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The Briefing

Learning to live in 3D

Have you ever been watching a 3D movie wearing 3D glasses, and done that thing where you close one eye and look at the screen, then open that eye and close the other eye and look at the screen again? Here’s a thought experiment for you. Do the same thing, metaphorically, with your picture of the Christian life.

Thanksgiving

From The Briefing: On Tuesday evening, our mid-week church group enjoyed an American-style Thanksgiving dinner together. The Thanksgiving dinner has been a group tradition for a number of years now, although this is the first time our family has been part of it (we joined the group in January). It …

Bible heading fail: “Taming the Tongue”

From The Briefing: When the biblical documents were originally written, the authors didn’t include section headings. The headings that appear in our modern Bibles were added later, by translators and editors. These headings are designed to divide the text into more manageable chunks, and to make it easier for us …

The gospel and autism

From The Briefing: Today is the United Nations World Autism Awareness Day. According to the Light It Up Blue awareness- and fund-raising campaign: Proposed lighting from Autism Awareness Australia Autism is a complex developmental disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied …

Whose incarnation is it anyway?

From The Briefing: Within the heart of the Christian faith is an astounding truth. God—who created and sustains the universe—became incarnate. The immortal and perfect Son of God shared our messy, sin-prone death-ridden lives of flesh and blood; he became human, walked with us, suffered with us, and subjected himself …

Why does everyone want Jesus to get married?

From The Briefing: It’s déjà Vinci time. There’s been lots of hype recently, but here’s my summary of the publicly known facts: A few centuries after Jesus was around, various people had various ideas about various things. Some people living at some point up to 300 years after Jesus lived …

Word-watch: lessons from a naïve blogger

From The Briefing: A few days ago I wrote a short article in which I used the word ‘submission.’ I’ve just now realized that by using this word, I was being a bit naïve. The realization of my own naivety came when I read Kara Martin’s helpful review of the …

‘Mutual submission’? Scrutinizing a lazy slogan

From The Briefing: A furore has indeed erupted over the use of the dreaded ‘s’-word in certain proposed new marriage vows. The word ‘submit,’ of course, comes from the Bible (e.g. Ephesians 5:22-24); the proposed vows are an attempt to give couples the option of using biblical terminology in place …

The perils of plundering the Egyptians

From The Briefing: flickr: Gary Soup In our previous post, we looked at a story that has often been used as analogy for the way that Christians can use secular wisdom in gospel mission and ministry. This is the account of the Israelites, plundering the gold of the Egyptians as …

Plundering the Egyptians: The place of secular wisdom in gospel mission and ministry

From The Briefing: flickr: knitsteel Rock performances. Accounting textbooks. Voice coaching sessions. Self-help books. Leadership seminars. Adult education techniques. Sociological surveys. Jazz piano lessons. Child safety courses. Food safety courses. Statistical surveys. Statistics lectures. Corporate management textbooks. Primers on psychology. Magazine articles on cosmology. Blogs on modern communication techniques. Tips …

Dangerous love

From The Briefing: flickr: MousyBoyWithGlasses Just recently I came to realise that I had been treating a part of the Bible like a Mr Squiggle picture. Mr Squiggle was a kids’ TV show I used to watch. Children throughout Australia would draw little random squiggles–a couple of lines or curves …

Polygamy in the Bible: A sordid tale

From The Briefing: I saw an excellent interview on Australia’s Channel 7 Sunrise program recently. Christian leaders were being asked about their opposition to proposals to redefine marriage, and were discussing the Bible’s view of marriage. At one point, the interviewer asked a question which is often brought up in …

An anatomy of sin

From The Briefing: flickr: SashaW The first stage in Paul’s announcement of the gospel of God’s grace is a concise anatomy of sin (Rom 1:18-32). Sin is, at its heart, a suppression of truth. This suppression of truth has a kind of logical progression to it: rejection of God (vv. …

Suffer the little children

From The Briefing: The political pressure to redefine the meaning of marriage has recently become more intense and obvious in certain English-speaking countries. But you might have noticed that the vast majority of people in our society aren’t particularly concerned by these developments. Why is that? Here’s one possible reason: …

Grace: all the way down

From The Briefing: A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end …

Among the apostles

From The Briefing: Our own experiences often affect how we read the Bible. Take Romans 16:7, for example: Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsfolk and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. (Rom 16:7)1 There’s something in this verse that …

The reason for the season?

From The Briefing: flickr: adrigu If you insist to a friend that the ‘real meaning of Christmas’ is the birth of Jesus Christ, there are two kinds of response you’re likely to get. If your friend is a traditionalist, they’ll probably agree with you. They might bemoan with you the …

The importance of being unlike God

From The Briefing: Much of our Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like God. God is holy, so we are to be holy. We love, because God first loved us. In fact, our English word ‘godliness’ implies that the Christian life is, by definition, ‘God-like-ness’. But …

Speech and salvation: a role for pastors?

From The Briefing: This is an appendix to a series about gospel speech. Read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. On my previous article about gospel speech, Craig made some comments and suggestions that I thought were so good they were worth a whole new post. …

Speech and salvation 8: Learning how to talk

From The Briefing: This is the eighth and final post in a series about gospel speech. Read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. “I can’t do what they’re doing.” Maybe you’re convinced that gospel-speech is at the very core of what it means to be a Christian. Maybe …

Speech and salvation 7: Insiders and outsiders

From The Briefing: This is the seventh post in a series about gospel speech. Read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. “I’m more comfortable speaking the gospel to insiders rather than outsiders.” Maybe you think that you’re not the kind of person to speak the gospel to outsiders because you’re …