Archive for August, 2012

Mangling the Gospel and Appeasing the Militants

Monday, August 6th, 2012
From culture watch

As is becoming increasingly common, many people calling themselves Christians manage to mangle the gospel, show how poorly we tend to think nowadays, and fall prey to all the usual leftist nostrums. A good example is found in an article someone tipped me off to. Some religious lefty was complaining about the Chick-fil-A buycotts.

It was all typical lefty PC nonsense:
-”Is This How We Reach the World for Christ?”
-”And people on the other side mostly saw judgementalism and condemnation.”
-”Let’s not risk alienating people we want to reach for Christ merely so we can make a political statement.”

Oh puh-leeese. The truth is, misguided Christians were saying the exact same thing about Wilberforce and his work at eradicating slavery. “Wilby old boy, this is not how we reach people for Christ. People will see you as judgmental and condemning. We are alienating the slave owners and slave traders, preventing them from coming to Christ.”

This guy is really quite clueless. He needs to be reminded that there is the Great commission of Matt 28 and there is also the Cultural Commission of Gen 1. Christians are called to be involved in both. Standing for righteousness, defending God’s purposes for human sexuality, and refusing to allow the enemies of freedom to shut down lawful business, churches and anything else that stands for what is right is in fact part of our calling to be salt and light.

Indeed, the short answer to his silly objections is this: this Chick-fil-A appreciation day was never meant to be about “reaching the world for Christ” but about being salt and light and standing up for righteousness and freedom. Indeed, plenty of non-Christians were involved in the August 1 day. All were concerned about the intimidation, harassment and bullying of the militants, and the way one business was being wrongly targeted just because of the personal beliefs of the boss.

And even though the intention here was not about “evangelising” or “winning people to Jesus,” there would have been much of this taking place indirectly anyway. When Chick-fil-A workers or patrons took bags of food and cold drinks out to the protestors on these hot August days, they were showing Christ’s love – just the thing these lefty Christians always say we should be doing.

Indeed, I bet this lefty is all in favour of Christians getting political and into “social justice” and taking a stand against the “evils” of capitalism, America, conservatism, etc. If he were consistently attacking all political involvement, be it left or right, that would be one thing. But one suspects this is not where he is coming from. (But given that I know nothing about him except for what he writes here, I could be mistaken.)

While the protestors were hurling abuse and hatred, vandalising and graffiting properties, and causing public disturbances with their kiss-ins, etc, the loving and patient responses of the Christians were also a witness for Christ. The contrast could not be greater.

Watch this short video of a poor Chick-fil-A worker politely stand her ground showing Christian love and patience as she took abuse from a pro-homosexual customer:

In marked contrast watch the hate and demonic rage pouring out of the homosexual protestors on their “kiss-in” on August 3:

While this lefty Christian wants to shoot the victims here, the truth is believers have shown incredible grace and forbearance as the militants have sought to do everything to push their ungodly agenda, including seeking to shut down a business all because its owner believes that marriage is between a man and a woman – just like what 99.9 per cent of all other married people engage in.

The simple truth is, a war has been declared against faith, freedom and family. The militants started this battle, not us. The trendy religious lefties would have us sit by and watch all the good which the Judeo-Christian-based Western civilisation has given us be destroyed by the radicals.

We are supposed to just sit by as family and marriage are gutted, faith is made illegal, and our very liberties are stolen away from us – all so that we do not offend someone. Sorry bub, but I just am not buying it. When the disciples found idolatry in their midst, they challenged it head on – even if it caused riots.

See for example Acts 16:16-40 (the diviner at Philippi) and Acts 19: 23-41 (the silversmiths in Ephesus). They caused trouble wherever they went. But this trendy lefty would say the early apostles were wrong to do this – they were just alienating people and making things political. Don’t you just love it when believers take the high moral ground, claiming to be more moral and righteous than even the twelve disciples?

The spineless jellyfish would have us all roll over and play dead – just what the militant activists want. As Gary DeMar writes, “Rush Limbaugh said that the attack on a business like Chick-fil-A is tactical. It’s ‘a direct assault on Christianity — a direct assault on Christians — with economic punishment thrown in, including threats from government officials that are in direct violation of the Constitution.’

“From its earliest days, Christianity has been attacked because Christians viewed the State as a ‘minister of God’ (Rom 13:4) and not a god. In some circumstances they ‘must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29), including Caesar. Dictatorial governments that believe they are god don’t like competition. That’s why in the French and Russian revolutions, God was persona non grata. The same was true in North Korea, Cuba, and Communist China. It’s been said that ‘we owe the moral force which won our Independence’ on the puritan pulpit.”

He reminds us of America’s founding, and how different things were back then: “The annual Election Sermon bears witness that our founders ‘began their civil year and its responsibilities with an appeal to Heaven, and recognized Christian morality as the only basis of good laws.’ In addition, the clergy were often consulted by the civil authorities in the colonies, ‘and not infrequently the suggestions from the pulpit, on election days and other special occasions, were enacted into laws. The statute-book, the reflex of the age, shows this influence. The State was developed out of the Church.’

“Enemies of freedom understood the impact that Christians and Christianity had on America. Alexis de Tocqueville observed long ago: ‘On the eve of the revolution, in his last-ditch attempt to stave off impending catastrophe, Edmund Burke reminded the House of Commons of the inseparable alliance between liberty and religion among Englishmen in America.’

“Many Christian pastors today are unaware of this history with the result that they avoid the topic of politics. Politics is said to be dirty. Isn’t the pulpit the place where dirt (sin) is to be exposed and washed away through a redemptive process? Paul told the Ephesian elders that he did not shrink from declaring to them the ‘whole purpose of God’ (Acts 20:27). When confronted by the Roman government, he declared his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:25–30) and later appealed to Caesar for justice (25:7–12). In time the Roman Empire fell and Christianity marched on.

“Paul repeats the commandments prohibiting adultery, murder, and theft (Rom. 13:9), and sums up his specific exhortation on the law with the general command to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (13:9). These instructions came after he informed his fellow-Christians that the civil magistrate is a ‘minister of God’ (13:4) who is to make a determination between good and evil behavior (13:3). It’s these truths that secularists despise. That’s why they are on the attack and have silent pulpits as their unwitting allies.”

Quite so. It seems this lefty Christian is little more than a stooge for the militants, giving them everything  they want: a silent church, an ineffective gospel, and a bunch of wimpy believers who will never speak out on anything for fear of offending somebody.

Fear & Loathing From Bishop Benhase—Don’t Hang Out With ACNA Folks, Clergy

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

[This week is “Diocese of Georgia Meltdown Week” and so we’re bumping a few of the stories from the past that let us all know why the diocese is where it is today.]

As we’ve all recognized over the years, it’s always helpful to trawl through various diocesan websites just to see what’s new out there. 

This passage is from the revised Clergy Handbook speedily produced after Benhase was consecrated bishop.

I think it’s clear from the quoted passage below from the just how much the Episcopal Apparatchiks of TEC hate, fear, and loathe those ecclesial entities whom they believe to be actual viable competition to their own market.  One cannot help but smile at these two fearful, angry little paragraphs.

“Anglican” or “Continuing” Splinter Groups not part of TEC
These groups undermine the geographical authority of the bishop as defined in the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and observed in historical Anglican practice.  Therefore, no clergyperson from these groups may participate in any service of worship, and no joint services may be held with any congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.  Episcopal clergy of the Diocese of Georgia may not participate in any service held in or by these congregations except with written permission from the Bishop.

Though you may choose to notify the Bishop, attendance at a wedding or funeral held in such congregation, for reasons of previous pastoral or personal relationship, is an exception to this more general statement and requires no such permission.

Just a few fun points.

1) How does ACNA or any other Continuing Anglican entity “undermine the geographical authority of the bishop” any more than the Roman Catholics do?  What a preposterously silly assertion—the only way it could be true is if Benhase is nervous that ACNA might someday subsume TEC.  Even I don’t think that will happen.  All he does with that assertion is reveal his anxiety and insecurity and spite.

