Daily Archives: May 8, 2018

(MC) Martyn Percy–The Church of England: Mission and Ministry after the Decade of Evangelism

The problem – the legacy of this Decade, in effect – can be simply expressed. The Church of England – or at least its hierarchy – is stuck in broadcast mode. Like the proverbial Englishman abroad, they cannot make themselves understood in a world that increasingly finds the Church incomprehensible, especially in spheres such as sexuality, gender, equality, safeguarding, the
exercise of power, the holding of authority and being open to accountability. But does the Church perceive this? No. It just talks louder, hoping, somehow, it will be heard. It won’t.

In all this, the Church only seeks to make itself more appealing, and attractive to those who might join. Yet it rarely asks the same public why they don’t join. It is like a business doing even more hard selling, with increasing desperation, but unwilling to ask the consumers why they aren’t buying. What is strange about this situation is that the drivers of the agenda are deeply concerned about mission and evangelism. So, they act out of the best of intentions.

But the problem is that the underlying theology of mission and of the Holy Spirit – missiology and pneumatology – is deeply deficient. Expressive evangelistic campaigns tend to achieve very little. Even the Evangelical Alliance admitted in 1994 that the main achievement of the Decade was to establish ‘new levels of co-operation between the Churches’. Hardly a great result but, as other writers in the field of missiology had known for years, what was compelling and credible was an authentic and humble Church. One that listened deeply and lived its faith, faithfully and unassumingly, ratherthan brashly promoting its brand.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(JE) Esther Chung–What American Christians Can Learn From the Global Church

Christians all around the world create the body of the Church. Each has a different role and can build and challenge each other to further expand God’s kingdom. In a recent panel discussion hosted by Sojourners, speakers considered what American Christianity can learn from the global Church.

Panelists included Pastor Hana Kim, lead pastor of Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Seoul, South Korea, a megachurch with over 100,000 attendees, Jim Wallis, liberal activist and president of Sojourners, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, author of Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century, Casely Essamuah, Secretary of the Global Christian Forum, and Adelle Banks, a national correspondent at Religion News Service.

Most interestingly, Kim shared that “we don’t really think that we can teach the western church about anything. If you can learn from us that would be great, but I’m not here to teach anything. We’re just doing our job.”

“Lots of times we do wrong,” Kim shared. “One of the things that we do well is to bring people to church.” Kim explained the success to this phenomena is that “for people at MyungSung, going to church is not just a Sunday thing. But it’s a daily life.”

Read it all.

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

Kendall Harmon’s recent Sunday Sermon–Good News for a Confused and Concerned Church (1 John 5:1-6)

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

(TGC) Joe Carter–The Incel Movement and the Repugnant Logic of the Sexual Revolution

[The US Supreme Court 1965] Griswold [decision] was based on a negative right to privacy. But since then it has broadened to include new positive rights—such as the requirement of businesses to pay for abortifacients in their health-insurance plans and to use artistic talents to serve the “weddings” of same-sex couples.

Some sexual-rights advocates, such as bioethicist Jacob Appel, are now claiming a right even more expansive than the right to privacy: that “sexual pleasure is a fundamental right.” Based on this view, they argue for the inclusion of numerous new negative sexual rights, such as that women and girls have a right to sell their bodies for money.

Yet if sexual pleasure is fundamental, what happens to those who are unable to acquire it because of a lack of money or mate? We don’t deny people food or water because they can’t afford it, so why would deny them the “fundamental right” of sex?

The logic of sexual rights will compel, as Hanson noted, that sex may need to be redistributed using the power of the state. Hanson may be the “creepiest economist in America,” but he’s also able to follow the presuppositions of the sexual-rights advocates to their logical conclusion.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Philosophy, Sexuality, Theology

Are the TEC Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York about to Share a Bishop?

The Right Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of the Erie-based Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, will end his duties as provisional bishop in Bethlehem when its newly elected bishop is consecrated Sept. 15. Rowe became bishop in Erie in 2007 and took on the temporary Bethlehem job in 2014 after the bishop there retired. In 2019, he could resume the job of provisional bishop, this time in Western New York following the retirement of Bishop William Franklin.

Standing Committees, which are groups of clergy and laypeople who advise a bishop, met Monday in Erie and suburban Buffalo to approve the arrangement in which the dioceses would share Rowe for five years. They also would share ministry and support staffs and collaborate on ministry initiatives. In 2024, the dioceses would decide whether to continue and deepen the arrangement, according to a statement.

The plan still needs to be approved by the annual convention, a meeting of clergy and laypeople, of each diocese. The two conventions will meet jointly in Niagara Falls and vote Oct. 26.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Stephen Noll–The Episcopal Church And Trial [use] Marriage

In the ponderous Blue Book of materials for the Episcopal General Convention in July, the Task Force on the Study of Marriage proposes a Resolution (A085) to revise, for trial use of course, the Prayer Book itself by:

  • defining marriage as a “covenant between a man and a woman two people’
  • amending the Proper Prefaces on Marriage to read: “Because in the love of wife and husband two people in faithful love…
  • amending the Catechism to say: “Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which two people the woman and man enter into a life-long union” and adding an additional section defining the procreative purpose in terms of “the gift and heritage of children…”

They make clear, in addition, that passing these “trial use” changes may count as a “first reading” for a permanent revision of the Prayer Book by 2021.

Not content with rewriting the marriage rite, the Task Force proposes a Resolution (Ao86) to authorize a rite of “Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship,” warning gravely that these rites “shall not be used for mere convenience.” So now a couple can forgo marriage altogether and be blessed. Presumably this new service is catering for the ever-popular cohabiting community.

So under the rubric of “trial use” the Episcopal Church is proposing a wholesale redefinition of Christian marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

David Ould on the new Bishop of Gippsland, an outspoken Supporter of Same-sex “Marriage”

Despite a number of very clear motions at the 2017 General Synod, debate still rages. davidould.net has learned from a number of sources that at their recent annual meeting in March the bishops of Australia made a private agreement on how to proceed on the matter but have embargoed any publication of the details. davidould.net understands this was the only way that the more liberal members of the house could be persuaded to sign up to the fairly conservative agreement.

Thus the appointment of Treloar raises a particular dilemma for the national church:

Given the overwhelmingly conservative nature of the 2017 General Synod motions and the recent bishops’ agreement (albeit the exact details remain unknown), how can Treloar be consecrated as a bishop who promises to uphold, promote and defend church teaching when he is not only on the public record as being categorically opposed to it on a (perhaps the) key issue of contention but has even indicated that he may have already broken church law and teaching on the issue on multiple occasions?

How can Treloar himself make those promises in good conscience?

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Julian of Norwich

Lord God, who in thy compassion didst grant to the Lady Julian many revelations of thy nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek thee above all things, for in giving us thyself thou givest us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

O Saviour, who in the completeness of Thy manhood art still Babe of Bethlehem and Child of Nazareth, restore in me the simplicity I have tampered with, the transparency I have obscured, the childlikeness I have lost, that the shattered fragments of my innocence may be assembled anew in the beauty of Thy sanctity; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost art God forever and ever.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders which he has wrought.
He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments….

–Psalm 78:2-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture