Thursday, April 30, 2020

Brainstorming “The Idea of the Anglican University”: An Anglican College?

Long time readers may remember that my sporadic studies at Oxford combined with wrestling with whether and how to earn additional paper (I eventually settled for a well-earned Certificate of Anglican Studies.) has from time to time caused me to reflect on how best to do higher education.  No, I am not a fan of most higher education today, but you probably already guessed that.

So I read with interest Charles Erlandson’s bold proposal of an Anglican University.  I heartily agree that traditional Anglicans need to step it up in higher education.  Our weakness in that area is a drag on our growth and reduces good options for youth.  Erlandson’s goad is needful. 

At the same time, I do have two immediate concerns: 1. To be value-added, an Anglican university needs to be a traditional Anglican university, not just another woke what’s happening now “Evangelical” program with some watered down liturgy thrown in.  2. A “university” implies diverse and broad areas of study.  That would likely take many years to do well.

Dr. Erlandson already addresses my first concern well by proposing that a university be attached to a cathedral or parish.  If that cathedral or parish is robustly orthodox, it should be able to keep any school attached to it orthodox and traditional Anglican as well.  But the host church must be willing to hold accountable its college/university.  It can be done; the REC does an excellent job with its Cranmer House seminary.  But the host church must have the will so to do, including booting wayward professors when necessary.

At the risk of nitpicking the article as well as the word “university”, I do not think he addresses my second concern quite as well.  But then one can hardly solve all the world’s problems in one go. Further, he has elsewhere acknowledged we need to “begin small.”   I agree.  Accordingly I think an Anglican college affiliated to an existing university is more doable.  An Anglican college can focus on what it can do well: religious studies, history, a religious and communal life, and so on while taking advantage of the resources of a larger university and while being a witness to a university.

Of course, my proposal has its own problems. The foremost is the pitfall of the university pressuring a traditional Anglican college to become less traditional and more in line with mediocre education of the day.  At the start, it is absolutely necessary that an Anglican college affiliated with a university have a great deal of independence, including the ability to separate from the university down the road should that become necessary.  Yes, finding a good university agreeable to such an affiliation and respecting the mission of a traditional Anglican college is easier said than done.

But there is a beloved institution that demonstrates that it can be done – Pusey House Oxford.  Now Pusey House is not a college and does not offer any courses itself, at least not yet.  But it is a base for worship, learning, and communal life that has been attracting more and more students at Oxford as it have become more active under the leadership of Principal Dr. George Westhaver.  Space has even become an issue in accommodating the popularity of some of its offerings, a problem unheard of years ago.  It offers frequent lectures, serves as a venue for the C. S. Lewis Society, has become the home of the Oxford Scriptorium, has frequent and quite lively social gatherings in addition to its faithful round of daily traditional worship.  Really, change the bylaws a bit and add courses, and Pusey House would be an excellent small college.

As for its exact relationship with the University of Oxford, that would take some digging, and Oxford does often have a perverse delight in concealing more than revealing.  But my understanding is that it is independent from the university, not a part of it.   At the same time, there is much cooperation between the university and Pusey House, including PH’s wonderful library being treated as part of the university’s system of libraries. 

I can personally testify the mutual benefits between Pusey House and the University of Oxford are great and that PH attracts a growing variety of students across the University as well many from outside, including your humble blogger. 

I think the Pusey House model is a feasible exemplar for an Anglican college and probably more doable than a full-fledged Anglican university, at least at this time.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with different Anglican educational ventures seeking God’s glory and the edification of students.  That most certainly includes Erlandson’s proposed Anglican university.  He is right in stating that our weakness in higher education needs to be addressed and soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Continuing the Forced Lockdowns is Unjustified and Wrong

An excellent accompaniment to yesterday’s list of 30 Reasons for COVID-19 Distrust is the beginning segment of last night’s Tucker Carlson Tonight. 

I know a few may immediately mock.  But Tucker Carlson was very early in seeing how serious COVID-19 could be and yet now sees that the shutdowns are causing more damage than the virus.  Last night, he noted that data now indicates that the mortality rate from COVID is very low, well under 1%.  Which begs the question, why continue with the shutdowns?

By the way, the video Carlson cites at the beginning has been censored by YouTube.  You must not be allowed to see information not approved by your overlords.

A case certainly could have been made for the shutdowns back when it was thought hospitals would be overwhelmed beyond their capacity and when it was thought mortality might be around 4%.  But hospitals now actually have the opposite problem of empty beds, and mortality is under 1% in the U. S. and may even be under .3%. (That’s under 3 deaths per 1000 infections.)

Hence there is no longer sufficient justification for the shutdowns.  Further, I assert continuing them are now wrong, yes, immoral.  You can use “evil” if you like.

The Rev. Fr. John F. Naugle makes this case from a Roman Catholic viewpoint.  I would add that the God-given dignity of man calls for a great degree of freedom, including the freedom to make a living.

The Lord Himself commands that a man’s livelihood is not to be taken away even if he falls into deep debt:

No one shall take a mill or an upper millstone in pledge, for that would be taking a life in pledge. (Deut. 24:6)

It is safe to say that a virus with a 1% or less mortality rate does not overrule this principle.  Nor does public opinion or the dictates of power-mad politicians.  And the current shutdowns are taking away the livelihoods of many.

Which begs another question: why is most of the church not firmly opposing the continued lockdowns?

Cowardice and timidity is neither godly nor a good witness.

Monday, April 27, 2020

30 Reasons for COVID-19 Distrust

It seems the symptoms of COVID-19 are not only coughing, fever, and loss of smell, but also heightened distrust.  That distrust includes conspiracy theories spreading, replicating and mutating faster than the coronavirus.  But one does not have to wear a tin foil hat or believe any of the conspiracy theories to distrust at least some of what is being pushed upon us in the name of combating COVID-19.

To assist those who may wonder why there is so much distrust or even have contempt for it, I present 30 reasons for COVID-19 distrust.  Trust that I could list far more and explain these more, but if I did that, Michigan might open up before I am finished.

1. Moving the goalposts
We were told over and over again that the closings and stay at home orders were necessary to “flatten the curve” so that hospital capacity was not overwhelmed.  Yet when it was obvious hospital capacity was not going to be overwhelmed, governments persisted with their orders. Now some even advocate that we wait for a vaccine before reopening society.  

2. Massaging statistics
I’ve already documented at least one death counted towards COVID-19 when COVID as a marginal factor at best.  That death is far from alone.  It has gotten to be a dark joke how deaths that have little to do with COVID are padding COVID death statistics.
And didn’t Dr. Birx pretty much say that if there are a number of factors in a death of which COVID is one that it will be counted as a COVID death?  I am 98% sure I heard her say that myself.  But now I cannot find that on the internet to save my life.  Which leads to . . .

3. Information and opinions that do not support the shut-everything-down narrative are being suppressed and even censored.

4.  Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook is taking down posts that promote protests against the shutdowns.

5. Mark Zuckerberg, period.

6. Inconvenient statistics are downplayed.
One justification for the lockdowns was a supposedly high mortality rate for COVID-19.  But as the virus has progressed it is clear its mortality is low, probably under 1%.  Flus can be worse than that.  Yet lockdowns continue.

7. The models from the “experts” were wildly wrong.  Yet they remain the “experts.”
I will cut the “experts” some slack.  This was a new virus and not easy to predict.  But we did shut down much of society because of those models with disastrous consequences.

8. This has become a totalitarian Leftist fantasy.
Greatly harming Western capitalist economies, especially the eeevil oil industry, making us dependant on government, taking away freedoms, especially freedom of religion, and freedom of movement, etc.  Funny how the response to COVID-19 and its results have been a totalitarian Leftist fantasy.

9. Churches are restricted and attacked, even for drive-in services.
The Communist Mayor of New York threatening to close churches permanently is only one instance.

10. Big business benefits while small business is decimated.
Amazon, Costco, Walmart, Target and big box grocery stories are very open and thriving.  But most small businesses are shut down.  Many will not reopen.  And that even though…

11. Many/most small businesses are just as able to maintain social distance as big businesses.
Many/most small businesses usually have light traffic, making it easier to maintain social distance than at, say, a Walmart.  One favorite pub, which I have never seen crowded, was taking temperatures at the door.  If you had a temperature, you didn’t get in.  That pub (now closed for weeks. I pray it reopens.) was surely much safer than a big grocery store.

12. Planned Parenthood remains open.
Killing babies is “essential” don’tcha know.

13. It is questionable how helpful the shutdowns have been in combating COVID-19.

14. The timing seems politically convenient for ChiComs, Democrats, and the Deep State.
With what was a strong economy, President Trump seemed well on the way to reelection.  Now the economy has taken a horrific hit, and the difficulties of emerging from this [manufactured?] crisis make his reelection much more uncertain.  

15.  This has been used as a political weapon against Trump. 
No matter what he does or does not do, he is attacked by Democrats and the “News” Media.  (But I repeat myself.)  He is attacked as too slow to respond by those who were impeaching him and encouraging mass gatherings (such as Pelosi) at the time, yet he was attacked for sharply restricting travel from China back at the end of January.
No, TDS is not logical.

16. Democrat governors and mayors have generally been much harsher in restricting freedoms than Republicans.  Speaking of which…

18. Bill Gates.
And his praising China only adds to the distrust.  Speaking of ChiCom toadies….

19. WHO has made things worse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) downplayed the danger of COVID-19 early, then exaggerated/overestimated the danger and cheerleaded the shutdowns later.  Both increased the damage to Western economies.

20. WHO is in the back pocket of the ChiComs.

21. The ChiComs, period.

22.  This is being used to push letting in illegals, giving them stimulus benefits and giving them jobs.
Yes, it’s sheer madness, but this crisis is somehow being used to advocate letting illegals and other prospective immigrants right on in and remain and giving them jobs which citizens now greatly need.  Relevant Magazine is among those doing so with the apparent support of ACNA Bishop Clark Lowenfield. (Thankfully, President Trump is instead limiting immigration for a time.)

Yes, you should  distrust vote-by-mail among other fraud enabling proposals.

24.  The Deep State has already earned utter distrust.
Do some of the conspiracy theories sound bizarre?  Well, some of them are bizarre. 
But think about it this way.  How bizarre would it be for high-ups in the FBI, DOJ, and CIA to conspire with the Democrat Party and the “News” Media to rig an election, then, when that failed, to overthrow an elected President?  That sounds like a spy novel.
Yet that is exactly what happened.  And that and other enormities make COVID conspiracy theories more believable.  If the Deep State tried to pull that attempted coup against Trump, what else would they try?

25.  Predatory prisoners have been released while surfers, beach runners, and playground moms are arrested.

26.  Why the shutdowns this time?
We’ve had any number of viruses in recent decades that have been as bad or worse – ebola, swine flu, Hong Kong flu, etc.  There were not all these shutdowns then.  It begs questions about other agendas.  Speaking of which…

27. Totalitarians and other power hungry statists have a long history of using crises, real and concocted, to seize more power.
“Never let a crisis go to waste.”

28.  This has brought out totalitarians big and small.
We sure know who the Karens are now, don’t we.

29. Governments are encouraging Karens to spy and report people.  And they gleefully oblige.
If you ever wondered how that became prevalent so easily in Cuba, now you know.

And last, but not least…

30. “The New Normal”
Permanent changes to society, most of which restrict our freedoms, are advocated and passed off as part of “The New Normal” we will have to put up with . . . or else.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


There really isn’t that much difference overall between fascism and communism.  Both are rather nasty totalitarian forms of socialism.  (Remember that the Nazis were the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.)

But there is one notable difference historically.  The instinct of Communists is to steal, that is “nationalize” everything.  Government takes over most or all industry (with predictably horrible results, of course.  Hence some forms of modern Communism are not that communist while still totalitarian.).  Fascists would rather most business and industry stay in place but collaborate and be tools of the government in suppressing basic freedoms and rights.  Some German companies are still trying to live down that history – Hugo Boss making those very fashionable uniforms for the SS, for example.

Which brings me to Fascistbook, I mean Facebook.  As openly admitted by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is responding to Democrat requests and taking down posts announcing peaceful protests against the coronavirus shutdowns.  Facebook is collaborating with tyrants by interfering with the Constitutional rights of Americans to peaceably assemble and protest.

You want to know what fascism in the United States looks like?  Tyrannical state governments and Fascistbook are showing us part of how it’s done.

Fake COVID-19 Statistics Illustrated

In Nueces County, Texas, there have (or had – see below) been no deaths from COVID-19. Most of the country also has had few cases and no to few deaths.  The coronavirus is not the return of the Black Death as once advertised.

These are not convenient statistics for those who wish to keep us shut down.  But statistics can be invented, don’tcha know.  Take the supposed first Nueces County COVID death, for example (with all sympathy and prayers for the friends and family of the lady mentioned):

The Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District received confirmation of the first COVID-19 related death in a Nueces County resident. The patient tested positive for COVID-19 in early March, but subsequently tested negative prior to being discharged from the hospital at the end of March. The patient was a female between the ages of 70 and 79. The patient was recently re-admitted for complaints of abdominal pain and other underlining issues. The patient subsequently passed away April 19, 2020.

Although this patient had tested negative prior to being released from the hospital, COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease and subsequent complications.

As the press release acknowledges, there were a number of “issues” behind the woman’s death.  And she had tested negative.  So why was she put down as a COVID-19 death?  We are not told.  One would think that is an important detail.

Statistic padding like this breaks down trust.  It feeds distrust towards those who insist on keeping us partly shut down.

And that distrust is well earned.

Friday, April 17, 2020

An Easter Sermon from Pusey House

The following Easter Sunday sermon from the Principal of Pusey House hit my inbox this morning and soon after touched my heart.  It is profound and explains how the resurrection affects us very well. At the same time it reflects the difficulties Oxford and England and the world are going through now.

Imagine Dr. George Westhaver standing alone, alone on Easter Sunday, in the Chapel of the Resurrection in Pusey House addressing his online congregation via Discord . . .

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 

Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs, Bestowing life!

Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death in us, and in whatever way we find ourselves bound in graveclothes, touched by death or despair or fear, giving life, life eternal and full. 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is a great joy to have arrived at this day with you. Christ is Risen, Alleluia. I can hear you all crying out, the Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia. 

We have arrived together at this day. It has been a strange and unsettling pilgrimage. We have been forced into the desert in a new way. We have been compelled to suffer isolation from one another and from communion in the Body of Christ. We’ve been removed from the normal form of communion with one another, and we’ve been removed from communion in the Sacrament of our Lord’s body, this particular form of his sacramental touch and presence has been taken from us. 

We’ve been invited not just to suffer all this, but to find in it the shape of the cross of our Saviour – to lay our lives down, not just to have them taken from us. 

Conscious of those facing danger, sickness, anxiety and death, we’ve also been invited to fellowship with the Man of Sorrows who weeps over Jerusalem, ‘O all ye that pass by, Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow’ (Lamentations 1). Our Lord weeps not only for himself but for all that ravages the life of the earthly city, for all that threatens the people for whom he lays down his life. His sacred tears were shed in love not just for the sins of Jerusalem, but for those facing darkness and the shadow of death, in illness, or in fear, or in anxiety, in these past weeks, and in all time to come. We have kept vigil, first in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then at the cross, and finally, we have kept vigil in the night ‘whereof David said: “Behold the night is as clear as the day: then shall my night be turned into day.”’ 

We have arrived. Christ is Risen from the dead, Alleluia. But where have we arrived? The confusion and turmoil in the Gospel today can be a great encouragement to us. The Saints, Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, come to the tomb, but only John seems to grasp what is happening, and that no doubt imperfectly. The resurrection does not come with easy resolution, but with confusion and perplexity. It’s a wonderful historical picture. It is also a picture of the way in which the Resurrection is not a simple answer which sorts everything out. On the one hand, it is finished, the Lord has raised up the new temple of his Body in which we live and move and have our being. 

On the other hand, what is given in the resurrection comes to us in turmoil and perplexity. We never leave this behind, but rather we discover more of the gift and reality of the Resurrection by entering in, again and again, the confusion of the first disciples of our Lord. We discover more of the gift and reality of the Resurrection for ourselves and for one another by making Mary Magdalene’s words our own – ‘they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him’ (John 20). When we find ourselves seeking the Lord who appears to be taken from us, he finds us precisely there to invite us to know him and to be loved by him in the power and presence of his resurrection. Alleluia. 

In his letter to the Colossians, St Paul also speaks to us, both to tell us what has happened, and to help us to understand why the gift of the Risen life comes with perplexity as well as promise, with anxiety as well as with answers. 

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. ... For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 

The great work has been accomplished, finished for us, and yet we must seek it. It is given, and we must find it.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 

Where do we find the life which is hid with Christ in God? God is Spirit, but since the Incarnation, God also has a human body (I speak as a fool). We find our lives in the risen body of Christ, the same body, wonderfully transformed, by which he lifts us up, draws near, carries, touches us, feeds us. ‘And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain’ (I Cor 15:14)The Resurrection of Christ is his vindication and victory, and the resurrection of Christ is our vindication and victory over all that takes away life. 
The Christian hope is not only the promise of eternal life. Tom Wright, sometime bishop of Durham, one of the great scholars of the Scriptures, and now retired to Oxford, emphasises that we don’t look forward to ‘life after death’, but “life after ‘life after death’”. Our Blessed Lord’s words to the thief are the foundation of Christian hope: ‘Today, you will be with me in Paradise’ (Luke 23.43). This is the beginning of the Christian hope, not the end. There, ‘we shall rest and we shall see, we shall see and we shall love, we shall love [and we shall be loved, we shall know and] we shall praise’. But this is still only the beginning of Christian hope, not the end. We don’t look forward to ‘life after death’, however rich and full beyond our imagining, we look forward to “life after ‘life after death’.” In the collect of the burial office in the Book of Common Prayer, the priest prays that our loved-one departed may first ‘rest in’ Christ. But this is only the beginning; ‘our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul’ comes only at ‘the general Resurrection in the last day’. Our share in the Resurrection is what is hid for is with Christ in God. 

Why does it matter that ‘we believe in the resurrection of the body’, not just for Christ, but for ourselves? If one has experienced great suffering in the body, or if one has struggled with poor health, or simply the trials of growing old, one may be tempted, like the Greeks to whom St Paul spoke in Athens, to see the body as a cage, better left behind. The poet Dante, in his Paradiso, gives one of the best answers to the why it matters. In the Heaven of the Sun, Dante speaks to King Solomon about the resurrection of the body. Solomon, is the traditional author of the Song of Songs, the great love song of the soul longing for God, of the Bride seeking the Bridegroom Jesus Christ, of each one of us seeking that life which is hid with Christ in God.

According to Dante, the souls in paradise are already robed in bliss, but when they rise again with their bodies, they will be more blessed still. But how is this possible? Hearing Dante’s question, the souls around him dance with more fervour and zeal, and Solomon answers on their behalf:

When, blessed and glorified,
the flesh is robed about us once again, 
we shall be lovelier for being whole. 

We shall be lovelier for being whole. The soul is not complete without the body, and the body is dead without the soul. God is pure spirit, but human beings are not whole and complete as purely spiritual beings. After death, the souls of the faithful are at rest. They enjoy the vision of God, even if this vision and this joy is not complete. But being in heaven as spirits is not our final destination. It is only at the resurrection of the body, when the bodies which we once had are changed into a spiritual body, to be like the glorious body of Christ, that we shall be whole, ‘more perfectly ourselves’, and lovelier for being whole. 

Does this mean that the resurrection of the body is only a hope for an impossibly distant future? We hope that we will rise with Christ at the last day, our perfect consummation and bliss, but even now, we are risen with him. What does this mean? Perhaps it will be more clear if we consider what a denial of the Resurrection of the Body would mean about the things which give us joy now. For those who believe in the Resurrection of the body, the happy meal with family and friends, the cup of tea or glass of wine, our attachment to particular places and particular people, little pleasures help us to find the life which is hid with Christ in God. To live as a people who believe in the resurrection of the body ‘is to love Bag End and the beer from a particularly good harvest’; to love a human being is to love the body; ‘To love the body is to love the small, the local, the particular. It is to love those things enjoyed by the body’. C S Lewis describes these day to day pleasures as ‘shafts of the glory’ and ‘channels of adoration’ which reveal our Risen life. To reject the resurrection of the body is to deny something important in these creature comforts. If we are destined to be pure spirit, our delight in a beautiful garden or a beautiful landscape, as well as our delight in the meal with friends and little pleasures are just distractions, whistling against the dark, fleeting things which may make life less painful, but which don’t tell us about the lives which our hid with Christ in God. But to believe in the resurrection of the body means that we expect the things which delight us in the body to help us to find the life which is hid with Christ in God. It is the belief in the Resurrection of the Body which makes it possible for the images of love and springtime in the Song of Songs to speak to us of the love of each of us for the Bridegroom Jesus Christ: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come ... the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away’ (Song of Solomon 2.11-13). For those who know that they are risen with Christ, this is an invitation to find the life which is hid with Christ in God. For the Greeks to whom St Paul spoke in Athens, for whom the body is a shell to be discarded and left behind, this is just poetic fancy, singing against the dark. 

In the words of Hillaire Belloc, modified slightly by Bp Robert Barron, ‘Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, / There’s laughter and [music] and good red wine’.

Belloc’s words also help us to make sense of the strange turn in St Paul’s words to the Colossians and to us. ‘Red wine’ is not only a way to find our lives hid with Christ in God, the same red wine can be the path to destruction, family break-down and misery. We could say the same for many of the comforts which delight us – they can lead us to apprehend the spiritual riches which are ours in Christ Jesus, or they can send us on a path to darkness. Our perfect consummation and bliss is in the resurrection of the body, but it is not merely sensual. The Resurrection life does not consist in more food, more drink, more of whatever thrills us: ‘It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body’.  The ‘earthly body’, thanks be to God, is not the same as the ‘heavenly body’.  ‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed’; this ‘mortal must put on immortality’ when ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ (1 Cor 15). So says St Paul, Mortify – put to death on the cross – your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. We cannot leave behind the disciplines of Lent in Lent. We will keep the feast, we will celebrate, and our celebrations can help us to find the life which is hid with Christ in God. And yet, our lives are hid with Christ; the spiritual disciples reveal what is hidden in what is right in front of us. As the goodness, the wisdom, and the love of our Risen Lord possess us more and more, we will find that life which is hid in him. 

Let us cast our cares and concerns upon him; he is able to bear them. And let us seek, on this great day, and the days to come, the life which is hid for us with Christ in God. The winter is past, the rain is over and gone, our Risen Lord speaks to us: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away’, and in this coming away, in this dying, the things which delight us now may be channels of adoration and a path of find the life which is hid with Christ in God. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

COUP: Obama Officials Knew Steele Dossier Was Russian Disinformation Targeting Trump

This report from Sara Carter is damning, a smoking gun or at least close to it:

Newly declassified footnotes from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December FBI report reveals that senior Obama officials, including members of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team knew the dossier compiled by a former British spy during the 2016 election was Russian disinformation to target President Donald Trump.

Further, the partially declassified footnotes reveal that those senior intelligence officials were aware of the disinformation when they included the dossier in the Obama administration’s Intelligence Communities Assessment (ICA).

Worse, as many of you remember, the Steele Dossier was used by Obama officials to get FISA warrants to spy on Donald Trump and his campaign. 

If people do not go to prison for this, it will be a grave injustice.

Sara Carter has much more on this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Presiding Minister of CREC Gets It on Restoring Freedoms

This morning, I was about to post on Christian leaders who are exploiting COVID-19 for ungodly causes such as letting border crashers right on in.  But I came across an open letter from the Presiding Minister of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC), and I find it a much more pleasant subject.  He gets it on the need to bring the shutdowns to an end and to restore our freedoms.

Further, he nicely lets it be known that the time CREC will comply with restrictions on churches will soon come to an end:

The citizens of the United States and our congregants are already beginning to strongly feel the need to get back to regular living. While we do not currently have a date after which we will no longer comply with the extreme restrictions, we believe the time is now at hand for our leaders to stand down from the extreme isolation efforts, and the date after which we will no longer comply, is soon approaching, in days or weeks, not months.

His overall thinking on the current COVID-19 situation and on reopening the economy and society is so much in line with mine that I will post his full letter without further comment:

Dear Mr. President, Congressmen, Senators, Mayor, and Civic Leaders in the USA and Abroad, 

I am writing to you as the Presiding Minister of Council of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC), an International Denomination. 

We have been praying for you and continue to do so. May the Lord grant you His wisdom as you make decisions in this time of trial. 

First of all, thank you for the care and concern you have shown for the citizens who elected you, and for your attempt to do what you believed to be best for the public good in light of the available information at the time.  
It is now apparent that our initial information was incomplete. The pandemic is not what we all thought it was going to be. This is understandable. It was new. We all thought it was a dire threat and we all responded to protect the lives of our citizens, and our congregants, as we should have. It is now clear that the stated rationale for these temporary, emergency actions, “to flatten the curve”, has been achieved, and that these temporary measures are no longer necessary. If we continue on the current course of action of extreme mitigation, things may get much worse, as we fear they most certainly will.  

President Trump was right to say that the cure cannot be worse than the disease. In fact, it is. The pandemic did not justify putting millions of people out of work and locking down businesses and churches for the indefinite future. It is now time to open up for business, return to work and return to the worship of the Triune God.  

While Covid-19 is among us and members of our churches have been harmed by the disease, the much larger damage to our members has been done by cutting off the means of supporting the lives of their families. In our churches, we have few Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations or deaths. However, we have many people whose ability to support the lives of their families has been greatly damaged through the loss of wages and damage to their businesses. For us, the cure has been far worse than the disease. 
We encourage you to consider the immense damage that will be caused by continuing down this current path of a closed economy. The lost livelihoods, closed businesses, and the isolation of our congregants, is a tremendous loss to the health and well-being of our society. This damage will only worsen the longer we stay on the present course of sheltering in place and keeping the economy and houses of worship closed. Dangerous social unrest is the likely result of staying on this course. 

We have a great concern for the lives and health of our members as well as those in our communities. Many in our churches are elderly or are in a high-risk category for Covid-19. Those individuals and their families, pastors, leaders and physicians, are the ones to make the best decisions about how they should live during the spread of this disease. If this were a great plague, a direct threat to the health and lives of all of our congregants, as many of us initially thought it was, we would be glad to continue to comply with reasonable measures to mitigate the spread. However, it is now clear that it is not the plague and we are not prepared to continue to comply with extreme mitigation efforts.

Our desire is to be obedient to the civil magistrate. However, we must also do what we believe God expects of us, what is best for our people and our communities, and what our consciences dictate. For our American members, The U.S. Constitution rightly affords us these rights of speech and assembly because they extend to us from God, Himself.

  The citizens of the United States and our congregants are already beginning to strongly feel the need to get back to regular living. While we do not currently have a date after which we will no longer comply with the extreme restrictions, we believe the time is now at hand for our leaders to stand down from the extreme isolation efforts, and the date after which we will no longer comply, is soon approaching, in days or weeks, not months.

  Our response in the churches has been to humble ourselves, confess our sins, the sins of the church and the sins of our citizens and governments. Please join us in humbling yourselves before the Lord Jesus.  
We call upon the grace and mercy of God to give us relief. Death is an enemy, the last enemy that will be destroyed by the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge this. While we despise death, we do not fear death, because for us, to live is Christ and to die is gain. May God grant us repentance, and as we confess and repent of our many sins, we trust that He will be gracious to us and heal our land. 

In the service of King Jesus, 
Virgil Hurt 
Presiding Minister of Council Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Democrat Governor of Kentucky Vows to Quarantine Easter Churchgoers

One nice thing about COVID-19 is that it is revealing who the totalitarians are, both among busybody neighbors and tyrannical politicians.
Take Democrat Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, please.  Go to church services in Kentucky tomorrow Easter Sunday, and he will try to slap a 14-day quarantine on you.

“We’re having to take a new action, and I hoped that we wouldn’t, and it’s that any individual that’s going to participate in a mass gathering of any type that we know about this weekend we’re going to record license plates and provide it to local health departments.

“Local health departments are going to come to your door with an order for you to be quarantined for 14 days,” Beshear said.

This has a bright side as well.  Beshear may have just guaranteed he will be a one-term governor.

But if we real Americans do not fight back against the tyranny that is using the coronavirus as its latest pretence, our freedoms may be short lived as well.

Friday, April 10, 2020

The “Bishop” of London Crucifies Again the Body of Christ

On Good Friday, almost 2000 years ago, both religious and secular authorities attempted to silence Jesus of Nazareth and to do so permanently.
They failed.
Yet through the centuries, they keep trying.  Various authorities, both secular and religious, have time and again sought to silence Holy Church, the Body of Christ.
They have failed again and again and again.  Jesus lives and reigns, and His Holy Church lives and reigns with him even though it may not seem so at times.
There is little question that those of a totalitarian mindset are trying to use the COVID-19 pandemic to silence the church and drive it out of the public square.  The Democrat Mayor of New York even threatened churches that do not comply with his edicts with permanent closure.
Yet in some ways the church is flourishing as it struggles in the midst of this pandemic both to do its part to guard public health and to do its duty for spiritual health.  Livestreams of excellent worship abound.  The glories of traditional Anglicanism especially are getting new and more widespread audiences.
But the petty totalitarians do not want to abide even that.  People, though a very few, are STILL going to churches and even livestreaming their worship?  How dare they!
Never mind that multitudes go to grocery stores and liquor stores and use mass transit where there is far greater risk of getting the coronavirus. The use of church buildings for worship is non-essential, don’t you know.
In London, one very small loophole was allowed.  If a priest lived on the premises of a church with internal access to the sanctuary, he could use the church building and livestream from it:
Because there are a very few churches in London Diocese where the church is accessible by an internal door from the clergy home, or can be accessed from the clergy home without leaving the curtilage of the church, we will encourage those – and only those – clergy to pray in their churches privately and to consider whether they could live stream their services from within the church building.
Peter Anthony of St. Benet’s Kentish Town was among those utilizing this loophole in a most winsome manner.  Fortunately, he recorded the Good Friday liturgy in his church when he still could.
For now he cannot without disobeying authority.  After the bleatings of the petty totalitarians, even that loophole has been taken away by the London College of “Bishops,” and that during Holy Week of all times:
…we are asking the limited numbers of you to whom the above applied, to stop all live streaming from your church buildings for the time being.
It feels extremely hard to ask this of you, this week of all weeks.  But you will know that some people believe that being in our churches to stream, even if it is accessed by a door in your home, is encouraging others to want to travel to their church, and for others to ask for churches to be open to the public. [GOD FORBID that people would ask for their churches to be open!! – ed.] We would not want to be seen to encourage any laxity in the requirement to stay indoors except for designated reasons, because this will save lives, and protect the NHS.
Thus, with the flimsiest of excuses, the “Bishop” of London seeks all the more to muzzle the church.  As if solitary priests livestreaming from their churches endangers lives and the NHS.
Well, apostate religious authorities attempted to use their authority and secular authority to silence Jesus, and that too on dubious pretences.  We should not be surprised when apostate “bishops” attempt to silence Holy Church and its faithful priests. 
We shall not be silenced.  We must not be silenced.  For, yes, lives are at stake.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the samesufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (2 Cor. 1: 5,6)

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Southern Baptist Coup?

Imagine, if you will, the uproar and outrage if President Trump used the coronvirus as a pretence to delay the November elections a full year and to stay in full power as President of the United State for that year.
It seems Southern Baptist Convention President J. D. Greear has pulled pretty much the same sort of coup.
It is certainly understandable, even advisable, for the Southern Baptists not to have their convention this year.  What is not understandable is for him to remain President of the SBC for the additional year until the next convention with the full exercise of the powers of that office.  The appointment powers of the SBC President are particularly important.  Will Greear use those to stack further the leadership of the SBC?
Could the Southern Baptists not had an online vote to elect a new President?  Or could not Mr. Greear had vowed not to use most or all of the powers of the office during this additional year?
Now perhaps he may come around to seeing that putting aside those powers is the right thing to do. But I’ve seen no indication that he has or will.  And I have looked around and asked around including asking Greear himself.

I will keep my ears open and will post again if Greear does the right thing.  But there is no indication of that so far.  Instead, he gave a long tedious speech about “putting the Gospel above all.”  I did not hear a word about him putting the Gospel above his own power.
But is there any outrage from among Baptists?  Not much that I’ve noticed.  Some are even cheerleading it, including Dwight McKissic.
You know he would not be cheerleading an unelected free year for Trump.  Heck, he will probably rant if Trump gets reelected fair and square.  But an unelected free year for his side in the SBC?  He has the gall to thank God for that.
I will leave aside, at least for now, what I would do if I were a Southern Baptist.  But I will remind my Baptist brethren that a big reason the mainline Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches went liberal and apostate is because most of the people in the pews were spineless wimps who did nothing when church leadership engaged in the outrageous.
Go and do not likewise.

NOTE:  No, I do not think Trump would ever use a pandemic to stay in power an additional year.  And I would oppose any President pulling a stunt like that . . . although I admit I love it when Trump trolls the paranoid Left that he will be in power for decades and decades.

I am much more worried about Democrats using the coronavirus to steal the election as they have already attempted.