— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) September 1, 2019
–quoted in the morning sermon by yours truly
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) September 1, 2019
–quoted in the morning sermon by yours truly
Nearly nine in 10 people in Scotland support legalising assisted dying, according to a new poll. The Populus survey, commissioned by campaign group Dignity in Dying Scotland, found 87 per cent backed the move for terminally ill people with less than six months to live, with medical approval and safeguards. Just 8 per cent of people were opposed while the remainder said they did not know. The results, from a survey of 1,057 adults last month, were released as the campaign group starts a national advertising drive calling on people to help legalise assisted suicide. Campaigners want the Scottish Parliament to legislate to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults to have the choice of an assisted death.
Nearly nine in 10 people in Scotland support legalising assisted dying, according to a new poll.https://t.co/t7VxFSlgno
— The Scotsman (@TheScotsman) April 2, 2019
“God made me for China.” Eric Liddell lived his life in answer to that calling and commission. As Duncan Hamilton explains, Liddell “considered athletics as an addendum to his life rather than his sole reason for living it.”
Eric Liddell ran for God’s glory, but he was made for China. He desperately wanted the nation he loved to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe. David J. Michell, director for Canada Overseas Missionary Fellowship, would introduce Liddell’s collected devotional writings, The Disciplines of the Christian Life, by stating simply that “Eric Liddell’s desire was to know God more deeply, and as a missionary, to make him known more fully.”
Christians must remember that Olympic glory will eventually fade. There will be medalists for all to celebrate. But, will there be another Eric Liddell? At the very least, his story needs to be told again. The most important part of his story came long after his gold medal arrived by mail.
OTD in 1945 the Olympic gold medal winning runner, Scotland Rugby international & missionary Eric Liddell died at a Japanese internment camp in China – probably from overwork and malnourishment – aged 43. A fellow internee called him ‘the finest Christian gentleman’ he’d ever met pic.twitter.com/dgrX8bIK1T
— Dan Jackson 🦡 (@northumbriana) February 21, 2019
Liddell lived life to the hilt, but not in the modern “I am tenaciously dedicated to my own hedonic brand” kind of way. Liddell’s vision of an all-out life was to assess his options, count the cost, and then take the most risky step in the name of Jesus Christ. The calculation was a simple one: “Each one comes to the cross-roads at some period of his life,” Hamilton quotes Liddell as preaching, “and must make his decision for or against his Master.” This Christocentric logic made great sense to Liddell, even if it made little sense to the world. Liddell faced fierce skepticism for his attempts to live out his faith, whether in his famous decision not to run on Sundays or his withdrawal from competition in order to answer the missionary call.
This example can help inform contemporary engagement for believers. Much effort is made today by younger evangelicals to get the cultural backflip just right, to strenuously befriend unbelievers while never offending them with over-stressed Christianity. Liddell’s was a more straightforward approach. Drafting off of the Sermon on the Mount, his favorite section of Scripture, he stood for his convictions without flinching while loving his neighbor without hesitating. The resulting model of Christian witness is as simple as it is inspiring.
Liddell was not a perfect man, of course. Hamilton covers his lengthy separation from his family with a clear eye. Married in 1934 to the untiring Florence, Liddell fathered three children. He loved his wife and kids, but as Hamilton notes, his first priority was the work of missions. This meant lengthy periods of separation as Liddell worked in Siaochang and later Tientsin. The work was always grueling, and China in the 1930s and 1940s was a very fearsome place indeed. Liddell was often robbed, frequently hungry and dirty, and regularly accosted by officials seeking to impede his work.
Read it all from Christianity Today.
72 years ago today, Olympic runner and missionary to China Eric Liddell passed away from a brain tumor https://t.co/IJkElP1x9d
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) February 21, 2017
While Americans rightly exult in the achievements of U.S. medalists, “Chariots of Fire” also serves as a reminder that athletics and even patriotism only mean so much. When Liddell is informed that a qualifying heat takes place on Sunday, his Sabbath, he chooses not to compete in that race. The camera cuts from athletes at the Olympics to Liddell reading a passage in Isaiah: “Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket . . . but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings, as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” David Puttnam, a “Chariots of Fire” producer, wrote me that the verses were “specifically selected by the actor, the late Ian Charleson, who gave himself the task of reading the entire Bible whilst preparing for the film.”
The Isaiah passage is liturgically important for Jews: Parts of it are declaimed in synagogue on the Sabbath when we read God’s command to Abraham to leave the center of civilization and found a family, and a faith, in a new land. Isaiah reminds Jews that Abraham’s children have encountered much worse than what Harold Abrahams experienced. While most nations now rest on the ash heap of history, the biblical Abraham’s odyssey continues. The countries competing in today’s Olympics come and go, while those who “wait upon the Lord” endure.
“Chariots of Fire” also offers a message for people of faith who have grown troubled by the secularization of society and the realization that they are often scorned by elites. Like Liddell, we may be forced to choose religious principle over social success. Hopefully, however, we will be able to use our gifts to sanctify this world. As Liddell’s father told his son in the film: “Run in God’s name, and let the world stand back in wonder.”
‘The Flying Scotsman’ Eric Liddell won gold in the men’s 400m at the Paris Olympics in 1924 🏅
The film #ChariotsofFire tells the story of his athletic career.
See Eileen Soper’s portrait of Liddell -who died #otd in 1945- at #ScotPortrait in Edinburgh: https://t.co/IW0xyUOtYa pic.twitter.com/Sr2hpbnh2C
— National Galleries (@NatGalleriesSco) February 21, 2019
God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering thy athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom thou didst bestow courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
21 February 1945. Chariots of Fire legend Eric Liddell (aged 43) died. He won the 400 metres at 1924 Paris Olympics. pic.twitter.com/I0K4e7eF97
— Prof.Frank McDonough (@FXMC1957) February 21, 2017
My life is one long daily, hourly record of answered prayer. For physical health, for mental overstrain, for guidance given marvelously, for errors and dangers averted, for enmity to the Gospel subdued, for food provided at the exact hour needed, for everything that goes to make up life and my poor service. I can testify, with a full and often wonder-stricken awe, that I believe God answers prayer.
Today the Church remembers Mary Slessor, pioneering Scottish missionary active in Nigeria from 1876 until her death in 1915. She learnt the local language & gained local trust, helping her to spread the Christian message & advocate the rights of women & children. [H5700.S5] pic.twitter.com/c3YRpazAof
— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) January 11, 2019
The General Assembly voted 345 by 170 to instruct the Legal Questions Committee to prepare legislation with safeguards in accordance with Section 9 (1A) of the Marriage Scotland Act.
But commissioners agreed that the committee should only act if, in its opinion, said safeguards “sufficiently protect against the risks they identify”.
The committee will report its findings to the General Assembly of 2020.
The motion calling for legislation to be prepared was put forward by Rev Bryan Kerr, minister of Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark.
It was amended to ensure the committee had the power to recommend withdrawal following a call from Rev Peter White of Sandyford Henderson Memorial Church in Glasgow.
The number of older people, 65 and over, attending church on a Sunday in England is increasing. There were 810,000 going to church in 1980, and 980,000 in 2017 (a 21 per cent increase). In Scotland, however, the numbers are respectively 190,000 and 170,000 (an 11 per cent decrease).
The proportion of older people in church in England is also increasing. It was 18 per cent in 1980 and 34 per cent in 2017; in Scotland the percentages were 21 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, also increasing significantly. In the population, numbers of those 65 and over are also increasing.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Once the church was an anchor. It was not just about the Sunday sermon, it was central to political life and in the forming of young minds, educating children across Scotland. It provided alms for the needy and laid down a strict moral code that informed – or controlled, depending on your point of view – how Scots lived their lives from birth to death, taking in marriage along the way. But as the remaining church bells ring out to celebrate Easter [the first] Sunday [in April 2018] many question the church’s role today.
The last census in 2011 showed that just over half of the population considered themselves religious, with 24 per cent identifying as Church of Scotland Christians and 14 per cent as Roman Catholics. The Scottish household survey in 2016 suggested those numbers were falling, with those who identify as religious now in the minority at 48.5 percent.
Attendance at Sunday services is also at an all-time low – just seven per cent go to church, according to the 2016 Scottish Church Census. The figure is expected to fall to around five per cent by 2025, about the number that attend a book group.
The hold of religion has been stripped back in all sorts of ways.
'Attendance at Sunday services is also at an all-time low – just 7% go to church, according to the 2016 Scottish Church Census. The figure is expected to fall to around 5% by 2025, about the number that attend a book group' https://t.co/69DiDNlF3R #religion #scotland #sociology
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 10, 2018
I was blessed to grow up in St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow under the teaching ministry of people like Eric Alexander, Sinclair Ferguson, David Ellis, Richard Buckley and others. Some time ago I found the great Tapes from Scotland website which has literally thousands of expository sermons and talks by them and other great (mainly Scottish, all male, broadly Reformed) preachers such as James and George Philip and William Still.
I’ve adapted their spreadsheet of the recordings so as to include links to each recording on their site and you can access and search through them below.
You can scroll through the whole dataset 15 recordings at a time using the arrows at the top and bottom or you can order any column alphabetically by clicking on its title but it is obviously better to use the quite elaborate search and filter process on the left hand side.
Check out the whole thing (Hat tip:AG).
Two former Anglican ministers are to be ordained as priests after joining the Catholic Church when Scottish Anglicans voted to embrace gay marriage.
The Rev Simon Beveridge, who lives in Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway and Rev Cameron Macdonald, who lives in Nairn, were made deacons in June just days after the Scottish Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to allow same sex couples to marry in church.
They joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, set up in 2011 by Pope Benedict to provide a home for disaffected former members of the…[Episcopal] and Anglican clergy within the Catholic Church.
The Church of Scotland faces a “drift into irrelevance and obscurity” unless its focus moves from traditional church services with hymns to smartphones, an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen has warned.
Dr John Chalmers, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, argued the Kirk is failing to connect with younger generations and “the traditional patterns of church life (with which I have been so comfortable) are not going to change that.”
He said the one-size-fits-all model of focusing the Kirk’s activities around church buildings is not suited to attracting modern worshippers and called for a radical transformation “so far reaching that the church of tomorrow may bear little resemblance to the church of recent generations.”
O God, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give her zeal for thy church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
— Clerk of Oxford (@ClerkofOxford) November 16, 2017
O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant and bishop Ninian didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Britain: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Today we remember Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts pic.twitter.com/V8Z2xdStZ0
— Logos Anglican (@LogosAnglican) September 18, 2013
A chaste life and closeness to Christ is the vocation of every Christian, Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell has said in response to questions about ministry to people with same-sex attraction.
“Our saints are our models in this journey of faith and life, and it is good to be led by the example of their commitment to fulfilling God’s will rather than our own particular desires,” Bishop Toal said July 26. “As Catholics we pray always for the wisdom to make wise choices and to be guided by Christ rather than the world around us.”
He cited recent questions about possible approaches to pastoral care to people who experience same-sex attraction, noting that the apostolate of Courage has been recommended to him. This ministry “encourages those who live with same-sex attraction to live a chaste life – which is also expected of all heterosexual Catholics who are not married – supported by the sacramental and prayer life of the Church.”
“Many scoff at this option as unrealistic in today’s societies in which intimate same-sex relationships are condoned and have been afforded the status of marriage in some countries, but that is the way of life proposed in the Church’s tradition and the Church invites her children to abide by it,” he continued.
Mark and Rick’s marriage is the first in the Scottish Episcopal church, which is part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal church announced in June that it was allowing gay weddings after its synod voted to amend canon law on marriage. It agreed that the doctrine stating that marriage was between one man and one woman should be removed.
The vote sparked a backlash from traditionalists, with the conservative Anglican group Gafcon announcing that it was appointing a missionary bishop, committed to keeping marriage heterosexual, to work in Scotland.
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has struggled to keep the worldwide Anglican Communion together over the issue of same-sex relationships, with many African bishops voicing opposition to gay weddings and to clergy being involved in gay relationships themselves.
Welby visited Africa to highlight the plight of refugees but his trip highlighted divisions over same-sex marriage. During the trip, he spent time with the archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, a leading conservative evangelical, who walked out of a gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year, angered by the west’s liberal attitudes to homosexuality. Ntagali said that he would not return until “godly order” was restored.
“People at St Mary’s were part of the campaign to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married in Scotland so it is not surprising that we would want to be able to offer such weddings in the cathedral itself.
“St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow is one of the most stunning places that anyone can get married. It is wonderful that more people now have the chance of coming here for their special day.
“I want to live in a world where same-sex couples can feel safe walking down the street hand in hand and in which they can feel joy walking hand in hand down the aisle of a church too.”
The Provost added: “We already have one booking from a couple coming up from England who can’t get married in their local Church of England parish. We are glad to be able to welcome them and expect there will be many others who will follow them”.
St Mar’s Cathedral, in Glasgow, has become the first Anglican cathedral in Britain to offer same-sex couples the opportunity to marry.
The cathedral is already taking bookings from such couples on its website, including one from an English pair who cannot get married in their Church of England parish.
In June, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod passed a motion to permit clergy to conduct gay weddings…. The legislation came into effect on Tuesday.
On Friday June 30, 2017, the Rev. Canon Andy Lines will be consecrated in Wheaton Illinois (USA) at the Third Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach Presiding. The consecrating Bishops will be acting on behalf of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), and Canon Lines will become its first Missionary Bishop to Europe.
Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid. His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis. These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching—or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching. One can trace this all the way back to Athanasius and the crisis of Arianism in the early Church. Faithful bishops like Athanasius disregarded the boundaries and autonomy of Arian dioceses in order to consecrate Biblically faithful bishops for Biblically faithful Christians. The consecration of a missionary bishop by GAFCON for Europe is as much an emergency as the consecrations that Athanasius and other faithful bishops performed, and just as necessary to guard the faith and order of the Church and prevent spiritual harm to biblically faithful Christians.
We call these emergencies “exigent circumstances.” Although this is a legal term used in criminal courts for circumstances in which the potential death of a victim, flight of a felon or destruction of evidence justifies an emergency search or seizure that overrides the freedom, autonomy and constitutional rights of a suspect, “exigent circumstances” have also been the grounds for faithful Bishops, clergy and laity to take emergency action to guard the faith and order of the Church. I recently wrote about Exigent Circumstances in the Anglican Communion, citing the works of Paul Avis, Francis Oakley and Brian Tierney for the precedent of such “emergency action” which we see in the development of the great reforming Councils of the Roman Catholic Church during the Great Schism (1378-1417).
O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant Columba didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness to thee by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
“In the year of our Lord 565 there came from Ireland to Britain a priest and abbot named Columba” Bede pic.twitter.com/jCi3AAtArA
— Catholicity&Covenant (@cath_cov) June 9, 2015
Both the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church appear to be on the march towards marriage equality. Compared to the Church of England our Scottish neighbours seem to be more progressive and, enlightened. There again Scotland has a long and proud history of enlightenment! Of course I write this as a progressive on matters relating to sexuality and, gender. Some conservatives in the Church of England are no doubt somewhat less sanguine.
Such conservatives will no doubt argue that the Scottish churches have ceased to be orthodox churches. But, surely the counter view is that orthodoxy and progression can be perfectly natural bed fellows? My orthodoxy is rooted in belief in the creed as a communal declaration of faith. The creeds are the kite mark of orthodoxy. The Scottish churches have recognised this. This doesn’t mean that progressives within the Scottish churches have won; unless that is a determination exists to regard issues of human sexuality, particularly as they relate to marriage, in win-lose terms.
Synod members are expected to pass that motion that removes the understanding of marriage as ‘a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman’.
The teaching will read: ‘In the light of the fact that there are differing understandings of the nature of marriage in this Church, no cleric of this Church shall be obliged to conduct any marriage against their conscience.’
Rev David McArthy, a traditionalist priest in the SEC and part of the conservative Scottish Anglican Network, told Christian Today there was an ‘immense sadness from many people in Scotland’ about the upcoming decision.
‘It is not simply a group of evangelical churches who have concerns about this but a fairly wide group,’ he said.
‘I pray that the leadership realise what they are about to do will have serious consequences for the church.’
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has moved a step closer to allowing ministers to perform gay marriages. The Kirk’s governing body backed calls for a study into how same-sex ceremonies in church could be allowed.
The proposal was outlined in a report by the Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland. It also called for the Church to apologise for its “history of discrimination” of gay people. Convener of the forum, The Very Reverend Iain Torrance, said: “We say that after reflection we can see no sufficient theological reason for the Church now not to authorise specific ministers to officiate at same-sex weddings, if doing so does not prejudice the position of those who decline to do so for reasons of conscience.”
Read it all (another from the long line of should have already been posted material).
The Princess Royal has praised the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly as a place for “reasoned debate” in her opening address at the annual event.
Her remarks come ahead of a debate at the assembly later this week which could move the Kirk a step closer to allowing ministers to perform same-sex marriage.
The argument that procreation within marriage is unimportant in relation to the growth of the kingdom of God is thus mistaken. Christian marriages are one of the main means by which the kingdom is populated.
The converse is also true. As Mary Eberstadt argues in her book How the West Really Lost God, a good case can be made out for saying that the decline of the Church in the West has been the result of the collapse of traditional family structures. As she puts it ‘family decline in turn helps to power religious decline.’ What this means is that those who are really interested in the growth of the kingdom of God should be seeking to support and encourage the traditional family and in particular the importance of having children rather than downplaying their significance.
Thirdly, there is nothing objectionable in principle in the argument that the Holy Spirit guides the Church through the witness of Scripture to discern truths that are not contained in Scripture itself. Scripture does not address every specific issue and situation which the Church faces during the course of its history and so the Church requires guidance by the Spirit which goes beyond what Scripture explicitly says although in accordance with it. 
However, in any given case it needs to be shown that the Church is actually being guided to discern truth. This means a persuasive case needs to be made out as to why what we know on the basis of Scripture leads us to view a new issue or situation in one way rather than another. In relation to the issue of same-sex marriage a case would need to be made out as to why the witness of Scripture leads us to believe that the Church should celebrate same-sex marriages in those jurisdictions, such as Scotland, where they are legal. As we have seen, the report fails to make out such a case. The report fails to show that there is anything at all in Scripture that points us in this direction.
The General Assembly is being asked to consider two key issues.
Authorise the Legal Questions Committee to undertake a further study on the legal implications of conducting same-sex marriages and report back to the General Assembly in 2018. *
Invite the Church to take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologise individually and corporately and seek to do better.
In releasing the report the Convener of the Theological Forum, the Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, said: “The Report addresses what has been a long running argument in all the churches.
“In years past there has been an idea that in time one side in this argument would emerge as the sole victor.
“We don’t think like that now.
“That is why we are arguing for what, last year, the Forum called ‘constrained difference’.
“This is saying that within limits we can make space for more than one approach.
“It is closely similar to what the Archbishop of Canterbury calls ‘mutual flourishing’.
“This is a centrist report, aimed at encouraging mutual flourishing.”
Read it all and make sure to see the whole report found at the link at the bottom.
[It may seem]…surprising that Tull then released a proper Christmas album that included some pro-Jesus songs among the traditional carols. Anderson has also been performing regular charity concerts to support church buildings. His new release, The String Quartets, was recorded in Worcester Cathedral and sports the logo of The Churches Conservation Trust in its liner notes.
So does this constitute a coming to faith or a maturing of his world view? And what caused that early vitriol? Ringing from Melbourne, where he was touring, Anderson explained those formative influences.
“School assembly was very much C. of E. stuff, and the Revd. Dr Luft, who was the headmaster, was an authoritarian, very conservative Christian, who scared us. As a person, he was very uncompromising, never smiled, and was basically not a very good advertisement for the warm and invitational nature of the C. of E.”
While at the school, Anderson infringed the rules, which he admits deserved punishment, and was due to be caned as a consequence. While he would have accepted another punishment, that was a step too far for him.
“I didn’t think it through terribly, it just seemed not a nice thing to be doing – there was something weird about it, so I refused to be caned. I was handed an ultimatum: ‘Go home and come back ready to face your punishment, or don’t come back at all’.” He went home and never returned.
Read it all (may require subscription).
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 25, 2017