Archive for January, 2011

“Now it is the Other Way Around” — The Moral Revolution in Full View

Monday, January 24th, 2011


And in course of time the results will be the same as for every corrupt society – judgement and ruin. We never learn from history, never mind the word of God.
This decision serves as yet another sign of how swiftly the moral revolution is happening all around us.

Dr Albert Mohler writes:

The breathtaking pace of the moral revolution now transforming Western cultures staggers belief. In the course of a single generation, the sexual morality that has survived for thousands of years is giving way to a radically different moral understanding. Just consider the couple in the United Kingdom who were recently found guilty of discrimination because they allowed only married couples to share a bed at their small hotel.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull own a bed and breakfast hotel in Cornwall. In September of 2008, a homosexual couple requested a single bed and was denied that accommodation by the Bulls. The couple sued, and this week a judge found the Bulls guilty of discrimination under Britain’s Equality Act of 2007.

What makes this case particularly troubling is the nature of the judge’s decision.

Judge Andrew Rutherford ruled that the Bulls would have to sacrifice their Christian convictions if they intend to own and manage their hotel. Mrs. Bull told the court, “We accept that the Bible is the holy living word of God and we endeavor to follow it as far as we are able.” In this specific case, it meant that the Bulls would restrict rooms with a double bed to married couples. They enforced this policy regardless of sexual orientation — a point acknowledged by the judge.

Nevertheless, Judge Rutherford stated: “It is inevitable that such laws will from time to time cut across deeply held beliefs of individuals and sections of society for they reflect the social attitudes and morals prevailing at the time that they are made.”

Affirming the swift reversal of public morality on the issue of homosexuality, the judge commented: “These laws have come into being because of changes in social attitudes. The standards and principles governing our behavior which were unquestioningly accepted in one generation may not be so accepted in the next.”

Further, “It is a very clear example of how social attitudes have changed over the years for it is not so very long ago that these beliefs of the defendants would have been those accepted as normal by society at large. Now it is the other way around.”

The judge, who is himself an influential member of the Church of England, accepted that the stance of the Bulls concerning marriage was “a perfectly orthodox Christian belief in the sanctity of marriage and the sinfulness of homosexuality.”

But, those beliefs will have to give way to the new cultural mandate of non-discrimination. This is the legal logic that has driven Christian charities in both the United States and Britain out of adoption and foster care work. Now, the Bulls are likely to close their hotel or get out of the business by some means.

The Telegraph [London] warned: “The right to hold religious beliefs, and to act in keeping with one’s faith, is being set against the right not to be offended — and is losing. This is a dispiriting trend in a free society.” Andrew Brown, a columnist at The Guardian {London], warned conservative Christians that the world has changed, both legally and morally.

The real bomb embedded within Judge Rutherford’s ruling is this sentence: “Whatever may have been the position in past centuries it is no longer the case that our laws must, or should automatically reflect the Judaeo-Christian position.”

There can be no doubt that this logic is fast taking hold in legal circles, pointing to a severe constriction of the rights of Christians to live by their own convictions. At the same time, this decision serves as yet another sign of how swiftly the moral revolution is happening all around us. When Judge Rutherford said that the moral consensus is now “the other way around,” he wrote that revolution into law.

The late Maurice Cowling, one of Britain’s most significant intellectuals of the twentieth century, argued that when the public influence of Christianity wanes, the space is not then filled with anything truly secular. Instead, some new religion takes the place of Christianity. In this case, the new religion is the religion of sexual anarchy.

The judge explicitly acknowledged the fact that the Bulls would be forced to act against conscience in order to comply with the ruling, and that the convictions held by the Bulls were the norm in British society, even in recent times. Fueled by this decision, the moral revolution marches on.

Primates not attending Dublin meeting “have reiterated their commitment to the Communion”

Monday, January 24th, 2011


January 23rd, 2011 Posted in Anglican Communion, Primates Meeting |

From ACNS

The Primates who have turned down the invitation to this week’s Primates’ Meeting because of developments in The Episcopal Church are still committed to the Anglican Communion.

In an interview today with BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme, Anglican Communion Secretary General Canon Kenneth Kearon told presenter William Crawley that at Communion meetings there are always a number of participants who cannot come for a variety of reasons including health or diary commitments.

Canon Kearon gave as an example of those who would likely leave their decision to attend until the last minute the Primates of Sudan and Australia whose countries are dealing with major issues including a referendum and flooding respectively.

He added that on this occasion some Primates had written to say they would not be attending the Dublin meeting because of the presence of the Primate of The Episcopal Church and recent developments in The Episcopal Church.

“About seven or possibly eight have written to me directly to say that’s the reason why they cannot come,” he said. “About two can’t come because of health reasons and there are a few we are not yet sure whether they are coming or not.

Read here

Fort Worth Judge Signs ECUSA Orders

Monday, January 24th, 2011


January 23rd, 2011 Posted in TEC |

By A S Haley

There is not much to say about the recent news from Fort Worth, except that there will certainly be an appeal. (Note to partisans: had the decision gone in Bishop Iker’s favor, I still would have had to report the same conclusion.)

The judge did not issue a decision of his own, but simply signed the pro forma orders submitted by ECUSA and the local Gulick parties. He made a few deletions in the former, to make it clear that he was deciding the case by deference to the “hierarchy” of the Episcopal Church (USA), and not on neutral principles of law. Indeed, he staked his all on a bet that the Texas higher courts would not follow the latter approach, since he struck out the proposed paragraph that would have said he would reach the same result under “neutral principles” analysis. Thus if the Court of Appeal rules that he should have applied neutral principles, he will have to start all over again.
Also, no findings of fact, or sanctions issued, for the unprofessional conduct with which Bishop Iker charged his former counsel. So that will be more grist for the appeal.

FCA Meetings January 2011

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Dear Friends

Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel at FCA conference 2010.

I am delighted to announce that Dr Chris Sugden (Secretary Anglican Mainstream International) and Dr Vinay Samuel (GAFCON Theological Team) are visiting South Africa from 22nd January to 2nd February this year.  We would like to use this opportunity host meetings around the country to answer questions about FCA and GAGCON as well as to share with you the vision for the teaching role that FCA could play in this province. We hope that these meetings will provide the opportunity for you to invite members of your church and members of the leadership team to have their questions about the role of FCA, not only here but also across the Anglican Communion, answered.

There is a need to clearly state our role since there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of who and what the GAFCON – FCA movement is really about in this Province.

DATES AND VENUES:

Western Cape:           Monday 24th January at 19.30 at ST Martins Church Bergvliet.

Gauteng:                     Tuesday 25th January at 19.30 at St Luke’s Church Orchards.

Durban:                      Wednesday 26th January at 19.30 at ST Agnes Church Kloof.

Port Elizabeth:           Thursday 27th January at 19.30 at Holy Trinity, The Hill.

Please make it a priority to attend one of these meetings and invite members of your church, especially the wardens and clergy to join you.  We also ask you to spread the invitation as widely as possible within the nearby parishes as.

I look forward to seeking many of you at one of these meetings.

May God bless you throughout this year as you seek to obediently serve Him in His church.

Gavin Mitchell

FCA Southern Africa

FCA Southern Africa

First priests ordained to new Catholic Church structure for former Anglicans

Monday, January 17th, 2011


January 15th, 2011 Posted in Anglican Ordinariates |

From CNA

An official jurisdiction for members of the Church of England opting for full communion with the Catholic Church was established just in time to receive its first three priests on Saturday.

On Jan. 15, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decreed the creation of “The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.” The announcement of the establishment of the ordinariate, a special diocese-like structure, was announced during the Mass at London’s Westminster Cathedral to ordain three former Anglican bishops to the Catholic priesthood.

The very name of the personal ordinariate denotes the Catholic-Anglican connection, both Churches have Marian Shrines in the English village of Walsingham. Blessed John Henry Newman, the most well-known Anglican to seek communion with the Catholic Church, was chosen as the jurisdiction’s patron.

The ordinariate is a new structure in which “worthy Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions” will be preserved.The movement of away from the Anglican Communion is being spurred by a growing acceptance of female bishops, practing homosexual clergy, and disagreements over the primacy of Sacred Scripture within the Church.

Read here

Message from William Cardinal Levada
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith here

History has been made, by Fr Ed Tomlinson

This is how Church History is made by Fr David Elliott

Archbishop Nichols’ homily is here

Damian Thompson’s blog post here

Further news reports here, here, here and here

Go to the Primates Meeting or betray “Trust” and “Hope”?

Sunday, January 16th, 2011


Matt Kenedy weites in Stand Firm

Later in the week I (and hopefully another one of my fellow SF writers) hope to post a response to some of the recently published ACI articles urging primates to attend the upcoming meeting. Meanwhile, I certainly pray that no primate will be swayed by false cajoling appeals to “hope” and “trust”. “Hope” and trust” are certainly biblical concepts but when lifted from the text of scripture, embellished, idealized and then used to trump the actual words of scripture they have no power and no authority to compel the conscience.

There is simply no biblical warrant for participating in a meeting in which unrepentant, defiant false teachers will be seated as if they are legitimate Christian leaders. There are, in fact, very specific biblical instructions about how to deal with false teachers and these instructions do not include meeting with them, sitting down with them, having a chat with them, or seeking anything at all from them short of outright repentance and recantation. And since that has, in this case, been called for repeatedly and rejected repeatedly, these particular leaders are to be treated not as brothers and sisters who err but as those who devour and destroy.

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. [10] If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, [11] for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. (2 John 1:9-11 ESV)

And what of those who purport to be Christian leaders while unrepentantly subverting the truth through his or her actions?

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

So, according to the commands contained in scripture, we are to give false teachers no comfort, no hospitality, no legitimacy and certainly not the public respectability that a face to face meeting would provide as if they are genuine Christian leaders.

I always find it amusing when revisionists take biblical themes like “love” and twist, pervert and mangle them to fit the cause du jour. This “thematizing” is a fantastic trick. It allows you not only to divorce a biblical theme from the bible but also to define the theme yourself without much reference to the bible. So, for example, “loving your neighbor”, becomes “enabling your neighbor to kill unborn children” or “worshiping your neighbors’ Aztec goddess.”

The process can, again, be very amusing to watch if you know the trick.

It’s not so amusing, however, when orthodox Christian leaders and scholars do the same.

EFAC Australia – Hugh Palmer on the State of Play in the Church of England

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

By David Ould, Stand Firm

Hugh Palmer painted a picture of difficult times ahead, but great confidence in God that they would strive to remain faithful, no matter what the outcome. What came across clearly was a continuing sense of Anglican identity and a great sadness that it was being more and more eroded by those in the Church of England who pursued increasingly unBiblical and therefore ungodly ends. In the face of all this was a gentle and humble reliance on the God “who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24). These faithful men and women need our consistent prayer and public support.

[…]  The second issue was the far more well-known one of women bishops. There was a lot of concern amongst conservatives of various stripes – if General Synod could so readily agree to sweep away guaranteed legal provision (from the 92/93 Acts for the ordination of women to the priesthood), then they could hardly be surprised if a proposed voluntary Code of Practice was not really trusted by conservatives! And yet this was the current position.

More than this, how could the issue move forward and not be one that was considered “non-primary”? This conundrum was likely to be worked out in the issue of ordination. Would new ordinands be required to accept the principle of women bishops or would they be allowed to openly believe and teach the “old orthodoxy”? Even now evangelicals were encouraging their prospective ordinands to make clear to their bishops where they stood and ask that no action would be taken against them for holding a view that currently was (at least officially) regarded as having legitimacy in the Church.

The final issue was that of sexuality. The decade-old “Some Issues in Human Sexuality” was regularly (and perhaps deliberately) misunderstood – particularly by the media – as approving of homosexual relationships among the laity, despite the clear statements otherwise of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey [wiki]. More than this, there was now a growing regular tide of clergy (and even bishops) who were at best turning a blind eye to blessings and, at times, possibly acting with deceit in their “ignorance”. Despite some public showdowns it was the case that teaching in stark contrast to the official and Biblical position was continuing to rise without any discipline.

Read here