An Anglican Witness

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Jesus Movement

Led by its Presiding Bishop,
The Episcopal Church has
embarked on an adventure
called, “The Jesus Movement.”

According to Wikipedia,
the title originated in the 60s
for a congress of hippies and
so-called “Jesus freaks.”

Ageing baby boomers will
remember the groups at their
colleges which were a mixture
of Pentecostals and Evangelicals.

That Jesus Movement and
its name vanished in the 70s
and the name has now been
appropriated by TEC.

The new Jesus Movement
seems to be aimed at
developing a spiritual
relationship with Jesus.

The video of Bishop Curry
walking down Fifth Avenue,
speaking to an invisible audience
does not offer clarity.

TEC has instituted a five point
series which is supposed to
teach us to become loving,
liberating, and life-giving.

One might observe that such
is already the principal task
of church, to educate and prepare
us to follow Jesus in our lives.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Evangelicals -- Who Are We?

In the first third of her mammoth tome,
“Evangelicals, Struggle to Shape America,”
Frances Fitzgerald traces the origin
of the term, Evangelicals.

She writes that Evangelicals
are an early 20th Century
spinoff from fundamentalists
and their unscientific beliefs.

Apparently, the name did not
emerge until the Billy Graham
revivals and his founding of the
magazine, Christianity Today.

The term also was used at
the Lausanne Movement Conference
held in 1974, and the ensuing efforts
of John Stott and J.I. Packer.

People did not identify
as Evangelicals until recently,
still calling themselves members
of a specific Christian denomination.

It was a system of beliefs
that coalesced into Evangelicalism,
regardless of the denomination
in which they worshipped.

Evangelicals are now found in
all the mainline denominations
in varying degree, and are the
norm in a few large ones.

Simply put, Evangelicals believe
that the bible is the guide to salvation
and the moral code has to be viewed
in the light of the New Testament.

Evangelicals concentrate on three tasks:
conversion, bringing people to God,
discipleship, learning Christianity, and
service, practicing their faith in the world.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Gnostic Gospels

October 10, 2017

Gnostic Gospels

We have recently been treated
to exposition of the so-called
Gnostic gospels, without any
announced purpose for their review.

All we laymen know about them is that
a rather large number of early Christians
wrote sayings attributed to Jesus that
never made it into the New Testament.

It is easy to see why, in that their
efforts are obviously made up and
wholly lacking the clarity and majesty
of the included passages in the bible.

That still leaves the question as to
why the sudden interest in them.
Could it be inspired by a resistance
to the present contents of the bible?

It is well-known that the bible is
not kind to persons who prefer a
lightweight Christianity which
makes no demands in their lives.

Episcopalians partly solve this
problem by deleting verses from
the daily lectionary that are not
in sync with modern secular mores.

They cannot rewrite the bible,
but perhaps they can add excerpts
from the ancient writings that are
more acceptable to their congregants.

If so, playing up the wisdom of the
Gnostic gospels, and other sources
continues the drive to refashion a
religion far from its origin.

October 30, 2017

Yes, indeed, some biblical scholars are promoting an alternative New Testament, replacing or erasing passages which they believe are offensive. Their publications are based on early Christian writings which are generations removed from the eyewitness accounts in the presently accepted bible. The objective seems to be compiling a New Testament closer to contemporary mores and values. This helps to explain why TEC is not a biblically-centered denomination.

The problem is that our "progressive" clergy are already preaching the Gospel According to Rob Bell. The lectionary has been edited to omit bible verses that are offensive, as you pointed out. On the agenda is a rewrite of the BCP, which will probably include non-biblical rites. Next, the non-canonical writings may be approved for use in our worship services. Then you have a rewritten Bible, something that has not occurred for nearly two thousand years!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Social Justice

What is social justice?
everyone is for it,
no one is against it, but
no one knows what it is.

We know that “social”
means interrelationship
of people in society, in
groups large and small.

We are afraid that justice is:
“Bring in the guilty SOB,
so we can give him a fair trial,
then take him out and hang him!”

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said,
in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what
I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."   
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you
can make words mean so many different things.”

And that’s exactly what social justice is:
a concept that the user claims to follow
when only he or she knows what it is
supposed to communicate to the recipient.

It could be like Mrs. Pardiggle in
Dickens’ Bleak House who visited
the poor to aid them and also demonstrate
her superiority to the unfortunate.

Social justice has also been applied
to the redistribution of wealth, which
demonizes the rich, and often showers
undeserved benefits on the masses.

Even worse is the notion that
all persons are entitled to equal results
in their endeavors, rather than equal
opportunity to achieve them.

These and many other definitions
and derivations are covered in
extraordinary length in the article
on social justice in Wikipedia.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Takeover of TEC

The time is ripe to advocate.
organize, and mount a takeover
of The Episcopal Church and
restore its traditional beliefs.

TEC is bankrupt in ideas
and finances, rudderless, and
losing its grip upon a declining
number of members in the pews.

Fourteen years ago, a small
group of “progressive” activists
inflicted an agenda upon us that
destroyed the Anglican communion.

Since then, the rites and practices
of The Episcopal Church and its
cohorts have strayed further from
biblical and traditional beliefs.  

Now the novelty of same-sex
weddings, open communion, and
abandonment of repentance has
marginalized a once stately church.

Only a sturdy minority of such
clergy as The Community Partners
keeps the flame of orthodoxy alive
in its disparate jurisdictions.

They and concerned laity can be
the force of renewal, loudly
proclaiming truth and demanding
reversal of false doctrine.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Episcopal Evangelicals

Most people would think that
the term, “Episcopalian Evangelicals”
is an oxymoron, and that such
persons really cannot exist.

Not so, quite a few are
alive and well and singularly
untroubled by the ambiguity
of their position in their church.

First, there are the ancients,
those lifelong Episcopalians
who cling to a local parish
that they know and love.

It is not that they have
accepted the progressive
theology of the denomination,
they simply ignore it.

In some parts of the country,
notably New England,
there are few alternatives
to the Episcopal liturgy.

Therefore, our evangelicals
show up in Episcopal churches
to worship God and participate
in the community activities.

Greater numbers of
Episcopal Evangelicals
are found in traditional
parishes and dioceses.

Their parishioners take
the position of the leaders
of same who are committed
to traditional beliefs.

Then there are those clergy
who cling to their positions
in order to protect their
lifelong Episcopal pensions.

We cannot be critical of
any of these Evangelicals
because they represent a
stand against apostasy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Update at St.David's

February 1, 2017

Update at St. David's

Our little Episcopal church
is  energetically continuing to
dig a hole already dug, without
much thought about the future.

They received a 10K grant
from the diocese and a
bequest of 35K from some
dear old soul who passed on.

Facing a budget deficit of 46K,
they decided to give away 33K
while at the same time drawing
55K from endowment funds!

Our new lady rector started off
on the right foot by returning
the Sunday service to Rite 2
of the Book of Common Prayer.

Then, apparently, the elders
talked her into reverting to a
sappy service stolen from the
Australian prayer book.

At rhe annual parish meeting,
she announced that she did not
want to hit the endowment again
to cover a planned deficit of 64K.

As the only way to avoid that
is to attract new members,
virtually nothing is planned to
market the church to reach them.

Meanwhile, the rainbow flag
and the Episcopal flag droop
listlessly from the message
board in front of the church.

The elders are seeking a grant
from the town to restore the
"historic" Mission house
used as office and thrift shop.

The building is a fire trap
that is falling apart, and could
never be rebuilt without tearing
it down to the foundation.

A few strangers have been
seen at the Sunday services,
apparently interested in seeing
and hearing the new preacher.

It is possible the present menu
of a dumbed down Catholic mass
is as much Christianity that the
unchurched will accept.

My advice to the rector was
simply, "Tend your flock."
Her concern for the people
is the best draw for new members.