Archive for December, 2012

The Episcopal Church USA – Why 815 and General Convention Are Irrelevant

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

In response to a recent post about 815’s latest outrages on Christian principles and charity, a commenter posed this question:

You wrote, “In other words, for ordinary Episcopalians, local is everything; national (so long as it remains corrupted) is nothing.” As one who has departed, I felt like my understanding of catholicity wouldn’t allow me to make an assertion like that. No matter how hard I tried, I still kept coming back to the notion that how could I have an ‘Episcopal Church Welcomes You’ sign in front of our building, and the other parish in town had one as well, yet I knew that we were preaching, teaching, and proclaiming two different versions of the Gospel. However, as St. Paul says, there aren’t two! It would be very easy to say that the local congregation is everything, and weave a cocoon around ourselves, and do our own thing, Yet, I kept being confronted by the universal nature of the church and her teachings, and I kept being confronted by that. Can you flesh that out for me, and how you’ve reconciled that in your mind?

We start with the observation that the Church’s national leadership is corrupt—and by “corrupt”, I do not mean that they are accepting bribes, or committing high crimes and misdemeanors in office. Rather, I mean that they are corrupt as Christians: they continually do and say things that emphatically are not Christian. (Suing fellow Christians; treating the Resurrection as allegorical and spiritual, rather than physical; preaching religious pluralism; supporting abortion—the list could go on and on.)

And this corruption extends not just to the leadership at 815 Second Avenue; it permeates the House of Bishops and the entire General Convention, as well. The House of Bishops is corrupt, because after selecting the Presiding Bishop, it has given her free rein and refused to curb her petty despotism—to say nothing of its sanctioning same-sex blessings and now marriages, in open violation of the rubrics and canons. And General Convention shows its increasing corruption with the legislation it sees fit to enact at each new session. It also has allowed the Presiding Bishop’s litigation agenda to run amok, while funding it willingly out of Church trust funds and other monies it is robbing from mission work.

Not only is our Church’s national leadership corrupt (un-Christian), but now it is studying how to reorganize its cumbersome machinery (designed long ago to keep the Church from easily becoming corrupt—after all, it preserved the Church for 160 years), so that it can practice its corruption more efficiently. And all the while, the Church’s numbers are in a steady decline. Truly, the proposal to “reorganize” this mess is fully akin to rearranging the deck chairs on Titanic— after she struck the iceberg.

For local Episcopalians in their local pews, who do not run for office or attend conventions, all of what I describe is irrelevant to their lives. It is irrelevant because first, it is politics, and the Church should not be political; moreover, it all takes place mostly far away, and at a functional level of which most Episcopalians are barely aware, let alone concern themselves about. But it is irrelevant mostly because it has become wholly corrupt and un-Christian.

The corruption in the national leadership is analogous to a parasite in the body. It feeds off the body, and robs it of nutrition, but its continued existence is wholly dependent on the body’s continuing to function as it has in the past. Moreover, the parasite often fools the body’s immune system (think HIV) because it cloaks itself to look like just another natural part of the body. Our bishops wear miters and rochets just like any Anglican bishop; they speak the liturgy and say the prayers, so that when they are performing as bishops in church services they are indistinguishable from orthodox bishops.

But when they speak out on their own—whether from the pulpit or a press conference, it does not matter—they show their true colors. And when they take and fully support actions inside and outside the Church which are not Christian, then we may certainly know them for what they are.

Thus most Episcopalians that I know deal with the dysfunction created by these contradictory roles by focusing on the liturgical one, and by ignoring the one that is un-Christian. It is not good for Christians to dwell on things that are un-Christian, and we instinctively shun doing so.

Moreover, non-Christians cannot alter or pervert the Christian Church catholic no matter what they do, or how much sin they commit. The body of Christ is not sullied by sin; the teachings of two thousand years do not suddenly become immaterial. My Church remains my Church, because Jesus Christ, and not puny mortal man, is at its head. All of us who are in the Church are sinners just as much as those who try to lead it astray, and it is enough for us to focus on rectifying our own lives without putting others to right. In the final days, they will have to defend themselves to the Only One who matters.

In saying this, I do not propose that we orthodox weave a cocoon around ourselves, or remain silent and pretend that nothing bad is going on around us. Our duties are clear: we do not aid or support their apostasy in the slightest manner; we call them out for it at every opportunity, and let them know that we know the falsehoods that belie their actions. In doing those things, we keep Christ’s Church alive at the local level, as only we can. And we set the example for others to follow, if they would be Christians. The horrific examples which the non-Christians are setting are deterrents, not attractions, to those who have not yet been won to Christ—that is why the numbers continue to decline in most Western Protestant denominations, and in ECUSA most of all.

So fight the good fight, I say. Be neither discouraged nor ashamed, for we have the blessed Paul on our side:

[I]t is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers. The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light.

Underwater Explorer Says Biblical Story Of Noah’s Flood Is True

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

 

Evidence Suggests Flood, Noah’s Ark Existed, Says Robert Ballard, Archaeologist Who Found Titanic.

In the Huffington Post:

Robert Ballard, one of the world’s most famous underwater explorers, has set his sights on proving the existence of one of the Bible’s most well known stories.

In an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour the archaeologist who discovered the Titanic discussed his findings from his search in Turkey for evidence of a civilization swept away by a monstrous ancient flood.

“We went in there to look for the flood,” Ballard said. “Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed… The land that went under stayed under.”

Many have claimed to have discovered evidence of Noah’s Ark, the huge ship that Noah filled with two of each creature to repopulate the planet following God’s devastating flood. But in the 1990s, geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman gathered compelling evidence that showed a flood–if not an ark–may have occurred in the Middle East region about 7,500 years ago, PBS reports.

The theory, the Guardian reports, is that a rising Mediterranean Sea pushed a channel through what is now the Bosphorus, submerging the original shoreline of the Black Sea in a deluge flowing at about 200 times the volume of Niagara Falls and extending out for 100,000 square miles.

Ballard has been exploring this theory for more than a decade, National Geographic reports, first discovering evidence of a  submerged ancient shoreline in 1999. At that point, Ballard was still not convinced this was a biblical flood, according to the Guardian. Last year, his team found a vessel and one of its crew members in the Black Sea, according to ABC.

Ballard is using advanced robotic technology to travel back nearly 12,000 years to a time when much of the Earth was covered in ice, ABC reports. If and when this ice started to melt, massive floods may have surged through parts of the globe, wreaking havoc on anything and anyone in its way.

With an impressive track record (besides the Titanic, Ballard also found the wreck of the battleship, Bismarck, and a U.S. fleet lost off Guadalcanal in the Pacific) and plenty of confidence, Ballard remains unfazed by critics. He plans on returning to Turkey next summer.

The story of Noah and his ark is a building block of Genesis, in the Old Testament. It is similar in some respects to the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh, according to National Geographic, and the ancient Greeks, Romans and Native Americans all have their own variations on legendary flood stories.

The New Revised Perversion Bible

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day…

Good news folks! For all those who love their sin and want complete Biblical justification for it, helpful publishers are now quite happy to produce the Bible that fully condones and justifies your sin. Yep, if you are into adultery, you can now read in the comfort of your own home the new Adulterers’ Bible.

Or is fornication your thing? No probs, we now have just for you the Fornicator’s Bible. Do you enjoy a bit of theft? Hey have we got the Bible for you: check out the new Stealer’s Bible. Is lying a pet sin of yours which you would love to stop repenting of and start enjoying? Then the Liar’s Bible is just what you need.

Do you really think God is a figment of your imagination, but want a Scriptural source to promote this? Great, the Atheist’s Bible is just the thing for you. And have you always been a bit keen on kinky relations with your pet, but felt that it may not go down well in religious circles? No problems – just buy and enjoy the New Revised Bestiality Bible.

Have you always wanted to cheat on your tests and not worry about honesty and morality? Then go down to your fav bookshop and get a copy of the Cheater’s Bible. And if you can’t resist going out and shooting anyone who rubs you the wrong way, then the Killer’s Bible is for you.

Now, do any of these Bibles actually exist? Well no, but they might as well. You see, a group of militants have actually produced the exact same thing, but to help all those who love sodomy, and who want a Biblical warrant for it. I kid you not. Indeed, don’t take my word for it. Look it up here:www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615724531/ref=cm_cr_dpvoterdr?ie=UTF8&tag=qjv-20#R1X185P1HC4CPS.2115.Helpful.Reviews

Amazon is quite happy to actually sell this blasphemous, heretical, and filthy piece of trash. Here is how they advertise the volume:

A Gay Bible 
The Queen James Bible is based on The King James Bible, edited to prevent homophobic misinterpretation.

Homosexuality in The Bible
Homosexuality was first mentioned in the Bible in 1946, in the Revised Standard Version. There is no mention of or reference to homosexuality in any Bible prior to this – only interpretations have been made. Anti-LGBT Bible interpretations commonly cite only eight verses in the Bible that they interpret to mean homosexuality is a sin; Eight verses in a book of thousands!

The Queen James Bible seeks to resolve interpretive ambiguity in the Bible as it pertains to homosexuality: We edited those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.

Who is Queen James?
The King James Bible is the most popular Bible of all time, and arguably the most important English language document of all time. It is the brainchild and namesake of King James I, who wanted an English language Bible that all could own and read. The KJV, as it is called, has been in print for over 400 years and has brought more people to Christ than any other Bible translation. Commonly known to biographers but often surprising to most Christians, King James I was a well-known bisexual. Though he did marry a woman, his many gay relationships were so well-known that amongst some of his friends and court, he was known as “Queen James.” It is in his great debt and honor that we name The Queen James Bible so.

A Fabulous Bible
The QJB is a big, fabulous Bible. It is printed and bound in the United States on thick, high-quality paper in a beautiful, readable typeface. It is the perfect Bible for ceremony, study, sermon, gift-giving, or simply to put on display in the home or Church.

You can’t choose your sexuality, but you can choose Jesus. Now you can choose a Bible, too.

There you have it folks. Now we have full-scale perversion Bibles on the market. And of course the entire premise of this is completely false. They could not be more wrong if they tried. Their entire case is on the supposed fact that no Bible until recently even used the word “homosexuality”.

Wow, that really has me worried. I guess we must now completely revise our theology and ethics – not. What these deceivers do not tell you, or are too clueless to even be aware of, is that the English word “homosexuality” was never even used until a hundred years ago. So of course no Bible had the term – it never existed until last century!

This is simply the most lame and most idiotic argument yet coming from the theological revisionists. They just do not have a leg to stand on, and are clutching at straws big time. The truth is, there are all sorts of terms found in modern translations of the Bible that never appeared earlier for the simple reason that they did not exist until recently.

Paraphrases especially may well use contemporary terminology to convey ancient truths. This does not diminish the truth of the original texts of course – not one iota. It simply is about giving old Biblical passages new relevance by using more modern terms.

And the issue is not what a contemporary English term says or when it was coined. The issue is what do the original languages of the Bible say. What do the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament in fact say? That is the real issue here. And those passages in question all quite clearly refer to what we today refer to as homosexual acts.

Consider just one such passage, 1 Timothy 1:9-10: “We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine”. As I write in my book, Strained Relations:

The term rendered by the NIV as ‘perverts’ is arsenokoitai, which, as we have already seen, means males who take other males to bed. As scholars point out, it is a rare word. It “does not appear to have existed before the time of Paul”.

After examining some contemporary Greek and Roman usages of the term, New Testament scholar Ben Witherington says this: “This word literally and graphically refers to a male copulator, a man who has intercourse with another man.”

The compound word is made of two terms, arsenos (= male) and koitain (= sleep with, lie in bed, have sexual relations with, from which we get the word coitus, ie., intercourse). ‘Male bedders’ would be a literal, if somewhat wooden, translation. Sex between men, or homosexuality, is clearly in view here.

Both of these two terms come directly from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) version of the two Leviticus passages. Lev. 18:22 contains both terms, as does 20: 13. So Paul clearly has the Holiness Code in view when he used this term. Scholars such as David Wright in fact believe that Paul coined this term from the two Leviticus texts.

The term clearly covers all aspects of homosexuality, not just some. As George Knight comments, the “word does not refer, as some writers have alleged, only to sex with young boys or to male homosexual prostitutes, but simply to homosexuality itself (so Paul explicitly in Rom. 1:26, 27).” Or as Quinn and Wacker argue, “the arsenokoitai are … understood to be all homosexuals, active or passive, old or young”.

One leading expert on the Pastorals, Philip Towner, says this about the term in question: “It denotes, unequivocally, the activity of male homosexuality, and the view of this practice adopted in this text corresponds to that of Paul elsewhere (Rom. 1:27).”

Thus to foolishly claim the English term “homosexuality” is not found in any Bible until recently is not only being utterly anachronistic, but is being deliberately deceptive when it comes to the Biblical text. The Bible from start to finish condemns homosexuality while affirming the only divinely-mandated form of human sexuality: the one man, one woman marriage union.

But those who hate God, who hate his word, and hate his morality, will continue to trot out utterly ridiculous and disingenuous ploys like this. But to them the Word of God has already made clear warnings. Peter says that “ignorant and unstable people distort [Paul’s writings], as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3 16).

And John warns in Revelation 22:18, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

[1491 words]

Rachel Weeping for Her Children — The Massacre in Connecticut

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.,

Thus says the LORD:  “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”[Jeremiah 31:15]

It has happened again. This time tragedy came to Connecticut, where a lone gunman entered two classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and opened fire, killing at least twenty children and six adults, before turning his weapons of death upon himself. The young victims, still to be officially identified, ranged in age from five to ten years. The murderer was himself young, reported to be twenty years old. According to press reports, he murdered his mother, a teacher at Sandy Hook, in her home before the rampage at the school.

Apparently, matricide preceded mass murder. Some of the children were in kindergarten, not even able to tie their own shoes. The word kindergarten comes from the German, meaning a garden for children. Sandy Hook Elementary School was no garden today. It was a place of murder, mayhem, and undisguised evil.

The calculated and premeditated nature of this crime, combined with the horror of at least twenty murdered children, makes the news almost unspeakable and unbearable. The grief of parents and loved ones in Newtown is beyond words. Yet, even in the face of such a tragedy, Christians must speak. We will have to speak in public about this evil, and we will have to speak in private about this horrible crime. How should Christians think and pray in the aftermath of such a colossal crime?

We Affirm the Sinfulness of Sin, and the Full Reality of Human Evil

First, we must recognize that this tragedy is just as evil, horrible, and ugly as it appears. Christianity does not deny the reality and power of evil, but instead calls evil by its necessary names — murder, massacre, killing, homicide, slaughter. The closer we look at this tragedy, the more it will appear unfathomable and more grotesque than the human imagination can take in.

What else can we say about the murder of children and their teachers? How can we understand the evil of killing little children one by one, forcing them to watch their little friends die and realizing that they were to be next? How can we bear this?

Resisting our instinct toward a coping mechanism, we cannot accept the inevitable claims that this young murderer is to be understood as merely sick. His heinous acts will be dismissed and minimized by some as the result of psychiatric or psychological causation, or mitigated by cultural, economic, political, or emotional factors. His crimes were sick beyond words, and he was undoubtedly unbalanced, but he pulled off a cold, calculated, and premeditated crime, monstrous in its design and accomplishment.

Christians know that this is the result of sin and the horrifying effects of The Fall. Every answer for this evil must affirm the reality and power of sin. The sinfulness of sin is never more clearly revealed than when we look into the heart of a crime like this and see the hatred toward God that precedes the murderous hatred he poured out on his little victims.

The twentieth century forced us to see the ovens of the Nazi death camps, the killing fields of Cambodia, the inhumanity of the Soviet gulags, and the failure of the world to stop such atrocities before they happened. We cannot talk of our times without reference to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, Pol Pot and Charles Manson, Idi Amin and Ted Bundy. More recently, we see evil in the impassive faces of Osama bin Laden and Anders Behring Brevik. We will now add yet another name to the roll call of mass murderers. His will not be the last.

The prophet Jeremiah knew the wickedness and deceit of the sinful human heart and asked the right question — who can understand it?

Beyond this, the Christian must affirm the grace of moral restraint, knowing that the real question is not why some isolated persons commit such crimes, but why such massacres are not more common. We must be thankful for the restraint of the law, operating on the human conscience. Such a crime serves to warn us that putting a curve in the law will inevitably produce a curve in the conscience. We must be thankful for the restraining grace of God that limits human evil and, rightly understood, keeps us all from killing each other.

Christians call evil what it is, never deny its horror and power, and remain ever thankful that evil will not have its full sway, or the last word.

We Affirm the Cross of Christ as the Only Adequate Remedy for Evil

There is one and only one reason that evil does not have the last word, and that is the fact that evil, sin, death, and the devil were defeated at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. There they were defeated conclusively, comprehensively, and publicly.

On the cross, Christ bore our sins, dying in our place, offering himself freely as the perfect sacrifice for sin. The devil delighted in Christ’s agony and death on the cross, realizing too late that Christ’s substitutionary atonement spelled the devil’s own defeat and utter destruction.

Christ’s victory over sin, evil, and death was declared by the Father in raising Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is the ground of our hope and the assurance of the final and total victory of Christ over all powers, principalities, and perpetrators.

A tragedy like this cannot be answered with superficial and sentimental Christian emotivism, nor with glib dismissals of the enormity and transience of this crime. Such a tragedy calls for the most Gospel-centered Christian thinking, for the substance of biblical theology, and the solace that only the full wealth of Christian conviction can provide.

In the face of such horror, we are driven again and again to the cross and resurrection of Christ, knowing that the reconciling power of God in Christ is the only adequate answer to such a depraved and diabolical power.

We Acknowledge the Necessity of Justice, Knowing that Perfect Justice Awaits the Day of the Lord

Charles Manson sits in a California prison, even now — decades after his murderous crimes were committed. Ted Bundy was executed by the State of Florida for multiple murders, but escaped both conviction and punishment for others he is suspected of having committed. Anders Behring Brevik shot and killed scores of young people in Norway, but he was sentenced to less than thirty years in prison. Adolf Hitler took his own life, robbing human courts of their justice, and Vladimir Lenin died of natural causes.

The young murderer in Connecticut took his own life after murdering almost thirty people, most of them children. He will never face a human court, never have to face a human accuser, never stand convicted of his crimes, and never know the justice of a human sentence.

But, even as human society was robbed of the satisfaction of that justice, it would never be enough. Even if executed for his crimes, he could die only once. Even if sentenced to scores of life sentences to prison, he could forfeit only one human lifespan.

Human justice is necessary, but it is woefully incomplete. No human court can hand down an adequate sentence for such a crime, and no human judge can restore life to those who were murdered.

Crimes such as these remind us that we just yearn for the total satisfaction that will come only on the Day of the Lord, when all flesh will be judged by the only Judge who will rule with perfect righteousness and justice. On that day, the only escape will be refuge in Christ, for those who knew and confessed him as Savior and Lord. On that day, those who are in Christ will know the promise that full justice and restoration will mean that every eye is dry and tears are nevermore.

We Grieve with Those Who Grieve

For now, even as we yearn for the Day of the Lord, we grieve with those who grieve. We sit with them and pray for them and acknowledge that their loss is truly unspeakable and that their tears are unspeakably true. We pray and look for openings for grace and the hope of the gospel. We do our best to speak words of truth, love, grace, and comfort.

What of the eternal destiny of these sweet children? There is no specific text of Scripture that gives us a clear and direct answer. We must affirm with the Bible that we are conceived in sin and, as sons and daughters of Adam, will face eternal damnation unless we are found in Christ. So many of these little victims died before reaching any real knowledge of their own sinfulness and need for Christ. They, like those who die in infancy and those who suffer severe mental incapacitation, never really have the opportunity to know their need as sinners and the provision of Christ as Savior.

They are in a categorically different position than that of the person of adult consciousness who never responds in faith to the message of the Gospel. In the book of Deuteronomy, God tells the adults among the Children of Israel that, due to their sin and rebellion, they would not enter the land of promise. But the Lord then said this: “And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.” [Deuteronomy 1:39]

Many, if not all, of the little children who died in Newtown were so young that they certainly would be included among those who, like the little Israelites, “have no knowledge of good or evil.” God is sovereign, and he was not surprised that these little ones died so soon. There is biblical precedent for believing that the Lord made provision for them in the atonement accomplished by Christ, and that they are safe with Jesus.

Rachel Weeping for Her Children

The prophet Jeremiah’s reference to Rachel and her lost children is heart-breaking. “Thus says the LORD:  ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’” Like Rachel, many parents, grandparents, and loved ones are weeping inconsolably even now, refusing to be comforted for their children, because they are no more.

This tragedy is compounded in emotional force by the fact that it comes in such close proximity to Christmas, but let us never forget that there was the mass murder of children in the Christmas story as well. King Herod’s murderous decree that all baby boys under two years of age should be killed prompted Matthew to cite this very verse from Jeremiah. Rachel again was weeping for her children.

But this is not where either Jeremiah or Matthew leaves us. By God’s mercy, there is hope and the promise of full restoration in Christ.

The Lord continued to speak through Jeremiah:

Thus says the LORD: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.”
[Jeremiah 31:16-17]

God, not the murderer, has the last word. For those in Christ, there is the promise of full restoration. Even in the face of such unmitigated horror, there is hope.“There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to your own country.”

Catholic school ordered to stop teaching Catholic religion course

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

 

From The Iona Institute

A Catholic school is Canada is considering petitioning the Supreme Court after the Quebec Court of Appeal issued a decision obliging it to stop teaching a Catholic course on religion.

The ruling, issued last week, told the school that it must replace the course with a state-imposed Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC) which is at odds with Catholic teaching, according to Vatican Radio.

The decision overturned an earlier judgment of the Superior Court, which supported the request Loyola High School put to the education minister to teach the course objectives from a Catholic perspective.

The Jesuit boys school, located in Montreal, has been battling the provincial government on this issue since 2008.

Marie Bourque, vice-president of the Catholic Parents Association of Quebec, said the decision infringes on the rights of parents to choose an education for their children in line with their faith and values and “to rely on the collaboration of confessional schools” to this end.

Read here

Progress, Tradition and Marriage

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Canon Vinay and Canon SugdenBy Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden, AAC

“But the church must keep up with progress.” This mantra comes up regularly in interviews and debates about gay marriage for which the UK Government is proposing to legislate in early 2013. The UK Government will be making an announcement about this on Tuesday, 11 December. The timing is to get it out of the way before the 2015 election in the hope that “protesting Tory voters” will have learnt to live with it by then.

Bishop Tom Wright effectively dealt with part of the argument in a recent article in the Times on November 23. He wrote that “Progress” gave us modern medicine, liberal democracy and the internet. It also gave us the guillotine, the Gulag and the gas chambers. Western intelligentsia assumed in the 1920s that “history” was moving away from the muddle and mess of democracy towards the brave new world of Russian communism. Many in 1930s Germany regarded Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his friends as on the wrong side of history. The strong point of postmodernity is that the big stories have let us down. And the biggest of all was the modernist myth of “progress”.

There is a further strand to this argument. In the same mantra, tradition is contrasted with progress. The term “traditionalist” is subtly applied to those who believe that real marriage ensures the future, as a way of denigrating them in the eyes of many. Traditional has become a “boo” word.

Read here

Central Africa sets up Youth and Children’s Council to strengthen ‘backbone of the church’

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

 

Posted On : December 11, 2012 10:26 AM | Posted By : Admin ACO
ACNS: ACNS5270
Related Categories: Central Africa

By Bellah Zulu, ACNS

The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has appointed its first ever Youth and Children’s Council at a conference where young Anglicans were described as “the backbone of the church”.

The Council was formed on the final day of a Provincial Youth Leaders Conference held in the Lusaka, Zambia, on the 5 and 6 December. The Council’s mandate will be to oversee issues affecting children and young people across the Province.

Click for Hi-Res Image

Delegates of the Provincial Youth Leaders Conference in Lusaka
Photo Credit: ACNS

Bishop of the Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi Brighton Malasa is in charge of youth across Province. He told the more than 50 delegates gathered at Lusaka’s Gospel Outreach Centre: “There are a lot of issues affecting the people in church and most of these affect mostly the youths because about 60% of the people that come to church are youths.”

He added that young people “play an important role in helping the church move to greater heights because they have the energy and potential”. The bishop urged them to “use their energy and potential to build the church of God.”

Diocesan Youth Co-ordinator for Northern Malawi Tiyanjana Banda said the “whole church should be founded on the youths because they are the backbone of the church”, adding that “if not for the youths, the church would be gone by now.”

He said, despite the challenges that the youths face in the church, “we have managed to live to the church’s expectations, but if we are given more chance and room to fully participate in church life, we can do more.”

Youth Co-ordinator for Zambia and conference co-ordinator Fr. Robert Sihubwa said “Investing in the youths on spiritual issues of the church will ensure that we have a society that walks in the fear of God, and a society that will preserve what God has given to it”.

To this end, the youth conference formulated and adopted a Youth and Children’s Policy to ensure consistency in youth and children’s ministries across all the countries and dioceses in the Province and it also saw the election of an Interim Executive Committee. The conference also created a Provincial Youth Fund that will be maintained through donations from young people in the different dioceses.

Fr. Sihubwa said “We have decided to introduce a Provincial Youth Fund because we have noticed that accessing resources for youths and children has not been easy, so we would like a system where the youth themselves begin to generate their own resources to run their programmes.”

The conference delegates were so excited and enthusiastic about the formulation of a new Provincial Youth Office with many of them pledging contributions of money and other resources to make sure that the office is operational as soon as possible.

The CPCA’s Bishops Conference decided to organise the conference, Growing the Church Through Youth and Children Ministry in order to assess how much the youths have contributed to the church and also address the shortage of mission and evangelism that the church faces in the Province. Prayer, singing, dancing and sharing of experiences and challenges faced by youths in the province, characterised the event.

Highlighting the importance of the conference to youths in the Province, a young Anglican from the Diocese of Botswana Tumisung Fifing said the conference had helped them “create links with the different dioceses in our province.” She added, “The conference has also given us a chance to exchange cultures and ideas.”

ENDS