From Archbishop Akinola’s address this week:
Christianity is not new to the African soil, considering that there was a thriving Church in North Africa at least 400 years before it got to the British Isles. We praise God for the Church Fathers who formulated the Church doctrines and Creeds that were necessitated by the theological controversies of those days: Tertullian, Athanasius, St Augustine, Ignatius-They fulfilled their ministry in their generations. However it must be said that they gave such a disproportionate attention to the controversies and definition of the Christian faith that there was hardly any time left for mission and evangelism. Among those who were to do the task of evangelisation, there was rather more disputation, rancour, division and discord. So when in the seventh century the militant and aggressive Islamic forces advanced and struck, they met with little resistance from a Church that was unprepared, weak and asleep in terms of mission. Thus, the Church was wiped out.
Bush breaks with GOP on same-sex unions
Washington, DC, Oct. 26 (UPI) — President Bush broke with the Republican Party platform in supporting states’ rights to permit same-sex civil unions.
“I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so. …
“I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman.
“Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others,” Bush told ABC’s Charlie Gibson in an interview broadcast Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”
“So the Republican platform on that point, as far as you’re concerned, is wrong?” Gibson asked the president, to which Bush replied: “Right.”
In our day it is rare to find a pastor willing to name names when it comes to politics. They dare not endorse someone or upbraid another for fear of crossing some imagined line of divide where the Gospel has no claim and offending people in the process. But listen to how Charles Cochrane describes the Bishop Ambrose:
In a sermon preached on the death of the young prince Valentinian II he boldly denounced Arbogast for the murder; as he later administered a stinging rebuke to the usurper Eugenius because of his attempts to relax the imperial laws against heathenism.
When will the insane idea the church cannot enter into politics end? Handing an entire realm over to the devil because of a text written by a bunch of Deists two hundred years ago is a recipe for disaster. Check out this edict issued by the Emperor Theodosius in 380:
We desire that all peoples who fall beneath the sway of our imperial clemency should profess the faith which we believe to have been communicated by the Apostle Peter to the Romans and maintained in its traditional form to the present day, the faith which is observed likewise by the pontiff Damasus and by Peter of Alexandria, a man of apostolic sanctity; to wit, that, according to apostolic discipline and evangelical teaching, we should believe in one deity, the sacred Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to be worshipped in equal majesty. And we require that those who follow this rule of faith should embrace the name of Catholic Christians, adjudging all others madmen and ordering them to be designated as heretics…condemned as such, in the first instance, to suffer divine punishment, and, therewith, the vengeance of that power which we, by celestial authority, have assumed.
This is the Preparation for Communion that we hear weekly in our liturgy at Epworth – It is adapted from the BCP and Wesley so I don’t know what is what:
The Lord’s Supper was ordained by God to be a means of conveying grace according to the need of each person. Those for whom it was ordained are all those who know and feel that they want the grace of God, to restrain them from sin, or to forgive their sins, or to assure them of pardon, or to renew their souls in the image of God, or to enter into the holy presence of God in communion with him. No preparation is indispensably necessary, other than a desire to receive the grace God pleases to give. No fitness or church membership is required at the time of communicating, other than a sense of our state, of our utter sinfulness and helplessness apart from Christ. Therefore, if you want such grace as God pleases to give to you, draw near with faith, and as you prepare to receive this holy sacrament to your comfort and strength, make your sincere confession to Almighty God, kneeling if you wish and are able, or otherwise sitting.
Against the mealy-mouthed neo-liberal ‘sensitivity’ that cannot call evil evil, or discipline those who sponsor it, Archbishop Akinola from Nigeria again states the truth in a prophetic way:
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, in a statement released in London, said it was the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Canadian diocese of New Westminster that pushed the worldwide Anglican Communion “to the breaking point.”
“Why, throughout the document, is there such a marked contrast between the language used against those who are subverting the faith and that used against those of us, from the global south, who are trying to bring the church back to the Bible?” he said.
“Where is the language of rebuke for those who are promoting sexual sins as holy and acceptable behavior? The imbalance is bewildering,” he said. He added that it was surprising that “the primary recommendation of the report is ‘greater sensitivity’ instead of heartfelt repentance.”
We have been asked to express regret for our actions and ‘affirm our desire to remain in the communion.’ How patronizing!” Akinola said in the statement.
“We will not be intimidated.”
Some quotes from Griswold’s reaction to the report:
“In fact, it is my experience that the fundamental reality of the Episcopal Church is the diverse center, in which a common commitment to Jesus Christ and a sense of mission in his name to a broken and hurting world override varying opinions on any number of issues, including homosexuality. The diverse center is characterized by a spirit of mutual respect and affection rather than hostility and suspicion.”
“As we and other provinces explore the idea of a covenant we must do so knowing that over the centuries Anglican comprehensiveness has given us the ability to include those who wish to see boundaries clearly and closely drawn and those who value boundaries that are broad and permeable. Throughout our history we have managed to live with the tension between a need for clear boundaries and for room in order that the Spirit might express itself in fresh ways in a variety of contexts.”
If you haven’t already found it, the report of the Lambeth Commission is available here.
I’ll reserve complete judgment until I read the entire thing but my initial reaction is negative. If the Communion can’t muster the guts to clearly stand on what is a *clear* Scriptural position, what good is it? They seem to have chosen to emphasize unity over truth. A good example of this not working is Israel and Judah prior to the exile who had polytheistic worship but tried to emphasize unity. The pesky prophets denounced their idolatry and were killed for it. Perhaps we are entering the same situation today.
No wonder Al-Sadr was opposing us: the entire Shi’ite view of end-times was undergirding him:
“Hujjat al-Islam Muqtada al-Sadr says that the Mahdi would soon return, in Iraq. This rumor, touching the core of Shi’i faith and eschatology, is being spread by Sadr’s preachers. In the Shia tradition, the Mahdi is the 12th Imam, who is in occultation. Muktada al-Sadr says the Americans were aware of the impending reappearance, and that the Americans invaded Iraq to seize and kill the Mahdi. His supporters chant Sadr’s name at rallies to imply that he is the “son of the Mahdi.” Sadr has stated that the army “belongs to the Mahdi” as an explanation of why he cannot disband it, as has been required of other private militias. Although the reappearance of the Mahdi central to Shia thought, it is unusual to raise claims of the imminence of this event, and other Shiite clerics have avoided the messianic ecstasy that such claims can induce. “
It would be like Christians fighting in the belief that Jesus had returned. Think Thomas Muntzer or Jan Matthys at Munster. In al-Sadr, our troops face a messianic figure. Thankfully, his delusions have not caught on.
French postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard has written on terrorism in the wake of 9/11. He interprets the attacks as symbolic sacrificial gestures. The sacrifice of life in order to generate maximum destruction on the US symbolically. Here are some excerpts from what he has written:
The establishment of a global system is the result of an intense jealousy. It is the jealousy of an indifferent and low-definition culture against cultures with higher definition, of a disenchanted and de-intensified system against high intensity cultural environments, and of a de-sacralized society against sacrificial forms. According to this dominant system, any reactionary form is virtually terrorist.
Beyond their political or economic objectives, wars such as the one in Afghanistan aim at normalizing savagery and aligning all the territories. The goal is to get rid of any reactive zone, and to colonize and domesticate any wild and resisting territory both geographically and mentally.
God used to allow some space for sacrifice. In the traditional order, it was always possible to give back to God, or to nature, or to any superior entity by means of sacrifice. That’s what ensured a symbolic equilibrium between beings and things. But today we no longer have anybody to give back to, to return the symbolic debt to. This is the curse of our culture. It is not that the gift is impossible, but rather that the counter-gift is. All sacrificial forms have been neutralized and removed (what’s left instead is a parody of sacrifice, which is visible in all the contemporary instances of victimization).
There can be no religious society, whether the religion be true or false, without some sacrament or visible symbol to serve as a bond of union. The importance of these sacraments cannot be overstated, and only scoffers will treat them lightly. For if piety requires them, it must be impiety to neglect them.
-Augustine, Against Faustus 19.11