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Archive for June, 2008

… and I love the idea of a new Anglican “See” in Jerusalem.

From GAFCON.

We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.

  1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
  2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
  3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
  4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
  5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
  6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.
  7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
  8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
  9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
  10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
  11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
  12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
  13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
  14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.

 

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I’ve been here in Belfast only six months, but there are quite a few things I have learnt here already, praise God. Here, I’ve tried to summarise 10 basic pastoral principles that I’ve been taught or shown. I hope they will be useful.

1.- Keep fighting for Holiness

Don’t assume sanctification becomes easier
Know thyself
Be accountable to at least two other people
Deliberately avoid “tempting” scenarios
Watch life and teaching
Follow the Puritan example: see Satan and hell as very real
Spend as much time in prayer as possible

2.- Don’t abandon your family

3.- Don’t exploit people; don’t be exploited.

4.- Balance preaching-prep with people-time

don’t just share the Gospel, share your life (1 Thess. 2.8)
Time management important: get admin and prep work done, -spend time with people!
Learn to prioritize

5.-Practice what you preach (e.g.- also wash the dishes, serve coffee; don’t think you’re too good to do that work!)

6.- Disciple Christians and train new leaders

7.- Practice Hospitality, and encourage others to do so.

8.- Expect the unexpected: for better or for worse, people will always surprise you

9.- Be compassionate, but carry out discipline

10.- Don’t teach “mere application”, teach and (attempt to) model a world view, a counterculture in direct contrast to the secular and neopagan ideologies that surround us

Any more? Go ahead and discuss in comments.

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Beyond Air Guitar

Christ and the Arts: thought about, discussed and practice. Or certainly, that seems to be the attempt, here:

Beyond Air Guitar

A great quote:

In the same way just as God is creative so we are creative. There is no need to justify our creativity. To make art is as human an activity as eating a meal, going to sleep or enjoying being with family. Art is a gift from God, poured lavishly upon us and in making art we fulfil something of our purpose on this earth as human beings.

We are not just free to create, however: we have a mandate. As those made in the image of God we must be creative. Just as we are spiritual, physical, moral, relational and social beings so likewise we are creative. To suppress our creativity is tantamount to denying our humanity. This does not give license to acts of creativity that are irresponsible or harmful. By no means, the gift of creativity is given that we might praise God and bless (bless = enlarge) His creation, including one another.

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Here are a few quotes from Chadwick’s book on Augustine, regarding his ecclesiology. Please note how Augustine sees the relationship between the Scriptures, the Sacraments and the Church. A lot of this is a summary of previous posts.

I post on this, because Anglicanism has been called “Reformed Augustianism, (I agree) and I believe Augustine’s views are very close to those of the Magisterial (and english) Reformers, and should be looked at, since it seems most present-day protestant churches have a rather confused ecclesiology.

Very informative, though don’t take this as a “blanket” endorsement (emphasis mine).

Unity, Catholicism and Sacraments

[…] the parables of the kingdom (Matt. 13) taught the in the Lord’s field both wheat and tares should be left until the harvest of the last judgement. Therefore, no scandal could ever be sufficient ground to introduce division and to leave the one Church. […]

Among the signs of a true believer Augustine specified that he would always love the Church, warts and all […] the errors of individual bishops could not bring pollution on a community or upon episcopal succession. The grace of God did not depend for its efficacy on the personal sanctity of the individual minister, but on whether he did what God commanded to be done and thereby showed himself aware that in his sacramental action the whole Church is acting. For every act of the Church is catholic, universal. The sacrament is Christ’s, not the minister’s personal property, and salvation is always and throughout the work of God, not of man. Therefore a sacrament of baptism bestowed by an orthodox but schismatic priest must on no account be repeated. Baptism has stamped the soul with a decisive once-for-all seal, just as Christ died once-for-all to redeem. Admittedly, baptism given in schism could not be fully a means of grace until the recipient had been reconciled to the Church.

Apostolic succession mattered to the African Catholics too, for it was the external form that helped to safeguard the sacred tradition of apostolic teaching and sacraments.

However, in the context of the Donatist controversy note this comment:

Donatist language about the ordained ministry as the supreme guarantee of their sacraments seemed to Augustine to presuppose a much too clericalized notion of the Church. The ministry had a very necessary service to perform. Ordination was a sanctification of the Holy Spirit. It was self-evident that the presidency at the Eucharist should be given to those commissioned by ordination for this work. No one (except heretical sects) dreamt of lay presidency. But Augustine never thought of the Church as consisting in the clergy. The ministry was subordinate, a service. The continuity of the Church in the apostolic faith had its instrument and sign in ministerial order […] when Augustine looked for the authentication of the truth of the gospel he looked to the faith of the universal Church.”

Authority

[Augustine] expressly denied that holy Scripture represented the sole medium of divine revelation (S 12.4); but it represented the principle of authority which seemed central to Christian belief in a divinely given way of salvation for an ignorant and lost humanity. The authority of the Bible and Church rested on reciprocal support. Usage in the churches had determined the limits of the canon. Bible texts established the divinely constituted nature of the Church.

He made the observation that many heretics start from a mistaken or partisan interpretation of Scripture and, because they are both clever and proud, are reluctant to correct themselves. “It is part of a catholic disposition to express the wish to accept correction if one is mistaken” (DEP ii.5).”

Henry Chadwick. Augustine (1986, Oxford University Press)

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Cosmin sent me this great quote:

Hermeneutics is not a tidy, administrative process, going from point to point with syllogistic clarity. It meanders. It detours. It waits, sometimes in puzzlement, sometimes in wonder. But always it has a target. The Scriptures are not provided to feed our gossipy curiosity or legislate our barnyard morals: they examine our lives and invite our faith.”

Eugene H. Peterson, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1978 ) p 129

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… I may be going postmill. I’m not 100% sure, but I find Doug Wilson quite convincing, here (right click to save).

But I’ll pray (and think, and read) about it a bit more.

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