Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Anglicans Ablaze New Year's Eve Special Edition: December 31, 2013

In this New Year's Eve special edition of Anglicans Ablaze:

Albert Mohler: Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?

We are not living in a season of peace. Thinking Christians must surely be aware that a great moral and spiritual conflict is taking shape all around us, with multiple fronts of battle and issues of great importance at stake. The prophet Jeremiah repeatedly warned of those who would falsely declare peace when there is no peace. The Bible defines the Christian life in terms of spiritual battle, and believers in this generation face the fact that the very existence of truth is at stake in our current struggle.

The condition of warfare brings a unique set of moral challenges to the table, and the great moral and cultural battles of our times are no different. Even ancient thinkers knew this, and many of their maxims of warfare are still commonly cited. Among the most popular of these is a maxim that was known by many of the ancients—“the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

That maxim has survived as a modern principle of foreign policy. It explains why states that have been at war against one another can, in a very short period of time, become allies against a common enemy. In World War II, the Soviet Union began as an ally of Nazi Germany. Yet, it ended the war as a key ally of the United States and Britain. How? It joined the effort against Hitler and became the instant “friend” of the Americans and the British. And yet, as that great war came to an end, the Soviets and their former allies entered a new phase of open hostility known as the Cold War.

Does this useful maxim of foreign policy serve Christians well as we think about our current struggles? That is not an uncomplicated question. On the one hand, some sense of unity against a common opponent is inevitable, and even indispensible. On the other hand, the idea that a common enemy produces a true unity is, as even history reveals, a false premise. Keep reading
Thank you, Dr. Mohler, for drawing attention to the falseness of this premise. 
Photo: Matt Miller

Allen Duty: Evangelizing Prosperity Gospel Adherents

One clear winter morning, I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop reading the Scriptures and journaling. A man walking past my table noticed I was reading the Bible and began to engage me in conversation

He shared that he was a member of a large church in our area (one that preaches the prosperity “gospel”), and that he believed the Bible was primarily a book about God’s intentions to bless us.
I replied that the Bible is actually a book about who God is, who we are, and what God has done to reconcile us to himself. I began sharing the gospel, and noted that Christians were promised suffering as part of following Jesus.

He responded by saying that as long as we have faith, God will bless us and keep us from suffering. I referred to several verses where God promises that believers will suffer ordinary trials as well as specific persecution, at which point he put up his hands defensively and said, “I just don’t receive that for my life.”

My wife and I had recently suffered a miscarriage, and I felt compelled to share that with him. I explained that when we encounter trials like those, we can’t simply say, “I just don’t receive that for my life” and make them go away. I also shared the good news that Jesus has overcome the world, and that he promises never to leave us or forsake us in our trials—promises that comforted us in our suffering.

I believe my openness and the weightiness of my trial caught him off-guard, so he quickly expressed his condolences and excused himself from the conversation. But the whole experience left me wondering: how can we better prepare ourselves to evangelize those who have believed the prosperity “gospel”? Keep reading

Photo: David Riley Associates

Zach Nielsen: How to Guard Against Mission Drift

New pastors and/or church planters have extremely high aspirations for maintaining the purity of their church's mission. All those churches they used to work for got too messy, complicated, and unfocused. "This church won't be that way!" they vow to themselves and other leaders.

This is easier said than done. For most, after a few years of ministry, the challenges of mission drift come fast and furious.

Jesus is clear that our job as Christians is to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-10). Any church that doesn't have this aspiration as a focal point of their mission simply disobeys Jesus. But mission drift happens even in organizations with clear goals and objectives. Consider the following points to help guard against this tendency. Keep reading

Artwork: Adrift - Ann Packard

Greg Atkinson: 4 Keys to Creating an Irresistible Church in 2014

Let me preface what I’m about to write by saying that basic and foundational things like prayer, discipleship and evangelism (having an externally-focused church as I’ve stated before) are all a given. Each church should take the Great Commission seriously and have an emphasis on the “Go” and on the “make disciples”. I start everything with prayer and so please know that what I’m about to discuss is with the above stated things as must-haves and what I consider foundational to a healthy church.

With that being said, let me share with you the “big four” that I look for when I visit a church, secret shop a church. or consult with a church. As the Scriptures encourage us – we should “compel them” to come in.

The big four that I look for when I do a secret shopper are First Impressions, Children’s, Security and Worship. Yes, worship is last and I have listed them in the order that I weigh them.

As many studies have shown us, people make up their mind whether or not they will return, long before the worship service and especially the sermon. Most visitors will know in the first 10 minutes if they will return to your church. Keep reading
"Most visitors will know in the first 10 minutes if they will return to your church." Guests visiting the Sunday gatherings of the Journey for the first time have confirmed the validity of this observation over and over again. The Journey is the church with which I am sojourning. 
Photo: Nancy Wierzibicki/aquascapeinc.blogspot.com

Robert Caldwell: The Ministerial Ideal in the Ordination Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: Four Theological Portraits

As Jonathan Edwards’s reputation for defending moderate New Light revivalism grew in the 1740s, others increasingly sought him to preside over the ordination of ministers in nearby churches. Edwards used these occasions to explore the various dimensions of gospel ministry and the solemn responsibilities that both minister and congregation embrace when joining in an ecclesial union.2 What Edwards took to be the ministerial ideal shines forth brightly in these sermons, an ideal that was deeply conditioned by his contemplations of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the line between Christology and his portrayal of the ideal minister is sometimes hard to discern in these sermons.

This study presents four theological portraits of the Christ-like minister that appear in Edwards’s ordination sermons. As good art evokes response, these portraits not only portray the beauty of Christ and his ministry but also call the ministerial candidate to the solemn responsibilities entailed in being a minister of Jesus Christ. Each of these portraits represented to Edwards both a picture of Christ and calling to ministerial fidelity. (1) As Christ is the bridegroom betrothed to the church, so the faithful minister of the gospel is called to be united to his congregation. (2) As Christ is the light of the world, so the faithful minister is called to be a burning and shining light in this world of darkness. (3) As Christ suffered for the church voluntarily giving his life for her, so the faithful minister is called to abasement, suffering, and sacrifice that souls may be saved. (4) As Christ is the final judge, so ministers and their congregations are called together before the judgment seat of Christ to receive their eternal reward. This article examines each of these relationships that Edwards envisioned in the ministerial ideal. Keep reading

Brian Croft: What are some ways to serve widows during the holidays?

