The mind of God. God's mind, being infinite, is impenetrable by finite beings. His thoughts are as much higher than our thoughts as the heavens are higher than the earth (Is. 55:9). How then can we know them? By ourselves we cannot. They are beyond us. There is no ladder by which we may climb to the heights of heaven, no way by which we may delve into the mind of God. But God has disclosed his thoughts to us by speaking. The Isaiah 55 passage continues: 'As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, ... so is my word that goes out from my mouth' (verses 10-11). God has clothed his thoughts in words. His mouth has declared what is in his mind. Theologically we may say that revelation has come to us through the means of inspiration. --- John R. W. Stott
The Spirit-Filled Christian. Unconditional Surrender. Our attitude to our fallen nature should be one of ruthless repudiation. For 'those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires' (Gal. 5:24). That is, we have taken this evil, slimy, slippery thing called 'the flesh' and nailed it to the cross. This was our initial repentance. Crucifixion is dramatic imagery for our uncompromising rejection of all known evil. Crucifixion does not lead to a quick or easy death; it is an execution of lingering pain. Yet it is decisive; there is no possibility of escaping from it. Our attitude to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is to be one of unconditional surrender. Paul uses several expressions for this. We are to 'live by the Spirit' (Gal. 5:16, 18. 25). That is, we are to allow him his rightful sovereignty over us, and follow his righteous promptings. Thus both our repudiation of the flesh and our surrender to the Spirit need to be repeated daily, however decisive our original repudiation and surrender may have been. In Jesus' words, we are to 'take up (our) cross daily' and follow him (Lk 9:23). We are also to go on being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), as we open our personality to him daily. Both our repudiation and our surrender are also to be worked out in disciplined habits of life. It is those who 'sow to the Spirit' (Gal. 6:8) who reap the fruit of the Spirit. And to 'sow to the Spirit' means to cultivate the things of the Spirit, for example, by our wise use of the Lord's Day, the discipline of our daily prayer and Bible reading, our regular worship and attendance at the Lord's Supper, our Christian friendships and our involvement in Christian service. An inflexible principle of all God's dealings, both in the material and in the moral realm, is that we reap what we sow. The rule is invariable. It cannot be changed, for 'God cannot be mocked' (Gal. 6:7). We must not therefore be surprised if we do not reap the fruit of the Spirit when all the time we are sowing to the flesh. Did we think we could cheat or fool God? --- John R. W. Stott
CONSCIENCE: Jay Budziszewski points out in his book What We Can't Not Know that we have both a shallow conscience and a deep conscience. The shallow conscience is about feelings. If I tell a lie, I may feel guilty for doing what I know is wrong. On the other hand, I may not feel guilty. I may lie all the time and, as a result, my internal moral warning system no longer functions properly.
Deep conscience, by contrast, is not about what we feel. Deep conscience is about what we, because we are human, know. Whether I feel guilty about my lie or not, deep inside, because I am made in the image of God, I know lying is wrong. Budziszewski writes, "We sometimes imagine that to lack guilt feelings is to lack conscience, but deep conscience is knowledge, not feelings, and guilty knowledge darkly asserts itself regardless of the state of the feelings."
Dear Brothers and Sisters
May 24, 2013
It would appear that there is to be no end to the flagrant theological idiocies (they should really be called heresies) of the present leader of the Episcopal Church - Katharine Jefferts Schori. (Read Ross Douthart's book Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.)
Recently, she was in Curacao, an island in the Caribbean, where the hot sun must have addled her brains. She preached a sermon that literally turned demon possession on its head making it look like a spiritual gift. Then she attempted to make the Apostle Paul the fall guy for not being inclusive of the "spirit of divination" in the young woman recorded in Acts 16 who was being used by locals for financial benefit. She actually accused Paul of bigotry and segued her remarks to include the church's clear lack of understanding about homosexuality.
This is bad hermeneutics, bad theological interpretation, bad preaching and a distortion of the plain meaning of the text that cries out for action by the bishops to call her to account. Will they? Don't hold your breath. You can read the full story in today's digest. It is just another stunning example of a presiding bishop who is using her bully pulpit to broker sodomy into the church even as the culture goes to hell in a hand basket over the issue. It seems that every crazy thing the culture wants, the Episcopal Church lines up right behind and can't wait to endorse.
The paradox should not be missed. The more The Episcopal Church embraces the world's values and the world system, the more its dioceses and parishes continue to whither and die. Go figure.
Let us be clear about something else. The cry for gay marriage and gay Rites has not come from the grass roots of America or the churches, or from those chaining themselves to fences or drinking from water fountains. It has come from its cultural elites, Hollywood, financially well-heeled sodomites, with high priced PR boys and girls and lawyers who are willing to sue, destroy anything and anybody who gets in their way of full acceptance of a behavior that has no basis in cosmology or ontology.
In my attempt to ridicule this stupidity, I wrote a satirical essay, The First Downtown Church of Sin, which you can read (and enjoy) here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/qzsehpw
Falls Church in Falls Church Virginia, which recently lost a property suit against The Episcopal Church, is asking for a new hearing before the state Supreme Court.
George Ward, senior warden of the vestry of The Falls Church Anglican, told The Christian Post that the congregation would submit a petition that could be heard by the Court.
"Our attorneys looked carefully at the opinion and they briefed our vestry on it, and the attorneys highlighted for us that the opinion is based at least in part on arguments that really had not been raised in the seven years of litigation," said Ward. "Since they had not been raised, we have not been able to either brief them or argue them before the Court. And so, by putting in a petition for a rehearing we would be able to argue those issues."
You can read the full story in today's digest.
The issue of property snatches by the Episcopal Church is being heard globally. Anglican Mainstream in the UK has come out in support of Fr. Richard Crocker at his parish St. James, Newport Beach in California where Bishop Jon Bruno has done a snatch and grab for the parish property even though it was signed over to the parish by the now Bishop of Western Louisiana, Bruce MacPherson. Never mind, the Dennis Canon is the most sacred text in The Episcopal Church, more so than Scripture, which can be twisted to make it mean whatever the PB wants it to mean. BUT the Dennis Canon has just one interpretation and that is being played out in Quincy, California and Ft. Worth at the cost of millions of dollars that could have been spent on mission and the advancement of the gospel.
From Edmonton, Alberta Anglican Essentials reports that a new congregation has formed. It's called Christ the King Church under the Rev. Roy Dickson and it is part of the growing work of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC).
The congregation held their inaugural service April 21. They currently meet in a community hall and average about 100 on a given Sunday. The rector asked for prayer for the people of Christ the King as they work through the emotions and relationship issues associated with leaving their former parish - something many in ANiC have also experienced.
Those gathered in Vancouver for the Western and Asian & Multicultural Assemblies were able to sign and send welcome posters to the people of what is now Christ the King.
The fundamental issue in the same-sex couples bill in the UK and what is slowly being ratified in state after state in the US is this question, "What is marriage?" The bill in the British parliament renders marriage a genderless institution since any combination of two adults will do. When a child is born there is always a mother around. The question is; where is the father? The bill sends out the message that fathers are dispensable for children. It completely decouples marriage from procreation, consummation and adultery. Once marriage is redefined and reduced to only an intimate relationship, on what logical basis could the law turn away three people who say they want to get married? None of course, and this is where the US is heading with the aid of mainline liberal Protestant denominations in the US with The Episcopal Church leading the pack...in the name of justice and inclusion of course.
Are children to be in born in random arrangements or are they to be conceived in a permanent relationship where the mother and father love each other as much as they love their child? "Other arrangements" on average put much greater burdens on the state, which so often has to step in and provide cash and care.
Churches should not be fooled by the suggestion of legal protection. This will certainly be challenged in the name of "equality". Neither should they be fooled by the suggestion that any future government would safeguard such "protections". The great danger is that people who believe in traditional marriage will be punished for their views in their careers and in accessing public services such as fostering or adoption.
Government has a strong interest in supporting man-woman marriage because that has been shown to be the best context for raising children who grow up to be good citizens for the next generation. Traditional marriage is recognized for sound reasons in public policy. Government has no business redefining marriage.
Under pressure from the church hierarchy, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has abandoned his support for allowing heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships.
His climb down will be welcomed by the Government as it looks to finally ensure the smooth passage of the equal marriage bill through the House of Commons this week, against Conservative backbench and Labour Catholic opposition.
But the Archbishop's U-turn will anger both Tory backbenchers and campaigners who argue that in the name of equality, heterosexual couples should be able to enter civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage.
The Archbishop had assured campaigner Peter Tatchell four weeks ago during a private meeting in Lambeth House that when the Bill goes before the House of Lords, he would personally vote for an amendment legalizing civil partnerships for heterosexuals.
But a statement, endorsed by Welby, has been put out by the Church of England contradicting his privately expressed opinion. It said: "We agree with the Government's view that the Bill should not be amended to introduce an option of civil partnerships for couples of the opposite sex" and that it "would introduce further confusion about the place of marriage in society."
It added that the Church was "unconvinced" there was a "genuine and widespread public need" for the change.
Some news sources have suggested that "the coronation of the next Monarch of the United Kingdom... will not be exclusively an Anglican ceremony and will feature a wide range of religions". The Sunday Telegraph claimed to have "learned of a major shift in attitude within... the Church, towards allowing the representatives of other faiths to participate in a coronation service for the first time".
It would be easy at this point to react with knee-jerk emotion rather than theology. So let's step back and ask what the Bible actually says about monarchs in particular and rulers in general.
Perhaps the most striking point to be observed is that, for a Christian, the only king who ultimately matters is God.
In the Old Testament, the people of Israel started to go wrong when they forgot God was their king - and demanded a human monarch, to be "like other nations". But the prophets who ministered over the centuries which followed looked forward to a time when God would come as king and rule.
When Jesus arrived, proclaiming the Kingdom of God, he made it clear that his kingdom was "not from this world". And when questioned about how his rule might fit in with the supreme earthly power of the day - the Roman Emperor - he declared, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."
What are the implications of this? As former Bishop of Durham Tom Wright has written, "the New Testament declares: God is king, and the kingdoms of the world are thereby demoted. The crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth is God's Messiah, Lord of the world". A believer's ultimate loyalty is to Christ - something which more and more brings us into conflict with increasingly secular governments and legislation in the UK.
Church of England leaders have accepted the need to be "hospitable" to other faiths within any future service at Westminster Abbey, in order to reflect the spiritual diversity of modern Britain. The Church has resisted calls for a multi-faith service in recent years, preferring to stress that the Christian nature of the coronation is preserved by law.
Senior church figures told The Telegraph that it will not, however, be a "multi-faith" service in the sense of a ceremony that treats all faiths as equal. A source in London told VOL Charles won't be permitted to dictate the form of the Coronation Service - it has already been made perfectly clear that it will be an Anglican ceremony, including the anointing of the monarch and the celebration of Holy Communion. There may be a couple of rows reserved for representatives of other faiths, but they will not be taking part in the service itself.
It would seem that orthodox Christians and Muslims in England might be finding common cause on at least one issue. England's 500 Imams and Muslim leaders say they have a responsibility to fulfill their sacred trust to God and present their view on these proposals on behalf of the Muslim communities they serve.
"Marriage is a sacred contract between a man and a woman that cannot be redefined. We believe that marriage between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of family life and the only institution within which to raise children.
"We are concerned that this radical change to the institution of marriage will impact on what is taught in schools. Muslim teachers will be forced into the contradictory position of holding private beliefs, while teaching a new legal definition of marriage. Muslim parents will be robbed of their right to raise their children according to their beliefs, as gay relationships are taught as something normal to their primary-aged children.
"We support the numerous calls from other faith leaders and communities who have stood firmly against gay marriage and instead support marriage as it should be, between a man and a woman."
There you have it. This is not about a grass roots revolt against traditional marriage. It is about an elite club of pansexualists who have whined, pleaded and pushed their case for full acceptance even though the vast majority of people don't want it. To make the point, the former Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson is in Australia this week making the case for gay marriage.
The Church of Scotland's ruling General Assembly has voted to allow actively gay men and women to become ministers. Assembly commissioners in Edinburgh voted in favor of a proposal that allows liberal parishes to opt out of the church's policy on homosexuality.
The decision will have to be endorsed by the church's regional presbyteries and officially approved next year. Divisions were caused when the first openly homosexual minister was appointed by the Kirk four years ago. Two congregations and six ministers broke away.
The vote to allow gay ministers in civil partnerships follows a report by the church's theological commission, which set out arguments on both sides. General Assembly rules dictate it must be approved at a presbytery level and then rubber-stamped at next year's gathering.
Sex with minors by clerics seems to be popping up almost weekly in Britain. It happened again this past week. A 74-year old priest was found guilty of abusing boys and girls at Barnardos Homes where he savagely beat his victims when they tried to speak out. He got 10 years for his abuse. A senior Church of England cleric wrote to VOL, "Soon it won't be safe to be seen in public in a clerical collar thanks to this steady flow of perverts going to prison."
You can read the full story here if you are so inclined to read one more piece of filth who wrapped himself in the mantle of priestly robes to abuse children. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2327692/Former-Church-England-priest-74-abused-girls-boys-Barnardos-home-savagely-beat-victims-tried-speak-out.html
This week the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt. Rev. Geoff Annas spoke up about abuse and said that the recent lifting of reporting restrictions on a series of trials for sexual abuse, child prostitution and trafficking in Telford highlighted the vulnerability of young people in a number of ways for which church members, neighbors and schools should be alert. "Children are vulnerable to all sorts of sexual and mental abuse," said the Bishop of Stafford and chair of the Diocese of Lichfield's safeguarding team.
"I spent eight years as a social worker and never came across the degree of manipulation and abuse that this and other recent cases have highlighted. It is truly horrific and we continue to pray for survivors in all our communities."
IN AUSTRALIA an Anglican bishop resigned over his failure to properly pass on child sex abuse complaints. Keith Slater has stood down as the Bishop of the Diocese of Grafton, apologizing for his "past failings" in the management of claims of abuse at the North Coast Children's Home in Lismore.
"I apologize to those who bravely came forward to tell their story of abuse and were turned away," he said in a statement. "I acknowledge the pain and further damage that this response may have caused."
In 2006 the Anglican Diocese of Grafton received a number of claims alleging acts of "physical, psychological and sexual abuse" at the home between the 1940s and the 1980s.
Some 50 mostly Protestant and evangelical church leaders, representing churches with over 20 million members, are asking the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Council meeting this week to retain the current BSA stance on sexuality. The May 22-24 meeting will consider a proposal to prohibit "discrimination" based on "sexual orientation or preference," while leaving in place the current prohibition on openly homosexual Scout leaders.
Signers of the appeal to BSA include Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod President Matthew Harrison, Assemblies of God General Superintendent George Wood, Church of God General (Cleveland, TN) Overseer Mark Williams, and Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America, as well as theologians like Southern Baptist Albert Mohler, United Methodist Thomas Oden, and Presbyterian Luder Whitlock.
Here is their statement, which attracted about fifty prominent signers: Statement of Religious Leaders on Boy Scout Policy this Week
"We strongly support the Boy Scouts of America current prohibition on open homosexuality and retaining it without revision. Nearly 70 percent of BSA troops are hosted by churches and religious institutions. Upholding traditional morality is vital for sustaining this partnership, for protecting Scout members, and for ensuring BSA has a strong future. A proposal from the BSA board to prohibit "discrimination" based on "sexual orientation or preference" for BSA members potentially would open the Scouts to a wide range of open sexual expressions. In our current culture, it is more important than ever for our churches to protect and provide moral nurture for young people and for the Scouts. We implore members of the upcoming BSA Council to affirm the BSA's present policy, which the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed, and which has served BSA well."
A number of Anglican leaders signed this document. You can see who they are in today's digest.
A new exhibition has revealed details about Liverpool Cathedral's previously unknown role in the Battle of the Atlantic. Recently unearthed documents show that in February 1941 an order was made by the Rt Rev Dean of Liverpool Frederick William Dwelly (First Dean of Liverpool, 1881-1957) to allow the Chapter House in the then-unfinished Cathedral to be used exclusively by Naval chaplains and crew - making it in effect the parish church of the Western Approaches fleet.
The Cathedral Chapter House was offered as an alternative after the bombing of Liverpool Parish Church (Our Lady and St Nicholas) on 21 December 1940. Chapter Houses are usually used as meeting rooms for the Dean and Chapter, but the order reads "let the Chapter House be set apart for use by the Chaplain of the Port or visiting ships' chaplains, that they may have a place to prepare their souls before God, for which purpose a key of the Cathedral to be entrusted to Rev Jimmy Fuljames."
The Dean and Chapter also made an order that the whole building - despite some of it being unfinished - be made available to any guests of the Command and any Naval chaplains on duty in the command, and that a stall in the choir be designated to the Western Command Approaches.
A Church with a Future (or, Why There's Nobody Under 30 in Your Church and What to Do About It) -- VOL has discovered a brilliant young writer who addresses the very questions all churches should be asking about how to get Millenials back into church. Brian Brown who heads a think tank called Narrator has written a brilliant article and a must read for anyone seriously thinking about speaking to Millenials.
Here is a teaser, "Much has been made of the millennial generation (today's twenty-somethings) with regard to its religious affiliation...or lack thereof. Depending on which study you consider, as many as 82% of people under 30 don't attend church regularly. One famous statistic claims that 75% of young people today lose their faith in college. Certainly, if you visit a mainline church you won't see many young adults in the pews. And the mega churches appear to have gutted Christianity in their frantic effort to make it appeal to young people." Read it here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/odnxd6h
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund is working to direct relief to the victims of the tornadoes in Oklahoma. "For the last 24 hours, our hearts have been breaking for the community of Moore, Oklahoma," writes CANA Bishop Julian Dobbs.
"St. James Anglican Church is an ACNA parish in Oklahoma City that will serve as a command post for directing assistance from the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. Through the love of Jesus Christ, the ARDF strives to connect those who can provide for those in need through a holistic, high impact, and proven community development approach."
You can donate here: http://anglicanaid.net/donate/
JOB OPENING: Anglican Church Planter and Technology Consultant sought
EXPERIENCED DATA BASE ADMINISTRATOR or SOFTWARE ENGINEER / ARCHITECT AND HALF TIME ANGLICAN CHURCH PLANTER
Christ Church Anglican on the mainline of Philadelphia seeks a church planter with serious IT skills. We seek someone with unique software skills who will double as a church planter on Philadelphia's historic mainline. We are based in Wayne, PA. We seek someone who will work 25 to 30 hours per week with an early stage financial technology software development firm based in the Delaware Valley location either Western NJ or Eastern PA location and residence. Work location in the region is flexible. Medical coverage and competitive salary offered. Such a person must be prepared to work weekends and part time during weekdays and lead a CANA (Anglican) Church plant already operating in suburban Philadelphia. Weekdays serve as a technology professional in fast growing fintech software developer. Position reports to the CEO and founder of the business. Four or more years workplace experience in Java and/or C++ solutions or IOS programs required. Oracle D/B experience a plus. Become part of a team supporting a breakthrough product for the institutional capital markets partnered with a global financial information giant. Computer science, mathematics, and/or engineering degreed and back grounded person sought. Individual also should have relevant divinity degrees, some experience, and theological education with divine 'call' to work with an evangelical, Scripture focused CANA Church Plant in the region as senior or associate rector depending upon experience. Apply to Christ Church Anglican on the Mainline, Wayne PA with an e-mail to Rev. Alan Crippen: firstname.lastname@example.org
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