Thursday, November 26, 2015

Nine Reasons Christians Don’t Evangelize

I’ve been a professor of evangelism for almost twenty years. Over the years, I’ve continually considered and asked why most believers never do evangelism. Here are nine of the reasons I’ve discovered, given in no particular order. Read more

Thursday Roundup: Seven Articles

The Fruits of the Spirit

When we look at a tree and see bad fruit, we conclude it is a bad tree (Matt. 7:17-20). When we look at the same tree and it has good fruit, new fruit, we conclude the tree has changed. There’s not just new fruit but a new tree. This is what God does for His people in regeneration. He doesn't just change the fruit; He changes the tree. Read more

Happy Thanksgiving

As Francis Schaeffer used to remind us, the devil rarely gives us the luxury of fighting on one front only. We see a monster in front of us wanting to devour us, and we back away in dread. But if we’re not careful, we might walk into the jaws of another monster right behind us. We usually fight on two fronts at once. Read more

The Sin Of Gratitude

What follows is a manuscript of my Thanksgiving Eve mini-sermon from Luke 18:9-14. Read more

5 Reasons Grateful Leaders Make the Best Leaders

Ever notice the leaders you’re most attracted to tend to be the most grateful? At least that’s true for me. Grateful leaders make the best leaders. And yet being in leadership can make you ungrateful...quickly. Read more

5 Reasons We Should Sing Passionately and Loudly in Church by Keith Getty

Each week, upwards of 100 million people in America make it a point to attend church, listen responsively to the sermons, and pray sincerely. But when it comes time to sing the hymns, the level of engagement drops hugely and seems to be continuing in its decline, quite dramatically. Read more

5 Ways Your Church Mission Loses Power

The mission of the church is powerful. It guided the everyday ministry of Jesus on planet earth. It guides Jesus as he build his church today, through us. It’s recorded variously in all of the gospels but most commonly referenced in Matthew chapter 28.... Read more

Study: Thankfulness still priority at Thanksgiving

For Americans, Thanksgiving is about faith and family, and not much else, a new study shows. Read more

Thanksgiving: A healthy heart

Don't you love it when science and medicine catch up with the Bible? Read more

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Seven Revolutionary Principles from the Small Church that Founded America

Struggling churches can learn a lot from the integrity and perseverance of the church members who sailed on the Mayflower and changed the world.

The Pilgrims didn’t plan to change the world. But they did, anyway.

They began as a small church that wanted to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. They ended up founding a nation and sparking a revolution. This week, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. While many of the stories of the Pilgrims are well-known and mixed with a few myths, here's one not-so-well-known fact: it was a small church that founded the United States of America and changed the world.

Their story began in the small town of Scrooby England. A tiny group of Separatists found themselves under constant persecution because they refused to worship in the manner they were ordered to by King James and the politically corrupt Church of England.

The problem with the Church of England wasn’t that it was big, but that they used their size to intimidate and gain political power, instead of blessing people and promoting the Gospel.

So a handful of believers in a small church decided to leave.

Here are seven principles we can learn from the integrity and perseverance of these brave Pilgrims.... Read more

Also see
The Pilgrims
I posted this article not because I agree with Karl Vaters' take on history but because his article emphasizes the importance of standing up for one's beliefs and persevering.

3 Reasons Leaders Are Disappearing

Are we facing a leadership crisis in the church?

If your ministry education is well behind you and are now a leader in a Christian organization, it’s easy to assume that the way ministry preparation worked for you is the same way it will work for the next generation of Christian leaders. But several factors in the culture and the church are colliding to make a perfect storm for the young adults currently considering ministry. If we're serious about the continuation of our mission, it’s important that we understand the times we face and the ways we can help. Read more

What Is Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that stretches all the way back to a time long before America became a nation. The Pilgrims landed in 1620. They faced brutal conditions and were woefully unprepared. Roughly half of them died in that first year. Then they had a successful harvest of corn. In November of 1621 they decided to celebrate a feast of thanksgiving.

Edward Winslow was among those who ate that first thanksgiving meal in 1621. He noted:
“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we gathered the fruit of our labors. …And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want.”
In addition to the fowl eaten that first Thanksgiving, the Indians also brought along five deer as their contribution to the feast. Presumably they also ate corn. Read more

Also see
5 Reasons Giving Thanks is Always God’s Will
Are You a Thankful Person?
But Where Are the Nine?
What Comes After Thanksgiving?

A Selection of Prayers for Harvest Thanksgiving

After the General Thanksgiving, which is always used at times of thanksgiving for the blessing of the harvest, the following Thanksgiving may be said:

O Lord God of Hosts, you dwell in the high and holy place, and yet you watch over the lowly; you make the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and unjust; by your mighty power you order all things in heaven and earth. We give you heartfelt thanks that you have safely brought us to the season of harvest, visiting the earth and blessing it, and crowning the year with your goodness. We praise you for the fruits of the ground which you have bestowed upon us, filling our hearts with gladness. For these and all your mercies we praise and magnify your glorious name; beseeching you to sow the seed of your Word in our hearts, and pour upon us the continual dew of your blessing: so that we may abundantly bear the fruits of the Spirit, and at the last great day be gathered into your heavenly storehouse; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, is all honour and glory, now and for evermore. AMEN.

For the Collect of the Day the following Collect may be said:

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us the fruits of the earth in their season; grant us grace to use them to your glory, the relief of those in need, and our own comfort, through Jesus Christ, who is the living bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world; to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, is all honour and glory, now and for ever. AMEN.

Immediately before the Blessing at Morning and Evening Prayer and at the Lord’s Supper the following prayer may be said:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise that you have again fulfilled your gracious promise, that while the earth remains, seed-time and harvest will not fail. We bless you for the kindly fruits of the earth which you have given for our use. Teach us, we pray, to remember that we do not live by bread alone; and grant that we may always feed on the true bread from heaven, Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, now and for ever. AMEN.

Midweek Roundup: Eight Articles

Eight Struggles Pastors Face: A Thanksgiving Story

Pastors are struggling. Yet most pastors love their ministries and churches; and they are committed to both. But they still struggle. Read more

When You’re The Pastor But Not The Leader

I was talking with a 25 year old pastor recently. He is frustrated with the church where he serves. He was brought to the church because they wanted him to help the church grow again — or so the search committee convinced him — but they see him as too young to make decisions on his own. Read more
This is not an uncommon situation in small churches and can be a factor in why they are not growing. A pastor is an important agent of change in a church and positive change is what small churches need to grow.
Proverbs: Written to Christ, for Christ

Connecting Christ and the Proverbs isn't so easy. How do we read the book of Proverbs as Christians in a way that would distinguish us from how a Jew might read the same book? Also, why then was the book of Proverbs written? Read more

A Compassionate View: King’s View Assembly of God

In Ione, Calif., a lot of people know Pastor Dan Epperson, and not just because he’s the mayor and there’s a picture of him and his wife on a billboard leading into the rural town of 4,500. Many people know him as the pastor of “the church that cares for kids.” Read more
For what is your church known in your community? This is an important question. Some churches are known in their communities for the wrong reasons; others are not known at all. When your church is mentioned in a conversation, what comes immediately to mind? You can learn more about Rural Compassion on the Convoy of Hope website.
20 Truths from Pioneering Movements by Steve Addison

Jesus founded the greatest movement this world has ever seen. How do we join in? Read more

The Prince of Puritans: John Owen [Free Download]

The latest issue of Credo Magazine is online. This issue seeks to introduce readers to the theology and writings of one of the giants of the faith, John Owens. Learn more

The Colonists’ New Religious Mystery

Sorry, Pilgrims: Jamestown’s spiritual life is suddenly much more fascinating. Read more
The Prayer Book used at Jamestown would have been the 1604 Prayer Book, which, like its predecessor, the 1559 Prayer Book, was substantially the 1552 Prayer Book.
Historic Day for Catholics of Anglican Heritage As Pope Francis Names First Ordinariate Bishop

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will be the first of the ordinariates established for former Anglicans to have a bishop. Read more
"Bishop-elect Lopes, however, is not a former Anglican." He is also celibate. However the Roman Catholic media chooses to spin this development, it represents another step toward the full assimilation of the former Anglicans in the Anglican Ordinariate into the mainstream of Roman Catholicism. A married clergy is an important part of the Anglican patrimony.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Life Boat for North America’s Confessing Anglicans?

By Robin G. Jordan

The Catholic Revivalist vision of the Anglican Church in North America is not that of an orthodox Anglican alternative to the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada but that of a "Catholic" alternative to these provinces. This vision of the ACNA is reflected in the jurisdiction’s governing documents and its working ecclesiology as well as its doctrine and practices.

Under the provisions of the ACNA constitution the Provincial Assembly, the largest and most representative body in the jurisdiction, has a largely consultative role, much like similar bodies in the Roman Catholic Church. It cannot initiate legislation nor can it modify the legislation presented to it for ratification. It may make recommendations but the way the business sessions of the Provincial Assembly are conducted, its delegates are given no opportunity to appoint a committee for that purpose on their own initiative, much less to consider a recommendation of a group of delegates working outside its official structure.

In the Provincial Council bishops and other clergy are represented in numbers disproportionate to the numbers of bishops and other clergy in the jurisdiction. The clergy have as many representatives as the laity. A provision permitting the cooption of additional members of Provincial Council permits the bishops and other clergy to add more Council members from their order. The diocesan bishops are de facto permanent members of the Provincial Council despite the canonical provisions requiring the rotation of Council members.

The College of Bishops has in a number of critical areas encroached upon the role of the Provincial Council, the official governing body of the jurisdiction, and usurped its authority and powers. Key decisions are not made in the jurisdiction’s Provincial Council which includes lay members but in its College of Bishops which consists solely of bishops. The College of Bishops has significant input into the makeup of the various provincial taskforces and their activities. Very little if anything is done without the College of Bishops’ foreknowledge and approval.

The doctrine and practices mandated or sanctioned in the ACNA Ordinal, its Catechism, and its proposed Prayer Book originated with the College of Bishops. They have the finger prints of the College of Bishops all over them. They reflect the theological outlook of the Catholic Revivalists who occupy the place of power in the Anglican Church in North America and dominate its College of Bishops.

This kind of system is not one in which historic Anglicanism can flourish or meaningful reforms can be made. It is the kind of system that will stifle Confessing Anglicans who are faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and stand in the Reformation tradition of the Anglican Church. It is also the kind of system that historically has stymied reformers. Those who see glimmers of hope in the Anglican Church in North America, I fear, are drowning men clutching at straws.

While some may dismiss me as being overly-pessimistic where the Anglican Church in North America is concerned, one has only to look at the history of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation, the history of the nineteenth century Reformed Episcopal Church, and the more recent history of the Continuing Anglican Movement to draw similar conclusions. I believe that the time will come and indeed is now here when Confessing Anglicans will be faced with the choice that the sixteenth Protestant Reformers faced. If they were to bring the Church into line with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, their particular branch of the Church would have to break with the Church of Rome. In the case of Confessing Anglicans, if they are to remain faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and to continue in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage, they must separate themselves from the Anglican Church in North America. They must establish a second province, one that is a part of the ACNA but has its own formularies and form of government distinct from that of the ACNA or is completely independent of the ACNA.

Based on the experience of the American Episcopal Church, I believe that the second option is the most workable of the two options. Catholic Revivalists do not look favorably upon jurisdictions whose self-understanding is protestant and reformed, that are within the mainstream of classical Anglicanism, and which give a full part in their doings to the laity. They are not likely to go along with the formation of a second province within the Anglican Church in North America, especially a second province that has its own doctrinal foundation, its own catechism, its own Prayer Book, its own bishops, and a synodical form of government.

Photo credit: Wales Online/OGL

Tuesday Roundup: Eight Articles

Doctrine Matters: Eternal Life Depends upon It

Christianity is much more than getting your doctrine right. But it is not less. Read more

7 Impractical Leadership Principles and Why I Use Them

I’ve learned, however, the most practical way isn’t always the most prudent way. Let me explain. Read more

10 Habits of Ultra-Likable Leaders

Likability isn't a birthright. It results from acquirable skills that are crucial to your professional success. Read more

3 Ways To Take Your Preaching To The Next Level

One of my biggest problems in sermon writing is what people call “analysis paralysis” – I get so involved studying for a sermon that, eventually, the more I study, the worse it becomes. Read more

3 Ways Social Media Can Help Curb Church Decline

There are many reasons why people attend church less frequently nowadays, but all too often churches aren’t even aware that this is happening. How can this be? Most churches track how many people attend every week, but not so many count how often each person attends. Lots of people are now leaving the church gradually, by attending less often. It may seem intrusive to keep track of how often your members attend, but decreasing attendance frequency is one of the biggest reasons why churches decline. Read more

Who Do You Hang Out With?

Church leaders must consider who Jesus spent time with and seek to follow his lead. Read more

The Norwegian secret to enjoying a long winter

Residents of Norway view their long, dark winters as something to celebrate. How it is possible to be cheerful for the next four months. Read more
Winters have been growing colder and longer in western Kentucky and elsewhere in the United States. Here are a number of suggestions for maintaining a positive winter mindset.
Evangelicals Lag Behind Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses on Church Involvement

Pew ranks 22 denominations by attendance and membership. Read more

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Word to North America’s Confessing Anglicans: Do not Fear, for God Is with You

By Robin G. Jordan

“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV

The breakup of the first Anglican Church in North America even before it got off the ground has made some folks in the second Anglican Church in North America skittish about standing up for their beliefs. They fear that they may be blamed if the ACNA becomes embroiled in theological disputes over their convictions and these disputes lead to the breakup of the ACNA. They have adopted the motto “unity at all costs” even thought it involves damaging concessions where their beliefs are concerned.

Catholic Revivalists have exploited this skittishness. Bishop John Rodgers, at the prompting of other leaders in the ACNA, published an open letter in which he urged evangelical delegates to rally to support of the ACNA’s draft constitution and canons and to ratify the two documents despite their misgivings about their provisions. If evangelical delegates did not vote in favor of their ratification, Rodgers argued, North America would have no alternative province to the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada. Implied in his letter was that if the draft constitution and canons were not ratified, the Common Cause Partnership would fall apart and with its breakup the opportunity to form such a province would disappear. He assured evangelical delegates that the problem areas in the two documents would be fixed once they were ratified.

Evangelical delegates would vote in favor of ratification even though they were not happy with the two documents. The open letter which had been posted on the Internet was subsequently taken down. More than five years later nothing has been done to fix the problem areas.

At the inaugural Provincial Council meeting CANA Bishop Martyn Mimms raised the question of modifying the proposed ACNA fundamental declarations to make them more acceptable to evangelicals. The Catholic Revivalist response was that any substantive change to the proposed fundamental declarations would cause the coalition of conservative Anglican groups to unravel. In other words, they would withdraw from the coalition.

Since the Common Cause partnership days of the Anglican Church in North America a cacophony of voices has been heard on the Internet, accusing as divisive those who call for greater comprehensiveness in the ACNA and urging them to leave the ACNA and/or join a Presbyterian or Reformed church. Almost all of these voices are Catholic Revivalists. A large number of them are members of the clergy. These voices reveal a lot about the attitude of one segment of the Catholic Revivalist clergy in the ACNA toward those who are faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and stand in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage.

This attitude is is shared by a number of ACNA leaders. In their case they have been more cautious and circumspect in what they say. If Confessing Anglicans outside of North America had been more familiar with those who identify themselves as Anglicans in North America, their theological leanings, and their particular terminology and its significance, they might not have been so quick to extend their recognition and support to the Common Cause Partnership and eventually the Anglican Church in North America.

On at least one occasion former ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan publicly called for a new settlement, maintaining that the Elizabethan Settlement, which shaped historic Anglicanism, was no longer relevant for today. His words were reminiscent of those used in an earlier controversy.

At the time of the merger between the ultra-Anglo-Catholic Anglican Catholic Church and the more comprehensive American Episcopal Church, Catholic Revivalists in the ACC used the Elizabethan Settlement as a catchword for what they regarded as “doctrinal and liturgical laxity” in the AEC as well as the Episcopal Church (USA). The ACC took a very dim view of the sixteenth century Elizabethan Settlement and historic Anglicanism.

This negative view of the Elizabethan Settlement and historic Anglicanism is evident in the Anglican Church in North America. It is reflected in its position on the Anglican formularies, which are a product of the English Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement. This position is not only discernible in its fundamental declarations but also its canons, its catechism, and its proposed Prayer Book. It is in conflict with that of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

If Anglican Church in North America breaks up or Confessing Anglicans break away from the jurisdiction to form a province faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and standing in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage, the fault will lie not with Confessing Anglicans but with Catholic Revivalists in the jurisdiction. They have made no genuine effort to comprehend the beliefs of Confessing Anglicans. Rather they have done whatever they can to entrench their views. They have exacted all kinds of concessions from Confessing Anglicans but have made negligible concessions of their own. 

Confessing Anglicans need to face up to the unpleasant truth that whatever they do, Catholic Revivalists are going to blame them for any fallout. They are not going to admit that their own intransigence is the cause. Confessing Anglicans should not let the fear of censure prevent them from taking needed action.

They will be misunderstood. They will be criticized. If they are truly faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and truly stand in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage, however, they have no choice but stand up for their beliefs. Their beliefs are consistent with the Bible. The Anglican formularies derive their authority from the Bible. What they are standing up for is God’s Word and the gospel of grace.  

Turning Your Small Church's Limitations Into an Innovative Advantage

Small churches need to be innovative because we don't have the resources to be normal.

Why bother?

Small churches almost never have enough money, people or facilities to be innovative, right?

That’s precisely the reason we must be innovative. Read more

Three Reasons Why Big Events Are Ineffective in Most Churches

Tens of thousands of churches will have events to celebrate the Christmas season. The events will range from simple Christmas Eve candlelight services to major musical productions.

And most of them will fail their intended purpose. Read more

Your Testimony Is Not the Gospel

We tend to use the terms evangelism and witnessing interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Any time I call attention to the person and work of Christ, I am bearing witness to Christ. But that is not the same thing as preaching the gospel. Read more

Monday Roundup: Eight Articles

Two big issues…. One word answer

Having now been back in parish/pastoral work for four years, I find that there are two issues that often crop up and they are each answered by one truth. Read more

Three Components to Casting Clear Vision

Why is a vision so important for a pastor and a church? Vision determines your direction and prioritizes your limited time and resources. Read more

3 Forbidden Conversations That Positively Shape a Church

At The Journey Church, where I pastor, I strive to shape and protect our culture. Here are three types of things I do not allowed to be said without correction. I stay on the lookout for these three things.... Read more

Why You Should Be Thankful If Your Pastor Behaves Like a CEO

The mission and future of the church are fuelled by the growth and potential of our leaders. Read more

The Pulpit Isn’t a Placeholder

Ministry adultery begins as any sin does: unbelief. Being dissatisfied with the ordinary graces of God you start having eyes for another man’s ministry and reorient it from a selfless service, to ministry with benefits—I’ll pastor because I’ll be rewarded. The pulpit becomes a placeholder for something better. Read more

3 Ways Gospel-Centered Preachers Forget to Preach the Gospel with any philosophy, it is often easier to believe in theory than it is to implement in practice. In this blog we will look at three common ways that those committed to gospel-centered preaching unintentionally forget to preach the gospel. Read more

Seven Ways to Maximize Your Existing Technology

...we cannot always have the shiny new equipment. Many times we simply have to take care of what we have and get the most use out of it. If you find yourself in this situation, there are seven primary things you can do to maximize your existing equipment. Read more

Contextualization at Home: What Would Jesus Do Here?

We can’t reach the world for Jesus if we don’t know Jesus and how He operates. Read more

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Are North America's Confessing Anglicans in a Catch-22 Situation? REVISED

By Robin G. Jordan

If you’re wondering why Catholic Revivalists don’t deny the inclusion of unreformed Catholic teaching and practices in the ACNA formularies or defend their inclusion, the answer is simple. They do not want to draw unwanted attention to these formularies. They do not want to add fuel to the fire and see a developing controversy become full-blown. 

A fully-developed controversy over the formularies' contents might necessitate the revision of the formularies, something that they do not want to see happen. They hope that if they lay low and keep quiet, any controversy over the formularies’ contents will die down. Those bloggers like myself who are drawing attention to their content will find something else to write about.

Most of the criticism of my articles has not come from Catholic Revivalists. It has come from individuals who may be described as Confessing Anglican in their theological outlook. It typically boils down to one thing—an unwillingness to recognize the significance of the denial of official standing to Confessional Anglican beliefs and thinking in the Anglican Church in North America.

Why would they want to downplay the significance of the ACNA’s denial of official standing to their beliefs and thinking? Here again, the answer is simple. They have convinced themselves that in becoming a part of the Anglican Church in North America they are not compromising what they believe. If they acknowledged the significance of that denial, they would be admitting that in actuality they are doing just that—compromising what they believe. They are using their “time, talents, and treasure” to support an ecclesial organization that countenances in its formularies teaching and practices that are openly at variance with the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage.

The reason they find themselves in this predicament is that North America has no Anglican jurisdiction that can be described as being truly faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and genuinely standing in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage, an ecclesial organization that is fully committed to the Great Commission and missions and is aggressively planting new churches throughout North America. North America has the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church (USA), the Continuing Anglican Churches, and the Anglican Church in North America. None of these jurisdictions fit this description.

The formation of such an ecclesial organization would require on the part of Confessing Anglicans the admission that the Anglican Church in North America, which they have been supporting, while it may identify itself as Anglican, not only deviates significantly from the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church's Reformation heritage in the unreformed Catholic teaching and practices mandated or sanctioned in its formularies but also does not comprehend doctrine and principles more in keeping with authentic historic Anglicanism. Confessing Anglicans are indeed faced with a serious dilemma. Do they go on supporting the ACNA, pretending that it is what it is not? Do they recognize that genuine Anglicanism has no future in the ACNA and take whatever steps are needed to secure a future for biblical Anglicanism in North America?

Is it a catch-22 situation?  While it is certainly a very difficult situation, there is a way out of it. The biggest challenge is overcoming the thinking that there is not. Indeed that kind of thinking is what got Confessing Anglicans into the situation in the first place. They let themselves be persuaded that there was no other option than joining or otherwise supporting the ACNA.

If they are faithful to the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church's Reformation heritage, it should be very clear by now that the ACNA does not represent nor does it affirm what they believe. It should also be clear by now that the way forward is a second province--either a second province within the ACNA or a second province separate from the ACNA. Past experience suggests that the second option would be the one most likely to succeed. 

Semper Reformanda: Christ Will Do Everything, or He Will Do Nothing

Reformation Day is fast upon us. Next Saturday will be the 498th anniversary of Martin Luther famously nailing his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, and kick-starting the Protestant Reformation as a result. Because of that, there will likely be many posts in the Christian blogosphere celebrating the recovery of the biblical Gospel from the perversions of Roman Catholic theology. And because of that, there will likely be many Romanist sympathizers who chide us Protestants as divisive, overly-narrow, unity-destroying, and judgmental. They’ll say something like this (a comment we’ve received before at The Cripplegate):
This is what drives me nutty about Christianity. We all believe in the Bible, Jesus Christ, the road to salvation and the Resurrection. Do I believe exactly as you do? I’m sure I don’t, but I don’t believe you’re any less Christian than I am. We need to understand that there’s more that unites us than divides us.
The problem, of course, is that Protestants and Catholics don’t all believe the same things about the most foundational aspects of the Christian Gospel. That means that we’re not just other Christians from another “denomination.” When two people disagree on issues as fundamental as the basis and instrument of salvation (i.e., Christ’s righteousness alone imputed through faith alone, versus Christ’s righteousness imparted through faith and our works) and whether good works are part of the ground of our righteousness or merely the evidence——one of them is a Christian and the other isn’t.

We see that proven plainly by the way the Apostle Paul spoke about the Judaizers. The Judaizers were professing Christians who “began teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’” (Acts 15:1Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). In other words, they taught that the righteousness of Christ received by faith alone is not enough to secure your salvation. To be sure, you need to have faith in Jesus; they wouldn’t deny faith in Christ is necessary for salvation. They would just say it was insufficient; instead, you must “complete” your justification by performing certain good deeds. In other words, the Judaizers sought to add personal works of righteousness to the ground of their justification. They were the first-century counterpart to the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches, “If anyone says that the [justification] received is not preserved and . . . increased before God through good works but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of the increase, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session 6, Canon 24). For the Judaizers, those works were circumcision and the other Mosaic ceremonies. For the Catholics, those works are baptism, participation in the Eucharist, and the other sacraments. Read more
The critical differences between Protestants and Catholics that Mike Riccardi identifies in this article are also the critical differences between Confessing Anglicans and Catholic Revivalists. Both groups identify themselves as Anglican. While Confessing Anglicans are faithful to the Bible and Anglican formularies and stand in the Anglican Church's Reformation heritage, Catholic Revivalists have adopted unreformed Catholic teaching and practices openly at variance with the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church's Reformation heritage. 

