Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How To Make The Bible Support Any Sexual Practice; Mohler: Christians in America now face a moment of judgment...more

After “Shared Conversations” what Gospel will the Church of England share? Summary: On matters of human sexuality, does the Archbishop of Canterbury believe that one must sacrifice the clarity and authority of the Bible to reach lost people? If so, he should admit it clearly and let the rest of the Communion move on. For what he will have left to share is an amputated gospel: grace without guilt, confession without conviction, response without repentance, imagination in place of revelation, and imitation without imputation. In the hopes of reaching people with a more “generous” Gospel in the short run, he will have made that very Gospel even more irrelevant in the long run to the very people he says he wants to reach...

Episcopal pulpits will lose 2000 priests in next six years 
The Episcopal Church will see a drop of more than 2,000 full time parish priests in the next six years, as the retirement numbers increase geometrically, with no increase (but a likely decrease) of ordinands going into the ministry, Church statistics reveal.

This translates into the number of full time priests being reduced by 65% - 75% of total congregations in the denomination. These numbers are from 2014 the last year reported in some cases. Indications are that the situation is probably worse now in 2016. The average age of an Episcopal priest is 59 (or the mean - half older, half younger) there is a tsunami of retirements headed their way in the next 5-10 years with no possible way of filling pulpits with new ordinands...

Mohler: Christians in America now face a moment of judgment at the hands of a secular culture   Christians in America now face a moment of judgment at the hands of a secular culture that grows more intensely adversarial with each passing day. Churches, institutions, and individuals committed to the Christian church’s historic sexual ethic, held consistently over two millennia, now find themselves faced with a stark choice — join the sexual revolution or face the consequences.

Those consequences include social marginalization, overt discrimination,the censure from the cultural elites, and worse. Christian colleges and schools are now openly threatened with the loss of tax-exempt status and participation in federal and state student aid. Christian employees in businesses large and small are told to get with the program or get lost. Getting with the program does not mean simply working amiably with all, regardless of sexual orientation. It means openly and enthusiastically celebrating every demand and aim of the LGBT community. Entire professions will soon be closed to many Christians who, for example, cannot, without violating their Christian conscience, perform sex-reassignment surgeries.

This is the reality we now face, and the onslaught is coming fast. Major LGBT organizations are now pressing their demands and gaining traction. A host of politicians are ready to support any legislation that will make them appear, by their calculation, on “the right side of history,” not to mention on the winning side of the ballot box. An entire universe of regulative bodies ranging from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the American Bar Association to accrediting agencies and local school boards is poised to drop the hammer on any individual or institution that stands in the path of the sexual revolution...

The End of Comfortable Christianity ...The increasingly anti-Christian culture that we live in does serve one invaluable purpose: it is separating the men from the boys, or biblically speaking, the sheep from the goats. As things get more difficult for believers, the real disciples will rise to the surface while the frauds, fakes and cultural Christians will fall by the wayside.

And that is a good thing. It is time to stop playing games: as the persecution increases, we will see who the real deal Christians are, and who are not. Enough game playing and trivial pursuits. The day of comfortable Christianity is now over. It is time to get serious.

Clearly one of the main litmus tests today of those who mean business with God and those who don’t centres around the issue of homosexuality. This is becoming the key battleground where anti-Christian persecution is escalating rapidly.

The homosexual activists are using the heavy hand of the law to enforce their agenda on everyone – whether they like it or not. More and more Christians, churches and faith groups are being targeted by the militants, and we are seeing who will stand true to Christ and Scripture and who will cave in...

Georgetown Becomes First Catholic College to Hire a Hindu Priest as a Chaplain  ...The scandal-ridden university has come under constant fire in recent years for allegedly betraying its Catholic charter, and this latest hiring move will surely add more grist to the mill of those who would like to see Georgetown lose its title as “Catholic.”
Last April, Georgetown hosted Planned Parenthood chief Cecile Richards, who had been invited to speak about reproductive rights to some 400 students at the Lohrfink Auditorium. Richards was greeted with a standing ovation.

Michael Khan, President of Georgetown Right to Life, told the Daily Caller that he was disappointed, but not terribly surprised, that his university had granted a platform to someone so opposed to Christian values.

“We’re probably the most liberal Catholic university in the nation,” Khan said. “Many of our students and faculty aren’t Catholic and are very hostile to Catholic doctrine.”

Dissent Will Not Be Tolerated: What the Case of a Wyoming Judge Means for All of Us When judges are prohibited from speaking publicly about their most deeply held convictions, how long will it be before everyone is?...

How To Make The Bible Support Any Sexual Practice In 3 Easy Steps  In the not-too-distant future, when the transgender wars are over and the stick figure placards for male and female bathrooms have been thrown in the dustbin of history, the sexual progressives will need a new sexual practice to de-stigmatize. Whether it’s incestuous marriage or some other long-oppressed form of sexual expression, the new cause will emerge, desperately in need of a defense. On that day, we will need a liberated theologian to rise from the muck of church prejudice and explain away all those pesky passages of the Bible that prevent dimwitted bigots from embracing the new orthodoxy.

While this task may seem daunting, it can actually be carried out with ease if you follow the very simple formula given to us by Eliel Cruz. In a recent article for The Washington Post, Cruz argues Christians have no legitimate grounds on which to oppose transgenderism because the erroneously-interpreted-for-2,000-years Bible actually praises the practice...

Archbp. Okoh: GAFCON's August 2016 Letter


To the Faithful of the GAFCON movement and friends from Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the GAFCON Primates Council



My dear people of God,

I have just returned from a very encouraging visit to the United States where I met with my brother Archbishop Foley Beach and I rejoice to see how the Anglican Church in North America is growing strong and standing firm.

As the steep decline of The Episcopal Church (TEC) of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada continues, despite the hope of its leaders that reshaping it in the image of secular culture would attract, we give thanks for the Anglican Church of North America and remember the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ ‘I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew16:18).

GAFCON recognises that the Church is not ours. It belongs to Jesus and it is Jesus who builds the Church through his word. We are to be his instruments and not presume to be the architects. Schism happens, as it has in North America, when church leaders take the design into their own hands. Others were prepared to make a costly stand and a faithful Anglican Church in North America exists today because some Anglican Primates understood that once the boundaries of orthodoxy were crossed, they could not stand back and fail to help.

Without that bold action and the commitment to the Anglican Church in North America as a new province at GAFCON’s Jerusalem Conference in 2008, a whole continent would have been lost to orthodox witness within the Anglican Communion.

But now what happened in North America is being repeated elsewhere. If not effectively challenged, false teaching is contagious, especially when it is well funded. At the recent meeting in Kigali of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), the London based Anglican Communion Secretary General, Josiah Idowu-Fearon commended the relief and development work of the Anglican Alliance, but new research by the Institute for Religion and Democracy shows close links between this organisation and TEC. Even now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is contemplating the overturning of Scripture by legitimising the blessing of same sex unions in breach of Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, despite reaffirming it at the recent meeting of the Council of Anglican Churches of Africa in Rwanda.

However, the greatest cause for concern continues to be the British Isles. The Scottish Episcopal Church has already opened the door wide to conducting same sex ‘marriages’ while in England, Salisbury Cathedral has become the latest of a growing number of cathedrals which publicly support and even bless ‘Gay Pride’ marches. Chichester Diocese has issued a statement commending those of its churches ‘with open doors to celebrate all that the Pride Festival stands for’ while the website of the Church of England’s Diocese of Europe celebrates the ‘truly joyful occasion’ of the same sex ‘marriage’ of a member of one of its congregations conducted by the Lutheran Bishop of Copenhagen.

I am therefore encouraged that seventy two members of the Church of England’s General Synod have written an open letter to the English bishops ahead of meetings planned later this year calling on them not to compromise by adopting practices that are contrary to Lambeth Resolution I.10 and warning that to do so ‘could set the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance.’ Bishops in particular are called to be faithful successors to the Apostles in their teaching and the Apostle Paul sets out what is required of a faithful episcopate when he instructs Titus that an overseer ‘must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it’ (Titus 1:9).

However, the English House of Bishops has failed so far to demonstrate that it has the will to resist compromise and I therefore call on GAFCON in the UK and the Anglican Mission in England to demonstrate that they have the necessary courage and faith in a context which to a large extent they alone can grapple with.

The challenge we face now is that the Church of England’s problems are being exported to the rest of the Communion. If successive Archbishops of Canterbury had used their powers to teach and to gather in order to rebuke and inhibit those who audaciously contradict the Communion’s apostolic inheritance, the contagion of false teaching could have been contained. Instead, as the April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council demonstrated, endless dialogue, promoted as ‘walking together’, has made matters worse. To maintain institutional unity, issues of doctrinal integrity are not faced. Instead, respectability has been given to a false gospel while reducing orthodox belief to an option and casting doubt on the trustworthiness of the Bible.

We face unprecedented global challenges, but the successful establishment of the Anglican Church in North America, now formally recognised by the majority of the world’s Anglicans, is a sign of hope. God in his mercy has raised up GAFCON for such a time as this to call the Anglican Communion back to its biblical roots. Let us therefore stand shoulder to shoulder as a global family and be men and women of courage, committed to the glory of Jesus in the Church which he has purchased by his own shed blood.

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the GAFCON Primates Council

Here

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In one generation, Europe will be unrecognizable; Against Eternal Youth...more

In one generation, Europe will be unrecognizable ...Europe, as it is aging, no longer renews its generations, and instead welcomes massive numbers of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, who are going to replace the native Europeans, and who are bringing cultures with radically different values about sex, science, political power, culture, economy and the relation between God and man...

