Letter to the Archbishop of York: Please consecrate a second Reformed Anglican Bishop

“Your Grace, It would be quite understandable for you to be less than enthusiastic about receiving a missive from a ‘conservative evangelical’ in the light of the recent consecration of the episcopally licensed Curate of Jesmond Parish Church as a missionary bishop by the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church in South Africa. But I am writing if I may to set forth the case for a second conservative evangelical bishop, in addition to the southern-based Bishop of Maidstone, to serve as senior pastor to churches and ministers in the north of England who desire his episcopal care. …”

– Julian Mann, Vicar of The Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, in South Yorkshire, writes an open letter to the Archbishop of York.

He also responds to comments made in the last week by Church Society’s Lee Gatiss and by Gavin Ashenden.

(Photo: Julian Mann with Bishop Dr. Ben Kwashi.)

Why so many churches hear so little of the Bible

“In many churches, there is almost no public reading of the Word of God. Worship is filled with music, but congregations seem disinterested in listening to the reading of the Bible.”

– Albert Mohler writes at the Southern Seminary blog. We would hope things are better in Sydney.

Why bother with women’s conferences?

“In the run-up to women’s conferences, I often hear the ‘why bother?’ question. I think the underlying thoughts are that Christian conferences generally are useful – but why do we need to have a conference just for women? And why do we need to have only female preachers at a women’s conference? Don’t we just want the best preacher for the job, regardless of whether they are male or female? …”

– At GoTherFor.com, Kirsten McKinlay suggests there is real value in creating a context for women to preach to women.

The real reasons your people aren’t turning up to church every week

“Church just feels like a sanctified busy activity or round of activities. And activity and a perceived requirement to be active is wearing people out.

For the average family juggling mortgage repayments in the commuter belt, working two jobs, with three kids in two different schools ten kilometres from each other, and ageing parents two hours drive away, busy is the enemy, whether that’s secular busy or church busy. Church no longer looks like a safe place, regardless of whether it’s signed up to Safe Churches or not. Church feels like a busy place, and busy is no longer safe. …”

Stephen McAlpine in Perth responds to a recent article on declining church attendance among evangelical Christians.

Mainstream … or on the margins?

“If ever we could have considered the church to be a core part of Australian culture (and that’s not at all certain), the Christian church is now being slowly edged to one side. It is increasingly less mainstream.

Have you noticed though that there are key moments in the year’s calendar and certain elements of our culture where we’re let back in? It’s strange, but true. Consider… ”

– John Wilson, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, offers encouragement to take the opportunities we do have to share the Christian hope.

Elevation of the Blessed Asparagus: a Church of England pantomime

“Did the Dean of Worcester Cathedral not pause to think for just one second how utterly, utterly absurd this would look? Really, words fail (though some must necessarily follow).

A sacred procession down the Cathedral nave becomes an infantile pantomime as a block of asparagus is elevated and adored like the Blessed Host, and two men dressed up like Monty Python pay some sort of vacuous obsequious homage. …”

– Big news from England this week. Adrian Hilton (“Archbishop Cranmer”) comments.

Image via Archbishop Cranmer.

ANZAC Righteousness

“ANZAC Day reminds us that morally some wars have to be fought. Everyone must grapple with the issues of a just and moral war and the leaders of our nation need our prayers for wisdom.

ANZAC Day reminds us that in every age the reality of human sinfulness can become so deep that its lunacy, its terrorism, its attacks on the best of our humanity must be stopped.

ANZAC Day reminds us of the best of men and women in the fight for righteousness. Oh that all Australians would realise that when righteousness is under threat we have no alternative but to fight. The alternative to not fighting is to succumb to evil. …”

Bishop of Armidale, Rick Lewers, reflects on ANZAC Day, and the need to pray.

Bishop of Oxford and the relational dilemma for Reformed Anglicans

“On Palm Sunday in St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, their new diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, made a statement that epitomises the relational dilemma facing Reformed Anglicans in the Church of England.

Introducing his excellent sermon on our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as recorded in Matthew 21, Dr Croft said:

‘It’s my hope to come as a servant to this very large Diocese, to respect and honour all traditions within it and cherish the life of the Church in its many different forms and do my best to lead us in God’s mission.’ …

His sermon was most edifying, biblically faithful and Christ-honouring. Lord willing, he will do a lot of good in Oxford Diocese.

But the difficulty for a Reformed Anglican church such as St Ebbe’s surely comes in their Bishop’s apparently intentional commitment to theological diversity within the Church of England. …”

The Rev Julian Mann wonders what reformed Anglicans should do when their bishop endorses ‘theological diversity’.

Photo of Bishop Croft: Diocese of Oxford.

The Rainbow Ringwraiths

“Totalitarians and fascists have always sought to demonise their opponents, in part by marking them out from the ‘normal’ majority. They are clearly identified one way or another as recalcitrants, and treated accordingly. Simply consider how Jews fared as the Nazi regime occupied various European countries: being forced to wear a yellow badge in the form of a Star of David.

Millions of our young men gave their lives to fight these totalist regimes and to preserve our cherished freedoms. But a new totalitarianism is descending upon the West, and it comes in the form of the militant and totalitarian rainbow activists. …”

– Bill Muehlenberg at CultureWatch has more on the ‘voluntary’ wearing of rings to promote same-sex marriage.

What we lost when we lost our Hymnals

“I don’t think we should go back to using hymnals. But I do think there’s value in considering what we lost when, over the course of a relatively short period of time, we gave up hymnals for PowerPoint projection. Not all of us, mind you, but most of us.

It’s worth considering because it helpfully shows what we stand to lose when we switch from one media to another, and especially when we do so quickly and without due consideration. …”

– Tim Challies makes some very valid observations about singing in church.

Related: Songs of the Saints – by Mike Raiter and Rob Smith, from Matthias Media.

Why Princeton’s snub of Tim Keller should outrage progressives

“If you’re a conservative evangelical Christian who feels called to ministry, you’re welcome to attend Princeton Theological Seminary. But you’re not worthy of honor there. That’s the message sent by PTS’ president, Craig Barnes, today. …

If Christians like Tim Keller are unworthy of honor and deserve to be marginalized, American Christianity is in serious trouble. …”

– Jonathan Merritt writes at Religion News Service.

Related: What Hath Amsterdam to do with Princeton?Reformation21.

“In 1898 B.B. Warfield invited the Dutch Reformed theologian Abraham Kuyper to deliver six lectures at Princeton Seminary for the inaugural Stone Lectures. These lectures were eventually bound and printed as Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism. In these lectures, Kuyper discussed what he believed to be the manner by which a Calvinist and Reformed worldview ought to be applied to quite a number of spheres of life.

The inaugural Stone Lectures forever linked the theology of Dr. Kuyper with Princeton Seminary. This connection was further solidified in the creation of the Kuyper Prize, awarded by the Kuyper Center for Public Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.”

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