Archive for September, 2012

Homophobia: what does it really mean?

Friday, September 28th, 2012

by Zac Alstin, MercatorNet

In discussing same-sex issues, let’s scrap the labels and return to facts.

According to the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), as of 2009, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for approximately 2 percent of the US population, but 56 percent of people living with HIV. This same demographic suffered 61 percent of all new HIV infections that year.

The CDC uses the concept of MSM because actions speak louder than words: actual behaviour is a better predictor of disease risk than self-identification. But even though actions speak louder than words, words are much easier to interpret. In fact, words are too easy to interpret, and in our contemporary verbal glut we are at risk of losing touch with the meaning embodied in real actions and real objects.

Here’s the problem: the CDC uses the term “MSM”, and we discover to our surprise that we don’t really know how to interpret such a concept. If only they’d said “gay men”, we could all slide neatly into our prejudices. MSM is a fact; “homosexuality” is an idea, an interpretation, an ideology, a historical movement, and a rallying point in the culture war. Does MSM equal homosexuality? Some would answer “yes”, others “no”, and thus we are back in the realm of interpretation.

If we are going to be intellectually honest, we should try to capture the truth beneath mere interpretation and prejudice. But escaping from an established framework is hard work. Some people frame the debate over same-sex marriage as an attack on traditional values by a gay lobby intent on normalising and gaining public affirmation for their lifestyle choices. Other people frame the debate as a homophobic bulldozer of religious conviction crushing the basic human rights of a long-victimised minority.

How can we reach the truth?

Read here

A battle faced

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The Revd Vaughan RobertsOn behalf of Anglican Mainstream we applaud Vaughan Robert’s honesty and courage and stand with him in his clear endorsement of Biblical teaching on the issue of same-sex attraction. We strongly support the case for more open discussion of how to respond to unwanted same-sex attraction and the ministry of organisations such as True Freedom Trust and Core Issues Trust.

Our colleagues in Core Issues Trust recently produced a booklet, The Right to Decide, which can be purchased directly from Core Issues Trust or from Amazon.

Chris Sugden

Philip Giddings

A Brief Open Letter to Stephen Kuhrt and Tory Baucum

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Dear Stephen Kuhrt and Tory Baucum:

Pastors and/or church leaders who advocate blessing same sex unions and ordaining ministers in same sex relationships are not our “brothers with whom we disagree”…they are purveyors of “another gospel” (Gal 1:6-9). They are false teachers who lead people away from repentance and the redeeming work of Jesus. They are wolves to be driven out of the fold…not brethren to be given a platform or an opportunity to spread their spiritual poison.

“Recant and repent or face discipline and expulsion.” That is the only opportunity for dialog these leaders must be given.

And this is not because we are mean but because we have a flock to protect and that flock cannot and must not be set at risk to make room for those purported Christian leaders who want to use the pulpit to embark upon self-indulgent theological journeys to nowhere.

By giving false teachers a platform and a voice, you are giving aid and comfort to the Enemy. You are undermining the Gospel you claim to uphold.

For the sake of the Church Jesus loves and died and rose again to save: proclaim Jesus Christ, defend the Faith, or step down.

Yours in Christ
Matt Kennedy

Reform matures into force for Anglican renewal

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

by Julian Mann

[…]  Some of Reform’s conferences in the 1990s had an unfortunate habit of degenerating into farce with delegates on one occasion refusing, in the synodical parlance, to ‘note’ a report on a scheme for alternative episcopal oversight because they did not know what noting a report meant. On another occasion delegates were exhorted not to jump ship but to look for where the lifeboats might be.

This week, however, at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hertfordshire Reform looked like a spiritual force that could, under God, rescue confessional Anglicanism in the UK. The joint presentation by two younger Reform leaders, one the incumbent of an established Anglican parish church in the north of England, the other the leader of a church planting network in south London, showed that the movement is now well capable of holding together a twin track approach to renewing the Church of England.

Read here

Pope Benedict: Christian politicians cannot step away from defence of marriage

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

By Hilary White, LifeSite News

The different areas of interest for people involved in public life, the pope said, are not distinct from each other, but are “profoundly interconnected,” and are all “constituted by respect for the transcendent dignity of human beings,” Pope Benedict told a group of Christian politicians last week.

The defence of human life, Benedict said, is not therefore separate from the defence of natural marriage. Rejection of abortion, euthanasia and eugenics, “is, in fact, interwoven with respecting marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman and, in its turn, as the foundation for the community of family life”.

“It is in the family, founded on marriage and open to life, that human beings experience sharing, respect and gratuitous love, at the same time receiving – be they children, the sick or the elderly – the solidarity they need.”

Pope Benedict XVI, in a speech to the European Christian Democrat movement, said that “authentic progress of human society cannot forgo policies aimed at protecting and promoting marriage, and the community that derives therefrom.”

The family, based on the union of a man and a woman, he said, moreover “constitutes the principal and most significant place for the education of the person.”

“Thus the family, the basic cell of society, is the root which nourishes not only the individual human being, but the very foundations of social coexistence.”

Read here

Jesus Was Married. Get Over It

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

I usually leave the Episcopal stuff to my Stand Firm colleagues, but I can’t let this one go by. Seems an Episcopal priest by the name of Cynthia Bourgeault is really excited by the prospect that Jesus was married:

You know there’s a buzz out there when 100 emails come into your box all bearing identical links to the New York Times article responsible for the stir.

I clink [sic] on the link and voilà! There before me is a photo of a small papyrus fragment from the fourth century and distinguished Harvard scholar Karen King explaining how this recently recovered and certified authentic Coptic fragment unmistakably has Jesus referring to Mary Magdalene as “my wife.”

That’s funny, because when I read what King has published as the translation of lines 3-5 of the papyrus, I see this:

] deny. Mary is worthy of it [
]…Jesus said to them, “My wife…”[
]…she will be able to be my disciple…[

Not only do we have no idea what the portions signified by ellipses might say, but as I recall there were several Marys mentioned in the New Testament. Where is the “unmistakable” evidence that Jesus is talking about Mary Magdalene? Because Dan Brown said so?

Wow! That should send another shock wave reverberating through the Vatican!

Yes, that’s definitely why we should be enthused by this fraud find—it will goose the Pope.

Now it’s true that journalism is skewed toward the sensational while scholarship is more skewed toward the cumulative. Karen King is a careful scholar and has done her homework carefully. She knows—as all of us do that have worked in the field with any degree of due diligence—that the contentious issue of Jesus’s marital status is not going to rest decisively on one stray fragment of papyrus.

Of course not. It’s going to rest on the entire Dan Brown corpus.

But what this new discovery does do is to provide additional confirmation for a body of evidence already mounting from those other recently discovered early Christian sacred texts—specifically, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and the Gospel of Philip—that a group of very early Christians remember a version of their history quite different from what eventually became the officially sanctioned story.

Now, those who have examined the question “with any degree of due diligence” are aware that two of the three documents she mentions were written 100 years or more after the lifetime of Jesus, while the reference in the Gospel of Thomas (v. 114) is not to Mary as wife, but as disciple who will be “made male,” i.e., enabled to relate to God as men do. I’m sure that’s every feminist’s desire. And what difference does it make that some “Christians” wrote their own version of “history”? There are people who, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, still think that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon, and some of them have been willing to put that belief into documents they publish for the world to see. So why should we believe the Gnostics who thought that Jesus was married? I’m guessing it’s because we want to.

It’s also right there hidden in plain sight in the four canonical gospels once you start looking more closely.

When people say things like this they remind me of Charles Taze Russell (founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses) or Mary Baker Eddy (founder of Christian Science) or any of a hundred other modern cult leaders. We’ve had the four gospels for two millennia, they’ve been pored over by countless scholars, clergy, monks, nuns, and laity, and yet all along—hidden in plain sight!—was something that never occurred to anyone who ever read these four short documents until modern liberal Protestants finally saw it! It’s a miracle! The scales have dropped from our eyes, and it never would have happened without the sexual revolution and feminism!

Sooner or later, the evidence trickling in from all quarters is going to be too overwhelming for all but the most obdurate traditionalists to ignore.

Ah, the inevitable march of progress. I seem to remember Karl Marx and the advocates of eugenics saying something like that, too. Soviet advocates of Lysenkoism, as well.

You get the point.

OWERRI, NIGERIA: Anglican Bishop Urges Europe-Based Clerics to Rise Up to Global Challenge

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

By John Kennedy Uzoma
ALL AFRICA
http://allafrica.com/stories/201209230271.html

Five deacons based in London, Germany and Port Harcourt have been ordained with a charge to take the message of God across the globe.

The bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Ohaji/Egbema, Imo State, Chidi Collins Oparaojiaku gave the charge last week in his message at ordination service held at St. John’s Church Umuchineke (Umuagwo) in Ohaji/Eggema local government area.

He said that priests would have been enough if the ones ordained had lived up to the expectation of transforming the lives of the people put under their care.

He regretted that some priests after being ordained become lukewarm and inactive leaving the work for which they were called for by God to suffer.

On why he ordained foreign-based individuals as priest, the prelate said he had a global vision and burden for the Western world and African continent apart.

He explained that those ordained had applied to the diocese to be ordained in the past two years.

He said as people called by God, after the ordination, they would go back to where they came from and preach the word of God to the people there.

The bishop stressed that at present the word of God is diminishing so what is paramount is reactivation of the faith so more will return to the vineyard of the lord.

In his sermon in the church service, Ven. Ikechi Ebems Onyeahialam advised the newly ordained priests not to deviate from the standard already set for the proclamation of the word of God in their daily activities.

Onyeahialam who is also the president Boys Brigade Imo State, challenged the priests to always be ready to preach the real message of God that will heal and restore the faith of the people.

He reminded them that for them to succeed in their new assignment, they must rely on the power of holy spirit while urging the congregation to always pray for their priests in their daily endeavours for them to succeed.

The new priests include: Rev. Brown Ikechukwu Olisa based in London, Rev. Nnamdi Raphael Maduka based in London, Rev. Collins Ogechi Durueke based in London, Rev. Atutononu Macdonald Onyekachi based in Germany and Rev. Nitonye Samson based in Port Harcourt.

High point was taking of oath of office by the priests administered by the Registrar of the Diocese, Rt. Hon Noel Agwuocha Chukwukadibia (KSC).