Category : Eschatology

Sam Brewster on Thomas Cranmer Day: Thomas Cranmer and the fear of death

..as part of a wider effort to reform a church led by an often corrupt and ignorant clergy, Cranmer had produced a book of twelve Homilies. Every parish in the land was required to own them, and every parish priest to preach them. The ninth of these homilies is entitled: An Exhortation Against The Fear Of Death. Cranmer outlines three reasons why men fear to die: a fear at losing worldly honours, a fear of the suffering and pain that attends dying, and the ”˜chief cause’ of fear, namely, ”˜the dread of the miserable state of damnation’. He then goes on,

“There is never a one of all these causes”¦ that can make a true Christian man afraid to die, but plainly contrary, he conceives great and many causes undoubtedly grounded upon the infallible and everlasting truth of the Word of God, which moves him not only to put away the fear of bodily death, but also (for the manifold benefits and singular commodities which ensues to every faithful person by reason of the same) to wish, desire, and long heartily for it. For death shall be to him no death at all, but a very deliverance from death, from all pains, cares and sorrows, miseries, and wretchedness of this world, and the very entry into rest, and a beginning of everlasting joy”¦ And we ought to believe that death being slain by Christ cannot keep any man that steadfastly trust in Christ under his perpetual tyranny and subjection”¦”

But there is a large difference between words written in the safety of an archbishop’s study, and words believed in the shadow of a looming stake! …

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Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Theology

Monday Food for Thought–CS Lewis on Hope

Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ”˜thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.

–C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco: Harper, 2001), p. 134

Posted in Eschatology

Bishop Stephen Croft of Oxford writes his diocese on the just completed General Synod

Although it had been a difficult and tense week, my own sense was that the debate itself was the General Synod at its best. I’ve been in difficult debates on several occasions (most noticeably on the legislation of women in the episcopate). This did not feel like those debates. Over 30 people spoke. There was a 3 minute time limit throughout. Jayne Ozanne, Martin Gorick and Sam Alberry all spoke well, from different perspectives. I saw other Oxford members standing seeking to make a contribution. Over 160 people wanted to contribute. The debate was expertly chaired by Aidan Hargreaves.

We came to the vote which is normally a formality in a take note debate. As expected, it was closely contested. The House of Bishops voted 43 in favour and 1 against (the Bishop of Coventry later admitted he had pressed the wrong button by mistake). The House of Laity voted 106 in favour, 86 against with 3 abstentions. The House of Clergy voted 93 in favour and 100 against with 4 abstentions. The take note motion was therefore defeated.

Given the strength of feeling across the Church and the Synod this seemed to me an appropriate outcome. The Bishop of Norwich said afterwards: “I can guarantee that the Bishops will listen carefully and prayerfully to all the contributions made in the debate today”.

Talking with people afterwards, this felt a very significant moment but not that the Church of England is in chaos or turmoil (as the newspaper headlines indicated the following day).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Jason Casper–Islam and Christianity share Second Coming hopes. Can this be a bridge?

Some victims of ISIS’ eschatology get it, said Salim Munayer, head of the Musalaha reconciliation ministry in Jerusalem. Many Syrian refugees are questioning Islam and the role of religion, especially as they find Christians responding to meet their needs.

But other research shows that Christian eschatology can get in the way. Overly pro-Israel interpretations are a barrier to evangelism, conversion, and discipleship, according to one academic study of 150 Muslim converts in the Holy Land.

Muslim interest in eschatology ebbs and flows, but is currently at high tide due to the collapse of regional governments and innovative proof-texting of Islamic traditions, said Munayer. This leads to a pessimistic and fatalistic outlook that encourages apocalyptic ideology. “Some Muslims are taking refuge in end-times theology,” he said. “A tendency also found among some Christians and Jews.”

Yet regardless of how Christians interpret Revelation or read the times, Larson calls them back to the gospel’s hope. “We need to witness with assurance that faith in Jesus as the crucified, risen, and coming Messiah makes all the difference in this world,” he said. “And in the world to come.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Eschatology, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Music for Martin Luther King Day–I'm gonna ride the Chariot in the morning Lord

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Eschatology, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) More Families Choosing Cremation For Departed Loved Ones

[SCOTT] SIMON: What are some of the reasons you think more people’s families, I guess I should – I almost said why more people are choosing to be cremated. And that might technically be true – but usually after their death.

[BARBARA] KEMMIS: So cremation is simply cheaper than burial. Of course, when you consider a funeral or a memorial service or celebration-of-life expenses, those are extra. And consumers also report that they see extra value with cremation and that they have more flexibility. To put it bluntly, death, even when it’s anticipated, is inconvenient.

We don’t want to lose our loved ones. We don’t want to drop everything and gather and grieve and do what we need to do. But we must. And we can do that. But as families are spread across the country in various states, it’s more and more difficult to bring people together on short notice. Cremation can expand the timeframe of grieving and memorializing your loved one.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Eschatology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CEN) Andrew Goddard–Why 2017 will be a crunch year for the Church of England

One of CEEC’s tasks, prompted by “Guarding the Deposit”, is to consider together the various ways evangelicals will respond to this situation and how the wider church might face the reality of our diversity over human sexuality. “Guarding the Deposit” outlines three broad ways the church might act in 2017 and beyond.

Its hope is that the Church of England will maintain its current teaching and practice as the 2007 Synod committed us to do. Alternatively there may be a full acceptance of same-sex relationships as in a few other Anglican provinces. This would undoubtedly lead to major division within the CofE and the destruction of the Anglican Communion in its current form. There may therefore be an attempt ”“ as in the Pilling Report ”“ to offer some form of supposed via media with official permission for marking of same-sex relationships.

But, as “Guarding the Deposit” argues, this too would both represent a departure from apostolicity and lead to continuing conflict. It would therefore require some form of agreed visible differentiation and structural separation within the Church of England (and wider Communion).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Abductors Demand N20m Ransom For Release Of Anglican Church’s Scribe’s Wife In Ondo

The gunmen, who abducted the wife of the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Venerable Ayodeji Fagbemi, Ebunoluwa had contacted the family, demanding for a sum of N20 million for her release.

The victim, Mrs.Fagbemi was kidnapped by unknown gunmen who invaded her house at Oba-Ile in Akure North local government Area of Ondo State on Monday night.

Leadership learnt that the abductors took the woman away to unknown destination after gaining entrance into her house through the window.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Eschatology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Theology, Violence, Women

Richard Baxter on his Feast Day: the Nature of the Saints Everlasting Rest in Heaven

What this rest presupposes…. 5. It contains, (1.) A ceasing from means of grace ; 6. (2.) A perfect freedom from all evils ; 7. (3.) The highest degree of the saints’ personal perfection, both in body and soul ; 8. (4.) The nearest enjoyment of God the Chief Good; 9 ”” 14. (5.) A sweet and constant action of all the powers of soul and body in this enjoyment of God ; as, for instance, bodily senses, knowledge, memory, love, joy, together with a mutual love and joy.

The Saints Everlasting Rest (1652)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Eschatology, Theology

(BBC) Archbp Justin Welby: Putting money in its proper place

In the last two chapters, he offers a couple of countermeasures:
What we give we gain
What we master brings us joy
These are what he calls the formulation of “divine economics”, a kind of upside-down approach to wealth where giving does not result in depletion but blessing, and where overcoming our natural appetite for accumulating wealth is the challenge that brings genuine and deep-seated peace.
“Money buys capabilities,” he says.
“It also buys security, but it risks taking us further and further away from being those who wash feet, who dethrone Mammon by subverting the power of wealth to give us a better life.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

CS Lewis on CS Lewis Day (VI)–On Hope

Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ”˜thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.

–C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco: Harper, 2001), p. 134

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Apologetics, Church History, Eschatology, Theology

(Sunday {London] Times) Child of 7 signed up for body freezing by the controversial Cryonics UK

Children as young as seven are being signed up to be frozen after their death by the organisation at the centre of the controversy over cryonics.

Cryonics UK, which prepares bodies for long-term frozen storage in the US, said it had about “four or five” children on its membership list. The youngest person it had been asked to freeze was seven, but the arrangements could not be made before the child died.

Tim Gibson, 45, a committee member of Cryonics UK, which operates as a charity, said there was no age limit for children to be frozen. The cost of the procedure is about £45,000 and is offered in the hope that those who have died might be resuscitated in the future.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Secularism, Theology

Jeffrey Miller's Sunday Sermon at St Philips Charleston "What Does The Future Hold" (Luke 21:5-19)

You can listen directly here or download it there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Short Church of England Film for Remembrance Day

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Eschatology, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Theology

Fleming Rutledge–Beyond Religion and Spirituality, from the Baltimore Declaration Conference

In the Church Dogmatics, Karl Barth defines “human religion” this way: “the realm of attempts by man to justify and sanctify himself before a wilfully”¦devised image of God.”[6] The position I’m staking out is that in today’s context, it is more crucial than ever to make a sufficiently sharp distinction between self-justification and self-sanctification, on the one hand, and on the other, the utterly gratuitous, prevenient action of God in justifying humanity by the self-offering of his Son. I’m choosing those two words carefully: gratuitous in its original, primary meaning of “given freely, without regard to merit” and prevenient, meaning “to go before,” as in prevenient grace which precedes anything we can do to earn or deserve it.

So what is the antidote to the situation we find ourselves in, where voices within the church are calling for the reinstatement of Pelagius as a Christian teacher and model? Where “Celtic” services on Sunday evenings, with candles and chants and eclectic liturgies, attract far more millennials than Sunday morning worship? Where so often, sermons are little more than assorted more-or-less-religious reflections having little to do with the actual biblical text? Where the high Christology of the Creeds and Councils has become a Jesus-ology, based on his inclusive table fellowship? What is the antidote?

In one of my old files I came across an interview with the pre-eminent Anglican missionary bishop and historian Stephen Neill. He said, “Biblical preaching is practically unknown these days.” This is in the 1970s! He continues, “I find a very remarkable response to biblical preaching. There’s not nearly enough of it in the churches in America”¦[Unless] you are rooted and grounded in the faith, there is no particular impulse to pass it on.” This was more than 40 years ago, and the trends have proven him right.

I’m here to argue that when there is no biblical preaching, the church is in a crisis.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture