"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." -- Ray Bradbury
Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices --- C.S. Lewis
Jesus and the Old Testament. It was the consistent teaching of Jesus that Old Testament Scripture was God's Word bearing witness to him. For example, he said, 'Abraham rejoiced... to see my day' (Jn. 8:56). Or in John 5:46 he says, 'Moses... wrote of me', and again, 'the scriptures ... bear witness to me' (verse 39). At the beginning of his ministry, when he went to worship in the synagogue at Nazareth, you will remember, he read from Isaiah 61 about the Messiah's mission and message of liberation, and added: 'Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing' (Lk. 4:21). In other words, 'If you want to know whom the prophet was writing about, he was writing about me.' Jesus continued to say this kind of thing throughout his ministry. Even after the resurrection he had not changed his mind, for 'he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself' (Lk. 24:27). Thus from the beginning to the end of his ministry Jesus declared that the whole prophetic testimony of the Old Testament, in all its rich diversity, converged upon him. 'The scriptures ... bear witness to me.' --- John R.W. Stott
No actual autograph. It is true that no actual autograph of Scripture has survived. The loss is presumably due to a deliberate providence of God, which may have been to prevent us giving superstitious reverence to pieces of paper. Nevertheless, we know something of the scrupulous care with which scribes copied the sacred Hebrew text, and the same would have been true of the New Testament documents. Further, we possess a great many more early copies of the original text than of any other ancient literature. By comparing these with each other, with the early 'versions' (i.e. translations) and with biblical quotations in the writings of the church fathers, scholars (called 'textual critics') have been able to establish the authentic text (especially of the New Testament) beyond any reasonable doubt. The uncertainties which remain are almost entirely trivial; no doctrine of any importance hangs upon them. –-- John R.W. Stott
The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. --- C.S. Lewis
Dear Brothers and Sisters
June 21, 2013
The ACNA Provincial Council and College of Bishops met this week and announced the formation of a new Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Some 160 delegates and bishops gathered for the Provincial Council, hosted in Adams Hall on the grounds of the beautiful lakeside campus of Nashotah House Theological Seminary, Wisconsin, under perfect, sunny, 75 degree weather.
VOL waited to put out this digest till we knew who the bishop might be. We are delighted to let you know who they chose was the Rev. Stewart Ruch, rector of Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. You can read more about ACNA in today's digest, including Archbishop Robert Duncan's speech to ACNA's delegates.
There were more comings and goings in The Episcopal Church this past week. The Diocese of North Carolina ordained Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple as its sixth bishop suffragan. She becomes the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church's Province IV.
More than 1,400 people attended or participated in the service held in the historic Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham. Hodges-Copple, formerly the rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Durham, was elected Jan. 25 out of a field of five candidates during the diocese's annual convention.
As bishop suffragan, Hodges-Copple will assist North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry in leading the diocese into what he has termed "21st-century Galilee," or as the puff put it, "the diverse modern world in which we live."
Hodges-Copple is the diocese's first bishop suffragan since the Rt. Rev. Gary Gloster retired in 2007. With her historic election, she follows in the footsteps of the diocese's first bishop suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Henry Beard Delany, who became the first black bishop to serve the diocese when ordained in 1918.
One wag noted that what the Episcopal Church doesn't have yet with all its newfound sexualities, but will have in time, is a she-male, all in keeping with last year's General Convention. TEC has a female PB, a few Blacks, Hispanics and Indians, a matched pair of a gay and lesbian. All that is missing is a She-Male to round out the all-inclusive, ever shrinking, totally embracive Episcopal Church.
Bishop Kee Sloan, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, has posted a letter asking churches to sponsor Boy Scout troops.
In an apparent response to the Southern Baptist Convention's resolution opposing the Boy Scouts' decision to accept openly gay scouts, Sloan wants Episcopal churches to step forward to host troops that may need a meeting place.
Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter said, while in Birmingham last weekend, that his church, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, plans to stop hosting its Boy Scout troop.
First Baptist Church of Pelham and First Baptist Church of Helena have also announced plans to stop hosting Boy Scout troops.
Sloan posted the following statement on the web site of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama:
"Recently the leadership of another denomination has decided to distance that denomination from the Boy Scouts of America, in response to the national BSA structure's decision about involving or including people who are homosexual. I do not want to intrude into another institution's controversies or difficulties - either that denomination's or the Scout's - we have enough to deal with on our own. But its boys and young men who will be most affected by this decision, as their Boy Scout Troops might well be turned away from the local church that has been sponsoring them, and I do want for us to respond to that as appropriate. I am asking you to be mindful of the Boy Scout Troops in your community, especially those who will no longer be able to meet and have some of their activities in some of the churches. I am asking that our parishes extend our Lord's hospitality, and consider sponsoring a Boy Scout Troop."
On the international front, the Anglican Church of Mexico elected a new Primate of Mexico. He is the Rt. Rev. Francisco Manuel Moreno, bishop of the Diocese of Northern Mexico, who was elected primate of Anglican Church of Mexico on June 14 during the church's seventh General Synod.
Thirty-five delegates and bishops were eligible to vote for their new primate with 24 votes, or a two-thirds majority, required for election. Moreno, one of two candidates, was elected on the third ballot. The other candidate was Bishop Benito Juarez-Martinez of the Diocese of Southeastern Mexico.
The Anglican Church of Mexico and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church have been in a covenant relationship since 1875. In 1995, the Anglican Church of Mexico became an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion.
Traditionally, Mexico has been one of the most corrupt provinces in the Anglican Communion. Several years ago, the Archbishop and Bishop of the province absconded with some 1.5 million TEC donated dollars, never to be heard from again. It'll be interesting to see if history repeats itself.
Gay Anglican Clergy in the Church of England will have to convince archbishops they are not sexually active following a law change approved by the Church of England at the turn of the year that allows gay clergy to be considered for consecration. This will be put to a test by a legal briefing sent out to General Synod members that says priests in civil partnerships will have to prove to archbishops that they are not in a sexually active relationship.
"To be admitted to Holy Orders a person must be 'of virtuous conversation and good repute and such as to be a wholesome example and pattern to the flock of Christ,' the Legal Office document sent in June reads. "Once in Holy Orders a cleric must be diligent to frame and fashion his life and that of his family according to the doctrine of Christ and to make himself and them, as much as in him lies, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ."
The legal briefing reminds Church of England members that a clergy's sexual orientation is "irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office" and that it should not be taken into account when considering nominations for the position.
However, the document points to several resolutions and statements that "make it clear that someone in a sexually active relationship outside marriage is not eligible for the episcopate or, indeed, other ordained ministry."
It also goes on to explain that before a priest in a civil partnership can be considered for episcopal nomination, "the archbishop of the province in which he is serving will wish to satisfy himself, following discussions between the diocesan bishop and the clergyman concerned, that his life is, and will remain, consistent with the teaching of the Church of England."
Speaking of which, the openly gay, "married" living with a partner Dean Jeffrey John is being tipped as the next Bishop of Monmouth in Wales. He has been bucking for a purple shirt and even threatened to take his case to the International Court of Justice if he was denied a bishopric based on sexual orientation. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out with all the sex change stuff going on in the Church of England.
This week, Simon Fraser University recognized the bishop who started the Anglican Communion down the rocky road of inclusion and moral degradation (gay unions and more). Michael Ingham, the Bishop of New Westminster, received an honorary doctorate of laws and said in his speech that "religion must uphold the dignity of gay, lesbian and transgendered people."
Ingham pioneered the church's blessing of same-sex unions and urged graduates to stand up for the rights and dignity of gays, lesbians and transgender people. It was Ingham's decision in 2002 to bless same-sex pairings - which began at St Paul's Anglican Church in Vancouver's West End - that sparked a rift in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
A number of parishes in the Vancouver region split from the diocese, including the largest parish in Canada, St. John's Shaughnessy, sparking court battles over church property.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, called the move "schismatic" saying it "undermines marriage" and "makes us a very embarrassing partner in ecumenical circles as well."
Ingham couldn't resist with this line, "We live in a time when religious fundamentalism is growing stronger in all faiths and traditions. It is a movement rooted in fear. The answer in my view is not to abandon religious faith but to join the side of religious progress. Religions must struggle for the equality of women. Religions must uphold the dignity of gay, lesbian, and transgendered people. Religions must work to safeguard the integrity of God's creation. And religions must work together, not against each other, for justice and peace. I have never believed in a God who was male, white, and elitist. I believe in a God who is engaged on the side of life, often with powerless people, in the struggle against the many faces of death. And that is my invitation to all of you today."
So much confusion...the good news is that he will retire to hitting golf balls, out of harms way.
A senior Church of England bishop has told opponents of gay marriage they are like supporters of the former racist regime in South Africa.
The Rt. Rev Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, has urged Christians to "rethink" their attitude to homosexuality and change their interpretations of the Bible.
When speaking to members of UK's House of Lords, Holtam explained allowing gay marriage would be a very strong move for the institution of marriage, the Daily Telegraph reports.
It comes as the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of the British parliament, prepares to debate the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales next week. The bill has already been passed by elected politicians in the House of Commons.
In a letter he sent to gay Muslim peer Lord Waheed Alli, Holtam said he distanced himself from the church's attitude to same-sex marriage saying, 'Sometimes Christians have had to rethink the priorities of the gospel in light of experience.
IN CANADA, dozens of churches have closed in the Windsor, Ontario, region over the past decade despite efforts by religious leaders to reverse the trend of shrinking, aging congregations.
A final service at St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Tilbury earlier this month marked the latest in a series of church closures that leaders of all denominations say will continue unless they can turn the tide of dwindling attendance.
"Obviously the world is a different place," said Rev. Keith Nethery, media relations officer for the Anglican Church's diocese of Huron. "Our bishops realize this isn't the church we grew up in or our parents attended. People in the world have changed and their needs are different."
Many families are struggling with the demands of work, school and extracurricular activities. They are more often choosing Sunday as a day of rest and family time rather than get dressed up to attend mass, Nethery said.
As well, traditional religions are being elbowed aside by new faiths and churches, he said.
The diocese has developed a strategy that in one case included selling off a large, underutilized Bruce County church and renting a smaller storefront for the congregation.
"We are walking through a lot of steps that are not Band-Aid solutions," Nethery said. "We need to retell our story and do things like that. With the storefront more people are dropping in and saying 'what's going on here?'"
The new Episcopal bishop-elect for the Diocese of New Jersey will have his hands full when he takes over from the outgoing George Councell. "The Trenton Times" reports that The Rev. William "Chip" Stokes and his wife plan to live in Trenton, the state's political capital, where more political low lifes exist and corruption is a way of life. Perhaps, he can start preaching to the politicos about Jesus.
He will head a diocese that stretches from Elizabeth to Cape May and encompasses two-thirds of the state that includes cities like Camden and Newark, where the only thing you can say about them is don't live there unless you plan on having a short life span. Newark is struggling, but on the upswing with a halfway decent new mayor. Camden is unsafe after dark.
The Episcopal Diocese that Stokes will oversee - one of only two in New Jersey - is the sixth largest in the nation. It serves 47,092 baptized congregants; ASA is only about 14,000 and has a 227-year history in New Jersey.
However, there are challenges aplenty. The diocesan profile, published last July as the search began, mentions "institutional decline," "cultural change" and "economic distress" as some of its most pressing issues. Some 67 congregations in the diocese function on less than $150,000 a year, and are therefore unable to hire full-time priests or carry out effective missions. Many have closed as a consequence.
Attendance among those aged 20 to 40 is at its lowest in years. As a whole, communication between congregations and the diocese is fractured, according to the profile.
So, unless Stokes can stoke the fires of revival, has a clear fix on the gospel, and knows how to reach Millenials for Christ, he will preside over a dying diocese with the Diocese of Newark juncturing to keep at least one diocese up and running.
The last time this diocese heard an unashamed message of salvation was from evangelist Tony Campolo who rattled the rafters at a diocesan convention and brought them to their feet. He told them that he agreed with much of their social agenda. At the same time, he laid out the gospel in clear unalloyed terms that priests had better start preaching Christ and calling for conversions. Stokes might need Campolo to remind them again.
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, the Hong Kong Anglican Church, has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant.
The province's general secretary, the Rev. Peter Koon, wrote to the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, informing him of the decision by HKSKH's sixth General Synod held from June 2-5.
Hong Kong is the seventh province to adopt the covenant, the others are La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, The Church of the Province of Myanmar, the Church in the Province of the West Indies, Church of the Province of South East Asia (with their own preamble), the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, and La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.
The Church of Ireland has subscribed to it, and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted it subject to a ratification at its next Provincial Synod.
The Scottish Episcopal Church's General Synod defeated a resolution to agree in principle to adopt the covenant in June 2012.
The Anglican Communion Covenant, a document that outlines the common life and values of the communion, was described by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as "something that helps us know where we stand together and also helps us to intensify our fellowship and our trust." It includes a section that proposes how to address significant disagreements within the Anglican Communion.
The idea of a covenant was first raised in 2004 and member churches are currently reviewing the latest and final version.
A senior Adelaide priest named in the Australian Parliament as having sexually abused the former Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion more than 40 years ago is to seek redress from a parliamentary privileges committee.
Monsignor Ian Dempsey was named in Parliament by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon in 2011 as one of three clergy who had allegedly abused Bishop John Hepworth. Dempsey vigorously denied allegations.
Dempsey, a former vicar-general and naval chaplain, told "The Tablet" he was "very relieved" by a recommendation last week by the South Australian Director of Public Prosecutions that no charges be laid on the basis of Hepworth's allegations. Dempsey said that his reputation had been "irreparably smeared" by Senator Xenaphon's decision to reveal his identity and said he would pursue the matter again with the Senate president and the Senate privileges committee.
PROTECT YOUR MARRIAGE ON FACEBOOK. One third of divorces in the UK now include Facebook among their reasons. WHY? People re-starting romances with old boyfriends & girlfriends and posting things that offend their spouse on Facebook. Facebook has overtaken television as the most popular form of entertainment for the younger online generation. Initially, we thought it was more "family-friendly" than television, but these divorce stats indicate a serious risk. Maybe many of those would have divorced anyway if Facebook wasn't around, but just like sensible people shouldn't just watch anything broadcast on TV, sensible people shouldn't accept friend requests from just anyone and shouldn't post everything they think on Facebook.
The first Joint Assembly of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada will take place in Ottawa, July 3 to 7, 2013. This national meeting will gather more than 800 Christians for worship, fellowship, and important ministry decisions. This reminds of what Malcolm Muggeridge once said about ecumenism. He said it was like two drunks holding onto each other as they stagger down Oxford Circus. If one collapses they both go down together.
A gay priests' dating forum has been uncovered in the Vatican. After Pope Francis admitted to a 'gay lobby' in the Roman Curia, a 'fraternity of homo-sensitive' priests spoke out against the claims. Gay Catholic priests looking to meet up for friendship and more now have a place to do it online. Venerabilis, an unofficial gay dating site targeted for priests and the people who love them, is allegedly based in Vatican City.
According to reports, the site says it is run by a 'fraternity of homo-sensitive Roman Catholic Priests' looking to find 'like-minded priests' via chat rooms.
The site offers five chat rooms in different languages. By looking through the backlog, there seems to have been plenty of face-to-face hook-ups. The new pope has said he will put an end to this. It will come none to soon.
Senior Roman Catholic and Lutheran officials announced on Monday they would mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 as a shared event rather than highlight the clash that split Western Christianity.
The Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) presented a report in Geneva admitting both were guilty of harming Christian unity in the past and describing a growing consensus between the two churches in recent decades.
The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, the doctrinal challenge that launched the Protestant Reformation, will be the first centenary celebration in the age of ecumenism, globalization and the secularization of Western societies.
"The awareness is dawning on Lutherans and Catholics that the struggle of the 16th century is over," the report said. "The reasons for mutually condemning each other's faith have fallen by the wayside."
They now agree belief in Jesus unites them despite lingering differences, it said, and inspires them to cooperate more closely to proclaim the Gospel in increasingly pluralistic societies.
The first 'Jewish' Archbishop of Canterbury heads to Israel. His Jewish heritage was a secret so deep even he was not party to it. Justin Welby's grandfather fled from Germany; his father bootlegged alcohol, knew JFK and was engaged to Vanessa Redgrave. Welby himself worked in the oil industry before answering a call to God after his daughter's death in a car crash.
Gavin Welby, the father of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, kept many secrets. Gavin Welby never told his son that he had an estranged older sister or a first wife. He never revealed his real birthdate or the name under which he was born. And, it has emerged, the elder Welby never revealed that he was born a Jew.
"He told lots of stories but one was never really sure what was true and what wasn't," Archbishop Justin told The Daily Telegraph, which broke the news to him just days after he was appointed head of the Church of England in November 2012. "He drank quite heavily and, you know, he would say things sometimes when he had been drinking and you did not know what was true or not.
"He wouldn't talk about his family at all," he said.
Naturally, the bombshell that the leader of 80 million Anglicans worldwide is a half-Jew has captured the imagination of Britain's Jewish community. The Anglican Church, by contrast, has so far reacted apathetically, perhaps inured by previous examples of Jewish-Christian clerics such as Giles Fraser, until 2011 Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, who had a Jewish father; and Hugh Montefiore, a well-known bishop in the 1970s and '80s, who converted from Judaism in his teens.
Beyond the gossip element, lie serious questions. Will Archbishop Justin be able to improve Jewish-Anglican relations, which have gone through a rocky patch over the last few months? And how will the revelations about his heritage affect his attitudes and worldviews?
The Girl Guides have ditched their faith for the shallow cult of the individual. Nearly half a million guides will no longer pledge: "I promise that I will do my best: to love my God, to serve the Queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Guide law."
The new pledge will be: "I promise that I will do my best: to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide law."
This is yet another example of political correctness and narcissism writ large. All the time, children are still being targeted by junk food adverts as companies find a way to sidestep the rules. Children's phones are being blamed for increase in deaths on roads and a sharp increase of youngsters "distracted" by texts and tweets.
Friday marks the beginning of the second annual Fortnight for Freedom, called for by the U.S. Catholic Bishops as a time of prayer, study, and action for the cause of religious liberty.
The first Fortnight for Freedom was launched last year in the wake of the struggle between the Catholic Church and the Federal government over the HHS Mandate. The Fortnight begins on the vigil of the Feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, who were martyred rather than deny their conscience in the face of government oppression. Beginning on this date also allows the Fortnight to close on Independence Day.
If you are looking for a good cup of coffee and would like to support small Anglican run businesses in Rwanda, buy your coffee here. In 2005, Jonathan Golden, founder of Land of a Thousand Hills, recognized a simple and tangible opportunity to make a difference in the reconciliation of the Rwandan people. This realization led Golden to start a coffee company that pays a fair wage to the farmers of Rwanda, helps them with their basic needs, and brings a quality product to coffee lovers. Drink coffee, do good. Click here http://landofathousandhills.com/
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