Daily Archives: July 17, 2015

Bishop Dan Martins: A Word on Holy Matrimony

I write to you here on a subject that elicits strong emotions. None should be particularly surprised by what I say. Many”“most, perhaps”“will be relieved and grateful. Some will be grieved and angry. It is my place to absorb both the gratitude and the grief with steadfastness of conviction and an abundance of charity. I invite each of you to read with care, patience, and precision”“and then to also absorb that which pleases you and that which disturbs you with the confidence of your convictions and a measure of charity beyond that which you think yourself capable of. Let grace abound.

The recent 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church promulgated under the “trial use” canon liturgical rites that purport to solemnize marriage between persons of the same sex, effective this coming Advent. This was a profound and tragic mistake. Marriage has certainly evolved considerably over the millennia of human existence. Different cultures and different eras have adapted it in a variety of ways. But there has always been one constant, something so self-evidently obvious that it has scarcely merited mention, and that is the element of sexual complementarity”“a marriage requires the presence of both sexes.

Marriage is not merely a human social construct, an institution that we created and are therefore at liberty to recreate and redefine as seems right and expedient

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Bahamas Tribune: Archbishop Drexel Gomez on ”˜Pressure’ For Gay Marriage

THE Bahamas will “inevitably” face “immense pressure” to let gays and lesbians marry in this country, retired Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez told The Tribune yesterday as pastors across the country responded from their pulpits to the US Supreme Court’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage nationwide.

“I expected the ruling which came down from the US Supreme Court,” Archbishop Gomez said when contacted yesterday. “It’s happening all across the western world and promulgated by governments. It’s all a part of a new man-made doctrine, an attempt to extend democracy principles to human life.”

“I don’t think there will be immediate implications for The Bahamas, but it’s inevitable now and only a matter of time before pressure will be brought to bear on our government by the United States.

“In terms of aid and relationships, the tendency is historically for the US to have its way and to ensure that you go their way when they give you aid and assistance. It can only be done through laws and if it means changing the laws I still maintain that the traditional teaching on marriage is biblical and represents God’s wish for the ways in which human begins can relate to each other.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

Fulcrum Response to TEC’s 2015 General Convention

At its recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church (USA) redefined marriage in its canons and also authorised trial rites for same-sex marriage. Along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Fulcrum believes this is a cause for “deep concern”.

SUPPORTING: Fulcrum welcomes the Salt Lake City Statement by the Communion Partners and supports all within TEC who continue to combine “a commitment to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters” with a determination to honour “the three moratoria requested in the Windsor Report and affirmed by the Instruments of Communion”. The Communion Partners are, along with ACNA bishops, graciously but firmly resisting what GAFCON identified as “the temptation to compromise with the surrounding culture” as are many of those in the Global South whose response to these developments includes the welcome affirmation that they “are against any criminalization of homosexuals”.

QUESTIONING: Fulcrum questions the Convention’s actions on various grounds:

– Have these major decisions been taken with enough theological debate and scrutiny either in TEC or across the Anglican Communion?

– Do these developments not disregard principles of mutual accountability and interdependence and the Principles of Canon Law Common To the Churches of the Anglican Communion (2008)?

– Has TEC not now made another canonical, liturgical and doctrinal departure from the Communion, beyond it previous action of blessing same-sex unions?

– Does redefining marriage in this way not go against the teaching of Scripture (including Jesus in Mt 19 and Mark 10), tradition and reason?

PARTICIPATING: Fulcrum encourages full participation in the Shared Conversations here in the Church of England but shares concerns about the process recently raised by the Church of England Evangelical Council’s Petertide Call to Prayer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

(WSJ) Russell Moore+Samuel Rodriguez–Immigrant-Bashers Will Lose the Evangelical Vote

Imagine that an American politician, competing with a dozen other candidates for media attention, launched his presidential campaign by describing the nation’s evangelical Christians as a problem: “They’re charlatans who raise money from poor people to spend on private jets,” he says. “They have multiple affairs and sexually abuse children. And, some, I assume, are good people.”

Millions of evangelical Christians would be fighting mad, and rightly so. While there have been a few, highly publicized cases of professing evangelicals committing these sins and crimes, the overwhelming majority have not. This charge against believers would be what the Bible calls bearing false witness, and what the world calls slander.

No presidential candidate would make such a claim, as no candidate would want to alienate millions of evangelicals. And yet this blanket slander is precisely what Donald Trump did in recent days by describing Mexican immigrants as “bringing crime” to the U.S. and as “rapists.” Mr. Trump then “clarified” his views by suggesting that the problem is “not just Mexico,” but immigrants from other parts of the world as well.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, History, Immigration, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop Gregory Venables on All through the Storm

Fourth Bible Study at New Wine Ireland on July 16th summarised by Ruth Garvey-Williams

Reading from Mark 4:35-42. We know the story so we need to read it very carefully. Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side.” Keep that in your mind. Our general theme is how do we grow into maturity. Jesus wants us to stay childlike but not childish. He wants us to grow up. This often means a change in our thinking. How you think changes how you are.

Growing up doesn’t mean moving on from the foundation. When you stand on the rock, you might tremble but the rock will never tremble under your feet. The rock on which you stand is always secure! It is eternal and safe. Becoming mature doesn’t mean becoming more self-assured, self-confident or self-dependent. It means getting to the end of yourself and becoming more dependent on Him and more open to Him.

This morning we are looking at the issues of suffering, pain and sorrow. Christ went down to death itself and came out in glory. 2 Corinthians 4: We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. What is it like to serve God 100%? We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but no destroyed”¦ We who live are always being given over to death for Jesus sake so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested at our mortal flesh. If you are feeling afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and struck down, then you are in good company. This is the Christian life. So often in recent years, this gospel has been misrepresented and there is a lot of confusion.

1) Very often the storm lies in the path of obedience.

Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side.” Then the storm came. That is not OUR theology, that is God’s theology. We want to believe that if Jesus is in the boat, there is no storm. God’s way of obedience often means travelling through the storm. If the wind is blowing around you, it doesn’t mean necessarily that you are out of God’s will…

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Biblical Commentary & Reflection

(WSJ) Christians Join Muslims in Fasting for Ramadan

Like 1.6 billion Muslims around the world fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, Jeff Cook has been rising before dawn each morning to have breakfast. He doesn’t eat again until breaking his fast with dinner.

But Mr. Cook isn’t Muslim, doesn’t have close Muslims friends, and has never been inside a mosque. The Christian pastor from Greeley, Colo., is fasting for the 30 days of Ramadan, which ends Friday, as part of a nascent effort among American Christians to better understand and support Muslims.

Mr. Cook posted a photo of himself on Twitter holding a sign that read: “I’m Jeff””A Christian in America. I’ll be fasting in solidarity #Christians4Ramadan.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Wired) Pentaquarks Have Physicists Psyched””And Baffled

Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider have been smashing protons together, on and off, since 2009. On Tuesday they announced that they’d encountered a new particle as a result of all those subatomic crack-ups called the pentaquark””and it could help explain what holds together other subatomic particles like protons and neutrons.

Close followers of the saga responded to the news like hungry Star Wars fans to a new trailer, immediately formulating potential plotlines for the particle. Within 30 hours of the announcement, physicists began to submit their theories about the pentaquark to the online, pre-peer review science article repository arXiv. But assembling those papers is hard””and these scientists didn’t come up with their new theories overnight. How did they get it done so fast? As is wont to happen with any big reveal, somebody in the research team leaked the inside scoop.

“Despite everyone’s good intentions, rumors do spread,” says Guy Wilkinson, the spokesperson for the LHCb (that stands for Large Hadron Collider Beauty experiment), the research team that found the particle in several years worth of data. The leak isn’t surprising, considering the team consists of over 1,100 members from 16 different countries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Eric Metaxas: The West, the Family, and the Big Picture – Which Side of History is the U.S. On?

…if you don’t read international and Christian news sources, you probably didn’t know that last week the UN Human Rights Council passed The Protection of the Family resolution. Not surprisingly, the mainstream U. S. media ignored the story.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 27 to 14, urges member states to adopt laws and policies that support the family””yes, the family””definite article. It calls the family, “the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children.”
It goes on to insist that while governments have a place in protecting the human rights of all, “the family has primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children.”
But sad to say it was the 14 dissenting nations””including most of Western Europe and the United States””that really pulled out the stops to defeat this resolution.

“[T]he United States lobbied [against it] with great energy,” says Slater, noting that pushing the LGBT agenda abroad has become a “primary objective of our nation’s foreign policy.” She even reports that our delegation threatened to withhold foreign aid to developing nations if they affirmed the natural family.
Writing at “Touchstone,” Allan Carlson notes how under the Obama Administration, “threats, bribes, and extortion” aimed at “vulnerable lands in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe” have become regular strategies in our quest to export the sexual revolution.

Were it not for the enthusiastic support of China and Russia””major powers that spent the latter half of the last century trying to eradicate the natural family””this resolution may have failed. China and Russia learned the hard way how destructive anti-family policies are. And maybe it’s just a coincidence, but both countries have seen a rapid growth of Christianity in recent years.

Folks, if there’s a wrong side of history, the United States of America is on it right now””at least when it comes to this issue. Thank God that despite bribery, bullying, and blackmail from the West, 27 nations voted to protect the family.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

An Interesting Look back to 2007–Timothy B. Safford: William White in a Time of Turmoil

One factor in our current turmoil in The Episcopal Church and the larger Anglican Communion is the power and authority of bishops. One way to read the primates’ communiqué is as a rejection of the polity of The Episcopal Church that limits the power of bishops to make policy for the larger church. William White never proposed a distinct House of Bishops separate from the House of Deputies. For him, the clergy and laity meeting together, with their bishops, was adequate, as is still the case in diocesan conventions.

Born and educated in the democratic cauldron of Philadelphia, White did not object to the role of bishops elsewhere, but believed the new American church had an opportunity to return to its primitive roots when, before Constantine, the laity participated in the selection of their bishop, and before 1066, when the power of a bishop was not an extension of the power of the state. For the New England states, White’s new democratic Catholicism went too far. The clergy of Connecticut so objected to White’s proposal to have the first duly elected bishop of the United States consecrated by presbyters, temporarily, until proper Episcopal orders could be attained, they chose (without the vote of the laity) Samuel Seabury as bishop. He sailed for Canterbury, where he would not be consecrated, and then moved on to the non-juror bishops of Scotland.

Seabury believed that apostolic bishops, not a democratic process shared by clergy and laity, should determine the governance and worship of the emergent Episcopal Church. But for William White, who knew how difficult it would be to unify an Episcopal Church out of its very diverse parts, a method of choosing bishops was needed before the choosing could happen. For White, to do otherwise would be like electing George Washington the president, and then having him write the Constitution.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(Gallup) Racism Edges Up Again as Most Important U.S. Problem

The percentage of Americans naming race relations or racism as the most important problem facing the country increased to 9% this month, up from 3% in June. Mentions of race relations as a top problem have risen and fallen multiple times over the past seven months as racially charged events have dominated and then faded from the news cycle.

Americans’ mentions of racism and race relations as the most important problem facing the country spiked in December 2014 to 13% amid protests over high-profile incidents of police brutality toward blacks in Staten Island, New York, Ferguson, Missouri, and other places across the U.S. This was the highest figure since May 1992 when 15% of Americans said racism was the top problem after the verdict in the Rodney King case sparked riots in many parts of the U.S.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Sociology, Theology

Battle lines drawn over New Zealand Anglican churches

The Anglican Diocese of Auckland plans to sell two Mid North churches, in response to what it says are declining congregations and rising costs, but some at least are not prepared to let them go quietly.

A deputation, none of whom wished to be identified, representing St Catherine’s at Okaihau and St Stephen the Martyr’s in Kaikohe, told the Northland Age last week that they would fight the decision, and hoped that the two communities would rise up in their defence.

A report from Assistant Bishop of Auckland the Rt Rev Jim White, based on a draft that he said had been circulated to the Waimate North community earlier in the year, was accepted and approved by the Diocesan Council on May 28.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces

Bishop of London commemorates cricketing missionary brothers, as Lord’s Test begins

The Bishop of London commented:

“The Studd brothers were great servants of two of this country’s most historic institutions: the Church; and the game of cricket. May their memory inspire England as they take on Australia this week at Lord’s.

“The proud tradition of the Church and cricket together continues to this day. Once again, I’m delighted that the Diocese of London’s team continues to fly the flag and has reached the final of the Church Times Cricket Cup.”

The Studd Brothers were from a large cricketing and evangelical family. All three captained Cambridge University, played for Middlesex and one, CT, played for England in the test match giving rise to the Ashes. CT was in the losing Engish side in the 1882 Oval match which prompted the Sporting Times mock obituary, ”˜The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia’. CT and GB were both members of the touring side which recovered the Ashes in the winter of 1882-1883 during which the England captain was presented with the famous urn.

CT went out to China on missionary work and remained there between 1885 and 1895. Invalided home, he did missionary work in England and America. He then went as a missionary to the Belgian Congo. Wisden records that ”˜despite numerous illnesses and many hardships, devoted the remainder of his life to missionary work there.’ In the Congo, he built a church whose aisle measured 22 yards from end to end.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Men, Missions, Soteriology, Sports, Theology

(Church Times) C of E will flex financial muscles to protect planet

The Church of England will continue to invest in fossil-fuel companies, but will pull out its money if they stop listening to its demands to tackle climate change, the General Synod agreed on Monday.

Two motions on climate change were passed with overwhelming majorities, after the Synod heard that climate change was a “spiritual problem” and that there was a “moral imperative” to act. The debates were informed by pleas from Anglicans across the Communion. The Bishop of Fiji had told his counterpart in Salisbury: “The waters are coming up to our necks.”

The first motion, on combating climate change, anticipates the global summit that is due to take place in Paris in December. It urges governments to “agree long-term pathways to a low-carbon future” and endorses the World Bank’s call for the ending of fossil-fuel subsidies. It also looks inward, requesting the development of new “eco-theological resources” and encouraging parishes and dioceses to encourage a fast for climate change on the first day of each month.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(AFP) Twin blasts hit market in NE Nigeria, 'nearly 50 killed'

At least 49 people were killed and dozens injured when twin blasts struck a market in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe on Thursday, rescue workers said.

The first explosion took place outside a packed footwear shop around 1620 GMT, followed by a second explosion just minutes later, said Badamasi Amin, a local trader who counted at least three bodies.

He said the area at the time was crowded with customers doing some last-minute shopping on the eve of the Eid festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(WI) Christopher Wolfe–Defining Marriage

Now that the Supreme Court has taken the decision about same-sex marriage out of the hands of the American people, those of us who believe in marriage have to think about the long-term effort to restore a true understanding of marriage in our nation.

The first step is to clarify what marriage is so that we can explain it to others in a coherent way. Although there is no one way to do this, there are fundamental elements that are a necessary part of any definition.

In this essay, I merely provide one definition of marriage. My goal here is not to “prove” that this is marriage (though I offer some thoughts on each condition), nor is it to engage in a refined academic analysis of the question. I simply want to offer a relatively succinct statement of what marriage is, so that ordinary people who want to defend marriage have a clear baseline from which to understand and respond to developments in our society.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology