Daily Archives: December 4, 2016

[Bishop Rennis Ponniah] Formed for Robust Mission

We need to recover our confidence in the persuasive power of the Gospel. We are to present truth to the mind, “speaking true and rational words” (Acts 19:25 ESV), and trust the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction, faith and a change of heart in the hearer (Acts 19:28-29; Rom 1:16-17).

We are also to convey the Gospel message in its entirety. In particular, we cannot trim the Gospel message of its ethical component. Forgiveness of sin and a new, endless life with God is for all who repent and commit themselves to Jesus as Saviour and Lord (Acts 2:38). Hence, in proclaiming the good news of what God has done in Christ Jesus, Peter exhorts his hearers to “save (themselves) from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40). In the same vein, Paul not only spoke to the Roman governor Felix about faith in Christ Jesus but also “reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:24-25).

The Gospel of God’s grace towards humankind in Jesus Christ is an invitation to a changed heart and a changed lifestyle in conformity with God’s design. This power of transformation is made real to the person who turns to God in repentance and faith by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes real the power of the Cross in our lives so that we can live in conformity with God’s patterns for man ”“ which is to live truly and freely (John 10:10). This is the basis of sound teaching and is reflected for instance in the Joint Statement by Global South and GAFCON Primates on Same Sex Unions (Cairo, 2016). We must robustly contend for the truth out of true love for God and our fellow human being; and at the same time reach out to all who grapple with the brokenness of sin in their lives with the compassionate and life-transforming love of Jesus Christ.

It takes courage to proclaim the victory of the Cross in the face of the resilience of evil and its parasitic spread in the world. If Christ is already on the throne and the Kingdom of God has already come through Him, why are dark forces allowed to dominate in the world and cause so much pain and destruction?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

A Terrifying WSJ profile of American Diplomat Robin Raphel, wrongly suspected for being a US Spy

Over the past two years, diplomats in Pakistan and the U.S. have scaled back contacts, according to officials in both countries. U.S. diplomats say they are afraid of what the NSA and the FBI might hear about them.

“What happened to Raphel could happen to any of us,” said Ryan Crocker, one of the State Department’s most highly decorated career ambassadors. Given the empowerment of law enforcement after 9/11 and the U.S.’s growing reliance on signals intelligence in place of diplomatic reporting, he said, “we will know less and we will be less secure.”

“Look what happened to the one person who was out talking to people,” said Dan Feldman, Raphel’s former boss at State. “Does that not become a cautionary tale?”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Gelasian Sacramentary

Make us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, watchful and heedful in awaiting the coming of thy Son Christ our Lord; that when he shall come and knock, he shall find us not sleeping in sin, but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!

–Isaiah 5:1-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Eleanor Parker–The Miracles of Saint Birinus

[Birinus] made his way to the sea in order to cross to Britain. While he was packing his bits and pieces, the sailors were urging him to hurry as the wind was favourable, and so he forgot those cloths which are called ”˜corporal cloths’. He was already out to sea, with the ship happily ploughing its furrow through the calm waters, when he remembered he had left them behind. He was at a loss what to do. If he asked the sailors to go back, they would certainly laugh at him as the voyage was going so well. But if he kept quiet, he would have to put up with his apostolic worship being imperfect. And so, brandishing the weapons of his faith, he summoned all his courage, climbed down the side into the sea and with all speed made for the shore he had just left. There he found the corporal cloths, picked them up, and for the second time his daring had a blessed and happy outcome, for he returned to his companions, brushing aside by the power of his faith the crests of the waves and the thousand ways to death he encountered. They for their part had been won over by this great miracle, had cast anchor and were holding the ship stationary. They took him back on board, all competing to do him honour, and he soon reached the coast in the region of the West Saxons.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History