What We Love in Time, We Love in Eternity. Whatever a person sows, they shall also reap. Whatever we love in time, we shall love in eternity. Whatever we think wearisome now, we shall think wearisome then. You must be born again, or heaven itself would be a miserable abode. There is no place in heaven for the worldly-minded and profane. You must be renewed in the spirit of your minds, or you will hear that dreadful voice, 'Friend, how did you come here without a wedding-garment?' You must become new creatures. How long will you insult your Redeemer by putting it off? Oh. pray you to the Lord Jesus Christ, while it is called today, to send His Holy Spirit on you. Go to the fountain, while the door of mercy is yet open, wash and be clean. --- J.C. Ryle
"That God may forgive us, let us forgive men. We are all on this earth as temporary guests. . . Prolonged fasting and prayer is in vain without forgiveness and true mercy. God is the true Physician; sins are leprosy. Whomever God cleanses, God also glorifies. Every merciful act of men, God rewards with mercy. He who returns sin with sin perishes without mercy. Pus is not cleansed by pus from infected wounds, neither is the darkness of the dungeon dispelled by darkness, but pure balm heals the festering wound, and light disperses the darkness of the dungeon. To the seriously wounded, mercy is like a balm; as if seeing a torch dispersing the darkness, everyone rejoices in mercy. The madman says, 'I have no need of mercy.' But when he is overcome by misery, he cries out for mercy. Men bathe in the mercy of God, and that mercy of God wakens us to life. That God may forgive us, let us forgive men, we are all on this earth as temporary guests." --- St. Nikolai Velimirovich, +1956
Ministers and Ministry. An enabling ministry. The New Testament concept of the pastor is not of a person who jealously guards all ministry in his own hands, and successfully squashes all lay initiatives, but of one who helps and encourages all God's people to discover, develop and exercise their gifts. His teaching and training are directed to this end, to enable the people of God to be a servant people, ministering actively but humbly according to their gifts in a world of alienation and pain. Thus, instead of monopolizing all ministry himself, he actually multiplies ministries. --- John R. W. Stott Resolve to Be More Holy. I want your Christianity to be unmistakable. I want you all to really grow, and to do more than others. Let us all then remember Sardis and Laodicea - let us resolve to be more holy and more bright. Let us bury our idols. Let us put away all strange gods. Let us cast out the old leaven. Let us lay aside every weight and besetting sin. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. Let us renew our covenant with our beloved Lord. Let us aim at the highest and best things. Let us resolve by God's blessing to be more holy, and then I know and am persuaded we shall be more useful and more happy. --- J.C. Ryle
The layman's part. There are three pragmatic reasons for the greater participation of laymen in the life and work of the church -- need, fear and the spirit of the age. They are sound reasons too, so far as they go, but inadequate. The real reason for expecting the laity to be responsible, active and constructive church members is biblical not pragmatic, grounded on theological principle, not on expediency. It is neither because the clergy need the laity to help them, not because the laity want to be of use, nor because the world now thinks this way, but because God himself has revealed it as his will. Moreover, the only way in which the laity will come to see and accept their inalienable rights and duties in the church is that they come to recognize them in the Word of God as the will of God for the people of God. --- John R.W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters
March 9, 2012
The leader of a reviving North American Anglicanism told some 400 Anglican Church planters that, "We have changed the subject in the discussions about Anglicanism in North America. We are reaching North America with the Good News of Jesus Christ by planting 1000 new churches. This is an extraordinary gathering of extraordinary people." Archbishop Robert Duncan said that in January 2012 some 200 new churches had been started with 35 more on the boards.
This week he welcomed these church planters, bishops, clergy, seminary leaders and lay leaders to the 3rd Annual Anglican 1000 Church Planting Summit on this week at Christ Church in Plano. Fifty percent of those in attendance admitted they had not been to a Church Planting Summit before. These church planters came from nearly every state and Canadian province. You can read stories about this event including an exclusive interview with the Rev. David Roseberry in today's digest.
These are exciting and heady days for these mostly young Anglican church planters. They are in the vanguard of the revival of Anglicanism in North America. Ironically, as Anglican churches grow, Episcopal churches are aging and closing. The average Episcopal congregation now has less than 70 members and the average age is in the low 60s. Interestingly enough, Christ Church, Plano, where the conference was held is a former TEC parish in the Diocese of Dallas and home to nearly 2,000 Anglicans who meet there each week. The rector, David Roseberry is not imbibing the Episcopal sexual Kool-Aid so his church continues to grow. His own church has planted five parishes in the area. His son runs one - Resurrection -- nearby.
Ironically as these church planters set about bringing the gospel to North America in the Anglican tradition, The Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) announced that their work on blessing same-gender unions (undertaken in the last three years) is now complete and will be published in April in the so-called Blue Book. The Commission was authorized by the 2009 General Convention to collect and develop theological resources and liturgies for blessing same-gender relationships and is to report to this summer's General Convention. They undertook a project to collect work that has been going on for the last fifty years in parishes, Integrity chapters and dioceses across the country.
Naturally, the pansexual organization Integrity called the SCLM Work a "Milestone" and ran it up the mast as a foregone conclusion that it will be passed at General Convention 2012 (Was there ever any doubt?). The few lone voices that speak out against it at GC2012 will be howled down as homophobes, narrow-minded fundamentalists and more. Conversely, they can always hide in the bathrooms when the vote is being carried out so they can plead "absent" when ballots are being cast. The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies will discuss the findings before General Convention 2012...as if that will change anything.
To sway the masses, excerpts are also being made available to the wider church on House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson's website.
"Such covenantal relationships can reflect God's own gracious covenant with us in Christ, manifest the fruits of the Spirit in holiness of life, and model for the whole community the love of neighbor in the practice of forgiveness and reconciliation," the report states. You may now throw up.
A wannabee priest in the Diocese of New York was found dead, bound and gagged in his Chelsea apartment in New York City. John Laubach, 57, was known for carrying a parrot around on his shoulder. The Police say it was a case of sex gone wrong. Laubach, who had worked at Sotheby's and as a florist, was "wearing only a white T-shirt, with an electrical cord lashed around his wrists. There was duct tape across his mouth, his hands bound and a towel draped over his head," according to the Daily News. He attended Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue. A VOL reader who sent this along opined, "This is a profoundly disturbing story and representative of the terrible condition the Episcopal Church, particularly in NYC now finds itself."
The ink was barely dry on the bill when two Maryland Episcopal bishops responded to the signing of a marriage-equality bill by saying they will allow clergy to solemnize same-gender unions. Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland and Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said they would give permission to their clergy to preside at such marriages while Easton Bishop James "Bud" Shand said he would wait on a pending decision by the church's General Convention to authorize trial use of a rite to bless same-gender unions.
Sutton said in a statement issued as the governor was signing the bill that not every priest in the diocese will want to solemnize same-gender marriages.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the Civil Marriage Protection Act on March 1 that he brought to the state legislature last year. Opponents will almost certainly challenge the law before it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Opined Sutton, "The Episcopal Church, following the teachings and example of our Lord Jesus, respects the dignity of every human being - including those on both sides of this issue. We, like many other Christian bodies who base their decisions on Holy Scripture, tradition and reason, are not of one mind about the marriage of same gender couples," he said. "Many of us are rejoicing that we in Maryland will be able to provide the church's blessing upon these committed relationships in marriage, but also many Episcopal clergy in good conscience cannot perform same gender marriages. For those who have discerned that such committed relationships have met the church's standards of holy matrimony, this bill will permit them to do so, and I am giving them my consent to perform these marriages."
Since when is the "respect for dignity" got anything to do with pansexual behavior? Our Lord never authorized or gave his blessing to sodomite behavior. He affirmed the creation account that "one flesh" is between a man and a woman in marriage.
In July 2010, Sutton issued guidelines for clergy who wished to conduct same-gender blessings. He also recommended for trial use a rite developed by a committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio.
At the time, Sutton based his decision on an action taken by General Convention the year before via Resolution C056, which says that bishops, "particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: If you want to be anywhere near Bishop Gene Robinson these days, wear a Hazmat suit, you'll need it.
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Colorado Springs, CO, closed its doors recently. It was a typical gay friendly church, according to a blurb online, but apparently there were not enough gays interested in keeping the doors open.
From Ireland the recent theft of a 12th century Irish saint's heart from a Dublin church has left local Christians stunned and devastated.
"All I would ask is that whoever took it would return it with no questions asked. It's valueless to anyone but the Cathedral here and our community and the community of Dublin...we're grieving over it, really," church dean Rev. Dermot Dunne told CNA on March 5.
The heart of St. Laurence O'Toole was stolen from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on March 3. It has yet to be recovered.
Lord Harries of Pentregarth, who retired as Bishop of Oxford in 2006, said it is not too late for the church to give its blessing to civil partnerships.
He made his comments after the most senior Catholic in Britain, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, described gay marriage as an "aberration". He had previously compared the morality of legalizing same-sex unions to slavery.
The Government is looking at reforming laws to allow gay civil marriages after David Cameron pledged his support for the move. He has faced a backlash from bishops, Tory MPs and lawyers.
According to The Times, Lord Harries stated, "The Churches have only themselves to blame for their current predicament, in which they face a major rewriting of the law on marriage."
Dancing in on the discussion is the new Dean of St. Paul's in London, the Very Rev. David Ison, 57, who said marriage should be available to same-sex couples. In an announcement that risks deepening splits within the Church of England, Ison said that as Dean of Bradford, he performed ceremonies for homosexual couples who had civil partnerships even though the Church still forbids formal blessings.
In his first interview since being appointed to St Paul's by the Queen, Dr Ison said marriage should be available to same-sex couples. The leadership of the Church of England remains resolutely opposed to gay marriage, with Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, saying, "Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman". He said David Cameron would be acting like a "dictator" to change the law.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said the proposals are "grotesque" and akin to legalizing slavery.
Does all this sound familiar? It is a carbon copy of what is happening in the US with the Episcopal Church and the RCC here. Catholic leaders have condemned same sex marital innovations while TEC accepts and promotes. What you are seeing is that TEC and the CofE are moving closer together in "thought, word and deed." TEC is on a steep decline while the Church of England faces schism with the Ordinariate, angry Anglo-Catholics and increasingly restless Evangelicals. Under Rowan Williams' nose, GAFCON/FCA has established an office in London. Their leaders will meet next month in London to plan for the future. To all intents and purposes, the Covenant is dead in its place. The Jerusalem Declaration has united the Global South and will continue to unite evangelicals across the globe.
The Roman Catholic Church is continuing its drive against plans to legalize gay marriage with a letter from the Archbishop of Westminster. The letter, signed by Vincent Nichols and his colleague, the Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, comes just days after Cardinal Keith O'Brien - the most senior Catholic in Britain - described gay marriage as "grotesque".
Archbishops Nichols and Smith use less shrill language in their pastoral letter, but call on Catholics to oppose government plans to allow gay men and women to marry in secular ceremonies. The letter will be read at more than 2,500 pulpits in what church leaders hope will spur lay Catholics into active opposition against gay marriage.
David Cameron has signaled his intention to legalize gay marriage. Later this month, the Government will begin a public consultation on the issue. Church leaders have set up Coalition for Marriage, a pressure group that intends to lobby against any equalization of Britain's marriage laws.
2030 will be the year Britain will cease to be a Christian nation with the march of secularism. Christianity is losing more than half a million believers every year, while the count of atheists and agnostics is going up by almost 750,000 annually.
Researchers said the number of Christians has only held up to the extent it has because of high levels of immigration over the last decade. Believers are warned that their faith is being "steamrollered" by a "secular and hostile state". During the last six years, the number of Muslims has surged by 37%, Hindus by 43% and Buddhists by 74% SOURCE: Daily Mail
There was this from an Episcopal church in the Diocese of Chicago - "Ash Wednesday - Ashes to Go". "The day began early with Ashes to Go from our sidewalk. Pat Millett and Fr. Pete were out early for the school drop-off crowd. We ended up getting some of them and some other drive-byers who had seen our sign and wanted ashes. In addition to the eight people who stopped, there was one dog and lots of stares from other drivers. It was a good start to the day."
According to the head of a Messianic Jewish ministry, a major city in the Holy Land has become a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. The Associated Press has reported that Tel Aviv, Israel, has been crowned the "unofficial gay capital of the world." American Airlines named it the best "gay" city of 2011, as it devotes more than a third of its international marketing budget to attracting homosexual visitors from around the world. Yehuda Levin, an orthodox Jewish rabbi in New York City and a spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, observed that wherever there is holiness, there is also spiritual degradation and impurity.
"It's really an exaggeration to say that Tel Aviv is more of a homosexual mecca than a place like San Francisco," he contends. "Nevertheless, there is a definite promotion of homosexuality in parts of the Holy Land, and we have to condemn this in the strongest terms and understand that this is the flipside of holiness."
Jan MarkellJan Markell, founder of Olive Tree Ministries in Minnesota, points out that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of this kind of behavior (Genesis 19). "Here we have the very same thing taking place," she decides. "I just shudder to think at what kind of judgment that little land can come against because of this." Homosexuality has even been present in the holy city of Jerusalem, which has hosted a number of "gay pride" parades. http://www.onenewsnow.com/ap/vid/default.aspx?videoId=34975
Anglican missionaries, the Rev. Jerry and Stacy Kramer are heading into the 10/40 Muslim window where the risks are great and the rewards few. They write:
"We're truly grateful for your prayers during this time of transition and discerning God's specific plans for reaching Zanzibar. We look forward to reporting back on what God does with the love and the resources we share with the least. Please note that our support address has changed (see our website www.lovefortheleast.org) and that all gifts are fully tax-deductible. A convenient autodraft form is here: http://gallery.mailchimp.com/ceb8ab0386cdfeaf106b0d8c9/files/MSS_ACH_Automatic_Debit_Authorization_v1.1.pdf Be assured of our prayers daily and do email us with any specific intentions or needs that arise. It's our blessing to pray for you. We remain,
In His Love for the Least, (rev. canon) jerry, Stacy, Nina & Blaise www.lovefortheleast.org "
Please give these missionaries any support you can. They are on the front line of missions today.
Is persecution in Canada just around the corner? Retired law professor Ian Hunter, former Anglican turned Roman Catholic, has expressed the view that Christian morality will never win against the Canadian Charter of Human Rights. Is the future really this bleak? Consider the following:
The opposition parties all approve the killing of the unborn. Some of them are more concerned about seal pups than human babies.
The supposedly Conservative Prime Minister refuses to open the abortion debate in Canada. He says that he will not invoke section 33 (the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter) to override hostile legislation. Canada has no abortion law, just as there is no abortion law in atheist China and North Korea.
The judiciary is no help. Activist judges will not recognize lobbying, petitions or referenda in favor of the unborn. Meanwhile, since 2005, the Charter re-interpreted tells us that same-sex relations are a universal right. The Charter does not recognize the rights of the unborn. The definition of a human being as stated in the Criminal Code is 400 years old. It says that human life begins when the baby is fully separated from the mother. Science tells us that human life starts at conception (fertilization), but Canadian leaders do not give a hoot.
The media call abortion "an emotionally charged issue," and a "collision of values". They do not want anyone to ever open the box and see what is inside.
Does all this sound familiar? The US is going the same way. Sooner or later, to even voice opposition will result in lawsuits and jail. Homogenital New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson wants a pro-life activist taken off the Huffington Post list of commentators. Stifle free speech and you will, sooner or later, invite despotism.
Just when you think things couldn't get any worse in England, the Economist magazine reports that the rise of evangelicalism is shaking up the established church. "Ever since the 18th century, England's established church has harbored a suspicion of religious enthusiasm. Anglicanism's cozy ubiquity as a reassuring, if vestigial, presence in every English suburb and village is regarded as a defense against the sort of fanaticism that leads to social or ethnic conflict. But every so often in English church history, compromise and emolience have triggered a countervailing reaction: an upsurge in faith of a more passionate kind. Such a change may be under way now."
As the number of people who are actively committed to the Church of England falls, the proportion of churchgoers who are serious about their faith-and it's implications for private and public life-is growing. Peter Brierley, a collector of statistics on faith in Britain, reckons that 40% of Anglicans attend evangelical parishes these days, up from 26% in 1989. That is against a background of overall decline. He thinks the number of regular worshippers in the Church of England will have fallen to 680,000 by 2020, down from about 800,000 now and just under a million a decade ago. The lukewarm are falling away, leaving the pews to the more fervent.
A handful of big evangelically-minded parishes now exercise huge influence, far beyond their immediate patch. Saint Helen's in Bishopsgate reaches out to workers in London's financial district; it has "planted" a dozen new communities in other places, using an American model of religious expansion. Holy Trinity, Brompton, has exported a charismatic brand of Christianity via the Alpha course. Meanwhile, All Souls in Langham Place, which shares a neighborhood with department stores, broadcasters and arty bohemians, radiates forth a more sober brand of evangelism. What all these churches have in common is a reluctance to do the Church of England's traditional job of marrying, baptizing or burying people who have no real religious commitment. That is a break with Anglicanism's familiar role as the undemanding "default mode" of faith for a secular country.
The Church of England's own number crunchers confirm the picture of falling attendance at Sunday services in mainstream churches. They say the decline is counterbalanced by the number of people who drop into church on weekdays or are drawn in by "fresh expressions" of faith-ministries in places of work or recreation. Another bright point, they point out, is the steady number of people being ordained, around 500 each year. Of the 515 people accepted as candidates for ordination in 2010, fully 108 were under 30, up from 74 the previous year. Yet many of the budding clerics-perhaps a third-are firm evangelicals. There is no mistaking the rising profile and confidence of training institutions like Wycliffe Hall in Oxford, a conservative evangelical outfit with strong American links; or Oak Hill in north London, where Archbishop Rowan Williams, the thoughtful, moderate head of the church, has often been denounced as a dangerous backslider.
Among today's stories is a very moving piece by the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore on the murder of Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and his wife Miriam. "When Children Go Astray" is must reading by every parent who has had a son or daughter leave the fold and dip into a world that is baffling to parents who keep the faith when their children don't.
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