Address by Archbishop Dr Eliud Wabukala at the annual National Prayer Breakfast hosted by the President of Kenya

 

‘I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life that you and your offspring may live’ Deuteronomy 30:19

When we gather for the next Prayer Breakfast in twelve months time, I wonder what will be on our hearts. Will we be praising God for his mercy and enjoying the fruits of peace, or will we come grieving for a nation which is in turmoil and where the rule of law is breaking down? As we approach the General Election, the choice we face is not just between political leaders and parties. In fact I would say that is the less important choice. What really matters is the choice we make about how we will conduct ourselves and the attitudes that will control us.

In our reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, we heard the challenge given by Moses to the people of Israel as he nears the end of his life and they prepare to enter the Promised Land. He wants to impress on them that there is a choice to be made and it is matter of life and death. There is no middle ground between life and death and good and evil. We are going one way or the other. We have already had a warning of what death and evil looks like in our nation. After nearly fifty years of independence, there is much that we can thank God for, but these gains were nearly thrown away in the violence and savagery that erupted in our midst after the last General Election. Thousands of people were killed with impunity, severed heads were laid out along the roadside and great damage was done to our infrastructure.

 

I am sure we would all like to forget about these shameful and degrading things which happened in our beloved nation, but we need to face them without flinching or turning away. Denying the facts or blaming others may make us feel a bit better, but it will not heal the wound. Our Christian faith helps us to face these things because it also speaks to us of the reality of God’s power to save and restore and to give new life to those who know there need of him.

The shocking events of our recent past are a reminder that underneath the appearance of normality, there lurked deep hatreds and resentments. Longstanding tribal hostilities still smouldered and were ready to be fanned into flame by those who thought they could exploit them for their own ends. Have those attitudes of the heart been changed and dealt with? As I look at the way politics are being conducted in our nation, I fear they have not. We managed to negotiate a truce which has allowed life to get back to an appearance of normality, but we need more than a truce if Kenya is to be a stable and peaceful democracy. This is because there are two basic requirements for a democratic society.

Firstly, there must be respect for the rule of law. This law is grounded in the revealed nature of God himself and our laws owe much to the Christian tradition. The rule of law expresses the understanding that there are moral values and commitments which lie outside the democratic process because as creatures of the Creator we do not have a right simply to do as we please. Quite how that works out will vary in different times and places, but it is the basic understanding upon which democracy must work. Otherwise the democratic process will eventually degenerate into an electoral competition to see who will bury who.

Secondly, this respect for the rule of law must include the fundamental Christian belief that we are all created equally in the image of God. In this sense each human life is sacred from the womb to the grave irrespective of race, tribe, gender, socio-economic status and creed. No democratic mandate has the right to transgress this boundary.

How then can we strengthen our democracy as it faces the test of a General Election? Respect for the rule of law and for one another is a matter of the attitudes of the heart, not just self interest or habit. We need to look below the surface of things. Christians cannot call the truce we reached after the last General Election peace. True peace is much more than the absence of open conflict and the biblical understanding is found in the Hebrew word ‘shalom’ which means wholeness, things working as they should, as God intended. We are fallen creatures and the root of our problem is not to be found in education, social policies or development programmes, necessary though they are, but in the human heart. All our fighting and alienation from one another is ultimately because we are alienated from God. But God has made true peace, shalom, possible through repentance and faith in his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our sins.

If we know peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we must in turn be peacemakers and Jesus’ teaching in our second reading from the Sermon on the Mount takes us right to the heart of the matter. The peacemakers are the people Jesus calls blessed and sons of God. As God in Christ loves us, even though we are by nature his enemies, so we, like him, must love even our enemies.

Do you see how relevant this teaching of Jesus is to the practical matter of a strong democracy in Kenya? If a healthy democracy turns on respect for the law and for one another as created in God’s image, then loving our enemies is a radical way of showing both obedience to God and recognising his image in others, even those who may hate us.

So will you commit with me to take the lead in being peacemakers for our nation in this truly radical way? It is costly because it will mean walking the way of cross in repentance and loving those we find most unlovable, but think what a wonderful transformation it would bring to our beloved nation. Think for instance of how much more secure our democratic institutions would be if we learned to follow the way of Jesus’ radical peacemaking rather than using democracy just as a way of trying to keep the lid on our hostilities. Do you want to be known as those who had the moral courage and faith to change our nation’s story? We have a choice before us – between life and death, between blessing and cursing. Let us not harden our hearts. Choose life! Let us be obedient to the divine summons and show the world what a nation can become when it is blessed by the Lord our God.

