Friday, 25 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
The Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles recently elected a partnered lesbian to the position of suffragen (assistant) bishop, spitting in the face of the worldwide Anglican communion, who had asked for, "gracious restraint" in the matter of the blessing of same-sex unions and the election of openly gay people to positions of church leadership.
The bishop of Los Angeles, J. Jon Bruno obviously approves.
As we approach the nativity of Christ, we need to remember the admonition of the angels to the shepherds: “Be not afraid.”
The Episcopal Church, a member of the Anglican Communion, for more than the past 30 years has been working on gradual, full incorporation of gay and lesbian people. We have worked to be people of gracious restraint for all these years and have now come to a place in our lives that is normal evolutionary change which compels us to move from tolerance to full inclusion.
As with racial and cultural divides, we can look to the great words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who calls us not to fall prey to the insidious drug of gradualism. Indeed, as he said in his speech titled “I Have a Dream”: “This is no time ... to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism .... Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
One of the comments decries the invoking of Christ's Nativity in connection with their actions. But it seems to me that naming Christ's name at all in the blessing of sinful behaviour is even worse. I believe that anyone who does so, invoking our Saviour's name to justify sin, heaps judgement after judgement upon his own head. Jesus, they will claim, said nothing about homosexuality. Yes, but he did have lots to say about sesxual immorality, and that, in the context of first-century Judaism, would have included every sexual berhaviour conemned in the Mosaic law, which definitely includes homosexual sexual acts.
Equally (well, maybe not equally) abhorent, is the appeal to Dr Martin Luther King's fight for racial equality. Frankly, these people insult the good doctor, if not the entire civil rights movement, by trying to equate race, over which one has no control, with sexual behavioural choices. I will not argue the point about whether homosexuality is genetic, cultural or environmental. That has not been established, nor is it relevant to the issue. It's not about orientation, it's about actions, behavioural choices. It's not about desires; it's about acting on them.
To put the most generous face on it, these people may be sincere, but they are certainly, at the very least, misguided. The least generous face would be to call them evil. But, as my blogging friend David puts it, they are killing their church for the sake of a very small minority of the population.
And, may I say, a very selfish minority, if they are so willing to see the death, or at least the decline into irrelevance, of an entire formerly great denomination so that they can engage in the sexual activity of their choice.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
This attitude manifests itself in regard, for instance, to racism for example, where a modern progressive might criticize the slavery of a couple of centuries ago as if they would have known and acted better had they been a member of that society.
It shows today in the attitude of certain western churches in matters of sexual morality. The vast majority of African Christians object to the growing western movement to normalize homosexual sexual activity and bless its unions. But more, "progressive" westerners consider these people backward savages, not nearly enlightened as they.
It showed in the eugenics movement, popular among liberals of the early twentieth century, who seemed to consider certain handicapped people as somehow less human than they, and therefore in need of elimination from our society.
It even shows more recently in the call for abortions as a means to reduce the human carbon footprint. It seems fair to me that these people, if they are so concerned about reducing population, should think about eliminating themselves from the equation as a first gesture. But no, as in much of the "green" movement, it's always others who are asked to make the sacrifice.
But now, it seems to me, this attitude of superiority has reared its ugly head in a new and particularly sinister way.
Vaginal HIV gel fails to cut risk From Here...
A major trial of a vaginal microbicide has produced no evidence that its use reduces the risk of HIV infection in women.
It was tested in a trial involving 9,385 women in four African countries.
The risk of HIV infection was not significantly different among women supplied with the gel than in women given a placebo gel.
Lead researcher Dr Sheena McCormack, of the Medical Research Council, which part-funded the study, said: "This result is disheartening.
Professor Jonathan Weber, from Imperial College London, who also took part in the study, said: "It is unfortunate that this microbicide is ineffective at preventing HIV infection, but it's still vital for us as scientists to continue to look for new ways of preventing HIV.
This raises a number of disturbing points:
- This test involved exposing actual human beings (yes, liberals, even Africans are as human as you are) to exposure to a fatal disease.
- It involved over 9000 women, presumably half of whom were given an unproven product which was hoped (!) would prevent infection from this fatal disease, the other half of whom were given a placebo, that the researchers knew would provide no protection at all!!!
- These women would have neccessarily been ones who the researchers knew were not yet infected. Then they were, presumably, encouraged to participate in the very practice that the researchers knew would put them at risk of contracting this disease.
The only way the researchers would know that the results were, "disappointing" was that many of these previously uninfected women became infected, and that an equal number from each group suffered infection.
All of which begs the question; did Dr Sheena McCormack, of the Medical Research Council volunteer herself to be a part of this test? Did Professor Jonathan Weber, from Imperial College London volunteer his wife or daughter for the same?
Sad, of course, that this research has to be done at all.
H/t Catholic Culture via mcj
Sunday, 13 December 2009
The mission of _____ ______ Church is to provide a nurturing environment for Children, Youth and Adults to explore their spirituality befriending, encouraging and walking with people of all ages through good times and bad.
We have a mission of Peace, Hope and Love to share.
You can see what (or Who) is missing. No mention at all of God or Jesus. It is a completely man-centered statement. In fact, notice whose names are capitalized. In place of God, whose name we generally capitalize, the terms for various people groups, Children, Youth and Adults have been given that honour.
This from the church whose Basis of Union, in 1925, boldly declared,
...we build upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. We affirm our belief in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the primary source and ultimate standard of Christian faith and life.
We believe in the one only living and true God, a Spirit infinite, eternal and unchangeable, in His being and perfections; the Lord Almighty...
We believe in and confess the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man...
Now reduced to, "exploring (the) spirituality..." of those now worthy of being addressed in capital letters, such spirituality meaning, I assume, whatever definition any paricular individual chooses to assign to the term.
Sad and unfortunate. How the faithful are fallen.
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Examining his wounds, one turned to the other and said, "The person who did this needs our help!"
Sunday, 22 November 2009
The absent father stands alone as the most reliable predictor of social and psychological trouble. Research by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that annual household income is below $30,000 for 65 percent of children in single-mother families, compared with 15 percent of children in two-parent families. Children raised in homes without fathers are more likely to run away, commit suicide, use drugs, be arrested, and engage in a host of other unfortunate—and sometimes deadly—behaviors.
The article cited gives three proposals, the first two strictly secular, the third rather new-age, which may or may not work, and work to varying degrees.
What is the solution? Well, liberals, of course, say the way to eradicate poverty is through massive government spending, transferring more and more wealth from those they see as, "rich" to those who need it, the, "poor." This is hopelessly naive and unfortunatley, even laughable. It just plain has not worked, nor will it ever. An organization called, Make Poverty History" laments the fact that Canada's Parliament, in 1989, vowed to end child poverty by the year 2000. Laughable? Yes! It's like Parliament committing to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Accord. It's just not going to happen, whether the committment was well-intentioned or disingenuous.
The real solution will be one of morality and accountability. I have posted on this subject before and you can link to my other posts by the labels below, so I won't dwell at length here, but here's a start.
We can stop indoctrinating our young people into sexual irresponsibility through our popular songs and culture (the American Music Awards are on in the background as I write, and some of the numbers on this show are prime examples). The popular dancing shows on TV, Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance could stop simulating sex on stage. This applies in particular to the hip-hop choreographers on the latter, whose work is especially blatant, and whose main focus is young black men, the very ones (according to the article cited above) who most need to hear the message of self-restraint and sexual responsibility.
Will it happen? I don't expect so. Would it work? Yes, I'm sure it would. Of course, the best solution, ultimately, would be a true change of heart, a new heart, a work of God.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
"...we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." (John 3:1a,2)
Miraculous signs. Some people get'em, some don't. Nicodemus here tells Jesus that he knows he is from God by the miraculous signs he performs. I don't think it's clear exactly who the, "we" is in the actual quote. Some say it refers generically to the Pharisees of the ruling council, as if somehow they all knew that Jesus was from God. I don't think so, because the Pharisees obviously knew he raised Lazarus from the dead, acknowledged it as a miraculous sign, yet rather than acknowledge that Jesus was from God, wanted to kill him for it. (John 11: 38ff)
There are ministries, television or otherwise, who bill themselves as, "signs and wonders" ministries, often using the term, "...with signs and wonders following," as if a sign or a wonder would force or cause someone to believe. Frankly, and forgive me if I am out of line, but I often find this kind of claim rather pretentious, possibly having more to do with the ego of the leaders than anything else. Mind you, Jesus did perform many miraculous signs, but I think they were rather an affirmation for those who did believe than mere tricks by which to convince people to believe. Many people saw them and still did not believe. There are veils over some eyes that even the most miraculous sign cannot penetrate.
Having said all that, I do believe that many of us can look back and see miracles surrounding our own coming to faith. We may be able to see certain signs or events that God used, meant only for us, to draw us to Him. The greatest miracle, of course, is that God wass able to take a dead heart, a heart of stone, and give us a living one, one of flesh. But I know in my own case, that God used certain signs, events and circumstances that would be meaningful only to me, and that others might dismiss as mere happenstance.
Let me tell you of another case. I heard the testimony, years ago now, of a woman who had not been walking with the Lord. I don't remember many of the details of her life. It would make a wonderful story if she had been involved with a life of drugs, or prostitution, or biker gangs, or something else equally dramatic, but I don't think she was. But whatever the case, this woman told me that she came to the point where she intended to take her own life. She was in her car, driving along a highway when, at rock bottom, she pulled into a service station. She asked for the key to the washroom and went in. She did not intend to come out. It was there she was going to end everything. I don't remember whether she was going to take pills, or slash her wrists, or something else, but while she was there, looking at her miserable self in the mirror, she glanced down and saw that there were some gospel tracts on the back of the toilet. She sat down and began to read them. And there, in a dingy service station washroom, she surrendered her life to Christ. She had entered that room alive and intended to come out dead. Instead, she entered dead and came out alive.
Now, she was and is convinced that the appearance of those tracts was a miracle, and frankly, I am not one to dispute it. The skeptic might brush it off as a mere coincidence; anyone could have put them there. But in any case, someone felt called to leave some tracts in the washroom of some anonymous service station, on some anonymous highway, in the hope, no doubt, that someone might read them. And even if it was by a human hand, God led them to do that. And someone else just happened to choose that same washroom as the place to end it all. Little might that anonymous evangelist have known that they would save a life, and begin a new one.
And neither one will ever know who the other was... until they meet in glory. And what a meeting that will be!
Thursday, 12 November 2009
I find it fascinating how many people of a liberal slant are afraid to entertain any criticism of the Islamic faith. Case in point is the latest mass shooting at the Fort Hood army base in the US. Liberals are tripping all over themselves to avoid any connection between the shootings and the alleged shooters Muslim faith. From Dr Phil on CNN to the liberal panelists on the Michael Coren Show, they have, practically without exception, refused to admit that the alleged shooter's faith had anything to do with his actions, even though, as he unloaded his weapons into an unsuspecting crowd of people, he shouted, "Allah achbah," and, as has come to light, frequented radical Islamic websites and defented the actions of suicide bombers.
I came across an interesting analysis of a related phenomenon, that is, the tendency of these same liberals to raise past Christian wrongs when attempting to answer for current wrongs of other religions, particularly Islam.
Often, when I am criticizing crimes inspired by Islamic extremism, I am interrupted by the remark that Christianity was once culpable of similar abuses. That Christianity may have been intolerant in the past, however, does not make criticisms of Islam’s present-day intolerance any less valid. Also, Islamic intolerance is an immediate danger, whereas Christian intolerance is generally a historical phenomenon and no longer a threat to civilization. And Christendom’s crimes were recorded by Christians themselves—a stark contrast to our politically correct climate, in which many, especially Muslims, are reluctant to criticize Islam.Read it all here...
Saturday, 7 November 2009
A 'queue' is a short line of people or other objects. A 'queueueueueue' is a longer line.
In a byline, "With additional reporting by" can be shortened to "Big Ups To."
"Redneck" is considered a derogatory term but you know what? Who cares about those stupid rednecks.
When covering a flood always include a photo of a dog stranded on a roof. Throw your own dog up there if needed
United States of America - Named for its original Norse discoverer, Erik Unitedstatesofamerica
For unnamed sources, agree on an attribution that gives the reader an idea of who it is. Ex.: "rhymes with President Bobama" (As far as my favourites, this was a close second, JK)
Do not use "Whoomp! There it is!" unless it actually is there.
The term for word misuses such as "irregardless" and "supposably" is "uncorrect."
The plural of July is "Steves." I know that doesn't make sense, but that's our crazy English language for you.
To describe more than one octopus, use sixteentopus, twentyfourtopus, thirtytwotopus, and so on.
“Buggy jockey" is an insulting term to the Amish and should only be used in the online edition. (My favourite - you have to think about it, JK)
It is poor newsroom etiquette to throw yourself out of the window to prove that your co-worker is Superman.
When embedded in a military unit, give precise locations so worried mothers at home know their children are safe.
(In the spelling of “Hallowe’en”) The apostrophe is correct, as the word is a contraction of "Halloweddiedeezen".
You may use "ghost whisperer" in a generic sense, but if referring to the CBS TV character, use her name: Cleavage McGee.
We are uncertain about the plural of 'apocalypse' ourselves, but we bet it would be cool to watch.
This is true. Correct spellings are: Sanford & Son, Five & Dime, ham s&wich, &y Gibb, ampers&, etc.
Questions regarding the spelling out of acronyms should be addressed to the GCCAAPT.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
This episode can be seen on many levels, but one new one (new to me, anyway) came to my mind as we studied and shared.
The story revolves around the fact that, among other commercial endeavors, sacrifices for the Passover were being sold in the temple courts. Jesus drove them out with the cry, "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market."
Then I read This Blog on the Anglican Essentials blog, concerning the Anglican diocese of Niagara's need for $750,000.00 to cover, "...all those costs incurred, in part, when the four parishes left the Anglican church for the Network." These costs involve, "lost revenue" and legal expenses for lawsuits that, of course, should never have been instituted.
"Lost revenue..." Revenue... Just like the merchants in the temple courts needed (or coveted) revenue.
When the Passover was instituted, Exodus chapter 12 we see that if a family was too small for a whole lamb for themselves, one was to be shared. It occurred to me that there shouldn't have been any selling or purchasing of sacrifices at all in the temple courts. There should have been no need for selling or purchasing because there should have been sharing, according to the LORD's own command. Somewhere along the line, a sense of community, and caring for those in that community who needed help, was lost.
The point was also raised, this morning, that, in connection with all the Jewish feasts, the people were always to bring their, "firstfruits" to present to the LORD.
He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me.Deut 26:9-10
The LORD has also brought us to this place, the place of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. How can we also not offer Him our firstfruits. A community of true Christians, born-again believers, should be at the very least a tithing community.
And a church of tithers should never need to do fundraising for its own support. There should not be a need for bake sales, or garage sales, or lotteries, or any other kind of selling in the temple courts, simply to keep the organization afloat. Our community should be one of sharing with those among us who are in need, and one who brings our firstfruits to the LORD in grateful thanks for what He has done.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Lord Christopher Monckton on the Michael Coren Show
Addressing the current 'global warming/sky is falling' hysteria.
Watch it all -- it's refreshing.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
From Yahoo Sports
Thursday, 1 October 2009
The couple accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl and keeping her hidden in their backyard for 18 years pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges...
Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife, Nancy, appeared in El Dorado County Superior Court to answer 29 criminal counts that included kidnapping for sexual purposes, forcible lewd acts on a child and rape.
In 1977, he was accused of raping the teenager while photographing her during a modeling session. The girl said Polanski plied her with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill at Jack Nicholson's house while the actor was away. She said that, despite her protests, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on her.
Why is there a petition for the realease of Roman Polanski, signed by such examples of sexual integrity as Woody Allen and not for Phillip Garrido? Have all the Hollywood and entertainment heavyweights really thought about these two cases? Why should they think one of these sexual criminals is worthy of exoneration and the other not? Maybe they are just being blinded by the fact that one of them is one of theeir own. Maybe they're just circling the wagons. Maybe now that they think about it, some of them will back a petition for the release of Mr Garrido.
Or then again, may it's just plain old fashioned hypocrisy.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Why the John Edwards Story Matters
It matters because it highlights, first of all, a key cause of the poverty Sen. Edwards once commendably made a central aspect of his presidential campaign. Numberless children wake up in grinding poverty because their fathers are “deadbeat dads” just like (if the story is true) Edwards, just without the means to secretly transfer funds for child support.
In admitting the affair, Edwards tells us he fell due to his narcissism. He started to see himself as “special,” and exempt from the boundaries of marriage and fatherhood. Of course he did. So does the impoverished teenage boy who skips town when his girlfriend sees two pink lines. So does the middle-aged mid-level success story who offers $300 to his paramour to “put it all behind us.”
Playboy magazine may not have the readership or the influence it once enjoyed, but the sexual philosophy championed by its founder, Hugh Hefner, flourishes, more and more, it seems, and its dismal legacy will be with us much longer. Hefner's philosophy could be summed up in a quote by our own former prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, that, "...the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation." Put simply, sexual activity between two consenting adults is no one's business but those two (or I suppose, more) adults. And unfortunately, this sense of sexual entitlement is filtering down to younger and younger ages. Our children are becoming exposed more and more to ideas that portray all kinds of sexual activity as harmless fun and even a right.
But the notion that one can have one's fun and then move on has had, and will continue to have, disastrous consequences. Because too often, those consenting adults (or teens) are not really the only ones involved. Aside from the fact that there may be a wronged wife or husband in an adulterous affair, there is often a third party, an entirely innocent one, who may become involved -- a child.
Children born out of wedlock almost invariably become the responsibility of the mother to raise. And unfortunately, in too many cases, this condemns them to a life of poverty. Single parents do not normally earn as much as would be available in a two-parent family, child support (if there is any) notwithstanding. It is more difficult for a young single mother to continue her education, thereby further limiting her earning potential.
Moral guidelines were given to us by God, and they were given us for a reason. Even when some of the leading Bible figures (Abraham and David, just to name two) departed from them, there were long lasting consequences. And following them today would eliminate a lot of heartache, both on the personal level and for society as a whole.
But will we learn? Somehow I doubt it
h/t: Mere Comments
Monday, 21 September 2009
Dr Mohler notes,
Seen in retrospect, it is clear that the "Death of God" movement did not survive the 1960s. Within a few short years, much of the stridency of the secular tide had been repackaged into the more benign-appearing "spiritualities" of the postmodern age.
The movement did accomplish one thing -- it drove me out of the United Church, the initial incident in the chain of life events that resulted in God eventually opening my eyes and taking me out of the kingdom of darkness and into His kingdom of light.
If the current apostasy does the same for others it will have served God's purposes well. Those in the throes of the current controversies will one day look back and see that it was all part of the plan.
Monday, 14 September 2009
You seem to be implying that the Protestant understanding of sola fide involves a faith that is devoid of fruit. But such is not the case. Both the Reformers and modern Protestants would agree with the Apostle James that a faith devoid of the fruit of righteousness (or love) is a dead faith.
Again, the distinction of sola fide centers on the "root" of justifcation (namely, grace alone through faith alone). But the "fruit" of justification (which will always be subsequently present in the lives of those who have been justified) is the fruit of the Spirit, of which agape is the foremost (Gal. 5:22).
Read all the comments here.
It reminded me of a question that came up during our last Wednesday's Bible study, "Does a Christian choose to love God, or can he choose not to?" In other words, do believers have a choice in this area, or do we have no free will here? And I think the answer is somewhat the same as a Protestant would have for a Roman Catholic regarding justification and works.
When we are born again, becoming a new creation in Christ, God takes our heart of stone and gives us one of flesh. We are given a new heart, we become a new person, and our new heart will love God. Period. That it won't, is not an option. It's not a matter of choice, it's just a matter of what our new heart does. Our new heart is made to love Him. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit.
Is that fair, that God would bring us into a position where we have no choice but to love Him? Well, the question is completely hypothetical, a sort of, 'can God make a square circle' kind of thing. Because who of us whom God has called to be His children would want it any other way. And as with love, good works wil necessarily follow true justification.
Is it fair? Does it deprive us of choice? Well, if we think about our new birth, we might consider; how much choice did we have about our first birth? None at all, did we?
H/T The Shepherd's Fellowship
Friday, 11 September 2009
The term "emitters" in the report, titled, "Fewer Emitters, Lower Emissions, Less Cost," refers to human beings. Roger Martin, chairman of the Optimum Population Trust at the LSE, said, "It's always been obvious that total emissions depend on the number of emitters as well as their individual emissions - the carbon tonnage can't shoot down as we want, while the population keeps shooting up."
It might seem that the only honourable and unhypocritical thing to do for the authors and supporters of such a report is to become like human lemmings and march en masse over the nearest cliff into the nearest sea. ;)
But then Telegraph columnist Gerald Warner enters the discussion as a voice of reason...
Warner commented,... "Having generated highly profitable mass hysteria and sidelined honest scientists who point out that the Arctic ice-cap is growing, not shrinking; that the polar bear population is increasing, not dwindling; and that the total human contribution to atmospheric CO2 is miniscule, making adjustments in its size irrelevant, the warming fanatics are learning the joys of coercion."
