Sunday, May 30, 2004


I wasn’t planning to post today. And I normally don’t post about
Roman Catholic matters. But I am outraged by the Vatican’s appointment of Cardinal Bernard Law to head a Rome basilica.

This man was a disaster as Archbishop of Boston. Under his watch, his diocese became a haven for child molesters and the heterodox, not to mention babykilling liberal politicians. Because of the molestation scandals and lawsuits, the diocese of Boston is paying out so much, they will close about 20% of their parishes. And he is REWARDED for his services?!?

My very high respect for Pope John Paul II just went down a couple notches.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Soooooo, I hear MTV is starting a gay TV network.

I guess after Janet Jackson popped her top at *that* MTV-produced Halftime show, this is what passes for equal time.

Friday, May 28, 2004

O. K. I don’t mean to get spooky or overspiritualize something, but make of the following what you will.

This past Wednesday at Evening Prayer at Small Continuing Anglican Church (Remember that’s the code name for the church I’ve been visiting in Corpus Christi.), there was someone else who has been recently visiting who is also moving to Corpus – Drew.

He, like me, is from the Dallas area. He, too, is single. Like me 10 years ago, he first looked for a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) church in his new place, but was not satisfied with what is available.

He now goes to Christ Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, which until very recently was pastored by my old friend Dave Sherwood, with whom I went to Duke. (No, Christ Presbyterian is a not a large church.)

Yes, we’ve practically become friends already.

Monday, May 24, 2004

And you thought I was a fire-breathing conservative. These people make me look lib'rul . . . or at least moderate.

Say, I'm going to be preoccupied for about a week. So I probably won't be posting much until after June rolls in -- unless the lib'ruls really provoke me, of course.

Friday, May 21, 2004

An Important Statement from the Global South Primates

As many of you know, 18 Primates over 55 million Anglicans issued a statement of strong recommendations to the Lambeth Commission recently.

Some highlights:

The Primates recommend that the Lambeth Commission call on the ECUSA to “repent.� And that call would have some teeth:

Should ECUSA fail to comply within three months, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates should then take appropriate disciplinary action, which should include the suspension and ultimate expulsion of ECUSA from fellowship and membership of the Anglican Communion.

As for those in North America who remain orthodox:

Recognition and full Episcopal and pastoral oversight should be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates to those dioceses, parishes and laity within ECUSA who continue to uphold the historic faith and order of the Anglican Communion.

Note the reference to parishes and laity. The Primates are saying that even if your diocese stinks and even if there’s not an orthodox parish for miles, there should still be a place provided for you in the Anglican Communion.

And they aren’t forgetting you Canadians either:

Similar measures should be applied to the Bishop and Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada for their unilateral approval and implementation of rites for the blessing of same sex union.

In case someone might think these are merely suggestions to get discussion going, the Primates add:

As Primates of the Global South, we are of one mind that these measures are essential to preserve our Communion in true union and to avoid the tragic realignment which would otherwise be inevitable.

Now read that again, and again. It’s that important. … O. K. You probably see they are saying in a nice way that failure to carry out some version of these recommendations will likely split the Anglican Communion. They will not put up with business as usual.

I think this stand by the Global South Primates is wonderful news. The worst possible outcome and one I’ve feared would be the following: The Lambeth Commission issues a nice sounding very Anglican statement this Fall that has no teeth and no adequate place for North American orthodox. The orthodox Primates would be unhappy, but not really do anything about it. Meanwhile, North American orthodox Anglicans would be abandoned and persecuted by their own church.

I think 18 Primates have just made clear that is NOT going to happen. The Anglican Communion MUST deal with the ECUSA and MUST provide a place for orthodox North American Anglicans, or the Anglican Communion as we know it is over.

And if anyone doubts the resolve of the southern Primates, remember a number of them are refusing money from North American liberals at great personal cost. May God bless their courage and provide for them.

Personally, I’m now confident there will be a place for me in a worldwide Anglican Communion even if it’s not the current Anglican Communion, and even if I won’t join the ECUSA. I think recent meetings of Anglican Primates with bishops from continuing Anglican bodies, such as the Reformed Episcopal Church, back up my hope.

So hang in there orthodox North American Anglicans (and WannabeAnglicans). God and the Global South Primates are looking out for you.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

�We Are Family!�

The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky had an interesting convention.

Apparently, according to Bishop Stacy Sauls, biblical authority and doctrine isn’t all that important, it’s just “opinion.� And “Family matters more than opinion.�

And +Saul isn’t just a lovable revisionist on doctrine. He revises history, too. According to him, Cramner and the English reformers really weren’t all that concerned about trivialities like doctrine or theology. No, it was all about lllluuvvv! They were singing “We Are Family� long before the 70’s.

In fact, +Sauls’ convention theme was “We are family.� I sure hope he invited Sister Sledge to sing during the Eucharist.

But, of course, there were some unloving killjoys. After a mean, narrow-minded resolution defining marriage as being “between one man and one woman� was defeated, delegates from Church of the Nativity, Maysville, walked out. What’s with them? Marriage being between one man and one woman is just an “opinion.� (Psst, good for you, Church of the Nativity.)

And then at the closing Eucharist, delegates from the Church of the Apostles, Lexington, led by their rector, the Rev. Martin Gornik, refused to put aside trivial things like beliefs and join the revisionist lovefest. They declined to take communion. (Good for you, too!)

But the rest of the convention inbred with apostasy more than, um, Kentuckians! After all, “We Are Family!�

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The stock markets had me preoccupied this morning (in a good way). So I don’t know if I’ll get around to doing much of a post.

But I will make time to listen to Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3, which is about to come on as I write this. If you like traditional Anglican church music, you’ll LOVE this most weeks. Some weeks, the choir tries to get a little modern, but oh well.

It comes on at 4pm London time, 10am Dallas time on Wednesdays. The streaming internet feed is usually good quality. And you can listen to a replay anytime during the week.

This week, it’s from Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. I don’t think they are off to a good start. But you must listen when it’s from Kings College, St. Johns, or Westminster.

UPDATE: Christ Church in Oxford was a big strange, especially the closing organ voluntary. But the canticle was excellent.

By request, here's a handy link to BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


The apostle Paul and ancient pagans didn’t agree on much. But they agreed on one thing:

"Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad."
- Euripides

“Professing to be wise, they became fools. . . . God gave them over to a depraved mind…�
- Paul (Romans 1: 22, 28)

I’ve noticed there’s been quite a bit of nuttiness in the Episcopal Church lately. Like this, for example, and like the sermon linked here on the 14th.

As I’ve commented on another blog, you can’t make up stuff this nutty. The Episcopal Church has become a satire of itself. The great Monty Python troupe excelled in lampooning the church. But I don’t know if even they could outpace the craziness that is the Episcopal Church USA.

Could it be we are seeing Paul and Euripides being proven right once again?

Monday, May 17, 2004

Passive “worship�

My post Saturday seems to have touched a chord. Apparently, I’m not alone in being an evangelical/fundamentalist who is frustrated with evangelical worship.

A thread through several of the comments is how passive most non-liturgical evangelical worship is. And indeed it often is. I’ve gone to countless services where the only active thing the congregation does is sing. And if you don’t like to sing (And during immusical songs and after about four songs, I don’t.), then too bad.

I suspect the passivity of so much Western evangelical worship is one factor that helped the rise of charismatic churches. Whatever you think of the charismatic movement, their worship is not passive! I suspect that passive evangelical worship is now also prodding increased interest in traditional liturgical worship. Although in many ways the opposite end of the worship style spectrum from charismatic worship, liturgical worship is quite active, too. Try sitting like a bump in the pew during a liturgical service. You’ll soon feel quite out of place!

Someone may say that I, along with my likeminded friends, are whiners. That the heart of worship is just that – the heart. And that if our hearts are right, we can worship anywhere at anytime. And I freely admit that’s all true (except for the whiner bit). Myself, I’ve been worshipping a lot going down I-35 lately.

But we are humans with bodies with five senses that can help us or distract us from worship.

For example, posture makes a difference. Personally, I've discovered kneeling helps me to pray. I don’t know why, but it does. On the other hand, being expected to stand for too long distracts me and makes it difficult to maintain a good attitude. Sitting continually has a similar effect on others.

Not to mention it’s just Biblical for worship to be done right. From Leviticus to I Corinthians to Psalm 150, there are a lot of verses given to worshiping God right.

I’m rambling a bit, and I’ll probably post more about worship. But it suffices to say that the sloppy, passive worship of many evangelical churches just doesn’t cut it for me and many others.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Evangelicals and worship

One of the ways in which I’m a square peg is I’m quite Evangelical, Fundamentalist even, in my beliefs, but not in how I best worship.

It’s gotten to the point where at times it’s hard for me to endure the evangelical worship formula of 5 or 6 “praise and worship� songs then a sermon. And those who run in the circles I do know what I mean by “formula.� Evangelical worship can be so numbingly uniform it’s pretty safe to say that many (most?) U. S. evangelicals think “worship� is singing P and W songs with maybe some 19th century Baptist-type songs thrown in (Yes, I don’t like those either. They tend to be overly sentimental and immusical.). For many, that’s about the only church service they know. But, especially when not done well, this type of “worship� makes it hard for me to worship at all. Sometimes, I just have to sit down (That’s another thing. Some worship leaders insist that proper worship singing is done standing up – for 5 songs in a row. My legs seriously distract me then.), tune the service out, and pray.

I’m not ranting, am I?

Anyway, as you can guess, my favorite mode of worship has become traditional Anglican liturgy. It really helps me, well, worship God, both in church and alone. And I’m not an old cud. Some of my purest worship experiences are just God, me, and a Bible out in nature. One of my most memorable worship experiences has even been a Moby concert.

I don’t know how many are like me – evangelical in belief but not in worship style -- but I know way too few church leaders provide a place for us. Take evangelical Anglican Archbishop Jensen of Sydney, for example. I very much respect him and appreciate his stand for orthodox Christian truth in an age of untruth. But he doesn’t seem to adequately appreciate the importance of traditional worship to many. His diocese is going more and more to “contemporary� (i.e. pedestrian middle of the road P and W) worship. Lately, he discontinued a long-standing Sunday Choral Evensong service at Sydney Cathedral. And that has a lot of people upset (In fact, some of the language on this link is inappropriate.). And it saddens me as well.

There are a lot of evangelicals like me who long to worship. And the same old P and W routine just doesn’t cut it for us. That style of worship is great for many, but not for everyone. Church and worship leaders should wise up to that.

In the meantime, churches that both are faithful to the Bible and really help people like me worship are oft few and far between.

It shouldn’t be that way.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Here’s where they get them!

Well I very quickly found out part of the answer to the question I raised in my previous post.

You might want to sit down and listen to soothing music before you read this. It’s a letter (with commentary) a lesbian Episcopal priestess wrote to her bishop saying she would perform gay marriages no matter what, because “She� told her to do so.

Note the educational institution at which she teaches.

And here’s a sermon she preached at said institution.
Where do they get these guys?

One of the criteria I examine as I search for a new church is who or what is in authority over the church. And not just at the local level, but on a regional and national level as well. For no matter how wonderful a local church is, poor leadership over it can cause a lot of grief. It’s not for nothing that Paul used a lot of parchment about who is and who is not qualified for leadership.

Which raises the question – where does the Episcopal Church get a number of their bishops? Even after seeing my share of poor leadership through the years, the conduct of some Episcopal bishops amazes me. It’s as if the ECUSA has thrown Paul’s standards for leadership out the window.

Oh, that’s right. . . . They have.

In fact, a case can be made that the ECUSA is in its current sorry state because they have chosen sorry leaders in the past and then tolerated them.

Two days ago, I gave an example on one sorry bishop, revisionist tyrant +Garrison, who doesn’t care much about Biblical authority, but is obsessed with imposing his own.

The Diocese of West Tennessee gives us another: Bishop Don Johnson. No, he’s not of Miami Vice fame. Although the actor DJ would probably do a better job.

His diocese just had a divisive convention. +Johnson inviting one of the consecrators of Gene Robinson to preside certainly didn’t help.

But one statement the bishop made at the convention stands out for sheer two-facedness. He said that “now is not the time� for the church to take a stand against the consecration of Gene Robinson and gay marriage.

Yet back in January, Bishop Johnson used a leaked memo as an excuse to make haste to jump all over the American Anglican Council. He accused it of trying to destroy the Episcopal Church (Methinks the liberals are already doing a good job of that without any help, thank you.). And he threatened any clergy or congregation that dared to associate with the AAC.

So we shouldn’t be hasty in taking stands against apostasy. But haste in slandering and threatening the orthodox is quite all right.

What a hypocrite!

Again, where do they get these guys?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The REC, yesterday and today

As a follow-up to my 5-11-04 post, here’s an interesting condensed history of the Reformed Episcopal Church, along with comments on today’s genuine ecumenism among orthodox Anglicans, including the REC.

(I do disagree with the writer on one small thing, however: Protestant Fundamentalism ain’t so bad.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Here’s what “dialogue,� “reconciliation,� and “inclusion� look like.

Episcopal Church liberals put on a good show of being oh-so nice and reasonable and inclusive. They love to use nice words like “dialogue� and “reconciliation� and, of course, “study.�

And they try to act like they care about the consciences of the orthodox by putting forth such shams plans as Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight.

Well, just in case anyone is taken in by all that *VOMIT* niceness, here’s what DEPO and “dialogue� and the rest really look like in the ECUSA.

Yes, don’t even ask for DEPO from Bishop Garrison. Just shut up and fork over the money.

The Episcopal Church USA: where the apostates are made leaders and the orthodox are persecuted. What a nice “church.�

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Conservatives get ecumenical. Liberals get "snooty."

I’ve told you to keep an eye on the Reformed Episcopal Church. Well, a retired REC bishop, with permission from conservative Episcopal Church (USA) Bishop Robert Duncan, performed a confirmation in an ECUSA church in Ligonier, PA Sunday. For those not from an episcopal background, you don’t let just anyone perform confirmations. Usually, only approved bishops can do them. +Duncan allowing +Daniel Cox of the REC to do one in one of his churches is quite significant. It certainly confirms my happy suspicion that the REC will have a role to play in Anglican realignment.

The national office of the ECUSA was, well, a bit snooty about the confirmations.

We are certainly not in full communion with the [Reformed Episcopal Church] and so I do not believe it is appropriate for one of their bishops to confirm,� said the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, the national church’s deputy officer of ecumenical and interfaith relations.

“That is not the way we do ecumenical work.�

Somehow +Epting misses the irony that over half of the Anglican Communion is not exactly in full communion with him. But, like the scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, people on the outs tend to get “snooty� at times.

Liberals have the reputation for being oh-so ecumenical. But lately in the Anglican Communion, it is the conservatives who are being truly ecumenical. One of the things I like about the Reformed Episcopal Church is its priority of connecting with other orthodox Anglicans. And they are not alone in this. And several Anglican primates and bishops are reciprocating.

Again, keep on eye on this. I am.

Monday, May 10, 2004

I’m an old prayer book man
(“old� referring to the prayer book, NOT me).

I remember in the late Seventies and Eighties seeing some Episcopal churches advertise themselves as 1928 Prayer Book churches. And knowing nothing about Anglicanism, I thought they were being old cuds making a big deal about nothing. But now I understand.

Now that I’ve gotten into the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and older BCP’s, particularly the 1928 and 1662 prayer books, I like the older ones.

For one thing, as the Pontificator has pointed out, the older prayer books use Coverdale’s translation of the Psalms. Its language is wonderful and, yes, distinctively English. Just one example that I enjoyed in my personal evening prayer on Saturday – Psalm 30:8: Then cried I unto thee, O Lord; and gat me to my Lord right humbly. This is by far the most descriptive and colorful translation of this verse I've seen.

For another, the 1979 replaces some excellent collects for no good reason. I love this week’s collect in the older prayer books:

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I’m going to pray this one every day this week.

But the 1979 BCP disrespects good tradition and replaces it with a new collect, invented for the 1979 book:

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of thy people;
Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who
calls us each by name, and follow where he doth lead;
who, with thee and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

It’s poorly written, taking confusing liberties with the language of John 10.

The 1979 BCP obviously isn’t all bad. And I wouldn’t decide against joining a church because it used the 1979 book. I know of two churches I love that use the newer prayer book. But after using older prayer books for a short while, I already like them much more.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

A certain letter and a more certain reply

Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA, wrote a letter this week to the other Primates. To say it’s two-faced is putting it nicely. He says he regrets all that nastiness and pain his actions have caused in the Anglican Communion -- while he continues said actions.

Well, one Primate, Gregory Venables, quickly wrote a rather pointed reply. And it is wonderful. The concluding paragraph especially is fireworks from God:

You have insisted on autonomy from the Lambeth resolutions, from the Archbishop of Canterbury's plea, from the ACC, and from the Primates to pursue an agenda that is absolutely scandalous to most Christians. That view of autonomy is the opposite of everything Anglicanism has always stood for. Why would you still want to call yourself Anglican? May I urge you either to live as an Anglican conforming to Anglican norms or admit that you have left us and closed the door behind you.

1. God bless Bishop Venables!

2. The reply, coming from a leader among the conservative Primates, makes it that much clearer that the divisions in the Anglican Communion can not be papered over or dialogued to death.

Chris Johnson, has both letters with links and pointed comments here and here.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

One reason liberals tick me off
(or the Presbyterians do it again)

Liberals seem to think rules, constitutions, canons, and so forth are something only less-enlightened conservatives must abide by. But liberals, whose causes transcend any constitution or authority, are not obligated to follow established rules or procedures at all. They can just arbitrarily push proper rules and procedures aside. The U.S. Constitution? The Presbyterian Book of Order? The Episcopal Canons? Even the Bible? Who cares? Liberal causes and imposing them now are more important than these.

We see liberal federal judges act this way when they arbitrarily create law rather than interpret law. Now, once again, the leaders of the mainline Presbyterian Church act this way as well. The Permanent Judicial Commission didn’t like what the Book of Order said about marriage. So it pushed it aside.

Hey, Presies, don’t let the Book of Order or the Bible get in the way of The Cause! This former Presbyterian is rooting for you!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

More from the “religion of peace�

A Muslim governor in Nigeria has ordered the destruction of all churches in his province.

There’s already been wholesale persecution of Christians in Muslim areas of Nigeria. I’m afraid Muslims are pushing the country to a religion based civil war.

Please pray for Christians in Nigeria.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Speaking of bishops, the Ohio Five are my kind of bishops. Remember that they went into the Ohio diocese of a liberal bishop to do a big confirmation service for those who could no longer conscientiously submit to the apostate. This made the liberal leaders of the Episcopal Church unhappy.

Here’s a letter the five retired bishops wrote in response to a call to meet with the ECUSA Inquisition Council of Advice.

Note the pointed questions the Ohio Five ask. I love these guys!
A “Star Chamber�?

I see the Lambeth Commission has released another trial balloon. This one is very interesting indeed.
It seems our Orthodox friends are acting like Anglicans. Their fight, and possible schism even, is about who is bishop over what. Apparently, Anglicans have no monopoly on geographical fundamentalism.

(I have a simple solution to any Orthodox disputes, by the way: the longest beard wins.)

I suspect episcopal governance (i.e. by bishops) is Biblical. But some serious problems sure are caused by bishops who are obsessed with their own authority and make an idol of it. North American Anglicanism is plagued by bishops that don’t hold to the authority of the Bible nor respect the authority of the Anglican Communion. But if you cross their authority, then watch out!

Maybe a requirement for bishops should be that they not be power hungry control freaks? Some of the greatest bishops in church history had to be made bishop against their will. That should tell us something.

Monday, May 03, 2004

There have certainly been interesting developments from the Lambeth Commission the past few days. First came a letter from the Chairman ++Eames. It’s wonderfully Anglican in that it can be given a variety of interpretations, not unlike pronouncements from Alan Greenspan. And sure enough, conservative Anglicans do already have a variety of views on it. My first response was that he was mainly telling everyone to chill out for a while. But who knows.

Second comes a report to be in tomorrow’s London Times that the commission is looking at loosening up the Anglican Communion into a confederation. I don’t know quite what to think of that yet. I guess it would be preferable to a total break-up of the Anglican Communion. And there would be mechanisms available for disciplining wayward churches.

If it would allow orthodox continuing Anglican bodies, such as the Reformed Episcopal Church, to join and would provide a place for orthodox Anglicans as a whole in North America, I would probably consider it a good thing. But if it allows apostates to stay in while they push the orthodox out of the Communion, then I would consider it so much rubbish. Any proposal that doesn’t provide a safe place for besieged orthodox is worthless.

For now, I’m still watching with interest.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

We now return to…

Wow, it’s been some time (the February 24th post to be exact) since I’ve continued the ongoing saga of my church searches. But now is a good time (as you’ll see) to return to [swelling cheesy soap opera music] Church Searches of Mark’s Life.

When we last left Mark, he, um, I was searching for a new church after leaving a church for the first time for reasons other than moving. My negative experiences at the previous church put these concerns at the forefront as I searched:

1. I wanted a church where I would have the freedom to follow God’s leading in ministry.

2. I did not want the staff of the church to have too much power. I especially did not want there to be an attitude that a staffer had to have their thumb on every ministry.

3. I required that singles not be treated with “a differing measure.�

The first church I decided to check out was Denton Bible Church. My first visit was positive, even if the service was jarringly austere. But I had not even begun to investigate.

It turned out, however, that the answers to my concerns were rather easy to find. My next visit, I attended the Visitor’s Welcome, in which an elder gave a brief overview of what Denton Bible is about.

Two things about that time still stand out in my mind. First, a video summary emphasized every member ministry. One segment of that video had Pastor Tommy Nelson encouraging people to get involved in ministry then saying, “If we don’t have a ministry that fits your gift [of ministry], we’ll create one.� A couple tears welled up my eyes at that, I kid you not. That was the opposite of some past negative experiences.

Afterwards, I asked the elder, Warren N., if there were any ministries that they discourage singles from participating in. And I immediately gave him an out to give him some comfort room. I said something like, “For example, you probably wouldn’t have singles lead young couples ministries.�

He immediately answered that singles have led young married groups there. That literally knocked me backwards and gave me a good laugh. Singles were indeed encouraged to follow God’s leading in ministry, if anything, even more so than others.

On another occasion, I was asking a staffer about their philosophy and policies concerning members getting involved in ministry. Without my asking, he volunteered that the staff often prefers to keep their hands off of ministries, that things go better that way. I loved that! After my previous church, that sounded radical!

My main concerns and criteria for a new church were not only quickly answered, they were blown away! I soon joined the new members class, and it confirmed that Denton Bible was even more radical on members’ freedom to minister than I was!

So I joined Denton Bible. And it has been a great place for me where even this square peg fits in, is supported, and gets to minister as God leads.

By the way, the reason I post this today: it is the 10th anniversary of my first Sunday morning at Denton Bible Church -- a day to celebrate indeed.

But now I’m in the process of moving. So I must find a new church in [swelling music] Church Searches of Mark’s Life.