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: July 2016

IS buried thousands in 72 mass graves, AP finds ...In exclusive interviews, photos and research, The Associated Press has documented and mapped 72 of the mass graves, the most comprehensive survey so far, with many more expected to be uncovered as the Islamic State group's territory shrinks. In Syria, AP has obtained locations for 17 mass graves, including one with the bodies of hundreds of members of a single tribe all but exterminated when IS extremists took over their region. For at least 16 of the Iraqi graves, most in territory too dangerous to excavate, officials do not even guess the number of dead. In others, the estimates are based on memories of traumatized survivors, Islamic State propaganda and what can be gleaned from a cursory look at the earth. Still, even the known victims buried are staggering — from 5,200 to more than 15,000.

Sinjar mountain is dotted with mass graves, some in territory clawed back from IS after the group's onslaught against the Yazidi minority in August 2014; others in the deadly no man's land that has yet to be secured...

Against Eternal Youth
...Or picture the leads of The Philadelphia Story. When it was released in 1940, Katharine Hepburn was thirty-three, Cary Grant thirty-six, and Jimmy Stewart thirty-two. Yet don’t they all look more grownup than actors do nowadays?
 
Characters in these older movies appear to be an age nobody ever gets to be today. This isn’t an observation about the actors themselves (who may have behaved in very juvenile ways privately); rather, it is about the way audiences expected grownups to act. A certain manner demonstrated adulthood, and it was different from the manner of children, or even of adolescents such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

Today actors preserve an unformed, hesitant, childish quality well into middle age. Compare the poised and debonair Cary Grant with Hugh Grant, who portrayed a boyish, floppy-haired ditherer till he was forty. Compare Bette Davis’ strong and smoky voice with Renée Zellweger’s nervous twitter. Zellweger is adorable, but she’s thirty-five. When will she grow up?

In a review in the Village Voice of the film The Aviator, Michael Atkinson dubbed our current crop of childish male actors “toddler-men.” “The conscious contrast between baby-faced, teen-voiced toddler-men movie actors and the golden age’s grownups is unavoidable,” he wrote. “Though DiCaprio is the same age here as Hughes was in 1934, he may not be convincing as a thirty-year-old until he’s fifty.” Nobody has that old-style confident authority any more. We’ve forgotten how to act like grownups... image

Monday, August 29, 2016

Church of England parishes consider first step to break away over sexuality...more

Church of England parishes consider first step to break away over sexuality A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.

Representatives of almost a dozen congregations in the Home Counties are due to gather in a church hall in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, later this week for the first session of what they say could eventually develop into an alternative Anglican church in England.

Organisers, drawn from the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism, say they have no immediate plans to break away - but are setting up the “embryonic” structures that could be used to do so if the established church moves further in what they see as a liberal direction...

Church Of England Parishes Could Break Away Over Gay Marriage ...They have already scheduled debates on a motion upholding orthodox Christian teaching known as the “Jerusalem statement”, with five having already passed the motion.

The Rev Dr Peter Sanlon, one of the main organisers behind the gathering, told the Telegraph: “If senior leaders of the Church of England water down the teaching of the Church of England on key issues like homosexuality, then this synod could easily evolve into a new Anglican jurisdiction in England.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled that he is aware of the possibility that a significant proportion of the church will not accept a change in the church’s teaching.

“This could be the beginning of that playing out.”...

Muslim mob murders 8 in revenge attacks in Northern Nigeria The Church of Nigeria’s Bishop of Gusau, the Rt. Rev. John Danbinta Garba...reports a sectarian riot erupted last week at the Abdu Gusau Polytechnic in the city of Talata-Mafara in Northern Nigeria after a Muslim mob attempted to lynch a man who had converted to Christianity. On 21 Aug 2016 a newly baptized Christian was describing his conversion to fellow students when Islamist militants began to assault him. The penalty for apostasy from Islam was death, they said, and attempted to lynch him. Christian students intervened and rescued the convert and a Muslim bystander drove the injured man to the hospital. The mob then turned their sights upon the Muslim good samaritan -- they marched to his home and set it ablaze, killing eight people inside. The  mob destroyed the school’s Christian campus ministry office and marched into town demanding vengeance against Christians...

Acadia National Park vacation

Raymond and I just came back from Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in Maine. It has got to be one of the most beautiful areas in the world.  Here are some of Raymond's pictures:

Tide's out
Lighthouse Bass Harbor, Acadia 
Fog rolling over island
Fr. Clay Gilley standing in front of St. Brendan's,
a CANA parish in Tremont, Maine where we worshipped on Sunday.
Humpback whale seen on our whale watch trip
Beautiful rocky coast
On top of Cadillac Mt.