The equation of "overpopulation" with increased "carbon emissions" and therefore man-made "climate change," is heavily contended within the scientific community, with many denouncing it as ideologically inspired junk science. (emphasis mine, JK)
I have long thought it a sign of a certain human arrogance to think it is in our power to solve any problem we encounter, even one as large as this one of 'global warming' is popularly seen to be. It is the attitude that we are the highest power in the universe and it is not only within our power and capability, it is our duty to attack and solve every and all issues that we perceive to endanger not just our survival but even our comfort, our convenience or our desire.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Where the ELCA at their convention in Minneapolis, when a tornado that blew the cross off the steeple of their church across the street, might have paused to consider whether or not they should proceed with their sexual agenda, choosing the broad road over the narrow one, went ahead, pushed on, and chose the broad one anyway.
Then there was This story in the Anglican Journal (Hat tip to my blogging friend, David)
Let’s change gears and move forward...
Agree to disagree and move on, a twenty-something youth representative from the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) board of directors suggested recently. Continue the discussion but don’t let it get in the way of moving forward, he advised.
...while we’ve been driving back and forth on the same old issues, the ranks of Anglicans in the pews have plummeted to an all-time low.
To which I commented,
It’s not the “back and forth” that’s been causing the plummeting attendance. It’s the “forth” into apostasy on the part of the church in general.
So, for Fred Hiltz, the liberal bishops of Niagara, Huron, Ottawa etc, TEC, the ECLA, and all others who think that they are honouring God by continuing to march away from Him and deeper into the morass of a false cultural relevance...
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
This story reminded me again what I have thought for some time and what I have posted on in the past Here... and Here...
Some excerpts from my previous posts:
I believe that the greatness of our western society parallelled its Christian heritage, and now that our society's Christian faith is waning and that of Asia is on the ascent, our respective societies are going to fall and rise correspondingly.
I truly expect that some of our children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren (depending upon the generation of the reader) will be emigrating (west across the Pacific)to Asia some day, much as many of our forebears came to this country from Europe (west across the Atlantic.)
...I have said it before, but must say it again, that (I believe) China will not only be a great nation, it will be a Christian nation. And the pattern of God's blessing on those who honour Him will not be broken.
I am not trying to point to a prosperity gospel, but I think our North American societies and liberal religious leaders might bear 1 Samuel 2 in mind:
Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained (1 Samuel 2:30b)
Just remember, when the time comes...
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Tomorrow a court in Canada may grant full custody of two small girls to the father who has been credibly accused of molesting one of them. This man, by his own testimony in court, is lazy and works only part of the time during the year...
He is seeking, by his own testimony, alimony and child support from his wife...
He admits that he slept with other women while his second child was on the way..
He admits that, when the children were in his keeping, he forced one of them to sleep in the same bed with him and the woman he had over...
His drawings, hundreds of them, show him to be a deeply disturbed young man (they apparently include images of pornography, violence against women and father/daughter incest)
Amazingly enough, by what I've seen (admittedly only one side of the story), the courts seem to be leaning his way! If this man is granted custody, or even access, sanity is indeed dead in child social services in Cape Breton.
However, now I must show my politically incorrect side. The mother of these children is represented as, "...a courageous young mother, faithful to her Catholic values..." So I have to pull a Dr Laura here. Under what circumstances did this young woman pick this guy to be the mother of her children? Because that she did, didn't she? Now, I'm not at all trying to tip the scales away from him, but this mother, at one time, must have thought he was a great guy. And having had one child, she decided to have another. At what time did he cease to be Prince Charming and become the devil of hell? What changed? Or did anything?
I hope I'm not passing judgment where I shouldn't, but maybe there is something here that might prevent some other young girl from making the same mistakes. Because a horrendous mistake is certainly what it appears to be, doesn't it?
This doctrine, which originated with Henry VII in 1496, held that Christian sovereigns and their representative explorers could assert dominion and title over non-Christian lands with the full blessing and sanction of the Church.
First of all, it seems to me that there is this certain self-righteous, judgmental attitude in (mostly) liberal circles that sees what it considers evil in others while assuming that they themselves have got it all together. To paraphrase the popular '70's book, I'm OK, you're not OK. This atitude manifests itself in these kinds of calls for apologies, usually by others, usually for those no longer here, for acts allegedly committed sometime in history, by someone today who had nothing to do with the alleged "atrocities." I see it as a log in one's own eye kind of thing. They find it so easy to see what today we consider an injustice and project judgment back through time on people of another era.
It reveals a certain anachronistic arrogance that says, "Oh, if I were there I would have done differently." How do these people know how they would have felt, or how they would have acted, for instance, when slavery was culturally acceptable. I wouldn't be at all surprised that, if they could be transplanted to a period of time two or three hundred years ago, to a position of plantation owner, a great many would have behaved exactly as other plantation owners of the time did.
Now, what should they do? I assume that the proponents of this type of resolution believe that lands were taken unjustly from aboriginal residents of various continents. If they truly believe this, what is the proper thing to do? They must agree that many churches and properties of the Episcopal church are on or among those lands improperly taken. They must then agree, if they are to be consistent, that they are in possession of stolen property. What should one do if one knows one possesses such property, accuses one's ancestors of having stolen it, and knows who the rightful owner is? One should return it, shouldn't one? But will they?
Of course not. They are as much as saying, "We are sorry your property was stolen. We believe our forefathers stole it when they first came to this continent, but we have it now and we're not giving it back."
Their magnanimity stops at demanding meaningless apologies from others who have nothing to do with anything.
Friday, 24 July 2009
The latest murders to be investigated as these so-called, 'honour killings' involves the finding of three girls and an older woman submerged in a car near Kingston ON. Invariably in these cases there is a murder, then a police investigation, then charges laid. And also invariably, it involves the murder of a Muslim woman, usually young, by a male relative, for not living the kind of life the male relative thinks she should.
But if these really are killings in the name of honour, then surely the honourable thing for the killer to do is, immediately after the deed is done, march directly to the nearest police station and turn himself in. Surely Allah approves of this killing, so he should be proud of what he has done, not skulking away in the shadows trying to avoid responsibility. Where is the honour in killing for honour, then trying to cover up what you've done? These aren't honour killings at all -- they would be more accurately and honestly described as 'anger killings.'
Saturday, 18 July 2009
A scientist at Harvard University has analyzed why pregnant women don't tip over from the added weight in front of them.I would love to have someone explain the exact evolutionary mechanism that would result in the outcome described in This Article.
I suppose that prior to this evolutionary development, pregnant women were constantly tipping over.
But seriously, according to my understanding of evolutionary theory, a female at some time would have been born with a mutation; namely, vertabra(e), "reinforced and slightly curved." This mutation would then have been passed on to her female offspring only, not her male offspring. As the article says, men do not have this spinal attribute. Now, first of all, would that mutation have been one vertabra, some of them,or conveniently, all of them at once?
If only one, then how many mutations must have occurred before all lower vertabrae were suitably curved and reinforced?
Would this have been while our 'ancestors' walked upright or on all fours? If while they walked upright, how did they survive before this mutation. Would this mutation have been valuable enough so that 100% all 'non-curved- females were eventually eliminated while only 'curved-spined' females survived. Females must have been bearing children for any number of years prior to this mutation, and most of the species would have continued to bear offspring, and survive, for any number of years afterward.
I assume that "all" females today, of every race, have this particular spinal 'adaptation.' If that is so, then all women today must have had this first mutated female as a common ancestor. Or are we to assume that this mutation occurred simultaneously in multiple females.
Whitcombe says, "The whole point of an adaptation isn't to be perfect, or optimally designed, but just to be better,..." (emphasis mine), but remember that an adaptation is not purposeful at all, but just an accident that sticks. Assigning a point to an evolutionary development indicates some kind of purpose, and therefore, some intelligent direction -- the complete antithesis of evolutionary theory.
If this occurred before our 'ancestors' walked upright, what would have been the evolutionary point of it. If both males and females were quadripeds, and this mutation occurred only in the female, what was it that first made her stand up on two legs? Why would she do it. There would have been no advantage, unless this first 'curved and reinforced-spined' female just decided to stand up as soon as her fetus grew to more than 3 pounds, while all the rest of her species, male and female, were crawling around on all fours. What a rebel!
Frankly, I find it much more difficult to accept this entire string of coincidences on faith, than that women were just made that way.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
"I am afraid we are becoming a church of a fundamentalist left," said the Rev. Kate Moorehead of St. James Episcopal Church in Wichita, Kan (emphasis mine, JK)
...coined by one of their own, referring to the Episcopal "church" in the US and I'm afraid, increasingly applicable to much of the Anglican church of Canada.
H/T Albert Mohler's blog
Monday, 6 July 2009
Today is our 41st anniversary. 41 years ago, July 6, 1968, in Islington United Church, Toronto Ontario (where my grandfather had been a minister), a tall goofy guy and a gorgeous girl promised to spend the rest of their lives together. And today I can say that this still goofy guy and this even more beautiful woman are still on their way to making those promises a reality. The adventure continues. Love changes over time, but true love has not diminished. I take more naps now, but I can honestly say, Eva, that I don't think I could ever have loved you more than I do now.
Happy Anniversary Eva.
Thursday, 2 July 2009
After his church attempted to remove any semblance of connection with Mr Lombard, then reversing its strategy and listing him as inactive, the bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina has finally issued a statement.
"Frank Lombard is a parishioner of a congregation in the diocese of North Carolina. It is the bishop’s policy that in matters such as these, clergy will cooperate fully with law enforcement and allow the judicial process to run its course. In keeping with this same policy, clergy will not comment on investigations which are still in progress. The bishops and clergy of this diocese are committed to making certain that all of our churches remain safe places where all may worship and serve God. The Church is providing pastoral care and spiritual guidance for all parishioners who have been affected by this painful situation.”
One has the sense that the church and the diocese are merely busy circling the wagons, more concerned with the embarassment of the situation, hoping it will just go away, than in condemning the acts themselves. Granted, the man is to be considered innocent under the law until proven guilty, but one would think the church would at least express some kind of horror at such heinous acts, regardless of who was the perpetrator.
And I would ask this; what do you think the coverage of the story would be if it were an evangelical Christian involved. I expect it would be all over the mainstream media like Michael Jackson or South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford over CNN. As it is, this is one of those sensitive issues in which liberal media just doesn't seem to want to get involved.
What was once the love that must not be spoken has become the one that must not be criticized.
The Whole Story Here...
Friday, 26 June 2009
Some will say there is no such thing as an age of accountability, and that there is no guarantee that a child who dies in childhood or infancy will go to heaven. Some, especially hard-core Calvinists will say either that only 'elect' children will go to heaven, or that God allows only, 'elect' infants to die. That, in my opinion, is a stretch, to fit their Calvinist definition of election.
Others rely on their hope that the 'Judge of all the earth will do right' (Gen 18:25), but that is merely a hope in the matter of a child's death, and certainly no firm guarantee.
Others will place their hope that God will be 'fair,' and not send anyone to hell who has not been able to make a decision to follow Christ.
John Piper suggests,
God only executes this judgment on those who have the natural capacity to see his glory and understand his will, and refuse to embrace it as their treasure. Infants, I believe, do not yet have that capacity; and therefore, in God's inscrutable way, he brings them under the forgiving blood of his Son.
...but does not suggest we can know what that age might be. Most people who believe in an age of accountability will say that the age varies from child to child, or will give an age of twelve, or thirteen, but what Scriptural evidence they have for this view, I do not know.
But I believe that we may know exactly what that age is, and it is Biblical. Here is how I arrived at my conclusion. Consider the following passages:
'Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old or more who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob- (Num 32:11)
In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. (Num 14:29)
And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. (Deut 1:39)
By harmonizing these three verses, I believe we can infer that:
1. There is an age (at least there was among the Israelites in the desert) before which a person did not know good from bad.
2. This age was the age below which children were allowed to enter the promised land.
3. That age was 20 years of age.
I believe we can reasonably accept this as an age of accountability, established by God Himself.
The main objection I hear when I express this opinion is that 20 seems too old; that much evil is done by people before the age of 20 and that they should be accountable for their sins. But that, in my opinion, is really an emotional objection. It may be a matter of the foolishness of God being wiser than man's wisdom ( (1 Corinthians 1:25) When we see criminal acts being committed our sense of justice cries out that the perpetrators (even, and sometimes perhaps especially, teenagers) be punished. And of course they should. Probably even more severely under the law that they now are.
But accountability to secular law and accountability to God are two entirely separate things. It is important to remember, of course, that this is not because children are 'innocent' of sin. The sin of Adam has tainted us all, including the very youngest. But God decided, at least in this one particular case I illustrate, that those under 20 were not to be held accountable for the sin of disobedience in the desert. Can we apply that specific case to a general principle? Well..., why not? We can just as easily believe we can as that we can't.
Frankly, I hold this view with a somewhat open hand, but I don't think we can rule it out arbitrarily. Perhaps, also, this may serve as some comfort to someone who has lost a child, particularly a teenager, and is troubled by their eternal fate.
PS: This question has a personal side to it. We lost our own granddaughter at the age of four and a half months to crib death. For my thoughts on this season in our family's lives, click on SIDS, below. The series of posts will appear in reverse order.
Update: I have posted a few more thoughts, specifically in relation to the mentally handicapped here.
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Saturday, 20 June 2009
This post has been in edit mode for a few days, and I see that my fellow blogger David has beaten me to the punch, but here, in any case, are a few of my thoughts on, "The Shack" by Wm Paul Young.
"Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"
This quote from Perry Mason and any number of real courtrooms is what came to me when trying to sum up my thoughts after finishing this popular novel. First of all it must be remembered that the book is indeed a work of fiction and not a theological textbook. And it does indeed contain some truth, but not the whole truth and certainly not, "nothing but the truth." In other words, from a theological standpoint, it contains an element of the truth, but it also adds a healthy dose of what must come, I presume, from the author's imagination. So it is partly right, but I would argue that, in theological matters, it is at least as dangerous to be partly right, if your readers are going to take you seriously, as to be completely wrong. And I wouldn't be surprised if some who read this book do take it seriously, in that they may base upon it, to a certain extent, how they think about God.
The author seems to tend to universalism in matters of salvation, and although there are some wonderful word pictures to describe certain theological truths (discussing God's purposes in suffering, for instance), at other times he launches into flights of nonsensical new age-ism (as in when he meets his late father.)
I would not necessarily recommend this book, nor would not think it one to avoid at all costs, but I say this with a couple of conditions. Someone well grounded in reformed theology will quite easily spot the pitfalls, and although a new Christian or a seeker might find some value in it, I would hope they would be reminded that it is fiction and that they be encouraged in further study to discern the fiction from the truth.
But all in all, however, I guess I would sum it all up by saying this: if any church (and there probably are some) took this book seriously, and either recommended it as theologically sound or held it up to be the truth in a Bible study, I would steer well clear.
Monday, 8 June 2009
Because the question must be asked, what is the seeker really seeking? A true seeker, the kind a church like this wants to reach, is seeking the truth. They are seeking the God they suspect is there (to borrow and paraphrase the words of Francis Schaeffer) and how to know Him. And a true seeker sensitive church will tell them how to find what they are looking for.
A true seeker sensitive church will tell them that they, along with all the rest of us, have fallen short of God's standards. The fact is that a God big enough to have created the universe and everything in it, a God truly worthy of worship, must be a God of perfection, with no shortcomings at all. He must be supreme above all things (and if He were less than perfect, He wouldn't be supreme.) And so His standard would be perfection. And anything less than perfection would not meet God's standard, and the penalty for this is separation from Him and ultimate destruction. And the seeker might answer, "Well, no one's perfect." And they would be absolutely correct.
So what would be the answer then? Well, the answer would be that God, in His love, provided a way that we could know Him, even though we cannot possibly earn that right on our own. And that is that He came to earth Himself, as a man, Jesus Christ, and He did live a perfect life and so was the only person in history who really didn't deserve death. But he stood in for us. He offered himself to die on the cross so that the rest of us, all who would place their faith in him, could live. And that is the very simple answer, and the only one, to the seeker's quest. Place your faith in Jesus and you will live. You will have that relationship with the God of the universe for which you are looking.
A non seeker sensitive church (the one who would often [mis]classify themselves as seeker-sensitive) will try to soft pedal the truth of the gospel, thinking that it must cover up the hard parts (that perhaps we are not as good as we think we are) so as not to turn people off. But such a strategy will only attract those who really don't want to hear the truth. They just want to have their hopes affirmed that they are basically good and have the power within to accomplish their own, "salvation," (however they define the term). These are the people who will stay as long as it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling, because that is what they are looking for. I think these can be seen as the ones Jesus speaks of in the parable of the sower.
The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
They love the "poetry" of the Bible. They love the easy parts, the beautiful passages. They love the, "God loves you just the way you are" message, and receive it with joy. But as soon as they see that God's love is too great to leave them the way they are, they rebel. When they are confronted with the fact that God actually demands something of them (if indeed they are ever told this in a so-called seeker sensitive church), they quickly deny the truth or leave to search elsewhere.
And so I consider the church I attend to be a true seeker-sensitive church. I am thankful for the pastor and the leaders who have a true love for God's word, a real heart for the Gospel and a genuine desire to reach those who need to hear it.
Sunday, 31 May 2009
Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion. (Psalm 134, NIV)
I grew up going to a fairly dry church. When I came to faith, even though it was in a Gospel-preaching, Bible-believing church, it was also a fairly non-demonstrative one. No one raised their hands when singing. As I met and worshipped with people from other denominations, those we would refer to at the time as, "charismatic," I wondered, from time to time, if I should do the same. Because there were times I sort of wanted to, but, for one reason or another, didn't. What reasons? Perhaps a reluctance to do something different. Perhaps (and this is more likely) out of some kind of sense of embarassment. What would people think? Everybody would look at me. I once mentioned this to Andy, who as I said in my testimony was my spiritual mentor. I can still remember his answer word for word. He said, "In my heart, my hands are raised as high as anyone's."
I didn't give it a lot of thought at the time, but over time it began to weigh on me. What was I saying to God when in my heart I wanted to raise my hands in worship, but for whatever reason, didn't? What attitude was I displaying to God when I felt prompted by His Spirit to lift my hands, but didn't because I was too embarassed or self-conscious. Basically, I think, I was putting Him in second place. I was saying that certain other things were more important than Him. Things like what people would think of me. Things like stepping out of my comfort zone.
Now I am not saying here that everyone should raise their hands when they worship. Some people may genuinely, because of their tradition, or the practise of their particular church, not feel the desire at all. And I must admit that I didn't really feel free to begin to lift my hands openly until I was at an Alpha conference in another city where no one knew me. So I am certainly not judging anyone who feels the same as I once did. But I am saying to anyone who really, deep down wants to, "Go ahead."
"Just do it."
Monday, 25 May 2009
This post is a result of my connecting with Marie, who left a comment on this post.
Someone on Marie's blog mentioned the above song, and I replied that I actually liked it. We have not done this one in Sunday morning worship, and I really don't see it as that kind of song, but I have done it in a less formal Sunday evening context, as well as a couple of times in a secular coffee house. Let me tell you how I do it and what I like about doing this song, especially in a secular setting.
The song is an interesting take on a hymn that is familiar to most people, and I find that even non-believers like it. After singing it, I talk about how some people think the word, "wretch" is rather harsh and might be less offensive if toned down a bit. But then I say that, if there is a God, some kind of Being who brought everything we see into existence (which reason alone should lead us to realize there is), then His standards must be very high, and most of us, if we are honest, would have to admit that we haven't really lived our lives in a way that would be pleasing to such a Being. Then, of course, I mention that the author of the words of Amazing Grace was John Newton, the captain of a slave ship, and that he, after coming to a relationship with this God, realized just what a wretch he actually was. Then I say that there is really nothing wrong with realizing how short we actually fall, but that the whole basis of the Christian faith is that God has provided a way for us to have a relationship with Him in spite of our falling short of His standards, and that way is Jesus. I don't go into any more detail than that, but perhaps that's because I'm an extremely self conscious evangelist.
Then I sing the 'real' Amazing Grace. As I said, it is one Christian hymn that everyone knows and most people like and I have never had anyone, even in a secular audience, complain about my singing it. I must admit that I have also never had anyone come forward and accept Christ, but I can only trust that a seed may have been planted.
Monday, 18 May 2009
From 1 Samuel chapter 3:
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD.(v 12, ESV)
Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel...
...And he said to them, "Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the LORD spreading abroad. If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father...(22a, 23-25a)
And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him...
but now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house...
...And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever.(27a, 30b-31a, 35)
Read the entire passage here
The first problem was that the priests did not know the Lord - a problem in many liberal, or should I say apostate, churches today. Therefore the things of God, His glory and His commands, are treated with disdain.
But God will not tolerate this forever. I believe He will, "remove their lampstands" so to speak, and He will raise up faithful followers, those who will adhere to His teachings and stand for His truth. I hope this is an encouragement to my friends in the Anglican Network in Canada. I believe the unfaithful will decline and the faithful will increase. (And frankly, I don't think you need to hold on to your buildings and property to do so, if you can forgive this personal comment, but that's another issue.) It may not seem so, in the midst of the battles in which you are now engaged, but God has promised to honour those who honour Him, and, in His time, His promises will not fail.
I also see relevance in this passage to those who believe they should remain in parishes or dioceses in the ACoC where falsehood is being accepted as truth. Eli scolded his sons, but effectively did nothing about their behaviour, and as a result, he bore the brunt of God's anger. Blame was laid at his feet. It was his house that was cut off forever.
One can talk for only so long. There comes a point when one must actually do something.
Friday, 15 May 2009
Mona Charen puts things into perspective in this article in the National Review Online.
By the age of 12, 78 percent of children living in non-married households have experienced one or more years of poverty. For children in intact families, the figure is 18 percent. Babies born to unwed moms are more likely to be premature, to be low birthweight, and to suffer other pathologies. Children who are raised in non-marital households have poorer school performance, more trouble with the law, more mental and emotional disturbances, more poverty, suffer more physical and sexual abuse, and are more likely to become unwed parents themselves.
It's the elephant in the room that the politically correct cannot acknowledge without admitting that morality counts.
Related post by Nove Scotia Scott
A few days ago, this story appeared regarding the reluctance of school officials to hold students accountable for their failures.
Zero is becoming the toughest mark for students to earn in a growing number of Edmonton-area schools. Many schools have adopted a "no-zero" policy when it comes to assignments and tests, giving students multiple opportunities to hand in work past deadline or to redo failing assignments or tests. It is part of a national trend proponents say will help ensure more students make it through the school system, learn course material and succeed. Critics argue it fails to prepare students for the real world. In the Edmonton Public school district, many schools, particularly junior and senior highs, have operated under no-zero policies for several years.
"It's a philosophy about not giving up on kids," Corrie Ziegler said. "We will do everything we can before we give any child a zero. We want to give them every opportunity."
"Every opportunity..."? Why is one opportunity, the first one, not enough in all but the most exceptional cases? This is merely a continuation of the focus on the, "self esteem," "you are the center of the universe" philosophy children have been taught for the last generation or so. It has been a teaching that fosters an attitude of entitlement with no responsibility or accountability.
I am an employer, and I can say that kids who expect a, "no-zero" policy in the real world are in for a rude awakening. They certainly wouldn't last very long in my shop. It seems to me that, "no zero" quickly becomes, "Who cares?"
If there is no accountability, people do what is right in their own eyes.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
The theological rationale for same-sex marriages has been made powerfully and faithfully in the past few decades by theologians throughout the Church, This document attempts to give the briefest summary of some of the themes in that theological literature. We merely indicate the strength and weight of the arguments that are to be found in the theological literature authored by advocates of same-sex marriages.
The following video perfectly represents what I believe is the future of the liberal Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal church of the US as they continue to wander, no, flee, from the true faith of Christianity. Imagine the Mr McGoo's who are leading their churches down this broad road to destruction, blindly sitting on the ground floors in their indaba groups, discussing the finer points of culturally sensitive theological modifications, while their buildings collapse around them in a cascades of irrelevance.
They are bringing it on themselves.
h/t Anglican Samizdat
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Those who adhere to the firmly established truth of Jesus Christ, his divinity as the Second Person of the Trinity, his death by which he bore the wrath of God that we rightly deserve, and his defeat of death forever in his physical resurrection, are standing on solid ground. Those who think we must change or dilute what for the past millenia has been accepted as fact, for the sake of relevance or inclusivity, are like someone trying to stand on a beach ball in the middle of a swimming pool.
Saturday, 25 April 2009
I was thinking of these verses from Matthew 18
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." (18-19a)His enemies saw him eating and drinking with those they considered lower than themselves, and made the accusation that Jesus was a glutton and a drunkard. But they must have had some basis for their accusations. And I think the accusations were probably correct inasfar as Jesus did indeed eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners. I imagine they ate well and that the wine they drank was of the alcoholic variety. Otherwise there would have been no basis for the 'drunkard' accusation. (I am not saying that Jesus got drunk, only that I believe he probably consumed wine with alcoholic content.)
And I think people of all stripes would have enjoyed being around him, not because he was always pious and preachy, but because he was probably fun to be with. He was probably the life of the party, clever and witty and engaging.
But as much as he was willing to associate with outcasts and sinners, he did not do so to share in their lifestyles, or to affirm them in their choices, or even to be satisfied with leaving them there. Those today who emphasize this aspect of Jesus' ministry seem to forget that his message was a call to repent or perish. When we read the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery we need to remember that Jesus did not stop at, "...neither do I condemn you," but continued, "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Sunday, 19 April 2009
A church that loses sight of it's true mission (worshipping the One True God, and proclaiming to the world the truth and good news of salvation only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ) becomes merely a self-preserving organization, often going about this self preservation in exactly the wrong way. They will think that by appealing to the broadest range of people they will attract the most members. But the opposite result is what most often occurs. What they are trying to do is to be an organization that requires very little committment from those it seeks to attract. And thatis just what they get -- people who really don't want to change their lives. In other words, people who really don't want to make any kind of committment that requires any kind of sacrifice on their part. They want a form of spirituality wih no accountability. These are mainly those who may receive their "message" with joy initially, but quickly fall away. Because at the end of the day, if the church becomes the same as the culture, why bother with the church? And of course, from such churches most true Christians, the ones who really would be and remain committed, eventually and invariably flee.
But today's "liberal" churches just don't get it. They seem blind to reality, wearing the rose-coloured glasses of "inclusivity." They sanctimoniously waltz down the broad road of compromise, emasculating God and accepting, even blessing, immorality.
And all the while oblivious to the fact that they are becoming more and more irrelevant, heading down that broad road toward the death their organization so justly deserves.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
When it comes to liberal Anglicanism, (Dean Peter) Elliott (of Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral) defines Christianity’s “good news” in a somewhat different way than many evangelicals and Catholics.
Instead of emphasizing that “salvation” offers a guarantee of existence in an afterlife, Elliott defines salvation primarily as “healing.”
Instead of teaching that the Easter Sunday story is about the literal “resurrection of a corpse,” Elliott said it is a mystical account of “a new experience of God,” something beyond the confines of language.
...Comes this bit of nonsensical bafflegab from a column in the Edmonton Journal.
Easter introduces us to a God entirely without wrath. Easter reveals that it is our wrath that demands appeasing, our cursing and ostracizing violence that Christ takes upon himself. And it is his face that then approaches us in forgiveness and love.
The "atonement" of Easter, far from being a matter of right belief, is something that happens "toward" us. It opens within us a faltering but persistent realization that there is something so dark about us that we can't see it until we are forgiven of it.
But undergoing the mercy of this realization forever unsettles all our old ways of self-preservation -- from abject subservience to passive aggression to herd violence. And the degree that we sink into this forgiveness is the degree our world expands into possibility. And not for us alone.
Most of which makes no sense at all, but what was plain is a real headshaker. Jesus appeased our wrath???? And God, rather than a God whose wrath, apart from the covering righteousness of Christ we deserve, has become some kind of teddy bear god? He has become, in short, a lap dog god.
And guess what denomination the author is.
Makes you wonder what book he is reading as a substitute for the
But in truth (and in spite of anyone's theological fiction),
The Lord is risen!
He is risen indeed!
h/t Anglican Essentials blog
Friday, 3 April 2009
"Christian hope is based on trust," explained the Rev. Laurel Johnston, the Episcopal Church's Program Officer for Stewardship. "Trust that God will continue to fulfill God's promise in a new way to each generation that leads to freedom, free to be the people God intended us to be..."
Can you imagine constructing a more awkward sentence to avoid referring to God with the masculine pronouns 'His' or 'He'?
That Rev Johnston sure must be able to limbo!
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,... (2 Corinthians 7:10a)
It reminded me of another verse from our last Wednesday night's study,
They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. (Zecharaiah 12:10b)
Those who remember their salvation experience; that moment when God first opened the eyes of our hearts and brought us into His Kingdom, may remember that the most common manifestation of that moment is tears. Tears of joy over what Jesus has done, but tears of grief over what made it necessary -- the individual sin of each one of us. It is the stark and sudden realization that Jesus died because of the way I am and the way I have been.. He was pierced because of me, and the sorrow of that moment of realization is overwhelming -- Godly sorrow.
I remember a woman who had just come to faith. She was the same age as me. But she asked, with eyes full of tears, "John, I feel like my entire life up to now has been wasted. Has it been?" What could I say? No, it had not been wasted. God had known about this moment since before the foundation of the world, and it had all been according to His will, His good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). I was reminded of that wonderful phrase from the book of Esther, and said that who knows but that God had brought her all this way, to this point in her life, ...for such a time as this.
I too, from time to time, used to wonder what my life would have been like had God not waited 45 years to reveal Himself to me.. But then I catch myself and say, "No... He brought me to that point of Godly sorrow at the time of His choosing, and that must necessarily have been exactly the right time.
So there is no regret.
Monday, 30 March 2009
But I did earth hour one better. I dimmed all my lights from about 11:00 PM until 7:00 AM the next day. In fact, maybe I'll do that from now on.
I sure feel good I'm doing my part. It's really good for the conscience.
(File in, "Silly and meaningless symbolic gestures to assuage the conscience and make you think you are actually accomplishing something" department.)
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
The diocese of London (England) wants to sell a former church, St Mark’s North Audley Street to an entrepreneur to be used as a spa. The congregation has already, apparently, been ousted from the building. The Archdeacon of Charing Cross insists on the necessity of the move, citing the expense of restoring the building, as well as the fact that the area is served by three other Anglican churches with "thriving congregations."
The key is that, although it is not mentioned, I suspect these three thriving congregations are Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), home of the Alpha Course, and a couple of its plants. In fact, Nicky Gumbel, the driving force behind Alpha, has publicly expressed the desire to save St Mark's and renovate it at HTB's expense. Here is an excerpt from a letter from Mr Gumbel to the aforementioned archdeacon:
We remain ready, willing and able to take on the work St Mark’s needs to survive. Our interest in St Mark’s and our desire to see it become a home to a worshipping community again is public knowledge;
We are overflowing at both HTB and St Paul’s Onslow Square and would like to start satellite services in St Mark’s. Our experience at St Paul’s has shown that these fill up very quickly. The Sunday congregation at St Paul’s has grown from zero to a thousand people in the last eighteen months. We think we could do something similar at St Mark’s and we would be willing to discuss the issue of renting the building. Mr Hammer’s solution is not the only solution. As you know we have a strong track record of restoring churches and maintaining them for Anglican worship. We are offering to do this with St Mark’s North Audley Street.
The emphasis in the quote above is mine, but wouldn't we all love to see church growth like that. Knowing the Alpha course and Nicky's teaching, I'm confident that such growth is a result of the true preaching of the gospel, not just pandering to itching ears.
It is frustrating to see those we may have trusted in the past show themselves to be more interested in buildings and assets than true Christian mission, but I believe that those who desire to remain faithful to Christ and his message need to not let such things distract us from our true task, that of making disciples. I'm sure these distractions delight the enemy no end.
Read the full story here...
h/t Stand Firm
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Killer Whales Increasing in Hudson Bay
Now, I do not mean to make light of a genuine enviromental problem. Nor do I mean to dispute at this time whether or not we have a global warming problem. But what got me about this story are these quotes regarding the, "Global Warming and Arctic Marine Mammals" study by federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans...
The study receives close to $100,000 a year, provided mostly by the government of Nunavut.
So far, Ferguson said, the data has confirmed for researchers what northerners have said all along.
"It really surprised us, and confirmed what the traditional knowledge was, that there's more killer whales."
Studies... don't you just love 'em? Why don't they just take the $100,000 a year, give it to the residents who already have the information (and who could probably use the money), and say, "Thank you very much." ;)
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
I was thinking about creation, and the first two verses of Genesis chapter one, and the old earth vs young earth camps of what peoiple call creationism. Frankly I don't like the term, "creationism." It reduces the concept to a mere belief, or doctrine. I consider creation a fact, so I normally just refer to it as that -- creation. I don't so much mind being called a creationist, but I don't like refering to what I believe as "creationism." That's just me. And frankly, I don't take a particularly strong position on young vs old creation. Creation, as I said, is a fact. Young or old? Those are beliefs.
But here is what I was thinking.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
When did God create the heavens and the earth? Why, in the beginning, of course. When was the beginning? Well, the Bible doesn't say. It could have been a few thousand years ago, as some believe, or it could have been billions. We are just not told.
But create it He did. At some point in the past, God said, "Let there be stuff!" And there it was... stuff! All made up of atoms and molecules that weren't there the instant before He spoke. If you'd have been there, you would have looked around in amazement and said, "Where did all this stuff come from?" And God would have said, "Me!" Or in Quebec He would have said, "Moi!" (Because I think God is at least bilingual, probably multilingual. Or really, if you get right down to it, He would be omnilingual, if that is a word. Just another omni to describe Him.)
OK, so then, at some point, the earth (we're talking about the earth here, not the rest of the universe) was formless and empty. When was that? Well, again, we don't know. We're not told. All we can assume is that it was some time after the beginning, and some time after it was created. And for what length of time after the beginning was the earth formless and empty? Again, don't know. Seems to me it could have been minutes, could've be eons.
But I'm looking at this from an evangelistic point of view. There are certain things that are in-house discussions. That is, certain discussions, certain subjects, need not be raised in the context of introducing new people to our Christian faith. We need not jump too quickly to defend our personal positions in these matters, no matter how strongly we hold them. One of these subjects,. for instance (and I am in agreement in this with J.I. Packer), is the details of 5- or 6-point Calvinism. Another, I think, is this matter of old vs young earth creation. The bottom line is that whether we believe creation occurred thousands or billions of years ago is, especially from an evangelistic point of view, a secondary matter. It is a discussion that can just confuse, or even turn off, someone who is taking the first steps toward an investigation of Christianity.
The important thing is that they first meet Christ, and it is doubly important that we don't stand in the way of that. They can develope their own opinions on secondary matters later.