Daily Archives: March 23, 2016

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali's 2016 Easter Message

This is my annual Easter message to the people of Uganda, and, today, I want to talk mostly about Jesus. Because Easter is first and foremost about Jesus.

We have been through a lot recently as a country. Since Christmas, I have tried to remind all of us that “politics is not our salvation ”“ only Jesus is our salvation.”

During the wonderful commemoration of Archbishop Janani Luwum’s life and martyrdom in Mucwini on 16th February, I stressed that “Politics will change, but the Word of God does not change.”

Now, during this Holy Week, I want to call all of us, once again, to “turn our eyes upon Jesus.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Holy Week

[Canon Phil Ashey] Fool me once, shame on you

..Are autonomy and interdependence, alone and apart from a common standard of faith in Scripture, reasons for us to walk together? The Archbishop of Canterbury pleads for this elsewhere in the letter “within the acceptable limits of diversity.” But of course this merely begs the question. If TEC and the Chair of ACC-16 can disregard Scripture and the collegial mind of the Communion with impunity, what meaning can there possibly be to Canterbury’s plea for the primates to work together within “the acceptable limits of diversity.”?

The Primates of Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya rightly discern that the Welby’s notion of “the limits of Anglican diversity” is merely a moving target. His failure to challenge publicly the repudiation of Primates as principal bishops entrusted with the faith and order of the Church speaks volumes on the eve of ACC-16.

And so, as Primates of GAFCON and the majority Global South reflect on the rapid unraveling of their January 11-16 gathering, their voice and vote, their decisions and a new plea from the ABC on the eve of ACC-16, one has to wonder if that famous dictum has crossed their minds:

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

Kenya 1: Archbishop Wabukala responds to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Letter to Primates

Posted on Anglican Ink [pdf]

“an important test of our faithfulness to the Scriptural standard must therefore be upholding historic Anglican doctrine and teaching on marriage and sexuality as affirmed by the whole of the Lambeth 1998 Resolution I.10, including ”˜rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’ and the Conference’s rejection of the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of those involved in such unions.

TEC, the Anglican Church of Canada, and a number of other provinces which are following their example, have rejected these standards yet we are expected to walk together with them. If they can disregard Scripture and the collegial mind of the Communion with impunity, I wonder what meaning there can be to what you refer to as ”˜the acceptable limits of diversity’?

In these circumstances, some of us have been forced to the conclusion that the best way to make our voices heard is by absence rather than presence. We have no wish to interfere in the juridical authority of other provinces, but we do have a responsibility to ensure that our recognition of one another in the Anglican family is based on a common submission to the authority of God’s Word, not simply a shared history.”
Full text follows below and see also statements of non attendance by the Church of Nigeria, the Church of Uganda, the Church of Rwanda and Archbishop Mouneer Anis

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The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
London SE1 7JU

18th March 2016

Your Grace,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus!

Thank you for your letter of 16th March and your good wishes. We do indeed rejoice in the Saviour who by his death has overcome death and it is my prayer that we may all count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in the Risen Christ.

I note the urgency of your appeal for representation at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka next month and, as one of those Primates who have decided that I cannot authorise attendance, I feel I must respond.

It was my hope that our decision taken in Canterbury to limit the participation of the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) would be the first step in recovering godly order and that ”˜enhanced responsibility’ of the Primates Meeting, as affirmed in Lambeth 1998 Resolution III.6, to which you refer.

But now there has been a strong rejection of our moral authority by the Chairman of the ACC, Bishop Tengatenga, who has said that the ”˜primates think they are more important than anyone else’ and has affirmed in clear terms that TEC will participate fully and without restriction.

This is a symptom of the problem set out so clearly by Archbishop Okoh in his statement of 15th March explaining why Nigeria also would not be participating in the Lusaka meeting. The Communion ”˜Instruments’ are not being used so much as instruments of unity but as instruments to cajole orthodox Global South provinces of the Communion into acquiescence with the secular sexual culture which has made such inroads into the Anglican Churches of the West.

You rightly refer to the need for repentance and confession, which was such a feature of the East African Revival, but there does not seem to be any recognition that homosexual activity is a matter for repentance by those speaking on behalf of the London based Anglican Communion authorities. Instead there are only calls to repent of ”˜homophobia’, a term which is seriously compromised by the way homosexual activists have used it to include any opposition to their agenda.

This inability to recognise that the acceptance of homosexual practice calls for repentance is now entrenched by the ”˜Continuing Indaba’ programme being promoted by the Anglican Communion Office. Because it is based on the assumption that the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage is not clear, despite two thousand years of Christian teaching and tradition that it is, it becomes impossible to talk about repentance.

Instead we have to focus on processes which respect different interpretations and cultural sensibilities. I can only assume it is for this reason that you were so anxious to speak of our resolution agreed in Canterbury in terms of consequences rather than discipline or sanction.
If we are truly to walk together, we must walk in the light of God’s Word. May I urge that we return to the clear standard of Scripture as affirmed by Lambeth 1998 Resolution III.5 which ”˜in agreement with the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and in solidarity with the Lambeth Conference of 1888’ affirmed that the ”˜Holy Scriptures contain ‘all things necessary to salvation’ and are for us the ‘rule and ultimate standard’ of faith and practice’.

In a time of widespread confusion on issues of sexuality and gender, an important test of our faithfulness to the Scriptural standard must therefore be upholding historic Anglican doctrine and teaching on marriage and sexuality as affirmed by the whole of the Lambeth 1998 Resolution I.10, including ”˜rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’ and the Conference’s rejection of the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of those involved in such unions.

TEC, the Anglican Church of Canada, and a number of other provinces which are following their example, have rejected these standards yet we are expected to walk together with them. If they can disregard Scripture and the collegial mind of the Communion with impunity, I wonder what meaning there can be to what you refer to as ”˜the acceptable limits of diversity’?

In these circumstances, some of us have been forced to the conclusion that the best way to make our voices heard is by absence rather than presence. We have no wish to interfere in the juridical authority of other provinces, but we do have a responsibility to ensure that our recognition of one another in the Anglican family is based on a common submission to the authority of God’s Word, not simply a shared history.

I am grieved to be writing to you in such terms, but this letter comes with my best wishes for a blessed Holy Week and Easter and let me assure you of my continued prayers and affection, believing that as we are steadfast in the work of the Risen Lord, our labour will not be in vain.

+Eliud Wabukala

The Most Reverend Dr Eliud Wabukala,
Archbishop of Kenya and Bishop, All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi.

CC The Primates of the Anglican Communion

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

The Archbishop of Canterbury writes to the Primates about the upcoming ACC Meeting in Lusaka

Posted on Anglican Ink [pdf]
16 March 2016

Your Graces, dear brothers in Christ

As we enter Passiontide, with less than two weeks until Easter, I wanted to write to wish you all a celebration of Holy Week and the day of Resurrection that is all-consuming in its joy and power. Uniquely, we proclaim a saviour who has overcome death, having lived fully through every experience and temptation of life, and having himself died.

Our great enemy, who tells us that all things end in pointlessness, is defeated by the empty tomb, and with all Christians around the world, we should celebrate without limit.

On Easter day, at Canterbury Cathedral, full of the memories of our Meeting in January, I shall be praying for you and rejoicing in your fellowship in the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Since that Meeting, there have been numerous developments. First, we should be aware of the great rejoicing and thankfulness that the outcome of the Meeting gave to many Christians around the world. We have all received numerous comments of thankfulness that the Anglican Communion, deeply divided in many areas, managed in the part of its leadership which is the Primates’ Meeting, to vote unanimously, amongst those present, to walk together. As you will remember, at that crucial moment, we undertook to seek personally to ensure that what we voted, was put into practise.

Since that time, as I undertook to you, I have followed through by changing the representation of those bodies where I have the ability to make a decision, so as to put into effect the agreement we reached amongst ourselves.

We must, of course, remember that as in the early Church, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, there is never an end to these issues. So long as the Church is made up of human beings, it will be made up of sinners. In consequence, we will take decisions and say things that are inappropriate or wrong. The strength of the East African revival was not that it produced sinless people but that it taught sinners to walk in the light. That meant that they were to confess their sins, repent and acknowledge them.

The issues which have divided us over so many years still exist, and will resurface again at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka. We are called as Primates to work closely with the ACC, as they are called to work with us. For example, Resolution 52 of the Lambeth Conference 1988 said: “This Conference requests the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council to give urgent attention to implementing the hope expressed at Lambeth 1978 (and as confirmed by recent provincial responses) that both bodies would work in the very closest contact.”

At Lambeth 1998, Resolution III point 6, as well as affirming “the enhanced responsibility here in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” of the Primates’ Meeting, also said that the responsibility of the Primates’ Meeting “should be exercised in sensitive consultation with the relevant provinces and with the ACC or in cases of emergency the Executive of the ACC, and that while not interfering with the juridical authority of the provinces, the exercise of these responsibilities by the Primates’ Meeting should carry moral authority calling for ready acceptance through the Communion”.

There are numerous other examples indicating that we should work closely together.

In all cases, back as far as 1857, it is well recognised that there is no single body within the Anglican Communion that has juridical authority over individual provinces. We are autonomous but interdependent.

For these reasons, I hope and pray that every province that is able will be present in Lusaka. The decisions we took in January can only have effect if they gain general ownership amongst the Communion, taking in laity, priests and bishops. Even if a province is not able to be present, I urge you to pray fervently for the outcome of the ACC. We will need to elect a new Chairman, and such a position should be someone, who, speaking the truth in love, seeks to unite the Communion in truth-filled service to Jesus Christ, and not to uphold any particular group at the expense of the Common Good, so long as we are within acceptable limits of diversity.

The ACC is the only body in which laity and clergy, other than bishops, are represented, and is thus of a special importance. It will discuss many matters, including those that we raised in January at Canterbury. These will include our evangelism and witness, the impact of climate change, our response to the great global refugee crisis, our support for those caught in conflict, and above all persecution.

Only those who are present will be able to make their voice heard and their votes effective. I therefore urge you to make every effort to join us in Lusaka, so that, in the presence of the risen Christ, we may continue our often painful, but ever hopeful journey in his service.

This brings my love, respect and commitment to service in the name of Christ our peace, Christ our saviour and Christ our truth.

+ Justin Cantaur

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Andy Crouch's Sermon on Palm Sunday from Christ Church, London

As we celebrate Palm Sunday, Andy Crouch looks at four snapshots from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Through the stories of the king, the image, the pennies and the jar, we learn lessons about worship, power, and what it means to bear the image of God.

Listen to it all by podcast or download.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(C of E) New Easter Passion Film highlights battle against Drug Addiction

The Church of England has today released its film marking Easter 2016 featuring a passion play which features individuals who have struggled with drug addiction, crime and homelessness on their journey to faith.

The film is based on Psalm 22 and contains the lines “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” words spoken by Jesus on the Cross.

The striking imagery in the film includes a re-enactment of a passion play with Christ’s Crown of Thorns being replaced with a crown of syringes to reflect the struggles of addiction faced by those who have recently come to faith in a Halifax Church called “The Saturday Gathering”.

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Holy Week, Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus (John 17)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there. Please note that the sermon proper begins after an introduction and a reading from John 17 by parish members. Also, there reference to the “rise of the nones” is the “none” as is no religious affiliation in some recent American religious surveys.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kentucky Baptist Church rises from Arsonists Ashes–congregation still ”˜on fire’ for the Lord

Black Mountain Missionary Baptist Church absolutely gleams in the sunshine with a fresh coat of paint on the outer walls and brilliant yellow daffodils blooming on the manicured lawn.

The handiwork of an arsonist has been entirely erased. There are no signs of the flames that charred the insides of the historic church, which dates back to the days when this was a working coal camp. The soot and stain and odor of acrid smoke are long gone. So, too, are the water-logged furnishings, ruined in the mad dash by firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

Church members refused to leave Black Mountain in shambles.

“They never missed a worship service because of the fire,” said Bill Wallace, director of missions for the Upper Cumberland Baptist Association. “They never gave up. That says so much about their determination to serve the Lord and to reach this community with the gospel.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Theology

Nabeel Qureshi–The Quran's deadly role in inspiring the Belgian slaughter

This is not at all to say that most Muslims are violent. The vast majority of Muslims do not live their lives based on chapter 9 of the Quran or on the books of jihad in the hadith. My point is not to question the faith of such Muslims nor to imply that radical Muslims are the true Muslims. Rather, I simply want to make clear that while ISIL may lure youth through a variety of methods, it radicalizes them primarily by urging them to follow the literal teachings of the Quran and the hadith, interpreted consistently and in light of the violent trajectory of early Islam. As long as the Islamic world focuses on its foundational texts, we will continue to see violent jihadi movements.

In order to effectively confront radicalization, then, our tools must be similarly ideological, even theological. This is why I suggest that sharing alternative worldviews with Muslims is one of the best methods to address radicalization. Indeed, this is what happened to me. As I faced the reality of the violent traditions of Islam, I had a Christian friend who suggested that Islam did not have to be my only choice and that there were excellent reasons to accept the gospel.

As more and more Western Muslims encounter ISIL’s claims and the surprising violence in their own tradition, many will be looking for ways out of the moral quandary this poses for them. We need to be equipped to provide alternatives to violent jihad, alternatives that address the root of why so many Muslims are radicalizing in the first place. Any solution, political or otherwise, that overlooks the spiritual and religious roots of jihad can have only limited effectiveness.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Belgium, Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(C of E) A Prayer for Brussels

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Belgium, Europe, Spirituality/Prayer, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the American Book of Common Prayer

Assist us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts whereby thou hast given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I call upon God; and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice. He will deliver my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

–Psalm 55:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

[Anne Kennedy] Lament over Brussels

My favorite airport in the world is the Brussels Airport. In the shadowy distant past of my childhood, that airport was the gateway to many particular kinds of bliss”“the stark, brisk rush of cold air, so different from the heavy bright humidity of Abidjan and the fierce dry heat of Bamako. You climb out of the plane and the world outside is all concrete and stone, petrol fumes, elegance, and frites avec mayonnaise. You gather your luggage and your exhaustion and make pilgrimages to the place of the waffle, the chocolate shop, the moules frites, Grand-Place, and, the very reason for going there, the grandparents. Going to Belgium meant being with them, for a few days, or maybe a whole week.

The curious thing about Europe in general, and Brussels in particular, was how seriously they took airport security in those far off days.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Terrorism

(FT) Rafaello Pantucci-The Brussels attacks show that terrorists can strike at will

The first questions raised will focus on Belgium’s response to the problem on their home ground. Authorities may have scored a victory by capturing Salah Abdeslam, one of the Isis-aligned plotters linked to the Paris attacks, but they missed a network planning an atrocity with heavy weapons and explosives. This suggests gaps in the understanding and surveillance of the terrorist threat. Given that Brussels sits at the political heart of Europe, this points to a problem that can no longer be described as Belgian alone.

While for some the terrorist atrocities in Paris was a wake-up call, for security forces it had been expected for a while. Terrorist groups, from al-Qaeda to Isis, have long sought to launch a terrorist attack in the style of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and a string of plots have been disrupted or launched from a francophone network emanating from Brussels. The Paris attack was the realisation of these fears from a depressingly predictable place.

The networks of radicalised individuals with links to Isis have grown as the group continues to hold sway on the battlefield and send back people and plots to their original bases in western Europe. Given the tempo of attacks and the ease with which the networks appear able to acquire weapons and move freely around the continent, Europeans will ask themselves how much longer they will face this threat. I

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Belgium, Europe, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence