Archive for September, 2008

Is this your personal journey too?

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

By Fr Gavin, secretary Anglican Mainstream SA.

I found this while trawling through some of my regular sites after a few days away from the office.  I feel it reflects, not perfectly, so much of what I feel the Lord has done in my life and I wonder how many of us Anglican clergy are not finding ourselves in the same boat.

I write this because this is exactly why we need to have this fellowship in place.  To be there for one another when God does His ‘crazy’ thing with us!!!!  Perhaps I should write at length about my ‘roller coaster ride’ with HIm too?

Please read here………       SURPRISED BY GRACE…….

Can’t we all just get along?

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Why “playing nice” by postmodernist standards is a losing proposition

Beware

The favorite buzzwords of the postmodern spirit all sound so warm and friendly, don’t they? Conversation, dialogue, openness, generosity, tolerance. Who wouldn’t want to participate in discourse with someone who truly prized human values such as those?

On the other hand, the very same Zeitgeist has demonized a host of other essential biblical values, such as authority, conviction, clarity, and even truth. In the milieu of the emerging discussion, this second category of words has been made to sound harsh, unreasonable, arrogant, and extreme—if not downright evil.

Moreover, postmodern human values are increasingly being defined in a way that expressly precludes eternal biblical values. For example, the prevailing opinion nowadays is that you cannot be “open” and certain at the same time. A person who speaks with too much conviction is ipso facto deemed an “intolerant” person. Above all, anyone who recognizes the full authority of Scripture and insists that God’s Word deserves our unconditional submission will inevitably be accused of deliberately trying to stymie the whole “conversation.”

This is not to suggest that disagreement per se is prohibited in the postmodern dialectic. Quite the contrary, “deconstruction” is all about disputes over words. Postmoderns thrive on dissent, debate, and contradiction.

And (giving credit where credit is due) it should be noted that postmodernists can sometimes be amazingly congenial in their verbal sparring with one another.

One thing the participants in the postmodern “conversation” simply will not tolerate, however, is someone who disagrees and thinks the point is really serious. Virtually no heresy is ever to be regarded as damnable. The notion that erroneous doctrine can actually be dangerous is deemed uncouth and naive. Every bizarre notion gets equal respect. Truth itself is only a matter of personal perspective, you see. Everything is ultimately negotiable.

Now, if you want to join the postmodern “conversation,” you are expected to acknowledge all this up front—at least tacitly. That’s the price of admission to the discussion. Once you’re in, you can throw any bizarre idea you want on the table, no matter how outlandish. You can use virtually any tone or language to make your point, no matter how outrageous. But you must bear in mind that all disputation at this table is purely for sport. At the end of the day, you mustn’t really be concerned about the truth or falsehood of any mere propositions.

Read more……..

Bishops Who Voted To Depose Duncan And What You Can Do About It

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Complete List with Names, Addresses and E-Mail Addresses

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
9/20/2008

VOL believes that what took place in the House of Bishops (HOB) this week was so momentous and wrong that we are encouraging GAFCON Primates, other Archbishops and Bishops of the Anglican Communion to write each of the “deposing” bishops in TEC a personal letter expressing how their action is causing grievances in their provinces and thus in the wider Anglican Communion.

The “action” of these 88 bishops is impacting the service of the global church and raises serious questions about the future of the Communion. It also expresses a total lack of respect for The Episcopal Church’s canons and raises serious questions to the majority of global bishops how they can possibly pursue their office as a bishop in a proper humble and Christ-like way.

VOL believes that unless TEC bishops publicly apologize, any visits or contact of any kind between their province and the bishop’s diocese be put on hold indefinitely.

VOL is therefore making available the names, addresses and e-mail addresses of the 88 TEC bishops who voted for the “deposition” of Bishop Duncan with the hope that it will be acted upon.


List of email addresses here…………

Former Primate to Archbishop Williams: I ask you to suspend TEC and recognise Common Cause Partners

Sunday, September 21st, 2008


September 20th, 2008 Posted in News |

The Rt. Hon. and Most Reverend Rowan D. Williams, Lambeth Palace,, London SE1 7JU.

OPEN LETTER

Your Grace,

I write to you as a former primate of the Southern Cone and bishop of Chile, a Diocese which has enjoyed a Companion Relationship with the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1978. It is a privilege to count Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan as one of my friends as well as a brother bishop, having known him since his consecration fifteen years ago.

You can imagine, therefore, my surprise on hearing that the Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America had accused Bishop Duncan of abandoning the church and had successfully moved in the House of Bishops that he should be deposed as a minister in the Church of God. I know Bishop Duncan to be an orthodox Christian believer, who has taught the biblical Anglican faith throughout his ministry. I understand on good authority that the process of his deposition has run counter to the canons of that church.

I write, therefore, to ask that you take immediate action in suspending the Episcopal Church from any further participation in activities of the Anglican Communion and in calling a meeting of the Primates to give formal recognition to a new Province in North America, as desired by the Common Cause Partners Federation. At that meeting the Primates must give guidance as to the future conduct of the Episcopal Church so as to enable it to return to the full fellowship of the Anglican Communion .

The action of Archbishop Gregory Venables in receiving Bishop Duncan as a member of the House of Bishops of the province of the Southern Cone should not be seen in any way as interference in another province, but as a fraternal act towards a brother who has, for a long time, been speaking out for biblical truth in a church which, by its teaching and actions, has been gradually separating itself from the rest of the Communion. He deserves our gratitude and full support.

You are in my prayers and those of many others, that you will have God’s wisdom and despatch in dealing with this further tear in the fabric of our Communion, especially in view of your own pleas for holy restraint at the Lambeth Conference.

With every good wish

Colin F. Bazley

Hon. Assistant Bishop of Chester

Scientism as the New Fundamentalism

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

The term ‘fundamentalism’ is today taken as a term of derision. It is used in a pejorative sense. It is now used to refer to those who are bigoted, closed-minded, not open to reason and evidence, and pushing a narrow agenda. Unfortunately, many in the scientific community today can be described as fundamentalists.

Real science is about following the evidence where it leads. It does not have pre-determined agendas, and it does not engage in witch-hunts against those who do not buy the reigning orthodoxy. Scientism, on the other hand, is guilty of such things. Much of what passes for science these days is nothing more than scientism.

Among other things, scientism is about making basic philosophical claims, such as the claim that truth and knowledge are only to be found by means of the scientific method, and what science cannot deal with cannot be really known or shown to be true.

Examples of scientism are easily found. Writing in 1970, Bertrand Russell said this: “Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.”

Chemist and science writer Peter Atkins put it this way: “There is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence.” The late Carl Sagan made this bold – and unscientific – claim: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”

Or as Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson remarked, “All tangible phenomena, from the birth of the stars to the workings of social institutions, are based on material processes that are ultimately reducible, however long and torturous the sequences, to the laws of physics.”

These are all philosophical claims of course. They cannot be proved by the scientific method, but must be held as faith commitments. Thus we have scientists making claims about issues which science itself cannot properly comment on. They have an a priori commitment to philosophical naturalism, and will not allow any fact or evidence to get in the way of their pre-existing faith in materialism.

Scientism, then, rules out ahead of time anything which is not natural or physical. There is no supernatural or metaphysical reality in its view. Thus there can be no creator of the universe. Evolution must be held to, despite any evidence to the contrary, because belief in God is just not allowed by those who embrace scientism.

Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin is perfectly candid about all this: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Read More……..

Truthful Language and Orderly Separation

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

The Opening of an excellent piece lengthy but more than worth the read.

Written by: Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The Anglican Communion is currently pursuing a number of activities in response to the acrimonious struggle over sexual teaching and discipline within our churches. These activities have been encouraged by the Communion’s leadership, including at the recent Lambeth Conference. I have, to various degrees, been a supporter of these activities, not least because I have trusted those who have promoted these means towards ecclesial healing. I am increasingly skeptical, however, that the way these activities have been framed – descriptively and practically – represents the true nature of our disputes.

Categories like “moratoria” and “reception” and “listening”, for instance, are now prominent elements in our strategic ecclesial discussions. Unfortunately, they no longer appear to be useful categories, in large part because they do not accurately reflect the actual relationship of expectation and possibility that the disputing parties hold, one to another and with respect to their own commitments. When one party says, while responding to the request for a “moratorium” on specific actions, “yes we will consider it; but there is no going back on our underlying commitments”; and another party says at the same time, “yes we will consider it; but only on the condition that you others give up your practical commitments”, then the very category of “moratorium” functions in very different ways in each case. Similarly, when “reception” is a “process” that seeks to discern the Christian authenticity of an innovative practice, but also does so by the very means of rooting that practice within the life of the church in different areas, the notion that discernment has a possibly restraining role to play seems practically undercut. Or when “listening” presumes an ecclesial practice even as it refuses to evaluate that practice, one is not so much listening as receiving justification ex post facto.

Read more

The success of Lambeth: Bp John Chane

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008


September 8th, 2008

Why did TEC invest so heavily persuading people to come to Lambeth? And did its strategy pay off?  One of its key people shares how important the ‘listening’ process had been to gain support for TEC – and affirms that yes, indeed, its strategy worked.  Read the rest on AAC’s site below.

All of this was mostly positive, and it gave me the opportunity to describe the polity of the Episcopal Church to bishops from other provinces – how we are governed by the voices and votes of the laity, clergy and bishops and not by the solitary decision making of the bishop or primate of the province. Some African bishops expressed wonderment that American bishops had very little decision making and enforcement power and saw our system as difficult, if not unworkable. One bishop from Sudan came up to me after I spoke at a hearing on the Windsor Report and apologized for his primate’s position on human sexuality. He told me he had been threatened with losing his diocesan oversight if he attended the Lambeth Conference. Others from Africa, India and Asia had not been aware of the incursion of primates and bishops from overseas jurisdictions into the Episcopal Church and were saddened to learn that such behavior was seemingly tolerated by some in leadership positions within the Communion.

It was reassuring to me that many bishops, even those who do not share our understanding of human sexuality in the life of the church, said their disagreement with me and the Episcopal Church was not a “breaking point” in our relationship. Some said they knew in time they would have to be facing the same issue in their own countries, and we all needed to have more conversation about human sexuality in a non-legislative format. All of these reflections, although problematic in some instances, were centered on an optimism that can hold us together as a Communion if we continue to work at it and not remain in isolation from one another.

More………………