Yesterday was Christ the King Sunday. Here is a reflection on what that means.
Among other things, it means that one day King (which is what “Christ” means, the “anointed one” from a land where typically only kings were anointed) Jesus will renew all of this world and restore Israel to its center.
You’re in the spotlight and you’ve just been asked about a controversial issue. What do you do?
Martin Luther, the Christian reformer who challenged the sale of indulgences five hundred years ago, is often credited with this stirring quotation:
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him.”
Okay, well maybe Martin Luther didn’t actually say that. Nor did Abraham Lincoln say, “You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.” But just because a quotation is mis-attributed doesn’t mean it’s an inaccurate summary of what the purported author believed. As a matter of fact, this passage not only closely mirrors something Luther wrote in a personal letter, but it’s consistent with the life he lived.
More importantly, this quote is true. The temptation is strong to faithfully proclaim every aspect of God’s Word except the one most controversial in our time.
We saw that recently when well-known pastor Carl Lentz appeared on ABC’s “The View.” Lentz spoke boldly and in no uncertain moral terms about the issue of racism. As well he should. Christians should condemn racism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head.
But when asked directly about abortion, and whether or not he considers it a sin, Lentz couldn’t give a straight answer. Instead, he spoke of having a “conversation,” of finding out a person’s “story,” where they’re from and what they believe. “I mean, God’s the judge,” he concluded. “People have to live by their own convictions.”
Predictably, the progressive studio audience heard this as an affirmation of the so-called “right to choose,” and rewarded Lentz with thunderous applause. Continue reading From the Colson Center: Costly Views on “The View”
Last year the Lord raised an(other) issue for us that I never would have anticipated writing about: the Bible passage that requires men to pray with heads uncovered and women with heads covered. I know, I know, “We don’t have to do that anymore.” But does the passage itself give us that “out,” or is that our secularist culture talking?
As I studied and taught about the passage, I discovered that 1 Corinthians 11 offers insight into what it means to be Christian men and women, insights our culture is sorely lacking. The passage also gives us perspective on the matter of women in ministry. These are challenging issues for an American culture in which even many Christians have abandoned the ancient and scriptural practices and understandings that keep families and churches grounded in the truth.
The matter of head covering is not an Anglo-catholic or Roman Catholic issue. It is not a matter of personal preference or devotion. It is a matter of obedience to the Word of God and submission to our right callings in grace. I cringed when the issue first came up in my heart and then within the parish: what will folks think if I start teaching the words of Saint Paul on this issue? Now I rejoice in the power of this passage of God’s Word to liberate us from the gender confusion our culture is mired in.
Click on the image to order your copy of Because of the Angels, the fruit of my study and a call to biblical manhood and womanhood in divine worship.
[In our age of shopping for “cool church” – and losing depth and holiness in the process – this is good reassurance of a better way forward. – Fr. Paul]
For those in the 21st century searching for meaning and purpose in life, Reformation Anglicanism’s commitment to the timeless wisdom of apostolic teaching gives them a solid rock on which to stand.
For those searching for a sense of historical continuity, Reformation Anglicanism offers a community close ties to the ancient church as expressed in its faithfulness to Scripture, the Creeds, and the first four Councils.
For those who make the needs of others a top priority, Reformation Anglicanism’s focus on mission encourages what God has already put on their hearts.
For those looking to be sustained by inspiring, systematic, Scripture-shaped worship, Reformation Anglicanism’s liturgical heritage offers perhaps the best model for proclaiming the gospel of grace and gratitude with ancient beauty and contemporary sensitivity.
As on this day we keep the special memory of our Redeemer’s entry into the city, so grant, O Lord, that now and ever he may triumph in our hearts. Let the King of grace and glory enter in, and let us lay ourselves and all we are in full and joyful homage before him; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
–Handley Moule (1841-1920)
As the Church of England slouches (as some other episcopal churches have slouched) towards embracing sexualities and anthropologies that deny the truth of Holy Scripture and the witness of the entire orthodox/catholic Church, GAFCON in England offers seven principles to guide faithful, orthodox Anglicans as they move forward in witness of the truth. We at Redeemer could add a hearty “Amen” and will pray for our brothers and sisters as they pay the heavy price (in terms of money, buildings, and the ridicule of the progressivist culture) of following Jesus at his own Word.
There is a better way. We would like to suggest seven principles to guide orthodox Anglicans as they start to envision and plan for a better church future:
Confessional. A true church cannot include everyone without boundaries. While only God knows the human heart, Christian community must define itself by identifying with and confessing certain key tenets of the faith, and rejecting others as incompatible. This may be costly if it runs counter to expediency in a fractured church and ideological pressures in society, but it is necessary for apostolic authenticity and spiritual health.
Episcopal. We are Anglican, and so we value and uphold the ideal of a godly, faith-defending episcopacy. We long for Bishops in the Church of England to fulfill this function, and we look with admiration at examples of such leadership in other parts of the Anglican Communion.
Global. We are not just a network of independent local churches – we are and wish to remain part of a global Communion. The mutual benefits for spiritual growth, learning and mission of such a global fellowship are incalculable, and need to be intentionally enabled and nurtured. Given the failure of the traditional Anglican “Instruments of Communion”, the global Gafcon movement, gathered around the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration, is the best viable means of achieving this.
Charismatic. We are a community of the Holy Spirit. We believe that God is alive and at work today, calling us to be in relationship with him in worship and prayer, enabling, challenging, giving supernatural gifts for ministry, and discernment and courage where necessary to bear with suffering and to stand for justice and truth.
Catholic. We appreciate the deep roots of our Anglican tradition dating back not just to the Reformation, but to the godly disciples of the medieval period, the courageous missionaries to pagan Europe in the dark ages, the Fathers of the early church. Our Anglican liturgy and our varieties of practice in worship and the sacraments sustain us spiritually and unite us in faith.
Evangelical and Reformed. We uphold the biblical principles of justification by faith alone, and the primary authority of Scripture alone in determining doctrine and ethics. While we seek to serve and uplift humanity in a variety of ways, especially where there is deep physical suffering, we see forgiveness of sin and relationship with God through Jesus as the primary need of all people. So evangelism is more than ‘welcome’ and not the same as ‘inclusion’; it involves calling people to repent, turn to Christ, and live the new life he enables.
Pastoral. As a community of sinners and including those suffering from physical, mental and spiritual damage, we need the regular forgiveness of the Lord, his healing touch, and his gracious word. While some are set apart for special pastoral responsibilities, all believers are called to minister to one another and to those outside the community of faith with love and concern, though sometimes with firmness and correction as we are all liable to stray. Our churches should be fellowships of mutual support and encouragement, and also of transformation, as the Gospel involves the blind seeing, the deaf hearing and the lame walking.