Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rev. Billy Graham 1918-2018

Billy Graham Funeral to Take Place Under a 'Canvas Cathedral' March 2 Billy Graham will finish the same way he started – under a large white tent in front of thousands of people.

Family spokesman Mark DeMoss announced Wednesday evening that Graham's funeral service will be held Friday, March 2, at 12 noon in a canvas tent set up near The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina...

Evangelist Billy Graham Has Died
Billy Graham was perhaps the most significant religious figure of the 20th century, and the organizations and the movement he helped spawn continue to shape the 21st.

During his life, Graham preached in person to more than 100 million people and to millions more via television, satellite, and film. Nearly 3 million have responded to his invitation to "accept Jesus into your heart" at the end of his sermons. He proclaimed the gospel to more persons than any other preacher in history. In the process, Graham became "America's Pastor," participating in presidential inaugurations and speaking during national crises such as the memorial services following the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks.

"He became the friend and confidante of popes and presidents, queens and dictators, and yet, even in his 80s, he possesses the boyish charm and unprepossessing demeanor to communicate with the masses," said Columbia University historian Randall Balmer....Christianity Today

Reflections on the Passing of Rev. Billy Graham, One of the Greatest Christian Heroes of Our Time Ed Stetzer, who holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair at Wheaton College (Billy Graham's alma mater), shares his thoughts...

10 Beautiful Tributes from Christian Leaders on the Death of Billy Graham  Famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham passed away from natural causes this morning at his home in North Carolina. He was undoubtedly one of the most influential people, and certainly Christian figures, of all time.
He influence extended around the globe and his platform allowed him to meet with world leaders from American presidents to Martin Luther King Jr. to Queen Elizabeth II.

But at the heart of his ministry was his passion for the Gospel and his commitment to spreading this Good News around the world. He was known as "America's pastor."

Today, so many people are mourning his death, but we are also rejoicing that he is in heaven with the Lord. Here is what several Christian leaders had to say in response to this news...

Billy Graham 1918-2018 Evangelist Billy Graham, who died today at age 99, was one of the great figures of the last century, of America and the history of Christianity. He preached to millions globally, helped make Evangelicalism America’s largest religious group, and knew every USA president since Truman. Indeed, he knew almost every major world leader and celebrity of the last 70 years. An episode of the recent Netflix series The Crown focused on his 1950s visits to Queen Elizabeth. He’s the only major character from that series, except for the royals themselves, who was still alive at its broadcast, highlighting his incredible longevity...IRD


Thursday, February 08, 2018

GAFCON Chairman's February 2018 letter

7th February 2018
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

My dear people of God,

‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.’
2 Corinthians 5:17

God’s words are powerful words. They are never empty. At the beginning of creation ‘God said, “Let there be light” and there was light’ (Genesis 1:3) and when God’s word is proclaimed faithfully today there is new creation. It was this conviction that drew us to Jerusalem in 2008 and our Jerusalem Statement and Declaration began by affirming that we had gathered as ‘a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it’.

We cannot truly promote the gospel if we are not also careful to preserve it from distortion or dilution and I therefore commend the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) for their recent document ‘Gospel, Church & Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life’. At a time when the Church of England’s senior leadership seems unable to resist the pressure to compromise with a highly secular culture, it is a sign of hope that evangelical leaders are able to come together in this way.

They affirm that biblical and apostolic teaching on marriage and sexuality is not a secondary matter over which we can agree to disagree, but is essential to the integrity of the Church’s witness and to Christian discipleship. As the New Testament shows, ‘the apostles had to guard the Church’s distinctive boundaries on matters of both doctrine and ethics, including sexual morality’.

The statement insists that this does not in any way narrow the inclusivity of the gospel message, but to retain the integrity of that message the Church of England ‘should not accept teaching or affirm behaviour—whether implicitly or explicitly—which contradicts or undermines the boundaries laid down by apostolic teaching and practice’. Where such teaching is accepted, the statement concludes, there needs to be ‘visible differentiation’, a distancing so that the Church is ‘able to offer a faithful and coherent witness to a confused and needy world’.

However, the question I humbly wish to ask my brothers and sisters in England is this: will you take courage and act on these words? As members of the Mother Church of our beloved Communion you have a great responsibility. We will pray for you and stand with you, but we cannot stand for you. If you do not act, sexual practices and gender identities which represent a radical rejection of God’s will and purpose will become entrenched and lead to a tragic separation from the great majority of the Communion.

