Wednesday, December 17, 2008
BabyBlueOnline: Katharine Jefferts Schori hits the Public Relations Circuit in attempt to fix Episcopal Church's broken image#links#links#links#links#links
Excellent take done by Baby Blue - good read and well done Baby Blue!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
In the Name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
We are Anglicans in North America united by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures and presently members of the Common Cause Partnership.
We know ourselves to be members of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
We are grieved by the current state of brokenness within the Anglican Communion prompted by those who have embraced erroneous teaching and who have rejected a repeated call to repentance.
We are grateful for the encouragement of Primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion who gathered at Jerusalem in June 2008 and called on us to establish a new Province in North America.
We believe that this Constitution is faithful to that call and consistent with the Historic Faith and Order of the Church and we invite the prayers of all faithful Anglicans as we seek to be obedient disciples of Jesus Christ our One Lord and Savior.
ARTICLE I – FUNDAMENTAL DECLARATIONS OF THE PROVINCE
As the Anglican Church in North America (the Province), being a part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, we believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him. Therefore, we identify the following eight elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership:
- We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.
- We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.
- We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.
- We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian.
- Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.
- We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
- We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.
- We affirm the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Statement and Jerusalem Declaration issued 29 June 2008.
In all these things, the Anglican Church in North America is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain, as the Anglican Way has received them, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to our posterity.
We seek to be and remain in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacraments and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
ARTICLE II – THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE PROVINCE
- The founding entities of the Anglican Church in North America are the members of the Common Cause Partnership namely:
- The American Anglican Council
- The Anglican Coalition in Canada
- The Anglican Communion Network
- The Anglican Mission in the Americas
- The Anglican Network in Canada
- The Convocation of Anglicans in North America
- Forward in Faith – North America
- The Missionary Convocation of Kenya
- The Missionary Convocation of the Southern Cone
- The Missionary Convocation of Uganda
- The Reformed Episcopal Church
- New dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) may be added to the Province by invitation of the Provincial Council, pursuant to the process outlined by canon.
- Member dioceses (or groups of dioceses organized into distinct jurisdictions) are free to withdraw from the Province by action of their own governing bodies at any time.
ARTICLE III – THE MISSION OF THE PROVINCE
The mission of the Province is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit that people everywhere will come to know Him as Lord and serve Him as King in the fellowship of the Church. The chief agents of this mission to extend the Kingdom of God are the people of God.
The work of the Province is to equip each member of the Province so that they may reconcile the world to Christ, plant new congregations, and make disciples of all nations; baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and, and teaching them to obey everything commanded by Jesus Christ.
The Province will seek to represent orthodox North American Anglicans in the councils of the Anglican Communion.
ARTICLE IV – THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROVINCE
- The fundamental agency of mission in the Province is the local congregation.
- Congregations and clergy are related together in a diocese, cluster, or network (whether regional or affinity-based), united by a bishop.
- Each diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based) shall be represented in the Provincial Assembly.
- Dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) may band together for common mission, or as distinct jurisdictions at the sub-Provincial level.
- Each bishop in active episcopal ministry shall be included in a Provincial College of Bishops as provided by canon.
- There shall be a Provincial Council elected by the Provincial Assembly.
- This Constitution recognizes the right of each diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based) to establish and maintain its own governance, constitution and canons not inconsistent with the provisions of
ARTICLE V – AREAS OF PROVINCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
The Provincial Council, subject to ratification by the Provincial Assembly, has power to make canons ordering our common life in respect to the following matters:
- Safeguarding the Faith and Order of the Province
- Supporting the mission of the Province
- Common Worship
- Standards for ordination
- Clergy support and discipline
- Ecumenical and international relations
- Norms for Holy Matrimony
- Providing for the proper administration of the Province
ARTICLE VI – THE PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLY
- The chief work of the Provincial Assembly shall be strengthening the mission of the Province.
- The Provincial Assembly shall ratify Constitutional amendments and Canons adopted by the Provincial Council. The process of ratification is set forth by canon.
- The Provincial Assembly shall elect the Provincial Council.
- The Provincial Assembly shall be composed of representatives of all the dioceses, clusters and networks (whether regional or affinity-based) in balance and in number from the laity, bishops and other clergy as from time-to-time determined by canon.
- The Provincial Assembly may meet as often as annually, but shall meet as an Electing Assembly at least quintennially. Meetings shall be called as provided for by canon.
ARTICLE VII – THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL
- The Provincial Council is the governing body for the Anglican Church in North America and shall have the authority to establish the program and budget of the Province.
- The Provincial Council shall be composed of an equal number of bishops, clergy and lay persons, chosen by the Provincial Assembly from among its members. Initially, the Provincial Council shall be composed of the members of the Common Cause Leadership Council, as constituted under the Common Cause Articles.
- Provincial Council members hold office for five years. The term of office ends at the close of the Provincial Assembly meeting which elects the successor.
- A retiring member of the Provincial Council is eligible for re-election for one additional term, but not for a third.
- The Provincial Council may appoint up to six persons as full members.
- The Provincial Council may appoint a deputy chair, a secretary, a treasurer and such other office bearers as it deems necessary.
- The Provincial Council will meet at least once in each calendar year. A minimum of fifteen days notice must be given for each meeting.
- Special meetings of the Provincial Council may be called by the Chair or by the request of one-third of the Provincial Council's membership.
- The Chair with the assistance of the other office bearers will be responsible for the agenda of each Provincial Council meeting. Any member has a right to have items of business placed on the agenda for consideration.
- The Provincial Council shall have an Executive Committee, whose membership and duties may be established by canon. Initially the Executive Committee shall be composed of the members of the Common Cause Executive Committee, as constituted under the Common Cause Articles.
ARTICLE VIII – THE LIMITS OF PROVINCIAL AUTHORITY
- The member dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions shall each maintain all authority they do not yield to the Province by their own consent. The powers not delegated to the Province by this constitution nor prohibited by this Constitution to these dioceses or jurisdictions, are reserved to these dioceses or jurisdictions respectively.
- The Province shall make no canon abridging the authority of any member dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions with respect to its practice regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate or presbyterate.
ARTICLE IX – THE ARCHBISHOP
- The Archbishop will be known as the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America. The Archbishop will be elected by the College of Bishops.
- The person elected as Archbishop will hold office for a term of five years concluding at the end of the meeting of the College of Bishops which elects the next Archbishop. An Archbishop who has served one term of office may be elected for a second term of office but not a third. Initially, the Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership shall serve as Archbishop and Primate of the Province.
- The Archbishop convenes the meetings of the Provincial Assembly, Provincial Council and College of Bishops and represents the Province in the Councils of the Church.
ARTICLE X – COLLEGE OF BISHOPS
- The chief work of the College of Bishops shall be the propagation and defense of the Faith and Order of the Church, and in service as the visible sign and expression of the Unity of the Church.
- Each bishop in active episcopal ministry shall be included in the College of Bishops as provided by canon.
- The College of Bishops shall elect the Archbishop from among its members.
- The College of Bishops will meet with such frequency as best serves its chief work, and at the call of the Archbishop or of the episcopal members of the Provincial Council.
- The College of Bishops shall have authority in the election of bishops of the Province which may be: a) consent to an election from a diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based), or b) the actual choice and consent from among two or more nominees put forward by a diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based), in the manner set forward by canon.
ARTICLE XI – PROVINCIAL TRIBUNAL
There shall be an ecclesiastical court of final decision to be known as the Provincial Tribunal consisting of seven members, both lay and clergy, who shall be appointed by the Provincial Council on such terms and conditions as determined by canon. The jurisdiction of the Provincial Tribunal shall be to determine matters in dispute arising from the Constitution and Canons of the Province and such other matters as may be authorized by canon.
ARTICLE XII – OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY
All church property, both real and personal, owned by each member congregation now and in the future is and shall be solely and exclusively owned by each member congregation and shall not be subject to any trust interest or any other claim of ownership arising out of the canon law of this Province. Where property is held in a different manner by any diocese or grouping, such ownership shall be preserved.
ARTICLE XIII – FINANCES
Each member diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based) or any group of dioceses organized into a distinct jurisdiction agree to share the cost of operating the Province as provided by canon.
ARTICLE XIV – REMOVAL FROM MEMBERSHIP
As may be provided by canon, a member diocese, cluster or network (whether regional or affinity-based) or any group of dioceses organized into a distinct jurisdiction may be removed from membership in the Province, after due warning from the Executive Committee, if agreed to by two-thirds of the members present and voting and at least a majority in two of the three orders of bishops, clergy and laity within the Provincial Council.
ARTICLE XV – ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF THIS CONSTITUTION
- This Constitution has been adopted by the Leadership Council of the Common Cause Partnership serving as initial Provincial Council. It shall be submitted to the Provincial Assembly for ratification at a meeting to be called by the Provincial Council not later than 31 August 2009.
- This Constitution may be amended by the Provincial Assembly by two-thirds of the members present and voting at any regular or special meeting called for that purpose. Any changes or amendments to the Constitution shall not become effective in less than ninety days following that meeting.
We certify that the text of the Provisional Constitution set out above is the text of the Provisional Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America adopted by resolution of the Common Cause Leadership Council functioning as Provincial Council on the third day of December in the Year of our Lord 2008.
The Right Reverend Robert Duncan
Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership
The Venerable Charlie Masters
Secretary of the Common Cause Partnership
1. Definition of a Diocese, Cluster or Network:
A diocese, cluster or network is a grouping gathered for mission under the oversight of a bishop consisting of a minimum of twelve congregations with an Average Sunday Attendance ("ASA" calendar year) of at least fifty each and a collective ASA of at least 1,000. These requirements may be modified on a case-by-case basis by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Provincial Council.
2. Representation at the Provincial Assembly:
Every diocese, cluster or network has representation at the Provincial Assembly at the basic level of its bishop(s), two clergy and two laypersons. For dioceses, clusters or networks with an ASA in multiples of 1,000, there will be an additional cleric and lay person for each additional 1000 ASA.
Each diocese, cluster or network shall make application to the Provincial Council for certification of the number of allowable delegates to the initial Provincial Assembly. Upon certification of the allowable number of delegates their election shall be reported to the Provincial Council no later than 30 days prior to the Provincial Assembly.
3. Representation of a Diocese, Cluster or Network "In Formation":
A diocese, cluster or network "in formation" may apply to the Provincial Council for temporary "in formation" status. If the application is approved by a majority vote of the Provincial Council, the Archbishop may appoint a Vicar General to assist in leading the diocese, cluster or network "information" to final qualification as a diocese, cluster or network in the Province. The diocese, cluster or network "in formation" shall be represented in the Provincial Assembly by the Vicar General and one clergy and one layperson. No diocese, cluster or network "in formation" shall be continued under this provision for more than five years.
4. Of Bishops and Their Election
Bishops shall be chosen by a diocese, cluster or network in conformance with their respective procedures and consistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Province. Eligibility for bishop must include being a duly ordained male presbyter of at least 35 years of age, who possesses those qualities for a bishop which are in accordance with Scriptural principles, and who has fully embraced the Fundamental Declarations of this Province.
An electing body shall certify the election of a bishop for consent by the College of Bishops, or may certify two or three nominees from which the College of Bishops may select one for the diocese, cluster or network.
Where the originating body is "in formation," that body shall normally nominate two or three candidates, from whom the College of Bishops may select one.
Consent or, choice and consent, shall require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the membership of the College of Bishops, which consent shall be given within 60 days and in writing.
Upon the consent or choice of a bishop-elect by the College of Bishops, the Archbishop shall take order for the consecration and/or installation of such bishop.
In the event the bishop-elect or the nominees are rejected by the College of Bishops, the College shall so inform the originating body inwriting.
5. Of Congregational Property
All congregational property, both real and personal, owned by each member congregation now and in the future is and shall be solely and exclusively owned by each member congregation and shall not be subject to any trust interest or any other claim of ownership arising out of the canon law of the Province. No diocese, cluster, or network (whether regional or affinity based) may assert a trust claim over the real and personal property of its parishes without the express written consent of the congregation.
A valid trust claim existing in favor of a diocese, cluster, or network (whether regional or affinity based) at the time of admission to the Province shall not be made invalid by the forgoing provisions.
6. Of Prayer Book and Common Worship
The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, are received as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
The Prayer Book and Common Worship Task Force of the Common Cause Partnership, continued as a standing committee of this Church, will develop a resource for Common Worship for Provincial events and to be commended for wider use throughout the Province. All Books of Common Prayer and liturgies previously authorized by the originating jurisdictions shall be permitted in use for this Church.
7. Of the Ordination of Deacons and Presbyters
Every Bishop shall take care that he admit no person into holy orders but such as he knows either by himself, or by sufficient testimony, to have been baptized and confirmed, to be sufficiently instructed in Holy Scripture and in the doctrine, discipline and worship of this Church, as defined by this Province so as to be a wholesome example and pattern to the entire flock of Christ.
No person shall be ordained a Deacon or Presbyter in the Church until such person shall have subscribed without reservation the following declaration:
"I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation, and I consequently hold myself bound to conform my life and ministry thereto, and I do solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Anglican Church in North America."
8. Stewardship and Provincial Financing and Budget
The Biblical principles of tithing shall be taught and encouraged at every level within the Province.
The Provincial Executive Committee, with the assistance of the Financial Vision and Stewardship Task Force, shall develop the program and budget of the Province based on commitments of the dioceses, clusters and networks, plus other monies raised. The program and budget shall be presented annually to the Provincial Council for adoption.
9. Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall have authority to carry out the work of the Province between meetings of the Provincial Council.
The move will make the long-discussed split in the Anglican Church in North America a reality.
It means in each country there will be two competing churches, both claiming allegiance to the Anglican Communion.
Whether or not this New Church is recognized within the Communion or it is the birth of a larger worldwide schism remains to be seen.
The following Press release from Anglican TV gives us some insight as to what is to happen and they of course will be live streaming the event tonight and posting clips later - as soon as I have those they will be available here.
For Immediate Release
AnglicanTV will be live streaming the historic December 3rd worship service in Wheaton, IL, at which the Common Cause Partnership will make public the draft constitution of an emerging Anglican Church in North America and officially endorse the statement of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and the Jerusalem Declaration. The service will begin at 7:30 p.m at the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church, 520 E. Roosevelt Road.
You can find the live stream on our home page and on our blog. We will also be providing embed coding for other websties and blogs that wish to use our stream.
In addition, after the service AnglicanTV will live stream the press conference from the church which is to include all the common cause partners. After the press conference we will post a video interview with Bishop Robert Duncan.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
A) Send out letters of inhibition. The letter is here.
B) File charges to depose the Bishop and let the HOB solve your issues. (This assumes also that you have authority to do so)
C) File lawsuits against the Dioceses. (This would ignore the scriptures relating to Christians sueing Christians)
D) Consider all this as formal housekeeping of TEC, even though every Sunday you pray for all Bishops and Ministers and the catholic Church. Talk about double Speak!
E) Do the Christian Thing and say we agree to disagree here - but go and serve the Lord and proclaim the Gospel - (This one assumes that you have had enough Christian rearing to know the Christian thing, that you might be a Christian, and understand the Great Commission.)
Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of God. She never has, and she never will.
Since November 15, 2008, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the Diocesan
Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. As a result, canonical
declarations of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church pertaining to us are irrelevant
and of no consequence.
And from the Standing Committee of Ft Worth:
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is a member of the Province
of the Southern Cone as of November 15, 2008. Bishop Iker is a member in good standing of
the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone.
We wonder by what authority the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United
States presumes to inhibit a bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone. We do not recognize
the authority of the Presiding Bishop over us. We regret this illegal, unconstitutional, and
uncanonical attempt to interfere with the rights and ministry of a diocese of another province of the Anglican Communion. We call upon her to desist from any further actions in our diocese and that she refrain from any further border crossing.
No mincing of words from either as best I can tell! Interesting that the SC used the old rhetoric of Border Crossing ....
Some have asked me what Parish's are involved there ... according to the statement :
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth consists of 56 congregations. The major cities in the diocese include Fort Worth,
Arlington, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Wichita Falls, Grand Prairie, Richland Hills, Brownwood, and Stephenville, Texas. The
Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker has served as the third Diocesan Bishop of Fort Worth since 1995. The diocese enjoys companion
relationships with the Dioceses of Northern Malawi and Northern Mexico.
Monday, November 24, 2008
"All people - including gay and lesbian Christians and non-Christians - are deserving of the fullest regard of the church," the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori declared during an hourlong discussion before services. "We're not going backward."
Jefferts Schori said these are the views of the church's bishops as well as its lay members - who have increasingly affirmed rights for same-sex couples. As such, Jefferts Schori's comments served as the punctuation to a historic day.
The 27,000-member Diocese of California, based in San Francisco, has ordained more gay and lesbian clergy than any other. Priests in the diocese - which includes San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa counties and part of Santa Clara County - have blessed same-sex unions for more than three decades.
Those practices, once on the margins of the Episcopal Church, have become the mainstream.
Jefferts Schori said on Sunday that she sees the path of Christ in a different manner.
"Jesus hung out with people on the margins," she said. "He hung out with people who were unacceptable to the Judaism of his time.
"He didn't spend a great deal of his time seeking to throw people out. My sense of what it means to follow Jesus is to love the image of God in our neighbors and respond to the needs of the image of God in our neighbors."
Jefferts Schori is skeptical of the fate of any breakaway churches or diocese, saying Duncan's efforts would be the latest in a line of splinter groups that failed.
Well, here we are just one year later Katie Girl .... I think you will eat those last words above, in that Satan has been trying to kill the Church since Christ was born (earlier actually) ... Satan has used puppets like Herod to try and Destroy Christ's Church. Your actions as a puppet are bringing the Anglicans of this country into unison, with a purpose to evangelize as the Great Commission calls us to do. A church without Christ at it's center will fail, just as the ancient worship of Baal ... Katie you may captain the ship of Apostasy onto the shores of doom, but the believing faithful of this country will bandage your wounds and pray for your recovery, much like the Samaritan cared for the beaten and trodden. Those that leave your direction - in the Spirit - will NOT FAIL!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The council handled seven resolutions, two of them sending a message to the 76th General Convention next summer that the Diocese of Atlanta supports "development of appropriate rites for the celebration and blessing of sacred unions for gay and lesbian persons" and the repeal of General Convention Resolution B033, which, authors said, had "run its course" and brought pain to the gay community. Hearings held on both matters revealed few objections, and the resolutions passed without floor discussion by substantial margins.
And from Central New York:
Diocese of Central New York
Subject: Openness of Ministry
Submitted by: The Very Reverend G. Thomas Luck
WHEREAS there has been much discussion and study around The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion on the subject of human sexuality and the participation of diverse people in the lay and ordained ministry of this Church; and
WHEREAS this diocese has not stated its view on this subject through Diocesan Convention; and
WHEREAS the General Convention of the Episcopal Church will take place in Anaheim in the Summer of 2009
BE IT RESOLVED that this Convention of the Diocese of Central New York states unequivocally our belief that all orders of ministry, lay and ordained, should be open to all persons regardless of sexual orientation or marital/partnered status, all other canonical requirements being met;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all lay and ordained members of this Diocese are full and valued members of this Diocese regardless of their theological views on this subject, and in no way shall anyone’s ministry suffer negatively if they disagree with this statement.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Anglican Communion will get a new province called the North American Anglican Province - its 39th.
Its new archbishop will be the deposed Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan.
The formation of this new province comes hard on the departure of four orthodox dioceses from The Episcopal Church, three Anglo-Catholic - San Joaquin, Quincy and Ft. Worth, with Pittsburgh being Evangelical and Evangelical Catholic.
In each case, the vast majority of Episcopal priests and laity voted to leave The Episcopal Church because of its abandonment of the historic Christian Faith in faith and morals, its acceptance of pansexuality, and violating both Holy Scripture and Church History.
The Episcopal Church is in numerical free fall. Recent 2007 figures catalog that the Median Average Sunday Worship Attendance is 69 (it was 77) and the net change in Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) from the previous Year was down 37,504.
In real terms, that's the equivalent of losing 543 "median-sized" congregations in 2007 or 1.5 congregations (median ASA) departing every day.
Between 1993 and 2003, The Episcopal Church lost 95,195 in Average Sunday Attendance. That averages a decline of 23,799 in ASA per year over the last four years, or an average decline of 2.9% per year.
The event will be followed by "a province-by-province visitation and appeal for recognition of the separate ecclesiastical structure in North America."
The creation of a new province, deemed unilateral by liberal provinces, comes two months before the scheduled primates' meeting in early February and leaves Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams with little or no room to maneuver.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Traditionally it takes 4 Dioceses to form a new Anglican Province. The 4th will likely come from the Diocese of Forth Worth, which will vote this weekend. This is of course expected, and likely Bishop Iker there will be presented with charges of abandoning the Church next week, and deposed at the next House of Bishops meeting next March.
Before I link to a great interview with Bishop Iker.... let me ponder for a moment what this will mean.
The Episcopal Church, which has been on the far left of religious views for years will now become even more left - and I think rapidly. With fewer conservative Dioceses, there will be fewer conservative delegates, which means that the leftist agenda will be promoted faster, and with larger margins of votes than in the past. With all the "leftist" views that have already been put in place by TEC, I can see rampant and unchecked leftist agendas passing readily at future conventions.
This of course leaves conservatives in moderate and left leaning Dioceses with an extreme minority, starting at the next General Convention. This leaves us that have stayed all these years, worshiping in a church whose views do not align with those of Holy Scripture. While I think there may be a "rush" of Parishes to align with the new and coming Province - I see very few Dioceses leaving, but as Parishes re-align the same effect in Diocesan Conventions will take affect as I have described above for the National Conventions.
To read Bishops Ikers interview - click here.
Friday, November 7, 2008
For me it is becoming more and more clear - I have not left the Church - but the Church left me - leaving me wondering without direction, and worse yet - they left without saying goodbye.
I believe in:
The Supreme Authority of Holy Scripture
The bedrock of the Evangelical Tradition is absolute confidence that Holy Scripture is the supreme authority in matters of life and faith. Without reservation or obfuscation the Evangelical Anglican affirms "Holy Scripture containeth of things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."
An insistence on biblical integrity, however, does not necessitate an abandonment of the tools of clarification and interpretation that have guided the Church since the Apostolic Age. As the search for greater understanding of Holy Scripture should be an impetus to scholarship rather than a constraint, Evangelical Anglicans never treat honest and thorough biblical scholarship as a threat to the Faith. To the Evangelical Anglican, solid scholarship marked by genuine faith will lead to neither the endless skepticism of the extreme liberal nor the sterile recapitulations of the severe fundamentalist.
for more info on Evangelical Anglicanism click here.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
How should you respond to the success of the gay agenda? Should you accept the recent trend toward tolerance? Or should you side with those who exclude homosexuals and decry the sin? The Bible calls for a balance between what some people think are two opposing reactions—condemnation and compassion. Really, the two together are essential elements of biblical love, and that’s something the homosexual desperately needs.
Homosexual advocates have been remarkably effective in selling their warped interpretations of passages in Scripture that address homosexuality. When you ask a homosexual what the Bible says about homosexuality—and many of them know—they have digested an interpretation that is not only warped, but also completely irrational. Pro-homosexual arguments from the Bible are nothing but smokescreens—as you come close, you see right through them.
God’s condemnation of homosexuality is abundantly clear—He opposes it in every age.
In the patriarchs (Genesis 19:1-28)
In the Law of Moses (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)
In the Prophets (Ezekiel 16:46-50)
In the New Testament (Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Jude 7-8)
Why does God condemn homosexuality? Because it overturns God’s fundamental design for human relationships—a design that pictures the complementary relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33).
Why, then, have homosexual interpretations of Scripture been so successful at persuading so many? Simple: people want to be convinced. Since the Bible is so clear about the issue, sinners have had to defy reason and embrace error to quiet their accusing consciences (Romans 2:14-16). As Jesus said, “Men loved the darkness rather than the Light, [because] their deeds were evil” (John 3:19-20).
As a Christian, you must not compromise what the Bible says about homosexuality—ever. No matter how much you desire to be compassionate to the homosexual, your first sympathies belong to the Lord and to the exaltation of His righteousness. Homosexuals stand in defiant rebellion against the will of their Creator who from the beginning “made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4).
Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by homosexual advocates and their futile reasoning—their arguments are without substance. Homosexuals, and those who advocate that sin, are fundamentally committed to overturning the lordship of Christ in this world. But their rebellion is useless, for the Holy Spirit says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; cf. Galatians 5:19-21).
So, what is God’s response to the homosexual agenda? Certain and final judgment. To claim anything else is to compromise the truth of God and deceive those who are perishing.
As you interact with homosexuals and their sympathizers, you must affirm the Bible’s condemnation. You are not trying to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals, you are trying to bring conviction so that they can turn from that sin and embrace the only hope of salvation for all of us sinners—and that’s through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Homosexuals need salvation. They don’t need healing—homosexuality is not a disease. They don’t need therapy—homosexuality is not a psychological condition. Homosexuals need forgiveness, because homosexuality is a sin.
First Corinthians 6 is very clear about the eternal consequence for those who practice homosexuality—but there’s good news. No matter what the sin is, whether homosexuality or anything else, God has provided forgiveness, salvation, and the hope of eternal life to those who repent and embrace the gospel. Right after identifying homosexuals as those who “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” Paul said, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
God’s plan for many homosexuals is salvation. There were former homosexuals in the Corinthian church back in Paul’s day, just as there are many former homosexuals today in faithful churches around the country. Do they still struggle with homosexual temptation? Sure they do. What Christian doesn’t struggle with the sins of their former life? Even the great apostle Paul acknowledges that fight (Romans 7:14-25). But former homosexuals sit in biblical churches throughout the country praising their Savior, along with former fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, coveters, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. Remember, such were some of you too.
What should be your response to the homosexual agenda? Make it a biblical response—confront it with the truth of Scripture that condemns homosexuality and promises eternal damnation for all who practice it. What should be your response to the homosexual? Make it a gospel response—confront him with the truth of Scripture that condemns him as a sinner, and point him to the hope of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Stay faithful to the Lord as you respond to homosexuality by honoring His Word, and leave the results to Him.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 [redacted]:02:18 PM
Subject: [HoB/D] Boundaries for Biblical Interpretation
The two questions that continue to be at the center of the struggle in all Christianity are, "What sort of authority to we assign to Scripture?" and "How do we interpret Scripture?" I would add a third, "Are there boundaries of acceptable interpretation and if so, what are they?"
I add the third because I think there may well be boundaries at both ends of the spectrum to what is acceptable and not acceptable in the employment of scripture. At the liberal end it may way be too complete a deconstruction of the texts that suggests we can edit out portions just as Thomas Jefferson did. We spend a good bit of time chewing out liberal
interpreters for this sort of thing. At the other end, however, there are also genres of interpretation and authority which do violence to scripture and subsequently violence to people. We only need look at centuries of pogroms against Jews, the justification of the enslavement of and brutality towards Africans (and others), the justifications of violence against women in order to ensure their submission to their husbands, and the total hysteria about homosexuality that leads to its criminalization, violence against gays and lesbians and their marginalization.
It is easy to dismiss the sort of nutcases who have over the years written the most reprehensible pamphlets abusing scripture for the purpose of justifying violence against people. But it is really at the closer in boundary where we need to be clear about what is and is not violence against scripture. This discussion will be much harder and the boundary tough to
demarcate, but it is important to do so. The tacit permission someone like ++Akinola gives to the imprisonment and violence against gays is unacceptable and we as a church should say so loud and clear.
This email sent to the HoB/D listserv is from Michael Russell, who contributed to this "olive branch", and oh by the way believes that the best response to departing parishes is to change locks and freeze bank accounts:
What I see here is a clear case of someone trying to back into his own choice of result by maneuvering folks into believing that his approach is reasonable, basically by proving from the git go that all other approaches (which do “violence” to everyone) are unreasonable. It’s the same old “when did you stop beating your wife” argument (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!).
Truth is, Mr. Russel has obviously never considered the idea that Jesus thought being in sin the worst offense of all, worse than being a wife, worse than being a slave, worse than being beaten bodily, worse than the most unimaginable earthly despair. He obviously cannot wrap his brain around that fact (as can almost NO revisionists) and as such must find an alternate, more “reasonable” and progressive solution.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Dear Bishop Duncan-
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We want you to know that we are lifting you and yours up in prayer. We commend you on your dedicated leadership within the Anglican Communion, Anglican Communion Network, and Common Cause Partnership. You are one of a very few Bishops who have stood for the historic faith even in light of horrible, unprecedented and unwarranted threats by The Episcopal Church (TEC). We applaud your stand for our historic faith and are proud to stand beside you as faithful laity. The Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh are also in our prayers. We encourage all faithful orthodox within Pittsburgh to move forward with renewed conviction at your upcoming Diocesan Convention and we look forward to the continuance of the realignment that you have personally helped implement so we can have a safe place to worship our God without heretical demands by the leadership of TEC.
We condemn the Presiding Bishop and House of Bishops of TEC for their illegal and unchristian actions yesterday. Their stance is a clear one- they will not stop at promoting their revisionist agenda regardless of the cost to our Church here- or across the broader Anglican Communion. Their secular mission is equally clear- to try and take property from the very individuals and parishes who built and paid for their property with no assistance whatsoever from TEC. We are lifted up, however, with the knowledge that the damage they have done to His Church will not last- as we who stand for the historic faith will emerge stronger and our mission to spread the Gospel will be strengthened. The “silent majority” are now awakened and rising up out of the pews to reform our Church. Thank you for your courageous leadership and example you provide all toward that end.
We call on the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury to condemn the actions of the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops.
We are encouraged and grateful for your rapid reception as a Bishop by the Southern Cone. Soon, many more of us will be able to work together without interference toward our goal- the formation of a new orthodox Anglican Province in North America. Better days are ahead- and we look forward to working closely with you on the formation of the new Province. Know that you have our full and complete respect and support.
May God sustain and bless you Bishop Duncan, His faithful and unwavering servant, at this time.
Chad Bates, Chair
(On behalf of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Members of Remain Faithful)
Remain Faithful is an organization of over 900 orthodox Anglican and Episcopal laity who collectively have been members of the Church for over 38, 500 years. You can join us or review our position paper at http://www.remainfaithful.org/
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Bill Boniface's famous letter
The Danger to our Church
As you're all aware this is sadly my wife's and my last day at St. Thomas'. Never in my wildest dreams when we came back to this little church after many years away and made the decision to remain in Upper Marlboro for the foreseeable future did I think we'd ever become part of that large group of folks known as "former St. Thomas' parishioners."
But now I have to talk to you from the heart. Families know that to let disagreements go without addressing them slowly destroys the bond of love and trust that holds them together. Ignoring serious disagreements only means that a price will have to be paid some time in the future. And if I didn't think the Episcopal Church's current disagreement would ever force St. Thomas' to pay a huge price in the future - in fact, the price of its very survival - I'd step away from this podium this very moment and simply walk away with the happiness of this gathering to warm me. That would be so easy. But I couldn't ever look you - or even worse, Christ - in the eye again if I did that.
I believe all the responsibilities of a Senior Warden are important, but I think his or her primary responsibility - along with the vestry - is to first and foremost guard the faith. We're a church, after all. We're here because of the faith. Without it, there would be no need for buildings or church suppers, or altar guilds. For the vestry, it's like the meaning behind a doctor's Hippocratic Oath, simply do no harm.
And so I'm going to share with you why two members of your parish family who love and cherish each and every one of you as friends and have made St. Thomas' Parish our home would drive away today for the last time and start all over again in another Episcopal parish across the Potomac River.
It's not about what anyone's done here. No one's done anything to us. Everyone has been loving and kind. No one here is pushing an agenda on us, the rector isn't being dishonest with us, and there are no disputes between parishioners that make us want to leave. Most people would say everything is calm. And it is.
But it's what's behind that calm that should scare the living daylights out of you - not just you, but your children and grandchildren.
As your Senior Warden, I've been like a seismologist who watches for earthquake activity and detects an undersea earthquake with a reading of 8.9 on the Richter scale. Because I've studied it closely from as many angles as possible, I know what an earthquake of that magnitude will mean - not today, but soon - to people who live on the shoreline and for all the people who are out on the beaches. It will be a tsunami, and it will destroy everything and everyone in its path.
My friends, there has been an earthquake deep in the depths of the Episcopal Church - and there's a tsunami coming that will affect St. Thomas' whether we close our eyes and turn our beach chairs the other way or not. For well over a year, I've been trying to warn you in the most subtle way I can that we need to seek higher ground. I've done so cautiously, in a way that wouldn't generate a controversy that would divide the parish, as has been so often the case in the past. We're a parish family, and I've openly and honestly discussed the danger with our rector and many others for some time now. I decided it was best to approach the vestry in a manner more like a mild intervention than a debate. In that conversation, it became clear to me that St. Thomas' is hopeful that the tsunami racing toward the parish will somehow simply pass us by.
As we all have an obligation to protect our families, I decided that even as I will continue to warn of impending disaster, it's my responsibility to take my own family to higher ground. It always upsets me when I see parents on the news reports when a huge hurricane is approaching who have "decided to stay and ride it out," their tiny children visible in the background hoping in all their innocence that mom and dad weren't going to let them be killed. To ignore the wave that's heading toward us and picking up force and height every day is simply unthinkable to me. Even if we want to disregard it for our own lives - and many of us here today have already had the chance to live full ones - why would you risk your children and grandchildren?
The desire to "remain comfortable" by refusing to recognize the disagreement exists or try hard not to face up to it even if you know it does, can't possibly give us comfort. It's reality and the facing up to it that gives us comfort. Comfort doesn't bring us reality.
So what is this great "tsunami" that's rolling toward us? It's a radical agenda that has as its primary target not St. Thomas' Parish, not the Episcopal Church - these will just be "collateral damage" in its wake - but the concept of Church itself. If this tsunami can get far enough inland, your children and grandchildren or their children and grandchildren are unlikely to care about - much less be a part of - any church during their lifetimes.
So what makes me so wise as to offer such an assertion? Nothing special. I've studied the situation, prayed on it, sought to understand every aspect of it and, finally, been fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at the "playbook" of those who caused the earthquake in the first place.
To put it another way, I've seen "the man behind the curtain." I know why and how the strings are being pulled and can turn the pages to see what's coming next. Like people who pick up the Bible for the first time, get bored reading all the confusing names in Genesis and turn to the more "exciting" part - Revelation - I quickly thumbed my way to the back of the playbook. I saw the final play, then I started looking backward at the pages of strategies and tactics that would make it possible.
This is not a playbook that's knowingly being used on us by anyone in the parish. The brilliance of the strategy is that in it each of us can find something that seems to make sense, something we can support, something that we can even advocate, but no one in our own little family is forcing anything down our throats. All of us, after all, have shown that we're really all just trying to be good Christians.
But that's where the benign and unknowing acceptance of the strategy ends. Forces in the diocese are hard at work with the playbook carefully tucked under their suit jackets and vestments, working each small part to create the synergy to achieve the ultimate goal. In many other dioceses, and indeed all the way to the Presiding Bishop's Office of our national church headquarters, the strategy is being carefully played out like a chess game. The tsunami is being strengthened day after day, even as our Children's Choir rehearses, the ladies in the Altar Guild place flowers on the altar, and as good people are educated for ministry.
You don't just see it here. Go down the road to other small Episcopal parishes. I've visited many churches throughout the diocese and I see much the same in most small country parishes. Everyone is holding their breaths that the great wave won't engulf them, and as they do, their numbers dwindle, the money goes away, and they will most surely be overtaken. And they'll eventually be dots on a map of historical parishes where people will visit on a touring bus, but where all the parishioners are gone.
Then there are courageous parishes - even small ones - that have seen the storm brewing and taken prudent measures so that when it passes, they'll be able to survive it and go on worshiping God when it's run its course. All Saints in Chevy Chase, Christ Church in Accokeek, Christ Church in Port Republic, and Truro Church in Fairfax are just a few among them. They've "gone to higher ground." Not as individuals, but as parishes.
What is this "higher ground?" its members of a congregation standing together arm in arm in faith to guard the faith from the coming onslaught against it. It's certainly what I've wished St. Thomas' could be - like a beacon of faith in the countryside - standing first for the faith against all harm that might come to it. It's a fight I would gladly lead were there a congregation to follow.
If there is one fight in our lives which we should all be a part of before we take up permanent residency out there in our cemetery, it's the fight for Christ and the faith. Many of our folks fight great fights for land rights or other worthy causes. But when it comes to standing up boldly against the most serious assault on our church since the English Reformation, these same people are notably absent. Surely Christ should have at least equal status to real estate and land policies.
Does the Danger Really Exist?
Some of you doubt the very notion that there's a serious and divisive situation in the Episcopal Church today. Please don't rely on me or any one person to sway you. Make your own decision from the following facts and then decide on your own whether this is serious enough:
Over 40,000 faithful Episcopalians left the Church last year (didn't just change congregations, but left it altogether).
100 entire congregations have left together to form new churches or worship under the protection of foreign Anglican primates or bishops.
11 dioceses have formed a Network within the Episcopal Church structure in opposition to the direction their Church is going.
These dioceses represent 1,100 clergy, 735 congregations and 176,000 faithful communicants.
Cathedrals and multi-million dollar retreat centers are being closed down and sold to raise money for the Episcopal Church due to losses of parishioners who took their money with them.
The Washington Diocese alone is tapping $1.9 million from a trust fund just to continue operating ($1.4 million this budget year alone).
In the Diocese of Newark (NJ), where there is reputedly the strongest support of any diocese for the Episcopal Church's new agenda, 40 parishes are projected to close this year.
22 of the other 37 provinces in our Anglican Communion have declared impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church.
15 of these 22 provinces now officially recognize only the Network - not the Episcopal Church - as the voice of Anglicanism in the U.S. These 15 provinces represent 55 million Anglicans.
Faithful priests all over the country are being deposed and inhibited by their bishops for speaking against the church's "new direction."
The Episcopal Church is suing a number of Episcopal congregations for their church property in a number of states who won't go along with the new "doctrine."
Two parishes in the Washington Diocese have joined the Network in opposition to the church's policies and 13 vestries in the Diocese of Maryland have joined together as "confessing vestries" whose congregations refuse to follow the church's new policies.
While it's quiet in our small corner of the countryside, you're free to render your own judgments as to whether these facts represent business as usual in the Church or something more. I myself contend that the tremendous damage already recorded was merely the first - and smallest - wave of the tsunami that will eventually hit. Whole dioceses, parishes, entire congregations and thousands of individuals like my wife and me are "going to higher ground" - to help prepare for the onslaught.
What the Crisis Isn't About
So what is it that's behind this dangerous agenda? A radical agenda orchestrated by supposedly "gay rights" activists that seeks far more than just rights. Who in this congregation is not for equal rights for all people? Who in this congregation wants any among us to have fewer rights than us? I can tell you from experience that all those dioceses and parishes who are standing in opposition to the Episcopal Church's new direction aren't against those things. And I seriously doubt that any of us are.
But it's not about equal rights. That's simply the strategic sound-byte. It's about taking human experience and desire, laying it up next to Holy Scripture, and asserting that it's the Holy Scripture that's in error and has been for these almost two thousand years. That behaviors - not just sexual orientations, which are completely neutral - are not only acceptable, but that bishops and priests should now both affirm and call down God's blessing upon them.
Most changes - like women's ordination - come about by the presentation of theological arguments that show how they line up with Holy Scripture. No such case has been made for the Episcopal Church's "new thing." They simply did it "with good intentions" by a vote at a convention. Those other sins remain, of course, "but we're voting this particular one to no longer be a sin." The real eye-opener here is this: Most of our bishops consider the Bible pretty much irrelevant today except to prepare sermons.
You should know that at that same convention in Minneapolis in 2003, 60% of the Episcopal church's bishops voted against - yes, against - a resolution to reaffirm the beliefs of their ordination vows and the agreements of belief of the Anglican Communion signed by our presiding bishops over the years. Reaffirming beliefs would have been a good way to help calm the crisis. Not being willing to reaffirm them - as the Church's leadership - speaks volumes for where our denomination is heading.
I'm proud to stand up each week and reaffirm my belief through the words of the Nicene Creed. Can you imagine what it would be like if the lay reader asked you to stand up and together reaffirm our faith through that creed and 60% of your congregation remained quietly seated?!? Welcome to the Episcopal Church of the "anti-war, free love" '60's-generation bishops. They are the perfect group upon which to work a dangerous and radical agenda because they believe their degrees on their walls confer upon them wisdom not held by a bunch of simplistic Apostles. Those Apostles may have walked on earth with Christ, but we are now told how "unenlightened" they were and that "they just didn't understand all of this back then."
As a friend of mine used to say, "I was born on a Tuesday, but not last Tuesday." I'll take what the Apostles said any day.
The Real Agenda
This well-organized but radical fringe has a goal that goes well beyond anything any of my own gay friends have ever voiced support for - the ultimate demise of the Church itself. Not just the Episcopal Church - but all churches.
Why this goal to get rid of the churches? Because when society has completed its transition to open acceptance of all types of sexual behaviors, the Church will be the only place left where doctrine and discipline stand in the way of people being free to follow any norms they desire.
The Church simply has to go if people are going to be free to do as they wish without admonition.
The best way to beat down opposition to this dangerous agenda is to paint all those who recognize it and are determined to stand in their way as "anti-gay" or "homophobic" - a strategy used all over society today. How many times have you heard that our Church's controversy is about nothing but sex? Or that we're all wound around the axle over "homosexuality."
But we're all adults here. Let's look at the facts: We live, work and worship together with people of all types and of differing sexual orientations. In the almost eight years my wife and I have attended St. Thomas', no one to my knowledge has cared one iota who is black or white, old or young, gay or straight. As I said at the beginning, we're all a family of Christians. And Christians by definition accept all people who come to God. They love one another. Otherwise, they really have no business being called "Christians."
Whether our behaviors will find favor with God when the Day of Judgment arrives is unknown. We only have the Word to go by, and we can follow what Scripture says or not. It's a personal thing and we're all in the same boat. I personally hope for my sake that God is a merciful one - or at least has a sense of humor when I arrive! One thing I do know is that I will personally pin my hopes for salvation on what the Apostles passed down, not on a vote at General Convention, past or future, whether they vote away and affirm my own sins or not.
Another popular way to quell dissent is to repeatedly encourage everyone "to get back to the things that are really important." We should all "focus on other things." Nonsense. These are hugely important issues and we can address them and still do all the other "important" things. These pleas are simply a way of saying "take your eye off the ball and, quick, look over there...!"
The strategy being worked on us depends on two lines of attack, one against society in general, and one against the churches. The strategy against society - like a guerilla war - began subtly and picked up more and more steam as it achieved success over the past four decades. In this case, it's been over forty years of one small success after another.
The strategy is so brilliant that we should all wish this bunch was directing our war on terrorism today.
The strategy to soften up the society is necessary to lay the groundwork for the strategy on the church, simply because people in churches live in that society.
The Strategy Against Society
Here's the strategy for the society at large:
Teach the children from an early age through schools and other organizations that making judgments - especially moral ones - is a bad thing (everyone should be unconditionally accepted).
Preach and model moral relativism (what you think is good or bad depends on the situation) at every opportunity; there are no absolutes when it comes to good or evil.
Where debate has been traditionally encouraged, particularly in high schools and colleges, launch a program of "political correctness" to stifle it; stating values or viewpoints other than the "correct" position is not only discouraged, but prohibited.
Give support to hate crimes legislation, then expand it to include hate speech to quiet open dissent, where people may actually be arrested for voicing their views in public; only protect open speech that supports the radical agenda.
Moving the Strategy into the Church
This strategy, which has been highly successful, sets the stage for people's thinking about the church. Here are some key points to their strategy for the churches:
Find a church of relatively small membership but wide recognition with the most liberal philosophy and the most "flexible" theology: The Episcopal Church
Flood that church with as many radical activists as possible, including ordaining priests.
Build those numbers over years, and combine with activist laity to achieve strategic placements on national church councils and diocesan staffs.
Find the state with the lowest "churched" population of all 50 states in the nation - a "weakest link" - and vote in an activist priest as bishop. New Hampshire.
Force a vote at General Convention to approve his consecration and at the same time another to approve "blessing rites" for non-celibate homosexual partners in spite of the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops recommending strongly against it and almost the entire Anglican Communion pleading with the Episcopal Church not to do it.
Label those who oppose these moves as "un-inclusive" and "un-Christian", regardless of whether grounds for either assertion exist.
Paint African and other "Two-Thirds World" Anglicans as "simple" and "backward" as reasons for their opposition; like the Apostles, they're too "simple" to understand that the Bible really isn't correct.
Force those who disagree - clergy and laity - either out of parishes altogether or into submission (use jobs and pensions for leverage against clergy; use church property against laity).
Weaken belief in Holy Scripture:
- Teach that Jesus is not the only way to God
- Teach that the Gospel has simply been misunderstood all these years
- Teach that other religions are equally valid; Christianity holds no sway over others
- Affirm all "feelings" and behaviors
- Teach that transformation by Jesus is unnecessary; what you want to do is paramount
- Ultimately point to the fallacy of the whole Bible, not just selected portions.
Eventually, belief will be sufficiently weakened to support the activist's ideology that not only do human desire and experience trump Holy Scripture, but that lacking a valid foundation, belief in Jesus is illogical. Transformation from what? Redemption from what? Neither is any longer necessary. "Come as you are, stay as you are" will be the prevailing call. Jesus - and His death for our sins - becomes irrelevant.
The failure of the Episcopal Church or its decline into near irrelevance will be the jumping off point for attacks on other churches until there no longer exists a moral authority which can challenge the elevation of human desire and experience.
So am I saying our rector is part of this agenda? I think only in the sense that he's been trained and educated over the decades to passionately believe in the nice part of the agenda that appears so benign. He's a decent and gentle person and I think he has a strong faith. I'm sure he doesn't recognize the dangers of the larger agenda and would speak out loudly to tell you it isn't there. Sometimes when you're in the "belly of the beast" everything seems pretty normal. It's only when someone makes noise fighting the beast from the outside that you realize you're not where you thought you were. That's my friend Hugh's predicament. Like I said earlier, I don't buy the new packaging of our faith. He does. It's the biggest thing we disagree on.
Reason for Hope
As brilliant as this strategy is, however, thousands of faithful Episcopalians have seen through it and are coming together to counter it. It's true that "All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing" and I'm thoroughly heartened that a lot of good men and women recognize the danger are not just standing by and "doing nothing."
I think Martin Luther had it just right when he said:
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not professing Christ, no matter how boldly I may be professing Christ.
Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. To be steady on all battlefields besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."
I plan to be where the battle rages. I hope in all sincerity that St. Thomas' will in time realize the danger, go to higher ground and keep this beautiful little parish from becoming nothing more than a historical site in years to come. It's a battle I'd stand beside you in.
Don't just take just what I've written here or any one person's viewpoint to decide which way you want to look at the problem. There is a massive amount of information on both sides of the issue, and if you really care what happens to your parish, go out and find it. It's that important.
In the love of Christ and in His promise of hope,
Bill Boniface is a retired U.S. Navy captain and parishioner at Truro Church.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
There are specific warning signs that are symptomatic that a church may be headed down the emergent/contemplative road. In some cases a pastor may not be aware that he is on this road nor understand where the road ends up.
Here are some of the warning signs:
- Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.
- The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.
- More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.
- The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.
- The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.
- The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past
- An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.
- Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.
- The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.
- While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.
Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.
What does the Future Hold?
If the Emerging Church continues unfolding at the present pace, mainstream evangelical Christianity will be reinvented and the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures will be considered too narrow and too restrictive. In other words, the narrow way to heaven that Jesus proclaimed will eventually be abandoned for a wider way that embraces pagan experiential practices. I call this reinvented, re-imagined form of Christianity that is unfolding—“Christian Babylonianism”.
This new form of Christianity will replace biblical faith with a faith that says man can establish the kingdom of God here on earth. The Word will continue to become secondary to a system of works driven by experiences.
The best way to be prepared for what is coming is to gain an understanding of what is happening now. While there are not many who seem to discern the trend underway, there are some. Without the Bible and the Holy Spirit as our guide, the darkness that is coming would be overwhelming. However, the light of God’s Word penetrates the darkness and there are those who are being delivered from deception and see what is taking place.
I am convinced we are seeing apostasy underway, exactly as the Scriptures have forewarned. This means that this current trend is not likely to disappear. We must continue to proclaim the truth in the midst of deception with love. As Paul instructed Timothy:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2: 24-26).
Monday, September 8, 2008
September 3, 2008
Remain Faithful, a lay led organization comprised of orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans is planning to take a very active role in support of the establishment of an orthodox Anglican Province in North America. The Anglican communion in North America has been split into two separate churches with polarizing differences in beliefs over the past 30 years. It is apparent that a reconciliation is not going to occur as the orthodox historic faith is being compromised by new age revisionist theology.
According to noted English journalist Andrew Carey, son of retired Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, "The depressing and urgent situation in The Episcopal Church becomes ever clearer over time, despite all of the efforts of their liberal church leaders to try and persuade the rest of the Anglican Communion that really we’re just like you. Close watchers of the US … will be more aware than most of the state of that Church. Heterodoxy [unorthodoxy] is never punished, whereas orthodox impatience is the subject of lawsuits all over the country. And the amount of heterodoxy uttered in The Episcopal Church is truly astonishing. Even leaving aside the virtual atheism of Bishop Spong’s ‘Twelve Theses’, we’ve had bishops claim that the church can ‘re-write the Bible’, others make sweeping apologies for Christian mission to those of other faiths, while the Presiding Bishop views Jesus as just one way among many."
The laity have realized that The Episcopal Church (TEC) will not change course. Numerous orthodox Anglicans have therefore left or are contemplating leaving the Church. Remain Faithful believes strongly that the answer lies in the formation of an orthodox Anglican Province in North America as has been outlined by the Common Cause Partnership, and endorsed by GAFCON, and is committed to being a strong lay voice beside our faithful Clergy to help make this happen. As such, Remain Faithful will be hosting its second conference on Saturday September 27, 2008 at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas. All orthodox Anglicans are invited to attend. “Mobilizing the Faithful- Toward a Faithful Future” will begin at 10:00 a.m. on the Saturday morning and will include educational components of how we got where we are and the true differences in our beliefs, factual information for delegates and vestry members, and a call from Remain Faithful to move forward in earnest with the formation of the new orthodox Anglican Province in North America. Please rsvp on our website at http://www.remainfaithful.org/ . The conference will conclude with a lunch around 1:00 p.m.
"All across our planet orthodox Anglicans acknowledge this intolerable situation where the communion has been derailed from its historic faith by revisionists within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada. We fully support the position reached by the founders of Common Cause Partnership to form a new orthodox Anglican Province in North America, and as was highlighted at the recent GAFCON meeting of orthodox Anglicans in Jerusalem. We call on the Primates of GAFCON to formally acknowledge a new orthodox Province in North American and we stand ready as faithful laity to insure a rapid and complete formation of this new Province. It should be stressed, we are not leaving the Church- TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada have left the historic Anglican faith. We can no longer stand by and watch the situation deteriorate further. The time for action is now." Chad Bates, Remain Faithful Chair stated.
"We must be devoted to neither man nor institution, but to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, the risen God who lived and died for our sins and is the sole source of our eternal salvation, and His revealed word to us, the Bible, which contains all things necessary for salvation and is authoritative in our behavior and daily lives. We must stand up for our faith, once delivered to the Saints. We must move forward together with our Anglican brothers and sisters in Christ who share our orthodox beliefs to share the Good News of Christ's redemption with the world." Cora Werley, Spokesperson for Remain Faithful added.
Remain Faithful is in the planning stages for how the laity can stand beside and complement faithful Clergy to move forward rapidly with this new Province formation and will be working in conjunction with Common Cause Partnership to provide lay leadership and support for the new Province. Remain Faithful was formed in late May of this year, but already has well over 830 members from over 60 Dioceses and over 16 countries. The membership represents over 33,200 years of membership as Episcopalians and Anglicans. Its membership includes those from The Episcopal Church, Canada, AMiA, CANA, REC, and many other members of the Anglican Communion. For more information on Remain Faithful, go to our website at http://www.remainfaithful.org/.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The Gospel reading this week was from Matthew ....
Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28
[Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." Then the disciples approached and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?" He answered, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit." But Peter said to him, "Explain this parable to us." Then he said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile."]
Jesus left Gennesaret and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.On first glance one might say that Jesus was rude, crass, calling the woman a dog .... let me assure you this is not what I believe as I heard in a sermon this Sunday. This would imply that Jesus did not love this woman, in effect breaking the 2nd commandment. This would then mean that He sinned, and could not be the perfect sacrifice for my sins.
By looking at the lesson being taught before the encounter with the woman, you can easily see that Jesus was talking and teaching about the power of our words, what comes from our mouth being evil or good, - as what comes from the mouth comes from the HEART - and if it is evil that is what defiles the person in God's view ... not their outward person and not their nationality.
So here as the woman is encountered, Jesus waits to see what comes from the mouth of the woman - her HEART - and it was not evil, it did not defile her, it was good and filled with faith.
As a side note:
Dog was a term that the Jews used commonly about Gentiles (as was this woman) .. as it was more likely that dog would recieve God's blessing than the pagan Gentile. Jesus was not degrading this woman, but using this term he was contrasting the Jewish view to his own view. AS you can see the woman did not argue, did not leave but instead used using Jesus's choice of words, she asked for a blessing from her heart.
Ironically many Jews would miss out or lose God's blessing and salvation because they rejected the Messiah; and many Gentiles would find salvation because they recognized and accepted him as this woman did.
Monday, August 18, 2008
“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat,” Matthew 12:1. In this chapter of the Gospel of Matthew something occurs that is pivotal in Christ’s ministry. First of all we see Jesus and His disciples pick corn and eat it on the Sabbath day. One of the many Pharisaical laws was no one works on the Sabbath. Jesus listening to their ranting tries to explain about the Sabbath and how David and his men ate the shewbread from the temple and that the priests in the
After picking the corn Jesus then went against the Law and healed a man with a withered hand, and then Matthew tells us that Jesus went out from them because the Pharisees were conspiring to kill Him. The multitude followed Him and He healed them all. The Greek word translated “healed” is therapeuō which is where we get our English word therapeutic. In the Greek it has different meanings, some of which are to heal, cure, restore to health. It can also mean to serve, or do service. Jesus served His followers by attending to their needs and restoring their health. Afterwards, Jesus healed a man who was deaf, dumb, and possessed with a demon. At this point the Pharisees had seen and heard enough; they were determined to destroy Jesus.
Throughout the Gospels we can read about how the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus for going against their man made traditional laws. Jesus gave these hard hearted and foolish individuals every opportunity to understand and to believe. He spoke to them plainly, so plainly that a child could understand what He was professing. Did they misunderstand Jesus or were they so completely consumed by their own perversions that they couldn’t see the truth? The sin of what the Pharisees did next must be considered satanic.
The Pharisees’ next words were a deliberate not accidental statement. They had witnessed over and over again the Lord’s power and had the evidence right at their fingertips as to who Jesus was, but still they said “…This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils,” Matthew 12:24.
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, went into an explanation about how a house divided against itself cannot stand in verse 25, but then in a rebuking manner Jesus states, “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out? therefore they shall be your judges”, Matthew 12:27. It appears as though they themselves were also casting out demons, apparently in the manner of today’s exorcisms. So by calling Jesus Beelzebub they had just condemned themselves, and this is what brought Jesus to His next point. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men… ‘And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him…” Matthew 12: 31 – 32a.