Saturday, April 28, 2012

He shall gather the lambs with his arm...

"He shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them in his bosom." -Isaiah 40:11

Who is He of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Why doth he carry the lambs in his bosom? Because He hath a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts his heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of his flock draw forth his compassion. It is his office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak. Besides, he purchased them with blood, they are his property: he must and will care for that which cost him so dear. Then he is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of his glory and reward.

But how may we understand the expression, "He will carry them"? Sometimes he carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them. Often they are "carried" by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know. Frequently he "carries" them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands, and believingly runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.

"He carries the lambs in his bosom." Here is boundless affection. Would he put them in his bosom if he did not love them much? Here is tender nearness: so near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is hallowed familiarity: there are precious love-passages between Christ and his weak ones. Here is perfect safety: in his bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first. Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus! ...CH Spurgeon image

"I am the door of the sheepfold"

Did not Jesus say, "I am the door of the sheepfold"? What to us is the sheepfold, dear children? It is the heart of the Father, whereunto Christ is the Gate that is called Beautiful. 0 children, how sweetly and how gladly has He opened that door into the Father's heart, into the treasure-chamber of God! And there within He unfolds to us the hidden riches, the nearness and the sweetness of companionship with Himself. ...Johannes Tauler image

Orthodox Anglicans committed to unity

April 28, 2012

In a closing statement of commitment on Friday, FCA leaders said their two goals were to proclaim and defend the Gospel throughout the world, and to strengthen the church worldwide by “supporting and authenticating faithful Anglicans who have been disenfranchised from their spiritual homes”.

“We heard numerous accounts from Anglican leaders around the world who have been harassed by their own bishops and fellow clergy for their Gospel witness, yet have been grateful for the stance of the FCA,” the statement said.

“We note that The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada are proceeding post-haste to approve same-sex blessing rites with total disregard for the conscience of their own members, for the moratoria mandated by the official Instruments of the Anglican Communion, and for the broken state of communion where more than half the world’s Anglicans are represented by the FCA.” the rest

Falling home prices drag new buyers under water

By Tim Reid
Thu Apr 26, 2012

(Reuters) - More than 1 million Americans who have taken out mortgages in the past two years now owe more on their loans than their homes are worth, and Federal Housing Administration loans that require only a tiny down payment are partly to blame.

That figure, provided to Reuters by tracking firm CoreLogic, represents about one out of 10 home loans made during that period.

It is a sobering indication the U.S. housing market remains deeply troubled, with home values still falling in many parts of the country, and raises the question of whether low-down payment loans backed by the FHA are putting another generation of buyers at risk. the rest

Trend towards Christianity among Iranian armed forces on rise

posted April 28, 2012

The Iranian Islamic regime is highly concerned about the growing tendency towards Christianity among Iranians which has now reached the authorities, officials and their family members whether inside or outside the country, reports Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News.

Obtained reports and reviews by experts and Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, show that Christianity is growing increasingly among Iranians, especially among the armed forces.

According to Iranian laws, non-Muslims are not allowed to be employed in any armed forces. In addition, it is mentioned in the employment conditions that the employee should believe and have a practical commitment to the Supreme Leader and also should believe in the Islamic Revolution and the regime of the Islamic Republic. The laws state that these conditions are binding. Failure in any one of these conditions can result in the punishment and exile of the violator.
the rest

According to reports, the growing tendency towards Christianity among Iranians has now reached government officials and their family members inside and outside the country. It is to the extent that children of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war have also been seen to have a tendency towards Christianity (the supporting documents are preserved by Mohabat News and cannot be published).

Demography Is Destiny

The perils of population loss.
Apr 23, 2012

The world is heading for demographic catastrophe. Fertility rates have been falling across the globe for 40 years, to the point where, today, Israel is the only First World country where women have enough babies to sustain their population. The developing world is heading in the same direction, fast. Only 3 percent of the world’s population live in a country where the fertility rate is not dropping.

As fertility falls, populations shrink. As populations shrink, economies will sputter. Western countries will struggle to support too many retirees without enough workers, and the rest of the world (particularly places such as China and Russia) will be challenged just to maintain order as societies change in unprecedented ways: Most people will have neither brothers, sisters, aunts, nor uncles, and there will be no such thing as an extended family.

This forecast may sound apocalyptic, but it’s nearly conventional wisdom among the demographers and economists who study such things. However, the conventional wisdom also sees a silver lining to the world’s demographic decline: a “geriatric peace.” As fertility rates decline, and babies become relatively scarce, the average age of societies increases. In many countries the median age is already over 40, with geezers outnumbering children. And once the entire world looks like Florida, the thinking goes, we’ll all be more peaceable, because countries full of old men don’t go to war. the rest

Bombay High Court: Lift The 2-child Rule
...The Bombay High Court who told the goverment they should lift the 2-child rule did so because the rule is stifling population growth and costing the government plenty in bonuses to try to incentivize couples to have more children...

‘Angry Queers’ smash church windows in Portland

by Ben Johnson
Thu Apr 26, 2012

( – A homosexual activist group calling itself “Angry Queers” claimed responsibility for smashing nine windows in a church known for teaching traditional sexual morality early Tuesday morning.

“Upon arriving at the church, we discovered nine separate windows had been smashed in with rocks, including two beautiful 100-year-old stained glass windows,” wrote Tim Smith, pastor of the Portland campus of Mars Hill Church. “We estimate the damage to be several thousand dollars.”

The vandals sent an e-mail to local television station KOIN-TV stating they took the action, because “Mars Hill is notoriously anti-gay and anti-woman.”

Church members say they hold to “traditional Bible-based views on homosexuality.” the rest

Concerns grow that UK will force religious groups to participate in ‘gay marriage’

by Hilary White
Fri Apr 27, 2012

In an impassioned keynote speech at a conference on religious freedom at Oxford University earlier this month, Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley, Scotland, warned that the government’s push for “gay marriage” will herald genuine persecution of Christians dissenting from the zeitgeist.

Those Christians who refuse to “bend to become a religion of the state,” he said, will soon no longer be tolerated by the powerful of British society, politicians, judges and celebrities.

Bishop Tartaglia did not hesitate to name the source of the current conflict between the Church and the state in Britain. Shortly after his elevation as bishop of Paisley in 2005, Bishop Tartaglia said that he quickly realized that “the advance of the homosexual agenda, in concert with equality legislation was beginning to have a problematic effect on the freedom of the Catholic Church to operate in the public sphere.”

The bishop said that several cases in which courts ruled against Christians in conflict with homosexuals demonstrated to him that “with the support of the courts… the power of the courts and of the political establishment, that religious freedom and freedom of conscience could be set aside in favour of the advance of the homosexual agenda.”

Bishop Tartaglia asked, “Will society continue to afford the Catholic Church and other religious bodies the oxygen and the vital space to be themselves and to express themselves in the public square, or will my Church be forced to conform to a publicly acceptable form of religiosity, a kind of patriotic Church? the rest

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Leaders Conference Statement and Commitment

April 27th, 2012

In 2008 the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) was held in Jerusalem, drawing together more than 1100 Anglicans from around the world, including bishops, clergy and laity.

GAFCON recognized that the conflict in the Anglican Communion since 1998 was a crisis of Gospel truth, not only regarding matters of human sexuality, but the authority of Holy Scripture as God’s inspired Word and the unique Person and Work of Jesus Christ for salvation. In view of this crisis, the Conference unanimously affirmed that

our core identity as Anglicans is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it.

Claiming that GAFCON was “not just a moment in time but a movement in the Spirit”, the 2008 Conference gave birth to a contemporary statement of faith,  the Jerusalem Declaration (JD), and to a society, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) led by a Council of Primates. The movement has become a family and fellowship with increasing trust and affection. The goals of the FCA are twofold: to proclaim and defend the gospel throughout the world, and to strengthen the church worldwide by supporting and authenticating faithful Anglicans who have been disenfranchised from their spiritual homes. the rest

Conference news and reports available here.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 37

Apr 27, 2012

Kevin and George analyze today's Anglican News -- including breaking news from GAFCON in London and a new solution offered to AMiA Bishops and Clergy from ACNA. Episode 37 also discusses the Fort Worth Seven and the Settlement with Truro Church in Virginia. Alan Haley disects TEC and we comment on our mailbag.

Methodists to debate gay clergy and same-sex unions

By Daniel Burke
Thursday, April 26, 2012

As nearly 1,000 delegates from across the world gather in Tampa, Fla., for the United Methodist Church's General Conference, gay and lesbian activists have printed pamphlets promoting their cause in five languages, including Portuguese and Swahili.

The UMC's global reach, stretching from the Philippines to Philadelphia, compels the multilingual lobbying. Nearly 40 percent of the delegates, who meet through May 4, live outside the United States, according to church leaders.

"We see it as a challenge to deal with the cultural differences," said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of Germany, who will be installed in Tampa as president of the UMC's Council of Bishops. "But we also see it as a gift."

Convened every four years, General Conference legislates decisions on everything from pensions to prayer books. But few debates garner as much attention and acrimony as the role of gays and lesbians in the UMC. the rest

We should elect our chair, say Primates

by Ed Thornton
27 April, 2012

THE Primates of Nigeria and Kenya suggested this week that the Archbishop of Canterbury should no longer chair the Primates’ Meeting. The chairman should instead be elected by the Primates themselves, they said.

The Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, and the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, suggested the idea at a press briefing on Monday, shortly before the start of a leadership conference of the Fellow­ship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, in London (News, 6 April). A spokesman for the FCA said that dele­gates from about 30 countries were at­tending the conference, representing about 55 million “of all churchgoing Anglicans”.

Archbishop Okoh said: “My thought is that it will be better to have an Archbishop [of Canterbury] who is respected, honoured, for historical reasons, but that the Anglican Com­munion eventually should think about organ­ising itself around a chairman, who will have a tenured office, of four or five years, and then hand over to another person.”
 the rest

Extremists to blame for violence in Nigeria, says Archbishop Okoh

by Ed Thornton
27 April, 2012

THE recent violence against Christians in Nigeria was carried out by a Muslim extremist minority, the Arch­bishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, said this week.

Archbishop Okoh was speaking at a meet­ing in the House of Lords on Tuesday evening. It was chaired by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, who visited Nigeria in January after bombings in the northern city of Kano (News, 27 January).

Archbishop Okoh described Boko Haram, the Islamist group that has carried out recent attacks including a wave of bombings on churches on Christmas Day (News, 30 December), as “a sect that has broken loose from control”. He said: “It is possible that among the Muslims there are those who sympathise with Boko Haram, some who even fund it, but those are not the mainstream of Islam. Mainstream Islam is as baffled and confused as any person in Nigeria.”

Muslim leaders have condemned the bombings, Archbishop Okoh said, “but we said that they had to do more, by bringing Boko Haram under control”. He said, however, that “the chairman of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria” had told him that “Boko Haram is not under his control, and, if they had their way, they would hurt him.” the rest

TX: Montrose Episcopal church will offer same-sex blessings

By Kate Shellnutt
Thursday, April 26, 2012

Following the Episcopal Church's likely approval of a liturgy blessing same-sex relationships at its summer convention, a Montrose congregation will be among the first in Texas to offer gay and lesbian couples this rite, the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle said.

Doyle, bishop of the Texas Diocese, named St. Stephen's Episcopal Church as the first in Houston to be allowed to offer the proposed ceremonies for same-sex couples.

The Episcopal Church has held an ongoing debate regarding gay congregants and clergy for decades and began ordaining openly gay priests in the '90s, a gay bishop in 2003 and a lesbian bishop in 2010, but the issue of homosexuality continues to elicit debate.

"While I long for the day when there will be full marriage equality in the Church and in the State, I consider this a very important step in that process," said the Rev. Lisa Hunt, rector at St. Stephen's, in a letter to parishioners. "St. Stephen's has an opportunity to witness to the action of God in our midst in the lives of couples in our community." the rest

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It is an unspeakable mercy...

It is an unspeakable mercy that the Father comes with His chastisement, makes the world round us all dark and unattractive, leads us to feel more deeply our sinfulness, and for a time lose our joy in what was becoming so dangerous. He does it in the hope that, when we have found our rest in Christ in time of trouble, we shall learn to choose abiding in Him as our only portion; and when the affliction is removed, have so grown more firmly into Him, that in prosperity He still shall be our only joy. So much has He set His heart on this, that though He has indeed no pleasure in afflicting us, He will not keep back even the most painful chastisement if He can but thereby guide His beloved child to come home and abide in the beloved Son. ...Andrew Murray image by Alden Chadwick

Give Us That Old Time Religion

Remembering a time when churches cared enough to safeguard faith and morals.
By Christopher Orlet

Whether one is God-fearing or not, conservatives should be heartened by a recent story in the Wall Street Journal headlined "Traditional Catholicism Is Winning." Just when it seemed that decades of sex abuse scandals, creeping secularism, and the popularity of private forms of spirituality, charismatic sects, and megachurches had knocked traditional religion down for the count, here is news of a revival of sorts.

The authors, Anne Hendershott and Christopher White, joyfully report that there were 467 new priestly ordinations in the U.S. last year, up from 442 a decade ago. Boston's seminary, I am told, had to turn away applicants. And, for the first time in memory, a new seminary is opening in the U.S. (in North Carolina). Meanwhile the number of American Catholics has climbed to 77.7 million, up from 50 million in 1980. All this would seem to suggest that traditional religion's obituary was penned somewhat prematurely.

Why this sudden and surprising return to orthodoxy? My guess is many of these young seminarians have been left cold by the decadence, empty materialism, and skewed values that abound in contemporary society. Perhaps they seek something more meaningful than a desk job, a commute, and a McMansion in the suburbs.

Behind this small attitudinal shift is the figure of Pope Benedict XVI, a strong proponent of tradition in all its forms. Some Rome watchers see great significance in the pope's recent lifting of excommunication from four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. These bishops reject Vatican II and its so-called reforms that were supposed to help the Church "embrace modernity." (Modernity, phbltt! Who needs it? What has modernity done for anybody?) Naturally, those liberals who demand the Church reflect "contemporary values" despise this pontiff, while he is greatly admired by those who think the Church should not sell out to every new ideological fad. the rest

The Vatican and the Sisters
The bells of St. Mary’s haven’t been ringing for some time now.

Bohemian Rhapsody On The Way To School

posted April 26, 2012

It has become a morning habit to sing Bohemian Rhapsody on the way to school in the morning. Depending on traffic, we can usually start the song as we pull out of the driveway, and pull into the school just as the song ends.

Albert Mohler: The Ugly American-Sex Trafficking and Our National Humiliation

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The sexual revolution of the last several decades has transformed any public conversation about sex and sexuality. The revolutionaries directed their attention to the dismantling of an entire edifice of sexual morality that had been basically intact for well over 2,000 years.

At one point in the sexual revolution, efforts were made to legalize prostitution as a “victimless crime,” a term that anyone could recognize as an oxymoron. Most of these efforts went nowhere in the United States and most of Europe, though “progressive” law enforcement officials often looked the other way and did little to curb the market for illicit sex.

Then something truly interesting started to happen. Influential forces in society began to notice the scale and magnitude of the market for sex. Law enforcement officials started to acknowledge the fact that women, along with under-age girls and boys, were being “trafficked” through international networks of gangsters. By the end of the last decade, American officials were aware that sex trafficking was taking place in cities large and small. Women, along with boys and girls, were being kidnapped in far parts of the world and on the streets of American cities, to be sold into what could only be considered as sexual slavery. the rest

American Christians, who understand the incomprehensible scandal and moral horror of sex trafficking must recognize that this is an issue of high moral priority.

UK: Influential Anglican Leaders Call for Gay Marriage Against Church Teachings

Group Suggests Christians in UK Should Rejoice That Same-Sex Couples Want to Marry
By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
April 25, 2012

A group of Anglican Church leaders, including some from the General Synod, the Church of England's governing body, has stated in a public letter opposition to the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, and a desire for it to include same-sex couples.

Homosexual marriage has been a controversial issue in Britain and especially in the Anglican Church. British Prime Minister David Cameron and several other political groups and leaders in the country want the government to allow same-sex couples, who already can partake in civil unions that allow them many of the same benefits as heterosexual couples, to make vows and marry.

The Church of England stands firm in its support of traditional marriage and says:

"Opening marriage to same-sex couples would confer few if any new legal rights on the part of those already in a civil partnership, yet would require multiple changes to law, with the definition of marriage having to change for everyone." the rest
The full letter was made available on the Thinking Anglicans website, and is signed by some high-ranking Anglican officials, including Canon Giles Goddard, General Synod, Southwark, the Very Rev. Jeffrey John, Dean of St. Albans and the Rt. Rev. Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham.

BBC: Gay marriage 'nothing to fear', say senior Anglicans

(I just finished reading Ezekiel 34:1-10 as one of the OT reading choices for Good Shepherd Sunday-which I very much doubt will be proclaimed from the pulpits of any who signed or agree with this letter.   -PD)

Dad rescues ‘brain dead’ son from doctors wishing to harvest his organs – boy recovers completely

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Wed Apr 25, 2012

( - According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a young British man owes his life to an insistent father who would not allow his son’s organs to be removed from his body, despite assurances from four doctors that his son could not recover from the wounds he had suffered in a recent car accident.

The Mail reports that Stephen Thorpe, then 17, was placed in a medically-induced coma following a multi-car pileup that had already taken the life of his friend Matthew, who was driving the vehicle.

Although a team of four physicians insisted that his son was “brain-dead” following the wreck, Thorpe’s father enlisted the help of a general practitioner and a neurologist, who demonstrated that his son still had brain wave activity. The doctors agreed to bring him out of the coma, and five weeks later Thorpe left the hospital, having almost completely recovered.

Today, the 21-year-old with “brain damage” is studying accounting at a local university. “‘My impression is maybe the hospital weren’t very happy that my father wanted a second opinion,” he told the Mail. 
the rest

Green-Washing a Young Mind

April 25, 2012

Kids think we’re better off dead

Obama Lawyers Desperately Try to 'Dismiss' Lawsuit by Pro-Life Catholic Group Against ObamaCare

April 25, 2012
Christian Newswire

Priests for Life, a New York-based international pro-life organization of Catholic clergy and laity, today announced that the Obama Administration's lawyers are trying desperately to "shut down" the lawsuit that's been filed to stop ObamaCare from violating the conscience and morals of America's Catholics.

The lawsuit, Priests for Life v. Sebelius, seeks to permanently block the implementation of the HHS mandate that imposes clear violations of conscience upon any and all citizens who morally object to abortion and contraception.

"Since the HHS mandate directly affects Priests for Life -- and every U.S. citizen -- through compulsory funding of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, our lawsuit is 100 percent legitimate," says Priests for Life’s lead attorney Charles LiMandri.

LiMandri elaborates: "And yet, the Obama lawyers are trying to say that we don't have 'standing' because the abortion mandate 'doesn't go into effect' for PFL for several months. This is a thoroughly ridiculous and embarrassing argument for Obama's attorneys to make. It shows how desperate they are to dismiss our lawsuit -- even to the point of resorting to outrageous arguments such as the ones they're using now." the rest

KS: Churches May Be Forced to Rent Their Facilities to Gay Couples

By Jeff Schapiro
April 25, 2012

The city of Hutchinson, Kan., is mulling over a proposed law that would force some churches in the community, regardless of their religious convictions, to rent their church halls to gay couples for events.

The proposal came about after the Kansas Equality Coalition encouraged the Hutchinson City Council to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the city's human relations code. The law would make it illegal for churches that rent their facilities to the public to prevent anyone from renting their facility based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"If a church has a parish hall that they rent out to the general public, they could not discriminate against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party," states an eight-page document from the city's Human Relations Commission that explains the law. Churches can choose to be exempt from the law, but only if they stop renting to the public and rent only to their members. the rest

Maine town: No parking lot taxes for charities… except for churches

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nothing is small or great in God’s sight...

Nothing is small or great in God’s sight; whatever He wills becomes great to us, however seemingly trifling, and if once the voice of conscience tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its importance. ...Jean Nicolas Grou image

BBC to air radio show live from abortion clinic

April 25th, 2012

The BBC has received strong criticism after revealing controversial plans to air a live radio show from an abortion clinic next month.

The show, which will make broadcast history, is due to be aired on Radio 5 live and will include interviews with members of staff and women terminating their pregnancies at an abortion clinic, which is yet to be named.

Victoria Derbyshire, who will host the show, claimed that the broadcast will “give us an insight into an area of British life which is taboo.”
 the rest

A Black Box in Your Car?

April 23, 2012
By Sam Favate

If you thought having EZ Pass in your car would make it too easy for the government to track you, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

The Senate passed a bill in March that calls for “mandatory event data recorders” (or black boxes) to be installed in all new passenger motor vehicles, starting with the 2015 models, and which would record data before, during or after a crash, according to

The bill, which can be seen here, has a privacy provision but gives the government the authority to access the black box in a number of circumstances, including court order, consent of the owner, an investigation or inspection, or to determine the need for emergency responses.

The same bill would allow the IRS to revoke passports of citizens accused of owing more than $50,000 in back taxes, according to, a website of radio show host Alex Jones – described by Rolling Stone as “a giant in America’s conspiracy subculture.”

The connection between black boxes and passport revocation has Jones in a lather. the rest

The Countercultural Language of Original Sin

By David French
April 24, 2012

Sorry for the excessive religion-blogging, but I can’t resist highlighting the ten-part (yes, ten-part) Slate exchange between Ross Douthat and William Saletan over Douthat’s new book, Bad Religion. I’d urge you to read the whole thing (it’s not as daunting as ten parts would imply), but one aspect of the dialogue stood out. While discussing homosexuality, Douthat brings up the little-discussed but often-dispositive reason why secular Left and Christian Right frequently see the world through fundamentally different lenses:
Homosexuality may be innate, but recall that one of the core doctrines of Christianity is that sin itself is innate—that our innermost being is in some sense broken and fallen and turned from God’s desires for us. What a traditional Christian morality asks of gay people seems impossibly difficult, but the Jesus of the New Testament asks the near impossible of people quite frequently.
Douthat is referring, of course, to the effects of original sin — to what a Calvinist like me thinks of as our total depravity. So when Lady Gaga celebrates being “born this way" (not to equate Saletan and Gaga, of course) the orthodox Christian responds, “Yes, and that’s the problem.” Putting aside homosexuality for the moment, a foundational principle of orthodox Christianity is the concept that we are shot through with sin and that even the best of us is in desperate need of forgiveness and redemption. We’re so far from the holiness of God that the very phrase “the best of us” is a sad joke. As my former pastor once said, a prerequisite to understanding the good news of the Gospel is knowing the bad news — that we are evil. the rest

Anglican Perspective: FCA Leadership Conference

Apr 25, 2012

This week, Canon Ashey is in London for the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans' Leadership Conference. This conference represents the marjority of the world's Anglicans with representatives from all over globe. The AAC is helping with conference organizing and media as well serving in other ways.

IVF is Human Experimentation That Causes Health Problems

Monday, April 23, 2012
Wesley J. Smith

IVF has always been a form of human experimentation–which costs the subject’s (the baby) parents a lot of money–since we jumped head first into the technology without fully knowing the potential consequences. And now, decades later, we are finding that people born from IVF have greater health risks. From a column by Art Caplan:
An article just published in the highly respected journal Fertility and Sterility ought to give anyone thinking about using “test tube” baby technology pause. A review of 124,000 children born through two very common infertility treatments — in vitro fertilization, creating embryos in a dish and transferring them to a womb and ICSI, in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg — showed large increase in the risk of having a child with a birth defect. The risk was 37 percent higher than that seen in children made the old fashioned way. That is a huge number.
Caplan is no social conservative and is a strong supporter of IVF. Still, he says that this information is important for informed consent.
That said, the large risk factor now on the table needs to be a key part of how everyone thinks about making babies in medical settings. The authors of the study say they do not know why the risk is so large. And it has taken far too long for this question to get asked. We need to be sure that long-term monitoring of children born by means of infertility treatment is routine and that more research is done into the causes of health problems for kids who cannot make choices about facing risk.
Right he is. And that is because they are living experiments.
 the rest image

Dancing Sufis for abortion

by Ben Johnson
Fri Apr 20, 2012 reported some time ago about Planned Parenthood’s latest, most bizarre effort to drum up support for its indefensible industry: holding a 40-day prayer campaign in favor of abortion. Kathleen Gilbert reported the 40 Days of Prayer material “lists 40 different prayers for those involved in the ‘sacred care’ of abortions to continue protecting, providing, and embracing the procedure - including mothers, escorts, abortionists, and everyone involved except the unborn children.” However, most of the national reporting has failed to convey the full breadth and diversity of the undertaking.

The campaign is modeled on the more successful 40 Days of Life, in which people of faith pray for abortion to end. The new campaign prays for abortions, world without end.

The people who pray against what happens inside abortion clinics look like a cross-section of America. They are primarily Catholics, Orthodox Christians and conservative Protestants.

And who are the supplicants for slaughter? the rest

Chuck Colson: "Like I Am"

Chuck Colson's last media interview-September 2011

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Suppose Christianity is not a religion at all but a way of life...

