Daily Archives: May 6, 2013

Carl Trueman–Have we witnessed the development of an Evangelical Industrial Complex?

This month, I thought I would use this column to indulge in a little thought experiment. What, I wonder, if the conservative evangelical church world came to be dominated by a symbiotic network of high profile and charismatic leaders (think more Weber than Wimber), media organisations, and big conferences? What if leadership, doctrine, and policy were no longer rooted in the primacy of biblical polity and the local church? What if, in other words, all of this became a function of an Evangelical Industrial Complex?

It is an important question. It is probably a year or so since I raised the question of the impact of celebrity on evangelicalism. As I was told then, celebrity either does not exist in the evangelical subculture or is of no real importance there. Thus, I suspect the Evangelical Industrial Complex either does not exist or exerts no influence; but it is entertaining to imagine what would the signs be that it was a real issue (which, I am sure you will agree, it is not).

The aesthetics of success would subtly and imperceptibly supplant the principles of faithfulness or would indeed come to be identified with the same. The rhetoric of faithfulness would be retained, but the substance would be less and less important.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

'Prophetic' Florida rector selected as the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey's twelfth bishop

The Rev. William Stokes, who has been an advocate in Florida for immigrants and the poor, was elected yesterday to be the bishop of New Jersey, the sixth largest diocese in the Episcopal church.

He will replace Bishop George Councell, who announced earlier this year, that he would pass on his mantle after nearly 10 years.

“I am humbled beyond expression and deeply honored to have been elected as the Twelfth Bishop of New Jersey. I am grateful to the people of the diocese for their confidence, support and prayers,” Stokes said in a church press release.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(Wash. Post) Reported Israeli airstrikes in Syria could accelerate U.S. decision process

Israel’s reported airstrikes in Syria ”” and the threat of a retaliatory strike by the Syrian government ”” are likely to accelerate the decision-making of the Obama administration, which was already moving toward a sharp escalation of U.S. involvement in the two-year-old crisis.

Senior officials said the deployment of U.S. troops to Syria remains unlikely, but they have indicated that a decision will come within weeks on options ranging from the supply of weapons to the Syrian rebels to the use of U.S. aircraft and missiles to ground President Bashar al-Assad’s air power by destroying planes, runways and missile sites inside Syria.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria

(CEN) “No amnesty for Boko Haram” says the Church of Nigeria

The Archbishop of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh has warned that a blanket amnesty for the terror group Boko Haram would see Christians driven from Northern Nigeria. In a position paper prepared by the church in response to the creation of an amnesty commission by President Goodluck Jonathan, the archbishop warned that amnesty without reconciliation would not solve the problem.

“If the Federal Government goes ahead through the amnesty committee to make peace on BH’s terms, it would have inadvertently and effectively banned Christians and Christianity from the North. In the amnesty committee, who will speak for the right of the church, not to be tolerated, but as Nigerian Christians to exist side by side with Islam and Muslims, build churches, worship freely, move about freely without being hunted down with all sorts of weapons?,” said the document entitled “’The rough edges of the amnesty proposition”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

(CNS) Battle with the devil: Pope Francis frames the fight in Jesuit terms

In the teaching of Pope Francis, the devil has a more dastardly agenda than just convincing people to break one of the Ten Commandments; “the enemy” wants them to feel weak, worthless and always ready to complain or gossip.

In his first month in office, Pope Francis continually preached about God’s love and mercy, but he also frequently mentioned the devil and that sly dog’s glee when people take their eyes off of Jesus and focus only on what’s going wrong around them.

In the book “On Heaven and Earth,” originally published in Spanish in 2010, the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, said, “I believe that the devil exists” and “his greatest achievement in these times has been to make us believe he doesn’t exist.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–The Call to and Content of the Christian Hope (Revelation 22:1-5)

Listen here if you wish.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times) Caught in Methodism’s Split Over Same-Sex Marriage

It started out as a deeply personal act, that of a father officiating at the wedding of his son.

But it was soon condemned as a public display of ecclesiastical disobedience, because the father, the Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree, is a minister in the United Methodist Church, which does not allow its clergy to perform same-sex weddings.

Dr. Ogletree, 79, is now facing a possible canonical trial for his action, accused by several New York United Methodist ministers of violating church rules. While he would not be the first United Methodist minister to face discipline for performing a same-sex wedding, he could well be the one with the highest profile. He is a retired dean of Yale Divinity School, a veteran of the nation’s civil rights struggles and a scholar of the very type of ethical issues he is now confronting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who hast called us to fight under the banner of thy cross against the evil of the world, the flesh and the devil: Grant us thy grace, that clothed in purity and equipped with thy heavenly armour, we may follow thee as thou goest forth conquering and to conquer, and steadfast to the last we may share in thy final triumph; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

–W. H. Frere

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“All the commandment which I command you this day you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out upon you, and your foot did not swell, these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

–Deuteronomy 8:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Choral Evensong


from King’s College, Cambridge recorded last Wednesday with the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra is available here. Hymn is Thou art the Way; Canticles from Stanford in A; Anthem is Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s Ascribe unto the Lord.

The Trinity College, Cambridge service broadcast on Sunday is available here. The preacher is Ann Widdecombe on ‘Doubt’. The hymns are The day of Resurrection and This Joyful Eastertide; Responses by Rose; Canticles from Herbert Howells’ Gloucester Service and the Anthem is Francis Poulenc’s Exultate Deo

More Sunday Worship here

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter

(Press–Telegram) Bible belief down, despite hit History Channel miniseries

When Zack Domangue talks about world views with folks, the topic of the Bible typically inspires a host of questions.

“I think when you get to questions about the Bible, the biggest questions are can I trust it is legit?” said Domangue, president of Cal State Long Beach’s Cru Club, formerly known as Crusade for Christ. “Is it the inspired word of God? Is it sacred and does it matter anymore? The values learned in the stories written down, can they be applied today? Is the Bible historically accurate? ”

The 22-year-old business management major would answer yes to those questions. But an increasing number people aren’t so sure.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Living Church) Robert Jenson reviews Anthony Baker’s “Diagonal Advance”

By the time this review is published, Anthony Baker’s book may be the current theological big thing. As of this writing, graduate students are talking about it at major seminaries, and it got a session at the last convention of the American Academy of Religion. If the buzz continues, I predict it will divide the spirits: some will announce the founding of a whole new way of theology; some will find the project merely preposterous; and some ”” like me ”” will alternate, finding one discussion illuminating and the very next bizarre.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Theology

(WSJ) Sarah Richards–Why I Froze My Eggs (And You Should, Too)

Between the ages of 36 and 38, I spent nearly $50,000 to freeze 70 eggs in the hope that they would help me have a family in my mid-40s, when my natural fertility is gone. For this baby insurance, I obliterated my savings and used up the money my parents had set aside for a wedding. It was the best investment I ever made.

Egg freezing stopped the sadness that I was feeling at losing my chance to have the child I had dreamed about my entire life. It soothed my pangs of regret for frittering away my 20s with a man I didn’t want to have children with, and for wasting more years in my 30s with a man who wasn’t sure he even wanted children. It took away the punishing pressure to seek a new mate and helped me find love again at age 42.

I decided to freeze on the afternoon of my 36th birthday, when I did a fresh round of baby math on the back of a business card at Starbucks. Even if the man I was dating at the time agreed to start a family in the near future, I was cutting it close to have one baby, let alone a second. Several months later, after injecting myself for nearly two weeks with hormone shots, I was in surgery at a Manhattan fertility clinic as my doctor pierced my ovaries, suctioned out nine eggs and handed them to the embryologist to freeze until I was ready to use them. As soon as I woke up in the recovery room, I no longer felt as though I were watching my window to have a baby close by the month. My future seemed full of possibility again.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology, Young Adults

Archbishop Welby’s Chichester Visitation ”“ The Final Report Published

The final report for the enquiry into the operation of the diocesan child protection policies in the Diocese of Chichester has today been published.

The report was written by Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC who were appointed in 2011 as the former Archbishop of Canterbury’s commissaries to carry out the enquiry.

In responding to the final report, Archbishop Justin has made the following statement:

“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to not only the Commissaries for their care and concern in the course of carrying out this Visitation, but also to the survivors of abuse who have been able to share their experiences. The hurt and damage that has been done to them is something the Church can never ignore and I can only repeat what I have said before – that they should never have been let down by the people who ought to have been a source of trust and comfort and I want to apologise on behalf of the Church for pain and hurt they have suffered. I remain deeply grateful for their cooperation in the work of the Visitation….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

Jamaican Anglican Bishop calls for free press with guts

Aanglican Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Rt Rev Dr Howard Gregory, is suggesting that the media have more to offer.

“While we expect the media to be truthful in reflecting what is happening in our midst, I submit that the journalistic community has a significant role to play in the shaping of our society,” he said. Gregory said the view that media only reflect what is going on is a cop-out.

“If the journalistic community is simply going to reflect the dynamics and values of society, then we are in deep trouble.” Speaking at the World Press Freedom Day Forum at The Knutsford Court Hotel on Thursday, Bishop Gregory said a spirit of individualism is permeating societies and institutions of governance and commerce are taking more control over citizens’ lives. He said there seems to be no exploration of the values which are informing the decisions being made and the extent they influence society’s choices.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Ethics / Moral Theology, Jamaica, Media, Religion & Culture, Theology