Katia lives with her three children, the youngest born on 3rd June this year. Her husband Pavlo was drafted into the Ukrainian army in September 2022. He fought in Kherson region, and later took part in the battles near Soledar where he was killed. Pavlo contacted his wife, Katia, on 1st January 2023, after which he was reported missing. The search continued throughout January, but, unfortunately, his body was found in February. His daughter Sofiia was born in June, after his death. While she was grieving the loss of her husband and struggling with many challenges, the local evangelical church reached out to her through SGA widows’ fund. Katia is one of hundreds of conflict widows who are recipients of this special project across Ukraine. Her life was very powerfully impacted through this practical Christianity. Katia briefly shares her story. I lost the dearest person to me and the father of my children. He loved us and for the sake of a better fate for our family he went to fight and gave his life as a hero. We miss him so much! God revealed himself to me and my children through the love and care of the local church. Without this support, I would not have survived! I lost my husband, but I gave birth to a daughter. She is a good sign of hope and future from God for me.
Prayers are needed for a pastor in Punjab who was hospitalised after being shot in the shoulder by an Islamist extremist on the evening of Sunday 3 September. Eleazar Sidhu – also known as Pastor Vicky – is the minister of a church in Faisalabad. He was returning home from conducting an evening service in nearby Jaranwala when he was accosted by an armed extremist. The gunman asked Pastor Vicky to recite the Islamic declaration of faith, which would have been considered a conversion to Islam. The pastor was shot when he instead began reciting a declaration of faith in Christ. Islamist slogans were discovered painted on the walls of Pastor Vicky’s church building on 28 August. The graffiti also included a curse against him.
John Divito writes: The Lord has richly blessed African Pastors Conferences this year as we have continued holding conferences all across the continent on the theme of Conrad Mbewe's book God’s Design for the Church. Once again, we want to express our gratitude for the generous sponsorship of Crossway Books, 9Marks Ministry, and our faithful ministry partners. While we are planning to share more about our recent conferences soon, we have also been busy preparing for next year. As a result, we are excited to announce the annual theme for next year's conferences: The Gospel According to Romans! This will be the first time we will be devoted to studying a book of the Bible, and we are looking forward to enriching African pastors' and church leaders' understanding of the gospel during our time together.
Christ intends for His churches to be led by men who meet certain qualifications. In his letters to Timothy and Titus, the apostle Paul writes very plainly about what the elders of a church must be. The main concern is character. They must be men whose lives are exemplary in holiness. In addition to this, however, men who would shepherd God’s flock must also be doctrinally sound. They must believe truth sincerely and be able to teach it clearly. In the first chapter of Titus, after highlighting the moral qualifications that every elder is to possess, Paul makes this point in verse 9. An elder, he writes, “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Churches are to be served by pastors who are sound theologians.
All are welcome to join us for our fellowship day on September 30th 2023. Even if your church is not yet formally associated with us, please come along to benefit from ministry, fellowship and prayer, as we seek to mutually encourage one another as churches.
A new Armenian Genocide “may already be taking place” in Nagorno-Karabakh. That’s the view expressed in an emergency report published by the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention on 5 September. The report “points to the existence of several serious red flags for genocide, typical genocidal patterns, and evidence of the special intent to commit that crime”. Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian Christian region that, owing to a quirk of history, lies within the borders of Muslim-majority Azerbaijan. The area has been populated by Armenians (who accepted Christianity in 301 AD) for at least 2,500 years. Under Soviet rule it was governed as an independent oblast within the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, and was incorporated into the Republic of Azerbaijan at the dissolution of the USSR. Nagorno-Karabakh has been under siege for nine months, beginning on 12 December 2022, with Azerbaijan blockading the Lachin Corridor – the only land route between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Church leaders have warned that “mass starvation is likely in the coming months”.
Please do not forget to pray for our brethren from S0mal1a. AO continues to live in Ethiopia and minister over the radio the gospel of Jesus Christ in his s0mal1 tongue. He will be with me all the time I am in Kenya from late October, and then I will spend a few days at the end with him and his family in Addis Ababa. MO settled in the States from 2009, and has been in Seattle for a couple of years. He has been hospitalized for quite a few weeks now, at least with trauma, although I really do not know what has happened. I usually phone him weekly, but have not been able for quite a time now. I thankful that a number of brethren in the area have sought to minister to him. May the Lord keep him faithful to the end. NH lives with is wife in Nairobi. His ministry is speaking “the Word of God on Telegram, (and) now we are 73 S0mal1 believers around the World”. AS fled to Kenya earlier this year, professed faith, and is now part of TBC. A couple of months ago his wife and two daughters were able to flee from home and join him in Kenya. Please pray that as they learn about Christ, they might also be saved.
I believe the Lord keeps some people from returning to our church because he wants to make sure that His ministers will keep first thing first: to love and care for the existing flock. A common temptation and error that many church planters and revitalizers make during their ministry are that they are often consumed with a desire for growth that they mistakenly end up neglecting the existing members of the church. It is important for all ministers to recognize that we are first and foremost given to the flock which Christ has entrusted to us. Evangelism is important. Church growth is important. Strategizing to draw more people into the church is important. Nonetheless, the most important command which Christ has given to all ministers is to feed His sheep under our care (John 21:21).
A pastor was shot and wounded by hardline Muslims earlier this month in Jaranwala, Pakistan, just two weeks after churches and Christian properties in the area were destroyed by an Islamist-inspired mob. Rev Eleazar Sidhu was returning home with an assistant after pastoral visits to church members on September 3 when two men stopped him. ‘One of the attackers pulled out a pistol and asked me to recite the Islamic Kalima, [profession of faith],’ he was able to state afterwards in the First Information Report (FIR) filed at the Saddar Police Station in Jaranwala. ‘When I refused and instead started to recite the Apostles’ Creed, the man opened fire, resulting in a bullet wound on the upper half of my chest [on the shoulder]. The assailants fled after the attack.’
The Bible’s teaching about the human will is immensely practical. It has been my experience that when people debate about the nature of free will, or discuss the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, the practical implications of the discussion are sometimes lost or minimized. But all of the Bible’s doctrines are food for our faith, given to strengthen us in the knowledge of Christ and in obedience to His good commandments.
Alan Titchmarsh is a well-known gardener and TV personality in the UK. He has recently defended the traditional well managed garden that exists in Britain. This defence was in response to environmental campaigns that seek to rewild many of our gardens, parks, and countryside. Titchmarsh stated in a written representation to the British Parliament’s House of Lords that a carefully kept garden actually attracts more insects, birds, and small mammals than those areas of land that have been set aside for rewilding purposes. In other words, human activity, far from harming the environment, actually increases bio-diversity, and provides food and shelter for many more months of the year. He said: “Domestic gardens and well-planted parks offer an opportunity to all forms of wildlife—be they birds seeking nesting sites in hedges, berried plants that provide winter food, or shrubs that offer shelter to mammals.”
Like most churches, ours has a large team of volunteers. We have members who have volunteered to work in the nursery, to clean our building, to keep the grounds mowed, to operate the sound system, to make our tape recordings, to answer incoming phone calls, to teach our classes, to serve as Deacons, Elders and Trustees, to mention but a few. Without these “volunteers” our church could not carry out her ministry. Yet, when we look into the Word of God, it never speaks of volunteers. It speaks of those who freely serve and who recognize they have a joyful obligation to serve others in whatever manner they are capable (or gifted). In the New Testament the four basic passages dealing with the believers’ use of their gifts are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. In these passages we learn that Christ has sovereignly distributed His gifts to His church through her various members and that they are responsible to use these gifts (interests, talents, training, resources, opportunities) to faithfully serve others. Nowhere in Scripture do we have the slightest hint that God’s people are to volunteer. Rather, the Scriptures indicate that the use of our gifts should be considered a joyful responsibility.
One thing most children have in common is a desire to grow up. They look forward to being big and experiencing life from the perspective of someone who has advanced beyond childhood. Whether that involves going to school or getting a driver’s license, the privileges and opportunities that attend maturity lead children to aspire to growth. Adults expect children to grow as well. When they fail to develop and mature, it is abnormal and therefore cause for concern. Scripture encourages such desires and expectations for believers. Peter writes, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). He commands us to desire that which will enable our spiritual growth (“milk of the word”; NASB) so that by it we mature into the salvation that is ours in Christ.
Tonny Karwa writes: The Lord has dealt very mercifully and graciously with the brethren in Kisumu. He continues to shepherd us through Paul’s Epistle to the church at Philippi. This coming Lord’s Day, we hope to learn how to glorify God in our afflictions like the apostle Paul (Philippians 1:12-14). Kindly pray that these studies will be especially practical and Christ-honouring. About 35 children had a great opportunity to see the riches of Christ in His parables during their brief school break. Bony, one of our deacons, is gifted in working with and amongst children. The Lord specially enables him to coordinate these programs. My task has always been to train and equip the teachers for increased faithfulness. Many of the teachers have tremendously grown, both in their Christian walk and their ability to delineate the biblical truths. Praise the Lord for the faithfulness of the teachers. Pray earnestly for fruit, especially of salvation. Plead with the Lord for more Sunday School teachers.
Conversion is at the heart of the Christian gospel and life. We believe that we are all born in sin and need radical transformation in every department of our lives in order to be pleasing to God. All our desires are corrupted by our sinful nature and we all need to be converted and transformed by the grace of God. Banning conversion "therapy" (so-called) is equivalent to banning the message of the gospel. Let us pray that our God will be merciful, and that the letter from the Christian Institute will cause Rishi Sunak to consider carefully and refuse to back any such ban.
Christians in Pakistan need our prayers after anti-Christian riots left churches and homes devastated in the city of Jaranwala, Punjab. On 16 August, armed mobs, reportedly incited by local mosque leaders, attacked the Christian community after torn pages of the Quran were allegedly discovered nearby. At least 22 church buildings were attacked, with five of them set ablaze, in riots lasting several hours. Dozens of houses of Christians were ransacked and set on fire. A Christian cemetery was also desecrated. “This mob have ruined not only our lives but also looted everything… what bad have we done? Where is justice? O God, have mercy on us,” said Fayaz Masih, a Christian resident of Jaranwala to the Barnabas team on the ground out there. Hundreds of Christian families fled for safety to nearby villages or to Faisalabad city about 40km away. The following day, some started to return. They came home to the stillburning remains of churches, and to discover the little they had has been taken or destroyed.
7 Thursday: Sam Waldron arrives tonight to teach Eschatology at our TPC next week. Please pray for him that he will travel safely and that he will enjoy good health while in Kenya. We thank God that his wife and church were willing to release him to serve us. Our connection with CBTS has crystalized with 7 of our men taking their MDiv. Pray that this partnership would benefit this men so that the work of training men would expand in Kenya. 8 Friday: The Meaty Forum is dealing with the subject of Eschatology. Dr. Sam Waldron will be on the panel. We hope to answer many questions on the subject which linger in people’s minds and help them to be more heavenly minded, and Christ expecting. It will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel - @tbcnairobi. 9 Saturday: Today afternoon we have the Shukrani Concert. It is a family themed concert. Various families are expected to make various presentations. Streams of mercy are never ceasing, calling for our loudest praise.
James Renihan writes: When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he expressed his thankfulness to the Lord when he remembered the saints in that congregation. Like him, and on behalf of everyone at IRBS, I can say that I thank God for all of you, wherever you may be. The first semester of our twenty-fifth anniversary year has begun. Students are receiving their assignments, professors are offering their first lectures of the term, and all are rejoicing in what the Lord is doing among us. We continue to see growth, we are thinking through several important opportunities the Lord seems to be presenting to us, and we all marvel at the good things He showers upon us. Here at the beginning of this anniversary year, I want to thank you for your prayerful support for the work of International Reformed Baptist Seminary. We serve the Lord because your gifts and intercession bring these blessings to us.
In the midst of this unrelenting war in Ukraine, God’s servants are determined to continue with their precious ministry. In a Christian printing house in West Ukraine, volunteers are packing food parcels and oversee the printing of New Testaments. Included in each food box is an adult and children’s Bible, as well as additional Gospel literature explaining the way of salvation. The printing house director, Slavic, outlined the continuing need: We cannot satisfy all the requests that are addressed to us. When we have money, we buy different food, make parcels with food and the Word of God. These are given to missionaries who distribute them in the east of the country. Children’s New Testaments are in great demand as this is summer camp period. New Testaments are also requested not only in the east, but also throughout Ukraine to serve refugees and displaced persons. We are delighted to report that the Mission sent substantial funds to help provide these precious boxes. Pray that many will have not only their physical needs but more importantly their spiritual needs met as they receive the Word of God.
Written confessions of the faith are tools in the school of the Holy Spirit (the church) for aiding and renewing the church’s task of confessing the truth. Confession and formulation of confessional texts are a product of the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit; in turn, confessional texts aid the church’s spiritual act of confessing the truths of Scripture. It is important to underline that written confessions are not Scripture! No confession claims to be Scripture or on par with it. The Westminster Confession, Savoy Declaration, and the Second London Confession all begin with chapters that state that Scripture is the final authority in matters of faith. Confessions are not Scripture, but they are the product of God’s revelation through Scripture and the work of the Spirit in illuminating the minds of those who study the bible. When seen in these terms, confessions are indispensable spiritual tools for the church’s life, worship and teaching.
Sometimes in their zeal to encourage spiritual vocations, pastors can unintentionally leave the impression among church members that unless one is in some form of full-time gospel work (such as a pastor, missionary or evangelist) that other forms of vocation are less spiritual, or of less importance to God. As a result many Christians do not seem to grasp how important it is for them to serve their employers with submission and excellence, as a way to bring glory to God. This misunderstanding is further highlighted by the use of the terms religious and secular vocations. The biblical position is that all work matters to God, whether one serves as a pastor, or sits at a computer eight hours per day, or engages as an evangelist, or works as a diesel mechanic.
Please join us for our association day, to benefit from ministry, fellowship and prayer, as we seek to mutually encourage one another as churches. September 30th 2023.
I have always been greatly encouraged by the positive tone of the monthly MERF newsletters. They are full of thanks and praise to God for His powerful works of salvation across the Muslim world. The desire for God’s ongoing blessing is expressed by lists of prayer requests as well as items for thanksgiving rather than requests for donations. Money cannot obtain the blessing of God, but God is glorified when He blesses the prayerful dependence of His people. Having said this, we praise God for moving His people to excitedly give financially so that MERF is enabled to serve Him. Almighty God does not need MERF – but we praise Him for blessing the work of His servants supported by MERF. To Him be the glory, so that we may share in the joy of the Triune God!
The Lord is lord of all truth. God is always truthful. He never deceives. The Lord’s yes is always yes, and his no is always no. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in the triune God of truth. How does man access that truth? Is God simply aloof to his creation and his truth inaccessible? Is truth reachable through mysterious means or incantations? No. God has made his truth readily available to anyone that takes up and reads. When Jesus prayed the High Priestly Prayer for his disciples in John 17, He said, “Sanctify them in thy truth, thy word is truth” (v. 17). God’s truth comes forth in the Bible which includes the author Moses who received a portion of inscripturated truth in the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. The Decalogue was written by the finger of God in stone because its foundational presentation of His will for man was essential for Israel as both the spiritual church and the political nation. The Ten Commandments are blessings because each one definitively presents the truth of God regarding the prohibitions addressed.
It’s hard to be courageous when you know that you’re going to fail. How can a soldier charge the enemy’s lines if he knows that, not only will his life be spent in the endeavor, but the whole enterprise will end in disaster? If, however, the soldier has hope that, whether he lives or dies, maybe, just maybe, his actions, his sacrifice, will contribute to glorious victory, then he can be courageous. Because, in the end, courage is based upon hope. A person steps out to take the risks, the blows, the bullets, because he has hope that his actions will mean something. As believers, we are called to be courageous in the fight (Deut. 31:23, 2Cor. 5:6, Phil. 1:20). And make no mistake, we are in a fight. Our enemies are not flesh and blood, but we have enemies nonetheless (and some of them use flesh and blood as their mouthpiece). Our enemies are sin, our flesh, and the Devil. Our enemies are all those vain philosophies that set themselves up against the gospel of our Lord. Our enemies come straight from the pit of Hell and they wield an awesome power.
IRBS UK is pleased to have Dr Robert Strivens teach Puritanism for us in September. He is pastor of Bradford on Avon Baptist Church, a lecturer in Church History and former principal of London Seminary from 2007-2017. The course will explore Puritanism from the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558 through to the close of the 17th century. We will seek to identify what Puritanism is, how it developed, what its main theological distinctives were and how it sought to promote godly living. We will look at its manifestation in England, Scotland and America. We will examine challenges to Puritanism and related movements in continental Europe. The ultimate aim of the course is to help us in Christian ministry and living today.
At least 26 people were killed in Mangu, Plateau State – a Christian-majority area of Nigeria – in separate attacks by suspected Islamists less than a month apart. Fourteen people died on the evening of 13 June. Among them were 11 residents of Chisu village, who were burned to death when the gunmen set fire to the community leader’s house in which they were taking shelter. Another three were killed in the neighbouring village of Bwai, where the attackers also burned down a church building as well as other houses and vehicles.
Many years ago, a man visited our church meeting, claiming to have a special gift of discernment. He was under the impression that discernment was limited to a few who had been given the gift by God, probably through a misguided understanding of 1 Corinthians 12:10 discerning of spirits. In the apostolic age, many pretenders claimed to be divinely inspired, and it was important that the church was able to recognise that which was from God and that which was false. This is pointed out in 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. The completion of the canon of scripture made any special gift of discernment redundant. All mature Christians who have been instructed in the scriptures have the ability to discern what is good and evil, what is spurious and what is real seen in the book of Hebrews 5:14: But solid food belongs to those of a full age, that is, those by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good from evil.
(1) Kenya has enjoyed some weeks of tranquillity since the protests on the high cost of living were discontinued. The government and the opposition politicians are in the preliminary stage of preparing for a bipartisan dialogue, with each side nominating 5 members into the committee. The Kenyans hope that the cost of essential commodities will reduce. (2) Murungi has taken leave in the month of August so that he can recover from the many demands upon him this last month and concentrate on grading the TPC students’ work and other background work. (3) Four APC conferences were held successfully in Mumias, Meru, Nairobi and Mombasa. The overall attendance was great with about 400 delegates reached. The message of God’s Design for the Local Church was well received by the church leaders and Bible teachers. DK was the conference manager and the driver.
Thousands of Christians in the Sargodha district of Punjab in Pakistan have fled their homes after mosque calls for Muslims to protest over an alleged blasphemy. There are warnings the entire security of the Christian community in Maryam Town is now at risk after offending posters were pasted on mosque walls. The derogatory posters allegedly depicted Mohammed and his wife Aisha. They also applauded the recent burning and desecration of the Koran in Sweden. Some commentators believe the posters may have been pasted up by provocateurs to instigate violence against the neighbouring Christian colony. It’s the third allegation of blasphemy in recent weeks.
In the civil realm (ie society at large, rather than the church, which is the spiritual realm), what should be our first concern and highest priority? Inflation? Healthcare? The economy? Law & order? Defence? All these things, and many others, are important. But the No1 concern is very clear and manifest - unquestionably, it is the slaughter of the next generation in the womb. It has been gathering pace for a generation, but in the last three years (since the introduction of so-called at-home DIY abortions), it has increased "exponentially". Not only is this a great wickedness before the God who gives life, it is also a devastating crisis for our society, which depends upon the next generation for its health and strength and wealth-creation. This is the crisis nobody is talking about! It makes problems with inflation or healthcare or the economy, or indeed anything else, seem relatively very small. Will YOU talk about it? Will YOU call it what it is? Will YOU pray for an end to this wickedness?
Although the weather is "changeable", the gospel remains unchanged, and the true need of those taking holiday on our beaches remains the same: repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the Spirit, through the preaching of the cross. That is what many believers are seeking to accomplish through the work of beach missions this summer. Click below to read about one of those missions taking place in Tenby just now. Pray for the fruit of salvation to the glory of Christ.
Our next Trinity Grace Conference for young people aged 16-30 is planned for Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd September. The subject being tackled is, “Making the most of the means of grace.” Oliver, Tony and Nick Pollock will be addressing gathered worship, the Lord’s Day, preaching and the ordinances as a means of grace. Let us pray that the Lord will bless the preparations of the speakers and that many young people will be blessed through this conference. Please encourage any young people you know to sign up as soon as possible, and at the latest 25th August, as the bookings will close then.
We usually think of strength in physical terms. But the Bible often speaks of strength in reference to faith in God. This is seen at the end of the book of Deuteronomy, which contains Moses’ farewell sermon to Israel as the people of God prepared to enter the Promised Land. Moses reminded Israel that Yahweh fought for them (Deut. 1:21, 29-31; 3:22; 20:4; 31:6, 8). Therefore, Israel was to “be strong and courageous” as they entered the land (Deut. 31:6, 7, 23). They were not to fear the Canaanites, but they were to fear Yahweh (Deut. 4:10; 5:29; 6:13, 24; 8:6; 10:12, 20; 13:4; 14:23; 17:19; 28:58; 31:12, 13). This all comes together near the close of Moses’ sermon, as he exhorted Israel: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)
Whatever we may think about an idol, foolish as it may be, we must not be in doubt about the infatuation that these chunks of metal and blocks of wood inspire in their worshipers: idols are precious to idolaters. What is more, idolaters are often witnesses for their idols, even though their witness proves their folly. In fact, idolatry is the epitome of sin lacking sense. We see that in the Scriptures. Just think about the description in Isaiah 44:12-17. The prophet tells us that a man plants a tree, he prunes it, cares for it and when it is tall enough, he cuts it down and cuts it in half. With one half he builds a fire. He cooks his food and warms himself with it. And he says, “Ah, I am warm; all is well!” But with the other half of the log, he takes a chisel and shapes it. He measures it and uses a chalk like to make sure the lines are straight. He labors long like this even going without food and water using his strength to craft the wood and in the end the piece of wood looks like an image. The man sets up the image and then does the oddest thing, he bows down to the wood in worship and even prays to it saying, “Deliver me, for you are my god!
I don’t like to wait. No, let’s be completely forthright: I despise waiting. There is a certain highway in the city where I live that is notorious for traffic that is snarled for several hours on both sides of rush hour: I avoid it like cream of broccoli soup. Every Sunday morning, there are certain members of my family who move at the speed of a glacier in getting ready for worship and I’m convinced they make less haste on the days I have to preach. They make me wait and I don’t like it. I realize that I am not alone in this. Fallen humans categorically do not like to wait. We want instant gratification. We want life’s knottiest dilemmas solved in a half hour or so. Why is it so hard for sons of Adam to wait? Conventional wisdom says doing absolutely nothing should be easy for us, but it is not. Over the years, I have learned that waiting on the Lord one of the most potentially sanctifying (and necessary) aspects of the Christian life.
Have you ever noticed how many times and how many ways the Bible warns of being deceived? By clear admonition as well as by graphic example God repeatedly calls us to be on our guard against believing lies. That’s what deception is–believing what is not true. It is one of the great works of the enemy of our souls. So the Lord repeatedly warns us about it in Scripture: Luke 21:8, Jesus warned His disciples: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am [He],’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.” Romans 7:11, Paul describes the role of deception in his spiritual bondage: “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed [me].”
There has been massive destruction of public and private property and looting in many major towns. The government has responded firmly in a way that does not make for peace by issuing threats, accusing the former president of funding them. Security has been withdrawn from many opposition leaders including the former president and the founding president’s first lady. All these serves to make a bad situation worse, and our prayer is that there will be sobriety on both sides. I am writing this letter in the spirit of Apostle Paul, urging that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, and especially for President William Ruto who professes to be a Christian and his cabinet secretaries; for Opposition leaders beginning with Raila Odinga, and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:1–2) so that the gospel of our Saviour may not be hindered.
Indonesia is a large nation made up of many islands, languages and cultures. It has the 4th largest world population, after China, India and the United States. The capital, Jakarta is a very large city located on the main island of Java. Java is the world’s most populous island. Although it has both rural and urban areas, 50% of the Indonesian population live there. Muslims are by far the majority in this huge island nation. Few are fanatics, most nominally follow Islam, but also are greatly influenced by traditional tribal beliefs.
Do you believe in Richard Dawkins? If your answer was yes, why? Most of us have assumed Dawkins’ existence based on very little evidence. I for one have never met him. And though I’ve seen a couple of pieces of video footage, a few pictures and his name as author on a number of books, when you think about it, it’s not that substantial. I’ve seen video clips and pictures of ‘Santa Claus’, too. And authors use pseudonyms all the time, so there’s no telling who really wrote The God Delusion or The Greatest Show on Earth.
In the spring of 2022, an encouraging relationship was forged between two dedicated pastors, Mikko Sivonen and Eelis Halmemies, hailing from the serene landscapes of Jyväskylä Reformed Baptist Church in Finland and Broken Wharfe. Their shared mission: to bring Samuel Renihan’s profound work, “The Mystery of Christ, his Covenant & his Kingdom,” to the Finnish-speaking world. Broken Wharfe, driven by a desire to spread the influence of confessional Baptist Christianity throughout Europe, eagerly embraced the opportunity to lend their support in any way possible.
18 Tuesday (1) TPC Classes will be concluding tomorrow with MI teaching on the various aspects of the church. We pray that the students will faithfully labour in their studies back home. (2) On 18th June he was preaching at the nearby Buruburu Baptist, that is moving in a reformed direction. Please pray for the pastor, Charles Maina who is also a TPC student since he has a lot of error and practices to uproot. 19 Wednesday The second leg of APC Conferences begin today in Mumias, and then Meru, Nairobi and finally Mombasa. DK is the conference manager, and driver. We have two pastors from the US, Carey Kimbrell and Mark Gervais and the last two conferences will also have Conrad Mbewe speaking on God’s Design for the Church from his own new book by the same title!
What is the role of musicians, vocalists, and choirs in the Reformed church? Simply this: To support the divinely-authorized element of congregational singing. Support, not overwhelm; support, not usurp; support, not entertain; support, not drown out; and especially, support and not discourage by making the singing of the congregation superfluous. Musicians, vocalists, and choirs have a secondary role, a subordinate role, not even a necessary role (we can sing acapella), what ideally should be a hidden role. They are there to support, encourage, and beautify the singing of the congregation.
One of the most common theological questions I’ve been asked as a pastor and professor goes something like this: Does God love everybody in the same way? In other words, did he love Nero to the same degree he loves Billy Graham? Does he love those who reject him the same he loves his redeemed children? Does God hate the sin, but love the sinner? Too often I’ve heard simplistic answers to this complex question. Historically, one theological camp has answered with an unqualified yes, while some in another offer an unqualified no. Yet truth often lies in the details.
Dr James Renihan writes: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It's our 25th anniversary! July may usually be a slow month, but not for us. IRBS began in July 1998 in Escondido, California and in God's mercy continues today in Mansfield, Texas. We have been the recipients of divine grace and peace over these years, and begin our celebration of what the Lord has done with great thankfulness. We hope to mark this celebration with a series of events culminating with our commencement exercises in May 2024. Have you noticed our new logo? It commemorates and reminds us of our thankfulness to the Lord for all he has done. Please join us in giving thanks.
In the latest podcast from broken Wharfe, Jonny and John-Mark get together with Jeff Riddle, Pastor of Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Virginia, to discuss the perspicuity (clarity) of scripture. They discuss how we are to properly understand this doctrine from a confessional perspective and some related themes. Tune in to find out more!
Caterpillars ‘inch’ forward notoriously slowly, using their classic motion of wave-like (peristaltic) muscle contractions. But some species also have a rapid backwards escape strategy, known as ballistic rolling. The larva of Pleuroptya ruralis, the mother-of-pearl moth, is one such example. When it encounters potential danger, this caterpillar can quickly transform itself into a wheel. It can roll for up to five complete revolutions, travelling at about 40 cm (15 inches) per second—about 40 times faster than its ordinary speed of locomotion. The caterpillar can go from flat-and-stationary to rolling in just 60 milliseconds (six-hundredths of a second).
More than 40 Christians were killed by militant Fulani herdsmen in raids on a cluster of villages in Nigeria’s Benue state earlier this month, it has been reported. According to sources, the attackers invaded Imande Mbakange village in the early hours of June 3, killing 28 Christians, reported Morning Star News. On June 4, Fulani raiders killed another 18 Christians, six in each of the villages of Michihe, Achamegh and Mbagene Kpav, according to a press statement from the Shitile Development Association. The association stated: ‘Most disturbing also is the fact that the identity of the perpetrators is known to security agencies and the Nigerian government, and yet nothing has been done to end this carnage.’ Those who escaped the attacks fled the areas, leaving their homes and farmlands, it said.
Often, when we think about work, we tell ourselves that if only we could find the right job, career path, or passion project, then life would be so much easier. And as a society we perpetuate the false truism that if we find the right line of work, or the perfect job, we’ll never work a day in our lives. But this isn’t true. Life requires hard work, and that’s not a bad thing. Millennials and Gen Z adults, who are quickly becoming a significant portion of the workforce, have generational ideals that don’t always align with the reality and challenges of today’s workplace. In fact, Purdue University built an infographic detailing some of these different ideals. For example, Millenials and Gen Z adults prefer work that allows for flexible scheduling, a premium placed on work-life balance, a fun work environment, and the ability to have an immediate impact. In and of themselves these ideals aren’t wrong, nor should they be discarded; however, the reality is that these young adults will face a work environment very different from these ideals.
A teacher has come under fire for telling a 13-year-old girl to move schools after she challenged the notion that her classmate could identify as a cat. Following a Year 8 lesson on “life education” at Rye College, two friends secretly recorded the reprimand they received for upholding the reality of biological sex during class. After asking why their view couldn’t be respected, the teacher can be heard calling it “really despicable”, responsible for “homophobia”, and saying if they don’t agree they “need to go to a different school”. The girls refused to back down, saying that most people believe in the reality of two sexes but they “just don’t say it because then all this happens”.
Christian brotherhood depends on Christian faith. The New Testament often sets forth “the faith” as central to the apostolic mission, the pastor’s task, the Christian’s grasp of truth that is saving and sanctifying, and the true test of unity in the Christian profession. The first use of this phrase as a specific body of truth is in Acts 6:7, where it is written, “and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” This involved a clear adoption of truth connected with the apostolic “teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (5:42). Had they not embraced that body of truth, there would be no evidence of faith.
Have you ever wondered about the amazing features of Earth’s atmosphere? It permits light to pass through to us and illuminates the beauty of creation, while providing oxygenated air to breathe, and plant fertilizer in the form of carbon dioxide. It also creates a warming greenhouse effect, and acts as a shield which greatly diminishes the amount of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays that can reach us. In short, it is wonderfully designed for life.
In an interview with the BBC, Forbes said that although she was always open about her biblical stance on sexual ethics, she was surprised when “those who knew my position, immediately distanced themselves from me” during the SNP leadership contest. But the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said that instead of attempting to make her views “more palatable or politically correct”, following Jesus’ teachings “means that I don’t feel I’m in a position to just pick and choose what I believe is truth or not”. Forbes, a member of the Free Church of Scotland, said that in her opinion “people of faith are a minority” in politics, and “certainly my experience is that they are, by and large, fearful. “So they either feel like they have to hide their faith or they have to adapt their faith. And that, I think, is a cause for concern.” The MSP reported that some said her experience made them “feel braver when expressing their faith in work or with friends”, but did acknowledge that seeing a public figure being “absolutely traduced” can “make you fear that you too will be treated in the same way”.
When one woman came to Jesus asking for His help, He apparently tried to send her away unanswered. But that woman was as humble as she was trusting, and humility prompted her both to accept what Jesus had against her and to persist in waiting for Him to bless her. True humility complies with God in all His accusations of sin. Let God charge you with whatever He wills, true humility accepts it all. If the Lord calls us a dog, we respond, “It is true, Lord; we are justly called this, for we come of a bad kind, and we ourselves are far worse, and likely to grow no better. We are guilty of all these things.” In this way true humility grants everything, and yet is never a bit the further from obtaining its goal [of receiving blessing from the Lord]. Comply with Him therefore today in what He says about sin.
A North African, Simon of Cyrene, was made to carry the cross for Christ, on the way to Golgotha. The Holy Spirit miraculously first brought the gospel to North Africans in their own language through the preaching of the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. Afterwards it spread widely and flourished among the Amazigh (Berber) people of North Africa. In Roman times, many churches were established. Early church fathers, such as Tertullian and Augustine arose from among them to bless the whole church. Vestiges of Christianity remain in the Amazigh language and culture. However, in the 7th century, Arab Muslim invaders quickly swept over and conquered North Africa. In the following centuries, large numbers of Arabic speaking Muslims migrated to North Africa. So, Arabic became the dominant language and culture.
Abortion activists are pushing to remove legal protections for the unborn, after a mother was jailed for taking DIY abortion pills when she had been pregnant for around 33 weeks. Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court found that in 2020 Carla Foster obtained the pills after pretending that she was seven weeks pregnant. She later gave birth to baby Lily who was stillborn. In Britain, abortion is legal for most reasons up to 24 weeks. Temporary regulations from the coronavirus pandemic allowing women who are less than ten weeks pregnant to take abortion pills without seeing a medic became permanent last year. The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly said: “The loss of life is always a tragic event, and we grieve for the death of baby Lily. It is appalling that activists who lobbied to end in-person consultations are now weaponising this situation to push for abortion on demand. “They have persistently ignored warnings that home abortions exacerbate all the risks. Haemorrhaging, cramps and excruciating pain without medical help close at hand is hardly good care for women. We should be seeking to care for women and the unborn, not cause them harm”.
Mobs of Islamist militants are reported to have stopped Christians from worshipping in two cities on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island. The hardliners are believed to have disrupted Christians as they worshipped in a café in a village in Binjai, 13 miles from Medan, capital of North Sumatra Province, last month. In Riau, capital of Pekanbaru Province in southern Sumatra, a mob reportedly stopped Bethel Indonesia Church’s (Gereja Bethel Indonesia or GBI) worship service. Morning Star News (MSN) reported that in the North Sumatra attack, at least 40 militants stopped the midday worship service at the café in Binjai where the Mawar Sharon congregation met, according to Binjai-based MetroLangkatBinjai.com. In Riau, a video appearing on social media shows ‘outsiders’ keeping the GBI church from worship.
What is true wisdom? Does the preacher in Ecclesiastes give us any guidance about this? Indeed he does, in outline at any rate. Trust and obey God, reverence him, worship him, be humble before him, and never say more than you mean when you pray to him (Eccles, 12:13; 5:1-7): do good (3:12); remember that God will someday take account of you (11:9; 12:14), so avoid, even in secret, things of which you will be ashamed when they come to light during God’s final judgment (12:14). Live in the present and enjoy it thoroughly (7:14; 9:7-10; 11:9-10) — present pleasures are God’s good gifts. (J.I. Packer)
June is so-called "Pride" month. There will be much flag-waving, marching, petitioning, speaking and promoting of all things LGBTQ+. How should Christians respond? We need to understand what the Bible teaches and ensure that we stand fast upon what is true and good, out of humble love for so many who are lost in their proud rejection of God and his saving grace. Remember the words of Isaiah: 'Thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."' (Isaiah 57:15). Only the humble will be exalted to dwell with God, so let us manifest such humility as Christians and appeal for humility against the 'Pride' of our age.
Anticreationists consider the Grand Canyon a showcase for uniformitarian geology and proof against biblical creation and the Flood. They regard it as being on the ‘front lines’ of the origins battle. 'The famous landscape of the Grand Canyon lies along the front lines of competing scientific and nonscientific [i.e., creationist] views of Earth’s antiquity and evolution.' Secularists regard creationist views as ‘nonscientific’ because we do not accept that present ‘slow and gradual’ (uniformitarian) processes explain the rocks and fossils. The point of contention is Noah’s Flood. Uniformitarian scientists assume that the Colorado River, or some precursor river, cut the canyon. But the canyon’s path does not follow secular geological logic. It cuts through high plateaus, is not diverted by faults, and does not follow the topographic slopes of the bounding plateaus. Thus, Grand Canyon defies the principle of uniformitarianism upon which all secular geological interpretations are based.
Keith writes: Thank you for praying for the visit to Kenya the first two weeks of May. In God’s providence I was able to do all that had been planned and I was kept strong throughout. Priscilla was well cared for back in Liverpool and we were able to talk on the phone almost every day. One day I was driven north the 140 miles to Meru where I met with two brothers I first knew when I came to Kenya in 1968. I taught with Paul Kianji in Miathene Secondary School. He was converted some years later and became one of the pastors in Miathene TBC. David Mutembei was one of the local Christians who is now 92 years old! He was converted in 1946 in the East Africa Revival. I was able to video him speaking of what the Lord did in the convention of 1958 at Kahuhia which is said was attended by 30,000 people. He described scenes of deep conviction of sin, and of the joy of sins forgiven and reconciliation. He finished by singing the trademark song of the Revival, ‘Tukutendereza Jesu’ = let us praise Jesus!
Fulani militants have been attacking Christian villages in Mangu, central Nigeria. The latest wave of attacks on some 30 villages began on May 16 and killed at least 125. Similar attacks over the same period claimed another 43 lives. Partners of UK-based Release International have been providing emergency relief aid. Children were killed and injured during the attack on Mangu. Among them 8-month-old baby, Precious Mani. Precious was shot twice but survived. Her parents and five siblings were among the dead in the attack on Nbun Ward in May. One survivor from the village of Jwakom, told Release International’s partners: ‘We saw people running and started to hear consistent gunshots. Our men told us to go. We all fled. We barely survived.’
The sorrow that we feel when a believer dies is not a hopeless kind of sorrow, because we know they are now happy with the Lord. But heaven can seem very misty and distant to us as we trudge on in our own beleaguered lives. Even when we believe in Jesus and are washed from our sins in the blood of Christ, we do not always take the comfort that is available from all the implications and consequences of this. In the Bible, however, the amount of information Jesus gives us about heaven shows that if we can sharpen our focus and get a clearer grasp of where we are heading, then some of the happiness of heaven can infuse our lives here. James Durham’s commentary on the Book of Revelation includes his analysis of the various “steps” of happiness in heaven from Revelation 7.
Jim Renihan writes: Greetings to all our fellow pilgrims on the path to the heavenly city! May the Lord strengthen you as you walk the road He appoints. According to many traditional academic calendars, June is the final month of the school year. During June, the last exams of the semester are written, papers are submitted, and grades recorded. Our students have done well, and we are exceedingly thankful to the Lord for His smile upon their labors. It also marks the retirement of our beloved Core Professor of Pastoral Theology, Dr. Fred Malone. We will all miss him. He is well-loved by our students and highly respected by his colleagues. We pray the Lord's blessing on him and his wife Debbie.
1 Thursday TBC Family Day is happening today. We shall spend the day together in fellowship, singing, eating, and drinking and playing different games. We hope today’s hangout will be a day when the many new members may be integrated into the life of the church, as young and old get to know each other at a close range. We trust God for both edification and fun in one day! 2 Friday Baptisms: Two young men were baptised last month. A few more professions of faith have been reported and we thank God for extending his grace to save his elect among us. What a blessing to know that the Lord is crowning our labours in the gospel. We look forward to seeing more people come to faith. 3 Saturday Ladies’ Breakfast is happening early morning today. Our sisters are dealing with the subject of Christian Contentment. We thank God for the growth witnessed in many sisters who are keen on ministry to one another. Please pray for the older ladies to teach the younger ones.
A civil war erupted within broad evangelicalism, and the idol of LGBTQ+ is dividing the house. This issue is personal, political, and spiritual for me. In 1998, I became one of the first crop of so-called “tenured radicals” in American universities, proudly touting my lesbian street cred. In 1999, Christ called me to repentance and belief, and I became a despised defector of the LGBTQ+ movement. But progressive sanctification came slowly, and I have failed many times during these past decades. After I have learned lessons, I have earnestly tried to course-correct. And that’s the problem. My use of transgendered pronouns was not a mistake; it was sin. Public sin requires public repentance, not course correction.
Church leader from Northern Nigeria, Ben Kwashi, says: The devastation is beyond human ability to bear. All we have is prayer. Join us in praying that God will rise in judgment against all forms of wickedness that destroys human life... That the church will... preach the gospel of salvation and show it in society... by love in action.
In an outcome believed to be the first of its kind, a Christian maths teacher has been banned by the Secretary of State for Education for “bringing the profession into disrepute” for not using the preferred pronouns of a female student who identified as a boy. A Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) professional conduct panel has, with the backing of Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, ruled that Joshua Sutcliffe was guilty of unprofessional conduct and has banned him from teaching in any capacity for at least two years and potentially indefinitely.
IRBS UK is pleased to have Dr. Richard Barcellos teaching Hermeneutics for us July 10th to 14th 2023. This foundational study treats principles of Reformed hermeneutics so that we might be better interpreters of Scripture for the good of Christ’s Church. Dr. Barcellos, is pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church. Palmdale, CA, and Associate Professor of Exegetical Theology at IRBS. He is also the Managing Editor and Book Review Editor for the Journal of IRBS, and has written on Reformed hermeneutics and biblical theology. All are welcome to attend.
Sixteen years ago, my wife and I became parents. Now we have four children, and God continues to teach us many things as we seek to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. So I feel somewhat awkward laying out lessons that we have learned from parenting, as if we have everything figured out or can provide some hidden insights for current and future parents. At the same time, in God’s kindness we have learned several lessons through the years as our children have been growing up, and I hope that some of these lessons will prove helpful to others. With this in mind, here are five lessons: Trust in Christ. Parenting is an incredibly humbling experience. I thought that I was getting a handle on marriage and doing pretty well in my spiritual growth until I had children. Then I was confronted with how much sin remained in my life.
In parts of Far East Russia there are those who have never heard the name of Jesus. Denis Tolstov, an SGA-sponsored missionary in Far East Russia, is involved in the difficult and demanding task of reaching them with the message of the Gospel. Villages and communities there are isolated, resulting in sometimes long and tiring journeys. Denis reports that the car they bought over ten years ago had been restored after a car crash resulting in no interior heating. He explains the need for heating! ‘The temperature in winter here gets below -40 degrees and such weather lasts for several months.’ As a result, he was not always able to carry out a full ministry programme in winter.
One in ten teenagers aged 16 to 18 want to ‘change their gender’ or have already done so, a top think-tank has revealed. A report from Civitas, based on research conducted by Deltapoll, analysed responses from over 1,000 16 to 18-year-olds and parents of 12 to 16-year-olds about the teaching of LGBT ideology in schools across England. It found that two thirds of the teenagers (67 per cent) had been told that biological sex is “assigned at birth”, while one in three (32 per cent) were informed that a “woman can have a penis”. Although 80 per cent of teenage respondents said their school “positively encourages different viewpoints when discussing contentious social issues (on gender, sexuality, and sex)”, more than a third (35 per cent) admitted: “I don’t feel comfortable contributing my opinion in case it leads to me being judged or bullied by other students”. Nearly six in ten parents (59 per cent) opposed schools “telling pupils that a man could get pregnant”, with only 17 per cent in favour. On Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), 77 per cent said parents should have the “unrestricted legal right to see all” materials and lessons plans, with only 14 per cent against. A further 64 percent supported the right of withdrawal.
Christians are a significant minority in this Islamic country, especially in urban areas and the Nuba mountains. There is a small, but growing number of converts. Most churches are Arabic-speaking, but some are from southern tribes, such as Nuer and Dinka. Christians are not party to the present hostilities. Yet, there are at least 12 evangelical congregations in the greater Khartoum area where street fighting has taken place. The security situation deteriorated quickly. Movement in the city is very risky. Food, water and medical supplies are scarce. Please pray for Sudanese Christians, including MERF’s media team and especially for pastors and other spiritual leaders. Ask for the Lord’s protection and provision for their needs and that they are enabled to care for one another and for their Muslim neighbours.
Atheists frequently pose this question to justify their disbelief. Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), a famous British philosopher, in his influential little essay, Why I am not a Christian, put this forward as his first objection. Today’s atheists repeat the objection, including Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Australia’s own Philip Adams at the 2010 Global Atheists’ Congress in Melbourne Australia, who said, “The great argument for God was that there had to be a Creation, a beginning. … But my objection was simple. If God was the beginning who began God?” The universe had a beginning; almost no one disputes that, because the laws of thermodynamics demand it: the universe is running down and it cannot have been running down forever, or it would have already run down. No stars would be still churning out energy and we would not be here. Some have proposed one universe giving birth to another, but again, there cannot be an infinite series of such births and deaths, as each cycle must have less energy available than the last and if this had been happening for eternity, the death of everything would have already happened.
Saturday 6th June saw the coronation of Charles III as King of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, in a ceremony which included anointment, public acclamation and enthronement. These core components of the ceremony can be traced over a thousand years for English kings, and stretch back further still in our heritage to the coronation of King Solomon. A prominent theme in the coronation service is that the King of kings is the Lord Jesus Christ, whom all monarchs are called to reflect, and to whom all must give account. In the Bible, several psalms are written to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ when He is enthroned as king over all. In the following updated extract, David Dickson comments on the kingdom of Christ from Psalm 97.
JP Earnest writes: As many of you realise, I have the privilege of leading regular schools assemblies locally. Over the 20+ years I have done these, a good rapport has been developed. At 10:45pm one evening I had an email from a local Head-Teacher, ‘Please, please, please can you come and do another assembly for us. We appreciate you are busy and this is very short-notice, but we are in the middle of an inspection and have been criticised for a recent in-house assembly. The staff have asked me to contact you to see if you could come and show the inspectors what you do regularly’ - How could I refuse? Not only was this another gospel opportunity, it shows that they are not embarrassed to have an evangelical Christian come to the school. Off I went the next morning and did what I always do (teaching and applying a Bible story, praying with them, followed by a quiz). The staff were grateful and the inspectors were impressed by the regular school assemblies. As I walked to the car, the secretary ran after me to give me a box of chocolates as a ‘thank you’!
There are several different factors that are causing terrible suffering for God's people in Northern Nigeria. Perhaps the chief trouble is the Fulani herdsmen from Niger, who are travelling south to the region because of drought in their home territory, looking for fertile land to settle. They find rich pasture and agricultural land in Northern Nigeria, where the rains are regular and the soil is rich. They move into villages and either scare away the population, or just kill many in cold blood, taking everything over, as though they have been there all along! It is not explicitly religious, and they kill indiscriminately, but since the population is mainly "Christian", the suffering is focused on them. This is distinct from the religious persecution of the Islamic State groups, who focus on Christians explicitly.
James Renihan writes: Grace and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ to you all. May is always a busy month. The academic year is winding down, students are writing term papers, submitting projects and enduring exams. Please pray for them as they have much to do. It's also the month when our Trustees gather here in Mansfield for their semi-annual meeting. In addition to the regular matters of business on the agenda, they will be encouraged by many good reports, elect a new Trustee, approve a new Core professor and deliberate about further relationships with two more educational institutions. Together, we will be able to rejoice in the blessings the Lord has given us during the past twelve months. In our June newsletter, we hope to be able to announce some of the wonderful projects we've been working on. Thank you for your continuing prayerful support. We are deeply thankful to the Lord and to all of you.
10 Wednesday Passion for Missions Conference was a blessing to all those who came. We thank God for Don Thomas who was the Speaker and trust that the seed of grace planted will be fruitful as we dealt with the subject of order of salvation. 11 Thursday We thank God for giving a lot of rain in the country, even in Rendille. Please pray for these brothers as they preach the gospel to this least reached community nearby and far. They greatly desire for a church near a town called Ilaut and have been visiting the village regularly. 12 Friday The Dine & Listen is an evangelistic dinner happening tonight. Joe Thwagi, pastor of Upendo Gospel Community Church is preaching. Members have invited relatives, friends, colleagues, and neighbours to hear of the wonders of God’s grace. May these efforts yield much fruit for our Master, Christ.
This September, we warmly invite you to join us as we explore the importance of using the means of grace in our lives. Through this conference, we aim to provide a platform for Christians to come together and deepen their understanding of the practices which God has ordained for us as believers. The conference commences at 4pm on Friday 1st September and closes at 5:30pm on Saturday 2nd September, and comprises a full itinerary of teaching and fellowship. All conference attendees are most welcome to attend the Sunday services at Trinity Grace Church Ramsbottom (host church) on Sunday 3rd September at 10:30am and 5:30pm.
Not only does one’s soul truly know what his or her body and organs and hormones testify outwardly, a man or woman’s DNA cannot be denied by his or her heart of hearts. What may be manipulated crudely from without can never be actually altered within. Every one of our estimated 60 to 100 trillion cells (amidst 200 cell types) would need to have an X or Y chromosome replaced; yet this utter impossibility would still not recreate functional physiology opposite from how one was born. Every cell from within a person’s body announces an undeniable and unalterable sexual gender identity designation of male or female as pre-coded by our Designer. All humanity has instinctively known in every fibre of our being what Jesus, the final Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15-18 through Whom all things were created, proclaimed in Mark 10:6: … from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female—and each of us is only one and not the other and certainly not both.
Milnrow Evangelical Church, God willing, are planning to host two upcoming special events to which you and other members/friends of your church are warmly invited. Both events are free. On Saturday 13th May Answers in Genesis have a full day conference (10am til 4pm) entitled "Science and the Bible". The speakers are Simon Turpin, Andy Mcintosh, Stuart Burgess and Joseph Hubbard with time between sessions for browsing/purchasing resources, refreshments and fellowship. Please bring your own lunch. On Tuesday 27th June at 7:30pm the "Ark Man", Rod Walsh, from Creation Ministries International will be speaking on "The Genesis Flood and the Ark" alongside his scale model Ark. This meeting is suitable for all aged around 11 years and over.
Stephen Silamo from Rendille writes: We are always grateful to the Lord for His continued mercies and providences. It's a great pleasure and a joy to have you and other brethren pray for us and the ministry among the Rendille people. What an encouragement and a blessing! Here's an African Parable - most good African Parables involve animals. So there's a story here about an Ant and an Elephant. Now the Ant is on a journey and comes to a raging river and he couldn't get across. He doesn't know what to do. And then the Elephant comes along and he says, Hey will you take me across? And the Elephant says no problem, so the Ant crawled up, got on top of the back of the Elephant. The Elephant plunged into the raging river, the Ant got scared. He's afraid that even the splashes will take him off as the Elephant powered right through undeterred by the river because of his great strength and they got over the other side. The Ant yelled in jubilation - we did it! We did it together! The point of the parable is that God is the Elephant and we are the Ant . The Elephant is at the centre of the story and the Ant is along for the ride.
Christian parents Izzy and Shane Montague are to appeal their case after the Central London County Court dismissed their claim against their child’s former school, Heavers Farm, for attempting to force him to participate in an LGBT themed Pride Parade. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, the parents brought the claim after a series of events which left them feeling intimidated and discriminated against for challenging the school over the LGBT education of their 4-year-old son, which included mandatory participation in a school run Pride Parade to celebrate Pride Month. Parents were informed about the LGBT themed Pride celebration only days in advance when they received a rainbow-coloured invitation to attend the event. In preparation for the parade, children were taught the popular ‘gay anthems’, ‘We are Family’ and ‘True Colours’, which they had to sing while marching around the school. The children were also required to create rainbow themed art, which the school’s lesson plan held out as an assignment to show support for the diverse LGBT community.
Sergei, who is 70 years old and diagnosed with cancer, recently requested help to purchase a second-hand vehicle so that he could provide food for people in nearby villages and transportation for many who are struggling. He and his wife Luba are an inspiration. They shared about their desire to serve the people of Kherson. Some of his children who live in the US pleaded with him to leave Kherson for treatment elsewhere, but he replied, “I cannot while people need food around me”. Kherson is a port city located by the Black Sea on the Dnieper River. It was the first city to be captured by Russian military but was liberated last autumn. Shortly after the war began, numbers reduced to only 30 attending Sergei’s church, but today there are more than 400 attending 4 services every week. 95% of these are new to the church. God is working, people are getting converted and the church is growing. Every day Russian missiles hit the city and people are being injured and dying, but in the midst the tragedy God is working!
As Christians in America, and especially the PCA, are still reeling and grieving with our brothers and sisters at Covenant Presbyterian Church and the Covenant School in Nashville, there is an understandable and appropriate righteous indignation that we have all felt welling up inside of us in these recent weeks. Six precious images bearers of God were gunned down in cold blood in what can only be described as a brazen act of terror. Many are angered by the LGBTQ+ movement and its radicalization of this young woman who identified as a transgender-man. Others have voiced their opposition to President Biden’s appalling decision to declare March 31st Transgender Day of Visibility within mere days of the shooting.
As a congregation we believe that entry to the membership of the church of Christ Jesus is on the basis of true repentance, real faith and submission to the Lordship of Christ. This is all displayed in baptism, which Christ commanded his apostles to make the sign of real conversion and addition to the church. We see this in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 2:36-47. At a recent baptismal service of four candidates, we saw this worked out before our eyes, and we were greatly blessed. Four different sinners saved by sovereign grace and added to the church through baptism. Be encouraged as you watch.
Uman is a city located in the Cherkasy region of central Ukraine, north of Kherson, which was liberated during last autumn. Like most regions in Ukraine, Cherkasy has felt the tragic loss of many lives and the subsequent trauma, as many people continue to lose their loved ones, and their health, homes, and belongings. Many lives have been destroyed and uprooted. The suffering is real. The pain is excruciating. In contrast to the surrounding destruction and death, the evangelical church in Uman stands out as a centre of help and hope, a place where people can find warmth and comfort. When widespread missile attacks left thousands of Ukrainians without electricity, water, or internet, the church opened up a centre on its premises to feed and shelter those in need. A space that can accommodate at least 60 people has been equipped with a generator, without which it would be impossible to provide food and heat for those who come.
Scientists recently discovered that our brains are made for music—that a deep musical appreciation is a foundational aspect of being human. Why do we have this special relationship with music, yet apes and other large-brained ‘higher’ animals don’t make, or even desire, music as we do? Like speaking and writing in grammatical language, music is a peculiar and distinctive trait of human beings only. Where did this mysterious habit and liking of ours come from?
Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists killed more than 30 Christians in an attack on a predominantly Christian village in Nigeria’s Kaduna state which began late on Saturday night. Local residents said herdsmen alongside other armed terrorists invaded Runji village in Zangon Kataf County at about 10pm. The attack continued into the early hours of Sunday morning. ‘Please pray for us … as 33 Christians were killed by herdsmen and terrorists in the early hours of Sunday,’ resident Mugu Zakka Bako said in a text message to Morning Star News.
A false narrative is a conclusion in search of an argument. It is an agenda in need of patrons, a goal that, in the mind of the narrator, is worthy of being supported by lies because, you know, the end is so noble that it fully justifies the means. Because false narratives are inherently unscrupulous and ungodly, no Christian should ever traffic in them. Yet, too many who bear the name of Christ do exactly that today. In fact, in our tribal age the zeal to justify “my side” can easily numb otherwise well-meaning believers to the biblical standards of truth-telling.
The Augustine Programme provides intensive biblical training for God’s servants in MERF fields. It was developed for those in church leadership lacking opportunity for Bible and Christian doctrine education, especially in war-torn South Sudan. Over the years, the programme has extended to train church leaders in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania and beyond. During Covid, online Bible study resources were developed. Now some are being adapted to Indonesian languages. Most engaging to both young and old, the 6-minute illustrated simple catechism video series is on YouTube: www.merf.org/thecat (Please enjoy & share the link.)
The Bible never sugarcoats the painful realities of living in a fallen world. Sin is portrayed in all of its dark hues, and the best of men are acknowledged to be at best, mere men. Similarly, the church is portrayed as in a constant state of conflict until the Lord Jesus returns. The church in the world is the church militant—always engaged in warfare, under attack and advancing doggedly onward through enemy territory. As is true with any army, the church is not immune to the loss of some of her members. In fact, the skill and tenacity of our enemies are intent on destroying as many as they can. Paul warns Timothy of such loss in the opening verses of 1 Timothy 4. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (v. 1). Those “later times” are here. They have been present since Christ’s first coming and will continue until his return.
The suffering of Christians in Nigeria is causing international outcry, concern and alarm. There is continuing violence targeted against Christian communities there, which has led to mass killings of our brothers and sisters in Christ from terrorists and extremists. From April to June this year Release International’s new engagement campaign Out Of These Ashes will draw special attention to the persecution of Christians in north and central Nigeria. Please join us to raise the voice of persecuted Christians in Nigeria before the throne of grace. Terror groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa continue to defy the authorities, and Fulani militants attack Christian villages with impunity. In 2022, reports indicate Fulani extremists killed more than 6,000 Christians and destroyed 17 villages. Please pray for peace for Nigeria and pray also for protection for Christian communities across Nigeria.
Respected Scottish preacher Alistair Begg, who has pastored Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio since 1983, recently sat down with the Christian Institute's Deputy Director Simon Calvert to discuss how we should respond to attacks on biblical teaching in the form of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ bans. As you’d expect, he focused particularly on the role of preachers in preparing their congregations for life in the real world.
Confessing the Faith: Volume 2 is an expert guide into the palace treasure rooms of God’s Word and provides the reader with a lifetime of gold mined from the eternal depths of God’s revelation. In this volume, Dr Renihan works through the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith chapter by chapter and paragraph by paragraph insisting on hearing it in its historical context. In each chapter and the sources and issues that stand behind the confession, we encounter the spirit and practice of a generous orthodoxy that was at work among the writers of the confessions which came from a conviction that the central activity of the church is confession of the truth. The Confessing the Faith Series is likely to become the “standard reference books in this field for years to come”.
Channel 4 has faced criticism for its new show in which grown-ups revealed their nude bodies in front of children as young as 14. 'Naked Education' claims to be “all about body positivity” and is “on a mission to normalise all body types, champion our differences and break down stereotypes”. However, writing for the Spectator, journalist Robert Jessel reveals how such programmes break down the social boundaries that keeps children safe from adult predators. While the TV show has received significant criticism and almost 1,000 Ofcom complaints, Christian Concern's Head of Education, Steve Beegoo, recently warned GB News viewers that what takes place on the show isn't far off what's taking place in many UK schools. If you're concerned about the nature of sex education in your child's school, Steve has written advice on how best to raise your voice as a parent, which can be accessed on the Christian Concern website.
Nick Fletcher shares his faith in Jesus Christ with fellow MPs in a debate about the importance of Christianity to society.
In this episode we discuss some of the story in the life of Dr James Dolezal, author of ALL THAT IS IN GOD (now on special offer): how he came to a great appreciation of philosophy as the handmaiden to theology, how so-called 'biblicism' is grounded in Kantian metaphysics, why John Owen had such an appreciation for the theology of Thomas Aquinas and much more! Tune into for this fun, detailed and coffee-inspired conversation.
Many attempts to define ‘science’ are circular. The point that a theory must be acceptable to contemporary scientists to be acceptable, basically defines science as ‘what scientists do’! In fact, under this definition, economic theories would be acceptable scientific theories, if ‘contemporary scientists’ accepted them as such. In many cases, these so-called definitions of science are blatantly self-serving and contradictory. A number of evolutionary propagandists have claimed that creation is not scientific because it is supposedly untestable. But in the same paragraph they will claim, ‘scientists have carefully examined the claims of creation science, and found that ideas such as the young Earth and global Flood are incompatible with the evidence.’ But obviously creation cannot have been examined (tested) and found to be false if it’s ‘untestable’!
Cambridge historian Richard Rex suggests that there have been three great crises in the history of the Church. The first, in its early centuries, revolved around the question ‘What is God?’. That is to say: how many natures were in Jesus Christ, how many persons in the Trinity, and so on. Then, during the Reformation, ‘What is the Church?’. The third crisis, he argues, is happening now, over the question of ‘What is man?’. This relates – as he memorably puts it – to ‘an entire alphabet of beliefs and practices: abortion, bisexuality, contraception, divorce, euthanasia, family, gender, homosexuality, infertility treatment…’
Prominent Christian MP Miriam Cates has spoken with The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Simon Calvert about her headline-grabbing Parliamentary work. Repeating her call for better guidance for schools on how to deal with trans issues, Mrs Cates said: “…over the last ten years there’s been an exponential increase in the number of children presenting with gender distress – typically girls wanting to be boys, wanting to be treated as boys… the on-the-ground impact of that is that many schools don’t know what to do. Some are transitioning these children socially, changing their names and pronouns, allowing girls to use boys’ toilets and vice versa… some aren’t telling parents. But it’s not a problem that schools can deal with on their own. They need guidance – legal guidance, medical guidance – and at the moment it’s a Wild West.” “It’s not just about the children who present with [gender] distress. They should be safeguarded and they should be assessed for other vulnerabilities. But it’s also the other children. …When schools say to a class full of children ‘this girl is now a boy and is going to be known by this name, use the pronouns “he” and “him”’, those other children are then compelled to say that this girl is a boy even if they don’t believe that. And I think that’s significant and also needs addressing in the guidance.”
5th Wednesday Paul Gachungi was installed as the pastor in GRBC Ruiru on the 12th March. The church received two men into their membership last month. More families and individuals have come recently, and Paul continues to preach through Ephesians. He hopes to relocate his family to the area soonest. 6th Thursday Ebenezer & Michelle Kimathi have relocating to Isiolo with a view of planting a church there. There are two families that have promised to join up with them and different potential gospel opportunities. Please pray for them as they have to deal with lots of emotional pain recently. 7th Friday Passion for Missions Conference begins this morning on Order of Salvation. Later in the evening we have the Easter Cantata. We pray that the Lord will bring many to benefit from this rich spiritual manna.
If we are to worship God in a way that honors Him, we must first be in Christ, resting in His righteousness alone, trusting in Him alone for our acceptance before God. But we must also, as people called by His name, put on love. In Colossians 3:12–15 Paul tells us: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
People feel guilt for a variety of reasons with some reasons justified while others are not. Parents feel guilty about not providing for their children who in turn later feel guilty themselves for complaining because when they were growing up they did not have the gadgets shown-off by their classmates in school. Some adults regret failing to take full advantage of their educational opportunities as they work with little hope of advancement and no way to provide better for their families. Then there are convicted criminals who wish they had not made bad choices but instead heeded advice from the wise. However, the battlefields of war which require decisions based on extended analysis as well as split-second precision may offer the greatest opportunities for feeling guilt.
God is beyond us. However much we think we know about Him, He is an inexhaustible, unfathomable depth. He is not an object for us to scrutinise, or a challenge we can absorb, or something malleable which we can mould into a form of our own liking. Our basic starting point when we think of God is to realise that our minds simply cannot encompass Him. Yet He is knowable, when He makes Himself known. And when He makes Himself known, the knowledge of Him makes us not only realise our own littleness but also entrust ourselves to Him to be saved by Him and to live to His honour.
‘Every indication suggests Nigeria is at a pivotal point in its history,’ says Release International’s partner in that country. Terror groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa continue to defy the authorities, and Fulani militants attack Christian villages with impunity. In 2022, reports indicate Fulani extremists killed more than 6,000 Christians and destroyed 17 villages. The violence has driven more than two million people from their homes. Along with that has come increasing lawlessness. ‘Kidnapping for ransom has now become the major money earner for terrorist groups, while the numbers of victims of rape and people living with disabilities due to attacks continue to grow among the Christian communities,’ says Release International’s partner. ‘Hundreds of thousands of children in these Christian villages are unable to go to school or access good education.’ Please pray for peace for Nigeria and pray also for protection for Christian communities across Nigeria.
When we think of God, it is alarmingly easy to fall into the trap of thinking that God is just another kind of creature – of course the best and greatest and most impressive in whatever dimension you consider, but ultimately just another creature. This line of thinking is something we should resist, because God is altogether other. He is in reality completely beyond us and above us, a different order of being entirely. We can truly know Him, but in order for this to be possible He has to accommodate Himself to us and make Himself known to us in ways that we can grasp. Hugh Binning highlights and underlines God’s transcendence in the following updated extract. He uses God’s self-description, “I AM THAT I AM,” as the basis for emphasising from various points of view that we must at all points maintain in our minds the distinction between the Creator and the creature, between God and everything else in existence. Only once we sense the littleness of our understanding are we in a position to start to learn who and what God is.
The Theme of the Conference was: “The Pastor: Rightly handling the word of truth”. These were the titles of the nine sessions: 1. The Pastor and his approach to the study of Scripture. 2. The importance of the Pastor’s understanding of “rightly dividing” God’s word”. 3. The Pastor must understand the relationship between the Old and New Testament. 4. The Pastor must interpret Scripture with Scripture. 5. The Pastor must understand the historical context of the passage. 6. The Pastor must determine the literary form of the text. 7. The Pastor must resolve the grammatical construction of the text. 8. The Pastor must think theologically about the text. 9. The Pastor must determine the contemporary applications of the passage.
In this latest episode, we share some exciting news. We talk about our work with Richard Barcellos and acquisition of RBAP, upcoming book titles, some new podcasting efforts, and our recently released US shop. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and join us for some relaxed conversation about the latest happenings down at Broken Wharfe!
TASTE works in Nigeria helping needy communities and civil society organisations gain access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation using a local labour force who are given the necessary training. In so doing, we seek to work in ways which demonstrate practical Christian values of honesty, trustworthiness, integrity and respect for all. The trustees consider that modelling values like these and delivering educational workshops and sustainable projects provide the best long-term method of supporting such communities. TASTE has been able to continue its work of providing safe clean water and hygienic latrines to communities and to deliver Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) workshops over the period covered by this report. The delivery of these life changing water projects has continued despite the severe challenges posed by equipment, plant and vehicles, breakdowns, the Coronavirus pandemic, the countrywide insecurity and the country’s financial meltdown.
The issue of race has become extremely contentious in the last few years. Unfortunately, many proposed solutions ignore the real history of humanity, so will just exacerbate the problems. However, the answer is straightforward—returning to the Bible’s history starting in Genesis. When preaching the Gospel to the Athenians on Mars Hill (Acts 17), Paul went back to creation. This includes the fact that all nations come from “one man” (Acts 17:26), whom Paul affirmed as “the first man Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). This totally rules out the claim that a population of humans evolved from a population of ape-like creatures that evolved from pond scum. Because God made Adam and his wife Eve in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26–28), all their descendants are God’s image-bearers. That means all other people who have ever lived, regardless of ‘race’ (or sex). Sadly, even many in the church do not believe this.
Reason three: because they must know that the Bible is worth dying for. One of the definitions of church history I give my students is simply “a battle for the Bible,” which is to say, church history is an account of the 2,000-year war between heresy and orthodoxy, between competing interpretations of God’s holy Word. I want my children to know that our Bibles—especially that we have an English translation in virtually every room of our house—did not come cheap. Men and women were imprisoned, harassed, beaten, and killed so we could read the Bible in our native tongue. They also argued, fought, were persecuted, even died over standing firm upon an orthodox interpretation of it.
MARY Harrington is a rare woman: clever (a First from Oxford in English Literature) and arguing from a secular standpoint, she brings formidable powers of analysis and intellectual clarity to the feminism she embraced unthinkingly in her youth (she was born the year Margaret Thatcher became prime minister) and entirely demolishes the ideology behind it. My (trivial) complaint is that she still describes herself as a ‘feminist’. I think she should ditch residual loyalty to this word, with all the distracting, unhelpful baggage that comes with it, and simply call herself a ‘woman’. For what emerges powerfully in her book is a re-examination of what it means to be a woman: a woman in relation to man. A Christian would quote Genesis here: ‘Male and female he created them’. Harrington has reasoned herself into a similar position, but does so outside religious faith. She begins with the birth of her daughter. Other honest would-be feminists and mothers will recognise her surprised admission: ‘Having a baby changes everything.’
For about 40 years, MERF has been reaching the countries of the Middle East and North Africa with Arabic gospel programmes. This started by radio broadcasts but gradually expanded to become more and more internetbased. These countries are largely Muslim. Arabic is by far the most widely-spoken language in the region. It is also the language of Islam. MERF uses a creative and innovative approach to disseminate Christ’s teachings among the predominately Muslim Arabic-speaking populations.
We are delighted to host the Release International annual supporters meeting for the north of England at Trinity Grace this autumn. This is for all volunteers and any supporters interested in volunteering with Release International. You will have the opportunity to hear from: Allister du Plessis, Engagement Manager for the North & Midlands; Laura Hayes, Director of Engagement; Andrew Wilmshurst, Volunteering Manager. A free light buffet lunch will be served 12:00pm, with the main program starting at 1pm. Light refreshments will be served after the event.
Our temptations typically arise from within us, as we are lured away by desires that give birth to sins such as unbelief and sinful lust (James 1:14–15). Jesus was free from these types of temptations. He did not possess an inclination towards evil or the “inclination and propensity” of desire towards evil from within. For example, as the Sinless One, filled with the Spirit beyond measure, he did not experience lust in his heart towards a woman; however, that does not mean he did not find certain women attractive. As a man, he would have experienced a natural attraction to a beautiful woman. Beauty is necessarily attractive. Nevertheless, this “attraction” was always kept perfectly in check. Never once did it move to the realm of lust or covetousness. He not only treated but thought of women with “absolute purity” (1 Tim. 5:2). To depend on oneself or to give in for a moment to a lustful thought or action always carries an appeal, but Jesus could not and did not do that. He always entrusted himself to his Father. He always responded perfectly to any situation in which he found himself tempted.
Benjámin, his wife Zsófi, his brother Máté and their friend, Bence, joined us temporarily in 2020 as they awaited the Lord's leading in plan)ng a church on the Buda side of town. The time has come, with both joy at the prospect of the opportunities inherent in this work, and with deep sadness as they leave a void in leadership, music (Bence regularly played the organ and has compiled our new hymnal), assistance with transla)on from all three men, hospitality, and a rich and compassionate brotherly affec)on, to the glory of God and benefit of others. This departure has raised a further sense of urgency in praying for addi)onal elders and deacons. May you join us in that to the growth of the church, spread of the gospel and glory of God.
Stephen Silamo from Rendille in northern Kenya writes: It's hot, boiling and extremely dry in Korr as it is in most parts of the country, as its long drought spell continues. The situation is dire, the outlook forlorn. The future of Rendille and neighbours looks bleak for facing disaster, great hunger looms at a time when most of people have lost all their livelihood (animals). The sun has been merciless these past four months. Majority of Rendille people were hit hard by a devastating drought and chances of any timely recovery are dwindling with each passing day as the sun rises with a vengeance early morning. But in all these, the Lord God is sovereign, gracious and faithful. To Him be the glory. We are grateful for His protection and providences. Please, pray for the situation, pray for us in our evangelistic efforts and as we reach out to these villages with the gospel. Pray that the Lord would raise people who would consider providing food aid to these vulnerable people. Grace to you.
Unlike us, there is nothing precarious about God’s existence. He has life in Himself and He is altogether perfect. He never changes, either for better or worse or to adapt to changing circumstances. So when a recent survey has shown that almost half of evangelicals in the US say ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Does God change?’ it raises questions about how solid someone’s faith is if they are not relying on the unchangeable God – and how lively their hope for the future can be. With our circumstances continually in flux and fears often threatening to overwhelm us, the comfort and hope that comes from the constancy of God cannot be underestimated. Faith in the unchanging and unchangeable God was what sustained one overwhelmed and fearful believer in Psalm 102.
One of the great joys of our inaugural assembly of confessional Baptist churches in the UK this week (full report forthcoming),, was to hear about the work of the gospel across the world in places like Poland, Serbia and Portugal. It was greatly encouraging to learn about a confessional Baptist church in Porto, located in the north of Portugal, where evangelical churches are very few and the gospel is largely unknown. By building close connection with such like-minded churches across the world, we can be all the more zealous and sacrificial in our prayers and our giving. Click below to read the latest newsletter.
Release International’s associate ministry in Poland has been working with Christians in Ukraine who have suffered persecution in the Donbas area under Russian occupation. They have been helping Church leaders in newly liberated districts deliver relief aid and preach the gospel. And many Ukrainians are responding. Release International’s associate Maciej Wilkosz says, ‘I have never seen such a hunger for God in any other country.’
Rishi Sunak has committed to bringing forward a review of statutory guidance on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), in light of the “safeguarding scandal” of inappropriate materials being used in schools. The Prime Minister made the pledge in the House of Commons yesterday in response to a question from Miriam Cates MP. She told Mr Sunak that children are being “subjected to lessons that are age-inappropriate, extreme, sexualising and inaccurate, often using resources from unregulated organisations that are actively campaigning to undermine parents. This is not a victory for equality, it is a catastrophe for childhood.”
A judge has overturned the conviction of a Christian street preacher who was arrested and reported to Prevent for ‘misgendering’ a member of the public. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Dave McConnell, 42, from Wakefield, was appealing a conviction today at Leeds Crown Court after he was arrested under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 for ‘insulting’ a member of the public in Leeds City Centre on 8 June 2021.
Here the daffodils are again a cascade of yellow and green. Since I planted mine eighteen years ago they have never failed to bring joy and hope for better days. Despite not paying them much attention and disturbing their winter slumber when digging out the weeds they faithfully appear in all their glory. They even pop their heads up in the depths of winter to give us some encouragement. These lovely flowers herald the good news that Spring is on its way. Most times they get bruised and battered as the remaining barrage of winter hail and snow lay them low, but undeterred they often rise again, stand tall, and tell us that the winter of this fallen world will soon bring forth the spring of perfect heavenly bliss.
Educate & Celebrate is a controversial LGBTQ campaign group, which promotes the use of LGBTQ materials in schools across the country. In 2018, the group was invited to Trent College, to train staff. Elly Barnes, leader of Educate & Celebrate, opened the training by telling staff to chant “smash heteronormativity.” ‘Smashing heteronormativity’ might sound like a complicated term – but what it means is that they want to destroy the Christian, and biological understanding of sex, that there are men and women, and that men and women belong together. This is the view most people have held for millennia, and the vast majority still holds today. We believe that a group like this should have no place in schools. Please sign the petition urging the Secretary of State for Education to be taken out of schools and receive no more public funding, as a matter of urgency.
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for praying for our week in Tijuana Mexico and the Missions and Evangelism class we held there. It was truly an amazing time. In every way it exceeded my expectations. The lectures were excellent as we considered the theology of mission in the Old and New Testament Scriptures; we heard from three different couples about their experience of planting churches among unreached language groups and thanked God for His saving mercies to people who had never heard of Jesus Christ; we met young couples who have dedicated their lives to reaching other unreached people group. Our students were given a wonderful exposure to the Lord's work. Please pray for long term benefits from the week, such as couples who will go and men who will lead their churches to support missions aggressively. The Lord is doing great things!
Nigeria’s ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu has been declared the winner of the country’s weekend presidential election. The 70-year-old received 37% of the vote, official results show. However, those statistics suggest voter turn-out was only 27%, one of the lowest since the end of military rule in 1999. In the build-up to the election Release International partners warned that on-going internal security is the number one issue that the new administration would have to face. Over the past two decades Christians in the north of the country and across its central belt have faced horrific, violent persecution at the hands of Islamist militia groups.
1 Wednesday 1) Pray that the Elders of TBC Donholm will be granted Christ-like shepherd hearts and wisdom and be rooted in the Word and Prayer. 2) EA will be doing the Kiswahili Sermons from March. He will start a series on Daring To Be Different In a World That is Indifferent. 3. The Lord has opened a door for ministry at the Nairobi West Men’s Prison. This begins today and so KN will bring the gospel to the prisoners, the warder, & other staff who work in the prison trying to rehabilitate the prisoners.
Recently we sent two of our young men to the Radius International Campus in Tijuana Mexico for a vitally important part of their training in relation to missions. What did they learn? How can we share in that learning? The two messages available below help to answer that question. The first by Radius President Brooks Buser is titled "Forging a Durable Theology of Suffering." It is well done, using Adoniram Judson as his model throughout to illustrate the point. The second address is given by Brooks' wife, Nina, and is teaching given to women on "5 Things Women in Missions Need to Know." These messages help us to count the cost if we believe we are being called to labour in cross-cultural missions, but they are also helpful for those of us who stay behind and hold the ropes in practical support and prayer. Warmly recommended!
We want to again thank all of our generous supporters in reaching and exceeding our recent special project goal! God has answered our prayers for a reliable vehicle to handle our ministry's regional travels. Our ministry now owns a 2018 Toyota Hilux Raider. As you can see, this truck should serve us well for years to come. We were also able to buy a canopy as well as cover several other related expenses. We have already begun using our new vehicle on this month's conference run in Botswana and Zimbabwe. What a blessing the Lord has provided us with to equip pastors and Bible teachers in Africa!
Not only in the mountains of Java, but we also serve in the valleys of Sumatra, specifically in two ethnicallymixed areas, namely Tulang Bawang Barat and Seputih Surabaya. We pass through muddy, pot-holed, badly damaged roads in that valley to get there. It took an hour and a half to drive only 10km (6.21 miles). These two churches are from six widespread communities, the furthest being about 25km (15 miles) from the mother church. In this location, we serve the elderly of the congregations by providing radios to listen to spiritual radio broadcasts. So that when they are at home alone, or even working in the fields, they can still listen to the Word of God.
Catch up on the latest podcasts from Broken Wharfe covering a wide variety of topics including Creeds & Confessions, Christology, The Word in John 1, Augustine, Philosophy and Theology! Along the way you might even find out what Jonny & John-Mark got for Christmas...
Marriage is the place where the difference of the sexes finds its central significance. Even the word signifies the joining of the two in a way which implies compatibility which arises from intrinsic difference; reflected of course in the act of married bodily union, but reaching into every other area of life. It is in the marriage of the sexes that their inherent, beautiful difference results in the blessing and fruitfulness of children. Nowhere is the difference of the sexes more clear, more celebrated, more beautiful, and more constructive. To redefine marriage is to erase all the good and rich things in human life which arise from the difference between the sexes, and to replace them with a flat, grey uniformity. Neither man nor woman brings anything to family, to society, and to each other, which is distinct from what the other can bring. They are entirely interchangeable.
The concerted attack on Kate Forbes from the media, the ‘twittering class’, political opponents and her own party reveals this has to do not with mere politics but with the darkness of our nation in its hastening rejection of all that is good, holy and true. The land of the Book has become the land of the Beast and hard days lie ahead for all who will stand with, and for, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian and secular commentators have written on the hypocrisy of the witch hunt against Kate Forbes in the name of ‘tolerance’; the religious discrimination (and cowardice) which hounds a Christian on questions of homosexuality while walking on eggshells around a Muslim; and the absurd irony of making obeisance to the cult of ‘trans’ the touchstone of acceptability in political leadership – the very issue which finally sank Nicola Sturgeon.
Transhumanism is a movement that holds that scientific and technological advances can be used to improve humanity. For example, to increase life-span, to get rid of diseases through gene modification, to implant electronic microchips for security purposes, or to monitor a person’s location, purchases, and movements. Some of this might seem only vaguely relevant to creation science apologetics. However, at its heart it is a godless movement, and ultimately is one that is justified by belief in evolution. Creation Ministries International first tackled the question of transhumanism in 2011. Fast forward to 2023 and it is being promoted more than ever by notable academics and leading forums, together with well-funded research grants such as one from President Biden’s government.
House of Ants partnership with the Reformed Baptist Church of Sikuama continues. Pastor Baltazar is also a volunteer teacher at House of Ants and offers Pastoral care and youth counselling. The church is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Joining with other local leaders, they give thanks for God’s kindness and provision.
Duty is defined as “that which one is morally or legally bound to do.” That defines duty in an absolute sense. Another definition is “action or conduct required by one’s profession or position.” That might, often does, involve absolutes, but the particular actions required are relative to the skill, qualification, interpersonal relations, and professional office of a person. My duties to my children are different from my duties to the children of others but are not on that account less than absolute. On occasion, public speakers, including preachers of the gospel, will belittle “duty” as if it is an inferior motivation for action or compliance to standards. Delight is seen as a superior motivation while duty is—Well, if I have to do it, OK—synonymous with begrudging action. It is argued that love is superior to duty. However, in truth, duty is before love.
Jesus reserved one of his toughest criticisms for those who lead children astray. The Archbishop of Uganda recently quoted Jesus’ famous ‘millstone’ passage to warn against campaigners promoting homosexuality to the young. But his words have been seized upon by LGBT campaigners Jayne Ozanne and Peter Tatchell. In a gross distortion of Jesus’ teaching, they accused the Archbishop of urging Christian parents to drown their gay children. What is even more shocking, is that in this video you will see the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, agreeing with their interpretation. He even says that he has rebuked the Archbishop of Uganda – and others – for their teaching on this Bible passage. But they teach what Jesus taught. For Justin Welby to be so easily taken in by LGBT campaigners is truly staggering.
Nicola Sturgeon resigned because of the outcry at her failure to recognise that men cannot be women, commentators have said. Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister announced her resignation earlier this week, citing the toll on her health. She did not mention her blocked Bill that would have allowed 16-year-olds to change their legal sex by self-declaration without a medical diagnosis. But political commentator Iain Macwhirther, former SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, and others argue that championing the unpopular ‘self-ID’ law lost her support in her party and in the country.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has brought immense suffering to the Ukrainian nation. So many reports have reached us all of the terrible cost of this outrageous and cruel war. But what you might not be fully aware of is the fact that this conflict has led to the persecution and oppression of evangelical leaders and believers in Ukraine by the Russian forces and those supportive of the invasion. During this last year in the occupied areas of Ukraine, evangelical pastors have been arrested, interrogated, tortured and even expelled from their towns. Church buildings have been confiscated and used for purposes that fit the agenda of the occupying forces.
Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian faith. Christ died to forgive our sins and to reconcile us to God. And Jesus taught that His disciples must forgive those who sin against them. He said, “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:15). Forgiveness is not an option for believers. Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mk 11:25). Christians must forgive because they have been forgiven (Matt 18:21-25). But there is a difference between forgiving a person and reconciling your relationship with that person.
A failing health service, the social care timebomb, disregard for the safety of women and children, economic stagnation, the aftermath of the pandemic, immigration woes, a crisis in law and order, the deficiencies of our energy policy – yet even the boldest politicians seem to offer little more than sticking plasters, if not proposals that will positively make things worse. Even secular commentators are talking in terms of Britain’s “fall from grace” and expressing frustration at how little yield there is for our efforts. We seem to have inherited problems from the previous decades and generations which we cannot solve, while inheriting opportunities which we fail to exploit to our advantage. At the national level it is as if something is preventing us from achieving what we could.
The Church of England has voted to “welcome” and “commend” plans to allow churches to bless same-sex partnerships. The General Synod supported a bishops’ report recommending that “prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and for God’s blessing” may be offered for individuals who have been through a same-sex civil ceremony. Same-sex weddings will still not be permitted in churches. The motion to “welcome” the proposals required a majority approval from each House of the Synod – allowing the Bishops to block amendments to their own proposals. They voted for it 36 to four, the House of Clergy voted 111 to 85 and the House of Laity voted 103 to 92.
Any discussion about the God of scripture and His ways of dealing with mankind must start and end with the word of God. The Bible is the only authoritative voice on this topic. If that’s not true, then this topic is open to endless debate from all who have an opinion. If my favorite author, radio preacher, Uncle Bob, Aunt Sally, the New York Times, my most cherished Christian publication, or even my own ‘gut feelings’ are equally authoritative we will be hopelessly mired in confusion. So, we start and end with scripture. The words of Christ himself make this abundantly clear in John. 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jesus not only excludes access to the Father, the one and only God of the Universe, but he also excludes the idea that outside of knowing Christ there is access into the presence of the Father. ONLY through Him. Jesus is the exclusive way to access the God of the Universe. In Acts 4:12, the apostles voice that same statement.
For more than 20 years Trinity Baptist Church in Kenya has had a ministry in West Pokot in the far north-west adjacent to Uganda. This ministry has included the sponsoring of education. There are 10 primary schools that are sponsored, each one registered by the Government whose responsibility it is to provide the 10 teachers required for the 8 classes. As sponsors there is the opportunity to have spiritual impact in the schools. In no such school are there more than 5 such government supported teachers. It falls to the School Board through levying parents, and to the sponsor, to make up the shortfall. TRAIN(Kenya) in U.K. is seeking to help provide teachers in 2023 to help these schools function properly. Some photos of these schools are put below for your interest.
The biblical teaching on the assurance of grace and salvation is vitally important for healthy Christian living. The provisions that believers are given in Christ are transformative. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The sorting and working out of your new life in Christ will be greatly helped to the degree that you are confident that you have a saving relationship with Jesus. By assurance we mean a God-given confidence that you are in saving relationship to Jesus Christ. How well you progress in your Christian life will, to a large degree, depend on how confident you are that you are saved. The strength and quality of your confidence depends on how properly grounded your confidence is. The Bible gives much instruction on this very practical and important subject. One whole book in the New Testament was written for the expressed purpose of helping believers come to a settled assurance of their saving relationship to God through Jesus Christ.
Anxieties are rising as people are struggling to respond to a complex combination of problems. The cost of living crisis, fuel costs, the war in Ukraine, the discontent that has led to so much strike action, the weaknesses of the NHS and the social care system – there are plenty reasons for concern. Fear is an instinct which can sometimes helpfully prompt us to avoid danger, yet other times damagingly paralyses us. In spiritual terms, fear can get the better of us when we forget both how great and how good God is. According to Matthew 14, the disciples in the boat in the storm cried out for fear. In the following updated extract, William Guthrie discusses the debilitating effects of fear in the Lord’s people, before suggesting ways to avoid being wrongly fearful.
This week, Christian mother Izzy Montague has taken her case to court, challenging her four-year-old child's school for compelling him to take part in a school Pride parade without her prior knowledge. Izzy's case has continued to make headlines across the world, after she was subjected to aggression by the school's leadership - one staff member even met with her wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you can just be quiet?"
3 Friday Ebenezer & Michelle Kimathi have been bereaved again as they painfully lost their second pregnancy. May the Lord uphold their faith through these trials and make them stronger gospel labourers. They are still considering relocating from Muthara to Isiolo for church planting where they have some contacts. Please pray that God may give them sufficient grace, much wisdom and enduring steadfastness. 4 Saturday Ladies’ Breakfast is taking place today at 8am. The Women ministry has been progressing well with their Thursday fellowship and third Sunday meetings. We pray that the Lord may continue to give grace to the older ladies to teach what is good to the younger ones and all may grow in grace and knowledge.
Dear Christian Friends, Our name, International Reformed Baptist Seminary, was chosen in part to reflect the fact that we believe the gospel must go out to the whole world. We want our graduates to lead missions-minded churches, and perhaps to serve the Lord as missionary church planters. If you are reading this during the first week of February 2023, you will be encouraged to know that many students have gathered in Tijuana, Mexico to learn about the work of spreading the good news around the world. Will you pray for all of us as we seek to follow Christ's command and proclaim his glory to the nations? Thank you. In Christ, James M. Renihan President, IRBS
Despite a reduction in attacks against Christians in Nigeria in the second half of 2022, with Release International partners initially speculating that this was because of the lead-up to the elections, violence appears to have returned in January with more and more believers killed or kidnapped on an almost daily basis. Morning Star News (MSN) reports that according to its sources suspected Fulani herdsmen killed five Christians on Sunday, January 22, in northeast Nigeria, following the slaughter of 12 believers the previous Friday in the country’s Middle Belt.
CONNECT is our young people’s group for age 11 to 18 years. We seek to meet the practical, social and spiritual needs of our young people in two different meetings: CONNECT ACTIVE meets twice each month on the first and third Saturdays during term time 6:00pm to 7:30pm. CONNECT FOUNDATIONS meets on Sunday afternoon of the third Sunday of the month. The club is open for youth to enjoy the many games we play, engage in the wide variety of activities, discuss their problems/views with other teenagers and to share in learning something beneficial based on biblical teachings.
