Kinlaw Message at Asbury Seminary–available soon

It was a delight to have such a good group from St Peter’s at Asbury Seminary last Thursday.  I was so proud–both ways–to show Asbury to St Peter’s and to show St. Peter’s to Asbury.  It was a great day, and a great message.  Audio and video of the sermons preached in chapel are available at iTunesU.  Search for “Asbury Theological Seminary”.   Unfortunately they are running about two weeks behind in their posting.  You will find quite a good collection there.

John Stott–Timely and On-Target

I continue to be amazed at Stott’s capacity to get straight to the heart of a complex matter.  We don’t hear much about Marx these days, but this issue has never been more alive and well, as the state assumes more and more power over our lives–and we submit ourselves willingly.  Only God gives human beings any intrinsic value.  The State is only interested in what we can contribute, to the collective, and ultimately to its masters.

“The basic question. The nature of man (i.e. what it means to be human) is arguably the basic political issue of the twentieth century [and 21st!]. It is certainly one of the chief points of conflict between Marx and Jesus, and therefore between the East and the West, namely whether human beings have any absolute value because of which they must be respected, or whether their value is only relative to the community, for the sake of which they may be exploited. More simply, are the people the servants of the institution, or is the institution the servant of the people? — John R.W. Stott

Thoughts on GAFON II from David Virtue

Some of you are familiar with Rev. David Virtue and his comprehensive blog

Here is one of his latest posts.

Dear Brothers and Sisters
September 27, 2103

There are many faithful Christians in the Anglican Communion – most of them are in provinces affiliated to GAFCON. It is a real faith, founded firmly on the Scriptures. But what can be said about the leadership of the western churches? They love to dress up in fine robes and consort with the powerful, the rich and the famous. Their public pronouncements always compromise and even belittle Christianity. They strain to secure the approval of the deeply decadent society of which they have become spiritual props, never questioning the latest assaults upon the gospel, but persecuting their own clergy and church people when they try to stand up for God’s Word. These leaders are ensuring that the churches in their provinces are emptying at an accelerating pace. So long as they keep their privileges, they don’t care, other than to check occasionally to see that enough money is coming in to keep up the empty facade of a former church hollowed out and echoing like the empty vault it has become. The historic state churches are doomed unless they turn back and reform themselves. There is no evidence whatsoever of that happening in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, Wales or even England. They are slipping away into the long dark night of history, remembered only in the pages of obscure academic journals. The future belongs with faithful, orthodox leaders, and with the new churches which they will one day plant in our midst as they evangelize the spiritual deserts of western society.

This is one very good reason why this reporter will be at GAFCON II with an accompanying reporter because that is where we believe the future of the Anglican Communion lies. Yes, we are aware that not all the Global South is on board with GAFCON II and there are those in the West who are exploiting that cleavage. But the story is far from told and we will tell it to the world.

The gospel is too precious to compromise. Is it any wonder that bishops and priests in the US and Canada forfeited pensions and parishes to make sure that the gospel would NEVER be compromised and that a witness, however small, is maintained…a candle here and a candle there, but never allowing the wind to blow it out.

Today we say thank you to those missionaries who took the gospel to Africa, sometimes with their own coffins, to plant the seed of the gospel. Though they never lived to see what we see today, we will always be eternally grateful for their witness to the truth. We who are left in the dying West can now look south and east and know that the flame of the gospel shines brightly.

“From Words to Word”

Please mark your calendars for a mini-retreat with Dr. Joe Dongell from Asbury Seminary, Saturday November 9th.  Joe is a New Testament professor, known to most of us from his ministry at St Andrews.

This retreat will focus on reading the Bible in light of its whole message.  John Wesley called this discerning the “whole counsels of God.” Joe suggested this subtitle for the retreat: “Re-Uniting a (too often) Shattered Bible.”

Most of the heresies that have afflicted the church through the ages have come as a result of an unbalanced reading of certain Scriptural texts, emphasizing one at the expense of others.  For this reason some have felt that it is dangerous for untrained people to read the Bible on their own.  But this is not the answer.  The key lies in learning how to read the Bible as a whole revelation of God’s character and purposes.

Joe is a gifted and engaging teacher.  I guarantee this will be a blessing.

We are still working on a location for the retreat.  There are several options within easy driving distance.  We will plan on starting at 8:30 with a continental breakfast and ending at 2:30.  A light lunch will be provided.

Being Faithful Today

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans have published a small booklet titled, Being Faithful Today: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today.  I recommend it as a good way to get caught up on where we are as a church.  One particularly significant section by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola addresses the question: “How did the Anglican Communion come to be so seriously divided?” You can download a PDF version of the booklet by clicking here.

Preparing for GAFCON II

Please pray for the second Global Anglican Future Conference to be held in Nairobi October 21-27.  It has been five years since the first GAFCON.  We now have a new Archbishop of Canterbury.  The former ABC resigned leaving the key issues unaddressed.  AB Welby will not have that luxury.  It does look like we are rapidly approaching the point of decision.  Here is a good article for detailed background as to what is at stake and why.  While it looks like the GAFCON primates are united in favor on biblical orthodoxy the forces of compromise have been very active infiltrating African dioceses.  All of these folks signed the Jerusalem Declaration five years ago.  I pray that this center will hold.