Our urgent need is for the Bible to be restored to the heart of our life together so that our Anglican identity can be shaped and ordered by God’s Word. There is much in our shared history that we can thank God for, but that alone will not hold us together in the present. In a globalised world, Gafcon’s vision is to see the full potential of our Communion realised as faithful Anglicans from every nation, race and culture unite in a clear, confident and joyful witness to Jesus Christ who makes all things new.

Please pray therefore for a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit as we prepare for our third global conference in Jerusalem in June. I also commend to your prayers those elected last month to lead two Gafcon-aligned provinces, the Bishop of Maridi, Justin Badi Arama, chosen as the next Primate of South Sudan, and the Bishop of Shyira, Dr Laurent Mbanda, chosen as the next Primate of Rwanda. Pray for them as they prepare to take on the burden of this great responsibility as leaders in their Provinces and the wider Communion.

The Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the Gafcon Primates Council


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Tucker Carlson, The Episcopal Church has Gone to Hell; Child Flesh Used For Enhancement Pills...more

February 6, 2018
Tucker Carlson, The Episcopal Church has Gone to Hell with Rev. Alex Dyer

Child Flesh Used For Enhancement Pills
“Powdered human baby flesh” marketed as an aphrodisiac is still being smuggled from China to South Korea...

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Secret Small Churches Know Best; France's anti-Semitic attack problem...more

The Secret Small Churches Know Best
...We have another, better way to respond to our small church’s manifest weakness and fragility. Yes, prayerfully improve what we can. Yes, plead with God for conversions. And then receive — as a gift from God — the manifest weakness of our small church in our small place.

Every church, big or little, urban or rural, is utterly dependent upon its Head. Without Christ’s sustaining grace, no church will last, or have any lasting impact. Every church must receive and reckon with this knowledge. But the particular gift God gives to small churches in small places is that their weakness is so very evident.

Your weakness cannot hide behind an excellent band, or a beautiful new building, or the excitement generated by packing 1,000+ people into a big room. It can’t hide behind a large budget surplus, or big cash reserves. And if your small, unimpressive church is plopped down in the middle of an equally small, unimpressive town, you will also be denied the pleasures of what E.B. White once called (in his 1949 essay “Here Is New York”) “the excitement of participation” — the sense of belonging to something “unique, cosmopolitan, mighty, and unparalleled.” As a small church in a small place, you won’t have access to the illusion of greatness through proximity. Your church’s weakness will be evident to you and to all – and this is God’s gift...

No, We’re Not All Doomed by Earth’s Magnetic Field Flip
Many times over our planet’s history, Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed, meaning that sometimes a compass pointing north will be aimed at Antarctica rather than the Arctic. This might sound strange, but it’s a relatively predictable quirk. Powered by the machinations of the planet’s spinning iron core, this process of geomagnetic reversal has been doing its thing without much fanfare for eons.

That is, until this week, when a book excerpt describing the phenomenon appeared online. Shortly afterward, numerous websites began trumpeting the doomsday around the corner, a geomagnetic apocalypse in which tumors run rampant, satellites fall from the sky, and life on Earth will cease to exist as we know it.

True, life on Earth almost certainly will be different than it is today in multiple thousands of years. But will these polar acrobatics have much to do with that?...

Exploring France's anti-Semitic attack problem
The attack on Monday against a Jewish schoolboy indicates France's growing problem with anti-Semitism. In the latest incident, an 8-year-old boy was walking to an evening class just outside Paris when he was set upon by two teenagers.

It’s far from an exceptional case. Earlier this month, a Jewish store in Paris was targeted by arsonists and a 15-year-old Jewish girl had her face slashed around the same neighborhood as where this boy has now been attacked. In another incident last September, a Jewish family was held hostage as a gang ransacked their home looking for hidden jewelry and money (a typical anti-Semitic trope is that Jews horde expensive items)...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Murmuration of Starlings

Jan 23, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bishops block transgender prayers; What Right Not to Be Offended?...more

Bishops block transgender prayers
Following the debate and vote at General Synod in July 2017 on Welcoming Transgender People, the House of Bishops has prayerfully considered whether a new nationally commended service might be prepared to mark a gender transition.

The Bishops are inviting clergy to use the existing rite Affirmation of Baptismal Faith. New guidance is also being prepared on the use of the service.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, said: “The Church of England welcomes transgender people and wholeheartedly wishes for them to be included in the life of the Church.

“On the matter of whether a new service is needed, the House of Bishops has decided that the current service that is used to affirm baptism can be adapted.... Anglican Ink

Church of England Sneaks Transgender 'Re-Baptism' into Liturgy
The Church of England has rejected a proposal for a new service to mark a congregant’s sex change – but has given the nod to using an existing ‘reaffirmation’ baptism service, instead.

The decision by the Anglican House of Bishops to reject proposals for the development of a new special service to mark gender transitions was criticised by LGBT activists within the church.

The ruling, revealed on Sunday, comes after the General Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of introducing such church services in July...

What Right Not to Be Offended?
...But the segment of the interview that grabbed the public’s imagination wasn’t Peterson’s discussion of the wage gap or the biology of hierarchical relationships. It was a very simple exchange over the value of truth. Newman questioned Peterson on why he refused to go along with the trendy Leftist cause du jour: using pronouns chosen by individuals rather than pronouns that describe their biology. “Why should your freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?” Newman asked. Peterson, ever the gentleman, answered the question without guffawing: “Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable.”

Newman misdirected: “Well, I’m very glad I’ve put you on the spot.” But Peterson pursued: “Well, you get my point. You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.” Newman had no answer.
Point to Peterson...

A Healthy Dose of Religious Freedom-New HHS Division to Protect Medical Professionals
For healthcare providers facing restrictions on their rights of conscience, reinforcements are on the way.

On January 18th, the Trump Administration announced the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of Health and Human Services.

According to Roger Severino, the head of the Civil Rights Office at HHS, the division’s purpose is to protect doctors, nurses, and other health care providers “from being coerced into participating in activities that violate their consciences, such as abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide.”

This is very good news...

Monday, January 22, 2018

Church of England bishops block new transgender prayer; A Tale Of Two Movements...more

A.S.Haley: From Doubt to Certainty: Luther's Transformation
Despite all the tumult and clamor, the year 2017 did not mark the "500th anniversary" of the Reformation movement begun by Martin Luther. At most, it marked the 500th year after Luther sent off his Ninety-five Theses to the Archbishop of Mainz, to protest the manner in which indulgences were being offered and awarded under that eminence's authority.

(As Richard Rex shows in the opening pages of his recent work, The Making of Martin Luther, the notorious incident of Luther's nailing the theses to the wooden doors of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on All Hallows' Eve of 1517 is in all probability a myth that was loosely fabricated, just after Luther died, by his colleague Philipp Melanchthon. Its vividness has gripped the popular imagination ever since, but it never happened in that way in 1517. Instead of posting them publicly, Luther quietly mailed his theses, and a fawning covering letter, to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, who in due course referred them to the local university for advice. They did not see print, translation (from Latin into German), and wider circulation until January 1518.)

As noted, the Ninety-five Theses were directed against the offer and award of indulgences, which in Luther's case had been authorized by Pope Leo X and (in his territory) Archbishop Albrecht for contributions made toward the cost of building the massive edifice that would become St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Ironically, Luther's own sovereign, the Elector Frederick, did not authorize them in his territory of Wittenberg, due to the fact that he already enjoyed a steady stream of pilgrims coming to view the huge collection of saints' relics he had amassed over the years, and did not want to contribute in any way to a lessening of that trade...

New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Growing Stronger
...New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.

Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”...

What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right  ...The Ten Commandments were not disobeyed – they were unknown.  The value system was the exact opposite.  You were supposed to steal everything you can to give to your own relatives.  There are some Westernized Africans who try to rebel against the system.  They fail.

We hear a lot about the kleptocratic elites of Africa.  The kleptocracy extends through the whole society.  My town had a medical clinic donated by international agencies.  The medicine was stolen by the medical workers and sold to the local store.  If you were sick and didn't have money, drop dead.  That was normal.

So here in the States, when we discovered that my 98-year-old father's Muslim health aide from Nigeria had stolen his clothes and wasn't bathing him, I wasn't surprised.  It was familiar.

In Senegal, corruption ruled, from top to bottom.  Go to the post office, and the clerk would name an outrageous price for a stamp.  After paying the bribe, you still didn't know it if it would be mailed or thrown out.  That was normal...

Pussy Hats And Church Hymns: A Tale Of Two Movements
There could not be a starker contrast than that between the March for Life and the Women's March...

Church of England bishops block new transgender prayer
-Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, implored members to vote for the motion
-But the bishops rejected the move at a private meeting at Lambeth Palace
-Dr Beardsley, of transgender group Sibyls, said many Christians would be hurt

California to automatically register illegal aliens to vote for any who have driver's licenses issued