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.
Autonomous Life in the Womb
Yesterday Eric Metaxas told you about a manipulative article from The Atlantic that heaps scorn on the pro-life movement’s use of ultrasound technology to show pregnant women and others the humanity of the unborn child.
Just as a refresher, in the piece, author Moira Weigel shares such gems as this: “The technology has been used to create an ‘imaginary’ heartbeat and sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus.” Katie Couric thinks kids can feel gender in the womb, but an actual heartbeat is just a “stimulus?”
And here’s another utterly baseless claim from the article: “Ultrasound made it possible for the male doctor to evaluate the fetus without female interference.” Huh? What if the OB/GYN is a female?!
We shouldn’t be surprised by irrational attempts to undermine the cause for life. The case for life is stronger than ever. The abortion rate is down, and those who profit from abortion aren’t happy.
So they’re probably not going to be popping the corks off their champagne bottles when they read a fascinating new article in Public Discourse by Ana Maria Dumitru. It’s called “Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins.”
What is “embryonic autonomy,” you ask? According to a recent study, titled “Self-organization of the human embryo in the absence of maternal tissues,” human embryos from the earliest stages of life can direct their own development—in or out of the womb. Why is this important? Here’s how Dumitru, who is a fifth-year M.D./Ph.D. candidate at Dartmouth, explains it:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As a province that spans Canada, the United States, and Mexico we face unique challenges on issues affecting refugees and immigration. I am thankful for our congregations that are a part of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative. They have taken the lead in caring for those in our communities who are refugees and immigrants, showing the love of Christ to the most vulnerable.
This week, I encourage you to follow their example, and make a special effort to reach out to refugees and immigrants in your local community. In these divisive times, we have the opportunity to demonstrate a compassion that builds bridges, and overcomes fear.
In our province we also have lawmakers who face a different, but related set of challenging moral issues. As public servants, they are called to carefully discern how best to respond to the global humanitarian need while also maintaining the appropriate role of government in protecting its citizens. There are no easy answers to how our nations should balance these priorities, and our leaders need your prayers.
In light of the Syrian refugee crisis, changes in US immigration policy, and the way these changes will affect us all, I ask you to join me in prayer. Please pray for the poor, the refugee, and all immigrant families whose lives are made more complex, and sometimes more desperate by these events. Please also join me in praying for all those in positions of public trust who seek wisdom in the formation of the laws and policies of our respective governments.
A Collect for Refugees and Immigrants:
Heavenly Father, from whom every family on earth derives its name, have mercy on all those who sojourn in this world. As you sheltered your Son Jesus who fled from the tyranny of Herod, so now provide new homes for all those who flee the violence of this age that they may know the peace of Christ. Grace your people with hearts of welcome and lives of courage through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
A Collect for Government Leaders:
O Lord our Governor, whose glory fills all the world: We commend our nations to your merciful care, that we may be guided by your Providence, and dwell secure in your peace. Grant to the Justin, Prime Minister of Canada, Donald, President of the United States, and Enrique, President of Mexico, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them continually mindful of their calling to serve the people in reverent obedience to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America
by Robert Southwell (1561-1595)
This little Babe so few days old
Is come to rifle Satan’s fold;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold doth shake;
For in this weak unarmed wise
The gates of hell He will surprise.
With tears He fights and wins the field,
His tiny breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns cold and need,
And feeble flesh His warrior’s steed.
His camp is builded in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall,
The crib His trench, haystalks His stakes,
Of shepherds He His army makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
The angels’ trumps the charge now sound.
My soul with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to His tents, the place of might.
Within His crib is surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy Guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heav’nly Boy!