Daily Archives: May 3, 2018

(Psephizo) Ian Paul on the William Nye Letter Flap–Speaking for the C of E on sexuality

All this points to the reality of the debate in this area, and the nature of the question itself. Unlike the debate in the C of E about women in ministry, this is not a subject on which we can simply ‘agree to disagree‘, since a Church cannot believe that something is both part of and contrary to God’s will, holy and sinful at the same time. And perhaps the action in TEC gives some insight into the future of the Church of England should we at some point in the future agree to a change in our doctrine of marriage. But most telling is the absence of any concern expressed about this move effectively disenfranchising and making ‘churchless’ a sizeable minority in TEC who still adhere to orthodox Christian teaching, and the elimination of the Christian doctrine of marriage.

A final concern for me, as a member of Archbishops’ Council, has been the response of Simon Butler, who made a statement to a TEC clergy blogger criticising William Nye’s letter. Simon appears to assume that Nye is speaking for the Council (which he is clear that he isn’t) and he implies that the views of the Council on doctrine are of significance—which they are not. I don’t know whether Simon has written personal to William Nye—but surely that is the way to address such a question, and not briefing against him to people in TEC. It is no way to run a railroad.

The doctrine of the Church of England is expressed in its formularies, its canons and its liturgy. Clergy are committed to upholding and teaching these, and bishops have a particular responsibility to refute error and teach truth—because this is what it means to be part of the one, holy, apostolic and catholic church.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(CEN) Ways to renew the Church explored at Oxford Conference

Senior conservative evangelical Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, members of the Ordinariate and Roman Catholic delegates met recently to reflect on how orthodox the faith and practice of Anglican patrimony might contribute to the renewal of the whole church.

The conference was told that renewal was needed in the face of the rejection of the influence of the Jewish Christian tradition on western society through deceptive totalitarian definitions of justice, equality and fairness.

This rejection was challenging religious freedom and freedom of speech. Delegates were told that religion has changed from being seen as a neurosis to an idolatry of the self, sacralising subjective experience and thus unravelling the objective Christian narrative.

The Gospel and the Catholic Church by Michael Ramsey was a main point of reference. Ramsey argues that the church itself should point to the depth of sin and judgement and the death and resurrection of Jesus, and speak of Jesus in such a way that the life of the church is included.

Read it all.”>Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Roman Catholic

Dave Wright–The Road to Clemson: How a Small Church Plant is Engaging a University Campus

“We need a campus ministry that will be distinctly Anglican, connected to the local church, and one that will build leadership for the future of Anglican Churches.” Such was the thinking of The Rev. John Hall, lead planter of Christ The Redeemer Anglican Church in Clemson, South Carolina. From past experience, John knew that a close bond between campus ministry and the local church could be a key to the development of a successful pipeline of young church leaders.

Two young leaders joining him in this vision are Luke Rasmussen and Justin Hare. Justin explained, “Luke and I started dreaming about what an Anglican college ministry at Clemson could look like. As Anglicans, we worship through liturgy and have traditions other denominations do not. To be able to engage students on campus in their specific tradition is vital. Having done youth ministry in Charleston, I knew that Anglican students from all over America come to Clemson, but upon arrival found there was no vibrant campus ministry in their tradition.”

Read it all (Easter and Pentecost 2018 edition, page 5).

Posted in * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Education, Parish Ministry, Young Adults

Stephen Noll–Rediscovering The Tapestry Of Scripture: Understanding Its Plain And Canonical Sense

Believing the Bible to be the Word of God and actually interpreting it are two important but distinct activities. Confessing the primary authority of the Bible puts us, like Bunyan’s Pilgrim, on the right road, but we still have a long and dangerous journey ahead and we need an interpreter to help us along. The way of interpretation which historically and theologically corresponds to the doctrine of verbal inspiration of the Bible is the literal sense. “Literalism” is a badge of pride or abuse nowadays, like the word “fundamentalism.” Just as those who would take their stand on the fundamentals are not necessarily fundamentalists, so reading the Bible literally does not necessarily make one a literalist. Since no hermeneutical label is without its difficulties, I prefer to stick to the classic use of literal sense.[2]

“Literal sense” is the linking together of God’s written Word, our hearts and minds made and restored in his image, and the Truth to which the Bible points (Ps 19:1, 7,14; John 15:26). The literal sense depends on a complex but real intentionality: God as the final author inspired the receiving, inscribing, editing, and collecting of his revelation so that it would convey true meaning. Although the greatest thinkers can mine Scripture and never exhaust its ore, the plain truth of God’s salvation is publicly declared (2 Cor 4:1-4; John 18:10) and available to those (and only those) who approach it as little children (Matt 11:25-26). Finally, literal interpretation does not imply worship of the Bible because language, while it is a complex symbol system, refers not to itself but to something or Someone else. Having said that, literal interpretation guards against spiritual bypasses around the text as a vehicle of meaning, for the Spirit inspires and illumines with and under the written Word.

Unfortunately, many conservatives and liberals have an atrophied understanding of the literal sense. They approach the text like Sergeant Friday: “Just the facts, ma’am!” Or “Did it really happen that way?” (Conservatives answer Yes, liberals No). If Scripture is more textured than a flat reading would allow, it is because its component strands are tightly spun into a three-fold cord of literal meaning. To distinguish the strands of each thread, I would ask three kinds of questions of any biblical text…

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Commentary, Theology: Scripture

(Post-Gazette) Religious institutions wait to see what tax reform does to their place in people’s budgets

The conventional thinking is that most people who donate to places of worship are not primarily motivated by tax benefits.

For many, giving is a core value based on religious teachings and a sense of gratitude.

This could be the year when those assumptions are put to a test.

The new federal tax law has cut taxes for working American families, but it also could have the unintended consequence of reducing the financial incentive for many people to donate to religious and charitable organizations.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy estimates roughly 30 million households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 will be less likely to itemize deductions on their taxes due to the new law. With less incentive to donate, researchers predict the amount those households give will decline.

“Tax incentives do affect how much people give,” said Una Osili, associate dean for research. “If it is more expensive to give, they give less.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance & Investing, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Taxes

[Brave New World Dept] (Quartz) Ambarish Mitra–We can train AI to identify good and evil, and then use it to teach us morality

When it comes to tackling the complex questions of humanity and morality, can AI make the world more moral?

Morality is one of the most deeply human considerations in existence. The very nature of the human condition pushes us to try to distinguish right from wrong, and the existence of other humans pushes us to treat others by those values.

What is good and what is right are questions usually reserved for philosophers and religious or cultural leaders. But as artificial intelligence weaves itself into nearly every aspect of our lives, it is time to consider the implications of AI on morality, and morality on AI.

There are many conversations around the importance of making AI moral or programming morality into AI. For example, how should a self-driving car handle the terrible choice between hitting two different people on the road? These are interesting questions, but they presuppose that we’ve agreed on a clear moral framework. Though some universal maxims exist in most modern cultures (don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie), there is no single “perfect” system of morality with which everyone agrees.

But AI could help us create one.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

Food For Thought from Eugene Peterson

The puzzle is why so many people live so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs. Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People, aimless and bored, amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines.

― Eugene H. Peterson, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Theology

Today is the National Day of Prayer for 2018

This Thursday, May 3, is the National Day of Prayer. It will be the 30th annual observance since President Ronald Reagan signed the amended law designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer, and the 67th observance since the day was first created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.

I honestly cannot think of another moment more appropriate for America to come together and pray for unity in our nation.

We are living through a crucial time in our country’s history. Division rages, hate and vitriolic language are loud. We’re more focused on making enemies than friends. If we do not find the resolve to come together and confront the issues fracturing our communities and dividing our country, we will not find the peace and healing we desperately need.

In all this, one thing is crystal clear: politics will not heal us, and government will not fix us. We need a massive prayer movement that will lead us back to God and bring healing to our land. That is my great hope for this date set apart for prayer and national repentance.

You can read more there and here and you may watch them vimeo video there as well.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from E.B. Pusey

O God, fountain of love, pour thy love into our souls, that we may love those whom thou lovest with the love thou givest us, and think and speak of them tenderly, meekly, lovingly; and so loving our brethren and sisters for thy sake, may grow in thy love, and dwelling in love may dwell in thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture