Author: John McClean

Gospel and Kingdom or Covenant?

Like lots of young Christians who grew up in Australian evangelicalism, Graeme Goldsworthy’s biblical theology showed me the unity of the Bible. I read the Bible with the framework of Gospel and Kingdom for twenty years. Then I started to understand the covenant theology in the Westminster Confession — mainly because I was teaching it at College. But it left a question: what is the relationship between the two? Over the years I started several documents on my computer in which I began to write something to make that clear to me (and then maybe to others). Most of...

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Women and Ministry: American report

Recently, the “Ad Interim Committee on Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church” of the Presbyterian Church in America released its report for consideration by the PCA Assembly in June. I’ve been asked to make a few comments about the report for World Reformed Fellowship. I’m an outsider to the American discussion, since I’m in the ‘other’ PCA (Presbyterian Church of Australia) which has quite different history and context. [1]The Australian Church opened eldership to women in 1967 and approved ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in 1974. In 1977 the majority of the denomination joined...

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The Surprising History of Australian Weddings

Australian weddings have changed — a lot, and that means marriage has changed as well. Recently, thinking about the ins and outs of the marriage debate, I’ve become interested in the history of weddings in Australia. One of remarkable trends is the rise of civil celebrant weddings. These tell us a lot about how Aussie’s think about weddings, marriage and life. Between 1990 and 2010 the marriage rate in Australia dropped by about 20% but the number of couples having a religious wedding dropped by almost 60%! Australia was the first Western nation to appoint “independent civil celebrants” who...

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Being Protestant in the 21st Century

We’ve now entered the 500th year of the Reformation era. There will be innumerable  celebrations and commemorations till the quincentenary of Luther nailing his these to the door of the Cathedral in Wittenburg on 31 October 2017. Whether Luther in fact nailed those theses or not, he certainly wrote them, they were published around the end of 1517, and they proved to be a catalyst for the events which developed into “the Reformation”.[1]Here is a useful recent summary of the evidence for and against the veracity of the story of the nailing. Over the next year Protestant Christians will ask...

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The Eternally Begotten, Sent and Obedient Son — developing and defending a position

There has been a well documented new round in the debate about eternal submission in the Trinity. In a previous post I noted some summaries of the debate, outlined three positions taken by proponents of the eternal submission/subordination and finished by saying I was inclined to the third view. It’s now time to lay out the case for this third view, which I think is a genuine moderating position. So with some trepidation, since this is a technical and contested discussion, here is my suggestion. The typical “eternal subordination of the Son” (ESS) or “eternal functional subordination” (EFS) or...

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