Palmetto Anglican
Monday, September 29, 2003
 
S.C. leaders right to abide by word of God

[N.B.: As this was sent, the formatting was considerably less disjointed.]

Posted on Mon, Sep. 29, 2003

EPISCOPAL CHURCH

S.C. leaders right to abide by word of God

By the Rev. Charles A. Collins Jr.


I read your article "Strand Episcopalians feel strain of church's clashing views" [Sept. 14] with no small amount of interest for a couple of reasons:

Since I was raised in Myrtle Beach, it is always interesting to read of news from home.

The controversy surrounding the election of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson, a practicing homosexual, as well as the approval of local-option blessing of same-sex unions, has brought about an "Elijah moment" in which a decision must be made to serve God or Baal (see 1 Kings 18:20-40).

Neither of those changes happened overnight. The late James Albert Pike, former Episcopal Bishop of California, challenged central tenets of the Christian faith and, although charges for heresy were brought in 1966, no action was taken.

John Shelby Spong, retired Bishop of Newark, has posted 12 theses that strike at the heart of the faith once delivered to the saints, but he remains a darling of the ecclesiastical and political left and in good standing with his church.

The confirmation of Robinson's election and the approval of same-sex unions are the obvious result when Scripture and confessionalism, embodied in Anglicanism by the 39 Articles of Religion, are thrown out the window.

Last month, I was ordered a Presbyter (Priest) in God's Church in the Diocese of the Southeast of the Reformed Episcopal Church (one of the "breakaway Anglican groups" alluded to in your article, although the REC departed in 1873 and has a long history, particularly around the Charleston area).

Since our jurisdiction uses the classic Book of Common Prayer, I was asked by Bishop James C. West Sr. if I would be ready with all faithful diligence "... to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word. ..."

My answer, according to the liturgy but heartfelt nonetheless, was that I would, the Lord being my helper. This is a crucial time to do that for those entrusted with leadership in Christ's church.

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, led by godly Bishops Edward L. Salmon Jr. and William J. Skilton, has contended for the faith against massive resistance. May God bless them as they seek to sort out what God would have them do to remain faithful.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The writer lives in Hanahan.


 
Saint Michael and all Angels

O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that as thy holy Angels alway do thee service in heaven, so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
 
The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

KEEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy: and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
A Movie Worth Seeing

This afternoon I attended a showing of Luther. it was very well done and well worth checking out.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
 
South Carolina Choose Life Plates Get Court Hearing


by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 24, 2003

Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) -- Although several states have
passed legislation allowing Choose Life license plates,
pro-abortion groups have taken them to court in almost every
case
-- and the South Carolina plate was the latest to receive a
court
hearing.

Assistant Attorney General Tracey Green told the 4th Circuit
Court of Appeals on Tuesday that the state's Choose Life
plate
was constitutional. He said it did not violate the free
speech
rights of those state residents that oppose the plate's
message.

"The purpose of this is to advance the state's interest in
promoting childbirth over abortion," Green said. The plate
"does
not do anything to suppress anyone's viewpoint," he said.

Pro-abortion groups say the plate is unconstitutional
because it
provides a forum for pro-life speech and expression but not
for
those who advocate abortion.

Planned Parenthood attorney Carrie Flaxman argued that the
plate
was not a speech expression of the state but of private
vehicle
owners. That means the state must allow her side the ability
to
express its views as well.

"It's viewpoint discrimination because the South Carolina
Legislature has only authorized plates for people who want
to
convey that message," Flaxman said.

South Carolina does not offer a companion plate for those
who
favor abortion, though any legislator could draft a bill
creating
one.

Holly Gatling, the director of South Carolina Citizens for
Life,
says Planned Parenthood's rationale is "mind-boggling."

They oppose the plate "because it gives voice to pro-lifers
who
believe choosing life for unborn babies is the right
'choice,'
but denies pro-aborts the 'right' to have their own Chose
Death
license plate," Gatling told LifeNews.com.

"The Choose Life license tag law in no way prevented or
currently
prevents Planned Parenthood from going to the South Carolina
General Assembly and lobbying
for a specialty plate that says Choose Death," Gatling
added.

Citizens who want a Choose Life plate pay $70 extra every
two
years for one. The extra funds support crisis pregnancy
programs
that provide women with abortion alternatives.

Green said neither Planned Parenthood nor a private resident
who
sued the state have standing to sue.

In an indication at least one of the three judges on the
appeals
court may side with Planned Parenthood, Judge M. Blane
Michael
disagreed with Green that Planned Parenthood and the
pro-abortion
resident had no standing.

"She has no alternative where she can express her point of
view
on a license plate - I mean absolutely none," Michael said,
according to an Associated Press report. "The Legislature
has
created a situation where the playing field isn't level."

In late December of 2002, U.S. District Court Judge William
Bertelsman ruled that South Carolina's Choose Life license
plate
law is unconstitutional. The state appealed the ruling.

Choose Life plates are available in Louisiana, Maryland,
Florida,
Arkansas, Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi and Oklahoma. A
lawsuit is
ongoing in Louisiana.

The Virginia legislature passed a bill allowing the plates
there,
but pro-abortion Gov. Mark Warner vetoed the bill and the
legislature couldn't muster enough votes to override it.

Related web sites:
Choose Life Plates

South Carolina Citizens for Life
 
Christian held by Egyptian police


NEWS RELEASE
The Voice of the Martyrs, Inc.
PO Box 443
Bartlesville, OK=A0 74005
(918) 337-8015
Fax: (918) 338-8832
www.persecution.com=20
Contact:=A0 VOM News Services
Todd Nettleton
(918) 337-8015

Christian held by Egyptian police

Egyptian Christian Bolis Rezek-Allah was pulled off an international
flight
this afternoon in Cairo, Egypt, and is being held by Egyptian secret
police.
Rezek-Allah, who had been granted an immigrant visa to Canada, was on
the
plane to leave Egypt when police arrested him.

His wife, Enas Badawi, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, is
also being sought by police but has not yet been apprehended.=A0 She had
planned to eventually join her husband in Canada, but now is in hiding.

In Egypt it is illegal for a Christian man to marry a Muslim woman, and
in
the eyes of the police and government Badawi is still a Muslim, as they
refuse to recognize her conversion.

"It is interesting that the Egyptian government has no problem with
Muslim
men marrying Christian women," said VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton, "but
they
won't recognize the right of Christian men to marry Muslim women.=A0 =
There
is
complete freedom for Christians if they want to convert to Islam, but no
freedom for Muslims to choose to follow Christ."

The Voice of the Martyrs urges American Christians to pray for
Rezek-Allah
as he is in custody, and for Badawi in hiding.

VOM also encourages polite protests to the Egyptian embassy:
3522 International Ct NW
Washington, DC 20008-3022
Telephone: (202) 895 5400
Fax: (202) 244-4319

"The Egyptian government says it gives citizens religious freedom, but
this
arrest shows that's clearly not the case," said Nettleton.=A0 "American
Christians can make a difference by being heard on behalf of this
couple."

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
 
OXFORD THEOLOGIAN BLASTS NEW WESTMINSTER BISHOP


By David W. Virtue

BLACKPOOL, UK-Oxford theologian Dr. Alister McGrath ripped into New
Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham, telling more than 2,300 Evangelicals gathered
at a
four-day conference on mission, that he had lost the theological war and was
forced to use canon law to get his way in the diocese.

"Ingham should be awarded the Spong medal for liberal bravery in the face of
overwhelming theological arguments," he told an approving audience. Ingham
would win the award in spades, he said.

"When I was younger, liberals and conservatives respected each other. In New
Westminster we have an intellectually bankrupt liberal, and in desperation he
is forcing his will on believing evangelicals," said the Principal of Wycliffe
Hall, Oxford, an evangelical college that trains ordinands for the ministry.

"This is the unacceptable face of liberalism and it exposes the harshness,
bullying character and dogmatism of this man."

The unusually implacable author of some 50 books on theological and
scientific themes, tore into the revisionist Canadian bishop saying that when
someone
invokes canon law to silence opponents they have lost the arguments. "If
liberalism has to use bullying tactics like this, its bankruptcy is open to
everyone."

"This is a liberalism which has lost its way with arguments that cannot be
sustained except by sheer political power, and we need to make sure it doesn't
happen here," said McGrath.

"We need to be fully involved in the political process so that kind
liberalism doesn't rear its head in this country," he said.

McGrath said that 70 percent of ordinands for the Church of England ministry
were evangelicals. "There is no place for boasting. If we have succeeded it is
only by God's grace and faithfulness not by our own merits."

McGrath said the cross [of Christ] is the focus and foundation of our faith
and it was there to raise us up. "I encountered that cross and was broken by
it. It forced me to confront my atheism. There is something here that
transcended everything I had ever known."