Weekend Roundup: Fourteen Articles

When Terrorism Works

But that fear—that uncertainty and hopelessness threatening to paralyze you—is the very thing God uses to strip away your confidence in this world. Read more

Renaming Sin 

If you keep close to God, you will keep from sin. But if you sin persistently, you will fall away from God. Then you will rename the sin. Read more

6 Factors that Can Hinder a Millennial’s Career Advancement

The Millennials are becoming the dominant generation in the workplace. Their presence is felt by everyone. However, some Millennials are expressing frustration in their inability to advance in their career. What separates those Millennials who are able to advance from those who are not? Read more

Nine Financial Decisions Millennials Need to Make Right Now

What are you doing with your paycheck? Read more

Meet the Press

5 starting points for handling your church's media relations. Read more

Four Types of Worship Teams

In my experience with worship teams (either as a member or a leader of one), and in my observations of the worship leading landscape these days, there seem to be four different types of worship teams. Four ways you can go. Four approaches to how to structure, view, and lead a team. Read more

The Generation That Doesn't Remember Life Before Smartphones

What it means to be a teenager in 2015. Read more

NAE, LifeWay Research define 'evangelical'

The National Association of Evangelicals and LifeWay Research released an evangelical beliefs research definition Nov. 19 for accurate and consistent use among researchers. Read more

How Seriously Should You Take College Students

But as a whole, the hashtag activism and social media blitzkrieg that we’ve seen in the past three weeks seems to be predicated on a nonsensical and, in fact, dangerous idea: That college students should, at every meaningful turn, be taken quite seriously. Not only is this a misguided and irresponsible notion, it’s actually an acid to the intellectual lives of the very students that it purports to take so seriously. Read more

Stop pitting security and compassion against each other in the Syrian refugee crisis

Now, the refugee crisis has exploded on the American political scene in a wave of controversy extending from Congress to almost everyone’s Facebook feed. At issue in this controversy are the competing principles of security and compassion, of the United States as a fortress and as a refuge. Read more

Jesus loved outsiders. Why do Christians hate them?

It's a sad and bitter irony that Christians have been very bad at following Jesus' example over the last 2,000 years. For instance, we have repeatedly been responsible for persecution and mistreatment of Jewish people. And now I worry that in the midst of the atrocities perpetrated by ISIS, we are in danger of lapsing into it again in our treatment of refugees. Read more

Winning the war on terror is impossible without Christ

Most Muslims around the world have said that terrorism does not exist in Islam and is a misinterpretation of Islam. This sounds true because the Quran makes no mention of terrorism. But it does speak of Jihad. The world can only succeed in this war when it recognizes that it must fight Jihad rather than fight terrorism. Terrorism is a war without a definition in Islam. That is why Jihadists deny they are terrorists but say they are engaged in Jihad for Allah. By defining the war in terms of terrorism, the West has lost the debate. It has given given Muslim leaders the ability to deny a connection between their faith and the fighting, while also allowing room for the growth of Jihad among Muslims who see this an ideological war sanctioned by Allah in the Quran. Read more

Boko Haram ‘more deadly terror group’ in 2014 than IS

Boko Haram was the world’s deadliest terror group in 2014, ahead of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, according to a report released on 18 Nov. by the Institute of Economics & Peace. It was responsible for 6,664 deaths in 2014, more than any other terrorist group in the world, according to the Global Terrorism Index; it said Islamic State had killed 6,073 people during the same period. Read more

Boko Haram exceeds ISIS in terrorism deaths

Boko Haram has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world, killing more people in terrorist attacks in 2014 than ISIS, according to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index. Read more

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bad Doctrine vs. Heresy: An Exercise in Theological Triage

More than ten years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long!), Al Mohler wrote a seminal blog post outlining what he called “theological triage.” Borrowing the term from the emergency room, Mohler discussed the need for Christians to prioritize certain doctrinal issues over others. In what can be the chaos of an emergency room, medical professionals need to know how to weigh the urgency of various patients’ needs against one another; that is, a gunshot wound should be prioritized over a sprained ankle. Similarly, in the theological world, Christians must understand the difference between (a) “first-order” doctrines—where to hold an errant position actually precludes one from being a true brother in Christ—and (b) “second-” and “third-order” doctrines—issues on which two genuine Christians can disagree and nevertheless be truly saved. In other words, we need to be able to discern the difference between bad doctrine and heresy. Read more

Also see
A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity

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What Is an Evangelical? Four Questions Offer New Definition

NAE and LifeWay Research say belief should trump politics on surveys.

Want to know if someone is an evangelical?

Ask them what they believe.

That’s the conclusion of a two-year collaboration between the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and Nashville-based LifeWay Research to improve the contested ways researchers quantify evangelicals in surveys. Their report, released today, defines evangelical by theology rather than by self-identity or denominational affiliation. Read more

The Need for Illustrations in Preaching

That which makes the deepest and most lasting impression on people is the concrete illustration. For Luther, the three most important principles of public communication were illustrate, illustrate, and illustrate. He encouraged preachers to use concrete images and narratives. He advised that, when preaching on abstract doctrine, the pastor find a narrative in Scripture that communicates that truth so as to communicate the abstract through the concrete. Read more

A Great Way To Get To Know Romans [Videos; Notes]

The book of Romans is an absolute treasure. J.I. Packer expresses it well when he says, “All roads in the Bible lead to Romans, and all views afforded by the Bible are seen most clearly from Romans, and when the message of Romans gets into a person’s heart there is no telling what may happen.” I want the message of Romans to continue to get into my heart and life. To that end, I listened to Michael Kruger’s recent lectures on the book and want to commend them to you. These lectures were given at RTS Charlotte where Kruger serves as President. They were delivered not in a classroom environment but as part of a ladies’ study. They are some of the best teaching on the book I’ve ever heard. Read more

Five Mistakes Pastors Make On Social Media

Social media professional Marty Duren shares five of the most common mistakes pastors make regarding social media. Read more

Thursday, November 19, 2015

North American Anglicans on the Endangered Species List

By Robin G. Jordan

Catholic Revivalism takes two forms in the Anglican Church in North America—Anglo-Catholicism and convergence theology. Anglo-Catholicism has its roots in the Oxford Movement and the nineteenth century Catholic Revival in the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA. Convergence theology is the beliefs and thinking connected with the convergence movement, a movement that was an outgrowth of the charismatic, ecumenical, and liturgical movements in the second half of the twentieth century. It led to what may be described as a Catholic Revival in a number of charismatic and evangelical denominations.

Among the developments that have characterized the convergence movement is an increasing openness to and acceptance of not just unreformed Catholic practices but also unreformed Catholic teaching. This is the most evident in the convergence denominations that were an offshoot of the convergence movement. What began as a a penchant for liturgy among evangelicals and charismatics in non-liturgical denominations would morph into a form of Catholic Revivalism.

What the convergence movement describes as a blending together or merging of “three major streams of thought and practice” was in actuality a shift away from Protestantism in the direction of unreformed Catholicism. It was claimed that the integration of these three streams was needed for the church “to be truly catholic in its faith and practice.” It was further claimed that the convergence movement was a work of the Holy Spirit. These claims and similar arguments were used to justify and rationalize this shift in theological outlook.

What was a watershed moment in this transition was the formation of the Charismatic Episcopal Church in the early 1990s. Its leaders would adopt an unreformed Catholic view of apostolic succession as a particular succession of bishops and seek re-ordination.  While the newly-formed denomination initially used the Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer, its liturgy increasingly began to resemble the liturgy from the Roman Missal.

The Charismatic Episcopal Church was not the first convergence denomination to embrace an unreformed Catholic view of apostolic succession. In the late 1980s a large segment of the Evangelical Orthodox Church would join the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America for this reason.

Both forms of Catholic Revivalism share a negative view of the Reformation and a common vision of the Church reconstructed upon the model of the supposedly undivided Church of the early High Middle Ages – before the East-West Schism in the eleventh century. Both are openly at variance with authentic historic Anglicanism.

The adherents of these two forms of Catholic Revivalism evidence a similar approach to the Bible. They display a tendency to inject their own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever they want.

The adherents of these two forms of Catholic Revivalism promote their respective movements as movements of spiritual renewal. They seek to replace genuine Anglicanism with their own reinterpretation of the tradition.

The College of Bishops, the real nexus of power in the Anglican Church in North America, is dominated by adherents of these two forms of Catholic Revivalism. This has been evident in the actions of the College of Bishops to date.

Adherents of convergence theology in the Anglican Church in North America are far less homogeneous in their thinking and practice than adherents of Anglo-Catholicism. With the ACNA Catechism and the ACNA Prayer Book the College of Bishops are creating the kind of the environment in the Anglican Church in North America that will reduce the diversity in that wing of the denomination, resulting in greater homogeneity in thinking and practice.

Anglicans who are faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and stand in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage are not the only endangered species in the Anglican Church in North America. Adherents of convergence theology who also identify themselves as charismatic or evangelical will have difficulty in maintaining that identity. The latitude of thought and practice that they presently enjoy will disappear.

They, like the first group of Anglicans, need to recognize that those occupying the place of power in the Anglican Church in North America are set upon forcing the jurisdiction into a particular mold. They too need to take steps to keep themselves from being pushed into extinction. 

Thursday Roundup: Seven Articles and One Podcast

Churches Can Handle Change, But They Don't Like Surprise

Introducing big changes is much easier if we give church leaders and members the time to process them. Read more

The Millennial Leader: It’s All About Team

If you asked a youth pastor 25 years ago what his senior pastor was really like, he might have said, “He’s great, very successful, the church is growing and he is really a good preacher.” Today, ask the same question of a satisfied church staff member and you will likely hear something quite different. More likely: “He’s so approachable, authentic and a real team player.” Read more

Leaders Must Create More Capacity, But How?

Wise leaders apply their best thinking to the most important things. This is, of course, easier said than done because of the sheer volume of things that leaders are asked or required to think about. Because we are finite and flawed, we have a limited amount of mental capacity. For a leader, there are always hundreds of tasks, problems, and opportunities that could be swimming around in the mind at any given time. So how can a leader create mental capacity? Read more

7 Ways to Recover As a Leader After You’ve Messed Up

We all make mistakes. Almost daily. Okay, daily. We’re human. Some mistakes go unnoticed. So you take notes and hope not to repeat. But what happens when you blow it and people do notice? Read more

Using Variation and Surprise in Preaching

I’ve recently been thinking about not just what we say when we preach but how we say it. In this excerpt from Lectures to My Students Spurgeon hits on two often neglected tools in the preacher’s homiletical tool belt: variation and surprise. Read more

Tolerance, Truth-Telling, Violence, and Law: Principles for How Christians Should Relate to Those of Other Faiths

Since September 11, 2001 the question how Christians and Muslims relate to each other has been more urgent. This question is part of the larger issue of how Christians are called to live in a pluralistic world. More specifically, how shall we as American Christians think and act with regard to freedom of religion in a pluralistic context defined by the ideals of representative democracy? In particular, how shall we bear witness to the supremacy of Christ in a world where powerful cultures and religions do not share the love of freedom or the ideals of democracy? Read more

Horror of Paris attacks reflect theological identity and ambition of ISIS [Podcast]

Albert Mohler’s The Briefing broadcast, Monday 16 November 2015, looks at the theological underpinnings of the attacks in Paris on the weekend. The 20 minute episode is most enlightening. There’s also a transcript. Read more

Scandal: U.S. Christian Groups Prioritize Muslim Refugees over Christian Ones. Here’s Why

They are from some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, from lands where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah walked, and where Jonah called the people of Ninevah to repentance. But today these Christians have been targeted for death, sexual slavery, displacement, cultural eradication and forced conversion by ISIS. The U.S. government’s response has been woefully inadequate — neither helping them defend themselves and stay, nor providing them asylum to leave. And now, to add insult to injury, they are casualties of the agencies contracted to resettle refugees in America. Read more

