Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Iran Parliament Requires Death for 'Apostates' As Crackdown Continues


[Christianity Today] 30 Sep 2008--Two Iranian Christians were charged with "apostasy" and several others arrested as Iran's parliament approved a bill making the death penalty mandatory for those so convicted.

The measure is part of a new penal code that easily passed in parliament in a 196-7 vote on September 9. Christian and Baha'i communities are most likely to be affected by the bill.

But one source told Compass Direct News that when he discussed the apostasy section with some members of parliament, they said they were unaware of it. The source argued that the Iranian government was trying to bury the bill in the 113-page penal code.

Current Iranian law considers apostasy (leaving Islam) a capital offense, but punishment is left to the discretion of judges.

Islam, Secularism and the Gospel – Part II


[The Christian Post] 30 Sep 2008--In last week’s article, I pointed out how Great Britain, through incremental concessions to Muslim demands, is sowing the seeds of its own subjugation. As to the cause of this civilizational suicide, Europe rendered itself impotent long ago when it traded its Christian philosophical foundations for that of secularism.

The roots of modern secularism began in the Renaissance, which marked the transition from the medieval to modern era. From the fourteenth to sixteenth century, Renaissance scholars and artists began to oppose the ever more oppressive church-state hegemony that Rome had come to represent. In reaction, old and new ideas alike were kindled, ideas that sought to “liberate” humanity from the oppressive bonds of ecclesiastical authority and religious dogma. (How unfortunate that the church was largely responsible for its own removal from public life.) The Renaissance purposed to elevate man and eliminate God.

Faithful Christians also reacted to the corrupt and hegemonic church leading to the sixteenth century Reformation, recovering old ideas in the form of historic orthodoxy and producing new ideas that would positively shape much of Western cultural and social life, including everything from politics and philosophy to science and the arts.

Canadian Theologian J.I. Packer Talks Up Future of Anglicanism


[VirtueOnline] 30 Sep 2008--You would think that British-born theologian Dr. J. I. Packer - a man with impeccable Anglican credentials, multiple accolades, numerous books and now in his 82nd year -- might just be permitted to kick back and listen to Jazz music (his favorite), write more theological tomes and exempt himself from the current culture wars in the Anglican Communion.

Not a chance.

YWAM issues call to prayer and fasting for India


[Christianity Today UK] 30 Sep 2008--Youth With A Mission is calling on its 17,000 workers worldwide to join in three days of prayer and fasting for the church in India as it continues to face violent attacks from Hindu radicals.

The wave of violence was triggered by the killing in late August of a radical Hindu leader in the sectarian violence-prone state of Orissa. At least 51 people have died in violence in the eastern state alone, whilst tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes in a bid to escape the violent mobs that have burned hundreds of homes and churches to the ground. The violence has since spread to the west coast state of Karnataka.

YWAM said in a report on its website that more than a dozen of its staff and students had been beaten and injured, lost their homes and suffered damage to personal and ministry property at the hands of radicals, who blame Christians for the death of their leader, despite authorities declaring Maoists to be responsible.

Teams of YWAM workers are working to provide refugees with basic necessities and praying for God to intervene in the crisis.

Worshipping the God of the Gospel - a dream for evangelical worship


[Christianity Today UK] 30 Sep 2008--I would like to begin my dreaming further back – with the actual identity Anglican Evangelicalism, not simply its worship.

My dream is that Anglican evangelicalism will:

· realise its potential

· fulfil its calling

· inhabit its character

· (to put it more theologically) that it will receive all that God has for it in Christ through the Spirit.

Palin's got what it takes, says evangelical woman leader


[Christianity Today UK] 30 Sep 2008--The leader of one of the world’s largest Christian women’s ministries gave high praises to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as she refuted claims that the Alaska governor is unqualified for the office.

“She’s just as qualified as Obama is qualified,” said Jane Hansen Hoyt, president of the 200,000-member Aglow International ministry, to The Christian Post.

Hoyt, who was in town for the Aglow national conference this past weekend, added, “She’s a smart woman, she’s intelligent, she has on-the-job experience that is very powerful and she brings that experience to Washington.”

Palin, the first woman to be on a Republican presidential ticket, has come under a barrage of criticism for what some consider her lack of experience, especially in foreign policy. She has been the governor of Alaska for two years and was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, before that.

However, her addition to the Republican ticket has injected excitement to the prior lackluster Republican base.

Church can change fate of trafficked women - Premier


[Christianity Today UK] 30 Sep 2008--Premier Christian Media have produced a thought-provoking resource for churches as they campaign against human trafficking as part of 'Not for Sale'.

The poster, which is intended to be displayed on church notice boards features the faces of two women, one glamorous and healthy, the other beaten and destitute.

"We hope the poster will dispel the widespread myth that women involved in prostitution lead a glamorous and happy life, when in fact many are enslaved and forced to service men against their will," presenter and campaign member, Maria Toth commented.

"The 'Not for Sale' poster highlights the real face of prostitution - women, many of whom are trafficked from other parts of the world and forced into a life of modern slavery here in the UK."

Bishop of Birkenhead, England Offers Support for Bishop Duncan


[In Support of Bishop Duncan] 30 Sep 2008--I was privileged to meet +Bob at the Lambeth Conference and I can’t understand why those also present have now acted against him in this way. To have split the Communion by ignoring all the pleas not to innovate against the clearly expressed mind of the Communion and then to pretend that it is +Bob who has in some way departed form the faith is an example of profound self deception. To have proceeded in this way seems to myself, who first met TEC Bishops at Lambeth, that for all the fine words, a deeper force is driving this which is immune to the calls for unity and truth. TEC asked for diversity to be respected. Where is even elementary respect for the diversity of gospel orthodoxy represented by +Bob and the diocese of Pittsburgh? If the diocese was still undecided as to how to proceed in relation to TEC, this action would surely move them to leave. TEC may want to uphold its own distorted sense of its own polity. It should not now be surprised if the rest of the Anglican Communion now moves to assert its polity, without TEC.

The greatest thing of all


[sydneyanglicans.net] 30 Sep 2008--Faith and hope are indispensable marks of the Christian life and of any church. But, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13, love tops the list. Indeed, he warns us at the beginning of the chapter that the possession of the greatest gifts without love is meaningless. Even being prepared to sacrifice all, including life itself, without love is fruitless.

Martyrdom is futile without love. This may seem ridiculous, for would not the martyr be self-evidently filled with love for God? As we can see from the contemporary experience of suicide bombers, martyrdom is no necessary proof of love. There may be all sorts of self-serving reasons for a person to wish for death, or they may be prepared to die for a cause or an ideology. The inner purpose should be clear and so too the capacity of the martyr to offer forgiveness and to pray for those who persecute us.

Three words from J.I. Packer to the Diocese of Pittsburgh


[BabyBlueOnline] 30 Sep 2008--Dr. J.I. Packer was asked today what is his recommendation to the Diocese of Pittsburgh as they consider the resolution to separate from The Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

He answered with three short words....

Local churches align with deposed bishop


[The Herald Standard] 30 Sep 2008--Two Fayette County churches are uniting themselves with their recently deposed Bishop Robert Duncan of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

"He's standing firm and the diocese is going to stand with him,'' said the Rev. John T. Cruikshank, rector at St. Peter's Church in Uniontown.

Cruikshank and the Rev. Keith Pozzuto, rector of Christ Church in Brownsville, said both churches will send delegates to Saturday's diocesan convention in Monroeville to vote to realign the diocese with the South American-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which made Duncan a bishop-at-large after U.S. bishops voted Sept. 18 in Salt Lake City to remove him.

Pozzuto said, "Concerning the vote, Christ Church is unanimous to go with Bishop Duncan in the realignment. That's a wonderful thing. Many churches in the diocese are split. This is terribly difficult for some churches. It's not difficult for us. We know where we stand.

Stephen Henthorne: On Where Bishop MacPherson Stands And The Direction of the Diocese of Western Louisiana For The Future


[Drell's Descants] 30 Sep 2008--This is from my friend, Steve Henthorne. It should be noted that the Bishop and Steve are also friends to give context to what he wites. I also want to say that there are folks in my parish who ask me the same questions every Sunday. Frankly, I am running out of answers. In any event here is Steve’s piece....

Victim of anti-Christian mob describes experiences


[The Hindu] 30 Sep 2008--“Let the law enforcement machinery, those who know the truth, speak the truth. They know who are the perpetrators of the crime, a matter of shame and insult to the law,” Father Thomas Chellan told The Hindu. A Catholic priest belonging to the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, he was dragged out of his hiding place in K. Nuagaon, a small urban centre in strife-torn Kandhamal district, in the afternoon of August 25.

A mob armed with lathis, axes, spades, crowbars, iron rods and sickles, and shouting anti-Christian, Hindutva slogans, brutalised him, Meanwhile, his co-worker, a 28-year-old nun, was taken to a nearby building, and gang-raped in public view.

Anglican Parish Votes for Orthodoxy, Joins Breakaway Group


[The Christian Post] 30 Sep 2008--Parishioners at an Anglican church in Canada voted unanimously on Sunday to join a conservative network and essentially leave a denomination they feel is abandoning traditional Anglicanism.

By a 109 to 0 vote, St. Aidan's in Windsor, Ontario, has realigned with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) – a breakaway body of now 19 parishes that is under the jurisdiction of the conservative South American Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, one of 38 Provinces that make up the global Anglican Communion.

Diocese of Fort Worth: Remain Faithful Meets, Passes Resolution Calling for New Province


[Stand Firm] 30 Sep 2008--Remain Faithful, a lay led organization of Episcopalian and Anglican laity met for it's second conference on September 27, 2008 at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford, Texas. The Mobilizing the Faithful- Toward a Faithful Future conference was very well attended with some traveling from distant areas of the United States to attend. Virtually every partner of Common Cause Partnership was represented by laity at the conference.

Among the most pressing items on the Agenda for the conference was the issuance of the following resolution adopted by the organization....

Courts hear arguments over pivotal church property dispute


[Religious Intelligence] 30 Sep 2008--Two high-profile church property cases in the United States are coming to a close, with courts in New York and Virginia hearing arguments as to whether secular law, or canon law, should govern the control of church property.

On Sept 22, the Diocese of Virginia announced it had conceded most of the remaining issues under consideration by the court in its property lawsuit with the breakaway parishes of the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA), stating that it will focus its energies on an appeal.

Article Six (part 2): Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation


[Stand Firm] 30 Sep 2008--Many Pharisees and the teachers of the law assumed that their encyclopedic knowledge of scripture equated to salvific knowledge of God. But though they knew, cognitively speaking, the Law and the Prophets, they remained blind to the One who fulfilled both. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life” Jesus told them, “and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39) It is quite possible to memorize large swaths of scripture and never find Jesus. The bible is not the narrow path. The bible is the map that shows us how to find it. Deep love for and extensive study of scripture is good and right for it represents God's self-disclosure, his perfect law, his perfect word. But we cannot forget that the bible reveals the Revealer. Its purpose is to reveal God’s nature and character and to conform us to his Son Jesus Christ.

Kentucky Bishop to Retire by 2010


[The Living Church] 30 Sep 2008--Bishop Ted Gulick of Kentucky surprised participants at a meeting of the diocese's trustees and council this month by announcing his intention to resign within two years and calling for the election of his successor.

A native of Washington, D.C., Bishop Gulick, 60, became Bishop of Kentucky in 1994. He said he and his wife, Barbara, want to return to Virginia, where he began his ministry and where his grandchildren and elderly parents still reside.

Bishop Lawrence Reports on the House of Bishops' Meeting, September 17-19, 2008


[The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina] 30 Sep 2008--Once again within a few months the landscape of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion has changed—as if Gafcon and Lambeth were not enough. What does this deposition mean? Frankly, it is still unfolding, but I offer the following reflections:

• The House of Bishops whether intentionally or not has enhanced the power of the Presiding Bishop. With consequences far beyond the deposition of The Rt. Reverend Robert Duncan, this vote by interpretation and application of Title IV.9, has established invasive reach for the PB. It is now possible for a sitting bishop of TEC to be deposed without prior inhibition or trial, rendering superfluous the role of the three Senior Bishops of the House. Beyond this is the quizzical ruling that it takes more votes from the House to receive the resignation of a retiring bishop then to depose a sitting one! Then there is the curious fact that it takes a two-thirds vote of the house to overturn a ruling of the chair, thus when combined with rendering moot the role of the senior bishops and the plain reference to a needed “majority of the whole house entitled to vote” in Title IV.9—there is enhanced power to the PB regardless of who may hold the chair, now or in the future. A development mercurial indeed, when one considers the PB and House of Bishops have repeatedly declined the authority to speak on behalf of The Episcopal Church when queried for commitments by the Communion’s Instruments of Unity; deferring instead to the authority of General Convention.

• I fear that however reasoned or temperately the members of the House of Bishops or the Presiding Bishop’s Office explains this deposition it will further trouble the waters of discord. There are several reasons for this: While Title IV.9 mentions a bishop abandoning the communion by open renunciation of the Discipline of this church, (which is ostensibly the clearest rationale for why the presentment was brought against Bishop Duncan), it is also clear from the same canon that prior to mentioning renunciation of the Discipline of the Church there is the reference to the Doctrine of the Church. Many from within TEC itself, as well as those in the various provinces of the Anglican Communion, are not unaware that there have been more then a few bishops of this Church who have in public settings and in published writings, renounced or at least denied the Doctrine of TEC. Others have allowed rites of worship, which if not having actually crossed the authorized boundaries in their approval of pastoral liturgies for same-sex blessings, have all but done so—doing pirouettes on a knife’s edge. Doesn’t the House of Bishops look as if it is being selective in holding its theological “conservative” bishops and dioceses accountable in matters of the Church’s discipline (i.e. the Constitution & Canons), while having no will to hold “liberal” bishops, retired and active, accountable on matters of doctrine and worship? And even in this matter of the Church’s discipline we may look selective: For instance what does the Presiding Bishop and the HOB’s intend to do with those bishops who contrary to the canons allow or even invite open communion of the unbaptized?

Beer Boycott to Resume after MillerCoors Again Supports Sadomasochistic Sex Fair


[LifeSiteNews] 30 Sep 2008--When LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) last week contacted Mike Setto, the Michigan party store owner who helped spark a nationwide protest of Miller (now MillerCoors) beer in October 2007, following their sponsorship of the Folsom Street Fair, he was stunned to hear that MillerCoors had purchased a centerfold advertisement in this year's program.

Last year Miller apologized for their association with the "disrespectful" activities the fair is known for. Those who spearheaded the boycott that provoked the apology had been led to believe that the issue was satisfactorily put to rest and that Miller would no longer associate itself with the sadomasochistic sex fair.

Levi Jeans Funds Push for Homosexual "Marriage" in California


[LifeSiteNews] 30 Sep 2008--Levi Strauss & Co. is joining with Google, Pacific Gas & Electric and Hollywood activists Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg in the effort to push homosexual "marriage" in California. The "No On Prop 8 Equality Business Council" was formed to oppose efforts to define marriage as being between one man and one woman in the California constitution.

Corporate and media giants are lining up against California Proposition 8, set to appear on the November election ballot, which would add a section to the California constitution stating "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

10 Reasons Why Now Is the Time to Realign


[The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth] 30 Sep 2008-Our 26th annual convention is approaching, and a momentous decision is before us as a diocese. At last year’s convention, your clergy and elected delegates voted by majorities of around 80 percent each to remove language in our Constitution that affiliates us with the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC). This year, clergy and delegates will be asked to ratify that decision to separate.

“Why now?” someone might ask. “Why is this the time for our diocese to separate from the General Convention of The Episcopal Church and realign with another Province of the Anglican Communion?”

Here are a few of the thoughts that come to mind....

Welsh Church ‘will not cater for traditionalists’


[Religious Intelligence] 30 Sep 2008--The Church in Wales will not appoint a new “flying bishop” for traditionalists, Archbishop Barry Morgan said on Sept 17, saying the position was no longer necessary nor was such a post consistent with Anglican ecclesiology. Those opposed to the ordination of women still had a place with the Church in Wales, he said and asked traditionalists to trust the bishops to look after their interests.

The decision comes as a repudiation of the work of Dr Rowan Williams, traditionalists charged, as the former Bishop of Monmouth was instrumental in creating the post of “flying bishop” 12 years ago, and marks a hardening of positions in the Welsh Church.

Monday, September 29, 2008

African Anglican leaders call for dialogue


[Religious Intelligewnce] 29 Sep 2008--The chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) has called upon the African church to put aside its differences and engage with its theological opponents within the Anglican Communion. CAPA should eschew a political solution to the divisions over doctrine and disciple Archbishop Ian Ernest said, and focus instead on the church’s transformation through Christian witness.

In his Sept 3 presidential address read to the joint meeting of primates and standing committee of CAPA in Nairobi, Archbishop Ernest, Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius, said CAPA must resist becoming one interest group among many within the Anglican Communion. “The Church is going through trial times. This is nothing new, and it is certainly not the last time that our Communion faces challenges,” Archbishop Ernest said.

Why I Am Not Ashamed To Be An Anglican Minister


[VirtueOnline] 29 Sep 2008--Mrs Jefferts Schori's disgraceful deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan is unquestionably accelerating a process of disillusion with Anglican ministry amongst potential ordinands here in the UK.

Young men with potential fear (and with good reason) that TEC bully-girl tactics will come to the UK and a new generation of illiberal liberals will take over the Church of England and start driving out the orthodox.

That is of course a real possibility for the future and it would be ludicrously optimistic to suggest it will not happen. But we are not there quite yet and anyway the prospect of future suffering did not deter the Apostle Paul from going to Jerusalem (Acts 20v22-23).

GAFCON may also unwittingly have contributed to this process of disillusion with its strong following amongst church planters. A church plant without the baggage of traditional Anglicanism looks so much more attractive to a young person with enthusiasm and ministry gifts.

City takes building of California church


[OneNewsNow] 29 Sep 2008--A David-versus-Goliath situation is developing for a small church in California.

The situation could turn into another legal case for Pacific Justice Institute, founded by Brad Dacus. "A tiny church in Lemon Grove, California, has recently been notified that they are no longer allowed to meet in the small retail space that they've been meeting in for quite a while," Dacus explains. "They only have four people in their small church, and yet they were told they could not meet there because any church is required to have a minimum of 18 parking spaces."

Dacus questions whether the business that owned the building before the church faced the same parking requirement. "There were no requirements for 18 parking spaces when it was used as a retail establishment," he adds. "There was no such mandate."

Anti-Christian attacks seen as ‘military-like operations’


[Anglican Mainstream] 29 Sep 2008--In an incisive analysis of the wave of the anti-Christian violence that has swept India, Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum, told the Indian news portal Rediff.com that anti-Christian attacks are ‘military-like operations, carried out with clinical precision and are brutal, with no discrimination, sparing neither clergy, women, nor children. The objectives are manifold — consolidation of the Hindu vote, polarization of the majority and minorities, demonizing the community, crippling Christians economically.’

In Italy, bishops called upon the EU to add anti-Christian violence to the agenda of the September 29 EU-India summit, while in Karnataka, Archbishop Bernard Moras told the leader of the state government that ‘I am prepared to shed my blood and give my life for protection of churches.’

Rowan in the Wrong Direction


[National Review Online] 29 Sep 2008--Marx long ago observed the way in which unbridled capitalism became a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that had no life in themselves; he was right about that.” This sentence appears in an article criticizing capitalism in the current issue of the Spectator, the British weekly magazine, and several readers have rung me up to ask if we all have the same words before our eyes.

Because who is coming to the defense of Marxism like this so long after every aspect of it has been tested to destruction? Some professor on the West Coast perhaps? Not a bit of it. It is nobody else but the Archbishop of Canterbury, a fellow by the name of Rowan Williams. When appointed, he thought to ingratiate himself by confiding to the public that he was a “hairy leftie.” His prose style certainly suits his self-presentation. Take that sentence quoted above. What is a kind of mythology? How is mythology something other than itself? What are these things said to have no life in themselves but nonetheless with power and agency? Agency is too vague a term to carry meaning here, and how do unspecified things have a life? In any case Marx observed nothing of the kind, and Williams is only giving his own reduction of what he thinks that other hairy leftie was trying to say.

Once an Archbishop of Canterbury was prepared to go to the stake for his Christian belief. Subsequent Archbishops have tried to live up to the position as head of the Anglican community world-wide. In living memory, great Christian churchmen like Cardinal Wyszynski in Poland, Cardinal Josif Slipyi in Ukraine, the saintly Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek in Czechoslovakia, criticised Marxist doctrine and practice, and went to prison for it. And rather than calling Marx in aid, might an Archbishop today not have a duty rather to confront Marx’s famous jibe that religion is the opium of the people?

Windsor Ontario parish votes to join Anglican Network in Canada


[Anglican Network in Canada] 29 Sep 2008--The congregation of St Aidan’s in Windsor, Ontario voted decisively today to come under the episcopal oversight of Bishop Donald Harvey, Moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) and under the Primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

By a unanimous vote, St Aidan’s became the 19th ANiC parish and the 11th former Anglican Church of Canada parish to vote to join ANiC this year. All 109 votes cast were in favour of aligning with ANiC.

Pro-abortion Protestors Attack Youth Prayer Group


[Stand Firm] 29 Sep 2008--You-Tube video.

EU Worried about Freedom of Religion in Iran


[The Christian Post] 29 Sep 2008--The European Union said Friday it is "very worried" about what it sees as a deterioration of religious freedom in Iran.

A statement from the French Foreign Ministry on behalf of the EU says pressure has increased on religious minorities in the Islamic Republic in recent months, with arrests in the Christian and Baha'i communities. France currently holds the EU presidency.

The statement Friday also said that religious minorities, including Sufi and Sunni Muslims, undergo "regular persecution" such as the confiscation of their property, profanation of their prayer spaces and violence.

The EU says it also is concerned about the possibility the Iranian parliament could pass a bill to make apostasy a crime punishable by death.

Diocese found breaking up hard to do, but still a relief


[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] 29 Sep 2008--In California's Central Valley, 10 months after Bishop John-David Schofield led most of the 8,000-member Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin out of the Episcopal Church into an Anglican province in South America, he still occupies the same Spanish mission-style headquarters in Fresno.

Some 125 miles north in Stockton, Bishop Jerry Lamb, who has been recognized by the Episcopal Church -- the U.S. branch of Anglicanism -- as the legitimate heir of the Diocese of San Joaquin, works from a rented office; most of his flock of nearly 1,800 worships in rented rooms.

Each says it's the only true Diocese of San Joaquin.

Convention to Go Forward, Says Standing Committee


[The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] 29 Sep 2008--During their meeting on September 23, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh unanimously committed itself to carrying forward the annual convention of the diocese in “an orderly and grace-filled manner” on October 4. Since the purported deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan by the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on September 18, the Standing Committee is serving as the diocese’s Ecclesiastical Authority.

Across the Aisle Launches Alternative Website in Pittsburgh


[Across the Aisle] 29 Sep 2008--The following Letter to the Editor was published in the September 29, 2008, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It follows an Op-Ed piece and other comments in the media in which critics misrepresent the faith and teachings of the Episcopal Church.

Bishop says the "worm has turned" after Indian Christians attack Hindu


[Times Online] 29 Sep 2008--Beleaguered Christians in India have "run out of cheeks to be struck" a senior Anglican bishop declared yesterday, on hearing reports that a Christian mob had hacked a Hindu to death in the troubled state of Orissa.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, called for peace, and said that the murder, conducted by a knive-wielding mob of 50 Christians, could not be condoned. But he told The Times: “For months now, scores of Christians have been killed, homes, convents and presbyteries have been burnt down to the ground."

He said: "Now one Hindu has been killed, allegedly by Christians. We do not know under what circumstances but it suggests that the worm has turned and the Christian community has run out of cheeks to be struck."

Appealing for an immediate end to the violence, Dr Nazir-Ali added: "As Christians, we must ask our brothers to remain as peaceful as they have during the recent provocation. We must ask, however, when justice will be done and when these people, under severe pressure, will be allowed relief.”

Related article:
India's vengeful Christians turn to murder as Hindus step up their killing campaign - Times Online

Driscoll's 18-point critique: Sydney responds


[sydneyanglicans.net] 29 Sep 2008--Earlier this month American mega-church pastor Mark Driscoll delivered a stinging 18 point critique of evangelicalism in Sydney. This week Sydneyanglicans.net asks a panel of six Sydney Anglican church leaders for their response.

Related article:
Verdict of Driscollmania - sydneyanglicans.net

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Anglican clergy ordered out


[ChristianWeek] 27 Sep 2008--The prospect of having to walk away from their building—and more than a century of cherished memories—seems not to have shaken the resolve of most of the parishioners of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church to stand by their orthodox beliefs.

Earlier this year, the church voted almost unanimously to quit the Anglican Church of Canada and align itself withthe Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). At issue was what they saw as the ACC’s abandonment of Anglican orthodoxy, and in particular the diocese of New Westminster’s continued advocacy of a same-sex blessing.

Three other churches in Vancouver also voted to join the ANiC at about the same time.

In August, the diocese invoked canon law, ordering clergy at two of the parishes—St. Matthew’s in Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke in Vancouver—to get out by mid-September.

Benchmarks: Growth in Small Groups


[Christianity Today] 27 Sep 2008--Definition: Benchmarking is a tool used to measure or compare your work or progress with others who are doing the same thing. Benchmarking is a powerful tool because it overcomes "paradigm blindness"—the mode of thinking that says, "The way we do it is the best because this is the way we've always done it."

Because it is difficult to get a handle on what is going on in other small groups outside of your own (or your own church), SmallGroups.com does live surveys each month on a variety of small-group topics. The purpose of these surveys is to uncover a sense of what is going on in small groups around the world, and particularly in North America.

These surveys are not intended to be a scientific sample of those involved in small groups. And benchmarking—or comparing your small group to other small groups—is not intended to be a substitute for the Holy Spirit's work and guidance in your group. However, knowing what other small groups are doing can be a helpful diagnostic tool and can show what God is up to within the larger small-group movement.

With that in mind, here are some results of SmallGroups.com surveys on the subject of what goes on during typical small-group meetings.

The Ironic Faith of Emergents


[Christianity Today] 27 Sep 2008--Very few emergent folks I have encountered have any chance of returning to a robust, traditional evangelical faith. As emergents learned and listened in their evangelical churches and institutions, they realized they could not accept much of what they were being taught. Though they remained within the comfortable confines of these institutions, their faith became ironic. Yes, they were Christians, but not quite what most people meant by that term.

McLaren Emerging


[Christianity Today] 27 Sep 2008--Emergent is no longer just emerging. It has in many respects emerged. Though some things remain unclear, what you see is what it is and, more importantly, what you see is also where it is going. Where it is going is in the direction of gospel expansion. Is emergent "evangelical"? Some answer with a hearty, "By all means!" Others, a more moderate, "Well yes, on some level." Still others, a most definite, "No, of course not!"

The emerging movement, the larger movement of which emergent is a segment, remains more or less connected to the core of evangelicalism. It contains a variety of missional impulses; it remains concerned about the church; and its theological ideas will undoubtedly continue to impact evangelicalism. John Stott recently sketched three core practices of emerging churches: the way of Jesus, breaking down the sacred-secular divide, and community living. He says that "emerging churches are rediscovering [these core practices] and giving them a fresh emphasis." Rediscovering accurately describes what is going on, but those in the emerging movement feel these core practices are a fresh discovery. Furthermore, what Stott calls the "emerging churches" involves a spectrum that deserves a closer look.

I maintain a crucial distinction between two related streams: emergent and the broader emerging movement. Emergent is crystallized in Emergent Village and its leaders Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, and Doug Pagitt. Emerging is a mix of orthodox, missional, evangelical, church-centered, and social justice leaders and lay folk. When I think of this broader emerging movement, I think of Dan Kimball at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Dave Dunbar at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch and their book The Shaping of Things to Come, and Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. Some of this was anticipated by Lesslie Newbigin's many writings and is now sketched in Tom Sine's The New Conspirators. Furthermore, I see emerging trends in megachurches like Willow Creek Community Church and Saddleback Church.

Despite what some critics assume, Brian McLaren, the most controversial of emergent leaders, does not represent all things emerging. But he does represent the more progressive wing, and his latest books offer a glimpse of where that movement might be heading.

Indian Christians: Stop the Killing


[The Christian Post] 27 Sep 2008--Peace rallies demanding an end to the continual violence against Christians in India were held Thursday across the street from the White House as well as on Friday in India’s capital city of New Delhi.

Dozens of people, mostly Indian-Americans, huddled under umbrellas at Lafayette Park as they held signs protesting the widespread persecution of Christians in India. The peace rally and subsequent prayer vigil were purposely organized to coincide with the White House visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“The Federation declared that it holds the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India responsible for any lives lost and damage caused to the churches and properties due to their inefficiency in stopping this violence,” declared one of the rally organizers, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA), in a statement.

FIACONA demands that the central government, rather than the state government, rehabilitate the victims and supervise their recovery because many of them are controlled by Hindu nationalist parties.

It also demands the Indian president to remove the state governments from power if they continue to “fail to respect and uphold the Constitutional rights of its citizens, in their respective state.”

The group further called for the Indian prime minister to impose an immediate ban on radical fundamentalist groups such as Vishwa Hindu Parishand (VHP), Bajrandal and their parent ideological group the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Outreach 100: Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches in America


[The Christian Post] 27 Sep 2008--For the first time since Outreach magazine has compiled its annual report of the largest churches in America, all 100 churches were listed with 7,000 weekend attendants or higher.

With seven churches reporting attendance averages of exactly 7,000, "The Outreach 100" this year included 103 churches.

Topping the fifth annual list again this year was Lakewood Church in Houston with 43,500 attendants, followed by Second Baptist Church in the same city with 23,659 and then North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., with 22,557.

Overall, the combined attendance of all 103 churches was 1,128,451 which is an increase of 111,527 people from 2007.

While some of the most well-known churches still rank highest in the report, some showed a drop in attendance over the last year. Lakewood, led by Pastor Joel Osteen, saw a dip from 47,000 attendants in 2007. Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., experienced a drop from 23,500 people to 22,500, placing the megachurch at No. 4 this year.

Also, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., led by Pastor Rick Warren, went down from 22,000 weekend attendants to 19,414. Saddleback is ranked as No. 8 this year after ranking No. 4 in 2007.

Church leaders in North America put together sub-prime bogus spiritual truths and persecuted those who raised the alarm- Bishop David Anderson


[Anglican Mainstream] 27 Sep 2008--There are a number of issues to look at this week. In the United States, the financial crisis continues to deepen, with concerns about jobs, homes, and savings being an increasing topic of conversation among ordinary folks. People are not of one mind as to what the solution is, but with the people feeling uncertain, churches and charitable organizations may feel the impact of this insecurity. Another area that individuals, churches and organizations are looking at is the security and strength of their personal bank accounts, and whether the US Government provides insurance for those accounts. Some people and organizations may be thinking they have more insurance for their bank accounts than they really do. Sitting down and talking with your banker about your situation might be a good thing to do fairly soon.

I would urge churches especially to look at their financial assets, talk to their banker, and see if they need to spread their accounts over two or more banks, so that each account is fully FDIC insured. It also calls to mind the fact that we ought not to put our trust in wealth, but in the one who saves us, blesses us, and provides for our needs.

On a happier note, support for Bishop Duncan is pouring in from around the world. Of course, The Episcopal Church doesn’t much care whether the Anglican World disapproves of the way she handled the situation, she would say that the rest of the world was just ignorant of the facts as she has determined them, and if they were properly briefed, they would naturally agree with her. Six English bishops have said that they continue to regard Duncan as a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion, and this is in addition to messages sent from all corners of the Communion.

Pittsburgh bishop will not appeal deposition


[Religious Intelligence] 27 Sep 2008--The Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Rev Robert Duncan has said he will not appeal against the ruling, as bishops worldwide condemned the Episcopal Church of the manner of his deposition.

He said: “I’m very sad, sad for the Episcopal Church. In 15 days the diocese will determine whether it too wants to be part of the Southern Cone and figure out whether it wants me back as bishop. That is up to the diocese, although I have a sneaking suspicion they will want me back.”

“This is of course a very painful moment for Pittsburgh Episcopalians,” the president of the diocesan standing committee the Rev David Wilson said. “The leadership of the Episcopal Church has inserted itself in a most violent manner into the affairs and governance of our diocese.”

The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Peter Jensen, said: “The unfolding tragedy of the Episcopal Church starkly reveals the folly of the original decision to break with the Bible and centuries of historic Christianity on the issue of human sexuality.”

The Archbishop of Egypt, the Most Rev Mouneer Anis, said: “I don’t know what to call it, a tragedy or comedy, for the faithful to be disciplined by those who tear the fabric of our Anglican Communion.”

British traditionalists to condemn intolerance


[Religious Intelligence] 27 Sep 2008--Traditionalist Anglicans are poised formally to condemn the "intolerance... of many members" of the General Synod which they claim was displayed in the debate on women bishops when the Church of England's governing body met at York in July.

The move, unprecedented in its tone, will be proposed at the annual assembly of Forward in Faith, the umbrella Anglo-Catholic body, in London next month.

It will be made by the council, the movement's "cabinet", which is headed by the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst (pictured).

The council will also invite delegates to back an equally strident demand for "a guaranteed ecclesial structure" within a Church of England with women bishops "in which we can pass the Faith on to our children and grandchildren".

The Urgent Need for a Biblical Worldview


[Bill Muehlenberg] 27 Sep 2008--The various battles we find ourselves continuously embroiled in – be they political, ideological, cultural or social – all finally come down to one chief conflict: a war of worldviews. Behind the many skirmishes and battles lies a war of worldviews. Only when we understand the underlying clash of worldviews will we be able to make sense of the various conflicts being waged around us.

In order to make the case for the importance of worldview thinking, I will be drawing upon the insights of others. Thus what follows is more a string of quotations than a major thesis on the topic. Many great minds have gone before, describing what the worldview battles are all about. Their collective wisdom thus will comprise much of this discussion

Orissa tense after church attack


[BBC News] 27 Sep 2008--The overnight attacks took place in the Tikabali and Daringbadi areas of Kandhamal district, police said.

The area has witnessed a fresh bout of violence since Tuesday when police shot dead a protester in the town of Raikia.

Orissa has seen anti-Christian violence for several weeks. At least 20 people, mostly Christians, were killed after a Hindu religious leader was shot dead.

Hindus groups have long accused Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to convert to Christianity.

Christians say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape the Hindu caste system.

Can't we all just get along?


[Phillip Johnson] 27 Sep 2008--One thing the participants in the postmodern "conversation" simply will not tolerate, however, is someone who disagrees and thinks the point is really serious. Virtually no heresy is ever to be regarded as damnable. The notion that erroneous doctrine can actually be dangerous is deemed uncouth and naive. Every bizarre notion gets equal respect. Truth itself is only a matter of personal perspective, you see. Everything is ultimately negotiable.

Now, if you want to join the postmodern "conversation," you are expected to acknowledge all this up front—at least tacitly. That's the price of admission to the discussion. Once you're in, you can throw any bizarre idea you want on the table, no matter how outlandish. You can use virtually any tone or language to make your point, no matter how outrageous. But you must bear in mind that all disputation at this table is purely for sport. At the end of the day, you mustn't really be concerned about the truth or falsehood of any mere propositions.

Church of England admits profiting from short selling


[Telegraph] 27 Sep 2008--Managers of the Church's £5 billion investment portfolio have lent shares for a fee. It is possible they were used by traders to make profits by betting that the value of the stocks will fall.

Such trading in the shares of financial companies has been temporarily banned by the Financial Services Authority after it was blamed for driving down the share price of Halifax Bank of Scotland, which came close to collapse before it was taken over by Lloyds TSB last week.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, described short sellers as "bank robbers and asset strippers" earlier this week, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, condemned the "basic unreality" of the global trade in debts.

But it has emerged that "a small number of foreign stocks" belonging to the Church have been lent.

Short-sellers borrow shares, sell them to a third party, then wait for the price to drop so they can buy the shares at a lower price and return them to the lender. The difference in the two prices is the trader's profit.

The Church's fund managers have achieved an impressive 9.5 per cent average annual return on their assets over the past decade.

The Diocese of Virginia Announces a Settlement with Potomac Falls Church and Christ the Redeemer Church


[The Episcopal Diocese of Viorginia] 27 Sep 2008--The Diocese of Virginia today announced that it has reached a legal settlement with Potomac Falls Church in Potomac Falls and Christ the Redeemer Church in Chantilly. The mission churches, which do not hold any real property, will make a payment to the Diocese as part of the settlement ending the litigation between the parties. The settlement also includes the Episcopal Church.

Under the agreement, the Diocese will release the two churches from any claims or future liability arising from the litigation. In recognition of past diocesan efforts to build, grow and support Potomac Falls and Christ the Redeemer – two mission churches that built and continued meaningful ministries in their communities, conducting worship services in local elementary schools – the churches’ payment will support diocesan ministries, including overseas mission work and Shrine Mont camps, among others.

Friday, September 26, 2008

WEST TEXAS: St. John's, New Braunfels Departs Episcopal Church


[VirtueOnline] 26 Sep 2008--More than 300 members, 90% of the congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church in New Braunfels, have left The Episcopal Church citing the church's failure to uphold the authority of Holy Scripture and recent sexual innovations including the consecration of an openly homosexual priest to the episcopacy.

The departure process from the Diocese of West Texas under the Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge, a moderately conservative bishop, was fair, said the Rev. Dr. Chuck L. Thebeau rector of the Evangelical catholic parish, in a phone call to VOL. "We feel relieved that this has been accomplished in an amicable manner and that we are now set free to carry out the mission the Lord has given to us."

Thebeau and his congregation have not decided which overseas jurisdiction they will choose, but they have been getting advice from Kenyan bishops Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch. "We're members of the Anglican Communion Network and we will stay under their oversight for the moment. Geographically we are close to the Diocese of Ft. Worth," he told VOL.

In a letter addressed to the clergy and senior/bishop's wardens of West Texas from Bishop Lillibridge, which VOL obtained, he said the diocese had signed an agreement that will enable both those remaining and those departing to move forward with their life and ministry.

The Human Traffickers Are On The Prowl


The Ghanian Times] 26 Sep 2008--Human trafficking has become a major menace in Ghana and other parts of the African continent. The miseries and stultifying effects of the cruelties of the slave trade which Africa suffered for four centuries before its abolition are better forgotten than remembered, but the world is currently plagued by modern day forms of the trade, dehumanizing the conditions of persons who fall victim to it.

In order to develop a programme of action directed at reducing and possibly eradicating the trafficking and smuggling of persons across national, regional and continental boundaries, the Migrants Commission of the Ghana Catholic Bishop's Conference organized a workshop in Accra last July, on the dangers of the menace for member organisations of Caritas Internationalis.

The workshop brought together about 35 participants from Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, La Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Cameroon, Senegal, Sierra- Leone and Liberia. They shared their nations' experiences on human trafficking and discussed strategies to mitigate or eliminate the incidence.

Among other objectives of the workshop was identifying inputs for a framework to guiding, rescuing and rehabilitation strategies, the various ways of resource mobilisation for media campaigns and providing inputs for the establishment of Rescue, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Committees at the regional, national, diocesan and parish levels. Also to establish a zonal network to enforce the implementation of the UN Action on Human trafficking.

Hollywood's Embrace of Homosexuality Adds Fuel to Debates


[The Christian Post] 26 Sep 2008--Homosexuality has been increasingly splashed across all types of media and making especially big waves in Hollywood, where a number of celebrities have either recently “come out” or offered support to efforts to normalize a behavior that many still agree is unnatural.

Most recently, former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken publicly announced that he is gay, appearing on the cover of the latest People magazine holding his infant son, Parker Foster Aiken.
"It was the first decision I made as a father," Aiken told the magazine, which arrives on newsstands Friday. "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."

Aiken’s confession comes less than two weeks after another self-professed born-again Christian, CCM veteran Ray Boltz, made public his struggle with and eventual acceptance of his homosexual desires.

Black Faithfuls Press to Vote for Character over Race


[The Christian Post] 26 Sep 2008--African-American Christians should place greater importance on a candidate’s character than his skin color, maintains a conservative black magazine.

“Are We More Black than Christian?” was the controversial question posed in the latest edition of Freedom’s Journal Magazine.

Polls indicate, the magazine pointed out, that up to 96 percent of African Americans plan to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in November. But a growing number of conservative black leaders, the journal highlighted, are challenging that high figure by asking fellow believers to re-examine their priorities.

"Dr. Martin Luther King's dream that future generations be judged by the content of their character would be set back decades if Obama wins based on racial loyalty alone,” contends Dr. Eric Wallace, founder of Wallace Multimedia Group, LLC and Freedom's Journal Magazine, in a statement Wednesday.

Wallace criticized Obama for what he views as a “skewed approach” to “traditional Judea-Christian values” and for his lack of experience.

"Christians who are tempted to support Barack because of a feeling that we aren't doing enough to fight poverty, racism or sexism, etc. need to realize that the government cannot (and should not) do the work of the Church," Wallace writes in his editorial "Unto the Least of These." "As a matter of fact, government will, in almost every case, limit what can be done."

Obama Religious Reps Bow Out of Debate with McCain Team


[Christianity Today] 26 Sep 2008--Family Research Council Action is alerting constituents that a senior Barack Obama advisor on religious issues bowed out of a high-profile debate with a counterpart from the McCain campaign yesterday....

More Than Just a Bible Study


[Christianity Today] 26 Sep 2008--Cindy was in the Bible study I led for three years. She always answered the questions and participated in the discussion. She accumulated a lot of knowledge, but her life never changed. She lived a defeatist life, looking to unhealthy relationships with men to meet her longings, never finding anything worth living for.

I have puzzled a lot over people like Cindy. I've met quite a few over the years. It seems that some people never move beyond head knowledge to heart knowledge. There are numerous reasons for this. I'd like to identify three.

'Hounddog' movie depicts child rape

[Baptist Press News] 26 Sep 2008--Pro-family advocates were pleased when "Hounddog," a film that depicts the rape of a 9-year-old girl, did not enjoy the widespread exposure its director had wanted. It opened in only 11 theaters nationwide Sept. 19 and earned a dismal $13,744 at the box office during the first weekend.

Hounddog stirred controversy last year when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and has drawn extensive protests including movie critic Ted Baehr's call for a boycott of the film just before its release.

"These despicable movies promote pedophilia, whether intentionally or unintentionally," Baehr, founder of Movieguide, said. "There should be a massive public outcry against them. The inclusion of children in sexually explicit films is inappropriate. There also is no excuse for the authorities to allow such material to be shown publicly."

The North Carolina chapter of Concerned Women for America called on citizens to stop the distribution of Hounddog in theaters, and now they're urging people to help block its release on DVD. Hounddog, which stars 14-year-old Dakota Fanning, was filmed in North Carolina two years ago.

Fanning, who also starred in "Charlotte's Web" and "War of the Worlds," plays Lewellen, a sexually promiscuous young girl who lives in a broken home in the rural South during the 1950s. Though several scenes involving Fanning are overtly sexual, the most brutal is when she is raped by a teenage boy who tempts her with tickets to an Elvis concert.

Related article:
Pretend Rape? - Blue Line Radio

On the Art of Abandoning Hope


[Confessions of a Carioca] 26 Sep 2008--
I try to hold charity as a default disposition. I try to assume the best about people, and to give every possible benefit of the doubt. I am not inherently suspicious, nor am I easily offended personally (it can be done, but you have to really want to). I try to be irenic and empathetic in my discourse, particularly my public discourse (I do have some unguarded moments among close friends), and particularly when I am engaging those with whom I have strong disagreements. I live up to these ideals with varying degrees of success, something that probably comes as no surprise to you if you are a regular reader of this irregular blog. However, trusted feedback from multiple sources over a sustained length of time tells me that I succeed more often than I fail.

I mention all this in an attempt to set the context for some reflections on what transpired last week in the House of Bishops, and then on the larger Anglican scene. It is probably a good thing (for my soul's health, that is) that I was away from home and without constant internet access when the news broke about the deposition (once again, canonically flawed) of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. Since getting back home on Friday, I've been able to absorb both the news itself and bits and pieces of analysis and commentary. There is little of either that is very surprising—save, perhaps, for the fact that there were indeed 35 bishops who voted No, some prominent "progressives" among them. And even though the raw vote seems overwhelming (87-35-5), when you limit the statistical pool to Bishops Diocesan (i.e. excluding Suffragans, Coadjutors, Assistants, and retired), only a slight majority voted to depose Bishop Duncan. What this disparity means I am not prepared to say, but it is certainly worthy of note.

Five Chaplains Lose Jobs for Praying 'In Jesus' Name'


[LifeSiteNews] 26 Sep 2008--Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is defending how his administration forced the sudden resignation of five Virginia State Police Chaplains because they prayed publicly "in Jesus' name." Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty single-handedly created, then enforced, a strict "non-sectarian" prayer policy at all public gatherings, censoring and excluding Christian prayers, then accepted the resignation of five chaplains who refused to deny Jesus or violate their conscience by watering down their prayers.

House Republican Leader Morgan Griffith and Delegate Charles W. Carrico, (R-Grayson) both issued public statements defending the chaplains, questioning Governor Kaine's role in the affair, and vowing to introduce legislation protecting police chaplains' right to pray according to their own conscience.

Obama Calls Ad by Abortion Survivor a "Despicable Lie"


[LifeSiteNews] 26 Sep 2008--Gianna Jessen survived a saline abortion 31 years ago. "I didn't have any burns anywhere on my body -- it was amazing." The saline, however, did leave Jessen with a mild case of cerebral palsy, a slight limp, and a life-long commitment to oppose abortion. Jessen is featured in a television ad presently running in Ohio and New Mexico, criticizing Barack Obama's four votes against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA).

I asked her why she teamed with Jill Stanek's organization, Born Alive Truth, to make the ad. "It's very important for the American people to know how [Obama] feels about the most vulnerable among us," she told me (Stanek is the Chicago nurse who began lobbying to secure legal protections for babies born alive during abortions.)

Jessen has been active in the anti-abortion movement for 16 years and testified before Congress in 2002 about the BAIPA. At those hearings she met Stanek, who approached her several months ago about doing the ad. "I was thrilled to do it. It's as if I have been preparing many years for this moment."

Obama responded to Jessen's commercial with an ad of his own, dismissing it as "truly vile" and a "despicable lie." He wasn't the only one: Jonathan Martin, a reporter for Politico, called Jessen "a self-proclaimed abortion survivor." When Stanek produced the evidence of Jessen's claims, Politico removed Martin's slam.

Jessen lives in Nashville where she came with her adopted family 16 years ago. After she survived the abortion, she was given back to her biological mother but was shortly placed with a foster family. At the age of three, Jessen was adopted by her foster mother's daughter.

She isn't concerned about the way Obama describes her ad. "I don't really care what he says. I know he voted four times against proper medical care for babies born alive. That's the kind of man he is." So how have people reacted to the commercial? "Some of [Obama's] supporters will be less than kind, but generally the reaction has been very positive."

Anglican Support Grows for Bishop Duncan


[The Living Church] 26 Sep 2008--The number of primates and bishops in the Anglican Communion publicly supporting Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh is growing since the House of Bishops voted to depose him from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church on Sept. 17.

Six diocesan bishops from the Church of England -‑ Blackburn, Chester, Chichester, Exeter, Rochester and Winchester -‑ said they continue to regard him as a bishop in good standing of the Anglican Communion.

The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Schott-Joynt, has previously called for an “orderly separation” of liberal and conservative Anglicans following the Lambeth Conference last August.

The statement by the English bishops was preceded by statements of support for Bishop Duncan from the primates of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southeast Asia, the Southern Cone, Uganda and the West Indies.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Closed Doors at Episcopal Church


[The New York Sun] 25 Sep 2008--Just last month, the director of the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations, Maureen Shea, called on President Bush to open an "interests section" — essentially, a pared down embassy — in Tehran, Iran.

"For too long, the U.S. policy of non-engagement with Iran has brought us inflammatory words and provocative actions and has failed to reduce tensions or move toward a just and peaceful relationship," Ms. Shea wrote in the letter, which she also addressed to the presidential candidates. Ms. Shea's counterparts from the Quakers and the Mennonites also signed the letter.

It's amusing to watch the left-wing leadership of a religious group take President Bush to task for his administration's policy of non-engagement, because the leaders of the very same Episcopal Church last week voted to depose one its bishops for refusing to go along with the church's radical leftist agenda. And there was no debate or dialogue allowed.

Orthodox Episcopal Priest Goes Head to Head with Presiding Bishop over Biblical Interpretation


[VirtueOnline] 25 Sep 2008--When Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori recently visited the Diocese of Georgia she got more than she bargained for when she went head to head with the orthodox rector of St. John's Church in Savannah, Georgia.

At a meeting with the clergy of the diocese, she asked them to meditate on Mark 1:11, "You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased", the words spoken by "a voice from heaven" to Jesus at his baptism in Jordan.

"We were to apply this text directly to ourselves, and to ponder what it meant to be assured of God's unconditional love and approval. To judge from the responses, the assembled clergy loved this exercise, and in the discussion that followed the conventional themes of inclusiveness emerged - although a few did acknowledge a nagging sense that God might not be altogether "well-pleased" with them," wrote the Rev. Dr. Gavin G. Dunbar, rector of St. John's in his parish newsletter, under the title "Miss Congeniality."

"What no-one acknowledged was that this approach to the biblical text rested on very thin ice. It simply ignored what the text actually says: "Thou art my beloved son" - the singular, and not the plural "you" - or, as it appears in St. Matthew's gospel, "This is my beloved son" - this person, and not any others.

"That (unacknowledged) exegetical fact has critical theological implications, likewise ignored. On the one hand it means that the human race does not by nature immediately enjoy divine sonship and God's love. On the other it means that only Jesus does. And therefore our share in the love of God is not by nature but by grace, not immediate but mediated, and mediated by Jesus. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). As sole mediator of God and man, as the one through whom alone we may come to enjoy the Father's love and approval, Jesus has the right to command our faith and obedience to his word, as means and conditions for receiving the benefits of his mediation. And that opens up the whole question of what faith and obedience to him involves: in particular, the right ordering of the Church's life, and the right ordering of the human soul. And that brings us directly to the questions which Ms Jefferts Schori and her adulators dismissed as ungracious nit-picking by trouble-making conservatives. "We all believe in Jesus" she assured us, but what do we believe about Jesus? Who is this Jesus? In her account, a person of remarkably little consequence.

"When I ventured to raise this exegetical and theological problem, Ms Jefferts Schori made no answer. But other persons present were quick to refute me. One appealed to the immediacy of his feeling of God's love as proof that I was wrong about the need of mediation. Subjective experience trumped doctrine. Another dismissed the authority of Scripture and the Church's teaching as irrelevant, because, he said, (I kid you not) he had heard the voice of God when Ms Jefferts Schori spoke! An over-excited response, no doubt - but virtually the whole room then endorsed his comments with a standing ovation. Sad as it is that an officer of the Church gives so little importance to the mediating person and work of Christ, it is even more sad that so many Episcopalians see no problem there, and resent those who do.

Looking for Home


[Christianity Today] 25 Sep 2008--Sheltered in a Chicago-area Starbucks one afternoon, Tahir* is dreading the commute home. "My home situation is like a time bomb," he sighs, describing the tense stand-off between his Christian faith and the Palestinian Muslim family that considers him a traitor.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, anti-Arab sentiments initially angered Tahir and made him a more devout Muslim. But they also inspired an intense search of the New Testament, which slowly began to convince him of its truths. As Tahir's new faith took shape, his family became ashamed. Things exploded during a dinner-table debate at which Tahir's brother-in-law told Tahir's wife, "If he's no longer Muslim, your life with him is a sin!"

Today, as Tahir tries to quietly model Christ to his children, his wife warns that she will enroll them in a mosque or flee to Palestine: "Just because you sold your soul to the Devil doesn't mean you're taking the kids with you." Tahir's father has disowned him—"You are no longer my son"—and has threatened to recruit Fatah strongmen to beat him.

Like Tahir, many Christians from Muslim backgrounds are at once cultural and spiritual refugees, even as they settle into American addresses. They are struggling to reorient themselves in a new land and a new Christian identity while bearing the weight of their Islamic heritage.

Some seek an adoptive home in American evangelical churches, where they hear leaders preach about the missional "10/40 window" in North Africa and the Middle East. But not many evangelicals see the Muslim enclaves and seekers in their own backyards. Feeling alienated and misunderstood, these new converts sometimes leave American congregations.

Increasingly, though, these new Christians are finding community in a movement of "Muslim-background believers"—mostly in reclusive urban groups of 10 to 20 believers. Last fall, their leaders convened at conferences and summits in Toronto, Detroit, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

Preaching Hell in a Tolerant Age


[Christianity Today] 25 Sep 2008--The young man in my office was impeccably dressed and articulate. He was an Ivy League MBA, successful in the financial world, and had lived in three countries before age 30. Raised in a family with only the loosest connections to a mainline church, he had little understanding of Christianity.

I was therefore gratified to learn of his intense spiritual interest, recently piqued as he attended our church. He said he was ready to embrace the gospel. But there was a final obstacle.

"You've said that if we do not believe in Christ," he said, "we are lost and condemned. I'm sorry, I just cannot buy that. I work with some fine people who are Muslim, Jewish, or agnostic. I cannot believe they are going to hell just because they don't believe in Jesus. In fact, I cannot reconcile the very idea of hell with a loving God—even if he is holy too."

This young man expressed what may be the main objection contemporary secular people make to the Christian message. (A close second, in my experience, is the problem of suffering and evil.) Moderns reject the idea of final judgment and hell.

Archbishops attack 'bank robbing' share traders


[Evening Standard] 25 Sep 2008--The bankers and traders responsible for the recent financial crisis came under fire today from both of England's Anglican archbishops.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams called for fresh scrutiny and regulation of the financial world, arguing that governments should not lose their nerve when deciding when to intervene.

Writing in The Spectator, he said: "It is no use pretending that the financial world can maintain indefinitely the degree of exemption from scrutiny and regulation that it has got used to."

Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, meanwhile, branded the traders who cashed in on falling share prices in troubled bank HBOS as "bank robbers" and "asset strippers".

In a wide-ranging and critical speech at the Worshipful Company of International Bankers' annual dinner, Dr Sentamu spoke of an "Alice in Wonderland" market, in which "the share value of a bank is no longer dependent on the strength of its performance but rather on the willingness of the Government to bail it out".

Calif.'s Faithful Push for Gay 'Marriage' Ban


[The Christian Post] 25 Sep 2008--Hundreds of pastors have called on their congregations to fast and pray for passage of a ballot measure in November that would put an end to gay "marriage" in California.

The collective act of piety, starting Wednesday and culminating three days before the election in a revival for as many as 100,000 people at the San Diego Chargers' stadium, comes as church leaders across California put people, money and powerful words behind Proposition 8.

Some pastors around the state and nation are encouraging their flocks to forgo solid food for up to 40 days in the biblical tradition.

Surprised By Grace - How The Risen Christ Can Change The Mainline One Pastor At A Time


[ReformationUCC.org] 25 Sep 2008--Editor’s Note: Is there any genuine hope for the mainline? If so, in what might that hope consist? Yes. There is hope. But not the kind that comes by the continued compromise of truth and bureaucratic tinkering. So where might actual hope lie? That hope lies in the sovereign grace of God displayed in the lives of individuals. This is the same type of hope revealed in Ezekiel 37, and only that hope. It is a hope based not on whimsy, but solidly grounded in the merciful purpose of God the Heavenly Father to redeem a fallen world through God the Son, Jesus Christ, through the sovereign working of God the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, this hope is based on the promise of the One True God that the Good News of the Risen Christ was not only for the Apostle’s and their hearers, but also for covenant children (Acts 2:39 & 1 Corinthians 7:14) and whomever else the Lord wills to call. Taking our confidence in the Lord of 2 Chronicles 7:14, we unite in prayer for the conversion of all those within the mainline who reject the joyous truth of God’s Word. This autobiographical essay was originally posted here by Rev. Toby L. Brown who holds the copyright. Rev. Brown is a mainline pastor and graduate of the mainline seminary establishment. This is republished with permission.

The suffering church in India: Please protest on their behalf!


[Anglican Mainstream] 25 Sep 2008--The violence against Christians in India continues. Hindu fundamentalists insist that there are forceful conversions when the facts do not match up at all. Hindu leaders- ‘gurus’ criss-crossing the world with their ‘universal message’ are ‘excited’ that ever so many in the West find the Hindu teachings so attractive!!! These, of course, are ‘ the work of the Lord of the Universe’ but when the poorest of the poor, abandoned for centuries in India, turn to Christ - that is forceful conversion.

This is the contradiction and the lie that we all must face and challenge.


Click the link below to add signatures and you should get a receipt as well through email.


ELECTION 08: Ark. ballot proposal would prohibit adoption by gay, cohabiting couples


[Baptist Press News] 25 Sep 2008---Jerry Cox of the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee says he has received his share of hate mail and hate e-mails in recent months -- not to mention a few annoying phone calls.

But, he says, he has thousands of years of history -- and common sense -- on his side. On Nov. 4, voters in Arkansas will consider whether to pass a law prohibiting adoption by cohabitating heterosexual and homosexual couples. Although the law -- it's called Initiated Act 1 on the ballot -- would cover all non-married couples, it's been dubbed by some the "gay adoption ban," and Cox and his office have received plenty of unwanted attention. They're the group that organized a petition drive to put it on the ballot.

Only one other state -- Utah -- has a similar law banning adoption by all couples living together before marriage. Cox's group calls the proposal the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act.

It would not apply to single people.

Catholic could become king under plans to abolish Act of Settlement


[Telegraph] 25 Sep 2008--The plan to abolish the Act of Settlement could ultimately lead to the disestablishment of the Church of England.

The Act also prevents Muslims and other non-Protestants from succeeding to the throne.
Scrapping it would also end the practice of primogeniture where male heirs are given priority in the succession. That could pave the way for a first-born daughter of Prince William to ultimately succeed him as monarch.

