While it is true that women feature prominently in the Pauline epistles, nowhere is there any evidence that they were episkopoi. No woman is ever called either an episkopos or a presbyteros (only a diakonos) and the one instance where a woman may have been called an apostolos apart from being unclear, merely raises the question of what forms of ministry the word apostolos might have included in that context. Probably the true answer is that women in the early church enjoyed the same freedoms and opportunities as they did in contemporary Greco-Roman (and especially in Jewish) society. As long as the church was based in private homes, it is not surprising to find women mentioned so prominently, since the home was their domain. But none of that means that women were given positions of authority alongside men -- and certainly not above them. Such a move would have been revolutionary in the ancient world, and if it had occurred in the first Christian congregations, there would surely have been some mention of it. On the other side, it is quite clear that women were not included in the presbyterate known to Timothy and Titus, where the qualifications of an older refer exclusively to males. --- Rev. Professor Dr. Gerald Bray
Evidence of new birth. If you know as a fact that God is righteous, John says, then you will perceive as a logical consequence "that everyone who does what is right has been born of him" (1 Jn. 2:29). The child exhibits the parent's character because he shares the parent's nature. A person's righteousness is thus the evidence of his new birth, not the cause or condition of it. --- John R.W. Stott
Rejection of political correctness is essentially rejection of mind control and thought control. That's the major reason its aim is to squash logical and well-reasoned speech; kill the speech, kill the presentation of ideas that might wake people up, or else people might in fact wake up and catch on. --- Michael Voris
Dear Brothers and Sisters
November 18, 2016
Bishops in The Episcopal Church are treading warily these days following the unexpected election of Donald Trump to be the next president of the U.S. Being liberals they were blown away at Clinton losing because her progressive views on a number of issues especially sexuality and their progressive theology on issues of sexuality happen to coincide.
Now they are in a quandary. At least 50 percent of the Episcopal Church's laity are old mainline blue blood Episcopalians who undoubtedly did vote for Trump and any criticism by the bishops of Mr. Trump will see the check books of the Old Guard close and they can't have that happening, especially as churches are closing and congregations are shrinking.
One has to be careful not to tell the ladies of the altar guild that sodomy is good and right in the eyes of God especially if she is yearning desperately for grandchildren. Clearly Mr. Trump is robustly heterosexual judging by his three marriages and other sexual conquests over the years to qualify as someone more in keeping with their worldview, if it is about sex, the economy and the future of Western Civilization.
So what are they to do now? Well follow me dear reader through the pluriform land beyond good and evil and benevolent dictatorships (because that is what most revisionist bishops have become, having torn, shredded and cowed their orthodox remnant into groveling acquiescence).
One bishop, Greg Rickel of Olympia said, "We woke up Wednesday morning either elated, or deeply troubled and sad. There seemed to be little in between. That disparity only further reflects the deep division in our land. Perhaps blood is not being spilled as gratuitously as it was during our Civil War, but civil war, in this generation's country, is still very real."
Yes, bishop you are right, and furthermore you and most of the HOB are on the wrong side of the divide.
Quoth Michael Curry, "As a Church, seeking to follow the way of Jesus, who taught us, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself," (Mt. 22:39) and to "do to others as you would have them do to you" (Mt. 7:12), we maintain our longstanding commitment to support and welcome refugees and immigrants, and to stand with those who live in our midst without documentation. We reaffirm that like all people LGBT persons are entitled to full civil rights and protection under the law. We reaffirm and renew the principles of inclusion and the protection of the civil rights of all persons with disabilities. We commit to the honor and dignity of women and speak out against sexual or gender-based violence. We express solidarity with and honor the Indigenous Peoples of the world. We affirm the right to freedom of religious expression and vibrant presence of different religious communities, especially our Muslim sisters and brothers. We acknowledge our responsibility in stewardship of creation and all that God has given into our hands. We do so because God is the Creator. We are all God's children, created equally in God's image. And if we are God's children we are all brothers and sisters."
Orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans will start believing the presiding bishop when he stops calling people who disagree with him about pansexuality hatemongers and homophobes. In fact, some secular and religious writers are suggesting that Christians might experience more freedom now, not less, under a Trump administration and won't be forced to bake queer wedding cakes and when they refuse to do so pay a fine or go to jail. Furthermore, if you keep allying the Jesus Movement with racism then it will go nowhere until you identify who the racists are in TEC. (We know plenty in the wider world). And where is the "religious freedom" clause in TEC itself these days? Are orthodox Episcopalians free to say that sodomy is wrong, the behavior has the possibility of passing along some 30 sexually transmitted diseases, without being yelled at for being homophobic! Clearly consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.
Chicago Bishop Jeffrey Lee did sound a more realistic note when he wrote, "We do know that many people are fearful and many others feel that they have been truly heard for the first time in years. The divisions in our country are on full display." That's a smart statement to make especially if you are resident in the Midwest that went solidly for Trump. East and West coast bishops were far more denunciatory of Trump's behavior and policies (without actually mentioning his name of course).
The buzzword by most of the bishops now and in the future, will be talk of reconciliation, but with who and whom? Curry will play up the Jesus Movement and TEC will march on into God knows where.
The Episcopal Church's seminaries are in desperate financial straits. If they are not merging to stay alive they are running out of cash.
Consider the latest debacle -The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. - is on the brink of closure and is shuttering its doors because it is burning too much cash. Trustees from the EDS released a letter this week that revealed staggering financial losses at the troubled progressive seminary.
According to Board of Trustees Chair Gary Hall and Vice-Chair Canon Bonnie Anderson, the October 27-29 trustees meeting on the seminary's Cambridge, Massachusetts campus "accepted the 2016 audit report which contained the sobering news that EDS's net assets decreased by $7.9 million (11%) in the last fiscal year." The deficit is nearly a third larger than EDS Board Treasurer Dennis Stark revealed in July, an amount that was already 30 percent "above a reasonable amount" according to the official.
This follows a decrease of nearly $6.5 million (8.5%) in 2015.
"As the fiduciary stewards of EDS's assets and mission, we are obviously dismayed at the size of EDS's losses, but the news has redoubled our commitment to finding a more sustainable and prudent future for the seminary by the end of fiscal year 2017," Hall and Anderson wrote.
Now the last seminary leader was a certain lesbian by the name of Kathleen Ragsdale who proudly proclaimed that "abortion is a blessing and our work is not done." Hardly a starter to bring in new students for the ministry. The school will cease to grant degrees at the end of the upcoming academic year.
"The school that has taken on racism, sexism, heterosexism, and multiple interlocking oppressions is now called to rethink its delivery of theological education in a new and changing world," said the Very Rev. Gary Hall '76, chairman of the board, in introducing the resolution. "Ending unsustainable spending is a matter of social justice."
Social justice! That's a new twist on an old theme. Translation: "Having abandoned anything to do with orthodox Christianity, we find that we have made ourselves completely irrelevant. If we spin our theological and financial bankruptcy as a sign of our virtue, maybe we won't look so bad," wrote Rod Dreher at that time.
You wonder why Hall, who was pretty well a disaster as Dean at the National Cathedral in Washington, doesn't make a phone call to Dr. Laurie Thompson, president pro tem at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA and ask him why his seminary is so successful, it being totally full of students and where the institution recently raised $12 million for ongoing building and faculty. The conversation might go something like this:
Hall: Why are you so successful Laurie?
Thompson: We believe in the Bible, that it is God's word written. We believe in the authority of scripture and marriage between a man and a woman. We do not believe abortion is a right and we believe the gospel should be preached to the ends of the earth and converts made and churches planted.
Hall: Good God man you still believe all THAT?
Thompson: Actually yes...and that is why we are growing and you are going out of business.
The train has definitely left Kansas and happily on board is the Bishop of Kansas Dean E. Wolfe who announced this week that he had a call to become rector of St. Bart's, New York City. This bishop also felt he had a call to be Bishop of Pennsylvania not so long ago but clearly the Lord felt he would be better suited for the Big Apple.
This upmarket well-heeled liberal church will fit him to a tee and he will feel right at home railing about social justice to Episcopalians who prefer their social justice laced with gin and tonics, filet mignon and bottles of chateau Neuf de Pap rather than talk of substitutionary atonement and the resurrection. He'll be in good company with the ultra-liberal New York Bishop Andrew M. L. Dietsche and lesbian Bishop Mary Glasspool. But if you want to hear an authentic understanding of the gospel then you might want to pop over to hear Tim Keller. Much better stuff.
A recent graph of the membership of St. Bart's shows that it dropped from about 5500 in 2014 to about 2100 in 2015 a loss of 3400 souls! Someone finally had the good sense to eliminate those from the rolls those who were now in graves, columbarium's, urns or just disappeared. It's pledge and plate has also dropped from a high of $3.75 million in 2006 to $2.5 million in 2015.
Is Presiding Bishop Michael Curry cleaning house at 815, the Church's national headquarters? You might think so. I suspect for the Jesus Movement to make headway he must clear out the old guard and bring in new Jesus Movement true believers.
Curry, recently suspended and then let go his right hand man, COO Bishop Stacey Sauls, and placed him on administrative leave along with two other senior church officers over what is being described as "misconduct in carrying out their duties as members of senior management of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society." The other two suspended officers are Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission Samuel McDonald, and Director of Public Engagement Alex Baumgarten.
No one was prepared to give information about the exact nature of the incident. However, VOL and IRD writer Jeff Walton believed it might have had something to do with the security tapes that were found by General Convention Executive Officer and Executive Council Secretary Canon Michael Barlowe at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, where the Executive Council was meeting last month.
A confidential source told VOL this week that it was Baumgarten who planted the device.
More recently Curry has announced other "retirements" which includes Peter Ng, Episcopal Church partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific; Angela Ifill, Episcopal Church missioner for office of black ministries and Kirk Hadaway, Episcopal Church officer for congregational research. It'll be interesting to see who if anyone replaces these folk.
This week GAFCON UK produced "The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10", a catalogue of breaches of the agreed approach on the vexed question of sexual ethics in the Anglican Communion. In particular the document stresses the culpability of leadership in their reluctance or refusal to act.
There has been a fair amount of discussion amongst evangelicals (of various stripes) over this so-called "name and shame list". The reality, at least according to GAFCON, is somewhat different.
The failure to uphold Lambeth 1.10 and properly discipline those who had violated it contributed to an atmosphere that legitimized these actions, spread their influence, and contributed to the later change in provincial liturgies and canons. This causation was well understood by clergy promoting the violation of Lambeth 1.10, and employed strategically.
Following its distribution amongst more conservative parishes in the CofE it found its way to Christian Today by opponents of orthodoxy and spun them as a "name and shame" list. The never-publicity-shy leaders in the Anglican LGBT movement have fed this deliberate misrepresentation in the Christian Today article, writes David Ould.
But a number of LGBT clergy raised fears the list could lead to targeting and abuse.
Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, a married gay vicar in London who regularly receives hate mail, said the list served "no other purpose other than to make us targets in some way".
Canon Jeremy Pemberton, another married gay priest named on the list, said it was "disgusting to try and target people like this".
Almost immediately Foreshew-Cain, Pemberton and many others made a point of publicizing their names on a list of "Proud Violators of Lambeth 1.10" and the LGCM (of which Pemberton is a trustee) announcing they were seeking names for a "Rainbow List" in response. Rather than fleeing from such lists of names they consider them a catalogue of proud defiance.
The report concluded with this, "To restore order and a credible Christian witness, the upcoming meetings of the House of Bishops and General Synod would need to not merely avoid going further in violating Lambeth 1.10, but it would need to take constructive steps to rectify the numerous public (and presumably private) breaches that have been strategically taken by some to undermine the teaching of the Communion."
That's the real issue here and the rainbow elephant in the room. The GAFCON report makes clear the inaction and therefore (no doubt unintentional) complicity by conservative leadership. The Bible and our ordination/consecration vows are more than clear on what should be done in the face of false teaching and openly sinful behavior in the church, says Ould.
One awaits with baited breath a response from Lambeth Palace.
When is a no, just a temporary no and then becomes a maybe and then becomes a full throated yes. Why in the Diocese of Upper SC of course where Bishop Andrew Waldo presides. He recently appointed a Task Force to examine General Convention's vote in favor of a provisional liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions. Waldo voted "no" on resolution (A049) with a process to articulate the boundaries "within which we can live in unity within this Diocese, even in our disagreements on this issue." Well a no is now a maybe and will undoubtedly, in time, be a yes. He set up a task force of mostly liberals to examine A049, so you know where this is going. No brain surgery needed. A no now becomes a yes, the Law of Non-Contradiction has now been lifted for the umpteenth time in TEC.
An academic survey study of 2,225 churchgoers in Ontario, Canada, conducted over five years by Wilfred Laurier University scholars revealed that people who interpret the Bible literally "helps increase church attendance."
The study finds conservative theology mixed with innovative worship approaches helps Protestant churches grow congregations.
"If we are talking solely about what belief system is more likely to lead to numerical growth among Protestant churches, the evidence suggests conservative Protestant theology is the clear winner," said David Haskell, the Canadian study's lead researcher.
The findings contradict earlier studies undertaken in the US and the UK, which attempted to discover the underlying causes of a steep decline in church attendance in recent decades but concluded that theology was not a significant factor. You can read my full report in today's digest.
Two people have been killed and many more injured following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the New Zealand town of Kaikoura this week. There have been almost 2,000 after-shocks since the main quake, which struck at two minutes past midnight on Monday (14 November) NZDT (11.02am, Sunday 13 November, GMT). A number of church buildings have been affected. And an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 landslides since Monday is combining with heavy rain to worsen the effects of the initial quake.
The Anglican Taonga website reports that the church bell tower at Waiau, in the diocese of Christchurch, has sheared off from the body of the church. And in Wellington, St Paul's cathedral was evacuated over fears that a nearby building may collapse. The cathedral itself survived intact; but its pipe organ has been severely damaged with pipework thrown over the choir area.
The diocese of Nelson has not been able to make contact with anybody in the parish of Kaikoura -- which bore the brunt of the quake. Phone lines to the region are down and road access destroyed.
The New Zealand Navy and Air Force have evacuated hundreds of people from the town using helicopters and the warship HMNZS Canterbury. Naval warships from Australia, the US and Canada, heading to New Zealand to take part in celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the New Zealand Navy, have diverted to Kaikoura to deliver aid and assistance to the remaining population.
"It is wonderful to hear from you and to know our friends are with us," Canon Robert Kereopa, the chief executive of Anglican Missions in New Zealand said in a conversation with the Anglican Alliance. "Thankfully reports thus far from Christchurch, Nelson, and Wellington dioceses all say everyone is OK.
"We are in good heart, and poised to give support where it is needed, but it will take some time to assess the damage, which is substantial."
The Anglican Alliance is calling on people to pray for the people of New Zealand.
The people of Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe are facing the risk of death as erratic weather, drought and crop failures have resulted in chronic food shortages. Hundreds of people have already died from malnutrition and that figure is set to rise substantially. One young person being confirmed in the diocese of Toliara in Madagascar collapsed in the arms of Bishop Tod McGregor as a result of dehydration.
The Anglican mission agency USPG has launched an emergency appeal to support Anglican Churches in the region, reports Gavin drake of the ACNS.
"People are weak and listless and sleeping every day without eating," Toliara diocese's development co-ordinator, Gasthe Alphonse, said. "Children have started to drop out of school through weakness or because they've got to walk further to collect water.
"People have been selling their animals to buy food they would normally grow themselves. Once they've sold their livestock, they have no other resources to buy food. Even those with little resources are struggling to feed their families as food and water prices are too high. People are eating cactus like animals to survive."
Earlier this month, the diocese reported that 230 people in the region had died and 15,000 children were suffering from severe malnutrition. They have set up an emergency response team to oversee relief efforts in the worst affected regions of Astimo-Andrefana, Anosy and Androy.
"Working through a network of 70 rural churches, food aid will be distributed to 7,000 people, with a particular focus on children and pregnant women," a USPG spokesman said. "In addition, 4,000 villagers will be trained in disaster preparedness, learning such skills as how to establish food storage centres and how to develop income generation projects. It is hoped the training will also give confidence so communities needn't feel like victims in their situation."
Like other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Malawi has had two consecutive bad harvests. Officials estimate that some 8.6 million people in the country will require food aid from December for more than six months as a result of the combination of flooding and drought.
There is a critical hunger situation and the government has declared an emergency. "In such times of hunger, food prices go up complicating the situation," USPG said. "As a result, people develop coping mechanisms that are risky and even counterproductive. In many communities, people are having one meal a day and children are dropping out of school due to hunger.
Eliminating discrimination in Canada one anus at a time. Canada's liberal government is introducing legislation to lower the age of consent for anal sex from 18 to 16, reports Anglican blogger David of Samizdat.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, apparently oblivious to evolution's mandate to reproduce, believes the change is dictated by evolution. It would be funny if she didn't take herself so seriously: "Our society has evolved over the past few decades and our criminal justice system needs to evolve as well."
I expect all this makes you as proud to be Canadian as I.
Here is what she said: "The Liberal government is moving to repeal a law that courts and critics have long said unfairly criminalizes the sexual activity of gay and bisexual men.
"Canadians expect their government and their laws to reflect their values," Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Tuesday after tabling legislation to repeal a provision of the Criminal Code on anal intercourse.
"Our society has evolved over the past few decades and our criminal justice system needs to evolve as well."
The law currently bans the sexual act, but there is an exception for heterosexual married couples and consenting adults of either sex over age 18, as long as it does not involve more than two people and is done without anyone watching.
Courts have found the provision to infringe on equality guarantees under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, since 16- and 17-year-olds can consent to all other forms of sexual activity.
The proposed legislation known as Bill C-32 would repeal section 159 of the Criminal Code and prevent charges being laid against those 16 and older who engage in consensual anal intercourse.
The legislation came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault his special adviser on LGBTQ2 issues.
The MP for Edmonton Centre will work with advocacy groups to promote equality for lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and two-spirited people -- a term used broadly to describe indigenous people who identify as part of the community.
Boissonnault, who is openly gay, will also explore the possibility of an apology to LGBTQ2 people whose lives and careers were disrupted by government policies over the decades, or even formal pardons for those convicted under laws now considered discriminatory.
The revenge of the deplorables. The ever-perceptive Sir Roger Scruton on why Trump won can be heard here.
Sir Roger FBA, FRSL is an English philosopher who specializes in aesthetics. He has written over forty books, including Art and Imagination, The Meaning of Conservatism, Sexual Desire etc.
Humanists in America are attempting to ban the practice of getting school children to fill shoeboxes with gifts to send to children in deprived parts of the world, writes Ruth Gledhill for Christian Today.
The American Humanist Association wants to stop Operation Christmas Child, run by Franklin Graham's organization Samaritan's Purse, from promoting the shoebox program.
The goals of the program include evangelism and discipleship.
The court case came in the official collection week for the shoeboxes, packed by children throughout the world with pens, coloring pencils, paper, small toys and other gifts for sending to countries in Africa and elsewhere.
The American Humanist Association filed the original lawsuit in 2014 and then appealed in February this Year saying that it violates First Amendment in the separation of church and state.
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