“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!

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+

 

Agapé Does Not Mean What Many Think It Means

As I have been preparing several essays on ἀγάπη I came across this from Kelly Wright:

“In an article he wrote for Ebony magazine in 1966 titled Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom in 1966, King sounded the alarm that it is a moral imperative to be non-violent: “Only a refusal to hate or kill can put an end to the chains of violence in the world and lead us toward a community where men can live together without fear. Our goal is to create a beloved community.”

As King addressed the issues of his time and promoted a society of brotherhood, he wanted to avoid being looked upon as a super and unrealistic optimist in an age of cynicism and pessimism.

He wrote on page 64 of his book, Struggle to Love: “As we struggle to defeat the forces of evil, the God of the universe struggles with us. Evil dies on the seashore, not merely because of man’s endless struggle against it, but because of God’s power to defeat it.”

Dr. King did, and still does, encourage all of us to come to the table of brotherhood, to discuss our differences openly and honestly, to work and pray for a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Dr. King would remind us that in everything we do, we must act in love. Not in some sort of sentimental love.

He explained it would be difficult for men to love their enemies or oppressors in an affectionate sense. Because of that, he pushed the concept of Agape love. He explained that Agape love is not sentimental or affectionate, but is a reciprocal love.

A person will love out of a redeeming good will for mankind. It is the kind of sacrificial love that seeks nothing in return.”

Read it all here.

Seriously, hie thee hence.

You’re welcome!

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.

Uncomfortable Words about Conduct, Critical Analysis, and Be-ing

Dear ἐκκλησία,

We live in the midst of a time in history where myriads upon myriads of voices are competing rather cunningly not only for our attention but more importantly for the most prominent places in our decision making, advisory, and influential capacities. Constitutive Christian doctrines, tenets, principles, teachings, ethics, practices, and beliefs suddenly become negotiable to the point of being unrecognizable from divine design and purpose; or optional; or even archaic.

At the following link, Dr. Wayne Grudem sets forth  a “reminder of what God’s Word has to say about homosexual conduct, a teaching many believers increasingly prefer to forget”.

It is an uncomfortable reminder that is nonetheless crucial and imperative. Please consider prayerfully and reflectively.

An admonition, if I may: please walk (and pray, think, be, and act) in αγάπη as Christ ἠγάπησεν us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  (Please note the word αγάπη. The love we be and do toward God and others is the love to which I’m referring. Got that?)   ~Ephesians 5:2

Link to Grudem’s article.

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη