Friday, September 27, 2019

An Odd Statement on Brexit from the C of E House of Bishops

First, I have to get credit where credit is due.  On its face, the statement on Brexit by the Church of England House of Bishops is commendable.  The result of the Brexit referendum should be respected.  And even Archbishop Welby of all people has called out the Remoaners for their “whingeing”.  And care should be taken in the language used in discussing Brexit.
But the statement has the air of a body that is above the fray when Church of England bishops have been anything but.  Church of England bishops are almost all Remainers, and quite a few merit being dubbed Remoaners.  Further, some of their language towards those who back Brexit has been *cough* uncharitable as Cranmer notes.
You know if I were to give a sermon on the sin of unrighteous anger, I would feel like a pretentious hypocrite if I did not acknowledge during it that I struggle with anger.  So how can the House of Bishops give a statement like this without clearly acknowledging and, yes, apologizing for the very public Remoaning amongst them in the years since the referendum?
Nonetheless, the statement is a pleasant surprise.  Better late than never.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Jemar Tisby Thinks You Crackers Are Bad for Mental Health

I think I should say right away that this is not satire:

You know I am with Jemar on this.  Some white people drive me crazy.  Darn crackers.  But then so do people of various colors.  Heck people of all ethnicities annoy me.  I am very multiethnic and multicultural that way.
But in all seriousness, flip the colors, and Tisby’s tweet is racist.  Because Tisby’s tweet is racist.  If some white guy told me he doesn’t like working around black people, and it makes him uncomfortable, I would tell him I appreciate his honesty, but he needs to get his mind right.  I would not coddle his racism.  Nor would I advise his employers pay for therapy for his attitude.
But the nice thing about critical race theory is you can be as prejudiced as all get out, and it’s not racism . . . as long as you’re not white and your prejudice is against whites.  Heck, if you are a black racist, it’s Whitey’s fault, and you’re not racist. Critical race theory says so.
Yes, critical race theory enables racism.
Anyway if you think this nonsense is just a LibChurch thing, think again.  Tisby is the bee’s knees among The Evangelical Church of What’s Happening Now, including in ACNA’s – and, you guessed it, Esau McCaulley’s – Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network (AMEN).  AMEN ran a glowing review, practically a promotion, of Tisby’s big book, The Color of Compromise.  As most of you know, the book is a critical race theory grievancefest.
So laugh if you want – and it is absurd.  But then wake up.  Because this critical race theory madness has probably infected your church. And it is toxic.
Now you honkies leave me alone.  You bother me.
A hat tip to Reformation Charlotte, even the crackers there.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Gospel and Culture II – Paul on the Offense of the Gospel

We have seen from Acts 17 that St. Paul made a winsome effort to reach the Greek culture of Athens.  At the same time he would not dilute the Gospel even when it cut against the culture to the point that his audience laughed and cut his message short. 
Early in his first epistle to the Corinthians, we see more of his approach to proclaiming the Gospel to a decidedly non-Christian culture. The Greeks valued philosophical wisdom, yet Paul made a point not to go too far in preaching “with words of eloquent wisdom….”  Why?  “…Lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (I Corinth. 1:17)  We should be aware of the audience culture, but we should beware of distorting and diluting the Gospel in order to reach the audience culture.
And we should prepare ourselves for rejection by recognizing that the prevailing culture and most people for that matter do not like the Gospel. Paul is downright blunt in recognizing that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing…” (1:18)  And he does not let up in asserting that the Gospel transcends human cultures and should not be dragged down by what said cultures consider wisdom:
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1: 20-25)
So Paul was very much aware of prevailing cultures but was all the more determined to preach the pure Gospel, undiluted by hostile cultures, in the midst of them whether they liked it or not.
Now my exegesis is not profound.  But reminders of Paul’s determination are needed today. For The Evangelical Church of What’s Happening Now is dead set on repeating the mistakes of deadline denominations by catering to “woke” culture.  Never mind that trying to be hip and with it and liberal or whatever you call past versions of “woke” has been a slow motion disaster for The Episcopal Church, the mainline Presbyterian Church and so on.
We are to preach right, worship right, and live right.  And if prevailing cultures don’t like it, then they don’t like it.
But the funny thing is “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” has a way of breaking into hostile cultures and saving people in the midst of them anyway.  God does not need us to make Christ and his Gospel woke or American or modern or post-modern or whatever, thank you very much.

Why are American churches such blockheads that this lesson needs to be repeated . . . and repeated the hard way? Why do so many evangelical churches not know better?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

“I Think So”

Sunday was a red letter day at my parish.  Not only did the bishop visit and confirm, but he ordained a beloved member as a Deacon.
Being the liturgy nut that I am, I found the liturgy for “Making Deacons” to be quite interesting.  Part of the examination especially caught my attention. (And this is according to the REC BCP and the 1662 BCP.)

Do you think that you are truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according to the Canons of this Church, to the Ministry of the same?
Candidate: I think so.
That “I think so” startled me during the service.  The other answers in the examination are much more affirmative. And when we confirmed two people, the answers were also firm.  There was no “I think so” then!  And in the liturgy as a whole, we affirm, we believe, we will and the like. “I think so” is an unusual answer to say the least.
Yet it is an appropriate answer.  For here the candidate is making an affirmation about himself, about whether he is called.  So there is humble restraint.  The answer is “I think so” not “I am so called.”
Similar humble restraint is in the Ordering of Priests (Presbyters):
Do you think in your heart, that you are truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according to the Canons of this Church, to the Order and Ministry of Priesthood?
I think it.
However, I do not advise answering “I think so” when asked about scripture, the creeds, or obeying your bishop.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Esau McCaulley Asks a Question

Esau McCaulley later deleted the following tweet and protested he was just asking a question. (Yeah.  Right.) But there is a such thing as a stupid question:

A question that I can't stop asking: If all translation is interpretation and interpretation is influenced by social location, what does it mean that most of our English bibles were translated with very few Black or other Christians of color or women involved?
Leaving aside that not all translation is interpretation, this tweet reflects the “research justice” aspect of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and related ideologies. “Research justice” values the identity of the researcher as much or more than the quality of his/her work. As in politics, white males are not to be listened to much unless they are “woke”, of course, and even then Black, female, gay, etc. voices are to be listened to more.  I am not saying McCaulley buys all of this, and I doubt he does, but he clearly buys enough of it that he would question superior works of Bible translation because of the race and gender of the translators.
Dr. James White dissects the tweet quite well.
In other words, the skills and scholarship behind good Bible translation have nothing to do with race and gender. For a prominent Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) leader to suggest otherwise is troubling.
And Dr. McCaulley is a prominent ACNA leader.  While continuing to lead the Anglican Multiethnic Network, McCaulley has recently become the director of Next Generation Leadership for ACNA. NGL is “a province wide initiative committed to raising up and training the next generation of Anglican clergy and lay leadership.”
So I’ve got some questions myself.  Is it appropriate for someone with McCaulley’s race-obsessed mindset in line with Critical Race Theory to have ACNA positions of this importance?  Will ACNA exercise any church discipline with McCaulley?
I expect to revisit this matter.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Francis Continues to Stack the College of Cardinals

Some may think the above headline to be too strong.  They would be mistaken.  Francis’s latest appointments to the College of Cardinals “are, without a doubt, the most liberal group of Cardinal-Electors ever assembled.”
One even wrote a foreword for the infamous Liberal Jesuit James Martin.  But I will allow others to go over the sordid appointments in detail.
The big picture is that the College of Cardinals under Francis is getting more and more stacked with LibChurchers.  So much so that I think we are already past the point where we will have another robustly orthodox Pope in our lifetimes. Yes, the Lord can certainly do miracles concerning his church.  But more often when a jurisdiction willfully descends into apostasy, he spews them out of his mouth. (Rev. 3:16)   No, I do not think the Church of Rome is exempt from that.
I confess that under Benedict I considered the possibility to crossing the Tiber.  Had I made that crossing, I would surely be considering repentance now. Maybe my ecclesiology needs an adjustment, but I cannot conscientiously be in communion with a Francis or the future LibPopes his stacked College of Cardinals will likely produce.