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Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Sunday, 27 January 2013
Friday, 25 January 2013
Ignorant or not, some of those commenting under the 'Thinking Anglicans' entry feel free to brand as 'bigots' fellow Anglicans who adhere to the historic catholic faith along with the vast majority of Christians who look to Christ's example rather than to conjecture based on what is not said in the Bible. There are many biblical accounts of people questioning Jesus but there is no record of the women He favoured asking why He had no regard for parity of the sexes when calling His Apostles or what He thought about gender-neutral marriage. Hence the free rein taken by Anglican revisionists.
I did not recognise the 'unwelcoming' church which Chalke described, a church which had to make up its own rules because long term same-sex relationships are not mentioned in the New Testament, the same attitude that can be traced back to the ordination of women and and the 'anything goes' culture in the US which is being imported into the Church of England. This conversation takes us to the heart of the problem with new Anglicanism which takes its cue from society, making the rules as they go along because, as they see it, the Bible is silent on a specific issue instead of taking the message of the New Testament as a whole. Consequently they condemn those who strive to bear witness to Christ's example by taking passages of scripture out of context to reinforce a point or claim that the teaching is irrelevant today because Christ was a man of his time. If that were so, miracles would be mere conjuring tricks and the Resurrection a fabrication. That is not the basis of the Christian faith.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Monday, 21 January 2013
January 12, 2013
VILLANOVA, PA: Metropolitan Hilarion Blasts Anglicans for Renouncing the Faith
Orthodox and Anglican Churches are on different sides of the abyss, says Russian Orthodox leader
The future of ecumenism is in great peril with the gap widening between orthodox and progressives, says Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church a noted theologian and church historian.
Speaking before an audience at Villanova University, a Catholic institution on Philadelphia's historic mainline and one of the oldest in the US, Hilarion said that when the holy fathers of the first millennium abided in unity and while it was subjected to many serious trials, it was the foundation upon which dialogue between Christians was successful and fruitful. "Fidelity to the Christian tradition is the proper means for the restoration of unity among Christ's disciples."
The orthodox leader blasted parts of the Anglican Communion for abandoning the faith and said renunciation of the truth by some Protestant denominations makes it difficult for the Orthodox Church to continue co-operation with them.
"I regret this, but dialogues with Protestants and Anglicans which we have had for decades are now under threat because of processes taking place in the Protestant communities of the West and North. I mean the continuing liberalization in the field of theology, ecclesiology and moral teaching. Certain denominations have legitimized the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of people openly declaring their non-traditional sexual orientation."
Hilarion said he was obliged to speak about this because he wanted to preserve the good that was being achieved during the years of dialogue between Orthodox, on the one hand, and Protestants and Anglicans, on the other. "In defending the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Church, we remain true to this dialogue, yet at the same time we see that Protestants and Anglicans are growing away from us by accepting innovations which we find unacceptable.
"I am not speaking of this in the walls of a Catholic university because I am afraid to criticize Anglicans and Protestants to their faces. Every time the opportunity arises, I speak openly of our concern in direct dialogue with our brothers from the Anglican and Protestant communities. In 2010 at a festive dinner at the Nicaea Club in London in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams I stated the sad fact that the Orthodox and Anglican Churches are to be found on different sides of the abyss which separate Christians of a traditional direction and Christians adhering to liberal teachings. Recently I spoke of the same things at the old Episcopalian seminary at Nashotah House, a contemporary of your University."
The Metropolitan added that dialogue with Protestants and Anglicans has reached a dead end, but dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church has a future because, like the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church does not think of itself as being outside of Tradition and strives to teach and live in accordance with the tradition of the apostles and holy fathers.
"In my view, the significant improvement and strengthening of relations between our Churches that can be seen in recent years is connected to an awareness that we are united by a common heritage, thanks to which both Orthodox and Catholics can and must together bear witness to the world of the eternal values of the Gospel.
"The Orthodox and Catholics encounter the same challenges which modern times lay down to the traditional way of life. In this instance we are dealing not with theological problems but with the present and future of humanity. It is in this sphere that Orthodox and Catholics can interact without compromising their ecclesiastical identity. In other words, while not yet being the one Church, being separated by various theological and ecclesiological problems, we can find ways of interacting which would allow us to respond jointly to the challenges of the modern world.
"Together we can help people realize what the traditional Christian values are - the family, the worth of human life from conception to death, the upbringing of children, the integrity and indissolubility of marriage. All of these concepts in the modern secular world are subjected to a radical re-evaluation."
Hilarion said that in Western society today, the traditional family way of life has, in effect, been destroyed. As a result, there has been a gradual decline in the populations of Western nations. "This is a very simple and real indication of the spiritual health or spiritual disease of a particular nation. If the population of a country is increasing this means that there are in the nation healthy forces which allow this to happen; if the population decreases, this is a sign of disease." The disease in society is an absence of the traditional notion of the family, he said.
"At the basis of this worldview there lies the destruction of the traditional family way of life. If we speak of Christian communities, the traditional way of life of the family is preached only by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. At the official level it is the Orthodox and Catholic Churches which defend the integrity of marriage, believe abortion to be a sin and call for an end to it, and believe that euthanasia is unacceptable."
Hilarion continued, "The 'Foundations of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church' with the Catechism of the Catholic Church which outlines the official teaching of the Catholic Church on these problems, then everywhere you will see that their positions are similar. This means that we can combine our endeavors in order to jointly protect traditional values such as the family, giving birth, how children are brought up and the integrity of marriage. This is the field where we can and must today interact with Catholics.
"In this regard, I am convinced that co-operation of all Christian confessions, and first of all between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, is greatly needed for the protection of human life and its inalienable dignity as well as the family. Therefore we who are united by faith in Christ and a two-thousand-year-old Christian tradition have to bring with renewed strength the good news to the world of the family and marriage as institutions created by God.
"In accepting the challenge of the real world, the Christian family is to be as before the hope and pledge of a Christian civilization. It is essential to protect and support a cultural tradition which is favorable to the family, the indissolubility of marriage and the need for marital fidelity by taking an active part in the creation of legislation that favors the family and its natural foundation and by imparting to society the ideals of the majesty and perfection of the family vocation."
The Orthodox leader said that protecting of Christians from discrimination is another area of cooperation between the Orthodox and Catholics.
"Unfortunately, in the countries of the so called Arab Spring, as well as in a number of other countries of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania, Christians are subjected to discrimination, persecution and repression.
Media Ignores Religious Persecution
The media ignores the problem of religious persecution. "In planning military intervention in a particular country of the Arab world or in preparing the overthrow of the existing regime in a particular country with the help of outside forces, Western strategists completely fail to take into account the fact that the main victims are often local Christians."
Hilarion cited several examples. "In Iraq only one tenth of a million-and-a-half Christians that lived there ten years ago have survived. In Egypt we are witnessing a mass exodus of Christians. There are practically no Christians left in Libya. Ninety five percent of Christians have abandoned Homs in Syria. We, Orthodox and Catholics, must raise our voices jointly in defense of Christians subjected to persecution and repression in these countries, as well as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria and in a number of other countries as well.
"The countries of Europe have traditionally defended the interests of Christians in the Middle East and in Eastern Asia. In the present circumstances we hope that the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on January 2011 on the position of Christians in the context of religious freedom, as well as the declaration of the Committee of Foreign Ministers of the European Union on 22 February, will have practical consequences. They were a result of active participation by the Christian Churches in this direction. We hope that the USA will join us in the defense of Christians.
"Today Christians are subjected to harassment not only in those countries where they comprise a minority but often in those countries with ancient and deep-rooted Christian traditions. Certain European countries are trying to limit the manifestation of Christian faith in public life by claiming that they are thereby observing the rights of adherents of other religions and atheists. This situation demands that Orthodox and Catholic show solidarity in their actions in protecting the Christian identity of Europe and America.
"The Christian communities of Syria and other Middle Eastern countries are crying out for help at a time when the Western media ignore their pleas for aid. Politicians too are closing their eyes to this unprecedented wave of persecution. We, the Orthodox and Catholics from around the world, have to raise our voice in defense of Christians and the Christian traditions of the Middle East. It is our duty to appeal constantly to political leaders, international organizations and the media by reminding them of this humanitarian tragedy unfolding before our eyes."
Hilarion observed that it is essential for Orthodox and Catholics today to perceive each other not as rivals but as allies in the cause of the defense of Christians' rights. "We must develop interaction outside of the success or otherwise of theological dialogue, independent even of how relations between the Orthodox and Catholics take shape in concrete regions around the world. We must build this interaction from a common strategic task since we are dealing with the future of humanity. It is upon our joint endeavors that the future of Christianity in the third millennium will primarily depend."
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Friday, 18 January 2013
For readers wondering what Dr Giddings may have said to incur the wrath of the women bishops movement I have copied below an unedited transcript of Dr Giddings’s speech made during the debate on the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1708D) at the November 2012 group of sessions of the General Synod. Note particularly the paragraph in bold type [my emphasis]. Had there been no generosity of spirit when Synod accepted the women priests measure there would be no women priests demanding to be bishops but having achieved their aim their promise was rescinded showing a complete absence of Christian charity. As if that were not shame enough, it took the courage of a layman to prick the conscience of Synod because the bishops took as their guide yet another erroneous passage from the Bible and washed their hands of it.
Dr Philip Giddings (Oxford): I want first, as Chair of the House of Laity, to welcome Bishop Justin as Archbishop-elect and express my very great appreciation for the speech he has just made. Sadly, although I agree with almost everything that he said, I cannot agree with his conclusion.
As Chair of the House of Laity, it is part of my role to ensure that the views of the whole House are heard, particularly on final approval business. Synod already knows that a substantial majority of the House and of laypeople generally are in favour of women bishops and of this draft Measure. Many speeches today are making that point. Therefore, I want to focus on a significant minority of laypeople who are opposed in principle to women bishops and to the content of the Measure before us.
Essentially, I wish to say that it is unwise to go ahead with a Measure dealing with fundamental matters of ministry and doctrine with a significant minority of our Church unable to accept its provisions. I do believe that we can find a better way.
Last week I received a letter from a former distinguished lay member of this Synod who cannot in conscience accept the sacramental ministration of women bishops. He says, ‘All I ask for is a place in that one CofE where I can continue and flourish with integrity and mutual respect, but it is precisely that which this proposed legislation denies me’. I do not agree with his views on sacramental ministry but I do not see why our disagreement requires that one or other of us has no future in the Church of England.
In 1992 I voted in favour of ordaining women to the priesthood but knowing it was unacceptable to many of my fellow Evangelicals because of their understanding of the biblical teaching on headship. I voted for that legislation because it was designed to ensure that those who could not in conscience accept it could remain with us. Today’s legislative package will not achieve that.
Do we really believe that such diversity of opinion no longer exists? Legislation does not remove diversity of opinion. It is diversity. It is not prejudice. It is not simply refusal to accept change. It is solidly theologically based judgement. That is not my view; that was recognized fully in the Rochester report. We may disagree with the dissenting minority but does that mean we have to exclude them from a future in this Church?
Those who have worked for reconciliation in various areas of life know that you cannot achieve a solution unless all parties agree to and own it. That is the missing piece in this legislative package. Those for whom the provision is intended do not own it.
We have been told that we have debated these matters long enough. Long enough perhaps for those who are in the majority and can impose their will, but not long enough to gain the consent of those who are opposed and whose consent is essential if we are to remain a united and growing Church committed to mission. We should not be in this position. We can and should find a better way.
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
|Photo: Rex Features|
Previous efforts by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to safeguard the position of traditionalists were scuppered by an uncaring House of Clergy resulting in the loss of the Archbishops' amendments as summarised here. Regarded by the bishops as a fair compromise the amendments actually left the minority in a substantially worse position than the majority but that was not good enough for those who demanded equality through inequality; read here, here and here. Greed ultimately was their downfall. Had the Archbishop's amendments been accepted the process of establishing women bishops in the Church of England would now be well on its the way. Instead of examining their consciences there has been further talk of punishing the oppressed by removing any semblance of consideration, a long way from the human sense of fairness where "humans typically offer generous portions, such as 50 percent of the reward, to their partners". In the Church of England, what was given with one hand has been taken with the other in a winner takes all approach which suggests that chimps beat bishops hands down when it comes to fairness.
But fairness can still prevail. If both sides were allowed an equal stake in their church as originally implied neither side could blame the other for their own failure. The Church of England is relatively small within the Anglican Communion, itself a minority of those who profess the catholic creed with whom traditionalists are aligned leaving traditionalists in a majority. Talk of sanctioning schism by allowing each side to go their own way is ridiculous when the church already comprises many distinctive members. If the Catholic Church can make room for an Ordinariate, what does it say about the Church of England reneging on promises and failing to make acceptable provision so that traditionalists are still regarded as loyal Anglicans? Fairness must be seen to be done. If chimps can do it why can't bishops?
Thursday, 10 January 2013
An interesting description of the review group here. It highlights that "a business consultant and PR and marketing experts have been included [sic] in the group to look at radical shake-up plans for the Church in Wales". Just what the modern church needs! But some spirituality is catered for. The Church in Wales is working in partnership with Good Relations Wales in Teleos which sees spirituality as "a creative and crucial dimension of enlightened organisations and their cultural architecture". The link? Helen Birtwhistle aka Helen Biggin, Chair of the new group.
Personally I find the Gospel more than adequate.
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
|Photo: AFP/Getty Images|
A human rights activist with more than 25 years' experience in ministering to persecuted Christians claims that many Christians are "ignorant" of the extent of persecution globally; reported here. A random search will highlight so many incidents that it takes a major incident to hit the headlines. Groups such as Compass Direct and the Barnabas Fund keep watchful eyes on the frontlines of persecution around the world. Meanwhile, for more fortunate Christians secure in their comfort zones it is not beatings, burning or worse but a battle for bedfellows.
Christ knows what He thinks of it!
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
|"People against marriage equality, now Charles complains about the Succession Bill. |
Some people are never satisfied Nick."
What will these unlikely bedfellows get up to next to divert attention away from the economic mess we are in you may wonder? One radical move is hinted at here.
Monday, 7 January 2013
Since the House of Bishops can no longer be trusted to care for all, the implication in Bishop Harries' remark is that they are no longer Christian. You can listen to his interview here. A strong advocate of blessing civil partnerships in church he was rather coy about discussing the current controversy of gay marriages in church saying, "there is a prior and more important step and that is actually warmly to welcome civil partnerships and offer a blessing for them. That is what I think the church could do and what it should do".
Bishop Harries continues to push the liberal strategy of change by stealth while denying traditionalists what they were promised, an honoured place in the church. If the bishops want to restore trust in themselves they must show due contrition and make proper provision acceptable to orthodox Christians in their care.
Sunday, 6 January 2013
Friday, 4 January 2013
His speech against the measure followed directly after Justin Welby’s and therefore I believe directly undermined what the Archbishop elect had said - What was the point in having a debate if the measure was to go through on the nod? The Archbishop elect is not infallible. The departing Archbishop said that members should vote according conscience so shouldn't Abp Rowan also be censured for undermining his successor?
Since it was against it did not support the views of the House of Bishops as a whole - Why should it? The House of Bishops have shown themselves to be in hock to WATCH. They are unrepresentative of the Anglican Communion as a whole and of the bishops of the Apostolic Church.
Speaking as the Chair of our House his speech was instrumental in convincing some of the undecided members of the House to vote against - If the Chair of the House of Laity carried more weight than the Archbishops, bishops and clergy, why is that not the work of the Holy Spirit? The implication in this remark is that other members of the House are mindless idiots awaiting direction.
I believe the speech was therefore a significant contributor to the reputational damage the Church of England is already suffering at the hands of the press, which is also manifest in the comments of the Prime Minister, the emerging reports of withdrawal of financial support, the angry reaction of church members and the disbelief and ridicule expressed by many of our secular friends, all of which I believe will damage the mission of our church - Any 'reputational damage' is solely attributable to the reaction of the ungracious losers who, let us not forget, just scraped the necessary majority for the ordination of women to the priesthood based on assurances given to those who opposed the measure consistent with the view of the Holy Catholic Church.
The failure of the Measure is already giving momentum to the idea that the only likely solution now is a single clause Measure, which would result in a worse outcome for the minority groups than was on offer on Tuesday - How disingenuous can one get? The vote was NOT against women bishops, it was against the watered down 'provision' until it was meaningless, especially when considered against previous assurances. If a single clause measure results from this it will clearly demonstrate the hypocrisy of the movement to ordain women from the outset. It is clear that they want to rid Anglicanism of orthodoxy because it is an uncomfortable reminder that the liberal agenda they follow has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with secular fancy.
If the trendies had any honour they would agree provision acceptable to those for whom it is intended. Anything else is a cruel sham which will collapse the whole edifice if not properly addressed: "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand."
Today comes the news that the Church of England has dropped its prohibition on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops. Drawing ever closer to the failing Episcopal Church in the united States one has to ask how much confidence there can be in the absurd suggestion that the House of Bishops would allow gay clergy to become bishops if they promise to be celibate. Read here of the promise made by the bishops of the Church in Wales when the Bill to allow women to be priests was passed. This was passed unanimously among the bishops following coercion, a process which continues today with intimidation of those opposed to the ordination of women. Among the signatories was Rowan Williams, then Bishop of Monmouth, who as Archbishop of Canterbury at least maintained the appearance of caring for all by continuing to appoint Provincial Episcopal Visitors while the then Bishop of Bangor, now the Archbishop of Wales and archliberal Dr Barry Morgan, along with his fellow bishops, has reneged on the undertaking given. Likewise the House of Bishops has reneged on their promise of an honoured place for 'traditionalists' in the Church of England. I suppose on that basis one could say that the bishops are undivided - except that they have excluded themselves from the rest of the Apostolic Church. Promises are made to be broken apparently.