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Apologetics

Best/key articles on this website (plus other personal stuff)

Hi friends,  (Updated May 2014)             

[1] CANCER SCARE: My wife – of 54 wonderful years – Jan has suffered a couple of serious health issues in the last 12 months (mainly Pulmonary Embolism, and an aggressive form of Uterine Cancer + a few other medical issues).   See here for updates. 

(Rev.) Jan Croucher enjoyed several pastoral leadership ministries over the past 25 years, the latest as one of two Pastoral Care assistants at East Doncaster Baptist Church. Unfortunately, due mainly to her health issues,  she has had to (maybe temporarily) step back from this position.

[2] This year, 2014, I’m writing ‘the book of my life’ – Questions and Responses: the Thirty Toughest Questions I’ve Ever Been Asked. See here for a chapter’s work-in-progress: Good and Evil.  

[3] I have been privileged to work (until the end of January 2014) with the pastoral team at St. Martin’s Community Church Collingwood (10 am Sundays, cnr. Wellington and Otter Streets) from May 2012. Cath McKinney, Shirley Osborne, Artie Shearman, John Smith, Kevin Maddock and the other leaders are terrific people! I’ve never met another church like it! Owing to the pressures of [1] and [2] above, I’ve had to relinquish this ministry – probably my last of 11 pastoral roles in various Baptist churches in NSW, Victoria, and British Columbia, Canada. 

[3] I’m available for counseling/mentoring, occasional preaching and retreats for individuals/couples. Email me – rcroucher@gmail.com – or roam around the Ministry Information drop-down menu at the bottom of this page for more information. 

[4] Finally, if you’d like to share financially in this ministry, (paypal, bank draft, or cheque) please email me (again – rcroucher@gmail.com).   If you’re Australian, we have a tax deductible facility. I do not draw a stipend from JMM: all gifts support our various ministries (like paying off a $130,000 retreat centre for pastors/church leaders and others). 

Shalom! Rowland Croucher

JOHN MARK MINISTRIES serves Christian denominations and churches around Australia, and elsewhere, via seminars, counselling, consulting, mentoring, preaching and writing. We have two full-time staff-members – Tim Dyer (Tasmania), and myself, based in Melbourne.  (Rev. Les Scarborough – who lives in NSW – has retired). To summarize our philosophy/theology: we are seeking to facilitate within ourselves, and with/for others, what Jesus called ‘the key of knowledge/understanding’ (Luke 11:52), which he taught was all about ‘justice and love’ (Luke 11:42). In other words, how do individuals and churches get to know and love God better, relate to one another in love and justice, and serve the world in terms of justice, compassion and preaching the Christian Good News (Matthew 23:23)?

THIS WEBSITE experienced a ‘makeover’ during 2010. Thanks to Lawrence Meckan (Absalom Media) for his excellent work. (And to Matt, Bradley, Dave, Martin and others who helped with earlier versions). To find your way around use the Google Search facility at the top of this page, or go to Google with your enquiry and add jmm to it; to navigate elsewhere on the Web, try the Search drop-down menu at the bottom. The most popular articles are here; the best articles I feel I’ve written are listed below. New Christians – or if you’re wanting to know the ‘Christian basics’ – should start here. . To help with your devotions, we have 2000+ articles here. My Blogs on various subjects are here . Since a sabbatical in 2011 I’ve not been sending newsletters via email: watch this page for news, or follow me on Facebook. If you’d like to make contact for counselling, a personal one-to-one (or couple) retreat, or preaching, feel free to email me .

Many REQUESTS FOR HELP/AFFILIATION come each day. Sorry I cannot respond to these communications from African, Asian and Latin American pastors and churches: but please know I pause to pray for you when I read your email. Sorry we cannot finance translations of articles into Urdu or other languages: but feel free to do that yourself (if the automated translation facility here is not adequate).

