Saturday, 29 November 2008

Squabbling evangelicals need to find a united voice

A meeting of around 400 evangelicals at one of London's biggest churches went largely unnoticed last week.

Hardly surprising really, given that nothing was achieved and nothing agreed.

But actually, the fractious, ill-tempered gathering could be scene as a significant tipping point in years to come.

Talk of division and schism in the Anglican communion has been discussed for years, but is normally viewed as a battle between the liberals and evangelicals.

Now it's the evangelicals who are fighting amongst themselves.

In truth, the unity that was central to their success in forcing the gay cleric, Jeffrey John, to stand down as Bishop of Reading has long gone.

With hindsight this may be viewed as something of a pyrrhic victory as it led to a splintering in the evangelical movement: Anglican Mainstream and Fulcrum emerged from the 2003 row to represent the conservative and more 'open' factions.

The simmering tensions spilt over at the recent meeting, held at All Souls Langham Place - the church which was home to the evangelical doyen John Stott for 30 years. Read more
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Christina Baxter: Hopes we won't fracture, but believes ACC not competent to handle Covenant discipline

Christina Baxter has asked that these notes be removed.

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Thursday, 27 November 2008

Revelation 13:17

"No man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

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Christian police officer sacked for misconduct after offering officers 'cure for homosexuality'

A Christian policeman who objected to being 'bombarded' at work by emails and posters promoting gay rights and events has been sacked for misconduct.

PC Graham Cogman, 50, responded to the 'politically correct' campaign by sending emails to colleagues which quoted religious texts and suggested homosexual sex was sinful.

The regular churchgoer was hauled before a disciplinary committee where he was advised by lawyers to admit a breach of the police code of conduct to save his job.

But he was ordered before another hearing following further allegations, including breaching a ban on using internal communication system to circulate a link to an American Christian helpline, and has now been fired by Norfolk police. Read more
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Struggle to stay Christian

[...] Of the world's 2 billion Christians, 200 million are persecuted in some way. Many of them are in Islamic countries or in rabidly anti-religious regimes such as North Korea's. These countries ignore the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which grants people freedom to choose their religion.

The persecution from Muslims is so intense, 70 percent of all Islamic converts to Christianity give up their adopted faith in two years, Mr. Meral said.

"Your society, your family, everyone is against you and you are completely left alone," he said.

Once their switch to another faith is made known, converts first lose their jobs. Angry parents will seek to have their children taken away from them. Others are told their marriages are no longer valid. In many countries, secular law is subservient to Islamic Shariah law, which proscribes death for converts.

Mr. Meral has a book, "No Place to Call Home: Experiences of Apostates From Islam and Failures of the International Community," published by Christian Solidarity Worldwide. It is about people like Jeje Nehamiah Baki, a nomad from Chad who converted to Christianity in 1995. His father-in-law took custody of Mr. Baki's wife and children and when the convert tried visiting his family in 2002, the father-in-law killed Mr. Baki's oldest son to teach the father a lesson.

Or Nissar Hussein, a British citizen living in a majority-Pakistani community in Britain who converted to Christianity in 1996 along with his wife, Qubra. When groups of Asian men began smashing the windows of their home, throwing garbage at their front door and driving a car into Mr. Hussein's parked automobile, the police refused to protect them. Local churches were of no help either. Read more

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Archbishop of York attacks immigration minister Phil Woolas

The Archbishop of York is to launch a blistering attack on Britain's beleaguered immigration minister, accusing him of making dangerous and inaccurate claims.

Dr John Sentamu will say Phil Woolas has made serious allegations about the conduct of lawyers which were not supported by the facts, and express concern over the minister's "unmerciful" attitude.

He says the minister has been immature in his handling of immigration at a time when the Government should be setting an example to brutal regimes in countries such as Zimbabwe.
Instead it has tried to make political capital out of the issue by "tough-talking" designed to win votes, says the archbishop.

In a wide-ranging critique of British society, Dr Sentamu argues that such cynical tactics have contributed to a breakdown in community and neighbourliness and are "a worrying development".

Consumerism and materialism have become rampant under Labour and have led to the current economic crisis, he says.

In a speech at the Royal Society to be delivered on Thursday evening, Dr Sentamu will urge the Government to find a vision for the country rather than just concentrating on short-term solutions to the recession. Read more

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Britain was at its best in the 1950s - and has been spoiled by bad parents

Britain was at its peak as peaceful society in the 1950s, and has been ruined by bad parents, according to Frank Field.

Violent crime has soared since then because of a "collapse in the art of good parenting", the Labour MP said.

Mr Field called for schools to offer classes to teach children who were "desperate" to be good fathers and mothers.

Adults should also be given a "social highway code to spell out what is proper behaviour", he said.

In a speech at the University of Leicester, Mr Field said Britain was at its best in Fifties, a decade made famous by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's remark in 1957 that "most of our people had never had it so good".

Mr Field said: "The 1950s were the peak years for Britain being a peaceful and self-governing kingdom. We only have to look at the levels of crime, particularly violent crime, to register just how dramatic a change has occurred."

There were now more violent crimes recorded by the police in the past 12 months than between 1900 and 1977, he said.

More people were beaten up or stabbed in his Birkenhead constituency than in the whole of the country a century ago.

The root cause of these ills was "the growing collapse in the art of good parenting", he said Read more
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Be Thankful Today For Religious Freedom

Religious freedom in the United States was never planned by the colonial settlers; it was something that just happened. Nonetheless, said Rev. Charles Weaver, assistant to the bishop of the United Methodist Church's Florida conference, religious freedom is something for which we should be grateful.

