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… 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 remember reading a while ago a blog post by Michael Bird that suggested that a lot of Paul’s discussion of justification works more a long the lines of “Who are the people of God and in what economy will they be vindicated by God?”

This is something I found interesting but really had forgotten about. Then casually glancing at Col. 2.11-13, I was genuinely shocked: The NIV had in v.11 “sinful nature”, what was literally “the flesh” or “the body of the flesh”. Yet all you had to do is look down at v. 13 to see “the uncircumcision of the flesh”. The ESV has it better (emphasis mine):

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses

This immediately made me think of Romans 2.26 (So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded [reckoned] as circumcision?). Here I believe, Paul is hinting obscurely ahead to Romans 6 & 8, to those (both Christan jews AND gentiles) fulfill “the law” by the Spirit (see Rom 8:3-14). Basically, that there are non-jews who will be regarded as Jews (as belonging to God’s People, in God’s Covenant) by their Faith and Obedience (Rom. 1.5; 16:26), by being “in Christ”.

This seems to fit well with Ephesians 2, which is a similar text, but more “explicit” in terms to the jew-gentile dimension (emphasis mine)

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Please read both texts side by side and note how they really “inform” one another (Eph. and Col. share a lot of these similarities).

Basically Paul, in Col. 2. 11 seems to be saying:

“In Jesus, you who were considered to be outside of God’s covenant (without circumcision) are brought into covenant with God, by the circumcision of Christ…”

What does this seem to imply? A few things I can think of

(1) There is a close tie between “getting right with God” and becoming part of the “people of God”, between salvation and church, soteriology and ecclesiology. I don’t think this needs to be a “and/or” like it tends to be in NPP/Reformed discussions.

(2) The factor in common is Jesus Himself. He is the righteous (i.e. truly Law-abiding, faithful) Israel, the messianic king in whom God delights (Psalm 18.19, cf. Mark 1.9-11), who fulfills Israel’s “side of the bargain”, as well as God’s… and brings God’s Covenant to a climax on the Cross and Resurrection. As Gal 3.10-13 suggests, Jesus allows the ful force of the covenant curse to fall on him, so that the promised blessing for the nations (gentiles) may flow to them, the promised Holy Spirit.

Israel’s (Abraham’s) covenant had a goal; it was a means, not an end, to blessing for the whole world (a reversal of the curse in Eden, the Fall of Adam). This occurs through Jesus, and the coming of Spirit allows Gentiles to come into covenant with God, because by faith and baptism (a) the Spirit unites them to Christ (2) they are regarded as God’s people (3) they are forgiven and adopted.

(3) There is a close tie between Baptism and circumcision. From these verses I think it can be affirmed that Baptism corresponds as “the circumcision”, in the New Covenant. We are “reckoned” as the part of the people of God, by faith, the sign being Baptism (Gal. 3.26-29).

(4) Our Faith in Christ should mean a love for His Church, warts and all. Augustine said it in the 4th century, and the church hasn’t gotten any better in the last 1600 years. Its still full of unfaithfulness, confusion and sin…starting with ourselves. We should not look to divide and contribute to sectarianism, but rather lovingly and gently attempt to persuade those we disagree with, and not “throw in the towel” when things get tough… but to look to Christ once again.

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Lets take a “wee” break from Augustine, catholicity, sacraments and so on. One of my favorite christian bands, the little-known Foolish Things is dis-banding after may 11th. So here’s a small example of their music. Mostly great lyrics, and an original sound (certainly better than most christian bands out there).

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David Field and reasons for prayer, here. Maybe we could all take up the task of personally adding to his list, and actually get down to praying?

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…than this one, no doubt.

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(“king” Sam, at All Saints “Bible Holiday Club” for kids…)

Happy easter! 😉

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A “wee” video for Good Friday, uploaded on Maundy Thursday.

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On sunday I was officially “comissioned” as a Student Worker at All Saints Church. I responded to a series of questions, including my trust in Jesus and the care of those entrusted to me by Bryan (the pastor), with a “I do” or “with God’s help, I will”.

Then the church warden read out the passages in Timothy and Titus pertaining to a “godly leader” (Lord help me!). The ceremony ended with the Vestry laying their hands on me and praying for me. It was quite touching, and challenging.

May God have mercy!

For more pictures, click on the one below

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