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Straight from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog:

There have been few Christian leaders over the past 60 years who have articulated a more robust, clear-headed and courageous case for historic evangelical Christianity than British theologian J.I. Packer. Biblical studies, soteriology, theology proper, ethics, church history—name the Christian worldview sub-category—and J.I. Packer has written and lectured extensively on it. Dr. Packer represents a trustworthy voice among evangelicals.

Read his short but bold truth proclaiming interview here.

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Been at Hungry Head for a few days with my girls (daughters; Frances and Elizabeth and daughter-in-law; Carly) so I’m just catching up on blogs and news.

Links for later reference: Reports in news re: ABC GAFCON

Disputes in major US denominations, GAFCON website,

Further to our conversation Catherine: Thoughts on Sheltering, Diane – link re: today’s yak husbands/wives/marriage intimacy,

Mainly for Bette and Fran about specs.

This reminded me of an article I have by Susan Wise Bauer about the dangers (in brain development) of young children using computers and other electronic media. My article highlights issues raised in the book Endangered Minds – Why our children don’t think and what we can do about it.” I can’t put the article on my blog but would be happy to email the document to interested people.

About 5 years ago I met a godly, little old lady who, among many other books, sent me a copy of an old Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The times I’ve spent reading it have given me a greater appreciation for the rich heritage the reformers have left for us.

How’s this prayer from it:

Blessed Lord, you have caused the holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant to us to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, encouraged and supported by your holy word, we may embrace and always hold fast the joyful hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed that everything I seem to be reading at the moment; books, articles, blogs, all seem to be honing in on the one thing. Truth, discernment and God’s purposes. I’m going to link some of them together here and add a bit of a comment to tie them in.

I made some comments the other day about the Anglican church’s slide down the liberal slope. Others have noticed, because when I read the gender blog this morning, David Kotter had an article on the stand JI Packer (and other ministers with him) has taken which results in him losing his ministry position in the Anglican church.

I know what I believe but it must be confusing to many, many people. All of this talk of liberalism and division can leave us wondering – how do you actually discern between the issues that matter and the issues which are less important?

A quote from Packer (from the blog post) is worth noting: [Primary issues are] of prime importance, on which it is vital that all Christians agree. There are secondary matters, on which honest Bible students disagree and it is possible to say on those things, or many of those things, these are secondary matters and disagreement on them is permissible.

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I came across an article by Albert Mohler entitled Theological Triage. In it he pinpoints the problem we face: “strategizing which Christian doctrines and theological issues are to be given highest priority in terms of our contemporary context.” In other words, what is important, and what is more important in the emergency room of the Christian church? He indicates three levels of discernment:

First-level theological issues would include those doctrines most central and essential to the Christian faith. Included among these most crucial doctrines would be doctrines such as the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture…These first-order doctrines represent the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith, and a denial of these doctrines represents nothing less than an eventual denial of Christianity itself.

Second-order doctrines [are] distinguished…by the fact that believing Christians may disagree on the[m], though this disagreement will create significant boundaries between believers. When Christians organize themselves into congregations and denominational forms, these boundaries become evident. He uses baptism as an example and says, we recognize each other as believing Christians, but recognize that disagreement on issues of this importance will prevent fellowship within the same congregation or denomination.

Finally he says: Third-order issues are doctrines over which Christians may disagree and remain in close fellowship, even within local congregations. Mohler mentions debates over eschatology in this category, I would also put personal conviction issues like healthy food, dating and courtship, church music, home education, women working out of the home – all the things we should passionately discuss as a means of lovingly sharpening one another but should never allow to divide us.

So, a structure of theological triage does not imply that Christians may take any biblical truth with less than full seriousness. We are charged to embrace and to teach the comprehensive truthfulness of the Christian faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. There are no insignificant doctrines revealed in the Bible, but there is an essential foundation of truth that undergirds the entire system of biblical truth. Albert Mohler’s full article here.

For reference you might find this page of articles on the 9Marks website helpful.

Finally, in my personal reading I have been challenged to be serious, sober, prayerful and joyous; to pray for our ministers and to mean what I say. I was going to add some quotes from books but I’ll have to another time as I’ve been on here too long already.

There have been growing concerns about the Anglican church over recent years. We joined a fellowship of bible believing, evangelical, Anglicans about 8 years ago and we learned of concerns about the adoption of liberal theology among the denomination internationally and the internal conflicts which are a result. There are some (anglican) strongholds of truth still around, though not many.

Being in such a great, bible teaching fellowship may dull us to the extent of the battle but I’ve had a wake up call over the last couple of days. The issues unsurprisingly, are homosexuality, abortion, feminism and the authority of the bible. It’s natural I guess when the church follows the world’s thinking. It is serious, and it is sad.

This summary of the dilema comes from an article in your.sydneyanglicans.net which highlights the issues:

“This is about two versions of Christianity which are in a strong state of difference. You’ve got the original biblical Christianity which the church, the Christian church throughout the world has held to over the past 2000 years and then you’ve got this new liberal postmodern Christianity which has evolved especially in the western world over the last 100 years or so. It’s like two ships that have gradually pulled apart and can no longer really sail together and the trouble is, it’s pulling the church apart as it does that.”

Further to this, the Melbourne Anglican church is heading down a slippery slope on the abortion debate. These things speed up the further along they travel.

Happily, Sydney still speaks its mind on these issues. But I think that unless we (as individuals and personally) take a very serious, thoughtful approach to dealing with them, the arguments may sweep us up and overtake us. Hosea 4:14b “[T]he people without understanding are ruined.”

I am reminded of a bold letter which the Anglican church in Uganda wrote (in 2003) in response to an offer of money by the Episcopal (anglican equivalent) church in the USA, refusing their money because of “their resolution and consequent action of consecrating and enthroning an openly confessed homosexual, Gene Robinson, as the Bishop of New Hampshire Diocese in the Anglican Communion.” The letter reads in part:

“The Word of God is clear that you have chosen a course of separation that leads to spiritual destruction. Because we love you, we cannot let that go unanswered. If your hearts remain hardened to what the Bible clearly teaches, and your ears remain deaf to the cries of other Christians, genuine love demands that we do not pretend that everything is normal…”

It is heartening that there is boldness to seek and preserve truth. We should pray for our leaders who speak for us and teach us.

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