Daily Archives: October 25, 2017

Archbishop Welby to mark agreement with Catholic and Lutheran Churches on 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to mark an act of reconciliation between the Catholic and Protestant churches on the 500thanniversary of the Reformation.

During a service at Westminster Abbey on 31 October, the Archbishop will present copies of a text supporting an agreement resolving the theological dispute behind the Reformation to the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation

The text is a formal resolution approved by representatives from the Anglican Communion, who have welcomed the substance of the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification, signed by the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran World Federation, World Methodist Council and World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Roman Catholic

(1st Things) Adrian Vermeule–A Christian Strategy

Strange as it may be, Macaulay and Schmitt, the liberal Protestant-trending-atheist and the conservative Catholic apostate, have it right. Dubious though this pairing may be, they have no less an authority than St. Luke to back them up. A Christian politics must always be strategic, viewing political commitments not as articles of a sacred faith, but as tactical tools to be handled in whatever way best serves the cause of Christ.

Luke’s picture of Paul in Acts is a sustained portrait of the strategic Christian. Indeed, Acts is something of a manual of tactics for an embattled Church, navigating the complex political environment of a multicultural, multi-faith imperium that is both puzzled by the Church and structurally (although episodically) hostile to it—somewhat like our own liberal imperium. Luke’s Paul is, like Macaulay’s Jesuits, radically dogmatic as to ends, radically flexible as to tactics and means. He is loyal to the regime and obedient to its authority in matters where there is no conflict with Christian truth, and yet, if need be, entirely strategic about loyalties—depending upon what stance best serves the interests of Christ’s Kingdom. Part of the tongue-in-cheek humor of Acts, even in matters deadly serious, is Luke’s portrayal of a Paul who possesses multiple political identities—Jew, Roman citizen, Christian—and who strategically emphasizes one or another identity at will and as necessary, relentlessly subordinating the Jewish and the Roman identities to the Christian one.

Before the Jews of Jerusalem, Paul calls himself a Jew and emphasizes that he was raised in Jerusalem (although born in Tarsus) and was a student of the famed rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22: 1–3). Before the Sanhedrin itself, torn between its factions of Pharisees and Sadducees, Paul adopts an even more sectarian identity, calling himself “a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees” and framing the charges against him by saying that he is “on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 23:6). This sectarianism is, of course, a political tactic, intended to drive a wedge between the two factions. Roughly speaking, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, the Sadducees did not, and Paul attempts to affiliate himself with the former to find shelter behind the partisan stalemate. (We may note sotto voce that Paul was referring not, as the Pharisees would have it, to a general resurrection of the dead at the end of time, but to a distinctly singular Resurrection that had already happened; doubtless the blurring of that difference suited his ends.) Before the Roman authorities, Paul sometimes emphasizes his Roman citizenship when it gives him immunity against certain punishments (Acts 22:24–29) and when it grants him a right of appeal (Acts 25:10–12). On the other hand, he lets the Roman authorities view him as just another Jew when advantageous—as when a bored proconsul believes that the accusations of Jewish authorities against Paul are just an intramural dispute, of no imperial concern (Acts 18:12–17).

In general, Luke’s Paul exploits the imperium’s legal procedures whenever doing so benefits the Church.
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Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Crumbling Anglican Cathedrals appeal for expert volunteers

England’s cash-strapped cathedrals have issued a plea to architects, financiers, retail managers and other professionals to come to the rescue of some of the country’s most treasured buildings.

The country’s 42 Anglican cathedrals are visited by more than 10 million people each year and their congregations are growing, but about half are in dire financial difficulty faced with the cost of running and repairing their crumbling buildings.

The Bishop of Stepney, the Right Rev Adrian Newman, said this year that the Church of England needed to draw up contingency plans in case “individual cathedrals fail”.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

Ed Stetzer–The Great Divide (in the Church) in 2016, and Why It Still Matters

Our values as Christians come from a Holy Spirit-led understanding of scripture, not a political platform.

Our leader is Christ, not an elected official. Our family is the Church, not a political party. We can easily agree with this while reading a blog, but are we living the principle out in the Church and public spaces? Is our unity found in our political ideology, or in the faith that has been passed down through the centuries? Is our identity found in who we are in Christ, or is it found in how we pulled the lever for last November?

This is important to remember at all times, but especially in the face of other facts that can easily make us forget the truth of who we are and how we are to interact with each other and the world around us.
There have been more than a few divisions in the Church over the last couple of thousand years. In fact, some people only see the Church in light of these divisions. They point to our differences and denominational lines and ridicule us because we can’t seem to get along. In some ways, these division, for better or for worse, have defined us. We are in a spiritual battle. Conflict is to be expected.

A decent amount of the New Testament is dedicated to conflict resolution and dealing with issues that divide. So it isn’t that division must destroy us, but rather that we are to overcome with unity. And unity does not mean uniformity.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Boko Haram strapped suicide bombs to them. Somehow these teenage girls survived.

It was all happening so fast. After being kidnapped by Boko Haram this year, Hadiza was confronted by a fighter in the camp where she was being held hostage. He wanted to “marry” her. She rejected him.

“You’ll regret this,” the fighter told her.

A few days later, she was brought before a Boko Haram leader. He told her she would be going to the happiest place she could imagine. Hadiza thought she was going home. He was talking about heaven.

They came for her at night, she said, grabbing a suicide belt and attaching it to her waist. The fighters then sent her and the 12-year-old girl out on foot, alone, telling them to detonate the bombs at a camp for Nigerian civilians who have fled the violence Boko Haram has inflicted on the region.

“I knew I would die and kill other people, too,” Hadiza recalled. “I didn’t want that.”

Northeastern Nigeria, now in its eighth year of war with Boko Haram, has become a place afraid of its own girls.

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Posted in Nigeria, Terrorism

Bishop Justin Badi updates the Diocese of Down and Dromore on the Maridi Diocese and South Sudan

Maridi Town and the surrounding countryside within a 2–mile radius are currently relatively safe but the area and the church face enormous problems:
Insecurity, as government and rebel forces engage in violent skirmishes;
Stretched resources. Since fighting began, 12–14 thousand displaced people have descended on the area – Bishop Justin’s home in the cathedral compound is full of refugees. many of those who were successfully cultivating food outside the town cannot return to their fields and hunger is rife.
Travel by vehicle is almost impossible. Sporadic and unpredictable violence and the scarcity and high cost of fuel mean most have to walk or travel by bicycle. Some estimates put inflation at 800%;
For many of the displaced children, education has ceased.
As you can imagine, ministry is both difficult and dangerous. Bishop Tandema of neighbouring Olo Diocese recently had to abandon his sermon as gunfire erupted and he and his congregation had to flee for their lives.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, --South Sudan

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Ambrose

Merciful Lord, the Comforter and Teacher of Thy faithful people, increase in Thy Church the desires which Thou hast given, and confirm the hearts of those who hope in Thee by enabling them to understand the depth of Thy promises, that all Thine adopted sons may even now behold, with the eyes of faith, and patiently wait for, the light which as yet Thou dost not openly manifest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Early Church (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1953)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Theology: Scripture