Recovering the True Meaning of Repentance

Posted by ajenkins on May 1, 2013 under Anglican Events, Devotionals, Good News, Reformation, Repentance, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

By: The Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison
This past Advent my wife asked what I was going to preach about on the coming Sunday.
“Repentance,” I replied. “Oh gosh!” she replied wearily, “I wish you’d preach on something cheerful.” One can easily understand why repentance is not considered a joyful subject! The dictionary defines ‘repent’ as “self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do,” “conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it,” or “to feel remorse.” The brilliant novelist E. M. Forster claimed that, “of all means to regeneration, Remorse is surely the most wasteful. It cuts away healthy tissue with the poisoned. It is a knife that probes far deeper than the evil” (Howard’s End, Ch. 41). One could expect such a negative view of remorse from Forster’s known failure to trust Christian forgiveness. How-ever, we should not overlook the unfortunate truth in his observation.It is especially important when we acknowledge that our secular culture increasingly shares with Forster a hope bereft of divine forgiveness, where mere regret sadly replaces repentance.

I contend that the Greek word used in Scripture to express repentance distorts the true biblical meaning of the crucial term: Repent. The Greek word that is used is metanoia, meaning to change one’s mind, whereas in every context in Scripture ‘repentance’ is not a change of mind but a change of heart. The difficulty lies in the fact that the Greek language has no word for change of heart—no metakardia. Swahili has no word for atonement because there had been no experience of atonement. So Greek, bereft of Israel’s revelation concerning change of heart, is left with a superficial hope, only a change of mind, metanoia, no metakardia.

This failure to appreciate the deeper dimension of human nature was abetted by the teaching of Socrates and Plato, who insisted that knowledge produces virtue. They identified goodness with knowledge, saying that to know the good is to do the  good. Vice and evil are simply the result of ignorance.

Such belief is radically different from that of Scripture: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt,” and “If I… understand all mysteries and all knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing” (I Cor. 13: 1, 2). Love comes not from a change of mind but a change of heart. “Rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:13); “The Lord is nigh them of broken hearts” (Ps. 31:18); “The wise in heart will heed commandments” (Prov. 10:8); “The heart of men is set to do evil” (Eccles. 9:13); “receive the heart of contrite ones ”(Is. 57:15); “Blessed are the poor in heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). In fact, it takes nine columns of Cruden’s Concordance to list the texts regarding heart, but one column is sufficient to include all the verses regarding mind.

Because the Greek language had no word for change of heart, Greek translation gives prominence to the mind. This was bootlegged into Christianity, resulting in a Greek rather than a Christian understanding of repentance. It is not enough to change one’s mind. Our hearts must be changed, changed not by knowledge but by love.

Following this mistake the meaning of faith or belief (pistis) tends to be relegated to the mind and not, as in Scripture, more deeply to the heart. One can intellectually acknowledge the existence of God, but that is a far cry from the trust of God in one’s heart.The latter results in action whereas the former can rest in mere passive acknowledgement.

Much of the historical misunderstanding in the relation between faith and works stems from teaching that faith (pistis) is a matter of the mind instead of its being a trust of the heart that, as true faith, inevitably leads to works. Professor Ashley Null has taught us that “what the heart desires, the will chooses and the mind justifies.” This, he tells us, is his paraphrase of Philip Melanchthon’s writings that so influenced Thomas Cranmer and can be seen in his Prayer Books. Knowing that the will is but an agency of the heart, Cranmer saw the virulent vanity of Pelagianism. Unless the heart is enticed, evoked, and changed, it is vain to exhort the will. The Gospel itself is the means by which the heart is changed by the message of a gracious God. Unless the heart is moved, the will cannot be effectively engaged.

It is particularly evident in the parable of the prodigal son that repentance in the pig-pen is a low level of repentance, an insight of the mind. “I can do better as one of my father’s servants.” But true repentance, a change not of mind but a change of heart, occurs when the prodigal son experiences the undeserved, initiating, costly love of his father. Similarly, Cranmer’s absolutions in both Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer (1928) show that true repentance comes after, not before, absolution. The grace of unearned and undeserved absolution speaks to the heart and results in the fruit of the Spirit.

There is no Socratic reliance upon the mind as the means of virtue and obedience in Cranmer’s prayer books. His use of Psalm 51 in the penitential office, “make in me a clean heart, O God…, a broken and a contrite heart, shalt thou not despise,” his responses to the Decalogue, “incline our hearts to keep this law,” and the reception of Holy Communion, “feed on him in thy heart” show clearly that Cranmer’s incomparable use of Scripture for the biblical meaning of repentance indicates a true metakardia even though there is no such Greek word.

When Dr. Null’s work on Cranmer was published by Oxford University Press, it was promised that the whole title would be on the cover. Unfortunately it was not. One has to turn inside to the title page to find it: Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love. Given the general and
understandable attitude toward the term ‘repentance’ the sub-title badly needs to be up front. Many of us feel that repentance is good for other people, but understanding that repentance renews “the power to love” makes us realize a dimension that all of us seek. “Renewing the power to love” rescues the remorse in repentance from destructive possibilities. Sin is a deeper matter than merely breaking a rule or law. It is always radically personal against others, against self, and against God. No self-hate, self-damage, despair, or the accumulation of sacrifices—the fruit of mere remorse—can rectify or redeem sin.

God’s absolution is no mere acceptance. It is God’s grace squeezing into the bastion of our hearts through the crack of remorse. This is the repentance (metakardia) that renews the power to love.

The Rt. Rev’d C. FitzSimmons Allison is the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina and lives in Georgetown with his wife Martha.

Rector’s Annual Report Annual Meeting for Ministry, 2013

Posted by ajenkins on under Anglican Events, Faith At Home, Just A Thought, Regeneration, Sabbatical, The Parish, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”    Acts 20:28

TO BE AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST
by
LOVING GOD.     LOVING PEOPLE.     BUILDING COMMUNITY.

THANKSGIVING

We continue to be a congregation of Thanksgiving. I know you have heard my refrain, “Let your thanksgivings overwhelm your complaints.” As there is always something about which to complain; by faith, there is also always something for which to give Thanks. Remember, we call the prayer of consecration at the Holy Communion, “The Great Thanksgiving.” I pray that you have been blessed and awed by the thanksgivings offered. For me these thanksgivings are humbling and encouraging. The testimonies to God’s goodness and action in our lives are to many to mention. We have joined the thanksgivings of our brothers and sisters-in-Christ for everything from birthdays to the birth of a child or a grandchild to the answer of prayer for healing from cancer, resurrection of a marriage and new faith and life. Yes, people have come to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Yes, I start this report with thanksgivings because expressing our thanks and recognition to God is changing who we are and our life together.

SHARE OUR SACRIFICE

Our stewardship, our Christian giving during 2012 was marked by the Share Our Sacrifice request. It reminded us of the power of Biblical solutions over financial solutions. It reminded us that as the Body of Christ we look for family solutions and not business solutions. It reminded us that as the Body of Christ we are an organism and not just an organization. Several of you have asked me why we didn’t continue that request this year. My answer continues to be two-fold. First, we did continue it. I asked you to simply add your increased sacrifice to your tithe. That’s what Kay and I did. The second part of the answer is that your Staff doesn’t have anything more with which to sacrifice. We sacrificed to  make a point, that is, if we all share in the giving there is very little sacrifice in it. Have you experienced the joy and peace of tithing, of giving intentionally to God and this ministry we share? Try it.

PREPARATION FOR A NEW ASSISTANT RECTOR – WE’VE DONE IT!

We’ve done it and I am so proud of you all. We have prayerfully and I think, faithfully called a new assistant pastor. The Rev’d Andrew Williams and his wife, the Rev’d Jill Williams and their two sons, Jude and Joshua will join us this Summer. Andrew will join us for his first Sunday on June 9th, the same Sunday our Bishop, Mark, will be with us. Jill may need to stay in Massachusetts for a time to sell their home and finish up some of her own ministry within the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. Andrew will bring a new energy and perspective to our clergy staff. Andrew thinks about car seats and soccer matches, while I think about reading and naps.
This new method of ministry transitions has been blessed and encouraged by our Bishop. In the past it was traditional and understood that no assistant could or would move into the leadership role upon the senior pastor’s retirement. This made for transitions that always depended on bringing someone from outside the parish family, outside the ministry organization to become the new spiritual leader. While this was done carefully, prayerfully and with a discerning search committee, it still was often marked by great change by not fully knowing what you were going to get. By growing up the pastoral leadership from within our ministry and life together will not miss a beat. But that is why we are bringing Andrew into our clergy staff now instead of 7 years from now. With God’s help and your understanding this next seven years will be a fruitful season of life and ministry at Saint James.

LOUISE WELD

As we prepare joyfully to welcome Andrew to our church I want to be very clear about my plans and prayers for the ministry I share with Louise Weld. I want you to keep her. I want you to give of your tithes and offerings that we might be able to keep Louise on our staff for as long as she can and will serve. Yes, I want us to allow Louise to have a more part-time ministry as she wishes at the same time recognizing that we need her. Louise and her ministry is impacting us at Saint James and also our Diocese. She is about to play a major role in the understanding of women’s ministry and ordination as we reorganize our diocese. She is a symbol of the fullness of ministry that is to be shared by men and women, husbands and wives and parents. I fully believe that Louise and I, clerics male and female, perfect and imperfect, represent a small part of how the Kingdom of God, the Jesus Culture and the Body of Christ works. That representation is important for our Diocese at this critical time.

FAITH AT HOME

Building Faith by building families of faith continues to be the vision and goal of our staff and myself. I recognize this contradicts many of the teaching, standards and expectations of our society and even many of the practices of the church in the past. Just one of the lies that continues to be propagated by society is that you, the parents, have very little influence over your children. This is such a sad lie and completely opposite of Biblical truth and God’s created order. God has given parents power and authority over their children’s hearts. And, as we often say by quoting Dr. Rob Rienow, “IT IS NEVER TOO LATE.”
We are starting to see some of the fruit of this dramatic shift in how we teach and make disciples and how we structure our ministry. I want you to know that many parishes in the Diocese are copying Saint James. Our invitation for fathers to pray over their children at baptism, confirmation, graduation and more is being used across the diocese and more. The Rev’d Mark Holmen, of Faith At Home Ministries is sharing this idea and more across the country. To God be the Glory & Honor.

ANGLICAN EVENTS

Last year I told you that “we have been living as a step-child within The Episcopal Church (TEC) for the last eight years.” Well, now that has ended. To quote our Bishop, The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence, “we have moved on.” During this past year charges of abandonment of communion and judgments of inhibition and deposition were brought against our Bishop. Knowing that if our Bishop were removed we would not be allowed to chose another, our Diocese left TEC. I have been asked by many times, “where are we going?” My answer has been and continues to be, “No where.” We are not realigning with any Anglican entity at this time. We will simply remain the Diocese of South Carolina. Remember, we were a Diocese before there was a TEC and we are one of several dioceses who formed TEC. Obviously and sadly this will all decided in court. Again, I remind you that your leadership, the Vestry and many parish elders have made wise, faithful and effective preparations for whatever may come.
Meanwhile, we continue to keep the main thing, the main thing. That is the worship and ministry of our Living Lord, Jesus Christ. For me, that is most clearly expressed in the Apostle John’s words in his first letter. “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also my have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.    1 John 1:3

THE DIOCESE AND THE STANDING COMMITTEE

The next several years will be significant and historic for our Diocese. Because we are now an Anglican Diocese, no longer restricted by TEC traditions or canons, we can and will reorganize ourselves and reclaim some of the Biblical ground that has been lost. Just one small but profound example of that is membership. Canonically speaking, TEC has defined a member for the last many years as “one who attends church and receives communion at least three times a year.” Doesn’t that seem like a pretty meager definition of membership? I have been blessed and challenged to be elected to the Standing Committee of the Diocese for the next three years. As a member of the Standing Committee I will be on the forefront of our reorganization and identity as a Biblically based church and a member of the Anglican Communion.

SABBATICAL

I can hardly believe that my sabbatical is almost here. I must bear witness to you of God’s grace and provision in this. The timing is certainly providential. Yes, I admit I have wanted, even needed a sabbatical for many years. Please remember, a sabbatical is more than a rest or a vacation. It is more importantly a time of renewal, education, reflection and ministry direction. I can’t imagine a better time than this as we all plan for the future and I as I consider the direction and importance of my waning years of ministry with you. The place is also providential. Obviously I had considered possibilities and places for a sabbatical for years. Thoughts, daydreams, listening to other pastors who had traveled here and there and focused on many differing areas of study and ministry. And then, as this sabbatical became a real possibility the door just opened to Jerusalem, Israel and the Holy Land. Two courses of study at St. George’s College and then a month with a Rabbi living with him in his flat (that’s what they call an apartment). I will literally be able to cross that line from being a tourist to be a resident of Jerusalem, even though just for a short time. I will be able to leave the tours and structured itineraries and go to some of the Holy Places and just be. One of the several things the Lord has put on my heart is to go the the Mount of Olives, take with me the list of members of Saint James and pray for you each by name. I can’t wait to name you, your family, your children before the Lord in that place where our Lord prayed, “Make them one as we are one.” John 17:22. Also, the finances have been providential. Last year, Bruce and Virginia, our Wardens, sent out a request to some of the members of Saint James and they graciously funded my sabbatical. I am so grateful and humbled by their generosity. Also, I am blessed that this didn’t take away from the ministry budget and resources we so carefully steward at Saint James.
My greatest prayer for my sabbatical is that it will not be all mine. My prayer is that this will be a time of ministry review, renewal and reflection that will bless, encourage and guide us all. I can’t wait to  return with stories, revelations and places to share.

Lastly – FIFTEEN years  (I write this every year to remind us both)

I am coming to the end of my fifteenth year with you as your Rector and Pastor. I remind us both of this because being a long-term pastor is so important to me. I believe when God calls pastors to the ministry He calls us to the same commitment as when married. God calls us to monogamy. When Kay and I talked and prayed about returning to Saint James in 1998 we both knew that this was not a stepping stone, but God’s invitation to be part of Saint James either until I retired or was told to leave. For me, what we do and share together will be my life “well spent.” That is a blessing to me as I pray it is to you.

Arthur
Ephesians 3:14-21
Prayer BCP, pg. 562 & 563, bottom of the page

A Word for Lent from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

Posted by ajenkins on February 22, 2012 under Anglican Events, Devotionals, Jesus, Judgment, Reformation, Repentance | 2 Comments to Read

From Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith!
The disciplines of Lent, which begin on Ash Wednesday, are not intended to be burdensome, but to open our lives more fully to the transforming power of the gospel. Our mission as the Anglican Church of Kenya is simple, yet powerful: it is ‘to equip God’s people to transform society with the gospel’. This is an holistic transformation much deeper and more lasting than any government or international agency can bring because it addresses our deepest need, that of a restored relationship with the God in whose image we are made and whose workmanship we are.
The glorious truth of the gospel is that we are justified freely by God’s grace alone, but far from making us complacent about doing good, the abundant grace and full forgiveness we have through the blood of Christ should be a great spur to Christ-like living, to walking in those good works ‘which God prepared beforehand’.
Imagine the transformation if our nation heeded this call. As we prepare for general elections which will test the cohesiveness of our civil society, Christians need to model what it means to live in peace, practicing tolerance and forgiveness, with a new sense of urgency. Moreover, the foundation of our civic life is the family so it is vital that the love of Christ deeply infuses family relationships and that the shameful violence being reported in the media, not only of husbands towards wives but now even of wives towards husbands, is replaced by the kindness and gentleness of Christ.
Our Christian faith can also have an impact on the scourge of unemployment; although the immediate causes often lie with economic forces beyond our control, the Christian values of hard work, thrift, enterprise and honesty have the capacity to bring long term prosperity.
These things are not easy. They call for the spiritual depth which comes from a real and growing awareness of Christ’s presence in our personal lives. Otherwise, the good works God calls us to do will simply feel like burdens and we will not sustain them under pressure. During this Lenten season, whatever particular disciplines we adopt, our first aim should be to draw near to God in prayer and through his Word, beseeching him to make in us new and contrite hearts, hearts that will desire the things of his heart.
Without this joyful discipline, we will be vulnerable to taking short cuts that lead us away from the truth of the gospel. Some church leaders seem to think that the transformation of society will simply come through commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and at home in Kenya, the Vision 2030 initiative and the new constitution. While it is obvious that such good things as feeding the hungry, fighting disease, improving education and national prosperity are to be desired by all, by themselves any human dream can become a substitute gospel which renders repentance and the cross of Christ irrelevant.
Moreover, we need to be discerning about the values behind these visions. For instance the Millennium Development Goals have grown out of a secularised Western culture which is pushing Christianity to the margins and uses the language of human rights and equality to promote irresponsibility in social life and diminish personal responsibility.
So this Lent, let us seek to experience a renewed walk with Christ in those good works that God has prepared. The good news of the gospel is that transformation begins with ordinary men, women and children, however sinful or insignificant we may feel. It is not a responsibility we can leave to governments and agencies, but a challenge to fulfil the purposes of Almighty God in our place for our time.
May the Lord establish your hearts in every good work as you trust in Him
Amen
Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya

SHRINKING JESUS and BETRAYING THE FAITH

Posted by ajenkins on November 13, 2011 under Anglican Events, Jesus | Be the First to Comment

The following article was submitted by the Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison, XII Bishop of South Carolina, Retired

What caused the crisis now being faced not only by the Diocese of South Carolina but by the entire western Christian Church? It’s more than an issue of sexuality. It’s one of pandering to the secular culture, of shrinking Jesus and betraying the faith.

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan are two remarkably popular theologians who teach a version of Christianity that reduces the Christian faith to contemporary secular assumptions. For Crossan, Jesus was an illiterate Jewish cynic. No Incarnation no Resurrection. The Easter story is “fictional mythology” (p. 161, Jesus a Revolutionary Biography). Borg claims that Jesus was only divine in the sense that Martin Luther King and Gandhi were divine.  Borg dismisses the creeds (p.10, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time) Jesus was a “spirit person,” “a mediator of the sacred,” “a shaman,” one of those persons like Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Mohammed, et al. (p. 32)

Recently Borg and Crossan have collaborated on a book, The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem.  Their Jesus is a semi-revolutionary leader of peasants and outcasts against the priestly elite and those who accommodate to the dominant system of Roman coercive authority. It was not our sinful condition that demanded his crucifixion but this elite.  Borg and Crossan’s Jesus does not come from God to take away sin but arose from among the innocent to teach us how not to be a part of the dominant systems. They fail to understand the depth of sin in all of us at all times, including peasants, as well as the elite. More importantly they lose the assurance of ultimate mercy and forgiveness.

Speaking of elites these two “scholarly authorities” purport to tell us, “What the Gospels Really Teach about Jesus.” They pander to an increasingly secular culture and to the human itch to find some undemanding simplicity that now finally explains everything.  And they do this while ignoring, and without reference to, the multitude of superior contemporary scholars such as Richard Bauckham, Raymond Brown, Luke Timothy Johnson, N. T. Wright, Richard Hays, Leander Keck, Christopher Bryan, and scores of others whose works reflect the faith of scripture and the creeds.
In addition to the academic arrogance of claiming that everyone has been wrong about Jesus until now, Marcus Borg, who is a member of the Episcopal Church, denies, in his writings, the creeds and doctrine he affirmed at his confirmation and in his present worship.  It is the same moral issue as that of Bishop Jack Spong who was asked by one of his clergy, “How can you, as a bishop, ask those you ordain to swear to doctrine that you expressly and personally deny?” Crossan, on the other hand, showed some moral integrity when he resigned his Roman Catholic orders.  These are not times when people readily think in terms of doctrine or of honor.

Christian faith, but not secular faith, now effectively banned from schools, colleges, and universities, has been relegated to the private and subjective arena.  The result is the growing popularity of any who eliminate from Christian faith all that secular trust finds incompatible: miracles, the radical nature of sin and the consequent radical nature of grace, transcendence, holiness, and our human desperate need for God’s initiative action in Jesus.
The consequence of this secular replacement of Christianity over the years is that otherwise educated people can be bereft of any substantial grasp of scripture. One glaring example is Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori who tells us that Marcus Borg “opened the Bible to me.” (Acknowledgements A Wing and a Prayer). The Christian creed’s affirmation, to which she has repeatedly sworn, (but Borg negates) is that Jesus Christ is:
“the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made . . .”

Borg has not opened the scripture for Bishop Jefferts Schori but closed its revelation of Jesus’ divinity. One must ask how such apostasy has come about in the Episcopal Church.  One answer is given by the new bishop of Connecticut, Ian Douglas.  He accurately claims,” The Episcopal Church does not readily think in terms of doctrine.” As one thinks carefully about this statement the spiritual pathology of TEC becomes apparent.?

Doctrine is “that which is taught, what is held, put forth as true” (Webster). Doctrine is a synonym for teaching.  When we “do not readily think in terms of doctrine” we are unaware and ignorant of Christian teaching. This is true of both “liberals” and “conservatives.” We were warned in scripture about losing our grasp on doctrine and the danger of false doctrine;  (“. . . so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by cunning men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.” Eph. 4:14  (see also Titus 2:;7, I Tim. 1:3, and 4:16, II John 10,  II Tim. 3:16, 4:2)

Bishop Douglas’s statement, however, is only true of Christian doctrine.  The Episcopal Church does indeed think in terms of doctrine: doctrines of litigation, abortion, divorce, sexual behavior outside of marriage and all kinds of current politically correct doctrines, as well as teachings that Jesus is reduced from the Son of God to a “subversive sage.” (p. 119, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time)
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church personifies this sad reduction, this shrunken Jesus, this betrayal of Christian faith. Her claim that “salvation is attained by many ways – Jesus Christ is a way, and God has many other ways as well. . .”(italics provided) (Interview, Time Magazine, July 10, 2006) is a violation of her ordination and consecration vows regarding the church’s creed (p. 519, Book of Common Prayer, , 1979). It is also sadly bereft of the Good News that salvation is never attained but freely given to those who believe. As to her belief in eternal life, she is unsure it exists and she contends that Jesus was more concerned with heavenly existence in this life. (Arkansas Democratic Gazette, Jan. 7, 2007)

This sad result reduces Christian faith to the secular assumptions of this age while this age is in desperate need of the very faith that has made it great. Dean William Inge’s famous warning has never been more apt than today: “The Church that marries the spirit of the age will find herself a widow in the next.”  We thank God that the leadership of this diocese not only thinks in terms of Christian doctrine but is courageously committed to the sworn faith of scripture and creeds.
When Episcopalians do not think in terms of Christian doctrine they consciously and unconsciously conform to speculations of the current age.  When the creedal and biblical affirmations of Jesus’ full humanity and divinity are given up we lose the promised assurance of God’s mercy.  The sad secular substitute for divine mercy is a culture destroying permissiveness, lowered standards of morality in society, and diminishing honor in human character.  Permissiveness is no substitute for mercy.
Let’s be clear – the doctrine of Borg, Crossan, and Jefferts Schori makes nonsense of the Eucharist:

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all. He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world. (p.362 Book of Common Prayer 1979)
The doctrine of “mere man” (like Martin Luther King and Gandhi) is indeed a widespread heresy in modern times but finds no reflection in any of the major heresies.  It was so rare that only a specialist is apt to know its name: psilantropism.  One of the outstanding contemporary scholars, Timothy George, has this to say about heresy:

Heresy is a deliberate perversion, a choice (hairesis in Greek), to break with the primary pattern of Christian truth and to promulgate a doctrine that undermines the gospel and destroys the unity of the Christian Church.  A Church that cannot distinguish heresy from truth, or, even worse, a Church that no longer thinks this is worth doing, is a Church which has lost its right to bear witness to the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ who declared himself to be not only the Way and the Life, but also the Truth.

Rest assured the Bishop and Diocese of South Carolina, in the face of heretical assault on the Church will be faithful to the “one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all.” The challenge for us at this time is the opportunity to recover the neglected duty of “thinking in terms of doctrine” and to show the cruelty of heresy and declare the Gospel good news of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.

What Is Going On In South Carolina

Posted by ajenkins on February 12, 2010 under Anglican Events | Be the First to Comment

The story continues.

This post by the grace of the Rev’d Dr. Kendall Harmon.

1. There is currently a decision by South Carolina’s highest court which holds that the Dennis Canon is not self-executing (i.e., no trust was created on any parish property in South Carolina when it was enacted — if indeed it ever was — in 1979).

2. The Episcopal Church (USA) did not see fit to request a review of that decision by the United States Supreme Court. Instead, its Presiding Bishop and her chancellor have left that function to the dissident parish members who lost their claim in that case to be the true vestry of All Saints Waccamaw.

3. Notwithstanding its failure to seek review of the adverse South Carolina decision, the Episcopal Church (USA) is apparently asking the Diocese for proof that it intends to enforce the Dennis Canon against certain parishes in the event that they try to leave.

4. The unspoken threat — which has caused Bishop Lawrence to postpone his diocesan convention while he plans a response to ECUSA’s provocations — is that if Bishop Lawrence fails to sue any departing parish under the Dennis Canon, he could be charged with “abandonment” in the same manner as was Bishop Duncan.

If this is a correct representation of what is going on in South Carolina, then I have to say that it boggles the mind….

Read here very carefully

Breaking News: Diocese of South Carolina Postpones Convention

Posted by ajenkins on February 10, 2010 under Anglican Events, The Parish | Be the First to Comment

Bishop Mark Lawrence, our Bishop released this letter today

Full Text of Letter

WILL THE U.S. SUPREME COURT OVERTURN THE DENNIS CANON?

Posted by ajenkins on February 4, 2010 under Anglican Events | Be the First to Comment

Repost from Virtue OnLine

WILL THE U.S. SUPREME COURT OVERTURN THE DENNIS CANON?
All Saints Pawleys Island case could liberate church property for the entire country

SPECIAL REPORT

By David W. Virtue in Greensboro, NC
www.virtueonline.org
January 29, 2010

If the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the All Saints Pawleys property case, The Chancellor of All Saints Pawleys Island believes the Dennis Canon will be overturned freeing thousands of church properties from the clutches of The Episcopal Church (TEC) (as well as the Presbyterian and Methodist churches who have their own “Dennis Canons”).

Dr. Ross “Buddy” Lindsay, 59, a trust attorney and canon lawyer, told VOL in an interview that the recent SC Supreme Court decision in favor of All Saints Pawleys insures, once and for all, that neither TEC nor the Diocese of South Carolina have any claim to their property or to the property of any other Episcopal Churches in South Carolina.

Lindsay, a trust lawyer who also holds a master of laws degree (LLM) in canon law from Cardiff University Law School, studied under the distinguished Anglican Communion lawyer, Norman Doe, in Cardiff, Wales. Lindsay said that most church property cases take ten years to reach the Supreme Court.

Read more of this article »

January Letter to Saint James

Posted by ajenkins on January 8, 2010 under Anglican Events, Devotionals, Faith At Home, Just A Thought | 2 Comments to Read

If you need inspiration:

Lately in the Prayers of the People you may have heard us praying for Paul and Cheryl Minor of All Saints, Belmont. They are the Reverends Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Cheryl Minor, the Co-Rectors of All Saints Episcopal Church in Belmont, Massachusetts. We are praying for this couple and their church as we begin to create a Resolution #3 relationship with them and All Saints. Resolution #3 was one of the resolutions passed at our Diocesan Special Convention back in October of last year. That resolution encouraged us to form pastoral relationships with parishes and dioceses, both domestic and foreign to aid and support them as God forms a new Global Anglicanism. Many are paying a high price to defend and proclaim the orthodox faith, the Good News of Salvation bought for us by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Just as some are dying for their faith in parts of the world, Paul and Cheryl are paying a high price to proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord. Paul has just been restored to active sacramental ministry after being inhibited for two years by Bishop Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts. The power of the church has always been built on the blood, the hardships of the martyrs. I pray the hardships the Minor’s are enduring may inspire you in your own faith and growth.  Acts 7:55,56

If you need information:

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But It’s Not My Problem

Posted by ajenkins on under Anglican Events, Just A Thought | Be the First to Comment

MARTIN NIEMOLLER’S ACTUAL ADDRESS TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, 1968

The following is the exact text of Martin Niemoller’s address to the U.S. Congress. There are as many versions of Mr. Niemoller’s address, (some call it a poem) as there are people who quote him.

Here is Martin Niemoller’s actual address to the U.S. Congress along with the page in the Congressional Record where it appears.

The exact text of what Martin Niemoller said, and which appears in the Congressional Record, October 14, 1968, page 31636 is:

“When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics,
I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists,
I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church —
and there was nobody left to be concerned.”

Revisionist Bishop, Aj’s Thoughts & Prayers

Posted by ajenkins on December 12, 2009 under Anglican Events | Be the First to Comment

In the previous posting here is the news of the bishop’s election of our brothers and sisters in the Upper Diocese of South Carolina. Sarah Hey’s description and encouragement is poignant.  Obviously, this means great hurt, heartache, hard decisions and separation for the orthodox, faithful of our neighbor diocese. I must tell you, I am broken hearted for them. Please, right now, pray for them and for us and for the Body of Christ that was born in the fiery martyrdom of Bishops Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer.

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