China accused of trying to 'co-opt and emasculate' Christianity

Secretive conference to assess future of rapidly growing faith triggers concerns Communist party may seek to bring church in line with state agenda. Read more

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Midweek Roundup: Ten Articles

What (Some) Church Members Really Mean When They Say They Want Their Church to Grow

You will rarely find a church member who says he or she is not for growth in the church. But many church members have unspoken, perhaps unknown, conditions attached to the statement. In other words, I am all for growth in the church unless it impacts me in some way. Read more

Satan's Great Trick

Satan’s great joy is to convince you that the sin you are about to commit is very small and the sin you have just committed is very large. He convinces you of this even when they are the very same sin. Read more

5-Step Strategy to God-Centered Prayer

It is easy to be critical of prayer, particularly the prayers of others. Robert Murray McCheyne’s words are often cited because they remain painfully true: “You wish to humble a man? Ask him about his prayer life.” Read more

Lead Forward: Developing World-Changing Leaders in a Postmodern World

Instead of falling behind, how can American evangelicals develop the next generation of kingdom leaders? How can they run this relay “in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24)? Read more

7 Signs It’s Not Really A Team

In my world the word team is used almost on a daily basis. Most of us want to be in a team environment. However, in my experience working with churches – and it was true when I was in business also – more people claim to have it than actually do. Read more

Some questions on talking with Catholics about Jesus

If one person asks a question aloud, then usually there are a lot more people wondering the same but without a chance to ask! Hear are my answers to some great questions a student at a theological college asked me about talking with Catholics about Jesus. Read more

Church involvement varies widely among U.S. Christians

While most Americans still identify as Christian, there are big differences when it comes to how involved they are with a congregation – or whether they’re involved at all. Indeed, some of the largest Christian denominations in the U.S. have relatively low levels of involvement among their members. Read more

How Basic Economics Reveals the Connection Between Legalized Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

Countries that legalize prostitution report larger human trafficking inflows than countries where is it illegal. Read more

What ISIS Really Wants

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it. Read more

Christian teen raped, forcibly converted and married to Muslim man

A Christian girl has been raped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in Pakistan. Read more

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Wake-Up Call to North America’s Confessing Anglicans

By Robin G. Jordan

Confessing Anglicans who subscribe to the teaching of the Bible and the principles of doctrine and worship laid out in the Anglican formularies and who stand in the Reformation heritage of the Anglican Church did not create the present situation in the Anglican Church in North America. The Catholic Revivalist wing of the ACNA was not content to share the new province with Confessing Anglicans. It would be satisfied only with an ecclesiastical organization that in its teaching and practices, form of governance, and method of selecting bishops reflected its views.

The Catholic Revivalist wing met with negligible opposition from Confessing Anglicans who were disorganized and leaderless and who naively believed that an alliance between Catholic Revivalists and Confessional Anglicans could work. They could share the new province on equal footing. The Catholic Revivalists would not seek to gain the ascendancy in the new province as they had done in other Anglican jurisdictions in the past.

But even in the ACNA’s Common Cause period, it was plain to those who were willing to see it that the Catholic Revivalist element in the Common Cause Partnership did not envision a new province in which Confessing Anglicans would be on equal footing with Catholic Revivalists. Authentic historic Anglicanism would not have a central and respected place in the new province. Indeed it would have no official standing in the province at all.

The GAFCON/Global South Primates’ unqualified recognition and support of the ACNA and their admission of ACNA leaders to their councils would embolden the Catholic Revivalist wing. It faced little opposition outside of North America as well as in North America. Some Confessing Anglican leaders outside of North America recognized the problematic nature of developments in the ACNA but were loath to publicly acknowledge it. 

Within the ACNA, Confessing Anglicans have resisted admitting to themselves the seriousness of their predicament. They do not share the province on equal footing with Catholic Revivalists. A Catholic Revivalist-dominated College of Bishops has taken a number of steps to shape the jurisdiction to its liking. It usurped the role of the Provincial Council in the government of the province. It has given the province an Ordinal and a Catechism that mandates or sanctions unreformed Catholic teaching and practices and is in the process of doing the same with the remaining sections of the province’s Prayer Book. The College of Bishops may be described as having initiated its own counter-reformation in the ACNA.

In the accompanying article I give 22 reasons why Confessing Anglicans should band together into an organization of their own in North America. I believe that they really have no other choice if they wish to have a future in North America. 

22 Reasons Why North American Confessing Anglicans Should Band Together

By Robin G. Jordan

As well as promoting and defending the centrality of the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage to authentic historic Anglicanism, I have identified twenty-two other reasons why Confessing Anglicans should band together in an organization of their own in North America.


1. Monitor the state of relations between Confessing Anglicans and the bishops and other clergy of their judicatory; uncover, investigate, and document discriminatory practices affecting Confessing Anglicans; maintain a file of specific cases of discrimination by bishops and other clergy against Confessing Anglicans; publish an annual report on the state of Confessing Anglican relations in the Anglican Church in North America, rating each judicatory on the basis of its treatment of Confessing Anglicans

2. Work to eliminate discriminatory practices against Confessing Anglicans in specific judicatories and in the Anglican Church in North America in general.

3. Intervene in specific cases of discrimination on the behalf of Confessing Anglicans.

5. Arrange for alternative oversight for Confessing Anglican congregations and clergy involved in theological disputes with their bishops particular over the use of the ACNA Catechism and the ACNA Prayer Book, the denial of ordination to Confessing Anglican candidates on the basis of their theological views, and the denial of appointment and/or licensure to Confessing Anglican members of the clergy on the same basis.

6. Work for the reform of the Anglican Church in North America particularly in the areas of its teaching and practices, its form of governance, the methods by which it selects bishops, the term of office of bishops, and its disciplinary canons.

Church Planting

7. Develop and publish practical guidelines for Confessing Anglican churches to help them in planting new churches.

8. Recruit, train, and deploy Confessing Anglican church planters who unreservedly subscribe to the teaching of the Bible and the principles of doctrine and worship laid out in the Anglican formularies and who genuinely stand in the Reformation heritage of the Anglican Church.

9. Provide grants-in-aid to new church plants.

10. Take what other steps may be needed to create a culture of multiplication in Confessing Anglican churches and to transform Confessing Anglican congregations and clergy into a church planting movement.

Clergy Deployment

11. Maintain a central register of Confessing Anglican clergy who unreservedly subscribe to the teaching of the Bible and the principles of doctrine and worship laid out in the Anglican formularies and who genuinely stand in the Reformation heritage of the Anglican Church.

12. Develop and publish practical guidelines to help Confessing Anglican congregations select a new pastor.

Ministry Development

13. Evaluate and recommend seminaries and theological colleges for the training of Confessing Anglicans preparing for gospel ministry

14. Provide supplemental courses on the Anglican formularies and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage leading to a Certificate in Anglican Studies for clergy, candidates for ordination, and other gospel workers seeking to minister in Confessing Anglican churches.

15. Provide scholarships and other financial assistance to Confessing Anglicans preparing for gospel ministry

16. Sponsor internships for Confessing Anglicans preparing for gospel ministry.


17. Develop and publish forms of service consistent with the teaching of the Bible, the doctrinal and worship principles laid out in the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage for the use of Confessing Anglican clergy and congregations.

18. Develop and publish other worship resources for the use of Confessing Anglicans

19. Offer seminars and workshops on planning and leading worship.

20. Evaluate and recommend worship resources for the use of Confessing Anglicans.

Christian Education and Formation

21. Develop and publish a catechism consistent with the teaching of the Bible, the doctrinal and worship principles laid out in the Anglican formularies, and the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage for the use of Confessing Anglican clergy and congregations.

22. Evaluate and recommend Bible study, theological education, leadership development, and ministry training materials for the use of Confessing Anglicans, as well as develop and publish materials of its own.

This list is not exhaustive. It does, however, show how the formation of such an organization would meet a clear need.

The Under-Appreciated Value of Application in Preaching

Many preachers believe the purpose of preaching is to explain the Bible, or to interpret the text, or to help people understand God’s Word. But these all fall short of what it really is.

Paul gives us God’s purpose of preaching in Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV): “Christ gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists and some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Why did God give prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers? To produce Christ-like people. That’s the purpose of preaching: to help people become like Jesus.

How does this happen? Through application. The only way lives are changed is through the application of God’s Word. The lack of application in preaching and teaching is, I believe, the number one problem with preaching in America. Read more

Tuesday Roundup: Six Articles

5 Shared Characteristics Needed to do Church Planting or Church Revitalization

Church planting is a difficult, but rewarding assignment in ministry. So is church revitalization. I’ve been trying to make the case we need both — planting and revitalization. All pastors and planters should operate under a calling of God, but it does appear to me that there are some unique qualifications for those who want to start a church or transition it to grow again. Read more

The Church That Changed My Life

The Word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword. In the church I grew up in, I experienced the truth of that verse. Read more

Ministry Makes You More Holy or More Hypocritical

Ministry will make you more holy or more of a hypocrite. Ministering to others will drive you to the Word, to your knees in prayer, and to a holy dependence on God OR ministering to others will confront you with the opportunity to pretend to be someone you are not. Ministry will develop you or it will destroy you. Read more

When You Have to Let a Staff Member Go – Rainer on Leadership #175 [Podcast]

In a recent post, I discussed one of the more painful aspects of church leadership—having to fire a staff member. Some readers took issue with the post, especially point #2. Read more

When Evil Strikes: A Christian Answer to 'Isn’t Religion the Problem?'

With so much evil done in the name of religion, how is being a Christian any different? Read more

When You Indulge in Pornography, You participate in Sexual Slavery

Pornography is to sex slavery what gasoline is to the engines of motor vehicles. Gas fuels engines. Pornography fuels sex slavery. Read more

Monday, November 16, 2015

The ACNA or Your Convictions: The Choice Is Yours

By Robin G. Jordan

Where the promotion of the protestant, reformed, and evangelical character of the Anglican Church is concerned, I am very reluctant to describe any judicatory of the Anglican Church in North America as a “safe community.” Here’s why.

To the best of my knowledge the clergy and congregations that are faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and stand in the Reformation tradition of the Anglican Church and which are also a part of the Anglican Church in North America are scattered among several of its dioceses. They are not concentrated in one diocese under the oversight of bishops who are themselves faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and stand in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage. The ACNA has no such diocese.

Indeed, under the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons the formation of such a diocese is impossible. In order to become an ACNA diocese, a grouping of congregations and their clergy must accept the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons. This includes acceptance of the weak position on the Anglican formularies and the unreformed Catholic position on the historic episcopate articulated in the ACNA’s fundamental declarations.

Clergy must agree to conform to the official doctrine of the ACNA and take an oath of obedience to bishops approved and in some case selected by the ACNA College of Bishops—a body dominated by the Catholic Revivalist wing of the denomination.

Under the provisions of the ACNA canons all ACNA congregations must use the proposed ACNA Prayer Book presently in preparation once it is completed and receives final approval. This includes the ACNA Ordinal and the ACNA Catechism incorporated into the Prayer Book.

To date all the sections of the proposed ACNA Prayer Book that have been completed countenance unreformed Catholic teaching and practices. These teaching and practices are at variance with the Bible and the Anglican formularies. They are not part of the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage.

The situation facing congregations and clergy faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and standing in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage is akin to that which the early English Protestants faced before the English Reformation. The irony of it is that they face this situation in what identifies itself as an Anglican Church, in other words, a Church of the Reformation!

The problem is not just the requirements for participation set out in the ACNA constitution and canons and unreformed Catholic teaching and practices countenanced in these governing documents and the proposed ACNA Prayer Book. The form of government and the organizational structure of the ACNA is closer to that of a Roman Catholic province or archdiocese than it is to Anglican province.  The role of the Provincial Assembly is largely consultative. The College of Bishops has usurped the authority and power of the Provincial Council, which is the official governing body of the jurisdiction, and functions like a conference of bishops in the Roman Catholic Church.

I believe that I would be doing a great disservice to my readers if I inferred in any way that there exists in the Anglican Church in North America a “safe community” for congregations and clergy faithful to the Bible and the Anglican formularies and standing in the Anglican Church’s Reformation heritage. No such community exists. The ACNA is not set up to permit the formation of an enclave for this particular group of congregations and clergy. If the same group of congregations and clergy want to create an enclave for itself, it will have to make a choice between the ACNA and its convictions and take matters into its own hands. It is as simple as that!