Undermining the Reformation

Lee Gatiss, Church Society“Is the Reformation over? Was it a mistake? These are questions we may ask ourselves a number of times over the next two years, as the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses approaches in October 2017.

I found myself wondering about them after the recent fiasco surrounding the Lord’s Prayer ‘advert’, and after General Synod…”

– At Church Society’s blog, Director Lee Gatiss quite rightly wonders what on earth is going on (to paraphrase him a little) in the Church of England.

Need Ministers be Theologians?

John RichardsonAt Church Society’s blog, Kirsty Birkett (who now teaches Pastoral Counselling and Youth and Children’s Ministry at Oak Hill College) reminds readers of a 1994 Churchman article by the much-missed John Richardson.

In his article, John draws some important conclusions for evangelicals in the Church of England, reflecting on his year of study at Moore College.

(Readers can also rightly give thanks to Almighty God for the growth of Oak Hill College in London in the years since John wrote that article.)

C of E Prayer website promotes Hail Mary and prayers to St. Christopher

justprayThe Proclamation Trust’s Adrian Reynolds is rather glad the Church of England cinema ad for The Lord’s Prayer was banned – for several reasons. [Watch the ad here.]

One reason relates to the website advertised by the ad:

“For there, on a protestant site, are prayers to pray including the Hail Mary and a prayer addressed to St Christopher for travelling mercies.”

Read it all here.

‘Historic day for Catholics of Anglican heritage as Pope names first Ordinariate Bishop’

steven-lopes“Catholics of Anglican heritage are getting an early Christmas present from Pope Francis: The Holy Father has appointed the first Catholic bishop ever to lead one of three non-territorial dioceses (known as ordinariates) established to preserve the Anglican patrimony in the Catholic Church…”

– from The National Catholic Register.

(Note: The Ordinariates weer established by the Roman Catholic Church for High Church Anglicans unhappy with the liberal drift in sections of the Anglican Communion.)

We’re all friends now, sexuality doesn’t matter, and the Reformation is over, Papal Preacher tells C of E General Synod

raniero-cantalamessaAt last night’s Eucharist at Westminster Abbey, for the opening of the new General Synod, Franciscan Priest and Preacher to the Papal Household, Raniero Cantalamessa, delivered the sermon.

He asserted that Christians should not be divided over “a moral issue like that of sexuality”.

The issues of the Reformation are past, since we all now agree on “Justification by faith”.

Martin Luther and Thomas Cranmer would preach “Justification by Faith” this way, he said.

Students of the Reformation (or the Bible, for that matter) might like to put down that coffee cup before reading the report from the Anglican Communion News Service. Here’s an excerpt –

“The sermon was given by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household.

He raised the forthcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation – the great divide between the Western churches. “It is vital for the whole Church that this opportunity is not wasted by people remaining prisoners of the past, trying to establish each other’s rights and wrongs,” he said. “Rather, let us take a qualitative leap forward, like what happens when the sluice gates of a river or a canal enable ships to continue to navigate at a higher water level.

“The situation has dramatically changed since [Reformation times]. We need to start again with the person of Jesus, humbly helping our contemporaries to experience a personal encounter with Him. …

“We should never allow a moral issue like that of sexuality divide us more than faith in Jesus unites us.

“Justification by faith, for example, ought to be preached by the whole Church – and with more vigour than ever. Not in opposition to good works – the issue is already settled – but rather in opposition to the claim of people today that they can save themselves thanks to their science, technology or their man-made spirituality, without the need for a redeemer coming from outside humanity. Self-justification!”

Read the full report here. Photo credit: cantalamessa.org

New Church of England General Synod meets

The Rev Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream“The new General Synod is inaugurated today (Tuesday 24th), starting with a Communion service at Westminster Abbey, followed by an opening ceremony in Church House, at both of which her Majesty the Queen is present. The membership, recently elected and tasked with the governance of the Church over the next five years, features a high proportion of first timers. …

Anything to do with homosexual practice or same sex marriage has been kept off the agenda of this Synod. But the issue is there, hanging unseen over the proceedings. Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, vicar of a parish only a few miles north of where the Synod meets in Westminster, married his same sex partner last year in defiance of the Bishops’ clear guidance and plea for restraint. He takes up his place as one of the new Synod members; he is due to take Communion in the presence of the Queen and become part of the governing body of the Church. Behind the scenes strong letters will have been written to the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury; some may decide not to receive Communion and make other acts of protest.”

– Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes sketches an overview of the current C of E General Synod.

‘Doubting Thomas Welby is no help in these terrible times’

Archbishop Justin Welby“I doubted God after the Paris attacks, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby told a reporter for the BBC’s Songs of Praise. He said when the jihadis struck in Paris he was left asking why? …

I hate to think where Christianity would be if Welby’s predecessors had suffered from the same lack of conviction.”

– Opinion from The Conservative Woman.

Lord’s Prayer cinema ad ban ‘bewilders’ Church of England

lords-prayer“The Church of England has said it is ‘disappointed and bewildered’ by the refusal of leading UK cinemas to show an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer…”

– Report from BBC News. Watch the ad here. (h/t Anglican Mainstream.)

Article 32 and the CofE Same Sex Marriage case

Peter Sanlon“The case of a gay clergyman whose Permission to Officiate was revoked and who was refused a licence to minister after marrying his same-sex partner, has hit the headlines again. Peter Sanlon reflects on Jeremy Pemberton’s defensive use of Article 32.”

At the Church Society blog, Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St. Mark’s Tunbridge Wells, looks at the use and misuse of The Articles in the case of a gay clergyman who married his same-sex partner.

Is God a She?

bps-welby-treweek-chartres“As Christians, we cede power to God. We give up the claim to run our own life, and submit to him as our Lord. That is our basic relationship to him: we are creatures and disciples. …

I found it noteworthy that Mrs Treweek … asserts her right to be addressed as she wants to be addressed, so that Her Majesty the Queen herself has to comply in her writs. … Should we not extend the same courtesy to God as Bishop Rachel insists upon for herself?”

Church Society’s Dr Lee Gatiss responds to statements by Bishop Rachel Treweek, that Christians should use male and female pronouns when referring to God.

(Photo: Diocese of Gloucester.)

‘Good Disagreement’ — Book review

Good Disagreement“As a collection of informative and thought provoking essays the book is outstanding …

However some questions arise which are not answered in this book. For example, the issue of what is adiaphora and what is non-negotiable is discussed, but no answer is provided on what are the key doctrines, and who decides them. If those who come to a different conclusion and still claim the name ‘Anglican’ can’t be ‘chucked out’ (Archbishop Welby’s phrase), does that essentially mean there are no boundaries, there are many ‘truths’ or ‘integrities’, and is that ecclesiologically credible? As has been said, an outcome of respectful ‘walking apart’ is mentioned but not explored at all.”

– At Anglican Mainstream, Andrew Symes looks at a book produced to help everyone in the Church of England get on together.

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