Friday, 29 February 2008

Latest News

Encouraging news...
Court Rules in Favour of Parishes

Not so encouraging...
Toronto Police called to St. Chad’s Toronto

And a real head shaker. Ingham may have lost it completely...
JI Packer Threatened With Suspension

The best of times, the worst of times... as Dickens might say. Certainly interesting times.

Take Care

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Where The Spirit is Leading the Church

I remember watching last summer's synod and the various comments made during the discussion of the same-sex blessing motions. One of the most common comments from the 'liberal, or pro-ssb side was some kind of variation of the title of this post.

I am also reading The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, the new book by Tim Challies, blogger non-pareil out of Oakville Ont.

On page 129 I came across this paragraph and the words virtually lept off the page,
John writes, 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world' (1 John 4:1) Just one verse earlier, in John 3:24, John has spoken of the fact that the Holy Spirit is given to us as evidence of God's presence in our lives. And having spoken of the Spirit, John now ensures that his readers know that not every spirit is holy. We are tempted to believe and obey spirits, for they represent a spiritual realm that is outside our experience, but many spirits are commanded by Satan, the father of lies... (emphasis mine, JK)

I'll say no more.

Take Care

Primate Speaks on Church Unity (But I Beg to Differ)

From Here
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, says that although he is saddened by the unnecessary decision made by a small number of parishes to leave the Anglican Church of Canada, the Canadian Church as a whole remains vibrant and united in its witness to the Gospel message.

The very fact that the matter has come before the courts is evidence that exactly the opposite is true. The lawsuits by the diocese of Niagara, and any future ones that may be initiated by others, is spectacularly UNchristian. They demonstrate that the witness to the Gospel has been severely damaged. The opposite of vibrant is dead and these actions are killing it.

How can anyone who names the name of Christ possibly think that launching lawsuits against fellow Christians does anything but spit in the face of the One who said,
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Take Care

Friday, 22 February 2008

Those Who Honour Me I Will Honor,

I was thinking of the movie, "Chariots of Fire." It is a wonderful and inspiring movie. And a true story. One of the stories it relates is that of Eric Liddell, a Scot runner who passed up a chance at running (and very possibly winning) the 100 metres in the 1924 Olympics because he felt his Christian faith would not allow him to run the qualifying heats on a Sunday. He stood on this principle in the face of stiff pressure from others. He had much to lose.

I'm thinking of those within Anglican Churches here in Canada. In St. George’s, Lowville; St. Hilda’s, Oakville; St. Chad’s, Toronto; St. Mary’s (Metchosin); St. Matthew’s, Abbotsford; Holy Cross, Abbotsford; St.John’s Shaughnessy Vancouver; the parish of Bearbrook and Vars Southern Cone; Kanata Lakes Christian Fellowship; Church of the Resurrection, Brandon; St Alban’s, Ottawa, who are also standing for what they believe is right and refusing to compromise. They also would seem to have much to lose, at least in the eyes of the world.

It is difficult for someone such as myself, far removed from the heat of the battle, so to speak, to know what to say without sounding trite; without sounding like a mere spectator, observing from the comfort, protection and insulation of distance. I may be only as a face in the crowd in the coloseum watching the faithful be persecuted in the arena below. But I'm cheering for the Christians and not the lions.

Let me mention this . Of course we all know this familiar passage from Ephesians chapter 6 about the full armour of God. To me the important verse, the one I always remember, and the one I sense is often overlooked, is just before the various pieces of armour are listed. It is this:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 NKJV)

"And having done all, to stand." The important thing for those enduring these attacks is to stand. Don't retreat, don't surrender, neither be too quick to attack. Stand.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.

Stand on Christ the Solid Rock. He is the best defence. Do not move from him, either forward or back, to the right or to the left.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. (Psalm 61: 1-5)

Eric Liddell did not back down. In the end, a teammate gave up his spot in the 400 meters so that he would have a chance at a medal on another day. Here is how the movie portrayed that race.

I also think it fitting the Bible verse that the American sprinter Jackson Schultz passed Liddell just before the race:
Those who honour me I will honour,... (1 Samuel 2:30b)



"Those who honour me I will honour," says the LORD

Take Care

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Bishops of Niagara appoint new Administrators

For Immediate Release
...as of Tuesday February 19th, Bishop Spence and Bishop Bird have appointed:
The Rev. Dr. Brian Ruttan as administrator of St. Hilda’s Church in Oakville and
The Rev. Susan Wells as administrator of St. George’s, Lowville.
The previous rectors have been suspended from their responsibilities until further notice.

...The buildings and their contents belong to all the people in the Niagara Diocese –not to a small or local group. The doors of these parishes are open to all parishioners previous and present who wish to walk in unity with the diocese of Niagara and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Ven. Michael Patterson, Executive Officer for the Diocese of
Niagara at 905.527.1316 ext 257 or michael.patterson@niagara.anglican.ca
See it all Here...
there is an e-mail contact at the bottom of the letter. I sent them this comment:
And why has your diocese threatened to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican communion? Your actions are a reprehensible witness to the world. Do you think Jesus would have done what you have done? I don't think so.
Why not say, as we do to close every service, "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord?"

Take Care

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A Prayer for the Parishes

From Here...
MOST merciful Father, we beseech thee to send down thy heavenly blessing upon thy Church in St. George’s (Lowville); St. Hilda’s, Oakville; St. Chad’s, Toronto; St. Mary’s (Metchosin); St. Matthew’s, Abbotsford; Holy Cross, Abbotsford; St.John’s Shaughnessy Vancouver; St.Mary’s Victoria; the parish of Bearbrook and Vars; and St Alban’s, Ottawa, that all their members may dwell together in unity and brotherly love. Keep far from us all self-will and discord. Endue thy Ministers with righteousness, and enable them faithfully to dispense thy holy Word and Sacraments, to bring again the outcasts, and to seek the lost. Grant that we may so receive their ministrations, and use thy means of grace, that in all our words and deeds we may seek thy glory and the advancement of thy kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

To which I can only add, either as counsel or encouragement:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people.

Take Care

Amazing Grace (In Case You Missed It)

I first saw this video linked to by Stand Firm a few weeks ago.

Although not exactly factual, it makes an inspiring story. I found it to be both entertaining and touching.

Enjoy it.



Take Care

Return To The Fold? Unfortunately, Probably Not.

I keep meaning to post on something other than what's happening in the Anglican Church these days, but, well... there's just so much material in that area.

Here's an excellent piece by Susan Martinuk of the National Post. Even the secular media can see the truth of the matter. Even the world knows hypocrisy when they see it.
The greatest irony is that Bishop Ingham and other Church leaders, who openly and deliberately defied the authority of global Church leaders, are now indignantly calling upon those same leaders to intervene and exert their authority over the so-called “dissident” Churches...

...something is seriously wrong when Church leaders have no qualms about defying Church doctrine (the central tenets and core beliefs of the faith), yet declare a schism and cry “disobedience” when the man-created lines of Church leadership are threatened.

I found it Here...

Now, the liberal side would argue that the issue of same-sex blessings is not "core" doctrine, as was affirmed in a motion passed at the last national synod of the church. Core doctrine, at that time, was defined as being "credal," in other words, being a point of doctrine mentioned in the great creeds of the faith. This is merely a matter of semantics to provide "wiggle room," in my humble opinion. The real issue is the authority of Scripture which, although not mentioned specifically in the creeds, should really be a pretty "core" doctrine of any church that would call itself in any sense, "Christian."

Take Care

Sunday, 17 February 2008

More Anglican congregations decide their future

"Seven Anglican congregations voted this weekend to accept the episcopal oversight of Bishop Donald Harvey, Moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, under the Primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Most churches accepted this option with decisive majorities."
Read it all here...

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.
Take Care

Friday, 15 February 2008

Chesterton on the Deaths of the Church

This will be a long post. These are excerpts from Chesterton's, "The Everlasting Man," the chapter entitled, "The Five Deaths of the Church." I think am drawn to this chapter in particular because of what is happening within the Anglican Church; in Canada and, indeed, in the whole "western" world.

In the Baptist church I attend here in Edson, during our men's Bible study on Wednesday nights, I sometimes pray in thanks to God that He will not let His church die. I think sometimes others around the table wonder why I seem to have that so much on my mind. It might seem an obsession. "Why," I think they might wonder, "do I think it might?" Well, of course I know it won't, but sometimes I think they don't feel the danger. I think this congregation, this one small body of believers in a small town along the Yellowhead highway in central Alberta, Canada is, in a sense, insulated from the controversies that go on in other churches, other denominations. We are so blessed to have sound congregational leadership and a godly pastor -- a warrior for the Truth and for the Word, a lover of them both and a wonderful communicator of them both.

But I have a foot in two worlds, so to speak, and while I am not in fear of my "other" church abandoning the truth for a lie, I know there may be difficult and trying times ahead. I will be leaving Edson mid summer and returning to Edmonton. Who knows what lies ahead?

Here, then; Chesterton for tonight.

"Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.

"Arianism, as has been said, had every human appearance of being the natural way in which that particular superstition of Constantine might be expected to peter out. All the ordinary stages had been passed through; the creed had become a respectable thing, had become a ritual thing, had then been modified into a rational thing; and the rationalists were ready to dissipate the last remains of it, just as they do to-day. When Christianity rose again suddenly and threw them, it was almost as unexpected as Christ rising from the dead.

"I suspect that we should find several occasions when Christendom was thus to all appearance hollowed out from within by doubt and indifference, so that only the old Christian shell stood as the pagan shell had stood so long. But the difference is that in every such case, the sons were fanatical for the faith where the fathers had been slack about it.

"Some stones of Stonehenge are standing and some are fallen; and as the stone falleth so shall it lie. There has not been a Druidic renaissance every century or two, with the young Druids crowned with fresh mistletoe, dancing in the sun on Salisbury Plain. Stonehenge has not been rebuilt in every style of architecture from the rude round Norman to the last rococo of the Baroque. The sacred place of the Druids is safe from the vandalism of restoration.
"But the Church in the West was not in a world where things were too old to die; but in one in which they were always young enough to get killed. The consequence was that superficially and externally it often did get killed; nay, it sometimes wore out even without getting killed. And there follows a fact I find it somewhat difficult to describe, yet which I believe to be very real and rather important. As a ghost is the shadow of a man, and in that sense the shadow of life, so at intervals there passed across this endless life a sort of shadow of death. It came at the moment when it would have perished had it been perishable. It withered away everything that was perishable. If such animal parallels were worthy of the occasion we might say that the snake shuddered and shed a skin and went on...
...It is truer to say, in a more dignified image, that a clock struck and nothing happened; or that a bell tolled for an execution that was everlastingly postponed.

"...the incredible thing has happened again; the Faith has a better following among the young men than among the old. When Ibsen spoke of the new generation knocking at the door, he certainly never expected that it would be the church-door.

"In short, the whole world being divided about whether the stream was going slower or faster, became conscious of something vague but vast that was going against the stream. Both in fact and figure there is something deeply disturbing about this, and that for an essential reason. A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.
(I highlighted this last sentence because it is one of my personal all-time favourites, JK)


"It is already clear, and grows clearer every day, that it is not going to end in the disappearance of the diminished creed; but rather in the return of those parts of it that had really disappeared. It is going to end as the Arian compromise ended, as the attempts at a compromise with Nominalism and even with Albigensianism ended.

"...most people, were indeed by this time quite accustomed to the idea that the old Christian candle-light would fade into the light of common day. To many of them it did quite honestly appear like that pale yellow flame of a candle when it is left burning in daylight. It was all the more unexpected, and therefore all the more unmistakable, that the seven branched candle-stick suddenly towered to heaven like a miraculous tree and flamed until the sun turned pale.

"Again and again, before our time, men have grown content with a diluted doctrine. And again and again there has followed on that dilution, coming as out of the darkness in a crimson cataract, the strength of the red original wine... We have grown used to dilution, to dissolution, to a watering down that went on for ever. But 'Thou hast kept the good wine until now.''

"The faith has not only often died but it has often died of old age. It has not only been often killed but it has often died a natural death; in the sense of coming to a natural and necessary end. It is obvious that it has survived the most savage and the most universal persecutions from the shock of the Diocletian fury to the shock of the French Revolution. But it has a more strange and even a more weird tenacity; it has survived not only war but peace. It has not only died often but degenerated often and decayed often; it has survived its own weakness and even its own surrender.

"'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.' The civilisation of antiquity was the whole world: and men no more dreamed of its ending than of the ending of daylight. They could not imagine another order unless it were in another world. The civilisation of the world has passed away and those words have not passed away. In the long night of the Dark Ages feudalism was so familiar a thing that no man could imagine himself without a lord: and religion was so woven into that network that no man would have believed they could be torn asunder. Feudalism itself was torn to rags and rotted away in the popular life of the true Middle Ages; and the first and freshest power in that new freedom was the old religion. Feudalism had passed away, and the words did not pass away. The whole medieval order, in many ways so complete and almost cosmic a home for man, wore out gradually in its turn and here at least it was thought that the words would die. They went forth across the radiant abyss of the Renaissance and in fifty years were using all its light and learning for new religious foundations, new apologetics, new saints. It was supposed to have been withered up at last in the dry light of the Age of Reason; it was supposed to have disappeared ultimately in the earthquake of the Age of Revolution. Science explained it away; and it was still there. History disinterred it in the past; and it appeared suddenly in the future. To-day it stands once more in our path; and even as we watch it, it grows."

Find it all here...

If you can get past Chesterton's rather verbose style, I would commend the entire book to you, but tonight I am in a mood to focus on this particular chapter. I am in that mood because I see another death, that of a denomination about which I care very much. I hope that does not seem maudlin or melodramatic. But along with Chesterton, out of this death I see a rebirth, a new thing, which is really just the rediscovery, certainly the resurrection, of an old thing -- the Faith once delivered to the saints, of whom we are not only descendents, spiritually speaking, but brothers.

Take Care

"A letter to the faithful from the Primate"

What follows are excerpts from a letter sent by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to all Canadian bishops Wednesday and expressing his thoughts about parishes that may be considering withdrawing from the Anglican Church of Canada. I have interspersed some of my own thoughts and comments.
Anglican Church of Canada
Office of the Primate, 80 Hayden Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2
Tel. 416-924-9199 Ext. 276 / Email primate@national.anglican.ca
February 13,2008
Dear Friends in Christ:
In this holy season we pray in the words of the Litany for Lent, “For the mission of the Church, that in faithful witness it may preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.” In doing so we remember every expression of the Church’s life -- local, diocesan, national and international. I realise that the witness of the whole Church is very much dependent on the work of the local Church and I give thanks for the faithful witness of clergy and laity in every parish across Canada.
The month of February is an important time for the Church “local” as parishes come together in annual meetings.

Nothing at all said about the church "universal" which should be our primary concern if indeed we are sincere in the prayer that "...in faithful witness it may preach the gospel to the ends of the earth."

We are currently living with considerable tensions over issues of sexuality and unity in the Anglican Communion. My hope is that we will continue to speak with one another in such a way that our tensions do not give way to separation, that none of us will say to another “I do not belong” or “I have no need of you.”

I was reading Acts 15, where Paul and Barnabus disputed with one another. They just went their separate ways, apparently without rancor, but each with one mind: to preach the Gospel. Neither sued the other. In fact, they later were reconciled.

My prayer is that we will never lose sight of Paul’s teaching about our membership, one with another, in the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12) ...

And later...
My hope is that no parish will take action that would compel parish or diocesan leaders to resolve property disputes in the civil courts. Such actions would not only be costly in terms of financial resources but also destructive of the witness of the Church in the world.

Exactly! The ABp quotes 1 Corinthians 12, but apparently glossed over, or missed entirely, chapter 6:

"If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers."

And then he finishes with:
Across our beloved Church I see strength, vitality and a genuine commitment to the Marks of Mission of the entire Anglican Communion:
• To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God,
• To teach, baptise and nurture new believers,
• To respond to human need by loving service,
• To seek to transform unjust structures of society,
• To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
I pray these Marks of Mission will continue to draw us together in the service of the Gospel.
In him “in whose love we are forever one,” I am sincerely yours,
Fred J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate

The church is beloved also, I'm sure, by many of those broken-hearted who feel they can no longer remain a part of the ACC because of fundamental theological differences. If your first concern, Archbishop, is the continuation of these Marks of Mission, why not allow these parishes to continue in them within the "entire Anglican Communion."
Read it all here...

The Muse has aso posted on this subject and has an excellent response Here... which I also commend to you. It will be my intention also, should civil proceedings be launched, to see that none of my givings contribute to any lawsuit against fellow Christians.

Take Care

BTW, I have e-mailed the Archbishop the link to this post.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Anglicans Vote to Split Over Same-Sex Blessings

And so it begins...
The line is drawn, the die is cast. Blessed be the name of the LORD.
Members of what is described as the largest congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada voted strongly Wednesday to split with Vancouver-area Bishop Michael Ingham over his support for same-sex blessings.

"It means that the community speaks with one mind," said St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church spokeswoman Lesley Bentley, after a preliminary count showed that out of 495 ballots cast, only 11 opposed the split and nine abstained.

"What it is is very uniting."

Read it all here...

...Those who honour me I will honour... (2 Samuel 2:30b)

Take Care and pray without ceasing for St. John’s Shaughnessy.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Please Pray for St. John’s Shaughnessy

The vestry of St. John’s Shaughnessy meets tonight in Vancouver and are expected to vote on whether to break with their bishop, Michael Ingham, over the issue of same-sex unions. (St. John’s Shaughnessy is the church that J.I. Packer attends.) Bp Ingham, displaying true Christian charity (not!) has threatened various consequences if they proceed, including civil action.

Krista comments on the TitusOneNine blog:
I am a Trustee at St. John’s Shaughnessy in Vancouver and would ask for your prayers today. Tonight at 7:30 PST we will gather at our annual vestry meeting to vote on this crucial issue. We are blessed with great unity in the gopsel at St. John’s. Please pray that God will oversee our meeting, and that His peace, and His love would rule there.


Take Care

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Why Not Rather Be Wronged?

Here is an article that pertains to a controversy within the PCA (Presbyterian Church in (not of) America, the denomination in which, by the way, I was saved). But it occurred to me, as did the post below, that it carries a message for the Anglican Church in Canada and the Episcopal Church in the US as well.

The post title, as you will no doubt recognize, is taken from 1 Corinthians, chapter 6.

From the article:
Jesus warned the apostles - “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:42)

What does this kind of servant-leadership look like on the pastoral level, or on the sessional level, or on the presbytery level, or on the denominational level? What does it mean for leaders and those in authority to forgive as they have been forgiven and to operate with a presumption of innocence for the accused, a zeal to exercise charity, and a desire above all for justice? What does it look like when leaders care next-to-nothing about self-preservation or give not a thought to merely maintaining their own position of power?

Read it all here...

Take Care

Doug Wilson Has A Few Comments for Christians...

Doug Wilson posts a few comments for Christians in the UK. But it strikes me that they could just as easily apply to Christians in Canada concerned with the onslaught of liberalism in our churches. I have taken the liberty of editing parts of the following quote to reflect the situation in Canada, but you can read the original by following the link below.
The spiritual future of (Canada) is a glorious one. (Canada) has a Christian future because the world has a Christian future. The (liberal) inroads here are temporary and short-lived, by the very nature of the case. ...Christians need to remember that a chapter can end badly without the book doing so.

Read the rest here...

Take Care

Today's "Venting" Highlight

From the 'Venting' column in today's Edmonton Journal:
Working in the service industry and enduring another teachers' conference, I can confirm the following: the difference between a teacher and a canoe is that the canoe tips.

Take Care

The Head of the Nail Has Been Hit...

...At least in this paragraph. This quote sums up my own thinking on our society in general and the Church (or at least many parts of it) in particular.
I am angry with my own Baby Boomer generation, now pretty much running the Episcopal Church. That we are also running the country is also true, but too scary to contemplate--we are a generation of Peter Pans. We walk and talk like adults but we have never laid aside the self-indulgence of youth, and the mantra that we learned just as we were starting school in the 1950s, that we are special because there are so damn many of us. In the Church, our dominance is seen in the hyper-individualism by which we apprehend the Faith, and the complete sentimentalization of its content.
Read it all here...

I have heard John Piper say it as well: the baby boomer generation, of which I am one of the first, has let succeeding generations down incredibly and disastrously. We have learned, and taught our sons and daughters, that the universe revolves around each one of us. We have accepted, even revelled in, the lie that our sense of self-worth and our individual happiness are the things of ultimately paramount inmportance and should be the rudders by which we steer our lives.

I have heard it said (I don't recall where)that the only thing imaginably worse than finding oneself one day in hell, will be meeting our children there. And that tjey will be there because of what we did or didn't teach them. I'm afraid that many of my generation may one day find themselves in that woefully pathetic position. My fervent prayer is that we wake up before it's too late.

We were rebels once. Our only hope is that this or some following generation will be rebels as well, and find themselves out of this current selfish narcicism back to the truth of objective standards of morality and behaviour. Back to the truth that there is a God and that He has of us certain requirements, chief of which are that we acknowledge His existence and His sovereignty and that we place our trust in Him for our eternal destiny, for which He has provided through the Cross of Christ.

There is, nor will there ever be, any other way.

Take Care

h/t Stand Firm

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Iiiiiiit's Coming Folks

Universal acceptance of political correctness will be mandatory and anyone who does not accept it will not be tolerated. Our committment to our faith will be tested more and more.
Pressure is increasing on churches and believers to accept dominant secular norms. The pressure includes laws requiring Catholic institutions to provide medical plans offering “morning after” pills to female employees, attempts to force religious hospitals to approve abortions and abortion training, and campus efforts to force Christian evangelical groups to allow sexually active gays into leadership positions.

Read more here

Take Care
h/t Stand Firm

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Update: Diocese of Edmonton

The Diocese of Edmonton has posted the applications and information on all the candidates for Bishop of Edmonton on it's website.

Find them all here...

A Naively Symbolic Lenten Gesture

Fresh from positing this piece of theological and intellectual pablum, in which he gives the examples of David and Jonathon, and Jesus and his 'beloved disciple' as examples of same-sex love, and never quite gets around to acknowledging there is absolutely no Biblical evidence to indicate that either relationship was at all erotic or sexual, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, has joined with
the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, to put forth the idea of a "Carbon Fast" for Lent.
This year (parishioners) will be asked to think about their own carbon footprint and follow a few simple steps designed to help cut CO2 emissions. They include:
* avoiding plastic bags
* giving the dishwasher a day off
* insulating the hot water tank
* checking the house for drafts with a ribbon and buying draught excluders

Those taking part in the Carbon Fast will be asked to remove one lightbulb from a prominent place in the home and live without it for 40 days.

Now, I am not here denying that there is climate change. It seems to be a fact. Nor am I trying to debate whether or not, or how much is attributable to human causes.

But I have mentioned this before, and it has something to do with the plank in one's own eye.

I wonder how many plastic bags it takes to heat the good bishop's own cathedral or if anyone has actually gone through the whole place checking for drafts with a ribbon.

Forgive me, but it's just that I see the "holier than thou" elites calling on all the "little people out there" to make sacrifices when they themselves don't do all they can personally to save the sky they hysterically claim is falling.

Don't get me wrong. I turn off my truck when I go into the store, I live in a house that is so well insulated and with south-facing windows that on a sunny day, even at -20, the furnace doesn't come on all day. And believe me, if I could ensure that all the beef I eat would come from cows that don't pass greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, I surely would.

But I still wonder when Al Gore is going to move from his "twenty-times-the-energy-consumption-of-the-average-house" house
into a two bedroom condo.

Take Care

h/t to The MCJ.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Nominees for Bishop of the Diocese of Edmonton

The Diocese of Edmonton has released the names of the candidates for the position of Edmonton's next bishop.

I don't know much about some of them, (perhaps someone else does), but I take it that biographical or other information will be posted on the diocesan website at some point. The nominees are:

The Rev. Wendy AINSWORTH
The Very Rev. Dr. Jane ALEXANDER
The Rt. Rev. David ASHDOWN
The Ven. Edward KING
The Rev. Darcey LAZERTE
The Rev. Dr. Mervyn MERCER
The Very Rev. Peter WALL

Links to information about the Nominees will be up shortly.

I pray only that God's will be done. He already knows who He has chosen, and He has chosen that person for His very own reasons and that His own glory should be revealed, whatever the theological position of the eventual incumbent.

Take Care

Monday, 4 February 2008

I Have Questions...

What does this all mean???

On February 2, 2008, Canon Dr. Linda Nicholls was ordained as suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Toronto. The service took place at the Cathedral Church of St. James, Toronto, and Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan preached... Here are some excerpts (in all cases emphasis is mine, JK):
"...a bishop in God's holy Church is to be one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ's resurrection and interpreting the Gospel,"

???
Didn't the Apostles do all the interpreting necessary, and don't the epistles tell us about it? Isn't the Canon closed? Isn't there no more new revelation?
At first the disciples ran and told everyone "we have seen the Lord"-but very shortly after announcing the event they began to probe its meaning and significance. They chose different ways to do that, so that the four Gospels are each woven in a different tapestry-telling the same story, but interpreting it differently. So the bishop is also to interpret the Gospel, woven from their knowledge of God, of Scripture, of the great tradition, of their own experience of Christ in their lives.

???
Isn't it a dangerous thing and the mark of many cults -- the "new" interpretation of Scripture according to personal and subjective, "experience?"

The four Gospels are at least consistent with one another. Sadly, what seems to be happening in many churches in our culture is a radical departure from the consistent message of Scripture.

