Monday, October 20, 2014

Church Revitalization: Low Hanging Fruit and Practical Examples


Fourth Video Now Live

This journey has been incredible for me! I have been able to consult with your churches through three videos, and now the fourth is available. You can still view all the videos here.

Now I am making an opportunity to let you take the training to the next level. We are introducing a 15-module video consultation on church revitalization. It is the most thorough presentation on church revitalization I've ever done. It might be the most thorough ever done.

Of course, we made the first four videos available to you at no charge. We shared rich content with you. And we understand that not every person can be involved in a paid (but still relatively inexpensive for a consult) consultation. I'm just grateful you joined me this far. I pray you and your churches are blessed by our work.

For those of you who are ready for much deeper information and consultation, get ready for a few weeks of incredible insights. That's the good news.

The bad news is that we will keep this registration open for only a week. Then it will close. It will go away. We can't re-open it for you, at least for several months.

Why? Learn more

Zurich Revolutionary: Ulrich Zwingli


Other than Martin Luther, Heinrich Bullinger, and John Calvin, the most important early Reformer was Ulrich Zwingli. A first-generation Reformer, he is regarded as the founder of Swiss Protestantism. Furthermore, history remembers him as the first Reformed theologian. Though Calvin would later surpass Zwingli as a theologian, he would stand squarely on Zwingli’s broad shoulders. Read more

How to Shape Your Church’s Culture


Perhaps the single most helpful development from leadership studies to aid the church in Great Commission work is the study of organizational culture. In fact, in his groundbreaking work on organizational culture, Edgar Schein notes that “leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin.” Leaders neglect the reality of their church’s organizational culture to their own detriment.

Shifting the focus away from pragmatic church growth methodologies, organizational culture studies allow a church to analyze the extent to which it is being faithful to the Scriptures. Pastors Robert Lewis and Wayne Cordeiro call the church’s organizational culture “the most important social reality” in the church. Read more

Strategy Matters: The Importance of Strategic Thinking in the Church (Part 2)


Strategy matters, even when it comes to something like sermon prep.

Sermon Prep Strategy
Not only are we seeing churches take their groups seriously, in regard to strategy, we are also seeing new and intriguing trends in respect to sermon preparation. In my mind this is a particularly unique, and helpful, phenomenon.

In an era where too much emphasis is placed on the super-pastor, it seems to me that moving sermon prep from a solo effort, to a team enterprise can have some helpful results. It would seem that a number of churches who are being blessed with growth are seeing the same things. Read more

Inerrancy and Church History: The Middle Ages


In a previous article I sought to show that although the word “inerrancy” was not used to describe Scripture until rather recently, the concept of an error-free Bible is found among the early church fathers. Theologians in the medieval church also affirmed the complete truthfulness of Scripture. Here are a few examples. Read more

New Music from Crowder [Video]


David Crowder has released his newest music video. It is, as expected, quite wonderful. Take a moment to listen to “Come As You Are.” Watch video

Neon Steeple Track Listing 
The track listing for the album Neon Steeple includes lyrics and mp3 sound recordings. The sound recordings may be downloaded on I-Tunes. Originally posted on philnations.com.

Catholic Synod closes without any major shift on homosexuality or divorcees


The Pope hit out at "traditionalists" yesterday after his attempt to make the Catholic Church less hostile to the homosexual community failed.

At the end of the two-week Extraordinary Synod on evangelising the family, it was also clear that Pope Francis will struggle to push through any reform on marriage and divorce at the open synod in Rome in October next year.

Without any softening of the Church's current position, clergy will be expected to teach that homosexuality is a tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil. In the pews, they will also continue to have to turn away devout Catholics from receiving communion if they've had a civil marriage after a divorce, even when they were the innocent party in the divorce. Read more

Photo: Paul Haring/Catholic News Service/RNS

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Anglicans Ablaze Weekend Edition: October 18, 2014


In this weekend's edition o Anglicans Abalze:

a word to those on the journey


Many Christian organizations, as they think about their treatment of gays and lesbians, and their theology of sexuality more generally, are “evolving,” or “in process,” or "on the journey." And make no mistake, this is a journey on a one-way street: no Christian group is moving from greater to less tolerance of same-sex relationships.

So let’s imagine that a given Christian organization takes its journey from A to B. A is believing that sexual activity between people of the same sex is wrong because it is forbidden by Scripture and/or by Church teaching; B is believing that such sexual activity is not necessarily forbidden (not “intrinsically disordered”) and can, under the same conditions of faithfulness that have traditionally governed opposite-sex unions, be blessed by the church.

Let’s also assume that God has not changed His mind about sexuality.

So as we try to evaluate this imaginary Christian organization, we can see what has happened in one of three ways.... Read more

See also
A Church in Exile: Hillsong's Shifts on Homosexuality

Was Driscoll's Board a Problem?


Outside Insight: Some say it’s the new norm. Others don’t consider it biblical.

As Mark Driscoll leaves Mars Hill Church, one question may continue: Will the Seattle megachurch’s governance help or hurt as it moves forward? Read more

Photo: Mars Hill

20 Ways to Be Refreshing in the Local Church


There are few epitaphs I would rather have engraved on my tombstone than Paul’s words of commendation to Philemon, “the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (Philemon 1:7). Oh, how I love Philemons and want to consistently be one!

It has been my pleasure to serve in the local church with some individuals that are truly “refreshing” to the saints. When you meet them, you know it! They are like an oasis in the midst of a desert. I walk away feeling encouraged, joyful, and spiritually stimulated. Unfortunately, they are an endangered species and much harder to find than should be the case.

I routinely examine myself by asking, “Do others consider me refreshing?” I wish that I could more routinely answer, “Yes.” I challenge you to ask yourself that same question and answer it honestly. I wonder, what would it be like if even one in ten of us were striving to be a refreshment to others in the local church? If that was part of our ministry aim, what kind of significant impact could that have upon our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?

