in Jesus since they converted from the Kui tribal religion about ten years ago. One of the victims declared that the attackers “can destroy our homes, but not our faith in Jesus”.
Kenneth Ferguson, the former CEO of The Robertson Trust, has won his case against his old employer. The Christian Institute supported Kenneth through their Legal Defence Fund. Ruling in Kenneth’s favour, the Employment Tribunal found that he was a victim of religious discrimination and unfair dismissal at the hands of Scotland’s biggest grant-making trust and its Chair, Shonaig Macpherson. Kenneth, an elder at Stirling Free Church, had been CEO since 2011. But he was dismissed in March last year after Macpherson objected to his church renting Trust premises because it opposed same-sex marriage.
A Christian woman who was attacked and stabbed multiple times by a man in a black Islamic robe at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, has spoken for the first time since the incident. Hatun Tash, 39, a well-known Christian apologist who regularly critiques and debates the Qur’an at Speakers’ Corner, the most famous place in the world for free speech, was attacked at 3.34pm on Sunday 25 July. Hatun is an ex-Muslim who has converted to Christianity and is the director of the ministry Defend Christ Critique Islam (DCCI). It is well known that those who convert from Islam are deemed to have committed apostasy which, according to sharia law, deserves the death penalty. Shocking video footage from Sunday’s incident has revealed a man clad in black, with a hood and face mask, unleashing a series of violent stabs at Hatun’s throat and body which left her with wounds to her face and hands. Hatun collapsed with blood down her face and is seen wearing a Charlie Hebdo t-shirt. Following the attack, the man immediately fled the scene and discarded the knife.
In this excellent article by Adam Parker, we are directed to the many privileges and responsibilities of membership and leadership. Of elders responsibilities he says: the elders aren’t responsible for the member’s body: they are responsible for the soul. The soul is easily neglected, especially in our own day, but the elders of the church are meant to be specialists for the member’s spiritual good. How is this done? What does soul care look like? At the bare minimum the answer should include ensuring that the word, the sacraments, and prayer are safeguarded in the local church. These three things are the primary and ordinary way that God plans to care for his people, and if they aren’t in place church leaders are shirking their responsibility to “keep watch over [the] souls” of God’s people.
On Sunday, May 30th, cries of terror filled the scattered homes that make up the rural community of Nwori Nduobashi, Nigeria. It was around 3 in the morning, and people were still asleep when an armed band broke into their homes, flashing light in their eyes to confuse them while they swung their machetes. In the meantime, some attackers stood by the door and windows, killing those who tried to escape. Some had guns. If a door was too solid to break down, the attackers set the house on fire. The few people who managed to escape were chased down and killed. Some bodies were found later on in the bushes—or only their clothes.
A new study is concerned about the potential for the dehumanisation of work. “As the relationship between work, time, and place changes, there is a need to rediscover patterns of rest”. God has already provided the remedy. “The biblical idea of a Sabbath is an ancient answer to a very modern anxiety”. It is a day that “demonstrates for all of us that we are not defined by what we do or what we consume”. As a day of worship it gives us something that rises above and points beyond the daily grind. The need for it is hardwired into our nature from the creation of the world. We neglect it at our peril.
View our latest update on abortion on our abortion page using the link below.
Read the below article "Reclaiming the peppered moth". It shows how Moths were intelligently designed to adapt.
Praise God, in His eternal wisdom & kindness, I was raised in a loving Christian home. From my earliest days I remember hearing God’s word preached faithfully & was taught to memorise scripture & particularly loved singing hymns. There was no question in my mind that God was great and powerful, but I didn’t know Him to be ‘my’ God until many years (& many terrible choices) later! When I hit my mid teens, I no longer had a network of church friends, as my dad had taken up a pastorate on the outskirts of Cardiff, and the great love of my heart became very obvious: myself. After many attempts at a ‘conversion experience’ I decided Christianity was devoid of real power & went off in search of real pleasures!
REV Polycarp , who was kidnapped months ago, has been released with a few others. His wife delivered a baby boy at the time of his release. What rejoicing for everyone. Karl Kumm University. There are problems so pray that COCIN and the KKU management will solve these and that the University will open in September as planned. The rains are really good and the first lot of Irish potatoes (as they are called) are being harvested. May the crops of grain, mainly corn on the cob, mature well. Our only fear is that the herdsmen will come and destroy the crops as they have done in many areas, particularly as they often retaliate if some of them have been killed after they have killed local people. We don't have a farm but the IDP's are good and bring us produce.
Why is it so important to lead our little ones into the gathered worship of God's people, and how can it be done? In the third and fourth seminars, we discuss the practicalities, beginning with the critical principle of honesty with our children, and concluding with the fact that we must rest in the sovereign providence of God at the last.
Where did the early Particular Baptists emerge from? Is the language that we use to describe early baptistic pastors and laypeople unhelpful? How does a good understanding of so called 'Reformed Baptist' history help us grasp and appreciate our theological identity now? These questions and others are helpfully confronted by Dr Matthew Bingham in this episode as we interview him about his influential research and fascinating new book titled 'Orthodox Radicals- Baptist Identity in the English Revolution'.
Friday 2nd: Eric & Martha Kahure relocated from Miathene to Meru Town on the 29th June. They plan to begin Sunday morning services without delay since there are at least 12 who have been gathering with them consistently. Please pray that this work will take off with God’s blessings. Saturday 3rd: The second Ladies’ Breakfast meeting is taking place today from 08.00. May this further cement the ties between older and younger women as the latter group is taught what is good. Later there will be a Men’s Hangout, where they hope to learn together how to ‘man up’ in loving and leading their women in a godly way. Sunday 4th: Ministry Today: (1) Nairobi TBC. Manases Bor is taking the Adult SS class on Biblical churchmanship. MI preaches in the morning from Romans 3:26; EA in the afternoon service from Matthew 5:31,32. In addition, we shall be interviewing Yvonne Wambui for membership. (2) Paul Ruhiu is preaching at the University of Nairobi main campus service on the Sufficiency and the Bible.
This would be the single biggest change to abortion legislation since 1967 and would leave England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world. Please email your MP either personally or through the link to stand for the unborn in their time of need.
Environmentalists are sometimes disparagingly called ‘tree-huggers’, but that would be a bad idea in the case of the Manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella L., family Euphorbiaceae). In fact, any form of contact with any part of this tree is extremely dangerous due to the potent toxin in the wood, bark, leaves, and fruit. The tree is up to 15m (50 feet) tall, with lush leaves. Its fruit looks like and tastes like apples, but the sweet flavour quickly gives way to an intensifying burning feeling that will make swallowing almost impossible. One article warned that eating enough of the fruit would cause one to “suffer about the same fate as someone exposed to nerve gas. … This tree can, and has, killed people.”
In Burkina Faso armed men, suspected to be jihadi militants, attacked a baptism ceremony in the village of Adjarara, Oudalan province on 18 May, killing 15 people. Many others were forced to flee the village, located in mainly Christian northern Burkina Faso near the border with Mali, in fear of their lives. While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, groups affiliated to both Al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) are active across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The Sahel region of Africa, along with parts of West Africa such as Nigeria, has in the last few years become the epicentre of global jihadi activity.
I was privileged to have been brought up in a Christian home. However, it wasn’t until I was about 15 that I began to believe that everything I had heard was true. It was a gradual realisation, a work of the Holy Spirit, that God was telling me I needed to be living for and loving Him. I became aware of my failings and faults and realised that only Jesus’ sacrifice could put things right between God and me. It was at this time I was baptised. I would love to say that I continued growing in faith from then on, but the truth is very different. When I was about 20 years old, I decided that maybe I should live my life my own way, not the way that God wanted. I fooled myself into thinking that, although I still believed in God, I didn’t need to go to church or to follow Him anymore. God wouldn’t miss me, I thought, and I didn’t need Him. How foolish I was...
7 questions exploring our response as a church to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
"In Crux, Mors, Inferi, Samuel Renihan, argues for the descent of Christ to hades/hell between his death and resurrection, drawing not only from scripture (in part 1), but also from historical theology (in part 2) as an expert on Reformed and Particular Baptist history. The name of the book, which in Latin means "cross, death, lower world" is taken from a quote by Hilary of Poitiers' On the Trinity, one of the greatest early church treatises on the Trinity..."
Here are the recordings from the recent 'leading little ones to worship' day. It would be useful for those attending the upcoming day to listen to these lectures as they are the theological foundation upon which we understand children and worship in the church. On June 26th we will be thinking about the practical outworking of these principles, where more time will be devoted to questions and discussion, so attending in person will bring the greatest benefit. Clock below for further details.
We thank the Lord for providing the church in Nairobi with godly leaders who are united in the work of the gospel and the cause of Christ. Please make a special commitment to pray for them as they face massive challenges and equally enormous opportunities — often is it very difficult just to make it through a single week of ministry in such a context. As you read the update from June 2021, you will come to know the leaders a little better and get an insight into their calling, their labours and their needs. Seek the Lord’s favour upon them, and as you do think of them in their situation, seeking as you intercede to understand what they are facing and stand with them in their ministry. Our God is good and his mercies are unfailing upon all those who seek him in truth.
Meaningful, in-person interactions have certainly been less plentiful in recent months. With some exceptions, it seems like maintaining conversations has been a challenge in the distancing circumstances. Quite a few report they now feel more awkward in interacting in this way. Having less to talk about and difficult issues to navigate does not help greatly. Arguably this was difficult enough before in an increasingly fragmented community. The most meaningful conversations are those that build us up and help us make progress in the Christian life. It may be a good time to remind ourselves how important those interactions are and how we can make best use of this kind of fellowship.
We have just launched a new page on our website concerning what we believe to be the greatest moral evil of our time - ABORTION. Will you give a few moments of your time to consider the plight of the unborn, who are killed daily while we pretend to be interested in the value of human life? What hope is there for our society while such evil is perpetuated and promoted? Visit our abortion page to find out more, and in coming days we will be calling upon our readers to take action in God's name - to rise up in defence of those who cannot speak for themselves.
What does a longer sermon series implicitly communicate to the household of God? That the Bible is a book that is meant to be studied! That all Scripture, like the apostle Paul indicated, is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (1 Tim. 3:16-17). If the pastor never carefully works through long texts of Scripture, then the pastor is probably implicitly communicating to the congregation: it’s not worth it, it can’t be done, and simply be satisfied with a shallow glossing over and skimming over the Word of God. Which is exactly the wrong message to communicate to the church. The church needs a model of a preacher studying hard texts of Scripture in its midst because the entire church should be doing the same. The church needs to be constantly challenged to study the Word of God in all its breadth and depth for therein lies the very life and love of God communicated to His people.
We continue to thank God for your prayerful support of the seminary as we quickly approach the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester. Our summer has been remarkably busy, and we are encouraged by all the exciting things that have been happening here. Last month, we held the commencement ceremony for our first Texas graduate! We congratulate Salvatore Pezzino on completing his Master of Divinity degree and pray for the Lord’s blessing on him as he steps into the eldership of Sycamore Reformed Baptist Church in East Moline, Illinois. At commencement, Dr. Renihan announced our new hybrid academic program, as well as our new church sponsorship program; these have both generated quite a bit of interest and we are rapidly answering queries and processing applications!
Imagine a nation-state which regularly faces serious, even destructive, threats. In jeopardy from external forces and internal sabotage, it operates under strict martial law, with capital punishment for foreign invaders or rogue citizens. There are specialist centres for essential education and training, as well as detention centres, waste disposal facilities, and efficient transport systems. The state ensures its own survival by ruthlessly policing its borders and neutralizing any menace. This requires surveillance and security checks. Its sophisticated identification system lets it detect and eliminate terrorists, while protecting innocent citizens. Individuals with particular skills, some at elite level, are its police, soldiers, and special operatives. High-level communication ensures coordinated responses, and pre-emptive strategies are in place to efficiently counter dangerous incursions. All this has parallels with your body’s ingenious immune system.
Thomas Watson’s most famous work, A Body of Practical Divinity, published posthumously in 1692, consisted of 176 sermons on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Watson was a clear writer, adept at providing memorable phrases and illustrations. He joined theological understanding with warm spirituality and piety. When he died suddenly, he was engaged in private prayer. Watson’s wisdom lives on, especially his wisdom on prayer. Prayer was central and crucial in Watson’s understanding of Christian faith and life. He wrote that a godly person “will as soon live without food, as without prayer.” For “in prayer we draw nigh to God.” Faith is necessary in prayer: “Faith must take prayer by the hand, or there is no coming nigh to God.” “Prayer is the Key of Heaven,” said Watson, but “faith is the hand that turns it.” “Prayer without faith is unsuccessful,” Watson believed. Most simply: “A prayer that is faithless is fruitless.”
A special Trinity Grace Podcast episode previewing the upcoming youth conference on biblical worship.
What are some of the unique blessings of gathering together for worship? What have we missed when it was not available? It is not simply a matter of what we have not received personally. Our responsibility is to give just as much as receive. Primarily we give worship to God and also receive spiritual blessings. The Lord’s people are also meant to strengthen one another as one body, we are not meant to “go it alone”. One coal taken out of the fire cannot preserve its heat like those that are together in the fire.
According to the latest report by the Nigerian NGO Intersociety, in the four months from January to April 2021 Nigeria ‘lost no fewer than 1,470 Christians… the highest number recorded since 2014’. And reports just published by both the US State Department and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) single out Nigeria as a ‘country of particular concern for tolerating severe violations of religious freedom’. Intersociety calculate that 2,200 Nigerian Christians were abducted by jihadists between January and April this year. Of those 220 are believed to have been murdered. The NGO say Fulani militants killed more than 800 Christians, in a conflict often simplistically characterised as clashes over resources between herders and farmers. Their findings support research suggesting more Christians are being killed in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world.
As children, my dad used to bring me and my brother and sister to church and Sunday school every week and we were brought up in a Christian family. As a teenager, I often got a little bored and remember wondering how much longer the service would go on for so that I could go home and do the things I wanted to do. Eventually, somewhere between the ages of 18 and 21, I thought I am an adult now and can do what I want, and I do not have to go to church if I do not want to. As a result of this, I had been away from church for over thirty years!! I have always believed in God and the sacrifice the Lord Jesus Christ made for sinners, but I did not live my life as though this was personal to me. I made a mess of my life whilst doing my own thing and this included a marriage breakdown and subsequent divorce. However, I told myself that I would go back to church in my 70s or 80s before I died – what a ridiculous notion!! What if I had died in my sins and not in Christ before I reached my old age? Indeed, what if the Lord Jesus Christ had returned before my twilight years? The story I am going to tell now is about my journey back to God.
The case of human footprints found in a layer of volcanic ash in Mexico is a good example of how different dating methods can give wildly different dates for the same layer. Radiometric dating is not objective science!
In this episode of The Sword and The Trowel, Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore talk with Pastor James Coates after his release from prison, where he was placed after refusing to comply with the Canadian government’s COVID-19 guidelines his church. They discuss the state of Grace Life Church, what it was like for Pastor Coates in jail, how to pray for the church – which now has chain fences placed around the building, and the importance of strong theology and commitment to God’s word in the face of persecution.
When I ran track in high school, I competed in the 800m and 1500m races. My teammates competed in different races. The sprinters ran the 100m and 200m, while the long-distance runners ran the 3000m and 5000m. Although we all ran on the same track, we had our own particular races to run. As Christians, we are all running on the same road that leads to what John Bunyan calls the Celestial City. Nevertheless, we all have unique races to run because no two lives are exactly the same and we don’t serve Christ in the abstract. We always trust and obey the Lord concretely in a particular context, which is why God calls us to run our race. The author Hebrews says that we are to run the race that God sets before us (Heb. 12:1). We aren’t to run the race set before “them” or “him” or “her” but the race set before us. Paul says that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). We aren’t to work out someone else’s salvation, only our own.
What is preaching? Is it just an exposition of an important text, or even just an exposition of a divinely authored text? In this podcast we discuss why preaching is an event where God speaks to his people through an ambassador, it is more than just an exposition, it is a means of grace!
African Pastors' Conferences are held to bring the message of the true gospel, according to the whole counsel of God, before pastors on the African continent, many of whom have never been exposed to the Reformed faith. Some of them are genuine believers whose understanding is very limited, and other may not even be converted, but the need for understanding is massive. So many who stand to preach Christ to their people do not really understand who he is or what he has done, and so their "gospel" is readily distorted and the people are led astray. Pray for this important work and read about some of the conferences that have taken place this year so far.
