Monthly Archives: August 2016

Ed Stetzer–Why Burkinis Should Matter To Christians Who Care About Religious Freedom

Yesterday I wrote an article for Religion News Service about women and burkinis. But, it was not really about women and burkinis. It was about secularism and its march.

Before you go much further, click here and see this picture at the New York Times. It’s of the French police making a woman take off more clothes to stay on a beach.

So, this is not really about burkinis, but it is about the right of religious people to live out the implications of their beliefs, even in the face of the secular march of the Western world.

Read it all from CT.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Evangelicals, France, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AT) Bruce Davidson–Is Evangelicalism Dying?

The greatest force to remold evangelicalism may be psychotherapism. In the past, many evangelical institutions slammed the door shut on humanistic theological liberalism. Ironically, they then let the same way of thinking in by the back door, in the shape of humanistic psychology. As early as 1993, in No Place for Truth, David Wells lamented the ascendency of psychology over theology in evangelical seminaries, where counseling courses and psychology-based programs had already become more popular than theology.

Evangelical institutions largely abandoned an emphasis on Bible exposition, doctrine, and moral living in favor of promoting therapy for practical problems and emphasizing self-actualization. The result of all this has been the proliferation of mega-church and mega-media personality cults, where the message frequently contains more psychobabble than Bible. The charismatic leaders piloting these institutions are often poor at explaining scripture and doctrine.

However, by jumping on the psychotherapeutic bandwagon, evangelical organizations made a grave mistake. Many popular psychotherapeutic concepts, such as self-esteem and repressed memory, have been discredited by contemporary psychological research. If evangelicals had held fast to traditional, scriptural notions like inborn human depravity, they would now be in the strong position of being able to say “I told you so.” Instead, evangelical institutions have become havens for debunked pseudoscience. Moreover, the therapeutic orientation has encouraged the current epidemic of religious narcissism.

Read it all.

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

(WSJ) Ship Operators Explore Autonomous Sailing

“All hands on deck” may become a thing of the past.

Ship designers, their operators and regulators are gearing up for a future in which cargo vessels sail the oceans with minimal or even no crew. Advances in automation and ample bandwidth even far offshore could herald the biggest change in shipping since diesel engines replaced steam.

Ship operators believe more automation will enable them to optimize ship use, including cutting fuel consumption. “The benefit of automation is as an enabler of further efficiency across the 630 vessels we operate,” said Palle Laursen, head of Maersk Line Ship Management, a unit of cargo-ship giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Theology

(JE) John Lomperis–5 Ways the new United Methodist Bishops’ Commission Can Foster Trust

….our denominational dialogues specifically on homosexuality have suffered from a skewing of the voices heard.

One should always be careful in guessing at the motives of others. But it seems safe to assume that when Love Prevails demands the inclusion of “LGBT people” as commission members, particularly when Love Prevails declares that it cannot be appeased by the inclusion of some “Queer people who are moderate and acceptable to [our bishops’] vision of polite conversation,” the sort of people it has in mind are not Christians who find themselves to be same-sex-attracted but choose to remain celibate for life, out of their deep personal support for the moral boundaries affirmed in our Discipline.

But such voices are important….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Archbp Cranmer blog) Vicars warned not to wear dog collars in public for fear of Islamist attack

We are not told which officials in which diocese have issued this warning, but it is advice which needs to be ignored. To heed such guidance is to surrender to fanatical Islamists; to conceal one’s Christian faith out of fear of the consequences; to hide one’s light under a bushel in order not to provoke some hot-headed Muslim extremist to combat.

Easy for someone to say who’s not in danger of being a target, you may say. But what have we become if we relinquish the vestments of our national faith out of fear of the adherents of another religion? What is ceded? Who is appeased? Where is the victor and who is the vanquished?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Terrorism, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Aidan and Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Everliving God, who didst call thy servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and endued them with loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Kendall Harmon

Gracious Lord, we rejoice in the gift of life and in the present of another day, and as we begin by receiving it from your hands we pray that we may be open to the many other benefits you have in store for us, and wise in our use of the time so we may through the Holy Spirit use it for your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

August 2016 Pastoral Letter from GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

But now what happened in North America is being repeated elsewhere. If not effectively challenged, false teaching is contagious, especially when it is well funded. At the recent meeting in Kigali of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), the London based Anglican Communion Secretary General, Josiah Idowu-Fearon commended the relief and development work of the Anglican Alliance, but new research by the Institute for Religion and Democracy shows close links between this organisation and TEC. Even now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is contemplating the overturning of Scripture by legitimising the blessing of same sex unions in breach of Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, despite reaffirming it at the recent meeting of the Council of Anglican Churches of Africa in Rwanda.

However, the greatest cause for concern continues to be the British Isles. The Scottish Episcopal Church has already opened the door wide to conducting same sex ”˜marriages’ while in England, Salisbury Cathedral has become the latest of a growing number of cathedrals which publicly support and even bless ”˜Gay Pride’ marches. Chichester Diocese has issued a statement commending those of its churches ”˜with open doors to celebrate all that the Pride Festival stands for’ while the website of the Church of England’s Diocese of Europe celebrates the ”˜truly joyful occasion’ of the same sex ”˜marriage’ of a member of one of its congregations conducted by the Lutheran Bishop of Copenhagen.

I am therefore encouraged that seventy two members of the Church of England’s General Synod have written an open letter to the English bishops ahead of meetings planned later this year calling on them not to compromise by adopting practices that are contrary to Lambeth Resolution I.10 and warning that to do so ”˜could set the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

NYT–How a Secretive Branch of ISIS Built a Global Network of Killers

A long but important article if you haven’t seen it–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, France, Globalization, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Syria, Terrorism

(FT) Martin Wolf–Capitalism and democracy: the strain is showing

Is the marriage between liberal democracy and global capitalism an enduring one? Political developments across the west ”” particularly the candidacy of an authoritarian populist for the presidency of the most important democracy ”” heighten the importance of this question. One cannot take for granted the success of the political and economic systems that guide the western world and have been a force of attraction for much of the rest for four decades. The question then arises: if not these, what?

A natural connection exists between liberal democracy ”” the combination of universal suffrage with entrenched civil and personal rights ”” and capitalism, the right to buy and sell goods, services, capital and one’s own labour freely. They share the belief that people should make their own choices as individuals and as citizens. Democracy and capitalism share the assumption that people are entitled to exercise agency. Humans must be viewed as agents, not just as objects of other people’s power.

Yet it is also easy to identify tensions between democracy and capitalism. Democracy is egalitarian. Capitalism is inegalitarian, at least in terms of outcomes. If the economy flounders, the majority might choose authoritarianism, as in the 1930s. If economic outcomes become too unequal, the rich might turn democracy into plutocracy.

Read it all (if necessary another link is there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Politics in General, Theology

Albert Mohler–Do the sexual revolutionaries+their theologians understand what they've unleashed?

Let me be clear. I agree with Gushee’s main point. Middle ground is indeed disappearing on LGBT issues. Indeed, the very idea of middle ground or a “third way” on these questions is ludicrous on its face. I have been making this argument in public for well over a decade. In 2005 I wrote an article with the title, “No Middle Ground on Homosexuality.” My argument then and my argument now is that the normalization of LGBT behaviors and relationships and revisions of human identity is incompatible with a commitment to biblical authority and the historic faith of the Christian church defined by Holy Scripture.
Middle ground was always untenable, even when some version of middle ground was David Gushee’s own position. The demand of the LGBT revolution is not merely toleration or even legalization, but required celebration. Middle ground disappears in the irreconcilable nature of the conflict. The “third way” is just a delaying tactic on the taxiway to full take-off.
When it comes to actions to be taken against Christians and Christian institutions, Gushee’s language is very informative. He raises “the related question of whether religious institutions should be allowed to continue discriminating due to their doctrinal beliefs.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, History, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Tuesday Mental Health Break–NeedtoBreathe, a local group, from their new Album: Clear

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Theology

(CT) Mark Galli–Evangelicals and Race””A New Chapter

Mainstream white evangelicals have experienced collective “God moments.” In the 1970s, few churches concerned themselves with the relief of world hunger. Then Ron Sider wrote Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, and before long, we just assumed that evangelicals should be concerned about hunger. Before Roe v. Wade, abortion was sidelined as a Catholic concern. But after the advocacy of Francis Schaeffer and others, we quickly saw the great evil that abortion is. These were God moments””times when our Lord graciously gave us moral clarity about an issue he was calling us to engage.

We are currently experiencing a new “God moment,” when God is shining his burning light on how our nation and our churches are fractured by racial division and injustice. In the past two years, we’ve seen image after image of injustice perpetrated against black Americans. We’ve studied the statistics. And most important, we’ve heard the anguished cry of a suffering community that is understandably hurting, angry, and demanding progress.

Moderate white evangelicals, who make up the bulk of our movement, see more clearly than ever how racism is embedded in many aspects of our society, from business to law enforcement to education to church life. We have been slow to hear what the black church has been telling us for a while. And in all that, we hear God calling his church to seek justice and reconciliation in concrete ways.

To be evangelical now means to be no longer deaf to these cries or to God’s call.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence