Archive for February, 2012

Churches must rally for marriage

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

February

By Julian Mann, Cranmer’s Curate

[…]  If local churches around the UK cannot get their members out in significant numbers for a rally on an issue as biblically central as this one, then public Christianity in the UK would be sounding its own death-knell by default.

The consequences of same-sex marriage for local churches, Christian outreach networks to children and young people and church schools would be catastrophic. Political correctness would be given free rein to corrupt the minds of the next generation with its poisonous ideology.

The Lord Jesus Christ publicly defended the God-created institution of monogamous, heterosexual, life-long marriage. He did so before large crowds in the course of his public ministry in Galilee and argued the biblical case against powerful vested interests (see Matthew 19v1-11 and Mark 10v1-10).

We his followers must take our Lord’s lead and avail ourselves of the privilege of peaceful public demonstration, which faithful British Christians in the past campaigned for at great personal cost and exercised.

A rally featuring Bible teaching, Christian advocacy and public prayer in central London against the destructive politically correct drive to countermand the Word of God is imperative.

Read here

When the House of Bishops said no to ‘benign tolerance’ on sexuality issues

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Perhaps worth pondering in the present situation is the following from Some Issues in Human Sexuality: A Guide to the Debate (London: Church House, 2003), produced by the House of Bishops’ Group on Issues in Human Sexuality. If taken seriously today, it would mean that the Church of England must in the end break decisively one way or the other on same-sex relationships.

9.6.30  […] The will of God for his people is that they should be holy as he is holy, and this means walking in obedience to his commandments […]. This means that it is vital that God’s people should know what he requires of his people, obey it, and teach others to do likewise. To this end there needs to be agreement concerning Christian ethics. Furthermore, as we have seen, in the case of the disagreement about sexual ethics, the disagreement is about matters that go to the heart of people’s relationship with God, and which cannot therefore be treaed as subjects on which we can simply learn to live with diversity.
9.6.31  Therefore we have to say with Michael Doe:
… we cannot as Christians just give way to a ‘you believe this, I believe that’ approach to being together, or moving apart, in the Church. Nor can we be content with the rather cheap model of ‘reconciled diversity,’ meaning benign tolerance, which many Christians find an easier option to the costlier pursuit of real, ‘visible’, unity. We need to continue to struggle together for the truth, to find the right and godly balance between the call to solidarity and the recognition of difference. Nowhere is this more important – especially in the Anglican Communion – than in the area of sexuality. (Endnote 32: Seeking the Truth in Love [DLT, 2000] 111-112)

Marriage will ONLY remain the bedrock of a society if it is between a man and a woman

Monday, February 20th, 2012

By Lord Carey, Mailonline

When David Cameron told his party’s conference last autumn about his plans to bring in gay marriage, he said that this was because he was a ‘Conservative’ and believed in ‘commitment’.
Like many others, I was baffled by this statement. Not because I begrudge rights and benefits to homosexual couples.

And certainly not because I have any great interest in the internal debates of the Conservative Party over what constitutes a true Conservative direction in policy – though ‘conserving’ things is definitely not what this policy is about.

For it threatens to fatally weaken what is still one of our country’s greatest strengths – the institution of marriage.

I was also baffled because this Government’s proposal constitutes one of the greatest political power grabs in history.

The state does not ‘own’ the institution of marriage. Nor does the church.

The honourable estate of matrimony precedes both the state and the church, and neither of these institutions have the right to redefine it in such a fundamental way.

Read here

Bishops Breaking Collegiality – What Could Cause the Rift?

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Bishops breaking collegiality. You know what, Fulcrum are right – when they do it causes all sorts of problems if it’s not dealt with. It increases “levels of tension and disintegration”. Not convinced? Take a look at TEC.


I mean, what topic could possibly cause an Anglican bishop in, say, Australia or England, to break collegiality with other bishops in order to promote an increasingly controversial and divisive agenda? Hold your thought and come with me.

imageFirst, to Gippsland Diocese in Victoria, Australia where the December issue

of the Gippsland Anglican has a report on page 8 of a new clerical appointment. All seemingly innocuous until you check out the caption under the picture, “Reverend David Head with his partner, Mark”.

And there you have it, open endorsement in the diocesan newspaper. What readers may not realise is that the liberal agenda is not as advanced here in Australia as in the US. So this is still a big deal. What may simmer under the surface is often allowed to simmer, as long as it doesn’t boil over. But Bishop John McIntyre has never been one for not kicking up a fuss. And it appears here that someone has approved the agenda of openly promoting a clergyman living in a homosexual partnership. If not the bishop then someone on his staff. Either way, the implication is obvious.

This was a deliberate decision. Rev. Head was previously at Holy Trinity Hampton where his relationship was (as someone recently described it to me) considered an “open scandal”. Perhaps it all got too much, we don’t know and Melbourne is a whole other question – a diocese where the fight really is on between the evangelicals and the liberals. But Bishop McIntyre over the border in Gippsland has decided to make it an issue by appointing and publicly affirming him.

The Australian House of Bishops is about to meet in conference. You can be sure there will be a number for whom this appointment is unacceptable. One commentator told me that when the doors close on the meeting room it can get a bit fierce inside. I’m sure we can expect some free and frank discussions there.


Over in England the same game is being played. The freshly-minted bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, has come out in favour of gay marriage, contrary to the current position of the Church of England. And that right on the eve of General Synod – I mean, who would have thought? Of course, Changing Attitude are loving it, and who could blame them.

Well, surprise surprise, a man who we all knew what be controversial but nevertheless got appointed has now been controversial, to the extent of breaking ranks with his fellow bishops. Who could have predicted it?

Here’s what I’d like to know, what does his suffragen Graham Kings of Fulcrum fame think of it all? He was part of this response in 2005 which included a restatement of the traditional position and also critiqued exactly the sort of thing that Holtam has done,

One member of the House has already publicly broken with collegiality and distanced himself from the pastoral letter. Unless there remains a common commitment to church teaching and discipline within the House, there is a real risk that the levels of tension and disintegration witnessed in other provinces in relation to these issues could become a reality in the Church of England.

So I emailed his office and asked exactly that. I’ll let you know if we get a response.


Bishops breaking collegiality. You know what, Fulcrum are right – when they do it causes all sorts of problems if it’s not dealt with. It increases “levels of tension and disintegration”. Not convinced? Take a look at TEC. You won’t have to look very hard. And what ends up being compromised? Gospel witness and the proclamation of Christ. Go figure. Now that is worth kicking up a stink about. If everyone just stays in their dog collars and mitres as though nothing has changed then it would be a disaster – because it would mean that something has changed – this would now be acceptable.


UPDATE Sunday 12 February 2012

Bishop Kings has been kind enough to respond to my questions. Here’s what he had to say (my question in italics, his response in blockquotes)

Does Bishop Graham agree with the statements recently made by Bishop Nicholas Holtam on the subject of “gay marriage”?

No

Does Bishop Graham think that Bishop Nicholas’ statement is similar to those which were critiqued in the 2005 Fulcrum statement “Fulcrum Response to the Bishops’ Statement on the Civil Partnership Act 17 September 2005” (http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2005/20050917cpa.cfm?doc=6) which contained the following:
One member of the House has already publicly broken with collegiality and distanced himself from the pastoral letter. Unless there remains a common commitment to church teaching and discipline within the House, there is a real risk that the levels of tension and disintegration witnessed in other provinces in relation to these issues could become a reality in the Church of England.

We are new colleagues but old friends. We are committed to working together creatively even when we disagree. The position of the House of Bishops and the Church of England remains unchanged.

Well there you have it. He doesn’t agree and he has no answer to the question as to whether Holtam has broken collegiality and increased tension and disintegration.

I feel for Graham Kings. My sense is that Holtam has put him in an almost impossible position.

Islamist violence drives nearly 95% of Christians from Nigerian state

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

From Barnabas Fund

One Northern Nigerian state has been almost entirely cleared of Christians; they have been forced to flee the relentless campaign of violence against them by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

The Rev. Garba Idi, chairman of the Yobe State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said that nearly 95 per cent of the Christians have left Yobe.

He said:

The situation in Yobe is terrible. Churches were burnt and attacked while many Christians lost their lives in the course of this mayhem…

We have to leave because the sect is hunting us; that is why we had to flee… Many Christians have left Yobe to save their lives from these attacks.

More than 20 churches have been torched in Yobe since November; homes and vehicles belonging to Christians have also been damaged. Many lives have been lost in the violence; 15 Christians have been killed so far this year.

Read here

Criticize homosexuality in Sweden and go to jail?: No problem for European court

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

By Hilary White, LifeSite News

Anyone challenging the homosexualist agenda in public in Sweden can be sent to prison, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that this does not constitute any violation of rights. In 2004, the Swedish government charged a group of pamphleteers with “agitation against a national or ethnic group,” a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.
The four men were convicted in 2006 by the District Court, which ruling was overturned on appeal but later upheld by the Supreme Court in a narrow 5-3 decision.
The four appealed to the ECHR, which ruled on February 9th that their application was “manifestly ill-founded”. The court said that the conviction constituted no violation of Article 10 (Freedom of Expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. It was a “legitimate and proportional interference” with the applicants’ rights of freedom of expression and was necessary for the protection of the “reputation and rights of others”.

Episcopal Church Bishop Launches Pro-Same-Sex Marriage Campaign

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Bishop Gene RobinsonBy Jeff Walton, IRD

Calling upon homosexual and transgender persons to advocate for same-sex marriage in conversations with friends, co-workers and family members, Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire appeared recently in the nation’s capital to promote a campaign centered on having such conversations.

“If you get down to arguing over individual verses of scripture, you have already lost,” Robinson advised on the sharing of personal stories. “You really need to go with the personal.”

Robinson spoke February 13 at a Washington, D.C. screening of “Love Free or Die,” a documentary about his role as the first openly partnered homosexual bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church’s unofficial gay caucus, Integrity USA, the screening was hosted by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, headed by former Clinton aide John Podesta.

Robinson said the campaign, dubbed “Love Free or Die: Friends and Family Plan,” asks homosexual persons to go to people who make “tolerant sounds” but “when they go into the voting booth, they cast a ballot against us.”

“We’re hoping that this movie will motivate you sometime in the next few months – preferably before the next election – to call up that person,” Robinson explained. The New Hampshire bishop was joined in a panel discussion by the film’s director, Macky Alston, who described the goal of the campaign as “changing conflicted Christians.”

Read here