Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There is a time appointed...

There is a time appointed in the history of our world, when that very Jesus who appeared on earth, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," shall reappear with all the circumstances of majesty and power, "King of kings and Lord of lords." We are led to expect a day when Christ shall find a home in the remotest hearts and families, and the earth in all its circumference be covered with the knowledge and the power of the Lord. ... Henry Melvill image

Prof. Stephen Noll: The Pilling Report and the Anglican Communion

By Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll
Vice Chancellor (retired), Uganda Christian University
3 December 2013

On 28 November 2013 The Church of England House of Bishops' Working Group on Human Sexuality released its Report, which is more commonly known as the Pilling Report (PR). The full text of the 200-page document is found here.

An introduction and commendations by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are found here.

 Initial reaction from conservatives in the Church of England can be found here.

 No doubt there will be much commentary yet to come, especially from within the Church of England.

 The following analysis is restricted to those parts of the PR that most directly relate to the Anglican Communion in general and the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) in particular. Although the Report does have chapter divisions, I shall refer to it by section (§).
Analysis here

The Pilling Report – Bishop of Birkenhead's dissenting statement
...I believe Scripture and Christian tradition offer a clearer and better vision from God for the world in his gift of our sexuality as men and women and that this is sufficient for directing the Church at this critical time of major cultural change. In particular, I am not persuaded that the biblical witness on same sex sexual behaviour is unclear.     

 I believe the trajectory in the Report will undermine the discipleship and pastoral care of many faithful Christians and, by leading the Church into the kind of cultural captivity which much of the prophetic writings warn against, weaken our commitment to God's mission.

 I believe in the unity of Christ's Church and think the Report has not heeded the view of General Synod expressed in February 2007 that 'efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion… would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64; 1998: 1.10)'...

The Pilling Report (pdf)

Anglican Mainstream: Pilling roundup (updated as new items appear) Great resource!

Diocese of FW Files Legal Response to TEC Over Property Dispute

By Michael Gryboski,
 Christian Post Reporter
December 9, 2013
A Texas diocese that opted to break away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences has filed a legal response before the state supreme court.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth filed Friday in response to TEC's motion for a rehearing regarding the legal dispute over the name and property of the diocese. In the 17-page document, the breakaway diocesan leadership argued that TEC's lawsuit over the property should be dismissed.

"TEC has no more control over Appellants' property or affairs than Royal Dutch Shell has over the property or affairs of ExxonMobil," reads the response in part. "The Court noted probable jurisdiction of this direct appeal two years ago. By May 2014, it will have been on this Court's docket for three years. It is time to dispose of it."   the rest

Archbishop Wabukala: Advent Letter 2013

To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala,
Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

Advent 2013

Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! Psalm 31:24

My dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

I am so thankful to the Lord for his goodness to us as we met here in Nairobi for GAFCON 2013. It was a great gathering in which we saw unmistakable signs of God’s blessing. Our expectations were exceeded in many ways as 1,358 delegates from 37 nations gathered for what I can only describe as a foretaste of heaven. My prayer was that we would see the glory of God and we did as we enjoyed a wonderful time of worship, prophetic bible teaching and mutual encouragement.  It was truly a mountain top experience in which the Lord Jesus was gloriously present, but we knew we could not stay there. We have to come down from the mountain to face the challenges ahead.

And so we have. The Church of England has just released what is known as the Pilling Report, the conclusions of a Working Group commissioned by the House of Bishops to report and make recommendations on issues of human sexuality. I am sorry to say that it is very flawed. If this report is accepted I have no doubt that the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Communion, will have made a fateful decision. It will have chosen the same path as The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada with all the heartbreak and division that will bring.

The problem is not simply that the Report proposes that parish churches should be free to hold public services for the blessing of homosexual relationships, but the way it justifies this proposal. Against the principle of Anglican teaching, right up to and beyond the Lambeth Conference of 1998, it questions the possibility that the Church can speak confidently on the basis of biblical authority and sees its teaching as essentially provisional. So Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference, which affirmed that homosexual practice was ‘incompatible with Scripture’ and said it could ‘not advise the legitimisation or blessing of same sex relationships’, is undermined both in practice and in principle.

The proposal to allow public services for the blessing of same sex relationships is seen as a provisional measure and the Report recommends a two-year process of ‘facilitated conversation’ throughout the Church of England which is likened to the ‘Continuing Indaba’ project. This should be a warning to us because it highlights that the unspoken assumption of Anglican Indaba is that the voice of Scripture is not clear. This amounts to a rejection of the conviction expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles that the Bible as ‘God’s Word written’ is a clear and effective standard for faith and conduct.

As a matter of conscience, one member of the Working Group, the Rt Rev’d Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead, was unable to sign the Report. He issued a dissenting statement which I strongly endorse as an alternative way forward which honours the authority of Scripture and expresses a deep pastoral concern for the transforming power of the gospel in a society which is moving into ever greater confusion about sexual morality and identity.

We should pray earnestly that the English House of Bishops steps back from endorsing this Report, but the developing situation in the Church of England, the historic Mother Church of the Communion, underlines the need for our Global Fellowship to build on the success of GAFCON 2013 and implement our commitments.  As we noted in the Nairobi  Communiqué, the GFCA is becoming an ‘ important and effective instrument of Communion during a period in which other instruments of Communion have failed both to uphold gospel priorities in the Church, and to heal the divisions among us.’

As Chairman I am committed to seeing our vital work of promoting and defending the gospel expand. During the coming year we shall be working to increase our organizational effectiveness, set up global networks and improve our communications, but we also need the involvement of every member in prayer, giving and active engagement with our global vision. We are at heart a spiritual movement of renewal, looking to the Lord who graciously revives his Church and this is a reality that flows out of the daily discipleship of each one.

I write with deep gratitude to you all for your prayer and fellowship in this great project which the Lord has called us. This Advent Season is a reminder to live as those who are ready for the Lord’s return in power and glory, as Saviour and as Judge.  So let us be of good hope, confident in the ultimate triumph of God’s purposes in Jesus Christ.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word (2 Thess. 2:16,17).

The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala
Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
Posted December 7, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

"Stand still"

"Stand still" - keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, "Go forward." ...Charles Haddon Spurgeon image

I had meant to do this earlier, but please go to the blog Lent and Beyond to find wonderful resources to bless your Advent season.  I am especially enjoying the music collection here. -PD

Computers are frustrating!!!

To my readers:

Blogging has been a bit sporadic lately due to a very uncooperative computer. :(  It is extremely frustrating to have it lock up constantly, sometimes several times an hour, or be visited by the BSOD . I had a computer guy work on it a couple of months ago, but it's back to its old tricks.  I am thinking that one may appear under the Christmas tree as hinted by Raymond. :)

So in the meantime, I know God is in control, even over my computer...  Pat

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
                                            -Proverbs 19:21

Calif. MD's boycotting Obamacare; Praying Scripture; Mohler on Mandela; Megachurches ...more

Planned Parenthood Uses Celebrities, Paid Canvassers in Massive Push to Save Obamacare
The Planned Parenthood abortion business stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries financially from the success of Obamacare, which funds abortions and is funding the abortion giant directly.

With millions of Americans losing health insurance under Obamacare and support for its repeal at an all-time high, Planned Parenthood is relying on a campaign including top celebrities and a massive public relations push to “save” Obamacare. Meanwhile, the abortion company is taking to Craig’s List to hire canvassers to go door-to-door to promote Obamacare...

Albert Mohler: Nelson Mandela and the Ironies of History
On Thursday, South African President Jacob Zuma announced the death of Nelson Mandela at age 95. One of the most significant and vital figures of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela became known not only as the father of his nation, but as the father of an entire people.

All this goes back to 1918 when Mandela, then known by the name Rolihlaha, was born into the royal line of the Xhosa tribe in South Africa. Later, his name was changed to Nelson when he was baptized by Methodists. When he died he was known by Africans merely as Madiba, representing his traditional clan. By then, he had become one of the most respected figures on the world stage...
Peter Ould on Nelson Mandela and terrorism

Has the Megachurch Lost Its Luster?
In the future, the 1990s and early 2000s may well be called the “Megachurch Era” by ecclesiastical historians. Suburban commuter culture, television broadcasting, the Internet, the book publishing industry, the rise of self-help gurus, digital media technology, and the contemporary sounds of Jesus People music all provided essential ingredients for enormous churches with a plethora of programs. All that the ingredients needed were men with the vision, initiative, and charisma to muster together like-minded individuals for a common purpose: planting, building, and increasing a congregation (well beyond the previous conceptions of a “large congregation”).

And those men came. Churches with multi-site campuses, parking garages, jumbo-trons, award-winning praise bands, laser shows, tremendous charities, political endorsements, and even in-house coffee shops sprang up across the nation. Thousands of people—unchurched, disenchanted, or pushed out of liberalizing Mainline congregations (or stringent fundamentalist ones)—flocked to these new watering holes. The droves started having offspring as smaller congregations dwindled away. A new way of “doing church” was in town, and it seemed to be primed for being the ideal model for pastors to emulate if they wanted their congregations to survive the coming millennium...

California Threatened About Common Core
In case you had any doubt about the new Common Core standards being a takeover by the Obama Administration of what schools will teach and not teach your children, now hear this. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan threatened to cut off federal education funds to California (which amounts to a billion dollars) if state officials don’t administer Common Core tests exactly as he wishes. Although Common Core is allegedly left up to the states to run, federal government interference proves that is not true...

Fla: Judge’s decision on ‘socialization’ concerns homeschoolers
What started off as a battle over child visitation rights involving a divorced Florida couple has evolved into a court order to end the mother's right to homeschool her children...

New Affordable Care US health plans will exclude top hospitals

Obamacare’s perilous protection plan for debtors
...Here’s the raw deal: The Affordable Care Act created a 90-day grace period before insurers can drop patients who fall behind on premiums. So, delinquents who obtain tax-subsidized health insurance through an Obamacare health insurance exchange have three months to settle up their bills prior to their policy being canceled. As written, the law puts insurers on the hook for the grace period...

Doctors boycotting California's Obamacare exchange
...“This is a dirty little secret that is not really talked about as they promote Covered California,” Waters said. He called the exchange's doctors list a “shell game” because “the vast majority” of his doctors are not participating.

Independent insurance brokers who work with both insurance companies and doctor networks estimate that about 70 percent of California's 104,000 licensed doctors are boycotting the exchange...

12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture
...Three qualifications:

1. I don’t mean merely that you should pray. That’s a given.
2. I don’t mean that you should merely pray scripturally informed prayers. That’s also a given. I’m arguing specifically that you should pray Scripture itself.
3. I’m not arguing that you should pray only Scripture every time you pray. Rather, I’m arguing that you should pray Scripture itself often.

So why should you pray Scripture? For at least twelve reasons...