“For every century in the life of the Church, there have been places of persecution. In many instances, the persecution has included terrible, physical violence and even martyrdom. Rather than the world evolving into a more and more mellow environment, the persecution has actually accelerated. In the twentieth century, more Christians were martyred than in the previous nineteen centuries put together! Hopes that the world would mature and come to a more civilized and gracious demeanor have certainly not been realized. Increasingly, as the realities of Christendom have faded into a memory, there have been a number of forces assaulting Christians: Secularism, Radical Islam, and Paganism.”

Much, much more here. Must read material!

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On rightly ordered ambition; from John Stott

As a Christian, whether in leadership or not, it is right and necessary to know that ambition does have its place in support of Christ’s Church.

If all we Christians take God seriously, we shall “become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.” May this be our common goal, and may we “therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2 – ESV) AND > May we be among the bold/ambitious laborers. Keeping in mind that though we are differently gifted, we can, should, and must be willing to say to our Lord Jesus, “Here I am send me”. He can and does use in countless wonderful ways whosoever will.

Let’s look at what the late John Stott has to say on rightly ordered ambition.

“Ambitions for self may be quite modest (enough to eat, to drink and to wear, as in the Sermon [on the Mount]) or they may be grandiose (a bigger house, a faster car, a higher salary, a wider reputation, more power). But whether modest or immodest, these are ambitions for myselfmy comfort, my wealth, my status, my power.

“Ambitions for God, however, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honour in the world? No. Once we are clear that God is King, then we long to see him crowned with glory and honour, and accorded his true place, which is the supreme place. We become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.

  1. 172 -173 “The Message on the Sermon on the Mount” (Inter-Varsity Press)

More of Why I am a Christian Who Happens to be Anglican

“Reformation Anglicanism is not a historical fetish.  Rather, we see in the English Reformation and the 39 Articles of Religion a clear, vibrant, and costly articulation of the saving power of the Gospel as proclaimed by our Lord Jesus and set forth in the Holy Scriptures.  In this time of global Anglican turmoil, Reformation Anglicanism acts as an anchor rooting us within faithful, historic, Gospel-centered Christianity.  It is the Gospel-centrality that exalts the glory of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit that we cherish above all else.  Reformation Anglicanism is simply a gracious reminder that Anglicans who cherish such things do not need to look beyond their own tradition to be resourced for mission both now and in the future.”

The preceding quote is from here.

Many who know yours truly wonder how in the world I could say with any true commitment and even coherence that I am an evangelical, reformed, apostolic, confessional, and yes, ecumenical, Anglo-catholic Christian practitioner. The Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas has produced this very apropos description of Restoration Anglicanism that seems to capture the description of the path many are trying to tread (including me).

I really don’t need to add anything  to this article on Reformation Anglicanism that would shed any further light to how I’m, by the grace of God, being an effective Christian person in, but not of, the world in the 21st century.

Well, now what do you think of a Christian whose disposition requires six adjectival modifiers?

A Study in How to Be the Church Jesus Is Building and How Not

You may or may not know that your blog host here spent 33 years in the Episcopal Church (TEC). From the Episcopal Church I have numerous fond and transforming remembrances of many of Christ’s bondservants I came to know and love and by whom I was influenced, most often in positive and sometimes profound ways.

From 2003 to 2009 (the latter year being my time of departure), TEC willfully took a path oriented to relativism, proclamation of different gospels (see II Corinthians 11:3-4 and Galatians 1:6-9, for example ), abandonment or specious reworking of vast sections of Holy Scripture (an unbiblical hermeneutic resulting), evisceration of the mission of the church to go and make disciples, and a whole host of other actions that demonstrate the truth of Richard Niebuhr’s critique of the so-called liberal gospel: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

My breaking point came slowly and after much prayer and not a little separation anxiety. Thanks be to God for PEARUSA!

I must note that I know a good number of parishioners and clergy still in TEC who by grace have maintained their Christian orthodoxy and witness despite the increasingly negative  and pernicious actions and influences of the relativist revisionists in positions of power within TEC and its governing structures.

When thinking upon the dominical declaration (ref. Matthew 16:13-19) of the Chief Architect, Foundation, and Bridegroom of the ecclesia,  οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, I will build my church, it makes me blanch to apprehend how far afield TEC has walked away.

With that sad picture in view, I share a link to a timely article that ought to warn us all about making untenable compromises when it comes to matters  concerning the faith once delivered to the saints.

Hie thee hence, praying before during and after reading.

Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied to you and yours this Advent season,

Michael+

 

Please forgive a “high churchman”

In view of  the come as you are/”contemporary” school of thought concerning Christian worship praxis, it may be of help to know that your blog curate has some past[1] (and occasionally current) experiences of its calm, cool, counter cultural envelope of faith, hope and love. The “contemporary” form/style/manner/mode of the service of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and petition directed toward God through actions and attitudes[2]in this day and age demographically holds first place with traditional/liturgical forms coming in at an increasingly lower second place.

The winds of change appear to be blowing once again.

From Patheos blogger, Michael F. Bird, “Many hunger for something that is aesthetic in their worship, rather than just intellectual or emotional.” Please read the whole article here.

Now, for a tantalizing glimpse into the “high church” world, please take this jump.

Oh, and yes, I still have my organ shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Ralph Carmichael’s and Kurt Kaiser’s Natural High (1971) was the call to worship for me and several other young people in our church at the time.

[2] Donald. K. McKim, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville, 1996, p. 307.