Daily Archives: April 15, 2014

The Ministry Continues: A Position Statement from the Trustees of Anglican Mainstream

1. The coming into effect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 may have changed English law but it has not changed Anglican Mainstream’s commitment to promote, teach and maintain the commonly agreed Scriptural truths of the Christian faith. For Anglicans these truths are expressed by the historic Creeds, the 39 Articles, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. They provide the source of true unity and fellowship, and the basis of our mission and service to a needy world. Those truths remain and, as the Church of England’s house of bishops’ statement has explicitly confirmed, the church’s doctrine of marriage remains unchanged.

2. We recognise that the passage of the 2013 Act marks a further step away from biblical values in our national life and demonstrates the extent of the decline in the influence of the Christian churches in Parliament and public debate. In spite of much effort from the churches individually and collectively, the Parliamentary vote was substantially in favour of the measure, as was public opinion.

3. Nevertheless, the failure to win the debate about the legislation does not indicate that we were wrong; rather, that the arguments offered and the strategy adopted failed to overcome the intellectual and emotional appeals of the forces of self-centred secularism which dominates our culture. There was in fact little debate and those urging care and caution were disregarded.

4. Powerful as those forces are, we place our faith in a stronger power, that of God Himself.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Barbara Brown Taylor on the devil, death, and the definition of ”˜Christian’

RNS: You’ve talked a lot about your journey out of the church world. What do you consider yourself now? Christian or Episcopalian or something else?

BBT: It’s true that a wrote a book called Leaving Church in which I detail leaving parish ministry, but I’m still very much involved in the church world. I end up speaking and lecturing in church settings at least twice a month. So I haven’t journeyed out of the church at all as far as I can tell. I’d say I consider myself a practicing Christian and in April I’ll celebrate my 30th anniversary as a priest in the Episcopal church. So I’m an active and practicing Christian, though I’m as bad at it as most of us are.

RNS: So if you’re a Christians and other who have very different beliefs and practices than you are too, what makes a person a Christian exactly?

BBT: I can call myself a Christian, and there are bodies of Christians who could disagree with me based on their own criteria about what makes a real Christian. But I think a lot of us are rethinking what it means to be Christian. And a lot of us are rejecting other people’s rejection of us as Christians. At this point in my life, I am pretty willing to let people tell me whether or not they are Christian rather than imposing my own definitions of it on them. My base definition is “here she says, here she is a Christian.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Sarah Coakley–Will You Draw Near? Meditations for Holy Week

Editor’s note: Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University and Canon of Ely Cathedral, delivered the following meditations at Salisbury Cathedral over the course of Holy Week in March 2013. Last year, we published the final of those meditations on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This year, we are thrilled to publish these masterpieces of theological reflection in their entirety. Throughout Holy Week, this page will be updated with the meditation that corresponds to each day, reaching its climax on Easter Sunday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

India’s Muslims worried about controversial Hindu leader as national elections begin

As priests chanted and smeared vermilion on Narendra Modi’s forehead, the opposition leader prayed that India would make him its next prime minister.

Modi came to this Hindu holy city late last year to worship at a site that has been contested by Hindus and Muslims for centuries. Just yards from where he stood, a two-story wall of metal bars separated the historic temple from a mosque.

Modi has been a polarizing figure in India for years. Now his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has surged in the polls as a discontented electorate has embraced his message of economic growth and corruption-free government. Voters have begun to cast their ballots in national elections, which will continue in stages until May 12.

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Hinduism, History, India, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Boston Globe) One Year, One City

Read it all (every photo has a story just click on each person)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, History, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Liverpool Echo) Live: Merseyside remembers the Hillsborough 96 twenty five years on

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A picture of the Liverpool Town Hall flag at half mast is here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Sports

Justin Terry–Faith & Science: Studying a Disordered World

Understanding the Christian faith in the light of current scientific theories is a vital topic for anyone seeking to commend Christ today. The highly-publicized recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye “the Science Guy” is a case in point, as is the choice to focus on this topic for the recent Mere Anglicanism conference.

With my background in physics, it is a subject that has long interested me. In engaging these conversations, it is important to remember that scientists study a disordered world. It has fallen into sin, death, and destruction, which we know from Scripture are not part of God’s long-term plans for His creation. But this fall is something that probably cannot be detected scientifically. Scientists can only study what they “see” and then draw inferences from that. They observe, for instance, that entropy (disorder) always increases in natural events, but cannot know scientifically that this must be a temporary crisis that will be resolved in the new heavens and new earth that will last forever.

Read it all (page 3).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Apologetics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Robert Cottrill on the Charles Wesley Hymn A Charge to Keep I Have

The comments by Matthew Henry that caught Wesley’s attention were:

“We have, every one of us, a charge to keep, an eternal God to glorify, an immortal soul to provide for, needful duties to be done, our generation to serve; and it must be our daily care to keep this charge, for it is the charge of the Lord our Master” (The Matthew Henry Commentary, p. 121).

CH-1) A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
Who gave His Son my soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

CH-2) To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfil:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my master’s will!

Many things have changed, on this side of the cross. There is no longer a Levitical tribe of priests, or one central tabernacle (or temple) as Israel had. And because of the great sacrifice of Christ, God’s Lamb (Jn. 1:29), we no need to offer animal sacrifices. They were simply a foreshadowing of Calvary.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

A Charles Wesley Hymn for Holy Week–A charge to keep I have

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my master’s will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall for ever die.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord God, whose blessed Son, our Saviour, gave his back to the smiters, and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The American Book of Common Prayer

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; he delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have behaved in the world, and still more toward you, with holiness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God. For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand; I hope you will understand fully, as you have understood in part, that you can be proud of us as we can be of you, on the day of the Lord Jesus.

Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double pleasure; I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedo”²nia, and to come back to you from Macedo”²nia and have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans like a worldly man, ready to say Yes and No at once? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silva”²nus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God. But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

–2 Corinthians 1:8-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Andrew Brown) The recent same-sex Anglican wedding exposes a creaking compromise within the church

The marriage of canon Jeremy Pemberton and Laurence Cunnington, the first gay clergy wedding in England, looks like a decisive test of strength within the Church of England between liberals and conservatives. But it may just shift the trenches a few hundred yards. The tangles of employment law and church law make it almost impossible for either side to get all they want.

It looks as if it should be easy for the bishop of Lincoln, in whose diocese the canon works, to discipline Pemberton if he wants to. But Pemberton is not in fact a vicar. He is a hospital chaplain, which means he is employed by the local NHS trust. They are not going to sack him for contracting a perfectly legal marriage. The bishop has no power to get him sacked even if he wanted to.

But this is the Church of England; things are seldom simple….

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Newspaper, the Jubilate Deo

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Mail on Sunday) Janet Street-Porter–The PM is brave, 'These days it takes guts to believe in God'

Every time I say I believe in God, people look a bit embarrassed. It’s become one of those subjects most people don’t want to discuss.

We can talk face-to-face and chat online about our sex lives, our children and our fantasy partners, but we hesitate to reveal whether we believe in life after death.

At Easter, the most important religious festival for Christians, politicians go through hoops to avoid talk of the G (God) word, for fear of alienating voters.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Listen To God: Hear the Poor–Archbishop Justin Welby on loving others as Jesus loves us

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent