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New Christians

This category contains 75 posts


‘Let no one who is not eager for truth and peace enter here’ (Plato)

Articles on this site express varying points of view, to encourage mature thinking on serious issues. The assumption is that you will want to study a controversial topic from various angles before you arrive at a conclusion, rather than simply believe what someone told you when you were impressionable! (So some stuff here is ‘hot’. Proceed at your own risk!). See the Statement of Faith for John Mark Ministries' theological stance.

 Running Up the White Flag: Surrender as the Way to Follow Jesus

   by Nils von Kalm  Text copyright © 2016 Nils von Kalm All Rights Reserved ( Note from Rowland: this looks good: check it out on http://amzn.to/1VVG93R } “Scriptures about dying to self, finding one’s life by losing it, being crucified with Christ, and living only for Christ make it clear that realizing true fulfillment depends […]

WEDDING HOMILY (Find the Acronym!)

MARRIAGE (FIND THE ACRONYM!)  On the 15th April, 1995, the Rev. Jan Croucher (my wife) and I ‘celebrated’ the marriage of our daughter Amanda, to John Southwell. The beautiful service at the Heathmont Baptist Church in Melbourne, Victoria, began with Amanda’s four cousins – sisters who are all brilliant musicians – playing Bach’s Air on […]

Gratefulness: the Key to Happiness (David Steindl-Rast)

Today (31/12/2013) I watched a recently-recorded TED talk by David Steindl-Rast. Some have said the mantle of Thomas Merton has fallen on this gentle Benedictine monk. I remember when he came to Melbourne in the 1980s and a small group of us were privileged to spend a day with him, sitting in a circle in […]

QUESTIONS & RESPONSES: My new (2014) book/blog

QUESTIONS & RESPONSES: the toughest questions I’ve ever been asked, and some responses Update (10 August 2014): Mosaic Press, with whom I had a contract to submit the total manuscript by October 2014, has gone into liquidation. Sad, that: however the pressure to write (which had often got me up in the ‘small hours’) is […]

Review: Alexander Shaia, The Hidden Power of the Gospels

Alexander Shaia (with Michelle Gaugy), The Hidden Power of the Gospels: Four Questions, Four Paths, One Journey, Harper One, 2010. Now here’s an interesting ‘take’ on the Gospels. Shaia’s approach doesn’t win the approval of some (most?) New Testament scholars. But the names of the people whose endorsements appear on the back cover (Brian McLaren, […]

Ten Cliches Christians Should Never Use

Maybe ‘use with caution’: food for thought here… July 6, 2012 By Christian Piatt We Christians have a remarkable talent for sticking our feet in our mouths. When searching the words most commonly associated with “Christian,” the list ain’t pretty. I think part of this can be attributed to a handful of phrases that, if stricken from […]

The ‘New’ Atheism: 10 Arguments that Don’t Hold Water

The ‘New’ Atheism: 10 Arguments that Don’t Hold Water (Michael Poole, Lion, 2009) Somewhere in Surprised by Joy, before he became ‘the most reluctant convert in all England’, C S Lewis wrote that he did not believe God existed, and that he was very angry at God for not existing. Two contemporary atheists who do […]

The Differential Feature of Christianity

“Without the hypothesis that Jesus is God-incarnate it is hard to make sense of any part of the New Testament. These claims by Jesus and the apostles, taken together, have led Christians to conclude that the valid beginning point for understanding this particular man is plainly and simply that he is truly God while not […]

The Best Books I’ve Ever Read

My journey as a Christian, lover/husband, father, and pastor/teacher/ evangelist has covered different terrains during threescore and ten-plus years. Here’s a rough chronological journey listing books that influenced me at the time. Remember, I’m not back there, stuck where-I-was. I was brought up in a ‘gentle fundamentalist’ church (Open or Plymouth Brethren) and I’m still […]


I don’t know Who – or what – put the question. I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that therefore my life in self-surrender […]