Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why Not You?


Someone today is going to come up with an idea that will make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.

Why can’t that someone be you? Read more

Security tight for Martyrs’ Day


Christians preparing to attend Martyrs’ Day celebrations at Namugongo have been urged to be security-cautious and carry small luggage that can be checked easily.

The call was made by Bishop John Muhanguzi of North-Ankole diocese, the organisers of this year’s celebrations.

He also urged well-wishers to contribute funds towards the function, which is budgeted to cost over sh80m. Read more

Federal court in Boston rules Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional



In saying marriage is an issue for states to decide, appeals court is second in a week to call Doma unconstitutional


A federal appeals court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act – Congress's key legislation to block gay marriage – as unconstitutional in a ruling that will propel the issue to the supreme court.

The Boston-based first district appeals court upheld a lower court decision that gay marriage is a matter for individual states to decide and that the federal government does not have the authority to deny recognition of same-sex unions.

It is the highest court to date to strike down the 1996 act, known as Doma, which denies gay married couples federal benefits and protections given to heterosexuals such as health coverage, social security payments and medical leave. A host of states have passed their own bans on gay marriage, but eight states and the District of Columbia have authorised same-sex unions. Read more

Christian Author Tells How God Took Her Back From Witchcraft


A feeling of being abandoned by God and a curiosity about the pagan religion of Wicca led her to a 10-year life immersed in witchcraft, says a first-time Christian author. S.A. (Seleah Ally) Tower said she wants to share her story in order for others to learn how she escaped a very dark period in her life.

Tower told The Christian Post that her book, Taken from the Night – A Witches Encounter with God, is meant to tell her spiritual journey from first being a doubtful Christian, then to a witch, and later to a born-again believer in Jesus as authentically as possible. She wants the book and her testimony to help others who have experienced the same struggles in the spiritual realm. Read more

America's Moral Temperature: Is Pornography the Next Battleground?


A newly released Gallup poll taking America's moral temperature finds strong support for fidelity in marriage and increasing respect for unborn life, but in other key areas – specifically sex outside of marriage and homosexuality – Americans may have lost their biblical compass. And, unless all people of faith unite in opposition, pornography may be next.

Overall the trend is alarming for most. According to the Gallup organization's annual Values and Beliefs survey, seventy-three percent of the nation's citizens believe moral values are getting worse (up from 69 percent in 2011). This sense of moral malaise is generalized rather than specific with no one issue reaching even 25 percent as the number one issue. Lack of "compassion" or "caring" etc., reached first at 18 percent, followed by "Lack of family structure" and "Lack of faith/religion" at 10 percent, with many other individual issues gaining single digits.

When Gallup focused on the specifics however, sexual behavior became the battleground. Read more

Internal strife in US Episcopal Church claim another casualty



House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson will not seek reelection


The Episcopal Church’s political wars have claimed their highest profile casualty. The President of the House of Deputies has announced that she will not seek reelection at this summer’s General Convention in Indianapolis.

In a statement released on 23 May 2012, President Bonnie Anderson said that after serving as president of the House of Deputies – one of the two co-leaders of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church – since 2006, she wanted to “to spend more time with my family.”

While Mrs. Anderson’s decision to step down has been couched in personal terms – many church watchers see her exit as the end move in the political battle between the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies. Declining income and membership, a bloated bureaucracy and committee structure and a clash of ecclesiological visions has prompted bitter in-fighting in the higher echelons of the church. Read more

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Appraisal of the ACNA-PEARUSA Protocol


By Robin G. Jordan

In this article I offer my appraisal of the May 5, 2012 final draft of the PEAR/ACNA/PEARUSA PROTOCOL. This document will govern the relationship between the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR), the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), and PEAR’s missionary district in North America. The Protocol has twelve sections. These sections cover a range of subjects from mutual recognition to termination of the protocol. After each section a rationale for the section is offered. I have reproduced the entire text of the document below. I have added my own comments in bold italics.

PEAR / ACNA / PEARUSA PROTOCOL

Initial Protocol with attachments of Canons of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR) and the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) Governing Elements of Jurisdiction concerning the Missionary District of PEAR in North America (MD).

Effective _______________

This Protocol is entered into between the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR), the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Missionary District, PEARUSA (MD).

PEARUSA is a continuation of PEAR’s North American mission originated before ACNA was formed. (Article II, 1 of the ACNA Constitution)

1. Restatement of declaration of full communion, per GAFCON.

PEAR and the ACNA enjoy full communion with one another through our common membership in the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and our respective Archbishops’ membership on the GAFCON Primates Council.

Rationale: This is a statement that reaffirms the full communion enjoyed by the two provinces and the mutual recognition of one another’s authentic provincial belonging in GAFCON. While the Communion status of ACNA is questioned by some of the current member provinces of the Anglican Communion, this statement is intended to demonstrate that the mutual recognition stated is mutually valued.

In this section of the protocol communion between PEAR and the ACNA is linked to their common membership in GAFCON and the membership of their respective Archbishops on the GAFCON Primates Council, not to a common set of beliefs. This is the kind of fellowship now seen in the Anglican Communion in which communion between the member provinces is based upon formal membership in an organization and its various bodies rather than a common faith.

2. Which Province's Constitution and Canons take precedence

The Constitution and Canons of the ACNA apply to the MD except in those matters addressed by the MD’s “Canonical Charter for Ministry” or by those provisions of the Constitution and Canons of PEAR that are addressed by this protocol. The MD will be a sub-jurisdiction of the ACNA.

Rationale: This statement names the priority of the ACNA Canons except in those matters addressed by the Canonical Charter for Ministry. The MD is a juridic entity of PEAR. Its clergy are ordained under the Canons of PEAR. Its congregations are members of PEAR and represented in the Provincial Synod. At the same time, there is a determined effort to see an alignment of design between the Canonical Charter for Ministry of the MD and the Canons of the ACNA.

In this section of the protocol PEARUSA trades the problematic canons of PEAR for the equally problematic canons of the ACNA. 

3. Bishops and Clergy are under license and discipline of which Province

The Bishops and Clergy of the MD are under the license and discipline of PEAR. However, in light of distance and the overlapping of geographic jurisdictions, the Primate of PEAR may waive disciplinary jurisdiction over a Bishop or a member of the Clergy of the MD in favor of the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction in the ACNA according to Title IV Canon 5 section 3 of the Constitution and Canons of ACNA.

Rationale: It is difficult to oversee and provide discipline for bishops and clergy of a Missionary District thousands of miles away from the Sponsoring Province. To this end, the Archbishop of PEAR will find it most helpful to depend on the proximity of the Archbishop of ACNA and those involved in the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction to those bishops and clergy in the MD of PEAR should there be a need for disciplinary action.

Under the provisions of the ACNA canons, only priests and deacons may be referred by a bishop to the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction for trial. The ACNA canons make no provision for the referral of bishops to the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction. A separate ecclesiastical court exists for the trial of bishops. The members of the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction are appointed by the Archbishop of the ACNA as are its legal advisor and prosecutor. There is no confirmation process involving the Provincial Council or the Provincial Assembly or even the Executive Committee or the College of Bishops. The members of the court elect their presiding officer.

In Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction proceedings the Archbishop of the ACNA can influence the verdict through his choice of members of the court, as well as the legal advisor and prosecutor. The ACNA canons do not state that the Court of Extraordinary Jurisdiction is a standing court. The canons do not specify how long the members of the court serve or whether they serve at the Archbishop’s pleasure. The canons are open to the interpretation that the Archbishop appoints new members of the court for each case. The accused is not guaranteed the right to challenge the members of the court, the legal advisor or the prosecutor. The canons do not specify the reasons for which a member of the court must recuse himself or what happens in the event a member of the court does recuse himself. It is possible for the members of the court to not be impartial in their judgment of the guilt of the accused. The canons make no provision for the removal and replacement of members of the court or the filling of casual vacancies on the court. They make no provision for the removal and replacement of the legal advisor or the prosecutor. These and and other critical details are omitted in the ACNA canons. 

I examine Title IV of the ACNA Canons in my article series, “Ecclesiastical Discipline in the Anglican Church in North America.”  Ecclesiastical discipline is one of the most problematic areas of the ACNA Canons. I summarize my findings in “Ecclesiastical Discipline in the Anglican Church in North America: Part 6.” The article includes links to the previous articles in the series.

All other sub-jurisdictions in the ACNA have their own ecclesiastical courts for the trial of priests and deacons. These courts are appointed by the sub-jurisdiction and operate in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the sub-jurisdiction. Their bishops fall under the jurisdiction of the Court for Trials of Bishops.

4. Process for election and consecration of Bishops

The Bishops of MD shall be elected and consecrated according to Title III, Canon 23, sections 3 and 4 of the Canons of PEAR with the General Assembly of the MD substituting for that of the Diocese. Consultation between the Primates of the Provinces as to candidates for election will take place prior to the election. The episcopal nominees selected from the General Assembly will meet with the ACNA College of Bishops who, after hearing testimony of faith and call to the office, will be given opportunity to declare their consent to the nominations. After this, the nominees will be considered by the PEAR House of Bishops for election. Duly elected MD bishops shall be seated in the ACNA College of Bishops upon consecration.

Rationale: This protocol is designed not so as to limit the authority of PEAR to select its own bishops, but rather to enhance the integrity of the partnership in the Gospel entered into by PEAR and the ACNA.

The procedure for vetting candidates for episcopal office in the PEAR missionary district described in this section of the protocol is similar to that of the Scottish Episcopal Church. All nominees for episcopal office in the Scottish Episcopal Church must first be approved by the College of Bishops. Only College of Bishops-approved nominees may be considered for election to episcopal office in that province. In practice this means that only nominees acceptable to the church party controlling the College of Bishops have any hope of becoming College of Bishops-approved nominees. In the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church the liberal wing of that province controls the College of Bishops.
 

Despite the claim that this procedure is designed not to limit the authority of PEAR to select its own bishops, it clearly does limit that authority. It enables whatever group that is dominant in the ACNA College of Bishops to determine whom the PEAR House of Bishops may elect as a bishop of the PEAR missionary district. It also puts the General Assembly of the PEAR missionary district in the position of only being able to make nominations acceptable to the dominant group in the ACNA College of Bishops.

The provisions of this section of the protocol also stipulate that episcopal nominees are to be selected FROM the General Assembly. They do not state how such nominees are to be selected.

5. Financial commitments

The MD will ask congregations to participate in a generous giving program and parishes will give 10% of those gifts to the MD. The MD will divide 10% of those gifts between PEAR and the ACNA 70/30 in year one, 60/40 year two and as determined by the primates thereafter.

Rationale: The disciple’s desire in giving is to bless God for His generosity. This division of the final 10% is a demonstration by the MD of its gratitude to God for His gift of the ministry of PEAR and the ACNA.

Canon I.9, while recognizing the biblical tithe as “the minimum standard of giving to support the mission of the church,” does not require congregations to give 10% of their revenues to the judicatory of which they are a part or judicatories to give of 10% of their revenues to the province. Rather it stipulates that the biblical tithe “should be taught and encouraged at every level of the church.” The PEAR missionary district’s financial commitments go well beyond these requirements.

6. Representation at Provincial Assembly

The MD will be represented in the ACNA Provincial Assembly based on the average Sunday attendance (“ASA”) of its congregations.

Rationale: This allows the MD to participate fully in the life of the ACNA and to educate its members in the ministry of the Province.

The ACNA Provincial Assembly plays an extremely circumscribed role in the governance of the province, ratifying changes to the ACNA constitution and canons and making recommendations. It may not deliberate upon changes to the ACNA governing documents submitted to it for ratification and amend them. It also may not initiate legislation of its own.

7. Representation in the Provincial Council

The MD will be represented in the Provincial Council according to the criteria as set forth in Title I, Canon 5, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the ACNA with the MD General Assembly and subsequent Networks substituting for the ACNA diocese.

Rationale: This allows the MD to participate in the governance of the ACNA through the ministry of laity, clergy and bishops.

This section of the protocol limits the PEAR missionary district’s representation in the Provincial Council to one bishop, one member of the clergy and two lay persons no matter how large the PEAR missionary district grows in size through the multiplication of congregations and Networks. Note the phrase “with the MD General Assembly and subsequent Networks substituting for the ACNA diocese” It refers to the General Assembly and the Networks together as a single unit substituting for an ACNA diocese. The PEAR missionary district may grow to rival the entire ACNA in size and provide the lion’s share of the financial support for the ACNA but its representation in the Provincial Council—the ACNA equivalent of a provincial synod—will not increase with its numerical growth and financial contribution.

8. Freedom of movement by clergy and congregations

Clergy and congregations of the MD and the ACNA are free to move from one to the other with the consent of both bishops involved.

Rationale: This protocol underscores the recognition of the full communion that exists between PEAR, the MD and the ACNA.

This section of the protocol facilitates the migration of clergy and congregations from the PEAR missionary district to the ACNA. It reduces the incentive of the ACNA to develop the church planting and evangelism leadership skills of its own clergy and to rely upon those of PEAR clergy, luring them away from the missionary district with attractive compensation packages. At the same time the other provisions of the protocol work to keep the PEAR missionary district from becoming an enclave within the ACNA for congregations and clergy committed to the maintenance of a genuinely orthodox Anglican witness to North America, grounded in the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and The Jerusalem Declaration .

9. Statement regarding not creating non-geographic PEAR Dioceses in North America

Out of respect for the ecclesial integrity of the ACNA, PEAR agrees not to create a Diocese of the Province in North America.

Rationale: While PEAR sees the need for the existence of the MD because of its ongoing relationship with clergy and congregations with whom it has had an over decade-long ministry partnership, it nonetheless respects the existence of the ACNA as the orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in North America.

The ACNA has not achieved the status of a Province of the Anglican Communion and the recognition of the ACNA as a Province of the Communion, especially as “the orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in North America,” is premature. There are troubling questions about the orthodoxy of the ACNA. For example, the ACNA does not fully accept the authority of the Thirty-Nine Articles. The genuineness of its subscription to The Jerusalem Declaration is open to question. The ACNA “theological lens,” approved by its College of Bishops, contains a number of statements that do not support ACNA claims to orthodoxy. It is too early for PEAR to commit itself to not taking a particular action such as erecting a diocese in North America or supporting the formation of a genuinely orthodox Anglican province as an alternative to the ACNA.

10. Working together in overlapping jurisdictions

In those places where there is geographic overlap between ACNA Diocesan churches and those in the MD, every effort will be made to maintain the highest possible level of mutual concern and cooperation in the development of missional strategies that will serve the growth of the Gospel and will clearly demonstrate mutual respect and partnership.

Rationale: Whereas different jurisdictions in the ACNA are all responding to the Great Commission, we do so in a partnership that seeks to enhance rather than undermine the development of our church communities. The mutual development of missional strategies will strengthen our effectiveness in church planting and development of congregations.

This section of the protocol fails to recognize the existence of significant theological divisions even among conservative Anglicans. It erroneously assumes that all conservative Anglicans are proclaiming the same gospel. It also mistakenly takes as true the notion that Anglican orthodoxy comes in many shades and colors and that Anglicans with very different views of revelation, salvation, and the sacraments are fulfilling the same Great Commission.

11. A timeframe for the re-examination and re-negotiation of this protocol

This protocol may be re-examined and re-negotiated annually, but will be reviewed at least every three years from the date of the initial agreement. Any Canonical change proposed by PEAR or ACNA that would affect these protocols must be communicated to the two Archbishops for their consideration.

As this section of the protocol is presently worded, it suggest that the two Archbishops have a veto over any proposed canonical change in their respective provinces affecting the protocol.

12. Termination of the protocol.

This protocol can be terminated by either Archbishop with the advice and counsel of their respective House or College of Bishops. In the event of the election of a new Archbishop in either PEAR or ACNA, these protocols will be reviewed.

This section of the protocol effectively excludes the provincial synods of PEAR and the ACNA and the General Assembly of the PEAR missionary district from making decisions that affect the protocol.

We, the task force assigned to review and develop the Protocols for ACNA -PEAR for PEARUSA, have been moved by the humility and godly leadership of our Archbishop Duncan and Archbishop Rwaje who have given us access to the unity that they have in Christ. Further we are grateful for the clear Anglican Order they have set before us in all our dealings. It is our prayer that such leadership will guide us to the fullness of God's grace available to us all in these matters.

The Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn, PEARUSA
The Rt. Rev. Thad Barnum, PEARUSA
The Rt. Rev. Laurent Mbanda, PEAR
The Rt. Rev. William Murdoch, ACNA
The Rev. Canon Jack Lumanog, ACNA
The Rev Canon Dr. Steve Breedlove, PEARUSA
The Honorable Hugo Blankingship, ACNA

Overall the final draft of the protocol between PEAR and the ACNA is quite disappointing. While enabling PEARUSA congregations and clergy to maintain an ongoing partnership with PEAR and each other, the protocol at the same time makes it more difficult for PERUSA congregations and clergy to sustain a genuinely orthodox Anglican witness to North America, grounded in the Bible, the Anglican formularies, and The Jerusalem Declaration.

Anglican Arctic diocese to elect new bishop today



Four candidates vying to replace Andrew Atagotaaluk

Anglican leaders from across the North are in Iqaluit today to elect a new spiritual leader.

Andrew Atagotaaluk will retire as bishop of the diocese of the Arctic at the end of the year, after holding the post for 10 years. Atagotaaluk was the first Inuk to serve as bishop of the diocese.

Today's election will take place as part of the Arctic diocese’s synod in Iqaluit. The Anglican diocese of the Arctic includes N.W.T., Nunavut and Nunavik. Read more

Divisive 'Homophobia' Bill Passes Senate Committee in Brazil


A Brazilian Senate Judiciary Committee, responsible for reviewing the Criminal Code, approved Friday a proposal to criminalize "homophobia" and other situations that can be considered discriminatory against homosexuals.

According the current wording of the bill, any person who discriminates based on gender, identity or sexual orientation as well as regional origin will face criminal charges. Under current laws only those who discriminate against another person because of race, color, ethnicity, religion or national origin can be prosecuted.

The new legislation's wording also proposes that any person discriminated against can request the commencement of legal proceedings at any time, even if the discriminatory act happened a long time ago. Moreover, under the proposals if the accused is arrested temporarily, controversially they will not have the right to be released on bail.

Under the new bill offenders can be given prison sentences of between two to five years. The penalty can be increased further if the offense is committed against a child or adolescent. Read more

The Church and Homosexuality: Ten Commitments


Of the many complexities involving the church and homosexuality, one of the most difficult is how the former should speak of the latter. Even for those Christians who agree that homosexuality is contrary to the will of God there is little agreement on how we ought to speak about homosexuality being contrary to the will of God. Much of this disagreement is owing to the fact that there are many different constituencies we have in mind when broaching the subject. There are various groups that may be listening when we speak about homosexuality, and the group we think we are addressing usually dictates how we speak. Read more

Works and Words: Why You Can't Preach the Gospel with Deeds


And why it's important to say so.

When it comes to the enduring question of word versus deed in the Christian's calling, the issue is always one of balance. How are Christians to think about the relative roles of words (proclaiming the gospel) and deeds (loving action) in what Christ has called his people to be and do? We need to set our scales to a balance that matches Scripture.

"Balance" may sound simple, but finding and maintaining our equilibrium on such a complex subject is never easy. It's like walking a tightrope. Only one direction will keep us upright and moving forward, and any number of missteps could lead us to fall off one side or the other. Misguided claims abound. Here's a prominent example.

How often do we hear these days, with passion and approval, the famous dictum attributed to Francis of Assisi: "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary"? In this saying, the word-versus-deed question rears its head, stressing in this instance how important it is for Christians to "preach the gospel" with their actions. Let the gospel be seen rather than spoken, it's implied. Words may serve a useful backup role, but our actions must take center stage if we are to make a difference in the world.

At first blush, this sounds right. Except that it isn't. Read more

The Kind of Church God Blesses



London has some of the most beautiful, historic churches in the entire world. Yet they are also some of the most empty. I was struck by this recently when I was in the city to do a Bible study. Churches are dying off so fast that they’re being sold off to bars and restaurants. London churches are desperate for the blessing of God.

I don’t want to lead a dying church. I don’t believe you do either. So what does it take for a church to remain vibrant, exciting—and alive? It takes the blessing of God. Whenever God blesses a church, it grows, lives are changed and miracles happen. Churches that God blesses bless people, bless families and bless communities.

That’s what the early church had. God’s blessing was all over that church. If we want to have the blessing of God on our churches, we need to do what the early church did in Acts 1-2. Read more

Christianity Explored to Lunch New Portuguese Translation in Brazil



With a total of 236 million speakers, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world, the third most spoken tongue in the western hemisphere and the most spoken language in the southern hemisphere.

These are four good reasons for Portuguese to be the first language into which the handbook and leader's guide of the new third edition of Christianity Explored has been translated. The DVD has been dubbed.

To celebrate this very strategic initiative, Craig Dyer, CEM’s Training Director, will launch the new translation in Brazil through a series of events taking place from 2-14 July this year.

The locations for the events are spread right across this vast country. The first, São José dos Campos, stands between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Goiân, the second, is just south west of capital Brazilia and the final venue, Manaus, is in the heart of the Amazon basin. Read more

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How to Welcome a Newcomer in Church or anywhere


We all have been a new person in a group and remember how we felt. Let's review the things we can do to make a newcomer feel welcome at church or anywhere. Read more

Rock of ages: 40,000 year-old musical instruments the world's oldest


Oxford University in the UK has announced that researchers from that school and Germany's University of Tübingen have determined the age on the world's oldest musical instruments: a collection of flutes, made of mammoth ivory and bird bones. Other bones found at the same level of excavation have been radiocarbon dated as 40,000 years old. Read more


Why Don't We Experience the Miracles the Apostles Were Capable of?



Well, some people do.

The assumption is, "Why don't we see it"-I guess-"regularly, as often as we'd like, or as often as they did?" And that's true, I think. I think that's true globally.

But the reason I say, "Boy, I don't want to go there right away," is that I would guess that, around the world, in God's total working-especially in cutting-edge mission settings-more amazing, supernatural things are happening than we realize. That's my first qualification.

I think the more biblical-theological answer is that, when Jesus Christ came into the world, he was the Son of God and he was able to do things that were supposed to distinctively point to his deity. Read more

Why You Ought to Have Your Children With You in Church


Is your church like the early church where children were present in the meetings? Have you experienced what parents experienced back then? Do your children have the blessing of worshiping with the richness of the whole body or are they segregated among their own subculture?

Here is the view from Scripture. We see age-integrated worship and discipleship in many places. The Ephesian church is one example. Ephesians 6:1-4 is the flagship New Testament passage on child rearing and fatherhood. It is an extremely simple and steadying message in light of the dizzying array of advice the world gives to parents. We find four major ideas arising from the text. First, there is the setting: the meeting of the church. Second, there are two simple commands for children: obey and honor (Eph. 6:1-2). Third, there are two understandable results for children: good life and long life (Eph. 6:3). Fourth, there are two dangerous pitfalls for fathers: provoking and neglecting (Eph. 6:4).

This article is focused on the first point - the setting of the meeting of the church.

In the first two verses, Paul is clearly speaking to children. These are the children who are in the meeting of the Ephesian church and are hearing the letter read. Paul uses a Greek grammatical form called the "vocative of direct address." He is directly addressing the children in the meeting of the church. This makes it an obvious fact that children were present in the meetings of the early churches.

In his commentary on Ephesians, William Hendriksen explains it this way:

The apostle assumes that among those who will be listening when this letter is read to the various congregations the children will not be lacking. They are included in God's Covenant..., and Jesus loves them....Were Paul to be present with us today he would be shocked at the spectacle of children attending the Sunday School and then going home just before the regular worship service. He has a word addressed directly and specifically to the children. (William Hendriksen, "Exposition of Ephesians" in Galatians and Ephesians: New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979), 258.) Read more

Children pen prayers for Diamond Jubilee



Prayers written by pupils at a Church of England school are being used across the country for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Pupils at St Matthew's Church of England Primary in Westminster were asked to compose prayers as part of the school's contribution to this weekend's celebrations.