Suppose Christianity is not a religion at all but a way of life, a falling in love with God, and through Him, a falling in love with our fellows. Of course such a way is hard and costly, but it is also joyous and rewarding even in the here-and-now. People who follow that Way know beyond all possible argument that they are in harmony with the Purpose of God, that Christ is with them and in them as they set about His work in our disordered world.

If anyone thinks this is perilous and revolutionary teaching, so much the better. That is exactly what they thought of the teaching of Jesus Christ. The light He brought to bear upon human affairs is almost unbearably brilliant, but it is the light of Truth, and in that light human problems can be solved. ...JB Phillips image

A.S. Haley: Have They Violated Title IV? Ten Brave Episcopal Clergy Defy ECUSA in Fort Worth Case

April 24, 2012

Yesterday, seven bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) -- five active, and two resigned (retired) -- joined the three Episcopal priests in the Anglican Communion Institute in filing an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in the Texas Supreme Court appeal brought by Bishop Jack L. Iker and his Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to overturn the summary judgment granted by the District Court in favor of ECUSA and its rump diocese and parishes. The arguments in the brief present a view directly contrary to the view expressed in the case by the Church's attorneys that ECUSA is "hierarchical."

[Side note: Despite all the magic hand-waving by ECUSA's Presiding Bishop and its General Convention, there is one and only one way to have a diocese become a member of the association of dioceses known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. That one way is spelled out, in very clear words, in Article V of ECUSA's Constitution, and it has not changed in over 200 years. The faux "Diocese of Fort Worth" is here so called (and also denominated with adjectives like "rump", "Potemkin", "ersatz", or similar words) because it has not gone through that constitutional procedure, and unless and until it does, it is not a genuine ECUSA diocese, no matter how many official pronouncements issue from no matter what quarter of the Church. End of side note.]

The bishops joining in the brief are +Benitez (resigned - Texas), +Howe (resigned - Central Florida), +Lambert (suffragan - Dallas), +Love (Albany), +MacPherson (Western Louisiana), +Martins (Springfield), and +Stanton (Dallas). The three priests are the Rev. Prof. Christopher Seitz, the Very Rev. Dr. Philip Turner III, and the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner. the rest

Chuck Colson and the Conscience of a Hatchet-Man

What's behind the snarky obituaries and media retrospectives infuriating many Christians.
Russell D. Moore

I suppose I should see some irony in some of the more vindictive journalistic pieces slinking out since the death of Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson. It's not that I mind these articles focusing on Colson's Watergate crimes and his rather nasty political persona prior to conversion; Colson emphasized that too. More problematic is the smug undercurrent that somehow Colson's life in ministry to criminals was somehow just some sort of "cover-up" for who he "really" was: a dirty trickster for whom everything was politics. Even as they bury the hatchet-man, some journalists just can't bury the hatchet. And, as they center everything on Watergate, they demonstrate that Nixon wasn't the only one with an Enemies List.

I found myself reflecting this morning on my own hypocrisy in my irritation with these cynical secular editorials and news pieces. After all, I'm the one who rolls my eyes at an evangelical victim mentality that cries "media bias" whenever we aren't represented fairly. In my anger at these writings, I evidenced a spirit closer to Watergate-era Richard Nixon than to the post-Watergate Chuck Colson. Nixon's downfall, after all, was at least partly due to his consuming desire to be accepted by the media and culture mavens of American society. President Nixon's rage was because he really cared what the New York Times and the Washington Post wrote about him. the rest
When you read those who smirk and dismiss the Chuck Colson conversion, the Chuck Colson life, don't get angry and don't be outraged. Read a subtext that belongs to all of us: the fear that the criminal conspiracy we've all been a part of will be exposed, and just can't be forgiven. Read the undercurrent of those who find it hard to believe that one can be not just pardoned, but "born again." That's indeed hard to believe. An empty grave in Jerusalem is all we have on which to base that claim, a claim that speaks louder than our own accusing hearts.

I have to believe that when Chuck Colson opened his eyes in the moments after death that he didn't hear anything about break-ins or dirty tricks or guilty consciences. I have to believe Mr. Colson heard a Galilean voice saying, "I was in prison and you visited me" (Matt. 25:36). I have to believe that he stood before his Creator with a new record, a new life transcript, one that belonged not to himself but to a Judean day-laborer who is now the ruler of the cosmos. And in that Lamb's Book of Life there are no eighteen minute gaps.

That's good news for guilty consciences, good news for recovering hatchet men and women like us.

Christians forced to flee northern Mali

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Christians in Mali are in a “desperate plight” following last month’s military coup, Barnabas Fund has warned.

Government forces collapsed in the north following the coup, allowing separatist and Islamist rebels to seize control of the country’s three northern regions.

Around 215,000 people have been displaced from their homes, many of them crossing into Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Many Christians have sought safety in Mali’s capital, Bamako, where they are being fed and sheltered by a network of churches.

A Barnabus Fund contact in Mali reports that churches in the towns of Gao and Timbuktu were destroyed in the takeover, with the congregations abandoning their homes and fleeing south. the rest

Archbishop Wabukala’s keynote address: A Global communion for the twenty-first Century

April 24, 2012

Leadership Conference, London 2012 of GAFCON/FCA

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala Chairman’s keynote address
Monday 23rd at St Marks Battersea Rise

So we must act in obedience to what the Lord requires and, knowing our weakness, in continual dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a truth which is precious to some of us through our roots in the East African Revival when the spirit of God renewed the church brining a humble walk with God- conviction of sins, a thirst for God’s word, a simple lifestyle and an unquenchable desire for evangelism. It is these qualities that we need to animate our Global fellowship as we move forward together. As a powerful movement of renewal and transformation for that is what we are.

Since 2008, we have acted, perhaps not always as quickly or as clearly as we should, but there has been action. In accordance with the Jerusalem Declaration, the GAFCON primates sponsored the Anglican Church in North America as a new province and ceased to be in communion with The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada. It is a cause of great joy to see that despite aggressive use of the courts and the loss of property which previous generations intended for the work of the gospel, the ACNA is far from being just a place of shelter for the wounded. It is dynamic missionary body which is growing remarkably through visionary church planting.

Last year, it became clear that provision need to be made for England too. The Anglican Mission in England was formed last June after four years of discussion with senior Anglican leaders in England had failed to find a way in which those genuinely in need of effective orthodox oversight in the Church of England could receive it.

This week we will apply ourselves to discerning the next stage in what it is the Lord requires. I hope that our taking counsel together will lead to action that will shape the future of the Communion in profound ways but as we pay attention to the great questions of theology and strategy, we need to be careful not to neglect the way we act towards each other so that there is a consistency and integrity to the identity we claim. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury to lose worldwide Anglican role under traditionalist plans

THE Archbishop of Canterbury could be stripped of his role as figurehead of the worldwide Anglican Church, leaders representing 40 million churchgoers have signalled as they launched a scathing attack on a liberal drift within the Church.
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
Apr 2012

A coalition of bishops and leaders from Africa, the Americas and Australasia said it was time for a “radical shift” in how the church is structured away from models of the “British Empire”.

They criticised what they called “revisionist attempts” to abandon basic doctrines on issues such as homosexuality and “turn Christianity merely into a movement for social betterment” during Dr Williams’s tenure.

And they said it was now clear that the leadership in England had failed to hold the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion together, leaving it in “crisis”. the rest

Monday, April 23, 2012

Primates meet as London conference opens

Media ReleaseLeaders Conference, London
23 to 27 April 2012

The Primates Council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans met over three days, April 19th- 21st in London.

With great anticipation we greet the delegates to the first FCA Leaders Conference as they gather in London.

Over two hundred leaders from thirty countries will hear God’s word and commit to one another for the preaching and defence of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in and through the Anglican Communion. From this meeting will emerge key networks and commission capable of strengthening the worldwide churches and delivering the Christian message to the world.

We pray for those responsible for the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury that they will look for a godly leader of God’s people. We believe that in the future development of the Anglican Communion the chair of the Primates Meeting should be elected by the Primates themselves. We believe that the future of our Communion relies on adherence to Scriptural authority, faithful and Christ-centred preaching of this word, the blessing of God’s Holy Spirit, godly leadership and the spiritual commitment of God’s people. These spiritual realities and the reality of worldwide Anglicanism should be reflected in the structures of the Anglican Communion.

From the beginning the thrust of our FCA movement has been forward-looking. We have therefore confirmed the decision to call GAFCON II for May next year in a venue shortly to be announced. We believe that the joyful meeting of orthodox Anglicans from all over the world will be a dynamic force for restating the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of revisionist attempts to change basic doctrines and turn Christianity merely into a movement for social betterment. It is the preaching of the Gospel of Christ crucified which saves men and women and transforms the world. here

Quantum Rainbow Photon Gun Unveiled

A photon gun capable of reliably producing single photons of different colours could become an important building block of a quantum internet

We've heard much about the possibility of a quantum internet which uses single photons to encode and send information protected by the emerging technology of quantum cryptography.

The main advantage is of such a system is perfect security, the kind of thing that governments, the military, banks and assorted other groups would pay handsomely to achieve.

One of the enabling technologies for a quantum internet is a reliable photon gun that can fire single photons on demand. That's not easy.

One of the significant weaknesses of current quantum cryptographic systems is the finite possibility that today's lasers emit photons in bunches rather than one at a time. When this happens, an eavesdropper can use these extra photons to extract information about the data being transmitted.

So there's no shortage of interest in developing photon guns that emit single photons and indeed various groups have made significant progress towards this. the rest

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In every action we take...

In every action we take, we are doing one of two things: we are either helping to create a hell on earth or helping to bring down a foretaste of heaven. We are either contributing to the broken condition of the world or participating with God in transforming the world to reflect his righteousness. We are either advancing the rule of Satan or establishing the reign of God.  ...Chuck Colson image by Christian Haugen

GAFCON meeting underway in London

Russell Powell
April 22nd, 2012

Archbishop Jensen interview on BBC Sunday radio programme - MP3

The first leadership conference since GAFCON in 2008 is underway in London.

200 clergy and lay leaders, men and women from more than 25 countries, are gathered in London this week.

The meeting was the initiative of GAFCON primates through the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), which was established after the Jerusalem meeting in 2008.

It follows the latest meeting of the GAFCON/FCA primates council, chaired by the Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

A media statement is due on Monday (UK time). the rest

Christians oppressed by rebels in Syria

Opponents of the Syrian regime are imposing the Islamic tax on Christians in Homs
Marco Tosatti

News from Homs, one of the cities in Syria that has been hardest hit by the clashes between the Syrian army and rebels, suggests that the future for Christians in Syria will be no rosier should the long dictatorship of the Baath party, controlled by the Assad clan’s Alawi minority, come to an end. “The opposition army has imposed the Islamic tax on Christians in Homs.” The news started circulating a week ago and was confirmed in recent days.

The Koran reads: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.” The reference to “those who have been given the Book” is about Jews and Christians. What seemed like a custom of the early centuries of Islam and the medieval era, has clearly not been applied for some time in Middle Eastern Countries with Islamic majorities which only adopted democratic and representative political models after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and then after the Second World War. Most Muslim spokesmen living in the West would say that this verse cannot be applied in today’s modern world. the rest

Charles Colson, 1931-2012

Apr 22, 2012

When thinking about the arc of Colson's life, I was reminded of a passage from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. Early on in Christian's journey to the Celestial City, he encounters the hideous monster Apollyon. Apollyon tells Christian that it is ordinary for those that have professed themselves God's servants after awhile to "give Him the slip and return again to me." To which Christian says, "I have given Him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to Him; how, then, can I go back from this?" And then Christian added this:
I count that the Prince under whose banner I now stand is able to absolve me, yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee. And besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak the truth, I like His service, His wages, His servants, His government, His company, and country better than thine; therefore leave off to persuade me further: I am His servant, and I will follow Him.
Around 1973, Mr. Colson gave up standing under one banner to stand under another. He became God's servant. He faithfully followed Him to the end. And now, blessedly, he is united with his Lord. 

Charles Colson is home. Full essay image

Albert Mohler: The Deep Limitations of Digital Church

Friday, April 20, 2012

Do you go to the Internet for church? Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today reported this week on the increasing use of digital technology by churches. This trend is not new, of course, but some of the developments she traces are fresh and innovative.

She begins with a look at Christ Fellowship in McKinney, Texas — a church Grossman describes as “on board with almost every high-tech gambit under heaven.”

She then writes:

“Find the church by going online — the 21st-century version of sighting a steeple on the horizon. Beyond their website, Christ Fellowship has a Facebook page to give it a friendly presence in social media.

You can download the worship program by scanning their customized-with-a-cross QR code. The worship services are streamed online from their Internet campus — with live chat running so you can share spiritual insights in real time.

Afterward, says senior Pastor Bruce Miller, ’someone will ask you, ‘How did it go? Did God help you, today? How can we help you?’ Just like we do when people come to our building in McKinney. We are here to help people find and follow Christ, wherever they are starting out from.’

And wherever they are in the digital world.”

There is something good, healthy, and Great Commission-minded about the eager use of new communication technologies. Digital technologies and social media have transformed our world, redefining how human beings engage one another and how we all access information. A church without a digital presence is a church that, to many people, simply doesn’t exist. the rest

A Female Episcopal Priest Visits a Mormon Temple

Danielle Tumminio

As I stood in front of the new Mormon Temple in Liberty, Mo., it struck me as ironic that close to 175 years ago, Mormons were forced out of this same state.

Whereas the Missouri public once urged their governor to force Joseph Smith and his followers out of the area surrounding Kansas City, Mormons began to return to the region in the 1900s, eventually gathering in such large numbers that the Church organization decided the region needed a temple.

Which is why I came to visit.

Latter Day Saints restrict temple access to members of their denomination who have proven themselves to be faithful and dedicated adherents. Because Mormons believe temples are the most sacred places on earth, one needs to be prepared to enter them by being an active member of the Church. (In contrast, chapels, where Mormons hold Sunday worship, are open to everyone. Temples are used only for certain rituals and are not open on Sunday so that Mormons can be at their chapel services.)

When a new temple is built, anyone may enter prior to its dedication. So, always curious to learn about the faith of others, I didn't want to miss an opportunity to see a site normally closed off to an Episcopal priest like myself. the rest/photos

Christian Leaders Remember Their Hero Chuck Colson Amid Media Skepticism

By Anugrah Kumar
 Christian Post Contributor
April 22, 2012

While the still skeptical secular media chose to describe Chuck Colson as a "mastermind of dirty tricks" in obituary columns, Christian leaders focused on his life and work after his transformation and remembered him as a great friend, mentor, apologist and witness for Christ.

"I'm saddened by Chuck Colson's passing yet rejoicing that he is now in the presence of the Lord he loves so much," Lee Strobel, author and Christian apologist, told The Christian Post.

"Chuck once asked me to succeed him as head of Prison Fellowship, but I knew I could never fill his shoes," Strobel recalled. "The world has lost a passionate, brilliant, persuasive and humble witness for Christ. Those of us who remain should redouble our efforts to define and defend the truth of Christianity to an often hostile and skeptical world, as Chuck urged us so often to do," Strobel said after Colson's death Saturday. the rest

Cal Thomas: Remembering Charles 'Chuck' Colson