Blogroll Category: Christian Resources

I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 191 posts from the category 'Christian Resources.'

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Illustrating deep truths to little minds: how is it done?

The Good Book Company - 4 hours 18 min ago

Think back to a book that you treasured as a child. Chances are that you can instantly bring up some of the key illustrations in your mind’s eye. They probably make you feel a small surge of nostalgia. 

The pictures in children’s books influence us in more ways than we realise. Not only do they help us visualise the story in front of us, but they add texture to the way in which we experience the world around us. 

So the illustrations matter hugely—and there's more to illustrating a children’s storybook than you think. A surprising amount of work and time goes into producing pictures that will thrill and fill a child with hope and wonder for years to come. And as our kid's books are either retellings of Bible stories or lean heavily on Scriptural narratives, the pictures are almost as important as the words they contain.

So how exactly does an illustration get developed? I asked Andre Parker, The Good Book Company’s Head of Design, to show us how the artwork is developed. And you’ll also get a sneak peek inside Jesus and The Lion’s Den, the next release in our Tales That Tell The Truth Series, which comes out in September. 

Click on the image below to enlarge it

This article is part of our Spark Wonder campaign. For many of us, a love of God’s word was sparked in childhood as the Bible and Christian books were read to us. We can ignite the spark of wonder in a child’s heart that will set them up for a lifetime of curiosity into all the things of God and His Word. Find out more at www.thegoodbook.co.uk/spark-wonder

Categories: Christian Resources

AMiE statement in support of Bishop Andy Lines

Anglican Ink - 4 hours 46 min ago

The Trustees of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) became aware in late 2018 that Bishop Andy Lines had been involved in an investigation by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Andy Lines is a GAFCON missionary bishop for Europe, under the oversight of ACNA, and as such exercises caring oversight of AMiE churches. As well as seeking to support Andy, the Trustees immediately sought to satisfy themselves that all matters (including safeguarding) had been reported to the appropriate authorities.

Since then, it has become apparent that Andy had been a victim of abuse in the form of spiritual manipulation and control. The Trustees and Mission Director of AMiE have worked with the leadership of ACNA and GAFCON to care for Andy through what has been a traumatic and difficult period of counselling and recovery. As Andy has made clear, this recovery is ongoing. We fully support him in his gradual return to ministry, including his desire to care for victims of similar abuse.

In this matter AMiE’s primary concern and prayers are for Andy, his family, and other victims. We are also praying for the Emmanuel Wimbledon church family and others affected by recent news of abuse. We deplore all abuse in all its forms and we expect all AMiE churches to serve and support survivors of abuse.

When a situation like this arises there is a temptation to speculate or gossip about matters of which we may not know all the facts. The Christian response is to remember that all human leaders are flawed, and that God provides the only perfect leader, the Lord Jesus. So we turn to him in thanksgiving and prayer confident that Jesus will establish his kingdom.

AMiE Trustees (Paul Houghton, Richard Leadbeater, Brian O’Donoghue)

AMiE Mission Director (Lee McMunn)

The post AMiE statement in support of Bishop Andy Lines appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

AMiE Bishop Andy Lines statement on spiritual abuse and his road to recovery

Anglican Ink - 4 hours 54 min ago

In the light of recent reports in the media, Bishop Andy Lines, describes his own experience of spiritual manipulation.

“Those with spiritual authority are like all in authority. All authority is open to abuse or manipulation.

I have been coming to terms with elements of spiritual manipulation in my own life. It has been a very hard and painful process requiring months of professional counselling for me to come to terms with what I have experienced. It took considerable time before the light went on, and has required lots of support during three months in Australia. However, I now realise the nature of what was happening. I have come to realise that this can happen to strong as well as vulnerable people. I have become aware that the particular manipulation and control I have experienced has been experienced by a number of others.

We do not always act in accordance with our stated belief in a God of grace. However good our intentions are, Christian leadership in encouraging spiritual growth in others, needs to draw on the grace of God as experienced in the Bible for motivation rather than on external coercion. When we fail cheap grace is not what we need. What is required is recognition of our sinfulness and repentance, confident in the forgiveness Jesus alone provides.

I am grateful to those who have reached out to me in support. As I pray and think about my own experience, I trust that I will be able to share with and help other survivors.

Since September last year, I have not exercised formal episcopal duties as such. The authorities to whom I am accountable have carried out a thorough investigation and have cleared me to return to such duties. But it is apparent that such a return can only be gradual, both because of the need to recover from all that this ordeal has involved, and also to allow time to consult with those whom I am called to minister to.”

In response to this statement the following comments have been made

“The betrayal of trust by a mentor is a terrible wound, and when things like this take place in the Church it only increases the pain. Bishop Lines is a survivor who has shown the willingness to do the hard spiritual and emotional work of coming to grips with the actions of an abusive father-figure. He has my full support as he works to support other victims and cares for those churches leading the reformation of Anglicanism in Europe.”

Archbishop Foley Beach,
Primate of the Anglican Church in North America
Chair of the Gafcon Primates’ Council

“Bishop Lines has immense gifts for ministry, and through this difficult personal trial has shown himself to be a leader of character. He has my full support, and I look forward to working beside him in the years to come.”

Archbishop Ben Kwashi,
Gafcon General Secretary

The post AMiE Bishop Andy Lines statement on spiritual abuse and his road to recovery appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Gay Maine Episcopal Bishop Unilaterally Transitions Holy Spirit to “She”

Anglican Ink - 5 hours 7 min ago

Episcopalians in Maine took part in the consecration of their new bishop this past weekend, the first openly partnered gay man to be installed as a diocesan bishop in the U.S.-based Episcopal Church since Gene Robinson in 2003.

The Rt. Rev. Thomas James Brown was consecrated Saturday as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Maine at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland. The service was led by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

A video posted on the diocese’s YouTube channel showed participants, including Brown, calling the Holy Spirit a “she” during the recitation of the Nicene Creed. It is unclear if Curry said “she.”

An order of service provided by the diocese lists an unaltered version of the creed, but video of the service, in which only Brown and Curry are shown with microphones, captures the creed being recited as, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who with the Father and the Son, She is worshiped and glorified. She has spoken through the Prophets.”

The original language for the Holy Spirit was adopted by the First Council of Constantinople in the year 381.

Brown’s consecration came ahead of next year’s global gathering of Anglican bishops — known as the Lambeth Conference — that is being overshadowed by the participation of gay and lesbian bishops and their spouses from the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada. It also occurred as the Diocese of Albany awaits news of a formal charge against their bishop for his refusal to permit clergy to perform same-sex marriage rites, which conflict with Albany’s diocesan canon law.

The Diocese of Maine reports 11,322 members and 3,694 attendees spread across 59 congregations. Membership declined 15.1 percent between 2007 and 2017, while attendance for the same period declined 25.8 percent.

Brown has served at multiple churches in the Northeast, including St. Michael’s Church in Brattleboro, Vermont. It was there where he met the Rev. Thomas Mousin, a then-United Methodist pastor. The couple received a blessing of their same-sex union in 2003 from the Episcopal bishop of Vermont. Mousin has since been ordained an Episcopal priest.

Mousin was involved in several aspects of the ceremony, including composing the text for the hymn “As Once You Took Upon Yourself” that was sung during communion.

The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, assisting bishop of New York, also participated as a co-consecrator during the ceremony. Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, was elected in 2009 as bishop suffragan for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Brown previously worked as Director of Education for Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan, a local affiliate of the largest provider of abortions in the United States. He has held prominent roles in the national church. From 2003-2006, Brown served as Secretary of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop, which resulted in the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Same-sex marriage continues to be a source of controversy within the Episcopal Church and worldwide Anglican Communion with which it is affiliated. Episcopal Church officials object that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has declined to invite same-sex spouses to the Lambeth Conference.

Welby has also been criticized by Anglican traditionalists, including bishops affiliated with the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) for inviting those bishops in same-sex marriages or civil unions in contravention of the precedent established at the last Lambeth Conference by then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Bishops at 1998 Lambeth Conference rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and voted that they “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

Churches that are members of GAFCON number about 50 million Anglican Christians, most of which are located in the Global South.

Dioceses in Ontario and Michigan have also elected openly partnered gay and lesbian candidates for bishop.

The post Gay Maine Episcopal Bishop Unilaterally Transitions Holy Spirit to “She” appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Does Biblical language for man matter?

Anglican Ink - 16 hours 47 min ago

On Ash Wednesday this year I attended my parish church and was marked by the priest with the sign of the cross, along with the words: Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return. As powerful as the symbolism of the act is, the words fell flat.

Or is it just me recalling the old wording: Remember, O man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return? The priest pausing mid-sentence – O man – and addressing each worshiper as “thou,” rather than gliding past with an indeterminate “you.” Each of these “thou’s” shares a common humanity: all are man, heirs in sin of the one earthly father and heirs in Christ of the one Heavenly Father. But it had to go, because the sin and shame of “man,” so we are told, is actually the sin and shame of “mansplaining.”

Surely one can find a substitute for O manO personO humanO differently gendered? Failing that, just move on to O-mit. Hence the Anodyne Standard Version, which must be authoritative because it bears the imprimatur of the International Council on English Liturgies.

“But the Millennials simply don’t get it?” Well, if as they say, praying shapes believing (lex orandi, lex credendi), it is equally true that believing shapes praying. And how shall they hear without a preacher? If “O man” is so obviously scandalous in our day, would it really be too much for the priest to give an explanation when inviting the people to the altar rail? Perhaps, he might instruct them, bearing the name of Adam is of a piece with bearing the cross on one’s brow.

My goal in this essay is to make a case from Scripture for traditional language for man and for understanding how men and women, each in a particular way, are “image-bearers” of God. In this whirlwind tour of the Bible, I shall focus on the foundational texts in Genesis, the Gospels, and the Letters of St. Paul.

Creation and Fall: From Man to Adam

We begin at the beginning with language for God and man: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Right at the outset, let’s note: grammatical gender and number do not always correspond to the referent. This is true in all gendered languages. So in this verse, the one God of Israel (’elohim) is grammatically plural. In Hebrew, “spirit” (ruach) can be grammatically feminine or masculine, and in Greek it is grammatically neuter (pneuma). It is also true that gendered nouns, pronouns, and verbs often do indicate how the referent is conceived.

“God created man in his own image.” God is uniformly indicated in both Testaments with masculine pronouns, as is the Spirit on occasion (John 4:24). Grammatical gender aside, the masculinity of God as revealed in Scripture is beyond dispute: the Son makes the Father known (John 1:18), and He is addressed by Jesus and the Holy Spirit as “Abba, Father” (Luke 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). The Triune God, while not a male (Numbers 23:19), is masculine, and any attempt to imagine a gender-fluid deity is simply idolatrous.

Secondly, the Hebrew word for “man” (’adam) occurs grammatically in the singular only. There are no Adams nor Adamses in the Bible. Since the first chapter of Genesis is describing the different “kinds” of God’s creatures, it is proper, I think, to translate the word as “man-kind.” Just as other verses in this chapter describe different creatures propagating “according to their kind,” so Genesis 1:27-28 specifies that mankind comes in two sexes, “male and female,” by which means they are commanded to “increase and multiply” sexually.

Each of the creation narratives has a climactic moment. In Genesis 1, it is God creating mankind in his own image. In Genesis 2, it is the male recognizing his female counterpart. Yet Genesis 2 retains the use of the noun “man” for the first human being:

Then the LORD God formed the man (ha-’adam) of dust from the ground (’adumah) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)

In this case, “the adam” is both an individual male (Adam) and a generic type (Man). His nature is twofold, with an earthy body (note the Hebrew word-play between “adam” and “earth,” similar to “human” and “humus”) and a spiritual soul. As the narrative progresses, this solitary Man finds no counterpart in the animal world, so God “builds” from his body “the woman.”

Then the man (ha-’adam) said, “She (“this one”) at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman (ha-’ishah), because she was taken out of man (ha-’ish).” (Genesis 2:23)

“Mankind” is now seen in terms of two inter-related sexes referred to with the word-pair “’ish and ’ishah,” “man and woman,” (in Hebrew, as in English, the feminine noun is derived from the masculine). The next verse completes the story of Adam in search of a wife with this moral: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Man’s nature is now perfected in the one-flesh union of husband and wife that will lead to the propagation of humankind. Despite this differentiation of the sexes, the Man continues to head the new family: “And the man (ha-’adam) and his wife (ha-’ishah) were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).

This pattern of representation continues after the Fall. The Lord God calls the Man to account saying: “Where art thou?” God proceeds to judge each malefactor in the Fall individually, but the Man receives the final sentence of death on behalf of mankind, both sexes, present and future.

With the Fall, we see the morphing of the generic name “Man” into the personal name Adam, which is complete by the end of chapter 4 (cf. 4:1 and 4:25). By chapter 5, Adam is clearly the personal patriarch of the human race:

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (Genesis 5:1-2 KJV).

From now on, history will be patriarchal, with the passing on of the father’s name to the next generation.

The establishment of patriarchy does not mean that the woman has no part to play in the ongoing human history. Just as God had formed the first man out of the dust so that he became an animate body, now Eve will become the “mother of all living flesh” (Genesis 3:20). Every “son of man,” male and female, will be “born of woman” (Job 14:1; Matthew 11:11; 1 Corinthians 11:1-12). By subordinating her desire to her husband, she will bear earthly “seed” who will ultimately trample on the Enemy (Genesis 3:15-16).

Jesus, Son of Adam, Son of God

The pattern of Genesis continues into the Gospels. According to Matthew’s genealogy, Jesus is the promised messianic Seed from Eve through a lineage of fathers, from Abraham and David to Joseph of Nazareth. Matthew highlights the promissory character of the Seed by adding the names of the irregular mothers, Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, culminating in the Virgin Mary, Joseph’s betrothed, “of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Christ” (Matthew 1:16).

According to Luke’s genealogy, Jesus is “son of Adam, son of God” (Luke 3:38). He is son of Adam through Eve, and Son of God through Mary. Jesus is Very Man and Very God. Mary is his human mother, daughter of Eve. She is the Virgin Mother of Immanuel, who is conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Word is made Man, not from the will of a human father but from God (cf. John 1:13).

The New Testament has two Greek words for man. The word anēr generally is used for a particular man; the word anthrōpos generally refers to mankind or a typical man (e.g., Luke 15:4). “Son of man” is a synonym of “man” in Old and New Testaments, with a special sense of the transitory lifespan of “mortal man” (Job 25:6). Jesus frequently uses the title “the Son of Man” in speaking of his own humiliation and exaltation (Mark 10:45; 13:46).

Beneath Jesus’ usage of “Son of Man” lie two key biblical texts: Psalm 8 and Daniel 7. The Psalmist ponders the mystery of God’s favor in over-reaching the angelic hierarchy and choosing mortal man as his royal covenant partner:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet… (Psalm 8:3-6)

In Daniel’s dream vision, he sees “one like a son of man” enthroned by the Ancient of Days and given an everlasting dominion (Daniel 7:9-14). As in Psalm 8, a mortal man is exalted to the throne of God. The author to the Letter to the Hebrews resolves the mystery of humiliation and exaltation in the figure of Jesus’ royal priesthood, “crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).

The language of Christ’s mediatorial Manhood appears also in Paul’s testimony given to Timothy: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men (anthrōpoi), the man (anthrōpos) Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all… (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Not surprisingly, the modern revisers of the Nicene Creed broke the link in the original Greek and traditional language that “for us men and our salvation… [Christ] was made man” by omitting “men.”

Jesus and the Brethren

It is unfortunate that “brethren” has fallen out of common usage and even out of modern Bible translations, because it captures a collective sense of the word “brother” which is inherent in the usage of Jesus and the apostolic church. Imagine a world without “children.”

While the Old Testament uses “brothers” to indicate the entire people of Israel in a patrilineal sense: “your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man” (Genesis 42:13), Jesus overturns this understanding in a striking metaphor of family identity:

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50; cf. 19:29)

For rhetorical emphasis, Jesus speaks particularly of “mother, brother, and sister,” but elsewhere he speaks collectively: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40 KJV). Actually “brethren” in this verse is not merely a collective plural but rather corporate plural, as Jesus is the invisible head of the needy body of brethren. To neglect or succor one brother is to do likewise to Him. Jesus’ usage was adopted by the apostles, who routinely addressed their fellow members of the Body of Christ as “brethren.”

St. Paul on Adam and Christ

St. Paul’s recapitulation of biblical history in “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4) takes him back to the beginning, to the first man (anthrōpos):

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned – for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (Romans 5:12-15; cf. Ephesians 2:15-16)

Paul interprets the role of the first “Adam” in two ways. There is the historical Adam, the first patriarch of the line to Moses and beyond; and then there is the prototypical man of Genesis 1-2. While Paul likely understood the spread of sin as having a genetic basis, his primary reference to Adam is in the second role “in that [or in whom] all men sinned,” which clearly includes Adam and Eve, males and females, down through history. Similarly, he sees Jesus as the Second Adam, the “one Man” through whom the grace of God abounded for many.

In his great chapter on the Resurrection, Paul makes clear that Jesus differs from the first Adam not simply in being a sinless man of dust, but as having a unique heavenly origin and destination:

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:45-47)

The transformation of Jesus from the mortal to the immortal begins with his being born of a woman, a son of Adam; however, conceived by the Holy Spirit, He alone is empowered to become a life-giving spirit. Temporally, that transformation is completed with his death and resurrection: “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). For us, however, the transformation awaits fulfillment: “Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ” (verse 23).

Paul and the Image of God

Clearly the “image of God” is a central tenet in Paul’s teaching. The Son of God is, according to Paul, “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15). He is the divine prototype, who, while in the form of God, put on the form of a servant, and in the “likeness of Man” humbled Himself to death on a Cross (Philippians 2:5-8). Believers, while still in the flesh, share his Risen Glory in hope: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49).

In the above passages, Paul speaks generically of man (anthrōpos) in God’s image, irrespective of sexual difference. In one passage, however, he does elaborate on how male and female sexes – the man and the woman – participate in the image. In arguing that women in Corinth should wear a head-covering in worship (1 Corinthians 11:2-16), Paul states:

I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man (anēr – ESV translates “her husband”) and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

The operative word that distinguishes the divine Persons and the human sexes is “head” (Grk. kephalē). The head, as I interpret it, is the representative member or “icon” of corporate identity. Christ is the Head or “icon” of the new humanity, the Second Adam; the man (male) is the head or “icon” of the human family. The Father is not an icon but the primal Source (another sense of kephalē), the “font of divinity,” from whom all things take their being (1 Corinthians 8:6).

Conflating Genesis 1 and 2, Paul makes the point that in the beginning there was only one “adam” in God’s image:

For a man (anēr) ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created [to reflect Christ’s glory] for woman, but woman [to reflect man’s glory] for man. (1 Corinthians 11:7-9 with my additions)

In this particular context, “image” (Grk. eikonrepresents and “glory” reflects. The man is the image and glory of God because he heads the human family and reflects God’s glory in Christ publicly, before God and man (cf. Luke 12:8). The man represents the human race, whereas the woman, formed subsequently, reflects back and fulfills the man’s own “glory” in the one-flesh union with him (“she now is flesh of my flesh”).

Paul’s argument here may raise the question, for modern readers at least: “You mean women are not made in the image of God?” I think Paul would reply: “I don’t care for the way you have phrased the question. Women and men both bear God’s image from the beginning, but each in a particular way.” Women share in God’s image “in Adam,” in mankind, and through baptism in Christ, the Second Adam, who is the true image of God (Galatians 3:28). Women reflect the glory of that image to their husband and bear that image through their children. This is what he does in effect say in verses 11-12:

In Christ, Woman is not complete without Man, nor is Man complete without Woman. For just as Woman reflects back to Man his primal image, so she bears his image physically through childbirth. So Man and Woman are both image-bearers; and all things are of God. (my paraphrase)

The delicate issue in Corinth has to do with how men and women, who bear God’s image equally but differently, interact when they step outside the family and into the assembled Body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35). Hence Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 11 is not some trivial defense of head-gear but an application of his Gospel, of his first principles, his tradition, of human nature in the image of God in Christ (see verses 2 and 16).

Image-Bearers in Marriage

The way in which male and female “bear” God’s image is not mutual in the sense of identical and interchangeable but complementary in the sense of distinctive and interconnected. (N.B.: The demeaning of the word “complementary” today is itself a sign of the politicizing of language which this essay addresses.) With this terminology in mind, we now turn to Paul’s teaching on the relations of husband and wife. In Ephesians 5, as in 1 Corinthians 11, there is a “hierarchy” of headship. The first half of the chapter concludes with thanks “to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” which leads to the exhortation to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:20-21). Mutual submission in Christ takes a particular form in the relations of wives and husbands:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband (anēr) is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

The Greek word translated “submit” (hypotassesthe) means taking one’s place in the divine plan of creation and salvation. The married couple images Christ’s saving relationship to the Church. The wife receives the man’s love and returns the glory of his image by honoring his headship. The model of wifely submission is not childish or slavish obedience (cf. Ephesians 6:1-4) but the gracious humility of the Virgin Mary: “be it unto me according to your word.” Her role is that of the church submitting to Christ her Head, who is preparing her as a spotless Bride (verse 27).

Paul goes on at greater length to exhort husbands likewise to find their place in this order: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (verses 25-26). The husband’s love is not worldly desire of the flesh but the perfect love of the Divine Bridegroom: “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Songs 4:7). This is the costly love (agapē) that Christ demonstrated when He gave Himself up for the Church. The mutual subjection of husband and wife out of reverence for Christ is, St. Paul claims, a profound mystery (verse 32). The roles of husband and wife are distinct, fashioned on the created distinction of male and female yet conjoined in “imaging” Jesus Christ and His Church.

In this passage, Paul makes no reference to child-bearing and -rearing, but it is implicit in the instruction of children and the household that follows in chapter 6 (cf. Titus 2:3-5). The husband should aspire to be a provider and defender of his wife and children, but I am not sure that captures his distinctive role as representative head of the family. At the climax of the traditional Anglican wedding service, the priest says: “I now pronounce that they be Man and Wife together in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (recent revisions have substituted “husband and wife”). As “man” the husband is to serve as Christ’s delegate on behalf of his family in the world. Not so many years ago, a wife would identify herself as “Mrs. Adam Jones,” even after her husband had died. She did not consider this a case of being “owned” by her husband or submerging her personality into his but being joined with him in one indissoluble unit – “Man and Wife together.” She bore his name with honor, as did the children she bore to him, just as he and she together with their children bore their baptismal names in Name of the Triune God. Names matter, to God and to us.

One could, I suppose, caricature the image of husband and wife in terms of a knight in shining armor and a damsel in distress. That is not Paul’s view. For Paul, allChristians are to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-20), which includes a kind of female militancy (“archery” in Narnia). Instances abound: the prostitute who gives false testimony to save her son (1 Kings 3:16-27); the mother who encourages her seven sons to die nobly for God’s Law (2 Maccabees 7:20-23). Then there are the prayer warriors like Anna, “worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day (Luke 2:37), and Helena and Monica, praying for their sons’ conversion. The Church has had its female monastics and martyrs, who have been honored for their single-minded devotion to the Bridegroom.

Indeed the Church herself is represented as a woman whose Son crushes the Dragon’s head (Revelation 12:1-6). Men and women together are called to be contending churchmen, sisters of the Elect Lady (2 John 1,13). For this reason, according to the Book of Common Prayer, babies (both male and female) are signed with the Cross with the pledge that they “shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner against sin, the world and the devil” (emphasis added).

The Anglican martyr Hugh Latimer is said to have encouraged his fellow martyr Nicholas Ridley with the words: “Play the man, Master Ridley!” I know this advice goes utterly contrary to the spirit of our age, but I would say to young men and husbands today: “Play the man, gentlemen, in your family and in the Church and world, and in so doing honor your wife and children!” I would also say this to young women and wives: “Play the man, ladies! Don’t disown your manhood! You were created in Adam, just as you are reborn in Christ. Submit to Christ as your Head! Submit to the headship of your husband, even when that requires the patient courage of the martyrs” (such courage means that in situations of death or abuse a widow or a wife may have to play the role of head of household).

Remember, O Man, the Language of Scripture

This essay began as an examination of liturgical language for man and proceeded to examine key texts from the Bible. I have argued that the corporate or representative sense of masculine nouns and pronouns is not an indifferent matter.

In a little treatise on The Language of Canaan and the Grammar of Feminism (1982), Vernard Eller comments on language for the “representative individual”:

“My readers” is an idea totally different from “my reader.” “My readers” are a statistic; “my reader” is a person. The Bible, of course, could not even get its message off the ground without using this representative individual device – largely, I suppose, because of its profound commitment to the “man” anthropology.

He continues by pointing out a second necessary quality of the representative language, its communal dimension:

Undoubtedly the Bible also uses [this device] to underline its own understanding of the nature and importance of community. Often these representational figures are as much challenges to an ideal as they are descriptions of what actually obtains.

Finally, he notes that the Bible’s use of generic masculine pronouns allows it to avoid the distraction of dual genders in order to highlight the corporate, and in this case feminine, character of the Church:

Thus the church is to be feminine in relation to what? To the masculinity of God (or Christ), of course. And the relationship is just as essential the other way around: the masculinity of God has no meaning at all unless there is a femininity toward which it can act “masculinely.”

As a striking example of the corporate feminine, consider this famous hymn:

The church’s one Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is His new creation, by water and the Word;
from heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

Try substituting “it” for “she.” It dies.

So far as I can see, Eller’s arguments were never engaged, even by Evangelicals, who took the pragmatic decision to limit the fight to inclusive language for God. I was in that camp. In retrospect, I think that was a mistake. By surrendering to the designer usage of “he or she,” then “she or he,” then “s/he,” then “they” (sing.), and finally “zhe,” we opened ourselves to the next questions: “How can I relate to a Father God and a male Savior?” and “If grammatical gender is an indifferent matter, what about gender more generally?” All 57 varieties.

Is it possible to revert to usage of yore (“yore” being about fifty years back)? Let me put it this way: does biblical language for man in the image of God matter? If it is a matter of fidelity to God’s Word, then how can we not uphold the faith of our fathers, and their language of worship?

If the language of Scripture and worship is a mirror of the soul, then it is as image-bearers of God in Christ that we find our true selves. If the mark of ashes on the forehead is also a mark of the promised seal of salvation (Revelation 7:3), how can we not welcome the companion words as well? If with the Church we men of dust await the consummation of her vision glorious, if the right Man on our side, the Second Adam to the fight, is Jesus, I can sing to that!

The post Does Biblical language for man matter? appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Grafton bishop defends appointment of priest in same-sex marriage

Anglican Ink - 16 hours 54 min ago

The Diocese of Grafton has provided a very timely “2019 Synod recap” providing confirmation of the results we reported on Wednesday and, more importantly, the full text of the bishop’s answer to questions surrounding the appointment of a priest in a same-sex marriage to the Cathedral.

As we reported, the bishop was asked the following question in the light of that appointment and the 2018 Bishops’ Agreement:

1. Was the Bishop informed of the Same Sex marriage prior to licensing Ms Rogers?

2. Did the Bishop seek advice about the legalities under our constitution prior to issuing Ms Rogers a license?

3. As such an appointment has the potential to dramatically affect the life of the diocese and the potential to breach the constitution, will the Bishop make any advice received available to Synod?

Bishop Murray Harvey’s answer is lengthy and contained in the full “recap” document embedded below. The most important segments are as follows:

…the preamble [of the question] notes that the bishops have agreed to uphold the Constitutions and Canons and to move forward together by acting within the framework of the Constitutions and Canons. However, in my view, that means by not conducting blessings of Same Sex Marriages. I have clearly stated that no one is authorised in this diocese to offer blessings of Same Sex Marriages, in accordance with the Bishops’ Agreement.

Bishop Harvey is therefore applying a strict “letter of the law” application of the Agreement, even if many will consider it to be clearly against the spirit of the Agreement.

He also goes on to note that there are questions surrounding Faithfulness in Service, the national church’s guidelines on appropriate behaviours in ministry. Bishop Harvey notes an important distinction between the national guidelines and those that Grafton has adopted. The national guidelines related to sexual conduct read as follows:

Section 7 Sexual Conduct

The sexual conduct of clergy and church workers has a significant impact upon the Church and the community. Sexuality is a gift from God and is integral to human nature. It is appropriate for clergy and church workers to value this gift, taking responsibility for the sexual conduct by maintaining chastity in singleness and faithfulness in marriage.

AS CITED BY BISHOP HARVEY, EMPHASIS HIS.

Harvey then writes the following:

The term Marriage as it is used here is not defined anywhere.

Here at davidould.net we’re pretty sure that the church has a clear definition of marriage, not least that consistently reaffirmed by many General Synods and more than implicit in the Bishops’ Agreement.

Harvey also notes a change to the Grafton standard from the national standard,

Standard 7.4 of the Grafton version states that “Your sexual behaviour should be characterised by faithfulness and integrity”.

In effect he is arguing that since the Grafton standards are notably looser, they use the wider term “integrity” (which can be read in many different ways) rather than “chastity” which has a specific meaning.

Readers should also note that while the 2018 Bishops’ Agreement dealt directly with the question of blessings and liturgies for same-sex relationships, previous meetings had grappled with precisely the issues being discussed here. The most prominent case study before them was the appointment and public promotion of a man in an openly homosexual relationship to a position in the Diocese of Gippsland.

While Bishop Harvey was not present at any of those meetings (including the 2018 meeting) he cannot begin to pretend he is not aware of the ongoing discussion surrounding these matters and especially the clearly set out mind of the national church as emphasised by numerous motions at General Synod and bishops’ agreements and statements.

Bishop Harvey’s answer is ingenious. He relies upon a very strict legalistic reading of the agreements that is quite obviously contrary to their spirit. He may convince those in his own diocese and elsewhere who are keen to continue to push forward on this issue (not least by establishing facts on the ground like this) but his response will only further break down trust that revisionists leaders in the church sincerely intend to keep to the agreements that they have made.

One senior Anglican figure described his answer to davidould.net as “outrageous”. We find it hard to disagree.

View this document on Scribd

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Emmanuel Wimbledon responds to press reports of abuse allegations against its former minister

Anglican Ink - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 22:33
Response to the Telegraph article, 22/6/19

In early 2017, the current vicar and the safeguarding officer became aware from two separate sources that unnamed individuals had made allegations about the Revd Jonathan Fletcher, who was the vicar of Emmanuel from 1982 until his retirement in 2012. An immediate safeguarding report was made to the diocese. We understand from the diocese that the information was passed to Hampshire Police on 3 February 2017, who concluded that no police action would be taken.

The Bishop of Southwark decided that Jonathan Fletcher could no longer hold Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Southwark. We do not understand this to have been based on any criminal concerns.

Since late September 2018, Emmanuel Church Wimbledon has received further disclosures regarding Jonathan Fletcher which have all been reported to the diocese. We understand that the diocese has reported all disclosures to the Police, who have concluded that no Police investigation is required.

We are appalled and saddened by what has been disclosed. We apologise to all those who have been affected. We are offering them independent pastoral and counselling support, and we have been actively taking steps to identify others in need of such support. We are committed to taking further steps to do so, and to support anyone who comes forward.

Whenever we have become aware of Jonathan Fletcher seeking to minister, and although it is not our formal responsibility to do so, we have taken such steps as we can to stop him.

Emmanuel Church Wimbledon takes safeguarding very seriously and has the necessary policies and procedures in place. This includes reporting information and concerns to the appropriate authorities in line with current Church of England policy. 

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Foley Beach’s June GAFCON letter

Anglican Ink - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 20:21
Brothers and Sisters, greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord!!

Seeking to be Biblical Christians in a global age, participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference are busy proclaiming Jesus Christ faithfully to the nations by making disciples, evangelizing those who don’t know Jesus, and speaking into corruption, economic injustices, and moral concerns in their local communities.  Here are just a few stories from around the world.

Earlier this month, a truly phenomenal gathering took place in Uganda with some two million pilgrims gathering at Namugongo near Kampala where 45 young men, both Anglicans and Roman Catholics, were martyred between 1885-87 for being unwilling to give into the sexually immoral demands of the King and his friends. In recent years, attendance has increased dramatically with many people coming from well beyond Uganda itself. It has become a great festival of worship, teaching, and fellowship demonstrating so wonderfully the vitality of African Christianity.

Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit of Kenya was invited to be the guest preacher at the Anglican Memorial and Archbishop Stanley Ntagali congratulated his fellow Gafcon Primate for his recent announcement that he would not be attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference, saying: 

‘The liberals have their money, but we have the true gospel.’  

The pilgrims responded with cheering and huge applause because they understood the lesson of the Ugandan martyrs that true discipleship in every generation is sacrificial and marked by the courage to stand firm in the face of ungodly opposition.

In the diocese of Sydney, the bishops and Archbishop met and also decided they cannot in good conscience attend the Lambeth 2020 Conference.  Archbishop Glenn Davies wrote:

‘It is highly regrettable to say this, but I believe the Anglican Communion has lost its moorings and has become, effectively, the “Canterbury Communion”. In other words, rather than the Archbishop of Canterbury inviting those bishops who uphold the foundational trio of the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer (1662 edition, which includes the Ordinal) and the Thirty-nine Articles, he has erred in two respects. He has failed to invite bishops who uphold Reformational Anglicanism and has invited bishops who have repudiated these fundamental truths.’

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) just joyfully celebrated its 10th Year Anniversary after being called into existence by the participants of GAFCON 2008 in Jerusalem.  The conference theme was “Renewing our Call to the Great Commission” and featured the release of the Book of Common Prayer 2019. The Anglican Church in North America College of Bishops prayerfully considered the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation for some of their bishops to come to Lambeth 2020 as observers.  Noting that the Lambeth Conference and the Archbishop of Canterbury himself are in violation of Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 by inviting those who are practicing and living in direct opposition to the content and the spirit of that motion, and further recognizing that these decisions have undermined authority of the Lambeth Conference, the bishops voted unanimously to decline his invitation.  They join the Anglican Church in Brazil who made a similar decision.

In the United Kingdom we have seen St. Silas Church in Glasgow, Scotland vote to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church because of that province’s departure from Biblical moral theology. The rector, The Rev. Martyn Ayers said:

‘There are many presenting issues that have caused difficulty within the Scottish Episcopal Church in recent years, but for us this is simply about the place of Jesus Christ and his words in the life of our church.  We feel the Scottish Episcopal Church has moved away from the message of the Bible, and that we cannot follow them. We have taken the decision to leave because of our commitment to Jesus Christ and his word.’

St. Silas now says it will accept the alternative oversight and fellowship from the Anglican Archbishops who lead the Global Anglican Future movement (Gafcon).

Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, the Rev. John Parker, Vicar of Fordham and Eight Ash Green in Chelmsford Diocese, has resigned because of the diocesan affirmation of the imposition of transgender ideology on children at the Church of England school of which he was a governor.

Rev. Parker is an Oxford educated biologist whose objections to the ‘training’ being given by Mermaids, a transgender activist group, were scientific as well as ethical, but a rather chilling audio recordingmakes it clear that no dissent was allowed:

He has received no support from the leadership of the school or the diocese and is now leaving the Church of England. Explaining his resignation from the thriving parish where he has served for 7 years, he said:

‘This situation, in its entire disregard for the Christian children and parents in the school, and those of other faiths and philosophies, provided another instance of what had been made clear in previous conversations and correspondence with Bishop Stephen [Cottrell] – that my Biblical views on sexuality were not welcome in the Church of England and that I “could leave”.’  

From my side of the Atlantic, all this looks sadly familiar, but we praise God that the Anglican Communion depends ultimately on the truth of God’s Word and those faithful leaders who remain true to the Apostolic Faith. Please pray for this brave man, his family, and the clergy and laity who have stood with them.  May the Lord keep us all strong and courageous as we trust unswervingly in the One who promises ‘I will not leave you or forsake you’ (Joshua 1:5).

Sisters and brothers, the Lord has given us work to do.  Let us not grow weary in our ministries reaching people in our towns and communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ!  Let us remember to gather faithfully each Sunday to worship Him in the Spirit and in the Truth.  And let us leave our places of worship each Sunday going out to make disciples of all nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Your brother in Jesus Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council

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Australian diocese rejects church standards on same-sex marriage

Anglican Ink - Mon, 24/06/2019 - 20:39

The Synod of the Diocese of Grafton, which met this last weekend, has passed a number of controversial motions and heard a question which indicate a walking away from aspects of the national church constitution and the recent Bishops’ Agreement.

As we reported last week, the Synod debated asking the General Synod to introduce same-sex marriage and blessing liturgies. That motion, as expected, was passed along with a number of related matters. What surprised some delegates at Synod was that the following motion was comprehensively defeated:

27. Standard of Worship and Doctrine

That this Synod affirms the authorised standard of worship and doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia as set out in the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of the Constitution.

The motion was defeated in a vote by houses with approximately 2/3 of the delegates voting against. This represents a rejection of the fundamental position of the Anglican Church of Australia with respect to doctrine and worship. The synod of Grafton has essentially said “we’ll decide for ourselves what our doctrine and liturgy is”. Those speaking against the motion included the Dean, Greg Jenks.

One member of synod observed to davidould.net that,

Numerous people at lunch time were joking that they are no longer Anglicans and so they can do as they please.  There was an air of triumphalism.

A question asked of the bishop also exposed what appears to be a deliberate move to reject the agreement that the bishops had reached last year at their meeting not to move forward unilaterally on the topic of same-sex marriage:

The Winter Cathedral Newsletter welcomed Ms Roz Rogers to the position of Associate Minister for Children, Families and Youth, it also declared that Ms Rogers is married to a woman.

The agreement between the bishops of Australia states in part: 

The doctrine of this Church is that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. If we as a Church are to change this doctrine to permit same-sex marriage, the appropriate mechanism is through the framework of the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church of Australia. Bishops should give leadership in demonstrating trust in this framework as the way to move forward together…

The bishops commit to act within the framework of the Constitution and Canons of this Church, and to encourage those under their episcopal oversight to do so.

In light of the agreement for Bishops to uphold the constitution, and the inappropriateness of licensing a person who at this stage is not married in the eyes of the Anglican Church of Australia:

1. Was the Bishop informed of the Same Sex marriage prior to licensing Ms Rogers?

2. Did the Bishop seek advice about the legalities under our constitution prior to issuing Ms Rogers a license?

3. As such an appointment has the potential to dramatically affect the life of the diocese and the potential to breach the constitution, will the Bishop make any advice received available to Synod?

davidould.net notes that even before any answer is published, the facts underlying the question (which were not disputed by the bishop) indicate a clear rejection of the spirit of the Bishops’ Agreement not to act precipitously or unilaterally in this area.

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70,000 sign petition calling on UK govt to stop judge forcing women to have abortion against her will

Anglican Ink - Mon, 24/06/2019 - 19:20

On Friday the 21st May, Justice Lieven ordered that a mother with a learning disability who is 22 weeks pregnant must have an abortion against her will.

Right To Life UK have since started a petition to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urging him “to intervene in the case, doing all within [his] power to ensure this woman is not forced to have an abortion.” In  less than 48 hours since it was launched, the petition has gathered over 70,000 signatures.

The woman’s doctors claim that an abortion is in her best interests, despite the fact that the woman herself wants the child, and the woman’s mother has offered to raise the child and firmly opposes abortion. Furthermore, the woman’s own legal team have argued that there is “no proper evidence” for the claim that an abortion is the mothers best interests.

In her decision Justice Lieven said: “I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said, because “it would at that stage be a real baby.”

Justice Nathalie Lieven has long been a legal advocate in various pro-abortion cases and in a recent pro-assisted suicide case. In 2005 she represented the Family Planning Association arguing that the law should not require parental consent for girls under the age of 16 seeking an abortion and that there is no duty to inform parents.

In 2011, she represented abortion provider and lobby group the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). Lieven advocated for women to be able to take the second abortion pill in a chemical abortion outside of a clinical setting.

In 2018, Justice Lieven argued on behalf of the Nothern Ireland Human Rights Commission that the abortion law in Northern Ireland discriminates against women and girls and said it was in breach of Article 3 of the ECHR, which forbids torture and “inhuman or degrading” treatment or punishment.

Finally, in a 2018 Supreme Court legal challenge, Ms Lieven argued on behalf of Noel Conway, a 68 year old man with motor neurone disease, that it should be lawful for him to engage in a medically assisted suicide.

At the time of this court case, which ultimately failed, campaigners against assisted suicide pointed out that it “opens the door to risks and dangers driven by attitudes about disabled people and their lives. It’s worth noting that no disability charity or organisation is campaigning for a change in the law around assisted dying. We want support to live, not to die.”

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said:

“Justice Lieven’s background as a lawyer in numerous abortion advocacy cases calls into question her fitness to adjudicate in this case. The fact that this case relates directly to abortion and the fact that the Judge has a strong background of pro-abortion advocacy, undermines the impartiality of the judiciary.”

“This important trial should not be presided over by a Judge with such a strong pro-abortion bias.”

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British court of appeal overturns decision allowing doctors to force an abortion on woman against her will

Anglican Ink - Mon, 24/06/2019 - 19:13

Three Court of Appeal judges have ruled that doctors must not perform an abortion on a woman with a learning disability.

On Friday 21st June, Justice Nathalie Lieven ruled that the woman must be forced to have an abortion against her will, and in spite of the fact that the woman’s own mother offered to look after the child.

On Monday 24th June, Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson overturned the ruling after the woman’s mother mounted a legal challenge.

The three judges said they would present the reasons for their decision at a later date.

At this time, the identities of the family, their social worker and NHS Trust who brought the case against them remain unknown.

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK has said:

“This is a very welcome decision that will save the life of the unborn child and the mother from a forced late-term abortion and much undue distress. However, the horrific original ruling should never have happened.

Unfortunately, we fear that this is not a one-off case.

We are calling on the Department of Health to urgently reveal how many women have been forced to have an abortion in the UK over the last 10 years and make it clear how they will ensure it will not happen again.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool has said:

“The decision of the Appeal Court restores my faith in our judicial system. The implications of their decision should now be carefully considered by the Court of Protection. By supplanting the rights of the family, and the rights of a vulnerable pregnant woman, the Court of Protection went way beyond the rights of a British Court.  In trampling on the foundational, paramount human right – the very right to life itself – the Court exceeded its authority and the Appeal Court is to be warmly congratulated for overturning it.

There is an old saying that the person who saves a single life, saves the world. The saving of this single life should now open the eyes to the loss of so many others.”

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Surely a same-sex partnership is OK if it's committed and faithful?

The Good Book Company - Mon, 24/06/2019 - 11:58

The following piece is an extract from Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry.

One of the arguments commonly made today in favour of same-sex partnerships is that what must surely count above all else is faithfulness and commitment. Shouldn’t faithfulness within a relationship be what determines its moral goodness rather than the gender of those involved in it? A promiscuous gay lifestyle with multiple partners and one-night stands might be wrong, but two people who love each other and are faithful to whatever promises they have made—surely that’s OK?

It can seem a compelling argument, and it is increasingly common to find Christians allowing for this kind of expression of homosexual practice. But a number of important things need to be said in response.

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What does the Bible say?