As we all know, the holidays can be a time of joy for some and sadness for others. A group in the church who almost always experience sorrow during this time of year are those who have lost their spouse. Here are some practical ways to encourage, care, and serve widows and widowers in your church during this time of year. Keep reading

Ed Stetzer: 10 Things on Thinking Ahead in the New Year

Planning for 2014

This morning, during my message at Grace Church, I shared ten things from Don Whitney on thinking ahead for a new year (thanks, Justin Taylor for posting them). During my message, I indicated I would post them at my blog. Here they are. Keep reading

Karl Vaters: More of the Best of 2013 from New Small Church

We’re Pushed to Build Bigger Churches – Who Catches Us When We Fall?

The push to build bigger churches continues full steam ahead in many (maybe most) American denominations.

In the past few weeks, I’ve received several cries for help from Small Church pastors because of the damage this push is causing. Keep reading

Tired of the Show – Hollywood, the Church & the End of the Competition

What are people looking for in a church?

Pastors ask this question regularly – and we should. But too often, I think we miss the mark entirely. Keep reading

What If We Made Disciples and Left Church Growth to God?

Imagine all the time, money and resources that have gone into teaching church growth in the last 40 years or so.

I know it will sound naïve, maybe even heretical to many church leaders, but has anyone thought about what the world would look like today if all that effort had been invested exclusively in church health instead? Keep reading

Thom Rainer: Top 13 Posts of 2013

Yesterday and today I am taking a look back at 2013 and the top posts from the year here at ThomRainer.com. It has been an incredible year here on the blog, and I owe that to you, the readers. Without further ado, here is....

Top 13 Posts of 2013 – Part One
Top 13 Posts of 2013 – Part Two

Book Review: Delighting in the Law of the Lord

With cultural insight, theological integrity, and the heart of a gentle evangelist, Jerram Barrs expounds a biblical view of law in his Delighting in the Law of the Lord. Combating both legalism and antinomianism, Barrs shows how the proper Christian attitude toward the law is neither fearful dread nor casual dismissal, but rather delight and wholehearted consecration. Delighting in the Law of the Lord will help believers cry out with Paul, “In my inner being I delight in God’s law” (Rom. 7:22), and with the psalmist, “Oh how I love your law!” (Ps. 119:97).

Barrs, professor of Christian studies and contemporary culture at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, served for nearly two decades with L'Abri Fellowship in England prior to his teaching ministry. His years in the field, influenced by the ministry of Francis Schaeffer, bring to the book a pastoral freshness and insight that makes for a spiritually and practically helpful read. Delighting in the Law of the Lord is a book for real life settings—for pastors and church leaders wanting to reach the postmodern generation more effectively, for lay Christians who feel ill-equipped to speak with their unbelieving neighbors, and for small groups wanting to understand the role of God’s law in their lives and society (note the discussion questions concluding each chapter). I especially wonder if those involved in leadership at Christian schools may benefit from Barrs’s work, given the temptation to moralism in such settings.

Barrs’s work is as much cultural analysis as it is biblical exposition. The first three chapters outline the decline of Western civilization into postmodern uncertainty and pessimism, and this backdrop is never far from view throughout the rest of the book. Thus Barrs does not merely analyze a biblical view of law and morality, he also applies it to our cultural drift into moral relativism. The result is that in Barrs’s helpful portrait, God’s law isn’t merely an authority over the Christian, but a resource to the Christian seeking to be salt and light in an increasingly anti-authority, relativistic culture. Keep reading

How Much Do You Know About the Global Church?

If you studied a map of Christianity in 1900, eight of 10 Christians could be found in Europe and North America. But today, the numbers in those continents are set to be dwarfed later this century by Africa and South America where there are 411 and 517 million Christians, respectively.

The Pew Research Center, a polling institute that studies religion globally and has been studying Christianity's demographic changeups, has released a short poll on its website where test-takers can see how well they have kept up with the global expansion of Christianity.

In his new book, From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, the former general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, details the scope of Christianity's new geographic look and outlines the responsibilities that now confront the Church. Keep reading

Photo: BGEA

Pat Storey on life as the first female bishop

"You shouldn't believe your own publicity," says the UK and Ireland's first female bishop

On Saturday 30 November, history was made as the first female bishop in the UK and Ireland was consecrated.

Bishop Pat Storey officially took up her role as new Bishop of Meath and Kildare at a ceremony that took place at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.

After studying French and English at Trinity College, Dublin, she trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College - now Institute - and was ordained deacon in 1997 and priest in 1998. Before consecration as bishop, she was rector of St Augustine's Parish Church, Londonderry; a position she has held since 2004.

Her appointment as bishop has been welcomed by many, including the Most Reverend Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, who said her election would bring "delight" to many Anglicans.
"Pat herself brings to this work of God a warm personality and a breadth of spiritual gifts to share generously in the church and in the community," he said.

Bishop Pat spoke with Christian Today about her historic appointment, the future of women in the Anglican Church, and what part of her new role is most important to her. Keep reading

Photo: Anders Birger

South Carolina court rejects bid to add Bishop Lawrence to lawsuit

South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein today denied efforts by The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) to expand its lawsuit by adding claims against four diocesan officials.

The judge, who had only a few months ago rejected efforts by the national Episcopal Church to drag literally all of the diocese’s officers into the suit, said there was no reason to single out the specific members of the clergy for acting consistent with the wishes of the Diocese as approved by literally thousands of members of the diocese.

In November, TECSC had asked the judge to expand its suit to include Bishop Mark Lawrence and three other clerics, alleging that actions they took to withdraw the diocese from the denomination were outside the scope of their legal authority and violated state law. In denying the motion, Judge Goodstein briefly referenced a last minute TECSC affidavit that asserted an early conspiracy to leave TEC. The Very Rev. Paul Fuener, a priest named in the affidavit, observed, “I am confident that his recollection of our interview is seriously in error, if not worse.”

In its official response to the motion, the diocese filed a document that stated, in part: “The allegations on any paper other than one filed in a court would be libelous. … In an era when the public believes the legal profession contributes very little to society’s well-being, the … motion serves only to support that belief.” Keep reading

Christmas News Roundup: Bombs in Baghdad, Somalia Bans Holiday, and Modern Virgin Births

Plus, Obama's church attendance and Bethlehem's biggest miracle.

If you took Christmas week off like Gleanings editors largely did, here's a quick worldwide roundup of religion news you might have missed:

Bombs in Baghdad: In Iraq, two attacks on presumed Christian targets in Baghdad killed more than 30 people on Christmas Day, reports The New York Times, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. However, Morning Star News notes how Iraqi officials dispute that Christians were targeted.

Still outside: In Indonesia, members of Yasmin Church in Bogor celebrated another Christmas elsewhere because local authorities continue to refuse to return their seized building, reports AsiaNews, despite two Supreme Court rulings in the church's favor. Keep reading

It Was Terrifying Being a Christian in 2013 - CP Lists Just a Handful of the Most Horrific Persecution Stories of the Year

"So many Christians in the world are suffering. Am I indifferent to that, or does it affect me like it's a member of the family? Does it touch my heart, or doesn't it really affect me, [to know that] so many brothers and sisters in the family are giving their lives for Jesus Christ?" - Pope Francis, September, 23, 2013.

Despite the fact that Christians make up roughly a third of the world's population, there are still large pockets of the planet where they are targeted and hunted down simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Below are just six among hundreds of stories of persecution from the bloody, painful and tumultuous year of 2013 for Christians around the globe. Keep reading

Monday, December 30, 2013

The State of the ACNA Today: Governance

As the twig is bent so grows the tree.

By Robin G. Jordan

The ACNA website is touting Assembly 2014 as a celebration of what God is doing in and through the Anglican Church in North America. It is also peddling Assembly 2014 as “an opportunity for Anglicans in North America to gather together for teaching, worship, and fellowship during an important time of transition within the life of our province.”

Assembly 2014 is a reference to the ACNA Provincial Assembly—the ACNA’s glorified pep rally that plays no actual role in the governance of the ACNA except to rubber stamp changes to the ACNA constitution and canons. It cannot conduct inquiries of its own into the affairs of the ACNA or enact legislation. It cannot even recommend amendments to the changes to the ACNA constitution and canons submitted to it for ratification. Its main purpose is to bolster the moral of the ACNA membership and to muster their support for the latest ACNA initiative.

At the start of Assembly 2014 the ACNA College of Bishops will be announcing the election of a new Archbishop to lead the ACNA. This is the transition to which the ACNA website refers.

Between now and Assembly 2014 in this coming June I will be posting a series of articles on the state of the Anglican Church in North America.  In each article I will be examining actual conditions in the ACNA.

As I have written on a number of occasions, the ACNA College of Bishops pays little attention to the provisions of the ACNA constitution and canons and acts as if it is not bound by these governing documents. The College of Bishops functions as a de facto board of governors of the Anglican Church in North America, overshadowing the Provincial Council and its Executive Committee and usurping their roles. The Provincial Council and its Executive Committee are the official governing bodies of the Anglican Church in North America created and empowered by its constitution. The constitution does not recognize the College of Bishops as having any role in the governance of the ACNA beyond the election of the Archbishop.

The ACNA College of Bishops has taken a number of unconstitutional actions. The bishops authorized Archbishop Duncan’s appointment of a Dean, an office which at the time had no constitutional or canonical sanction. Nowhere do the constitution and canons recognize the College of Bishops as having authority to approve such appointments.

The ACNA bishops authorized “a theological lens” to guide the Prayer Book and Liturgy Taskforce in its work, an ordinal, and trial services of Morning and Evening Prayer and Holy Communion. Here again, nowhere do the constitution and canons recognize the College of Bishops as having authority to approve guidelines for the work of the Prayer Book and Liturgy Taskforce or to approve forms of service for use throughout the ACNA.

The ACNA canons grant to diocesan and network bishops individually authority to approve forms of service used in their dioceses or networks. This is the extent of the authority that the canons grant to the bishops.

The ACNA constitution reserves to the Provincial Council power to make canons related to the worship of the church. The Provincial Council has never adopted and the Provincial Assembly ratified a canon granting authority to the bishops collectively to approve guidelines for the work of the Prayer Book and Liturgy Taskforce and to approve forms of service for use throughout the ACNA. Until the adoption and ratification of such a canon the College of Bishops as a body can make only recommendations.

Archbishop Duncan himself formed an Archbishop’s Cabinet, a body the existence of which is neither sanctioned nor mandated by the constitution and canons. The constitution and canons do not give the Archbishop authority to create such a body. They also do not recognize that authority as inherent in the office of Archbishop. An Archbishop’s Cabinet is a body typical found in archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church. It is composed of the heads of various archdiocesan boards and departments. Its purpose is to coordinate the running of the archdiocese.

Archbishop Duncan has also made other irregular appointments beside the appointment of a Dean. These appointments, unlike his appointment of a Dean, have never been regularized.

Unbeknownst to the rank and file of the ACNA membership, the top leaders of the Anglican Church in North America appear to have adopted as their model of ecclesiastical governance for the ACNA that of the Roman Catholic Church sans the Pope. The Roman Catholic Church in the United States is run by a Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is surprising that the ACNA top leaders would adopt such a model of governance at a time when that particular model of governance is costing the Roman Catholic Church members both in and outside of the United States.

The Conference of Catholic Bishops is accountable to the Pope. The ACNA College of Bishops, however, is accountable to nobody.

A more Anglican form of church government would be to make the Provincial Assembly the supreme governing authority of the Anglican Church in North America as in the Church of Uganda, for example. The Provincial Council would be a standing committee of the Provincial Assembly, appointed by the Provincial Assembly, and acting on its behalf between the sessions of the Provincial Assembly.  The Provincial Council would be accountable to the Provincial Assembly and subject to its directives.

Any new forms of service other than experimental occasional forms of service authorized by a diocesan or network bishop would require the approval of the Provincial Assembly (see canon 1.14.3 of the Canons of the Church of Uganda).

The ACNA Governance Taskforce has produced a model diocesan constitution and model diocesan canons for the use of groups of churches seeking to become dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America. These governing documents suffer from a number of defects. Two are particularly noteworthy. The documents contain gross misinterpretations of the constitution in which parts of the constitution that apply only to the province are presented as if they applied to dioceses and networks in the ACNA.

The documents also contain provisions that relinquish to the province, to the Archbishop in particular, powers that the constitution reserves to the dioceses and networks unless a diocese or network relinquishes them to the province. These provisions would give the Archbishop authority to meddle in the affairs of the diocese or network, authority that none of the numerous governing documents of Anglican provinces that I have examined either grant to the Archbishop or equivalent of the province or recognize as inherent in the archepiscopal office.

I have also heard troubling reports from impeccable sources that representatives of the Governing Taskforce have told would-be ACNA dioceses and networks that if they included provisions in their governing documents limiting the term of office of their bishops, the Provincial Council would not approve their application for admission to the ACNA. The constitution and canons contain no provisions prohibiting a diocese or network from establishing terms limits on the office of bishop. The Provincial Council has also not issued a policy statement in which the Council acknowledged such a policy and offered its rationale for that policy.

Whether the representatives of the Governance Taskforce were warning would-be ACNA dioceses and networks against episcopal term limits on their own initiative or were acting at the instigation of a particular group or faction within the ACNA, I have not been able to ascertain. If this was indeed the policy of the Provincial Council, then it would be incumbent upon the Council to make such a policy more widely known and not in this roundabout way.

The Anglican Church in North America would greatly benefit from a mandatory retirement age, fixed terms of office, and regular performance reviews for its bishops. Bishops might serve an initial 10 year term of office and would serve additional 5 year terms of office if a performance review board appointed by the diocesan synod recommended such an extension and the diocesan synod concurred with its recommendation.

The ACNA would also benefit from caps on the salaries and other benefits of bishops. The compensation package for an ACNA Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh exceeds the compensation package for Episcopal Diocesan Bishop of Louisiana. The latter’s compensation package contains two housing allowances—one to pay the mortgage on a new home for the bishop in Louisiana and the other to pay the mortgage on the bishop’s former home in Texas. This was done to enable the new bishop to move from Texas to Louisiana to take up his duties as ordinary of the diocese. The compensation package also includes payments into contingency fund from which the diocese can pay the bishop’s salary for up to 2 years in the event the revenues of the diocese dropped to a level where the diocese could not meet its financial obligations to the bishop.

A bishop’s compensation package should be tied to his performance as well as to the cost of living for a particular area. This is where performance review boards could also play a valuable role. Increases in that package would not be automatic but would be based upon performance. After reviewing a bishop’s performance, the board might recommend an increase or it might recommend the deferment of an increase until the bishop’s performance improves. Regular performance reviews is one way a diocese can require accountability from its bishops.

In addition to establishing a mandatory retirement age for its bishops, fixing their terms of office, and requiring periodic reviews of their performance, the governing documents of dioceses and networks in the Anglican Church in North America need to include provisions for the forced retirement or removal of bishops who are permanently incapacitated or otherwise unable or unwilling to perform their duties. This is one of the reasons why it is important to specify in these documents the duties, powers, and special privileges of bishops in a particular diocese or network. Vague provisions recognizing the bishop of a diocese or network as having duties, powers, and special privileges customary to that office should be assiduously avoided as they are open to multiple interpretations and result in all kinds of abuses.

In the days following the adoption of the provisional constitution and canons for the Anglican Church in North America a controversy arose centered on the language of the draft constitution and canons and the application for admission as an ACNA diocese or network. The draft constitution and canons made provision for two methods for selecting a bishop for a diocese or network. Title III.4 of the draft canons contained the following provisions:
1. Bishops shall be chosen by a Diocese in conformance with the constitution and canons of the Diocese and consistent with the Constitution and Canons of this Church.

2. An electing body from the Diocese shall certify the election of a Bishop for consent by the College of Bishops, or may certify two or three nee ominees from which the College of Bishops may select one for the Diocese. The latter practice is commended to all Dioceses in this Church.

3. Where the originating body is newly formed, that body shall normally nominate two or three candidates, from whom the College of Bishops may select one.
After stating dioceses must choose their bishops in a manner consistent with the province’s governing documents, Title III.4 briefly explains the two methods of selecting a bishop permitted by the constitution. The canon recommends the second method to all dioceses in the ACNA. The canon goes on to establish the second method as normative for newly-formed dioceses and networks. The application for admission as a new ACNA diocese or network directs the group of churches seeking admission to submit the name of two or three nominees for bishop on the application form. It does not direct the group to submit the name of its bishop-elect or the names of two or three nominees for bishop.  

The closest thing to an official statement regarding how the language of the proposed governing documents should be interpreted came from a member of the Governance Taskforce, Phil Ashey. Ashey’s position was that the a group of churches seeking admission as a new ACNA diocese or network was free to adopt the first method for selecting a bishop—elect a bishop and submit the name of the bishop-elect to the College of Bishops for confirmation. He based his interpretation of Title III.4 on the requirement in Title III.4.1 that the manner in which a diocese or network chose its bishop must conform to its constitution and canons. Title III.4.1, however, also requires that the manner in which a diocese or network chooses a bishop must be consistent with the province’s governing documents.

Ashey’s position was not endorsed by the other members of the task force and therefore cannot be regarded as the official position of the taskforce. The taskforce also did not modify the language of Title III.4 to make it clearer and to support Ashey’s interpretation of its language. The wording of the application for admission as a new ACNA diocese or network has never been changed.

If the second method of episcopal selection were to become a widespread practice in the Anglican Church in North America , it would seriously curtail the autonomy of the dioceses and networks forming the ACNA. It would place the selection of the province’s bishops in the hands of whatever group or faction exercised the most influence in the College of Bishop. It would turn the College of Bishops into an exclusive club that selected its own members.

Confirmation of a bishop-elect is pretty clear cut: it is essentially a determination of the canonicity of his election. Is he the right age? Is he ordained and licensed as a presbyter. Does he have the necessary education? Does he conform to the teaching of the Bible and the doctrine of the Anglican formularies in what he himself teaches if the province has such a canonical requirement?

When the College of Bishops selects a bishop even from a slate of nominees submitted by a diocese or network, other criteria are likely to be considered in making that selection. Which one of these nominees will fit in with the other bishops in the College of Bishops? Which one is an Anglo-Catholic? Does he share our vision for the church? Does he support the direction in which we are taking the church? Will he go along with the way we do things? How malleable is he? Is he a team player? And so on.

The canons do not prohibit the College of Bishops from rejecting the nominees of a diocese or network until the diocese or network nominates someone to the bishops’ liking. The language of Title III.4 is permissive: “…from whom the College of Bishops may select one.”

Except for the requirement that the diocese or network must be notified in writing, Title III.4. does not state what happens if the College of Bishops rejects the bishop-elect nominees of a diocese or network. The canons do not prohibit the College of Bishops from nominating someone themselves or delegating to one or more its members the nomination of a suitable candidate. The diocese or network must conform to its governing documents. The canons, however, do not require the College of Bishops to conform to them.

Episcopal selection in the Anglican Church in North America is made even more complicated by the protocol between the ACNA and the Anglican Church of Rwanda., PEAR USA, also known as the North American Missionary District of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, is both a part of the ACNA and a part of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The bishops of PEAR USA are chosen by the Rwandan House of Bishops. The nominees, however, must approved by the ACNA College of Bishops.

Governance is not the only major problem area in the Anglican Church in North America. In this article series on the state of that church we will examine a number of these problem areas.

While some may argue that the ACNA is a young church and needs time, I have seen nothing that indicates that the state of the church will improve over time. On the contrary, I have seen a great deal that indicates the opposite: The state of the church is going to worsen.

Whatever windows of opportunity there may be to reform the ACNA are rapidly closing. If any meaningful reform of the ACNA is to occur, it must be undertaken now.

Also see
Through a Glass Darkly: The Anglican Church in North America in 2014 and Beyond

Ray Ortlund: Centered on one or the other

“. . . a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Luke 7:34

What does it mean for a church to be gospel-centered? That’s a popular concept these days. Good. What if we were scrambling to be law-centered? But the difference is not so easy in real terms.

A gospel-centered church holds together two things. One, a gospel-centered church preaches a bold message of divine grace for the undeserving — so bold that it becomes the end of the law for all who believe. Not our performance but Christ’s performance for us. Not our sacrifices but his sacrifice for us. Not our superiority but only his worth and prestige. The good news of substitution. The good news that our okayness is not in us but exterior to us in Christ alone. Climbing down from the high moral ground, because only Christ belongs up there. That message, that awareness, that clarity. Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. Keep reading

Kevin DeYoung: Clarifying Inclusivism and Exclusivism

Inclusivists believe that everyone who is saved is saved through the person and work of Christ. They do not, however, insist that conscious faith (on the part of sentient adults) is necessary to appropriate this saving work. Some Buddhists or Hindus or good people in our neighborhoods drawn to the true and the beautiful might be saved through Christ without knowing it. But what about John 14:6? Inclusivists understand “no one can come to the Father except through me” to mean through my saving work. Faith may not be necessary.

No doubt, it’s true that no one can be saved apart from the work of Christ. But the “through” in John 14:6 means “through faith in me.”

Look at the immediate context. Jesus begins the chapter by telling the disciples “believe in me” (14:1). Then verse 7 talks about knowing the Father by knowing the Son. Verse 9 makes clear that whoever sees Jesus has seen the Father. Verses 12 and 13 repeat the exhortation to believe in Jesus. The point of the whole section is that if you know/see/believe in Jesus you know the Father. And conversely, you cannot go to the Father or follow Jesus to his heavenly glory unless you know and believe in Son. Keep reading

The English Reformers’ teaching on Salvation [mp3]

Church Society has posted a talk given by Donald Allister, now Bishop of Peterborough, at the 1991 Church Society Conference. (At the time, Bishop Allister was Rector of St. Mary’s Cheadle, near Manchester.)

How can you be right with God? Hear the “joyful and liberating truth” Bilney, Tyndale, Cranmer, Latimer and other English Reformers discovered.

60 minute talk – it’s a 30MB mp3 file. Take the time to listen – a very good way to start the new year.
Originally posted on the Anglican Church League website.

Sharing the Gospel in the UK: A Nigerian's perspective

Reverend Israel Olofinjana, is a Nigerian and an ordained and accredited Baptist minister who has pastored at Catford Community Church in London since September 2011. He speaks about some of the challenges of being a missionary from the Global South

CT: Your book Turning the Tables on Mission looks at the increasing phenomenon of missionaries from the Global South coming to work as missionaries to the UK. How did you come to the conclusion that such a book needed to be written?

IO: There are lots of scholars writing on this subject in universities and divinity colleges, but most of them are writing from an academic point of view, which has its place, but I felt we needed something that combined academic research and the perspective of a practitioner living the life of a missionary to this country.

The subject is still relatively new. I published a book in 2010 which is sort of an introduction to this one, called Reverse Mission, and after that book came out, conversations started and people asked questions. And one of the big questions was "is this really happening?" and so I thought that I needed to write a book to answer that question.

CT: So you encountered lots of people who didn't believe that reverse mission is happening. Why do you think that was?

IO: I can understand why there are critics of reverse mission, and the reason is we have churches in the UK that are led by Nigerians whose congregation are majority Nigerian, or a Ghanaian pastor whose church is majority Ghanaian, or Jamaican or Chinese etc. So when people see things like that, they ask questions. They say how can that really be reverse mission? If a Nigerian is reaching out to Nigerians, that's not reverse mission, that's just reaching out to your own people. You're not going beyond your own culture. You're not reaching out to the white indigenous. And that is true, and I have seen cases of that, and there are many reasons for that. But there is another picture, and that picture is of pastors from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean or South America, and they are leading either white majority churches or multicultural churches. And so when you have cases like that, you can see something is going on here. Keep reading

Prayer List: 31 Russians Killed in Bombings

Bombings on both Sunday and Monday have killed over 30 people in Volgograd, a city in southern Russia. According to the Associated Press, 14 bus passengers were killed this morning and 30+ were injured. Fox News reports that 17 people were killed Sunday at the train station.