Please support House of Ants in prayer and with financial help. This is an extract from the June update: Percina is 10 and Junior 6 years old, they are brother and sister. Percina is in year 5 and Junior year 1 at school. Since they don’t actually live in the House of Ants, they come in daily for schooling, food and other assistance due to their father being unemployed. Both are happy children and ready to learn, particularly in the Bible teaching classes. Paulo André is 12 years old and lived with a carer, which he called his grandmother. The house was very small and 6 other members lived in the same room. He is small for his age, cannot speak and is immobilised in his lower body and legs, needing total care. He is also HIV positive from birth. He was sent to us by the Social Services, as he was vulnerable with the family he was living with.
During this past year of lockdowns and restrictions, we have been richly blessed to have a number of new folk join our gatherings for worship. One of them is Martijn, who is originally from the Netherlands, and now lives locally. His journey is a fascinating one, and witnesses to the grace, goodness and sovereign providence of God in his life. Visit our testimonies page to read his story, and that of many others too.
Please pray for Daniel and Kathleen Gula in Nigeria. In their latest news for May 2021 they request: continue to pray as there are threats all over Nigeria and many killings and kidnappings are everyday news. Pray that the Government might know what to do and have the desire to stop these awful things from happening. Vom has threats from time to time but we continue to pray and the vigilantes are alert. The verse at the beginning of the letter is an encouragement knowing that only God’s perfect plan will happen in Nigeria: The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
The Bible indicates that God created human beings to live in fellowship with him. In the beginning, they could see that the stars declared the glory of God. But the first human beings broke their fellowship with God. They rebelled. They wanted to be like gods themselves. And with that rebellion they put out their spiritual eyes, so to speak. Now we work hard not to see the obvious thing about stars, namely that they declare their Maker. We work hard because we cannot bear to admit our dependence on God. At the same time, we cannot bear not to desire beauty, which reminds us of the beauty of God. We are miserable. In the Bible, God tells us that the only way back is through his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Way who brings us back to know God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, eyes formerly blind are opened. They see the stars again, as David saw them.
Three Pakistani Christian nurses fear for their lives after a “blasphemy” accusation against them provoked anger among their Muslim colleagues. Nurse Sakina was accused after sharing on social media a post that was critical of the Pakistani government, and the two other nurses, Jessica and Tressa, “liked” the same post. Although there was no blasphemous content in the video post that Sakina shared, a group of Muslim nurses occupied the Christian chapel at the Punjab Institute of Mental Health in Lahore in protest on 27 April and called for it to be turned into a mosque. The nurses began reciting naat (poems in praise of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) in front of a wooden cross. For many Muslims, once a place has been used for Islamic worship, it is considered to “belong” to Islam for ever. Later hundreds of staff joined a demonstration, and the three Christian nurses fled in fear of their lives. They have taken extended leave from their jobs, concerned that the threat against them will continue.
The Scottish government has been ordered to pay 50% additional costs following an historic ruling which found the decision to criminalise gathered church worship during lockdown to be unconstitutional. Lord Braid, at the Edinburgh Court of Session, ruled that: “In all the circumstances, having regard to the increased responsibility undertaken by the solicitor in relation to the heads identified above, I have determined that an appropriate percentage increase is one of 50 per cent and I will so order.” 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.
Read the latest news from MERF about how they are reaching Iranian, Farsi-speaking peoples all over the world through their ministry of God's word via radio and online.
Covenant is one of the great themes of Scripture. God’s relationship with his people is, and has always been, founded upon and defined by covenant. Covenant is prominent in both Old and New Testaments. Yet Christians have differed greatly in their understanding of the biblical covenants. How many are there? Are they characterised by works or grace? Are they national or spiritual? How do they relate to one another? Is there an eternal, intratrinitarian covenant? These questions have vital practical implications for God’s people – on questions of baptism, the place of the moral law in the Christian life, how we use the Old Testament, and more. Join us at the Carey Ministers Conference in January 2022 for an in-depth study of Baptist Covenant Theology with Dr Sam Renihan.
The Hebrew Christians had served Christ well for many years even in the midst of persecution. They were publicly slandered, robbed of their property, put in prison and risked their lives to help their fellow Christians who were imprisoned. They endured and loved the brethren joyfully because God had promised them a better and an eternal inheritance. Their faith worked through love and produced all sorts of good works. But now their exemplary faith was beginning to crack at the seams. They had lost their full confidence in Christ and had become sluggish in living for him. Their run had turned to a slow walk, with some having stopped going to church altogether. The author of Hebrews was concerned for them because he understood that even though they had started out so well, they needed to finish in order to receive what God has promised them in Christ. This is why he wrote to them, underscoring the absolute necessity of persevering in the faith to the end.
What challenges has Covid-19 and the lockdowns posed to our churches? How well have we responded? As we emerge from the crisis, what should we be doing to help those who have been affected deeply by the events of the past year? What about all the loneliness, isolation, fear and anxiety? What part does gathering together for worship and fellowship play in our personal and corporate recovery? Join us for the Christian Concern panel discussion at 1pm Friday 21st using the links below, or catch-up later.
"Formal association means real association, it has bite, it has accountability, formal means its actually happening." In this episode we discuss the confessional necessity of churches associating together. If we are to be confessional we must be associational, this means real association, where we have fruitful communion with other like-minded Churches for 'their peace, love and mutual edification'. Tune in to hear more.
Visit our testimonies page to read Sarah's own story of God's saving grace in her life. Despite her best efforts to make herself right with God, she came to understand that salvation must be by grace alone, or not at all! There is no possibility of saving ourselves, which means that all the honour and praise goes to Christ alone.
God has the eternal, divine, inherent right to tell His creatures what to believe and how to live. He does not derive His authority from any external source, He asks permission from no one, and has never consulted a counselor to help Him make decisions (Is. 40:13-14). Hebrews 6:13 teaches us that when He wanted to confirm His promise to Abraham, God swore by Himself. There was and is no higher court of appeal, for “God’s Word is the ultimate authority, and as such it can be authorized only by itself.” The Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, declared as He prayed to the Father, “Your Word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). Therefore, God’s written Word stands as the fixed and absolute standard by which we judge all things.
As expected, yesterday’s Queen’s Speech included a reference to banning conversion therapy. The Government issued a statement saying: “We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, and does not have unintended consequences. We will ensure medical professionals, religious leaders, teachers and parents can continue to be able to have open and honest conversations with people.” This pledge is welcome. However, even if the Government’s proposals contain no threat to religious freedom, there is a long battle ahead to argue against amendments from MPs and Peers which may interfere in ordinary church life and family life.
Sue Ellen Browder, former Cosmopolitan magazine writer from the 1970s & 80s, talks with Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt about the role she played in the feminist movement and “sexual revolution” of that period. Sue’s story is compelling as she speaks about her “double life” as a happily married woman raising children, tending her garden, and baking fresh bread while writing made-up stories on feminism and sexual liberation. Can a media outlet really have a manual on how to write fake news to accomplish the desired outcome? The truth is shocking as she explains how fictional journalism was used to spread propaganda that deceived an entire generation, and still does today. As you listen, you will appreciate just how biased and disingenuous the news media is, and how determined they are to pursue their anti-God agenda. It’s fascinating to hear how many factors were in play, how truth mingled with lies to achieve predetermined goals, and above all how abortion became the great issue that united the “Sexual Revolution” and the “Women’s Movement” Essential listening for all who seek understanding of how we arrived where we now find ourselves.
What does it take to be a cross-cultural missionary? What kind of sacrifice is involved, and how great is the commitment required? Who is really qualified for the work, and how should they be prepared? What is the role of the local church both in sending missionaries and in their work out in the field? How do we measure "success" in missions? These and many other questions are answered by Chad Vegas & Brooks Buser in this informative, challenging & VERY important discussion.
Michael Haykin writes on the essential nature and glory of the triune God, as he focuses upon the wonderful phrase in chapter 2 paragraph 3 of the 2nd LCF which states that “the doctrine of the trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.” The trinity is not derived from academic speculation, or an extra to the gospel, but essential to who God is and what God has done for us. Although the trinity is largely forgotten or confused in the church today, this doctrine is vital to our salvation, piety and worship of God. “We worship, one God in trinity and trinity in unity.” Chapter 2 of our confession helps us not only know more of our triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but helps us to honour him as such.
As a fellowship, God has blessed us with a large (and growing) number of small children. What is their greatest need? What is the highest priority for their parents? Is it not exactly the same as every human being, that we should be drawn to worship God? Where will they gain understanding of the great truths about the Bible, God, creation, providence, sin, covenant, Christ, salvation, and indeed all that matters? Where will they be in the presence of the Father, receiving the word of Christ, under the influence of the Spirit? And above all, how will they be made ready for the glories of heaven, to acquire a taste for such glory and be transformed into creatures of glory? Is it not under the ordinary means of grace in gathered worship? We need to lead our little ones to worship, but how can this be done? Two mornings of seminars, June 12th & 26th. All welcome.
India is currently ravaged by the impact of Covid-19, with the reported death count increasing rapidly each day. It is tragic and heart-breaking. It just shows how helpless we can become despite all that has been achieved in our country. As much as we mourn the loss of life and all the damage being done by this virus, more people are being shackled by fear and panic. Some news channels are doing nothing but spreading fear. Countless people who are glued to television sets are being negatively impacted by what they see. Because they are constantly watching gruesome visuals, what they see is what they think is happening to them. The fearmongering type of negative reports are producing adverse effects. I do not suggest that we should be ignorant of the reality, or less empathetic towards the suffering, but we have a duty as Christians to consider how we respond to fear.
Summer Conference 2021 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 “The first foundation of righteousness undoubtedly is the worship of God.” John Calvin “To worship God in truth is to worship Him as He commands.” R. C. Sproul This July, we will be exploring this theme, seeing how it is laid out in God’s word, examining how our fathers in the faith engaged in worship and applying this teaching to our lives in the 21st century. The worship of God is the most fundamental thing we do as His people. Man was originally created by God to bring Him glory in worship, and in Christ we are called out of the world, to live as people who worship. God’s greatness demands that we worship Him, as prescribed by His word. Worship is a great source of blessing to us, His people. The supreme expression of worship is found when God’s people gather together in the name of Christ to worship God by the Spirit in a Biblical manner. Sadly worship today is often misunderstood or taken lightly by many professing Christians. This has lead to countless controversies and worship being trivialised in some churches. The past year has seen a great challenge to the gathered worship of God’s people. We need Biblical direction and inspiration in order to rightly worship God in spirit and in truth. The conference is for all those ages 16 to 30 years.
Grief is a very difficult emotion to deal with; there’s a lot of pain in it; and the loss of the one with whom you were one flesh is probably the hardest of all; the pain, darkness and sadness that envelops is terrible. But the Bible teaches that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Sad, but not in despair, because the Christian has hope. Why is that so? How can that be? Find out in this moving, personal account of hope in grief.
When we testify to the grace of God in our lives, that testimony glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and manifests the power of the Holy Spirit in redeeming us. You will find all of this in Jake's testimony, and that of many more at Trinity Grace. Click below to visit our testimony page and read more for the blessing of your soul and the glory of God.
Go to our Kenya page to find the full prayer diary for May. This is an extract: May 2 Sunday Ministry today: The three Elders are doing a Table Talk, responding to various questions about the Christian view of the civil magistrate. MI preaches in the morning from Romans 3:13-18 while DK preaches in the afternoon from 1 Samuel 15 as he continues to take us through the life and ministry of Samuel. We shall premier at 2 p.m. episode 17 of the Spurgeon’s Stories for Children. May 5: TPC classes begin today with Oliver Allmand-Smith teaching virtually on the Doctrine of God. We pray that the students will be able to join virtually with no problem now that Nairobi is still in lockdown and some of them are in places with poor signal and connectivity. Those students who are in Nairobi will be together in class at the TBC Nairobi premises.
In this episode we discuss the biblical basis for association between churches. Many seek proof texts for these matters, but like so many critical doctrines of the Christian faith (such as the Trinity) there is no chapter and verse that explicitly outlines the need for associations. Instead, the testimony of scripture is clear that formal association between churches is necessary for faithful fulfilment of each local church's calling. Tune in to hear more.
Visit our Nigeria page to find the latest news from TASTE, including this: We are thankful to the Lord for your tremendous response to our appeal for support to purchase this big drilling rig. We have now raised over £99,000. We had asked for interest free loan to be paid back over 3 years. We praise God for such was your generosity that of the amazing total we only have to pay back £28,000, the total amount received as loans We have 3 years to pay this off when we had expected to be paying back £90,000. The rig left for Nigeria first week of April and is due in Nigeria by the first week in May 2021. God is good.
Visit our persecution page to read the May 2021 prayer update, including this update from Nigeria: Five out of 39 Nigerian students, mainly Christian, kidnapped from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Mando, Kaduna State, in March have been released, the State government announced on 5 April. The 39 students (23 female and 16 male) were abducted by an armed gang in a raid on the college on 11 March. The five students are undergoing medical checks in a military facility. Videos released by the kidnappers showed the students being threatened, beaten and whipped. A church minister and three worshippers were killed by gunmen in an attack on a church in Benue State in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. The men entered a church building in Aye-Tuwar village on 30 March, just as an early-morning service was closing. They shot dead the minister – Ferdinand Fanen Ngugban – and three others, Mfave Tumachihi, Mbangohor Tsebo and Orlukaa Ulu.
Have you ever thought about the fact that God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) when hurrying into church on Sunday, hopefully before the service begins? The Teacher of Ecclesiastes reminds us that we need watch our steps when we come to God’s house. We do this by thinking carefully and humbly about the God we have come to meet. By way of the following three questions, I would like to present some basic principles that inform what I believe is a biblical approach to worshipping in God’s house: what are we doing in worship; why do we worship; and how should we engage in worship? The last year has sparked a new kind of worship war in our nation. Is worship essential or non-essential? Is “livestream” a suitable substitute for being in person? Some governors have even had the audacity to tell their citizens how to worship, one in particular saying “You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers.” So which is it? What are God’s people actually doing in worship? The Word of God answers this question with a simple but profound phrase: in worship, God’s people draw near.
The evangelical world has been shaken once again by the news of yet another influential leader’s tattered reputation. Ravi Zacharias was a prominent Christian speaker, writer, and apologist for over 4 decades. He spoke from the platforms of renowned institutions and college campuses all around the world. Although there were early questions about Zacharias’s inflated qualifications, a different kind of scandal was confirmed after his death last year. In this sobering podcast, Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt raise important questions about evangelical celebrity culture, and how it is often immune to criticism. Sadly, serious character flaws involving sex, money, and power may then go unchecked. Listen in and by God's grace, may we learn critically important lessons about leadership and accountability.
The savage violence of Islamist militants in northern Mozambique is driving the local population from their homes in terror – and Christians are one of their main targets. Beheading, skinning and cutting off the limbs of their victims are the group’s typical methods. “What they do to the people they capture and kill I have never seen anywhere in Africa,” said an expert. It is little wonder northern Mozambique is now called “the land of fear”. Barnabas Fund is sending food, through Christian partners in Pemba, to some of the neediest displaced Christians. This includes ePap, a porridge containing protein, vitamins and nutrients to bring health to the malnourished and those trying to survive on rice alone. God willing and with your help, we will send 25 tonnes of ePap from South Africa to Mozambique to provide more than 500,000 daily rations of ePap.
On Monday April 19th, Stirling Free Church will go to court in a hugely important case. There are implications for Bible-believing churches across the UK. With the help of The Christian Institute, it is bringing a legal action for religious discrimination against multimillion pound organisation, The Robertson Trust. The case will be heard over three days. The Trust’s former CEO Kenneth Ferguson was sacked when the chairwoman, Shonaig Macpherson, heard that Stirling Free Church was renting Trust premises for its Sunday services. The church had its contract terminated and was ordered to leave, with the Trust claiming it had a policy of not renting for activities promoting religion. A senior member of staff later admitted that, at the time, no such policy existed. Witnesses reported that Macpherson objected to the church’s use of the premises, because “they don’t believe in same-sex marriage”.
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.