Saturday, November 29, 2008

The gospel growth process

[Matthias Media USA] 29 Nov 2008--View a brief introduction to Matthias Media and their unique approach to producing gospel resources.

Matthias Media offers some excellent gospel resources.

Leader of the Band

[Christianity Today] 29 Nov 2008--I came to the ministry from a background in radio—for many years I played the hits. Lo and behold, Rockin' Randy winds up pastoring and forming worship bands in two different Presbyterian churches. God has a sense of humor.

It would take an entire issue of Leadership to detail the lame-brained mistakes I have made. Here's a distillation of what I have learned about worship team development.

Survey: Homelessness Hitting Women, Children Hardest

[The Christian Post] 29 Nov 2008--High fuel and food prices, economic turmoil, and foreclosures are leading more families into homeless and hitting single women with children harder than any other group, according to a recent survey of homeless people.

Women with children made up 66 percent of the homeless families counted in the survey conducted last month by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) – a jump from 55 percent in 2007 and the highest figure recorded by the 270-group association in the last eight years.

Food Banks Report Spike in Needy on Thanksgiving

[The Christian Post] 29 Nov 2008--The line for a Thanksgiving meal was long when the Chicago Christian Industrial League shelter opened Thursday morning, and volunteers served more than 200 people in the first 40 minutes — record demand for the shelter.

Among the hungry were familiar faces, people who had eaten their last Thanksgiving meal at the shelter and others who had helped provide those meals, said executive director Mary Shaver.

"These are the people who are always giving money — and now they're asking for help," Shaver said. "These were the people donating money to us."

New Kazakh law ‘restricts religious freedom’

[Religious Intelligence] 29 Nov 2008--Kazakhstan's parliament has adopted a new law which human rights agency Forum 18 describes as “seriously restricting freedom of religion or belief”.

Kazakh human rights defenders and Lutheran, Hare Krishna, Baptist and Ahmadi Muslim representatives have expressed their fear if the legislation. "We expect persecution in the future because of this very harsh Law," said Baptist Pastor Yaroslav Senyushkevich, "not just on us but on others too. It will be like under Stalin."

Mark Dever on the difficulty of doing evangelism as a Pastor

[Anglican Church League] 29 Nov 2008--In anticipation of their forthcoming Pastors’ Conference, the people at Desiring God have posted online some helpful short video clips of Mark Dever and John Piper.

Mark Dever on the difficulty of doing evangelism as a Pastor can be seen here – and the list of all the clips is available at Desiring God.

Nine doors to knock on

[] 29 Nov 200--Most ministers fear not being creative enough when it comes to taking the Gospel to our city. My response is that we don’t all need to be innovators. But we must watch, critique and improve upon what others are doing for our own situation. Often new ministries commence by us being reflective “bower birds”; collecting and using the work of others.

Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of reading 4th year Moore College students’ examination of our culture, and their investigations into how we might use modern cultural trends to proclaim Christ. I thought I’d share some of them with you. My intention is not necessarily that you will do these things. I just hope to stimulate you to think about the wide variety of things that might be done…

Archbishop of Jos appeals for prayer amidst violence in Jos, Nigeria

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 Nov 2008--Please pray for us in Jos, we are being attacked by Muslims. Churches have been burnt, no exact figures of casualties yet. We need prayer to stay the hand the hand of bloodshed, destruction, violence and death. Pray for instant return to peace and order. The crisis began around 2am Friday after local elections in Jos, why Christians must pay for this I do not know.

The Lord be with you,

Update Saturday morning

Archbishop Kwashi reports: "The reports from those I have sent out to collect information are that the Muslims are attacking and burning this morning. It looks well co-ordinated. They are well armed with AK 47 and pump machine guns. This morning they have been at Dogonduste. Quite a number of Christian homes have been burnt. We do not know how many have been killed. The local government has underestimated the vehemence of the militants. At the moment this is all restricted to Jos City.

We ask prayer for knowing the right thing to do. I have moved one of our archdeacons and his family to live in our home. St Luke’s Cathedral is in the middle of the area of violence. We hope we can proceed with our normal services tomorrow."

GAY MARRIAGE: Church responds to 'anti-gay' opinion

[Religious Intelligence] 29 Nov 2008--The Church reacts to the US opinion that all Christians are "anti-gay," especially with the recent passing of proposition 8 in California, which defined marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

The Mass Media has not done much to give the "whole story" about the Church's persistence in defining marriage as they believe God would define it.

"I've not seen any attempt [by the mass media] to understand or communicate the real concern of Christians concerning gay marriage," said Bob Stith, who heads the Ministry to Homosexuals Task Force in the Southern Baptist Convention – the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

Stith said that Christians have not been much help either, as they tend to focus on what more on what the church is against, rather that what it is for.

Anglican Conservatives – Different Strategies or Different Goals?

[Anglican Communion Institute] 28 Nov 2008--The terms “inside and outside strategies” have been bantered about the blogosphere and the print media with a bit of abandon. Such a nomenclature assumes that those forming a new province in North America and those remaining in TEC are working toward the same goal in two different manners. As with all assumptions, no clear understanding can be realized without clarity of what exactly it is that is being assumed. In short, the question we must honestly answer is whether we do indeed have the same goal in mind. I would submit that the answer is, “No.”

From my early experience with the AAC, and later the Network, the goal was clearly nothing short of reforming TEC. That is a noble goal and, when recognized as one’s vocation, should be pursued without reservation. Such a goal also demands periodic progress checks and adjustment of strategies in order to keep the goal viable in the face of changing circumstances. Ultimately, when the institution proves to be incapable of reformation, the only choice is to separate and attempt to influence the situation by parallel development. What I mean by parallel development is that an alternative institutional model is developed which will succeed where the former model fails, and thereby, ultimately replace it. Hence, the formation of a new province in North American Anglicanism is a natural result of the attempt to reform TEC.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Know the Enemy": As the Church Formed, So It May Dissolve

[Anglican Curmudgeon] 28 Nov 2008-- [Introductory Note: This is the third in an ongoing series of posts covering the institutions that now make up The Episcopal Church. In the spirit of Sun-Tzu's maxim to "know the enemy", the series explores why and how the Church has evolved from an early branch of Anglicanism, concerned exclusively with ministering the Word and having but one bishop, into a lumbering, litigious and topheavy bureaucratic nightmare that allocates millions and millions to lawsuits and "peace and justice" causes. The first post in the series gave an historical overview of the Church's beginnings, and the second post focused on the transformation that has lately occurred in the office of the Presiding Bishop. Because of all the recent discussion about dioceses leaving the Church, I have decided in this next post to demonstrate once and for all the entirely voluntary manner in which the Church was originally formed, and in which it has (until the recent usurpations of power at the national level) been maintained over the years. This post in turn will lay the foundation for my next in-depth study of General Convention itself.]

LAMBETH NOTES: As Anglicans, we are what we are

[VirtueOnline] 28 Nov 2008--The historian Jonathan Clark has sparked a telling debate in Anglican circles with his controversial declaration that the Church of England is losing "command of its history" and thus its very identity.

The debate has sparked furious correspondence in our rival newspaper, the Church Times, as readers wedded to rather out-dated Anglican historiography seek to defend the notion of the Church of England as 'reformed catholic' and somehow representing a 'via media' between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Conservative Anglicans determined to stay within church

[Anglican Journal] 28 Nov 2008--About 50 conservative Anglican leaders, including eight young theological students, gathered in Toronto for a one-day consultation on Nov. 25 and emerged with a determination to remain within the Anglican Church of Canada. They came from 16 dioceses across the country.

Rev. Brett Cane of St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg is chair of Anglican Essentials Federation who was quick to point out that the organization is going through a name change. He said that the “Essentials” label has negative connotations in some parts of the country. He said that the federation is loosening its connection to the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). “We will still maintain links of fellowship with the network but we will not be organizationally tied together.”

Abuse of boys “still ignored”

[World Vision UK] 28 Nov 2008--The world is still “largely silent and unresponsive” to the needs of boys as both victims and survivors of sexual abuse, according to World Vision.

A report on attitudes to sexual abuse of children in Cambodia and face-to-face interviews with more than 400 children and young people around the world has revealed that while abuse of boys is widespread, it is not taken as seriously as abuse of girls.

“The attention to the needs of girls is well deserved,” said Laurence Gray, World Vision’s Director of Advocacy in Asia.

“But the world has been largely silent and unresponsive to the needs of boys both as victims and survivors of sexual abuse.

“Shame and ignorance have hidden the extent of the problem of sexual abuse of boys and many governments and civil society organisations lack the skills and resources to respond.

“While society expanded and improved the quality of care to girls, the abuse of boys has largely been ignored and neglected.”

Former cult member opens up about past, helps others

[OneNewsNow] 28 Nov 2008--A former Jehovah Witness has written a book called The Spanking Room: A Child's Eye View of the Jehovah Witnesses.

When Bill Coburn was four years old, his mother became part of the Watchtower Society. He remembers attending a meeting discussing plans for a new Kingdom Hall. "The elder then announced that what we may not have noticed was that there was a spanking room installed next to the women's bathroom," he explains. "This was to solve the problem of women waiting in line at the bathroom with crying children, waiting for them to be beaten during the meeting."

Coburn was asked why he calls it a beating instead of a spanking. "I would describe it as a beating because it was described how to inflict more pain upon the child," he adds.

Muslims burn Trinity Church, Bauchi Road, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Nov 2008--The Archbishop of Jos, Rt Rev Ben Kwashi, reports that following peaceful elections whose results have not yet been announced, at 2 a.m. this morning crowds of Muslims burnt Trinity Church, Bauchi Road, Jos, and then moved in to Jos itself macheteing people. He reports that Christians are clearly the targets of the violence.

Summary of a Presentation by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali at NEAC November 2008

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Nov 2008--Over the last twenty years I have been able to get to know a large part of the Anglican Communion. As study secretary and co-ordinator for the 1988 Lambeth Conference I visited many provinces of the Communion. I continued this process as General Secretary of CMS and I still continue such visits as a diocesan bishop.

As I have visited I have continually asked myself: "why are these people, as diverse as they are, in fellowship together?" It is not because of Anglophilia. They are Anglican because the Anglican tradition has made it possible for them to respond to what God has revealed of himself in Jesus Christ.; to respond to the work of Jesus; to how he has stood in our place; to how he has done what we could not and were not willing to do; and to how he has turned away God’s wrath from our sinfulness. That is the heart of the Gospel.

Anglicanism, in different ways has made this possible: for them to find themselves friends again with God. Our fellowship is based on this friendship with God. That fellowship is shared among us. That is the miracle of being Christian.

GAY MARRIAGE: Okla. Court Dismisses Suit seeking Same-Sex ‘Divorce’

[LifeSiteNews] 28 Nov 2008--An Oklahoma judge today sided with the state’s Supreme Court and dismissed a lawsuit that sought a “divorce” between two women Tuesday. The two women had been originally “married” in Canada, where same-sex “marriage” is legal.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court had already previously ruled that the lower court was within its authority to dismiss the divorce decree after the trial judge discovered both parties were of the same sex; but the high court returned the case to the trial court because the woman who filed the lawsuit claimed that she didn’t get a fair day in court.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court remanded the case, O’Darling v. O’Darling, back to Tulsa County District Court because the district court had not notified the petitioner, Cait O’Darling, that the case was being dismissed for failing to have a claim that the court could remedy.

GAY MARRIAGE: Saskatchewan Marriage Commissioner Sues Over Requirement to Perform Same-Sex “Marriages”

[LifeSiteNews] 28 Nov 2008--Marriage Commissioner Orville Nichols is suing the Saskatchewan government after being fined $2,500 by a Saskatchewan human rights tribunal for refusing to perform a same-sex "marriage."

Mr. Nichols has been a marriage commissioner since 1983 and his belief in the importance of marriage has led him in the past to refuse some couples seeking even natural marriage who, he said, did not take it seriously enough. He has argued that those commissioners appointed before same-sex “marriage” became legal should be exempted from performing homosexual “wedding” ceremonies.

World's Worst Persecutor

[Christianity Today] 28 Nov 2008--The United States removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in October, but observers say Christians still have much to fear from its government.

"As long as the Kim Jong Il regime and its successors remain in control, [North Korea] is going to be a brutally repressive country," said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and former North Korea analyst for the CIA. "It's going to continue to be a dismal future for Christians."

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimates that there are 467,894 Christians in North Korea and 10,592 Christian martyrs each year. Open Doors ministry lists the country as the world's worst religious persecutor.

Observers say that even the death of Kim Jong Il, rumored to be in poor health, may not improve conditions.

Are Evangelical Churches Preaching the Full Biblical Gospel?

[Lane's Blog] 28 Nov 2008--This two part video asks an important question--"Is your pastor (or are you) preaching the full Biblical gospel?

A hat tip to Charlie Ray of the Reasonable Christian web log.

Video, Part I
Video, Part II

Province plan to be unveiled

[Church Times] 28 Nov 2008--THE Common Cause Partnership (CCP), a coalition of conservative Anglican groups in the United States and Canada, which have broken away from their national Churches, is to announce plans next week for a separate province.

The group will meet in the Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, Illinois, next Wednesday to “release to the public” its draft constitution. Its moderator, the Rt Revd Bob Duncan, the deposed Bishop of Pitts­burgh, described it as “an im­portant concrete step towards the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America”.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fruit Pies, Popcorn, and Music

[Christianity Today] 27 Nov 2008--This article originally appeared in the November 23, 1984, issue of Christianity Today.

"We feel overawed by the constellation of mysterious motives prompting Providence to send to our shores, out of all the millions who inhabited Europe, just those few thousand beings who had no music in their souls."

Common misconceptions of the Pilgrims' attitude toward music and toward life in general — such as the one above, made in 1907 by Oscar Sonneck, then music director of the Library of Congress — impoverish our appreciation for their musical legacy. We owe an incalculable debt to these early Americans for their priority on worship in music, their emphasis on music in the home, their integration of secular music as part of a balanced Christian life, and their inauguration of music education in America.

The metrical psalter gave church music back to the English people in the sixteenth century. For over 200 years metrical psalms, not hymns, were sung in English churches. They not only sang metrical psalms in church but gathered in public places to sing them. They sung them as they went about their daily work. The Pilgrims and the Puritans brought the metrical psalm to North America. But they were not the only ones singing them. They were also sung in colonial Virginia. A number of the hymns that we sing today are metrical psalms.

We have much for which should be thankful--even in our troubled times. Let us lift up our voices to God this day in a psalm of praise.

The American Puritans

[Christianity Today] 27 Nov 2008--Who were these brave souls that stood against all odds for their beliefs? Learn about what they believed and the struggles they faced by reading the articles below.

Preach Christ in all the Scriptures?

[Anglican Church league] 27 Nov 2008--Last weekend’s broadcast from the White Horse Inn tackles whether our preaching is actually focussed on Christ – or on felt needs. Graeme Goldsworthy is acknowledged as a great help in thinking through these issues.

“We Preach Not Ourselves” (November 23, 2008) is available – in several formats – at

An "alternative" province? Why not?

[VirtueOnline] 27 Nov 2008--Note: This is a liberal perspective taken from a liberal blog run by the communications director Jim McNaughton of the revisionist Diocese of Washington.

Until two weeks ago, I strongly advocated the Anglican Communion refusing to establish a new province in North America and mandating that provinces cease violating provincial boundaries by conducting ministries or establishing congregations within the Episcopal Church's jurisdiction.

Then I read that the Episcopal Church had spent in excess of $1.9 million in 2008 on lawsuits connected to the departure of parishes and dioceses from this Church. Daily I read about critical needs for healthcare, food, sanitation, and shelter in the United States and abroad. I see the spiritual illness and death that afflict so many. I remember that Anglicans have wisely never claimed to be the only branch of the Christian Church.

I started to wonder, Was I wrong? Why not another North American province?

Texas Court Ruling on Murder Case Defines Unborn Child as "Person"

[LifeSiteNews] 27 Nov 2008--A Texas appellate court has upheld its ruling that affirms the personhood of an unborn child who was murdered along with its mother.

Jacob Eguia, who was convicted of the capital murders of a woman and her nearly eight months gestation unborn child, challenged the court's ruling on several points. He argued that finding him guilty of the unborn child's death violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Art. I, Sec. 6 of the Texas Constitution, which bars giving preference by law to a religion.

Down They Go - Episcopal Dioceses, Cathedrals, Parishes Face Financial Losses

[VirtueOnline] 27 Nov 2008--The Episcopal Church is imploding as dioceses, cathedrals and parishes face huge financial losses as the stock market reels and aging parishioners on fixed incomes rein in their giving. Large well-heeled cardinal parishes have taken tens of thousands of parishioners and their money with them to orthodox Anglican jurisdictions leaving liberal dioceses scrambling for money. At least two dioceses are living mainly on endowments.

It was recently revealed that the Episcopal Church's endowment funds have decreased by 30 percent this year. Treasurer Kurt Barnes told the Executive Council recently that every 5 percent decline in the value of the church's endowments equals $87,000 less revenue for the budget. Ironically, as the overall budget of TEC sinks, millions of dollars in legal fees are being spent to keep parish properties. To date, that figure is $2 million, but it is expected to rise to more than $5 million with coast- to- coast lawsuits in several dioceses.

GAY MARRIAGE: The Preposterous Premise for Gay Marriage

[] 27 Nov 2008--fter the passage of Prop 8 in California, homosexuals are still howling that they don’t have “equal rights.” Hopefully, the California Supreme Court will respect the equal rights of voters by affirming Prop 8 because the howls of homosexuals are false. The truth is every person in America already has equal marriage rights!

We’re all playing by the same rules—we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone—every adult person has the same right to marry.

Homosexuals want the court to believe that because of their sexual desires they are a special class of persons that is being discriminated against. In other words, they think that sexual desires guarantee people special legal rights.

ASSISTED SUICIDE: Death with Dignity - Or Coercion?

[VirtueOnline] 27 Nov 2008--Ever since Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide in 1997, "Death with Dignity" groups have been trying to peddle their macabre plot to other states. In Michigan, voters quashed the notion by 71 to 29 percent in 1998. Maine voters rejected it in 2000 and 90 different attempts to persuade State Legislatures to pass physician-assisted suicide failed.

Consequently, the Compassion in Dying Federation decided to rename their group a more palatable Compassion & Choices, and repackaged their campaign. The word "suicide" is no longer used. They called it "hastened death," or "aid-in-dying" since polls show the public's more likely to accept the controversial practice when the S-word is avoided.

Struggle to stay Christian

[The Washington Times] 27 Nov 2008--He sat in my office, a Turkish scholar and theologian who helps people who are tortured for their faith.

According to Ziya Meral, it's the converts from Islam to Christianity who are some of the most forsaken on Earth.

The police don't help them; their families hate them; and their friends want to kill them. And some of the worst treatment occurs in the gulags of America's allies.

"Egypt is one of the worst countries in terms of torture," Mr. Meral said. "Once you are detained, that's it. The security services can keep you without charges for six, seven months, and then renew those charges."

It was there he encountered a man who had endured horrific suffering for leaving Islam.

Beaten, Abducted India Pastor Escapes

[Christian Newswire] 27 Nov 2008--Gospel for Asia native missionary serving as a pastor in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has escaped after being beaten and abducted on Monday.

GFA leaders in the state report that Pastor N. Chauhan was questioned in a marketplace by anti-Christian extremists who then dragged him to a secluded house. The mob beat him severely, saying they were waiting for their leader to arrive the next day and "decide what to do with him."

Our Global Spiritual Crisis

[Anglican Mainstream] 27 Nov 2008--Very few people are unaware of our global financial crisis. Yet many would be unaware that this financial meltdown may well be a symptom of a much greater and more significant crisis – a global spiritual crisis. Certainly in the Western world - where the financial crisis is primarily playing itself out – there is a mammoth moral and spiritual crisis brewing.

I speak particularly of the meltdown of the Christian church in the West, and its rebirth in other parts of the globe. It seems that it is no longer appropriate to speak about the “Christian West”. Many Western nations today are at best only nominally Christian.

Police raid Grace Church & St. Stephen's

[The Colorado Springs Gazette] 27 Nov 2008--Colorado Springs police detectives raided Grace Church & St. Stephen's on Wednesday morning to seize paper financial records and computers as part of a theft investigation launched more than a year ago.

More than 20 officers cordoned off the blocklong church complex at 601 N. Tejon St., evicting its controversial pastor, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, who wandered the sidewalk in clerical garb, a copy of the warrant in his right hand.

Analysis: Recognition of Third Province Likely to Take Years

[Conger] 27 Nov 2008--The members of the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the college of primates are meeting in London this week in preparation for ACC-14, the triennial meeting of the ACC’s delegates scheduled for May in Jamaica.

Organizers of the gathering told a reporter that the “agenda is largely preparing for ACC-14 next year, and trying to build on the lessons learned from Lambeth.” The JSC is reviewing the ACC’s finances, communications and staffing needs; receiving an update on the work of the Faith and Order Commission proposed by the Windsor Continuation Group at the Lambeth Conference; and learning details of the meeting of the Anglican Covenant Design Group in Singapore in September.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wright: Why do good in a hopeless world?

[Christianity Today UK] 26 Nov 2008--Why do good in what seems to be a hopeless world? This was the question posed by Church of England Bishop N T Wright to students at Harvard University.

In a post-September 11 world where the Aids epidemic and credit crisis are ailing millions, "why should we try to make a difference at all?" he asked. "Why should we try to do good ... to create good things out there in the world when in fact all the hope that our society has lived on seems to be imploding all around us?"

Ultimately, it is the belief and hope that the world will be good and ordered as it was in the beginning.

S. Baptists Gear Up for Ambitious Mission Plan

[The Christian Post] 26 Nov 2008--Southern Baptist churches are being recruited to join a massive 12-year long, grassroots evangelism plan to share the Gospel with every person in North America by 2020.

Pilot editions of God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) will be launched in five states – California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas – in early 2009, reported Geoff Hammond, president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB).

NAMB, the mission arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, is spearheading the evangelism effort.

What are you doing to share Christ with your friends, relatives, neigbors, and collegues?

EUTHENASIA: Poll Finds 44% of Canadians Would Choose Euthanasia over Palliative Care

[LifeSiteNews] 26 Nov 2008--A new Environics poll has found that Canadians are split on the question of palliative care versus euthanasia. When asked if they would choose palliative care over euthanasia at the end of their lives, 44% of Canadians polled said they would choose palliative care with an equal number choosing euthanasia.

“It is note worthy that older Canadians polled were more likely to choose palliative care,” reported Dr. Delores Doherty, president of LifeCanada, the group that commissioned the poll. Among those over 60 years old, 51% of respondents would choose palliative care and 36% would choose euthanasia. “This suggests that those closer to the end of their lives have a different perspective on illness and dying.”

OBAMA WATCH: The List So Far - Anti-Life Appointments in the Obama Administration

[LifeSiteNews] 26 Nov 2008--As the media continues to leak real and projected appointments to Mr. Obama's future administration, the emerging pattern is clear: most of the appointments with any voting or lobbying history represent the extreme end of the pro-abortion movement.

Following is a list of Obama appointments so far who have a track record of opposing the pro-life movement and actively promoting the anti-life cause....

OBAMA WATCH: Obama encouraged in pro-abortion agenda

[OneNewsNow] 26 Nov 2008--Pro-abortion religious groups and denominations have written president-elect Obama, urging him to promote abortion.

Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) says they are the same organizations that deviate from the Bible and display a fa├žade of Christianity. reports the letter was signed by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) along with several Protestant and Jewish churches.

Young evangelist attacked by angry homosexual

[OneNewsNow] 26 Nov 2008--The case of an assault against a young Christian by a homosexual in San Francisco is garnering national headlines.

On November 14, Promised Land Fellowship church sent 13 members to the Castro District of San Francisco, a neighborhood known for its large homosexual population. The young people gathered at a street corner, joined hands, and began singing "Amazing Grace."

During an interview on Fox network's The O'Reilly Factor, Christine Cloud described the group's intentions. "We are not trying to convert gay people into straight people, but we are down there telling them about Jesus Christ in hopes that they would have that revelation," she explains.

Cloud says an angry homosexual grabbed her Bible. She then describes what happened when she asked the man to return it. "And he turned around, and he said no, and he hit me upside the head with the Bible, knocking me to the ground, and began to kick my legs," she recounts.

OBAMA WATCH: Extreme Pro-Abortion Leader Chosen for Obama Communications Director

[LifeSiteNews] 26 Nov 2008--President-elect Obama has continued the trend of appointing radical left-wing and pro-abortion figures to his Cabinet with the announcement that Ellen Moran is to be his future White House Communications Director.

Moran is currently the executive director of EMILY's List, a major political action committee dedicated solely to promoting the political careers of pro-abortion Democratic women.

GAY MARRIAGE: A Sign of Things to Come?

[Albert Mohler] 26 Nov 2008--The passage of Proposition 8 in California has reset the table with respect to the issue of same-sex marriage. Clearly, those pushing for legalized same-sex marriage thought that the decision of the California Supreme Court last May was the final word, and same-sex marriage would be an established legal reality in California. The fact that Proposition 8 passed on November 4 threw that assumption aside, and an ugly new chapter is opening.

The Los Angeles Times provides an eye-opening report into the response of Hollywood's cultural liberals to the passage of Proposition 8. Reporters Rachel Abramowitz and Tina Daunt open their article with this question: "Should there be boycotts, blacklists, firings or de facto shunning of those who supported Proposition 8?"


Feature: The Evangelical Debate

[Religious Intelligence] 26 Nov 2008--In his article last week in The Church of England Newspaper, Stephen Kuhrt argued that the 57-member CEEC is not representative because 28 members belong to what he defines as one, conservative, stream. Stephen argues, as does Graham Kings in a parallel article in the Church Times last week, that there are three streams in the evangelical constituency and any organization claiming to represent that constituency needs to reflect them in proportion.

Fears over Vietnamese pressure on Christians

[Religious Intellignece] 26 Nov 2008--The Compass Direct News agency is reporting that in violation of Vietnam’s new religion policy, authorities in Lao Cai Province in Vietnam’s far north are pressuring new Christians among the Hmong minority to recant their faith and to re-establish ancestral altars, according to area church leaders.

Local authorities had warned that on Sunday (Nov. 23) they were planning to come in force to Ban Gia Commune and Lu Siu Tung village, Bac Ha district, where the Christians reside, but they did not say what they would do.

Conservative Anglicans Plan New Province

[The Philadelpia Bulletin] 26 Nov 2008--A group of conservative Anglicans are making preparations to launch a new Anglican province for North America, a plan that reflects the deepening rift between theological perspectives in the Anglican Communion.

The Common Cause Partnership will publicly release the draft constitution of an emerging Anglican Church in North America Dec. 3, and formally subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and affirm the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future at an evening worship celebration in suburban Chicago. The Common Cause Partnership is a federation of Anglican networking and pastoral organizations encompassing more than 100,000 Christians in North America.

Michael Howell is New FIFNA Executive Director

[The Living Church] 26 Nov 2008--orward in Faith North America (FIFNA) has announced that Michael Howell had been appointed executive director.

The position of executive director is the organizing center for an organization comprised primarily of volunteers. FIFNA is a member of the Common Cause Partnership which recently announced plans to seek admittance as a second North American province of the Anglican Communion.

Dr. Howell, a former associate professor at the University of South Florida, currently serves on the boards of FIFNA, the American Anglican Council, and Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry.

“I have never been more excited about the role that FIFNA will play in the new emerging Anglican church in North America,” Dr. Howell said. “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that Anglicanism’s catholic heritage and order will continue to grow and thrive.”

Joint ACC, Primates Steering Committee Meets

[The Living Church] 26 Nov 2008--The Joint Steering Committee (JSC) of primates and representatives of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) are holding an important planning meeting in London this week in advance of forthcoming meetings of the primates in February in Alexandria, Egypt, and of the ACC in Jamaica in May.

Approval for a possible second province in North America expected to be on the agenda for the primates’ meeting as well as the ACC gathering.

All the primates who are attending this "planning meeting" are liberals.

Related article:
Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) Meeting - Anglican Communion News Service
Church of England on course for a split - Stephen Sizer - VirtueOnline

Cozy picture of Rowan and Katherine. I am reminded of the Presiding Bishop's statement after her first meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. She told Episcopalians that Williams had assured her that The Episcopal Church would not be expelled from the Anglican Communion. After his meeting with the House of Bishops in New Orleans it was clear that Williams not going to countenance any kind of disciplinary action against TEC. The 2008 Lambetrh Conference was further evidence of that. But if he countenances disciplinary action against Southern Cone, it will confirm what some of have recognized for a long time: Williams is really on the side of TEC and not Biblically orthodox Anglicans.

Bishop Iker Describes Inhibition by PB as ‘Irrelevant’

[The Living Church] 26 Nov 2008--A letter inhibiting the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, and documents supporting her reasons were issued by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Nov. 21. Bishop Iker, whose diocesan convention voted overwhelmingly to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone on Nov. 15, issued the following response to the Presiding Bishop’s announcement:

“Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of God. She never has and she never will,” he said. “Since Nov. 15, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the diocesan Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. As a result, canonical declarations of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church pertaining to us are irrelevant and of no consequence.”

Related letter:
Responses to the Attempted Inhibition of the Bishop--The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

Province faces "punishment" for helping U.S. conservatives

[EV News] 26 Nov 2008--The Times reports that the South American Province of the Southern Cone, a conservative province, faces “punishment” this week for offering a safe haven to U.S. conservatives.

According to the Times, this week’s meeting of the joint standing committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council, which includes Rowan Williams and Katharine Jefferts Schori and is chaired by John Paterson of New Zealand, will consider suspending the Anglican church in South America for allowing four US dioceses to realign with it after leaving the US Episcopal church.

The penalty being considered against the Southern Cone for sheltering the four U.S. dioceses, includes the removal of voting rights at the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the central governing body of the Anglican Communion, in Jamaica next May.

Are children born believers?

[EV News] 26 Nov 2008--"Children are "born believers" in God and do not simply acquire religious beliefs through indoctrination, according to an academic." So reports the Daily Telegraph. This sort of research is always contentious but nevertheless it makes interesting reading.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Anglican Comprehensiveness and the New Settlement

By Robin G. Jordan

What are the limits of Anglican comprehensiveness is an issue that has sharply divided Anglicans and Episcopalians since the 1830s and even earlier. Successive generations of Anglicans and Episcopalians have sought to redefine the limits of Anglican comprehensiveness to bring their particular beliefs and practice within those limits. One group after another has argued for even wider latitude in belief and practice. Anglican comprehensiveness, the latest argument goes, is a huge tent like the 2008 Lambeth big top under the spacious canopy of which is plenty of room for every shade of opinion.

As the new province moves closer to reality, confessional Anglicans like myself are troubled by the token place that the Common Cause Theological Statement gives to the Thirty-Nine Articles. The Common Cause Theological Statement is to be the foundation upon which the new province will be erected. We are even more disturbed by the argument that, since the Articles were given little regard in the Episcopal Church, they should be given no regard in the new Anglican Church of North America.

The Thirty-Nine Articles were intended mark or lay out the limits of Anglican comprehensiveness. The Articles affirm the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, Christ’s descent into hell, his resurrection, the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for salvation, original sin, Justification by faith, the sinlessness of Christ, predestination to life and election in Christ, salvation only by the name of Christ, and the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world. With these great doctrines of the Bible, they also affirm the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Apostles’ Creed. The Articles define the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament, the nature of freewill, the place of good works, the nature of works before justification, the nature of works of supererogation, and the effect of sin after baptism.

The Thirty-Nine Articles condemn a number of doctrines and practices that spring from a different gospel—universal salvation, purgatory, indulgences, the worshiping and adoring of images and relics, invocation of the saints, and the sacrifice of the Mass. The Articles define the nature of the church, the limits of the authority of the church, and the limits of the authority of general councils. They acknowledge the fallibility of the church and of general councils.

The Thirty-Nine Articles recognize only two true sacraments—Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They define the nature of sacraments, the effect of an unworthy minister upon the sacraments, and the effect of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper upon "the wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith." They condemn the doctrine of Transubstantiation—the conversion of the substance of the eucharistic elements into the substance of Christ’s body and blood—and the practice of denying "the Cup of the Lord" to the laity.

The Thirty-Nine Articles address a number of specific issues—the necessity of being lawfully called and sent to execute the office of public preaching and ministering of the sacraments, the use of the vernacular in public prayer in the church and ministering of the sacraments, the marriage of priests, the treatment of excommunicated persons, the traditions of the church, the relationship of church and state in the realm of England and jurisdiction of the pope, the death penalty, the bearing of arms, the ownership of possessions, and the swearing of oaths.

The Thirty-Nine Articles commend the first and second Book of Homilies for their "godly and wholesome doctrine" and enjoin their reading in churches by ministers, "diligently and distinctly," so the people may understand them. The Articles recognize the Ordinal of 1550 as containing all things necessary to the ordination of deacons and priests and the consecration of bishops and having nothing in it that "of itself is superstitious or ungodly. They recognize as valid the ordination or consecration of anyone who has been or will be ordained or consecrated according to the rites of the 1550 Ordinal.

Despite their brevity the Thirty-Nine Articles are a confession of faith. As I noted in my previous article, "The Thirty-Nine Articles and the New Settlement," one of the functions of the Articles is to safeguard the truth of the gospel. The Articles seek to protect the truth of the gospel by stating what should be believed as a part of an evangelical faith, that is to say, a faith that is according to gospel teaching. They were intended to make certain that all Anglican clergy preached and taught this faith whatever opinions they held on other matters.

The comprehensiveness intended by the Articles is a gospel comprehensiveness. It is a comprehensiveness that "results from keeping doctrinal requirements down to a minimum and allowing the maximum of flexibility and variety on secondary matters." [1] At the same time it is a comprehensiveness intended to preserve and propagate the New Testament gospel. Anything that takes away from the New Testament gospel, adds to that gospel, or alters it, and anything that springs from a different gospel does not have a place within this comprehensiveness.

For example, at the center of the gospel is Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross for our redemption. As Article XXXI affirms, "the Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propriation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone." [2]The 1662 Book of Common Prayer makes the same affirmation: "Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world…".[3]

The Articles specifically condemn the Medieval Catholic doctrine of "the sacrifices of the Masses." But the Articles indirectly rule out any other doctrine of Eucharistic sacrifice that teaches that we repeat Christ’s sacrifice or add to it, that we do more than commemorate it but we participate in it. [4] They further rule out any doctrine that denies the place of the cross in our redemption.

The comprehensiveness intended by the Articles is not the kind of comprehensiveness that can be seen in the Episcopal Church. The latter is a comprehensiveness that was fostered by the nineteenth century Tractarian and Broad Church movements and was radicalized by the twentieth century liberal movement. It is a comprehensiveness that has shouldered the gospel out of the way and taken its place. It is a comprehensiveness that allows heretical beliefs to jostle with biblical ones and even to shove them aside. It is an elastic comprehensiveness that decries limits and is quick to incorporate the doctrines and practices of the newest groups to emerge in the Episcopal Church. It is a comprehensiveness that encourages Anglo-Catholics, evangelicals, and charismatics to tolerate and to accept beliefs and practices that are inconsistent with the Bible and the Anglican formularies. It is a comprehensiveness that has so desensitized or numbed these groups to such beliefs and practices that they are undermining the gospel instead of defending it.

The Common Cause Partnership has announced that at their meeting the first week in December they will be unveiling the proposed constitution and canons of the new Anglican Church in North America. Confessional Anglicans like myself are asking who has been representing the cause of genuine Anglicanism in the bodies that have been preparing the proposed constitution and canons of the new province? Who has been standing up for the Anglican formularies—for the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1660 Ordinal? Who has been speaking out for the evangelical comprehensiveness intended by the Articles and for the truth of the gospel the Articles were meant to protect?

A representative of the Common Cause Partnership has informed me that North American Anglicans would have a year during which they may suggest additions and alterations to the proposed constitution. At the completion of this year the final draft of the constitution and canons will be submitted to the constituent bodies for ratification. According to another source, as soon as the Common Cause Partnership adopts the proposed constitution, it will be a done deal—no additions and no alterations. The constituent bodies will have a choice of ratifying it or not participating in the new province.

It is not too late, however, for confessional Anglicans to join together to advocate for genuine Anglicanism, the Anglican formularies, a gospel comprehensiveness, and the truth of the gospel. A new organization, the Heritage Anglican Network, is being formed for just that purpose.

The Heritage Anglican Network is a fellowship of confessional Anglicans who hold to the Anglican beliefs of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal. The Heritage Anglican Network is committed to encouraging and supporting confessional Anglicans wherever God has placed them and in whatever ministry or form of service to which God has called them; to promoting the continued acceptance of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal as the Anglican standard of doctrine and worship; to fostering the ongoing use of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer wherever and whenever its use is practicable; to encouraging the development of alternative services in modern English and other languages for use together with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which conform to the doctrine of the Prayer Book and show due regard to the continued use of the Prayer Book and its place as the standard of the Anglican tradition of worship; and to advancing the cause of the gospel, genuine Anglicanism, and evangelical Christianity in the Americas and the Caribbean and throughout the world. To this end The Heritage Anglican Network has established a virtual meeting place for confessional Anglicans on the Internet at:

Confessional Anglicans in North American face an unknown future. The Episcopal Church has not shown itself to be friendly to genuine Anglicanism. The new province that is launched may not be any better. Some confessional Anglicans are waiting to see what happens; others are more pessimistic. There are indications that this unfriendliness to Anglican beliefs of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal will be carried over to the new Anglican Church in North America. One even hears the proposal that the new province should be launched without giving even a token place to the Anglican formularies. Should the new Anglican Church in North America dispense with the Articles, the new province would be dispensing with the truth of the gospel the Anglican confession of faith is intended to safeguard. This is why it is imperative that confessional Anglicans organize. Anglo-Catholics in North America have Forward in Faith to represent them and Anglo-Catholicism. Confessional Anglicans in North America have no equivalent organization to represent them and genuine Anglicanism.

From what I understand, the new province will be organized upon the basis of the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and the existing judicatories that form the Common Cause Partnership. The proposed constitution of the new Anglican Church of North America guarantees that each of these dioceses and judicatories will be able to retain its present structure, identity, and priorities. But what I do not know is what provision the proposed constitution makes for latecomers to the table. Will they be expected to join one of these diocese or judicatories and whose continued existence the proposed constitution guarantees or will be they be able to join the new province as a judicatory in their own right, with their own structure, identity, and priorities, and be entitled to the same guarantee? Will they be forced to amalgamate or merge with a judicatory with which they may have no real affinity? If so, if a church or network of churches discovers that it has no affinity with the diocese or judicatory that it joined will it be able to transfer its membership to another diocese or judicatory. These are important questions for confessional Anglicans.

In the absence of a strong commitment to the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal as the Anglican standard of doctrine and worship in the new province and the dioceses and other judicatories that initially will comprise the new province, a reasonable alternative would be the inclusion of generous provisions in the new province’s constitution for the formation of confessional Anglican judicatories within the province, the admission of confessional Anglican judicatories from outside the province, and for the unrestricted voluntary transfer of confessional Anglican clergy and congregations from the other constituent bodies of the province to these judicatories.

By "generous" I mean that confessional Anglican judicatories formed within the province and those formed outside of the province and seeking admission would not be penalized because they formed after the initial ratification of the constitution. Their structure, identity, priorities, and participation in intra-provincial structures would be guaranteed in the same manner as those of the original constituent bodies of the province. They would not be required to amalgamate or merge with one of these bodies with which they have no real affinity. They would be at liberty to establish and maintain the Anglican formularies as their doctrinal and worship standard. They would be free to use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and to develop and adopt modern English services adhering to the doctrine of the 1662 Prayer Book and respecting its liturgical usages to use along with the 1662 Prayer Book. They would not be confined to any particular geographic region of the province but would be able to plant churches and to establish networks of churches throughout the entire geographic territory of the province. Clergy transferring to confessional Anglican judicatories in the province would suffer no loss of their pension contributions and congregations transferring to these judicatories would suffer no loss of property.

Confessional Anglicans can work through the Diocese of Pittsburgh or whatever Common Cause Partner to which they belong to make certain such provisions are incorporated into the constitution of the new province. They can also work through the Heritage Anglican Network and other confessional Anglican groups and organizations. As the spiritual heirs of the English Reformation and of the reformed Church of England, they have as much a right as any other theological stream to be fully represented in the new Anglican Church in North America. They have suffered as much as anyone else. They also have been slaves in Egypt. They too have wandered in the wilderness. They are just as deserving of an inheritance in the new province.

[1] J. I. Packer and R. T. Beckwith, The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today, (London: Latimer Trust, 2006), 69.
[2] The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church According to the Use of the Church of England, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1662), 707.
[3] Ibid., 313.
[4] Packer and Beckwith, The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today, 81-85.

A New Model for a New Province

By Robin G. Jordan

The news of the unveiling of the constitution of the new Anglican Church in North America the first week in December has generated a great deal of excitement and a lot of speculation on the Internet. From different sources I have gleaned two conflicting accounts of what is going to happen in Wheaton, Illinois, at the Common Cause Partnership Council meeting on December 3. The first is that the draft constitution for the new province will be made public after the CCP Council has received it. It will remain a draft for up to a year until it is ratified, during which time public comment will be invited. The second is that if the CCP Council approves the draft constitution, it will no longer be a draft constitution. It will be the constitution for the new province. It then will be sent to each Common Cause Partner to ratify. They can ratify it and become a constituent judicatory in the new Anglican Church in North America or they can decline to ratify it in which case they will not be included the new province. Both accounts come from within the Common Cause Partnership, from individuals in a position to know what is going on.

While it may be rather late to be proposing a model for the new province, one model the Common Cause Partnership Council might want to consider for the new province is a modification of the Australian model for an Anglican province. [1] In this modification of the Australian model the constituent judicatories of the new Anglican Church in North America would be non-geographical. They would be based primarily upon theological affinity. In practice this means that a particular region or locality of the United States or Canada might have two or more judicatories of the new province represented in it—one confessional, one Anglo-Catholic, and so on. Existing and newly formed or admitted judicatories would be free to plant new churches and to organize new networks of churches throughout the entire territory of the new province.

While the new province might initially consist of the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and Common Cause Partners, existing and newly formed churches in the new province would be free to network together and to form new judicatories in the province. Existing networks of churches and newly formed networks of churches outside the province seeking admission to the new province would not be required to amalgamate or merge with an existing judicatory in order to gain admission to the province. They would be admitted as a new judicatory if they so desired. Clergy and congregations would be free to transfer from one judicatory to another without any loss of pension contributions or property.

The constituent judicatories of the new Anglican Church in North America would be relatively autonomous in such matters as liturgy, doctrinal and worship standards, ordination of women, and the like. This autonomy would make room for the significant differences between the theological schools of thought represented in the new province. For example, confessional evangelicals have a different understanding of the Eucharist than Anglo-Catholics. Practices like reservation and extended communion are not acceptable to confessional evangelicals nor is a liturgy that gives expression to the idea that the Eucharist is in some way a sacrifice.
The new province would not have a strong central authority. The locus of power would be a network of judicatory-to-judicatory relationships. A number of critical decisions of the provincial General Synod would require the ratification of a majority of all the judicatories. Individual judicatories would be given the liberty of choosing not to apply a provincial canon in a number of cases. For example, a judicatory would, if it chooses, be able not to use the common liturgy that the new province develops and to adopt an existing liturgy (e.g. 1662 or 1928 BCP) or a liturgy that it develops itself. The primate of the new Anglican Church in North America would also serve as the bishop of a constituent judicatory.

This modification of the Australian model for an Anglican province would enable the theologically disparate group of Anglicans and Episcopalians—Anglo-Catholics, charismatic evangelicals, and confessional evangelicals—that has become disaffected from the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church over these provinces’ theological and moral innovations, to coexist more or less peacefully in the new Anglican Church in North America. It would give the different theological schools of thought represented in the new province freedom to plant new churches and organize new networks of churches across the United States and Canada. It would also make the new province more representative of global Anglicanism.

I hope that the CCP Council has the foresight and wisdom to adopt a model for the new Anglican Church in North America, which is flexible enough for the world’s seventh largest mission field and the world’s largest English-speaking mission field—a model which makes ample room in the new province for new networks of churches and does not limit the new province to the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and the Common Cause Partners. We will find out whether it does on December 3.

[1] In What’s Up Down Under? Dale Rye describes the Australian model of an Anglican province and discusses the unique history of the Anglican Church in Australia that produced that model. I have adapted the model to North America.

AUSTRALIA: Sydney diocese votes for lay and diaconal presidency -- again

[Episcopal Life Online] 24 Nov 2008--he General Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, has voted "overwhelmingly" in favor of lay and diaconal presidency, which means that lay people and deacons could be permitted to administer and consecrate the sacraments at Holy Communion -- a role that is usually limited to priests.

In the motion, the synod affirmed "its conviction that lay and diaconal administration of the Lord's Supper is consistent with the teaching of Scripture, and that the Lord's Supper in this diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters..."

The Sydney synod has been debating lay presidency since 1977 and has passed several motions in favor of the practice, some of which have been ruled unconstitutional with the national church or vetoed by the archbishop of the diocese.

Understanding Rowan Williams for the First Time

[Anglican Curmudgeon] 24 Nov 2008--Reports about the forthcoming Primates' Meeting, to be held in Alexandria, Egypt at the beginning of February 2009, mention that earlier the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, had expressed hopes to make use of the same small-group, indaba-style discussions that he used at the Lambeth Conference in 2008. In his pastoral letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion following the conference, Dr. Williams stated:

. . . Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely – and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury. This is an important steer for the meetings of the Primates and the ACC which will be taking place in the first half of next year, and I shall be seeking to identify the resources we shall need in order to take forward some of the proposals about our structures and methods.

This is not exactly an express or forthright declaration of intent, but then Dr. Williams is known for his highly oblique way of expressing himself. In any event, the Rev. George Conger reports that these plans have evoked "private scorn" and "public criticism"....

Echoes of Old Heresies Still Among Us

[The Christian Post] 24 Nov 2008--Just a few hours ago I stood at the very spot where one of the most significant addresses in American history was delivered - and where the settled understandings of the Christian ministry and the church's theology were thrown into revolution.

The date was July 15, 1838, the place was the chapel of Divinity Hall at Harvard, and the speaker was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson had been asked to deliver an address to the Senior Class of the Divinity College, and he accepted the challenge. Emerson was then a part-time Unitarian preacher, but his intellectual stature in the movement known as Transcendentalism attracted the attention of the students training for ministry.

Bishop Iker Inhibited

[Steering Committe North Texas Episcopalians] 24 Nov 2008--The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians is heartened by the announcement that the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, has inhibited Bp. Jack Iker from sacramental duties as bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. The inhibition does not preclude administrative acts.

He now has 60 days to recant his decision to leave the Episcopal Church. If he does not, at their next meeting, the House of Bishops will most likely act to depose him as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, as has been done with Robert Duncan, former bishop of Pittsburgh; and John David Schofield, former bishop of San Joaquin, both of whom attempted to uncanonically remove their entire dioceses from the Episcopal Church.

Request to support legal defence for Diocese of Recife by December 1

[Anglican Mainstream] 24 Nov 2008--The Diocese of Recife led by Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti is being sued for its property. They need $10,000 by December 1 to pay legal fees to defend their property.

The American Anglican Council has pledged to match one for one funds raised to support their legal defence fund up to $5000 raised. So far $2500 has been raised, so with the match we are half way there.

A Response to Ephraim Radner's Piece on "A New Province"

[To all the world] 24 Nov 2008--The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner has written a piece entitled, A New "Province" in North America: Neither the Only Nor the Right Answer for the Communion, in which, as the title suggests, he gives six reasons why he does not believe an alternative, orthodox province of Anglicans in North America is a good idea.

Let me be clear about my own position at the outset: I am still a priest in TEC, but I have many friends who are now in one of the entities that will comprise a new Anglican Province. And, as I read Dr. Radner's remarks, I could not help but put myself in the position of my Common Cause friends, who I believe will regard his comments as both unfair and unhelpful.

So I would like to make a few comments (in bold, below) on Dr. Radner's six points, as I imagine someone who is a part of Common Cause might respond to them:

Financial Strain Evident at New York Diocesan Convention

[The Living Church] 24 Nov 2008--The annual convention of the Diocese of New York approved a resolution petitioning General Convention to grant continued use of either the lectionary found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer or the Revised Common Lectionary indefinitely. Convention met Nov. 15-16 at a hotel and convention center in Mahwah, N.J.

Convention approved several other resolutions, including one calling on “the governor and the legislature of the State of New York to ensure civil marriage equality in this state by enacting the necessary legislation to permit same-sex couples to marry.”

GAY MARRIAGE: Bishops in bid to overturn Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage

[Religious Intelligence] 24 Nov 2008--The Episcopal Bishops of Los Angeles and California have filed suit to overturn California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage.

On Nov 17, Bishop J Jon Bruno of Los Angeles (pictured) and Bishop Marc Andrus of California along with the California Council of Churches, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the Unitarian Universalist Church filed a writ with the California Supreme Court seeking an injunction blocking implementation of the petition based by voters.

“Proposition 8 poses a grave threat to religious freedom,” the director of the California Council of Churches, the Rev. Rick Schlosser argued.

“If the Court permits gay men and lesbians to be deprived of equal protection by a simple majority vote, religious minorities could be denied equal protection as well—a terrible irony in a nation founded by people who emigrated to escape religious persecution. If the Court permits Proposition 8 to take effect, religious discrimination similarly could be written into California's Constitution,” he said.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Anglicans who've lost their memory

[Telegraph] 22 Nov 2008--Like an unwatched pan of milk, readers of the Church Times have seethed up and boiled over in response to an analysis of the Church of England by the ever-controversial historian Jonathan Clark.

Professor Clark, once the enfant terrible of Peterhouse and All Souls, now wields his scalpel from remote Kansas, but it cuts as sharply. The Church of England, he argues, is "losing command of its history", thus losing its identity (as if a man had lost his memory, one might say).

The split in the Anglican Communion widens a tad

[USA Today] 22 Nov 2008--Barry Kosmin, one of the nation's top researchers on the demographics of faith, argues in a book he co-authored, Religion in a Free Market, that competition among religious groups keeps interest in God high in the USA, even as denominational identity is fading.

Now, you can see that "market" in action: The final formal break-off of a small but significant group of U.S. and Canadian parishes and dioceses from their national denominations and, quite possibly, from the Anglican Communion, the world's third largest Christian denomination, as well.

Subversion of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church: On Doing What it Takes to Get What You Want

[ACI} 22 Nov 2008--Recent actions of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the matter of Gene Robinson have sent shock waves throughout that church and indeed throughout the Anglican Communion. These actions present both TEC and the Communion unprecedented challenges to their forms of order and governance. Indeed, an underlying assumption of this essay is that neither TEC nor the Anglican Communion as a whole at present has instruments and forms of governance capable of coping with a crisis of this magnitude. As a result, solutions (if they can be called that) are being improvised in great haste and often with little thought.

The particular concern of this essay is that the measures now being taken by the Office of the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops to address this crisis lack an adequate constitutional and canonical foundation. Further, because of this lack, those who belong to TEC are in fact being confronted with attempts to address the present crisis by actions that effect changes in the polity of their church that are neither constitutional nor canonical. Put bluntly, TEC’s membership faces a situation in which it may come to be governed by the will of people in office rather than by constitutional and legal provision.

Traditions Old and New

[] 22 Nov 2008--Every change brings with it consequences, foreseen and unforeseen. What was a good innovation in one year can be a disastrous failure in another year. The reforms that address one problem can create ten other problems just as large.

The failure to reform a problem can also create ten other problems just as large.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Episcopalians & American Anglicans Split

[VirtueOnline] 21 Nov 2008--Last weekend three events provided snapshots of the now permanent split between Episcopalians and American Anglicans who separated themselves from The Episcopal Church, once the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

First, by a 4 to 1 vote, delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth became the fourth diocese to abandon the The Episcopal Church (TEC), and to vote, as Bishop Jack Iker put it, "as a matter of conscience and conviction, to align ourselves with an Orthodox Province... The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone," based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Recently, the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Quincy (IL), also voted overwhelmingly for a similar split and realignment. A year earlier, the Diocese of San Joaquin based in Fresno, CA, was the first to leave TEC for the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Conservatives Form New Anglican Church

[CBN News] 21 Nov 2008--Breakaway conservative Episcopal churches are planning to form a new Anglican church in North America.

Leaders of the Common Cause Partnership, a group representing more than 100,000 church members, say they will unveil a new church constitution December 3 at Wheaton Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, Illinois.

Bishop Robert Duncan, who was ousted by the Episcopal church last month, has been elected to lead the new group.

The new church is expected to be recognized by several Anglican bishops. However, church leaders do not expect the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to officially accept the church.

Related article:;_ylt=Ass2xF5RnKiisHLc1jjz31A7Xs8F
Episcopal Church dissidents aim for new church - Yahoo! News

The Menace of Eugenics

[Culture Watch] 21 Nov 2008--Most people know about Hitler’s plan to create a master race and to weed out the unfit and inferior races. His horrible plans resulted in the Second World War, the deaths of millions, and the Holocaust. His notions of racial and national superiority did not come out of thin air however, but were based upon ideas and practices going back at least to the nineteenth century.

Indeed, the idea of weeding out the imperfect to develop an ideal race has been around for quite some time. People have long been interested in perfecting the human species by means of medicine, technology and even coercion. The term for all this is ‘eugenics’ (from the Greek, ‘well-born’ or ‘good birth’), a phrase coined in 1883 by English statistician and mathematician Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911). Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, believed that some races were superior to others, and that we could take evolution into our own hands by selectively breeding superior human beings. He said that “blacks were genetically inferior, the Jews were ‘parasitical’, and that poverty was transmitted in the genes.”

Indian Pastor Appeals for Prayer Amid Death and Suffering

[The Christian Post] 21 Nov 2008--The Bible Society in India has received a desperate appeal from a pastor in troubled Orissa state for prayers for the persecuted Christian community there, as thousands remain scattered across makeshift government camps or are hiding in the homes of relatives and sympathetic Hindus.

The letter from Pastor Raj details the atrocities committed against Christians in the north eastern Indian state by radical Hindus angry over the murder of their leader in August. Although the attacks – including killings, rapes, and the destruction of homes – have ceased in the last few weeks, Christian groups in India say the situation on the ground remains precarious.
Raj described how he and his family escaped an attack on their home by seeking refuge in the house of a Christian friend, before fleeing to the forest where they remained for five days only to make their way to a camp some 10 km away. The camp, he reported, was sheltering around 5,000 people, many sick or elderly with no food provision. He and his family have since found shelter in a neighboring state.

OBAMA WATCH: Obama Selecting the Most Anti-Life, Anti-Family Radicals He Can Find for Administration

[LifeSiteNews] 21 Nov 2008--n light of further actual and rumored appointments, Obama's future presidential administration is steadily emerging as a regime ominously packed with Obama insiders who promise to help roll out the carpet for the President-elect's radical anti-life and anti-family agenda.

Media outlets recently named Arizona governor Janet Napolitano as Obama's probable choice for secretary of Homeland Security.

An early Obama supporter and campaigner, Napolitano firmly established herself as an extreme abortion supporter by vetoing the partial birth abortion ban, and in one month she vetoed four anti-abortion bills. In 2005 NARAL warmly praised the governor for vetoing a bill that would have allowed Arizona pharmacies not to distribute the abortifacient morning-after pill due to a moral or religious objection.

The Way Forward or The Ways Forward - Dr Michael Ovey

[Anglican Mainstream] 21 Nov 2008--There’s an old theological principle that says the nature of the disease determines the nature of the remedy. So, if you think your headache is just a hangover, you’re content with 2 neurofen. If you think your headache is the result of the bricks falling on your head, you take more drastic action.

The reason why I adopt this tried and trusted picture is that we as evangelicals are not looking at just one way ahead. There are at least two, and they arise from very different conceptions of the disease that the Anglican Communion, and the Church of England itself faces. Which should we choose and why? This will, I think, determine everything else.

Lambeth Faces the Chicago Test

[Conger] 21 Nov 2008--The leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are set to endorse a draft constitution to govern the loose coalition of breakaway dioceses, congregations and Anglican jurisdictions in the United States.

In a statement released on Nov 17 by the American Anglican Council on behalf of the CCP, AAC spokesman Robert Lundy said the “the draft constitution of an emerging Anglican Church in North America” will be released on Dec 3. The leaders of the CCP will “formally subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) and affirm the Gafcon Statement on the Global Anglican Future.”

The Dec 3 ceremony will not launch a new province, CCP moderator Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said, but will be an “an important concrete step toward the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America.”

What’s going on in Sydney?

[Anglican Mainstream] 21 Nov 2008--Sydney Diocesan Synod passed a resolution in October that recognized that it is both legal and desirable for those in deacon’s orders to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This has raised again the issue of lay people presiding at the Lord’s supper, which has long been a strongly held view in the Diocese of Sydney.

This appears to be causing some problems now.

The first is that in Anglican church order, deacons are allowed to celebrate one sacrament (baptism) but not the other, presiding at Holy Communion. The Sydney resolution appears to provide for people other than ordained presbyters to preside at Communion without the prior agreement of other Anglican Churches. This causes particular problems for those of the Anglo-Catholic tradition, for whom the way the church is ordered through bishops, priests and deacons expresses the order of the gospel. They cannot recognize a celebration of the Holy Communion as a faithful celebration unless it is taken by an ordained presbyter.

Same offence?

Child Sexual Exploitation in U.S. and Canada in Global Spotligh

[Christian Newswire] 21 Nov 2008--Creating safe havens for trafficked children in the U.S. and increasing legal enforcement against child sex tourism in Canada should be two of the highest priorities for policies in North America to protect children from sexual exploitation, according to a report published jointly by Canadian and U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) this month.

Whose supper?

[] 21 Nov 2008--The debate over who has the right to officiate at the Lord’s Supper is engaging Christians across the planet, particularly in the light of recent synod decisions by the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church. The following is intended as a helpful online resource for those seeking to understand the Sydney Anglican position.

Paralysed Speakers and Hearers – John Stott

[Anglican Church League] 21 Nov 2008--Even those who no longer see any particular merit in preaching would probably agree that it is not what it was. Many of those who value it would say that it is in a state of steep decline, and to recall a few notable names from the past would appear to confirm this. Of course, styles have changed, the world has changed. But are we not missing out? Are we not in danger of losing a basic ingredient of a living church? …

– John Stott, as published in CrossWay, 1981. Read his brief article, as a PDF file, courtesy of Church Society.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bishop Wantland Knows His Canons

[Anglican Curmudgeon] 20 Nov 2008--The Diocese of Ft. Worth having voted last weekend to leave The Episcopal Church to affiliate with the Province of the Southern Cone, there follows on the heels of this action the news that one of its assisting bishops, the Rt. Rev. William J. Wantland, the former diocesan of Eau Claire, has sent a letter to the Presiding Bishop asking that he be allowed to assume the status of a honorary member of the House of Bishops in The Episcopal Church.

Communion Partner Rectors: No Interest in New Province

[The Living Church] 20 Nov 2008--While understanding that for some conservative constituents another path may soon be chosen, the advisory board of the Communion Partner rectors said recently that a new Anglican province in North America “is not something we desire or a structure in which we wish to participate.”

The Communion Partner rectors met Nov. 6-7 at St. Martin’s Church, Houston. The initial list of rectors has grown from 17 parishes representing 25,000 communicants to 45 parishes representing 42,000 communicants, according to a news release prepared by the group.

OBAMA WATCH: The Coming "War" Between the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church

[LifeSiteNews] 20 Nov 2008--The possible signing of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) by President-Elect Barack Obama would be "the equivalent of a war" an unnamed senior Vatican official recently told TIME magazine.

The startling comments make the second time this week that a Vatican official has forthrightly and in the strongest language condemned Obama's extreme policies on abortion. Speaking at the Catholic University of America a few days ago, Vatican Cardinal James Stafford labeled Obama's anti-life policies as "aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic," also noting that, "On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake" (see coverage: ).

Equipping the Saints

[American Anglican Council] 20 Nov 2008--It has been two years since we published the previous edition of Equipping the Saints as a crisis resource for Anglican laity. This version focuses primarily on what has happened within TEC and the Anglican Communion during the past two years, so you may find it useful to refer to previous editions in the publications section of our website,, for further background information.

Children speak out against sexual exploitation

[Christianity Today UK] 20 Nov 2008--Children from around the world are speaking out against sexual exploitation and internet and video pornography, and are calling on authorities to better protect them and future generations from abuse on Universal Children's Day today.

The results of two years of focus groups involving more than 400 boys and girls on four continents clearly demonstrated that, despite efforts to tackle exploitation of many differing kinds, widespread sexual abuse is still causing misery to children worldwide, says Christian development agency Tearfund.

Evangelical equivocation

[EV News] 20 Nov 2008--A consultation of Evangelical Anglicans took place on Saturday at All Soul’s Langham Place. The meeting was called by the Church of England Evangelical Council and was open to anyone who booked.

The intention of the consultation was to hear from speakers from different perspectives regarding the present situation in the Anglican Communion and particularly the aftermath of the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem and the Lambeth Conference 2008.

Canadian Orthodox Anglicans endorse Jerusalem Declaration

[Anglican Mainstream] 20 Nov 2008--The Anglican Network in Canada inaugural synod, held 13-15 Nov 2008 in Burlington, Ontario, unanimously approved the following motions (among others):

· THAT this Synod endorses the Jerusalem Declaration as exemplifying the tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.

· THAT this Synod instructs the Board of Directors of the Anglican Network in Canada to obtain membership in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans for this Church.

· That this Synod expresses its gratitude to the GAFCON Primates for their support, encouragement, sacrificial labour and fellowship in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

· That this Synod affirms the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference and expresses its gratitude for the on going work of the Common Cause Partnership in the development of a North American Province and encourages the Moderator and the Board to work for the implementation of this Province at the earliest possible date.

Full information on the synod, including an address by Dr J I Packer, is available on our website: