Daily Archives: November 12, 2011

(UMNS) Methodist Bishops vow to uphold same-sex union ban

While acknowledging the denomination’s “deep disagreements” over homosexuality, the United Methodist Council of Bishops promised to uphold church law banning same-sex unions in a letter released Nov. 11.

“As bishops chosen, consecrated and assigned by the Church, we declare once again our commitment to be faithful to this covenant we have made,” the letter said. “As the Council of Bishops we will uphold the Book of Discipline as established by General Conference.”

The bishops’ statement marked the first time the council as a body has addressed the pledges to bless same-sex unions signed this year by more than 1,000 United Methodist clergy across the United States. In the New York Annual (regional) Conference, 732 lay people also have signed “a covenant of conscience” in support of such unions.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

At ”˜Occupy’ Protests, Bearing Christian Witness Without Preaching

There are Christians, too, eager to be seen as Christians. They face a special challenge. They want to make the church visible, so they wear clerical collars or other religious garb, like the albs, or white robes, that lay Christians may also wear.

But they know that many, especially on the political left, are wary of Christians, suspicious that these men and women in strange garments are seeking converts. When liberal activists hear “Christian,” they often think “conservative.” Many would thrill to see an imam marching next to them but shudder at a priest.

So committed Christians have different answers to the question, “How Christian should we seem?” Marisa Egerstrom, an Episcopalian who studies religion at Harvard, recognized Occupy Wall Street as a sign of the times, “a continuation of the Arab Spring.” On Sept. 17, she brought a group of 10 Boston-area Christians, including Roman Catholics and Lutherans, to Zuccotti Park in New York.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Message from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Chairman to members

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thank you for responding to our call to pray for the recent meeting of the Primates’ Council. We received many messages of support, and were aware of the Lord blessing us as a result of your intercessions. The Primates’ Council remains committed to move forward in the work of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and our hopes for a renewed Anglican Communion.

We are immensely aware of being involved in a spiritual struggle. Our Global Anglican movement has made its stand on the gospel of Jesus Christ as expounded in the Jerusalem Declaration. This has united us. It has also divided us from those who promote a different ”˜gospel’. Our twofold aim is to promote the preaching and defence of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ and to recognise and have fellowship with Anglican Christians whose spiritual lives are threatened by false teaching.

We are longing for the spiritual reform of the Anglican Communion so that in a united partnership we can commend the Lord Jesus as the one and only Saviour of the world. We have had reports from many parts of the Communion about the deliberate incursion of false teaching accompanied by offers of financial aid. We are aware of the conflict, which continues for so many as they struggle to maintain the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Sometimes this involves legal attacks. We offer our support and encouragement to those who make it clear that they will continue to teach God’s word whatever the opinion of a church which has allied itself to the world.

We praise God for the opening of our London office and the presence of Bishop Martyn Minns as our first full time worker. We continue to plan for a leadership conference in April 2012 and for GAFCON 2 in May 2013. We received encouraging reports of the Anglican Mission in England, a missionary society supported by us though which missionaries can be ordained and encouraged.

We also spent time considering our understanding of Church and Communion in the light of the new realities, which have come upon us. We agree with the recent words of the eleven Primates who visited China with Archbishop John Chew, ”˜We are wholeheartedly committed to the unity of the Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury. Sadly, however, the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Unity have become dysfunctional and no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together.’ Something better must emerge.

At a reception in London for local supporters I made two points. First that the unity of several key provinces and hence their capacity to serve God and their nations was preserved by the provision of GAFCON in 2008. Secondly that the East African revival, with its commitment to scripture and emphasis on repentance was a model for how the Communion as a whole could be blessed by God.

My dear Brothers and Sisters, the Anglican Communion has been and can be an immense force for good in this world. But it needs to be renewed and reformed by the Word of God. The Global FCA exists to help towards that goal. We are blessed by your support. Thank you.

”˜For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).

In Christ’s love and service,

–(The Most Rev.) Eliud Wabukala is Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primate’s Council

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA)

Albert Mohler on Charles Simeon Day: How Will They Hear Without a Preacher?

England, of course, is the nation that once gave us preachers the likes of Charles Simeon, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Now, with the rare and blessed exception of some faithful evangelical churches, preaching has fallen on desperate times.

Some observers of British life now estimate that in any given week Muslim attendance at mosques outnumbers Christian attendance at churches. That means that there are probably now in Britain more people who listen to imams than to preachers.

This raises an interesting question: Is the marginalization of biblical preaching in so many churches a cause or a result of the nation’s retreat from Christianity? In truth, it must be both cause and effect. In any event, there is no hope for a recovery of biblical Christianity without a preceding recovery of biblical preaching. That means preaching that is expository, textual, evangelistic, and doctrinal. In other words, preaching that will take a lot longer than ten minutes and will not masquerade as a form of entertainment.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Charles Simeon on Temptation

The agency of Satan in the affairs of man cannot be doubted by any one who really believes the representations given us in this inspired volume. His great employment from the very first has been to seduce men to sin.

—-Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae MCCLXXVI

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Charles Simeon–Evangelical Mentor and Model

When Simeon moved to put benches in the aisles, the church wardens threw them out. He battled with discouragement and at one point wrote out his resignation.

“When I was an object of much contempt and derision in the university,” he later wrote, “I strolled forth one day, buffeted and afflicted, with my little Testament in my hand ”¦ The first text which caught my eye was this: ‘They found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross.'”

Slowly the pews began to open up and fill, not primarily with townspeople but with students. Then Simeon did what was unthinkable at the time: he introduced an evening service. He invited students to his home on Sundays and Friday evening for “conversation parties” to teach them how to preach. By the time he died, it is estimated that one-third of all the Anglican ministers in the country had sat under his teaching at one time or another.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

John Piper on Charles Simeon: We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering

He grew downward in humiliation before God, and he grew upward in his adoration of Christ.

Handley Moule captures the essence of Simeon’s secret of longevity in this sentence: “‘Before honor is humility,’ and he had been ‘growing downwards’ year by year under the stern discipline of difficulty met in the right way, the way of close and adoring communion with God” (Moule, 64). Those two things were the heartbeat of Simeon’s inner life: growing downward in humility and growing upward in adoring communion with God.

But the remarkable thing about humiliation and adoration in the heart of Charles Simeon is that they were inseparable. Simeon was utterly unlike most of us today who think that we should get rid once and for all of feelings of vileness and unworthiness as soon as we can. For him, adoration only grew in the freshly plowed soil of humiliation for sin. So he actually labored to know his true sinfulness and his remaining corruption as a Christian.

I have continually had such a sense of my sinfulness as would sink me into utter despair, if I had not an assured view of the sufficiency and willingness of Christ to save me to the uttermost. And at the same time I had such a sense of my acceptance through Christ as would overset my little bark, if I had not ballast at the bottom sufficient to sink a vessel of no ordinary size. (Moule 134f.)

He never lost sight of the need for the heavy ballast of his own humiliation. After he had been a Christian forty years he wrote,

With this sweet hope of ultimate acceptance with God, I have always enjoyed much cheerfulness before men; but I have at the same time laboured incessantly to cultivate the deepest humiliation before God. I have never thought that the circumstance of God’s having forgiven me was any reason why I should forgive myself; on the contrary, I have always judged it better to loathe myself the more, in proportion as I was assured that God was pacified towards me (Ezekiel 16:63). . . . There are but two objects that I have ever desired for these forty years to behold; the one is my own vileness; and the other is, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ: and I have always thought that they should be viewed together; just as Aaron confessed all the sins of all Israel whilst he put them on the head of the scapegoat. The disease did not keep him from applying to the remedy, nor did the remedy keep him from feeling the disease. By this I seek to be, not only humbled and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Saviour continually. (Carus, 518f.)

Please do read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Simeon

O loving God, who orderest all things by thine unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see thy hand; that, following the example and teaching of thy servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve thee with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the day

O Eternal Light, illuminate us; O eternal Power, strengthen us; O eternal Wisdom, instruct us; O eternal Mercy, have pity upon us; and grant us with all our hearts and minds to seek thy face, and to love thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song. On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia–“this one was born there,” they say. And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. The LORD records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

-Psalm 87

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Opportunities to Hear Michael Nazir-Ali Diocesan Visiting Bishop for Anglican Communion Relations

Diocesan Visiting Bishop for Anglican Communion Relationships, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali will be speaking in the Diocese[of South Carolina] on several occasions in the next few weeks.

He is preaching at Prince George Winyah, Georgetown on November 13….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council Communiqué

The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) met in York, England from 4 to 8 November 2011.

In its most important piece of work the Council finalized the text of a joint statement on ecclesiology and mission Belonging Together in Europe. An earlier version of the text was the major focus of the International Old Catholic and Anglican Theological Conference held in Neustadt, Germany from August 29 to September 2, 2011.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches