Friday, April 29, 2011

The Right Rev. Richard Chartres' address at the royal wedding

Full Text

Royal wedding: Prince William and Kate Middleton marry at Westminster Abbey

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Property of Break-Away Presbyterian Congregation Belongs To PCUSA

State court says national organization owns church and property, not Hope Presbyterian
April 28, 2011
By Sanne Specht
Mail Tribune

A Rogue River church that broke with its national denomination over religious differences has received bad news about who holds legal title to the church and its contents.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Phil Arnold ruled in 2010 that Hope Presbyterian Church of Rogue River owned the church structure and its contents under Oregon law.

The trial court sided with Hope Presbyterian, explaining the case should be resolved on "neutral secular principles" of the law, court documents state. But the Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned Arnold's decision, ruling the Presbyterian Church (USA) held title to the property, citing both secular and church doctrine in their decision.

Brian Boisen, pastor of Hope Presbyterian, said Wednesday afternoon that he had not yet had a chance to meet with the church's lawyer and elders in his 100-plus member congregation.

"We need to look at this and figure out what our next step will be," Boisen said. the rest
(h/t Religion Clause blog)

Superman renounces U.S. Citizenship

Superman No More?
Apr 28, 2011

Superman is about to renounce his U.S. citizenship. The nerd press is reporting that in a story written by David Goyer in Action Comics #900, Superman becomes disgusted with the U.S. government, renounces his citizenship, and becomes a “citizen of the universe.” Awesome.

This isn’t the first time Supes has flirted with turning his back on America. In the (truly wretched) 2006 movie Superman Returns, audiences were told that the Man of Steel stands for “truth, justice, and all that stuff.” Last year, J. Michael Straczynski wrote an arc for the character where Superman walks across America on a listening tour to try to sort out just what his feelings were toward the country (and vice versa)...

...Even so, having Superman renounce America is—as a point of storytelling—about the dumbest thing DC Comics could do. the rest image

All of these stories work because Superman believes in, and is part of, America. Once he’s a “citizen of the universe” what, exactly, will he believe in? Heck, what does “citizen of the Universe” even mean? Will Superman now adhere to the Tamaran code of honor? Will he follow the Atlantean system of monarchy? Does he believe in liberté, égalité, fraternité, or sharia? Does he believe in British interventionism or Swiss neutrality? You see where I’m going with this: If Superman doesn’t believe in America, then he doesn’t believe in anything.

GAFCON: New Chairman for Primates Council

April 28, 2011

Statement from the Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya and newly elected Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council.

Praise the Lord! It is a great joy to greet all of you as we celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Christ was an event that changed the course of history for good and as a result, my life and the lives of millions of others have been changed for eternity.

Yesterday I was elected Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council and I am honored to accept this call to serve the Anglican Communion in this special way. Together with 1200 bishops and leaders from around the Anglican Communion, I was privileged to spend a life-changing week in Jerusalem in 2008 as part of the Global Anglican Future Conference.

It reminds me of my roots in the East African Revival when the renewing Spirit of God permeated the Church leading to a confession of sins, a thirst for God’s Word filling the converts with humility, a simple lifestyle and an unquestionable desire for evangelism. It is these qualities that have kept the Church in our region faithful to the Gospel. It is my conviction that this same Spirit is at work in GAFCON. the rest

Albert Mohler: Nero in Beijing — The Communist Party Declares War on Christians

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The news out of China grows worse as reports of the arrest, detention, harassment, and beatings of Christians come from across China. The most publicized case thus far is the repeated oppression against a Beijing congregation that has led to numerous arrests and a crackdown within China’s capital.

In a very important editorial statement, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board set the record straight. “Religious persecution is always abhorrent, but in this case it’s also a political blunder,” the paper stated.

The incident is a microcosm of the wider problems caused by China’s crackdown. Beijing insists it wants to promote a harmonious and stable society. Yet by arresting prominent activists for no apparent reason, the security forces are doing the opposite: Those who were once content to live quietly with the Party’s restrictions on free expression are now compelled to speak out. the rest image by Saad Akhtar

Bishop: feds increasingly treating religious freedom as government ‘carveout’

by Kathleen Gilbert
Wed Apr 27, 2011

( - Americans must be on guard against the government’s tendency to treat Christians’ right to stand for the truth as a “carveout” granted or taken away by legislators at will, said Bishop William Lori of the diocese of Bridgeport on Wednesday.

“Increasingly, religious freedom in our country is viewed as a carveout, an exception built into laws that are otherwise an affront to human dignity,” said Lori, addressing hundreds at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., during his keynote address.

“This tends to reduce religious freedom to a grant by the state, rather than an inalienable right by the Creator,” said Lori, who is supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. “What is granted by the state can be taken away by the state.” the rest

David Wilkerson: Founder of Teen Challenge dies in road crash

by Karen Peake
Thursday, April 28, 2011

The founder of Teen Challenge and Times Square Church in New York City died in a head on collision in Texas on Wednesday.

The Rev David Wilkerson, 79, was killed when the car he was driving went into the opposite lane and collided with an oncoming truck.

His wife, who was a passenger in the car with him, was rushed to hospital where she remains in a critical condition. The truck driver was also taken to hospital. the rest

11 Christians facing trial in Iran

 Eleven members of the Church of Iran are to stand trial in Iran for allegedly committing "activities against the Order" and for drinking alcohol.
by Amy Shank
 Thursday, April 28, 2011
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the Christians are to stand trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal of Bandar-Anzali.

The Christians on trial include Pastor Abdolreza Ali-Haghnejad and his wife Anahita Khademi, Mahmoud Khosh-Hal and his wife Hava Saadetmend, Fatemah Modir-Nouri, Mehrdad Habibzade, Milad Radef and Behzad Taalipas, and Amir Goldoust, his sister Mina Goldoust, and his grandmother Zainab Bahremend.

The organisation says the charges relate to their involvement in a house church, and to taking communion wine. the rest

Tornadoes devastate South, killing at least 214

By Greg Bluestein and Jay Reeves
The Associated Press

Dozens of tornadoes ripped through the South, flattening homes and businesses and killing at least 214 people in six states in the deadliest outbreak in nearly 40 years.

As day broke Thursday, people in hard-hit Alabama surveyed flattened, debris-strewn neighborhoods and told of pulling bodies from rubble after the storms passed Wednesday afternoon and evening.

"It happened so fast it was unbelievable," said Jerry Stewart, a 63-year-old retired firefighter who was picking through the remains of his son's wrecked home in Pleasant Grove, a suburb of Birmingham. "They said the storm was in Tuscaloosa and it would be here in 15 minutes. the rest


Obama Administration Has Not Designated a Single Violator Under Int’l Religious Freedom Act

Thursday, April 28, 2011
By Patrick Goodenough
Pakistani Christians protest after hundreds of Muslims burned and looted Christian homes in the city of Gorja in an August 2009 rampage sparked by allegations that a Quran had been defaced (AP Photo)

( –Despite the strong urging of Washington’s religious rights watchdog, the Obama administration has not designated a single “country of particular concern” (CPC) for religious freedom violations since taking office 27 months ago.

The last time any country was designated as a CPC was on January 16, 2009 – four days before President Bush left office. On that day, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named as CPCs eight countries – Burma, China,, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan. All had been designated previously.

Despite the Obama administration’s inaction, those eight still stand, although some actions resulting from the designations have expired. the rest

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Devotional: Begin at once...

Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your King to take you wholly into His service, and place all the hours of this day quite simply at His disposal, and ask him to make and keep you ready to do just exactly what He appoints. Never mind about tomorrow; one day at a time is enough. Try it today, and see if it is not a day of strange, almost curious peace, so sweet that you will be only too thankful when tomorrow comes to ask Him to take it also. ...Francis Ridley Havergal image by David DeHetre

Colleges Respond to a Decline in Civility on Campus

April 27, 2011

From fights to bullying to acting inappropriately as representatives of a school, colleges are trying to make sure their students know how to act like adults.

When the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights launched its investigation of Yale University based on a complaint of “a sexually hostile climate,” it also launched a national civility debate, the USA Today reports. Now, after a string of incidents at schools from Rutgers to UCLA, universities are launching efforts to bring common courtesy and professionalism back to college campuses.

After employers complained of students behaving unprofessionally during internships, Virginia’s George Mason University launched a new course called Professionalism and Civility which aimed at promoting “respect” and “tolerance.” GMU lecturer Leslie Morton, who originally pitched the course to the administration, said:

“People don’t take time to think about consequences. Who am I hurting? Will this be embarrassing?” the rest

Civility problems cause uproar on college campuses
For a group of women at Yale, the last straw came in October, when fraternity pledges marched on campus shouting a sexually offensive slogan. The women complained to the Department of Education, which began an investigation by its Office forCivil Rights...

Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in the Military

April 26, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — In the military, there are more than 3,000 chaplains who minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of active duty troops, regardless of their faiths. The vast majority are Christians, a few are Jews or Muslims, one is a Buddhist. A Hindu, possibly even a Wiccan may join their ranks soon.

But an atheist?

Strange as it sounds, groups representing atheists and secular humanists are pushing for the appointment of one of their own to the chaplaincy, hoping to give voice to what they say is a large — and largely underground — population of nonbelievers in the military.

Joining the chaplain corps is part of a broader campaign by atheists to win official acceptance in the military. Such recognition would make it easier for them to raise money and meet on military bases. It would help ensure that chaplains, religious or atheist, would distribute their literature, advertise their events and advocate for them with commanders. the rest

Albert Mohler: A Warning of Intimidations to Come

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The defense of the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] got a little more complicated yesterday as the law firm that the House of Representatives had hired to defend the law withdrew from the case. As The New York Times stated bluntly, the firm dropped the case “amid pressure from gay rights groups.”

The Atlanta-based firm, King & Spalding, had agreed to take the case, and one of its lawyers, Paul D. Clement, was to lead the legal effort to defend the constitutionality of DOMA, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman in terms of federal recognition. The law also prevents any state from being forced to grant legal recognition to a same-sex marriage performed in another state.

Robert D. Hays, Jr., chairman of King & Spalding, released a statement in which he said: “In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate. … Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created.”

Clement, a former solicitor general of the United States under President George W. Bush, immediately resigned from King & Spalding and will continue to represent the House of Representatives in the case.
the rest

The success of the group’s efforts to intimidate King & Spalding serves as a warning of things to come. This is the kind of intimidation that will be used against any organization or institution — or law firm — that takes a controversial case and opposes the agenda of the gay rights movement. Watch and be warned.

Here’s comes polygamy ... and why not?

by Chuck Colson
Tue Apr 26, 2011

( - In March, the popular HBO series “Big Love” ended its five-year run. The show about a polygamist household in Utah is as close as the vast majority of Americans will ever get to polygamy.

Or maybe not.

Shockingly, polygamy is on the rise in the West, especially in Muslim enclaves. And there are 30-50 thousand polygamists in the U.S., the vast majority living in Mormon splinter groups.

And despite the rosy picture of polygamy painted by “Big Love,” Rose McDermott, who teaches at Brown University, will tell you that in the real world, polygamy is abusive and exploitative: Women in polygamous communities suffer “higher rates of HIV infection,” increased incidences of domestic violence, and even a higher likelihood of dying in childbirth. the rest image

Pride and Prejudice and Porn

by Mark T. Mitchell
posted April 27, 2011

Indeed, my wife and I once visited friends who took us to the campus of the respectable private university where the husband teaches. Our friends thought the kids might enjoy the billiards and foosball in the student union building. Our plans quickly changed when we realized a young man was watching porn on the big screen television in the public area. Where once consumers of porn parked in alleys and scurried through dark doorways in seedy parts of town, today pornography is merely another consumer choice in the litany of available choices. I’m not sure if I was more surprised by the fact that pornography was so publicly visible or that this young man apparently felt no shame....