How do you refresh the hearts of the saints? It is only possible by one who knows the love and grace of Christ in such a way that it overflows to those around them. It is consistently present and abundantly evident. As I have inquired of those who I find to be such a refreshment to my own soul, they almost always testify that this gift, which they manifest, is something that they have deliberately sought to develop and nurture. Here are twenty practical ways that you can seek to nurture this refreshing gift in the midst of your own local church. Read more

What Is It That Breaks Your Heart?


Martin Luther King, Jr. was so moved by the plight of black people in America that he gave his life leading a civil rights movement. Mother Teresa was so crushed by the poverty she saw in Calcutta that she spent her life there ministering to the poor. John Knox was so burdened for the souls of the people of Scotland that he prayed to God, “Give me Scotland, or I die.”

Moses saw the suffering of his Hebrew brothers and sisters and it moved him to reject his royal upbringing and ultimately lead them across the Red Sea to freedom. David was touched by the broken and outcast who were fleeing Saul’s kingdom to live in the caves that he became the great shepherd-king of Israel. Paul was devastated over the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as Messiah to the point that he bordered on wishing himself to be accursed if it would mean saving them.

What breaks your heart? Read more

Nuts and Bolts of Leadership: Eight Articles


5 Ways to Excel In Your Ministry and Leadership

God is more concerned with your progress than your perfect performance. The very nature of discipleship is progressive. God’s purpose is that you become more and more like His Son, Jesus, and He will use your entire life to work that process out. As ministry leaders, we are not exceptions. We are examples. If we aren’t growing and challenging ourselves to move to the next level, personally and professionally, we can’t lead a congregation or a team to do so.

Excellence, in and of itself, isn’t a core value at our church. We’d rather launch things imperfectly than wait for perfect conditions, which never really arrive. Having said that, excelling or growing and improving is another matter. While we don’t have to have reached perfection to serve God, we must be willing to grow. Some Pastors and leaders excel and grow, while others don’t. What makes the difference? The Bible mentions at least five factors that cause us to excel.... Read more

When Leaders Are Too Individualistic

One of the most helpful books that I’ve read on leading in an organization is Scott Eblin’s The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success. Eblin points out that “40 percent of new executives fail within eighteen months of being named to their positions.”

That’s an incredible statistic. Read more

7 Critical Questions to Assess Your Team's Energy

Maybe because I am getting older, I am more aware of my own energy level. In recent years, I have become more guarded in what I give my energy to. It has been easier for me to say “no” to certain things because the energy required is more than I am willing to give.

Are you aware of your own energy level? Of the energy level of your team? Are you wasting energy that isn’t moving your organization forward? Energy is one of the great resources of the team you lead. Do you regularly check the energy level of your team?

It might be time for you to pause, look, and take an energy check-up.... Read more

Does Your Team Respect, Trust,and Like Each Other (and You)?

The healthiest teams share mutual trust and respect and like each other. They trust each other, have respect for one another’s contribution to the whole, and enjoy each other. Because such a team is so healthy, those that the team is designed to serve benefit. If one or more of the three (trust, respect, like) is missing, the team and those the team is designed to serve suffer.

One of the reasons that healthy teams are so rare is that it is common for one or more of the three to be missing. We know this from personal experience, outside of the teams we serve on. There are likely some people you trust and respect but don’t really like that much (I know you love them; I am talking about liking them). In the same way, there are people you really like but don’t necessarily trust or respect fully. The people you are closest to, those you long to serve alongside, are likely those you trust, respect, and like.

While there is overlap, trust often relates to character, respect to competence, and like to chemistry. Read more

5 Reasons Why Ministry Leaders Should Pay Attention to Their Budgets

I actually like budgets. And I recognize that this makes me weird and in the minority of ministry leaders. For most, budgets are boring and painful. The number-filled documents sap life from the leader. It is something to be avoided.

But a budget is much more than numbers on paper. Budgets reveal a story. They provide unbiased, unfiltered insights into the ministry, and discloses the state of ministry leaders’ major concern areas. Budgets can help ministry leaders lead more effectively. Allow me to provide 5 reasons why ministry leaders should pay attention to their budgets.... Read more

3 Battles Every Leader Loses…Every Time

Most days you try to win battles as a leader, don’t you?

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.

But there are several battles leaders lose…every time. Even if you desperately try to convince yourself you’re winning.

Fighting any of those?

Your might be. How would you know? Read more

How To Get Things Done: Organization & Systems

I am now deep into this series on getting things done, but before I go any farther, I would like to pause for a quick review. I began this series by explaining what productivity is and why it matters [Part 1]. Then I had you look at your life from a high-level perspective so you could divide it into areas of responsibility [Part 2]. Once you defined those areas of responsibility, you listed specific roles and projects within each of them, and then you worked on some brief mission statements that define what you mean to accomplish in each of them [Part 3]. In the most recent article I explained the four categories of tools required for top productivity, and told you the ones I use [Part 4].

Today I want to explain and demonstrate what your areas of responsibility have to do with your tools (and why you will be missing out if you skip the hard work of defining those areas). As it happens, they have everything to do with one another. Your tools will only be as helpful as your understanding of your areas of responsibility and the duties and roles that fall within each of them. In other words, your tools function best when you combine them with a thorough understanding of your responsibilities.

Over this article and the ones that follow, I will help you use your tools to develop a system that will help ensure you give appropriate attention to each of your areas of responsibility. That word system may sound intimidating, so let me begin by distilling that fear factor. Read more

8 Ways to Make your Communication Stick

Whether you are a seasoned leader, college student, author, professor, CEO, politician, or pastor, we all have to learn to communicate well. Whether we are speaking to thousands, speaking to our staff, giving a report, making a speech, teaching your kids soccer team, or addressing your company, it’s imperative as leaders we know how to communicate. To make our point. To deliver a message.

And communicating is much easier said than done. Actually it’s the saying part and the doing part that make it difficult.

So here are some tips that might make communicating a bit easier for you and a bit more enjoyable for those listening. To make it stick. Read more

Eight Causes of Pastoral Ministry Slump


The “slump” metaphor is used often in sports. The baseball hitter is in a slump because he has not gotten a hit in 15 at bats. The football quarterback is in a slump because he has only completed eight passes in the past two games.