SEMINAL ARTICLES. If you want a ‘feel’ for the articles I’ve written which seem to be bounced most often to others, they would include:

100 Marks of a Healthy Church

The ABC’s of Effective Pastoral Leadership

Affirming Diversity

Ambition, Excellence and Success

Anglicanism (Tom Frame)

A Pastoral Survival Guide

Atonement

The Best Books I’ve Ever Read

Best Practices in a Healthy Church

Bible: Three Ways of Reading It

Books for Pastors

Christians have a Biblical Mandate: Be Political

Church Growth and Pastoral Stress

Church – Joining a

How Churches Got To Be the Way They Are

John Claypool: My Favorite Preacher

Code of Ethics for Pastors

Communion Meditation

Confessions of a Timeaholic

Dad, Your Kids Need You

The Amazing Dawn Rowan Saga

Dom Helder Camara: one of my heroes

Dr Jensen’s Jesus

Elephants in the Room

Encourage Your Pastor

The Power of Encouragement

Enriching our Marriage

Evangelicalism and Lausanne

Ex-Pastors: Why do Clergy Leave Parish Ministry?

Ex-Pastors’ Questionnaire

Fathers

Finance

Future Church

Good & Evil

Healthiest Churches in the World

Homosexuality and the Bible (Six Articles – and more…)

Homosexuality: Beyond Stereotypes

How to Know the Lord (Social Justice)

Is Gandhi in Heaven? (Christianity and Other Religions)

Islam

Islam: four books by Dr. Patrick and Mrs. Rosemary Sookhdeo 

Theological Liberalism

Living with Ambiguity

Enriching Our Marriage

Masturbation: A Christian Perspective

Megachurches: Some Personal Reflections

Men and Manhood

Ministry as Empowerment

On Loving God

Open Membership in Australian Baptist Churches

A Pastoral Survival Guide [1]

A Pastoral Survival Guide [2: Family of Origin and Self-Understanding]

A Pastoral Survival Guide [4: leadership and Interpersonal Skills]

Pastors in Transition

Pastors’ Wives

Pharisees Ancient and Modern

Politics: Christians Have a Biblical Mandate: Be Political

Preaching

Problem of Pain (C S Lewis)

Recent Trends Among Evangelicals

Retreats

Saints and Pharisees

Same-sex Relationships (Steve Chalke – excellent article)

Shattered Vows: Exodus from the Piresthood

Singles

Spiritual Direction

Spirituality

Spirituality for Ministry

Stress/Burnout Inventory

Stress, Burnout and Ex-pastors

Stress and Burnout Resources

Suffering

Teaching Ministry of the Church

Understanding the Book of Revelation

Universalism: Will God Empty Hell?

Vancouver Adventure

Was Jesus a Christian?

Was Jesus God?

Pastors’ Wives

Women and Ministry

Worship

Your Church Can Come Alive

Your Church Can Come Alive Discussion-starters

~~

FINALLY, please note that on many topics (eg. creation/evolution, Islam, LGBTI issues, comparative religions, and some theological subjects) we have ‘pro’ and ‘con’ articles, to encourage mature thinking about complex issues. There are sound pedagogical reasons behind this approach: too many people – Christian or other – simply believe what they were taught when they were younger and impressionable. You’ll surely want to be open to varying points of view before you land somewhere, ideologically and theologically, won’t you?

If you really want to know my general theological position, it could roughly be termed ‘progressive evangelical’ – something similar to that of the popular author Brian McLaren (see eg. this summary/review of his Generous Orthodoxy ). I’m open, however, to the insights of those to my right (eg. the reality of miracles, Jesus’ resurrection, and the reality of Satan/demons, an aversion to Islamic fascism etc., but I’m generally critical of ‘simplicity this side of complexity’ fundamentalisms of all kinds) and left – eg. on the broad subject of DSG – Diverse Sexuality & Gender – but I’m also critical of the missiologically weak liberalism of the mainline Christian churches).

As followers of Jesus Christ have always affirmed: ‘solo deo gloria‘: to God be the glory!

Shalom!/Salaam!/Pax!

Rowland Croucher

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