2) One must be given another chuckle over a revisionist like Benhase opining about “historical Anglican practice”—as if the spectacle of blessing two men engaged in sex acts with one another is in any way remotely connected with “historical Anglican practice” other than that of Anglican revulsion and denunciation.  We all know that’s just a hackneyed phrase that Benhase ripped out of the ether just to try to feebly shore up his ridiculous pronouncement about clergy interacting with His Competition—and any of his informed flock in Georgia know the same thing and are having a good chuckle over the hypocrisy as well.

3) Does anyone recall the passage in I Kings 12 about King Rehoboam?  His subjects come to him and ask him for a lightening of the load his father had inflicted on them—a little help—and they will serve him joyfully.  Rehoboam takes council from the elders and the young men about how he should respond, and they give him two sets of advice.  Whenever I read about bishops like Benhase—someone who has been nothing but ridiculously autocratic and heavyhanded—I think of this passage detailing Rehoboam’s mistaken answer that he’ll be tough and strong and show his subjects who’s boss—and the consequences that followed it.

Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

Does Bishop Benhase seriously believe that the various clergy and laity of the Diocese of Georgia won’t respond to these sorts of things, if only in their lack of attendance, giving, and joyful participation, as well as slow attrition?

Presiding Bishop’s message to the church on General Convention

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

August 3rd, 2012 Posted in TEC |

From ENS

The General Convention which took place in Indianapolis in July offered new and creative responses to the call of the gospel in our day. We saw gracious and pastoral responses to polarizing issues, as well as a new honesty about the need for change.

General Convention addressed a number of significant issues that will impact the life and witness of this Church for years into the future – and they include many more things beyond what you’ve heard about in the news. The way we worked together also represented a new reality, working to adapt more creatively to our diverse nature as a Church.

It is that way of creative engagement that ultimately will be most transformative for The Episcopal Church and the world beyond it. On issue after issue, the resolutions addressed by General Convention emerged in creative responses that considered, but did not end in, the polarized positions expected as we went into Convention. People listened to the movement of the spirit and discerned a way forward that was mutually upbuilding, rather than creating greater divisiveness or win-lose outcomes.

The hot-button issues of the last decade have not been eternally resolved, but we have as a body found creative and pastoral ways to live with the differences of opinion, rather than resorting to old patterns of conflict. There is a certain expansive grace in how these decisions are being made and in the responses to them, a grace that is reminiscent of the Elizabeth settlement. We’ve said as a Church that there is no bar to the participation of minorities of all sorts, and we are finding pastoral ways to ensure that potential offense at the behavior or position of another is minimized, with the hope that we may grow toward celebrating that diversity as a gift from God. If we are all sinners, then each of us may be wrong about where we stand. Human beings, made from humus, become Christlike when they know humility.

Read here

FiFNA On The Move

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Forward In Faith 2012 Assembly

By Auburn Faber Traycik
July 14, 2012

For the bishops, priests, and laypersons at the 24th annual assembly of Forward in Faith, North America (FiFNA) here July 11-13, it was – more decidedly than ever before – not about where they’ve been, but about where they’re going.

Meeting again at Our Lady of the Snows, this year’s FiFNA assembly/family reunion focused much more on mission and the positive teaching of the catholic faith than on legislation and resolutions. But it was more than that. The “despondency” that one participant said had dogged the Anglo-Catholic organization not so many years ago seemed in Belleville to have been eclipsed by a “new confidence” about FiFNA’s vocation – including about the need to begin (re)presenting the case for historic holy order among the minority of its allies who remain unpersuaded on the matter.

In short, FiFNA is on the move, in good spirits and in good Spirit, so to speak.

THE FIRST HINT of significant change was how little mention there was in Belleville of The Episcopal Church (TEC), wherein FiFNA long labored to defend and uphold orthodox faith and order. This, despite the fact that TEC’s General Convention was winding up in Indianapolis at the same time, having pushed TEC further into the pansexual/revisionist abyss.

