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Palm Sunday: Let’s talk about Jesus!

April 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Doctrine Comments Off

By Andrew Symes
 
Over the last few weeks, all over the country the church has been engaged in mission. Local churches have been running “Real Lives” and “Passion for Life” events, student Christian Unions have followed up the successful one-to-one “Uncover” Gospel reading programme with the traditional Lent mission weeks. Alpha and Christianity Explored courses have continued to draw in those from the fringes and on the outside of church life. Even some Bishops have been leading evangelistic events, talking about Christ from the Scriptures, sharing their own faith in him, and urging listeners to repent and believe. Congregations have also been demonstrating Christ’s love in practical ways, hosting food banks, debt counselling services, cafes, and parent and toddler drop ins. We look forward to hearing stories of lives transformed and numbers increasing in churches!

As we approach Easter, there is a compelling argument that mission should be the focus of positive news about the church, rather than the internal disputes that give us such a bad name. “Lets stop talking about sex, and rather talk about Jesus! Lets stop criticising the culture, and instead be good news for the culture!” On the other hand, Palm Sunday reminds us that talking about Jesus is not the same as a chaplaincy role that accepts the status quo and steers away from the controversial issues of the day.

As our Lord prepared to enter Jerusalem from Jericho, perhaps he had had the same thoughts about the message and tone of his mission, and maybe even discussed them with his disciples. How are we going to play this? Be affirming of the ruling powers and prevailing philosophies, and leverage them to our advantage? Work within the religious systems and with the current leaders towards a renewed faith?

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Accommodating Archbishop Welby

March 30th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Doctrine, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Peter Mullen

Archbishop Justin Welby has told The Guardian: ‘I think the Church has reacted by fully accepting that same-sex marriage is the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.” He added on this morning’s Sunday programme that the government was “perfectly within its rights to make this law.”

Two things then.

First, we know that Christians should continue to demonstrate the love of Christ for everyone. Welby’s words are just cliche, cant and touchy-feeliness. Secondly, while we might agree with him that the government was within its rights to pass this law, does this entail that Christians must accept it? Whatever happened to the Scheltrede and the Drowert – the prophetic word of judgement? Marriage is a Christian Sacrament instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency for, among other things, the procreation of children and the avoidance of fornication. Neither of these two things is possible in same-sex “marriage.” A same-sex “marriage” is not a marriage. The Book of Common Prayer directs us to the second chapter of St John’s gospel which tells how Christ “ordained and beautified with his presence” the wedding at Cana. In The Book of Revelation, Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is his Bride. Thus the Sacrament of marriage – which includes the definition of marriage – belongs to the Church. And the Church says it is between a man and a woman.

This is not to say that there are no other forms of personal and sexual relationships. But whatever they are, they are not marriage. It follows that anyone who declares marriage to be something other than what the Church celebrates and defines thereby desecrates the Sacrament

And it is the duty of the Archbishop to say so.

Read here

Read opinions on the future of the Church of England from Roman Catholics David Lindsay and Damian Thompson, and one from the Ordinariate


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Refuting serious doctrinal allegation against conservative evangelicals at Sheffield Diocesan Synod

March 9th, 2014 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Evangelicalism Comments Off

By Julian Mann

A serious doctrinal allegation was levelled against conservative evangelicals at Sheffield Diocesan Synod during its March 8th debate on women bishops. The speaker concluding the debate alleged that our complementary view of the inter-relationship between the divine Persons of the Holy Trinity goes against the Church of England's 39 Articles of Religion.

Earlier on, General Synod and Crown Nominations Commission member Jane Patterson, who belongs to Christ Church Fulwood in south-west Sheffield, had articulated very clearly and courageously the complementarian view against women bishops. She said: 'I and many others believe that, in creation, in the family and in His church God made men and women to reflect the relationship and roles of the Trinity, equal but different, the so-called complementarian or headship view. This ordering of relationship is for all time, not changing with the times or culture, and despite what “England Expects”.'

But conservative evangelicals like her were accused of adopting a 'recent' view of the Trinity contrary to the 39 Articles. This allegation calls for an answer.

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Has Steve Chalke fallen for the oldest trick in the Book?

March 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Doctrine Comments Off

By David Baker, Christian Today

Maverick Christian leader Steve Chalke is seen by some as the herald of a revolution in Christian theology – and by others as a dangerous false teacher.

Either way, the latest salvo he has fired into the world of Biblical scholarship has been delivered with his customary self-confidence and bravado.

Any claim that the Bible is "without error or contradiction – that it's 'infallible' or even 'inerrant'… is extremely misleading," he asserts. The Word of God is a person – Jesus – "not a manuscript", and Scripture is "a dynamic conversation which, rather than ending with the finalisation of the canon of the Bible, continues beyond it".

The "result of all this is that… we may sometimes come to a developed, or even different, view from some of those contained in the canon of Scripture."

It's not possible to do justice to his ideas in a few sound-bites, of course. His views can be read fully on his Oasis website. But what is clear is that Chalke's assertions represent a breath-taking departure from two millennia of Christian belief. Here's why.

Read here


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The meaning and cost of witness

March 4th, 2014 Jill Posted in Christianity, Doctrine Comments Off

By Andrew Symes, for AAC

Growing up in England and attending evangelical churches and student Christian unions, I learned that ‘witness’ and ‘friendship evangelism’ were more or less interchangeable. We were encouraged to share our testimony: we have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ which we can describe in terms of the benefits in the present; we can tell the story of how we began this relationship; we can explain how the new life and eternal security is possible through the death and resurrection of our Saviour. My story, my present experience, the Bible’s theology – these together tie the personal to the universal; ‘my truth and reality’ to what is true and real and therefore urgent for everyone. An individual confirming the testimony of other individuals, creating a family bond with them and thereby being the church.

Now of course one could point out the flaws of this approach, not least the ecclesiology. But there is no denying the powerful advantages of the simple evangelical faith for bringing others to Christ and growing the church. As part of our task as disciples is to ‘witness’, we pray for those with whom we come into contact who do not share our faith; we look for opportunities to “give a reason for the hope in us”. Some of us are better than others, and are successful evangelists at the local church level. The development of courses such as Alpha and Christianity Explored mean that it does not all depend on us: we can invite friends to hear the Gospel and discuss it in a group. Our evangelism in this way leads to church growth, as the church I attend has found. The congregation has been encouraged and trained in evangelism, and are sharing faith with their friends and neighbours informally. After a Parish “mission week” in late January, more than a dozen previously with no faith and a number of “fringe” people are now attending a Christianity Explored course.

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Resisting the revisionist interfaith crusade

March 2nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Islam Comments Off

By Julian Mann, Virtueonline

It should not need to be said. But the revisionist Anglican crusade for inter-faith 'partnerships' is making it increasingly difficult to say it at synods and clerical gatherings without being accused of heresy: Muslims are not the spiritual brothers and sisters of Christians.

The New Testament is clear that the family or household of God is comprised of believers in the real biblical Lord Jesus Christ who, contra the Koran, was the incarnate Son of God, was crucified in person and did rise again bodily from the dead.

For example, the Apostle Paul thus addresses former pagans who became Christians and joined local churches in and around Ephesus in the 1st century AD:

"Consequently you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2v19-20 – NIV).

It is such people that Paul addresses in familial terms in his letters and distinguishes them from those who do not believe in the Jesus Christ proclaimed by the New Testament Apostles. For example, in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul asks for prayer from the Christian community for himself as a preacher of the saving message of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ:

"Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith" (2 Thessalonians 3v1-2).

It is true that not all Muslims are hostile to Christians. But many definitely are and, incited by Koranic texts, support violence against Christians.

There is still a naivety about Islam among the English middle classes from whom Anglican clergy are largely drawn. John Laffin, in his prophetic 1979 book The Dagger of Islam warned of a growing anti-Christian feeling amongst Islamic militants, which we have seen coming to violent fruition since then:

Read here

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The Evidence for Virtue: Social Science, Natural Law, and Human Flourishing

February 28th, 2014 Jill Posted in Christianity, Doctrine, Morality Comments Off

By Paul D Miller, Public Discourse

Christians have nothing to fear and everything to gain from good social science. It provides a way to talk normatively about human flourishing in terms that are intelligible, legitimate, and persuasive to those outside the community of faith.

How can Christians make arguments that are persuasive to those who do not share their most basic presuppositions? That is the quandary in which Christians—and Jews and Muslims—find themselves as public discourse is increasingly framed, mediated, and policed by people for whom religion is not simply incredible, but irrelevant. This dilemma is not new, but it has sharpened significantly as Christians struggle to articulate reasons for supporting marriage as the union of man and woman to a secular culture that suddenly discovered it had no reasonable grounds to agree with them anymore.

The traditional Christian response, and one that some thinkers have tried in recent years, is to frame arguments in terms of natural law. The effort, on the surface, made sense. Because we understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be objectively true and applicable to all persons regardless of time or culture, the moral guidelines to which it gives rise are similarly objective and universal. This is natural law: a universal moral code inscribed in creation, applicable across time and culture, and accessible by reason. Because God has written the natural law on the hearts of all mankind, all people—Christian and non-Christian alike—can discern it (though, of course, not perfectly, and not without training and education). Natural law and reason should be a common language with which to talk to others who do not share our belief in revelation.

But Christians have not exhausted the resources available for speaking in terms intelligible, legitimate, and persuasive to those outside the community of faith. There is another such a way. It's called social science.

Read here

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Lies, damn lies and the UN’s attack on the Church: some fun-facts the MSM probably won’t mention

February 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Media, Roman Catholicism Comments Off

by Hilary White, LifeSite News

Following the first law of modern journalism – never let the facts get in the way of a good story – the mainstream media is gleefully pouncing on the UN report, issued last week, that has repeated one of their favourite anti-Catholic themes: that the Vatican did nothing but wink while local bishops pushed clerical pedophiles from parish to parish, allowing them to reoffend with impunity.

The solution offered to the Catholic Church by the Committee on the Rights of the Child just happens to be exactly the program the modern secular media has supported since about 1965: to get on board with the general frenzy to promote and normalize homosexuality, cohabitation, abortion, contraception and sexual activity outside marriage by minors… the whole of the Sexual Revolution’s repertoire. Oh, and drop all that “organized religion” stuff, while you’re at it. This, the UN’s Committee said, is what is needed to prevent children and young people from being victims of sexual abuse…somehow.

The Vatican has responded with a dull recitation of the facts: that the UN’s information is obsolete and inaccurate, and that more has been done by the Catholic Church – particularly by Cardinal Ratzinger while he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – than any other organization to protect children. And, more to the point, that the UN has no business telling the Church what to believe and teach about sex and marriage. Naturally this has been roundly ignored.
 
Read here
 
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Primates: a selection from those who did not monkey about

February 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Heresy Comments Off

By Roger Salter, Virtueonline

A swift review of former archbishops of the Ecclesia Anglicana discloses that the primatial office of Archbishop of Canterbury has been held by many men of great distinction and talent, theological, pastoral, and administrative – men who were made bold by God and of marked benefit to his Church. What is noticeable about the significant archbishops is their pronounced and principled promotion of the Word of God and some key aspect of it that needed proclamation in their time. Whatever their imperfections and weaker points, they promoted some particular facet or facets of divine truth that warranted strong emphasis for the sound thinking, teaching, and welfare of the people of God, for which the believing community is forever grateful.

No cause is greater for the clergy of the first rank than the promulgation and preservation of truth (Therefore, although the church is a witness and a guardian of Holy Scripture, yet it is not open to it to prescribe anything contrary to Scripture, or to enforce anything not found in Scripture to be believed as necessary to salvation. Article 20). To feed and lead the Lord's flock requires a mind saturated with Scripture and absolute stickability to the truth that Scripture yields. A true shepherd does not break down the hedges, fences, and folds that protect the sheep from harm and he does nothing to allow the invasion of ravaging wolves. A bishop removes threats to the souls in his care and does not negotiate with any menace in any guise. He doesn't look to the world for wisdom and direction but to the Word authored and illuminated by the Spirit.

To even consider the possible legitimacy of some things suggested by contemporary culture is already a concession that must lead to the collapse of Christian integrity and obedience. Our first duty is not to expand the boundaries of the Church but to expound the Word of the Lord and entrust the outcome to him. He adds to his Church, not our schemes of relaxation-of-precept and bogus attempts at reconciliation of alien notions and behaviors. Our notions of kindness, fair play, and compassion must never contravene the holy will of God or jeopardize the purity of his people and their testimony among men.

Read here

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On Biblical Rhetoric and Prophetic Speech

February 17th, 2014 Jill Posted in Bible, Doctrine Comments Off

Martin Luther KingBy Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch

‘The church is in a mess.’ ‘We have cowards in the pulpits.’ ‘There is rampant sin in the pews.’ ‘Believers have lost their backbone.’ I and others are often making statements like this. They are all-inclusive or stereotypical statements. Examples of this are legion of course. I might say any number of things which use rhetorical devices of all-inclusion or generalisation:

-we have become slaves to the world
-where are all the men of faith?
-God’s people love the world more than God
-we are nothing like the New Testament church
-we are in great need of repentance
-why are we so far from where Christ wants us to be?

Does that mean I or others believe there are no true believers or churches anywhere? Of course not. We are using deliberately strong language to make a point – and to also include ourselves in such warnings or concerns. We all know (did I just make another all-inclusive claim?) that God is at work in the world and many good things are happening. But we also realise there are many problems.

As we will see in a moment, such rhetoric is a common feature of biblical testimony, especially among the prophets. But often when I use such language, the critics seem to come out of the woodwork. I often will write an article, post something on social media, or say something with a fully biblical rhetorical fashion, only to get attacked for it.

Read here


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Rowan, Justin and Either/Or

February 16th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Doctrine Comments Off

From Anglican Samizdat

[...]  In attempting to resolve the disagreements in his church about sexuality, Rowan Williams tried to find a middle ground between the opposing views. He used Indaba groups to do this. He didn’t succeed partly because there was no middle ground to find and partly because, even if it had been found, anyone with any common sense knew that once the mythical entity was spotted, it would immediately start to drift leftward.

Justin Welby has astutely noticed that Rowan’s efforts were a dismal failure so, rather than look for a half-way point between opposing views, he is seeking, through the odious tedium euphemistically known as “facilitated conversations”, to convince polar opposites to coexist within one organisation – he calls it “good disagreement”. What will prevent the whole thing flying apart is “love” – it’s all you need, after all.

At heart, I am a simple minded computer technician and, through bitter experience, I have been forced to reach the conclusion that if I write a program in which false and true propositions are compelled to coexist, disaster will ensue. Programmers are renowned for being sentimentally attached to their creations but, no matter how much love I pour into it, a routine whose rules of logic include (1 ∨ 0 = 0) ∧ (1 ∨ 0 = 1) = 1 is destined for spectacular failure.

Now, you may say, that’s all very well for computers; they are by nature binary, almost Kierkegaardian in their Either/Or obsessiveness. When it comes to sexuality and the Church one must expect diverse opinions, differing interpretations, loving disagreement. Complete nonsense. If the church can’t come up with a unified view on a subject which it has been pondering for 2000 years, something whose boundaries are clearly prescribed by the book it claims to follow, something – morality – in which it supposedly specialises, then it is time for the clergy to call it day, dissolve their institutional church and find more useful employment.

Read here

 

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The Future of “Welcoming Congregations”: A Cautionary Analysis

February 11th, 2014 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Homosexuality Comments Off

By Christopher Rosik, PhD, NARTH

The historic sexual ideals of traditional religions may become desirable but discardable recommendations

Increasingly intense cultural pressure is being leveraged against conservative religious bodies that adhere to their traditional norms of sexual conduct –that is, where the ideal is a life-long, sexually exclusive, marital relationship between a man and a woman. In response to this pressure, some religious groups are turning to a more “welcoming” atmosphere within their fellowships for gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons.

I want to be clear from the start that religious conservatives have too often treated the sexual minorities within their ranks with a lack of sensitivity and compassion. There remains much room for improvement in this arena. That being said, however, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to what the end result of such attempts at welcoming and accepting will be. A recent qualitative study may provide some initial indications (Thomas & Olson, 2012).

Study background and results -

This study examined a congregation described as consisting of 90% self-identified gay evangelicals affiliated with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. The authors conducted interviews with the Senior Pastor, a graduate of Bob Jones University, and several gay and lesbian members who participated in a ten-week course entitled, “Spiritual Principles for Successful Dating” (SPSD). This course had been developed by the Senior Pastor in his grappling with the sexual and relational implications of being gay and evangelical. The authors set out to discover the goals of this church’s leadership regarding relational commitment and stability.

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How Primitive Sociology is Killing the Church of England

January 7th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, Doctrine, Liturgy Comments Off

By Brian Brown, Virtueonline

The latest development from the Church of England is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has recommended changes to the language used in baptisms. Some concerned Anglicans have pointed out that this has been done by removing all language of theological significance-so if the changes are approved, you could be baptized an Anglican Christian without actually believing anything Christian. Supporters argue that the changes are merely aesthetic and will make the baptism easier to understand. You can read the Daily Mail link here for the arguments on each side; I need not repeat them here.

What I thought was interesting was a phrase the supporters of the changes are using: that they wanted to use the language of East Enders, not Shakespeare.

You see, one doesn't need biblical arguments to question the wisdom of the new changes. This choice of phrase provides an excellent vehicle for examining, sociologically and psychologically, why it's amazing the Archbishop's office thinks these sorts of changes will help the Church.

There's extensive anecdotal evidence the church could have considered, of course. For some decades now, many British Anglican and American Episcopal leaders have tried to get somebody to show up at their church services by emptying them of any content that could be divisive or off-putting-it's a sort of 1990s liberal approach, that views sectarianism as primitive and universalism as the future.

Obviously, it has far from worked. The trouble with it is that social scientists have proven it utterly and dangerously wrong.

These days, most educated people are familiar with the concept of "social capital" made famous in Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone. It's the social ties and norms of reciprocity, trustworthiness, etc. that come from them-the social strength that makes a community work.

But as moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt of NYU has brilliantly charted, social capital only works if it's in tandem with something else: moral capital.

Read here


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Sad Day for Church of England when Changing Attitude Drives Episcopal Oversight

December 19th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England, Doctrine, Gay Activism Comments Off

The Rt Revd Martin WarnerBy Julian Mann, Virtueonline

Changing Attitude is a homosexualist lobby group in the Church of England promoting teaching and behaviour contrary to the Bible; Andrea Minichiello Williams is an orthodox Anglican who upholds the Bible's teaching that practising homosexuality is wrong in the sight of God and damaging to individuals made in His image. Yet, in a public relations tie-up with Changing Attitude, her local bishop has rebuked her for a speech she recently made against practising homosexuality at a conference in Jamaica.

Mrs Williams, CEO of evangelical campaign group Christian Concern, represents Chichester Diocese on the CofE's General Synod. The Bishop of Chichester, the Right Revd Martin Warner, an Anglo-Catholic who leads a hitherto traditionalist diocese, has this week issued the following statement against Mrs Williams:

"The comments by Andrea Minichiello Williams about the decriminalisation of same sex intercourse in Jamaica have no sanction in the Church of England or the diocese of Chichester. Insofar as such comments incite homophobia, they should be rejected as offensive and unacceptable.

"The Christian Church is widely perceived as homophobic and intolerant of those for whom same sex attraction is the foundation of their emotional lives. It is urgent, therefore, that Christians find legitimate ways to affirm and demonstrate the conviction that the glory of God is innate in every human being, and the mercy of God embraces each of us indiscriminately."

Significantly, Bishop Warner's rebuke to Mrs Williams is published in a press release issued by Changing Attitude Sussex. Its chair Dr Keith Sharpe is quoted as saying: "Williams' bigoted outburst amounts to dangerous hatemongering. It is reprehensible and highly irresponsible."

The alliance between Bishop Warner and Changing Attitude against Mrs Williams raises an important issue about the episcopal duty to uphold biblical truth and refute doctrinal error. The CofE's doctrinal formularies – and even the fudged Pilling report into human sexuality had to acknowledge this – clearly teach that sex outside heterosexual marriage is wrong.

Read here

 

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Why Time chose Pope Francis for Person of the Year

December 13th, 2013 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Pope Francis Comments Off

by Sheila Liaugminas

There’s nearly as much speculation about that as there is about who this man is.

Time explains their choice here, and it’s a lengthy article that reveals as much about Time’s editorial staff as it does the figure they chose to highlight this year for his impact on the world.
 
The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself.
 
The term “superstar” just doesn’t fit, though that’s the language of pop culture used to pop theology.
 
But what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all…
 
And behind his self-effacing facade, he is a very canny operator.
 
Another odd description of the humble man who sits in the Chair of Peter.
 
[...] They’re still getting him wrong though, as Time did even in the early hours of this story’s release.
 
Read here
 
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Why many British evangelicals are not that bothered with ethics

November 17th, 2013 Jill Posted in Christianity, Doctrine, Ethics Comments Off

By Peter Saunders, CMF

'If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.’
This famous quote has been attributed to Martin Luther, by Christian commentators as illustrious as Francis Schaeffer but, as argued convincingly by Carl Wieland, it actually comes from a 19th Century novel referring to Luther by Elizabeth Rundle Charles,called The Chronicles of the Schoenberg Cotta Family (Thomas Nelson, 1864).
 
However, according to Wieland, Luther did actually say something very similar. He said that if people were publicly open about every other aspect of their Christian faith, but chose not to admit their belief on some single point of doctrine (for fear of what might happen to them if their conviction on that one point became known) they were effectively denying Christ, period.
 
As Christians we are fighting in a spiritual battle, but Martin Luther’s point is that not all God's truth is equally under attack at any one time. In any culture and generation there are certain truths which are more under attack than others.
 
Read here
 
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What do Anglicans believe?

October 25th, 2013 Jill Posted in Doctrine Comments Off

By Julian Mann, Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge

There are two ways of answering that question. One way is to focus on what people who go to Anglican churches believe. If you did a survey of what Anglicans in the Church of England and in The Episcopal Church of the United States believed, you would no doubt find a great variety of beliefs about God and about Christ and about what it means to be a Christian, many of them contradicting one another. In the Church of Nigeria, particularly in the Diocese of Jos, we would almost certainly find more agreement!

A more fruitful way of approaching the question is surely to ask what Anglicans believe when they are being faithful to their true convictions and beliefs. Those are to be found in the 39 Articles of Religion and in the Book of Common Prayer which, according to Canon A5 of the Church of England’s rules, faithfully express the Bible’s teaching.

So, let’s ask the 39 Articles and the Prayer Book two very topical questions in our society today. Do true Anglicans believe that Jesus is the only way to God and do they believe that sex before marriage is OK?

Yes is the very clear answer to the first question and no is the equally clear answer to the second.

Read here


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Homophobia or defence of orthodox Christian doctrine of marriage?

October 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Gay Activism, Marriage Comments Off

Letters to the Church of England Newspaper

from The Revd Peter Ould, Canterbury, 11 October

Sir,

Colin Coward’s letter last week conveniently demonstrates for us the hypocrisy of some of the liberalisers in the Church of England. It is no longer about revisionists being able to hold their integrity in the Church alongside conservatives. No, the very orthodox teaching of Scripture on marriage, fidelity and chastity is apparently homophobic in and of itself.

It is, we are told, a distortion of the Gospel and that implies it (the Orthodox position) is no Gospel at all. The next time a liberal tells you that all we need to do is get along together and agree to differ, point them to Colin Coward’s letter and then to the experience of conservatives in the The Episcopal Church in the USA who just wanted to be able to teach what they believed in their corner of the field but instead got inhibited and expelled from the Church.

Of course, the truth is that the Scriptural message is not bullying or prejudiced but rather a source of liberation for those in bondage to sin and brokenness, the power of Christ to change anyone. As those of us who have walked away from a gay identity can testify, Colin Coward does not speak for all LGB christians (or clergy for that matter) in the Church of England.

Furthermore, our Archbishop Justin Welby is to be commended and supported by Conservatives for not only speaking up against real homophobia (which every Christian should abhor) but also his willingness to defend the orthodox Christian doctrine of marriage, both in Parliament and beyond the Palace of Westminster.

Rev Peter Ould
Canterbury

in response to letter from The Revd Colin Coward, Changing Attitude, 4 October, as follows:

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Who do we follow?

August 29th, 2013 Jill Posted in Doctrine Comments Off

By Fr Ed Tomlinson (from the Ordinariate)

The claim of Christianity is that God revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ opening the way to heaven for all who follow Him. Having come to us in flesh and word and sacrament, and established his Church on the foundation of the Apostles, he has left us all we need to gain salvation. The duty of those who follow Christ is to seek to enter relationship with him and live in complete fidelity to this divine revelation. Scripture making clear that this is a difficult path involving sacrifice, struggle and a willingness to stand as a sign of contradiction to wider society. Put simply we must deny self, take up the cross, resist the world and conform ourselves to God’s Word.

But increasingly there is a voice within Christianity that would prefer us. not to conform ourselves to the word of God, but to conform the word of God to the thinking of the world. And so we are told that Church teaching must change not because God wills it but because people today do not like it!! Just consider the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday who seems to be urging a rethink on matters concerning human sexuality, not because he has had a spiritual revelation that stands the test of scripture and tradition, but because he imagines that people under 35 don’t much care for traditional Christian thinking.

[...]  So be on your guard against seeking a worldly solution to ecclesial problems. Be on your guard against voices of dissent that chime not with the historic faith but with the postmodern attitudes of this fallen egotistical world. We do need to ensure our voice is heard but we must not dilute our faith or change it one iota as we seek to engage in that task. Pope Francis is, I think, a great example of how this is done. Having never changed dogma he has nevertheless set about meeting the world in a spirit of love and compassion. His message being that our lives sincerely given to God and lived in fidelity of Church teaching will shine as something attractive in the darkness of this world.

The job of the Christian is not to rescue the church from its radical position and make it something more in tune with the spirit of the age. The job of the Christian is to humbly accept what the Lord has revealed and then stand up for Jesus through the witness of a life totally given to God. For he is the one who leads us not the world in which we live, torn apart as it is by violence, sin and selfishness.

Read here

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Interesting Letter from C.S. Lewis on Homosexuality

August 26th, 2013 Jill Posted in Doctrine, Homosexuality Comments Off

by Mark Shea, National Catholic Register (Hat Tip: Barbara Gauthier)

Elsewhere I have mentioned that Lewis (I think in his intro to The Screwtape Letters, but I may be wrong and it may be in Surprised by Joy) remarks that he refrained from offering moral counsel on homosexuality and gambling, since he never experienced temptation in these areas and resented officers who had never fought in combat telling troops on the front line how to run their lives.
 
It turns out that, when Sheldon Vanauken asked him about how to respond to homosexuals of his acquaintance in a private letter, Lewis wrote him back. He still is obviously leery of telling homosexuals themselves how to live, but he feels an obligation to give Vanauken something to work with.
 
The resulting letter is interesting for a number of reasons, but in particular what I like about it is his conviction that behind every disordered appetite is some kind of warped virtue and that the ticket is to search for the virtue and help foster it. He anticipates the entire gay marriage debate and dispatches much of the simplistic rhetoric swiftly while making some interesting points. I also like the judiciousness of his approach. He knows he is flying blind due to his own lack of temptation in the area and so relies, as best he can, on the experience of gays he knows. It's also interesting that, without trying, he makes it clear that his own personal reaction to homosexuals was such that he tended to engender trust from his gay acquaintances rather than the alienating sense that he was outraged or repelled by them (remarkable for his time and class since forced sodomy by upperclassmen on lowerclassmen was a commonplace in the schools he attended as a boy, as he discusses in Surprised by Joy). This fits with the general sense that Lewis was just a big-hearted guy who liked the company of human beings of all shapes and sizes.

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