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David Cameron is right to refer to Britain as a Christian country, says Bishop
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali's letter to The Telegraph
April 22nd, 2014
SIR – It is understandable that the architects of secularism should be concerned about the Prime Minister’s claim that Britain is a Christian country. The reappearance of Christianity in public life would be very inconvenient for them.
They admit that Britain is constitutionally Christian. This is not, however, in a narrow sense, as they claim. The Coronation service and the Coronation oath are shot through with Christian beliefs and values, without which they would make no sense. So is that other great pillar of our liberties: the Magna Carta.
Parliament convenes with prayer, and bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords. National and civic occasions are marked by Christian ceremonies, and the calendar remains unabashedly Christian.
A Christian country – but what kind of Christianity? A response to David Cameron and Justin Welby
By Andrew Symes
April 22, 2014
Senior Conservative politicians have been declaring their support for the Christian faith during the Easter season. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and then more recently David Cameron himself have stated that Britain is “a Christian country”. This has been greeted with predictable fury by secularists who think that this is somehow privileging Christians over those of other faiths and none, and will fuel “sectarianism”. A Jewish commentator in a radio interview dismissed this, pointed out the irony of the secularists’ complaint coming during the official public holiday celebrating Easter, and said he was very comfortable about being in a Christian country. Secularism, far from being neutral about religion as they claim, is much more hostile to all faith than Christianity is to other belief systems.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s ecumenical Easter letter
Lambeth Palace press release
April 21, 2014
“I pray that our Christian hope and the joy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ will heal relationships between individuals, communities and nations,” Archbishop Justin Welby says in his Easter letter to partners and heads of other churches around the world.
The full text of the letter is published below:
“Looking at the world during these times of growing conflict and the challenges of a changing context, we are acutely aware of a sense of helplessness. In South Sudan outbreaks of violence are displacing thousands of people. UNICEF noted recently that the emergency in the world’s newest nation, where nearly 900,000 people have already been forced from their homes, risks becoming overwhelming. Natural disasters as well as the risks in day-to-day survival in Asia’s megacities are hitting the poorest children hardest. A new report published by the International Institute for Environment & Development and the children’s charity Plan International reveals that street and slum children are the most vulnerable to environmental hazards, climate change and natural disasters.
African Anglicans Don't Need Canterbury's Arm Around Their Shoulder
God's Word is Their Rule
By Julian Mann
Special to Virtueonline
April 21, 2014
African Anglicans believe sex outside of heterosexual marriage is wrong because God's Word written, the Bible, says so. Therefore their reason for opposing same-sex (anti-)marriage is radically different from the institutional focus of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Archbishop Welby was quite factually right to point out in a recent radio interview that if the Church of England did embrace gay 'marriage', then it would lead to more attacks on African Anglicans. But British religious affairs journalist Damian Thompson has incisively exposed the AofC's lack of moral clarity in his expressed 'hesitations' about the Church of England conducting gay weddings. This follows an interview Dr Welby gave to Mr Thompson's Telegraph colleague Col Moreton:
The fact is, marriage has been treated shabbily by today's politicians, says Lord Carey
By LORD CAREY, FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
The Daily Mail
April 18, 2014
Among those I admire most, towards the top of the list must come Winston Churchill. I am confident many Daily Mail readers will say the same.
Through his stubborn leadership, moral courage and brilliant oratory, more than anyone else I can think of he deserves the accolade of the saviour of Western civilisation.
There were many things that sustained him through his amazing life, but one that stands out was his marriage to Clementine. They were together for 56 years and remained deeply in love throughout those years.
Bishop Gene Robinson Closes White House Breakfast in Prayer
by Jeffrey Walton
April 16, 2014
Retired Episcopal Church Bishop Gene Robinson joined MSNBC's Alex Wagner to talk about his closing prayer at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast (photo: MSNBC)
Retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson was back in the news this week, attending the fifth annual White House Easter prayer breakfast. The first partnered openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion enthusiastically tweeted about the event:
“POTUS ‘preaches’ at the Easter prayer breakfast. Then, out of the blue, asks ME to close with prayer. OMG! #privilege”
Enthusiastically Episcopalian or the Risen Christ?
By Ladson F. Mills III
Special to Virtueonline
April 18, 2014
Like the familiar set from a bad movie sequel the Episcopal Church in South Carolina recycled a past theme for its upcoming diocesan convention in Pawley’s Island. It will use the May 3rd gathering to once more declare itself “Enthusiastically Episcopalian.”
When the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina used this title for a 2011 conference it seemed mildly ridiculous and rather sad. There was little for the Episcopal Church to be genuinely enthusiastic about three years ago and from today’s perspective much less so.
by Roger Salter
Special to virtueonline
April 18, 2014
While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one, they said to him, “Surely not I?” Mark 14: 18-19.
Is It I?
Is it I who treacherous could be?
Is evil betrayal dormant in me?
Would I like Peter draw a sword,
But Judas-like wield it at the Lord?
Is there within my deepest part
A deceptive, conspiring, wicked heart?
O Lord, before I age and die
Quench this question, “Is it I”.
UK: Easter: judgement and hope
By Andrew Symes
April 15th, 2014
The first example of a Church of England clergyman entering into a same sex ‘marriage’ took place on Saturday 12 April.
It is obvious that this is the first of many, creating ‘facts on the ground’ which will normalize such relationships within the church. As Andrew Carey says: “If gay marriage becomes relatively widespread among clergy it will become impossible to have discipline. This will amount to a change in teaching and it will then be difficult to resist demands for clergy to be able to solemnise gay marriage.” (Church of England Newspaper, 3 April 2014).
We will come to the question of discipline in a moment. But first, what are we to call these relationships? Those who hold to the traditional teaching on sexual morality are divided over this. For some, the biggest problem seems to be not disrespect to Bishops, flagrant sin, and the violation of God’s created order that has just happened, but the potential of discourtesy from conservatives in the way we put quotation marks around same sex ‘marriage’, or any other expression of concern about the change in the law. However, as Anglican theologian Martin Davie courteously points out: “… saying that the government changed the law in a legally valid way is not the same as saying that the government had the moral right to change the law in the way that it did.”
The Book of Common Prayer Is Still a Big Deal
Alan Jacobs explains why the nearly 500-year-old Anglican prayer book retains its influence, and why it should appeal even to (non-Anglican) evangelicals.
Interview by Jordan Hylden
APRIL 7, 2014
The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) has had an illustrious and checkered career since Archbishop Thomas Cranmer first introduced it to the Church of England back in 1549, almost five hundred years ago. If you've ever pledged to be faithful to someone "till death do us part," mourned to the words "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust," or hoped for "peace in our time," you've been shaped by Cranmer's cadences, perhaps without knowing it.
Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Baylor University and former professor of English at Wheaton College, has given us a lively recounting of the old Anglican prayer book's history in this new "biography," part of Princeton University Press's Lives of Great Religious Books series. Jordan Hylden, a doctoral candidate in theology and ethics at Duke University Divinity School, corresponded with Jacobs about the BCP's global reach and its mixed reception by evangelicals.
The Book of Common Prayer is nearly 500 years old. Does it still make a difference for how we worship today?
Watch out What You Ask for: ECUSA Gets CA Judge to Call Every Parish Conveyance Since 1979 into Question
By ALLAN HALEY
THE ANGLICAN CURMUDGEON
April 4, 2014
In 1979, in response to threats by parishes to leave over the issue of women's ordination to the priesthood, ECUSA enacted its now notorious Dennis Canon. The Canon purported to impose unilaterally a trust upon the real and personal property of every single parish, mission and congregation in every single diocese of the Church -- regardless of what State laws said about the requisites for creating a valid trust.
Hate to Say I Told You So
By MICHAEL BROWN
April 7, 2014
For years I’ve been sounding the alarm about an impending social, cultural and spiritual crisis, and for years critics have compared me to Chicken Little, discounting my warnings as the ravings of a hysterical, religious fundamentalist. Well, it’s a little late for that now.
Ten years ago, I charted this progression and made this prediction:
First, gay activists came out of the closet.
Second, they demanded their “rights.”
Third, they demanded that everyone recognize those “rights.”
A VISIT TO THE VATICAN - Canon Phil Ashey
March 5, 2014
Dear Friends in Christ,
I have been privileged to spend this week in Rome, Italy, from where I am writing you today. I have been here as part of studies I am taking in Canon Law through Cardiff University (Wales UK), which includes interaction between Anglican and Roman Catholic canon lawyers. It has been a magnificent time listening to and seeking to understand the Roman Catholic system of “grace and justice” through the laws and court systems of the Church. I have visited the highest courts of the Roman Catholic Church– the Roman Rota and the Apostolic Signatura.
I have been blessed to find common ground with Roman Catholic judges and canonists who share the same fundamental convictions that we do: namely, that the law of the church (Canon law) necessarily rests upon God’s Divine Law (the Bible) and natural law. In other words canon law is neither a law unto itself nor an end in itself. It must conform in purpose and practice to God’s revelation in Scripture, God’s salvation purposes through Jesus Christ, and God’s design for a people set apart for his purposes– the Church.
Church at her best when she’s telling the apostolic truth
By Julian Mann
March 31, 2014
At least the vicar in the last episode of the BBC's Johnny Worricker spy trilogy, written and directed by Sir David Hare, is not mendacious and foul-mouthed like the one in Rev. But he is a passive rather than an active character, and thus is fitted to serve at the altar of the morally slippery god of urbane postmodernism.
Benignly, he lets his vicarage be used as a safe house for his old Cambridge friend, disillusioned MI5 agent Worricker, 'a great loss to theology', who is on the run with his girlfriend from the torture-condoning British Prime Minister whom he has set out to expose. As the cleric explains to the character played by Helena Bonham Carter:
The weekend when Britain changed
By Andrew Symes
April 1st, 2014
Saturday 29th March will go down in history as the day when same sex couples exchanged marriage vows on live TV and radio, and when a large proportion of the debate was taken up by what Christians believe. The official voice of the Church of England, and the establishment-leaning voice of evangelical and catholic orthodoxy were virtually silent on the weekend itself and in the days leading up to it. Revisionist Christian opinions were given free rein in the media, and the fiction of a church united in doctrine was exposed, as was the delusion of basing a strategy of witness to Christ on accommodating to anti-biblical cultural trends.
My own article of two weeks ago, suggesting that Christians disturbed by current developments at this time could turn to prayer, was picked up by veteran Guardian religion correspondent Andrew Brown as an example of swivel-eyed loony reactionary opposition to the march of progress and civilization. I was grilled about my article on Premier Christian Radio, formerly a strong voice for evangelical Christianity but now sadly increasingly a mouthpiece for the views of Steve Chalke and Brian Maclaren.
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