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SepSep-Oct 2012

The Evangelical Presbyterian

Sep Sep-Oct 2012 1.50

Reaching the Finishing Line The Dead Church Ulsters Solemn League and Covenant Outreach to Spain

The Evangelical Presbyterian

The Evangelical Presbyterian

is published bi-monthly by the Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Please visit: Follow us on

Take Note
The Greatest Challenge?
As summertime passes and hints of autumn arrive church life gets busy as the programme of activities begin a new season. That in itself can bring all kinds of problems and challenges as we seek to reach out into the communities where our churches are located. For some there is the challenge of personnel, lack of resources to meet the opportunities that come our way. For others there is the problem of dwindling attendances at public worship and how best to address this. In some parts of the world the church is facing the challenge of phenomenal growth and that can bring its own difficulty and problems, though for many congregations throughout the UK including ourselves, that would be a positive challenge. Someone once asked John Stott What is the greatest problem facing the Christian church today? to which he replied, Growth without depth. While few churches in our land are seeing any significant numerical growth at present perhaps we should be asking ourselves are we seeing any growth in spirituality in our congregations? The New Testament epistles often exhort us to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 3.18) What does that mean? Its Peters way of saying that we are to be growing in our understanding of truth and developing Christian character that is becoming more Christlike. Growing in grace, and growing in knowledge! Are you prepared to take up the challenge?

The views expressed are those of the Editor and Contributors which are understood to reflect the theological position of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Harold Gibson Stockbridge 2 Barronstown Court DROMORE BT25 1FB

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Cover Photograph
The BC amphitheatre, Miletus. Paul gave his farewell address to the Ephesian Elders at Miletus, south of Ephesus. (Acts 20.17-38). It is now about 10km from the sea due to prolonged silting of the bay.

Take Note: we are to walk in a manner wor-

thy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col 1.10)

SepSep-Oct 2012

Reaching the Finishing Line

The Editor
August may be best remembered for the Olympics and all the hype of London 2012. Now they are over and the aim and expectations of Team GB have been exceeded. The years of hard work and training has been rewarded for many athletes including some worthy winners from Northern Ireland. The Olympic games have a long history and we find the apostle Paul thinking of the games when he refers to an athlete in 2 Timothy 2.5: an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The context of his comment is within that of Christian suffering and endurance. He emphasizes to Timothy that the Christian life is strenuous, involving hard work and suffering. The New Testament often depicts the Christian life as a race, not in the sense of competitiveness, but in other ways; self-discipline, training and obedience. Striving Towards the Goal Paul uses the image of a competitor in the ancient Greek games. The reward was not a gold, silver or bronze medal but an evergreen wreath. The goal he had in mind was not evergreen but eternal. He writes in Philippians 3.14: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Right from the beginning the Christian life is one of striving. Jesus teaches us to strive to enter in at the narrow gate and the objective of Pauls striving promises a splendid trophy, salvation in all its fullness. Only by persevering to the end, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith can we hope to receive the crown of righteousness. (2 Tim 4.7-8) Obeying the Rules As the athlete must compete according to the established rules so the Christian life is to be lived lawfully, obeying the rules. We live in a rebellious age and the present generation is one that does not like rules and authority. We see this even in church life and among Bible believing people. Many dismiss submitting to authority in the church and the notion that we can sit loose to membership of the visible church is not obeying the rules. The Apostles would never have affirmed the Christian professions of those who do not submit themselves to the Church. Obeying Gods rules is evidence of our justification. Honouring Gods law and keeping his commandments is the fruit of saving grace. A Workman Approved The Christian life is to be lived faithfully, building on the foundation of Christ and rightly dividing the Word of truth. The good workman is true to Scripture holding on to apostolic teachingbut the bad workman deviates from the truth and imbibes all kinds of error and false doctrine. When Paul was writing to Timothy there were some in Asia who were teaching serious error concerning the resurrection of Jesus. The divinity of Jesus was often disputed and so Paul directs Timothy to give himself to the diligent study of Gods Word. Our day and generation is faced with errors and heresies of every kind and so we too must be diligent in correctly handling the Word of God that we may be approved workmen able to pass on the

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glorious truths of the Christian Gospel to others. In Pauls spiritual economy, we give the sweat, and God gives the results.1 Keeping the Faith As the race of life for Paul was drawing to a close he could say: I have kept the faith. Paul has reminded Timothy of the sufficiency of Scripture, it reveals Gods way of salvation, it is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. Above all, Scripture is breathed out by God. The spirit of the age challenges the authority and inerrancy of the Bible and generally consigns it to the distant past with little relevance for this 21 st century. However, we believe the Bible to be the living and abiding Word of God, giving living water to thirsty souls and life to those who were once dead in trespasses and sins. Holding on to the truth of Scripture is vital, thats why Paul instructs Timothy to preach the word and continue in what he had learned and firmly believed. The Word of God is our sword for the spiritual battle in which we engage and it is to the Bible we must always look, feeding upon it every day so that we may find strength and energy for the Christian race. As one hymn puts it,
So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride, Give grace for every hurdle, That we may run with faith to win the prize Of a servant good and faithful.2

Receiving the Crown As Paul looks back over his life and gives counsel and instruction to Timothy he is in sight of the goal, the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Ligon Duncan recounts a conversation between Derek Thomas and Geoff Thomas some years ago, Geoff said, Derek, when I was a young man first going into the ministry, I wanted to do something great, but now I just want to cross the finish line. 3 The Christian life is often a long hard road, a tiring race and often a real struggle to keep going. Thats why we need to be encouragers of one another, exhorting one another so that we not only reach the finishing line but cross over it. There is a note of triumph in Pauls words, although a prisoner and as life draws to a close he takes time to reflect on the past, the trials he faced, the friends that forsook him, the opposition he endured and the isolation he experienced, yet, he says: the Lord stood with me and strengthened me. In all of this he sees the providence of God, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. Paul now awaits that crown of righteousness that is awarded by the righteous Judge, not just to Paul but to all those who love his appearing and who long to hear those words of Jesus Well done, good and faithful servant, enter in to the joy of the Lord. How are you faring in the Christian race? Lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus. (Heb 12.1-2)
1 2 3

Entrusted with the Gospel, Pastoral Expositions of 2 Timothy, Crossway, 2010, Mark Driscoll, p 68. O Church Arise, Stuart Townend & Getty Cited by Ligon Duncan, Entrusted with the Gospel, p 137.

SepSep-Oct 2012

The 7 ChurchesJesus speaks to his church today

Rev 3.1-6The Dead Church

Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis

Gentle Jesus meek and mild is an old hymn suitable for boys and girls but only partly correct in terms of depicting the character of our Saviour. Yes, Jesus is full of kindness and gentleness and all of us who have faith in him know that for sure. But he is also the Jesus who overturned the tables in the temple and made a small whip to drive out the money changers who were profaning his Fathers house. Here in these verses of Revelation 3 we see the Saviour addressing the church in Sardis not with tenderness and compassion but with words of strong rebuke. The City Sardis was the ancient capital of Lydia and a hub of the woollen and dyeing industries. It was a stronghold of the cult of the pagan goddess Cyble and was known to be a place of licentious and wild living. It was a busy place, a hive of commercial activity. The Church Despite the obvious paganism of the city the church does not seem to have been primarily troubled by massive pressures from outside. Indeed the main problems lay within. The church had the reputation of being very alive and vibrant but according to Jesus this was an outward sham. They were in fact dead (Verse 1). If you had been on holiday in Sardis and had visited the church you wouldnt immediately have come to this conclusion as there was a lot of things going on. There was in the congregation of Sardis a real buzz. Indeed their reputation was that they were very alive (verse 1).However Jesus is not convinced that this buzz is particularly spiritual but rather just formal, outward, mechanical. Its activity that the believers are engaging in because thats what theyve always done. Jesus found their deeds to be incomplete or imperfect (verse 2). The Remnant However, as is so often the case, the congregation of Sardis had a number of faithful folks within the membership (verse 4). They are described as those who have not soiled their clothes which is really an allusion to the fact that this remnant have sought to lead clean liveslives characterised by obedience and service. God often has his remnant. A small faithful group of genuine believers within a churchmen and women who love the Lord and are walking with him and seeking to maintain spiritual priorities in the life of the church. The Appeal Jesus appeals to the whole church that they would become like this faithful remnant. (verse 5). All is not lost. Whilst the church is in a poor spiritual condition there is still time to turn the situation around. For this to take place certain things must happen.

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Wake up (verse 2) The believers who are deluding themselves that all is well in Sardis need to face the reality of the situation before them. They need to wake up. So do we. We need to soberly take a look at the local church to which we belong and ask ourselves some direct questions about the spiritual health of the congregation. There may be a full programme of activities printed on the back of the bulletin but to what extent are we just going through the motions? How many of us, like the faithful remnant in Sardis, are seeking to walk with Christ in close fellowship and communion. Obey (Verse 3) Jesus encourages them to remember what they have received and heard. This is undoubtedly a reference to the apostolic teaching, and if they are going to go forward then first they must go back to basics. Back to the Word. If there is to be any recovery, if what remains is going to be invigorated, then they need to put the Word first. They need to get back to the teaching which theyve received and start obeying it. Please note carefully that its not just a matter of getting in to the teaching but also a matter of acting upon it. One of the tragedies of the reformed world today is that there is a huge amount of preaching going on both live Sunday by Sunday and also online through the many websites to which we have access but is there obedience? Its not just a matter of hearing: we need to start obeyingputting the word into practice in our own lives. Repent (verse 3) Some have wondered why this call to repentance did not come before the call to wake up and obey. I think there is a natural progression going on here. First the believers in Sardis must realistically face where they are at. Then they need to do something about itreading the Word and obeying it. But these steps must not be taken coldly or mechanically. Jesus isnt setting before them the ABC of spiritual recovery as if all you have to do is follow these steps and all will be well. No. The heart has to be engaged. Thats where the repentance comes in for it speaks of brokenness, of tears. They need to cry to God confessing the hypocrisy and sham of their congregational lives and seeking the help of the Lord to get back on track spiritually. The Warning The need for spiritual recovery is urgent. Jesus warns them that unless they pay heed to what hes saying then the future is bleak. I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Verse 3b). Many think that this is a reference to the sudden appearance of Christ on the day of his return. Certainly the reference to his coming like a thief would prompt us to think along those lines but I do think it is more likely to be a reference to Jesus coming in judgment against the church in the event of them failing to listen to his appeal and instruction. The Promise All is not lost. Spiritual recovery is a real possibility but not just for the individual but for churches, congregations of Christs church. When the saints humble themselves before the Lord, recognise their failings, turn to the Word and seek the Lord in brokenness there is a way forward. Jesus reminds them here of that future

SepSep-Oct 2012

glory which will be the portion of all those who, by Gods grace, persevere to the end. They will walk with Him, dressed in white. (verse 4) The walking speaks to us of perfect communion with Jesus while the white clothes speak to us of perfection. Of total cleansing from all sin and defilement. There was also given to our brothers and sisters in Sardis a rather unusual promise when Jesus said: I will never blot out your name from the book of life. (Verse 5) Is such a thing possible? Could my name be erased from the Lambs book of life? Philip Hughes helpfully comments:
It would be altogether wrong to imagine an activity of constant book keeping in heaven, involving not only the registration of new names but also the removal of names previously entered and the restoration of names previously removed. Such a conception could only be conducive to insecurity on the part of Gods people (whose names might be in His book today and out tomorrow) and to uncertainty even in the mind of God himself regarding the ultimate outcome of his redemptive action, which is unthinkable 1

No our names cannot be erased from Gods book. As Derek Thomas puts it : God stoops to our weakness and accommodates himself to our way of thinking in order to reinforce the point that what he desires is our compliance and obedience. 2 So lets listen to Jesus. Lets wake up, obey and repent.

The Book of Revelation, P E Hughes. IVP 2Lets Study Revelation, Derek Thomas, Banner of Truth

The Winter of 1662

Following the Act of Uniformity in 1662, 350 years ago, almost 2,000 of the churchs best men were expelled from their pulpits, cast out along with their families, now destitute and ejected from preaching even in private. Men who were graduates of Cambridge and Oxford were despised and subjected to a campaign of slander and libel. Rather than such persecution putting an end to the Puritan movement, history has proved in the generations that followed that the Gospel would flourish and advance. Think, for example, of the power of the Gospel in the 18 th century evangelical awakenings and in the Victorian era. Even today there is greatly renewed interest in Puritan writings.

Peter Lewis has written: To neglect Gods work in the past is to neglect his work in the present, for throughout history God has raised up men and movements whose great work was to expound and apply that word to their own generation, and by implication to ours also. Such men were the Puritans and such a movement was Puritanism.1

The Genius of Puritanism, Peter Lewis, Carey publications, 1979,

See back page advertisement from Evangelical Book Shop for the new edition of Sermons of the Great Ejection.
In November 2012 we are to have a visit from Darryl G Hart, Adjunct Professor of Church History, Westminster Seminary, California. Mr Harts programme will be advertised when details become available.

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Ulsters Solemn League and Covenant

Wallace Thompson, Knock
We commemorated Titanic in April, and we now mark the next centenary that of Ulsters Solemn League and Covenant signed on 28 September 1912. As a key element of the Home Rule crisis, the Covenant is revered and etched in Ulster Protestant folk memory as being of huge symbolic and historical importance. On the 50th anniversary in September 1962, the Stormont Government declared a public holiday and events were held across the Province. To set the Covenant in historical context, we must go back to the Act of Union 1801 between Great Britain and Ireland. The Union brought considerable economic prosperity, especially to Ulster, but, as the 19th century progressed, Irish nationalists began to demand a new Parliament in Dublin. This agitation was strongly Roman Catholic and it became even more so when, from about 1850, Romes influence on the Irish Catholic Church expanded under Cardinal Paul Cullen. Home Rule was mooted at Westminster in the late 19th century as a potential solution to the Irish Problem. Home Rule Bills in 1886 and 1893 failed when they were rejected by the House of Lords. However, when the 3rd Home Rule Bill was introduced in April 1912, the Lords no longer had a veto, and alarm bells began to ring in Ulster where the Protestant majority viewed the prospect of Home Rule with deep foreboding. They had long feared Home Rule, believing that it would not only break up the United Kingdom, but hasten economic decline and, most worryingly, threaten their civil and religious liberties. To them, Home Rule equalled Rome Rule, and a cursory glance at the history of the Irish Free State/ Republic confirms that they were right. Fearing for their future, Ulster Unionists were determined to oppose Home Rule by all means available to them for they felt, as Kipling said in his poem Ulster 1912, We perish if we yield. In their eyes, Britain was about to sell them into slavery and, in such circumstances, they felt resistance was justified on the basis of both historical precedent and principle. On 9 April 1912, the eve of the introduction of the Home Rule Bill, a massive Unionist demonstration was held at Balmoral. A crowd of 200,000 was addressed by Sir Edward Carson and others, and the rally was supported by a large number of English and Scottish Conservative MPs. The new Conservative leader, Andrew Bonar Law, assured the crowd that they were not alone, and it was indeed clear that they had support throughout the nation and the Empire. To give focus to the campaign, and to bind the people together with a clear agenda and sense of purpose, it was decided to draft a Covenant. When we make a covenant, we enter into a binding commitment to do something or to refrain from doing something. The Bible has much to say about the whole concept of covenant and covenantal relationships, and there are several examples of Covenants between God and man, and between men.

SepSep-Oct 2012

Ulsters Solemn League and Covenant was drafted by Thomas Sinclair, Belfast merchant and Liberal Unionist, and it was, quite simply, an agreement to refuse to accept Home Rule. In light of the close historical and family links and shared experiences between Ulster Protestants and the Covenanters in Scotland, the Covenant was modelled on the Scottish Covenants. And, just like its 17th century predecessors, Ulsters Covenant was a political and religious document which encapsulated the very heart-beat of a determined and resolute Protestantism. It reflects a deep faith in Almighty God, but it is also a reminder of how Ulster Protestantism was forged on the anvil of adversity and how, during their heroic and historic struggles, the Ulster Protestant people had come into conflict with Kings and rulers and felt resistance to be justified. The Ulster Covenant stated, Being convinced in our consciences that Home Rule would be disastrous to the material well-being of Ulster as well as of the whole of Ireland, subversive of our civil and religious freedom, destructive of our citizenship, and perilous to the unity of the Empire, and, relying on the God whom our fathers in days of stress and trial confidently trusted, the signatories pledged themselves to stand together during this our time of threatened calamity and to use all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland. In times of danger, Protestants have tended to set aside differences in defence of their common cause, and the Covenant campaign united the various Protestant denominations. The News Letter noted that religion lies at the very foundation of the lives of the people. Rev Charles Frederick DArcy, Church of Ireland Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore, and later Archbishop of Armagh, said, We hold that no power, not even the British Parliament, has the right to deprive us of our heritage of British citizenship. As an illustration of how the impending battle was viewed, a Day of Prayer and Humiliation was called by churches on the Lords Day before Ulster Day, and Solemn Assemblies were held at some 500 venues on the morning of Ulster Day, Saturday 28 September. As a centenary tract states, People demonstrated their simple and sincere faith by turning to God, not expecting Him to be on their side but humbly seeking to be on His side. The Covenant and the womens Declaration were signed by almost half a million people. Support for the Covenant sent out a clear signal that Ulster would not accept Home Rule. During the Covenant campaign, Carson had stated, It is the soul of a nation fighting against injusticeIt is the protest of men that no gold can buy, the protest of men who will not allow themselves to be sold. The die was firmly cast. Ahead lay the arming of the UVF, preparation for physical resistance and plans for a provisional Government in Belfast. The Home Rule Bill was due to become law in 1914, but, providentially, the First World War intervened and with it, the supreme sacrifice of many young UVF men who served in the 36th Ulster Division. The massive loss of life at the Somme profoundly impacted on the demography of Ulster, but it also went a long way towards ensuring that Ulster would ultimately be excluded from any Home Rule arrangement. The Ulster Covenant was a historical watershed. It was the lynchpin of Ulsters determination, and Northern Ireland remains an integral part of the UK to this day. We do well to remember and give thanks for the faithful stand taken in 1912.

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All Lands to God!

Spain Summer Youth Outreach, 21-30 July 2012
John Roger, Roger Ballyclare, reports on the

It was a real privilege to be able to spend a week with the church in Spain this summer. 8 of us, led by Colin and Hazel Moore helped the local church in Almunecar to run a programme of youth outreach. Introducing the Church Our week started perhaps a little too early, arriving in Belfast International Airport at around 5am (!) on Saturday 21st July to take the 3 hour flight to Malaga. Once we landed, we were met by Manuel and Krisztina Franco, who have led the congregation in Almunecar for 10 years. The church was started by two ladies who regularly studied the Bible together and prayed that the Lord would start a church in the coastal town. God answered their prayers and the congregation has now grown to around 50 people! Football and Testimony We spent the week helping the church to run two main activities. After a morning swim, a not very Spanish breakfast and devotional time we travelled from our apartment by the beach to the town centre to run a football club for two hours each day. Around 40 different boys attended the club and enjoyed the (limited!) coaching and matches that we played with them, and the free football kits that had been donated by Linfield FC (who would have thought the Blues had such an international following!). Each day one of the team shared their testimony and it was encouraging to see the boys listening and responding with questions. Pray that God would continue to speak to them. Holiday Bible Club After a much more cultured lunch and afternoon siesta (well, when in Spain...!) we travelled back to the church to run a Holiday Bible Club (HBC) each evening. Similar to our own HBCs, we had choruses, quizzes, crafts and a Bible story each night, which focussed on different champions from the Bible. Around 15-20 different children attended throughout the week and it was great to see Manuel and Krisztina being able to make contact with their parents and families through the club. Since we got home weve heard that one of the families has started to attend the church! BBQ On the Friday evening we hosted a BBQ for the teenagers who had attended the football club. 15 of them came, bringing friends and girlfriends with them and we

SepSep-Oct 2012

had a great time eating (very pink!) hamburgers and teaching them Christian songs in English. 5 of the boys came back to the church on the Sunday morning. Pray that God would speak to these boys. God at Work It was wonderful to see God at work in the church in Spain. Personally, I learnt a lot the temptation to judge the success of our work on numbers is very real, but God cares about the 1s and 2s as much as the 10s or 20s. As a team we were encouraged to see God at work in the church, challenged by the dedication and humility of Manuel and Krisztina, and most of all thankful for the opportunity to take Gods Word to lives that desperately need its transforming power. Please continue to pray for: Growth and blessing in the church in Almunecar The children who we reached to understand their need for a personal Saviour Young Christians in the church to grow and be more active in service Strength and encouragement for Manuel and Krisztina as they lead the church Thanks to the Lord for team unity and blessing on outreach activities


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How was the trip? asked Mum as the children flung their bags into the car and climbed in after them. Great! answered Philip. We learned about habitats. Our group studied sand hills and rock pools. Have you ever touched a sea anemone? Before Mum could answer, Philips younger sister Connie joined in. We looked for bugs. Lisa and I found 19. But I liked playing on the beach best. She paused. Whats for tea? Im hungry! There was more talk about the trip when Dad came home. He admired Connies picture of a beetle and had a go at Philips quiz on plants. Theres something else, added Philip, as Dad started setting the table. At the beach we passed a big rock with fossils in itloads of little shellfish. Our leader asked how they got there and I said they had been buried during Noahs flood when the water was throwing mud and rocks everywhere. Go on, encouraged Dad. Thats what I wanted to tell you. He said it couldnt have anything to do with Noah, because the fossils were millions of years oldway before there were people on the earth. He made my answer sound silly and everyone laughed. Was I wrong, Dad? No, son, you werent, Dad reassured him. He pointed to the dish which Mum had just taken out of the oven. How did that lasagne get here?... Im serious, kids, he continued, seeing Connie and Philips bemused expressions. I guess Mum made it this morning, suggested Connie. Or she could have made it last week and put it in the freezer, added Philip. But how do you know whos right? persisted Dad. Has anyone thought of asking me? laughed Mum, spoon in hand. Because I can tell you I cooked the lasagne yesterday afternoon and thats final!

SepSep-Oct 2012

The point being, explained Dad, if we want to know how the fossils got there, lets ask someone who was there, the only person who knows. Thats God! exclaimed Connie. So lets find the answer in the Bible! Good idea, agreed Dad, but lets eat first. Heres what it says in Genesis, announced Philip later that evening. He stood holding a notebook and looking like a reporter. Shellfish were made on day five of creation. I think people who believe the Bible have worked out thats about 6000 years ago. Adam and Eve were made the next day, not millions of years later. I couldnt find anything about fossils, but the bible says every living creature died in the flood (except the ones in the ark, of course), so that must have included lots of shellfish. And with all that earth and water moving about like God says, most of them could have been buried and turned into fossils. What do you think? he finished. Well done! smiled Dad. Even if we cant prove the fossils at the beach were formed by Noahs flood, we know your leader was wrong about millions of years. Best of all, you stood up for the Bible today, Philip, and Im proud of you. Connie held up a colourful poster which she drawn for her classroom display. Lots of fish grinned out from a rock where they had been turned into fossils. A thought bubble above their heads Stand up said:

for the Bible

If we could talk, we would tell you about Noahs flood!

I love it! laughed Dad. Now your friends will know that youre not ashamed of the Bible either.

Dear God, he prayed, thank you for your wonderful word. Help us all to stand up for it even when other people laugh.

Read more about Connie and Philip next time.


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Church News
It is hoped that over 700 women will gather to listen to an excellent line up of speakers and discover where God's perfect design went wrong. The Evangelical Bookshop is providing the bookstall for this event. Suzanne Kane has brought together a team to run the bookstall, but we still need two more volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Suzanne: 028 9032 0529 Through the bookstall the shop has a tremendous opportunity to circulate books that are relevant to 21st century women and will help them grow in their faith.
Evangelical Bookshop is offering a two year apprenticeship from September 2012. The successful candidate will work towards a Level 2 Diploma in Retail, leading to a fulltime position in the shop on completion of the course. If you are 1621 and want to explore this further, please contact Colin Campbell: 028 9032 0529


SepSep-Oct 2012

Sep 2012: Pray for

PRESS RELEASE 19 June 2012

Saturday 1- Saturday 8 Summer Outreach The work done at Camps, Outreach Weeks, Holiday Bible Clubs, Spain (p 10-11) Give thanks for the time and effort which many in our congregations have invested in these projects. Pray that it will be beneficial as training and strengthening Spiritual response from the children and youth who heard the Word Sunday 9- Saturday 15 Youth Work Its resumption in September All the leader resources we need. A clear sense of calling to this work for all leaders and teachers. Safety in activities, in transport . Adherence to all the regulations that apply. Conversions of children and young people. Sunday 23- Sunday 30 Various The Christian Institute in fighting a range of cases as well as the Sanctity of Marriage. Gods blessing on outreach at the Olympics The Queen, the royal family, the government The Word spoken at many Care Homes The persecuted church in many lands The work of the Gospel in our prisons Christian broadcasters eg, FEBA, MERF Sunday 16- Saturday 22 Presbytery Moderator, Clerk and Committees of Presbytery in discharging duties which take a toll of time and energy. The Strategy project, now with Sessions for consideration at congregation level and due for report to Presbytery in October. Church Development Committee (CDC) who are leading the project.

Affinity is very pleased to announce the appointment of Ralph Cunnington as the new editor of its theological journal, Foundations. Foundations began as a print journal of the British Evangelical Council back in 1978 and has more recently migrated to the web as a free, online production. Its aim is to cover contemporary theological issues by articles and reviews, taking in biblical exegesis, biblical theology, church history and apologetics, and to indicate their relevance to pastoral ministry. The Affinity website now also has a complete archive of every article from Foundations dating back to the very first issue, all available to search and download free of charge - a treasure trove of good theological writing. Ralph is the Assistant Pastor at Aigburth Community Church, Liverpool, having previously lectured in law at both the University of Durham and latterly the University of Birmingham. He then studied theology at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology (WEST) and Westminster Seminary London. Ralph is married to Anna and they have three small children; Sophie, Zach and Jacob.
No 62 SPRING 2012


The Relationship Between Paul o s S teriology and His Ethics Steven K Mittwede
EQUIP! Team, Ankara, Turkey

Public Bible Reading: A Neglected Gift of Grace Derek Bigg

Member and former elder of Christ Church, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, UK


Gospel Chaplaincy In a Secular World Chris Thomas


Pastor of Oak Tree Church, Birmingham, UK & Voluntary Chaplain to West Midlands Police

The Interpretation of John 3:5 Oliver Gross


Pastor of New Street Evangelical Church, Welshpool, Powys, UK

Ralph officially takes up his duties as editor in September but is already considering submissions for future editions of Foundations. Articles should not exceed 8,000 words (excluding footnotes) or 1,500 words for book reviews and should be emailed to
Aggressive Atheism Kieran Beville 51
Pastor of Lee Valley Bible Church (Baptist), Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland

Review article: Aping Mankind Stephen Clark


Minister of Freeschool Court Evangelical Church, Bridgend, UK, Member of the Affinity Theological Team and Chair of the Affinity Theological Study Conference

Other Book Reviews


Gareth Williams, Paul Yeulett, Rohintan K. Mody

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Oct 2012: Pray for

Monday 1- Saturday 7 Evangelical Book Shop The new Manager, Colin Campbell, and the members of staff. A constant vision for spreading the Word of God and reformed Christian literature The business side of the work The continuing progress of online sales The book-stall project at the Womens Conference, 20 October 2012 (p 15) Sunday 8- Saturday 14 Congregations Numerical and spiritual growth at each level of congregational life marked by response to the Word and living to please God. An increased spirit of believing prayer with evidence at all our Prayer Meetings. The Lords provision of all that is necessary to advance the work of his Kingdom Crumlin and Finaghy, our vacant churches. Sunday 15- Saturday 21 Missions Diligence in using Mission Prayer Dairies Peace and stability in Nigeria and the safety of our missionaries there The increasing development of ACTS The Churches and Schools in India Colegio san Andrs, Lima, Peru The spiritual development of the Students at Dumisani Theological Institute Sunday 22 Wednesday 31 Ministers and Officebearers The good health of our Ministers to cope with all the physical and mental demands God to call men into the ministry and the Church offices of Elder and Deacon. Our need for Ministers is now pressing Wisdom from God, energy and prayerful application for Sessions to lead the work forward in each congregation

New Appointments
At the June 2012 Presbytery Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis, was appointed Editor in succession to Mr Harold Gibson who steps down in December 2012 after completing eight years in the post. Following the retirement of Rev Samuel Watson Mr Harold Gibson has been appointed Clerk of Presbytery from January 2013. We are grateful to Mr Wallace Thompson for undertaking the role in the interim.

Allister and Jean Lucas, Crumlin, host the bi-monthly Prayer and Support Group for Daylight CPF in their home to which all are encouraged to come,

Daylight CPT Prayer Meeting

Monday 17 September 20128.00 pm 129 Meadowlands ANTRIM BT41 4EY (Opposite Junction 1 Retail) 028 9442 8631

EP Bound Volumes 20092009-2012

We plan to bind this four-year set in November 2012. We will contact those who ordered 2005-2008 to see if they wish to have the new set. If you wish to place a new order please do so with the Editor. We expect the cost to be around 30.00 per set. New magazines will be used.

SepSep-Oct 2012

Psalm 146Purposeful Praise

Colin Moore, Stranmillis
Praise lifts our perspective from the earthly to the heavenly

Psalm 146 is a declaration of praise to God who reigns forever. It is the first of 5 Hallelujah Psalms that close the Psalter (146150). Spurgeon said of them: We are now among the Hallelujahs Each begins and ends with Praise the Lord What does praising God do? What happens when we seek to praise God? Praise takes our minds off our problems and shortcomings and focuses us on God Praise leads us from individual meditation to corporate worship Praise causes us to consider and appreciate Gods Character Praise lifts our perspective from the earthly to the heavenly. 1 The Proclamation of Praise (1(1-2) This proclamation is more than a call for others to join in praise to God for the Psalmist makes it personal as he summons his own heart O my soul. It is interesting to understand the Hebrew concept of Man the word for soul in the Hebrew means to breathe, to be refreshed, life itself. The Psalmist is seeking to employ all of himself, all of his heart, mind, strength and soul in praising God. There is also a permanence to this proclamation of praise. It is not just a mood or a whim or an emotional outburst. The Psalmist stresses all of his life good and badrich and poorhappy and sadall of my lifeAs long as I live I will praise you. 2 The Preservation of Praise (3(3-4) The advice here from the Psalmist to the people is not to trust in Princes or Kings who are here today and gone tomorrow. Do we trust in people too much? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. (Prov 3.5 -6) Men may have fantastic and elaborate plans to help others but verse 4 reminds us that these are mere plans which often come to nothing ... 3 The Pleasure of Praise (5(5-10) The Psalmist here reminds us that the person who praises the Lord in verse 1-2 will also trust him in all of life. The Psalm concludes with Praise the Lord!a fitting response to all the Psalm has revealed about God. This divine revelation demands our wholehearted devotion thus the climactic shout of Praise the Lord. Praising God is a choice we all have to make. The Psalmist was clear in his intention to magnify God not just in the singing of this Psalm but in all circumstances of his life. Yes sometimes we dont feel much like praising God. Maybe our present difficulties in life obscure our view of God and steal away the praise that belongs to him. At these times especially we must force ourselves to look away from our own difficulties and concentrate afresh on our great and mighty God. We must never allow our praise to be controlled by our circumstances. Instead we must allow our praise of God to control how we respond to our circumstances. Let us take heart and join with the Psalmist in praising God. Surely we have every reason to magnify the Lords Holy name and Praise the Lord together.

The Evangelical Presbyterian

Thoughts from the Student World for City


Peter Grier
You cant find the Trinity in the Bible! Do you worship three Gods? was the rehearsed and firm response from Ashraf, from strict Taliban controlled Pakistan. Those words The Trinity were bad news for me who had to stumble through a mixed-up explanation of why the Biblical God made sense and even worse news for my friend who had to make sense of it all! But wed been there last week when Ashraf had popped round for a meal, so he clarified his question: I mean, you say you believe in this God who is an intimately loving community of persons since eternity past and who always seeks the needs of the otherwhat was it againthe Son serves the Father, the Father loves the Son and the Spirit helps both? Not too sure that hed quite yet grasped the relations between the Father, Son and Spirit, but he continued: and a God who has never been alone or needed anyone outside himself to love. Why do Christians not live in loving community together like us Muslims do? We dont need trinity god to live in far better ways than Christians ... you Christians drive into church in your cars on a Sunday and perhaps meet each other in a house during the week, but you drive away again and never see each otherI dont like this god. Ironically the Muslim community more nearly seemed to reflect that everlasting community of love in the Trinity than mine often did. And he wasnt the only one to notice. Its the Christians in areas of the city that are living in close community that seem to be striving forward in godliness and winning many of those who come to faith in Christ in the city. Its there that Ashraf, the strict Muslim with hatred for the west, Sammie, my Lesbian friend who leads the local LGBT group and Frank, a lonely agnostic student struggling in an individualistic society, have since said: Theres something great about the community herepeople dont seem to do things to get themselves more honourthey just seem to expect nothing back (Ashraf) I hate everything you believe about us, but I cant say a bad word about you all. Id come to you with my problems before Id go to my girlfriend (Sammie) I have to give it to them theres something warm about Christians. They all seem to welcome me in so well, even when Ive never met them before (Frank) By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John) Whether were in the student world or not, may we live in the light of the Triune God, sharing life togetherby eating together after work, looking after screaming kids, making pastoral visits, praying with our Christian neighbours popping into neighbours houses and inviting them in to meet Christian community and hear the Gospel. No, its not Gospel and communityits just the sufficient Gospel of a Triune God. And its a powerful Gospel apologetic which then says: Come join in the everlasting community of other-person-centred Love in the Godhead! Turn from such selfish individualism. This calls each of us to consider some of the big decisions in life: where we live, what job we do and whether we live in our comfort zones or act through a desire to grow in Godliness. Such questions are not easily answered, but the future of the denomination may be helped if we each do.

SepSep-Oct 2012

A Voice from the PastJosias Welsh

Robert Campbell, Londonderry
His Family Josias Welsh was born in 1598, to John and Elizabeth Welsh. John was Minister in Ayr at one time, and Elizabeth was the daughter of John Knox. He received a good education and followed in the vocation of his father and maternal grandfather. Both his brothers died in tragic circumstances one, a doctor of medicine, was unhappily killed up on an innocent mistake in the low countries. His other brother was in a ship that sank. Although he was able to swim to a rock in the water he starved to death, his body in a praying posture. His Personality Robert Blair described him as having a weak body but a zealous spirit. Blair encouraged him to come over to Ireland and he answered the call: He being settled at Templepatrick, became a blessing to that people; being under a great exercise of spirit, spoke vehemently to convince the secure, and sweetly to comfort the cast down. Howie said, he was called the Cock of the Conscience because of his extraordinary awakening and arousing gift. Strangely he was never sure of his own salvation, and once said, That minister was much to be pitied, who was called to comfort weak saints, and had no comfort himself. His Ministry in Templepatrick During the Sixmilewater Valley Revival a challenge came from two Friars from the University of Salamanca in Spain. A debate was organised with Robert Blair and Josias Welsh to defend the revival, but it is recorded that for all their bragging, [the friars] did not appear. Welsh was also active in the Antrim monthly meeting. It was observed as a day of prayer and fasting with two sermons in the forenoon and two in the afternoon. He was one of the preachers. A Deposed Minister The Anglican Bishop of Down suspended and deposed four Presbyterian ministers in 1632 of whom Josias Welsh was one. During this time Welsh preached to large gatherings at his own house. Through his practice of standing at the door to be heard by those outside he contracted a cold which led to his death. End of His Life Welsh died in June 1634, aged 36. Rev Patrick Adair described his final moments as follows: Among many gracious edifying expressions he had also some wrestling. One time when he said oh, for hypocrisy, Mr Blair said to the great company present, see how Satan nibbles at his heel when he is going over the threshold to heaven. A little after, Mr Livingstone being at prayer at his bedside, and the word joy coming out of his mouth, he took hold of his hand, and desiring him to cease a little, clapping both hands, cried joy, joy, joy, for evermore, and then desired him to go on in prayer, and then, within a little, expired. The short life and ministry of Josias Welsh was mightily used of God. He left one son John who was afterwards a Minister at Irongray in Galloway.

The Evangelical Presbyterian

Our Families & Internet Pornography

Ed Underwood, Stranmillis
Internet pornography is not a new topic in the church but it seems that for all the concern that believers express about the problem we are quietly losing the battle. A new study conducted in the US showed that among evangelical young men at evangelical universities, 25% admitted to viewing this material every week and more than 60% said they viewed it on a monthly basis. 1 The same study showed a strong link between the age at which this destructive material was first viewed with the amount viewed and the number of illicit partners the person had in university: the younger the exposure, the more it would be viewed and the larger the number of illicit partners the person would be likely to engage with. The young men surveyed reported feeling guilty but they also reported great frustration with the lack of help and teaching from the church and their universities on this issue. They knew it was wrong but they did not receive any ongoing instruction about the dangers and long-term impact of internet pornography. Nor did these young men feel there was anyone to turn to for help. Is it possible that these young men are not receiving teaching and help because their leaders fathers, Elders and Pastors are struggling with the same problem? Many surveys 2 have shown that more than 50% of Christian men admit to regularly viewing pornography online and anywhere from 20% to 50% of Christian leaders report the same struggle. The damage done has become so widely recognized that even the UK government is now discussing a UK wide block of Internet pornography. 3 However, this is not a problem that will be solved by a government intervention, no matter how sweeping. It is a problem that must be addressed by each family and each church on a continuing basis. Train the Heart Proverbs has an abundance of teaching on the forbidden woman or the adulterous woman. Young men were warned that she was to be found on any street corner, that she was enticing and that to yield to her was to embrace shame, poverty and death. The New Testament is even more explicit in 1Cor 6.9-11, warning that no one who is sexually immoral will inherit the kingdom of God. The clear teaching from verse 11 is that we must be washed from such practices, rather than accepting them as a weakness: they are a symptom of spiritual death. Ultimately, it is a matter of worship. Either we worship God with our whole body or we serve an idol, an idol that gives pleasure but makes us slaves and destroys our families. Recognize the Danger Use of Internet Pornography leads to increased levels of illicit sexual activity, increased numbers of sexual predators, higher levels of child exploitation as well as an increased divorce rate. There is nothing remotely good that comes from the use of destructive material; even secret occasional use can have devastating impacts on ones personal, family as well as professional life. Pornography that involves the exploitation of children is increasingly common and the accidental

SepSep-Oct 2012

use of such can lead to arrest, prison as well as lifetime bans from working with children. It is critical that we have an on-going conversation with our children about these issues and prepare them for a lifetime battle. Repent If we or anyone in our family has been snared by Internet pornography we need to repent and seek help. We have a loving heavenly Father who knows all that we have ever done or thought. Jesus has paid for every sin and will cover us with his blood. We need to bring our sin to light and do whatever is needed to kill its influence in our lives. Jesus taught that we must be ruthless with ourselves when it comes to the influence of sin. If we are to cut off a hand or a foot if it causes us to sin, how much more should we consider removing the Internet from our home, changing work situations or even friends if any of them causes us to remain in the power of sin? It is a mater of eternal life and death. Protect Putting in place Internet filters and accountability systems for our home, work and phones can be a helpful safeguard for us and our families. However, if someone is actively seeking to access pornographic material, the safeguards are easily circumvented. I have therefore made this my last point, as protection from Internet pornography is only effective when preceded by training, recognising the danger and repenting.
1 Place computers in public locations in your home so no one is using the Internet privately. 2 Set time limits on Internet usage. The higher the number of hours someone uses the Internet the higher the likelihood they will engage with Internet based pornography.4 3 Husbands and wives should freely look at the content of their spouses phones and computers. All phones and computers that are in the hands of children and teens should be freely inspected by parents at any time. 4 Set up OpenDNS5 on your home or business network. It will provide free pornography filtering for all the computers on your network. 5 Where there is a need for strict accountability across all uses of a computer Facebook, email, chat, YouTube, web, etc. Spector Pro 6 is a paid product that allows you to monitor everything done on the computer and it will issue reports on usage. This is especially useful where someone is seeking to recover from a problem with their Internet usage.

I would encourage every family and individual to set up basic filtering. If anyone needs assistance I would be very happy to help with the setup. While temptation has always been present, never has it been so universally accessible, literally in our pocket. It is a lifetime guerilla war with a ruthless enemy for which we need to prepare the next generation. May the Lord grant us grace and vigilance.

Chelsen, Paul, 2011, An Examination of Internet Pornography Usage Among Male Students at Evangelical Christian Colleges. 2 3 comment-analysis/2010/11/25/comment-we-need-to-better-protect-children-fr 5 6

Chelsen ibid


The Evangelical Presbyterian

Spiritual DisciplinesSpeech (Part 2)

Michael Trimble, Stranmillis
Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. ( Plato) Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. ( Ab Lincoln) Part 1 asked the question: What does our speech say about us, about our walk with God? It answered with applications from Genesis, Isaiah, James and Jesus.

