Monday, December 29, 2008

Thinking about the DIocese of Florida Resolution 12

From the Diocese of C. Fl resolution 12 re. disaffiliation from ACN,

"Some are called to walk apart in witness to the one unchanging Gospel while others are called to continue that witness within TEC. It is our prayer that this separation is temporary and will result in real and lasting reformation and renewal of TEC and, indeed, the whole Anglican Communion, to the end that one day we may truly manifest the unity for which our Lord prayed."

"Some are called - others are called." I want to know the reasons why the Diocese of C Fl believes or better 'thinks' it is called to do whatever. Or is in the realm of subjective feelings only? I find this talk empty and unhelpful. Perhaps it is an attempt to smooth over what might prove to be contentious. The Diocese of Central Florida, if this resolution passes, chooses to disaffiliate with ACN. Fair enough. The reason given is that after prayer and thought, they believe they can provide a more effective witness within TEC.

It seems to me that in the revelation of God's will there could be more than just one way to respond to TEC apostasy. However, I would say that God calls all of us to 'separate' ourselves from fellowship with false teachers - which includes, among others, our Presiding Bishop. That principle is found in the Bible, therefore it must be God's will. How we implement that is a bit trickier - admittedly. I think it means we should not break bread with false teachers or have fellowship with them - i.e. in the context of a worship service, for instance.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is Rowan Williams in the Right Job (I don't think so)

Gerald Bray's fascinating editorial in the Churchman - not online at the
moment - begins this way: "Rowan Williams is in the wrong job. The events
of the past few months must have made that fairly obvious to most
people...The truth, however, is that having done his utmost to hold the
Anglican Communion together, Dr. Williams has managed to drive it further
apart, not so much by the creation of GAFCON, of which he is the true
founder and patron, as by his encouragement he has given to the Americans
and others to carry on as they always have, regardless of what anyone else
says or thinks..."

Could not one unintended consequence of the Communion Partners be to give
encouragement to TEC to carry on as they always have?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

There have been many attempts to summ...

There have been many attempts to summarize the Bible: Here is one:

God has given us a book full of stories,
Which he made for his people of old,
It begins with a tale of a garden,
And ends with a city of gold.

That's not a bad summary. Another way is to understand the Bible as revealing the God who comes to us. In the Garden of Eden, after the Adam and Eve sinned and hid from God, God came to search for them. Similarly, in the parable of the Good Shepherd, Jesus teaches us that God comes to those who are lost, in the person of his Son, to rescue us. At the right time, Galatians tells us, God "sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law." (Gal 4.5)

The Old Testament promises that God will come to us as a prophet to declare his authoritative word, and he will come as the priest to atone for our sins, and he will come to proclaim peace to the nations as the king whose rule will extend from sea to sea. In the New Testament, the one who will be prophet, priest and king is summed up as Immanuel, 'God with us.' The God who is coming is the one who has come.

So, it is not surprising that the God who has come promises one day to return. Rather than a an obscure piece of biblical trivia, the second coming of Christ the 'end game' of the Bible. This is where everything is headed. The Greek word, eskatos, from which we get 'eschatology' means the final things. The Bible is eschatological from beginning to end.

At Christmas, we remember Jesus' coming into the world at a point and time in history. However, we should also remember that this coming of the Lord which was for 'us men and our salvation' through his death and resurrection will be completed at his second coming. His coming again will be physical, visible, sudden and triumphant. As we rejoice over his coming into the world as a baby, we look forwad to the time that he will come again in his glorious majesty to usher in the new heavens and the new earth where righteousness dwells.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Invitation System

Walk the Aisle

The pastor closes his sermon: "The Holy Spirit bids you come. The congregation, praying, hoping, expectant, bids you come. On the first note of the first stanza, come down one of these stairways, down one of these aisles. May angels attend you. May the Holy Spirit of God encourage you. May the presence of Jesus walk by your side as you come, while we stand and while we sing." And come they do. Week after week, in churches all across the America—and other parts of the world—scenes like this play out at the end of thousands of sermons. The congregation stands and sings "Just As I Am" or "Come Just as You Are." Sinners walk the aisle and pray for salvation.

 blog it

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reform England

Reform in England has a great summary of the GAFCON conference and solid suggestions for parishes in implementing reform while remaining a part of the C of E - which is roughly equivalent to those of us who are 'part' of TEC, while distancing ourselves from its teaching (or lack thereof) and its practice.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Disaster of Indifference to Doctrine

From Martin Downes' Blog on Against Heresies

"My Christian life, for the past thirteen years, has involved inhabiting a small circle within a larger circle. The small circle is that of Reformed theology and church life, the larger circle that of UK evangelicalism. The world of the smaller circle is far from perfect. Yet one thing that it does not suffer from is indifference toward doctrine.

In the larger world of evangelicalism one cannot assume that doctrine is valued. The reverse is often the case. One has, at times, to present an apologetic for the necessity, vitality and importance of doctrine. One can assume that the "d" word is associated in your audience with intellectualism, and the kind of Christian life and experience that is "academic," dry and dusty. Of course these things aren't necessarily so, but prejudice is a powerful thing, and a stress on doctrine can lead to listeners switching off.

Evangelicals who are indifferent to doctrine are a danger to Christianity. Church leaders who do not "hold firmly to the trustworthy word as taught" will never be able to bring God's people to mature godliness (which requires instruction in sound doctrine), nor will they be able to ward off infiltrators who teach another gospel (Titus 1:9). Somehow they know better than Paul what is best for the health of the church.

But it is not only leaders who are held to account for their attitude to sound doctrine. The epistle to the Galatians is directed to churches who are departing from the apostolic gospel. If we are indifferent to sound doctrine, and neglect its intrinsic importance, we are guilty of treating the precious truth that we have been entrusted with as worthless. We take care of the things we love. When God entrusts us with the pattern of sound words he tests our love toward him by how we use, abuse, treasure or neglect his revealed truth.

When you cut through the forest of rhetoric surrounding doctrine, what becomes clear is that indifference toward doctrine is often a cover for indifference toward particular doctrines. Personal experience is not a sufficient or appropriate source from which truth for life can be derived. At the end of the day resistance to true doctrine is empowered by a non-negotiable commitment to other doctrines."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Semper Reformanda

For those of you who like to write in your bibles - here is some handy advice
- use
pigment ink pins - Such as Micron or Staedtler pigment liners-
they are acid free
& don't bleed through pages.
Also, at the ESV Blog
- an interesting how to on putting together a Bible
(ESV in this case) with
blank pages in between for note taking.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Common Cause or Uncommon Confusion

David Phillips of England's Church Society expresses some of the angst I feel as I think about the various groupings of orthodox US Episcopalians.

We have the Anglican Communion Network which our church belongs to. It consists mainly of those churches and 10 dioceses which are still a part of TEC (The Episcopal Church). Of course even that is changing with San Joaquin now a part of the Southern Cone. Ft. Worth is soon to follow. ACN also embraces about 100 congregations no longer a part of TEC.

Then we have newly ordained bishops, Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch who represent the Province of Kenya, and John Guernsey who is a bishop for the Province of Uganda. The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) numbers 60,000 including three of the largest TEC parishes. Martyn Minns was consecrated in Nigheria as a missionary bishop and another TEC retired bishop, David Bena, is now a part of CANA.

There are 3 Canadian groups, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Essentials Canada and the Anglican Network in Canada.

Then there is AMiA, The Anglican Mission in the Americas which began in 2000 sponsored by the Province of Rwanda. There are about 125 affiliated congregations in the US and Canada. There are 4 existing bishops and one retired bishop. Three more men will be consecrated this month.

Another group called the Anglican Province of America (APA) was formed by a merger in 1991 though its roots go back to the late 1960's. It is a traditionalist body since the merger has been more Anglo-Catholic in outlook. Then, there is the Reformed Episcopal Church which dates to the 19th century seem now to be a bit uncomfortable with being reformed and now are talking about a merger with APA.

All of the above are now part of yet another grouping called The Common Cause Network which covers these 10 organizations.

Here is the problem. This is a very mixed group, and few are clearly protestant and reformed. Some are ritualistic, some favor women's ordination while others reject it. Some are charismatic, and some use watered down modern liturgy, while others insist on traditional language.

Here is the problem for reformed evangelicals who hang their hat squarely on the 39 Articles and also the need of a reformed Book of Common Prayer (which we do not have). There is still no clear evangelical, reformed and protestant grouping; not even in the Reformed Episcopal Church.

TEC is moribund; but the alternatives are disappointing. Maybe Fitz Allison's advice is prophetic: Stay, Pray and Don't Pay.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ok, Ok Let's Get Real

No, I'm not memorizing all those wonderful verses that appeared on the blog. But how about one verse a week.

Go here.

It's a lot easier.