There is small wonder in this, though, for the old image some had of FiFNA as a persecuted minority hanging on in TEC is no longer apt. The Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, re-elected FiFNA’s president in Belleville, estimates that about 90 percent of the organization’s members are now out of TEC, most of them having become part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), either via one of the three FIF-aligned dioceses that departed TEC for ACNA (Fort Worth, Quincy, and San Joaquin), or by joining the Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS), a non-geographical jurisdiction for orthodox Anglicans within ACNA. The ACNA itself, the emergent “new province” formed by a coalition of Evangelical and Catholic Anglicans, is recognized and supported by leaders representing most of the Anglican Communion via the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), albeit not formally (so far) by Canterbury. According to its website, the ACNA links some 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 North American congregations and 21 dioceses.

“To a large extent, Anglo-Catholics lost the battle in TEC and now can spend more time winning the world for Christ,” said Ackerman, the Texas-based former Episcopal Bishop of Quincy.

And those at Belleville appeared ready to think and act ambitiously in that regard, as well as in their own (Anglican) context, having been inspired, it seemed, by a renewed sense of what they haveto bring to the Church – “the historic faith without alteration or abridgement,” as Ackerman put it. They were encouraged, too, by signs of growth and healthy change (e.g., 20 to 25 percent of assembly participants this year were attending for the first time), and by the particular opportunities and resources that God appears to be placing before FiF and especially MDAS (on which more later).

ONE EXAMPLE of thinking outside the old FiFNA box came from Canon Kevin Donlon during a session in which he contrasted the officially-described structure of the Anglican Communion with its current internal reality, i.e., the shadow web of often-conflicting and mutable “spheres of activity” now extant within it. Donlon suggested that FiFNA might have a role to play in alleviating, through the application of catholic principles, the incredible disarray caused by the impact of liberal forces on a communion with an inadequate system of authority and accountability (the Windsor and Anglican covenant efforts having utterly failed to do the job). Such an endeavor would be apropos, as well, to Ackerman’s declaration of this coming year as the Year of the Church (ecclesiology) in FiFNA.

ATLANTA, GA: Anglican Mission Inaugural Assembly Ratifies Constitution,

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Mission Society Process Completed, says Bishop Murphy

AMIA Press Release
August 1, 2012

The Anglican Mission today formally adopted its Constitution in a celebratory Inaugural Assembly, which marked the last step in a 15-month process toward the formation of A Society of Mission and Apostolic Works. A group of 156 individuals gathered for the event held at the Renaissance Concourse Airport Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, July 31–August 1, which began with a worship service Tuesday evening and continued with the business session on Wednesday.

The gathering drew clergy and laity from across the U.S., Canada and abroad, including founding Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini, Moses Tay and Yong Ping Chung and their wives, the Anglican Mission Conference of Bishops and members of the Board of Directors.

In his sermon, Bishop Chuck Murphy acknowledged that the Anglican Mission has experienced a difficult and challenging season leading up to this important moment in its history. He also cast a compelling vision for the future centered on apostolic mission.

“We are called to an apostolic faith, life and experience,” he said. “As we move into this new season, wait, expect and watch for the new life that is already breaking through in our midst.”

During Wednesday’s business session, assembly participants reviewed, discussed and adopted the Constitution, and a majority present declared their membership in the Mission Society. Archbishop Yong Ping Chung, on behalf of the College of Consultors, announced the appointment of Bishop Murphy as the first Apostolic Vicar of the Society.

The Anglican Mission Society mirrors a rich heritage rooted in Paul’s first missionary journey recorded in Acts 13, St. Patrick’s Celtic approach to evangelism in the 5th century and other missional movements throughout the life of the Church. The concept of being structured as a missionary society might best be understood as “thinking of ‘Mission’ as what we do, and as ‘Society’ as how we organize.” Church history generally, and the Anglican Mission specifically, bear witness to the effectiveness of this model which is complementary to the traditional institutional Church.

Experientially, the new Society of Mission retains an important level of continuity for its members. As it has for the last 12 years, the Anglican Mission upholds and seeks to fulfill Christ’s Great Commandment and Great Commission. This focus will continue to drive the Society’s purpose “to glorify God by recognizing, recruiting, resourcing, and releasing leaders for planting and serving churches in the Anglican tradition for the next generation of Kingdom leadership in the Americas.”

“We see the Holy Spirit’s movement in the world about us,” Bishop Murphy said. “We have witnessed and experienced His powerful outpouring upon us and through us in this Anglican Mission, and we recognize that He now purposes to do even more with and through us in the years ahead as a “Society of Mission and Apostolic Works.”


MOULTRIE, GA: St. John’s Episcopal Church becomes St. Mark’s Anglican

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

General Convention’s actions became the final tipping point

By Mary Ann Mueller and David W. Virtue

Citing recent General Convention’s actions endorsing rites for same-sex marriage as the tipping point, the parish of St. John’s Episcopal Church, its rector and vestry, announced this week that they are leaving the Episcopal Church and turning the church’s keys over to the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has accepted The Rev. William McQueen, III, into its fold.

St. John’s is leaving a vacant Episcopal Church building behind as well as prayer books, hymnals, vestments, chalices, candles and furnishings. There will be no litigation.

On Sunday (Aug. 5) a new ACNA church plant – St. Mark’s Anglican Church – will open at Trinity Chapel located at Trinity Baptist Church a few blocks away from their former Episcopal parish. St. Mark’s will officially join ACNA’s Anglican Diocese of the South under its bishop, Foley Beach, remain a member of Forward in Faith and keep its ties to the American Anglican Council.

Fr. McQueen said that Trinity Baptist Church was graciously sharing its extra worship space with the newly formed Anglican congregation. He is pleased with their cooperation in the continuation of the historic Catholic faith being authentically lived out in a traditional Anglican expression. The smaller attached chapel is not used on Sunday mornings, affording an opportunity for the new Anglican congregation to have a traditional setting for its initial liturgical celebrations.

The former Episcopal priest graduated from Sewanee, University of the South. On Sunday, he’ll use the vestments and Eucharistic vessels he received as graduation gifts. Many of his parishioners will bring their own copy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer to Trinity Chapel. A “rush order” for 1940 Hymnals has been placed. It is hoped they will be delivered in time for Sunday’s first service as Georgia’s newest ACNA church plant.

Trinity Baptist and St. John’s Episcopal churches have had a two-decade-long musical connection because both congregations share the same organist. Ken Collier has faithfully played at the two churches for years navigating between parishes that have staggered their worship service times to accommodate their joint organist’s tight travel times. Earlier this year, the Trinity congregation was invited to St. John’s for an old-fashioned Anglican-style hymn sing.

Fr. McQueen and Trinity’s pastor, the Rev. Matt Marston, have become friends. Both clerics arrived in Moultrie about the same time. As the newest clergy in town they crossed paths, not only through the ministerial alliance, but also by becoming members of the same Rotary Club. Having forged a fast friendship, Fr. McQueen was able to reach out to the Baptist clergyman as the need to distance his congregation from The Episcopal Church ultimately became apparent in the wake of last month’s General Convention’s actions.

St. John’s, which has been a part of the Moultrie landscape for 100 years, was once a strong thriving Episcopal congregation in Colquitt County. But as The Episcopal Church drifted further from authentic Christianity and historic Anglicanism, the Moultrie congregation fell on spiritually hard times. St. John’s membership, in a conservative South Georgia Bible Belt community, dropped with an ASA hovering around 100. At the turn of the Millennium, it fell to just over 20 by 2005.

One hundred years ago, in 1912, St. John’s was a church plant of St. Matthew’s in nearby Fitzgerald. The new Episcopal congregation started its spiritual life by sharing the worship space at the local Presbyterian Church. 100 years later, St. John’s joyfully launched a yearlong celebration of its centennial.

Then came the 2012 General Convention. Now the 100-year-old congregation of Episcopalians has obtained sanctuary with the Baptists as they forge forward, molding a new Anglican identity with renewed hope for authentically living out historic Anglicanism and remaining faithful to the Gospel.

It was from that very centennial celebration that St. Mark’s name was first considered as a possible ACNA church plant. St. Mark is widely acknowledged to be the first Gospel written. Mark the Evangelist is usually depicted, in iconography, as a winged lion.

St. John’s gala Centennial homecoming celebration was in late April. The Feast of St. Mark fell just a few days before on April 25.

“The choice of St. Mark came after much prayer and asking God for a name and an identity,” Fr. McQueen remembers. “As we were planning our centennial homecoming service on April 29, the Feast of St. Mark preceded that service and the Propers and collect for that day were in my mind when I made my remarks to the congregation.”

The Moultrie priest explained that his bishop, Scott Benhase, voted against A049, allowing Episcopal blessings of same-gender relationships. The bishop is still “discerning” what tack he will take in the Diocese of Georgia. So, A049 could still very easily become a part of The Episcopal Church’s spiritual framework in southern Georgia.

Fr. McQueen came to St. John’s in 2009. The Episcopal Church is deeply embedded in his DNA; he was baptized, confirmed, married and ordained as an Episcopalian. Theologically, things got to a point where, like so many others before him, he had to leave the church with which he most identified.

Since coming to Moultrie, he has been slowly rebuilding the struggling congregation. Little by little, St. John’s was coming back. The priest reported that his ASA of more than 40 was 75% of his membership totals. In fact, there are worshippers who attend St. John’s who are not yet on the rolls.

St. John parishioners felt they had no other choice but to walk out of their church, shake the dust off their feet, and leave everything behind because of recent court decisions that the Georgia judicial system believes The Episcopal Church’s claim that it is hierarchical in structure. As a result, the courts summarily handover church property to the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia; a case in point being the recent handing of Christ Church Savannah’s property to the Georgia diocese.

“There was a very definitive case in Georgia which restated the law that has always been, concerning hierarchical churches, is that the property belongs to the Diocese,” explained Senior Warden Rodney Allen, who is an attorney. “The Supreme Court of Georgia just gave the old Mother Church of Georgia – which was founded in 1733 and was 100 years older than the Diocese – they just gave their property to the Diocese, and so it is clear cut here, we just walked out.”

The Senior Warden said that walking out and leaving all behind was freeing.

By walking out and leaving all behind, the budding Anglican congregation would not be saddled with on-going litigation by The Episcopal Church in its scorched-earth attempts to recover all properties of departing congregations and dioceses.

“Well, the priest resigned, the vestry resigned and the people got up and walked out,” Allen explained. “We are free of the taint of The Episcopal Church. It’s freeing to be rid of the love of the building and all that goes with that. But, finally, the faith became so corrupted that we had to leave.”

“It’s freeing, it’s freeing, it’s freeing …” Fr. McQueen echoed.

Once the extent of the theological carnage inflicted at General Convention was known, several behind the scenes meetings were held with ACNA, Trinity Baptist Church, and the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, to insure that St. John parishioners left with their dignity intact and their heads held high. Everything was completed with an air of respect.

The Diocese of Georgia has since turned over St. John’s keys to Fr. Walter Hobgood, the Priest-in-Charge at St. Margaret’s of Scotland Episcopal Church, also located in Moultrie.

Fr. Hobgood told VOL that, for the time being, all services at St. John’s are suspended, the church’s red doors will remain closed, and that any members wanting to remain in The Episcopal Church should attend St. Margaret’s.

As the new vicar of St. John’s, he will be reassessing the situation and juggling his schedule to accommodate St. John’s needs, as they become known. He said that he could eventually see St. John’s and St. Margret’s becoming a yoked congregation served by one priest.

“St. John’s regularly scheduled services conflict with the services at St. Margret’s and I can’t be at two places at once,” Fr. Hobgood noted. “So, we’re inviting everyone who wants to stay in The Episcopal Church to come to St. Margaret’s on Sunday.”

Meanwhile, the revamped St. John’s congregation in Moultrie will be re-establishing Sunday as St. Mark’s in the Trinity Chapel, with the final legalities being worked out as the new ACNA congregation unfolds.

“…for 100 years St. John’s Episcopal had been a church proclaiming the historic Christian faith, not being carried away by every blast of vain doctrine,” Fr. McQueen stated. “That’s who we are and will continue to be.”