By Kendall Harmon on August 29, 2016 at 5:33 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Gene Wilder Dies at 83; Star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’

One of my favorites growing up, especially in ‘Silver Streak’ +‘Young Frankenstein.’

By BlueOntario on August 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm [comment link]
From the entry: China's Zhejiang Bans Religious Activities in Hospitals as Crackdown Widens

And from the article in the main post:

Earlier this year, Zhejiang Protestant pastors and married couple Bao Guohua and Xing Wenxiang of the Holy Love Christian church were sentenced to 14 and 12 years’ imprisonment respectively by the Wucheng District People’s Court in Zhejiang’s Jinhua city after they opposed the removal of crosses.

Police-run detention centers in the province have also denied family members’ requests to deliver Bibles and food to the detained, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2015 religious freedom report.

Prayers for them and their families and church.

By BlueOntario on August 29, 2016 at 2:59 pm [comment link]
From the entry: China's Zhejiang Bans Religious Activities in Hospitals as Crackdown Widens

From the Google-cache of
Wenzhou Central Hospital, formerly the Second Hospital of Wenzhou, was founded in 1897 and now is a first-class tertiary general hospital integrating medical care, research, teaching, prophylaxis, heath care and recovery. Its history dates back to Blyth Hospital and John Dingley Hospital—the earliest missionary hospitals in southern Zhejiang. The Hospital became a state-funded hospital in 1954 and was named the Second Hospital of Wenzhou by Zhejiang Provincial Heath Bureau. It was restructured by emerging with Wenzhou Medical Science Institute, Wenzhou Fifth People’s Hospital and Wenzhou Tumor Hospital from the year 2002 to 2003 and became the first medical organization of “three hospitals and one institute” in Wenzhou. In late 2008, Dingley Clinical College, a non-direct affiliated college of Wenzhou Medical College (now Wenzhou Medical University), was established. Binjiang Branch of Wenzhou 120 Emergency Station was set up in the Hospital in 2010. The Hospital got its current name in June, 2012.

By BlueOntario on August 29, 2016 at 2:53 pm [comment link]
From the entry: China's Zhejiang Bans Religious Activities in Hospitals as Crackdown Widens

By Adam 12 on August 29, 2016 at 9:26 am [comment link]
From the entry: Vacation Photos (X); Your Blog Host

Enjoying your vacation experiences, if only vicariously. Lake George is beautiful! What a nice tribute to your father, too!

By BlueOntario on August 26, 2016 at 10:31 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (TGC) Alastair Roberts--Brave New World, 85 Years Later

How would a person in China review this anniversary?

By Jim the Puritan on August 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (WSJ) Charlotte Allen--Ben-Hur’s Watered-Down Christianity

I was one of those who was manifestly disappointed with the “Bible” series (both Old and New Testaments) by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.  In the Old Testament series I stopped watching after viewing the Ninja Angels scene in Sodom.  It was like what happens if you turn an action movie and CGI team lose on Scripture.  Similarly the New Testament series was about 70 percent fiction, 30% from the Bible.  I couldn’t take that one either.

Anyway, I am guessing Ben Hur is more of the same and am not planning on going.  Like so much of the stuff coming out of Hollywood, I figure it is just a warmed-over remake of the original with more action scenes and fake CGI thrown in.

By Katherine on August 26, 2016 at 2:02 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (GR) Hey, ESPN team: When you see Christian McCaffrey, do you see his name? Why not?

ESPN’s answer is he’s white?  They don’t know of any focused black football players, or of any white guys who are messed up?  I am sorry to see anyone view life through such a limited lens.

By David Keller on August 26, 2016 at 11:54 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Tim Challies) The 10 Greatest Hymns of All-Time?

Jeremy—I really love Soul on Fire by Third Day, and Let it Rise by Big Daddy Weave, but I was afraid if I said that on this blog, someone might have a heart attack.

By Jeremy Bonner on August 26, 2016 at 9:30 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Tim Challies) The 10 Greatest Hymns of All-Time?

Leans a little toward the Protestant side of the tracks smile

How about Frederick Faber’s There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, Henry Lyte’s Abide With Me or John Henry Newman’s Lead Kindly Light?

By Kendall Harmon on August 26, 2016 at 9:24 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Tim Challies) The 10 Greatest Hymns of All-Time?