While some Russians express a fear of terrorist actions at the upcoming Winter Olympics, the Olympic officials haven't expressed fear. The Chicago Tribune reported, "Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov said Monday there was no need to take any extra steps to secure Sochi in the wake of the Volgograd bombings, as 'everything necessary already has been done.'" Keep reading

Also see
Volgograd blasts: IOC 'confident' Games will be safe
Russia terrorist attack highlights increase in female suicide bombers
Three Deadly Bombings Kill 34 in Russia; Spark Safety Concerns Over Sochi Olympics

Map: World Factbook

Iranian Christian converts arrested as they celebrate Christma

Iranian security authorities raided a house where a group of Christians had gathered to celebrate Christmas on December 24.

They and arrested house owner Mr Hosseini, Ahmad Bazyar, Faegheh Nasrollahi, Mastaneh Rastegari, and Amir-Hossein Ne'matollahi.

A story by Mohabat News Iranian Christian News Agency said The Committee of Human Rights Reporters reported that during the raid, plain clothes security insulted and searched people there, carefully searched the house and seized all the Christian books, CDs and laptops they found there. They also took the satellite TV receiver with them.

Authorities also searched the house of one of Mr. Hosseini's neighbors. Mohabat News said they insulted and beat the father, and told those there not to say a word about what they had seen. Keep reading

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anglicans Ablaze Weekend Edition: December 28, 2013

In this weekend's edition of Anglicans Ablaze:

Through a Glass Darkly: The Anglican Church in North America in 2014 and Beyond

By Robin G. Jordan

I was looking at the rosters of the members of the Archbishop’s Cabinet and the various committees and taskforces, which are making decisions affecting the life and ministry of the Anglican Church in North America. The rosters like a number of things on the ACNA website need updating. They were posted in 2012 and do not reflect any changes made in the past year. 

What is noteworthy about the rosters is the number of people who serve on more than one committee or taskforce and the number of people who are members of the Archbishop’s Cabinet and/or one or more committees or taskforces and who were involved in the Common Cause Partnership. These folks might be described as the ACNA’s “old boys” or “old guard.”

What is notably absent from these rosters are the names of the ACNA’s newer bishops. The one exception is the bishop who replaced Don Harvey as the lead bishop of the Anglican Network in Canada.

I am not anticipating any significant change in the direction of the Anglican Church in North America until the “old boys” or “old guard” has died or has otherwise left the stage. Even then I suspect that they will continue to exercise an influence upon the ACNA.

The question is whether the younger bishops will be able to extricate the Anglican Church in North America from the quagmire into which these older leaders are leading the ACNA. The problems they leave behind them are going to be massive. Will the younger bishops be willing, much less able, to shake off the influence of Anglo-Catholicism and “three streams” theology and give the Bible and the Anglican formularies a central and defining place in the life and ministry of the ACNA? To reform the organizational structure of the ACNA and give the laity a greater role in decision-making at all levels? To make other much needed changes? 

When the younger bishops take over the helm of the ACNA from the older leaders, they themselves are likely to be older. They are also less likely to have as much energy as they have now and more likely to be inclined to keep things as they are—to maintain the status quo.

The older leaders may be counting on such a development. If that is the case, they can be expected to hang onto the reins of power as long as they can. They can also be expected to drag the Anglican Church in North America into the grave with them. This is what is happening in the Continuing Anglican Churches.

I do not expect to see any real change in the Anglican Church in North America unless the ACNA experiences a major shakeup in its leadership.  Or a dynamic new Anglican province is launched in North America, one that fully accepts the authority of the Bible and the Anglican formularies and conforms to their teaching and which outstrips the ACNA in engaging and reaching lost people and enfolding them into new churches. 

The Anglican Church in North America would greatly benefit from this form of competition. It would force the ACNA leadership to re-evaluate and rethink what they are doing. It would show whether the ACNA leadership is capable of taking these kinds of steps when they are needed. 

Garrett Kell: It’s a Good Time to Remember, Reflect, and Resolve

“Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5

The Lord gave this sobering command to His people after they had drifted from rebuilding His temple in 520BC. They began well, but when opposition came, their faithfulness fled away. Left behind was God’s work unattended. But He graciously intervened and the people reflected, repented, and reengaged in the work He had entrusted to them.

Most of us can probably use a good dose of “considering our ways.” If you’re anything like me, you get overloaded and feel a persistent strain on your time, attention, and devotion to God. This strain can numb us and lead us to drift. And as D.A. Carson says, “we do not drift toward holiness.”

If we don’t regularly take time to evaluate our heart, we can, often unknowingly, drift into sinful or sluggish patterns.

To fight against this deadly drifting, it’s wise to draw near to Jesus and consider our ways. And while there’s nothing magical about doing this at the turn of the year, it does provide a natural opportunity to intentionally remember, reflect, and resolve with hopes that we will grow in deeper devotion to Christ. Keep reading

Duke Taber: 7 Ways to Pray in 2014

This article was first published on Spirit Filled Christian Living

Many people treat prayer as some type of ritual they must engage in to get God to do something for them. They want to follow step one, step two, and step three and then bang, they are done and God is on the hook to move on their behalf.

Unfortunately prayer doesn’t work that way. Prayer is communication with God and as such, it doesn’t have a formula. So this is not a list of things to do per se, but instead is a list of strategies that if you will apply those strategies, it will transform your life and you will see God move in ways you haven’t seen before. Keep reading

Photo: Baptist Press

Thom Rainer: Ten Key Posts from the Past

I have mentioned on more than one occasion how grateful I am for the growth of this blog. Indeed, earlier this week on Christmas Day, I expressed my profound gratitude for the readers of this blog.

Yesterday and today I am sharing with you ten of my personal favorite posts from the early years, particularly 2010 and 2011, of this site. The readership at ThomRainer.com is at a pace of 3.0 million pageviews a year. But in prior years the number was smaller—much smaller. So there is a good chance you have never read these posts.

I hope you enjoy them. They mean much to me, as you readers mean much to me...

Ten Key Posts from the Past – Part One
Ten Key Posts from the Past – Part Two

Also see
Help Me to Do Better – A Reader Survey

Joe McKeever: When the Preacher Needs Help and no one Will Tell Him

“But encourage one another, so much the more, as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

It sounds like such fun, being an encourager of ministers of the gospel. And it is.

Except for when it’s not.

What does an encourager of preachers do when he finds those who need not so much encouragement as basic instruction? They have fundamental problems in their preaching and need to make some serious changes but you’re in no position to tell them.

Compounding the problem, what if those preachers are being outwardly successful in their Kingdom work (as far as you can tell) in spite of their preaching flaws? Keep reading

Andrew David Naselli: 12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a prayer-expert. I’m not. But that’s one reason I find praying Scripture so helpful (more on that later).

My argument is simple: You should pray Scripture.

Three qualifications:
  1. I don’t mean merely that you should pray. That’s a given.
  2. I don’t mean that you should merely pray scripturally informed prayers. That’s also a given. I’m arguing specifically that you should pray Scripture itself.
  3. I’m not arguing that you should pray only Scripture every time you pray. Rather, I’m arguing that you should pray Scripture itself often.
So why should you pray Scripture? For at least twelve reasons.... Keep reading

Are you planning to read the Bible in 2014?

Bible Reading Plans for 2014
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Many Christians take the beginning of a new year to evaluate their Bible reading habits, and then change or begin a Bible reading plan.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. Maybe in 2014 you will read more of the Bible each day. Perhaps you’ll slow down your reading and instead spend more time considering what you read. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a reading plan, you should find it below. Keep reading

How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014

Do you want to read the whole Bible?

The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute; there are about 775,000 words in the Bible; therefore it takes less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.Keep reading

A Bible Reading Plan for Readers

With the new year approaching, prepare yourself for the onslaught of Bible reading advice. "Slow down." "Savor the Scripture." "Whatever your plan, stick to it for the whole year."

Such advice sounds good for those who prefer Peter Jackson to J. R. R. Tolkien or who would choose a locally anaesthetized lobotomy over any sort of reading assignment. Non-readers show courageous faith when they commit to regular patterns of Bible reading at predictable intervals, and I laud their desire to draw closer to the Lord.

But what about those of us who enjoy reading? Why limit ourselves to a few chapters (or a few verses) 10 minutes a day? Keep reading

The Christmas Story for All: Still 4,000 Languages Without the Complete Bible

During the holiday season, the Bible's account of the birth of Jesus is at the heart of the Christmas celebration for devout Christians. Unfortunately, reading the Christmas story is out of reach for many. That's because there are still some 4,000 languages without a complete Bible.

Translation has been a priority for Christians since the beginning of Christianity itself. Jesus' challenge to take His message to the ends of the earth was, in a very tangible way, the starting gun for the race to translate the Gospel. Right now, translators are working across the globe to cross the finish line by making the Bible accessible in all of the world's nearly 7,000 languages. Keep reading

Lynn Wilder: How I Escaped the Mormon Temple

After being in the LDS Church for 30 years, I began reading the New Testament. What was there shocked me.

On a Friday in January 2006, at home in Alpine, Utah, I received a phone call from my third son, Micah, that changed my life.

My family and I loved living in "Zion," the result of a decision that my husband, Michael, and I had made as young adults to join the Mormon Church. For eight years, I had been a professor at Brigham Young University (BYU), the flagship school of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Michael was a high priest, a bishopric member and high counselor, temple worker, seminary teacher, and Sunday school president. Our first son, Josh, and second son, Matt, had served the church's obligatory two-year evangelizing missions. Our daughter Katie pleased church leaders as well with her faith in Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith.

I looked down on Christians who followed the Bible. They had part of the gospel, but I had the fullness of it. I kept the laws and ordinances of Mormonism. When I took the sacrament of leavened bread and water each week at our Sunday meeting house, I was letting the sin janitor sweep away all iniquity. I believed the Mormon Church secured my eternal life. Keep reading

Photo: August Miller

Christ Cannot Be Stopped [Live stream]

Cross is a new student conference on missions. It begins this evening.

This conference is a dream come true for me. I give four reasons for why in my message tonight. So I won’t give them here. You can live-stream all the main sessions at desiringGod.org/live, beginning at 8:15 PM (EST) tonight (full live-stream schedule below).

The premise of the conference is that biblical Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering. We believe that God sent his eternal Son into the world to bear sin’s penalty for his people and to rescue them from eternal suffering, and to give them ever-increasing and everlasting joy in the glory of redeemed bodies, on a redeemed earth, free from all misery and all sin. Everyone who receives this gift through faith in Christ will have it. It is offered to all, and free for all. Keep reading
Regrettably I did not post this sooner. I am hoping that the sessions will be recorded as well as live-streamed and the recorded sessions will be made available online. If they are, I will post links to them.

Jesus on Every Page

Have you ever been reading an Old Testament passage and thought, How can this crazy story be in the same Bible that reveals the glorious character of Jesus? Or maybe you’ve been faithfully serving in a church for years but have heard few sermons out of the Old Testament, leading you to wonder, How does the Old Testament relate to the Christian faith? If you’ve asked either of these questions, then please know you aren’t alone. In fact, David Murray, professor of Old Testament at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, wrote Jesus on Every Page to help you answer these types of questions so that you can begin to see that the entire Bible testifies to the person and work of our marvelous Savior, Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27). Keep reading

Our Love Affair with the Letter 'i'

Digital technology has the hallmarks of an alternative religion. How can we enjoy its blessings without falling into idolatry?

he most important writing on technology takes place in the middle of major technological shifts. Before the new trends become so normal that questions are no longer asked and protests no longer raised, we need the perspectives of parents watching their kids adopt technologies barely conceivable in the days of their own childhood.

With the dawn of the digital age, a major technological shift is currently underway. Those of us who can still recall the pre-Internet dark ages need to be making observations and taking notes. If you once brought home a bulky answering machine from Radio Shack, created documents by way of typewriters, or enjoyed nightly entertainments in the glow of a cathode ray, then we need your wisdom: How is digital technology shaping and modifying society and culture?

More importantly, how is this new media culture, so in love with the little letter "i," informing our ideas about God and faith?

Craig Detweiler addresses these questions in his latest book, iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives. Though a tech-savvy communications professor at Pepperdine University, Detweiler remembers life before iPads, iPhones, Google searches, tweets, and status updates. He is among a growing number of Christian writers trying to assay the effects of the digital age by keeping a sharp eye on the technological transitions from clunky machines to gleaming handheld devices, from no Internet to Web 2.0 and beyond. Keep reading

Blogging, Tweeting, and Instagramming in the Image of God

How the 'media event' of Scripture can teach us to use social media wisely.

t's hard to imagine that only 20 years ago nobody had heard of the Internet, and only 10 years ago Facebook and Twitter had yet to be invented. Today, there are 1.15 billion Facebook users, 400 million tweets per day, and adults spend an average of 8.5 hours per day in front of a screen. Now we're all rampant consumers—and producers—of digital media.

Christians are divided on what to make of this recent flood of digital technology. Generally speaking, evangelicals are either "determinists" or "instrumentalists" when discussing media technology. On the determinist side are intellectuals like Jacques Ellul, Neil Postman, and Marshall McLuhan who warn that technology comes with its own set of values that shape (and erode) culture almost apart from human agency. People who decry the corrupting "force" of Instagram or iTunes would also be in this camp.

On the other side are instrumentalists, who view media like Facebook or Twitter as either neutral tools or unfettered allies in the work of the gospel. They ask, like Leonard Sweet, not "Would Jesus Tweet?" but "What would Jesus Tweet?" There are certainly wise moderate voices in between these two extremes (John Dyer's fine book From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology comes to mind). But arguably most evangelicals fall into a dazed middle ground, posting status updates, "pinning" pictures, and hashtagging away with little thought for how the Christian story might inform their media usage. Keep reading

China More Conservative Than US on Abortion, Homosexuality?

While under a secular Communist regime, the people of China are more socially conservative than Americans are on issues like abortion and homosexuality, a poll revealed.

The survey was conducted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University on about 3,500 citizens of the People's Republic of China from 34 cities.

Released on Christmas Day, the survey noted that 68.5 percent of respondents said they considered homosexuality unacceptable.

Also, as reported by Zhao Wen the Shanghai Daily, nearly 60 percent of respondents held a negative opinion of abortion.

"The survey concluded that while the personal values of Chinese people had changed a lot over the past 30 years, traditional values still played a dominant role," wrote Zhao Wen on Thursday.

"Respondents were asked to grade their acceptance of each topic from one to five points. One point meant the behavior was unacceptable while five points meant it was totally compatible with everyday life." Keep reading

Photo: Baptist Press

Christmas carols banned from public schools and Veterans hospital

N.J. School District Banning Christmas Carols at Elementary Schools Put on Notice by Religious Freedom Advocacy Group

A school district in New Jersey that already excludes the word "Christmas" from its calendar of events for December is banning religious Christmas music during winter concert performances at its elementary schools, according to a religious freedom advocacy group.

Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday to the Bordentown Regional School District after administrators pointed to a New Jersey court ruling that states religious music should not be a part of elementary school programs.

"Schools should not have to think twice about whether they can allow students to perform Christmas carols," said ADF Legal Counsel Matthew Sharp. "Courts have unanimously upheld their inclusion in school productions – even when songs deal with Christian themes that are naturally a part of the holiday." Keep reading

Georgia School Choir in Search of New Home After Hospital Bans 'Jesus Christmas Songs' to Protect 'Religious Freedom'

A Georgia high school discovered an Augusta hospital's ban on religious Christian music after preparing to sing for patients for its third straight year.

Alleluia Community School, which sang carols with references to Jesus' birth in 2011 and 2012, was caught off guard last week after its principal discovered that Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center would no longer approve its traditional set list.

In a statement, the hospital said that it was trying to be inclusive of the various faiths of its patients. Keep reading

Coptic Church Forced to Close Due to Violence From Muslim Brotherhood Backed Aggressors

Copts in the village of Tarshoub, Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, are experiencing intimidation after extremists attacked them on Monday. Aggressors threw stones at Coptic homes, burned a tuk-tuk truck owned by a Copt named Magdy Fathi Rizk and a store owned by Badr Maher.

They also destroyed the fronts of some houses and called for the closure of the church, which dates back more than 40 years in the village.

Father Malak Shehata from the Fashn Diocese told Mideast Christian News that the village of Tarshoub has been served by Father Andrawis, who moved to serve in another location. When the Fashn Diocese delegated a new priest to serve in the village and Copts tried to prepare a residence for him in the church, some Muslims gathered and refused to let the priest enter the church. This was led by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the village.

During a reconciliation meeting held yesterday to resolve the situation, the Brotherhood members mobilized the villagers to attack the homes of Christians and prevented the priest from entering the village. They closed the church and Copts could not practice their prayers. Keep reading

Friday, December 27, 2013

Karl Vaters: The Best of 2013 from New Small Church

The #1 Leadership Key to Spark Innovation in a Small Church

If you’re a Small Church pastor like me, you’ve spent a lot of years struggling to motivate people to do great things.

Good things.

OK… anything.

During my years of struggle, I used to say “I can’t wait for the day when I feel like I’m sitting on a runaway horse, trying to steer it in the right direction, instead of behind a mule, trying to kick it into action.”

Then, a few years ago, I discovered the #1 key to spark that kind of thoroughbred motivation.

If you want to increase your chances of working with innovators who need guidance, instead of heel-draggers who need motivation, this is the best piece of advice I can give you. I now consider it to be one of my main roles as a church leader.

Find a way to say Yes.

Yes to people. Yes to their crazy ideas. Yes to their passion. Yes to something God may be trying to do through them that I just can’t see yet. Keep reading

You Can Overcome Small Church Discouragements

Sometimes the most dangerous threat to the truth is not a lie, it’s a lesser truth.

Lies are usually easy to spot, but lesser truths are harder because …well… they’re still true.

At virtually every moment of our lives, a greater truth and a lesser truth are battling for our heart. The problem is that the lesser truth is usually louder, stronger and more urgent.

One of the most challenging calls of leadership is to live to the greater truth and, by our example, call others to do the same.

Greater truths can be especially hard to see when you pastor a Small Church because there are fewer layers (usually no layers) between you and the lesser truths. Keep reading

Photo: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Amenia Union, NY