It was reported last night that Chris Bryant, a Labour MP drawing up options for contstitional reform, is backing the scrapping of the Act.

Mr Bryant, an aide to Harriet Harman, the Labour deputy leader, has now passed his recommendations to Wilf Stevenson, one of the Prime Minister's advisers.

Any move to scrap the Act would only come if Labour won the next election, and even then there may be douts about the political will to make the change.

Related articles:
End of the Anglican crown - 300 year bar to be lifted - Guardian
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/philip_johnston/blog/2008/09/25/is_it_time_to_scrap_the_act_of_settlement Is it time to scrap the Act of Settlement? - Telegraph

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is David Booth Beers


[Anglican Curmudgeon] 25 Sep 2008--From the Memorandum written to the members of the House of Bishops on September 12, 2008 (bold added for emphasis):

There may also be raised at this meeting the question of whether consent to the deposition of a bishop who has been certified to have abandoned the Communion of this Church must be by a majority of bishops present at the meeting at which the matter is presented or, on the other hand, by a majority of all the voting members of the House whether or not in attendance. Canon IV.9(2) states that the vote to consent must, first, take place at a "regular or special meeting of the House" and, second, be "by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote." My Chancellor and the Parliamentarian of the House have both advised me that the canon means that the vote must be by a majority of all the bishops who are at the meeting at which the vote must be taken and who are entitled to vote.

Common Cause Partners Gathering for North Texas


[Texanglican] 25 Sep 2008--Tonight St. Vincent's Cathedral hosted the third regional gathering of the Common Cause Partners in North Texas. The evening began with a service of Evensong in which the St. Vincent's choir sang their praises to God in their typically beautiful fashion. Then a well-attended potluck took place in the parish hall.

Following dinner the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and the Rt. Rev. C. O. Kanu, Bishop Suffragan for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in Oklahoma offered their reflections on GAFCON, Lambeth and future of the Common Cause Partnership.

Of particular interest was the news that the Presiding Bishop of the REC , the Most Rev. Leonard Riches, had recently told Bishop Sutton not to be surprised if the primates of the GAFCON movement recognize Common Cause as the orthodox Anglican province of North America as early as December. Bishop Iker pointed out that this recognition could take place after the next meeting of the CCP, which will in fact take place in December. Bishop Iker and Bishop Sutton both expressed the view that the new province will not replicate the traditional "territorial" organization of the TEC, nor will it have potentially "repressive" structures built into it. Instead it will most likely be organized by liturgical and cultural affinity.

English bishop calls for a new American province to be created


[Religious Intelligence] 25 Sep 2008--The Anglican Bishop of Lewes, a suffragan in the diocese of Chichester, has called for the creation of a new province in the USA after the House of Bishops there deposed a traditionalist bishop.

The Rt Rev Wallace Benn was just one of a number of bishops worldwide who reacted with anger to the deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Rev Robert Duncan. He had been making moves to have his diocese vote to quit the Episcopal Church, seeking sanctuary with the South American Province of the Southern Cone.

In a bid to pre-empt that vote, the US House of Bishops meeting last week voted to depose him, but critics say the procedures used were lacking authority. Now the British-based campaigning group Anglican Mainstream has issued a statement calling for a new province to cater for traditionalists.

“The Jerusalem statement from almost 1200 confessing Anglican leaders urged the Archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya, Southern Cone, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa and Rwanda to recognise a new Anglican province for North America.

“This has now become more urgent due to the aggressive illiberal and unprincipled behaviour of The Episcopal Church House of Bishops towards the Bishop of Pittsburgh who is currently moderator of the orthodox Common Cause Partnership.

“The behaviour of The Episcopal Church House of Bishops shows that the promised moratorium at Lambeth is dead and their integrity in wishing to bring peace must now be questioned,” they said. The statement was signed by Bishop Wallace Benn, a trustee of Anglican Mainstream, Dr Philip Giddings, the group’s Convenor and Canon Dr Chris Sugden, its Executive Secretary.

Oregon Euthanasia Activists Empty Coffers to Pass Washington State Assisted Suicide Bill


[LifeSiteNews] 25 Sep 2008--he Oregon Death with Dignity Political Action Fund is pulling out all the financial stops to push the passage of Washington State's "death with dignity" ballot initiative this November. The group has promised to match all donations to the "Yes on 1000" campaign in Washington State up to $1 million. The funds will go to create a media campaign with television spots promoting the message of "safe" doctor-assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg executive director of Canada's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has asked supporters to donate to the Washington Coalition Against Assisted Suicide to help counter the pro-euthanasia advertising campaign.

"We cannot allow the euthanasia lobby to brainwash the public by running television commercials without a counter-point-of-view," he said in an email. Anti-euthanasia campaigners fear that should the Washington state initiative pass, there will be a "wild-fire response" of other state initiatives to legalize assisted suicide "everywhere."

Initiative 1000 would legalize assisted suicide, permitting a doctor to give a lethal overdose to a patient if the doctor feels that the patient is likely to die within six months.

In their appeal for funds to promote the message of euthanasia, Oregon Death with Dignity said they have thus far "experienced phenomenal success." "Every piece of the campaign has fallen into place, and we are on the brink of victory on November 4."

Pressure is increasing on disabled people and the terminally ill to commit suicide, particularly with the rationing of health care services in nationalised health systems. In the UK recently, Baroness Helen Warnock, Britain's most prominent moral philosopher, said that people with severe disabilities have a "duty" to commit suicide to reduce the strain on the publicly funded health system and the burden on families.

Rowan Williams becomes first ever Anglican leader to accept visions of Virgin Mary as fact


[Mail Online] 25 Sep 2008--The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was yesterday branded a ‘papal puppet’ after he became the first leader of the Church of England to accept visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes as historical fact.

He asserted that 18 visions of Our Lady allegedly experienced by Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 were true.

His words shocked millions of Protestants worldwide because they not only signified a break with Protestant teaching on the Virgin Mary but also Dr Williams’s personal acceptance of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is explicitly linked to the apparitions.

The archbishop made his remarks during a three-day visit to the shrine in the French Pyrenees - the first ever by a leader of the Church of England.

An Open Letter of Support to Bishop Bob Duncan from Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda


[TitusOneNine] 25 Sep 2008--In 2004, when the Church of Uganda broke communion with TEC, we stated that, although we were breaking communion with TEC, we remained in communion with you, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and all who uphold the historic and Biblical faith of Anglicanism and did not support the unbiblical decision of confirming the election of Gene Robinson to the episcopate.

Despite the shameful action taken last week by the majority of TEC Bishops, nothing about our position has changed. We continue to recognize you as a Bishop of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We continue to recognize you as a Bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion, and we whole-heartedly support the action of Archbishop Greg Venables and the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone to receive you into their House of Bishops. We continue in full communion with you and we do not recognize the action of the TEC House of Bishops to depose you.

Furthermore, we are praying that on 4th October the majority of the Diocese of Pittsburgh will vote to be reunited with you as their Bishop. When the King of Buganda tried to destroy the Christian movement in 1886 by killing the converts in his court, he instead fueled the spread of the Gospel among our people. I believe that can also happen in North America. So, do not be discouraged. Our God is a God of redemption, and He will take what was intended for evil and bring good out of it.

Finally, if the world couldn’t see it before, this vote reveals how spiritually lost TEC is and why North America needs a new Province that authentically represents historic and Biblical Anglicanism. The Instruments of the Anglican Communion could have averted this crisis. Instead, institutional inertia is preferred, and meanwhile, the tear in the fabric of our communion is now deeper and wider, the mission of the church suffers, and many people miss out on hearing the good news that a Saviour has come.

Lord of the Rings Star to Use Gandalf Connection to Promote Homosexuality in Schools


[LifeSiteNews] 25 Sep 2008--Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films, is again using his fame to promote homosexuality - this time to children in schools. McKellen is a founding member of and long-time campaigner for Stonewall, one of the world's most successful homosexualist lobby groups. His new task with the group involves tours of British schools to speak to them about "tolerance" of homosexuality.

"I think this campaign is right - any openly gay person should consider whether they have a duty of contacting their old school and saying 'You may not know, but I am gay and I was when I was at school and what is your policy with regard to homophobic bullying?'," said McKellen.

Some, however, see the gay lobby's campaign to bring the homosexualist message to schools in the guise of addressing bullying as a straightforward attack on those who would defend true marriage and family.