Friday 12 April 2024

David Sandifer on the Ethic of Innocence

Cambridge Papers are published once a quarter and address a wide range of topics, offering ‘Christian reflection on contemporary issues’.

The latest paper is available online here (from where a pdf can be downloaded here):

David Sandifer, ‘The Ethic of Innocence: Lessons From Early Nineteenth-Century Christian Moral Reformers’, Cambridge Papers 33, 1 (March 2024).

Here is the summary:

‘Apart from costume dramas, Victorianism has on the whole not aged well. In particular, its moral posture is often associated with rigidity and propriety, not to mention hypocrisy. This paper will seek to retrieve for closer examination one aspect of ‘Victorian values’ – the ‘ethic of innocence’ – which animated Christian reformers of the Wilberforce generation, and motivated many of their efforts. It will further attempt to draw some lessons from this mentality for Christians seeking to life faithful lives in the often bewildering cultural context of the twenty-first century.’

Thursday 11 April 2024

Tim Keller on Romans 1–7

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (April 2024) it’s Romans 1–7 For You by Tim Keller, which is available in exchange for an email address here.

Wednesday 3 April 2024


All 12 issues of Primer, published by the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, have been made available for free as pdfs.

From the website:

‘Primer was born out of a desire to help church leaders to stay theologically sharp. Sometimes, pastors train for ministry at a theological college but then find it hard to maintain further study after moving into ministry […]

‘[E]ach issue of Primer takes one topic of theology and expands on it six or seven long-form articles.

‘Each issue looks at what’s been said about the topic historically, and how the church is engaging with it today. There are often reviews of helpful books to encourage further reading as well as chapters focused on how the topic shapes pastoral ministry. There are even interviews now again with ministry leaders.’

The following volumes were published:

Issue 01: True to His Word – on the trustworthiness of Scripture

Issue 02: How Far We Fell – on the doctrine of sin

Issue 03: True to Form – a biblical approach to gender and sexuality

Issue 04: A Place to Stand – on justification by faith

Issue 05: Coming Soon – on the end times

Issue 06: Newness of Life – on sanctification

Issue 07: Show & Tell – on apologetics

Issue 08: How Great a Being – on the doctrine of God

Issue 09: All Being Equal – on the Trinity

Issue 10: This World with Devils Filled – on the devil, demons, and spiritual warfare

Issue 11: A Little Lower than the Angels – on the doctrine of humanity

Issue 12: In the Flesh – on the incarnation

See here for more information, and to download the issues.

Sunday 31 March 2024

Jesus Shall Reign

For this year’s Easter Sunday…

One of my favourite hymns (with more than the standard five or six stanzas we’re familiar with) from one of my favourite hymn writers (Isaac Watts), based on one of my favourite psalms (72).

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Does his successive journeys run;

His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Behold the islands with their kings,

And Europe her best tribute brings;

From north to south the princes meet,

To pay their homage at His feet.

There Persia, glorious to behold,

There India shines in eastern gold;

And barb’rous nations at His word

Submit, and bow, and own their Lord.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,

And praises throng to crown His head;

His Name like sweet perfume shall rise

With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue

Dwell on His love with sweetest song;

And infant voices shall proclaim

Their early blessings on His Name.

Blessings abound wherever He reigns;

The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;

The weary find eternal rest,

And all the sons of want are blessed.

Where He displays His healing power,

Death and the curse are known no more:

In Him the tribes of Adam boast

More blessings than their father lost.

Let every creature rise and bring

Peculiar honours to our King;

Angels descend with songs again,

And earth repeat the loud amen!

Great God, whose universal sway

The known and unknown worlds obey,

Now give the kingdom to Thy Son,

Extend His power, exalt His throne.

The sceptre well becomes His hands;

All Heav’n submits to His commands;

His justice shall avenge the poor,

And pride and rage prevail no more.

With power He vindicates the just,

And treads th’oppressor in the dust:

His worship and His fear shall last

Till hours, and years, and time be past.

As rain on meadows newly mown,

So shall He send his influence down:

His grace on fainting souls distills,

Like heav’nly dew on thirsty hills.

