Category : * Religion News & Commentary

News and commentary from / about other (non-Anglican) Christian churches and denominations

(Local Paper front page) Billy Graham left a giant footprint, spreading evangelism from the South across the globe

Peter Beck, professor of Christian Studies at Charleston Southern University, grew up watching Graham’s crusades on television.

“He was in many ways the heartbeat of the evangelical movement in the mid-20th century to the end. He was the face,” he said. “Most people are going to label him today the greatest evangelist or the greatest revivalist of the 20th century, and I think those are fairly accurate descriptions.”

That said, Beck noted that neither his children nor his students are aware of Graham. “He’s been retired longer than they’ve been alive.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, History, Religion & Culture

(CT) A Billy Graham Sermon–The Sin of Tolerance

One of the pet words of this age is “tolerance.” It is a good word, but we have tried to stretch it over too great an area of life. We have applied it too often where it does not belong. The word “tolerant” means “liberal,” “broad-minded,” “willing to put up with beliefs opposed to one’s convictions,” and “the allowance of something not wholly approved.”

Tolerance, in one sense, implies the compromise of one’s convictions, a yielding of ground upon important issues. Hence, over-tolerance in moral issues has made us soft, flabby and devoid of conviction.

We have become tolerant about divorce; we have become tolerant about the use of alcohol; we have become tolerant about delinquency; we have become tolerant about wickedness in high places; we have become tolerant about immorality; we have become tolerant about crime and we have become tolerant about godlessness. We have become tolerant of unbelief.

In a book recently published on what prominent people believe, 60 out of 100 did not even mention God, and only 11 out of 100 mentioned Jesus. There was a manifest tolerance toward soft character and a broadmindedness about morals, characteristic of our day. We have been sapped of conviction, drained of our beliefs and bereft of our faith.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Christology, Evangelicals, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Evangelism & Mission, Theology: Scripture

(Kim Lawton Blog) Remembering Evangelist Billy Graham–Billy Graham: “An American Phenomenon”

LAWTON: In 2002, Graham released a book titled “Heaven, the Final Journey.” Heaven was a subject he preached about frequently during his career. Talk show host Dick Cavett once asked Graham what he thought heaven would be like.

GRAHAM, on “The Dick Cavett Show”: Heaven is going to be where Christ is. Now I don’t know whether that’s a planet or whether that’s a star or whether it’s on this earth or where it’s going to be. But it’s going to be where Christ is and the Bible says, “to be absent from the bodies, present with the Lord.” And if I died right now, Dick, I know that I’m going to go immediately into the presence of God.

DICK CAVETT, on “The Dick Cavett Show”: You do?

GRAHAM, on “The Dick Cavett Show”: I know that.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

John Stott on Billy Graham–Walking Together to Glory

John R. W. Stott first met Billy Graham in the 1940s, while sharing an open-air meeting at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park. Their shared concern for evangelism led to a close association during Graham’s 1954 Harringay crusade, which captivated London nightly for nearly three months. Over the next 50 years, the two men’s lives would frequently intertwine, through shared leadership in significant ventures like the Lausanne International Congress on World Evangelization and in personal friendship. In 2007, Stott offered these unpublished reminiscences:

Integrity. If I had to choose one word with which to characterize Billy Graham, it would be integrity. He was all of a piece. There was no dichotomy between what he said and what he was. He practiced what he preached.

Finance. When Graham first came to London, a considerable group of church leaders was wondering whether to invite him to preach there. They were critical, but he had anticipated their questions. He was able to say that he received a fixed salary, less than most salaries paid to the senior pastors of large churches, and he received no “love offerings” (unaccounted extras). As for crusade finances, they were published in the press during each crusade.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture

JI Packer on Billy Graham–When Billy Took Britain By Storm

In March 1952, while still a layman, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a gathering of 750 evangelical leaders, not-quite-leaders, and not-yet-leaders, at Church House in central London. We gathered to hear a 35-year-old American evangelist speak and answer questions about his burgeoning crusade ministry.

Billy Graham’s address, based on Habakkuk’s prayer that God would revive his work, averred that God was working a modern-day revival through the remarkably fruitful large-scale missions that he had been leading. He was relaxed, humble, God-centered, with a big, clear, warm voice, frequently funny and totally free from the arrogance, dogmatism, and implicit self-promotion that, rightly or wrongly, we Brits had come to expect from American evangelical leaders. He was engaging in his style, displaying the evangelist’s peculiar gift of making everyone feel that he was addressing them personally. He monologued for 90 minutes and answered questions for another hour. Though somewhat prejudiced at that stage of my life against all forms of institutionalized mass evangelism, I ended up admiring the speaker and rejoiced that I had been squeezed into the meeting. In retrospect, it stands in my memory as something of a landmark.

This meeting was held to consider whether to invite Graham to lead a crusade in London. Two days after his star performance, the invitation was issued—the first step on the road to the Harringay crusade, by far the most momentous religious event in 20th-century Britain. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lasting conversions, spinning off into dozens of vocations to evangelical pastoral ministry, led to high morale and significant spiritual advance through the next generation, despite the inroads secularism had made into British life. That Billy Graham left an indelible mark on England is not open to doubt.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

Billy Graham on Courage: ‘A great problem in America is that we have an anemic and watered-down Christianity’

From here:

A great problem in America is that we have an anemic and watered-down Christianity that has produced an anemic, watered-down, and spineless Christian who is not willing to stand up and be counted on every issue. We must have a virile, dynamic, aggressive Christian who lives Christ seven days a week, who is ready to die, if necessary, for his faith. We need Christians who are ethical, honest, gracious, bold, strong, and devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BGEA) A Video Tribute to Billy Graham

Posted in Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

Billy Graham RIP

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture

Lee Gattis–Statement on the amalgamation of conservative Evangelical Anglican groups

From there:

We are delighted to announce that the Church Society Council, the Reform Council, and the Trustees of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit have all agreed to pursue a merger. It is in the light of our shared Biblical, Reformed, Anglican faith and common goals that we have decided that the challenges of the present time require us to unite our efforts so that we are better placed to harness the energies of evangelicals in contending for the gospel.

Bringing such bodies together requires a lot of hard work and much trust but it is right for biblical Christians to pursue this. In the Bible the impact of sin always seems to be fragmentation and dispersal, but the fruit of the gospel and living under the rule of Christ is unity and gathering together. Furthermore we believe that in the circumstances of the present Church of England the coming together of these bodies will enable us to be more effective in the pioneering, establishing and securing of healthy local Anglican churches.

A detailed plan for the merger of the three bodies has been worked out. Both Reform and FWS will be encouraging their members to join this renewed Church Society in advance of our AGM on May 12th, so that they will be eligible to speak and vote at that meeting. A new Church Society council will be elected then, and it is anticipated that this will include representatives of all three groups. A new President will also be appointed. There will, of course, be much still to work out in terms of the new organisation and how best to ensure we retain the valuable work that each has been doing. We ask for your prayers and your patience during this transition time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

(WSJ) Robert Sirico–What I Learned From Michael Novak

I first read Michael Novak’s groundbreaking work “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism” when it was published in 1982, before I entered seminary at the Catholic University of America. The book’s dialogue between economics and theology made a deep impression on me, as it did thousands of others. I wrote the author and asked if we might meet once I arrived in Washington. Thus began a friendship that lasted until Novak’s death last year.

The first anniversary of his passing, Feb. 17, comes at a difficult time. Americans face an uncertain economy and deadlocked government. A vocal critic of capitalism leads the Catholic Church. Young people are showing a strange attraction to socialism, as are many Christians who might have been expected to sustain Novak’s philosophy of virtuous capitalism. The U.S. lacks leaders who combine prudence and moral vision.

I was intrigued to find a theologian who was familiar with writers like Friedrich Hayek. I sought his mentorship as I began my theological studies at a time when much of the academy was enamored with Marxist “liberation theology.” I even suggested that Novak squarely address that movement, which he did in another book, “Will It Liberate? Questions About Liberation Theology” (1986).

Even though we were from different generations, I soon found many parallels in our intellectual and religious trajectories. We had both identified as men of the left in early life. Over time we moved from advocating some form of democratic socialism to supporting the free economy. We spent decades defending free-market democracy as the system that best reflected the truth about man.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks–May we never forget the Real Power of Personal Interaction

This week, research was published showing that spending as little as ten minutes a day talking to someone with dementia can make a real difference to their quality of life, alleviating their anxiety and sense of isolation in a strange and fearful world.

Increased levels of dementia have been the price we pay for the rise in life expectancy in recent decades. And it’s tough: for the sufferers themselves, their carers, and for members of their family. It can be almost unbearable to find that your parent can’t recognise you, their child. And people can become fatalistic about it, thinking that there’s nothing you can do to make things better. But that’s beginning to change.

Three weeks ago, my wife Elaine and I visited, in his home in Philadelphia, Aaron Beck, co-founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy practised today. 96 years old and physically frail, he was still wonderfully young in mind and spirit. He told us that he’d always believed that his methods could help many people but not those with dementia, but now – though the research is still in its early days – people were beginning to find that it could help them too.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Judaism, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Church of England Evangelical Council’s (CEEC) statement on Gospel, Church and Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith

2.We recognise that some fellow Christians no longer accept the Church’s teaching on marriage, singleness and sex but, because it is an integral part of our calling to be holy, we cannot treat this teaching as an ‘optional extra’ (or adiaphora).

•We believe this teaching is both apostolic and essential to the gospel’s transforming purpose and thus must be compassionately and clearly proclaimed and explained in and by the Church.

•This area is therefore of a higher order than other divisive matters, often viewed as ‘secondary’ (for example , the ordination of women), because it calls for faithful obedience to the unambiguous and authoritative teaching of Scripture concerning godly living and human flourishing.

•Thus,the upholding ofthis teaching, rooted in our creedal confession of God as Creator, and the enabling of Christians to live it with joy and confidence, is an essential
aspect of biblical faithfulness—especially when, as in our day, these matters are being so hotly contested.

3.We believe that the Church of England, being defined by adherence to essential apostolic truth, should not accept teaching or affirm behaviour—whether implicitly or explicitly-which contradicts or undermines the boundaries laid down by apostolic teaching and practice.

Read it all (6 page pdf).

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Tablet) Lord [Rowan] Williams: the environmental crisis is a toxic expression of humanity’s failures

Lord Williams of Oystermouth was speaking on Monday night at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, where he gave an address on Pope Francis’ green encyclical, Laudato Si’.

He praised the encyclical for highlighting that the Christian understanding of “who is my neighbour?’’ should embrace the whole of creation and that humanity’s treatment of the environment is self-destructive.

“For the Christian, the doctrine of creation is a declaration that all that is comes from God”, said Lord Williams. “But as Pope Francis says, it is not enough to avoid environmental disaster, to love our neighbour and ourselves…we have to ask how do we live in such a way to receive from God”.

Lord Williams, now the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, reserved his staunchest criticism for contemporary approaches to education.

“Children need to know what beauty is and we need to think how this can be nurtured and developed in education. We have increasingly lost sight of education as a humanising task,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Cath News NZ) Anglican-Methodist reunion likely

Two matters are of particular concern in relation to reuniting the two churches.

One is whether Methodist presbyters would have to be re-ordained to provide a unified and public catholic witness. The synod report proposes the Anglican Church recognise Methodist ministers’ holy orders.

The other issue is about how churches should be led.

Anglican churches operate under an episcopal model with bishops seen as following on from the apostles, as the Church’s leaders. As bishops consecrate more bishops and ordain new clergy, the “apostolic succession” continues.

Methodists do not accept the idea of “apostolic succession” in the Anglican sense.

If the churches were to reunite, an Anglican bishop would take part in ordaining new Methodist ministers, enabling them to enter the “apostolic succession”.

The Methodist Conference says it is willing to receive the episcopate as long as partner churches acknowledge that the Methodist Church “has been and is part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church”, Ruth Gee, former president of the Methodist conference says.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Methodist

(1st Things) David Bentley Hart–The Precious Stephen Pinker

In the end, what Pinker calls a “decline of violence” in modernity actually has been, in real body counts, a continual and extravagant increase in violence that has been outstripped by an even more exorbitant demographic explosion. Well, not to put too fine a point on it: So what? What on earth can he truly imagine that tells us about “progress” or “Enlightenment”—or about the past, the present, or the future? By all means, praise the modern world for what is good about it, but spare us the mythology.

And yet, oddly enough, I like Pinker’s book. On one level, perhaps, it is all terrific nonsense: historically superficial, philosophically platitudinous, occasionally threatening to degenerate into the dulcet bleating of a contented bourgeois. But there is also something exhilarating about this fideist who thinks he is a rationalist. Over the past few decades, so much of secularist discourse has been drearily clouded by irony, realist disenchantment, spiritual fatigue, self-lacerating sophistication: a postmodern sense of failure, an appetite for caustic cultural genealogies, a meek surrender of all “metanarrative” ambitions.

Pinker’s is an older, more buoyant, more hopeful commitment to the “Enlightenment”—and I would not wake him from his dogmatic slumber for all the tea in China. In his book, one encounters the ecstatic innocence of a faith unsullied by prudent doubt. For me, it reaffirms the human spirit’s lunatic and heroic capacity to believe a beautiful falsehood, not only in excess of the facts, but in resolute defiance of them.

Read it all (from 2012).

Posted in Anthropology, Apologetics, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Faiths, Secularism, Theology, Violence