Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day

[Anglican Church League] 31 Oct 2008--It’s Reformation Day, and over at the Sola Panel, Sandy Grant has posted links to some useful resources.

See also our post from earlier this week.

Related article:
The Manifesto of the Reformation - Anglican Church League

Church leaders more concerned with 'left-wing causes' than mission

[Chililicothe Gazette] 31 Oct 2008--Rev Ed Payne is typical of so many Episcopal priests today. He's more concerned about left-wing political causes than he is about the true mission of the church. No wonder his congregation, like the Episcopal church as a whole, is shrinking into irrelevance.

Rev Payne quotes the Ninth Commandment and calls on the McCain campaign to stop its "vicious lies" about Barack Obama. But in spite of all these personal attacks on Obama's character, Payne thinks his man has weathered the storm valiantly. "I've never seen such calm in the face of adversity," says Payne.

It would appear the sensitive reverend has no clue what true adversity is all about. Here's a suggestion: Try spending five years in a prisoner of war camp, two years of which were in solitary confinement, like John McCain did. Throw in all the beatings and torture and psychological harassment, and yes, even the vicious lies about you and your family and your comrades in arms, and you will begin to have some idea of the adversity John McCain endured. John McCain could have relented to the enemy and been granted release, but he said no. His honor was more important to him. There is probably not one in a thousand of us who could have survived even a month of such punishment, let alone five years. John McCain survived. He came through the experience battered but with his honor in tact. He went on to build a successful career serving the country he loves more than his own life.

Disturbing Stories Expose Dark Realities of Persecution

[The Christian Post] 31 Oct 2008--A solemn atmosphere descended upon a room full of culturally diverse evangelical leaders on Wednesday as disturbing accounts of religious persecution poured forth from those living in anti-Christian hotspots.

One by one, panelists shared stories of attacks against Christians in their country that included atrocious acts such as beheadings, gang rape, and genocide.

Stories were especially poignant because of the speakers’ closeness to the actual persecution, of which some were personally experienced.

A Demented Idea

[The Christian Post] 31 Oct 2008--The Brits may be losing their marbles. The distinguished Baroness Warnock, labeled by the Daily Telegraph as Britain’s leading moral philosopher, ought to be ashamed of herself.

You see, Lady Warnock once chaired a government committee that helped legalize embryonic research. She’s known for supporting assisted suicide for people don’t want to burden their caregivers.

But now Lady Warnock has gone a step further. She says elderly people who suffer from dementia are “wasting people’s lives”—that is, the lives of those who care for them—and ought to choose to die even if they’re not suffering.

And even if they aren’t a burden on their families, they ought to “off” themselves anyway, as she puts it, because they’re a burden on the public, which, under British national health care, pays for their treatment. According to the Daily Telegraph, Warnock hopes people will soon be “licensed to put others down.”

Putting others down? That’s the kind of euphemism we use when talking about injured horses or sick dogs. It’s not how we talk about human beings—or at least, it’s not how we used to talk about them.

Famous Celebrity Exposes Obama on Abortion... Video and Audio Files Available for Media and Public to Play

[Christian Newswire] 31 Oct 2008--In a graphic new video, famous Latino film star Eduardo Verastegui explains the crisis of abortion in America, while explaining Barack Obama's pro-abortion track record and agenda.

Before producing this video, Verastegui, 34, became famous singing in the popular Latino band "KAIRO" and acting in "telenovelas" (Latin-American soap operas). People Magazine en EspaƱol recently voted him one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. His movie, "Bella," won the 2006 Toronto Film Festival People's Choice Award.

Now, Verastegui is working to save moms, babies and families from abortion. He hopes the media and the public will watch and share his incredible new English and Spanish videos with the world. His videos, and hi-resolution DOWNLOADS for media playback, are available to watch online at:

Largest Abortion Provider Backing Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Admits Infants Born Alive During Abortions Left to Die: 'It Does Happen'

[Christian Newswire] 31 Oct 2008--On October 30, 2008, Students for Life of America (SFLA) released undercover video footage recently taken of a nurse at a NJ Planned Parenthood facility in Freehold, NJ describing how an abortion would be performed on a 22 week old unborn child to a pregnant woman. In the footage, the Planned Parenthood nurse describes to the pregnant woman that the abortion procedure would involve inducing labor and delivering the baby , and after the woman asks if the baby can be born alive, the nurse admits that "it does happen, but it wouldn't be able to survive on its own so eventually the baby does die."

Anti Obama Activism Planned in 50 cities; 'Main Street' America Unite: Obama is not 'Main Street!' Sunday and Monday, Nov 3 and 4

[Christian Newswire] 31 Oct 2008--"Main Street Americans" to hold signs on Sunday, Nov 2 from 1:00-2:00 pm, and/or Monday, November 3, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on "main streets" in cities across the country.

Yesterday, October 30, voters in 25 cities protested against the pro-abortion agenda of Obama at various campaign headquarters across the nation.

Obama's Views on Iran are 'Utterly Immature,' Says French President

[Christian Newswire] 31 Oct 2008--Plummeting oil prices have devastated Iran's economy. Its president has suddenly fallen ill. Its lawmakers are so tense they've come to physical blows.

The next American president will face an increasingly turbulent Iran that is poised to go nuclear. The stakes for America and Israel could not be higher.

Yet French President Nicolas Sarkozy regards Senator Obama's position on Iran as "utterly immature" and consisting of "formulations empty of all content." According to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, President Sarkozy "has made his criticisms only in closed forums in France," based on his impressions after meeting Obama in July.

Newly Found Inscription Could Be Oldest Hebrew Text, Says Archaelogist

[The Christian Post] 31 Oct 2008--An Israeli archaeologist digging at a hilltop south of Jerusalem believes a ceramic shard found in the ruins of an ancient town bears the oldest Hebrew inscription ever discovered, a find that could provide an important glimpse into the culture and language of the Holy Land at the time of the Bible.

The five lines of faded characters written 3,000 years ago, and the ruins of the fortified settlement where they were found, are indications that a powerful Israelite kingdom existed at the time of the Old Testament's King David, says Yossi Garfinkel, the Hebrew University archaeologist in charge of the new dig at Hirbet Qeiyafa.

Other scholars are hesitant to embrace Garfinkel's interpretation of the finds, made public on Thursday. The discoveries are already being wielded in a vigorous and ongoing argument over whether the Bible's account of events and geography is meant to be taken literally.

Survey: Evangelical Support for McCain Increasing, Not Decreasing

[The Christian Post] 31 Oct 2008--Christian evangelicals and conservatives are not only largely supporting Republican candidate John McCain, but their support has actually increased, according to a newly released survey., the largely popular Christian web portal affiliated with faith-based media giant Salem Communications, polled its email subscribers this week and found a three-point increase (from 80 to 83) in support for McCain over the past month and a one-point decrease (from 13 to 12) in support for Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

The 979 users who responded to the survey were also found to be largely supportive of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who had electrified the conservative base after being tapped for the spot in August. While two percent said they no longer supported the Alaska governor as a candidate, about 20 percent said they favored her more as a candidate than they did a month ago.

“Although Sen. Barack Obama’s lead over Republican candidate John McCain has reached double-digits in some states, the Democratic candidate has yet to convince Christian conservatives,” Crosswalk noted.

'Heavy arm of government' probes Obama critic

[OneNewsNow] 31 Oct 2008--Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell says a state agency's unauthorized probe into the background of "Joe the Plumber" was "shameful, scary, and wrong."

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services conducted more extensive checks of its computer system for information on "Joe the Plumber" than it first acknowledged. Obama donor Helen Jones-Kelley, who is the department's director, now admits that the agency not only investigated whether Joe Wurzelbacher owed child support, but also looked into whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment taxes.

Ohio Inspector General Thomas Charles is reportedly investigating whether the use of state computers to conduct the child support check on Wurzelbacher was legal.

Prop. 8 outcome key for America's future

[OneNewsNow] 31 Oct 2008--Homosexual activists are paying close attention to the outcome of the upcoming election.

The results are crucial to the pro-family, traditional marriage foundation of America, and a wrong outcome could make things tough, according to Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.

Bauer: GOP dropped the ball on Obama's past associations

[OneNewsNow] 31 Oct 2008--A former Republican presidential candidate is questioning John McCain's reluctance to make Barack Obama's association with anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright a bigger issue in the presidential campaign.

In an interview in early October, VP nominee Sarah Palin admitted she did not know why Obama's longtime association with Pastor Wright was not being discussed more, "because those were appalling things that the pastor had said about our great country."

"To me, that does say something about character," she continued. "But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."

WEA closes with renewed commitment to global evangelisation

[Christianity Today UK] 31 Oct 2008--More than 500 senior evangelical leaders renewed their commitment to taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth after five days of intensive meetings and vision setting in Pattaya, Thailand.

The World Evangelical Alliance drew to a close on Thursday with the release of six major resolutions, expressing the concerns of 128 national Evangelical Alliance leaders on issues related to religious liberty, peace-making, the global financial crisis, HIV and Aids, poverty, and creation care.

“As we think about the global reality of the world in which we live, [there are] immense challenges but also immense opportunities,” said Dr Tunnicliffe, the international director of the World Evangelical Alliance.

Barney Frank proposes drastic military budget cuts

[OneNewsNow] 31 Oct 2008--A Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee is outraged over the call for a 25 percent reduction in defense spending coming from House Democrats.

Senator Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) recently informed a Bay State newspaper that he wishes to slash defense spending by more than $150 billion from the roughly $607 billion in defense spending that was enacted in fiscal year 2008. Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the Pentagon has to start choosing the cuts from its many weapons programs.

America isn't about to become liberal heaven

[Times Online] 31 Oct 2008--Yes, Americans will be voting for Obama and change. But they don't want radicalism, just competence and decency.

Bishops’ approval of Covenant hangs in the balance

[Church Times] 31 Oct 2008--THE RESPONSES of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference to the Anglican Covenant were made public last week by the Covenant Design Group. More than half the bishops said they believed that the current draft hit the right balance between interdependence and centralisation in the Anglican Communion.

A Lambeth Commentary on the Saint Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Communion runs to 33 pages, and was compiled by the Covenant Design Group at its meeting in Singapore in September. It gathers up the views of the bishops who attended Lambeth, and sets out the group’s brief reaction to them. The group has circulated it to all the provinces of the Communion, in order “to assist in their discernment and response” to the Covenant. They have until 9 March to respond.

Provinces are being asked whether they can “in principle” commit themselves to the Covenant process. The Design Group is seeking to find out what this would involve for the provinces, and whether they require significant changes to be made to the draft to help it through their syn­odical processes.

GAFCON leaders dismiss "futile' covenant draft

[Conger] 31 Oct 2008--The proposed Anglican Covenant is an “exercise in futility,” theologians affiliated with the Gafcon movement tell The Church of England Newspaper, and the current draft is beset with “a considerable degree of theological confusion.”

On Oct 22, the Anglican Covenant Design Group chaired by Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies released a commentary on the proposed pan-Anglican agreement drawn from comments made by bishops attending this summer’s Lambeth Conference. The 33-page “Lambeth Commentary” has been distributed to each of the Communion’s 38 provinces, with the request that they offer their comments on the commentary as well as the underlying draft of the covenant by March 9, 2009.

The Design Group said it hoped the Lambeth Commentary “will stand alongside the St. Andrew’s Draft [released in February 2008] as a critique and as a stimulus for study and response.”

Bishop Keith Ackerman will remain as President of Forward in Faith North America

[FIF North America] 31 Oct 2008--Further to the announcement yesterday of his retirement as Bishop of Quincy, The Right Reverend Keith Ackerman SSC wishes to make it clear that he will be remaining in office as President of Forward in Faith North America. Indeed, it is his intention during his retirement to devote himself more fully than has been possible hitherto to this ministry.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why I personally would not vote for Barack Obama

Opinion by Robin G. Jordan

When I first heard the media comparing Senator Barack Obama with a "rock star" because he was drawing unusually large crowds at his rallies in the primary elections, it set off an alarm bell in my mind. At this juncture in history what the nation needs is not a rock star in the highest office in the land, a celebrity who attracts the adulation of the masses, but a mature experienced leader. I am a historian by training if not by vocation. Like Thomas Sowell, I have observed that Senator Obama shares a number of characteristics with various charismatic demagogues who have appeared on the political stage during turbulent periods in world history. What particularly concerns me is the tendency of his adoring followers to not look closely at their hero, to view him as a messianic figure, and refuse to entertain any criticism of their hero and his record. They idolize him to the point that whatever he does and says is right in their eyes. Anyone who dares to say anything negative about Obama is greeted with hostility and accused of being racist.

Even before Obama became a candidate in the Democratic presidential primaries, the media was haling him as a "rising star" in the Democratic Party. What I saw, however, did not impress me. The media appeared to have taken a fancy to Obama: he was receiving a lot more media attention than a junior US Senator might expect to receive. The media were building up their own image of Obama that did not actually fit the man. Indeed the media Obama appeared to be a projection more than a real person.

While the media may have helped create this image of Obama and are doing all they can to maintain the image, Obama and his followers are also doing all they can to foster it. A lot of Obama’s followers have bought into the image themselves. Most Americans have yet to see the real Obama. I suspect a goodly number of those who are planning to vote for him, or have already cast an early ballot for him, when they do see the real Obama, will regret voting for him.

Obama has so far proven himself as adept at presenting himself as those whose support he is courting would like to see him and at saying what they want to hear. He has sought to portray himself as pro-life and pro-family when his record shows that he supports abortion on demand and condones what amounts to infanticide. His campaign includes a number of leading advocates of so-called "gay-rights" and he has spoke out in support of gay marriage. Obama gives the impression of being more interested in achieving his personal ambition—becoming the President of the United States—than he is in serving the national interest.

During the Democratic presidential primaries Obama preached hope and promised change. Hope and change have been persistent themes in his speeches since he was nominated Democratic candidate for President. Few realize that Obama borrowed these themes from Afro-American preachers. Indeed his rhetorical style shows the influence of Afro-American preaching. The difference between message of Afro-American preachers and that of Senator Obama is that when they talk about hope, they are talking about the hope that God offers. When they talk about change, they are talking about the transformation that occurs in the life of an individual who surrenders his life to Christ. The hope about which Senator Obama talks is the hope that he offers—presenting himself as a unifier who can do what other political leaders have failed to do. The change about which he talks is political, social, and economic change brought about by the implementation of the radical agenda that he and other ultraliberals in the Democratic Party favor.

Obama has portrayed Senator John McCain as a Bush clone, seeking to exploit wide spread dissatisfaction with the Bush administration and its policies. This may play well with his base but it is an unfair portrayal of Senator McCain. It is also historically inaccurate. No US President has ever been exactly like his predecessors even when they belonged to the same party. Each US President has been unique.

Obama is exploiting popular myths about the Democratic Party. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal may have helped to alleviate human suffering in the Depression but the New Deal did not end the Depression. The war in Europe, adoption of the Lend-Lease Program by which the United States supplied munitions to the Allies, and the entry of the United States into World War II stimulated the US economy and brought an end to the Depression. New Deal-style public works programs are no substitute for a robust, healthy private economy.

No one party has a monopoly upon helping the poor. During his administration President Richard Nixon increased entitlement programs designed to assist low-income families. Nixon also ended the Vietnam War that had cost so many American lives and reestablished diplomatic and economic relations with mainland China.

Obama is playing upon people’s hopes and fears. Developing alternative renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, and tidal are commendable. But even at a stepped-up pace the development of these alternative renewal energy sources are not going to provide an immediate solution to the nation’s energy problems. Nor will provide the jobs that Obama says that it will. Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure will require additional taxes not only at the federal level but also at the state and local levels. The number of new jobs that rebuilding the nation’s highways and bridges provides will be limited. Obama has been telling older people in Florida that McCain would take away their Social Security benefits, which is patently not true. McCain has proposed giving people the option of investing in the stock market a small amount of the money they were paying into Social Security. He made the proposal before the stock market took a dive.

There are a lot of questions about Obama for which no satisfactory answers have been given. Instead of uncovering the facts as one might expect journalists to do, the media has been content to repeat Obama campaign talking points. Two studies support the contention that there is a decided media bias toward Obama and against McCain, which has been only too evident on the Internet, in newspapers and magazines, on television, and on National Public Radio.

I was incredulous when I recently heard John Meechum, an editor of Newsweek, assert on NPR that Obama’s stay in Indonesia as a youth qualified as experience in foreign affairs.

What I read so far about Obama raises questions in my mind as to whether he is truly a Christian. As a confessing Anglican I cannot help but note the similarities between the beliefs that he professes and those of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jeffert Schori. Obama, like the Presiding Bishop, is a pluralist. He attended a church in the United Church of Christ, a liberal denomination, a church in which Black Liberation Theology was the predominant teaching. Several Bible scholars and theologians have taken issue with his interpretation of Scripture.

At the risk of being dismissed as a crank, I must state that I sense something that is spiritually evil in the almost hypnotic influence that Obama exerts upon his followers.

If Obama is elected President, I believe that Christians will face a time of serious testing. While I see a need for some kind of national health insurance scheme to provide coverage to Americans who cannot afford private health insurance, I am concerned about what might happen under an ultraliberal Democratic administration if health care were to be rationed. A President who has no scruples against the killing of unborn children and the abandonment of prematurely-born children would have no moral compunction against signing national euthanasia and assisted-suicide laws. There is already a movement in Europe to give lethal injections to adults, children, and infants in certain categories rather than provide them with care. These include the severely retarded, the seriously and terminally ill, and those suffering from dementia. The State of Oregan will pay for drugs to end one’s life but not to preserve it. The State of Washington is considering its own assisted-suicide law. If Obama wins the election, we will have such a President. We already have a Congress dominated by the Democratic Party under ultraliberal leadership and a segment of the electorate who believe that Obama can do no wrong.

Note: I was a registered Democrat for 44 years. Over the years, however, I have became increasingly alienated from the Democratic Party due to its position on abortion, so-called "gay rights," and other issues. When I registered to vote in Kentucky where I now live, I registered as an Independent.

Teaching a Church to Pray

[Christianity Today] 30 Oct 2008--How to have a vital prayer ministry.

The word of God, loud and clear

[] 30 oct 2008--When was the last time you stopped and considered how remarkable and significant is the public reading of Scripture? As evangelicals, we believe that when the Bible is read aloud the audience hears the very word of God. The listeners are given access by the Spirit of God to the mind of Christ.

This is a belief that we do not share with many other Christians. In some churches, the truth of God is believed to be revealed through reasoning and intellect, leading to phrases like, “It seems logical to me that God would want us to act this way...” In other traditions, access to God comes via the emotions, for example, “I feel that God is saying to me that he wants me to act in this way...”

Under the anger, there's grief. Above all, there's Jesus.

[North Plains Anglicans] 30 oct 2008--Man, I've been crabby lately. You've read a bunch of it here on the blog - even when the content's been straight news, I've picked words to flavor it with anger.

A few months ago, our younger son had his first ever Grand Mal seizure. Scared the heck out of the wife and me. Later that day, we had a ghastly fight. As exhaustion set in, we both realized we were not angry - we were heartbroken for our son.

Can't speak for my wife, but I know that as a man it is normal to drape rage over grief. It borders on cool to punch a hole in the wall; it is tres wimpy to dissolve in tears.

The California Equality Myth

[Stand Firm] 30 Oct 2008--Perpetua has put together a collection of articles detailing the harrassment of people supporting Proposition 8.

Traditions Old and New

[St. Andrew's Cathedral] 30 Oct 2008--Being old it is neither right nor wrong. Being new is also neither right nor wrong. Therefore being either a conservative or a radical is silly. It is neither right nor wrong to want to preserve the past or explore the latest innovation.

Every change brings with it consequences, foreseen and unforeseen. What was a good innovation in one year can be a disastrous failure in another year. The reforms that address one problem can create ten other problems just as large. The failure to reform a problem can also create ten other problems just as large.

We are not sovereign over the future. We have to cast our bread upon the water and trust God in his sovereignty to bless our endeavours. Some changes are our attempts to obey, or sadly to disobey, God. We cannot expect him to bless our disobedience.

Accuracy Of Polls a Question In Itself

[Washington Post] 30 Oct 2008--Could the polls be wrong?

Sen. John McCain and his allies say that they are. The country, they say, could be headed to a 2008 version of the famous 1948 upset election, with McCain in the role of Harry S. Truman and Sen. Barack Obama as Thomas E. Dewey, lulled into overconfidence by inaccurate polls.

"We believe it is a very close race, and something that is frankly very winnable," Sarah Simmons, director of strategy for the McCain campaign, said yesterday.

Few analysts outside the McCain campaign appear to share this view. And pollsters this time around will not make the mistake that the Gallup organization made 60 years ago -- ending their polling more than a week before the election and missing a last-minute surge in support for Truman. Every day brings dozens of new state and national presidential polls, a trend that is expected to continue up to Election Day.

Still, there appears to be an undercurrent of worry among some polling professionals and academics. One reason is the wide variation in Obama leads: Just yesterday, an array of polls showed the Democrat leading by as little as two points and as much as 15 points. The latest Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll showed the race holding steady, with Obama enjoying a lead of 52 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

When Christians fail to vote

[Baptist Press News] 30 Oct 2008--Evangelicals have a pitiful record when it comes to voting. Over the last 30 years, on average only half of eligible evangelicals took the time and made the effort to go to vote in a general election for a president.

It's fair to ask, "So what?" Does this really matter to God? Is He really concerned about elections?

At one time I had concluded that perhaps it didn't. I knew God absolutely was concerned about moral issues in our nation, such as abortion and homosexuality, and as a pastor I passionately represented those concerns in various ways. But I assumed that He probably wasn't so concerned about such mundane things as elections and voting.

That was until a politically active Christian brother challenged me to study God's Word on the matter. I did a word study on "justice," which took me to the Hebrew word "mishphat," which took me to the first chapter of Isaiah. What I found there rocked my world. From Isaiah 1:10-31, I found undeniable and irrefutable principles regarding our role and responsibility in the civil arena -- principles that should drive us to our knees, and then to the polls.

CT Episcopalians ask OK for gay marriage

[The Bristol Press] 30 Oct 2008--The clergy and lay delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut voted Saturday to ask the bishop to allow same-sex weddings, as the state Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage in the state becomes official today.The resolution at the annual diocesan convention passed 174-132, but is not binding on Bishop Andrew D. Smith, who said he is studying the issue.

According to the resolution, the convention "implores the bishop to allow priests in this diocese to exercise pastoral wisdom and care and follow the lead of their consciences in whether or not to participate in marriage ceremonies of same-sex couples."

Obama an Early Student of Man Who Dedicated Book on Community Organizing to Satan

[LifeSiteNews] 30 Oct 2008--In a Fox News blog column last week, contributing columnist and writer James Pinkerton re-examines a low-lying, but indisputable connection in Sen. Obama's history that, he says, voters should know about. The lines connecting Barack Obama and Saul Alinsky have in the past been explored in some detail, including in a lengthy piece published in the Washington Post in March of 2007, but have largely flown under the radar in the final leadup to November 4.

"Could Lucifer play a role in this presidential election?" writes Pinkerton in his column.

"It may sound crazy, but one of the candidates in this race has publicly praised, even emulated, a writer-activist who himself paid tribute to Lucifer. That’s right, Lucifer, also known as the Devil, Satan, Beelzebub—you get the idea.

Pinkerton wryly observes, "If you’ve never heard of this true fact - and most Americans obviously haven’t - well, that might help to explain why John McCain is behind in the polls."

Pro-Life Group Asks Obama Why He Supports Removing All “Common Sense” Restrictions on Abortion

[LifeSiteNews] 30 Oct 2008--In an open letter “on behalf of all Ohio parents,” American United for Life (AUL) asks Senator Barack Obama to explain his radical position on abortion, particularly regarding his promise immediately to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), should he be elected to the presidency.

FOCA is a pro-abortion piece of legislation first introduced in the late 1980’s that has since received strong support from pro-abortion politicians such as Barbara Boxer and Hilary Clinton.

AUL calls FOCA a “tremendous threat to the rights of everyday Americans, to women, and to the unborn.” The pro-life organization refers to the fact that FOCA would annihilate all previously instated restrictions on abortion, such as parental consent legislation, freedom of conscience for religious medical practitioners and hospitals, and previous limits on public funding for abortions. The legislation would also pave the way for non-physicians to commit abortions.

An Emerging North American Province- by Bishop Bob Duncan

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 Oct 2008--The twin trajectories of The Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada away from any Communion-requested restraint on matters of moral order and legal prosecution have made permanent a widespread separation of parishes from their historic geographical dioceses in the United States and Canada. Now these alienated parishes representing the moral (and theological) mainstream of global Anglicanism are being joined (or are about to be joined) by the majorities of four former Episcopal Church dioceses: San Joaquin in California, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Quincy in Illinois and Fort Worth in Texas. The reality of a significantly disintegrated North American Anglicanism now stretches from coast to coast and from the Arctic to the Rio Grande.

Given the ruthlessness with which those who have stood against the progressive agenda of TEC and the ACC have been treated – lately symbolized by the deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh – the possibility of achieving the Windsor Continuation Group’s goal of "holding" for eventual reunion is remote indeed.. Moreover, there is scarcely a parish or diocese that has endured the travail of separation (whether forced or chosen) that would not describe the North American Anglican scene as characterized by "two irreconcilable religions."

Same-sex blessings split Anglicans

[The Globe and Mail] 30 oct 2008--The Anglican bishops of Ottawa and Montreal have taken decisive steps toward allowing the blessing of same-sex unions in their dioceses, a move certain to further undermine the fragile cohesion of the world's third-largest Christian denomination.

The two bishops have made known their intention to proceed, despite a moratorium on the blessings agreed to at last summer's Lambeth Conference in England, the decennial gathering of bishops of the nearly 80-million-member Anglican Communion.

The Canadian church already is further along the road to authorizing same-sex blessings than any other branch of the communion, a decentralized body of 38 national and regional autonomous churches, or provinces.

Winning People to Christ Not the End Task, Says Ministry Leader

[The Christian Post] 30 Oct 2008--The end task of evangelists and mission leaders is not just winning people to Christ, contends the co-founder of a ministry that trains church leaders.

Too often Christians think that evangelism is simply going into all the world and proclaiming the Gospel and then baptizing new believers, said Bob Moffitt, co-founder and chairman of Disciple Nations Alliance (DNA), at the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) General Assembly on Monday.

But true evangelism goes beyond just teaching Scripture knowledge but combines knowledge with obedience leading to transformed lives.

World Evangelical Alliance Celebrates 'Tremendous Growth', Achievements

[The Christian Post] 30 Oct 2008--The World Evangelical Alliance has excelled in the last six years in presenting the world with a credible and faithful witness of the Gospel, says its international director.

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe told delegates at the WEA’s General Assembly in Thailand this week that the challenges for evangelicals in the world are great, pointing to radical secularism, postmodernism, and declining Christianity. At the same time, there is growing interest in spirituality, climate change, HIV and AIDS, the global financial crisis, trafficking and migration.

Yet the opportunities are also great, Tunnicliffe insisted, noting the rapid spread of Christianity in the Global South.

Bishop Ackerman to Resign Saturday

[The Living Church] 30 Oct 2008--The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy since 1994, has informed the diocesan standing committee of his intention to resign effective Nov. 1, one week before the annual synod votes for a second and final time to leave The Episcopal Church and realign with another Anglican province.

The timing of his resignation announcement comes after much thought and prayer, as well as consultation with his physicians, family and friends, according to the Rev. John Spencer, diocesan media officer and vicar of St. Francis’ Church, Dunlap, Ill. Fr. Spencer said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was sent news of Bishop Ackerman’s resignation plans this morning.

Style over substance

[OneNewsNow] 30 Oct 2008--here is an irony in recommitting myself to a career of writing in the wake of four debates in this 2008 presidential election. I am personally motivated to write because I believe words matter. Alas, they don't matter to everyone.

Words don't matter. Glib is what works. Style is cultivated. A smooth voice that glides over the top of words, served up with a charming smile. The package delivered to voters is beautiful. Inside? Inside the Obama package, unwrapped after the election, what can we expect?

Baptist pastor sentenced to hard labour in Kazakhstan

{Religious Intelligence] 30 Oct 2008--A court in the Akmola Region of Kazakhstan has punished Baptist pastor Andrei Blok with 150 hours' compulsory labour for refusing to pay fines imposed to punish him for leading unregistered worship, according to the verdict seen by Forum 18 News Service.

"If not for many telephone calls to the court and city officials from around the world Andrei could have been put into prison for several months," his family told Forum 18.

Yuliya Merkel of the local Justice Department insisted to Forum 18 that Blok "needs" to register his church, and refused to say what would happen if the church continues to worship without registration.

Aid worker beheaded for converting to Christianity

[Religious Intelligence] 30 Oct 2008--Among at least 24 aid workers killed in Somalia this year was one who was beheaded last month specifically for converting from Islam to Christianity, among other charges, according to an eyewitness.

According to Compass News, Muslim extremists from the al Shabab group fighting the transitional government on Sept 23 sliced the head off of Mansuur Mohammed, 25, a World Food Program (WFP) worker, before horrified onlookers of Manyafulka village, 10 kilometers (six miles) from Baidoa.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Are Witches Real?

[National Catholic Register] 29 Oct 2008--Are witches real? Of course they are. Are they skinny old women with green skin, pointy chins and warts on their noses, who cackle over cauldrons? Of course not. Do they attend an academy called “Hogwarts,” play a form of hockey on their broomsticks and battle mythical beasts? Is “Samantha,” a pretty middle-class suburban wife with magical powers and a gaggle of kooky and spooky family members, a witch? Of course not. All of that is an attempt to make us believe that there are not really such things as witches.

But there are. Witchcraft is alive and well in our modern, secular age. It has taken the name “Wicca” and claims an increasing number of adherents. Followers of Wicca profess to be modern pagans. They claim to draw on the powers of nature to heal people, foretell the future and put people in touch with their departed loved ones. The modern Wicca religion is descended from another British witch, Gerald Gardener, who, in the 1950s, synthesized various strands of ancient paganism into a new mish-mash kind of paganism.

Is there anything to it, or is it just a load of silly, New Age nonsense? Be assured that there is not only something to it, but something sinister. To put it bluntly, pagans worship the gods and goddesses of the ancient world. The early Christians understood quite clearly that the pagan gods and goddesses were demons. They understood that the pagan rites were sacrifices made to demons, and that through the pagan initiation rites devotees gave themselves to the demons and that as a result, the pagan worshippers were usually demon-possessed. That’s why the preparation for Christian baptism involved careful catechesis over a long period of time with numerous exorcisms.

Is it possible for modern people to summon up the ancient gods and goddesses and offer themselves to be infested by such spirits? Of course it is. C.S. Lewis commented on the foolishness of summoning up evil spirits, saying that if they were called we should not be surprised if they arrive on our doorsteps. Followers of Wicca are not benevolent New Agers who just happen to be vegetarian, sandal-wearing bearded weirdoes. Their religion follows ancient rites where they summon up the ancient gods and goddesses.

Persecution Index 14: Orissa

[Times Online] 29 oct 2008--A Roman Catholic Indian nun who was raped in Orissa has accused the police of failing to respond adequately.

According to the BBC, 'The nun held a news conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, in which she demanded that national police take over the investigation.' The Times also carried a report. For more links on what is happening in Orissa and an eye-witness video account, see my last post on this.

Barack Obama and live birth abortion

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 oct 2008--Live birth abortion?

Senator Obama voted three times against a Bill which would have outlawed the evil of ‘live birth abortion’.

It is a termination process which involves the birth of a live baby, the issuing of a birth certificate, the purposeful abandoning of the baby to a slow and tortuous death, and the callous issuing of a death certificate.

Is this not infanticide?

Barack Obama: The 2004 ‘God Factor’ interview transcript

[Anglican Church League] 29 oct 2008--n 2004, Chicago religion journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Cathleen Falsani, interviewed Barack Obama on his Christian beliefs –

“Do you believe in sin?”“Yes.”

“What is sin?”“Being out of alignment with my values.” …

Cathleen Falsani writes: “Because of the staggering interest in now U.S. Sen. Obama’s faith and spiritual predilections, I thought it might be helpful to share that interview, uncut and in its entirety, here.”

How others see us: What’s up Down Under?

[Anglican Church League] 29 oct 2008--The recent decision of the Diocesan Synod of Sydney, in the Anglican Church of Australia, to allow the administration of Holy Communion—i.e., the celebration of the Eucharist—by deacons and eventually laity seems outlandish to many overseas Anglicans. It makes considerably more sense within the context of Australian Anglicanism, which has a very different history than The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its various offshoots (I will get to that later). Australian Anglicanism is exceptionally diverse as a result of that history, and its diversity has led the Anglican Church of Australia to adopt a unique pattern of organization.

Just as some Episcopalians are frustrated when other Anglicans cannot understand TEC’s particular form of synodical governance, so I expect Australians feel when outsiders try to apply their own context to matters Down Under. I write the following as an American outsider, but one who has long been fascinated enough by the local variations on the common Anglican theme to make a study of them. (I hope that any Australians who read this will take the trouble to correct my inevitable mistakes by commenting below.)…”

Toll in India’s anti-Christian violence reaches 60

[Religious Intelligence] 29 Oct 2008--As a Catholic priest, who was attacked two months ago in the eastern state of Orissa, succumbed to his injuries yesterday, the death toll of the worst-ever spate of anti-Christian violence has reached 60.

Fr Bernard Digal, the treasurer of the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Archdiocese, was attacked on August 24 in Orissa’s Kandhamal district. He succumbed to injuries yesterday in a hospital in Chennai, the capital of the southern sate of Tamil Nadu, said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) in a statement.

The attackers had left the victim lying naked, bleeding and unconscious on the road thinking he was dead. He received heavy blows on this head and other parts of the body. He spent the night on the road until help came the following morning.

Episcopal Diocese Approves Commission to Support Gays

[The Christian Post] 29 oct 2008--Episcopalians from a diocese that divided partly over homosexuality overwhelmingly approved a proposal to create a new commission that would support gays and lesbians.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin gave the thumbs up to an "equality commission" during its annual convention, which concluded Sunday.

Delegates voted to create a commission that would include lay and clergy members to support, engage and affirm marginalized communities within the diocese, according to The Episcopal News Service. In this case, the marginalized are identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender persons, as well as women and various ethnic communities, among a few others.

Hollywood's Gay Marriage Blitz Intensifies Funding Battle

[The Christian Post] 29 oct 2008--The industry often criticized for its role in funneling sex, violence, and profanity into American society and overseas is stepping up its efforts to defeat the ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in California.

After weeks of criticism from opponents of Proposition 8, more Hollywood insiders are making declarations of support – financial and otherwise – against the effort to overturn the contested state Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage earlier this year.

Leading the Hollywood outreach has been Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen, who wed art consultant Gabriel Catone in a ceremony officiated by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in June. According to The Associated Press, the "American Beauty" and "Pushing Daisies" producer dug deep into his contacts to ask for their support against Prop. 8, which would change the state constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

Liberal dogmatism killing Church unity

[Irish Independent] 29 Oct 2008--LIBERALS are fond of brow-beating the Churches about sectarianism and disunity. These twin evils, they say with some justification, are harmful to society because they set one group against another and because sectarianism is, at the very least, uncivil.

It now transpires that all this liberal bleating about sectarianism and disunity was exactly that, bleating. But it was also hypocritical because when it suits their agenda liberals are very inclined to use sectarian language of their own and have no hesitation adding to the already deep divisions between the Churches.

A Response to an Olive Branch

[Confessions of a Carioca] 29 oct 2008--We write as an informal group of Episcopalians who share a desire to remain active and loyal members of the Episcopal Church. Most of us find ourselves profoundly at odds with several controversial decisions made by our leaders (General Convention, the Presiding Bishop and Church Center staff, Executive Council, among others) over the past several years. We are alarmed that they seem to represent a consistent trend away from theological, ethical, and pastoral norms that we understand as essential to Anglican faith and practice. Others among us are more open to the reconfiguration of some of these traditional boundaries, yet are concerned that the manner in which this process has been pursued has needlessly alienated many within our own church, raised substantive issues of mutual accountability between Anglican provinces, and increased the awkwardness in our relations with many ecumenical partners, both locally and globally.

Using Religion to Attract Catholic Voters While Denying Church Teachings Is Insulting

[Fox Forum] 29 oct 2008--Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke about his views on abortion in an interview with The News Journal of Delaware earlier this month. He told his home state’s newspaper “I know that my church has wrestled with this for 2,000 years.”

We saw a similar argument come from Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she charged that the Catholic Church has been “bipolar” over the centuries when it comes to abortion. She was rebuked by her bishop and now Biden has experienced the same response from his bishop, who answered him in a Letter to the Editor.

Six Steps to Talking about Jesus

[MatthiasMedia] 29 Oct 2008--Six Steps to Talking about Jesus is a short course designed to help Christians to share their faith with others. Over six interactive sessions participants explore:

-the core motivation for reaching out to others;
-how to depend on God in prayer;
-how to invite people to read a book or come to an event;
-how to tell your own story of what God has done for you in Christ;
-how to explain the gospel of Jesus in a simple way.

Six Steps to Talking about Jesus is a course designed to be done in a small group context, and does not require an 'expert leader'. It is ideal preparation for a church mission.

Samples from the course can be found at:

Six Steps to Talking about Jesus can be ordered from Matthias Media USA:

Go to sidebar, click on "Browse Products," then "Training," and then "For Everyone."

Episcopal Church Fast Facts 2007

[The Episcopal Church] 29 Oct 2008--2007 stats on church attendance, membership, giving, etc.

Voters Not Eager for One-Party Control of Government

[Gallup] 29 Oct 2008--Registered voters appear cautious about giving one party control of the federal government in this election. Most would prefer that the Democrats control Congress if John McCain is elected, but they divide evenly as to which party should control Congress if Barack Obama becomes the next president.

We'll have one-party control of the government if Obama is elected.

Arguing for GAFCON

[Evangelicals Now] 29 Oct 2008--The Christian work and fellowship started by GAFCON in Jerusalem in June 2008 has only just begun.

We are well aware that it faces plenty of dangers and obstacles as it seeks to renew the Anglican Communion in the work of the gospel. We know that it has already been misunderstood in various quarters. This may lead some to hesitate about supporting it. That is why we want to respond to the particular misunderstandings and historical errors that are stated in the article by Iain Murray in the September 2008 issue of EN, although both of us have enormously appreciated books he has written over the years.

Authority of Scripture
Of course, Iain is quite right to point out that the great issue that is at stake within the Anglican churches and the other historic denominations is that of the authority of Scripture and the discipline associated with the practical exercise of that authority, rather than homosexuality itself. Although the matter of sexuality must be addressed, that is simply the presenting issue. Those who organised GAFCON were well aware of this and, in fact, the only way in which the homosexual issue had any presence at the conference was through the advertising of organisations which pastor those struggling with this in their own lives.

Media bias against media bias

[OneNewsNow] 29 Oct 2008--Is there a media bias against media bias? Lets put it another way, is it possible that even when a member of the media elite admits to media bias that others in the media refuse to even talk about it? That question was raised recently by John Fund in his story in Political Diary.

Two weeks ago there was a major conference in New York sponsored by TIME magazine and CNN. One of the speakers was Mark Halperin, an editor-at-large for TIME and co-author of the campaign field guide, "The Way to Win."

During his panel discussion, Mr. Halperin was asked if the media has been too soft on Senator Barack Obama. To the surprise of his mostly liberal audience, his answer was yes. He went on to explain that the media helped Senator Obama in many ways through the stories they chose to cover and the way they covered them. He concluded that the national media handed Senator Obama "hundreds of millions in free publicity."

India: the fight is on for pluralism

[Guardian] 29 oct 2008--The air is still thick with tragedy in Orissa state. Someone just told me the story of a Christian widow he chanced upon in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, who chokingly related the story of her husband's death. She said that he fled from an angry mob that came to his house in the night of August 28, but he was caught and told that he and his brothers and all their families must convert to Hinduism or he would be killed. He resisted the pressure, so they tied him to a tree, took kerosene from his brother's house, poured it over him and set him on fire. He escaped when the plastic ropes holding him melted, but had suffered serious burns. He died the next day. Traumatised, his widow left the body in the house, which began decomposing and attracted dogs. After three days, he was buried, although the body was exhumed by investigating police the next day. Their house was destroyed by one of the mobs systematically attacking Christian targets, and its contents looted. The widow and her four children now live in a relief camp, wondering what their future could possibly hold.

Newspaper 'suppressing' Obama link to anti-Israel professor

[OneNewsNow] 29 Oct 2008--Conservative author and counterterrorism expert Andy McCarthy is criticizing the Los Angeles Times for not releasing a 2003 videotape it obtained of Barack Obama giving a toast to an anti-Israel professor who formerly served as a spokesman for late PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

The LA Times is being accused of "suppressing" a 2003 tape of a farewell gathering in Chicago for then University of Chicago Mideast studies professor Rashid Khalidi, who is a longtime virulent critic of Israel and has justified Palestinian terrorist attacks against the Jewish state. Barack Obama paid a special tribute to Khalidi that night and noted that he and Michelle were frequent dinner companions of the Khalidis.

Former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn were also in attendance at the Khalidi bash. While Obama and Ayers served on the board of the left-wing Woods Fund together, they underwrote the Arab-American Action Network (AAAN) to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. The anti-Israel group was started by Khalidi and his wife Mona.

Elementary schools promoting homosexual agenda

[OneNewsNow] 29 Oct 2008--California parents learned too late that some of their young children were being taught to accept homosexuality.

Brad Dacus, founder of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), says the indoctrination at "Coming Out Day" involved children as young as kindergarten at Faith Ringgold School of Art and Science in Hayward, California.

"This is an event where they have pictures [and] posters up, telling stories and encouraging people who feel that they are homosexual or opposite gender to freely express that and articulate and affirm that," Dacus explains.

Sydney Diocese Approves Lay Presidency at the Eucharist

[The Living Church] 29 Oct 2008--The annual synod of the Diocese of Sydney has overwhelmingly approved a resolution restating its support for diaconal and lay presidency at Holy Communion.

No further action is required for deacons to begin celebrating the Eucharist, according to the Rt. Rev. Glenn Davies, Bishop of North Sydney and sponsor of the resolution. Writing an opinion piece for the diocesan newspaper, Bishop Davis added that even though the resolution also makes it permissible for lay persons to administer communion, they would need to be licensed by Archbishop Peter Jensen to do so in a service of public worship. Archbishop Jensen has previously said he is unwilling to do so.

Related article:
Deacons - Yes, Lay - Not Yet -

Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing

[Anglican Journal] 29 Oct 2008--After this week’s discussions with bishops of the Anglican church from across Canada, Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal plans to launch a process to work out a rite for blessing same-sex couples in the diocese who have been married in civil ceremonies.

In an opening statement Oct. 24 to the annual synod of the diocese of Montreal, the bishop said he believes that in the current debate about same-sex issues some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, others with a voice of caution.

Thomas Sowell: Obama's taxation will reduce nation's wealth

[Union Leader] 29 Oct 2008--Chief Justice John Marshall said it all in one sentence: "The power to tax is the power to destroy."

It is not the money that is taxed away that is destroyed. What is destroyed is the wealth that does not get produced in the first place, because high taxes make its production not worthwhile.

Those who are receptive to Sen. Barack Obama's plan to increase taxes on "the rich" seem not to understand that the issue is the nation's loss of wealth. Today, wealth can leave the country when heavy taxes threaten it -- instantly, in an age of electronic financial transfers -- and create jobs and economic growth overseas, instead of at home.

The two months between the time of a presidential election and the time when the new President takes office is an eternity in terms of how much money can be transferred out of the country electronically before any new high-tax laws can be enacted.

Like so much that is said glibly by Barack Obama, raising taxes on "the rich" has serious -- and potentially disastrous -- implications for the whole country that have been ignored amid the political euphoria.

Moreover, like so much that is proposed under the magic mantra of "change," it is something that has been tried before in many countries and failed before in many countries.

At the U.N., Many Hope for an Obama Win

[Washington Post] 29 Oct 2008--There are no "Obama 2008" buttons, banners or T-shirts visible here at U.N. headquarters, but it might be difficult to find a sliver of territory in the United States more enthusiastic over the prospect of the Illinois senator winning the White House.

An informal survey of more than two dozen U.N. staff members and foreign delegates showed that the overwhelming majority would prefer that Sen. Barack Obama win the presidency, saying they think that the Democrat would usher in a new agenda of multilateralism after an era marked by Republican disdain for the world body.

Obama's First 100 Days

[Real Clear Politics] 29 Oct 2008--Undeniably, a powerful tide is running for the Democratic Party, with one week left to Election Day.

Bush's approval rating is 27 percent, just above Richard Nixon's Watergate nadir and almost down to Carter-Truman lows. After each of those presidents reached their floors -- in 1952, 1974, 1980 -- the opposition party captured the White House.

Moreover, 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans think the nation is on the wrong course, and since mid-September, when McCain was still slightly ahead, the Dow has lost 4,000 points -- $5 trillion to $6 trillion in value.

Point of No Return

[National Review Online] 29 Oct 2008--Across the electric wires, the hum is ceaseless: Give it up, loser. Don’t go down with the ship when it’s swept away by the Obama tsunami. According to newspaper reports, polls show that most people believe newspaper reports claiming that most people believe polls showing that most people have read newspaper reports agreeing that polls show he’s going to win.

In the words of Publishers’ Clearing House, he may already have won! The battleground states have all turned blue, the reddest of red states are rapidly purpling. Don’t you know, little fool? You never can win. Use your mentality, wake up to reality. Why be the last right-wing pundit to sign up with Small-Government Conservatives For The Liberal Supermajority? We still need pages for the coronation, and there’s a pair of velvet knickerbockers with your name on it.

Big Media Pull Out All Stops to Elect Obama

[] 29 Oct 2008--Big Media have pulled out all their stops in trying to elect Barack Obama by withholding from the American people the truth about his radical record and associates. Big media, their polls and the presidential debates practically ignored front-burner issues important to millions of Americans.

By excluding abortion and same-sex marriage from national debate, Big Media kept the voters from knowing that Obama, as chairman of the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee, killed the "Born Alive" bill, thereby depriving babies born alive from botched abortions of medical care and nutrition. Big Media obviously didn't want a repetition of Obama's embarrassing handling of these issues in the Saddleback dialogue.

Global Radicals Will Have Free Rein to do Whatever They Wish Under Obama Presidency

[LifeSiteNews] 29 Oct 2008--The international social radicals do their best work away from the public gaze. These are the ones who want a global right to abortion, global same-sex marriage, and who generally want to give increasing power to international bureaucrats at the United Nations and the European Union. These people prefer it when attention is focused elsewhere.

With the global economic crisis and with war and the continuing threat of war, few are focused on their agenda. All they need to make great advances is a great leader. Enter Barack Obama. If he is the next president of the United States, the international social radicals will have free rein to do whatever they wish. And here is what they wish.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tanzania’s Christians Unhappy About Push to Join Islamic Body

[CNS News] 28 Oct 2008--A top Christian body in Tanzania is calling on the country’s foreign minister to resign for promoting a move to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Foreign Minister Bernard Membe at the weekend said in a radio interview that he would not stand down, saying he had done nothing wrong and that no decision on OIC membership had yet been taken.

The Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) late last week made the resignation demand after Membe confirmed that the government was looking at the possibility of joining OIC, a grouping of 56 countries that has stoked controversy in recent years with attempts at the U.N. to outlaw the “defamation” of Islam – a move critics say threatens freedom of expression.

Valley's split Episcopal dioceses hold separate conventions

[Merced Sun-Star] 28 Oct 2008--They weren't together this year. They were separated in different towns -- 33 miles apart.

For the first time in 49 years, two conventions were held for delegates who previously met at one convention under the governing body of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno.

At the 2007 convention, the last time delegates were together, they seceded from the U.S. Episcopal Church over differences with the national body's approval of same-sex blessings, ordination of a gay bishop, the role of women in the church and the authority of Scripture.

The result was a breakaway diocese now aligned with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A remaining diocese made up of congregations that didn't want to split is still connected to the U.S. Episcopal Church.

After Trial, Traditional Bishop Finds Consolation

[The Bulletin] 28 oct 2008--An unprecedented civil trial over a dispute between an Episcopal bishop and a priest he defrocked came to a close late last week.

The jury ruled in favor of Charles Bennison, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, who won against Bishop David Moyer, rector of Good Shepherd Church in Rosemont. Bishop Moyer, who was deposed without a church trial by Bishop Bennison in 2002, filed suit against Bishop Bennison because he believed he had improperly been denied a church trial during the deposition. The suit alleged fraud against Bishop Moyer by Bishop Bennison.

Bishop Moyer, who now serves as bishop for the Traditional Anglican Communion, told The Bulletin although he is disappointed by the court's decision, he is trying to follow God's will through his adversity.

Christians urged to present supreme and universal God to pluralist world

[Christianity Today UK] 28 Oct 2008--In a world where secularism and mysticism are the new religion, the Christian faith must always challenge rather than be challenged by other faiths, world views and ideologies, says the head of the Asia Evangelical Alliance.

Addressing the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly in Pattaya, Thailand on Monday, the Rev Dr Richard Howell said that belief in the supreme, universal and trans-cultural Triune God and an identity rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ were evangelical non-negotiables in an age of pluralism.

Mauritian Anglican church votes for ordination of women

[African Press Agency] 28 Oct 2008--he Anglican Diocese of Mauritius has, at a special meeting of the local synod on Tuesday, approved the ordination of women priests, APA learnt in the capital Port Louis.

The Bishop of Mauritius and Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean, Ian Ernest, indicated that he has taken this decision after two years of reflection.

In a letter that he has addressed to all directors of parishes, to council members of the Anglican Church and to all his parishioners, Bishop Ernest revealed that the process of women ordination has been launched and it will take the necessary time that it needs.

Tanzanian Christians oppose introduction of Islamic courts

[Christianity Today UK] 28 Oct 2008--Christian leaders in Tanzania have spoken out against proposals to introduce Kadhi, or Islamic, courts to deal with disputes in the country’s Islamic community.

A petition, signed by 64 leaders from the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) and Pentecostal churches, said that such courts would create religious tension in a country that is proud of its religious and social tolerance.

If introduced, the Kadhi courts will deal with domestic issues such as marriage and divorce. They were introduced officially in 1985 to the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, which is 99 per cent Muslim.

Lausanne Congress to Tackle Emerging Threats to Mission

[The Christian Post] 28 oct 2008--The highly-anticipated, upcoming third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization will be addressing emerging threats and concerns to Christian missions, informed the head of the Lausanne Congress on Monday at a major evangelical conference.

With new forms of hostility towards Christianity emerging, S. Douglas Birdsall, the executive chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, said the 2010 gathering in Cape Town, South Africa, is needed to bring together the best minds in the evangelical world to develop unified responses to challenges to the faith.

“You might ask is there a need for an international congress that deals with world evangelization,” said Birdsall at the 2008 World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) General Assembly in Thailand.

“I would say that throughout history, such gathering is only necessary when the future of the life of the Church is threatened by some type of challenge – either internal challenge or external pressure,” he contended.

What's Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate? Part Four

[Albert Mohler] 28 oct 2008--Writing more than twenty years ago, Thomas Sowell described the basic worldview clash we observe today as a struggle between "constrained" and "unconstrained" visions of humanity. The fundamental distinction between these two visions is moral, but the thrust of each is ideological. The constrained vision may be considered basically conservative, while the unconstrained vision is basically liberal, in modern terms.

There is great wisdom in Sowell's analysis, and in his book, The Conflict of Visions. But the greatest achievement of this book is Sowell's insistence that political struggles have ideological origins.

Rick Warren endorses Prop 8 Calif. marriage amendment

[Baptist press News] 28 oct 2008--Pastor Rick Warren has publicly endorsed a proposed California constitutional marriage amendment, giving supporters a boost in what is expected to be a close vote Nov. 4.

The pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. -- who hosted a presidential forum with both major candidates in August -- made the endorsement of Proposition 8 in an Oct. 23 e-mail to church members. His statement comes as, the main organization supporting Prop 8, tries to raise enough money to purchase additional television ads and fight off a well-funded final push by opponents.

If passed, Prop 8 will overturn the May decision by the state high court that legalized "gay marriage."

"For 5,000 years, EVERY culture and EVERY religion -- not just Christianity -- has defined marriage as a contract between men and women," Warren wrote. "There is no reason to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2% of our population. This is one issue that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on. Both Barack Obama and John McCain have publicly opposed the redefinition of marriage to include so-called 'gay marriage.' Even some gay leaders, like Al Rantel of KABC oppose watering down the definition of marriage.

Mother to Face Contempt Charges for Refusing Custody of Daughter to Former Lesbian Lover

[LifeSiteNews] 28 Oct 2008--Lisa Miller, a former lesbian who rejected the homosexual lifestyle and returned to her belief in Christ, will face contempt of court charges today for refusing to give unsupervised visitation of her daughter to her former lesbian partner.

Miller, 40, told LifeSiteNews in a extensive recent interview that her six year old daughter, Isabella, has said that she would like to kill herself following an unsupervised visit, and has complained of being forced to bathe naked with 44-year-old Janet Jenkins, according to Miller (see interview at Her Vermont attorney, Steven Crampton, reportedly plans to present sworn testimony of evidence of abuse during today’s hearing.

Vermont courts have awarded liberal visitation rights to Jenkins, despite the fact that she has no biological nor adoptive relationship with Isabella. Lisa Miller conceived Isabella through artificial insemination and says that Jenkins took little interest in the conception and pregnancy. The two were joined in a “civil union” under Vermont law.

God and Barack Obama

[OneNewsNow] 28 Oct 2008--Let me begin with what I hope is a credibility enhancer: For daring to write a book on the faith of Hillary Clinton, I was questioned by fellow conservatives, especially for calling Mrs. Clinton a "lifelong, committed Christian." In the final chapter of that book, I included a brief section on the faith of Barack Obama, where, taking him at his word—based on a major June 2006 speech on his faith—I felt confident in reporting, "Obama is a Christian."

I'm not disputing that here. Since then, however, I've taken a careful look at Obama's faith, and there are quite a few things that stand out as historically extremely unusual, and in some cases unprecedented for a potential president. They are worth knowing, especially given the secular media's adoration of the man.

TEO to Torpedo Covenant Before It Leaves the Dock

[Still On Patrol] 28 Oct 2008--Did you catch the story last week on Pravda Episcopal News Service? It seems that the Covenant Design Group is planning to meet in May 2009, with the probability that another draft of the Anglican Covenant will be issued and submitted for a vote by the Provinces of the Anglican Communion at that time. In an ENS story from October 21, it was reported that High Priestess Katie said, "my sense is that the time is far too short before our General Convention for us to have a thorough discussion of it as a church and I'm therefore going to strongly discourage any move to bring it to General Convention. I just think it's inappropriate to make a decision that weighty that quickly."

Obama interview points to 'Marxism' philosophy

[OneNewsNoew] 28 Oct 2008--John McCain and his supporters are hammering Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama for saying in a 2001 interview on Chicago Public Radio that wealth redistribution is a necessary form of "economic justice."

The McCain campaign and other critics of Barack Obama are seizing on newly uncovered audio from an interview Obama did with WBEZ in Chicago while he was an Illinois state senator and University of Chicago law professor. In the interview, Obama suggested that it was a "tragedy" the U.S. Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, did not pursue "redistribution of wealth" for black Americans.

Obama's socialist past explored further

[OneNewsNow] 28 oct 2008--A pro-family leader warns that the economic policies being promoted by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama represent those of an "unapologetic socialist."

Earlier this month, OneNewsNow noted the mainstream news media has chosen not to report on Barack Obama's past membership in a socialist organization (related article). While running for the Illinois State Senate, Obama was a member of the Chicago "New Party," which was established by the Democratic Socialists of America.

Martin Dudley responds to St Helen’s Bishopsgate

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Oct 2008--The clergyman who performed the ceremony at St Bartholomew’s the Great has requested a right of reply to the letter published on this website from the three churches in the City of London. He compares his situation of blessing persistent disobedience to God with that of those who refused the ministry of a Bishop who had been consecrated by a bishops who had surrendered the scriptures to the authorities. AM website notes that the same Augustine he quotes defines schism as separation from those who believe the same things; the three churches explicitly say they do not believe the same things.

Is Government set to remap religion in Australia?

[] 28 oct 2008--Will the Australian government enact anti-proselytism laws and ban criticism of other belief systems on the grounds of defending social harmony?

This is just one of the concerns amongst evangelical Christians as the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) begins its Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century project.

Their aim is to map the state of play for religious freedom in Australia, especially the recent impact on Muslim communities.

Leftwards Christian soldiers

[Guardian] 28 Oct 2008--In 2004, John Kerry ran a fairly straightforward secularist election campaign, in effect ceding the so-called "values voters" to George Bush. Bill Clinton, among others, had counseled Kerry to moderate this strategy. Clinton even suggested to Kerry that he loudly oppose gay marriage in toss-up states like socially conservative Ohio, but Kerry begged off, explaining that he didn't want to appear intolerant.

After Kerry's defeat, Democrats resolved not to commit the same mistake again. They quickly formed committees and groups dedicated to casting Democratic party policies in a religious light.

Barack Obama, in particular, embraced this strategy. He shrewdly sensed the possibilities of poaching some values voters from the Republican party by adopting a tone of religious uplift and giving a religious patina to his policies, particularly his anti-war one.

Obama will do just about anything to get himself elected President of the United States.

A Motion Passed at the Recent Reformed Episcopal Church Synod

[TitusOneNine] 28 oct 2008--Forasmuch as the Reformed Episcopal Church has affirmed the teaching of God's Word that abortion is the taking of an unborn human life, and inasmuch as we have recognized the duty of all faithful Christians to work to protect the unborn and restrain the sin of abortion on demand, we hereby move that the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church direct the clergy and laity of the Reformed Episcopal Church to make a political candidate's position on the Sanctity of Human Life the highest priority in discerning for whom to vote regardless of political party represented or office being sought.

Anglican Church backs all-night pubs ban,22049,24561048-5001021,00.html

[The Daily Telegraph] 28 oct 2008--SYDNEY Anglicans have vowed to fight binge drinking and alcohol related violence.

At a recent meeting of high-ranking church officials, the Sydney Anglican Synod passed a motion to support politicians and police in banning 24/7 alcohol outlets.

Reverend Zac Veron said it was a duty of every Christian to avoid drunkenness and "have a care as to the way their drinking affects other people".

He said opinions on alcohol ranged from moderation to abstinence.

St. Francis on the Hill church elects to leave Episcopal Church

[El Paso Times] 28 Oct 2008--St. Francis-on-the-Hill in West El Paso has elected to leave the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A, according to an announcement by the Very Rev. Mark Goodman of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.

The church also is leaving Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.

The vestry of St. Francis-on-the-Hill in El Paso voted Oct. 21 to leave the Episcopal Church, with a majority in favor of the action, Goodman said.

Related press release:
Saint Francis El Paso’s Press Release on the parish’s Decision - TitusOneNine

English Bishop urges Vatican not to fear biblical criticism

[Religious Intelligence] 28 Oct 2008--The Bishop of Durham has urged the Roman Catholic Church not to fear Biblical criticism, telling the Synod of Bishops that historical critical scholarship was a tool that, properly used, was a servant to the church’s ministry of evangelization.

Gathered by Pope Benedict XVI under the theme of “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” 253 bishops along with ecumenical guests and Vatican staffers are meeting at the Vatican to explore the church’s place in the modern world.

In his Oct 5 opening homily Benedict called for a re-evangelisation of Europe. “Nations that at one time were rich with vocations are now losing their identity, under the deleterious and destructive influence of a certain modern culture,” he said.

Fr. Moyer Loses Fraud Case Against Bishop Bennison

[The Living Church] 28 Oct 2008--A 12-member jury in Montgomery County Court (Pa.) found Oct. 24 that fraud did not “pervade” the decision-making process in the Diocese of Pennsylvania in 2002 when Bishop Charles E. Bennison, Jr., removed the Rev. David Moyer from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Bennison declared that Fr. Moyer had abandoned the communion of the church after he prohibited the bishop from making a pastoral visit to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, where Fr. Moyer is rector.

Fr. Moyer sued Bishop Bennison, seeking unspecified damages for loss of employment and mental anguish. During the four-day civil trial, John Lewis, Fr. Moyer’s lawyer, presented documents implying that Bishop Bennison concealed from Fr. Moyer his plan to remove him without a church trial.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Positions vacant: prophets, priests, kings

[] 26 Oct 2008--Many of us have read or heard Mark Driscoll’s 18 obstacles to evangelism which we face in Sydney. Mark certainly set a cat amongst the pigeons while he was here with us. I thank him for the insightful diagnosis of our situation, while having some questions about some of the solutions.

One obstacle (his number 12) particularly took my attention. He said churches need prophets, priests and kings, according to 1 Peter 5, where Jesus is chief shepherd, and the leaders are under-shepherds under Him. In Mark Driscoll’s model Prophets do the preaching and teaching, priests look after people (for example, hospital visits), and kings are concerned with systems, policies, procedures, real estate and the like.

Short: We are not troublemakers

[] 26 Oct 2008--Former Sydney Anglican, the Rev David Short has called on fellow evangelical Anglicans to sign a petition to counter “the lies being spread” which portray his church and others belonging to the Anglican Network in Canada as a “troublemaking minority”.

Evangelical Anglicans around the world have been asked to sign the petition by mid-November, which declares that lay members and clergy in the Church of England “stand with” parishes in the Anglican Network in Canada and “affirm” that they are “authentically Anglican”.

The petition was introduced earlier this month as a motion unanimously supported by those attending the conservative evangelical network Reform’s conference in London.

Canadian parish quits, but forgets to tell the vicar

[Religiousd Intelligence] 26 Oct 2008--A rural Manitoba congregation has quit the Anglican Church in Canada for ANiC --- the breakaway group overseen by the Province of the Southern Cone --- but neglected to tell its vicar they were going.

On Oct 15 the congregation of St Bede’s Church in Kinosota, Manitoba, held a parish meeting under the presidency of its NSM curate, the Rev Jona Weitzel, and voted 29 to one to quit the Diocese of Brandon for ANiC.

However, the parish incumbent, the Rev Robert Bettson told the Anglican Journal the secession vote was not lawful. “I am the rector of the parish, and was not consulted about the meeting, which the canons of the diocese require,” he said.

AMiA Theologian Challenges CAPA Chairman Over Nature of the Church

[VirtueOnline] 26 Oct 2008--A theologian and former seminary Dean says that Archbishop Ian Ernest, chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), misunderstands the nature of the church when the prelate recently called upon the African church to put aside its differences and engage with its theological opponents within the Anglican Communion.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. John H. Rodgers addressed the Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius saying Ernst misunderstands the nature of the Church failing to see the difference between the Church Visible and the Church Invisible.

Ernest wrote that CAPA bishops should eschew a political solution to the divisions over doctrine and discipline and focus instead on church transformation through Christian witness. CAPA must resist becoming one interest group among many within the Anglican Communion, he said.

Thought crime and the prosecution of Robert Duncan

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 oct 2008--The prosecution of thought crime has become commonplace in formerly democratic societies.

That we are unwilling to acknowledge the assaults not only on speech but on the thought that gives rise to it is evidence that we live in dangerous times — so dangerous that we don’t dare think it.

The deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan was not a particularly dangerous or violent act. Given the travesties of truth and justice that are becoming common in our society, it smacked of a certain pathetic mediocrity. It was a very small act by a very unexceptional group huddling together to protect its interests.