The prayers have been made available online at www.worshipworkshop.org.uk/resources and have been circulated around the Church of England's 4,800 primary schools, as well as more than 200 secondaries and many churches. Read more

The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage, Part One



The intersection of pornography and marriage is one of the most problematic issues among many couples today–including Christian couples. The pervasive plague of pornography represents one of the greatest moral challenges faced by the Christian church in the postmodern age. With eroticism woven into the very heart of the culture, celebrated in its entertainment, and advertised as a commodity, it is virtually impossible to escape the pervasive influence of pornography in our culture and in our lives.

At the same time, the problem of human sinfulness is fundamentally unchanged from the time of the Fall until the present. There is no theological basis for assuming that human beings are more lustful, more defenseless before sexual temptation, or more susceptible to the corruption of sexual desire than was the case in any previous generation. Read more

Related:
Children ‘are scarred for life by porn on internet’ as developing minds are violated by visual shock, expert warns
'The Demise of Guys': How video games and porn are ruining a generation
Pornography threatening 'downfall' of church

Sydney Standing Committee motion on Gippsland ‘breach of trust’



The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Sydney has expressed ‘dismay’ at what it calls ‘a breach of fellowship and trust’ with the Bishop of Gippsland who has appointed a partnered gay man to a ministry position in his diocese.

The appointment was announced earlier this year in the Gippsland diocesan newspaper. The resulting controversy led to the adoption of an Australian bishops’ protocol on sexuality.

Now, Bishop John McIntyre has announced his intention to continue such appointments, saying to his Synod “I will appoint to office in our diocese those whom I believe God is calling to minister among us…….. I am willing to live with any consequences that may arise from remaining true to that commitment.”

The Standing Committee resolution ‘notes its dismay’ at the Bishop’s comments from which, it says, “it is reasonable to infer his intention to appoint, amongst others, practising homosexuals to ministry roles in his Diocese and support same-sex marriages.” Read more

Monday, May 28, 2012

LCMS, Anglicans Affirm Common Beliefs; Mull Fighting Homosexuality, Abortion Together


The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Anglican Church in North America affirmed core teachings of the Christian faith they share and expressed hope to jointly fight some key social challenges, including homosexuality, abortion and secularism, after concluding the first round of theological discussions.

The cooperation between the two denominations is a reason for joy at a time when "there is a widespread failure to recognize the biblical teaching regarding the creation of man and woman and their biblical roles, life-issues, and other grave challenges that society faces," LCMS President the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said in a statement Friday as the two bodies released a joint report summarizing the areas of agreement.
There are some differences in doctrine, Harrison agreed, but quoted a Lutheran theologian as saying that churches who can honestly discuss where they have disagreements in doctrine are in fact closer to each other than churches who cannot discuss such matters.

The dialogue, aimed at increasing the level of mutual understanding and affirmations between the church bodies, led to a joint affirmation of core Christian teachings the two denominations share. The discussions, which took place during four meetings over the past 18 months beginning the fall of 2010, also included a representative of the Lutheran Church-Canada.

The theological agreements include faith in the Trinity as per the Apostles,' Nicene, and Athanasian creeds; faith in one Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man, who is the savior of all the world; the Fall into sin and the reality that only by grace through faith in Christ can fallen human beings find justification and salvation; one Baptism for the remission of sins and the new life given through this sacrament; and that these truths are known through the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the very Word of God written, which are the infallible basis for all church teaching.

Based on the areas of theological agreement, the churches also recognized "certain grave, particular challenges that we face today." Read more

Why Does Pentecost Matter?


The pews are rarely packed on Pentecost Sunday although the day is often described as the "birthday of the Church" and is as significant as Christmas and Easter. The day comes 50 days after Easter, hence the name "Pentecost," which is a Greek word for "fifty." On Pentecost Sunday, some churches use red color as the theme for decoration, symbolizing the fire and joy of the Holy Spirit, as they commemorate the coming of the Spirit on the early followers of Jesus.

"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them," Acts 2:1-4 records.

Many see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus on the first Pentecost as the birth of the church. For Jesus, before his Ascension, instructed his disciples not to leave Jerusalem but wait for "the gift my Father promised." He added that they would receive power and be his witnesses in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the world when the Holy Spirit came on them, according to Acts 1:4, 8. This came true on the day of the Pentecost.

The first Pentecost was not a one-time incident. Until today, whoever puts faith in the Gospel of Jesus receives the Holy Spirit, though not necessarily in the same fashion as happened in the first century when many visible signs followed. It is through the Sprit that one can appropriate God's promises in Jesus by accepting Him as the Lord and Savior. As Peter said on the day of the Pentecost, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38, 39)

Further, it is the Holy Spirit – co-equal with God the Father and God the Son, as per the doctrine of Trinity – who keeps Christians as He indwells in them. Read more

Memorial Day: Remembering Our Nation's Fallen


As we remember those who gave their lives for their country in our nation's wars, let us not only pause to honor their memory but also turn our thoughts to how we as Christians and Christian communities may minister to to their widows, widowers, and orphans and to disabled veterans and their families.

Christians must be able to explain their faith - apologists



Two hundred guests congregated in central London over the weekend for Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Unbelievable Conference’.

The conference was held in partnership with Reasons to Believe, a Christian apologetics teaching and research organisation.

Hosted by Justin Brierley, presenter of Premier Christian Radio’s faith discussion programme ‘Unbelievable’, the conference aimed to equip Christians with reasons for the truth of their faith with evidence from Science, Philosophy and Bible scriptures. Read more

Brazil approves same-sex civil unions



Brazil has become the latest country to pave the way for same-sex marriage after it approved a measure changing the legal definition of a "civil union" to simply be between two people, without making it exclusive to a man and a woman.

The measure passed the Brazilian senate, its first legislative step in congress, after the issue had been disputed for 16 years, the Associated Press reported.

The Senate still does not approve of gay marriage, but Brazil's judiciary has already moved toward legalising same-sex marriages after state courts last year began allowing civil unions between homosexuals to be converted to full marriages. Read more

Archbishop selection panel 'dominated by liberals’


The panel chosen to appoint the next Archbishop of Canterbury is facing claims that it is dominated by clerics who reject orthodox teaching.

The committee is unfairly balanced in favour of liberals who support “revisionist” moves such as the appointment of homosexual bishops, traditionalists have warned.

Their intervention came as the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) met behind closed doors last week for the first in a series of meetings to decide the successor to Dr Rowan Williams.

Orthodox clergy fear that influential liberals on the panel will swing votes away from the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Coventry, prominent conservatives who have been widely tipped for the post.

Dr Richard Chartres, the traditionalist Bishop of London, is also back in the running, as he pulled out of elections to the CNC which would have excluded him from being considered.

The most senior member of the commission is Dr Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, who has said he would be prepared to appoint Britain’s first homosexual bishop.  Read more

Related article: Archbishop of Canterbury: who'll get the impossible job?

Urgent doesn’t have to mean aggressive



As is often the case, it’s when I’m preparing to teach others that God first rebukes and teaches me.

Preparing to speak at a youth event to encourage young people to get involved in world missions I drew on the illustration of what we’d do if we were in a burning building and knew the way out. We’re not going to respect the sincerity of the person who is planning to hide under the table. We’re not going to be afraid of offending the person who is planning to wait for the lift. We’re not going to tip-toe around the person who thinks the building is not actually on fire. If we really do believe that the danger is real, and if we really are convinced that the fire escape is the way to safety, and if we have any shred of human decency, then surely we’d do whatever we can to persuade others to join us and be saved. (This video from atheist US magician Penn Jillette expresses just that view)

It’s simple really: judgement is imminent, the gospel is true, we love our friends and family, so why don’t we share Jesus with them with more urgency?

I think the problem is we don’t separate urgent from aggressive. Read more

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bishop of Bermuda to Announce Retirement


Anglican Bishop of Bermuda Patrick White is due to announce his retirement tomorrow, The Royal Gazette has learned.

Although the Bishop refused to confirm or deny the news, a reliable source confirmed that he plans to leave his post on or before his 70th birthday in September.

Asked about the topic yesterday, Bishop White said: “An announcement will be forthcoming. I cannot say more than that at this point.” Read more

The Pastor as a Motivator



Pastor, no one on the planet bears more responsibility for motivating a group of people than you.

W. A. Criswell, one of my own preaching heroes, defined preaching as “seeking to move a man’s will God-ward.” He went on to define teaching as “instructing that man in the will and ways of the Lord.” I agree with the late Dr. Criswell that both are the tasks of the local church Pastor, but it was his definition of preaching that captured my heart. At the end of every message, I want to issue a strong appeal to my congregation to do at least three things:
  • Consider the truth I have presented.
  • Understand the personal application of it.
  • Act on it.
Motivation is not the primary goal of preaching – seeing lives transformed by the gospel is. But motivation is near the top of the list of priorities in preaching. At the end of our expounding of the Scriptures, people need to know what to do with what we just said, and they need to be provoked to take action lest they be hearers of the Word and notdoers.

Therefore, when I preach, I try to do certain things. Read more

9 Keys to Preaching a Lousy Sermon




Most people, when they preach, want to do well. Right?

Most people want others to experience God, encounter truth, and leave changed. Most people want the hard work they put into their sermons to have some sort of impact on the people listening.

Most people.

But not everyone. Some people aim to preach a lousy sermon. If you’d like to be one of those preachers, here’s your list. Read more

How to Have a Personal Pentecost Sunday


This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the Sunday when the Holy Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost. Because of that and because of my own passion to see the church once again empowered with the Holy Spirit as in the book of Acts, and yet without the hype and nonsense that is sometimes associated with the Holy Spirit, I have decided to post on Pentecost Sunday. Read more

Dramatic Mormon Growth Partly Due to Change in Membership Counting


A census of religious bodies in the United States taken once every ten years that reported a large growth in the Mormon population did so in part because the sect has changed the standard for which it identifies members.

The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies' report had the population of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 4.2 million in 2000 and 6.1 million in 2010, noting a 45.5 percent increase. However, this dramatic increase is aided by the LDS Church opting to classify as members all who have been baptized in their sect, not just those who are currently belonging to a congregation. Read more

How to Leave Your Old Church


We looked at how to begin at your new church. But sometimes the harder move is leaving your old church. I don't want to give advice on when to leave a church. Let's assume the reasons make sense and now the question is how to leave. What should you do? Read more

Cono Sur rejects election of Bishop of Uruguay




House of Bishops declines to ratify the election of Michael Pollesel

The House of Bishops and provincial executive committee of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) have declined to ratify the election of the Ven. Michael Pollesel as Bishop of Uruguay.

t the close of their 21 – 25 May 2012 meeting in Montevideo the bishops released a statement saying that “after discussion and prayer and in accord with its canons the Provincial Executive of the Cono Sur together with its College of Bishops did not ratify the election of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as bishop-coadjutor for Uruguay”

The Cono Sur statement did not state why Dr. Pollesel’s election was rejected, but noted the province “promised its close cooperation with the diocese in its future decisions.” Read more
The canons of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) require the Provincial Executive Council (not a provincial executive committee) to confirm the election of a new diocesan or auxiliary bishop in addition to the Bishops of the Province. Metropolitical authority in the IACSA is vested not in a single person but in the Provincial Executive Council chaired by a Presiding Bishop. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Women bishops: Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York about the amendments to Clause 5 and Clause 8 of the Draft Measure


The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint explanatory statement about the amendments made to the Women Bishops legislation at a meeting of the House of Bishops earlier this week.

The Archbishops' statement follows.... Read more

The Costly Faithfulness of The Falls Church


Instead of a soaring room flooded with natural light, they took their places in a cramped, fluorescent-lit auditorium. Instead of the sounds of a pipe organ, they heard the drone of a temperamental air conditioner. Instead of pews fitted with fabric kneelers, congregants filed into rows of theater-style folding seats. But in their first Sunday worship away from their 280-year-old historic property, the members of The Falls Church Anglican congregation in Falls Church, Virginia were too busy laughing and greeting one another to notice the new inconveniences.

"The people of the church have been full of joy and thankfulness," says Laura Smethurst, "buoyed by the conviction that to stand up for the Son of God is of ultimate importance." It was the Anglican congregation's firm stance on the authority of God's word and the moral wrong of homosexuality that cost the 4,000-member church nearly everything they owned. Six years ago, after the mainline Episcopal Church ordained an openly practicing homosexual bishop, 90 percent of The Falls Church congregation voted to break with the denomination and align with the conservative branch of the worldwide Anglican church.

As a result of the decision, the Episcopal diocese brought the Anglican congregation to court to dispute ownership of the historic Falls Church building. The congregation argued that the property deed is in the name of the church and a Circuit Court judge initially agreed. But the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church appealed that ruling and the Virginia Supreme Court said the particular statute used in their defense did not apply. The case was remanded back to the Circuit Court to be decided under neutral principles of contract and property law. This time the same Circuit Court judge ruled against them, ordering the Anglican congregation to turn their $26 million historic church building and all the church's other property over to the Episcopalian diocese. Read more

When Man Takes God and Sin Seriously


A well-known television host did a story recently about a judge who is attempting to reduce the 10 Commandments down to 6 Commandments. Without going into all the details, I found the host's comments to be very insightful. He wondered what Moses would think about such a travesty.

Moses. Not the author of the commandments. Not the One up in heaven who gave us the commandments. But Moses. Really? Moses?

If that doesn't paint a picture of the way many people view God, I don't know what does. This story was reported on the day after the President of the United States came out in favor of gay marriage. Does anyone take God seriously today?

For many, God is just an unknown higher power who is there to protect us, but He doesn't really expect too much out of us. As long as we go through some religious motions, the big guy will keep looking out for us.

How seriously do you take God? How seriously do you take His commandments? Are you alarmed and even fearful when you break one of God's commands? Or are you more worried about what your pastor or priest might think of you?

How seriously do you take the cross where Jesus died for you? Oh…..you don't believe in that? I see. Well then, I guess you don't take it seriously at all. Read more

How to Start at Your New Church


Over ten years in pastoral ministry I've seen many new people come to church and I've seen a few long-time members leave our church. Some make these moves better than others. While there are many things I have learned about what pastors and current members should do in these situations, I'll save those ruminations for another time. Instead, I want to reflect on what new people can do right in coming to a church and what is helpful from those who decide they must leave the church.

We'll look at the coming today and the leaving tomorrow.

So what should I do when I start attending a new church? Read more

Ordinariate Watch: On Saturday, 17 deacons will be ordained for the ordinariate — but in Westminster Cathedral and not in their own church.



At Westminster Cathedral this Saturday, another milestone for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will be reached, with the ordination of another 17 former Anglican priests as deacons on their way to the Catholic priesthood. The ordination Mass will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster. “I have been informed”, says the author of the excellent A Reluctant Sinner blog, “that it has been quite some time since Westminster Cathedral will have witnessed the ordination of so many men at the one Mass.”

This is a good opportunity, therefore, to ask once more a serious question, which I asked recently in Faith magazine: the answer I gave ought to have evoked some kind of response from the powers that be (at whom it was aimed): it predictably aroused, however, a resonant silence from that quarter. The question is this: what is happening, exactly, in and to the ordinariate, whose first anniversary has now passed? I had always assumed that the ordinariate would begin in a small way, consolidate over a year or so, and then find itself growing naturally as Catholic-minded Anglicans perceived it to be a real alternative to an Anglicanism increasingly under liberal Protestant domination. Is the ordinariate showing signs of fulfilling the potential many of us had hoped to see realised?

Well, it’s too early to tell. But there’s no doubt that there are certain things needed if Anglicanorum coetibus is to take concrete and permanent form here: one of them is that the existing hierarchy should in the early stages help and cooperate with it, while at the same time rigorously respecting and fostering the new jurisdiction’s absolute independence. The question now is whether this – or the reverse – is actually what the hierarchy is doing. Read more

Related article: The hidden exodus: Catholics becoming Protestants

Young people ‘rampantly’ accessing porn



The explosion in internet use in recent decades has not come without a cost as more and more people access sexually explicit material over the internet.

Dr William Struthers, Associate Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, said that 12 to 18-year-olds in the US and UK were “rampantly” accessing internet pornography.

“It’s not a question of if my 10-year-old son is exposed. It’s a matter of when,” he said at a talk in the House of Commons yesterday.

Whereas 20 years ago, teenagers might have stumbled across the odd dirty magazine, the internet has made accessing pornography so easy that it is “intrusive”.

It is not uncommon nowadays for teenagers - boys especially - to email sexually explicit material to each other and there are numerous websites offering inappropriate material with few restrictions to keep young people out.

And whereas previously, most girls viewed pornography as disgusting, they are becoming more and more open to it. Read more

Pakistani Muslims Rape Girl, Beat Relatives for Prosecuting


A band of Muslims this month severely beat a pregnant Christian woman in Punjab’s Narowal district – causing her to lose female twins to miscarriage – in an effort pressure her family into dropping charges of raping her 13-year-old niece, the woman’s husband said.

Asher Masih of Dhamala village told Compass by phone that the men attacked his home on May 8.

“All three male members of our family, including my father, brother and myself, were out for work when Irfan Safdar and his accomplices trespassed into our house and started beating up my mother, sister-in-law and my wife, who was in her fifth month of pregnancy, mercilessly,” he said.

Masih’s elderly mother said she pleaded for the attackers to spare his wife, but they did not listen.

“They murdered our children, they raped our daughter,” she said. “We have nothing left with us.” Read more

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Gospel is offensive. Nothing else should be.


Let’s face it: most of us live in a Christian bubble. We only listen to K-Love, we only watch 47 Kids and Counting (being careful to fast forward through the icky TLC commercials), we only eat at Chick Fil A on Tuesdays from 10:00-11:30 AM, because that’s when we’ve determined that most pagans don’t visit there and thereby risk infecting our kids with pagan cooties.

That’s why it’s important to step back from time to time and think about what we’re saying at our churches. If you are a part of a church that presents the full gospel, then you are not presenting an “I’m okay, you’re okay” message. You’re presenting an “I’m a wicked sinner who was rescued by Jesus, and unless he rescues you you’ll split hell wide open” message.

That’s not very touchy-feely. As a matter of fact, it’s downright offensive. Paul noted that offense in 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Read more

Summertime Secrets: 10 Ways to Build Momentum With Your Group


Steve Gladen and Brett Eastman talk about Group Options Over Summer. In this video they cover the following points: 1. Stay consistent: continue to meet when you regularly meet 2. … Read more

Throwing Christ Over the Cliff



How the church can help the faithful stay faithful.

My family and I are headed to our Alaskan fish camp this month, where we commercial fish for salmon every summer. This time last year, I was happily stripping out the season's first king salmon to put in our new smoker. When I was done, I set the white bowl piled high with carmine flesh on the counter, then called my two youngest sons, ages 8 and 10, to dump the carcass over the far cliff, where all our organics go.
 
A few minutes later they handed me the bowl, now empty, and turned back to their play.
 
"Thank you," I said unthinkingly. As I stood there with the bowl in my hand, I realized something was wrong. 

"Boys!" I shouted. "Did you just dump all the salmon over the cliff?"
They came running, looking up at me with innocent eyes.

I pointed to the carcass still in the box on the floor.
"Ohhhhh." Their eyes went wide, their faces burned pink.

I calmed down—eventually. I've lost a lot of things out there, including all my journals and my wedding ring, which went down one year on a sinking fishing boat.
 
In such times, I can't help thinking of the poet Elizabeth Bishop's famous villanelle, "The Art of Losing": The art of losing isn't hard to master; / so many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster."
 
But often losses are disaster. I frequently run into people who are losing and throwing away treasures far more precious than salmon and journals. A lifelong friend who grew up in a Christian home and went to Christian colleges wrote recently to tell me he no longer believed Jesus was the only way to God. Yesterday, I talked with a woman whose son had found faith in high school, but who now believed in kung fu instead. In Costa Rica, I met two young men, missionary kids, who had both abandoned their faith. "God didn't really do much for me," one said.

I'm always saddened by these encounters, but I'm not surprised. As evangelicals, we believe that faith is more than rote ritual, that God can be known intimately through Scripture and the Spirit, so we urge believers toward "a personal relationship with Jesus." But from what I've witnessed, it can become so personal it ends up being about the wrong person—me. Read more

Use boundaries to deter sin


A pastor I know well had hidden marital infidelity for years, but it recently came to light. The truth about this is continuing to emerge, but enough of it's already out there to make me grit my teeth when I think about it.

The reason for my strong response is I know what a pastor's sexual misconduct does to a church. My last two pastorates were at churches that had lost pastors to marital unfaithfulness. At my last church, there were members even after 15 years who still had a hard time trusting me because of what another pastor had done.

Wounds heal, but scars often last a lifetime. God forgives, but a church never forgets when its shepherd strays. What it does to the body of Christ and to communities who watch from the outside is incalculable. Read more

Islamist Mob Throws Urine on Church in Indonesia



No arrests have been made since 600 Islamists hurled bags filled with urine and ditchwater at about 100 members of a church last week and threatened to kill its pastor.

Police looked on as the mob attacked the Philadelphia Batak Christian Protestant Church worshipping on the street in Bekasi, near Jakarta in West Java Province, on Thursday (May 17), church attorney Saor Siagian told Compass by phone.

The mob, which included the chairman of the Bekasi chapter of the extremist Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), began to throw urine, ditchwater, rotten eggs, stones and dirt when Pastor Palti Panjaitan came to address the congregation. The church had to disperse, Siagian said. Read more

Dr. Richard Turnbull takes leave of absence


The Principal of one of the Church of England’s leading evangelical theological colleges has taken a leave of absence. While this week’s announcement by the Wycliffe Hall council that Dr. Richard Turnbull’s duties would be assumed by Vice-Principal Simon Vibert follows reports of discord within the school, Anglican Ink has been told the principal’s departure is not related to the wider Anglican Communion’s political wars.

The last six years have been difficult for the school, Anglican Ink was told, and concerns over leadership style and management – not churchmanship – had led to this announcement. Read more

Josiah and the Essentials Underpinning Reform




“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” (II Chronicles 34 : 2).

These words refer, of course, to King Josiah. They are noteworthy not least because in the Second Book of Chronicles, they form a summary, quite remarkably, of his thirty-one year reign in Jerusalem, beginning when he was a mere eight years old. Of how many kings and rulers can the same be said after the close of so lengthy a reign ? Contemporary comparisons point in the opposite direction : in respect of none of the long periods of rule which have been brought to a sudden end in the first few years of the Twenty-First Century would these verses form a fitting epitaph. In stark contrast, it can be said of Josiah’s kingship that in essence, it was marked by undistracted, singleminded, godly obedience.

When reflecting on either past or potential reform in both church and nation, it is easy just to take the simple step of focussing on what has been, or should be, done to bring about material change and reform. In no time at all, our thinking on reform is reduced to a matter a councils and conferences, debates and decisions, memoranda and meetings, pronouncements and programmes. Vital though these often are, Scripture regularly reminds us that change and reform are always the product of a prior, fundamental work of grace : an inner ordering of heart and mind which necessarily precedes and creates the right conditions for outward change and visible reform. Read more

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Church doors closing


It's happened in Woodburn and it was a recent event at Wardell.

The Federal community have seen it happen, as has the tiny village of Tumbulgum.

Churches, some over a hundred years old, are closing down and celebrating their last service before the doors are shut permanently on the faithful. Read more

Don’t Let Them Die! Give Them This!



Vision isn’t just something good for leaders to have, it’s a must! Proverbs says it pretty clearly…

Without vision people DIE.

They won’t follow a leader that doesn’t have vision. People don’t follow a leader that doesn’t have a clear vision and doesn’t communicate it. Read more