Monthly Archives: October 2016

Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox theologians reach further agreement on the Holy Spirit

Last year, the AOOIC communiqué recommended the omission of the Filioque clause ”“ the words “and the son” which western churches added to “”¦which proceeds from the Father” in the Nicene Creed without international consensus. The Anglican co-chair of the Commission, Bishop Gregory Cameron from St Asaph in Wales, said at the time that it had “long been a source of contention between Western and Eastern Christians.”

In their communiqué issued at the end of last week’s talks, the members of the AOOIC said that “having completed its work on the Procession of the Holy Spirit at its 2015 meeting, the Commission continued its reflection on the second part of its Agreed Statement on pneumatology, ”˜The Sending of the Holy Spirit in Time (Economia).’

“This second part considers the action of the Holy Spirit in the life and mission of the Church making it one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The Co-Chairs signed the second part of Agreed Statement that will be sent to our churches for reflection and comment, after which the Commission will produce the full statement, ”˜The Nature and Work of the Holy Spirit,’ in its final form.”

Read it all from ACNS.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(NYT) Long Before Twitter, Martin Luther Was a Media Pioneer

Americans may know the basics of how Martin Luther was said to have nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517, condemning the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences, but they probably don’t realize how Luther strategically used the media of his time: books, paintings, prints and music.

This monk in a town at the edge of Germany took on the Holy Roman emperor and the pope ”” then the most powerful men in Europe ”” 500 years ago, and won, dividing the church, setting in play “one of the most successful media campaigns in history” and altering Western society and culture, said John T. McQuillen, assistant curator of printed books and bindings at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.

That message and its resonance are being celebrated at three institutions in honor of the coming 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s action and the beginning of the Reformation. Each of the shows ”” in Manhattan, Atlanta and Minneapolis ”” is unique. Featured among them are hundreds of objects: liturgical vestments; illuminated manuscripts; satirical woodcuts; one of six existing single-sheet printed copies of the 95 theses; the pulpit where Luther last preached; personal belongings, like Luther’s traveling spoon and beer stein; and items from recent archaeological excavations in Germany, including household goods and toys linked to Luther’s childhood.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, History, Lutheran, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Anglicans to establish new church in Lima, Ohio

When Christ Episcopal Church closed its doors in 2005, it was the end of an era for local Episcopalians. The closest Episcopal church was Trinity Episcopal Church in Findlay. So the faithful could either drive to Findlay to attend services, or find refuge in other congregations, which led many parishioners across North West Street to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.

But after a 12-year absence, the Church of England ”” the spiritual authority for all Episcopalians ”” is returning to Lima, this time in the form of an Anglican church. The Venerable Paul Aduba, Rector of the Anglican Church of the Pentecost in Toledo, has announced plans to establish a new church in Lima early in 2017.

“Lima is strategic,” he said, explaining the decision to establish a church here. “It is between Toledo and Dayton. We found that Lima shares some very important dynamics. There is St. Rita’s Hospital there. You produce military equipment there. We discovered that Lima is a good, fertile ground for the Gospel.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry

A 24/7 Webchat For the Spiritually Searching: Church Of Scotland Looks To Reverse Decline

The Church of Scotland is to launch a webchat service to help those looking for spiritual guidance but unwilling to come to church on a Sunday.

The initiative will go live in the new year and is the Kirk’s latest effort to reach beyond its traditional audience as figures show a continued trend away from organised religion.

The digital congregation will be able to book an online chat with a minister but may have to wait up to three hours for a reply. A separate 24-hour chatline to discuss religious questions has also been set up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Scotland

(Crux) Post-ISIS, Middle East Christians fear other caliphates to come

There are indications that life for Christians in Iraq, including in liberated areas of Nineveh, will not be easy. Some see troubling signs that certain politicians in Iraq ”“ and in neighboring regional power Turkey ”“ will try to build their own empires or caliphates on the rubble of the one ISIS attempted.

After the liberation from ISIS of historically Christian towns in the Nineveh region of Iraq last week, Patriarch Luis Raphael Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church visited several of the newly-freed areas.

“These are our lands, Christian lands and villages,” Patriach Sako, the Baghdad-based spiritual leader of many of Iraq’s Christians said. He added that Christians would soon return to their ancestral lands, according to AsiaNews.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, History, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–We are Called to be Christ's Witnesses in Word+Deed (John 3:1-21)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

(Christ/St. Paul’s Church Yonges Island SC; photo by Jacob Borrett)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Chappy days are here! The Chicago Cubs force Game 6 in the World Series

For two days, generations of Cubs fans have held their breath. If they couldn’t see the team win its first championship since 1908 in Chicago, could the Cubs win at least one World Series game at Wrigley Field? Kris Bryant, Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman obliged, and gave them reason to party on Sunday night.

Bryant ignited a three-run fourth inning with a leadoff home run, Lester provided the veteran moxy and Chapman worked overtime as the Cubs picked up a 3-2 victory over the Indians in Game 5 to avoid elimination and trim Cleveland’s lead in the best-of-seven Series to three games to two. Game 6 will be Tuesday night at Progressive Field, which will get live baseball after hosting watch parties all weekend.

Teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit before, most recently the 1985 Royals. The Cubs can look to the ’79 Pirates, the ’68 Tigers, the ’58 Yankees and the ’25 Pirates for inspiration, too.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Sports

(CEN) Andrew Carey: Challenging times for the Church in the UK

We live in very challenging times for Christians in the West. There are cultural forces that unsettle and disturb the Church, and at times threaten to engulf it.

The tragedy is that many Christians and many church leaders are swept away by many developments that are at odds with our faith. They are lost or missing in action and have become victims of cultural struggles and differences that have always been with us since the very beginnings of Christianity. Others have changed sides and actively campaign against faith positions they once held dear.

There are several developments which I find appalling and which I will loosely group around issues to do with Christianity and western law which have long themselves been linked.

1. It is absolutely chilling that Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland have lost their case in the Court of Appeal. The original ruling was that Ashers had discriminated against a gay man because they refused to bake a cake that carried a pro-gay marriage slogan. Let’s not forget that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that retains the previous perfectly serviceable and Christian definition of marriage. The Ashers Bakery contended that they are happy to bake cakes for anyone but would have refused to bake a cake supporting gay marriage even if a heterosexual had asked them to do so….

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

Almighty God, whose blessed Son taught in all honesty the way of life that thou requirest: Grant that we may so live as dutiful and loyal citizens of our earthly country, that we may show ourselves to be members of that heavenly country whereof thou art sovereign Lord and King; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

–Psalm 56:3-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Economist) The FBI reconsiders Hillary Clinton’s e-mails

…rather astonishingly, almost a third of Democrats also said Mr Comey was wrong not to have indicted her first time around. That signals both the broader doubts many Democrats have about their nominee””and the acutely effective way in which this scandal has exacerbated them.

Case reports released by the FBI into its investigation suggest Mr Podesta is in fact right in his appraisal. They portray Mrs Clinton’s amateurish e-mail arrangements as largely a product of staggering naivety and extreme technophobia; they were designed to address her need to receive official and personal e-mails on a single Blackberry device, mainly because she did not know how to use a desktop computer. Nonetheless, the scandal, which first broke shortly after she launched her presidential campaign, has been deeply damaging to Mrs Clinton because of the way it seemed to chime with her pre-existing reputation for dishonesty.

That reputation appears to be substantially unwarranted””it is a product of decades of highly politicised scandals from which Mrs Clinton has emerged convicted of no crime. In the light of it, however, she needed to be far more candid about the nature of her e-mail errors than she appears to be capable of. For months Mrs Clinton denied having done anything wrong””before having a begrudging acknowledgement of her blunder, and more begrudging apology for it, wrung out of her by unrelenting negative coverage of the affair.

Absent some serious new evidence of wrongdoing from Mr Comey, Mrs Clinton’s e-mail error was in this sense mainly political. But it is nonetheless deadly serious.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Office of the President, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(DG) Joe Rigney–The Gift of God’s Judgment: Our Election Crisis and Opportunity

But what if we find ourselves in agreement with both sides? The election of either candidate represents a colossal failure on the part of this nation. We could go so far as to say that the election of either one of them is evidence of God’s judgment on America. But that’s not the whole story.

The reality is that the fact that we’re faced with this horrible choice is divine judgment. It’s as though God is saying to us, as he did to the ancient Israelites in the book of Amos, “I sent you two grossly unfit candidates, and still you would not return to me. I sent vileness from one party and corruption from the other, and still you would not return to me” (see, for example, Amos 4:6”“11).

God is holding a mirror up to America, as it were. He is showing us who we are as a nation. We may not like what we see, but the two major party candidates represent us well. Lies, corruption, selfishness, unbridled ambition, shameless sexual immorality ”” all committed with a high hand. That’s our nation. God is giving us the leaders that we deserve.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Theology, Theology: Scripture

"Emma is a boy": AJC features a mother's story of her 12-yr-old daughter who wants to be a boy

A few days after the conversation in the car, I found [Emma’s older sister] Hannah alone in her room and asked her again what was going on with Emma. She hesitated at first, but finally came out with it.

“Emma is transgender,” she said matter-of-factly.

“What does that mean?” I had heard the term, but never thought much about it.

“Emma is a boy,” Hannah said.

“But Emma’s a girl. She can’t be a boy,” I said. It sounded ridiculous.

“She feels like she was supposed to be a boy instead of a girl.”

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

Tim Keller: "Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical"

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

What is Evangelism from JI Packer–Sunday Morning food for Thought

How then should evangelism be defined? The N.T. answer is very simple. According to the N.T., evangelism is just preaching the gospel, the evangel”¦ Christians are sent to convert, and they should not allow themselves, as Christs representatives in the world, to aim at anything less. Evangelizing, therefore is not simply a matter of teaching, and instructing, and imparting information to the mind. There is more to it than that. Evangelism includes the endeavor to elicit a response to the truth taught. It is communication with a view to conversion. It is a matter, not merely of informing, but also of inviting. It is communication with a view to conversion. It is an attempt to gain (KJV) or win (ESV) or catch our fellow men to Christ (see 1 Cor 9:19ff.; 1 Pet. 3:1; Luke 5:10) Our Lord depicts it as fishermen’s work (Mt 4:19; cf. 13:47).

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVaristy Press, 1961) pp.41-50, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture