Friday, April 03, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why Anglican? By J I Packer

J.I. Packer:
I identify myself as a heritage Anglican, or a main stream Anglican, on the basis of that view of things. I adapt to state my Anglican identity, words from the great Pastor Duncan of the Free Church of Scotland, who something like 150 years ago, said in answer to a question about his identity as a minister of the church, “I’m first a Christian, second a Protestant, third a Calvinist, fourth a Paedo-baptist, and fifth a Presbyterian”. Well, I go with the first four; and then “fifth I’m an Anglican”. And if I’m asked to explain further what is the Anglicanism that I stand for, I reel off eight defining characteristics of my Anglicanism like this.
Anglicanism is first biblical and protestant in its stance, and second, evangelical and reformed in its doctrine. That’s a particular nuance within the Protestant constituency to which the Anglican church is committed – the 39 Articles show that. Ten, thirdly, Anglicanism is liturgical and traditional in its worship.
I go on to say, fourthly, Anglicanism is a form of Christianity that is pastoral and evangelistic in its style. I quote the ordinal for that and I point out that ever since the ordinal and the prayer book required the clergy to catechize the children, Anglicanism has been evangelistic, though the form of the evangelism has not been that of the travelling big tent – the form of the evangelism has been rather institutional and settled; the evangelism was part of the regular work of the parish clergyman and the community around him. But let nobody say that institutional parochial Anglicanism is not evangelistic and, today, I know the wisest folk here in England are recovering parochial evangelism in a significant way. Thank God they are.
And then I say, fifthly, that Anglicanism is a form of Christianity that is episcopal and parochial in its organization and, sixthly, it is rational and reflective in its temper. I make a point of that. I say that, in Anglican circles, any question can be asked and the Anglican ethic is to take the question seriously and discuss it responsibly. There are, of course, Protestant churches which, I think you have to say, are always running scared and as soon as a question of this kind – a real puzzle of our Christian truth, of the ways of God – is raised in their circles, they bring out the big stick. “Now you mustn’t talk like that, you shouldn’t be concerning yourself about that. Just stay with the ABC of the Gospel and Bible truth”. Theological reflection is discouraged rather than helped on its way. That makes, I believe, for real immaturity. So I celebrate the fact that Anglicanism, characteristically is rational and reflective and believes in the discipline of debate and sustained discussion, believing, you see, that like panning for gold, the gold of truth will be distilled out through the discussion and the dross of error will be panned away.
Seventhly, I tell people that Anglicanism as a form of Christianity is ecumenical and humble in spirit. Unlike some denominations, we do not claim that Anglicanism is self-sufficient. What we say, rather, is that the Anglican way is the way of a person with an unlimited charge card going through a large department store and being free to say of every valuable thing you see and would like to make your own: “That’s for me. Put it on charge”. Anglicans have always rejoiced to receive wisdom from outside their own circles. They have a vision of Christendom as a fragmented reality with flashes of truth and wisdom scattered all across the board. Our business as Anglicans, seeking the glory of God, is to pick up as much truth and wisdom (get as much help, I mean, from these scattered shards of truth and wisdom) as we possibly can. I am comfortable with that. I would be uncomfortable with anything else.
Then, eighthly, I tell people that Anglicanism characteristically is national and transformist in its outlook. By `national’ I mean that the Anglican way is to accept concern for the spiritual condition of the national group within which the gospel is being preached. By `transformist’ I mean that Anglicans seek, under Christ, to see the culture changed into a Christian mould as far as maybe. So Anglicans have always been concerned about education and educational institutions, and about a Christian voice being raised in Government and things of that kind. Please God, it will always be that way wherever Anglicans go.
All this sounds, I suppose, very triumphalist; but I do believe that Anglicanism embodies the richest, truest, wisest heritage in all Christendom. When people say “Those are fine words but everywhere in the west Anglicanism is sinking”, I have to admit – in Canada, yes, and in Britain, yes, and in the States, yes, and in Australasia, sure. It is true; but still, I think, we may stay our hearts by reminding ourselves what is going on under Anglican auspices in black Africa. There the church grows and the gospel advances by leaps and bounds.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A New Song for the PCUSA

Since 14F has passed, we all know where to go if you:
1) Are married, but don't think your sex life should be confined to your spouse.
2) Can't abide being married to just one person at a time.
3) Are single and want to "test the milk" before you "buy the cow."
4) Reject the basics of human biological gender.

Let's face it. Gay clergy isn't the problem. Making the fundamentals of the faith optional is the disease...confusion over the sexes is just a symptom. As professor Alice Linsley reminds us: "Dialogue with revisionists is impossible."

“Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it, and, indeed, to neglect to confound evil men - when we can do it - is no less a sin than to encourage them”
St. Felix III, Bishop of Rome, 483-492

Best wishes, though, to all my friends of evangelical persuasion still on that ship. May you find a lifeboat soon.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Lenten Psalm 50

Listen to audio track of this song

Have mercy, O God

© 2008 Mick Truman
Credits: Mick Truman - vocals, acoustic guitars, piano



  • Have mercy, O God,
    have mercy, O God

    1. Have mercy, O God, in your kindness,
      in love and compassion set me free,
      O wash me more and more from my guilt and my sin.
      O cleanse me, O God, O cleanse me, O God.
    2. A pure heart create for me, O God,
      your Spirit, O Lord, within my heart,
      your presence, O God, is my only desire.
      O heal me, O God, O heal me, O God.

    3. Salvation, the joy that you send to me,
      your presence and Spirit give me strength.
      Your glory and praise I will sing and proclaim.
      O save me, O God, O save me, O God.
    © 2008 Mick Truman

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    Wednesday, March 18, 2015

    The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) an apostate denomination

    Here lies the boundary of a Christian church that knows itself to be bound by the authority of Scripture. Those who urge the church to change the norm of its teaching on this matter must know that they are promoting schism. If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. ("Should We Support Gay Marriage? No") Wolfhart Pannenberg

    More analysis at Viola Larson's blog...

    I'm pleased to see that others are pointing out what we've known for a long time. This is the end game for egalitarianism. When men and women become interchangeable in the liturgical context of authoritative public ministry, you can't stoop the implication that other liturgical / public authoritative acts are bound by sexual/gender distinctions. END