Ranald Macaulay criticises an introverted mentality amongst Christians. He says Christians must focus on absolute truth and evangelism that penetrates into society.
Do our genes and our environment dictate our lives, or do we actually have personal freedom? Psychiatrist Richard Winter gives a helpful overview of different schools of thinking over the last 100 years before seeking to share the Biblical view of freedom and choice.
Harry Blamires has been involved for decades in what he calls the “double campaign” of Christian apologetics: (1) expounding & defending the Christian faith and (2) demythologising contemporary secularism. In this opening lecture of a series of three, he explains that Christianity and Secularism are fundamentally opposed.
In his concluding lecture, Harry Blamires seeks to offer his encouragement to Christians as they respond and oppose secularist thinking. He especially focuses on the increasingly liberal approach to academia. At the end of this lecture he answers questions and comments on the series as a whole.
As an introduction to this much neglected subject, John Mackay looks at what the Law in the Old Testament entails and how it should be as valued now. “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Psalm 119:72).
By John Little
The Wesleys were both tireless preachers of the gospel, mightily used in the Eighteenth Century revival. Charles is best known for his remarkable work as a Christian hymn writer. In his estimated 250,000 miles on horseback John was to establish a national network of methodist societies to follow-up new converts to Christianity.
Looking at the start of God’s answer to the universal problem of sin. Shown through the establishment of Israel and covenant relationships.Lecture notesThe Covenant Community: Genesis 12 – Deut. 34The Covenant Community: Genesis 12 – Deut. 34. 15 September 1994
Tracking the highs and lows of Israel’s monarchial reign, including the division of kingdoms. Starting with Solomon, the lecture goes through the books of 1 & 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, finishing by focusing on the task and message of the Prophets.
The third in this series of lectures looks at the occupying of the Promised land – from its conquest, to the rule of judges and then the demand for a king.
This, the final lecture of the series, looks at teaching for the church today and the promises of what is to come when Christ returns. David Jackman focuses in particular on the book of Hebrews, the Pastorals (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) and Revelation.
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” (Genesis 17:7)”Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (Hebrews 7:22)
“With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please.” (Jeremiah 27:5)”His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No-one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34-35)
“I will also appoint him my first-born, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him for ever, and my covenant with him will never fail.” (Psalm 89:27-28)”He will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.” (Zechariah 6:13)
The Human race is destined to progress. This idea has come to dominate modern thought. Man will be his own salvation through science and democracy. Belief in God is not only seen as irrelevant, it is positively harmful. Enlightenment thinking which began 300 years ago has come to dominate the Western World. Its ideas were formally codified in the 1933 Humanist Manifesto.
Suffering is surely something that no Christian can escape, yet there is much confusion on this subject. The idea of a sovereign God allowing tragedies to occur is one that all Christians struggle with, but we know that it is often through suffering that our relationship with God is deepened.12 December 1997
“Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
If we are to be bold in standing for Christian truth, especially under pressure, it is vital that we are convinced that the Bible is true and without error in all that it affirms. This includes the Bible’s teaching on science, history and morality as well as theology.
Converted in the 1920s whilst Fellow and Tutor of Magdalen College, Oxford, C.S. Lewis became a powerful Christian apologist capable of speaking simply to people at every level. His best known works include Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, and The Narnia Chronicles.
This lecture examines the work of one of the foremost Christian thinkers of the twentieth century. Founder of L’Abri, Schaeffer wrote over 20 books on philosophy and theology. He provided a biblical critique of Western culture, teaching that the Bible is true for all of life.
If love is the fulfulment of the law, then do Christians still need the law? If we should obey God’s law, which laws in the Old Testament are still binding on Christians?
Today, parents’ authority is being undermined by public policy and popular culture. A breakdown in respect for the authority of parents leads to all manner of negative consequences. What does it mean for Christians to keep this commandment today?
The sanctity of human life as made in the image of God is protected by the sixth commandment. To murder a person is to desecrate the image of God and mock God himself. Murder, manslaughter, abortion, euthanasia and suicide are all outlawed by this commandment. How is life valued in today’s society? The Lord Jesus Christ taught that this commandment also prohibits unrighteous anger and insulting behaviour.
1 Corinthians 7:23-24 says: “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” Professor Donnelly challenges the Christian’s view of God’s general and personal call on their life.
“Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer” (Isaiah 53). The Son of God came to reclaim ruined sinners by taking on the nature of a servant and becoming obedient to death. Are we ready to take up our cross daily and follow him?
The book of Hebrews describes Christ as the Great High Priest and develops the doctrine of penal substitution. Christ is the only priest who offered himself as a full and perfect sacrifice. We can come boldly to God through the merits of Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16).
In the Old Testament the role of the Kinsman Redeemer was to redeem the property or the freedom of a relative who had fallen into debt or slavery. This is a picture of Christ, the Great Redeemer, who redeems his people from the moral poverty and slavery of sin.
Because of the testimony of the woman at the well, a group of Samaritans came to see that Jesus “really is the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42). Christ is able to provide a full salvation and he is able to keep us. What are the implications for evangelism and for Christian assurance?
On the road to Emmaus, our resurrected Lord explained to two disciples “…what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). What was Christ’s ministry prior to his incarnation? To what extent did he reveal himself to Old Testament believers? To what degree could Old Testament believers foresee Christ’s coming? How is Christ revealed in the Law and the Psalms?
We know from the Bible that Christ is both fully man (Hebrews 2:17) and fully God (John 1:1). How is Christ two natures in one person? Why is it imperative for Christ to be fully human and fully divine? What are the consequences of holding a deficient view of the two natures of Christ? How can this teaching help us in our lives? 6 Nov 2006
The Father has appointed Christ to be judge of all the world, the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). What does this teach us about the righteousness and justice of God? How should it affect our evangelism? Though the salvation of believers is secure, will they also be judged? Are there levels of reward in heaven and levels of judgment in hell? What impact should this have on our attitude to godly living?
The Scriptures tell us that after our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, “…God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything…” (Ephesians 1:22). The total rule of Christ is a present-day reality but not until he returns will everyone acknowledge it (Philippians 2:10). How should the church respond to the present rule of Christ? What impact should this teaching have on the lives of Christians?
By Stephen Rees
In a fallen world how is it that unbelieving men and women are capable of great acts of kindness, can experience a measure of joy and happiness, and possess wonderful skills and talents? What should Christian believers think about this? How should these things affect the way we relate to our unbelieving neighbours and friends? The doctrine of common grace powerfully explains the world we live in.
We have available to us the inerrant, authoritative and complete Word of God, so of what benefit to us are church creeds? Many battles against error have been fought down through the ages of church history. These battles have often been resolved by the drawing up of statements of sound doctrine. But how should we approach and value these ancient creeds in the modern world, especially in relation to Scripture?
The tombstone of Athanasius read ‘Athanasius contra mundum’ – Athanasius against the world. Athanasius made a solitary stand in the 4th Century in defending the truth that Jesus Christ was fully God. As a result he was repeatedly exiled from the city of which he was bishop, but Athanasius continued to show remarkable faithfulness and perseverance in the face of almost total opposition.
The fall of Rome in 410 saw the world many people thought was unshakable, collapse. In light of this, Augustine of Hippo wrote about the city that would never be destroyed – the City of God. In outlining human history as a conflict between the City of God and the City of the World, Augustine presents the true church of Christ as being independent from any place or state. Civic peace in the earthly city can help to further the City of God. But even those who dwelt within the City of God would still face trials and tribulations, until the return of Christ.
How is the Lord Jesus fully God and fully man? This controversy raged in the 5th Century and was answered at the Council of Chalcedon by addressing the two natures of Christ. His deity and humanity were declared to exist “without confusion, without change, without division, without separation”.This not only helps us in our thinking about Christ but should also elevate our understanding of what it means to be human and teach us how we should live out our lives in the world.
From modest gentleman farmer to great soldier and statesman, Oliver Cromwell consistently trusted in God’s mercy and providence in spite of the political tumult of his times. He often cuts an ambivalent figure in British history, suffering from popular misrepresentations of the Puritans as gloomy killjoys. However, Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones has celebrated the period of his Protectorate as “one of the most glorious” in English history. After Cromwell, Parliament gained a status it had never had before.
The great Scottish Covenanter and brilliant university teacher, Samuel Rutherford, was born into an age when the king answered to no-one – ‘The king is law’ (Rex Lex). But Rutherford believed the opposite. He wrote a book called ‘Lex Rex’, translated as ‘The law is king’. The notion that the monarch was subject to a greater authority – God – was so radical that, had he not first died of illness, Rutherford’s courageous stand would have seen him martyred for treason.
By Tim Curnow
One of Victorian Britain’s most prominent evangelical preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon believed firmly that the Bible applied to all of life and to the nation. His life and teaching reflects a conviction that Christians should be an influence for good in the way society is governed. Tim Curnow offers an important insight into the work and influence of a man who sought to “draw politics up into the light and power of Christ”.
Archbishop Cranmer’s reforms in the Church of England led Christianity in this country in a direction that we still benefit from today. He came into office at a time of great uncertainty, but managed to push the Church towards embracing the great doctrines of the reformation. Gordon Murray shows that while Cranmer’s work had a profound impact in many areas, his ultimate concern was the proclamation of justification by faith alone.
As well as being a formidable preacher and church leader, Thomas Chalmers also orchestrated many social initiatives especially in regard to education and poverty. He believed that the Church should be fully involved in the nation’s life, but he also sought to guard the gospel. So he insisted on the rights of a church to appoint a believing minister, rather than have one imposed upon them by a land owner. The Government refused this right and so Chalmers led the Disruption of 1843 where one third of the ministers left the Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland.
In this lecture Nick Needham focuses on Jeremiah 29:7: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Dr Needham helpfully draws out the parallels between the exiled Jews in Babylon and Christians today.
Throughout scripture, beginning with the Fall, there is a conflict between good and evil. Today, Christians are in a battle against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Far from hindering the gospel, there are times when God uses conflict to further his redemptive purposes.
History shows that Christians have long had an influence for good on the world around them. In this lecture, Ranald Macaulay will explain how the Christian faith has had a profound impact upon the moral and intellectual foundations of British society. Christians have pioneered advancements in civil liberty, education, health care and democracy. The past should help and encourage us as we look to the future.
Does the Bible only concern itself with personal piety? Or does its authority extend across other areas, such as work, entertainment or even the life of our nation? The Psalmist says that “The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7b). To heed the words of scripture in all that we do is not only obedient but also wise. In this lecture, Gareth Burke will help us to see more clearly the application of God’s wisdom to the whole of life.
In a fallen world, how is it that unbelieving men and women are capable of great acts of kindness, can experience a measure of joy and happiness, and possess wonderful skills and talents? Why does God cause “his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45)? The doctrine of common grace powerfully explains the world we live in and how we should act towards unbelievers.
Christians are not immune from discouragement and frustration in their lives. In a society where people expect to be able to obtain everything instantly Christians must live with an eternal perspective, and thereby find the strength to persevere. They must ‘keep on keeping on’.
By Colin Duriez
One of the most influential Christians of recent times, Francis Schaeffer pioneered modern apologetics. Converted from agnosticism, Schaeffer went on to study at Westminster Theological Seminary under Cornelius Van Til. Throughout his life Schaeffer countered the philosophy of relativism by defending the existence of absolute truth. In his biography Colin Duriez describes Schaeffer’s teaching as being able to “deeply and personally influence people of every age and position… in a way that few others have.”
Jonathan Edwards is arguably America’s best known preacher and theologian, and one of the most influential evangelicals of all time. Under God his teaching was not only of a high intellectual calibre but was also used by the Lord in the widespread US revival known as the Great Awakening.Edwards is often called ‘the last Puritan’ and is described by J.I. Packer as “a Puritan born out of due time”. Shortly before his early death Edwards was made president of the College of New Jersey, which would later become Princeton University.
J. Gresham Machen was a distinguished scholar, incisive theologian, and committed churchman who fought higher criticism and co-founded two of the most important institutions of American Presbyterianism. He was the leading voice for Reformed thinking during the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early 20th Century. He served as Professor of New Testament at Princeton until the seminary was overtaken by liberals, leaving to establish Westminster Theological Seminary. Likewise, after years of resisting liberalism within the Presbyterian Church, Machen helped form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
John Nevin was one of the most significant American theologians of the 19th century. The favourite student of Charles Hodge at Princeton University, he went on to become a professor of theology at the German Reformed Seminary at Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. He argued against the prevailing revivalist theology of Charles Finney and the individualism of his day. He helped Protestants nurture a high view of the Lord’s Supper. He also worked alongside his close friend and colleague Philip Schaff to promote the vital importance of church history.
This lecture covers the theme of divine immanence in creation, relating it to Eden, the land promised in the Old Testament, the city of Jerusalem, the Tabernacle and the Temple, and how all these move forward to culminate in Christ.The lecture helps to provide an understanding of how God dwells with his people, and the work of the Holy Spirit. It also sheds light on contemporary issues such as the health and wealth gospel.
The Covenant of Grace is the common cord that runs through all of Scripture. It is an expression of the Covenant of Redemption, entered into by the Godhead in eternity. The Covenant of Grace was administered differently before the coming of Christ (Old Testament/Covenant) from after the coming of Christ (New Testament/Covenant). The Hebrew Christians were in danger of going back to ‘Old Covenant’ rites and ceremonies. The writer to the Hebrews points out, especially in chapter 8, how vastly superior (better) the ‘New Covenant’ is, as it is fulfilled in Christ, the mediator of the Covenant.
Israel in the Old Testament was called to be a nation set apart from the world, with clear rules about separation of the clean from the unclean. Jesus shocked the Jewish leaders of his time by sharing meals with sinners, and touching unclean lepers. Instead of Jesus being “contaminated”, his purity transformed their lives. He announces a New Covenant age of spiritual power where believers are called to be salt and light which reaches every part of society. The Gospel drives back spiritual darkness and brings hope to all the nations of the world.
Throughout the course of salvation history God has progressively revealed more and more information about himself “at many times and in various ways” (Hebrews 1:1). This progressive revelation culminated in the person of Jesus Christ. He is God’s final word to all mankind. There is no other name by which we must be saved.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Through his sacrifice on the cross, Christ’s righteousness is imparted to the believer. Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law’s demands on our behalf. Christ did not come to abolish the law. The law condemns the sinner, yet the law is good. It is a friend to all those who seek to live a Christ-like life in an increasingly hostile world.
Though we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, faith is never alone. As James says faith without works is dead. We have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling in whatever sphere of service in every sphere of life – in our jobs, family and society. That includes thinking Christianly about the ethical issues which face us and acting accordingly. Putting our faith into action will be costly but in so doing we will be bringing glory to Christ and having a disproportionate influence for good on those around us.
Christian believers are often puzzled and distressed when they see the apparent triumph of evil over good. We wonder what God is doing when the ungodly prosper. This is a recurrent theme addressed in the Bible. This talk will look at the right approach for faithful believers to take. Satan wishes us to be depressed and discouraged but we must look to God and be strong.
Whatever the Bible declares is true, whether people believe in it or not. While Christians need to realistically assess the level of opposition that they will encounter in the public arena, they also need to remember the utter reliability and truthfulness of God’s Word, in whatever area it addresses, as well as God’s common grace to all mankind and the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. We have every reason to be confident and not to lose heart.
The media and education loudly proclaim that we are a secular society. Sociologists tend to believe that affluence, universal education, scientific and medical advances mean there is no longer any need to believe in God. They say that secularisation and modernity have gone hand in hand. But how does this claim stand up to scrutiny? Has history been distorted to make secularisation theory more plausible? And has belief persisted in a way which undermines the cherished theory?
With so many challenges coming from science, education, politics, and popular culture, there is a danger that some Christians may get swept along by the cultural drift. What do we say to Christians who start to doubt what the Bible says on essential truths? How can the faithful believer retain confidence in what the Scriptures say on these issues? If we are saved through faith, does the presence of doubt imperil our very salvation?
God’s great rescue plan of salvation will lead to the redemption of His people and the restoration of creation itself. What God established in creation is now marred by the fall. But God’s ultimate purpose cannot be thwarted. There will be ultimate fulfilment of all things in the New Heavens and New Earth. This has profound implications for how we live today.
What does it mean to be a Christian citizen in 21st Century Britain? What are the implications of the Gospel for our stance in the public square? Revd Ovey looks at how Christians should respond to our modern culture of entitlement and ‘rights’, in which so many, including the Government, do not submit to anyone higher than themselves. He explains how Christians need to understand why the Gospel is so precious, and where it is under threat.
Why do we ‘work’? What does the Bible teach us about how our work fits into the wider picture of God’s purposes for humanity? Does it matter what work we do? We will explore these questions, as well as current issues of pay, wealth, taxation and our responsibilities to others.
By Colin Hart
As Christians we are in the world but not of the world. But how do we engage with the culture of our day, if at all? Should we abandon, embrace or try to transform it? In 1951 American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr famously described five ways professing Christians have engaged with culture throughout history. In this talk we will use these five ways to better understand how we as Christians should engage with the wider culture.
Evangelicals rightly stress the glorious plan of salvation and the proclamation of the gospel. However, what exactly we are being saved for, beyond this life, is often regarded in the haziest manner. There must be something better and more exciting than floating on clouds and playing on harps ahead of us! Why are we so unclear about the nature of future glory? What should excite us about ‘heaven’? What can we be confident about in that Life ahead? How should seeing the New Creation more clearly affect our thinking and behaviour in this present fallen world? It is time to penetrate Satan’s smokescreen. It is time to regain a clearer sight of Glory.
What does the Bible mean by ‘heaven’? And what will it be for Christian believers to dwell with Christ in the new creation (Revelation 21:3-4)? What will the new earth be like? Are there implications and challenges for our lives and stewardship here and now?
Northern Ireland is under attack from politicians and activists wanting to change the laws on marriage and abortion. Dawn McAvoy from Both Lives Matter and The Christian Institute’s Callum Webster contribute to the discussion.
By Angus Saul
The Christian Institute’s Education Officer John Denning explains his role, and how parents and teachers can engage with schools over the introduction of Relationships and Sex Education and other materials being used to promote LGBT issues in the classroom.
By Angus Saul
A year after the landmark judgment protecting freedom of expression in the UK, The Christian Institute’s Sam Webster gives his verdict on the ruling, explains why it was so important, and dives a little deeper into some of the far-reaching implications.