But pastors can get in slumps as well. Admittedly they are not as easily recognizable as sports slumps. There aren’t really any metrics to tell us that a slump is in progress.

Still, pastors know when they are in slumps. They recognize their preaching is not as effective as it has been. Their relationships to some church members may be strained. Perhaps no one has joined the church for a while. Or maybe the Monday morning blahs have intensified lately.

Sure, the pastoral ministry slump is subjective if not vague. But it’s real. And every pastor experiences it. So I asked several pastors what they viewed to be the causes of slumps they experienced. Here are their top responses in the form of direct quotes. Read more

20 questions a pastoral candidate should ask a search committee


After the committee has grilled the pastoral candidate and the tables are turned, what information should he want from them?

Pastors toss me this issue regularly. Somewhere in the archives of our website, I’m sure we’ve dealt with this subject. However, with over 2,000 articles and no index of these things, I suggest that they google “McKeever + (subject),” and see what comes up. Usually, if I’ve written on the subject, it’ll show up in the results.

That said, perhaps it’s time to say a few more things about this. Read more

The pastor said, “No, we don’t believe the Bible.”


“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) and “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

Let’s see what you do and I’ll decide for myself whether you believe the Bible. Read more

Biblical Illiteracy by the Numbers Part 1: The Challenge


How well do American Christians know their Bibles? Hint: not well.

America can be proud of many things: our innovation, generosity and entrepreneurial spirit are unsurpassed. Yet when it comes to our nation understanding one of the greatest gifts ever given to humanity—the Bible—we're moving from dumb to dumber ... and it's no laughing matter.

Both inside and outside the church, there is a problem. Non-Christians don't have even the general idea of the Bible they once did. Christians are not seeing the life change that real Bible engagement brings. The result is a nation in spiritual free fall, and while most cultural analysts point to such culprits as church leadership scandals and government failings, the true answers start with the foundational Word of God—if we'll take seriously the challenge, look to best practices in the research, and faithfully and fruitfully engage the Scriptures. Read more

21 minutes of Alternative worship music


The fact that Christian Punk, Metal and Alternative music exists should come as no surprise to lovers of Christian music.There is an entire scene dedicated to bands who not only openly identify as Christian but whose core audience is made up of people who love the Alternative music genres and want to be sure they are listening to Christian bands. Some of these guys play worship (devotional music as opposed to music that just has a Christian message), some of them don't.

21 minutes of that would be easy to find.

The artists in the playlist below are a little more interesting. Well known for something other than faith, and here singing five very different styles of worship, you may be surprised at some of the names below. Some may be new to you. Some may never have come out publicly as Christians. But listening to these five tracks might convince you that God has been working in and through them, and will hopefully help you to connect with the Lord while enjoying some of the finest talent the Alternative music world has to offer.

Please rise, and turn to the YouTube page in your hymnbook. Read more

Unchurched America


They pray, own Bibles and are 'spiritual' but nearly half still see no value in attending church

New research by the Barna group paints an interesting picture of those who are aware of the church and even think positively of the Christian faith, but who, for whatever reason, feel that actively being a part of church is not for them.

'Churchless' is the title of Barna's latest research into understanding today's unchurched and how to connect with them.

The research reveals that the number of churchless Americans has risen sharply since the early 1990s, when only around two out of 10 adults were churchless. Read more

Photo: Billy Alexander

Ukraine: Evangelicals call for aid and prayer


Christians in Ukraine have painted a vivid picture of life in the conflict zones in the east of the country and called for prayer and help with relief work.

The All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (AUUAECB) said that around 5,500 Baptists are among the more than 100,000 people displaced from their homes in struggles with pro-Russian separatists.

The Union said in a statement: "Bridges and supply lines are destroyed. Roads and streets are blocked with checkpoints. Cannonade from explosions is heard every night. Many apartments and cars are destroyed. Tanks are ploughing through the city streets. Read more

Friday, October 17, 2014

6 Realities & Trends In Bivocational Ministry


I’m not a church planter. But I spent three days teaching at the Exponential West conference for church planters last week.

I’ve also never been bivocational. But almost all the teaching I did was with bivocational pastors – most of it tag-team teaching with Hugh Halter and Artie Davis.

So why was I there? The one thing we all have in common is the Small Church experience.

I had a great time sharing my story and the lessons learned along the way, and hearing their stories, too. Bivocational pastors have a lot to teach the rest of us.

Because of the chance to spend so much time together (over 10 hours of teaching and conversations) we all learned a lot about the current state of bivocational ministry and some trends we’re likely to see in the near future.

Here’s a recap of six of them. Read more

Fortress for Truth: Martin Luther


Martin Luther was a giant of history. Some believe he was the most significant European figure of the second millennium. He was the pioneer Reformer, the one God first used to spark a transformation of Christianity and the Western world. He was the undisputed leader of the German Reformation. In a day of ecclesiastical corruptions and apostasies, he was a valiant champion of the truth; his powerful preaching and pen helped to restore the pure gospel. More books have been written about him than any other man of history except Jesus Christ and possibly Augustine.

Luther came from hard-working stock. He was born in the little town of Eisleben, Germany, on November 10, 1483. His father, Hans, was a copper miner who eventually gained some wealth from a shared interest in mines, smelters, and other business ventures. His mother was pious but religiously superstitious. Luther was raised under the strict disciplines of the Roman Catholic Church and was groomed by his industrious father to be a successful lawyer. To this end, he pursued an education at Eisenach (1498–1501) and then at the University of Erfurt in philosophy. At the latter, he received a bachelor of arts degree in 1502 and a master of arts degree in 1505.

Luther’s life took an unexpected turn in July 1505, when he was twenty-one. He was caught in a severe thunderstorm and knocked to the ground by a nearby lightning strike. Terrified, he cried out to the Catholic patroness of miners, “Help me, St. Anna, and I will become a monk.” Luther survived the storm and made good on his dramatic vow. Two weeks later, he entered the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. His father was furious over Luther’s apparent wasted education, but Luther was determined to follow through on his vow. Read more

Learning to Lead Differently as You Age


As we get older and the world changes around us, we must learn to lead differently and adapt our vision.

As we watch the news, we often see leaders retire. It happens in the sports world, the political realm, the educational system, and even in the religious community.

The pope retired. Pastors retire from their church ministry. Leaders of Christian organizations retire.

We all have an expiration date.

The expiration date, though, is not always determined by our health. Instead, it’s often determined by our vision. If your vision has expired, you need to step out of your leadership role.

But it’s not just an age thing. I know people who still have the vision in their 80s and are still doing some really amazing things. Read more

The Impending Retirement of a Generation of Pastors – Rainer on Leadership #076 [Podcast]


The implications for church leadership are even more challenging when we realize how many Boomer pastors specifically will be retiring. This generation was, until recently, the largest generation in America’s history. Millennials now represent the largest generation.

Keep in mind that the ages of these pastors today range from 50 to 68. The Boomers have more pastors represented in their generation than any other. There are many pastors reaching retirement age every month. And I’m not sure our churches are ready for this transition. So this week, we analyze the issue and provide advice for both pastors looking to retire as well as churches with aging pastors. Read more

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 21:51 — 20.0MB)
The ACNA clergy that attended the investiture of Archbishop Foley Beech were largely Boomers--graying middle-aged male bishops and priests and female deacons. The congregation was also largely Boomers. While the ACNA does have a number of younger priests and deacons, the denomination is clearly going to be impacted by this transition. 

Reflection: Why I favour full immersion – not sprinkling


In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan (Mark 1v9)

I like to think that the way I do baptisms has become a bit of a talking point in the area where I live.

I'm an Anglican, which means I baptise babies and small children. (More of that later!) But while some clergy may sprinkle just a few drops of water over a child in a way which (to my mind) is rather feeble, I like to make sure that any infant coming my way gets as thorough a soaking as decency allows.

In my smugger moments, I congratulate myself on having evolved a clever technique over the years which involves using considerable amounts of water while holding the child in such a way that none gets in its eyes. This generally keeps the baby smiling and yet at the same time creates quite a spectacle. People often comment on the sheer volume of water!

But this is not mere showmanship. While it certainly makes an impact, my primary motivation in using lots of water is theological. Indeed, it's a little known fact that, technically, the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer instructs ministers baptising a child to "dip it in the water" – albeit "discreetly and warily" – and only recommends sprinkling or pouring water if the parents can "certify that the child is weak". Read more
Sprinkling is a Methodist and Presbyterian practice. The rubrics of The Book of Common Prayer state, "Then the Priest shall take the Child into his hands, and shall say to the Godfathers and Godmothers, Name this Child. And then naming it after them (if they shall certify him that the Child may well endure it) he shall dip it in the Water discreetly and warily, saying...." They further state, "But if they certify that the Child is weak, it shall suffice to pour Water upon it, saying the foresaid words...." The rubrics make no mention of sprinkling.

More churches using background checks


An estimated 1-in-5 background checks processed through LifeWay Christian Resources' program with backgroundchecks.com reveals a conviction of a felony or other serious offense.

This may be part of the reason why a growing number of churches use background checks as a way to better protect children and others involved in ministry.

After a six-year partnership between LifeWay and backgroundchecks.com, the number of churches that say they are benefiting from the screenings continues to grow. Since last year, 50 percent more churches and organizations have used the service. Read more

Plan Now: 13 Ways Your Church Can Show Christmas Kindness


1. Stuffed stockings. Take a cue from Open Air Ministries Philadelphia and partner with other local churches to distribute overflowing stockings to low-income families in your area.

Each year, Open Air invites elementary students the church normally reaches—as well as other families in nearby low-income neighborhoods—to attend Christmas stocking outreach. Last December, nearly 40 churches contributed 2,500 stockings stuffed with toys, candy and children’s Bibles, and volunteered at nine inner-city locations.

“The stocking outreach is a great foot in the door to the community,” says Joe Toy Jr., evangelist and Open Air’s founder. “It gives us a way to meet our neighbors and then discover what other needs they have so that our ministry can enter their homes and become part of their lives.”

Through the Christmas stocking outreach, Open Air has grown its ministry to elementary students, bulked attendance at area church plants and fostered relationships with several urban and suburban churches. Read more

Barnabas Fund urges intercession for Pakistani Christian sentenced to death


“Barnabas Fund has today received the sad news that the appeal made by Pakistani Christian mother Aasia Bibi against her conviction under Pakistan’s “blasphemy law” has been rejected and the death sentence she was given confirmed. …”

– Read at Barnabas Fund, including suggestions for how you can write on her behalf. (Report on the UK’s Premier Christian Radio.)

See also
Christian Mother of Five Death Sentence for Blasphemy Upheld by Pakistani Court
Pakistani Christian loses appeal against death sentence for blasphemy
US citizens are urged to write President Obama and their Members of Congress; Canadians to write their Prime Minister and their Members of Parliament. They are also urged to write the Pakistani authorities. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

5 Reasons Why There Are No Millennials in Your Church


As fewer and fewer Millennials (or maybe just white Millennials) attend a local church with regularity, pastors frantically read books and blogs about how to keep young people in the pews. Few pastors and churches are attracting Millennials in droves, and most pastors are simply frustrated by the fact that they can’t seem to get young people to walk through the doors, take off their coats, and stay a while.

I’m not a pastor. I’m not a missiologist. There are probably plenty of people reading this blog post that are a whole lot smarter than me and more qualified to write regularly about reaching people and getting people in church. I’m not an expert, but based on my conversations and interactions with a number of my peers, I’ve gathered a general idea for what keeps young people from the church (outside of the whole homosexuality debate and other similar issues).

Here are five (of many) reasons why there are no Millennials in your church.... Read more

Don't Expect Unbelievers To Act Like Believers


It is something I see again and again, and something that baffles me every time: People who expect unbelievers to act like believers. So often I see Christians acting surprised that their non-Christian friends or family members are acting like non-Christians. John Owen addresses this in his great work Overcoming Sin and Temptation. The book deals with the subject of mortification, of putting sin to death, and Owen dedicates one chapter to explaining why only Christians can behave like Christians.

He begins by insisting that only Christians have the ability to put sin to death. Unbelievers may suppress sin, but they cannot kill it. “Unless a man be a believer—that is, one that is truly ingrafted into Christ—he can never mortify any one sin; I do not say, unless he know himself to be so, but unless indeed he be so. … There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.” Read more

Selah Ally Tower: Witchcraft: The Next Generation


It would seem the practice of witchcraft would have somehow banished by now – reduced to the image of a cartoon character thus minimizing it to mere fantasy, perhaps in an effort to eliminate man's fears or an attempt to dismiss its spiritual validity. Yet, with each generation we see its subtle influences shed, then re-emerge in a new skin.

Witchcraft has been around for centuries. It's forbidden practice under suspicion and persecution from the Old Testament through the Early Modern Witch Trials and beyond.

Once considered the wise one who lived at the edge of town, the witch was known as the village healer, midwife and storyteller. Many feared this woman who practiced the forbidden arts and who it was said, had the power to summon the dead at the risk of her own life. Yet ironically, when it seemed one's own faith came up short of their wanted desires, they sought answers from what many saw as a peculiar woman. Some even resorted to her counsel, believing God had turned a deaf ear to them as was the case with King Saul. Read more

Image: Henry Edward Corbold

Trevin Wax: The Mars Hills Postmortem


The news of Mark Driscoll’s resignation closes a painful chapter in the life of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. This is a time to pray for the Driscoll family, Mars Hill Church, and those who have suffered through various forms of spiritual abuse.

What can we learn from this situation? We should consider four lessons to take away, but I want to preface these remarks with two caveats.

First, this blog is not a place for gossip and personal attacks, and I will not allow the comments section to become a feast for those who are hungry to either defend or decry the Driscolls or Mars Hill. Go elsewhere if you’re looking for drama.

Secondly, the title of this post does not imply that Mars Hill Church’s ministry is over. The good news is that King Jesus loves to take seemingly hopeless situations and bring resurrection life from them. (Case in point: New Life Church where Ted Haggard was once pastor.) I use the term “postmortem” because a difficult season of Mars Hill ministry has come to an end, and in between this chapter and the next, we should examine the causes that contributed to this situation.

So, with a heavy but hopeful heart, here are four things I hope we can learn from the events at Mars Hill. Read more

Photo: komonews.com

Eric McKiddie: Don’t Quit Yet, Pastor: Revitalization Might Be Right Around the Corner


I’ve heard it said that the reason so many pastors don’t experience revitalization in their church is because they resign right before it happens. They leave around year three or four, when growth is waiting for them in year five or six. For your sake, your church’s sake, and the kingdom’s sake, I’d hate for that to be you.

Are you just about ready to throw in the towel? I want to encourage you to hold on. Even if you are at year five or six, wait. Things might not be going well at your church, but the gospel is all about bringing life out of death. It feels like Good Friday to you, but, as one pastor said, Sunday’s a comin’.

So before you submit that resignation letter, consider three signs that you’d think indicate that your church is dying, but may actually point to the potential of revitalization. Read more

Joe McKeever: To those just starting in ministry


A friend who works with student ministers on the various college campuses around New Orleans has invited me to address his team in their weekly gathering. Asked if he had a topic in mind for me, he said, “Give us three things you would tell those just starting out in ministry.”

Three things? How about a hundred! Here are a few that come to mind, in no particular order. Read more

Asia Bibi will hang for blasphemy, Pakistani High Court confirms


The death sentence on Asia Bibi, who was first found guilty of blasphemy in November 2010, was confirmed today by the Pakistani High Court.

She was defended by Christian lawyers including the Provincial Minister for Minorities Affairs and Human Rights, Tahir Khalil Sindhu. However, two judges – Justice Anwar Ul Haq and Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi – upheld the original sentence. Read more

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Anglicans Ablaze Midweek Special Edition: October 15, 2014


In this midweek special edition of Anglicans Ablaze:

GAFCON Primates Backpedal from FCA Confessional Stance


By Robin G. Jordan

In ascertaining the doctrine of a rite or service all liturgical elements in the rite or service must be considered. They carry the theological freight of the rite or service. This includes optional elements.

The liturgical elements in a rite or service may explicitly state the doctrine of the rite or service or the doctrine may be inferred from the same elements. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer went to great pains to eliminate from the rites and services of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer liturgical elements that could be construed to teach doctrine that was contrary or repugnant to the Scriptures. Liturgical commissions that are faithful to the teaching of the Bible and the doctrine of the confessional formularies have gone to similar pains to ensure that such elements are not added to the liturgy when they have revised it to make its language more understandable to modern-day congregations.

The confessional formularies as Dr. Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, points to our attention in his article, “Who or What Defines the Anglican Communion, include the two Books of Homilies (1547, 1562; 1571), as well as the Thirty-Nine Articles (1571), the Book of Common Prayer (1662), and the Ordinal (1661). The two Books of Homilies contain thirty-three sermons that develop the reformed doctrines of the Anglican Church to a greater extent both in depth and detail than the Thirty-Nine Articles.

The rites and services that the Anglican Church in North America has produced to date contain a number of liturgical elements that explicitly state or infer doctrine that strays from the teaching of the Scriptures and the doctrine of the confessional formularies. When this evidence is considered in its entirety and the doctrine explicitly stated or inferred in To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism is considered with it, one is led to the inescapable conclusion that the Anglican Church in North America as a denomination does not in practice fully accept the Scriptures as its canon or rule of faith and life and the confessional formularies as its doctrinal and worship standard. Its departures from the teaching of the Scriptures and the doctrine of the confessional formularies are not minor ones, involving secondary matters over which Anglicans may disagree. They are major deviations.

FCA chairman Archbishop Iliud Wabukala in his 2014 GAFCON Easter Message stated:
"This is why confessions of faith, whether they are the ancient catholic creeds or later statements such as the Church of England’s Thirty-nine articles cannot be seen just as historical documents to be reinterpreted as we wish. In many countries, Anglican Churches are a significant voice in national life and we have a special responsibility to make sure that we confess Jesus as Lord with clarity and courage. It was for this reason that we produced the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration in 2008. Confessing Churches make a life-changing stand on the truth God has revealed. They proclaim the gospel, promote true godliness and should not be afraid to challenge the complacency of leaders who claim their nations are Christian while at the same time promoting laws and tolerating practices that are contrary to Christian belief. "
The view of the Thirty-Nine Articles with which Archbishop Wabukala takes issue in this address is the prevailing view of Anglicanism’ confession of faith in the Anglican Church in North America. This is evident from its constitution and canons as well as Texts for Common Prayer and To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism.

A group of GAFCON and Global South primates have issued a joint statement in which they receive the new ACNA archbishop as “a fellow Primate of the Anglican Communion,” identify the Anglican Church in North Americas as sharing “the same mission and purpose” as they and their provinces, and pledge their “continued partnership with the Anglican Church in North America.” In receiving Archbishop Foley Beech as “a fellow Primate of the Anglican Communion," this group of primates has tacitly recognized the Anglican Church in North America as a member province of the Anglican Communion.

Two of these primates are FCA chairman Archbishop Iliud Wabukala and FCA vice-chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. Archbishop Okoh chaired the GAFCON Resource Group that drafted the three principal doctrinal statements of the 2008 Global Future Conference and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Archbishop Wabuka was a member of the the GAFCON Theological Resource Group. These doctrinal statements are The Way, the Truth, and the Life: Theological Resources for a Pilgrimage to a Global Anglican Future, the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration, and Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today. In their tacit recognition of the Anglican Church in North America as a member province of the Anglican Communion and therefore “authentically Anglican,” the FCA primates in the group of primates issuing the joint statement backpedaled from the position set out in these doctrinal statements:

The Way, the Truth and the Life Theological Resources for a Pilgrimage to a Global Anglican Future
"Authentic Anglicanism is a particular expression of Christian corporate life which seeks to honour the Lord Jesus Christ by nurturing faith,and also encouraging obedience to the teaching of God’s written word, meaning the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. It embraces the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (published in the year 1571) and the Book of Common Prayer (the two versions of 1552 and 1662), both texts being read according to their plain and historical sense, and being accepted as faithful expressions of the teaching of Scripture, which provides the standard for Anglican theology and practice."

"While authentic Anglicanism makes no claim to be perfect, and respects Christians of other traditions, it nevertheless insists on certain basic theological commitments. These are to be found in the classic documents of the Anglican tradition, but they need to be reiterated and reaffirmed in each generation."

"Another element in this struggle is the distinction that is sometimes made between the main teachings of the Bible and the lesser ones, those that are referred to as adiaphora, meaning ‘things that are indifferent’. According to this view, some doctrinal and moral issues may be put aside because they do not really matter, while others must be affirmed by all. This distinction is seen as essential for the unity of the Church, and yet the Bible itself never applies it in this way. And in Anglican tradition adiaphora are primarily matters to do with ceremonies and robes, and not issues concerning doctrine or morality."

"The Anglican Church has always been a confessional institution,but its confession does not seek to be comprehensive on every issue, or to foreclose discussion. Over the last two hundred years, however, an unwillingness has grown up, in some parts of the Church, to bind itself to confessional formulae, such as the such the Thirty-nine Articles. Instead, there has been a strong move towards a more general affirmation of the Thirty-nine Articles, accepting them as a historical background which informs our life and witness, but not as a test of faith. As long as this unwillingness remains s, there is little hope for an effective Covenant within the Anglican Communion."

"The universal acceptance of the Prayer Book and the Articles, as standards of Anglican teaching, seemed to guarantee biblical orthodoxy, but, like the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7), Anglicanism suffered from latitudinarian indifference rather than overt heresy. The regulatory force of the Articles was weakened, from the late seventeenth century, and replaced with a rationalistic moralism. By the mid-nineteenth century, concerns began to arise that the Church of England was no longer ruled by the plain sense of Scripture and its classic formularies. One challenge came from John Henry Newman and the Tractarians, who reinterpreted the Articles in a Roman direction. From the liberal side, Bishop Colenso of Natal was seen to employ ‘higher criticism’ of the Bible in order to question the authority of Scripture. This latter challenge led to the calling of the first Lambeth Conference. The Lambeth Quadrilateral, adopted at the third Conference, functioned as a means of steering a middle course through the modernist-catholic debates, while promoting a basis for ecumenical dialogue.Some have seen the Quadrilateral as an adequate definition of Anglican orthodoxy, but the current crisis has shown that, without the recovery across the Communion of the classic doctrinal and liturgical formularies, it is inadequate to the task."
Statement on the Global Anglican Future
"Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion.We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words:
The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.
We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Building on the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship."
 The Jerusalem Declaration
"4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s word and as authoritative for Anglicans today."
Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today
The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (1571), a slight revision of Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-two Articles of 1553, were designed ‘for the avoiding of diversities of opinions’ and not as a comprehensive statement of Christian doctrine in the manner of some other Reformation ‘confessions’. They have long been recognised as the doctrinal standard of Anglicanism, alongside the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal."

The authority of the Articles comes from their agreement with the teaching of Scripture."

"The Articles make no attempt to bind the Christian mind or conscience more tightly than Scripture does on matters of doctrine and Christian living. However, acceptance of their authority is constitutive of Anglican identity."

"In recent years, some member churches of the Anglican Communion have dispensed with assent to the Articles, presenting them as mere ‘historical documents’ or relics of the past. Not coincidentally, these same churches include the ones which have abandoned historic doctrinal and moral standards. For other churches, the Articles have formal authority but they have been neglected as a living formulary. The Jerusalem Declaration calls the Anglican church back to the Articles as being a faithful testimony to the teaching of Scripture, excluding erroneous beliefs and practices and giving a distinctive shape to Anglican Christianity."
While the GAFCON and Global South primates’ joint statement may have been their response to the recent statements of Archbishop Justin Wilby, they do not appear to have given full consideration to the ramifications of such a statement. It is noteworthy that language of the joint statement is reminiscent o the language of a number of addresses by former ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan, prompting this writer to wonder who drafted the statement and whether its issuance was something that the primates had planned to do beforehand. The document gives the appearance of being hastily put together. The signatures suggest that it was not known in advance who would sign the document. It is plausible that the primates' ACNA handlers drafted the document and then handed it around for the primates to sign, taking advantage of the excitement of the moment and not giving its signers time to give though to what they were doing.  If the document had been prepared by the primates beforehand or even on a laptop in a hotel room, one would expect to find a list of the names and titles of the signers, as well as their signatures. As in the case of the Diocese of North West Australia’s recognition of the Anglican Church in North America, the joint statement does not help the cause of confessional Anglicanism in North America. Rather it harms that cause.

All the GAFCON and Global South primates who gave their recognition and support to the Anglican Church in North America in doing so chose to turn a blind eye to its policy of not making room in its doctrinal statements for Anglicans who are faithful to the teaching of the Scriptures and the doctrine of the confessional formularies and who are Protestant, Reformed, and evangelical in their theological outlook. They are in effect countenancing its policy of not extending to these Anglicans the same license to maintain and propagate their beliefs and practices that it extends to those who embrace its major deviations from the Scripture’s teaching and the confessional formularies’ doctrine and who are Anglo-Catholic or philo-Orthodox in their theological outlook.

Their issuance of the joint statement raises questions as to where they really stand on the authority of the Scriptures and the confessional formularies and whether conservative evangelicals can fully rely upon the GAFCON and Global South primates as allies in the struggle to uphold the authority of the Scriptures and the confessional formularies.

The Reformation and the Men Behind It


The Protestant Reformation stands as the most far-reaching, world-changing display of God’s grace since the birth and early expansion of the church. It was not a single act, nor was it led by one man. This history-altering movement played out on different stages over many decades. Its cumulative impact, however, was enormous. Philip Schaff, a noted church historian, writes: “The Reformation of the sixteenth century is, next to the introduction of Christianity, the greatest event in history. It marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times. Starting from religion, it gave, directly or indirectly, a mighty impulse to every forward movement, and made Protestantism the chief propelling force in the history of modern civilization” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII: Modern Christianity—The German Reformation [1910; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980], 1). The Reformation was, at its heart, a recovery of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and this restoration had an unparalleled influence on churches, nations, and the flow of Western civilization.

Under the guiding hand of God, the world scene had been uniquely prepared for the Reformation. The church was greatly in need of reform. Spiritual darkness personified the Roman Catholic Church. The Bible was a closed book. Spiritual ignorance ruled the minds of the people. The gospel was perverted. Church tradition trumped divine truth. Personal holiness was abandoned. The rotten stench of manmade traditions covered pope and priest. The corruption of ungodliness contaminated both dogma and practice.

On the other hand, a new day was dawning. Feudal states were giving way to nation-states. Exploration was expanding. Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 1492. Trade routes were opening. A middle class was rising. Opportunities for learning were increasing. Knowledge was multiplying. Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press (1454) had vastly improved the dissemination of ideas. Under all of these influences, the Renaissance was at high noon. Moreover, a further alteration in the world scene was soon to be ushered in by the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, bringing great changes especially in the church of Jesus Christ.
THE REFORMATION WAS, AT ITS HEART, A RECOVERY OF THE TRUE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
In light of such dramatic upheaval, certain questions beg to be asked: What factors led to the Protestant Reformation? Where was the Reformation born? How did this powerful movement come about? Where did it spread? Who were the key leaders who stoked its flames? What biblical truths were unleashed on the world at this time? To begin to answer these questions, we must focus in on those giants of the faith who led the Reformation. Read more

Hugh Latimer - Apostolic Preacher


On the morning of 16 October, 1555, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, both formerly bishops of the Church, were executed for heresy in Oxford. It was then that Hugh Latimer uttered his famous sermon,
Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out.
The execution was part of the outworking of May Tudor’s policy to re-establish the Roman Church in England, and to redress the dishonour done to her mother, Katharine of Aragon, by her divorce from Henry VIII. Mary blamed these two bishops, with Thomas Cranmer, for the divorce, and for establishing Biblical Christianity within the Church in England. Read more

Megachurch World: Learning from the International Church


A church in Hungary came up with a clever, free way to broadcast its worship services weekly on a major television channel. A Nigerian denomination has figured out how to track Nigerian ex-pats and plant churches among them, starting 296 new churches in the last five years in the United Kingdom alone. An Australian church changed its name in a way that the rebranding got them all kinds of free—and positive—media publicity. One of South Korea’s largest-attendance churches found an ingenious way fit its downtown congregation on a track of less than two acres for parking, worship and Sunday school.

As Christianity grows outside of North America, even explosively in many countries, so does the potential to learn from their ministry innovations. In previous decades, if something big or unusual happened in North American church life, we quickly assumed it was the world’s largest or first. No more. Today, chances are that someone overseas is leading the way, pioneering in one of the many corners where response to the gospel is flourishing.

Now it’s our turn to learn from others. Read more

Christ Will Come Again: Deeper into Doctrine


"Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again." So goes the well-known memorial acclamation. But sometimes we don't think much about the third of these three declarations. Where does Christ's second coming fit in with his first coming? And how does it shape our life and hope now?

To explore the doctrine of Christ's second coming, and its practical ramifications, I corresponded with TGC Council member Sam Storms, lead pastor for preaching and vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and author of (among many other books) Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative. Read more

When Should Leaders Change Their Minds?


Leaders have strong opinions. We study long and hard before we make up our minds, then we hold to our positions. I sometimes joke, “I may be wrong, but I’m never in doubt.” Leaders hold convictions. We don’t adopt every new idea that comes along. We cherish timeless truth and implement proven strategies. We aren’t swayed by every wind of doctrine or Web-driven fad.