In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul rebukes the Corinthian church for its acceptance of an illicit relationship. A man is in a relationship with his father’s wife, most likely his stepmother, an arrangement expressly forbidden in Leviticus 18. Paul is dismayed. Even the pagans in Corinthian society would not allow such a thing (1 Corinthians 5 v 1), and yet here it is going on in plain sight among God’s people.

Paul’s response to this situation is instructive, as much for what he doesn’t say as for what he does say. There is no question about whether the couple in question love each other. Paul does not ask about their level of commitment or whether they are being faithful. That is not the issue. Whether or not they are in a long-term committed relationship is beside the point; the fact remains that it is wrong and should not be happening.

Paul does not distinguish between faithful illicit relationships and profligate illicit relationships, as if the latter are out of bounds but the former might just squeak in by virtue of their faithfulness. Consistency and faithfulness while sinning in no way diminish the sin. Paul calls for the church member in question to be expelled from the fellowship, and for the whole church to express remorse at what has happened (1 Corinthians 5 v 2). Faithfulness demonstrated in an otherwise prohibited relationship does not make it less sinful.

In many areas of life it is possible to demonstrate good qualities while doing something wrong. A thief in a gang may demonstrate impeccable loyalty to his fellow criminals during the act of stealing: looking out for them, protecting them from danger, being sure to give them a generous proportion of the takings. None of this in any way lessens the immorality of the act; it just means he is being a “good” thief rather than a “bad” thief. As we have seen, Scripture is clear in its prohibition of any homosexual activity. Activity that is faithful and committed is no more permissible than activity that’s promiscuous and unfaithful.

Is God Anti-Gay is a practical and sensitive exploration of the Bible's teaching on homosexuality. It's available to buy here

Categories: Christian Resources

The Lambeth we hope for

Anglican Ink - Sun, 23/06/2019 - 02:22

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in our crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that it is the ‘acceptable time’ to articulate a vision of what we hope for in the Lambeth Conference 2020.  While all are free to offer their views, harsh disagreement ought not to be the dominant note the world hears from us.  This multi-lingual letter lifts high those things held largely in common in order to build up and encourage.  We claim no special authority, and thus speak to our fellow bishops as their brothers and sisters. 

WE HOPE FOR A LAMBETH CONFERENCE BUILT ON COMMON FAITH

Though our provincial Books of Common Prayer show many variations, they all witness to the creedal center of our faith: the triune God, the divinity of Christ, His atoning death for the forgiveness of our sins, His bodily resurrection and ascension, and the Holy Spirit’s work in the Scriptures and the Church’s life.  There is agreement, furthermore, in most of the Communion about the received, traditional teaching concerning the nature of marriage, which is in accord with Scripture. It found expression at Lambeth 1998 in Resolution I.10.  Finally, we Anglicans share a common history, for example the See of Canterbury itself, which is a symbol of our apostolic roots and common life.  We hope for a Lambeth Conference where we take this common inheritance of truth seriously and seek to build upon it for the sake of witness and teaching. 

WE HOPE FOR A LAMBETH CONFERENCE MARKED BY CHARITY 

At Lambeth, though a fractious family, we ought still to think of our fellow Anglicans in the best light possible. For example, there have been many important movements of mission and renewal in our Anglican tradition (e.g. the Oxford Movement and the East African Revival), and we can likewise see GAFCON in this way.  We can also appreciate the role Global South Anglicans have played in strengthening the mission of Christ in their provinces. We commend the Primates’ view that only Churches aligned with Communion teaching should represent it in ‘doctrine and polity.’  But we are also willing to listen to our colleagues who hold in conscience dissenting views.  More generally, we all need in our hearts to lay aside old recriminations, as each of us hears these Gospel injunctions: ‘bear one another’s burdens,’ ‘speak the truth in love,’ ‘do not let the sun go down on your wrath’ (Galatians6:2, Ephesians4:15,26).

MAY LAMBETH BE AN OCCASION OF HOPE FOR OURSELVES AND FOR THE WORLD

We hope for a Lambeth that is ordered to prayer and the Bible, that nourishes our humility, that opens us to God’s conversion in the Spirit, and that encourages us to renewed forms of teaching and witness which will inspire and attract younger generations in our nations and our churches. It is also crucial that we reject all forms of cultural and racial pride, while listening and deliberating with one another with full respect.  I Peter, upon which Lambeth 2020 will meditate, says it best: ‘have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind…always be ready to make your defense…for the hope that is in you’ (3:8,15).

United in faith, hope, and love, we can at Lambeth confront together the urgent problems in our Communion and in our world.  We all share a worry about what may lie ahead in our common future, for as a divided Church we will struggle to witness to a divided, broken world.  We hold in prayer those among us who face persecution and danger.  We need to be stewards of creation.  We hope for a conference which encourages us all to stand on the side of the poor and those who are maltreated, to call sinners to repentance and to offer forgiveness in the Lord’s name, to walk His way of love, and to seek reconciliation among ourselves and with our neighbors. 

As it did a century ago, we hope Lambeth 2020 will remind us of the ecumenical calling from our Lord to be one as He and the Father are one (John 17:22).  We do so by taking seriously the witness, gifts, and counsel of our brother and sister Christians in other churches.   Within the Communion itself, some have felt frustration with the ‘Instruments’ over the past two decades, as they have struggled to balance autonomy and mutual accountability.  We hope for a Conference that lays out a path ahead in the next decade, and we pray for the patience to walk it.  We hope for a Conference in which we deepen our sense of ‘mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Body of Christ’ (Anglican Congress 1963), both in the program and in personal friendships.

Throughout, may we be reminded that our truly global Communion is not primarily a problem but rather a remarkable, though fragile, gift–a sign of the Church catholic.

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Peace,

The Rt. Rev. George R. Sumner, the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas            

The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas

The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Emmanuel Allen, Honduras, the Episcopal Church of Honduras

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

The Rt. Rev. Manuel Ernesto, Nampula, Mozambique

The Most Reverend Martin Nyaboho, Primate of Burundi, Diocese of Nampula

The Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru, ACK Nairobi Diocese

The Rt. Rev. Emma Ineson, Bishop of Penrith, Church of England 

The Rt. Rev. Lydia Mamakwa, Mishamikoweesh, Anglican Church of Canada

The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo, Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa

The post The Lambeth we hope for appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Ten Years in, ACNA Celebrates Prayer Book and Discipleship

Anglican Ink - Fri, 21/06/2019 - 21:35

One decade after the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was inaugurated, Anglicans returned to Plano, Texas to release a revised Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and hear presentations on Christian discipleship.

Much like previous Provincial Assemblies, this one was characterized by the participation of Global South bishops exhorting adherence to orthodoxy amidst cultural headwinds. ACNA also continues to be shaped by constituent groups with significantly differing churchmanship. During the opening Assembly Eucharist, bishops clad in cope and mitre sang contemporary worship songs including Hillsong Music’s “Who You Say I Am”, a juxtaposition that seemingly only ACNA could facilitate.

Assembly participants also heard from the Rev. Anthony Thompson, an Anglican priest and husband to Myra Thompson, one of nine killed at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church in 2016. Thompson’s forgiveness of assailant Dylann Roof and call for repentance at an initial bond hearing made headlines in the secular press.

Discipleship “Caught, not just Taught”

Revisiting a decade of ministry together, ACNA leaders identified the hand of the Lord as present in a project providentially uniting unlikely partners in ministry.

In his opening address, Archbishop Foley Beach listed the planting of hundreds of churches, ministry among the poor and marginalized, and the sending of missionaries as key achievements, alongside building campaigns and the new BCP.

“It’s really quite amazing. Actually, miraculous,” assessed Beach. “To God be all praise and glory.”

But Beach charged that the calling of believers is not to plant or grow churches, lead “incredible worship,” or publicly stand for what is right, as good as those things are.

“Our calling from Jesus is to go and make disciples,” Beach summarized, comparing new Christians to infants that must be cared for, loved, fed, cleaned, disciplined and nurtured until such a time that they may walk on their own. “The Kingdom of God is similar: we need to be taught how to walk the walk.”

Such instruction includes how to worship, pray, study the Bible, hear the Lord, and love neighbors, as well as what the scriptures say about Jesus, serving, and what is right or wrong.

“How do I walk in the Holy Spirit when the bottom drops out in my life?” Beach offered as an example. “Discipleship cooperates with the Holy Spirit to help us follow Jesus in the midst of our life situation.”

Discipleship is caught, not just taught, Beach insisted: it is a lifestyle shared.

The Archbishop and former youth pastor spoke of learning from spiritual mentors about how to seek God for God himself, not just for what God can give, and how to love God, not just love what God does for him. Repentance, he learned, is a lifestyle, “not a one-act play.”

Recounting the experience of a friend in prison ministry, Beach recalled that upwards of 95 percent of the violent offenders had sat in church and prayed the sinner’s prayer.

“What happened? Why didn’t it take?” Beach asked. “Could it be that no one had ever invested in their walk with the Lord, and they never became discipled? They had made a decision for Christ, but they had never become a disciple of Christ.”

Similar themes permeated the closing address by Rwandan Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, who called for renewed commitment to the Great Commission.

Mbanda recalled that in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, churches were sites of massacres, and most of the killers claimed a Christian faith, with even pastors implicated in the killings.

“There had been many converts, but they had not been mentored, equipped and discipled to live like Christ,” Mbanda assessed. “A renewed understanding and commitment to our call to the Great Commission was needed.”

“Are you in, or are you out? Are you joining, or are you just going to watch and observe? It is our time, and the Lord has given us an opportunity, let us take advantage of it. Let us use it for his glory. Let us proclaim Christ unashamedly.”

Push Back Against False Narratives

The gathering had a strongly ecumenical feel, with speakers including Southern Baptist Russell Moore, United Methodist James Bryan Smith and Evangelist Ravi Zacharias.

“A lot of people have really toxic narratives about God,” reported Smith. “We live at the mercy of ideas. We get an idea about something and it runs our life — or it ruins our life.”

Quoting author A.W. Tozer that “the most important thing about a person is what they think about God,” Smith, who teaches at Friends University, cited a study reporting that 38 percent of respondents viewed God as an angry judge who is poised to punish.

“Jesus destroyed a false destructive narrative about God and replaced it with true stories about God,” Smith stated, recalling the account in John chapter 9 of the man born blind to glorify God, not due to his or his parents’ sin.

Spiritual disciplines, Smith explained, are opportunities for God’s grace to move within us: “We’re creating space for God to act. These are things we can do that enable us to do what we can’t do.”

Each of the speakers seemed to connect with their audience. Assembly attendees noticeably leaned in, rapt as Zacharias spoke of the consistency of character seen in Joseph’s dependence upon God while in Egypt. Smith’s books reportedly sold out at the Assembly bookstore. But Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore appeared to have the most fervent response.

As secularization comes through North America, Christians are reacting in one of two negative ways, Moore observed. Either they are not taking secularization seriously enough, or responding to secularization with a sense of “frenzied inevitability” that the “arc of history” is heading towards the elimination of religion and certainly Christianity. This latter response is characterized by perpetual outrage about what is transpiring.

Jesus, Moore offered, shows a way forward in Luke chapter 4amidst a time when cultural Christianity is falling away. It is no longer the case that one must be at least a nominal Christian in order to be considered a good American, Moore reported, recalling a college friend who was honest but not unusual in saying he wanted to be a member of a Southern Baptist church in order to be elected to political office in his state.

A response, Moore proposed, was to re-focus on the Kingdom of God. Jesus, he said, tied the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven to himself, but not as a means to an end.

“Our response should not be a sense of panic, but sense of opportunity,” Moore indicated, as Christians contrast with the ambient culture.

“When Jesus is well-received, he always concludes he is being misunderstood and presses the Gospel until there is shock and alarm,” Moore noted. “The Gospel comes as a contradiction to all the ways we prop up our own kingdoms around us. In a time when Christianity is no longer useful, that is when it can be powerful: for what it is, not as something that grows out of a culture, but is in contradiction to culture.”

Moore identified tribalism as a danger, quoting columnist and author David Brooks that “Tribalism is fake community for lonely narcissists.”

“What is the tribe to whom I belong, who are the people that are going to receive me?” Moore explained of tribalism. “It ends nowhere.” Instead, Moore suggested that Christians see and provide alternative structures pointing beyond attempts at tribalism to something that is “deep and meaningfully true.”

While he did not directly reference contemporary figures, Moore noted that Christians “do not need to advance the Gospel with influence” and should instead create and form a culture that has a distinctiveness about its very difference.

“You and I cannot be the people who are scared, frantic and fearful at the culture around us,” the SBC’s top policy official advised. “We have been trusted with a message and we do not have a different situation than any Christians who came before us in the things that really matter.”

In a refutation of the idea that there was ever a time when American culture was on the right path, Moore declared: “You don’t remember when the culture fell apart, because it fell apart somewhere between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Genesis chapter 3.”

“Do we have confidence in the Gospel to trust that it has the power to transform those who are aggressively speaking against it right now?” Moore asked, listing former opponents of the Gospel who became great champions of it, such as St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Paul of Tarsus, C.S. Lewis and Chuck Colson.

“Neither accommodate what any culture at the moment will allow, nor be constant outrage machines,” Moore advised. “Love people to whom we speak knowing that the Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ are enough for any of them.”

The future of the church, Moore noted, is guaranteed by a promise at Caesarea Philippi: “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

The post Ten Years in, ACNA Celebrates Prayer Book and Discipleship appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Magistrate dismissed for trying to protect children

Christian Concern - Fri, 21/06/2019 - 16:33
This week, former magistrate Richard Page lost his appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The ruling could effectively bar Christians from holding positions in public office if they express a Christian view of marriage and family. The battle is not over for Richard; he “remains as faithful as ever to his beliefs and will bring his cases to the Court of Appeal.” Andrea Williams comments on the judgments.

This week, former magistrate Richard Page lost his appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The ruling could effectively bar Christians from holding positions in public office if they express a Christian view of marriage and family. The battle is not over for Richard; he “remains as faithful as ever to his beliefs and will bring his cases to the Court of Appeal.” Andrea Williams comments on the judgments.
 

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Anglican Unscripted 512 – Derangement Syndrome

Anglican Ink - Fri, 21/06/2019 - 15:57
  1. PB Curry does not seem to want Bishop Love of Albany to be a Martyr.
  2. The Archbishop of Hong Kong now ‘supports’ peaceful protest.
  3. The Methodist don’t want Bishops and the COE requires Episcopal ordained presidency.
  4. Oh… and there is still a prosperity gospel problem.
  5. Boris

The post Anglican Unscripted 512 – Derangement Syndrome appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

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