The heathen lands, that lie beneath

The shades of overspreading death,

Revive at His first dawning light;

And deserts blossom at the sight.

The saints shall flourish in His days,

Dressed in the robes of joy and praise;

Peace, like a river, from His throne

Shall flow to nations yet unknown.

Isaac Watts (1674–1748)

Friday 29 March 2024

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

For this year’s Good Friday:

Man of Sorrows! what a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim.

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood.

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

‘Full atonement!’ can it be?

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Lifted up was He to die;

‘It is finished!’ was His cry;

Now in Heav’n exalted high.

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

When He comes, our glorious King,

All His ransomed home to bring,

Then anew His song we’ll sing:

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Philip P. Bliss (1838–76)

Thursday 28 March 2024

Mission Frontiers 46, 2 (March–April 2024)

The March–April 2024 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by Frontier Ventures, contains a number of articles devoted to the theme of ‘Seeking Movements Among Frontier Peoples’.

Here is the issue blurb, which sets the scene:

‘“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known” (Rom. 15:20). Paul’s ambition reflects the heart of God for the unreached – for those beyond the influence of the gospel. That heart is reflected in today’s efforts to reach the frontier peoples – those most distant from gospel witness of any kind. People movements – where disciples make disciples who make disciples, and churches plant churches that plant churches – are the most effective means for reaching the unreached. But not all movements look the same! Biblical foundations, wise strategies, and honest reflection are needed to maximize the fruit of movements.’

The issue is available here, from where individual articles can be downloaded, and the entire issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Friday 22 March 2024

Lausanne Global Analysis 13, 2 (March 2024)

The latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, from The Lausanne Movement, is available online from here, including pdfs of individual articles (this time devoted to member care) as below:

The summaries are taken from the Issue Overview by Loun Ling Lee.

Sarah Hay

Self-care: An Essential Tool for Member Care or a Passing Fad?

Sarah Hay begins by looking at ‘what member care and self-care are, some of the resistance to self-care, and how member care can seek to promote better self-care practices amongst missionaries.’ She highlights the seemingly misunderstood theology of self-care as opposed to self-sacrifice by reflecting on Jesus’s attitude towards rest in the gospel. This misunderstanding often leads to burnout in missionary service. In conclusion, she stresses how important it is ‘to recognize that meaningful self-care is not a selfish practice, but an essential part of a missionary’s tool kit and one which the member care practitioner should encourage.’

Billy Drum

Burnout Among Missionaries: Systemic Issues Leading to Burnout

‘Burnout among mission workers and sending organizations is on the rise,’ writes Billy Drum… These systemic issues in organizations could be identified in the six main causes of burnout as explained by the author with reference to Maslach and Leiter’s The Truth about Burnout. He challenges organization leadership ‘to take a closer look at the practices and policies in place for care of mission workers in cross-cultural settings,’ and ‘affect change proactively, working toward prevention and creating a healthier and more resilient missionary workforce.’ Mission-sending organizations would do better in member care by considering the preventive measures recommended by the author.

Anisa Moosa

Burnout in Zambian Women in Ministry and Humanitarian Work: How Culture Influences the Burnout Experience and Implications for Member Care

How does culture influence the experience of burnout? Anisa Mooza… highlights four aspects where Zambian culture influences burnout particularly in women: hierarchical challenges, extended family and community support, the spiritual dimension in burnout, and keeping up appearances. ‘Christian ministries and humanitarian organizations could benefit from taking into consideration cultural influences on burnout in their staff and employees to create culturally appropriate burnout interventions,’ she concludes.

Faith Stephens

Shame in the Lives of Missionaries: Women Serving in Central Asia

For missionaries in another culture, the experience of shame is more prominent than burnout. Faith Stephens… shows the negative aspects of shame that could harm missionaries, ‘hindering connection with God and others, which ultimately impacts ministry.’ Her personal experience of shame as a missionary enables her to offer ‘tools to equip missionaries to effectively deal with shame.’ She suggests some helpful ways to engage with shame – ‘to recognize shame,’ ‘to reach out to God and others when they experience shame,’ and ‘to recognize and cope with shame messages within each culture that they participate in.’