Despite how firmly we hold our convictions, we are also learners — meaning we are open to new ideas. When we discover new insights, we are humble enough to change our minds. When we are wrong, we admit it and move forward. But with new information generated daily and all the different biblical interpretations being proposed, how do you know when to change your mind? Read more

Every Revival Has Its Own Soundtrack (New Music, Part 2)


Well, that was fun!

Monday’s post, God Has Never Done a New Thing Using Old Songs, received more comments than any other post over any two day period in the history of this site. It also stirred things up on Twitter, Facebook and my email inbox.

Yet, in spite of all the passion, the commenters were civil, thoughtful, reasonable and very helpful. No name-calling, mean language or accusations of heresy in the whole bunch. Whadya know, maybe we can have disagreements on the internet and still respect each other. Way to go, everyone!

If we keep doing this, they might have to give the Worship Wars a new name – like Reasonable Discussion About Differing Views On Worship Music Styles. That’ll catch on, right?

Since there were so many great questions and comments raised by Monday’s post, today’s post is a collection of questions and responses that added something new to the conversation. This way, you won’t have to scroll through everything just to see where the conversation went.

So, with genuine thanks to everyone who participated in the conversation, here’s how some of the Comments and Responses went.

(I’ve edited the comments to their essence, and I’ve edited my responses to fit this format. If you read your comment stated more bluntly than you wrote it, I’ve only done that to make this a shorter, more readable post. It’s not my intent to misrepresent anyone’s comments, questions, or the gracious attitude with which they were originally written.) Read more

Free Album Download: From the River to the Ends of the Earth - Two Weeks Only


Looking for great new versions of Psalms settings? London-based songwriter, Matt Searles, is giving away his latest album in honor of its 1-year anniversary! Learn more

You can hear the album here

Eight Trends about Church Members on Social Media


On a few occasions, I have addressed the topic of church leaders on social media. I obviously have a fascination with this form of communication. Indeed, I see it as one of the great modern-day vehicles for good or harm.

In this post, I address eight trends related to church members who use social media, specifically in relation to the churches where they are members. As a note of clarification, most of my data comes from Twitter and Facebook. There are, obviously, many other types of social media.

Here, then, are eight of the trends I see.... Read more

See also
4 Social Media Tricks That Translate To Your Relationships

Successful Ministry


The last words of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel are a source of comfort and strength to many of us. Jesus promises, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Given the general use of “disciple” in Matthew, and the all-embracing time period, this promise is to us, not just to the apostles back then.

But what is involved in Jesus being with us? Is it an assurance of the presence of Jesus to comfort and strengthen us in times of trouble? Is Jesus promising that we will feel or see his presence, maybe by answers to prayer or miracles? I think that Jesus is talking about something much more specific, and much more significant. Read more

What's become of Christian hospitality?


I wish I could remember the name of the brother who greeted me and my family when we worshipped with Shadow Hills Church in Las Vegas.

Many years later, I keenly remember the warm, enthusiastic way he took us under his care to find the worship center, receive bulletins and meet a few others before the musicians signaled the beginning of the service. Most surprising was his enthusiastic offer, "Can you join my family for dinner after worship?"

I am certain it was apparent that we were just tourists and a family already practicing the faith, yet he still gave us the best welcome I have ever received from a church. I think of him often. He lived Christian hospitality.

Here's the question: "What's become of Christian hospitality?" Before you dismiss the question with the usual, "Times have changed," "We're all too busy," "We've become impersonal," or "It's not safe to bring strangers into your home," consider that hospitality is a command from God's Word.... Read more

Sydney Synod gets down to business


The first week of Synod has seen a raft of decisions, including encouraging new Anglican Communion structures, changes to governance and boards and clergy licensing. Read more
The Anglican Diocese of Sydney's Synod passed this motion in its final hour:

9.23 Global Anglicanism
Synod –
(a) gives God thanks for the success of GAFCON 2013 (Global Anglican Future Conference) being made up of 1358 delegates from 39 countries including the 99 delegates from Australia, (b) recognises that GAFCON is an emerging instrument of communion when others have failed to provide the well needed leadership at a time of growing liberalism within Anglicanism, aggressive secularism, militant Islamism and seductive syncretism, (c) encourages and supports GAFCON/FCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) in its desire to expand its membership, develop networks, authorise and affirm those who have been excluded by their dioceses or provinces, (d) recognising Synod’s desire to be in full communion with the ACNA (Synod resolution 46/09), Synod congratulates the Most Reverend Foley Beach on his consecration as Archbishop to the ACNA (Anglican Church of North America), (e) encourages the development of FCA Australia and its inaugural conference, “The Anglican Future Conference” to be held in Melbourne next year, (f) looks forward to the next GAFCON as a principle gathering of leaders in the Anglican Communion, and (g) requests the Secretary to write to The FCA Primates’ Council, The ACNA and FCA Australia informing them of this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dr. Ashley Null on Thomas Cranmer


In September 2001, ACL News spoke with Dr. Ashley Null while he was visiting Moore College.

Here’s what we published (in two instalments) at that time.... Read more

From the Pen of Bishop J. C. Ryle: The Thirty-Nine Articles


I must begin this paper with an apology. My subject may seem at first sight dry, dull, and uninteresting. But I ask my readers to believe that it is not so in reality. There are few points about which it is so important for English Churchmen to have clear and correct views, as about the nature, position, and authority of the Thirty-nine Articles.

Marriage settlements and wills are not very lively reading. Like all care-fully-drawn legal documents, they are extremely unattractive to general read-ers. The language seems cramped and old-fashioned; the amount of verbiage and circumlocution in them appears positively astounding; yet none but a child or fool would ever dare to say that wills and marriage settlements are of no use. The happiness of whole families often turns upon the meaning of their contents. It is even so with the Thirty-nine Articles. Dry, and dull, and unin-teresting as they may appear to some, they are in one sense the backbone of the Church of England. Surely some knowledge of them ought to be sought after by every sensible and intelligent member of our Communion.

Who is the “true Churchman”? That is a question which is shaking the Es-tablished Church of England to the very centre, and will shake it a good deal more, I suspect, before the end of the world comes. It is becoming a very large and serious question, and one which imperatively demands an answer. Read more .