In a lighter moment McGrath said he had been baptized by immersion. "It was
not ecumenical but accidental. The priest had Parkinson's disease and dropped
me in the font. I was quickly dragged out. "Later I rejected Christianity and
actually thought it was evil. Then I went to Oxford University and saw changed
lives. My integrity was challenged by the cross."

"To me one of the sadnesses in this nation is that people don't know enough
about the cross to reject it. The cross is the basis of hope, life and
missions. The message of the cross is that there is indeed something here. The
cross
is a reason for hope and reason to die. We need to confront our culture, we
need to remind ourselves. Many know this story so well that it has lost its
freshness."

McGrath said the cross contained two themes - power and priorities.

"The cross critiques power. The cross elicits not triumphalism but rather
repentance, faithfulness and obedience. We have to ask what is the source of our
true confidence? What is it that we get excited about?"

Martin Luther rediscovered the doctrine of Providence, said McGrath. "The
gospel is true and relevant and is guaranteed by God himself. There is always
the
temptation to say that whatever the culture wants to hear is what we will
preach. We have been entrusted with the gospel, and we should not capitulate to
the spirit of the age. "Dean Inge said, whoever marries the spirit of the age
today is widowed tomorrow."

"Our liberal friends have rejected the gospel and adapted it to whatever the
cultural trend is. We are to be faithful to the gospel and proclaim it, but
always on the assumption that we need to be faithful to this gospel which has
been entrusted to us."

"Our future as a movement rests not in our wisdom or our achievements but in
the faithfulness of the God who seeks to be faithful. We are not on our own,
but we rely on His power and strength."

Note: If you are not receiving this from VIRTUOSITY, the Anglican Communion's
largest and most widely read biblically-orthodox news service then you may
subscribe for free at www.virtuosityonline.org. VIRTUOSITY is read by more than
80,000 readers in 41 countries.


 
Evangelicals side with church rebels

Support sent to Americans resisting blessing of gays

Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Tuesday September 23, 2003
The Guardian

Senior evangelicals meeting in Blackpool ignored pleas for tolerance and patience from the archbishops of Canterbury and York yesterday to send a message of support to parishes in the US and Canada which have fallen out over the issue of blessings for same sex couples and the election of an openly gay bishop.
The move follows a decision by Michael Ingham, the bishop of the diocese of New Westminster, centred on Vancouver, to allow a service to be held for two middle-aged gay males earlier in the summer.

Ten other parishes were so outraged at the move that they have effectively declared independence from their bishop and have asked the neighbouring bishop of the Yukon to supervise them instead.

In the US Episcopal church, evangelicals are to meet in Dallas in a fortnight's time to consider their response to the election of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, which may involve them declaring themselves out of communion with the rest of the church.

The decision to send the letter came as the evangelicals prepared to hold a debate last night on the issue of homosexuality. Most are deeply hostile to the church treating the condition as anything other than a sin and are strongly opposed to any attempt to soften the church's stance.

During the debate, representatives were told that blessing same sex partnerships would be to replace God with an idol. Edith Humphrey, a Canadian theology professor, said: "It would be to name God as the one who blesses an act for which repentance is required. We would replace God with an idol and so we would rend the church."

Gordon Wenham, who teaches Old Testament studies at Cheltenham and Gloucester college of higher education, said modern attitudes to homosexuality were really examples of ancient paganism.

"(Paganism) is raising its head again. Other examples are religious pluralism, abolition of Sunday as universal rest day, abortion, cremation, easy divorce ... we should not be intimidated by the charge of being old fashioned: it is the so-called liberals who are really taking us back to the dark ages," he declared.

In their letter, sent from the National Evangelical Anglican Congress and addressed "to our sisters and brothers on the North American continent", the English evangelicals say: "We know of the attacks that you have had to withstand in recent months and years. These attacks on so many areas of our shared biblical faith have been severe and stressful for many of you and we weep with you. We write to assure you of our deepest prayers and support. We pray also that He who is our Lord and Saviour will encourage you all to stand firm."

Speaking to journalists at the congress on Sunday night David Hope, the Archbishop of York, appealed for calm within the Anglican communion and acknowledged Canon Robinson had been legitimately elected by the US church.

With Paul Gardner, the archdeacon of Exeter and signatory of the letter sitting beside him, Dr Hope said: "Whether we like it or not, you have to respect the autonomy of the different provinces. I have to face the fact that we are where we are and churches have to operate according to their canonical provisions."

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has called an emergency meeting of the 38 primates of the worldwide communion at Lambeth Palace next month - which the US church will pay for at a cost of £70,000 - to try to keep the church from splitting apart over the gay issue.

African and third world archbishops and many English evangelicals have insisted the North American churches must be punished for deviancy by being suspended from the worldwide communion.




 
The road to maturity

=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
September 23, 2003
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Prayer and the Bible

512. The road to maturity
I do not hesitate to say that the Bible is indispensable to
every Christian's health and growth. Christians who
neglect the Bible simply do not mature.

--From "The Bible: Book for Today" (Leicester: IVP, 1982),
p. 65.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 225, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

Monday, September 22, 2003
 
A Belly flop into Apostasy

The Rev. Jeffrey Black

The media, both ecclesiastical and secular, were understandably fascinated with the elevation of V. Gene Robinson to the Episcopacy. They missed what I believe is spiritually a more significant story from the Convention in Minneapolis. Here is the story of a relatively little noticed resolution, B001, and the decision of the Bishops of our denomination to defeat it.

I have two purposes in telling this story - 1. To help the people of the church to understand more deeply the nature of our current generation of Episcopal leadership, so the people can make a more informed decision about whether this is the church in which they wish to remain, and 2. To confront the Bishops who may be reading this with my own anger at their scandalous action.

"B001" is the name of the first of the resolutions that came before the House of Bishops. Authored by Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy, the resolution can easily be located on the internet by typing in "Resolution B001" in your search engine, so I will not reproduce it here. It asked the House of Bishops to affirm their continued belief in two things. The first was the statement found in the Articles of Religion, our church's constitution, and in the Ordination Services that we believe "The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to contain all things necessary for Salvation." This is the defining statement of Anglican theology in terms of the authority of the Scriptures. It is carefully worded, so that it does not say that all things in scriptures are necessary for salvation, just that all you need to know to be saved can be found there, and that you do not need other acts of piety or self-improvement to inherit eternal life. Every person being ordained is required by the Bishop to swear he or she believes that. The second thing that resolution B001 asked the House of Bishops to affirm was the four parts of the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral. To refresh your memory, that is the document that is held by all the churches within the worldwide Anglican Communion, and which sets forth the minimum beliefs that define Anglicanism in terms of Scriptural Authority, our Worship, Christian Theology, and church order. It states that we hold the Bible to be the revealed Word of God, that we must include Baptism and Communion in our worship, that the Nicene Creed contains the essentials of the content of Christian Theology, and that church order must include some form of the historic episcopate, adapted to local needs.

B001 was offered by Bishop Ackerman for the following reason - he knew that if the General Convention approved the election of a partnered homosexual man, and if the convention approved the practice of blessing same-sex unions, many in the church would feel that the convention had challenged and rejected the authority of Scripture as they understand it in this profound area of human life. That action would logically raise for such brothers and sisters in the faith the issue of what the leaders of the denomination would continue to regard as authoritative. To reassure such people - a majority of those in his own diocese and a substantial part of the rest of the church, including myself -- Bishop Ackerman identified the core elements of Anglican authority and asked his brother and sister Bishops to affirm them.

The resolution came before the Bishops at the end of the first day, when they were both tired and strained by some hours of what were reported to be fairly contentious discussion.

They voted the resolution down.

Stunned, Bishop Ackerman asked for something very rare. He asked for a roll call vote. One by one the Bishops rose and were counted. Eighty four of them refused to affirm that scripture contains what is needed for salvation. Eighty four of them refused to affirm the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral. Only sixty six voted for these core truths.

What we are talking about, just to be clear, are: Baptism; Eucharist; The Nicene Creed; The Bible containing what is necessary for Salvation.

Eighty four of our Bishops would not affirm these as true. Only Sixty six would say yes.

One, Wayne Smith of Missouri, opined that he actually might agree with some of these things but he resented being asked to vote. "It's just not the Anglican Way to sign off on things," he observed. I'm glad nobody told that to Cramner, or to the martyrs of Uganda, or to Jonathan Daniels.

Others agreed with the Committee on Resolution's deep insight that, since these things were in the constitution already, they needn't vote on them again.

Hmmm. Thirty six years ago I married my wife. If today we were involved in some quarrel that was serious - serious enough that both of us knew it might threaten the continuation of the marriage -- she might, to seek reassurance, ask me, "Do you still love me?" If my reply were, "I told you at the altar in 1967 that I love you and that ought to be enough for you," what would you make of me? Pretty damned cold, I'd say.

That is what the Bishops did, to their brother who leads one of the smallest and poorest dioceses in the country, who came to them seeking reassurance.

If you actually believed these wonderful things, why would you not happily say so whenever you were asked? Why would you not be telling the world about them before being asked?

Beyond the coldness, something deeper was revealed - a serious breach of personal integrity. These Bishops require whoever wishes to be ordained by them to swear something. In fact each ordinand must say, "I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain all things necessary for salvation." If you don't swear that, you don't get the job. Think of the hypocrisy of refusing personally to affirm what you require your subordinates to swear!

To the Bishops who voted against this resolution: I am a priest of no especial repute, having served for 28 years, so I have no position from which to command your attention or to compel your agreement. But as a brother in Christ, I tell you that you have deeply insulted your office, that I believe you owe repentance to God and an apology to the entire church. You have, by your action, forfeited any authority over me.



 
Speaking in tongues


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
September 22, 2003
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Life in the Spirit (cont'd.)

511. Speaking in tongues
What, then, about the contemporary practice of private
tongue-speaking as an aid to personal devotion? Many are
claiming to discover through it a new degree of fluency in
their approach to God. Others have spoken of a kind of
'psychic release' which they have found liberating and
which one would not want to deny them. On the other hand,
it needs to be said (from 1 Cor. 14) that if Paul
completely forbids public tongue-speaking without
interpretation, he strongly discourages private tongue-
speaking if the speaker does not understand what he is
saying. Verse 13 is often overlooked: 'He who speaks in a
tongue should pray for the power to interpret'. Otherwise
his mind will be 'unfruitful' or unproductive. So what is
he to do? Paul asks himself. His reply is that he will
pray and sing 'with the Spirit', but he will do so 'with
the mind also'. It is clear that he simply cannot
contemplate Christian prayer and praise in which the mind
is not actively engaged.

--From "Baptism and Fullness" (London: IVP, 1975), p. 113.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 224, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.




 
Synod

On Thursday through Saturday of last week (18-20 September), I attended the Thirty-First Annual Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of the Southeast of the Reformed Episcopal Church at Redeemer Reformed Episcopal Church in Pineville, South Carolina. The fellowship was great and the Most Rev. Walter Grundorf, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of America and Bishop Ordinary of their
Diocese of the Eastern United States, preached an outstanding opening sermon. The Rev. Richard Burnett, Ph.D., Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at my alma mater, Erskine Theological Seminary, presented the D.Min. program to our clergy and lay delegates and several of our ministers expressed an interest. We also had a great presentation on Cursillo by representatives from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina; I am hoping that Angela and I can go on a Cursillo in the not-too-distant future. Following their presentation, we offered prayers for our Episcopal brethren in these trying times.

A presentation given to the Men of the Church by William Robinson, Project Leader of the Healthy South Carolina Initiative, was considerably less impressive. Mr. Robinson's liberal bias was matched only by his theological heterodoxy. Obviously speakers sometimes lay an egg, but the fact that this one was supported by my tax dollars only made matters worse!

It was still great to be with the brethren.
 
A vision of intimacy


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
September 18, 2003
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Life in the Spirit (cont'd.)

507. A vision of intimacy
What visions of intimacy with God the word 'sonship'
conveys! Access to God and fellowship with God as Father -
- these are the privileges of his children. Not all human
beings are God's children, however. Verse 14 of Romans 8
definitely and deliberately limits this status to those who
are being led by the Spirit, who are being enabled by the
Spirit to walk along the narrow path of righteousness. To
be led by the Spirit and to be sons of God are virtually
convertible terms. All who are led by the Spirit of God
are the sons of God, and therefore all who are sons of God
are led by the Spirit of God.

--From "Men Made New" (London: IVF, 1966), p. 93.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 223, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.


 
Lift up your eyes!

=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
September 19, 2003
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Life in the Spirit (cont'd.)

508. Lift up your eyes!
Lift up your eyes! You are certainly a creature of time,
but you are also a child of eternity. You are a citizen of
heaven, and an alien and exile on earth, a pilgrim
travelling to the celestial city.
I read some years ago of a young man who found a five-
dollar bill on the street and who 'from that time on never
lifted his eyes when walking. In the course of years he
accumulated 29,516 buttons, 54,172 pins, 12 cents, a bent
back and a miserly disposition.' But think what he lost.
He could not see the radiance of the sunlight, the sheen of
the stars, the smile on the face of his friends or the
blossoms of springtime, for his eyes were in the gutter.
There are too many Christians like that. We have important
duties on earth, but we must never allow them to preoccupy
us in such a way that we forget who we are and where we are
going.

--From 'The Biblical Basis for Declaring God's Glory', in
"Declare His Glory Among the Nations", ed. D. M. Howard
(Downers Grove: IVP, 1977), p. 90.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 223, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

 
The Christian and good works


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
September 21, 2003
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Life in the Spirit (cont'd.)

510. The Christian and good works
Although we cannot be saved by works, we also cannot be
saved without them. Good works are not the way of
salvation, but its proper and necessary evidence. A faith
which does not express itself in works is dead.

--From "Christ the Controversialist" (London: Tyndale
Press, 1970), p. 127.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 224, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.

 
A Conference Worth Attending in the D.C. Area

Emmaus Ministries - a School of Christian Apologetics will be sponsoring the following:
Man & Woman in the Image of God
If you live in the Washington, DC area and want to put a secure
foundation under your theology, if you would like to be able to
understand and present a Biblical view of human sexuality to your
children, to your intended spouse, to your neighbor, to those in and out
of the Church who do not understand the Biblical view -- then come to the
workshop which will be held the next four Wednesday evenings at St.
Luke's Episcopal Church in Bladensburg, MD. (rector, Fr. Michael Heidt).
"Man and Woman in the Image of God" (Genesis 1:16 ff.) is a theme
hardly discussed or understood anywhere in the Church, yet it is the
foundation of all Biblical teaching on gender and sex. Who is God? And
who are we? Genesis 1:26 ff. is the very heart of the Biblical creation
account, and affects every other aspect of Biblical theology.
Sexuality issues are the focus of most of the dis-ease and
disintegration in Western Christendom. A secure understanding of these
issues would do more than almost anything else to reunite Christians and
change positively our present fracturing and decay -- almost across the
board in Christendom.
The Biblical view of human sexuality, properly presented, will
stand up in any forum, any time, any place. Come and put some excitement
and gumption into your witness.... Think what it would be like to be able
to talk about sex and gender truthfully, righteously, and with a
confidant and loving spirit. If you want to make a difference in the
Church and the world, beginning with your own life, this is for you.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Beginning Sept. 24 -- 4 Wednesday evenings --
St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Bladensburg, MD
(Diocese of Washington, DC) -- a series on:

Man & Woman in the Image of God --
the Biblical view of Human Sexuality

Led by the Rev. Earle Fox

Get your Biblical foundations secure to deal with sexuality issues
.....a story you would be proud to teach your children.....

Evening Prayer begins in the church at 7 pm,
class in the undercroft at 7:30.

No charge. Bring anyone who is searching for answers or who disagrees
with the Biblical position -- "liberal", "conservative", or "don't know"

Church address: 4006 53rd St. (corner of 53rd & Annapolis Rd = #450)
Tel: 301 927-6466

Directions: from #295 take Cheverly/Bladensburg exit - go west on #202,
which merges with Annapolis Rd. (#450). Church about 1/4 mile after merge
on left.

["Man & Woman in the Image of God" is available on 2-hour audio tape for
anyone unable to attend. To purchase, send check for $8 (post paid) to
Emmaus Ministries -- 2605 Schooley Dr., Alexandria, VA 22306]


Sunday, September 21, 2003
 
Episcopal diocese rebukes gay stand



By Mark I. Pinsky
Sentinel Staff Writer

September 21, 2003

The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida became one of the first in the nation Saturday to officially reject the national denomination's policies on homosexuality.

By wide margins, delegates to a special diocesan convention gave Bishop John Howe a strong conservative mandate to take with him to a summit of conservative Episcopalian leadership in Dallas next month.

The Episcopal Church, USA, has been in turmoil since August, when its general convention in Minneapolis confirmed the Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the denomination's first openly gay bishop and allowed local parishes to bless same-sex unions.

In Winter Park, nearly 1,000 priests, lay delegates and observers attended a special, daylong gathering at Trinity Preparatory School. The 400 voting delegates condemned both votes by an estimated 3-1 ratio. In Albany, N.Y., another conservative stronghold, Episcopalians passed similar resolutions.

The Rev. Donald Curran of Grace Episcopal Church in Ocala called the national convention's actions "egregious and divisive" and said they were leading the denomination down a "trail that many cannot and will not follow."

In other actions at Trinity, the delegates called on the worldwide Anglican Communion to intervene in the crisis in the Episcopal Church, USA, without saying what that intervention should be.

Another resolution made it easier for local parishes to divert their collections from the national headquarters in New York City and send them directly to foreign and domestic mission efforts.

Howe told delegates who packed the prep-school auditorium that he would appoint a panel to study ownership of church property in light of the recent controversy.

In developing nations, leaders of the Anglican Communion have been especially harsh in their condemnations of the Episcopal Church's actions. Threats of schism have been heard in the U.S. church and in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Rev. Margaret Ingalls of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Fruitland Park who spoke frequently at the gathering in support of more-moderate positions, said Saturday's votes effectively split the Diocese of Central Florida from the Episcopal Church, USA.

"I believe that our actions at this convention render that a reality," she said.

After the votes, Howe said he would take the diocesan convention's votes and sentiments with him when he attends the critical summit of conservative Episcopal leaders in Dallas on Oct. 7. The week after the Texas meeting, the leaders of the Anglican Communion will meet in London with the Archbishop of Canterbury to consider the crisis in the Episcopal Church.

In Howe's opening homily Saturday, which set the tone for the meeting, he first appeared to take an uncompromising position on the sexuality issue, signaling support for a split.

There is, he said, "no middle ground, not any more. Today we must decide whether we agree with the majority who voted at the general convention, or whether we uphold the belief and teaching of the majority of the Anglican Communion. It is simply not possible to have it both ways."

But toward the conclusion of his remarks, he seemed to pull back from the precipice of schism, reminding delegates that "there is no resolution before us that calls for our withdrawal from the Episcopal Church. I have repeatedly stated that I personally have no intention of leaving."

Nonetheless, moderates at the Winter Park gathering seemed shellshocked as the day wore on. Earlier, more than 50 active and retired priests submitted a resolution calling on the diocese to reaffirm its unity with the Episcopal Church. That measure was crushed.

"It's surprising that the moderates have not been more vocal," said the Rev. Paul McQueen, director of the Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo, who helped draft the measure.

McQueen said the moderates might have felt intimidated by "the overwhelming presence of conservatives" at the meeting.

Debate on the other resolutions was equally lopsided, with the same six to eight moderates speaking in debate.

Some cautioned patience, given that the special diocesan convention was one of the first in the nation.

"The eyes of the Episcopal Church are on us," said Elizabeth Myers, of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Lake Placid.

Joanna Haas of St. Sebastian's by-the-Sea in Melbourne Beach urged delegates to "stay together, pray together and resolve together" the issues that divide them.

Bishop Howe has become increasingly prominent among conservative dissidents. Before the Minneapolis convention, he met with other bishops from the United States and with some primates from Anglican churches in developing nations, warning against Robinson's confirmation. At the convention, Howe stood with other bishops after the vote and condemned the vote.

Earlier this month, he was among 10 leading American bishops -- five liberals and five conservatives -- invited to meet last week in New York with the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.

Conservative leaders throughout the country have scheduled special diocesan conventions like the ones at Trinity and in Albany in the next few weeks. Some have been preceded by ominous language.

"I am more confident than ever that there will be a dramatic realignment within the Anglican Communion," said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina, which holds its convention Oct. 2.

"The only question now is the exact form it will take," he said. "The Minneapolis convention made a decision that moved the Episcopal Church away from thousands of faithful parishioners."

But after the vote Saturday, Bishop Howe said he is intentionally lowering the volume of his rhetoric. "I don't think it helps to throw bricks," he said.

Mark I. Pinsky can be reached at mpinsky@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5589.



 
Are You a Carnal Christian?

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4

According to Paul, there is an essential oneness of doctrine and practice that we are to eagerly maintain. But none of us — as individual Christians, or in fellowship with one another — has, in fact, fully grasped it.

Selah. [Chew on that for a minute.]

There is no "sinless perfectionism" in the Christian life at any stage — individually or corporately. And even as we must by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8), so we must constantly root out the seeds of error in our thought life — the tendency to misconstrue God's Word, and teach others to follow our example — individually and collectively.

No denomination has it all right.
None.

No Bible teacher or preacher has impeccable doctrine.
Period.

No historic movement among us was "so used by God" that it has been sanctified in order to receive our absolute loyalty and affection.
Full-stop.

No confessional statement is without error, nor is any theological "construct" worthy of attaching itself to us in order to provide a "self-conscious Christian identity."

"Reformed"
"Charismatic"
"Baptist."
You get the picture.

It is no wonder, then, that Paul calls us — in this context of "maintaining unity" — to walk with humility, gentleness, and patience — bearing with one another in love. None of us is "right." We all have so much to learn . . . from each other . . . and not just from some sanctified "guru" we love to call "our Pastor."

No one is to be held in such esteem that we place them in the position of being the authoritative guide to what God has revealed in Scripture. As our Lord taught so clearly,

But you are not to be called rabbi ["teacher"] for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Matthew 23:8

When someone has been given as Christ's gift to shepherd ("pastor") and teach a fellowship of believers [Eph 4:11-12], they are to do so as brothers in the Lord.

And certainly not as "Reverend So-and-so" or "Pastor So-and-so" or "Minister So-and-so."

Am I just "straining at a gnat?" I don't think so. After all, this gets to the heart of why there is so much DIS-unity among us — manifested in the thousands of different denominations and "non-denominational" movements and fellowships that exist today. Without exception, they began when Christians started taking the lead from some teacher/leader — however well-meaning. But they devolved into sects whose life together couldn't be penetrated by fresh wisdom from above. They ceased to be guided by the Holy Spirit — a personal, animated way of life. Instead, they became institutions — impersonal, inanimate, and (ultimately) stagnant. And instead of defending "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" they became defenders of their institutional "orthodoxy."

Welcome to the denominational/non-denominational ghetto.


How different is Paul's perspective. In the context of rebuking the Corinthians for their "carnal" sectarianism he makes a rather startling pronouncement:

Let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

All of Christ's gifts — his teachers, in this context — are ours. All the wisdom that the Holy Spirit deposits throughout our various fellowships is ours — both today and for all time. We have much to learn . . . if we can put away our carnal disregard and learn to listen to one another.

What about you? Are you a "carnal Christian"? Is there some teacher that has your supreme loyalty and affection? Do you hang on their every word? Do you get upset when others disagree with them? If so, you are the cause of division in the body of Christ. But take it from someone who has walked that path to much shame:

God is able to deliver us from such a carnal lifestyle, that we might be humble, gentle, and patient, bearing with others in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

-- Rob Schlapfer, Editor
Chiristian Counterculture
 
Stott on the Balance Between Purity and Dicipline

Fundamentalists have tended to hold a separatist ecclesiology and to withdraw from any community which does not agree in every particular with their own doctrinal position. They forget that Luther and Calvin were very reluctant schismatics who dreamed of a reformed Catholicism. Most evangelicals, however, while believing it right to seek the doctrinal and ethical purity of the church, also believed that perfect purity cannot be attained in this world. The balance between discipline and tolerance is not easy to find.
-- The Rev. John R.W. Stott, D.D.
 
PANEL URGES DISCIPLINE OF ERRANT PROVINCES. REJECTS SEPARATE PROVINCE IDEA


By David W. Virtue

BLACKPOOL, UK-A panel of theologians that included N. T. Wright, Bishop
of Durham; Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney; Oxford theologian Liz
Goddard and Chris Sugden Director of Overseas Christian Missionary
Study Center (Oxford) and chaired by Chris Green VP of Oak Hill
Theological College, urged hearers to NEAC4 not to accept the idea of a
separate orthodox province for parishes and dioceses in the West under
siege, but said the answer lay in disciplining those primates who broke
rank with the historic gospel of Jesus Christ as it is revealed in
Scripture.

"I am not so keen on the idea of a separate province," said Dr. Jensen.
"We do our best in the structures we have doing our thing. However,
when evangelicals on the other side of the world are under siege we
must band together to support them. We must cooperate together and
support them for the sake of their properties and ministry. What we
need is a network of relationships to assist in this."

Liz Goddard said the recent experience in Oxford over Jeffrey John and
the Oxford Bishop Richard Harries showed evangelicals of all branches
including Charismatics, mainstream could work together. We were not all
in agreement but we trusted each other and we acted honestly and
biblically. We also worked with some of the Primates, other bishops in
other parts of the Anglican communion. We did not criticize each other.
We did not go to the Press/Media for 10 days and we did not come across
as anti-gay and we stuck to the precise issue of homosexual practice.
The media could not really find fault with us."

Sugden said there was no compelling case for a separate province. "It
undermines the moral authority, local option and options of the
communion. There is a need for protection. In North America there is a
great deal of coercion going on. Canon David Anderson, president of the
American Anglican Council (AAC) said he had been denied a license to
preach in the Diocese of Atlanta when he moved there. What is needed is
a network of diocese and provinces to bring pressure to bear and to ask
what are the boundaries for revisionist bishops that they cannot
cross."

Sugden said it would be preferable to have some sort of oversight if
there were real benefits.

Goddard said Evangelicals were no longer a minority in the Church of
England, but there was a need for several levels of provision working
within the orders of the church. "If Jeffrey John had been made a
bishop we would have lost a battle but not lost the war. Mutual
accountability is essential as is collegiality.

Green, who chaired the meeting, asked if flying bishops might be the
answer, Jensen said that in New Westminster the 10 parishes that have
crossed the line have stood firm and did the right thing in calling for
Bishop Buckle to come to their aid. "The Bishop of Yukon needs to know
he does not stand alone and both eh and the 10 parishes who hold the
same view of the Bible need our support."

Jensen said the book, To Mend the Net provided a way forward for the
Primates to address the situation in the Anglican Communion. He urged
the forming of networks with dozens of ethnic churches to help balance
the inequities in Western pluriform churches.

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AUSTRALIAN ARCHBISHOP SAYS ECUSA MUST BE DISCIPLINED. WILLIAMS MUST
WITHDRAW FELLOWSHIP, HE SAYS

An interview with the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney,
Australia


By David W. Virtue

VIRTUOSITY: Dr. Jensen if you were a Primate what would you say next
month at the Primates meeting at Lambeth?

JENSEN: I would ask the question, what is a primatial authority? The
thing which gives them authority is the magnitude of the crisis. At
times of such crisis bring out extraordinary measures and this is one
them. But it can only be justified on the grounds of the calamity that
has come upon us.

I hope that the primates offer such discipline to the North American
churches that they could be faced with the need for repentance.

VIRTUOSITY: What is discipline?

JENSEN: The only discipline we have is the withdrawal of fellowship. In
practical terms that means the disconnection of my name from yours. It
is the unwillingness to allow our name to be used in connection with
theirs. This is necessary because all around the world, not least in
Africa, association with the decadent West is being used to criticize
Christians and hinder the work of the gospel. More than that however
the faithful churches of the North American continent need recognition
and protection of the most basic and powerful kind. They need the
recognition of faithful bishops in order to protect their property, the
exercise of ministry and the succession of ministry. Whatever the
Primates do, they must ensure that such protection is in place.

VIRTUOSITY: What are the Archbishop of Canterbury's options?

JENSEN: I use New Westminster as a template to analyze the broader
situation. There are three options.

The first is to do nothing. He could take the view that the diocese and
its bishop is in the right by virtue of being the regular authorities
and that he has no authority to interfere with the internal workings of
a diocese.

Secondly, he could listen to the request of the dissenting parishes of
the Anglican Churches in New Westminster (ACiNW) and recognize them
with their bishop Terence Buckle, but also continue to recognize both
the dissenting parishes with Buckle and recognize Ingham.

The consequence of that would be the understanding that the Anglican
Communion is more like a federation of local churches and that parallel
jurisdictions are going to develop in a number of places. Like the
first option it will also raise questions about the moral standing of
the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The third option is to withdraw recognition of the Diocese of New
Westminster and declare that he is in communion only with the ACINW and
Bishop Buckle. This is the most drastic option. It will preserve the
reputation of the office of the archbishops in the Global South but it
will create a fracture in the Anglican Communion.

VIRTUOSITY: What do you think is the appropriate sort of discipline
that you would impose on Griswold and perhaps Michael Peers, Primate of
the Anglican Church in Canada?

JENSEN: The primary area is in Christian fellowship. Withdrawal is the
only discipline given in the New Testament, and in New Testament
Christianity not merely by the leadership but by all the people of God.
So it is very important for example when Spong visits us that he is not
given a platform in which to expound his views nor is he greeted with a
Christian welcome and likewise that orthodox Christian leaders publicly
disassociate and also attack his views.

VIRTUOSITY: What sort of advice would you give orthodox rectors in
heterodox dioceses?

JENSEN: The situation in the US is different from England or Australia.
In both the latter places rectors have considerable legal protection,
there positions are to some degree tenured. The local parish is the
heartbeat of the church. It is where the real action occurs. I believe
that we can overemphasize the significance of bishops and their
importance in the cause of the people. The rector of his congregation
holds the pivotal role for the good health of the church. As well as
that, the lay people of the parish must be theologically aware,
vigilant and active in support of the gospel in their own parish. In
particular their support of an orthodox rector against illegitimate
denominational interference is absolutely vital. Nothing will protect a
parish and a rector more than outraged and active lay people. I believe
that support from outside the diocese will be similarly vital though
slightly less significant. If an orthodox parish comes under attack the
outrage of the rest of the church needs to be engaged. We must not
allow isolated parishes to suffer alone.

VIRTUOSITY: If lay Presidency is such a lightening rod issue, and it
doesn't seem crucial to the church, why make such an issue of it as to
cause something of a crisis in Australia and the wider communion?

JENSEN: We call it Lay Administration and we are not making an issue of
it. Others are making an issue of it.

VIRTUOSITY: I gather you have stripped the cathedral and other acts
that have upset a number of people.

JENSEN: In the Diocese of Sydney we are evangelizing to an increasingly
secular and post modern society. We have developed a four-fold policy
involving spiritual renewal through God's word and prayer. Secondly,
the multiplication of churches, fellowships and congregations, and
thirdly the multiplication of Christian workers means we must change
and adapt. Fourthly there are those changes that need to be made to
serve the gospel. One of the great encouragements so far has been an
increasing number of men and women offering themselves for gospel
ministry. Under God this has largely flowed from the ministry of
Phillip Jensen, my brother. When I invited him to take special
responsibility for the third policy - multiplying Christian workers -
he was also invited to become Dean of the Cathedral so that from this
central position in the life of the diocese he could both model
ministry in today's secular world and return the cathedral to its great
teaching role. In particular he is going to be involved in the teaching
of Christian ministry at a practical level in the service of the
gospel.

VIRTUOSITY: What is the place of politics in the church?

JENSEN: Like all institutions that involve humans, the church has
inevitably his its politics. This is inescapable and it is totally
irresponsible for believers not to understand and engage in the
politics of their institution. This focus must he done in a godly way,
but the first rule of political action is that it must be effective.

To win each local church parish first must pay its assessment to
maintain the life of the diocese. The diocese also has an obligation to
spend some of its time and energy on the political processes of the
institution to which it belongs. Failure to do this has lead to a
vacuum of authority and power which has been filled by those of a
revisionist caste of mind. They are not representative of ordinary
Christians whose interests we have a duty to serve. Evangelicals are
characterized by an interest in pastoral ministry which exhausts and
satisfies them and leaves little time for their political activities.
What we need to understand is that the political life is part of our
pastoral responsibilities.

VIRTUOSITY: How big is the Diocese of Sydney?

JENSEN: We have six dioceses with 400 churches, including 260 parishes
(a parish sometimes has several branch churches.) we have 500 clergy
and about 60,000 members, that is attenders. It is the biggest diocese
in Australia.

VIRTUOSITY: What other evangelical bishops are there in Australia?

JENSEN: we have five Evangelical dioceses out of 23. Sydney; the
Diocese of Armidale in New South Wales, the Diocese of the Northwest ,
Perth and north where there are three Evangelical dioceses.

The Most Rev. Peter Watson is an evangelical Archbishop in Melbourne.
Ridley College which is attached to the University of Melbourne is
evangelical. Trinity College is a liberal Catholic institution in
Melbourne. The diocese of Melbourne is a mixed diocese with a strong
evangelical presence.

VIRTUOSITY: What do you see is the importance of this NEAC conference?

JENSEN: Its primary concern is with gospel issues. The significance of
NEAC is far greater than was thought when it was first planned. The
events of the last year in the Anglican Communion have created a sense
of urgency and of course that was impossible to predict. It has been
absolutely right of the conference to reiterate as powerfully as
possible adherence to the Bible alone, the atoning work of Christ as
our sole means of salvation and the importance of evangelistic mission.
This is what evangelicals should always major on and the fate of the
church in the west makes those commitments viable across mission lines
and indispensable for evangelical Christians today. The conference has
allowed us to build on the unity secured by the Reading affair in the
summer. The evangelicals are now more alert and more politically aware
and more fired up for the gospel than they have been for a number of
years. This conference has brought many of these things together.

VIRTUOSITY: What are your plans and aspirations?

JENSEN: My job as Archbishop of Sydney will till retirement. I am now
60 and this year I have been out of Sydney and in the UK three times as
well as Canada and the USA. At one level this is very disappointing. My
main task is to preach the gospel and to encourage gospel preaching in
my own diocese. The great problem of our age is unbelief and the
salvation of people is the absolute first priority.

The crisis of the communion seems to be a diversion of this. On the
other hand the struggle for the soul of Anglicanism is directly related
to the state of the soul of the West itself. These two things cannot be
easily separated.

VIRTUOSITY: Thank you Dr. Jensen.

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LIVERPOOL BISHOP PUSHES EVANGELICALS TO BIBLICAL RELEVANCE AMIDST
CULTURAL CHANGE


By David W. Virtue

BLACKPOOL, UK-"One of the greatest challenges that Christians face from
our contemporary culture is to demonstrate by the quality of our being
and doing that this spiritual and liberating transformation is not
simply a subjective and psychological event, but is real, objective
rooted in the God of love who has spoken to us through his Son and
reveals himself to his beloved world through the Bible, by the Cross
and in Mission."

With these words, the Rt. Rev. James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool set
the stage for a four-day conference on Fanning the Flame of
evangelistic endeavor to more than 2,000 Evangelical Anglicans gathered
at the Winter Garden center.

Meeting under the umbrella organization NEAC - National Evangelical
Anglican Congress - the fourth such meeting since 1966, the 2,000
delegates had come to fan the flame of evangelistic action in a world
grown increasingly complex by post modernity and secularity.

"The complexities of today's world could never have been imagined by
the authors of yesterday. Learning the mind of Christ and discerning
God's will for our modern moral dilemmas calls for patient study and
humility and a global perspective," said the bishop.

"We do this with reference to the authority of Scripture, to the
lessons of tradition, to the voice of reason which is informed by the
experience of contemporary culture. As evangelicals we hold that in
this three-fold reference there is a primacy of the authority of
Scripture," he said.

Bishop Jones said he was aware of the negative associations with the
word "evangelical", however he was reminded of a woman applying for a
job when a panel noted that "she was not an evangelical, her faith just
flowed from her so naturally and joyfully."

"There are all sorts of reasons for this negative public perception and
some of it is justified and some of it we have no control over. Yet
conscious of our critics we do well to hold fast to the Scriptures and
the Lord's timeless message."

"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God?" said the bishop citing Scripture.

"Humility is not an optional virtue. It is a divine imperative that
must mark our gathering. It must shape our relationship with God, our
relationships with each other including other Christian traditions and
our relationship with the world at large."

Jones said William Wilberforce was his hero. "He was an evangelical
Christian whose radical political action was inspired by the
Scriptures. One of the joys of becoming Bishop of Hull was discovering
that Wilberforce had been its Member of Parliament."

"The historian Kathleen Heasman has estimated that three quarters of
the social reform of the 19th century was directly attributable to
evangelical Christianity. That is our heritage."

The bishop said the world had changed, yet that determination to
connect the Word and the World in both the private and public domain
remains a hall-mark of evangelical faith. "When critics belittle the
evangelical tradition I want to remind them that we stand not in the
same frame as transatlantic televangelists but in the noble tradition
of Wilberforce and Shaftsbury and Cranmer."

"There are some who would argue that evangelicalism is an aberration on
the canvass of English Christianity. Yet the protestant and puritan
emphases on the Word had a dramatic effect not just on the church but
upon the politics of England and consequently the English-speaking
world. Jeremy Paxman in his book "The English" writes, "the power of
the Word extended much further. By offering a direct relationship with
God, unmediated by popes or bishops, the common language of devotion
gave the individual all sorts of rights he might never have otherwise
thought he had."

Jones said that the English are a people of the Word which is why even
in the face of an audio-visual culture evangelicalism defies the media
obituaries of Christianity and continues to grow. "Yet as we grow, we
acknowledge the diversity of Anglicanism and value the biblical
insights of other traditions."

The bishop said NEAC4 was not about defining a sect; "it is about
engaging with a continually reforming church as we respond to the
Mission of God in the world."

"In all of this our primary text and authoritative script is the Bible,
however incomprehensible that may be to the outside world."

Jones said without the centrality of the Cross the Church may
misunderstand its doctrine, its own life, and the secret of its power.
"As we engage with the Bible and the Cross in this conference this is
not to be some stagnant pool or some sterile clinic - this is to be a
place of God's presence and power, where we ourselves are changed by
the Spirit through our own encounter with the Word - the Word written
and the Word crucified, risen and ascended."

Jones said that whenever the evangelical tradition has allowed a wedge
to be driven between justification by faith and acting justly, between
personal salvation and social justice, it has become sub-biblical.
"Never has this biblical connection between the personal and the
social, the private and public been so timely to affirm."

The earth faces challenges the magnitude of which are unique in its
history. Previously human actions were but the trifles of flies ranged
against the force of nature. That is all now reversed. The Scriptures
tell us that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. The
Scriptures tells us that all has come in to being through and for
Christ. Never has so much theology hung upon two such small
prepositions, said Jones.

The Bible, Cross and Mission are not just three conference themes
dreamed up - albeit after much discussion by a planning committee. The
Bible, Cross and Mission are the signs of God's love in and for the
world. They form a unique trinity, they are the Trinitarian tokens of
the love of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These are
themes to capture our imagination, to stir our heart and to engage with
the world globally."

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Politically Correct School

[All too true.]

No one fails a class anymore, he's merely "passing impaired."
You don't have detention, you're just one of the"exit delayed."
Your bedroom isn't cluttered, it's just "passage restrictive."
These days, a student isn't lazy. He's "energetically declined."
Your locker isn't overflowing with junk, it's just "closure prohibitive."
Kids don't get grounded anymore. They merely hit "social speed bumps."
Your homework isn't missing, its just having an "out-of-notebook
experience."
You're not sleeping in class, you're "rationing consciousness."
You're not late, you just have a "rescheduled arrival time."
You're not having a bad hair day, you're suffering from "rebellious
follicle syndrome."
You don't have smelly gym socks, you have "odor-retentive athletic
footwear."
No one's tall anymore. He's "vertically enhanced."
You're not shy. You're "conversationally selective."
You don't talk a lot. You're just "abundantly verbal."
You weren't passing notes in class. You were "participating in the
discreet exchange of penned meditations."
You're not being sent to the principals office. You're "going on a
mandatory field trip to the administrative building."
It's not called gossip anymore. It's "the speedy transmission of
near-factual information."
The food at the school cafeteria isn't awful. It's "digestively
challenged."

Students don't attend school anymore, they go to "attendance centers."

 
The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thursday, September 18, 2003
 
ANGLICANS/METHODICTS CELEBRATE SIGNING OF THE COVENANT

ANGLICANS/METHODICTS CELEBRATE SIGNING OF THE COVENANT

The Anglican-Methodist Covenant in England, was recently strongly
endorsed by the Methodist Conference and the General Synod, and will be
signed at a national celebration on 1 November 2003.

The event will begin at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, at 11.00
when the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the President, Vice
President and Secretary of the Methodist Conference will sign the
Covenant on behalf of their churches before an invited assembly.

The ceremony will continue at Westminster Abbey with a short service of
thanksgiving and dedication.

TEARING UP THE PAST

Historic Service to bring together the ancient City parish of St Giles
Cripplegate and Methodism's own Cathedral, Wesley's Chapel, City Road

A service and procession are planned for Monday September 15 (full
details below)

"Methodists exhibit infidelity, atheism and a tendency to undermine
morality" Bishop of Exeter "The pretending to revelations and gifts of
the Holy Ghost is a horrid thing, a very horrid thing" Bishop of
Bristol.

"Methodist teaching is incompatible with that of the Church of England.
Mr John Wesley is guilty of fraud and fanaticism" Bishop of Gloucester.

"The Methodists have transgressed the terms of the Acts of both
Uniformity and Toleration. They have a busy and schismatic spirit, they
are a disservice to religion!" Bishop of London.

These are but a sample of the denunciatory and polemical remarks made a
wide variety of Anglican bishops and priests in the early years of the
Methodist Revival.

The present Bishop of London, the Rt Rev and Rt Hon Richard Chartres,
will ceremonially tear up "these sentences of exclusion" in a dramatic
and prophetic act that expresses faith in a future church that brings
previously separated bodies back together again.

The Service which follows will be a Eucharist presided over by the
Methodist District Chairman, the Rev Ermal Kirby. Bishop Richard will
preach. In the course of the service a Covenant, a formal Statement of
Intent, will be signed by Bishop Richard and Chairman Ermal, and by the
Superintendent of Wesley's Chapel, Dr Leslie Griffiths, and Rector of
St Giles, the Rev Katharine Rumens.

There will be a procession from Wesley's Chapel at 6.30 pm; the bells
of St Giles will be pealed to welcome those arriving for the service;
the tearing up of the past will take place outside St Giles at 7 pm;
the service (including the signing of the Covenant) will follow; and
there'll be a great party afterwards!

Banners have been made for this event; gifts will be exchanged; and
history will be made. All this precedes the signing of the National
Covenant, binding the Church of England and the Methodist Church of
Great Britain together which will take place on November 1 at
Westminster Central Hall and Westminster Abbey.

Full details of this event can be obtained from the Parish Office, St
Giles Cripplegate on 020 7638 1997 or the Church Office at Wesleys
Chapel on 020 7253 2262




Wednesday, September 17, 2003
 
A CASE FOR THE ANGLICAN CONTINUUM


By The Rev. Dr. Donald P. Richmond

I dislike division. God despises it. Separation does not reflect the
creative and redemptive heart of God. It is foreign to God's character
and intention, and is contrary to our human need for community. God,
the Church and the world are not served through division. Instead,
separation and division are a result of the Fall and are a microcosm of
Hell.

Nevertheless, and regrettably, there are times when separation
may be imperative. Considering the way the world wide Anglican
Communion is moving, and has been for many years, separation is almost
inevitable. Many devoted Anglicans have already chosen to separate,
finding a home in the so-called "Anglican Continuum." Within a short
period of time, most especially in light of the belief-system that has
been ravaged during the recent General Convention, many more may leave
the ECUSA in order to align themselves with these conservative
jurisdictions that seek to maintain historic Anglican orthodoxy.

How has it come to this? Let me provide a personal example. In
1986 I was urged by my priest, parish and bishop to pursue Holy Orders.
Having been theologically trained and spiritually formed, I agreed to
undergo the process of evaluation for postulants. I was quite hopeful
about the outcome of my two-day evaluation. I was also naïve.

Within the first half-hour of this process I knew I would not be
allowed to be ordained. The reason? I claimed to be an "Evangelical
Anglican." My assessor, quite enraged when he heard this, insisted
that Evangelicalism was "a dying movement." Apparently, according to
him, an Anglican could believe "just about anything" except that which
was recognized as being conservative Christian.

Was I denied Orders for heresy, moral impropriety or lack of
education? Was I denied Orders because I was not an Anglican? To both
questions the answer is "no." I was denied ordination for one reason -
--- I was a conservative.

The purpose of telling this story is simple: this type of
experience, although not at all restricted to issues regarding
ordination, is common among evangelicals and conservatives within the
ECUSA and Anglican Church of Canada. We have been marginalized,
harassed and ostracized without any serious effort to redress these
problems. Apart from recent actions taken by the Archbishop of
Canterbury and other bishops regarding Fr. David Moyer, the established
authorities have done very little to prevent or stop these unjust
actions.

The Anglican Continuum arose out of a church that made, and
continues to make, little room for orthodox Christian faith. Fads are
embraced, the highly questionable is entertained, "tolerance" (a very
dark joke in practice) is encouraged and heresy is allowed while
conservatives within the ECUSA are silenced, ridiculed, harassed and
hounded.

Maybe - considering all that we have had to endure and the
ECUSA's militant refusal to adhere to orthodoxy, the Canons of the
Church or to basic Christian collegiality - it is time for the faithful
remnant to separate. What are we hanging on to? Is there anything
within the ECUSA that, given its history over the past forty years, is
worth remaining faithful to? For the most part it is an apostate
denomination that, if it had any integrity, would admit to being
Unitarian.

St. John, the beloved disciple and Apostle of Love, was said to have
fled a Roman bathhouse upon hearing that a notorious heretic had
arrived. St. John feared contamination. He did not want to be infected
by or contaminated with error. Are we willing to take such a stand?
Can we understand and appreciate that, no matter how unfortunate,
separation and division are at times needed in order to preserve the
purity of the faith? Many waters have been crossed over the past forty
to fifty years --- some of which conservatives have reluctantly
crossed in order to maintain unity. Maybe now, however, is the time
to burn some bridges in order to ensure that the contagion of heresy
does not spread any further. To whom are we really faithful?

The Rev. Dr. Donald Richmond is, a widely published author and frequent
college lecturer, is a member of the Missionary Society of St. Jude
(Anglican).




 
FLORIDA PRIEST BEGS JECKO TO UNINVITE GRISWOLD TO CONSECRATION Florida Bishop
Weighs Options


Text of Essay on Griswold and the Howard consecration

The Presiding Bishop's Anticipated Visit to The Diocese of Florida

by Fr. Bert Harrell

Recall how we responded when Bishop Charles Bennison of Pennsylvania
attempted to depose Fr. David Moyer. Fr. Moyer would not accept an
episcopal visitation from Bishop Bennison because Bennison was teaching
and acting in direct contradiction of the faith that he as a bishop had
vowed to uphold and defend. Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh, and several
other bishops including our own Bishop Jecko, took a clear stance
opposing Bennison's action. Eventually Archbishop Carey and Rowan
Williams (at that time Archbishop of Canterbury designate) both
supported Fr. Moyer and indicated that he would be welcome to serve in
the Diocese of Canterbury. The letter from the various American
Bishops opposing Bennison declared his efforts to depose Fr. Moyer to
be canonically, spiritually, and morally bankrupt.

Fr. Moyer placed apostolic faith and episcopal integrity with regard to
upholding and defending that faith above the questions of canonical
authority, political politeness, or convenience. We supported him and
declared his actions in refusing Bishop Bennison's visitation as an
honorable and necessary stand that had to be taken.

The Diocese of Florida is now in the same position concerning the
planned visitation of Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold for the much-
anticipated consecration of John Howard as our Bishop Coadjutor. Just
as Fr. Moyer refused Bishop Bennison on the grounds of apostolic faith
and integrity, so must we refuse the visitation of Frank Griswold.
Bishop Griswold has voted and acted in ways that directly contradict
the apostolic faith that he vowed to uphold and defend. His
affirmation of the decisions of General Convention in Minneapolis
approving V. Gene Robinson for the episcopate and in favor of local
faith communities experimenting with same-sex unions removes any doubt
about this situation. Because we are faced with an unequivocal
departure from "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this
church has received them," we are not dealing with an issue that comes
under the heading of Article XXVI of the Articles of Religion, nor does
the invocation of Article XXXVI apply.

The problem is not the question of Frank Griswold's personal
unworthiness (Article XXVI), nor is it a matter of the correct form of
the Ordinal (Article XXXVI). The problem is much more serious than
these. Frank Griswold's recorded and public position is that there
really is no such thing as apostolic faith, and his actions, consistent
with that, neither uphold nor defend the very words that the Ordinal
and Liturgy seek to clearly articulate. In other words, it is by
definition impossible for Bishop Griswold "to do what the Church
intends" because he has specifically and willfully contradicted the
faith of the Church. This is the heart of the appeal of conservative
bishops to the Anglican Primates, an appeal serious and deep enough to
warrant an emergency meeting of the Primates in October. Just as Fr.
Moyer could not in good conscience allow Bishop Bennison to preside
sacramentally or teach and still consider himself the faithful rector
of Good Shepherd, Rosemont, neither can we subject John Howard and this
diocese to the presidency and teaching of Frank Griswold and still
consider ourselves faithful shepherds of Christ's flock. Fr. Moyer
reasoned that it simply did not add up, and that such actions would be
dangerous for the spiritual well being of his flock and for the soul of
Bishop Bennison. To have Frank Griswold preside here on November 1 with
the knowledge that he will proceed to New Hampshire on November 2 would
be to specifically and willingly declare a contradiction of our
principles, and that is first and foremost very dangerous spiritually.
What are we thinking?

Therefore, the Diocese of Florida, whose Bishop and various clergy
agreed with Fr. Moyer's position regarding Charles Bennison, has a
decision to make. How do we want to launch the new ministry of John
Howard: as a clear signal of coherent faith and apostolic conviction
about our mission, or as just another exercise in false peace,
equivocation and political politeness at the expense of the truth?
Frank Griswold's presence can only serve to undermine John Howard,
whose very strong conservative record has been of the essence in his
election. Allowing Frank Griswold to preside or in any way participate
in John's consecration will signal everyone, whatever their position on
the issues, that we really do not mean business about matters of truth,
and that we, like the Pharisees of the Gospels, hide behind legal
precepts that we call "The Canons" even when to do so makes an absolute
mockery of the very truth we declare and vow to uphold. That invites
disaster.

For the sake of our mission, for the sake of the Diocese of Florida,
and for the sake of John Howard's ministry, let us see to it that Frank
Griswold not participate in John's consecration.

The Rev. Robert T. Harrell is rector of Church of the Nativity in
Jacksonville, Florida.


 
DALLAS BISHOP BLASTS LONDON OBSERVER NEWSPAPER FOR FALSE CLAIMS


TO THE EDITOR OF THE OBSERVER:

Sir;

I take offense at the fatuous claims made Jamie Doward in the article,
"Anglican face schism over gay row" (Sept 14).

He asserts that I and another American bishop form a "powerful cabal"
threatening the "fragile Anglican communion." It is the arrogance of
North American bishops forcing their views on the rest of the Communion
which is schismatic. And the Episcopal Church, with its $48 million
budget, which exerts the most influence in that direction. Two bishops
do not a cabal make.

The article is dead wrong about several things:

1. The Diocese of Dallas "is the second richest diocese in the US."
Wrong. It doesn't even come close. We are a mid-size diocese with a
mid-size budget. We rank second only in per capita giving, an
indication of how committed our people are to the mission of the
Church. But even so, this bishop controls not one penny of that giving!

2. "They have access to millions of dollars which help bankroll their
message." Wrong. That is a pipe-dream. It is also insulting and racist
to imagine that money is what drives the bishops of Africa, Asia, and
South America.

3. "They jet around the world" garnering support for our schemes.
Wrong. In the last three years I have traveled only to England, twice,
and only at the invitation of others. Oh yes, I did go to Canada this
month. I went to stand with faithful Anglicans whose own bishop was
busy changing locks on Church doors and firing Church wardens because
they didn't agree with his "enlightened" same-sex rites. I also had two
seminarians to visit.

4. "They have built an influential hardline coalition." Wrong. If there
is a coalition, it is because the faithful, especially in the two-
thirds world, are no longer willing to be bullied and dictated to by
the more "enlightened" West. Many of us are grateful for their courage
and their witness.

5. Doward calls me "charismatic." Wrong. But I do appreciate the
compliment.

Let me be clear: If I had the time and the money, I would gladly "spend
and be spent" for the Church I love, the Bible I trust, and the Lord I
serve. But to be blamed for fomenting division in the Church - a
division I ardently oppose by standing in solidarity with other
Christians around the world - is outrageous.

The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton Bishop of Dallas

++++

Anglicans face schism over gay row

Conservative US bishops prepare to take on liberal British wing in
bitter struggle for Church's soul

Jamie Doward social affairs editor Sunday September 14, 2003 The
Observer

They are wealthy, well-connected and on the warpath. To their critics
they are fundamentalists who belong in the Dark Ages of the Church. To
their supporters they offer the only true road map to salvation.

And, for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, they are very
bad news indeed. The powerful cabal of conservative American bishops
who are opposed to gay clergy and same-sex marriages are preparing to
shake the fragile Anglican Communion to its foundations in the coming
weeks, as the church prepares for an unprecedented emergency meeting of
Anglican primates in London next month to discuss homosexuality and the
church.

The conservative bishops jet around the world, networking at religious
conferences and spreading the message that there will be no surrender
to the liberal wing of the Communion.

They have built an influential hardline coalition among leading
conservative Anglicans in the developing world who argue that the Bible
decrees homosexuality a sin. 'God is leading us to a new home within
our worldwide Anglican family. We have not left - the Episcopal Church
has left us,' runs the coalition's mission statement.

While some may dismiss their views as reactionary, what the
conservative bishops say is influential. Their supporters argue that
homosexuality is a lifestyle choice which people can 'grow out of'.
Some of their more extreme followers have tried to exorcise gay and
lesbian Anglicans.

At the centre of the group - known as the American Anglican Council -
are two charismatic bishops who have access to millions of dollars
which help bankroll their message. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas,
and Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, along with the bishops of
South Carolina, Florida and Orlando, are slick operators with generous
congregations who dig deep into their pockets. Dallas, for example, is
the second-richest diocese in the US and is expected to bring in more
than $4 million this year, a huge sum by Church standards.

Members of an overwhelmingly gay parish in Dallas say that although
Stanton rarely visited them, it was only after this summer's
appointment of the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire
that he emerged as a hardline evangelical. 'I'm disappointed he's
chosen to take this line,' said one gay Dallas vicar.

Following Robinson's appointment, Duncan preached a sermon in which he
talked of American students struggling with 'homosexual temptations...
Many grew past their homosexual leanings; many did not'.

The American Anglican Council's influence stretches far and wide.
Earlier this year several of its members flew to Britain for urgent
talks with leading members of the Oxford diocese following the decision
to appoint the gay but celibate Canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of
Reading.

After intense talks behind the scenes John stood down, dismaying
liberals within the Anglican Church who now talk openly of an American-
sponsored conservative plot to undermine them.

The John affair brought back echoes of the Lambeth Council of 1998,
when Anglican primates last met to consider the Church's attitude to
homosexuality. Back then the American council hired a nearby conference
centre and mounted a vigorous lobbying blitz designed to win over
ambivalent delegates. 'It was very slick, very effective. They had
planned for it for months,' recalled Richard Kirker, secretary of the
Lesbian and Gay Christians Movement.

Stories abound about secret deals between the traditionalist American
and African bishops. In exchange for blocking a liberal agenda on gay
issues, the Americans promised the Africans support for cancellation of
Third World debt. Outside the conference, in a moment captured on
camera, Archbishop Chukwuma of Nigeria attempted to exorcise Kirker's
homosexuality.

The alliance between the African and American conservative bishops has
been revitalised in recent months. Following the appointment of the
ostensibly liberal Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury, which confers
upon him the position of spiritual head of the Anglican Communion,
leading conservative theologians have pushed the issue of homosexuality
and the church to centre stage.

Under Williams's predecessor, George Carey, all talk about
homosexuality and the church was suppressed, but liberals say it is
clear the conservative element of the Communion has 'drawn a line in
the sand' as it seeks a definitive outcome on the issue.

In recent months the American council has rolled out a series of high-
profile African primates including Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop of
Rwanda, Bernard Malango, Archbishop of Central Africa, and Peter
Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, to attack the liberal wing of the
Communion.

Akinola's speech has astonished even conservative theologians. 'We
argue that it is a blatant lie against almighty God that homosexuality
is their God-given urge and inclination. For us, it is better seen as
an acquired aberration,' he said.

Last week, Stanton and Duncan, along with several other leading
conservative theologians, flew to New Westminster in Canada to support
a group of parishes which had effectively declared their inde pendence
from the local bishop because of their disgust with their Church's
decision to bless same-sex unions. 'People here are surviving day to
day. They feel they can't trust their bishop,' said Chris Hawley, a
spokesman for the dissident group.

It is a picture repeated across the Anglican Communion. As more North
American parishes threatened to declare independence following
Robinson's appointment, Williams had little choice but to call an
unprecedented emergency meeting of primates in a bid to save the
Communion from irreparable schism. The conference follows a similar
meeting in Brazil earlier this year when, according to those present,
Williams tried to discourage debate on the issue.

'I think he felt there would have to be a discussion on the issue one
day but he was hoping it would be years down the line, when he had more
influence, rather than months,' said one Church insider.

Such a tactic appears profoundly naive. 'He has been astonished at the
hatred directed towards homosexuals and him personally,' said a friend.

Hopes that the October conference will heal rifts looks equally
misplaced. The American council is to hold a conference of its own
prior to the London meeting next month. The event, entitled: 'A Place
To Stand: Declaring, Preparing' will outline the American council's
strategy to take to London.

If Williams had been under any illusions how deep the schism within the
Anglican Communion lies, he needs only to read item four on the agenda:
'To prepare our congregations and ministries for possible realignment
to insure an orthodox and vital Anglican presence in the United
States.'

As one vicar in a liberal London parish put it: 'This is the church's
equivalent of the San Andreas fault and it's just ripped wide open.'


 
JOHN MULDER SUSPENDED


John Mulder, who resigned last October as president of Louisville
Presbyterian Theological Seminary for what he said were health problems has
admitted to sexual misconduct with women while he was at the seminary.
Mulder was suspended 14 months from exercising the office of minister by the
Presbytery of Transylvania.

Mulder, who has kept out of the public eye since his resignation last
October, had attributed his departure to health problems stemming from a
series of minor strokes. However, Transylvania began an investigation 15
Nov. 2002, when Mulder agreed to an unspecified "self-discipline."

+ Presbytery of Transylvania, 2480 Fortune Drive, Suite 140, Lexington, KY
40509 (859) 264-8867

 
The pursuit of happiness


=====================================================

T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T

=====================================================
September 17, 2003
Authentic Christianity
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott

Life in the Spirit (cont'd.)

506. The pursuit of happiness
Those who pursue happiness never find it. Joy and peace
are extremely elusive blessings. Happiness is a will-o'-
the-wisp, a phantom. Even as we reach out a hand to grasp
it, it vanishes into thin air. For joy and peace are not
suitable goals to pursue; they are by-products of love.
God give them to us, not when we pursue *them*, but when we
pursue *him* and *others* in love ... The self-conscious
pursuit of happiness will always end in failure. But when
we forget ourselves in the self-giving service of love,
then joy and peace come flooding into our lives as
incidental, unlooked-for blessings.

--From "The Contemporary Christian" (Leicester and Downers
Grove: IVP, 1992), pp. 149, 150, 151.

----------------------------------------------------
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", pp. 222-223, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.


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