Weaver, a Sebring native and UMC minister who majored in history before he went to seminary at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, was the guest speaker at the Daughters of the American Revolution, Annuttaliga Chapter, monthly meeting earlier this week at the Brooksville Country Club.

His presentation was titled "Religion in Colonial America."

"The First Amendment states Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion," he said. "We as Americans take this for granted because that's the way it's always been."

Weaver said freedom of religion was a revolutionary concept in colonial times as it is now.
"Other governments, unless influenced by the American concept, tend to support one religion or have an established church," he said.

Weaver wasn't referring to countries like Saudi Arabia, which has Islam as the state religion - he was talking about Europe.

"England has the Anglican church, Scotland the Presbyterian church and Sweden the Lutheran church as tax-supported churches," he said.

The plus side to a tax-supported church might be not having to hold a bake sale when the water heater needs to be replaced, but there is a tradeoff.

"Governments that give money to churches expect some degree of control," Weaver said. 

"Americans are more religious (than Europeans) - does that tell you something? We basically have a free-market approach." Read more
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Thanksgiving, Obama, and the Pilgrims

... This Congregationalist Church of New England essentially became the state church for much of New England. It produced imposing preachers like Cotton and Increase Mather, and fostered widespread literacy, thrift, spiritual devotion and industry. The Congregationalists founded the great colleges of their region, which were originally Calvinist seminaries, and which would dominate the intellectual life of early and later America. Jonathan Edwards, author of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," was arguably the last great Puritan preacher and theologian, helping to ignite The Great Awakening of the mid-1700s that spiritually congealed the American colonies.

By the late 1700s, much of Congregationalism was trending towards Unitarianism. But most retained the orthodox Calvinist doctrine, and the Congregationalists of New England were the American Revolution's main political and intellectual instigators. Their faith was ascetic, rationalist and focused on conforming the world to their view of God's will. The Congregationalists were both soul savers (to the extent that Predestination would allow it), and social reformers. In the 19th century they were among the earliest abolitionists and proponents of women's rights.

In the 20th century, the Congregationalists eventually merged with theologically similar religious bodies to become what is today the 1.2 million member United Church of Christ (UCC). It is one of America's most liberal and fastest declining denominations, having lost over 40 percent of its membership since the 1960s. Until recently its most famous member was Barack Obama, who very publicly resigned from the only church to which he ever belonged, thanks to the verbal intemperance of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the UCC's most famous preacher.

How did the Pilgrims evolve into Jeremiah Wright? Read more

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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

CDEA Meeting on Saturday morning


Canon Dr Christina Baxter

The Anglican Church - Where now?

At St.Michael’s Church, Galleywood
29th November 2008

10 am to 1:00 pm

Christina Baxter, the Principal of St.John’s College, Nottingham, is worth listening to at any time. She also happens to be one of the most qualified to help Evangelicals think through their place in the Anglican Communion following two key conferences that took place this summer.

There is ample parking at St.Michael’s Galleywood.

Please bring £5 to cover costs for the day.


Following the main meeting there will be a brief AGM to appoint a new committee to relaunch and lead the CDEA.

Membership is only £5. Join on the day!

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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

£35,000 of taxpayers' cash given to 'atheist bus' group

The British Humanist Association, which is running a campaign get rid of faith schools and wants to end the Church of England's position as the established religion, was given the grant by the Government's equality watchdog and is using it to stage a series of debates about the place of religion in public life.
The four events will include speakers from faith groups but one of the keynote addresses is being delivered by the prominent atheist Professor AC Grayling, who claims "religious belief shares the same intellectual respectability and rationality as belief in the existence of fairies".
Critics say it is wrong for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to give taxpayers' money to a controversial organisation whose stance would be found objectionable by many members of the public.
Neil Addison, a Roman Catholic barrister who specialises in religious discrimination, said: "It's a bit like paying the Taliban to lecture on women's rights.
"There's nothing wrong with the British Humanist Association organising seminars, but it's the fact that they're getting public money.
"There is the question of whether this is what Government money should be going for, particularly in a time of recession.
"If we're having a debate on religion, should we be paying one side of the argument to hold it, especially with public money?" Read more
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Southern Cone faces "punishment" for helping US rebels

A conservative province in the Anglican church faces “punishment” this week for offering a safe haven to conservatives.

Senior bishops and laity meeting in London are to consider suspending the Anglican church in South America for taking rebel US dioceses under its wing.

The move will bring the Anglican Communion closer to a formal split. Early next month, rebel conservatives are expected to finalise plans for a new Anglican province in the US, to sit as a parallel jurisdiction alongside the existing Episcopal Church.

Unless this new province is recognised as part of the Anglican family by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the other 38 primates, it will in effect become a new Anglican church.

In a further indication that the liberals are winning the Anglican wars, The Episcopal Church of the US, which was suspended at a previous meeting, is expected to be welcomed back into the fold after sticking by its pledge not to consecrate any more gay bishops.

The Latin American Province of the Southern Cone headed by English-born bishop, the Most Rev Gregory Venables, has aroused the fury of liberal primates after a fourth US diocese voted to leave The Episcopal Church and realign with it.

Fort Worth voted earlier this month to quit the liberal Episcopal Church. Within the last 12 months, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and Quincy have all approved a similar change.

Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh has subsequently been deposed.

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, the Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, last Friday sent out a “letter of inhibition” against Fort Worth’s Bishop Jack Iker which is expected to lead also to his deposition. Read more
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