So what are we to do? How can we discipline our speech? Effect of Speech on OthersAdvice from Proverbs The book of Proverbs offers much practical advice. In his Disciplines of a Godly Man Kent Hughes provides an appendix citing many proverbs regarding the tongue. Some tell us when we should be silent, for example: Where words are many sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Prov 9.10); Who ever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; and when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Prov 17.27-28); Do not slander a servant to his master. (Prov 30.10) Others tell us when it is time to speak up: A truthful witness saves lives, (Prov 14.25); A soft answer turns away wrath. (Prov 15.1); Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Prov 31.26). It is a useful exercise to read through the book of Proverbs to see the many other verses regarding the tongue. And Advice from Paul Paul also gives good advice: Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor ... Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4.25, 29). Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Eph 5.4). Do everything without complaining or arguing. (Phil 2.14). Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Col 4.6). Effects of Speech on Ourselves As well as their effects on others our words can have a direct effect on our own thoughtsreinforcing positive or negative beliefs and attitudes (see Don Colberts, Stress Less - The Impact of Words on Your Own Stress Level, a Christian physicians reflection on coping with stress). In his book The Discipline of Grace Jerry Bridges urges believers to Preach the Gospel to yourself. What steps can you take to take to be more disciplined in your speech? From the advice in Proverbs we could begin with considering if we should simply speak less. A helpful suggestion from our adult Bible Class when considering this topic was to pause and think TNK: Is what we are about to say True, Necessary and Kind. If it does not meet these three tests dont say it! Finally, as our speech is the overflow of our hearts, how are our hearts?

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SepSep-Oct 2012

Evangelical Book Shop


Book Reviews

Moving in the Right Circles 7.99 6.50 Chick Yuill, IVP, PB, 192 pages. This books subtitle, embrace the discipleship adventure, sets out the subject of the book. Right from the outset Yuill seeks to bridge the divide between what we do and say on a Sunday and what we do and say for the rest of the week. For Yuill Christianity and being a follower of Christ is something that affects every area of our life. The book is divided into 4 sub categories with each one addressing an issue relating to an area of discipleship. The first category is walking in the company of Jesus which takes us through such issues as the crucifixion and incarnation. Secondly he looks at how we are to grow in the community of believers, how this affects our view of the church and what real discipleship will look like within a community of believers. Negatively Yuill has a very low view of the preaching of the Scriptures but he is very strong on the interrelation of believers and their engagement with the local community. Thirdly Yuill seeks to address how we engage with the culture of the times, specifically how we engage intelligently and in a Christ-like manner with the culture around us. This is something that is desperately needed within the church today and something that we should all be wrestling with. Finally Yuill points us to our ultimate hope and that is the coming of the king and the day when Christ will return. This book is well written and interspersed throughout with very helpful personal testimonies and study questions at the end of each chapter. Whilst I wouldnt agree with everything in the book it certainly was beneficial and thoughtprovoking reading. Trevor Kane Archibald G Brown, 16.00 12.80 Brown Spurgeons Successor Iain H Murray, Banner of Truth, Clothbound, 432 pages. I had heard the name A G Brown prior to reading this book but that was about it. However the life and ministry set before us in these pages is simply thrilling. This is a name and a ministry on a par with that of his close friend C H Spurgeon. Ultimately Brown became pastor at Spurgeons Metropolitan Tabernacle but for thirty years, in the 1800s, he ministered in the difficult social conditions of East London. His congregation, the East London Tabernacle, grew significantly with hundreds being converted 5,800 people were to join the church during his ministry. Browns passion for the lost is simply infectious and Iain Murray has done yet another excellent job in vividly bringing the life of this godly man before us. Two matters are worthy of particular comment. The final chapter The Man and the Preacher deals with a number of useful issues of relevance, especially to those called to preach the Word. Murray has some pertinent comments on the work of the Holy Spirit in the preparation and the delivery of sermons and also some excellent observations on the value and usefulness of textual preaching compared with systematic exposition. Also while one might not give a hearty Amen to all that is said in the Musical Instruments in Worship Appendix, it is most interesting! A good read. Gareth Burke

The Evangelical Book Shop

15 College Square East BELFAST BT1 6DD 028 9032 0529

Manager: Colin Campbell

Friends and Lovers Joel Beeke 7.99 5.99 A book about love, marriage, and sex from Joel Beeke that is surprisingly candid yet without a trace of smuttiness. Putting Puritans in a new light perhaps, Beeke manages, at the same time, to be theologically thorough and pointedly practical. Fresh and refreshingly straightforward, this is the best book of its kind. Derek W H Thomas Getting Back in the Race Joel Beeke 7.99 5.99 A thorough treatment of the difficult subject of backsliding. It bears all the classic hallmarks of Joel Beekes writings: it is thoroughly scriptural, warmly pastoral, saturated with the best of Puritan wisdom and relevant for all Christians. Iain D Campbell A New Name Emma Scrivener 7.99 5.99 Belfast girl and Oxford graduate, Emma Scrivener, tells of her long and difficult battle with anorexia. Her refreshingly honest account will have you laughing and crying, but also marvelling at God's grace. This book is going to turn lives around. Mike Reeves Atheism's New Clothes, David Glass 16.99 14.50 Another local author, David Glass (School of Computing and Mathematics, University of Ulster), responds to the claims of the New Atheists and presents a positive case for Christian theism. This is 'a must read addition to the growing literature on the sciencereligion debate and the intellectual defence of Christianity'. John Lennox Sermons of the Great Ejection Various 6.25 5.00 This new edition commemorates the 350th anniversary of one great turning point in English Christianity, when 2,000 ministers left the national Church. These farewell Sunday' sermons, August 1662, give an insight into Puritan theology and preaching. Ernest Kevan Paul Brown 8.00 6.40 Written by a former student of Kevan's, this biography tells of his rise to prominence in the post-War years and the significant contribution he made to the life and thought of the Evangelical Movement in the mid-twentieth century. Broken Works Best Catherine Campbell 7.99 6.50 Catherine Campbell provides a practical and inspirational approach to the problem of pain, drawn out of her own experience. Walking the dark road after losing two daughters she addresses squarely the issues thrown up by suffering. A Woman's Wisdom Lydia Brownback 9.99 8.99 With the trend among women for self-help books, Lydia Brownback shows that the advice found in them is short lived and shallow. She points readers to the counsel of Proverbs where women can come to know the Author of wisdom and apply his teaching to every area of their lives. "This is one of those books that should be studied more than simply reada valuable resource for women's Bible studies." Jerry Bridges The Life of God in the Soul of the Church Thabiti Anyabwile 8.99 6.75 Anyabwile extends the concept of Divine Life presented in Henry Scougal's classic The Life of God in the Soul of Man, contending that union with Christ is not merely individualistic, but is discerned in the life of the local church. This vision is not centred on external activities and programs, but on our shared life in Christ.
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