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2012/05/31/address-by-archbishop-dr-eliud-wabukala-at-the-annual-national-prayer-breakfast-hosted-by-the-president-of-kenya/#more-61000

The Episcopal Church’s Persuasive Monetary Power


Church of England takes cue from The Episcopal Church in Culture Wars

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
The Episcopal Church is doing its best to export the church’s Culture Wars around the world. Its best hope for total success is the Mother Church – The Church of England.

TEC is also driving wedges, as best it can, into Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Africa, the Anglican Province of Southern Africa has been TEC’s biggest and best success story to date with everything from the acceptance and push for pansexual behavior to TEC’s new gospel of inclusion and diversity and socio-political salvation. Archbishop Thabo Magkoba is little more than a clone of TEC’s Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. TEC has staff appointments, in orthodox provinces like the Congo and Sudan, who are working as “missionaries.”

The Covenant might be dead, but making alliances and friends has not abated one bit. TEC’s Presiding Bishop is making sure that all Global South doors remain open in her attempt to persuade, cajole and get poor African provinces to buy into Western panAnglican liberalism with a little help from TEC’s Bank of Bottomless Financial Persuasion. (TECBBFP)

A good example of TEC’s power of positive financial inducement is the much-ballyhooed “Listening Process” designed to “listen” to the voices of a small but aggrieved group of gays, lesbians and transgendered types. The Listening Process had its genesis in the person of former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and is funded wholly by The Episcopal Church. The few voices of ex-gays are politely “listened” to, but not seriously taken into account. If they were, funding for the office for “listening” would quickly dry up.

One need only think historically what the enormous persuasive power of the almighty TEC dollar has done over the years to the Anglican Church of Mexico, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, (ACSA) the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, a number of Central American dioceses still under TEC’s grip, The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, The Anglican Church of Canada, the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council. TEC has poured millions of dollars over the years into these provinces and organizations, along with significant help from Trinity Wall Street, the richest church in the world, to persuade them that TEC’s “gospel” will enlighten them and get them a free ride to glory.

Only a few short years ago, the Episcopal Archbishop of Mexico and a fellow Mexican bishop absconded with $1.5 million dollars of TEC’s “mission” dollars. TEC did nothing about it. It is not without significance that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and The Rev. James Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, New York, where Beauvoir once worked were present at the recent ordination of the Rev. Ogé Beauvoir who became Haiti’s newest bishop suffragan at Ascension Church in Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Reportedly, a high-ranking Voodoo priestess was also present, which should also tell you a lot.

The new truth emerging is that the gravy train might be over. The largess once distributed so liberally to simpatico provinces and to leverage simpatico provinces might be coming to an end or at the least seriously diminished. Bishop Stacy Sauls, the Episcopal Church’s new CEO, talks of TEC being in a state of “crisis”.

Read More

Despite two attempts to ban, marriage colloquium went ahead

 

Christian Concern and the World Congress of Families hosted an inspiring marriage conference on Wednesday 23 May, despite extraordinary opposition to the event taking place.

The colloquium was cancelled by the Law Society for allegedly breaching its ‘diversity policy’. The event was then moved to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. Yet this Government owned venue also decided to ban the event for ‘diversity’ reasons, at 4.05pm, the afternoon before the conference was due to begin.

Concerns have been raised by many that supporting marriage between one man and one woman, which is still the current legal definition of marriage, is now considered ‘homophobic’ by those pursing the ‘equality and diversity’ agenda. This suggests that potential restrictions on religious liberty and freedom of speech are likely to be extremely severe if same-sex marriage is actually introduced as the law of the land.  Read here

Madagascar Bishop Pushes Evangelism, Education and Economic Development in New Diocese


Thousands respond to Gospel proclamation as evil spirits are cast out and Christ enters changed lives

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

The newly formed Missionary area of Toliara on the Island of Madagascar might not sound very exotic to Anglican ears as there are none of the scandals over homosexuality, property ownership and how to handle declining parishes and dioceses that plague Western Anglican provinces.

For Bishop Todd McGregor and his wife, the Rev. Patsy McGregor, it is a joyful challenge on how to bring the gospel to people locked in animism, traditional religions, and poverty on the fourth largest island in the world. There are 21 million people divided among 19 ethnic groups and 80% of the people live on less than a $1 a day. Mostly African traditional religions dominate the landscape with 40% being Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. The Anglican Communion is small but growing fast.

The McGregor’s have toiled in this Southern Madagascar vineyard, one of the poorest and most unreached places on earth, since 2007 and they love it even as deeply burdened as they are to bring the Good News of the gospel to people who desperately need it. Their task involves serving and coordinating the Anglican Church in an area the size of Florida. Because the area is so large, one of their main focuses is raising and training leaders who can serve the churches over this vast region.

In their ministry they have seen people coming to faith that include the village drunk and powerful witch doctors. They believe that in order to marinate the spiritual soil prayer is the foundation to all evangelism. They practice what they call “lifestyle evangelism” having lived in a slum for nearly four years. Behind where they lived a Satanic cultic church could be found. It is still there.

“People are in bondage to Satan because the Shaman offers healing herbs and ordinary folk can’t afford medicine. They dedicate their children and have a curse put on them,” says Patsy.

She recalled a manifestation of evil spirits on Maundy Thursday when all the clergy were together to rededicate themselves through their vows. “Someone came into the meeting manifesting several demons. Several were cast out and they named themselves as they were cast out.

Asked what she saw as their call to mission, she said it was the Word of God and the Great Commission.

The McGregor’s have labored in East Africa for over 20 years, first in Madagascar, and then Kenya, bringing the gospel of Jesus to whomsoever. In 2007 they returned to Madagascar, focusing their efforts on the most remote and poorest southern territories focusing on the ministry of the 3E’s of Evangelism, Education and Economic Development. Fr. Todd was consecrated the first bishop of Toliara at St. Laurent’s Anglican Church in Antananarivo, Madagascar on December 10th, 2006 under the Province of the Indian Ocean and its archbishop the Most Rev. Ian Ernest.

They told their story to the 500-strong evangelical Episcopal congregation of the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, PA recently. Todd is originally from Vermont. Patsy is from Florida. The McGregor’s sending companions are mainly from the USA, specifically the Diocese of Southeast Florida under Bishop Leo Frade and several parishes from The Diocese of Chicago.

The McGregor’s felt called to God’s mission to preach the Good News from their earliest years after they met and married. They began as a pioneer missionary family, beginning their work in the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar in 1991.

With excitement and some expectation, they watched their newly approved diocese grow with three new churches recently completed and dedicated. Bishop Todd consecrated a new church building on November 29, 2008 in Sakarana. All Saints Church in Morondava was dedicated November 1, 2008. A packed congregation worshipped on Christmas Day in Ankilifaly, with 200-300 in attendance, including youth and children. Discipleship groups continue to flourish, with a 6 am Morning Prayer group, Wednesday evening worship in English as well as several discipleship and small group gatherings throughout the week.

In March, 2009, the McGregor’s began a new partnership with SAMS-USA (www.samsusa.org) as a missionary sending agency. SAMS (South American Mission Society) is one of the most established Anglican/Episcopal mission agencies, supporting missionary families for 150 years

In 2009, they focused on the three 3E’s in the Diocese of Toliara. During that year they experienced over 300 Baptisms, 70 Confirmations and the establishment of five new church plants.

“Our Educational efforts included the training of 7 clergy/evangelists for ministry service, offering the Alpha program (an introduction course to Christianity originally founded in the UK) in two parishes to over 47 students, ongoing weekly English classes with 30-40 students, hosting a Saturday worship service in English and sponsoring 47 children for primary and secondary school education. As we continue to partner and assist those in the area, our Economic Development allowed the purchase of 60 acres for microenterprise farming, the start-up of two women-managed farming businesses and the receipt of an 11-acre ocean front tract for future development.”

The McGregor’s founded the ministry of People Reaching People in 1991. Initially, as a first year missionary family, their work began in the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar and expanded into remote areas of the eastern rainforest. This led them to southern Madagascar.

The Early Years

While in Madagascar, Todd and Patsy served with the Archbishop of the Indian Ocean and the Diocese of Antananarivo in a variety of different capacities: teaching at St. Paul’s Theological College, implementing, developing and constructing 11 health clinics; founding, administrating and constructing the School for Lay Ministry, constructing eleven new churches including the Cathedral in Mahajanga and church-planting the Ravinala Community: an international, ecumenical, English speaking church.

Ministry in Kenya

In 2002, the McGregor’s moved from Madagascar to Kenya to continue their ministry to the poorest of the poor in Eastern Africa and to the many nomadic and ethnic groups residing there.

Todd became the Director of Mission and Evangelism in Northern Kenya and an adjunct instructor of Church Growth, Evangelism, and Leadership at St. Paul’s United Theological College in Limuru, Kenya. Patsy managed and expanded St. Julian’s Centre, a retreat and conference center offering a beautiful and serene environment for renewal and refreshment. Together, they lead Kenyan and international short-term mission teams to some of the “least-reached” people groups throughout the world, including the Borana, Gabbra, Rendille, Samburu and Sakuye tribes.

Patsy was ordained as a Deacon on November 27th, 2005 and ordained a priest on September 3rd, 2006 by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, Anglican Church of Kenya. Rev. Todd was consecrated as the Assistant Bishop of Antananarivo and the first Bishop of Toliara at St. Laurent’s Anglican Church in Antananarivo, Madagascar on December 10th, 2006.

“The diversity of the people is one of the challenges as well as one of the blessings of being here. Christ has been faithful and the McGregor’s ministry has grown in five years from only 1 church and 10 worshiping communities, to over 25 churches.”

This year the partners are hoping to raise $300,000 to establish three new churches, a primary school, clergy housing, and to start building a cathedral for $250,000 that will seat 1,000 people.

Patsy has written two books describing their experiences serving in Africa, A Guest in God’s World and The Detour.

Asked what they see as their legacy, the bishop said, “That people come to know Jesus, training the next generation of Malagasy leaders and ultimately winning their adopted country for Jesus Christ. We invite you to partner along with us as we serve God in His ministry, vision and purposes for Eastern Africa and Madagascar.”

Both are driven by the testimony of William Carey, “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.”

For those wishing to support this dynamic and growing ministry you can help by sending a donation to SAMS-USA (www.samsusa.org) earmark it McGregor Ministry.

From a sermon on Pentecost – the Venerable Bede

From the learned monk and first historian of Christianity in England:

Behold how the Jewish feast of the Law is a foreshadowing of our feast today. When the children of Israel had been freed from slavery in Egypt by the offering of the paschal lamb, they journeyed through the desert toward the Promised Land, and they reached Mount Sinai. On the fiftieth day after the Passover, the Lord descended upon the mountain in fire, and with the sound of a trumpet and with thunder and lightning, He gave them the ten commandments of the Law. As a memorial of the giving of the Law, He decreed an annual feast on that day, an offering of the first-fruits, in the form of two loaves of bread, made from the first grain of the new harvest, which were to be brought to the altar. We already know that the Passover Lamb and the deliverance from Egypt foreshadow the death of Christ and our deliverance from sin, as it is written: “Christ our Passover Lamb is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor 5:7). He is the true Lamb Who has taken away the sins of the world (John 1:29), Who has redeemed us from the slavery of sin at the price of His blood, and by the example of His resurrection has shown us the hope of life and everlasting liberty. The Law was given on the fiftieth day after the slaying of the lamb, when the Lord descended upon the mountain in fire; likewise on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of our Redeemer, which is today, the grace of the Holy Spirit, descending in the outward appearance of fire, was given to the disciples as they were assembled in the upper room.

The height of the mountain, and the elevation of the upper room, both indicate the sublimity of the commands and of the gifts. At the sealing of the first covenant, the people remained at the base of the mountain, a handful of elders went partway up, and only Moses ascended to the summit. At the sealing of the second covenenant, the whole community of God’s people was gathered at the summit, in the upper room. For the observance of the Law was given to only one nation—“He hath not dealt so with any nation, neither have the heathen knowledge of His Law” (Psalm 147:20)—but the gifts of the Spirit to the Church are for the proclaiming of the Gospel to every living person on the face of the earth—“The LORD’s name is praised from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same” Malachi 1:11.

On the Jewish feast of Pentecost, there were to be offered to the Lord every year in perpetuity two loaves of bread, the first-fruits of the new harvest. So at the descent of the Spirit the Gospel was preached with power, and on that day many heard and believed and were baptized, and from men of every nation under heaven about three thousand souls were added to the Church, the first fruits of the new covenant. So every year on the feast of Pentecost, the Church baptizes, and so offers to the Lord an offering of the first-fruits of the redeemed from the face of the earth, an offering of both Jews and gentiles, as tokened by the two loaves.

Observe how the Law was given to the people of Israel on the fiftieth day of their journey to the Land of Rest that was promised to them in Canaan. So likewise, the grace of the Spirit was given to the people of the new covenant on the fiftieth day, that we might perceive that our journey is directed toward that Heavenly Country that is our Eternal Rest, our place of deep and abiding satisfaction. In the law, the fiftieth year was ordered to be called the Year of Jubilee. During that year, all debts were to be cancelled, all slaves to be set free, the very beasts of burden to be eased from their yokes, and the year given over to celebrating the Divine praises. Therefore, by this number is rightly indicated the tranquillity of that greatest peace when, at the sound of the trumpet, the dead shall be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed into glory. Then, when we are freed from every yoke of sin, and our debts, that is to say, our faults—have all been forgiven and cancelled, the entire company of the people of God will give themselves over to contemplating the Heavenly Vision, and the command of the Lord will be fulfilled: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

We would like to see Jesus

“Sir, we would like to see Jesus” Jn. 12:21
Sermon by Bishop Bethlehem Nopece of Port Elizabeth, South Africa to the FCA Leaders Conference

(PDF download here)

Alleluia, Christ is risen;
He is risen indeed, alleluia!    In the name of God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen….

We consider it a great privilege accorded to me to be able to give this address, for which I am grateful and indebted to you, particularly to Archbishops John and Peter. We become more than convinced that the Body of Christ is wider than we seem to perceive in our own individual corners where God has called us to bear witness to his name through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We bring with us greetings from the Church in Southern Africa, particularly the members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. While we acknowledge the fact that there are difficulties and hindrances in terms of numerical growth of those who boldly come forward to confess the power of Jesus as Lord, the quality of members shows a great determination to propagate and stand firmly on the truth of the orthodox teaching of gospel.

The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ according to John the evangelist focuses first on the Jews. He says to the Samaritan woman “You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (Jn.4:22). The inquiry of the Greeks brings his ministry and plan of salvation at a cross roads because the Jews do not believe. He came to his own, and his own received him not, and to all those who believe he gave the right to become children of God (cfJn.1:11f). God’s kairos has come for the salvation of the nations through the cross. Judgment ushers in on the world and its prince, the devil. Unbelief is condemned (cf.Jn.3:18). Salvation of humankind is accomplished through the cross. This must be made known by the confession of the lips and faith of the heart to bring many to fellowship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom.10:9-10).

Salvation is inevitable and necessary. Three things come to the fore, namely, the prophetic message, the authentic and orthodox teaching, and the propagation of the Lordship of the risen Christ.

1) Israel as the custodian of God’s Law (Tôrâh) has failed to bring salvation to the world and show forth God’s glory as a result of sin. The prophet Jeremiah says Israel has committed two sins: They have forsaken God, the spring of living water; and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water (Jer.2:13). Their priests did not ask “where is the Lord?” Those who interpret the Law did not know God, except their own reason. The leaders rebelled against the Almighty; the prophets prophesy Baal, exchanging their glory for worthless idols in following the desires and devices of their won hearts. Indeed as Cranmer rightly states “there is no health in them” (Jer.2:8, 11). This is true of our world today. Sadly, more to this is the ‘revisionist’ theology which seeks to strip the power of the gospel for the obscurity of the powerful name of Jesus, his incarnation and resurrection.
2) God sends eye witnesses of his majesty to confess the power of the risen Christ and his coming without any clever and reasonable arguments of human intellect, propagating the Beloved Son of God to those who believe until the morning star shines in their hearts (2 Peter 1:16ff). They prophesied not out of their own intellectual ability, but spoke the genuine Word of God as the Spirit bade them utterance (2 Peter 1:20f).
3) This is the confession of the Word made flesh, and dwells among us full of grace and truth (Jn.1:14). ‘Of grace’ because God ‘so loved and gave’ and did so sacrificially so that those who believe should no perish but have everlasting life (Jn.3:16); ‘and truth’ because human nature is fallen and needs to be redeemed and transformed by the “Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world” (Jn.1:29).

The challenge before us first and foremost is that ‘we have this gospel to proclaim’. This proclamation demands confession of the lips. There is a wise saying that ‘when good people keep silent, evil thrives’.

We are therefore called:

• To assemble the people of God first and foremost to prayer regularly, just as Jesus prayed, especially in Jn. 17 as he puts the unity of believers before the Father;
• In obedience to the Mandate Christ has given us (Mtt.28:16-20), we derive passion for those who are still not ‘in Christ’ for a new creation and new character (cf. 2 Cor.5:17). There is always new life with a new start with our God;
• All false teaching of the ‘new age’ should be abhorred and resisted at all costs by visibility and being vocal in gracious words of witness both in church, learning institutions and communities. Here we must be set to always poke our noses by calling for partnerships, wisely cultivated on our terms in obedience to the Law of Christ ‘love one another’ and ‘God so loved the world’;
• Chastity should be upheld in our teaching, promiscuity and homosexual practice be resisted at all costs and moral code be upheld according to the Scriptures as God commands us in a world where good (agathon) moral behaviour continues to decline and evil (kakon) cherished(cf.1 Cor.6:9-10) Homosexual practice and those affected by the preference should be our compassionate pastoral concern for transformation of character with the love Christ has loved us with;
• Lines of communication and networking should be strengthened by these conferences in particular, on regular basis to strengthen and encourage one another in prayer and sharing of pain and success stories;
• The poor and oppressed will always be our concern in implementing poverty eradication programmes and bring healing, peace and harmony to all God’s people for cherished freedom and better life for all.

In conclusion let me say, as Keating rightly points out, it is not so much what we do but what we are that allows God to be visibly live in the world. When the presence of God emerges from our inmost being into our faculties, in whatever we do, whether walking down the street or drinking a cup of soup, an opportunity for divine life to pour into the world is created. It is therefore, up to us to make maximum use of it. Christ must be made known for transformation and salvation of the world, again and again, as the Spirit bids us utterance. History encourages us that this church has been saved by mission and evangelical call to be on track again in obedience to the demands of the gospel as handed down to us by our forebears (cf. Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, etc).
“Sir, we would like to see Jesus”, said the Greeks.

May the Lord bless you as he blesses his Church!

New Church of England Evangelical Council statement on marriage explodes popular modern heresy

By Peter Saunders, CMF

The Church of England Evangelical Council has published a statement on marriage which is well worthy of study.

The St Matthias Day Statement (14 May 2012) is an update of the 1995 St Andrew’s Day Statement on homosexuality and seeks to help Anglicans understand their church’s teaching in the area of marriage and sexual relationships and its relevance today.

It does so by providing a five-fold summary of that teaching based in Scripture and Anglican tradition under the following headings:

1 – God’s love and call to love
2 – God’s Word and Church
3 – God’s gift of marriage
4 – God’s grace and call to holiness
5 – God’s people united in and by God’s word

As would be expected the statement takes a very high view of Scripture and is unambiguous about taking the whole of Scripture seriously.

I was particularly struck by the principles in section 2 which need far wider promulgation, especially 2b which addresses a major heresy in the church today.

The essential flaw of this heresy is that it tries to affirm ‘God is Love’ (I John 4:8) whilst ignoring ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments’ (I John 5:3).

The commandment to love our neighbours (Exodus 19:18) cannot be used to justify sexual sin.

Read here

Pretoria church closes after death threats: report

 

A man reads a Bible. File photo.
Image by: Sydney Seshibedi

The Anglican cathedral parish of St Albans in Pretoria has closed its doors because of death threats, confrontations, disruptions and allegations of corruption against its bishop, according to a report on Saturday.

One priest who feared for his life had already resigned, the Saturday Star reported.

The church leadership under Bishop Johannes Seoka wrote to parishioners informing them of the closure and suspension of all forms of worship with immediate effect on Thursday.

“Unfortunately the action will affect all those whose intention it is to disrupt the cathedral worship and the innocent ones,” the church was quoted as saying.

On Friday, members of the cathedral vowed to fight the closure and urged parishioners to come and worship outside the premises.

According to the report members were also consulting with lawyers to seek an urgent court order to force Seoka to reopen the church gates before Sunday.

The bishop, who is also the president of the SA Council of Churches, was accused by church members of misappropriation of cathedral funds, dishonesty, breach of trust, corruption and fraud.

The accusations were contained in a letter signed by two priests, two church wardens and a parish councillor and sent to Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, the newspaper reported.

They alleged that Seoka had used R500,000 of the Diocese of Pretoria to pay for a mortgage bond for him and his wife. They also claimed that Seoka had misappropriated R162,000 to be used to fund legal representation against a church dean.

Seoka said the allegations had nothing to do with the closure.

THE LEADERS CONFERENCE

People of North Carolina Victims of Ugly Elitism from Gay Episcopal Leaders


Pro-Gay Episcopal Bishops come out in support of Obama’s stance on gay marriage

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

The State of North Carolina dealt a fatal blow this week to same sex marriage and civil unions with the passage of Amendment One, arguing that marriage shall remain exclusively between a man and a woman. The media says they’re all “bigots”. Apparently, they were driven by a typically Southern hatefulness. Supporting gay marriage has become a kind of cultural signifier, a way of distinguishing oneself from the ignorant throng.

In the intensively divided America of 2012, being against gay marriage can now be seen almost as an act of political rebellion against a faraway elite which fears and loathes anyone who is not like them.

The Episcopal Church’s leading lesbian (the Rev.) Susan Russell called the vote a “shameful exercise of ballot-box bigotry in North Carolina.” She looked with disgust upon the people of North Carolina for voting in favor of Amendment 1 by an overwhelming 61 per cent. The amendment to the state’s constitution says, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

Her racist remarks, equating being gay with being black, are highlighted by the fact that most blacks in the state supported the Amendment. So much for conflating “homophobia” with racism. Of course, gays and lesbians will stop at nothing to import their behavior into the church. They don’t mind who they trample on to get their way. Anyone who opposes their behavior is, of course, homophobic and should be consigned to their version of hell – presumably, with no partner at all. Anyone who opposes their agenda is automatically a bigot and full of hatred and subject to much ridicule.

Take the case of Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church who called effeminate behavior “ungodly”. Russell would have none of it. She accused him of being “the bully in the Bully Pulpit.” She said he was advocating child abuse when all he was doing was trying to give an illustration, very poorly it seems, of a father with a son showing effeminate tendencies and urging him to nip it in the bud. Russell accused him of turning religion into a weapon of mass destruction aimed at LGBT people.

The Episcopal organization Integrity USA joined Equality North Carolina in describing the amendment to gay marriage in the state as discrimination in its highest form.

Following the vote, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, said he opposed Amendment One because he believes all people are created in the image and likeness of God and that all are, therefore, to be accorded the rights and dignity that befit a child of God. Why people with same sex attractions should be given special treatment he did not say bearing in mind that for 2,000 years such “attractions” were viewed as soul destroying and kingdom denying.

“My concern for the hurt and harm that this amendment may cause remains,” said the bishop. “That includes hurt and harm to unmarried victims of domestic violence, unmarried couples – gay or straight, senior couples and children.”

The bishop did not say why domestic violence should suddenly rise because single people or those with same-sex attractions cannot marry must remain a mystery. VOL explored this position here http://tinyurl.com/c25cvtr

At least 24 Episcopal priests in the Diocese of North Carolina signed a letter opposing the anti-gay-marriage amendment.

EPISCOPAL BISHOPS & GAY LEADERS RESPOND

Not surprisingly, a slew of bishops, gay clergy and laity emerged from the Episcopal woodpile to express their support for President Obama’s new found “evolutionary” stand on gay marriage.

“The President’s change of heart will come as no surprise to Integrity members who have seen miracles of transformation as those close to us and in the wider Church have had their hearts and minds touched by the Holy spirit working through LGBT people and our allies,” noted The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall, Integrity President.

Interim Integrity Executive Director, Rev. Harry Knox opined that the leader of the free world has finally endorsed what Louie Crew and Ernest Clay began to model on behalf of gay and lesbian Episcopalians when Integrity was formed in 1974. “Beloveds, we LGBT folk and our allies taught him (Obama) to do that. Our struggle is not over, but today is a very good day”.

Integrity Vice President, the Rev. Jon M. Richardson said he was grateful to President Obama for his vocal support of marriage equality. “This growth and forward movement in his thinking is particularly heartening after the unsurprising, but disappointing vote yesterday for continued discrimination in North Carolina. Integrity remains committed to realizing full marriage equality both in our church and in the wider society, and we are happy to welcome the President’s support. While some churches and local governments are holding fast to socially irrelevant and outdated political positions, we are proud to lift up the Episcopal Church as a growing beacon of hope for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people of faith and our allies.”

Washington Bishop Mariann Budde, commenting on President Obama’s “evolution” on marriage equality, stated, “I want to thank President Barack Obama for his forthright description of how he came to change his mind on the issue of marriage equality. While some commentators are dismissing the President’s “evolution,” the fact is that many of us have a similar story to tell. We grew up in social and spiritual traditions that taught us that same-gender orientation was a perversion, was a sin. Yet over time, and in relationship with people whose lives and examples contradicted our assumptions, we came to a different conclusion. Eventually, we came to realize that the sacred traditions we thought were opposed to same-gender relationships had much to say in support of them.She indicated she will “allow and encourage” clergy to officiate at civil marriage ceremonies.

Not surprisingly, the three bishops of the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, The Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce and the Rt. Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspool came out saying “they fully endorsed marriage equality and welcomed the growing public understanding and appreciation of same-sex couples living as faithful families worldwide. We particularly applaud the statement made by President Obama earlier today and will continue to pray and work for the respect of every human being with dignity, justice and peace for all.”

Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, says he is grateful and proud that Obama is supporting gay marriage. Robinson said that the president is aligning himself on the right side of history. He was thrilled that Obama mentioned children with gay parents who attend school with his daughters who are not treated equally.

One bishop who tentatively raised his head over the gay ramparts in mild opposition to the ascendant gay Episcopal mob was Springfield Bishop Daniel H. Martins who observed, “I feel constrained to not let it go unsaid that what is called “marriage equality” by those who advocate for it is not merely the extension of the rights widely understood to be associated with a familiar societal institution to a segment of the population that, until now, has been unjustly denied those rights, but, rather, a thorough redefinition of the institution itself.”

He concluded with, “For the record, I support civil partnership laws, and access to inheritance, power-of-attorney, hospital visitation, etc. etc. for those in same-sex relationships. But surely there must be some way to guarantee these rights without redefining ‘marriage’ beyond plausible recognition.”

New York episcopal Bishops Mark Sisk, Andrew M.L. Dietsche and Andrew Smith each expressed support for marriage equality. “I welcome President Obama’s expression of support for marriage equality for gay and lesbian people. Given that equality before the law is a fundamental principle of our republic, it seems to me that our President has reached an eminently appropriate conclusion,” wrote Sisk.

“In earlier statements I have made known my support of marriage for gay and lesbian people. I am convinced that this support is entirely in keeping with the familiar call to respect the dignity of every human being. It is, moreover, in accord with our Lord’s promise that we are all, fully and equally, beloved children of God.”

NY Bishop-elect Dietsche commended President Obama for his public statement supporting the legality of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. “There is a clear and growing majority in America which believes that marriage equality is fair and just, and that it is a moral imperative for a country founded on principles of the equality of all people. We in New York can justly take pride that our state has been a pioneer in providing this equality under the law, and in the Diocese of New York we rejoice with all those who have found, in these new freedoms, the public validation of loving relationships that in many cases represent decades of shared joys and sacrifices.

“At our General Convention this summer our own church will consider new liturgies for the blessing of same sex relationships. Happily, in New York, such blessings have long been part of our common life. We pray for the Episcopal Church as it gathers in Convention that it will hear the courageous declaration of our president, the convictions of our own bishop, and the witness of those who have already found comfort, joy and solace in our marriage equality laws, as we work together toward true equality for all people in a church which follows our Lord Jesus. It was he who taught us that in every person we may find the face of our God, and that in every marriage we may hope to see “a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world.”

Bishop Smith has heartily endorsed the initiative and action of President Obama in affirming the appropriateness of marriage between persons of the same sex.

Bishop Scott B. Hayashi of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah commented, “When I heard the news I was very happy with it. I applaud President Obama for being very brave to make such a statement. We welcome all people. If the person is gay or lesbian, we welcome them among us. If a person does not believe in gay or lesbian marriage, they are welcome among us.”

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Episcopal Bishop of Olympia, addressed the human factor in reacting to Obama’s support. “As I reflect on the many I know who have been examples of devout and committed love for one another and for their families,” said Rickel, “I am most grateful for his willingness to share his convictions.”

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina observed that Obama’s embrace of same-sex marriage isn’t likely to alter the ongoing theological and social debate in his church, a debate that has roiled the church over the past 30 years.

“I don’t think it is going to add anything significant to the discussion,” said Bishop W. Andrew Waldo. “I think we are already so deep in this conversation that it is not going to affect us.”

America’s cultural elite as expressed in the sophisticated realm of Episcopal Church leaders has spoken. With little opposition, they are united for the world’s pansexual agenda, ignoring Scriptural commands opposing sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

At yet another level, gay marriage has become a tool through which the right-minded sections of society and certain church leaders express their moral superiority over the dumb, the brainwashed, the insufficiently cosmopolitan, and the churchgoing. People like Susan Russell live in a permanent state of high anxiety at any opposition to the Episcopal Church’s new found sexual zeitgeist and use Gay marriage as a weapon to demonstrate that they are better – that is, less brainwashed and more caring – than your average redneck or country hick.

As one British newspaperman wrote, “Supporting gay marriage has become a kind of cultural signifier, a way of distinguishing oneself from the ignorant throng.”

THE THEOLOGY OF BARACK OBAMA

“When [Michelle and I] think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule and treating others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as President, and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband, and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.”

The use of the Golden Rule to uphold gay marriage does not hold up.

An article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy written by three scholars said that as a moral reality, marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is naturally fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together, and renewed by acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction. They further argued that there are decisive principled as well as prudential reasons for the state to enshrine this understanding of marriage in its positive law, and to resist the call to recognize as marriages the sexual unions of same-sex partners.

“Besides making this positive argument for our position and raising several objections to the view that same-sex unions should be recognized, we address what we consider the strongest philosophical objections to our view of the nature of marriage, as well as more pragmatic concerns about the point or consequences of implementing it as a policy,” the article concluded.

One of the reasons the Anglican Church in North America came into being was due to TEC’s opposition of the plain reading and teaching of Scripture that all sexual behavior be restricted to one man and one woman in marriage. That has not changed in 2,000 or 6,000 years.

It is also why the vast majority of the Global South Anglican provinces have united against pansexual Western Anglicans. They will have no truck with the enlightened “revelations” of sexual immorality to which they object. They are growing churches with a clear understanding of the gospel, while the West slowly dies without one.

Russell says she takes her cues from Jesus. “Jesus never said a single word about anything even remotely connected to homosexuality,” she says.

True, he didn’t, and he didn’t have to. It was enough that he said that God made them male and female and closed the sexual matrix forever. The once married with children Russell says, if Jesus were here today, he would celebrate committed, same-sex relationships. Nonsense. At no point would Jesus affirm present day experience over His authority. Jesus repeatedly affirmed the law of the Old Testament and said he fulfilled it himself. What he demanded of his disciples was obedience, an obedience that might lead even to a cross. We sacrifice our desires, not uphold them. Ms. Russell’s “gospel” and her views on sexuality are a mockery of the gospel and will ultimately destroy the Episcopal Church.