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No, Penal Substitutionary Atonement is Not the Heart of the Gospel.

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I wrote a blog piece earlier this week in which I suggested that the good news of the gospel cannot and should not be reduced to the declaration that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. In the process I questioned whether the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement (PSA), which is a fairly detailed elaboration of how it is Christ’s death saves us from the consequences of sin, is...

Why don’t we simply change the date?

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Australia Day is, for the vast majority of Australians, a day to celebrate the nation we have become. Yet the date on which it is celebrated, January 26, is odd, and to some, odious. Most of our national holiday/celebration days are celebrated on a day that has historical significance that is relevant to the celebration. Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Christmas are related to significant events...

Now This is Really Good News! Reframing the Gospel

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When Jesus burst into the Galilee the Gospels tell us that he came with the news that “the reign of God was near” and called people to “repent and believe the good news”. The Old Testament prophets had spoken of a time when God would deliver humankind from those things that robbed them of life. The poor would be delivered from poverty; the hungry would have full bellies; the...

Does the church have a future?

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The Australian church is not in good shape. Over the last century regular church attendance has declined from around 50% of the population to around 15% today and our younger generations are dropping out an alarming rate. The large decline suggests the issue is not lifestage (i.e. people leave as young adults and return to church when they have families) but generational (i.e. succeeding...

On the shaming of Bathsheba

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One of the most famous stories in the Bible is King David’s sexual abuse of Bathsheba. The account is rather brief. David, who has a demonstrated propensity for violence, is walking on the roof of the palace when he sees a woman undergoing a bathing ritual required by the law. David is consumed with lust. He makes inquiries to determine who the woman is, then sends a servant to bring her to...

A Prayer for Rohingya and Manus Refugees

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This is a prayer I wrote to use in my church. Feel free to use it in yours. Lord Jesus, We come to you who once was a refugee, To plead the cause of those who today are refugees. We come to you as the One who hears the cry of the poor & oppressed, And call you to hear the cry of the Rohingya of Myanmar And the despairing on Manus Island. We pray for the Rohingya, fleeing military violence in...

The most persecuted people on earth

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They have been described as “the most persecuted people on earth”  and they are now the subjects of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crisis. The Rohingya are  a stateless ethnic minority who live in the Rakhine, an area on the western side of Myanmar. They are the people no-one wants. Although the Rohingya have been present in Myanmar since the 12th century, the...

Should Euthanasia Be Legal? A Personal Reflection.

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As someone with a degenerative illness for which there is no known cure, I have more than a passing interest in the euthanasia debate. My fear is not a slow and painful death. Parkinsons does not directly kill its victims. Most Parkinsons sufferers die from the complications arising from a fall that has come about because of their unsteadiness or from aspirated pneumonia that occurs because their...

Protecting the right to discriminate. What should the marriage equality legislation do?

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The nation has voted for the recognition of same-sex marriage, and the challenge in the coming days is to legislate it. Many Christians are calling for a raft of provisions that protect their right to discriminate. The principle that it is unlawful to discriminate against somebody on the grounds of their sexuality is already part of Australian law. The Sex Discrimination Act was modified in 2013...

This Country is Leading the Way on Refugees…and It’s Identity Will Surprise You

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Of all the nations in the world that host refugees,  the country leading the way is none other than the African nation of Uganda. It has a population of 34 million, many of whom live in poverty and in the last few years has taken in more than 1 million refugees.  What sets Uganda apart  is the support and welcome it gives to refugees.  Every refugee household is given access to land that they...

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