...In a pornographically saturated culture, the sexual imaginations of boys and girls will be shaped in ways that lead to a variety of unhealthy attitudes toward sex including, not surprisingly, a coarsening of the relations between men and women and the temptation to look upon members of the opposite sex as merely objects of sexual gratification. That these habits of mind would lead to a culture of hook-ups and rape is quite unsurprising.the rest -Excellent! image

Admittedly, Austen’s world is idealized, yet consider this: who would you prefer your daughter to bring home? 1) a young man whose sexual imagination has been formed by Jane Austen along with Homer, Virgil, The Song of Solomon, Dante, and Shakespeare or 2) a young man who has spent the last ten years of his life fantasizing about women whose images he has objectified and consumed through pornography? Who will make a better husband? A better lover? A better father? That so many of our young men are being shaped by pornography does not bode well for our young ladies or for our society as a whole. If we are witnessing the passing of the gentlemen, there is much to lament. Although the path is difficult and the outcome uncertain, perhaps it’s time for the gentleman to stage a comeback.

NY Gov. Cuomo Pushes for Legalized Gay Marriage
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is leading the campaign to legalize gay marriage in the Empire State.

Many gay activists believe this year may be the year to try it. Cuomo has been successful in uniting the state's various gay rights groups and has publicly said the issue of gay marriage is a priority.

Gay rights groups say a win in New York would provide national momentum. Marriage between homosexuals is legal in five states and the District of Columbia.

However, voters in more than 30 states have approved measures defining marriage as between one man and one woman. the rest

Pro-Abortion Vandals Turn Pro-Life Display Into Satanic Scene

by Steven Ertelt

Last week, during the Holy Week leading up to Easter, a group of pro-abortion activists vandalized and desecrated a Christian pro-life display students at Clarion University put up at their Pennsylvania campus.
The display, called the Cemetery of the Innocents, features crosses erected to memorialize the 53 million unborn children who have been killed in abortions since Roe v. Wade allowed virtually unlimited abortions in 1973.

In their attack, pro-abortion students vandalized the Clarion University Students for Life display by turning the crosses upside-down to form satanic symbols, and they dripped fake blood over many of the crosses the took up from the ground and placed in a pile. The abortion advocate then wrote the word “Pro-Choice” in the “blood” on the sidewalk in front of the sign the pro-life students put in front of their display to explain its meaning. the rest
“In a breathtaking public display of anti-Christian and anti-Life motivations, 350 crosses were pulled up and re-inserted in inverted fashion, a well-known anti-Christian symbol,” she explained. “Additionally, red paint was splattered on crosses and signs. Even eerier was the mock bloody footprints of an infant painted in front of the display.”

Five Truths about Planned Parenthood

Anyone who believes PP is primarily concerned with the health of women and girls needs to look at the record.
Charmaine Yoest
April 26, 2011

As the 2012 budget battles began, Clare Coleman, CEO of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, took to the pages of the Washington Post. In a piece called “Five Myths about Planned Parenthood,” she argued that defunding the organization was an ignoble goal for members of Congress looking to cut the bloated federal budget.

She said she wanted to address “misperceptions” about the abortion-industry giant. She was joined in her goal on the front page of the Washington Post by reporter Sandhya Somashekhar, who painted a picture of Planned Parenthood that minimized the role abortion plays at the organization’s health-care affiliates.

In presenting Planned Parenthood as mainly focused on prevention, Ms. Coleman neglects to mention several statistics, gleaned from the organization’s own annual reports and fact sheets, that illustrate its heavy (and increasing) involvement in abortion, as well as its practices that routinely place women’s health and safety secondary to its own bottom line.

While the Washington Post declined to present an alternative to the Planned Parenthood way of thinking, there are a multitude of other facts to consider. To add to the discussion of whether Planned Parenthood should continue to be funded, let’s consider five truths about an industry that receives more than $360 million in taxpayer subsidies annually. the rest

James McGreevey : Too Messy Even for [TEC] Liberals

By Jeff Walton

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey famously declared himself a "gay American" at a 2004 press conference, where, flanked by his parents and wife, he resigned in disgrace after a male staffer alleged sexual harassment. He subsequently went through a bitter public divorce and sought ordination to the priesthood in the highly inclusive Episcopal Church. But now even that denomination's extremely liberal Newark Diocese is rejecting McGreevey, apparently citing his messy divorce, not his homosexuality.

After McGreevey's confession to have appointed his purported homosexual lover as an aide (the adviser insisted he was the victim of unwanted sexual advances), the then still married New Jersey Governor stepped down from office and later began attending the Episcopal Church's General Theological Seminary in New York. He had quickly renounced his lifelong Roman Catholicism to join a more accommodating denomination. But apparently even New Jersey Episcopalians still have some ordination standards.

Episcopal Diocese of Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith has declined public comment about McGreevey's rejection as an Episcopal priest. But the New York Post, in an April 25 story headlined "Heaven Can Wait," quoted anonymous sources within the diocese about the church's decision to decline ordaining McGreevey at this time.

"It was not being gay but for being a jackass -- [McGreevey] didn't come out of the whole divorce looking good," one diocesan source told the Post of the decision not to proceed with ordaining McGreevey.

After leaving office, McGreevey and his new male partner began attending Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York, in addition to All Saints' Episcopal Parish in Hoboken, where he began serving on staff. Almost immediately after being received into the Episcopal Church, McGreevey was accepted into General Theological Seminary (GTS) in 2007, where he graduated last spring with a Master of Divinity degree, a requirement to become an Episcopal priest.

Episcopalians typically wait years as discernment groups decide if they are in fact called to ministry; for McGreevey, there seemingly was no such period before his admission to seminary. the rest

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

God's bankers: How evangelical Christianity is taking a hold of the City of London’s financial institutions

Alex Preston asks how the disciples of evangelical Christianity reconcile their faith with the avarice of high finance
April 24, 2011

When I worked in the City, I could see the spire of Christ Church Spitalfields from my desk. I liked to look at it as I traded – it represented something far from the grubby materialism of my day job. This was 2007 and the first intimations of the financial crash were being felt. People were skittish: I think we all knew the party was coming to an end. On Tuesdays and Thursdays some of my colleagues on the trading floor would disappear around lunchtime. Groups of twos and threes scurried off to return an hour later, looking cheerful. In the pub after work one evening, I asked the Australian girl who sat at the desk beside mine about her lunchtime absences and she told me of secretive evangelical meetings that took place in the City, about how the church gave her a place to step away from the pressure and worry of her job. It also gave her a sense of belonging to a community. She was lonely in London, she said.

The relationship between faith and finance runs deep. Quaker-run banks such as Barclays – founded three centuries ago on Lombard Street – survived when many of their peers crumbled during the crashes of the mid-1700s precisely because of the Christian ethics that underpinned their businesses. More recently, Stephen Green stepped down as chairman and chief executive of HSBC to take holy orders. And over the past decade, a specific type of evangelical Christianity has taken hold of the Square Mile, although only recently has it dared speak its name (at least in City circles). Foremost among them is the Alpha course, whose extraordinary expansion has been funded in part from the deep pockets of former Lazard chairman Ken Costa. k

Founded at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in Knightsbridge in 1991, Alpha has grown from an initial four churches to operate in more than 55,000 locations in 164 countries. It is estimated that more than 16 million people have taken the course worldwide. Jonathan Aitken, Geri Halliwell, Sir Ian Blair and Bear Grylls are all regulars. the rest

Thomas Sowell: The Trump Card


What then is Donald Trump's appeal-- and why should it concern Republican leaders in general?
What Trump has that so many other Republicans are so painfully lacking is the ability and the willingness to articulate his positions clearly, forcefully and in plain English. Too many Republicans talk like the actor of whom a critic once said, "he played the king like he was afraid that someone else was going to play the ace."
What electrified so many Republicans about Sarah Palin in the 2008 election campaign was that she was such a contrast to the usual mealy-mouth talk that was more common among other Republican candidates, including Senator John McCain. Whether you agreed or disagreed with her position on the issues, you didn't have to wave your hand in front of her eyes to see if she was awake.

Donald Trump is dangerous in at least two senses. If, by some tragic miracle, he should become the Republicans' candidate for president in 2012, that would be the closest thing to an iron-clad guarantee of a second term in the White House for Barack Obama.  the rest

WH Working on Executive Order That Critics Say Will Stifle Political Speech

Monday, April 25, 2011
By Fred Lucas

Washington ( – In what the White House calls a push for transparency, a pending executive order would require companies doing business with the federal government to disclose political contributions to independent groups, but would not place the same requirement on public employee unions or federal grant recipients that typically donate to Democrats.

Entitled the “Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors,” the order would implement parts of the DISCLOSE Act, which failed to get through Congress last year. The legislation sought to restrict campaign speech after the landmark Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of corporations and unions to donate to campaigns.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed Monday that work is underway on the draft order, and linked the move to President Obama’s stated commitment to transparency. the rest

Von Spakovsky, who was the first to report the existence of the draft executive order, on Pajamas Media last week, argued that the move would politicize the federal procurement process.

He is also troubled by the use of an executive order in this instance.

“This threatens the representational system,” he said. “The president wants to implement through the regulatory process what failed in Congress.”

The Achilles Heel of Anglicanism (In North America and the United Kingdom)

by Rev. Dr. Philip Turner
Friday, April 15th, 2011

The problem is one of over adaptation to a regnant socio-logic. For Anglicans in these lands, the theological warrant for over adaptation is the sacred cow of pop Anglican culture. We are an “incarnational” religion chant the acolytes of cultural relevance.

It is certainly true that no Christian can remain a Christian and yet deny the doctrine of the Incarnation. However, among the Anglicans of whom I have been speaking, the doctrine of the incarnation as been replaced by an ideology best termed “Incarnationalism.” “Incarnationalism” is not a statement about the person and work of Christ. It is a principle cut loose from a doctrine and subsequently used to justify cultural adaptation by the churches and their individual members. The Gospel of “God with us,” the Gospel of “The Word became flesh” has had the cross expunged from its content. What remains is a principle of affirmation designed to proclaim the goodness of creation and to support moral betterment. Christmas has become a feast of affirmation. Good Friday does not mark an act of reconciliation and redemption but a moral tragedy. What incarnationalism misses is that, in taking human form to reconcile and redeem the world, the Word of God exposed, judged and conquered its darkness. In wrestling with his death Jesus says, “Now is the judgment of the world, now is the ruler of this world cast out” (John 12:31). When the Word is made flesh, all cultures are judged, and in all cultures a struggle with the “ruler of this world” takes place.

Such is not the case for “Incarnationalists.” The only war to be fought is with the people who oppose the views and practices of those who represent the progressive movements of culture. What Incarnationalists cannot fathom is that when Christ takes form in the world, the life of each person and the very foundations of social life are challenged at their core. Incarnationalists, therefore, miss the depths to which the judgment of Christ penetrates the life of any society and the life of each individual member of that society.

What they do not see is the terrible struggle involved in casting out the ruler of this world. They do not understand the extent to which the socio-logic of the age as now deployed is challenged. They do not see that the benefits brought by their account of moral agency have been compromised because that account has been hitched to determinations by each individual about what best suits their interests. What Incarnationalists miss is that, in this era, persons who are also both selves and individuals, are charting the course of their lives by taking sightings not off fixed navigational points but off the bows of the ships they are themselves sailing. In this world, the self determines what is best for it as an individual and then demands the rights of a person to pursue the direction it deems most profitable. The only limitation on this acquisitive form of life is the extent of possible harm personal pursuits may cause other selves who, on their own part, are also demanding a right to happiness. image

Full essay here 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Devotional: Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection...

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf in springtime. ...Martin Luther
image by Jannes Pockele

Episcopal Church property dispute returns to Fairfax courtroom

Ongoing issue centering around seven churches that wish to break away from Episcopal Diocese
by Gregg MacDonald
Monday April 25, 2011

 An ongoing legal battle between the Anglican District and Episcopal Diocese of Virginia that has already been heard by the state's highest court is once again being played out in Fairfax County, where it originally began. The opening arguments in the case began Monday in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Six weeks have been allotted for trial in the case of seven Virginia churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church in early 2007 to join a more conservative Anglican Church.

Of the original 11 churches that broke away from the Episcopal Diocese in 2007, seven continue to fight to retain their properties, estimated to be worth as much as $40 million. the rest

ADV press release: VA Anglicans Hold Fast to Historic Faith as Property Trial Begins
FAIRFAX, Va. (April 25, 2011) – The seven Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) congregations that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia will present opening arguments today in the Fairfax County Circuit Court.

The opening arguments in the case fall on Easter Monday and six weeks have been allotted for trial. The current case is again being heard by the Fairfax Court after it was remanded by the Virginia Supreme Court in June. Previously, the congregations had succeeded in their efforts on the Circuit Court level to defend the property that they bought and paid for.

“We remain confident in our legal position and we continue to remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith,” said Jim Oakes, chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, which is the umbrella organization for the seven Anglican congregations.

“While it’s unfortunate that The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia fell out of step with much of Christendom by choosing to redefine and reinterpret Scripture, we never wanted to end up in court. We were stunned when The Episcopal Church and the Diocese abruptly cut off amicable negotiations in early 2007. However, we feel we must defend our freedom of religion and the vital ministries that are housed inside our walls. Not only have our congregations purchased and maintained the properties over the years, the names of our trustees appear on the deeds.

“This past Easter Sunday reminds us that the Lord ultimately is in control. Our congregations will continue to pray and trust in the Lord. Regardless of the unfortunate distraction of the litigation, our churches will not compromise on our number one commitment, which is to advance Christ’s kingdom. Our doors remain open wide to all who wish to worship with us,” Oakes concluded.

Over 500 Dead After Election of Christian President in Nigeria

Mon, Apr. 25 2011
By Lawrence D. Jones
Christian Post Reporter

Deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians in the north of Nigeria following the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan has brought the death toll to over 500, according to a local civic group.

At least 516 people have died with the violence being the worst in Kaduna state, according to Shehu Sani, executive director of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress.

Muslim opposition supporters of Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim and former military ruler, began rioting after the April 16 victory of Goodluck, a Christian from the south. Outraged over the 57 to 31 percent defeat, armed protesters took to the streets, chanting Buhari's name and attacking Christian supporters of the president. The violence which took place at churches, homes, and police states, also triggered retaliatory attacks by Christians. the rest

Iran: Warning From the Ayatollahs: 600 Have Become Christian in the City of Neyshabour!

Egypt: Christians fleeing as Sharia state approaches

Easter attacks near churches rattle Christians as spike in Iraq violence continues

Mass graves in Mexico reveal new levels of savagery

Somalia: Christian convert murdered -- example to other Muslims

WSJ: The Communist crackdown now includes Christian churches

Dance Your Shoes Off

Apr 12, 2011

More than 2,000 people from Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, gathered at Discovery Green in the heart of Houston to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The purpose of Dance Your Shoes Off! was to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a powerful and celebratory way. Most importantly, each participant left a new pair of shoes on the field for those in need. These shoes will be given to local mission agencies, including Star of Hope, individuals all across the world through our mission partners and mission trips.

Albert Mohler: Why Conservative Churches Are Growing: David Brooks and the Limits of Sociology

What sociology cannot do is deal with the most important question of all — the truth question.
Monday, April 25, 2011

By the late 1960s, liberal Protestants began asking a rather difficult question. Why were the conservative churches growing? In retrospect, one aspect of the liberal Protestant crisis was reflected in that very question. The mainline Protestant denominations would have been better served by asking why their own churches were declining.

Commissioned by the National Council of Churches, researcher Dean M. Kelley set out to find out why conservative churches were growing, even as the more liberal churches were declining. In his 1972 book, Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion, Kelley argued that evangelical churches grow precisely because they do what the more liberal congregations and denominations intentionally reject — they make serious demands of believers in terms of doctrine and behavior.

“Amid the current neglect and hostility toward organized religion in general,” Kelley noted, “the conservative churches, holding to seemingly outmoded theology and making strict demands on their members, have equalled or surpassed in growth the early percentage increases of the nation’s population.” the rest image

The Rev. Franklin Graham: Second Coming of Christ by Social Media?

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2011

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter might play a significant role in the second coming of Christ, evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham says.

"The Bible says that every eye is going to see [the second coming]," Graham told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "How is the whole world going to see [Jesus Christ] all at one time? I don't know, unless all of a sudden everybody's taking pictures and it's on the media worldwide. I don't know. Social media could have a big part in that."

The Rev. Franklin Graham appears on "This Week with Christiane Amanpour." Franklin Graham on the 2012 Presidential Race Watch Video

Graham said he believes that when Jesus returns to earth from heaven, he will come on the clouds and the world will record the event using cell phones and cameras. the rest

The Gospel According to Hollywood

Warner Brothers and Cecil B. DeMille have led countless people to Christianity.
APRIL 22, 2011

Imagine meeting a person who had never heard of Easter. If you could use only one film produced in your generation to describe the real meaning of the holiday, which would you use and why?

While there have been many films on Christ over the last 85 years ("The Greatest Story Ever Told," "Jesus of Nazareth," etc.), there has been, on average, only one major blockbuster produced on Jesus per generation: "The King of Kings" (1927), "Ben Hur: The Tale of the Christ" (1959), "Jesus" (1979), and "The Passion of the Christ" (2004).

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" focuses primarily on the final hours leading up to Christ's crucifixion. "Ben Hur" centers on the fictitious character Judah Ben Hur (played by Charlton Heston), intertwining Jesus' birth, ministry and death, but leaving out his resurrection.

Then there is Warner Brothers' 1979 film "Jesus." Based on the Gospel of St. Luke, the film, funded in part by money raised by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, did poorly at the box office. But in 1981, Campus Crusade began translating it for use in the mission field. Known as "The Jesus Film," the movie has now been translated into more than 1,100 languages. Seen by literally billions of people around the world, it is arguably the most watched film ever—with many millions of viewers professing faith in Jesus Christ as a result. It is still being shown world-wide today. the rest
Then there is Warner Brothers' 1979 film "Jesus." Based on the Gospel of St. Luke, the film, funded in part by money raised by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, did poorly at the box office. But in 1981, Campus Crusade began translating it for use in the mission field. Known as "The Jesus Film," the movie has now been translated into more than 1,100 languages. Seen by literally billions of people around the world, it is arguably the most watched film ever—with many millions of viewers professing faith in Jesus Christ as a result. It is still being shown world-wide today.

Church blocks reforms over royal marriages

The Church of England has blocked a Government move to scrap a centuries-old law which prevents members of the Royal family from marrying Roman Catholics, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
24 Apr 2011

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, began work towards repealing the 1701 Act of Settlement, under which heirs to the throne must renounce their claim on marrying a Roman Catholic, in order to introduce full equality between the faiths.

Talks were held with the Anglican Church as part of wider discussions on constitutional reform, which come under his remit as Deputy Prime Minister.

The reforms have also led to steps being made towards securing the agreement of the Commonwealth to end the common law principle of male primogeniture, under which the younger sons of royalty have precedence over their older sisters. the rest

Royal wedding: No place for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown

What? No Easter Greeting?

by Keith Koffler
April 25, 2011
Just when I thought the current team running the White House might have used up all its allotted mistakes comes word that President Obama failed to issue either either an Easter or a Good Friday greeting to the nation.

Now, let’s forget for a moment that these greetings, which presidents issue on many holidays and commemorations of events, are largely perfunctory and symbolic gestures that nobody cares about.

Until there’s a problem with them. the rest
By comparison, the White House has released statements recognizing the observance of major Muslim holidays and released statements in 2010 on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha.

The White House . . . did release an eight-paragraph statement heralding Earth Day. Likewise, the president’s weekend address mentioned neither Good Friday or Easter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday: Come, see the place where the Lord lay...

"Come, see the place where the Lord lay," with joy and gladness. He does not lie there now. Weep, when ye see the tomb of Christ, but rejoice because it is empty. Thy sin slew him, but his divinity raised him up. Thy guilt hath murdered him, but his righteousness hath restored him. Oh! he hath burst the bonds of death, he hath ungirt the cerements of the tomb, and hath come out more than conqueror, crushing death beneath his feet. Rejoice, O Christian, for he is not there—he is risen. ...CH Spurgeon image