It is the task of the church in every generation to interpret the Gospel in ways that are faithful-at one with the Apostles-and that are also construing its significance for this people, this time, this situation, this culture.

???
Shouldn't we, as Christians, be living counter to the culture around us, not adapting to it? As Terry Stauffer says, at right angles to it. I think we must see the difference between, "interpreting (or reinterpreting)" the Gospel according to the surrounding culture, and communicating the unchanging gospel to that culture. To be meaningful at all, the message cannot not change, but to be effective, how we communicate it must.

...the bishop never acts alone but seeks to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church through the many voices of the faithful and the insights they bring from the many places where they work and live.

??? Which spirit? One of the things I heard over and over again at last summer's ACC synod was that the "spirit" was leading the church to a new thing in regards to the blessing of same-sex unions. I am confident that is not the Spirit of God contradicting Himself.

Read the whole thing here

Am I wrong, or is this not just doublespeak, using the words and terms of orthodoxy but pouring new meaning into them? Or, indeed, leaving the meaning so open that the listener may take it to mean whatever he likes?

Take Care

Sunday, 3 February 2008

A Famine of Hearing the Word

In our adult Sunday school classes we are studying the minor prophets. I am finding these overviews, for that is all they can be, time constraints and all, very enlightening and fascinating. This morning we ran (literally ran, we only have less than an hour for the whole book) through Amos. One of the passages that struck me was chapter 8, verses 11 and 12:
"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.

Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it."

Is this not a picture of our modern western society. The word of God has been expelled from our schools. Fewer children will thus heard it and thereby benefit from its hearing:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

I see this as a detriment not only for the children but for society in general.

The story surfaced recently that more and more hotels are not permitting Gideon Bibles to be placed in their rooms, so as not to offend people of other faiths.

But I was reminded of This post from Stand Firm regarding the disappearance of Bibles from English churches.
“One church, whose parochial church council had previously provided Bibles, chose to remove them on the grounds that 'they were too difficult to dust’.”

Take Care

Saturday, 2 February 2008

"Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant"

Stand Firm links to this story about a gathering of African American and moderate-to-liberal white Baptists led by former president Jimmy Carter.
Former President Carter, leading a meeting of thousands of Baptists across racial and theological lines, said Friday he hopes the gathering will help convince conservative Southern Baptists and other Christians to end divisions over the Bible and politics.

"We can disagree on the death penalty, we can disagree on homosexuality, we can disagree on the status of women and still bind our hearts together in a common, united, generous, friendly, loving commitment," Carter said...

But Carter was not the only "celebrity."
Author John Grisham, a Baptist, condemned the literal interpretation of Scripture, saying it led to exclusionary practices that weakened churches.

From another source reporting on the same story:
"The event itself is momentous," said George Mason, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. "The idea that we can bring together such historically diverse Baptists in one place and celebrate our tradition of faith together is quite remarkable. I only wish all Baptists were here." (emphasis mine, JK

And from this morning's Edmonton Journal, reporting on its religion page on the event (unfortunately I cannot link to the story)
The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention was not invited to the gathering, though individuals were welcome to attend. (again, emphasis mine, JK)

I guess inclusivity only goes so far.

Take Care

Hank Hanegraaff on Generational Curses

Hank Hanegraaff posted what to me was a very helpful and clarifying post on the fashionable topic (in some circles) of generational curses.
It's becoming increasingly common for Christians to suppose that they're victims of generational curses. They suppose they've inherited demons ranging from anger to alcoholism, from laziness to lust. If you look closer at Scripture you will find that this notion of generational curses is seriously flawed.
To begin with, Scripture clearly communicates that consequences, not curses, are passed on through the generations.

There are whole ministries built around the exorcising of these "curses." I came to the belief a long time ago that the subject was just bunk, but was never quite able to answer its proponents.

On the other hand, however, all humanity is indeed under the "generational curse" of original sin. As Hank points out:
Through the first Adam we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, atonement is offered to everyone. That's why the apostle Paul says "Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men" (Romans 5:18). Through no act of our own we're condemned. Likewise, through no act of our own we are saved.

Read it all here

Take Care

Edited to add:
I just wanted to comment on the first part of Hank's last statement,

"Through no act of our own we're condemned."

It seems to me that, yes, although our sin nature is the result of Adam's sin, we, individually, are condemned for our own sin, no one else's. At least that's how I see it.

But praise God for the second part...
...through no act of our own we are saved.

Nor could we possibly be.

Take Care