In Prince Harry’s recent memoir we can see the effect of the insatiable voyeuristic appetite for celebrity gossip. We no doubt feel sympathy for those whose lives are picked over endlessly by commentators who seem to say what they like with little fear of contradiction. Perhaps we have all felt the impulse sometimes to tell our own side of the story, take control of the narrative, speak our own truth. There are more wise and less wise ways of doing this. Laying bare your heart does not necessarily lead to acceptance and respect, it can sometimes give more fodder for ridicule. Worse, telling your story may involve you in making accusations against other people. Now you have also shredded other people’s reputations. So the drama rolls on and the prospects of reconciliation fade further away. And it’s all words! The consequences of our words can sometimes be enormous, as the apostle James pointed out long ago.
Whenever I get the opportunity to speak about worship in either a Sunday School series or an Inquirers class, I try to work in the following thought from Hart and Muether's With Reverence and Awe: “God’s intention was to bless his people through the constant and conscientious observation of the [Sabbath], week after week and year after year. Believers are sanctified through a lifetime of Sabbath observance. In other words, the Sabbath is designed to work slowly, quietly, seemingly imperceptively in reorienting believers’ appetites heavenward. It is not a quick fix, nor is it necessarily a spiritual high. It is an ‘outward and ordinary’ ordinance, part of the steady and healthy diet of the means of grace.” In a world of quick fixes, easy steps, emotionalism, and intellectualism, Hart and Muether remind us of the slow and quiet work of the Spirit in congregational worship.
Like many people in the world, I grew up with no faith and no knowledge of God. I walked with no regard for God who created me and I was comfortable with the things of this world. I regarded the things of the Bible foolishness and vain imaginations of people desperate for something to comfort them. I am sure that I would have remained in this state of ignorance without God’s intervention. God opened my eyes to spiritual realities during my last year in Finland before I moved to the UK to study economics. It was at this time that I found myself asking questions that I had never asked before. Providently God brought into my life a Christian classmate who spoke of the things of the Lord to me. I was curious about the things that she shared with me, but I could not just take her word for it.
Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good. I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith. But this doesn't fit the facts.
Join us in thanking God for His abundant provision in answering our prayers! Because of our need for a reliable vehicle to handle our ministry's regional travels, we announced a special project to raise £25,000 GBP by January 31st, 2023. We are overjoyed to report that due to the generosity of many churches and supporters, we have already reached and exceeded our goal with over 135% given to purchase a vehicle! In estimating the total by combining and converting the funds between 3 currencies, we have received approximately £32,500 GBP. We are grateful for all who have helped make this special project a success and look forward to buying this critical vehicle. Having surpassed our goal, we will have additional funds to purchase a better vehicle as well as needed accessories and other related expenses.
Focus more then on this grace of love. See it to be the fulfilling of the law, for “the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned.” The end of the law is not strife and debate, nor the intricate and perplexed matters which bring endless questions and no edification. Though people claim to be motivated by conscience and scripture, yet they violate charity, the great end of both, which mainly strives for edification in truth and love. It is a violent perversion of the commandment to love, to overstretch every point of conscience, or every point of difference, so far as to rend Christian peace and unity. All these names of war, and all these fiery contentions among us, what have they been kindled by if not the lack of charity? What James says of the tongue, I may likewise say of uncharitableness and self-love — they set on fire the course of nature, and they are set on fire of hell.
Our friends at Countesthorpe Baptist church are holding a day conference on April 22nd for those involved or interested in home education. All are welcome.
Violence against Christians in Nigeria shows no sign of let-up. Following the slaughter of at least 40 believers in the week leading up to Christmas, another was killed and 53 kidnapped on December 25 in southern Kaduna state. Militant Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists attacked Angwan Aku village in Kajuru County, at about 10am on Christmas Day, local resident James Akawu told Morning Star News (MSN). ‘Church worship service was about to commence when the attackers arrived at the village riding on motorbikes and shooting sporadically,’ Akawu told MSN. ‘They killed one Christian and kidnapped 53 others who are still being held captive.’
Throughout the year we seek to engage with our community by opening up the church building to those who might not attend regularly. These meetings are intended to be especially suitable for visitors and newcomers. There are meals, coffee times, family events and seasonal specials. Please see our full schedule for the year and come along to see what we are doing, join in with our church fellowship and hear the message of the good news in Christ Jesus.
The Men’s meeting at the Trinity Grace Church Ramsbottom is a welcoming place where we seek to grow in grace and faith 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 January to November of the year. We usually study a book written by a trusted Christian author and is usually led by one of our Elders and then followed by a time of informal discussion on the issues and prayer. The meeting is preceded by breakfast with tea; coffee and a chance for a quick catch up on arrival we then begin the study. In addition one of the Saturday meetings is dedicated for outreach as pizza night where we invite relatives, friends and work colleagues to share fellowship with us and listen to God’s word.
Should our little growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ discourage us? Indeed it is our great complaint, “Our leanness, our leanness!” It’s fitting that folk grow downwards in low thoughts of themselves, for He dwells with the humble. The more folk have of grace, the more they see of corruption, and the more they have of faith, the more they see of unbelief. But perhaps we make an idol of grace, and prize it more than its author, the Lord Jesus. He may well say to us, “Am I not worth more to you than never so much grace?” The God of all grace is ours – the fountain is ours – we are complete in Him, and He is fit to hold the purse-strings for us. It is better that He should hold our treasure than we ourselves.
In 1879, some twenty years after the publication of his famous Origin of Species, Charles Darwin wrote a letter to botanist Dr Joseph Hooker. One sentence in particular underscored a vexing problem for evolutionary theory: “The rapid development as far as we can judge of all the higher plants within recent geological times is an abominable mystery.” By ‘higher plants’ Darwin had in mind the plants he viewed as being the most ‘highly evolved’, i.e. the Angiosperms—plants with flowers (with seeds produced inside the female reproductive organ). As BBC Science put it, “The famous naturalist was haunted by the question of how the first flowering plants evolved.”
It’s hard to be courageous when you know that you’re going to fail. How can a soldier charge the enemy’s lines if he knows that, not only will his life be spent in the endeavour, but the whole enterprise will end in disaster? If, however, the soldier has hope that, whether he lives or dies, maybe, just maybe, his actions, his sacrifice, will contribute to glorious victory, then he can be courageous. Because, in the end, courage is based upon hope. A person steps out to take the risks, the blows, the bullets, because he has hope that his actions will mean something.
Forces of culture influence and shape our thoughts. In turn, what forces shape evangelicalism and the Reformed faith? Two different forces have shaped each theological movement: the Romantic idea of the genius on one end of the spectrum and the doctrine of the church on the other. The two forces produce very different outcomes—in evangelical churches, the genius theologian looms large as the one who moulds a theological movement. Reformed churches, on the other hand, have a commitment to a scripturally subordinated confessional authority, or confessionalism, that shapes the church. Herein lies a significant difference between evangelicalism and the Reformed faith.
IRBS UK is pleased to host four residential courses this upcoming year. IRBS serves a global constituency, offering Masters degrees which provides robust academic preparation theological and ministerial disciplines. The courses are also available to pastors and men who desire to grow in their understanding of theology and be refreshed by the sound biblical teaching. All our instructors are outstanding scholars and experts in their respective fields, as well as having a wealth of knowledge and experience as pastors. These are the four courses in 2023: January 9th – 13th: Baptist Symbolics, Dr. Jim Renihan. April 24th – 28th: Gospels, Dr. Jeffery Riddle. July 10th – 14th: Hermeneutics, Dr. Rich Barcellos. September 11th – 15th: Puritanism, Dr. Robert Strivens.
As humans we are constrained by time. The passing of one year to the next is something entirely out of our control – all we can do is mark dates and recognise milestones. The only constant from one generation to the next is God. He is outside of time, because time is something that He created. The amazing thing is that as He stands outside of time and remains entirely unaffected by the passing of moments and millennia, He has chosen to make Himself a safe haven for sinful creatures vulnerable to change and decay. This thought was a tremendous comfort to Moses, the man of God, in his prayer to God in Psalm 90. David Dickson in this updated extract identifies the four sources of comfort that Moses draws from God’s unchangingness and unchangeableness for sinners who are reconciled to Him, especially when they may be wrestling with the swift passage of time and difficulties and sorrows in life.
On the border of Sumy region, shelling of villages continues. Residents live under constant tension and threat, literally living 500 metres from the border with Russia. Oleksiy Myroshnychenko, the pastor of Krasnopillia village church, is one of the volunteers regularly ministering there. He shares about the difficulties local people experience where electricity is often cut off for several weeks at a time, logistics and delivery of goods are poor, and quality communication almost impossible. Pastors and church leaders are monitoring the needs and trying to respond to them. Some are urgently bringing these people generators, fuel, bread, and other food products. It is reported that recent events and the large-scale war is making people more open to God. They are happy to receive Bibles, and believers are enthusiastic to share their faith with friends. Houses of Prayer [church buildings] are being filled with seeking people, while repentance and conversion to God are regularly happening – praise the Lord!
6 Friday We hope to begin preparing for the monthly Meaty Forum this year as we trust the Lord to give it a new impetus. The two Dine & Listen evangelistic dinners were well organized and attended. The Couple’s Dinner was also well attended. May the Lord use these efforts to save his elect. 7 Saturday Manases and Gloria Bor’s youngest son passed on last month leaving much grief and pain. The Lord gave them much grace to face this trial and the brethren are back in Meru. The young church came very well to offer them all the support. Let us continue to pray for TRBC Meru as they continue to proclaim Christ. 8 Sunday Ministry today: MI continues with the SS on Assurance and will pick up Romans 8:26-27 on the Help of the Spirit in Prayer. DK will preach in the afternoon from 2 Samuel. PG is ministering at GRBC along with Nate Davidson. Today we have the Lord’s Supper in both places.
We thank God for using the gospel of his Son to draw his elect to us and increasing our ranks. While Murungi has been doing an exposition of Romans on Sunday mornings and Micah in the afternoons, Eric has just concluded the Sermon on the Mount, Dominic is preaching through 1 John and 2 Samuel. Kevin has been doing 2 Peter with men fellowship. All the sermons are live-streamed on our You-Tube channel & Facebook page. Major evangelistic events this year were the 10-month Meaty Forum and two Dine & Listen (evangelistic dinner) events. We praise God for his kindness to us this year; From January to December, we admitted about 43 into our membership. This is the highest number ever since the church began in 1978, about half were baptized. We thank God for this is indeed the work of his grace. We have also seen a few members move to different parts of the world.
Today, secular activists are very concerned about climate change. Ethicists are toying around with human/animal hybrids. Issues concerning the value of extremely disabled and sick babies or old people cause people to wonder if their lives are worth prolonging. These issues and more can confuse Christians; what biblical principles help us navigate these tough issues? We should not be surprised that we find the answer in Genesis. Who owns the world? The Bible is clear: God is the owner of the world. He created it, and He retains the right to control it.
We love Him because He has taken on Him our nature. This is a very familiar thing that you have heard of very often, but it is soon forgotten, and little thought of. He took upon Him our nature. He took not upon Him the nature of angels, but the nature of poor ruined man. Oh, this is a heart-engaging consideration! Many think nothing of it, that Christ left His place in heaven, came out from the Father’s bosom, and took upon Him our nature. But is it not a great wonder? The eternal Son of God, the second person of the glorious Trinity, came down here on earth, and took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham! O wonderful condescension! Many think nothing of it, but let me tell you, poor sinners could never otherwise have gone up to heaven to Him. No; for if He had appeared like Himself, the second person of the ever-blessed Trinity, if He had appeared in His regal robes of glory and majesty, we could not have looked near Him. The Lord became bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. And should not this engage us to love Him very much?
A British woman has been arrested for standing silently on the pavement praying. The implications for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and even freedom of thought are staggering. Please pray that she will be given strength, wisdom and grace as she fights her arrest through the courts. Above all, pray for our nation in its utter darkness and wicked determination to destroy the testimony of Christ and the hope of life in the gospel of salvation.
Further concerns for the Christian community in Mozambique are raised by a demand by Islamic State Mozambique (ISM) terrorists for Christians and Jews to pay a jizya tax to signal their submission to an Islamic Caliphate in Cabo Delgado Province. ISM pledges to kill all Christians and Jews unless they convert to Islam or pay the tax. The message also threatens with death moderate Muslims who do not support ISM’s cause. These demands were also issued in IS’s weekly newspaper, published on 10 November. Classical Islam and sharia (Islamic law) teach that non-Muslim “People of the Book” – that is, Jews and Christians – who do not convert to Islam are permitted to live so long as they accept a second-class dhimmi status. They must then abide by various restrictions, including the payment of jizya to their Muslim conquerors, as a sign of their subjugation. These practices are no longer officially enforced by the government of any Muslim-majority country.
In this latest podcast from Broken Wharfe, with special guest Eddie Roberts from Stanley Park Church in Liverpool, the guys follow on from their previous discussion about preaching as God's primary means of grace. They ask, 'if the preaching of the Word of God is really such a special and unique event, what are we to make of boring preaching?' Is it a problem with the hearer or the preacher and how do we resolve this issue?
How good and pleasant it is when the Lord’s people meet together, united in the work of the Gospel. All who attended this year’s IC at the John Calvin Centre in Larnaca joined with one heart in praising God. Praising him for past benefits, His forgiveness of our sins, healing and hope and for the assurance of his steadfast love (Psalm 103:1-5). For many it was a time of renewal. Renewal of in-person fellowship and reinvigorating the vision for MERF’s mission. Ministry reports were of both harvest fields and battlefields; telling of blessings and conflicts. The international MERF support bodies provide the supply line of prayers and provisions. The front-line field workers seek to steadily advance the kingdom by gospel proclamation amid hardships. Like war correspondents reporting, representatives could tell of the victories of the Lamb and human weakness.
Thrilling reversal is what Christmas is all about. God insists on showcasing his power through weakness and his wisdom through foolishness so that we would stop and stare, wonder and worship. Thrilling reversal is the theme of Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55, in which we see that God moves in mysterious ways so that we would give him all glory. After learning from the angel Gabriel that she would conceive in her virgin womb by the power of the Holy Spirit and bear the Son of God, Mary flew to her cousin Elizabeth, who was also unexpectedly expecting. And as Mary drew near carrying the embryonic little Lord Jesus, John, the prenatal prophet, leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, and Elizabeth sang a song of joy, humility, and faith. So, Mary responded with a song of her own, stitching together patches of Old Testament passages, relishing in God’s reversals.
Something that really happened in the past and has some truth can easily get distorted. In the case of Bishop Nicholas, we have a good example of how a normal benevolent man who lived long ago was given an exalted status by the church, made into a Saint, and finished up as our present-day Father Christmas. We need to be careful to separate legend from fact. In contrast to the legend of Nicholas the record of Jesus Christ has remained the same ever since divinely inspired writers wrote about him in the Bible. The life and record of Jesus Christ, his ministry, atoning death and resurrection is not legend but reliable and dependable truth.
A short video summarising the ministry of African Pastors Conferences over the past year. May we be challenged to pray and encouraged to support this vital work as we see what the Lord is accomplishing through it To God be all the glory.
It is one of best-known facts of Bible; yet it is shrouded in mystery. Its details are rehearsed every year in preaching, reading and song; yet they defy our comprehension. The virgin birth - or, more accurately, the virginal conception - of the Lord Jesus Christ is the point at which the transcendence and immanence of God converge and they do so in a way that defines the destiny of the universe. The sheer wonder of it all is well captured in the words of a Graham Kendrick hymn: Oh what a mystery I see, what marvellous design, That God should come as one of us, a Son in David's line. Flesh of our flesh, of woman born, our humanness he owns; And for a world of wickedness, his guiltless blood atones.
This January we will be looking to dive into the deep ocean that is the theology of the person of Christ. Our speakers will seek to help us to grow in our understanding, that we might love, serve and praise him more. The Trinity Grace Conference is a conference for believers aged 16-30 who are serious about growing in their spiritual lives. Our mission is to lead the younger generation of evangelical Christians to greater love, conviction in the faith and practical righteousness, being firmly rooted in the truths of God’s word for their own sanctification. Thereby, to build up the next generation of church members and leaders, for the greater purity and strength of local Churches in the UK, to the glory of God.
10 Saturday The Christmas Cantata is happening today as we sing about joy to the world for the Lord has come. MI is preaching at the event. 11 Sunday Ministry today: DK continues with the SS today while MI preaches in the morning from Romans 8:23 and the afternoon from Micah 6:1-5. We have the Lord’s Supper and then receive into membership those joining the church. 12 Monday Pastoral Internship is one of the programs we run with the men training for gospel ministry. It gives practical ministry experiences while the TPC gives the theological training. We have two new applicants coming up – John Nderitu (GRBC) and Tito Sitati (has been helping in Kitale since he graduated from the university).
Pray earnestly for Christians in Burkina Faso, where Islamist militants threaten the very future of the country. That assessment comes from army Captain Ibrahim Traore, who was sworn in as interim president of the country on 21 October. “We are confronted with a security and humanitarian crisis without precedent,” said Traore. “Burkina’s existence is in danger.” Traore came to power after a second coup d’état in less than a year. Both coups resulted from anger among soldiers at the authorities’ failure to curtail Islamist groups who have carried out relentless attacks on civilians, many of them targeted at Christians, at the cost of thousands of lives. It is estimated that Islamist groups control at least 40 per cent of the country and that two million people have been forced from their homes because of the insurgency. According to a report received from a Barnabas project partner earlier in October, more than 6,000 schools are shut, 50,000 teachers are without work and many thousands of children have no education.
I have often thought that a book on pastoral ministry along the lines of The Secret Barrister – it would need to be written by an anonymous elder – would sell well. I suspect that a collection of stories on what really goes on throughout the week and in the internal monologue of an elder would be met with mutterings along the lines of “I’m not the only one who thinks that then?!” One of the chapters on preparing for next Sunday’s sermon could be entitled “Monday Mornings: Pushing the Boulder up the Hill…Again”. Alternatively, it could be called “Can I be Bothered to Prepare a Sermon for Only Four People in an Evening Service?” Pastors can often default to this way of thinking about the task of preaching, especially when they struggle to see results in ministry. However, Julius Santiago’s book, Preaching as the Primary Means of Grace, makes the weary pastor and preacher excited about preaching again. Jesus speaks each week to his sheep as preachers faithfully proclaim the content of scripture in the power of the Holy Spirit. Santiago shows us how the Bible and the Reformed tradition see preaching as the instrumental word of God.
Greetings in the wonderful name of Jesus We once again have much to be grateful for, wishing to share some good news of the Lord's work and a few specific requests with you. To start with, wonderful news in the dedication of baby Sari, the baptism of Bernadett and the welcoming of her and her mother, Zita, into membership! Both our morning and especially our evening services have seen several visitors in the past few months, and many of these have stayed well beyond the service while engaged in earnest conversation. Several have become more regular or semi-regular attendees, which is greatly encouraging.
Grab your cuppa and put on your slippers......It's Story Time! Theological confusion abounds amid social and political upheaval in 17th-Century Britain. Persecution, the rise and fall of kings, a maverick minister's shenanigans and long journeys combine to lead a group of churches to confess a common faith in the face of adversity. How will they fare? What will be the outcome? Will they remain faithful to the God of the Scriptures? Doc Renihan sits down with Jonny and John-Mark and tells them a story of confessional adventure and intrigue in this latest podcast from Broken Wharfe.
Our thoughts are programmed to expect certain consequences from certain circumstances. But God’s thoughts are not like ours. Where we would expect doom and judgment, God’s way surprises us with forgiveness and mercy. Sometimes as we look at other Christians too, our prejudices too often come into play and we don’t leave space for the powerful grace of God to bring disproportionately good effects from sources we tend to dismiss and overlook. We don’t even understand the appearances that God gives of His work, like when Jesus seemed to actually ignore the woman of Canaan who petitioned Him to help her daughter. Defying our expectations, Jesus was in fact drawing her increasingly closer to Him and preparing to pour out His blessing on her at the point when it looked least likely.
We are grateful for the faithful prayers and support of so many of you in equipping African pastors to rightly handle God's Word. By His grace, we have seen large numbers of church leaders deeply impacted this year by both our conference speakers and bookstore. Critical to our ministry is the ability to travel from conference to conference. For several of our monthly conference runs, this means driving a vehicle from our central location in South Africa to the places where our conferences take place. So our teams regularly travel through different and difficult conditions while towing cases of books internationally. Click below for more details about the vehicle we need to purchase, and how you can help.
What do Liverpool, the IRA, conversion to Christ, a call to the ministry and a confessional Baptist church have in common? Born and bred in Liverpool, minister Eddie Roberts joins the Coffee House Sessions for an interview only a scouser (slang for Liverpudlian) can give. With an unconventional family background in both the IRA and Roman Catholicism, Eddie shares how Christ drew him from political protestantism to a saving knowledge of God. In the latest COFFEE HOUSE SESSION from Broken Wharfe, with characteristic good humour and humility, Eddie explains how he entered into the Christian ministry before eventually leading a Liverpool church to adopt the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith amid challenges facing the congregation.
We will be hosting the Trinity Grace Conference from 6th-7th January 2023. This conference is aimed at young people age 16-30, and seeks to provide solid Bible teaching to equip young people in their faith, life and witness. This January we will be looking at the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Brett Shaw, Kevin Bidwell and Tony Flanders as our speakers. The last conference was attended by over 40 young people. There was a good atmosphere, and many benefited from the teaching and fellowship. The conference is free, although we would ask those coming to consider a donation. However, each person attending needs to book. The booking form can be found on the trinitygraceconference.com website, where there is opportunity to donate. For more details either visit the conference website or see the flyer below.
In this episode of the Broken Wharfe podcast, the guys discuss the topic of the sovereignty of God and prayer. How are we to understand what prayer is and how it relates to the God of the Bible? They also discuss how the Confession aids us in cultivating a high view of God, which leads us to communion with God, in dependence upon his greatness and goodness. What did this look like in the life of Christ? Unlike the false gods of this world, the living God may be fully depended upon for all things needed for life and godliness.
On Saturday the 30th of October I went through the annual ritual of altering the clocks. I brought to mind the tip given a few years ago of spring forward and fall backward which helps to put an end to the confusion of losing an hour or gaining an hour, I did not realise at the time that by altering the clocks I would fulfil this little adage literally.
Over recent years one particular social and political movement has appropriated common words and symbols to its own cause. This has been done by LGBT+ campaign groups, and the organisers of the pride marches. The word gay has changed its meaning from the historical sense; and now the rainbow has been adopted on to the so-called ‘pride flag’; more commonly known as the rainbow flag. Although still professing to be a discriminated minority, the LGBT+ movement has become politically dominant in most Western nations, with pride marches often supported by corporations, the police, and government agencies. As such, the rainbow flag has become widely recognised as a symbol of gay pride, but biblically, God promised that the rainbow would be a symbol of something completely different.
The programme for 2023 has been finalised. Please visit our LRBF page for all the details.
The Christian Institute invites us all to join them in a week of prayer, November 13th to 19th. They write: Please join us in praying for our new king and our government, and other important national matters. We are particularly concerned for Scotland. The desire to appear ‘progressive’ has led to a series of proposals including ‘sex swaps’ for 16-year-olds, assisted suicide, and an extreme ‘conversion therapy’ ban. It is so important to pray. There is so much to pray for.
Halloween: It's a conscience issue, and my own conscience is pricked by the thought of participating in it. However, I also recognize that there are legitimate (even “biblical”) reasons that one might have for celebrating with the rest of their neighbors. It's important to realize that historians are divided over the origins of Halloween. Some say that it has Christian roots; others say that it has pagan roots. Either way, we are to make a decision based on what it communicates today and, therefore, if we should (or shouldn’t) participate based on that meaning. From a slightly different angle, we should not only ask if it is “wrong” to participate, but if it is “right” from a biblical perspective.
A single event on a single day changed the world. It was October 31, 1517. Brother Martin, a monk and a scholar, had struggled for years with his church, the church in Rome. He had been greatly disturbed by an unprecedented indulgence sale. The story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster.
1 Tuesday The continued drought has brought a severe famine throughout the country, especially ravaging the churches in the northern part. We are in the process of sending food to feed 65 families in Korr. There are more who need immediate humanitarian intervention. It is complex how to send such help because we cannot feed everyone in the area. Please pray that the Lord may send the rains. 2 Wednesday (1) On the 2nd October, Kevin and Paul were set apart to serve as Elders at TBC to work alongside Eric, Dominic and Murungi. Kevin is bi-vocational, Paul is full-time. May they work well together for the prosperity of Christ’s church. (2) EA preaches tonight at Kenyatta University CU on The Christian & Suffering. 3 Thursday We had full-packed Couples’ Dinner on the 28th October. Over 30 couples came. MI preached from Proverbs 18:22 on “Love Finds Love’. We trust the Lord to give the grace and build homes in which godly offspring will be raised.
A Christian MP has called on Westminster to tackle the epidemic of pornography amid rising cases of child sexual abuse in England and Wales. During the House of Commons’ debate on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s final report, Miriam Cates challenged the then Home Secretary Grant Shapps to recognise that pornography is fuelling child abuse. She said: “When will the Government acknowledge that online pornography is an enormous public health issue, child protection issue and criminal justice issue that is driving much of the child sexual exploitation that we see today?”
Anti-Christian violence is continuing in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, where Islamists including Fulani extremists persist in targeting Christian-majority villages and tribal areas. Gunmen launched an armed assault on a church service in Kogi State on Sunday 16 October, killing two worshippers and wounding three others. “Kogi is no longer safe,” said a witness who survived the attack. In another incident the previous month, suspected Islamists abducted 43 people from the Kajura area of Kaduna State, the majority of whom were worshippers at a mid-week church service. President of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) Awemi Maisamari commented, “There is still no breathing space for communities in Southern Kaduna. Terrorists, jihadists, bandits and armed herdsmen have continued to plunder and wreck communities.”
Keith Underhill writes: By God’s grace I was able to spend from 7th to 23rd September in Kenya. From 8th to 16th we were in Pokot North, and it is about these days that I want to write to you in this report. Pokot North is an area in the far north-west of Kenya on the Ugandan border enclosed by the Turkwell/Suam River to the south and east. We started to have contact with the area about 30 years ago when the work of the gospel was in its infancy. Now there are 14 local churches, with up to 200 baptized believers, and in each place there are schools sponsored by Trinity Baptist Church.
'Hannah' is a Christian primary school teacher who was fired for raising safeguarding concerns for a child being advised by campaign group Mermaids to 'transition gender'. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Hannah is seeking a judicial review of the refusal of the school's governing body and local authority to address her safeguarding concerns. Ahead of the new term in September 2021, the school had implemented an extreme transgender policy after a primary school aged child (Child X), who would be joining Hannah’s class, said they wished to change their gender. When she saw that the child was was 'seriously distressed', Hannah raised safeguarding concerns through all the usual procedures. But the school brushed her concerns aside, backed by the Stonewall-supporting local authority and the local Church of England diocese.
Why is there no chapter on the Holy Spirit in the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith? We have seen in this short blog series that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is distributed throughout the confession and described in relation to key points of doctrine. Our last blog noted how the confession outlines biblical teaching on the connection between the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. In this blog post, we will see how the confession summarises the Bible's teaching on the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the mediation of Christ.
Welcome to the Coffee House Sessions brought to you by Broken Wharfe! In our first ever full & unscripted Session we are joined by Dr James Renihan, President of International Reformed Baptist Seminary (IRBS). Doc, as he is affectionately known, discusses with others how confessions of faith impact theological education. Drawing upon his experience teaching at Westminster Seminary California and subsequently leading IRBS, he explains some helpful reasons for taking a confessional approach in the training of minsters.
On 27th September Trinity Grace Church hosted our sixth and final association discussion meeting. We have held these meetings over the past eighteen months seeking to establish a national association of confessional Baptist churches. We thank our triune God for blessing our meetings and being pleased to unite our churches together for the advancement of our good and his glory among us. At the meeting the messengers were able to finalise a draft constitution in order to take it back to our particular churches for consideration, review and approval. Our first association meeting is planned for 7th March 2023, where we hope to constitute as a national association of confessional Baptist churches. Please join with us in praying for our churches and this future association. We also ask that other confessional Baptist churches prayerfully consider holding communion with us under the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith 1677/89.
Joe Anady writes: In episode 63 of Theology In Particular, I was pleased to interview Pastor Oliver Allmand-Smith about his new book, “Under God, Over The People – The Calling & Accountability Of Civil Government”. I trust that this book, and this interview, will be helpful to pastors and church members alike as we seek to understand and obey the Scriptures as it pertains to our relationship to civil authorities.
Our country has seen unprecedented change of late. We must pray for our new monarch, and our new Prime Minister and Cabinet (1 Timothy 2:1-2). While this may be an unsettling time, we can take reassurance from the fact that God remains fully in control. The Institute is active on many fronts. We are grateful for the opportunities we and our supporters have had to be a Christian influence. In particular, we continue to challenge the possible censorship of Christian content by the Online Safety Bill, and moves in Scotland to allow children aged 16 to change legal sex almost on a whim. We give thanks to God that the Bill of Rights Bill has been dropped – at least for now – and that ‘abuse of trust’ laws protecting teenagers have finally been strengthened. We first campaigned on this issue more than 20 years ago. Please continue to pray for God’s mercy on the nation.
Wale Akinrogunde writes: I arrived safely on Sunday 10th July in Nairobi at about 7am, picked up by Pastor Murungi and straight to preaching at Trinity Baptist Church, TBC Nairobi. The sermon text and title were 2 Tim. 2:1-13, Remember Jesus Christ all the way! I spent some time with the elders at TBC and also as a first timer, had the opportunity to spend time with the other first timers for about one hour. Before the sermon, Pastor Murungi baptised his 18yr old son, Asaph and 1st born and another young lady and what a joy that the sermon preached by me was indeed timely for the newly baptised and welcomed into membership, brother and sister. Asaph and I also spent some time together chatting generally about his new Christian faith. I also attended their Lord’s Table and evening church services and spent time with the Igweta family over an evening meal. TBC has a membership strength of over 160 and an average of 300 attendees each Lord’s Day. At the end of June, they’ve added 28 new members to the church. The local church is indeed growing and pray that this may be true of other churches on the African continent and our own church here in London, Grace Church Walthamstow.
Why would God choose to love Jacob and not Esau? Well, it wasn’t because Jacob was to be firstborn. And it wasn’t because Jacob would be a mighty or supremely moral man. God’s election of Jacob was unconditional and depended solely upon the secret will and good pleasure of God. It was “not because of works but because of him who calls” (Romans 9:12). Though this mystery of God’s sovereign election is deep and difficult, it is inescapably biblical. Jesus said to his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). In the opening lines of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul said, “...he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). The Apostle John put it in the simplest terms: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Given the diverse number of people groups in Far East Russia, the vast geographical area, and the predominance of paganism, there remain many villages and towns that have yet to hear the Gospel. We thank God for the 11 missionary pastors sponsored by SGA partners in the UK and Ireland. God has been blessing their efforts in the Gospel. Pastor Benjamin, who oversees the missionary work of churches in the Far East shares: “Our main priority is to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ and reach the places where the Word of God has not been preached and continue to bring it where it is already spreading. Our churches travel to villages and towns with a mission.”
Back in 2005, Rick Warren—then hailed as "America's New People's Pastor" by Time magazine—made a revealing statement on his understanding of theology and doctrine: “The first Reformation was about doctrine; the second one needs to be about behavior. We need a reformation not of creeds but deeds. It’s time to stop debating the Bible and start doing it... This is the new reformation I’m praying for.” Sadly, what used to be a hallmark attitude of Protestant liberalism has since become a fit-for-Hallmark platitude of many so-called Bible-believing evangelicals. This stance is precisely what J. Gresham Machen so masterfully refuted in his classic, Christianity and Liberalism. To pit doctrine against duty, theology against community, or faith against life is unbiblical. For example, Paul spoke of "the truth, which accords with godliness" (Titus 1:1). This is why our forefathers defined theology as theologia est doctrina Deo vivendi, “Theology is the doctrine of living to God” (William Ames, Medulla Theologica, 1.1).
In John 14:6, Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Tragically, the 2022 State of Theology survey reveals that the majority of American evangelicals* seem to reject this teaching from Christ. The Bible reveals that God is pleased only by the worship of those who approach Him through Jesus Christ, since He alone is the “one mediator between God and man” (1 Tim. 2:5). It is startling enough that 56 percent of U.S. evangelicals believe God accepts the worship of all religions. Yet more concerning is the fact that this percentage has increased by a soaring 14 percent in only the last two years.
Asim is 43 years old. He grew up in a nominally Muslim family in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. His father was a successful and we l l - re sp e c te d b u s i n e s s m a n . Asim is an only son, with both an older and a younger sister. At an early age, he was employed by his father. He went on to get a university degree in business administration which enabled him to excel in his father’s business. At 24 years of age, he married a distant cousin whom he knew and liked since childhood. Their happy marriage is blessed with three children, two sons and a daughter. At 28 years of age, his father made him his sole business partner
A Christian ministry that received death threats and had its account cancelled by Barclays Bank faces having its legal case ‘struck out’ at a hearing in Belfast this week. Core Issues Trust (CIT), which is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, was notified in July 2020 that its banking facilities with top-ranking Stonewall employer, Barclays, would be stopped, following a coordinated harassment campaign by LGBT activists. CIT is a non-profit Christian ministry, based in Northern Ireland, which supports men and women who voluntarily seek change in their sexual preference, expression and/or gender identity.
A Conservative MP has called on the police to urgently investigate the activities of trans-activist group Mermaids. During Prime Minister’s Questions, Miriam Cates highlighted the recent revelations over the group’s “serious safeguarding failures”, saying: “For years, despite whisteblowers raising alarm, Mermaids have had unfettered access to vulnerable children.” Cates informed MPs that Mermaids “sent breast-flattening devices to young girls behind their parents’ back, promoted harmful medical and surgical procedures to children, hired a trustee with links to paedophile organisations and a digital engagement manager who posted pornographic images online”. Last month, the Charity Commission launched an investigation into the group after it was revealed it had been sending chest binders to girls as young as 13 without their parents’ knowledge.
In this episode, we announce the upcoming Coffee House Sessions, part of Broken Wharfe’s new Audio Streaming Hub. Our listeners are given a taster of what to expect from this new channel. During this episode, we drop in on a conversation regarding recent videos released by Jordan Peterson. The guys discuss Dr Peterson and Conservative Evangelicalism. They offer a response by those who are well aware of the issues and fill a gap by showing that not all of the Christian Church are as unfit as Peterson suggests. The rise of Peterson’s popularity among evangelicals and his attempt to answer many of life’s big questions by utilising Christian terms has led to today’s Session.
Until quite recently, an article on this subject would have been deemed unnecessary at best, perhaps even a little absurd. Not anymore. In our increasingly post-Christian culture, confusion abounds, so much so that the Oxford English Dictionary recently altered dozens of definitions after a gender diversity review, among them ‘woman’ and ‘man’. So, how are we to define what a woman is? A simple question you may think, but for some it now causes a lot of problems. Some religious and political leaders are caught in the transgender controversy, between tradition on the one hand, and modern sensibilities that desire to accommodate various ideological pressure groups.
Calvin once said that we listen to ourselves too much, and we talk to ourselves too little. Specifically, Calvin meant telling ourselves the truth of the Word of God. Many Puritans followed Calvin in this encouragement, including Thomas Hooker: Use the Word of God aright. For as you must, in all things that concern your soul, repair to the Word, so you must consider your own uprightness by it, and see what work is in your soul that is able to answer the Word, and to testify that the work of grace is there. And here be sure to take your soul at the best. Do not always pore upon the worst that is in it, nor upon your failings, nor that which can only accuse you; but if there is any thing there that may justly speak for you, do not neglect that. It is an injustice for any court to hear one side and not another. The Scripture is a text of justice, and the Lord does not look for the worst in his children, but takes them at the best.
“Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.” Psalm 147:1. We are very grateful to God for the planting of the Reformed Baptist Church for the past 24 years in Nigeria. We also thank God for you who had been our strong supporter during these years. We would not want to name names, but acknowledge all your efforts from the 1st day, to see to this church plant in Port Harcourt and other cities in Nigeria. Please, continue to pray for us as we progress in the work here.
Questions frequently come to mind while listening to church leaders’ general thrust of religious talk. What is the need for a mediator with God since we are all mates with him? Surely the only thing you need to do for a moment is to stop, stay still and breathe in the presence of God? As Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it, ‘God is closer to you than your hand and feet and breath that you breathe.’ Indeed, God is omnipresent; even if one were to make their bed in hell, “behold you are there” (Psalm 139.8). The world is not only full of false ideas concerning the existence of God and the nature of God but also the way one can have a relationship with him. The Pantheist believes that God is everywhere. They believe the only reason human beings feel distant from him is the lack of enlightenment, for each one is part and one with God. Conversely, the truth is that humanity is fundamentally estranged from God. No saint, angel or even the "blessed virgin mother" can bring us an inch closer to God. Those who believe in such mediators fail to understand how much greater the essence and excellence of God’s uncreated being is from his creation.
Ruslan writes: In Svalyava (Transcarpathia region in the west of Ukraine), where we live due to the war, we have witnessed the conversion of dozens of displaced people from our town (Starobilsk in the Donetsk), and even from the school I was studying at. We constantly pray for the safety of relatives and friends remaining in the occupied territories. And God has preserved everyone as of now. Families of internally displaced persons (IDPs) attend the children's club every Saturday. We provide food and other aid to them. Some IDPs come to the evening prayer, and some have already accepted Christ. We managed to hold two children's camps this summer, do master classes for boys, and hold a children's holiday for IDP children and their parents.
Prof. Renihan writes: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I write with great thankfulness to the Lord for His abundant mercies, and to all of you for your loving care for IRBS. We have been busy in the Lord's work and we rejoice to see Him being glorified in his churches. The new academic year has begun, and classes are moving forward at a rapid pace. This semester, we have 50 students registered for classes as well as 20 additional auditors. We regularly receive inquiries from prospective students, and it seems that every week we admit a new student or students to our programs. Our podcast Theology in Particular has been well-received, as well as our micro-cast Consider the Confession. We have been extremely busy in the Lord's work.
The repercussions of the Ukraine war have begun to touch regions until now relatively unaffected, including Far East Russia, where the Kremlin’s plan to mobilise great numbers of additional soldiers is bringing anxiety and uncertainty to many. Disturbing reports are coming through. Denis Tolstov, one of SGA’s sponsored missionaries, reports that many in his church have been recruited for this military mobilisation, and that he himself is under obligation to join. He writes: “We pray and ask God to strengthen us in this troublesome time. I do not want to go anywhere, as I feel that my calling is to stay among my people and my church. Please, pray for us and for our family.” There are reports that some church leaders have fled the country. Pray for churches and believers who have been affected already by this development, and that God will overrule and protect His servants and His people.
Saturday 1st: (1) Today there is a musical concert to thank God called ‘Shukrani Concert’. May that it be an avenue for the Lord’s name to be honoured as brethren sing and the gospel is preached. (2) The sisters have their Ladies Breakfast this morning. Sunday 2nd: Ministry today: (1) Paul Gachungi & Kevin Oruru are to be set apart for the work of Eldership during the morning service. (2) EA begins a Sunday school class on the Fruit of the Spirit. Murray Brett preaches in the morning on "Becoming a Church Filled will All God's Fullness to Glorify God for All Generations" (Ephesians 3:14-21). Joshua Lemayian (an elder at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Nairobi) preaches in the afternoon service from Ephesians 2:1-10. (3) Various brethren are preaching at GRBC Ruiru during the month. Monday 3rd: (1) Many brethren are traveling to Miathene for the RBAK general assembly that starts today in the evening. (2) Murray Brett and his wife Paula are in Kenya to fellowship with the brethren. Pray for Murray as he speaks during the RBAK general assembly this week.
Currently 23% of UK families are lone parent. That’s nearly one-in-four. In Europe, the average share of families headed by a lone parent is 13%. The UK is a staggering 10% higher than this. In the vast majority of UK cases, these lone parent families are caused by relationship breakdown between the parents. Why is the UK so bad? The lack of government support for family is surely a significant factor. Family breakdown is damaging for society. It harms the children and often results in poverty. The report found that lone parent families are much more likely to experience financial difficulties. In 2020, 49% of children living in lone parent families were in relative poverty after housing costs, compared with 25% of children living in married or cohabiting families.
The Charity Commission has launched an investigation into the workings of controversial trans-activist group Mermaids. It follows revelations from The Daily Telegraph that the group had been sending chest binders to girls as young as 13 without their parents’ knowledge. In recent years, Mermaids has received taxpayer money and more than £500,000 from the National Lottery, as well as income from ‘gender identity’ training sessions given to various government bodies.
In this episode, the guys explore a foundational question of theology - what is God like? If we are to understand the Word of God correctly, we must first come to understand the God behind the Word, the one that revealed himself as 'I AM WHO I AM' to Moses. What do 'Thor', 'Hobbits' and 'Unicorns' have to do with this? Listen in to find out as Jonny and John-Mark unpack this meaty subject. Send in questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Website: brokenwharfe.com Book Link: James Dolezal, All That Is In God
On September 28th 2022 at a tribunal hearing, a Christian doctor was vindicated again following a four-year campaign threatening his livelihood for offering to pray for and provide spiritual care to patients. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Dr Richard Scott, 62, from Margate, had been set to contest disciplinary measures and mandatory conditions imposed against him by NHS England at Ashford Tribunal Hearing Centre, Kent. A series of investigations throughout 2019, 2020 and 2021 had seen him threatened with removal from the NHS Practitioners List if, for example, he refused to go on a three-day ‘professional boundaries’ course, at his own expense, to ‘re-set’ his approach to offering to pray with his patients. Dr Scott had been ‘horrified’ to discover that the course which he was mandated to attend, is usually reserved for doctors who have inappropriately touched a patient or crossed sexual boundaries. When Dr Scott contested going on the course, he was told that for refusing to comply he would need to also undertake a psychological assessment.
At least eight Christians have been killed by Islamic State (IS)-affiliated terrorists in attacks across northern Mozambique in September. Six were killed in three attacks in three days in Nampula Province. On 6 September terrorists from IS-affiliated organisation Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, known locally as Al Shabaab (not the Somali-based group of the same name), killed an 83-year-old Christian by shooting her in the head. In separate statements Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for two further attacks in Nampula, saying that one Christian was killed and a church building burned on 7 September, and four Christians were killed along with 120 houses and two church buildings burned on 8 September. The Islamist group also reported the killing of two other Christians in separate attacks in Cabo Delgado Province. Lift up our brothers and sisters in northern Mozambique, asking that they will be strengthened in faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) despite the difficult circumstances they face. Ask that the Lord will overturn the plans of the terrorists (Psalm 33:10) and establish peace for all people in this troubled region.
In the expanding research field of biomimetics (aka biomimicry or bioinspiration), engineers copy designs they see in nature. It has proven useful time and again in generating new inventions and improving existing technology. There’s a clear lesson from this, unfortunately often missed in reporting these engineering success stories. Anyone can see that the engineers’ creations have been intelligently designed. So why not also the designs in nature that inspired them? Especially since the copies fall way short of the living originals in many ways. Thus biomimetics points to an Intelligent Designer, not evolution, as the reason living things are so masterfully engineered. And the Bible identifies Him. He is the Lord God, the Maker of heaven and earth and of all life.
50 years. 9 million. 51, 52, 53, 54 years; record highs for three years running. And now 10 million. By our calculations, the 10 millionth child will be killed under the Abortion Act tomorrow, 24 September. Another landmark, the same story. This week, media were reporting that at 14 weeks’ gestation, a child can demonstrate his or her sense of taste. But this child has no meaningful protection in law for another 10 weeks. Babies at 23 weeks, that could be delivered and go on to lead healthy lives, can be killed at the mother’s discretion. Leading abortionists would like this to be offered all the way to birth.
My wife and I have been catechizing our children for the better part of 15 years, but an impatient part of me has always wondered: Are they benefiting from this? They fidget. They struggle to maintain focus. Sometimes they ask, “When are we going to be done?” This is no surprise—they’re children. But we’ve pressed on, using several different age-appropriate catechisms in the Reformed tradition. Of course, I can’t save them from their sins. Catechesis doesn’t confer the new birth. Having a dad who pastors does nothing to change their hearts. God alone is mighty to save. Figures from the past have encouraged my wife and I to keep at it, to persevere in teaching biblical and theological truth through catechesis. I’m always telling my kids, “How you start things is often less important than how you finish them.” Such is the Christian life. Catechesis was one factor in helping John Newton (1725–1807) finish well.
Back in the 1940’s and 50’s the issue of gender was unambiguously described in general terms as man and woman, male and female. Never as school children did we ever think otherwise. How simple and uncomplicated life was then. Today, our children are confronted with gender issues that are very disturbing, confusing, and a threat to the structure and stability of our society.
Have you ever noticed how many times and how many ways the Bible warns of being deceived? By clear admonition as well as by graphic example God repeatedly calls us to be on our guard against believing lies. That’s what deception is–believing what is not true. It is one of the great works of the enemy of our souls. So the Lord repeatedly warns us about it in Scripture. If deception is dangerous, self-deception is disastrous. When you have been deceived by another, that person shares the blame for your condition, but when your deception is self-imposed, you alone are accountable. Further, self-deception is perniciously destructive. It is hard to detect and harder to eliminate.
CONNECT is our young people’s group for age 11 to 18 years. We seek to meet the practical, social and spiritual needs of our young people in two different meetings: CONNECT ACTIVE meets twice each month on the first and third Saturdays during term time 6:00pm to 7:30pm. CONNECT FOUNDATIONS meets on Sunday afternoon of the third Sunday of the month. The club is open for youth to enjoy the many games we play, engage in the wide variety of activities, discuss their problems/views with other teenagers and to share in learning something beneficial based on biblical teachings.
This week, Jonny and John-Mark discuss a question that many people ask, "Why Should I go to Church?" They discuss various reasons the question may be asked before turning to Scripture and exploring the simple answer. Finally, the guys address some common responses to the Biblical answer such as: What if My Church is Unhealthy or I struggle with the Ministry? What if My Church is Boring and YouTube Preachers are Better?
I n God’s providence unprecedented numbers of Muslims express keen interest in learning about Christ and His ways. Most do so quietly or confidentially. Others more openly show interest, especially over social media. It is not coincidental that Christians regularly cross paths with Muslims – shopkeepers, neighbours and colleagues. They too need the gospel. If we truly love our neighbours as we ought, we certainly desire to see them gathered into Christ’s fold. God called Abraham to bring blessing to all families of the earth in Christ, the promised Seed (Genesis 12:3; 22:18; Galatians 3:16).
Whilst Parliament is not sitting this week due to awaiting the Queen’s funeral, there is an opportunity to make a moral assessment of the new cabinet appointed by Liz Truss. Correct definition of sex: Being male or female is one of the most basic realities of human existence. This is why the endless demand that people lie about who is male or female is such a serious problem. Although the Prime Minister herself has been clear and truthful on who is a woman, very few cabinet colleagues have been as courageous. The exception is Nadim Zahawi, who said that ‘a woman is an adult human female’. The others may think that they have managed to duck the challenges, but the reality is that the campaign to enforce lying is not going to go away.
A Christian group is pursuing a judicial review of the decision of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge to cancel an event for young professional Christians over its biblical beliefs on marriage. Lawyers instructed by the Christian Legal Centre have said that by refusing the booking for the Wilberforce Academy, an initiative of Christian Concern, Fitzwilliam College has directly discriminated against the group on the grounds of its religious and philosophical beliefs. In February this year, a senior member of staff at the college justified the cancellation of the booking to host the event on the grounds that the group was not “inclusive”, did “not believe in gay marriage” and that Christian Concern’s “general beliefs” were “not compatible with the values of the college.”
The word “sanctification” in various forms is used to refer to an initial sanctification, but it is also used to refer to something that is ongoing and progressive. For example, in John 17:17, Jesus is praying for his disciples, “Sanctify them by Your truth.” Is He praying for the initial definitive sanctification that occurs at conversion? No, those for whom He is praying are envisioned as already being Christians. They have already undergone an initial definitive separation from evil and from the world and a consecration to God. They are already described in this prayer as those who have kept your word (v. 6); those who have believed that you sent Me (v. 8); those who are hated by the world (v. 14), and those who are not of this world (v. 16). He is praying for those who are viewed as already converted and He prays that they might be sanctified. In one sense, they are sanctified, but they still need to be sanctified more and more.
All are welcome to hear Billy McCurrie speak on the AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE, based on the teaching of the Second London Confession, at Bethany Evangelical Church, Friday September 30th at 7:45pm.
We had 88 delegates at the conference in Lilongwe, Malawi. Newton Chilingulo was the local organiser for this conference and the general organizer for all the Malawian conferences. The conference was held next to Reformation Bible Church (RBC) in a hall of a Methodist church. Reformation Bible Church still Met in a tent, but they have Now completed their church building next to the tent and moved in last month. Members of RBC served us well with food during the two days and were very helpful in many ways. Our theme for the run was: The Pastor: Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. The speakers did well in handling their topics and the word came in clarity and power. We didn’t have free books to hand out at the end of the conference but told the delegates to come and pick up their books in two weeks when there would be a seminar on work and unemployment (which Newton organized) in the same area.
The ladies meeting here at Trinity Grace are 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. We have a theme for the year and we have covered subjects from to “Women Who Encountered Jesus” and “Contentment”. Sometimes we will study a complete book of the Bible in the year as we did with Ephesians; other times we will focus on specific passages like the ‘Fruit of the Spirit” or “The Beatitudes” The meeting usually follows the same format; tea, coffee and a chance for a quick catch up as we arrive; we then begin with a study from the scripture lead by one of the ladies; this is followed by a time of informal discussion on the issues raised by the passage studied; and we finish with a time of open prayer informed by what we have learned and by the needs around us.
In this short series of blogs, we are considering how the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith summarises the biblical witness to the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Confession does not diminish the work of the Spirit by not having a separate chapter on his person and work. Instead, the Confession follows the biblical witness in presenting the triune God as foundational to all of theology. As John Webster says, the Trinity “permeates theological affirmations about every matter; theology talks about everything by talking about God.” In this blog post, we consider the relationship between God’s Word and the Spirit as summarised in the Confession. There is such a close relationship between the Spirit and the Word of God that we must never separate the two.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II marks a watershed for Britain and for those of us who have never known any other head of our state—as is true for any lifelong British citizen under the age of seventy. Remarkably, she began her reign while Winston Churchill was prime minister and then lived to see a further fourteen individuals hold that high office. Without question she saw more change in British society than any of her predecessors, and throughout it all she remained a calm and steadfast figurehead for the nation.
God is encouraging Christian males to desire the office of deacon (Cf. 1 Tim. 3:1). Here is what we should be hoping for, praying for, working for: That our young men, our five and ten and fifteen year old boys, would be heard saying, “When I grow up I want to be a deacon. I want to be proved blameless so that I might be entrusted with the privilege of serving Jesus’ church. I want to attain a good standing and great boldness in the faith.” God is looking for men who are eager to serve as officers in his church; who desire to be his hands and feet, to be his mouth, and to wield his spiritual sceptre. Other church members will not always recognize your service. God always will.
In this episode, the guys discuss one primary way that Christians are to respond to his revelation by confessing to believe what he has revealed. They explore how confessing the faith is not foreign to the Scripture and is a biblical and historical instinct of God's people. Do we have biblical examples? What about the early church? Jonny and John-Mark walk us through these various details.
Liz Truss will be appointed as Prime Minister by the Queen tomorrow after winning the Conservative leadership contest. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, the Apostle Paul urges Christian believers to pray, intercede and give thanks “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”. Please pray for our new Prime Minister, that she might have integrity, wisdom and courage in leadership. Pray too, that she, along with her Cabinet and wider Government, would seek to promote what is good and restrain evil (Romans 13:1-7).
An example of a misleading doctrinal statement is one that I see regularly on a prominent sign in Central Florida. It reads, “God is not angry.” Every time I see that sign, I immediately think, “I know one thing God is angry at—that sign.” Although I certainly believe that the sign is attempting to communicate the glorious truth that God is love and that God so loved the world, the problem is that the message as stated fundamentally misrepresents the character of God and misleads people into thinking that God is never angry about anything. While God Himself tells us that He is “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Num. 14:18), He also tells us that He “is a righteous judge, . . . who feels indignation every day” (Ps. 7:11–13) and that His “wrath . . . is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18).
1 Thursday (1) Last month we prayed for peaceful general elections and the Lord graciously granted our requests. The presidential poll results were disputed and the Supreme Court will determine the case by Monday. Pray for continued peace and upholding of righteousness by the civil-magistracy, citizens and especially Christians. (2) The church will spend time today in focused prayer concerning the vote this coming Sunday for two new elders at TBC (Kevin Oruru and Paul Ruhiu). May the Lord grant us the Spirit’s enablement and guide the church. 2 Friday (1) Grace & Truth 136 is now available both in print and on our website - https://www.trinity.or.ke/grace-and-truth/covenants/. (2) We are thankful to God for His provision for the many church planting ministries in various parts of Kenya, and for the men who lead them. They need the grace of patience to be faithful when things are slow and even ‘going backwards’.
Modern society brims with opportunities for people to get together and talk about something. In meetings, discussion groups, clubs, classes, forums, conferences, rallies, and protests, people gather to discuss matters that are important to them. It is understandable, then, that we often treat corporate worship services in our local churches as a time for us to get together to talk about God, as though he were not present. For this reason, our worship services sometimes feel like a memorial service for someone who has died, as though we have gathered together to keep God’s memory alive by sharing stories from his life. Yet, if our worship unwittingly conveys the impression that God is absent or even dead, how will unbelievers fall on their faces and worship God, declaring that God is really among us (1 Cor. 14:25)? The Scriptures correct us by teaching that worship is not where we gather together to speak about God; rather, worship is where God summons us into his presence in order to speak to us.
What worries me is the present trend in our society on how life is becoming more and more undervalued. This is seen in legalised abortion, the liberalisation of the justice system, and the high death rate in violent crime, especially among young people. Society is also seeing a breakdown in health facilities and social services due to the economic pressures. How long will it be before old and sick vulnerable people will be looked upon as a drain on national resources, especially those who require special care and financial needs? Will my wife (who suffers from advanced MS) in years to come become too much of a burden on society? It is worth repeating here one of the reasons for opposing euthanasia: ‘Those against euthanasia would argue that euthanasia weakens society’s respect for the sanctity of life. Voluntary euthanasia is the start of the slippery slope that leads to involuntary euthanasia and the killing of people who are thought to be undesirable in society.’
Islamist militants beheaded two Christian men during an attack on a minibus in northern Mozambique. The attack took place on 30 July in Macomia district, Cabo Delgado. Islamic State (IS) of Mozambique, known locally as al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the killings. A statement by IS-Mozambique declared, “By the grace of God Almighty, the soldiers of the Caliphate … killed two Christians, beheading them, and shooting them with weapons.” In June 2022, IS-Mozambique claimed responsibility for the “beheading of several Christians” in Cabo Delgado. Another was beheaded during a raid on a Christian village in the neighbouring province of Nampula (see Barnabas Prayer Focus, August 2022). Cabo Delgado has been termed “the Land of Fear” owing to persistent brutal violence meted out against both Christians and moderate Muslims over several years. Pray that the Lord will comfort the family and friends of the two Christians so brutally murdered. Ask that the violence perpetrated against Christians and moderate Muslims by IS militants will come to an end, that the Lord will rescue His people from their powerful enemy, from their foes who confront them (Psalm 18:17-18), and that all in northern Mozambique will be able to enjoy peace and security.
In a world full of broken promises and uncertainties, believers can be comforted by the utter, unchanging certainty of the covenant of redemption made before time began. It was revealed to us in God’s Word by him who cannot lie (Titus 1.2). This revelation tells us that the three persons of the Trinity entered into an eternal covenant, where God the Father covenanted with God the Son, and the Son with both the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The purpose of this covenant was to save a fallen and lost humanity for himself (2 Timothy 1.9). In his incomprehensible condescension, he has sworn and confirmed this to us by an oath (Hebrews 6.17).
The agenda of our sovereign Lord and Saviour, to gather his people from all nations, will never fail. The toxic efforts of the Evil One are turned around to serve Christ’s beautiful agenda of giving life to those dead in their sins and trespasses. So, the Lord is powerfully using internet-based media for fruitful gospel proclamation. The message is penetrating lands in a growing number of key languages throughout the earth. As a member of MERF’s Arabic media team, I am thrilled that the Lord has given us this powerful means to spread the gospel. Our role as servants of Christ is to faithfully use all means available to shine the light in our darkened world. Nothing will succeed in hampering the advance of the gospel of truth and grace entrusted to us to share with others. Today, the forces of darkness in Arab lands are being shattered. The gospel is prevailing against the gates of hell. Its divine power forces them to open up. Individuals and families, throughout the 22 nations of the Arab League and beyond, are enjoying Christ’s liberating and saving power.
Does having a confession of faith make a church narrow in theology, critical of other churches and hunkered down in their own bunker, unwilling to work with others? John Mark and Jonny talk with Oliver Allmand-Smith about the true spirit of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, those who wrote it and how the Confession promotes a generous and warm orthodoxy challenging churches to pray for each other and partner for the gospel.
The existence of life strongly depends on the precise, non-coincidental arrangement of many natural phenomena. Some of these life-sustaining characteristics of Earth are invisible to the human eye. For example, the composition of the gases in our atmosphere, which allows creatures to breathe, and plants to manufacture foodstuffs literally ‘out of thin air’. Or the ozone layer that protects life from deadly ultraviolet light. One such invisible marvel is our planet’s radiation shield, called its magnetosphere. Its life-sustaining attributes strongly indicate deliberate design. A magnetosphere is the region that surrounds an astronomical object (like a planet, or a star) in which charged particles are affected by that object’s magnetic field. Several planets in our solar system have magnetospheres, but Earth has the most pronounced and robust one of all the rocky planets. Earth’s magnetosphere plays a vital role in our planet’s ability to sustain life.
In the 21st century evangelical landscape, there are two opposing errors concerning worship that grow out of the same root problem. One error is the attempt to be hyper-relevant. Those who succumb to this temptation seek a worship “experience” tailored to the fads of the day. They will be greeted by a charismatic speaker in casual dress, moved by a non-threatening talk that is chockfull of personal anecdotes with virtually no mention of sin, faith, or repentance. Afterwards, they’ll be moved by dim lighting and emotive music with lyrics that speak more to a person’s experience of God than of God himself. This, as Charles Spurgeon once said, is simply “amusing goats,” which inevitably distracts from the church’s feeding of Christ’s sheep (John 21:17).
