Augustine on grammar nazis

“People are the more readily offended by such instances [of solecisms & barbarisms that don’t affect meaning] the less sense they have; and they show less sense the more they wish to be thought learned or well educated”

“… Such things can be easily shrugged aside, if you are not fussy about avoiding little errors that do not get in the way of a proper understanding.”

Teaching Christianity II.20

Sometimes sermon notes and powerpoint slides are just taking on more work for minimal benefit

Sermon outlines and PowerPoint? No thanks. Why give yourself another job to do?

I reckon 90% of the benefits can be gained by the preacher announcing their points and the listener who likes outlines/PowerPoint taking notes.

I know some people love preparing sermon outlines and powerpoint slides and find great comfort and encouragement from the thought that they will be a blessing to their hearers.

And I know some people really appreciate the slides and outlines their preachers give them… and sometimes people can’t manage note-taking. So It’s not as if you absolutely shouldn’t ever do it.

In fact there are certain complicated sermons where some slides or outline can be a great help.

However, I suspect there is also a certain amount of habit and preference muddled in here. The simplistic application of  the findings of academic educational research that doesn’t actually require the use of these particular tools in this particular way. In fact, I have heard of other research into the use of PowerPoint slides that suggest they can subtract from effective learning. I’m not convinced that ‘the research’ is quite as monolithic and conclusive as it is sometimes presented anyway.

Furthermore, although, yes, people learn visually. But we need to remember that the whole church service, and the in-person act of preaching (especially when accompanied by appropriate gestures) can be a very visual experience actually. Visual Learning is not equivalent to PowerPoint Slides.

By all means, if you love doing your powerpoint deck, go ahead. If enough people in your church really benefit from it, then bless them with it. If it’s working for everybody: go for it!

But there are many times where I hear preachers stressing out about ‘getting their outlines in for the booklet’ or scrambling to ‘get the powerpoint deck ready for Sunday… and I wonder whether we could all give them a break. One less thing to do. And it wouldn’t be that much of a noticeable difference.

As amazing as the 59 Billy Graham Crusade: the Torrey-Alexander revival of 1902

Just reading about turn of last century. When Melbourne was population of Hobart today and Victoria the population of Tasmania, the Torrey-Alexander revival of 1902 had 150 000 people attended its central meetings + 50 local evangelists hosted satellite events in the suburbs?!!!

This really should be said in the same breath we say “1959 Billy Graham Crusade”.

A few things Christian leaders can learn about how easily sexual abuse allegations are mishandled

A few things Christian leaders can take away from the political/media discussions around sexual abuse in various social institutions:

  1. Assume your ministry’s default response to abuse allegations will likely be inadequate. Resolve to be careful and critical when you have to deal with them.
  2. Understand that different members of the church will see and understand different things. How are you going to open doors substantial input from those outside your leadership team?
  3. Realise how deceitful evil is: it can distort true things and find loopholes and excuses. Keep working on your teaching, sermon application, pastoral counsel and policy writing to not give the devil a foothold.
  4. Beware of how easy it is to fudge things to avoid blame, or say things on a way that implies a victim is somehow to blame.
  5. What biblical applications/warnings could be added to your preaching, youth group teaching, marriage prep, leadership training?

Challenge of being an early Western Australian bishop

“On the other side of the continent in Western Australia, Bishop Riley difficult struggles, because of the huge distances he had to travel, sometimes on foot, more often on horseback or camel, and rarely in the comfort of a ship, let alone a coach, or train, when roads and bridges were so rare.

“RILEY WAS ONCE LOST FOR FOUR DAYS [my caps]. Entrepreneurialism and public relations skills, which few English bishops needed to acquire, were essential to survival in the colonies.”

Ian Breward, A History of the Churches in Australasia

The importance of succession of a duty of leaders

One of the three duties of kingship that Thomas Aquinas talks about, alongside ‘restraint of evil’ and ‘protection from attack’ is ‘succession’. Interesting to contemplate the duty of succession as a very important one when thinking about church leadership.
Just as moral dissolution or an invading an army are threats. So also the mortality of the leadership and the potential for incompetent successors are also big risks.

Second experience of the Spirit was a mainstream view in early 20th century Australian evangelicalism

I have been getting a read on just how much the theology of a ‘second experience of the Spirit for empowered service’ was tolerated or agreed upon by evangelicals at the turn of the 20th century.

Although both JC Ryle’s ‘Holiness’ and BB Warfield’s ‘Studies in Perfectionism’ had Keswick in their sights,  it appears to been a big part in mainstream evangelical life, at least in Australia, at the turn of the 20th century.

Mikey Lynch

About Xian Reflections

Xian Reflections is written by Mikey Lynch.

Mikey graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Arts in 2002. In 2000 he became one of the founding leaders of Crossroads Presbyterian Church where he was the lead pastor for 7 years from 2003.

Mikey now works as the Campus Director of the University Fellowship of Christians, University of Tasmania, Hobart. Mikey is the chairman of The Vision 100 Network (Tasmania) and a founding director of Geneva Push (national) – both church planting networks. He is also the Editorial Director of The Gospel Coalition Australia and the chairman of New Front Door: the Church IT Guild. Mikey is the author of The Good Life in the Last Days: Making Choices When the Time Is Short (Matthias Media: 2018), The Vine Movement: Supporting Gospel Growth Beyond Your Church (Matthias Media: 2023)  he has hosted several podcasts and blogs regularly at Christian Reflections.