Monthly Archives: February 2013

Preacher, be like the Naughty Kid!!!

Bart_SimpsonCame across this quote from Robert Capton:

I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of religion pills…and flush them all down the drain. The church, by and large, has drugged itself into thinking that proper human behavior is the key to its relationship with God. What preachers need to do is force it to go cold turkey with nothing but the word of the cross–and then be brave enough to stick around while [the congregation] goes through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms. But preachers can’t be that naughty or brave unless they’re free from their own need for the dope of acceptance. And they wont be free of their need until they can trust the God who has already accepted them, in advance and dead as door-nails, in Jesus. Ergo, the absolute indispensability of trust in Jesus’ passion. Unless the faith of preachers is in that alone–and not in any other person, ecclesiastical institution, theological system, moral prescription, or master recipe for human loveliness–they will be of very little use in the pulpit.

Thought this quote was great!

Dont know anything about Capton but according to Tchividjian  he has some dodgy theology of the atonement.

H/T Tullian Tchividjian 

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My friend posted this very thought provoking blog. What do you think?


A Letter about Gay Marriage…

John Steven’s wrote a letter to all the MP’s urging them to vote no to the plans to redefine marriage. I came across this letter today on the FIEC website:

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

I am writing in my capacity as the National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, on behalf of our 510 churches across the country, to urge you to vote against the Government Bill introducing same-sex marriage in England and Wales. The overwhelming majority of members of our churches – together with the other 5.5million evangelical Christians, 5.3million Catholics, 1.98 million Muslims and 0.58 million Hindus*, not to mention other Christians, orthodox Jews and even some atheists and agnostics – believe that it would be wrong and dangerous to introduce this momentous change. It will benefit only a tiny minority of the population, and undermine rather than advance equality and tolerance in our country.

We believe that the redefinition of marriage should be rejected for at least the following compelling reasons:

1) There is no democratic mandate for this change
The introduction of same-sex marriage was not included in the manifesto of any party at the last general election, and the consultation process failed to show that the English and Welsh population are substantially in favour. In any event, the consultation process failed to include the proposed introduction of religious same-sex marriage.

2) It will not achieve equality
If the legislation is passed, same-sex couples will have a choice between a legal framework which is exclusive to gay couples (civil partnerships) and redefined marriage. Heterosexual couples will have no legal framework which is exclusively for them. How does this achieve equality? The proposal that only the Church of England and Church in Wales should be provided with specific statutory protection against conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies is also fundamentally unequal. Why is this protection not extended to mosques, orthodox synagogues, Catholic churches and evangelical churches which want to ensure that they are never required to conduct gay weddings?

3) It is unnecessary
The introduction of civil partnerships already enables gay couples to express their commitment to each other and confers exactly the same legal entitlements as traditional marriage. When civil partnerships were introduced the government granted assurances that they would not lead to same-sex marriage.

4) It will redefine marriage for all
The proposed legislation does not merely extend the right of marriage to same-sex couples, but redefines the essence of marriage, which has been enshrined in English law for centuries. The fundamental concepts of non-consummation and adultery will be amended or abolished so as to address the nature of gay relationships. The legislation will thus redefine marriage for every heterosexual couple.

5) It will undermine the liberties and freedoms of religious believers
Most significantly the proposed legislation will undermine the religious and civil liberties of the very large proportion of the population who believe, in conscience, that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. The Government has made clear that it cannot guarantee that the proposed “quadruple lock” will protect churches in future from having to conduct gay weddings, because it may be overridden by the European Court. The Government has also made clear that it cannot guarantee the protection of the numerous public and private sector employees who cannot for religious reasons accept, support or affirm that same-sex relationships are truly “marriage,” especially teachers who may be required to teach the validity of same-sex marriage as part of the curriculum. It ought to be a fundamental human right, and a liberty essential to religious freedom, to be free to believe that homosexual practice is morally wrong and that same-sex marriage is not truly marriage, and to be entitled not to recognise, affirm and accept same-sex relationships as “marriage.”

For all these reasons I urge you to vote against this proposed legislation, even though you may not share the religious beliefs of those who consider the introduction of same sex marriage to be contrary to the will of God as we do. The current law draws a fair and appropriate balance between the legitimate aspiration of gay couples to enjoy legal recognition for their relationships by means of civil partnerships, but without imperilling the religious liberties of millions of citizens. The introduction of same-sex marriage will destroy this careful balance with unknown long-term consequences for the freedom of religious believers.

The Government’s own figures indicate that only 6000 couples a year are expected to take advantage of same-sex marriage. Why should the long established rights and freedoms of millions of British citizens be undermined to address a perceived unfairness to a tiny minority, who already enjoy full civil rights through the regime that has been specially introduced for them?

Those MPs who vote to support this proposed legislation will find that many religious voters will choose to withdraw their support from them at the next election. I will certainly be encouraging our church members not to vote for MPs who have chosen to trample upon their religious freedoms and liberties.

Yours sincerely,
John Stevens
FIEC National Director

*figures from www.operationworld.org


Heard of 20 Schemes?

For a number of months I have been following the Facebook updates of 20 Schemes headed up by Mez McConnell and i have been encouraged by the momentum which seems to be building up around this great gospel work.

The Mission

Building Healthy Gospel centered churches for Scotland’s poorest communities

Our long term desire is to see Scotland’s housing schemes transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ through the planting of gospel-preaching churches, ultimately led by a future generation of indigenous church leaders.

To that end we will initiate a church planting and revitalization effort by recruiting training supporting and sending church planters,female outreach workers,ministry apprentices and short term interns to work part of church planting teams within Scotland’s housing schemes.

We believe that building healthy, gospel preaching churches in Scotland’s poorest communities will bring true, sustainable and long-term renewal to Scotland’s schemes.

Goals: How will we do this?

  1. Identify 20 schemes as priority areas
  2. Identify, where possible, church revitalization partners in those schemes
  3. Recruit Church Planters, Female Outreach Workers, and Ministry Apprentices to send into those schemes
  4. Develop church partners to support and resource our work in the schemes.
  5. Invest in indigenous leaders by providing training, resources and support

Do join with me in praying for the work of 20 Schemes, that God would reveal himself to many in Scotland poorest communities, that he would raise up leaders in these areas and that His Church would flourish.

Below is a very moving testimony of Mez who heads up 20 Schemes:


Dealing with Depression- A Review

depressionThis morning I finished reading ‘Dealing with Depression – Trusting God through the Dark Times‘ by Sarah Collins & Jayne Haynes (Christian Focus Publications) that I purchased at the Good Book Co Youth Work Conference.  The book was very eye opening and one that I would whole heartedly recommend to all Christians particularly full time gospel workers.

“Depression is a common complaint in the doctor’s surgery and 1 in 5 of the population that is 20% of people will have at least one major episode in their lifetime. We are reassured here that just like our physical health we can go through good and bad emotional health. But how does the Christian deal with this? It is so easy for us to be riddled with guilt but in this book the Christian is reassured that God knows and deals with us by grace, He helps us move from guilt to grace. Written from a Biblical and medical perspective.”

The book is split into 7 clear and helpful chapters as well as 3 Appendixes which are as follows:

  • 1. Depression – what is it?
  • 2. Why do people get depression?
  • 3. Medical treatments for depression and a Christian perspective on them
  • 4. Depression and the Christian
  • 5. Trusting God in the darkness – Help from the Psalmists
  • 6. Trusting God in the darkness – Using what God has provided
  • 7. Helping the depressed
  • Appendix 1: Struggles with Depression by Roger Carswell
  • Appendix 2: Coping with my wife’s depression – a husband’s perspective
  • Appendix 3: A Pastor’s experience of helping someone with depression

The book deals with the issue of depression through the lens of scripture and through the lens of up to date medical research and thought. It is important that we do not see depression as purely a spiritual problem or purely a medical issue. It is essential that help is sought from medical professionals and it is important to listen to their advice. However it is also important for those suffering from depression to not isolate themselves from the Body of Christ as fellowship is particularly important along with prayer and bible reading; even though at times it will be a great struggle indeed.  I appreciate how the book straddles the medical and spiritual as we have a tenancy to hold one above the other.

I found the 3 Appendixes particularly useful where 3 people from different vantage points share their experiences with depression, each giving useful practical advice.

Some of the most useful advice was:

Listen- Just being there is important. Don’t make the depressed person a project, just be there for them, always listening before speaking.

Prayer- Encouraging the depressed person to pray. It may be very difficult. But short, honest, angry prayers are ok. By not praying the ‘lines of communication’ are down, and the person will feel further from God.

Bible- Reading God’s word like prayer is very important, although a real struggle. Often people with depression find them self able to relate to some of the darker Psalms.

Before reading this book I knew very little at all about depression, after reading it I am just a little bit clearer about this very difficult and complex illness. So go and buy it, it’s not even a fiver!