Is it possible to “get saved” without getting sanctified? The 1689 Confession, in accordance with the Bible, answers with a resounding “No!” Sanctification is not an optional extra for Christians; it is an essential part of the salvation God gives to all who are in union with his Son. Every Christian is sanctified. When does this sanctification start? Consider again the opening clause of the LBCF 13.1: “They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection are also farther sanctified... .” It is evident that this description is intended to describe the beginning of sanctification, because the confession states that the Christians in view are “farther sanctified,” which presupposes an initial sanctification.
Andrea Williams explains why the Christian Legal Centre helped to support Archie Battersbee’s case. On Saturday 6 August at 12.15pm, Archie Battersbee’s fight ended as all life support was removed. The end of any person’s life is painful, but is all the more devastating with a beautiful boy like Archie, full of so much potential and with a family full of love for him. Like nearly everyone who followed the story, I never knew Archie before his tragic accident. I have only come to know of him through his mother, Hollie Dance, and the extended family. Their dedication to him, to contending for him to be given a full chance to recover, is one of great courage and compassion. The final decision to end treatment at the hospital, made on Friday, also marked the end of a long Christian Legal Centre case with many twists and turns.
Dr. Jim Renihan will be back with us at Trinity Grace Church to teach us a detailed examination of the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith 1677/89. The purpose of the course is to understand the Confession in its historical setting and its relevance to the present. IRBS UK will host this course in two parts, October 17th – 21st and January 9th -13th. All are welcome to join us for the study of our Confession of Faith, and each part can be taken separately. In our faithless age, this course is a great opportunity for our churches to continue to know and to stand firm upon “the faith” so that we might all the more confess, proclaim, and pass it down for generations to come.
Defending the Faith - Biblical Apologetics. “I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience! Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.” Was Luther really right to make such a stand on the Word of God? Is it appropriate to declare the truth of Christ with such boldness? How do we, like Luther, defend the true Christian faith in a hostile world, in the workplace, in the home or even in the church? In the upcoming conference, we seek to delve deep into these questions, exploring the nature of true biblical apologetics.
In this episode, Jonny and John-Mark tackle a question of the utmost importance: "Can a confession of faith become more important than the Bible?" They approach it in three ways: 1. What is the underlying concern and why is it valid? 2. What authority and role do confessions of faith have in the Church? 3. What are the practical outworkings of this discussion? In approaching the question from these angles, the guys show that confessions of faith, when properly understood as subordinate standards to the Word of God, liberate us to confess the whole teaching of Scripture. After this, the guys discuss how confessions of faith are useful tools for the teaching, training, edification and maturation of Christ's Churches and servants.
Every place has a feel, an impression or characteristic sensation. Home has a feel, even if it isn’t always positive. The neighborhood you grew up in has a feel. The noisy main street of your urban center has perhaps a collection of feels depending on the hour or day. Then there’s the shaded path in a wooded park, the nearby field after a fresh rain, or the indie coffee shop on the corner. You get the idea. What if the “place” is online? As we enter the age of the metaverse, we need to become increasingly aware of the feel of online spaces. Social media websites are like miniature (or not so miniature) cities, each with a certain feel. And in two of the largest online cities, Facebook and Instagram, the dominant feel is one of covetousness — which, as Paul clarifies in Eph. 5:5 and Col. 3:5, is fundamentally an issue of idolatry.
A confession of faith is the church’s answer to the question, what do you believe the Bible teaches? It is a work of theology in the broadest sense. As such, a confession of faith avoids abstraction and distraction for ministry. It leads a congregation through various theological disciplines (i.e. systematics, covenantal, pastoral and biblical theology), enabling them to understand the whole counsel of God.
We thank God for the association discussion meeting held on June 21st at Countesthorpe Baptist Church. 16 men representing 9 churches attended the meeting in order to discuss the establishment of a confessional association of Baptist churches. We desire an association of churches which fully subscribes to the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith and seek to live out our confession together as churches. We give thanks to God that there was a spirit of unity, and a great desire to see association come to fruition in coming days. The day began with exhortation from the Scriptures by Eddie Roberts, pastor of Stanley Park Church, to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It was also a great blessing to enjoy communion together and to share what the Lord was doing among us and to seek these good and prosperity of all of our churches and her members. The majority of the day was spent in extensive deliberations on the drafting of a constitution. In it we agreed, that: “Churches of the same faith and gospel order, as they all have drunk of the one and same Spirit, are branches of the one and same body and hold to the one and same head, and have one Lord, one faith, and one baptism; may and ought to have and enjoy voluntary fellowship and friendly association together, as opportunity may arise. Therefore, in the discharge of those relative duties that may tend to the mutual benefit and edification of all of Christ’s churches (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:5; John 17:20-26), confessional Reformed Baptist churches in the United Kingdom have come together to form a national association of churches.”
Islamist militants raided a Christian village in Memba, Nampula Province, northern Mozambique on 17 June, beheading one resident. The raid by terrorists linked to Islamic State (IS – also known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) is the first in recent years in Nampula. IS also claimed responsibility for the “beheading of several Christians” in raids across Nangade, Cabo Delgado Province, to the north of Nampula. Cabo Delgado has been termed “the Land of Fear” owing to brutal violence meted out against both Christians and moderate Muslims. Cry out to God for protection for Christians in Nampula and Cabo Delgado provinces. Pray that Christians draw on the Lord’s comfort amid the atrocities committed and experience His clear direction as they suffer the trauma of displacement. Ask that His people will know Him as their shield around them (Psalm 3:3) who will use them to create peace and stability in the region.
1 Monday: We thank God for the TPC classes that took place in July. Brother Ryan Devine taught 7 continuing and 5 auditing students, the Doctrine of Christ. 6 new applicants were interviewed for the 2023 admissions. Next year’s class is promising to be large. 2 Tuesday: The TPC Board meets today. Pray for these brothers that they will be used by the Lord to wisely steward the work of training men for the ministry. Ryan Devine is stepping down from the Board and we desire to have a replacement. We have big strategic adjustments to make in the coming days. 3 Wednesday: The first meeting of the new church plant took place on the 31st July. The name of the church is Grace Reformed Baptist (GRBC), Ruiru. Over 20 TBC members who live in this general area are committed to form the church. We hope that by the end of August we shall be able to see clearly the way forward.
Knowing God, Confessional Systematic Theology & Biblical Theology. John-Mark and Jonny chat about why we have the topics that we do in the 2nd London Confession and systematic theology. They discuss where they come from, how they relate to the bible and how systematics relates to biblical theology. The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith summarises the teachings of the bible. It covers how we know God, God himself, the situation of humanity, the plan of redemption through covenants and the sending of the Christ. It also covers how life under the gospel should be organised in the church and family. It seamlessly ranges through systematics, covenantal theology, biblical theology and ethical theology as it presents the doctrines of scripture.
Whether in our teaching or in our own consciences, justification and sanctification must be distinguished. However, the two must never be separated. Throughout the history of the church, some have taught that a person can have one of these blessings without having the other. This is an idea that has survived (and even thrived in some circles) down to the present day. The idea is conveyed that a man can be a saved man and only be justified and not also be sanctified. He can have his bad record cleared in heaven without also having his bad heart and behavior changed and redirected toward the pursuit of holiness here on earth. The Confession is completely opposed to this kind of teaching. In agreement with Scripture, it makes clear that when a sinner is united to Christ by the Spirit and by faith, he is justified and sanctified. Sanctification is not an optional extra for Christians; it is an essential part of the salvation God gives to all who are in union with his Son. Every Christian is sanctified.
On a Sunday they start sharp at 9 a.m. with memory verses and singing, followed by a Bible study, and then a service, with a second service at 3 p.m. During the week there is a Bible study and a prayer meeting. Women and children are the most open to listening to the gospel. We long to witness the salvation of wazee (= married men) who have proved so resistant to the gospel. There have been 3 evangelists in Korr for many years, Joseph Ogom, Godana and Nadesol. Recently, Stephen Silamo has joined them. Their responsibilities include the church in Korr but at least two days a week they are out on the motorbike preaching in the goobs (= circular settlements of huts). They also travel far to Lekuchula (25 kms.) where we long to establish a church.
Teenagers with servant hearts! Churches in Ukraine continue their ministry to all who have been affected by the war. They are convinced that young people need to have a ‘hands on’ approach so that ‘servant hearts’ will develop. In the Donbas region a church in Lutsk had existed for three years. The motto adapted as the leading principle for the work of the youth ministry team is: “If you don’t teach teenagers to minister, you will have to entertain them all the time”. The young people are instructed to have a servant attitude and encouraged to be actively involved in helping others. The war provided another area for this ministry. The young people are now able to reach out to the wounded Ukrainian soldiers. They have been able to bring them tea, biscuits, hygiene items, and socks. To date they have prepared 111 such packages. Pray that these young lives will be used by God to reach those on the frontline of war. May they grow spiritually and become the future missionaries/pastors that Ukraine will greatly need.
Dear UK Sponsors. We want to greet each of you in our Saviour’s name and thank you for your continued interest and support in the ministry of House of Ants. It’s encouraging to report that Pastor Balthazar is continuing to lead the Reformed Baptist church near the House of Ants. The children from House of Ants regularly attend the meetings and some of those who are now teenagers are undergoing baptismal classes with a view to being candidates for baptism. Pastor Balthazar works closely with House of Ants, also giving Bible study lessons for the different age groups of children.
Since I was about seven years old, I have been fascinated by my father’s statements about Jesus, made on so many occasions. Once, when I was 14 years old, my other mother, complained at supper time about what she heard from the loudspeakers of the neighbourhood mosque. She was upset about what the imam said about women. I do not remember the details, but it was something about women’s dress and not working outside of their homes. (She and my mother never had jobs outside the home, but they always looked after older women who were sick, lonely or poor.) My father reacted by saying the neighbourhood mosque preacher was ignorant, like the religious teachers in the days of Jesus. He said that unlike them, Jesus cared about women and defended them. As a teenage girl, this got me thinking even more about Jesus.
The imminent changes at the top of the Conservative Party could significantly affect issues of concern such as the Online Safety Bill, transgender ideology, and the proposed ban on ‘conversion therapy’. These areas have huge implications for free speech and religious liberty. A new Prime Minister and Cabinet could move them in a radically different direction, for better or worse. We need to pray.
In this moving and challenging article, former elder of the church Les Yates gives his personal perspective on the subject of abortion. Les brings the light of God's truth to shine on his own experience, which leads to a very profound conclusion.
In September 2020, the law on sex education in schools in England changed. Pupils of all ages began to have compulsory lessons in, Relationships Education for primary-aged children, and Relationships and Sex Education for secondary students. This applies to all schools whether they are state-funded or fee-paying. But what exactly are they being taught? In a recent debate in the House of Commons, Miriam Cates MP gave a speech containing this harrowing detail of lesson content: "The introduction of graphic or extreme sexual material in sex education lessons... reinforces the porn culture that is damaging our children in such a devastating way. Of course it is not the fault of schools that half of all 14-year-olds have seen pornography online—much of it violent and degrading—but some RSE lessons are actively contributing to the sexualisation and adultification of children. The Proud Trust has produced a dice game encouraging children to discuss explicit sexual acts, based on the roll of a dice. The six sides of the dice name different body parts—such as [...] — and objects. Two dice are thrown and children must name a pleasurable sexual act that can take place between the two body parts. The game is aimed at children of 13 and over."
At the recent Banner of Truth Conference, we met with two men from Agape Church in Poland. It was a joy to share fellowship with them, and to see their zeal for confessional ministry and church life. They are striving to build a biblical church in very difficult circumstances, and they are looking for our support and help to that end. This is the first newsletter we have received since the conference, and in it they state, "We hope all is well with you as you strive to serve the Lord in your places of ministry. We are thankful to God for the encouraging time at the recent “Banner of Truth” conference in the UK. Thank you for your prayers for our church. As you may remember, at the conference we shared about the new situation with many Ukrainians coming to Poland because of the war."
One of the great needs of our day is to recover what was better understood by many of our forebears about the relationship between law and gospel. Specifically, we need to face up to the fact that the God who gave us His gospel has also given us His law and He cares as much about His law being obeyed as He does His gospel being believed. Such understanding is no threat to the gospel. On the contrary, it exalts the gospel and protects it from antinomianism on the one hand and legalism on the other. In fact, the gospel cannot be properly appreciated apart from a recognition and appreciation of the law. The very subsoil of Mount Calvary is Mount Sinai.
Our Easter Teaching Seminar was titled: Special Spiritual Blessings To Christians From Christ’s Death And Resurrection. The teachings included: Election, Calling, Atonement, Redemption, Regeneration, Conversion, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Union with Christ, Assurance, Perseverance and Glorification. Many of the students and pastors who are willing to learn more on the Old Paths joined us. We sang our beautiful Great Hymns of the Christian Faith. Thank you for your constant prayers for us. Please, continue to do so more since the enemy having known that we stand on these truths is out to vex in different ways imaginable. Some friends and family have left for no just cause. We have been blackmailed, opposed, attacked, etc.
It has been claimed that the Reformed Confessions have a defective view of the Spirit. You might have wondered why the Second London Confession of Faith does not have a chapter on the Holy Spirit? Did our forefathers forget the person and work of the Spirit? Is the Confession defective and in need of a new chapter of the Holy Spirit? The first thing to note is that while the Confession of Faith does not have a chapter specifically on the Holy Spirit, it is a thoroughly trinitarian document grounded in the creeds and councils of the church. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in 2.1 of God and the Holy Trinity. He is fully divine, “proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God.”
John-Mark and Jonny set out on the Broken Wharfe Podcast adventure. Why does this podcast exist? Why confessions of faith, and why is systematic theology important? The confessional approach to theology, church life, and worship requires a commitment to systematic theology. If we don't see the need for systematic theology in the local church, or see it as something that is only for a few people who are interested that sort of thing, then we may not be persuaded by the benefits of having a confession of faith. So, what is systematic theology and why is it important for church life? After chatting about hopes and plans for the new podcast, J and J-M get focused on what being confessional actually means and why we should do systematic theology at all.
8 Friday The Meaty Forum panel discussion takes place from 5 p.m. on the topic: The Idol of Democracy. Please pray that the event would bear spiritual fruit. National elections are for early August and there is always much excitement and misplaced expectation even among Christians. 9 Saturday Pray that the Lord would strengthen the leadership of TBCN, the 3 pastor/elders, that they will faithfully lead by example, that they will effectively shepherd the flock of Christ at TBCN and that they will work efficiently as a team. 10 Sunday Ministry today: Kevin Oruru continues the adult SS class through the book, Becoming a Christian. Brother Olawale preaches in the morning from 2 Timothy 2:8-13 and MI in the evening service from Micah 4:9-12. In the afternoon there is the Lord’s Supper and reception of members into the fellowship.
Dr James Renihan writes: Dear Christian Friends, Warm greetings from Texas. In Psalm 145, King David wrote “One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” In many ways, this verse epitomizes our work at IRBS. Many of you have heard me ask the question “Who will be the pastor for your grandchildren?” The gospel of Christ, and the worship of our holy God, must be communicated to our children and those after them. While we all love our elders, we know that the time will come when they are no longer able to serve our churches. Our Seminary is keenly aware of this fact, and we seek to take David’s words seriously. Now is the time to prepare the Lord’s servants for the next generation of believers. This is our task, and we delight in obeying Christ in it. Please pray that the Lord will raise up faithful men to minister to your children and grandchildren. Thank you for your prayerful interest in IRBS. The great King is at work!
Sarah Ascol writes from the USA: June 24, 2022 arrived and I sat awash with emotions at the news of the Supreme Court’s overthrow of Roe v Wade, declaring that the wicked decision which granted national legality to the murder of unborn children nearly 50 years ago was, in fact, not Constitutional after all. The joy is weighty, overwhelming, deep. It erupted yesterday in happy tears in the middle of shopping and singing psalms at the top of my lungs while running errands. It exploded in thrown together plans for ice cream sundae celebrations with friends last night and the kind of belly-laughing that overflows from an abundance of joy. It was a good day. A feast day. A day that I will happily still be talking about when my hair is grey and my hearing is going. June 24 is a day that deserves the celebration and remembrance of generations to come. This is a time for praise and thanksgiving to God who has used the work of men to bring about good for a nation who does not deserve His favour and grace. He has given us mercy once again and acted to stay the hand of those who wickedly participated in legalized murder, often gleefully. Mere hours after the decision abortion mills in Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Wisconsin had halted their activities and closed their doors. There are children who were scheduled for death yesterday who are still alive today. Praise the Lord! Praise, oh servants of the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord!
The terrorist group Islamic State has released a video that claims to show the murders of about 20 Nigerian Christians. The video, published on an IS-linked news outlet, shows masked and armed militants standing behind three groups of kneeling captives at an unknown location. The captives’ arms appear to be tied behind their backs. One of the masked militants states on the video that the murders were carried out to avenge the killing of IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi during an airborne raid conducted in February by US special forces in north-western Syria. Lift up the families of these martyred Christians. Pray that they will be comforted with the assurance that their loved ones’ deaths are precious in the Lord’s sight (Psalm 116:15). Ask him to heal those wounded and strengthen their hearts through faith.
The doctrine of Scripture that is the most offensive and unpleasant for the natural man to accept is the teaching concerning humanity’s fall. Learning about the extent, depth and consequence of the fall can be the most depressing of realities. It brought death to all men and made all children of wrath, leaving them unable to change their state. Yet, it can be one of the most helpful for the regenerate to grasp. When properly understood, it assures the believer of salvation and furnishes practical application for the Christian life. No other teaching accurately explains the world we live in and the personal experience of the human heart. Contrary to modern thought, humanity is not on the rise in the process of evolution. Instead, it is fallen from the place of life to death. ‘God made man upright, but he [i.e. man] has sought out many schemes’ (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
The US Supreme Court has overturned its 1973 ruling on Roe v Wade, removing the constitutional right to an abortion across America. The historic judgment does not criminalise abortion nationally, but hands back power to individual states to legislate on the issue. Nearly half of the 50 states had legislation prepared to place strong restrictions on abortion in the event of such a ruling.
Theology is to worship what nutrition is to health. You do not have to be a nutritionist to enjoy good health but you do have to have good nutrition. Similarly, you do not have to be a trained theologian in order to worship properly, but you do have to have proper theology. That is, you must have proper theology in order to engage in proper worship of God. And, just as it is true that the more nutritious your meals the better opportunity you have to be healthy, so it is also true that the more carefully biblical your theology is, the greater your opportunity to worship God properly.
Some of you may remember that in May Prayer letter we said that World Serve has purchased a drilling rig which was on its way to Nigeria to be used by TASTE. We are thankful to the Lord that the rig has safely arrived in Jos. The photos in the newsletter were taken during the Commissioning and hand of of the rig to TASTE Nigeria. Please pray that the rig will be used to the glory of our God and the blessing of many vulnerable communities across Nigeria.
A debate on assisted suicide is due to take place in Westminster Hall at Parliament on 4 July. This is a chance for both supporters and opponents of assisted suicide to have their say. Please write to your MP today and urge them to attend the debate and to speak against assisted suicide. There was good news on this issue recently in Parliament. Baroness Meacher’s assisted suicide Bill – which would have allowed those with conditions like anorexia or depression to kill themselves – failed to progress. Lord Forsyth’s amendment to change the law was defeated in the Lords. In fact, all twelve recent attempts to legalise assisted suicide in the UK have failed. But euthanasia campaigners have not given up yet. The 4 July debate has been triggered by a petition from Dignity in Dying, a group which says it wants to legalise ‘assisted dying’.
We live in increasingly polarised times. Divisions along political, ethnic and generational lines are becoming more and more entrenched. Sometimes we find ourselves picking a side and adopting an attitude of hostility against those on the other side. Or you say something unwittingly and find yourself the target of fierce opposition. Polarisation creates not just a division but attitudes of disgust and hatred against those on the other side of the divide. We huddle with those who are similar to us avoid engaging with alternatives or complexity. We imagine that “they” are our enemies and to a greater or lesser extent treat them as such. Not every kind of division is problematic, of course. The solution to polarisation is not to sink all our differences in an ambiguous fudge, because as Christians we owe total loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, even in polarised times, there is a distinctively Christian way of interacting with those who are different from us and even those who regard us as enemies. We have to love our enemies!
Indonesia has the world’s 4th largest population. It is made up of 1300 different ethnicities in 17,000 islands stretching over 3000 miles along the equator north of Australia. Official figures say that 87% of the more than 275 million confess Islam. The vast majority, however, are nominal Muslims and know very little about their religion. The claim of 11% confessing Christians seems inaccurate in the light of the steady growth of the Indonesian church. Bahasa Indonesian is the national language, but 737 other languages are spoken. Traditional folkways are strong among all. Indonesia has many young families, over 40% of the population are under 25 years of age. Over 60% live in urban areas.
Christians cannot unjustly destroy or support those who unjustly destroy the image of God, even if it is done in the name of protecting and defending the image of God. Good ends, no matter how noble, do not excuse evil means. Christ’s gospel does not free us to become worldly pragmatists or even spiritual utilitarians. Consequentialism is not Christian liberty. God cares about the way in which we do justice and show steadfast love to our neighbors (Micah 6:8). Any politician that runs on a platform of death in the name of human flourishing is one for whom a believer should never cast their vote. To be clear, I am not saying that being good on a single issue (like abortion) would be enough to qualify a person for leadership who is otherwise incompetent. However, compromising on a particularly weighty issue is enough to disqualify a person who is otherwise very competent.
DNA carries the instructions for how and when to make the principal components of cells, called proteins. Different organisms differ in their DNA instructions (composed of DNA ‘letters’, technically called ‘base pairs’) such that they make at least some different proteins. To change an organism into a different kind, you would have to have a mechanism for changing the letters. For evolutionists, the ‘only game in town’ to change the letters is mutation. Mutations are accidental changes to the instructions, which can be one letter at a time, or multiple letters at once. Letters can be swapped, deleted, or added. Obviously, to change an organism into something more complex, letters would have to be added, not just swapped or deleted.
When you last shared the gospel with a non-Christian friend, did you read plain Scripture to them, or did you summarise the key elements of the faith? When you last spoke words of encouragement to a struggling Christian brother or sister, if you read some scripture, how did you select the bible passage to share? Did you randomly jump into the bible or look for a text on a theme? If you didn’t share a particular bible passage, how did you counsel them with the truth? To encourage someone in the faith, we need to be able to articulate the core truths of the faith in suitable ways. If you remember coming to faith, how did someone share the gospel with you? What key truths were shared with you? What things do people have to believe to be converted? How identify “the faith” handed down to the saints and identify false teaching? In short, we have to work in summaries of the Christian faith to evangelise, do pastoral care and protect the church from false teaching.
Due to the substantial financial response to the Ukraine Crisis, SGA has been able to support churches offering vital help to refugees. The following report is from, Cezary Komisarz, International Coordinator of Ukrainian Crisis for the Polish Free Evangelical Church denomination. “I want to express my thankfulness for the help you have shown to Polish Churches in the current situation. Polish churches have been active in helping Ukrainian refugees since the war started. We have transported people, food, clothes, and hygienic material. We organize accommodation for Ukrainian refugees in our church buildings and private homes. We started Christian Help Centres in our churches throughout Poland to assist with help and hope. Over 2000 people are under the care of Polish local churches. Most of them are women and children. That is all possible due to your support. Thank you for your financial support for our War Refugee Fund.“
More Than a Battle: How to Experience Victory, Freedom, and Healing from Lust. By Joe Rigney. B&H Publishing, 2021. Joe Rigney has written an excellent book for men who are dealing with the sin of pornography in their own lives or in the lives of other men. The book has several distinguishing features: First, Rigney knows how God’s grace works with God’s law. He explains danger of legalism and the opposite danger of merely repeating the Gospel. Both errors fail to apply the Gospel to sin, though in opposite ways. Second, Rigney understands human nature. My favourite chapter was the one that addresses how the body and the soul work together, both in yielding to sin and in overcoming it.
African Pastors Conferences take place across the continent of Africa throughout the year. The aim is to introduce many pastors and church leaders to biblical Christianity and doctrine, many for the first time. A local sponsor provides the venue, catering and logistical support, while APC send speakers and a van load of books, some to give away and most at heavily discounted prices. One of the remarkable aspects of the conferences is the questions that are asked, and here are a few from one of the conferences in Kenya: • Explain how we should understand the issue of head covering mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11. • How do you handle the story of Saul visiting a witch and speaking to Samuel? • What time or how long should application take in your preaching, since it is very important?
I grew up on the Isle of Man in a non-Christian home. If the things of God were spoken of at all, it would be dismissively and, sometimes, in a hostile way. Over time, God providentially placed a Beach Mission right down the road from my house! It was run every summer for two weeks by a group of Christians from the Wirral. From an early age, I began to regularly attend the Mission. Here, the Bible was taught, and God was talked about openly and positively – which was not something that I had experienced before; it was new to me. Later, through this Mission, and despite only being around Christians for 2 weeks a year, I would come to believe that God exists, and that Jesus had died for my sins, but I really had no idea what that meant.
I love getting to the benediction in the worship service. Because it is a reminder to God’s people at the very start of the week - before they have accomplished a single thing that week - that in Christ, God’s disposition toward them is one of blessing, grace, peace, and love. God’s benediction (blessing) is not something we earn by performing satisfactorily or being good enough over the past week. God’s blessing is - like everything else in the gospel - a gift of His free grace to fill His empty people. Just before the saints depart worship and get ready to clean up the Cheerios their kids have spilled all over the pew, race to the bathroom, and then enter a week of work, or even face what Dr Davis called the “slimy pit…mud and mire” of life in the world, God’s final, closing word to His people is a reminder, a pronouncement of His intent to bless His people no matter what.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” For Christians living in the rampantly-individualistic twenty-first century, the command of Hebrews 10:25 may seem strange, unnecessary, or even a nuisance. Yet corporately assembling together within a local church as the saints of God has inestimable benefits for the saints. David Clarkson (the successor of the renowned John Owen) understood this well and taught on this very topic in his treatise, Public Worship to be Preferred Before Private. Utilising Psalm 87:2, Clarkson makes the case that corporate assembly is the blessed duty and highest privilege of every child of God, as well as God’s priority and preference.
The Civil Service is promoting radical gender ideology to its staff, including telling them there are over 100 gender identities. In an investigation, The Daily Telegraph spoke to a number of anonymous Whitehall whistleblowers, who outlined the extent to which language is being policed across the Civil Service. Documents from multiple Government departments reveal an intolerance of those who uphold the reality of biological sex.
Death To Life : Transformed By Grace
Though we see abundant evidence of it around the world, Death to Life is a difficult concept to grasp. However, the truth of being brought from death to life, through the death and life of Jesus is an even greater challenge. Such a message is vitally important for us to believe, for it is God’s message of good news.
The knowledge of the doctrine of the providence of God is of great comfort. For instance, there is an inseparable union between God’s glory and his people’s good as the ultimate end of all his works of providence. Much in this world of sin may appear to work to the bad and seemingly ill of God’s people. However, the reality is that God uses even these things for his glory and his people’s good. God can and does accomplish his eternal will and sanctifying purpose using temptations, trials and even the sinfulness of the human heart. This understanding that God has ordained everything to come to pass should spur us on to action, knowing that God has ordained the end and the means through which he carries forth his work. God uses the believer’s faith, repentance, prayers, good works, preaching, witnessing, and all gifts he has given to fulfil his plan. Therefore, we must be willing to humble ourselves and desire the goal of God’s purposes and the means he has ordained to achieve such ends.
Tom Richwine writes: While I’ve known about the Trinity Pastors’ College (TPC) for many years, it was only in 2019, when I visited Nairobi that I understood the extent of the work being accomplished. For several weeks I had the opportunity to work with TPC students and graduates and participate in ministry with them among the Rendille people as well as the saints in Nairobi. It is very clear that TPC provides its students with a full-orbed theological education. Modeled on the experiences of its founder, Keith Underhill, at Westminster Seminary, the three-year TCP program is a rigorous, systematic approach to biblical education. Extensive reading, on-site instruction, practical ministry opportunities and formal written assignments form the core of the experience. No matter the subject or doctrine we discussed, it was clear TPC had successfully prepared its students to a level commensurate with US seminaries.
I was raised in Nigeria by Christian parents. I grew up hearing about Jesus, about his life and death on the cross. I grew up hearing that forgiveness for sin is found by trusting in Jesus and looking to him for salvation. Yet, I was, as a child, apathetic toward him. Christ’s call to obedience in his word was met with indifference. I was raised in a wider culture that saw the gospel as a tool for self-exaltation. Coming to Jesus meant getting my heart’s desires. It meant becoming wealthy, healthy, prosperous. Jesus meant, to me, a way to satisfy my idols. I thought, if I ‘trust’ him, I would never fall ill; I would get whatever I desired in life. I was wrong. I had a convoluted view of God. I saw God, not as my creator, the eternal, holy One through whom I live and move and have my being. I saw him as a distant, cold, detached figure ‘out there’. To me, he demanded obedience, and I would try to give it if I received my idols in response. It was merely a transaction.
We’re living in days of widespread confusion about gender and identity. How should Christians navigate these challenging times? Recently, Dr. Rosaria Butterfield joined the Ligonier team to discuss the Bible’s teaching about our identity in Christ and God’s unchanging design for gender and sexuality. Having been immersed in a world of gender and identity confusion for many years, and now seeing how the Bible speaks to these issues, she has a great gift for clarity and incisiveness, which can help us to gain a good understanding in these confusing days. She also grasps the importance of being theologically robust in approaching these matters, and the role played in this by our confessional commitment. The interview is warmly commended.
In many Reformed churches (and I would venture to say most churches in general), the hypocrisy that offends people is not so much that you sing like a saint on Sunday and then swear like a sailor on Monday. The hypocrisy that others find repulsive is when the church proclaims to be a grace-filled place, but in reality only has grace for people who look and talk like them. We deceive ourselves right at the very place where the gospel matters most: None are righteous, but we are saved through grace alone as a gift (Rom 3; Eph 2), and therefore we live a life of ongoing repentance.
We are all familiar with the iconic ape-to-man image, which shows a smooth evolutionary progression from stooped ape to upright man. But what is the scientific evidence for the various transitional species in this evolutionary ‘march of progress’? When the empirical evidence is examined, the image is shown to be seriously flawed!
Trinity Grace Church is remembering Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee this weekend. We thank God for his kindness to her, for the freedoms that we enjoy because of her rule and for her maintaining of the peace. This national celebration should call us all to turn to God in thanks and praise as we remember, in the life of our Queen, the many blessings he bestows on us daily and throughout our lives. He gives us life, breath, the whole of creation and for those who believe, he gives the glorious gift of eternal life (John 3:16). We ought to turn to the creator this celebratory weekend in remembrance of his grace and mercy – Jesus calls us to come to him and receive eternal life! Visit our Jubilee page for all the details.
Augustine described the love that we are to have for God as “the motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for His own sake, and the enjoyment of one’s self and of one’s neighbour for the sake of God.” To love God is to enjoy Him above everything and everyone else and out of that joy to live in glad obedience to His will. But Jesus does not stop there. He goes on to teach us that, after loving God supremely, our next greatest responsibility is to love people sincerely. Contrary to what some teach about this, Jesus is not commanding self-love. Nor should His words be taken to imply that we cannot love others until we learn to love ourselves. Jesus assumes that we already do love ourselves. Paul explicitly makes this point by noting that “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Eph. 5:29). This kind of natural self-love is manifested by the choices that we make to serve our own interests. No matter how destructive such choices are, they are expressions of self-love.
1 Wednesday Today we plan to spend the day together as TBC family during the Family Day for fellowship, mutual edification and encouragement. This year’s event is meant to help the many new members to integrate into the life of the church. We thank God for the peace and unity we have enjoyed over the years and pray for more brotherly love. 2 Thursday TPC classes were taught by Ben Carlson in May, albeit virtually. All the students were able to attend as they learned about Old Testament History and Theology. The students were very cooperative with the teacher who had to wake up at 4.00 a.m. in Kentucky and classes beginning at noon in Nairobi. We now pray that they will be able to complete their assignments on time. 6 Monday Last month four babies were born in the church. We pray for the families to adjust well to the new addition. We especially desire that we all would deliberately raise a godly offspring. There are those who desire children but are still waiting upon the Lord, who gives children. There are many who desire to marry.
The annual report of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has reported that Christians in Afghanistan are still at risk of death for apostasy. Since the August 2021 US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban takeover, the threat to Christians – all Muslim-background believers from Islam – has increased. Since mid-2021 the Taliban have said that Christians must leave, re-convert to Islam, or face death. “Christian converts,” says the 2022 USCIRF report, are among those who “practice their faith in hiding due to fear of reprisal and threats from the Taliban.” The report recounts that the Taliban have gone door-to-door searching for Christians, adding that Taliban rule also places believers at greater risk of violence and death at the hands of their neighbours, friends and family.
THEOLOGY ON THE GO PODCAST WRITES: We live in an era of growing governmental interference and intervention in the life of the local church. So what is the proper biblical relationship between the civil magistrate and the church? Our hosts reach across the pond to discuss the topic with Oliver Allmand-Smith. He’s a trustee of the International Reformed Baptist Seminary, a pastor for more than 20 years, and the author of Under God, Over the People: The Calling and Accountability of Civil Government. Allmand-Smith draws upon the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith as he defines both the calling and limitations of the civil magistrate’s authority over the local church. How should the church interact with the government? You’ll appreciate the clarity of both Scripture and the Confession on this timely topic.
If you do not understand the problem, you will not seek the right cure. That is true not only medically but also spiritually. In Matthew 15 Jesus teaches a vital lesson in spiritual diagnosis. What He says is fundamental to living the Christian life. He exposes the superficiality of Pharisaical religion by putting His finger on the source of all our sinful behaviours. It is not what goes into a person that defiles him. It is what comes out of him — the corrupted streams that flow from a corrupted heart. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone” (vv. 19–20). As has been well said, the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. Not the blood pumping vessel that is the concern of your cardiologist, but the seat of your personality that is the concern of the Gospel.
It is now 54 years since the 1967 Abortion Act came into force. Since then, a staggering 9.9 million unborn babies have lost their lives to abortion across England, Wales, and Scotland — more than one death every three minutes. The number of abortions performed in England and Wales reached a record high in 2020 with 210,860 taking place. The significant rise in abortions coincides with the governments in Westminster and Holyrood, using emergency Covid measures to push through dangerous DIY at-home abortions across Great Britain. In England and Wales, pills by post abortions accounted for 47% of all abortions during the period April to December 2020. In the UK, more lives are lost to abortion each year than have been lost throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It is projected that on 5 October 2022, 10 million lives will have been lost to abortion.
Living unto God is only possible through the person and work of Jesus Christ, rather than through the law. This was true in the Old Testament as well as in the New. Thomas Manton thought that believers would have to look at the law confessing, “You are death to me!” “[The law’s] impossibility to justify and give life needs to be sufficiently demonstrated; for till we are dead to the law, we shall but carelessly seek after the grace of God in Jesus Christ…we must not only be dead to sin and dead to the world, but dead to the law before we can live unto God.” Life is unable to be breathed back into fallen sinners through obedience to the law. The grace of life and righteousness is found in Christ rather than in the law, and the law could never produce that life, otherwise grace would not have been needed.
The Kherson Region, north of Crimea, has suffered much during this war. It is currently under Russian control and has been for the past three months. It is reported by Russian backed forces that the Russian rouble will be used as the currency there. Praise God that churches were able to hold Easter services. Despite the temporary occupation, churches gathered together to glorify the Risen Saviour and encourage each other. Meetings took place even in those settlements located on the frontline which were under fire. Brothers and sisters gathered together in the homes of believers, where the Word of God and songs of praise and hope were heard. Intimidation and provocation by occupying forces could not deprive believers of the joy of the Resurrection!
The whole style and shape of the Book of Revelation is by way of an epistle. It is Jesus Christ, by John, writing His last will to His church. And if any Scripture displays the sovereignty, majesty, justice, mercy and truth of God, for the comfort of His people, and in a way that makes the hearts of His enemies quake, this does.
Deborah Samuel, a Christian student, was beaten and stoned to death in an appalling incident at a college in Sokoto State, Nigeria. Deborah’s alleged crime was to have insulted Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, in a WhatsApp message. There is no evidence that Deborah did as alleged, but the accusation alone was enough to seal her fate. Even if she had, her murder at the hands of a Muslim mob was not deserved. A fellow student reports that Deborah’s last words to her attackers were, “What do you hope to achieve with this?” This is a question that could be asked to all the Islamist groups across Nigeria – indeed, all those around the world who commit violence against Christians and persecute the Church.
Like skilful physicians of the soul, men like Keach were experts at identifying and diagnosing the disease of sin in its several manifestations. A lost condition may present itself in a variety of ways. A loving doctor of the soul is careful to distinguish between what may be a mere ‘form of godliness’ and biblical godliness that possesses divine power and grace. When dealing with souls, this distinction demands the delicate use of the two great tools that are at every true Christian’s disposal, law and gospel. Like Christ, the Great Physician, believers must apply these tools wisely. The law of God is like a scalpal, which must be precisely applied to those who may be guilty of presumption. It aims to expose sin and deal with the cancer of spiritual pride, which lies at the root of many spiritual ailments. One must seek to cut out this cancer. However, the gospel is like a healing ointment that believers should apply to those wounded by God’s law.
In my early teenage years, I started to ponder on many difficult questions about the world and our existence and if there is any God out there who created us. At the time I had never heard the true gospel. I have a Catholic family background and I attended a majority Muslim school and so that influenced me to believe that God is someone we are supposed to win over through our works, I knew nothing of salvation through faith alone. I would have probably described myself as agnostic although I certainly lived my life as if there is no God. I lived solely for my own pleasures and with little regard for others because my heart was not right with God.
Earlier this week, a document was leaked from the United States Supreme Court indicating that the Justices intend to overturn the country’s national abortion law, commonly referred to as the Roe v Wade decision. Incorrectly, this has been reported in some outlets to mean the banning of abortion in America. As is the case for many of the debates that matter in US politics, which are difficult to separate from the deeply divisive discourse, it is primarily a dispute about whether powers should reside with the federal government or with individual states. I am not going to pass a verdict on the merits or otherwise of American federalism. The law on abortion in America is, of course, a matter for Americans to decide. If the Supreme Court’s final decision resembles the leaked draft opinion, the power to legislate on the matter of abortion will be returned to individual states.
With the world around us seeming to be covered by a heavy blanket of woe, the Spirit of God by His Word draws us out from under death’s suffocating embrace. Even as pro-death activists organize protests in front of Supreme Court Justices’ homes, throw Molotov cocktails through pregnancy crisis centre windows, and push legislation through the US Senate to codify the insane legality of murdering the unborn, God assures us in His Word that Christ has vanquished death. Satan’s reign in God’s world is in fact unravelling. Death itself is coming undone. The forces of this world, expressed through much of our current discourse surrounding medicine, education, celebrity culture, law, and politics deny the reality and inevitability of aging, dying, and death. They scream, “This life is all there is! Nothing of worth pierces through our lived experience. Death is of no consequence. Simply ignore it. Do not think about it. Do not live in light of it.” This is a vain coping mechanism which does nothing to address the severity of what awaits each of us. But God gives a different message that confronts death head-on. His is a message of life’s victory over death, a message of hope, the Christian gospel which has inspired the church of Christ and her individual members to be tenacious agents of life ever since Christ endowed the church with His Spirit of Life. The Christian makes no desperate scream in the face of death, but rather shouts in victory under the kingship and instruction of the immortal Christ.
In 2015, in the name of counter-extremism, the Government consulted on an extraordinarily vague and dangerous plan for Ofsted to inspect church youth work. Any place that provided instruction to under-19s for more than six hours in any week would have been covered – a threshold that would have hit plenty of churches. The scheme specifically included summer holiday activities, so holiday Bible clubs, beach missions and summer camps were also in the firing line. Thankfully, the alarm expressed by Christians and others saw off the plans. They were shown to be ill-conceived and unworkable. It was a great victory for the thousands of Christians who mobilised against the scheme by responding to the consultation and contacting their MPs.
The word “systematic” refers to rightly ordering the themes and topics or doctrines we find in Scripture so that they reflect the material order of the reality of God and his works. Therefore, systematic theology is the discipline of approaching God’s self-revelation systematically, identifying the teachings or doctrines in God’s revelation (God and the things of God), and describing their order and relationships. Since theology includes the study of both God and the things of God, including faith and conduct, theology must be both theoretical and practical. Paul makes this abundantly clear in the letter to Titus. Doctrine accords with godliness (Titus 1:1). Titus must teach people to live a life which fits with sound doctrine (2:1). James tells us to be doers of the word and not just hearers (James 1:22-27), and Paul calls us to lead a life of worship by transforming our minds (Romans 12:1-2). Good systematic theology should reshape our minds and hearts and lead to godly living.
Another form of robbery is becoming increasingly accepted in our society, and is often even commended. We see this most clearly in those whom I will call “equality vigilantes.” These are the gatekeepers of institutions who take equality into their own hands. Adjectives like “advanced, enriched, and gifted” become little better than slurs. Equality vigilantes cry that inequality at any level is unacceptable. Wishing to play God, they call for or implement “the right policies” that will put everyone on the same level. We should care for the bottom twenty percent. We should always be seeking to lift others up, and to provide avenues of escape for those stuck in traps and cycles of poverty, disadvantage, etc. But that is a much different matter than to claim that differences in performance or intelligence are themselves injustices to be rectified.
11 Wednesday TPC classes begin today on Old Testament Theology and History. Ben Carlson, pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Owensborough KY will be teaching virtually. We have 7 regular students who will be attending with a few others auditing. The time difference will make teaching for Ben challenging. 12 Thursday The work in Pokot is undergoing some testing because of political alignments. Please pray for the church leaders to steer away from politics as they may be inclined to endorse one or another politician. Instead let them see that the real influence in their community is in gospel ministry. Schools have also re-opened and we pray that they will faithfully seek to have gospel influence among the children to raise a generation that loves and serves the Lord. 13 Friday Dine & Listen is an evangelistic dinner we host two times a year. Michael Maura, pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church, Tassia, will be preaching tonight. Members are encouraged to invite their unbelieving relatives to hear the gospel.
An Egyptian church minister was stabbed to death in Alexandria on the evening of 7 April. Arsanios Wadid, 56, the minister of a church in the Muharram Bek district, was stabbed three times. He was taken to hospital where he died from his wounds. The attack took place on a seaside promenade where Arsanios was supervising an outing for children from the church. The attacker, since identified as 60-year-old Nehru Abdel-Moneim Tawfiq, was quickly apprehended. He has been referred to criminal court, charged with murder, but has claimed diminished responsibility due to mental illness. Call on the Lord to comfort the family and friends of Arsanios Wadid in their grief (Psalm 34:18). Pray for the Holy Spirit to minister to the congregation in Muharram Bek as they adjust to the loss of their shepherd. Ask that justice will be served as the evidence is gathered.
ALL WELCOME in Sheffield for the TASTE family fun day Saturday May 7th from 11am. Click on the pdf link for all the details. All proceeds to go towards the provision of life-changing water and sanitation for needy communities in Nigeria.
Trinity Grace Church is pleased to have Dr Jason Montgomery teach Patristics: The Study of the Church Fathers, in the summer of 2022. IRBS UK will host this course July 11th to 15th in Ramsbottom DV. All are welcome to join us for this important study of the ancient Church. The student will learn of the doctrine and life of the church in this crucial period of her early formation, as we see that our Reformed faith is rooted and grounded in the great tradition. This course is offered for those interested in studying with IRBS UK, as well as for those who desire to grow in their understanding of the faith from a confessional Reformed Baptist position. See the attached flyer for more information and for the application.
We are grateful to Banner of Truth for providing us with an opportunity to exhibit Broken Wharfe Confessional Baptist Resources and promote International Reformed Baptist Seminary UK at their Minister’s Conference. This year’s conference was hosted at Yarnfield Park in Staffordshire. The theme was Communion with God. Conrad Mbewe took the main meetings while other meetings were taken by David Cambell, Jeff Kingswood, Robert Strivens, Andy Hambleton, Robert McCollum Jr. and Meirion Thomas. One highlight was a small group meeting of ministers with Conrad Mbewe. He spoke about the importance of the 2nd London Baptist Confession in his labours in Africa. In his efforts to promote serious reformed theology among the people, he spoke about how he and others turned to the 1689 Confession in their work to build confessional churches. The growing interest in confessional Baptist theology and churches among ministers who attended was very tangible. We had numerous encouraging conversations with ministers who are beginning to realise the spiritual and moral responsibility reformed men have to lead churches in confessing together their faith.
We give thanks to God for our fourth association discussion meeting which was hosted by Christ Church Loughborough. On March 29th 15 men representing 9 churches met to continue to discuss the establishment of a national association of confessional reformed Baptist churches. We thank God for the unity that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God, and moreover, the unity which we share in our common confession of faith. Please see the attached report for more information of the day and of the churches involved.
No doctrine has been more continuously assaulted over the past 150 years than that the triune God is the maker of everything visible and invisible in the heavens and on earth. In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth. God accomplished all he planned and made through Christ, the second person of the trinity, the Word who would became flesh. All things were made through him, and without him, nothing was made that was made (Genesis 1.1; John 1.2). The agent of this work was the Holy Spirit, who, being God, was present at the beginning and hovered over the face of the waters. The purpose of this incredible work of beauty, power, wisdom and goodness is for the praise of God’s glory. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork (Psalm 19.1).
The Cross Connect Ukraine Linking Scheme is intended to help match and link evangelical Christians, whose hearts have been moved by the plight of Ukrainian refugees and are able to offer accommodation to Ukrainian individuals, families or groups looking for temporary shelter in a safe home in the UK or elsewhere. It is an initiative run jointly by European Mission Fellowship and Slavic Gospel Association. We are inviting evangelical Christians, in the UK and other European countries, willing to offer accommodation for at least 6 months free of charge to Ukrainian refugees, to register with us with details of their accommodation. We are also inviting Ukrainians, individuals, families or groups, who are looking for temporary homes outside of Ukraine, to register with us, with details of their needs. These Ukrainians will, in most cases, not be known to us, but will have had some contact with our missionaries or partner churches. Then we will endeavour to match and link the host offering accommodation to the refugee looking for accommodation.
CONNECT is our young people’s group for age 11 to 18 years. We seek to meet the practical, social and spiritual needs of our young people. The club is open for youth to enjoy the many games we play, engage in the wide variety of activities, discuss their problems/views with other teenagers and to share in learning something beneficial based on biblical teachings.
A few years ago, my disabled wife and I moved into a small bungalow. Unfortunately, my wife's front door access proved to be very difficult. As her disability worsened, it became increasingly necessary to arrange for a structure to be added compatible with my wife's needs. There was no porch to the bungalow, which meant access was by a couple of steps leading to the front door. The block paving at the front of the bungalow is on a slope which entailed the need to build a substantial concrete ramp extending along the front of the bungalow leveling out and wide enough and long enough to erect a porch suitable for wheelchair access. Choosing a builder is not an easy process and after consulting the various options decided to use a local builder.
ADOPTION: The Neglected Summit. All are warmly invited to the next Heritage Study in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. John Palmer will be speaking on the the wonderful doctrine of adoption. Friday 29th April at 7:45pm, Bethany Evangelical Church in Leigh.
The word vicarious is extremely important to our understanding of the atonement of Christ. The late Swiss theologian Karl Barth once said that, in his judgment, the single most important word in all of the Greek New Testament is the minuscule word huper. This little word is translated by the English phrase “in behalf of.” Barth was clearly engaging in a bit of hyperbole in making this statement, because many words in the New Testament are arguably as important or even more important than huper, but he was simply seeking to call attention to the importance of what is known in theology as the vicarious aspect of the ministry of Jesus.
Even before the rise of the Persian empire, Isaiah 44 & 45 prophesied the name of its great leader. That king returned the Israelites from exile in 538 BC, to rebuild Jerusalem, anticipating the coming of God’s promised Messiah to bless all peoples. His dynasty extended Persian rule over a vast empire that then included almost half the world’s population. Several centuries after Christ’s coming, Islam swept most of these areas. The Persian or Farsi language, however, is still spoken in Iran, areas of Afghanistan, Iraq & the Persian/Arabian Gulf states and Tajikistan. Yet, travel and turmoil of our age, has carried Farsi-speakers to every corner of the globe. Most are Muslims, yet all celebrate the traditional pre-Islamic Persian New Year ‘Norooz’ on the first day of Spring. Like the Arabic online ministry, MERF’s Farsi gospel ministry shares God’s Word in both indirect and direct formats.
In his travels to see where he can get a welcome, Benjamin Keach has True Godliness arriving at the house of Legalist. Legalist says that he already has a man called True Godliness in his home. The dialogue continues: Godliness: ‘Sir, it is certainly a mistake; you have been greatly deceived.‘ Legalist: ‘What, do I not know True Godliness? This is strange! Sir, I assure you he and I converse together every day.’ Godliness: ‘It is indeed true that there are one or two persons who go sometimes by my name; and it is very probable you may be acquainted with one of them. Pray, what are his manners? What instructions does he give you? For by these I shall know who your guest is…’ Legalist: ‘Why, Sir, he teaches me to keep the commandments of God, to lead a righteous life, to do unto all men as I would they should do unto me.’ Godliness: ‘O! Sir, that is my friend and honest neighbour Morality, one that I sincerely love; and I am sure it is great ignorance to take him for me… '
In times of persecution, those who are becoming Christians count the cost carefully before taking up Christ’s cross. Preachers do not beguile them with false promises of an easy life or with the indulgence of their sins. But in easy times the cost does not seem to be so high, and people take the name of “Christ” without undergoing the radical transformation that a true conversion implies. In times like these, preachers often delude them with an easy faith in order to increase the numbers on their church rolls, whether or not such people are regenerate. Dietrich Bonhoeffer called this erroneous theology “cheap grace,” saying, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness with- out requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace with- out the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate.”
The Bible informs us that God created the moon on Day 4 of Creation Week (Genesis 1:14–19). Some of its functions are briefly described: it provides light and helps us plan out our calendars. But the moon has another important function: it helps create tides, the daily rise and fall of water along our shorelines. But how do tides work? This is a mystery that baffles people today, as it did people in the ancient past. Yet, it is not that hard to understand, if you think about it.
African Pastors' Conference. This conference was started in Southern African countries by our late dear brother and servant of God Errol Hulse and had wished to bring the conference to us before his demise. Well, the conference after much postponement due to the pandemic in 2020, 2021, finally was fulfilled on 29th - 30th March, 2022. We are grateful to the organizers of the conference and the quality of speakers and their messages. The topic “The scripture in the life of the Local Church” was very timely for the Churches and pastors of our region, (South-East and South-South States of Nigeria) we are trying to reach out. We had 143 registered attendees including one from Abuja, one from Lagos, one from Abia State, two from Enugu, three from Imo State, eight from Akwa-Ibom state, etc.
Human life is precious, not because of our ‘quality of life’, or our gifts and abilities, but because we are made in God’s image. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (PSALM 139:14) PLEASE PRAY: that the attempts to legalise assisted suicide will fail; for women and the unborn in England and Wales after the unsupervised home abortion schemes were made permanent; giving thanks that babies born before the 24-week abortion limit are surviving more frequently; thanking God for parents who reject abortion despite difficult circumstances.
The Puritan conviction about the centrality of the Bible in preaching was reinforced by the practice of largely or exclusively limiting the details of the sermon to biblical material. Puritan preaching was expository in nature, meaning that the entire sermon was to be inextricably tied to the text. The mere establishment of a connection between the sermon and the text was not sufficient for Puritan preachers. Quite the contrary, for, according to the Puritans, "The sermon is not just hinged to Scripture; it quite literally exists inside the Word of God; the text is not in the sermon, but the sermon in the text... Put summarily, listening to a sermon is being in the Bible."
The Bible is not a textbook of facts about God. Contrary to some caricatures of systematic theology, no decent systematic theologian has ever thought that it was! The Bible is the account of God creating, redeeming and perfecting a people for himself. God is supremely revealed in the sending of the Son and the Spirit in the work of redemption. The focus of the Scripture is the revelation of the one, triune, creator God, who sends his Son to redeem a people from sin and judgment to give them new life in the Spirit to walk in faith and obedience in fellowship with him. The Bible reveals God and his nature through the unfolding story of the covenants culminating in the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.
The Islamic month of Ramadan began on 2 April and will conclude on Sunday 1 May. During this period Muslims will fast from all food and drink during the hours of daylight. It is also considered a time for prayer, almsgiving and acts of charity. While most Muslims observe the month of Ramadan entirely peacefully, this is nevertheless a time of year that creates problems for Christians in Islamic contexts. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Muslim-majority lands throughout the coming days and weeks, asking that the Lord will sustain them. Ask that He will grant patience, endurance and strength to those compelled to fast by societal pressure. Intercede particularly for secret believers who face reprisals and death if their Christian faith is discovered.
There is a Christological impoverishment in the evangelical world. Christians, by and large, excel at embracing the divine nature of Christ. And yet the confusion comes when Christians are forced to reflect carefully upon the true human nature of Christ. A study of orthodox Christology would help clear away this confusion, and help us embrace and appreciate of the humanity of Christ. Perhaps no writer that I can think of embodies that rich Christological legacy as well as John Owen. We see this most clearly in volume 3 of Owen’s collected Works, where he enumerates the work of the Spirit in the life and ministry of Jesus. And so I'd like to offer a precis of what Owen says. Owen begins by acknowledging that the Holy Spirit’s first role in the ministry of Jesus was the creation of Christ’s physical body in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:35). Owen also goes further by reminding the reader that the Spirit empowered the whole life, work, and ministry of Christ as well.
In January 2022, ‘Broken Wharfe’ launched as a distinctly confessional Baptist resources distributor in the UK and Europe. In their words, “Broken Wharfe exists to glorify Christ and edify his church in the UK and Europe through the production, republication and dissemination of confessional Baptist resources”. These resources include a full and growing bookshop of reprinted and newly published titles, weekly blog posts and other developing media such as videos and interactive study tools. The name ‘Broken Wharfe’ comes from the location of a meeting-house on the River Thames in London where, in September 1689, messengers from more than 100 churches gathered to formally confess the Second London Baptist Confession. This new resource base seeks to encourage the faith and life of these historic churches that were represented, believing, as they did, the Scriptures as summarised in their confession, that we may know similar spiritual vitality in upholding and practising the whole counsel of God.
(1) Tonny Karwa continues to serve at Grace Baptist Church, Kisumu. The family has gone through a challenging time last month with Olivia needing an MRI/MRV, Tonny needing a series of heart tests, and their two children (Junior & Levin) being hospitalized with one (Junior) having an ENT surgery. Pray that in the midst of this difficult providence Tonny and Olivia will remain faithful and fruitful in the gospel. (2) Thank God for the recently concluded Vacation Bible School with up to 70 children and pray for parents to make the most of the school holidays to point their children to Christ. (3) The pastoral internship program has been graciously used by the Lord to mentor a number of men both for the benefit of TBCN and other churches. Pray that the Lord would provide more men and resources to support them as they are trained for the ministry. Pray for James Mwirigi and Paul Ruhiu as they continue to serve the church as pastoral interns.
The big news to announce is the new name for our Seminary. After many conversations with different people over the past three years, we have concluded that a new name--International Reformed Baptist Seminary--best describes the work we are doing. The new name keeps the well-established IRBS acronym (which we will continue to use), and expresses some of the exciting developments the Lord has permitted us to participate in. We have entered into agreements with IRBS UK (United Kingdom) where we expect to offer four courses each year, and with IRBS NZ (New Zealand) where the annual School of Theology will serve as a classroom for IRBS courses. We are in the process of developing other international agreements, as well as planning to offer our missions course in Tijuana Mexico. We currently have 11 international students enrolled in our courses, with the hope that more will take advantage of the outstanding instruction offered by our experienced faculty.
The church building of ‘Bethany’ Evangelical Baptist Church in Mariupol was bombed. The church, which in peacetime was marked by active social and evangelical work, was left without its important resource. Sadly, this city is engulfed in the worst humanitarian catastrophe. The Russian military constantly shells civilians and blocks humanitarian aid. According to the city mayor, there are more than 100,000 civilians in Mariupol waiting to be rescued. A little northwest from Mariupol is Zaporizhzhya city, where churches continue to relocate people from various cities of the region to western Ukraine and abroad. Recently, a group of Georgians managed to walk out of Mariupol and come to Zaporizhzhya, where they were settled in the church building. They have survived four wars and are convinced that only by God’s mercy were they saved.
Have we stopped talking about it? In the past a lot was made of it but it seems increasingly rare to us to hear about the Second Coming these days. Perhaps people have grown a little confused or weary as they struggle to put together a timeline of the future. Yet previous generations had a range of different views that did not prevent them from drawing motivation from the second coming however near or far away they thought it was. That is because it is the great day of the manifestation of Christ’s glory and we ought to long for that. We lose a great deal if our focus is on the present with little thought of this glorious future.
Eysimirdana was a believer, one of the very few traditional men from the Rendille people who professed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. What had it cost him to make this profession? Everything. The Rendille of north Kenya have many traditions which are held essential to observe if one is to remain in the community. They live in circles of easily moveable huts and to fail to keep traditions such as sooriyo means expulsion from the circle when it moves. But in a community-ordered society this is unthinkable. But it is what Eysimirdana did. So he had to leave his Nebeey clan and come to live in the church plot and be supported by his fellow Christians. Like his Saviour he was rejected of men. But also like his Saviour he was a beloved son of God. So much so, on Monday he was taken to glory. He owned next to nothing, and had no education, but he had the most precious thing of all, eternal salvation with Christ.
Christian Concern reports that MPs have just voted by 215 votes to 188 to keep the government's emergency authorisation of pills by post abortions permanently. This will have dire consequences for vulnerable women, who will be pressured into abortions they don't want and not given proper face to face checks to make sure it is safe. We've done everything we could to demonstrate to MPs that this policy is dangerous. A majority today ignored that evidence, but it was not without a fight. In time, many of these MPs will realise the harm this policy causes and, we pray, overturn it. The margin is quite small - as more evidence comes out, there may yet be a change of direction. In the meantime, the Church needs to bring the hope of Jesus to our communities - to be ready to support women in crisis pregnancies and all those who have been harmed by abortion. We are Christ's ambassadors, called to bring the love of Jesus to those around us - giving practical support, healing and offering his forgiveness to all who seek it.
Villagers drove a Christian family of twelve from their home in southern Laos in anger at the family’s practice of a “foreign” religion. On 9 February the family home in Dong Savanh village, Savannakhet province, was burned down. When Seng Aloun was widowed on 4 December 2021 villagers physically prevented her and the family from using the village cemetery for the burial. The family chose to bury her husband in their own rice field. However, the field was seized by villagers on 10 February – the day after the attack on the family home. “Village residents and local authorities don’t like us because we believe in Jesus Christ,” said Seng.
In the film The Empire of the Sun, there is a vivid depiction of desperate thirst. In the chaos of World War II in China, the young son of a wealthy British expatriate is separated from his family. There is no one to care for him. The boy returns to his home and lives for a while on whatever food has been left behind. But his supplies run out, and he is desperately thirsty. Even the swimming pool on the family estate has run dry. The boy returns to the kitchen, which is littered with empty cans, and he feverishly licks every last one to the very bottom. That is a picture of what it is like to live in this world and be thirsty for God. We are thirsty people. We go through this life panting after something, anything, that will slake our thirsty souls.
At the last minute, just before Parliament breaks for Easter, MPs are set to vote on whether to make harmful DIY abortions permanent. This coming Wednesday, 30 March 2022 there will be a vote in the House of Commons on an amendment that would sidestep the government's decision to end the 'temporary' policy in six months' time. There's a real danger that MPs will ignore the substantial evidence that these abortions are particularly dangerous to women. Abortion providers are glossing over this evidence relying on fundamentally flawed statistics to claim DIY abortions are safe. This isn't simply another battle between 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice'. Anyone who properly looks at the data ought to see that this policy harms women. It's our job to make sure that every MP in Westminster pays attention. Please could you urgently contact your MP?
The tragic and heart-rending consequences of the Russian attack upon Ukraine has filled our news bulletins for over a month now. The indescribable needs of that country and its people continue to be uppermost in our thoughts and concerns for prayer. Many believers and churches from neighbouring countries are working tirelessly on the borders to accommodate and feed thousands who have been traumatized by events in their home-towns and cities. Pray for God’s help for them, and for adequate resources to meet the needs. Pray that somehow, out of all this chaos and seemingly mindless violence and war, God will bring glory to Christ and blessing to His people.
Why is life worth preserving? Sometimes there are so many problems and so much suffering that people wonder: “what’s the point of it all?” They may even imagine that putting an end to life will put an end to suffering. Last week the House of Lords rejected a new move to adopt assisted suicide legislation and it is being considered by the Scottish Parliament. It is argued that assisted suicide fails to protect the terminally ill and disabled people from feeling worthless and a burden on others with the added pressure to take this option and end it all. The quality of end-of-life care we provide needs to demonstrate that we value life enough to preserve it. Each person is valuable, not worthless, no matter what struggles they face.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is proposing to change guidelines on prosecuting so-called mercy killings. This undermines the value of human life and risks giving a green light to euthanasia. A consultation on the plans closes on 8 April. Please respond personally - we have already responded as a church. Current guidance that “prosecution is almost certainly required” in cases where someone has killed a sick or infirm friend or relative will be replaced by a number of factors for prosecutors to consider. The changes weaken protections for vulnerable people, risking the introduction of euthanasia by stealth. Parliament has repeatedly rejected changing the law, but a non-prosecution policy would undermine the current position. Under the proposals, a prosecution is “less likely to be required” if the victim “had reached a voluntary, settled and informed decision to end their life”. This is the same language campaigners use in their continual attempts to introduce what they call ‘assisted dying’. It is significant that such campaigners have welcomed the changes.
Baptism is a means of grace to God's people, signifying cleansing from all sin, new life in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and union with Christ and his people. Baptism is the moment when we stand to confess the good confession before many witnesses and begin a life of worship and service. In baptism, a sinner is seen to be a saint by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone to the glory of God alone. When a person is baptised, their life is changed forever, as they are freed from all the fears of this age unto the fear of the God whose benediction they hear applied to them by name for the first time. And when believers gather to hear the confession of the new Christian in baptism, we are renewed and refreshed and richly blessed afresh as we improve our own baptism and common confession of the faith.
Every so often we hear a new methodology or approach to ministry being championed. It will transform the Church’s appeal, we are told, by transforming what the Church does. These approaches have been proven “to work” and therefore they must be the right way. Usually, however, they explicitly require trading the historic Christian view of how the Church worships and functions for the new way. These things must be tested by Scripture. It also becomes a practical question for the individual believer. How can we best grow spiritually? What sort of church should we attach ourselves to? Is it right to be discontent with a way of worshipping that just seems…ordinary? We tend to despise the ordinary as customary, commonly practiced, fixed and regular and unexceptional. We prefer what is novel. The ordinary isn’t high-octane, it just doesn’t seem to excite. We are naturally attracted by what pleases our senses and what fits with the assumptions that we draw from the culture of the world around us. The ordinary also represents order and naturally we do not want to be restrained by boundaries.
Ethiopia lies across the Red Sea from Yemen. One of the most populous African nations, it is landlocked on the semi-arid Horn of Africa by Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. In the west, the Blue Nile flows from its mountain peaks to Sudan. South Sudan and Kenya border the south. After his election in 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a confessing Christian of the largely Muslim Oromo tribe, successfully brought peace to extended internal tribal conflicts and with neighboring Eritrea. Yet, over the past year these resurfaced when forces of the small northern Tigray tribe waged a civil war. (It previously held power in Ethiopia for over 30 years.) Armed conflict has displaced millions and destroyed crops and herds, resulting in hunger and instability. Also, the south is suffering food shortages from severe drought.
Update from Teo Mihoc, Jibou, Romania Bring water for the thirsty, meet the refugees with food. Isaiah 21:14 By the will of God and with many donations received, I left for Ukraine last Monday, March 14, with a bus and a trailer also. We transported a lot of food, clothes, soup, medicine. The value of all our donation was more than $10,000 [£7,600]. Near the border we met 7 other buses and we organized a humanitarian convoy. We passed the Romanian/Ukrainian border and in Slatina, Ukraine we met 8 buses waiting. They took all the aid which would provide resources for more than 400 adults and 150 children, most of them are refugees and their hosts. What we provide was enough for 2 large areas. Some of the refugees came from 30 or 40 km, some from 400 km! from the East part to Western regions. From the beginning of the War, our church in Jibou has provided food for and hosted 109 refugees. We welcome the refugees at the gas station and we provide food, tea or coffee and offer to host the refugees who need that. We are hosting 16 Muslims and we try to be a good testimony for them.
It is common amongst politicians and economists to suggest that we should tax bad things and subsidise good things. It is on these grounds that, for example, we have sugar taxes and cigarette taxes. The justification for taxing “bads” becomes stronger if the ill effects are felt more widely through society and not just by the consumers. Anybody looking at our tax system, with this principle in mind, might well conclude that our political class believes that families with two parents, and those families where one parent works part time or works entirely in the home bringing up children or looking after ageing parents, were a very bad thing. After all, we strongly penalise such arrangements in our tax and welfare systems.
According to his good pleasure, God has a plan and purpose that he is fulfilling in the world. The 2nd London Baptist Confession states, ‘God hath decreed in himself from all eternity by the most wise and holy council of his own will freely and unchangeably, all things whatsoever comes to pass, yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein’. Although the world is filled with much wrongdoing, God has ordained everything to come to pass. Yet, none can blame him for the choices that human beings make, which are contrary to his revealed will. Nonetheless, his purposes are definitely being worked out. A great example of this fact is stated in Acts 2:23. Peter, addressing the very people who had Jesus killed, preached, saying, ‘Him being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken in lawless hands and crucified and put to death.’
The UK Government is planning tougher internet regulation through its Online Safety Bill, which it says will be published this month. Action to clamp down on content promoting violence, drugs, self-harm and suicide is very welcome. Big Tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have been slow to remove illegal content. A requirement for online porn sites to prevent children accessing them is also great news – if overdue. But the plans go much further. Ministers want to restrict legal content which is deemed ‘harmful’. This will be defined in part by the Secretary of State, with Silicon Valley firms and UK regulator Ofcom also having a huge say. This is vague and very worrying. Big Tech will be deciding what should and shouldn’t be allowed in crucial and controversial areas of debate.
Have you ever left a project unfinished? Our lives are filled with projects that we have never quite managed to finish. We have half-read books on our shelves, half-eaten meals in our refrigerators, and half-finished laundry on the floor in our bedrooms. Most of us still have a pile of junk left from hobbies that we picked up for a while and then abandoned—half-built model airplanes, half-sewn quilts, or half-used exercise equipment gathering dust in the basement. There is probably an unfinished project waiting somewhere for you right now. Jesus Christ did not leave the great project of his life unfinished. He finished it. He got the job done. He accomplished his mission. As he came to the end of his life, Jesus received a drink of cheap wine and said, “It is finished.” Then he died.
A frequent criticism of creationists goes like this: “You guys only make negative arguments. You try to poke holes in evolution instead of offering your own alternative theory. You plug up gaps in our current scientific knowledge by invoking an ad hoc god-of-the-gaps, whose role keeps shrinking every time science discovers a naturalistic answer. You have nothing positive to offer.” But this charge is mistaken. Creationists do not merely criticize, or merely deny the views of others. We affirm the Bible, which makes many positive truth claims. When we examine the world, we find abundant positive evidence to support these claims. Here are just a few examples.
As the conflict develops and moves into more westerly regions of Ukraine, God’s people have been making available their church buildings, their halls and even their homes, all in accordance with the plans laid according to the wise counsel of church leaders, in the time of build-up to this crisis. They have responded with a sacrificial effort to prepare this emergency accommodation, and also to provide warm clothing, bedding and blankets, necessary household equipment, and even generators for emergency power, and they have done so with the help of the amazing generosity of SGA prayer supporters, guaranteeing funding for this huge humanitarian effort. At the time of writing an initial amount of £90,000 has been made available to help our friends in Ukraine and the neighbouring countries to finance and sustain this ministry over a more prolonged period of time. Providing necessary aid at this point in time, is only the beginning of months and even years when funding and support will continue to be necessary. Gifts given for addressing this humanitarian crisis will go IN THEIR ENTIRETY to those in need.
We are giving thanks to God for a great step forward in our fight for life. A ban that prevented Dr Dermot Kearney providing treatment to women who regret taking the first abortion pill has been wonderfully overturned. The welcome U-turn came just before Dr Kearney was about to challenge the draconian ban at the High Court. Dr Kearney's legal action was supported by our Christian Legal Centre. Welcoming the news, Andrea Williams said: "I praise God that this scandalous ban has now been lifted, and that the life-saving treatment that Dr Kearney offers can restart. The way is now open for many more women to be helped and many more babies to be saved.
William Perkins was a prolific writer and a monumental thinker within the Puritan movement. Yet Perkins believed that the heart of his ministry was preaching “one Christ, by Christ, to the praise of Christ.” We saw the principle behind this in our last post: Our preaching must be full of Christ because the Bible is full of Christ. So far, so good. But what did this principle look like in Perkins own preaching? At this point, Perkins’ sermons on Matthew 4:1-11 can serve as an edifying illustration. The full title of Perkins’ sermon is A general view of the strange combat between our Savior Christ and Satan. According to Perkins’ divisions, this combat consists of a preparation, the combat itself (which contains three conflicts in which Satan tempts Christ to unbelief, presumption, and then idolatry), and finally Christ’s victory over the Devil.
In ‘The Travels of True Godliness‘, Keach depicts his hero as seeking where he can gain admittance. Sometimes he is found talking to those on whose door he knocks at some length. When he reaches ‘Old-Age’, the discourse is shorter because of his hardened heart. ‘Godliness, being now rejected by Riches, Poverty and Youth, resolved to see whether he might not be entertained by a certain decrepit and feeble person, called Old-Age, concluding with himself that it was very probable his dear friend, Consideration, whom he had a long time sought for, might lodge in his house; for, said he, surely Wisdom, though he dwell not with Riches, Poverty, nor Youth, yet doubtless he will be found with the aged, Job xxxii. 7. Besides these encouragements, he believed him to be the same person who, when he was on a journey many years before, had promised to welcome him at some future time.’ However, his hopes were disappointed, for, ‘Old-Age was settled so on his lees, and had had such rebellious servants and children, that they would not suffer him to show Godliness the least favour.'
I still find it hard to believe. A flu virus succeeded in doing what centuries of persecution by Roman pagans, Ottoman Muslims, Hindu nationalists, Eastern European atheists, and Chinese communists could not: stop Christians from gathering together for fellowship, prayer, participation in the sacraments, and the proper discerning of the Word of God. While our persecuted brethren from the past met together secretly in homes or caves, strengthening each other in the face of possible martyrdom, we who live in the freest nation on earth huddled in our homes, more afraid of facing public scorn than of forsaking the assembly of the saints. Yes, many people with compromised immune systems had legitimate COVID-19 fears, but most of us, myself included, allowed social and political pressure and media-fed anxiety to keep us from congregating together.
After two years of interruption, the Trinity Grace Church events calendar is back! You are all warmly invited to join us for any and all of the events in our diary. Please make a note of each event and plan to come along. There is something for everyone from our Easter services, to the 1940s weekend, to the family fun day, to bonfire night, of if you prefer something more relaxing, try our end of summer BBQ or the meal and message. We would be delighted to see you. As you can see from our promotional image, we cater for ALL ages.
The situation in Ukraine changes by the hour, and the reported fall of the first major city to the Russian army adds to the deep anxiety and fear felt by many Ukrainians. Pray for God’s people in all of this, that they will be sustained by their faith in the sovereign God, and be able to continue to live for the glory of the Lord Jesus. PRAY for the orphans from the Grace Shelter who have had to be moved out urgently to escape the shelling and destruction which have been moving ever closer to them. Pray for a safe journey out of Ukraine and into Poland where arrangements are being made to receive and accommodate them.
Lord Forsyth has tabled an amendment to the Health and Care Bill aimed at allowing terminally ill adults to get help from doctors to kill themselves. The Bill is at Report Stage in the House of Lords, and we expect a debate and vote on the Forsyth amendment on 9 March. This is a real threat to the lives of vulnerable people. It is crucial that Peers reject this proposal. Amendment 170 would require the Government to bring forward a Bill within twelve months to enable terminally ill adults to get medical assistance to kill themselves. The proposal clearly breaches the Sixth Commandment and denies the value of every person as an individual made in the image of God.
The invasion of Ukraine has shocked many and brought heartbreaking devastation into the lives of countless innocent civilians. At a time of fear and confusion, with dreadful forces moving in ruthlessly, where can stability and a sense of peace be found? Where can the believers there look as they face their world torn apart? There is encouragement in Psalm 46 for Christians in Ukraine, as indeed for our brothers and sisters in Syria and other war-torn parts. This encouragement goes hand in hand with (and informs) the practical help we offer. We do what we can to help because we are confident that the Lord is their-and-our refuge and strength. If we struggle to know how best to pray for them, we can make use of the words of this psalm.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, Greetings from Budapest, Hungary. Finally we have put together an updated news and prayer letter. This time I got help from a native English speaking friend from South Africa, who is a member of our church for more than one year now. He is a great help in many other ways in our ministry. May the Lord bless you all and give you grace and advancement in His service. Sincerely in Christ, Pastor Miki Chiciudean
1 Tuesday (1) KU & MI are going north to Rendille, where they aim to encourage the brothers labouring for Christ. Today they hope to spend at Losidan, where we sponsor a primary school, and see Stephen Seitalo in nearby Lontolio who is a faithful labourer for Christ. (2) One of our members, John Njogu. was bereaved of his father last week. He was sadly kidnapped & murdered. Today is the funeral service. Pray that John would be comforted, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ would clearly be preached by EA. 2 Wednesday (1) Pray for God’s blessing in the Swahili service tonight as EA begins a series through the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. (2) KU & MI plan to visit contacts in Sokoteey and Lekuchula. Neither place has a permanent gospel witness.
Please join Barnabas Fund in mourning the loss of William Siraj on Sunday 30 January. Not only had William been a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus all his life but also his death came in the midst of serving his beloved Lord and, furthermore, he was singled out for death because of that service. William was the eldest brother of Wilson Saraj, Barnabas Fund’s Regional Coordinator for Pakistan and several other South Asian countries. On the day of his martyrdom William, a lay pastor, had been preaching at a church in Gulbahar district, near Peshawar. William had gone to this church every Sunday since its founding more than ten years ago, amongst a community of poor, uneducated Christians, mostly doing low-paid, dirty jobs. At first he led services single-handed, and then, as the congregation grew, in collaboration with Pastor Patrick Naeem. The two pastors were driving home together after the service when gunmen on a motorcycle fired through the car window at them. William was killed, but Patrick was unharmed, a bullet passing through his clothes.
What was a possibility, then a probability, has now become reality, with Russian forces engaged in an all out attack on the nation. The conflict is no longer contained within the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, but spreading quickly to include attacks upon major cities including the capital Kiev. Wise church leaders have been consulting with each other and giving guidance to believers regarding the consequences of war, and the plans which over recent weeks have been carefully laid to provide for the accommodation and welfare of those displaced by the war, have been called into action. Believers who were urged to search out and prepare emergency living quarters, have responded by preparing church halls, camp sites, and other suitable locations in which to receive and shelter refugees. They have collected bedding and blankets, necessary household equipment, and even generators for emergency power, to minister to temporal needs, and they are ready to share the Gospel of peace with those who come under their care.
Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi started in 1978, and over the decades many other local churches have been planted in various parts of Kenya. Because of Government registration requirements they had to be formally linked with TBCN. To some people it looked like we were starting a ‘denomination’. More recently, a number of these churches have obtained their independent registration, and a few have started having had little or nothing to do with us. The internet reaches so many we could not hope to reach! So in this Prayer Letter we thought we would tell you about some churches with which we have close fellowship and which are quite independent of TBC. Thank the Lord there are still other churches that adhere to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith but we cannot write about them all! Some of the following are written by Murungi (MI), and others by me (KU). We want this letter to be an encouragement for what the Lord is doing in Kenya.
After nearly two years, the government has finally announced an end to its DIY abortion scheme. In a written statement made on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, Maggie Throup MP, Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, said: “I am announcing a six-month extension to the temporary arrangements for the provision of early medical abortion put in place during the COVID pandemic. The Government will end the temporary approval put in place at the beginning of the pandemic that allows women to take both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation at home. The temporary approval will end at midnight on 29 August 2022. From this point, the pre-COVID regulatory requirements for the provision of early medical abortion will be reinstated.”
Green Pastures: A Primer on the Ordinary Means of Grace This book is aimed at the person in the pew. It is a helpful guide to understanding the ordinary means of grace. The book seeks to make the confessional position clear and to demonstrate it through the pages of the Scriptures. Written as a scriptural survey of the various ordinary means of grace, the book details the idea of what is meant by “ordinary means of grace” and it walks through the ministry of the Word, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and prayer, with a chapter dedicated to each. Finally, there is a concluding chapter which includes a discussion on the weekly rhythm the Scriptures reveal for the nourishment of the people of Christ.
I asked Hossein what he likes about Jesus. He said that Jesus’ message is clearly about love and peace. He went on to say that he heard about the virgin birth and the miracles, but these were supernatural religious ideas that he never studied. Yet, he had no doubt whatsoever that Jesus and his life and teaching must be admired by all people. Then, I asked him what he liked about Mohammed. He remained silent with a faraway look for a few moments and then said, “Mohammed was a very strong and effective leader.” I asked him if Jesus killed anyone. He quickly answered, “I am sure he never hurt anyone. He even taught people to love their enemies.” I asked the same about Mohammed. He replied, “That is a very different story.” He added that Mohammed was a man of his day, who lived an Arab tribal context, where there was a lot of killing.
The temptation to reshape the trinity is not just prevalent in liberal circles. Recently not a few evangelicals, have latched onto ideas of the trinity to support their agendas. They do this to argue for specific male-female relations. According to a book by Matthew Barrett, many evangelicals have drifted away from the orthodox trinity of the Bible. Instead, the truth of the trinity has been manipulated by being recreated in our own image to justify our social agendas. When we do this, we start to think of the trinity as a community of separate people united by love and agreed purpose rather than one eternal godhead sharing the same essence subsisting in three distinct persons. What is at stake when the trinity is used as a means to an end? Not just doctrine, but devotion also. Our understanding of God shapes our worship of Him.
Error and heresy are not always immediately obvious. Some problems are indeed glaring, and ought to require only a functioning pair of eyes and ears in order to determine the problem. God says that something is black; a man says it is white. QED. At other times, however, error and heresy masquerade under the appearance of—or perhaps more insidiously alongside of—an apparent orthodoxy. A man seems so reliable and gifted. Perhaps he has a genuine gift of oratory; he speaks and writes and preaches with acknowledged clarity and potency in so many ways. He develops a reputation. People want to know what he says. In so many respects he seems spot on. He seems so effective, perhaps even fruitful. And then you begin to listen to the gaps.
We warmly invite churches to participate in our next discussion meeting, seeking to establish a national association of confessional Baptist Churches. Christ Church Loughborough has graciously offered to host the meeting on Tuesday March 29th. We desire to hold communion together with confessional churches for our increase in love, peace and mutual edification. We will once again work through various topics of discussion, in order to make progress towards constituting as an association and to encourage one another in the faith. Below is attached the schedule and address. If you would like more information please feel free to contact Brett Shaw, at email@example.com
In this episode, we interview Darrin Gilchrist about Broken Wharfe, a new confessional Baptist resource base for the UK and Europe. We focus on Broken Wharfe's aim, work and upcoming publications. We also discuss the benefits of the Second London Baptist Confession for churches and ministers. Listen in to find out more.
The last couple of years has altered friendship according to a number of studies. 56% report their friendships changed and 20% have become more distant with close friends due to the pandemic according to the UK YouGov Friendship Study (USA data is similar). The drifting has come from isolation, distancing, differing views or changed rhythms in daily life. Experiences vary and no doubt some bonds have been strengthened, but it is the ties with those beyond the very closest of friends that have mainly become weaker. Does it matter that some friends have disappeared from our lives while our world has shrunk? Why is friendship important and what is it for? Scripture helps us answer these questions.
The Bible begins with these words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. In this one statement with no debate, ideas of atheism, dualism, polytheism, pantheism, to name just a few ‘isms’ concerning God, are dispelled. We are informed from the first statement of the Bible that God is singular, self-existing, incomprehensible, one who is spiritual, uncreated, infinite, eternal, almighty and sovereign. He is the one who exists in His own being. The essence of which cannot be comprehended by anyone but Himself (Exodus 3. 14). He revealed Himself to be the I AM. He is the one who exists and who is present, the one who was and who will be. He is self-sufficient and independent from us. He doesn’t need us in any way, and we cannot add to God’s essential glory, for He is the God of Glory. People may acknowledge Him and glorify Him, but He doesn’t need anybody or anything. We need food, water, warmth, clothing, friends, and occasionally we need someone to pat us on the back. He doesn’t need any of these things.
Evangelical Christians who believe the biblical narrative in Genesis strongly affirm the real, historical existence of Adam and Eve. We say it is non-negotiable and we point to the fact that the New Testament writers clearly taught this fact, as numerous verses testify. In CMI, we have frequently affirmed the vital theological importance of this biblical anthropology in our books and numerous online articles. However, scientists and writers who publish on creation.com have also been careful to unpack and critique scientific reports in the plethora of journals, books, documentaries, feature films, and pop-science media items that appear annually. While many Christian believers desire faithfully to stand upon God’s Word, the constant barrage of subtle (or not-so-subtle) attacks upon its history can be daunting. And the subject of human origins gets right to the heart of the conflict between the ‘creationary’ and evolutionary worldviews.
The eastern region of Ukraine has been embroiled in conflict for eight years now, resulting in almost 15,000 deaths and the internal displacement of almost 2 million people. Until recently it had become a ‘forgotten war’, but recent events on the border with Russia and the significant build-up of military personnel and armaments have brought this back into centre place in world news. The present build-up of Russian troops is seen as a ‘new level’ of threat – one which encompasses the whole nation and not merely certain regions. In the event of war, many will be forced to flee, but others, including believers, are determined to stay and continue their ministry. Church leaders point out that in the conflict area in the east, thirty-five churches have been established despite the conflict and its consequences. Pray for courage for those who plan to stay, and for their protection from harm. At this time no-one knows how this situation will develop, but we do know that our God is sovereign, and our fellow-believers in Ukraine are also convinced of this, and believe that ultimately it is the hand of God which will protect, or deliver them from the ravages of war. Join with them in earnest prayer for God’s intervention in this potentially explosive situation.
Ironically (or maybe not so ironically), poverty and wastefulness will always characterise this world until the consummation of all things in Christ. Unsurprisingly, the cares of this world will inevitably consume those overtaken by these two evils, and only the Gospel of Jesus Christ resulting in true godliness can deliver us. In ‘Travels of True Godliness’, written by Benjamin Keach, the hero, Godliness, knocks on the door of Poverty. He receives no readier a welcome than he did with Riches. However, Godliness urges Poverty to respond to the gospel.
It is with great joy that we can finally bring you a more fully realised update on the Graphics & Design project with donations made in memory of Elizabeth Stredder. With all the imported equipment from China now in place, this project is now almost ready for launch. It has now been registered with the Mozambique authorities with the name: Elizabeth Stredder Graphics & Design Ltd. Two of the most important pieces of equipment were upgraded to industrial machines at no extra cost. Also a brother who owns a private clinic, has donated some funds to cover extra expenses regarding obtaining licences in order to sell products produced at the Graphics & Design centre.
Christian parents Nigel and Sally Rowe have been fighting their case since 2017. Now, finally, a High Court judge has ruled that they can take their case to a judicial review of transgender affirming policies in English primary schools. In 2017, the Rowes were forced to educate their children at home after their son's Church of England primary school said that their children could be labelled 'transphobic' bullies for not being trans-affirming. The parents from the Isle of Wight were the first to expose the impact that trans affirming policies were having on UK primary schools.
Paul called marriage a profound mystery that “refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32). Like a masterful muralist, God painted the gospel upon the walls of marriage that our human unions might illustrate the heavenly union between Christ and his people. God calls the wife to graciously submit and respect her husband so that, through her, the world might behold the church’s singular devotion to her head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise, the husband’s sacrificial love and patient consideration of his bride is a miniature model of Christ’s affections for his bride, the church, of whom we sing, “from heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride, with his own blood he bought her and for her life he died.”
When William Siraj was shot dead last Sunday (30 January) on his way home after preaching at a church service in Pakistan, his family was left bereft in more ways than one. Their beloved husband, father and grandfather had gone, as well as one whose pension provided income for the family. Barnabas Fund, too, mourned because William was the brother of our dear Pakistan Coordinator, Wilson Saraj. We are sending help to the family, as Wilson goes to visit, and we will continue to assist as needs arise.
I teach an introduction to systematic theology class as part of a part-time bible handling course alongside pastoring a church. The folks who attend the course come from various backgrounds; some have pastoral and teaching responsibilities in their churches, while others simply want to learn to read and apply God’s word faithfully. Some of the students come from confessional churches (both Presbyterian and Baptist), but most don’t. They are always very enthusiastic and hungry to learn. The thing that has struck me over the years is that not many know very much about the discipline and practice of systematic theology or why it is biblical.
The messages from the Carey Conference are now available to listen online. This year the theme was Covenant, and we warmly commend the messages delivered by Sam Renihan, especially his third on being a minister of the new covenant. In this message Sam unfolds the privilege of proclaiming the joyful news of God's covenant faithfulness, now brought to its fullness in Christ. In a memorable part of his message, he points out that churches do not need their ministers, but Christ as ministered in the new covenant. How liberating it is for ministers and their congregations to rest in the sufficiency of Christ, the covenant head of his church, and not in ourselves. You can listen to all the messages on the Reformation Today website as you follow the link below.
We are thankful to the Christian Bookshop in Dunstable for their tremendous help in running the bookstall for the Carey Conference 2022. Broken Wharfe was able to provide several books for the bookstall and we were encouraged to see much interest in confessional Baptist material. The topic for this year was Covenant. Sam Renihan gave a series of clear and powerful lectures on Baptist covenant theology and its implications for church life among those who confess the 2nd London Confession. The speaker emphasised the rich depths of the theme of covenant theology both biblically and historically. The highlight was in the third talk when Sam proceeded to demonstrate how our churches do not need us, but Christ as ministered via the New Covenant. His application to both ministers and their wives displayed that these matters are not theoretical, but profoundly practical. He exhibited how liberating it is for ministers to rest in the sufficiency of Christ, the covenant head of his church. We pray that more of our confessional heritage will be explored for years to come.
I fear that our country—our whole modern world—has a great reckoning coming, one that we are storing up for ourselves in the haunted institution of abortion. We have a tell-tale heart, beating under the floorboards. We are secretly plagued with a specter from the nauseating mass grave of dismembered bodies. The corpses are buried in a field we hope no one will ever find, but we can never forget. We close our eyes and we are transported to a hallway, every door leading to a room richly furnished, yet empty. Empty tennis shoes, empty bookbags. Outside, we walk by gleaming playgrounds, silent except for the creaking. In our minds, we see hands reaching out—hands that never touched another hand, except to be discarded after death. The gravity of this situation in some ways mirrors that of American slavery, another institution filled with fathomless evil. Human lives were cheaply held, and easily spent.