I would add “We Rest on Thee” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” on my list. Very hard to come up with just ten.

By David Keller on August 26, 2016 at 8:42 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Tim Challies) The 10 Greatest Hymns of All-Time?

I’d throw in “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”, “Lift High the Cross”, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”  and “Days of Elijah”.  He already mentions “In Christ Alone” but it is very high on my personal list.

By Milton on August 25, 2016 at 10:12 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Eleanor Parker) A miracle-story from an August night in Anglo-Saxon Canterbury

Beautiful and inspiring - thanks for posting this!

By Jim the Puritan on August 24, 2016 at 10:38 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Eleanor Parker) A miracle-story from an August night in Anglo-Saxon Canterbury

This is like a miracle that happened in our church.  A few years ago our pastor was preaching on prayer and healing and in connection with his sermon read the following passage of Scripture:

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and good news is preached to the poor.  (Matthew 11:4-5)

At the moment he read “the deaf hear,” an elderly woman member of the congregation who had been largely deaf for many years felt her ears pop and her hearing was restored completely. Ironically, our pastor prior to that was somewhat skeptical of miraculous healing, but that incident and several others at about the same time completely changed his opinion.  We have regular healing services now on Sunday evenings every couple of months and have had a number of people healed, although it is difficult to know why God heals some people and not others.

By Jim the Puritan on August 22, 2016 at 6:54 pm [comment link]
From the entry: From the Morning Bible Readings

Two very different musical renditions of this psalm:

Don McLean

(I was at one of the concerts where he did this.  In an echoing concert hall it was very eery sounding.)

The Melodians (Reggae)

By oursonpolaire on August 20, 2016 at 9:23 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Anglicans to build new centre in Spain for pilgrims on 'The Way' to Santiago de Compostela

I found this initiative extremely puzzling—I have done 8 Caminos since 2000 and have no idea how anyone could seriously believe that non-RC Christians outnumber RCs. I would have to ask that this figure be substantiated. As well, the Cathedral has assigned one of its chapels for the use of Anglican pilgrims and many clergy, including at least two Church of England bishops, have celebrated there.

By Undergroundpewster on August 18, 2016 at 5:39 pm [comment link]
From the entry: An Interesting Twitter exercize--Name your Seven favorite Movies

In chronological order

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Frankenstein (1931)
King Kong (1933)
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
The Birds (1963)
Rear Window (1954)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

By Jim the Puritan on August 18, 2016 at 3:14 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Boston Globe) The Timeless plague of incorrect quotation

#1:  I think Shakespeare misquoted it from Proverbs.

By Milton on August 18, 2016 at 11:52 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Boston Globe) The Timeless plague of incorrect quotation

Terry, that brings up another logical infinite regression:

I am a habitual liar.
The statement above is untrue.

By Jim the Puritan on August 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm [comment link]
From the entry: An Interesting Twitter exercize--Name your Seven favorite Movies

Somewhat in order . . . .

My Neighbor Totoro
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Green Mile
A Walk to Remember
Miracle on 42nd Street (the original)
Donovan’s Reef
Mrs. Minniver

By Terry Tee on August 17, 2016 at 11:55 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Boston Globe) The Timeless plague of incorrect quotation

Thank you Milton. I cannot resist pointing out something I am sure however that you realise:

the person who says, on the internet, that the material on the internet is not reliable,  makes us doubt the veracity of that statement also.  In philosophical terms:  logically vicious.

By Milton on August 17, 2016 at 10:51 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Boston Globe) The Timeless plague of incorrect quotation

Solomon certainly stated the principle in Proverbs, though not the actual quote “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”.

My favorite intentionally incorrect quote:

The reliability of much information on the Internet is questionable.
Mark Twain

By Already Gone on August 17, 2016 at 10:16 am [comment link]
From the entry: An Interesting Twitter exercize--Name your Seven favorite Movies

Based on what DVD’s we’ve bought and watch the most often, our favorites would probably be:

Barcelona (Whit Stilman’s best)
Best in Show (Christopher Guest’s best)
The Passion of the Christ (we watch every Good Friday)
The Incredibles (Best animated)
A Man for All Seasons (Our patron saint)
PT 109 (filmed near my hometown)
Gran Torino (Dirty Harry, the retirement years - NOT)
(The Lives of Others, as well as I am David, which also deals with communism in Eastern Europe, is also on our shelf)

By Terry Tee on August 17, 2016 at 5:54 am [comment link]
From the entry: (Boston Globe) The Timeless plague of incorrect quotation

Only yesterday someone said to me:
As God says, what goes round, goes round.
I did a double take ...
Although I must confess, that when another person said to me, ‘As St Paul says, neither a borrower nor a lender be’ I had to think for a moment or two before realising that it was Shakespeare actually. And I had to check that on Google ...

By Canon King on August 14, 2016 at 4:36 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Vacation Photos (I): A Man on a Mountain

It used to be a project of some of the Emps of Silver Bay (employees of the YMCA Conference Center) to climb Sunrise early one morning during the Summer, watch the sun come up over the East shore of the lake and then run to the bottom to see the sun rise a second time the same morning.
Been there, done that, and had several Emp T-shirts.

By Marie Blocher on August 14, 2016 at 9:20 am [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

One of the consequences of “buying someone” is that there is no respect given by either the buyer or the group the person left.
+Idowu-Fearon may have experienced this lack of respect in his new position and rebelled. Perhaps now he can use the position for good, for as long as the power structure of the AC allows him to remain in that position.

By Undergroundpewster on August 11, 2016 at 9:09 am [comment link]
From the entry: (NYT) Transporting the Dead: A Booming but Lightly Regulated Industry

Uber hearses.

By Terry Tee on August 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Sunday Telegraph) Decline of religion in Britain ‘comes to a halt’ – major study suggests

UP in short the answer to your question is No, but with exceptions. You can find the statistical answer to your question here:

based on the research of Peter Brierley, whose fuller account you can find here:

Notice, though, that these statistics are for the UK as a whole. Given the differing national communities I think it raises questions to lump together for example the figures from the Church of Ireland in Ulster, the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the Church of England and the Church in Wales (the differing names alone gives us pause for thought about Anglican multiplicity).

Two caveats if I may:  first, I take his figures and optimism about Fresh Expressions with a huge pinch of salt. Anecdotal evidence indicates people coming, yes, but not moving into the mainstream and after a bit, moving out.

Second, as a Catholic myself I was dismayed by his prediction of increased decline for the Catholic Church. It is hard for me to believe this because here in London we can hardly keep up with the numbers who come. My own parish is on the small side – but each Sunday we have around 500 people in Mass and in an average year around 30-35 baptisms.  However as the Brexit referendum made clear, London is not England, let alone the United Kingdom. In fact Sean Connery, who supports Scottish independence, describes London as a principality on its own. Interesting to note that the C of E diocese of London has been the only one to stem the tide of numerical decline and to a modest extent even reverse it. London seems to be always booming. However I know, again anecdotally, that in the North things are much more difficult for the Catholic Church, so sadly, Peter Brierley may be right. 

Finally, I have been neighbour (in my last two assignments as pastor) to two Church of England charismatic evangelical parishes and have been impressed by their vigor and creativity. I suspect that evangelicalism in general will increasingly shape the Church of England.

By TWilson on August 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (NYT Op-ed) David Brooks--the Great Cracking of autonomy+a turning to community movements?

Interesting piece. Clearly there’s an attraction to smaller scale and local, but there’s misalignment with larger forces… our politics is heavily nationalized, most good employment is non-local, food chains, etc. And some of this is good, as scale has benefits and cosmopolitanism worldview generally corresponds to peace, prosperity, tolerance. Some of it is problematic, as conservative philosopher Roger Scruton notes… “We must surely accept the premise… that our local human resources – material, geographical, social, and spiritual – are being depleted by processes that have no need to answer for the damage they cause and no ability to repair it.”

I worry about the Rousseauian romanticization of tribe, too.  It’s a good metaphor, but is it a good aspiration… closeness can mean closedness, and frankly most tribal societies are not places I would like to spend time.

By tjmcmahon on August 9, 2016 at 2:21 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

Oops, that should, of course, be +Idowu-Fearon, my apologies. Typing too fast.

By tjmcmahon on August 9, 2016 at 2:19 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

Appears that even Idowu-Fearon+ has had enough of the western progressives meddling with the Church:

He seems particularly upset with the western take on Africans in general: “He said: “Their view of progressivism places them at the forefront of historical and social development – with us Africans bringing up the rear. Even worse, deep down, they think that all of us, whatever our faith and commitments, have our price.”

Apparently, trying to buy him did not work.

More generally…. “The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has urged Anglican leaders in Africa not to “fall in line” with “socially progressive” views and programmes “which suggest that the Bible is wrong”. Speaking to members of the Council of African Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meeting in Rwanda, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that the Church “will not crumble or bow the knee to a godless secular culture that despises the Bible and what it teaches” and urged the Churches in Africa to remain focused on serving the people of the continent.”

I think he is not going to be very popular with TEC or revisionists in the CoE by this time tomorrow.

By tjmcmahon on August 9, 2016 at 12:24 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

My view is that there are four challenges that orthodox rectors and congregations will face (assuming the CoE keeps going in its current direction). First, training for orthodox ministry will become increasingly difficult to find if the “official” doctrine of the CoE changes.  The rot in the churches begins in the schools and seminaries.  If you look at what happened with WO and women bishops, once you begin training everyone in the “new way of thinking”, then pretty soon, the minority opinion becomes the slim majority then becomes a vast majority.
Second, and a parallel to the first, orthodox rectors in CoE have no influence on the selection of bishops- and will find all the money that gets forwarded to the diocese used to undermine their ministry and support the heretical cause.  Many parishes currently operate in a toxic atmosphere, where revisionist bishops isolate orthodox clergy.  No doubt, a few large urban congregations will be able to hold out, but they are effectively independent evangelical churches.  For the small town or rural parish, the influence of the bishop is much greater. 
Third, there is just the expectation that a parish will conform to the doctrine of the Church.  This is the issue currently being faced in the 8 or 10 domestic TEC dioceses that are reluctant to get on the gay marriage bandwagon.  At some point, push will come to shove, and a gay couple will demand to be married in their home parish in one of those dioceses, and will take action to force it under the canons.  The clergy may be able to personally opt out, but it will become increasingly difficult for congregations to do so.  The building belongs to the church, and the church says “this is the doctrine of the church.”
And number 4 is the least difficult to predict.  And that is individual conscience.  If we look at TEC as an example (and we saw this first with WO, and then with gay blessings and marriage), no matter how strong the parish, there were losses within the congregation as the revisionist steamroller moved forward.  Some people cannot abide official heresy- when the church officially changes doctrine, some will leave- they see it as their duty.  A couple years later, the change is instituted at the diocesan level (first woman priest in the diocese, or first “out” gay rector), and more leave. Then a new bishop is installed, who is an active supporter of the “cause” and more leave.  Then a new rector, who is an active supporter, or perhaps, example, and more leave.  All the while, the church will be spouting rhetoric about the 2 to 3% annual decline in membership being a national trend for all churches.  Of 10 TEC “preacher’s kids” (ok, plus an organist’s kid) since the 1960s, by 2010, there were 2 Piskies, 1 non-TEC Anglican, 2 agnostics, and the rest are Roman Catholic.  Of course, I grew up in an Anglo Catholic family, and would guess that in an Evangelical parish, people would be siphoned off to other Protestant churches rather than Rome, but I think you will see the attrition non-the-less.  And bringing in new folks will be more difficult, once the national church is no longer seen as an orthodox expression of Christianity.

By MichaelA on August 9, 2016 at 2:09 am [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

Re tj’s point about what the CofE does, I think the Gafcon primates reaction to this will be to some extent affected by what the orthodox rectors in CofE think.  Up until now, most of them have been very reluctant to leave CofE – they have strong churches with established buildings and community links, and greater protection by law than congregations in TEC had.

However, one of their leaders, Rod Thomas, in an interview given in September last year hinted that they may be reaching the end.  See  He refers to the big issue coming up for the CofE as being ”sexuality” and then says at about 8.40:

“But once we know what sorts of things are being decided within the Church of England, we will then have a clearer idea whether a way forward can be found within the structures of the Church of England (and I am going to be part of the structures and hopefully want to remain there) or whether in fact the future is going to have to be forged, to some extent at least, outside the structures of the Church of England.  My concern in all this is not to preserve the structures per se; my concern is to be faithful to our Lord, to be faithful to what scripture says, to stand up for it, and to seek to find ways of doing that.”

By MichaelA on August 9, 2016 at 12:56 am [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

Agreed, tj and UP.  Each member of the Communion is slowly being forced to decision, when many would rather avoid one.

You may be right about the CofE Synod taking an overt step to endorse SSBs, but even if it doesn’t (noting the CofE’s reputation for dithering) it may not matter: TEC’s behaviour after the Canterbury Primates Meeting in January this year was overt, and completely unrepentant.  It gives the orthodox Primates ample excuse to take whatever actions they wish. 

The next meeting of the Global South is less than two months away.  The last I heard, ++Beach of ACNA had a standing invitation to attend GS meetings, so that will give the Gafcon primates the chance to confer with each other, but also with two other groups: (a) those non-Gafcon primates who voted for the first motion at Canterbury (to inhibit TEC) - there are at least six of them; and (b) those who did not vote for the first motion, but did vote for the second motion (to call TEC to repentance on one issue, same sex marriage).  I am assuming that virtually all members of both groups were members of the GS.

I expect by the end of that GS meeting, the Gafcon Primates will have a pretty good idea about everyone’s attitude towards TEC and ACoC, in view of their behaviour after the January meeting. 

In the meantime, the real work goes on - making and planting orthodox Anglican congregations throughout the world, particularly in those places where Anglican leaders are apostate or flirting with apostasy. These great meetings are of some importance, but church planting is where the issue will be decided.

By Undergroundpewster on August 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (Sunday Telegraph) Decline of religion in Britain ‘comes to a halt’ – major study suggests

“The biggest change within the different religious groups in recent years has been a drop in the numbers of people identifying themselves as Church of England or Anglican, from 22 per cent in 2006 to 17 per cent when the most recent data were collected last year.”

Does this indicate the rise of non-established Christian churches?

By Undergroundpewster on August 8, 2016 at 10:20 am [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

In order to stay committed to “guarding the unchanging truth of the Gospel, and restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion” the GAFCON Primates have been effective in the first half of those objectives but not so much in the second half. The question of how to do the latter is at the heart of the decision to attend or not.

Arguments for a clean break will be countered by arguments for a strong witness and voice at the 2017 Primates’ gathering.

Arguments against a clean break might include the as yet undeveloped formal structure to take the place of the existing broken one.

Arguments against continued witness and voice might include the fact that precedent has been set that presence at these meetings will be twisted to mean tolerance which can be further misconstrued as acceptance, and that attendance has not changed behavior in the past.

By Jim the Puritan on August 5, 2016 at 8:25 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Peter Peterson Foundation--Have the Debt and Deficits Gotten Better?

Tick, tick, tick.

Our debt situation is among the worst in the world. (It’s actually at 104% of GDP, not around 75% as shown by the Jake Tapper CNN video—see the CNN Money/Peterson video at the bottom of the article—although other sources have it as high as 114%.) If you start measuring the ratio between debt and government tax revenue the situation is even worse than set forth in the linked article.  Under that measure, our economy is in the third worst shape in the world, better than Japan and Greece but we are in worse financial shape than Iceland (which was devastated by the 2008 financial collapse because the country was heavily invested in bad U.S. securities), Italy or Portugal.

And this is before taking Social Security and other entitlements into account.  If you subtract out the tax income that should be going to Social Security but is not, we are in worse economic shape than Greece.

You hear nothing about this although the effects are all around you in terms of things like crumbling infrastructure, economic malaise, homelessness and real unemployment (people that are actually out of work, not the manipulated “unemployment rate”).  Right now the situation is being masked by interest rates being artificially kept at zero percent (although that also means no one can make anything by returns on investment other than by speculation), but that has to change at some point.

We are in a real mess.  And yet the president will tell you with a straight face what a great economy we have.

By Katherine on August 5, 2016 at 3:49 pm [comment link]
From the entry: Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept: (Babylon Bee) Elevation Church Debuts Water Slide Baptismal

I never heard of the Babylon Bee before, and was I ever delighted to learn this is a satire site!

By tjmcmahon on August 5, 2016 at 11:49 am [comment link]
From the entry: Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

I think this is a very wise approach, and indeed the one I was hoping the Primates would take.  It accomplishes three things.  One, they will take council together, and act in concert.  Two, this gives them time to consult with others in the Global South, and the moderates within the Communion, and in that way, may be able to fashion a unified response among the 26 to 30 Primates who voted in favor of “consequences” for TEC.  Three, the CoE will have had its early 2017 Synod meeting, at which it is expected some sort of gay marriage and/or blessing and/or “pastoral accommodation” which will be a blessing of civil gay marriage but called something else in hope of maintaining the charade, will be tabled (in the English sense of putting it up for discussion or vote, not the American sense of delaying it indefinitely).

Promises and emotional statements aside, TEC, ACoC and Scottish Episcopal Church, along with, I think, Brazil, have made it quite clear that they are “walking apart,” intend to continue to walk apart, and will do everything possible to get the rest of the Communion to join them in rejecting the one, holy and apostolic Church.

Even the “walking together” language makes the issue obvious. There are 2 separate entities under the Anglican umbrella. The schism (the “tearing of the fabric”) is complete- there are in reality 2 distinct and separate Churches not in communion with one another (ie- they no longer can exchange ministers without substantial review, they no longer recognize the same sacraments, words no longer mean the same thing, the ABoC effectively ex-communicated a half dozen bishops who were at the last Lambeth as well as 200,000 former Episcopalians, etc).

By driver8 on August 3, 2016 at 10:36 am [comment link]
From the entry: Another Anglican priest marries his long-term same-sex partner

The way CofE bishops are dealing with these few cases, via a written rebuke, is IMO some indication of the bishops’ expectations about the church’s future formal pastoral practice.

One imagines that were a priest to enter an incestuous marriage the bishops’ disciplinary powers would not be limited to a “naughty” letter.

By Ross Gill on August 2, 2016 at 11:58 am [comment link]
From the entry: Seven Canadian bishops dissent from same-sex marriage vote as 'contrary to God's Word written'

As a Canadian Anglican priest, I applaud what the bishops have to say.  Passing the resolution to change the marriage canon is totally contrary to “the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them” which I promised to conform to 30 years ago at my ordination.  This is an area where there can be no compromise for me.

As for what I personally plan to do in light of this resolution’s passing, I take my lead from something John Stott said in 1996. In an interview in Christianity Today (Basic Stott, Part 1, January 1996) he said:

There are three options for evangelicals in mainline denominations. The two extremes are to get out or cave in. The third is to stay in without giving in. The extremes are actually the easy options. Anybody can cave in: that’s the way of the coward, the way of the feeble mind. To cave in is to stay in but to fail to hold on to your distinctive evangelicalism. You just compromise.
To get out is to say, “I can’t bear this constant argument and controversy any longer.” That also is an easy option. I know people have done it and suffered because they have given up a secure job and salary; but it’s an easy option psychologically. The difficult thing is to stay and refuse to give in, because then you’re always in tension with people with whom you don’t altogether agree, and that is painful.

Then when asked, “But no Christian can give unqualified allegiance to any institution, what, for you would be the signals that it is time to leave the Church of England?” John Stott replied:

I’ve always felt that it’s unwise to publish a list of criteria in advance. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy to talk about them. I think one’s final decision to leave would be an exceedingly painful one, a situation that I cannot envisage at the moment.
I would take refuge in the teaching of the New Testament, where the apostles seem to distinguish between major and minor errors. The major doctrinal errors concern the person and work of Christ. It’s clear in 1 John that anyone who denies the divine-human person of Jesus is anti-Christ. So, if the church were officially to deny the Incarnation, it would be an apostate church and one would have to leave.
Then, there’s the work of Christ. In Galatians, if anybody denies the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone, that is anathema: Paul calls down the judgment of God upon that person.
On the major ethical issues: the best example is the incestuous offender in 1 Corinthians 5. Paul called on the church to excommunicate him. If you want me to stick my neck out, I think I would say that if the church were officially to approve homosexual partnerships as a legitimate alternative to heterosexual marriage, this so far diverges from biblical sexual ethics that I would find it exceedingly difficult to stay. I might want to stay on and fight for a few more years, but if they persisted, I would have to leave.

It looks to me like we have exactly three more years of fighting ahead of us.

By pastorchuckie on August 1, 2016 at 6:03 am [comment link]
From the entry: [Leander Harding] Burial Homily for Gay Hadden Watson

As a sometime protege/student of Dr. Harding’s, and having a Maine connection, I enjoyed reading this.  I’m sorry I never met either Fr. Watson or Gay.  Ministry in Aroostook County still requires strong commitment.  I’m curious to know how this sermon from a year ago should happen to be posted now.  Also, I’m sad to see that nothing new has been posted on Dr. Harding’s blog for about a year. 

Leander, is there any chance that we might begin to see more activity on your blog from now on?

Pax Christi!
Chuck Bradshaw
Mityana, Uganda

By Pb on July 30, 2016 at 10:23 am [comment link]
From the entry: (GC) Jared Wilson--The Attractional Church’s Growing Irrelevance

I thought the point of the article was to put down growing non-denominational churches by assuming that people are being attracted by fluff and innovation.

By Robert Atkins on July 30, 2016 at 3:13 am [comment link]
From the entry: (GC) Jared Wilson--The Attractional Church’s Growing Irrelevance

With due respect, Pb, I think you are missing the point of the article.  The author is not discussing which churches are growing the most, but rather which allow their members to grow the most.

And although, I probably wouldn’t have put it quite this way, I think he nails it when he says “the growing gospel-centrality of the evangelical millennials is the best “model” for the church in the 21st century, mainly because it prioritizes the timeless gospel and makes contextualization obey it, rather than, as is the attractional church’s tendency, making the gospel obey the contextualization”.

By Pb on July 29, 2016 at 9:46 am [comment link]
From the entry: (GC) Jared Wilson--The Attractional Church’s Growing Irrelevance

This is the standard criticism. The two fastest growing churches in my town are non-traditional. They are still growing. And they are full of young people.

By Marie Blocher on July 29, 2016 at 7:08 am [comment link]
From the entry: (CEN) Historic Anglican mission agency to reclaim its original name

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By Terry Tee on July 27, 2016 at 5:49 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (1st Things) Pierre Manent--Faced with radical Islamist attacks, what is Europe doing?

Forgive another bite at the cherry.

I forgot to add to the list of those wheeled in to intimidate us was the POTUS.

Since the referendum voices have been heard in the EU leadership saying that British exit shows there is a problem in the EU and the only way to solve it is ... by further renunciations of state sovereignty and making EU governance even more centralised. Which would only further alienate the Western European populace. Like the Bourbons after the French revolution, it can be said that th Eurocratic elite have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

By Terry Tee on July 27, 2016 at 5:43 pm [comment link]
From the entry: (1st Things) Pierre Manent--Faced with radical Islamist attacks, what is Europe doing?

There is much here that is thought-provoking, although I lost his train of argument where he began saying that the Catholic Church alone can create a space of hospitality for other religions in France today. I do not think he showed this nor that I agree. However, it was at points like someone reading my secret thoughts. I found myself wondering recently about the whole concept of human rights, which has done so much to free people and yet has also dissolved ancient ties that bind us together, at the same time eroding any common ethic. The liberal position is that we must agree to differ and (this is the crucial part) that the state mediates between any differences. But the state in a climate that prizes human rights above all else will always legislate for the individual. Pierre Manent gives us further reason to think along these lines by arguing there that there is now nothing between the individual and the state, with all real associations being depreciated and undermined.

Who knows what was in the minds of the 17+ million voters who chose here in the UK to leave the EU? I doubt if they would have articulated it the way it is expressed in this article. But I suspect that deep inside they shared the same fears and frustrations described here, the same feeling that things fall apart, the centre cannot hold and that our gilded elites see no problem in this. Incidentally, the institutional pressure on us to vote otherwise was huge - the Treasury, the BBC, the Prime Minister, the official position of the political parties, many, perhaps most of the leading economists, etc. Without this bias, the majority would have been even larger. Or so I think.

By Katherine on July 27, 2016 at 7:56 am [comment link]
From the entry: (1st Things) Pierre Manent--Faced with radical Islamist attacks, what is Europe doing?

When Europe gave up its Christian basis, it set itself adrift in a turbulent sea.  The attack on the church in France makes very clear, to those who will look, the foundational anti-Christian nature of Islam.  Where does Europe, and where do Europeans, stand with relation to Christ?

By Jeremy Bonner on July 27, 2016 at 5:10 am [comment link]
From the entry: (UNHCR) South Sudan fighting drives surge of refugees to Uganda

What a tragedy that the division of Sudan not only opened the way for the greater persecution of Christians in the Muslim north but has brought South Sudan to this juncture.

Even were one to assume that most of those involved in the fighting were something other than the roughly 60 percent (according to Pew) identifying as Christians, it’s still a sobering reminder of what the Global South is called to overcome.

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