Archive for November, 2015

Paris In Flames – Again

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day

Not just Paris, but much of France is now in lockdown, and even places like neighbouring Belgium. Travel has been curtailed, borders closed, and panic reigns on the streets of Paris and beyond. A series of coordinated attacks around the city in at least six locations have once again highlighted the very real war we are in.

With hostage taking, Kalashnikov and grenade attacks across the nation’s capital, and shouts of Allahu akbar, we are seeing familiar scenes being played out yet again. It seems the West has learned absolutely nothing from previous attacks also undertaken by the religion of peace.

paris nov 1Another series of terrorist attacks, another set on incredulity on the part of the West, and another case of denial by our elites and media. Even with IS already claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks which have left at least 160 dead as of now, we have talking heads still saying we can’t say who is behind this.

Indeed, the US dhimmi-in-chief Obama said ‘I don’t want to speculate on who is responsible for this’. Of course. He will not use the ‘M’ word and he will prefer that we all just keep our heads in the sand. Leaders like this prefer to live in la la land and hate to deal with reality.

This bugs me no end. As horrible as these attacks are, equally appalling is the ongoing wilful blindness of Western leaders, politicians and media outlets to deal with reality. I have yet to hear the ‘M’ word or the ‘I’ word mentioned in any of the media reports. Obviously we have another case of disgruntled Baptist Sunday school teachers going on a rampage.

While many of us have been warning folk for years about flawed multiculturalism policies, ignorance of Islam, and blindness to the reality of creeping sharia, we still get our ruling elites pushing for open slather in immigration policy, and still remaining utterly clueless as to the war we are in.

Europe is learning this the hard way once again. And after years of non-integration and non-assimilation, all this was of course inevitable. When will we realise a very simple yet profound truth: Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.

Let me repeat that for you until it begins to sink in: Immigration without assimilation is an invasion. For decades now Western nations have taken an almost blind and unquestioning approach to Islamic immigration, asking few if any questions about those coming to our countries.

Hollande in France, Merkel in Germany, etc, have all been insistent and proud about their open door immigration policies, willingly bringing in masses of people – many of whom should never have been let in. Admittedly, separating the wheat from the chaff here can be a very difficult task, but it is a task all responsible governments must undertake.

Genuine multiculturalism works when the guest comes to a host nation agreeing with and appreciating its values, beliefs and way of life. That is how real integration and assimilation occurs. But when new arrivals refuse to embrace the values of the nation, and even refuse to learn the language, then you have a recipe for disaster.

And here is another home truth you can bank on: when someone says they plan to kill you, you had better stand up and take notice. When the enemies of freedom, democracy and the rule of law come out clearly stating their aims to annihilate the West and kill the infidels, then the first thing we must do is take them seriously.

The Christian response

Everything I said above is of course generic and general truth which anyone can assent to. But I also happen to be a Christian, as well as someone who is very aware of and concerned about the nature and goals of Islam. So how should the believer respond to all this?

As I just told a group of international students yesterday on this topic, we have two things going on here. As individual believers, we can and should seek to befriend, reach out to, and share the gospel with, our Muslim neighbours. We have an obligation to love and evangelise everyone, including Muslims.

But as to public policy, all governments have an obligation and responsibility to protect its citizens, resist those who hate us, and secure our borders. No government worth its salt can turn a blind eye to the political ideology of Islam and its stated aims of establishing a universal caliphate with everyone in submission to Allah, willingly or otherwise.

God created the institution of the state to deal with evil and maintain order in a nation. But he also created the church to share the gospel. The believer must understand that both play important roles here. While individual believers can forgive and extend mercy, the state must administer justice and punish wrongdoing.

Thus there is nothing at all contradictory in having believers praying for and seeking to win Muslims, while simultaneously affirming and supporting the role of the state to guard its citizens and deal – harshly if need be – with its enemies. Islamic terrorism is a reality which we dare not ignore, make excuses for, or try to spiritualise away.

Indeed, can I suggest that Christians who are utterly clueless as to the real nature of Islam and its aims are a part of the problem. There is nothing spiritual or Christlike about being ignorant and just plain stupid about one of the gravest threats to everything we hold near and dear.

Allowing Muslim terrorists to slaughter innocent men, women and children because we don’t want to be “judgmental” or appear to be unwelcoming or un-accepting is not a sign of Christian maturity but a sign of brainless foolishness. As already stated, we must pray for and evangelise everyone, including Muslims, but we must start developing some political realism here as well.

Militant Islam is indeed a “death cult” as some brave leaders have said, such as Tony Abbott. We ignore it at our own peril. This is war. War has been declared against the West, against Christianity, against freedom, and against everything decent and worthwhile.

To pretend Islam is not a problem is to simply contribute to the problem. Indeed, the appeasers, the cowards, and the duped dhimmis in the West are as responsible for the blood flowing on the streets of Paris – and elsewhere – as are the IS gunmen.

We have allowed this to happen. It is time that we change course, wake up to reality, and admit that war has been declared on us.

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Anglo-Catholics as Evangelistic Church Planters

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

By Canon Lawrence D. Bausch
Special to VIRTUEONLINE
www.virtueonline.org
November, 2015

Anglo-Catholics are grateful for the significant role we have played in Anglican history, especially in reminding Anglicans that our church is an organic portion of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that was established by God’s action in the first century. In previous centuries, we have participated mightily in missionary work, church planting and serving those in need, all centered on the glorification of Christ and His presence and action in the Sacraments. We have contributed to enriching our worship, restored the Religious Life to our church, reintroduced Retreats, Sacramental Confession and Spiritual Direction, and the riches of the personal prayer life from all ages of Christian history. We, as members of Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA) rejoice that we have a share in this wonderful heritage. However, we in North America are facing challenges to our continued participation in the fulness of this inheritance, and I would like to address one of these here: Church Planting.

Whether our FIFNA members are in TEC, ACNA, or one of the various continuing Anglican jurisdictions, we all face obstacles which can blind us to a vision of ministry which includes the importance of church planting. This situation is brought about by several reasons, three of which we will consider here. First, those of us who came into church life or ordained ministry a generation or more ago were largely brought into a church in which priests were primarily seen as chaplains to the faithful, whose job was to lead the faithful in worship, teach, and care for those in need. (Think of Fr. Tim in the delightful “Mitford” books, especially the early ones.) Church Planting was largely something determined by Dioceses, as “missions” became less often the work of local parishes. Mission to the unchurched was largely overlooked.

Second, those Anglicans who have been intentional in Church Planting over the last generation or more have most often been from the evangelical/charismatic elements of the church. Indeed, a “model church plant” has come to be perceived in many quarters as something most Anglo-Catholics would hardly recognize as church, most significantly in the use of language which defines worship as music, and where the actual celebration of the Eucharist becomes almost a sidebar to the music (and possibly the preaching). This distortion has led some to simply write off church planting, believing that it only serves to undermine what we believe and practice.

A third factor to consider is the understandable focus on simply preserving what we have. Many of our people are in parishes which perceive themselves to be “too small” to consider Church Planting, and struggle to keep what they have. Some serve in TEC dioceses in which they are permitted to teach and worship in their own tradition, but are essentially limited to their parish. (This number includes some who have been told by bishops that when their rector leaves or retires, things will change.)

In spite of these obstacles, the Gospel is clear that all Christians are called to be evangelistic, including support for Church Planting. Jesus has come out of love for all people, and we are His Body sent to reveal Him (Luke 2:29-32; 24:45-47, etc.). How then can Anglo-Catholics become good evangelists and support Church Planting? My first action upon my election to President of FIFNA was to appoint Fr. Chris Culpepper as Advisor to the President for Church Planting. He has started two congregations in the Diocese of Fort Worth, as well as advising other church planters in the Diocese and in the REC. He has recently formed a task force which will disseminate best practices in Anglo-Catholic Church Planting and provide individual coaching for leaders of future FIFNA congregations; more information is at the task force website at http://bit.ly/FIFNAcp. This ministry in support of the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church is crucial not only for Anglo-Catholics, but for the broader Apostolic and Conciliar Church.

One final note: It is a great joy to be able to report that the recent Church Planting leaders appointed for the ACNA by Archbishop Foley Beach, The Rev. Canon Dan Alger and The Rev Alan Hawkins, are incorporating two elements to the basic characteristics of Anglican church plants which FIFNA can heartily endorse: First, church plants need to be connected with the larger church; and second, they need to be sacramentally based. We are delighted that they share these concerns.

The Rev. Canon Lawrence D. Bausch is President, Forward in Faith North America