Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Day of Angels

The collect (gathering prayer) for the feast day of Saint Michael and All the Angels:

Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

September 29th is the day wherein the Anglican Communion of churches remembers & celebrates the ministry of the angels and their chief, the archangel Michael. On this day we pray according to the ancient tradition of the undivided church saying the collect above. The earliest version of this prayer comes to us from the Gregorian Sacramentary, and dates back to the 5-6th century. Our present version is however from the 1549 BCP, revised by Archbishop Cranmer. The essence of the prayer remains unchanged; however, in true English poetic fashion the prayer elaborates a few points.

Like most collects, this one opens with a piece of great theological truth (dogma) which is to be handed down to the church year by year as we pray it. Hence, in this collect, like all others, we have a catechizing of sorts taking place. The dogma within this collect reminds us that it is God who ordains & constitutes the wonderful ministries of both angels and men. The dogmatic point is that both angles and men are extensions of God’s work, or energies, in the creation.

Like most collects, the prayer moves on to its petition. The prayer pleads with the Lord to allow the angelic ministry of heavenly service and worship, to be used as a help to us here and now in this temporal part of creation. The prayer pleads for the angels to connect us to their eternal service here and now.

In short, today we remember and celebrate that God has indeed appointed spiritual beings he calls “fiery servants” not only to serve Him and worship Him, but to help and defend us to do the same.

Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire." Heb 1: 7

Monday, September 27, 2010

Catholics, Orthodox, & Anglicans


Archbishop Kurt Koch, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said in a news conference last week the two churches “will be able to enrich each other,” adding that the “basic principle of ecumenism is the exchange of gifts.”

“The first step is to tell each other individually how we imagine unity would look like. For the Catholic Church, of course, unity without the Bishop of Rome is unimaginable,” he underscored. “That’s because the issue of the Bishop of Rome is not just an organizational question, but also a theological one. The dialogue about just how this unity should be shaped must be continued intensively. Unity means that we see each other fully as sister churches.”

Archbishop Koch added that he thinks Pope Benedict is “thinking in this direction.”

“He’s said to the Anglicans who want to come back that they would be able to keep their tradition and celebrate their liturgy. So he’s said himself that there should be diversity. That will be the second step. It’s far too early ask each other how we can do this together.”

“There are no clouds of mistrust between our two churches,” Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon stressed. “If we continue like that, God will find a way to overcome all the difficulties that remain.”

See the whole article here.


Talk of reunification between the three great Christian bodies, catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican, has been moving forward in recent days. A meeting to further this possibility took place on September 27, 2010, and real progress is being made. However, the fact is that the deep differences between the three bodies are much more significant than just our views on the position of the Pope.

Even if all could arrive at an acceptable view of the Papal office, there are still very distinct paradigms in the three groups that if pressed to limit actually present a different God. Overcoming these distinctions will require a great deal of humility by all. At the same time, each group must be ready to rethink their theology. My hope is that each group is willing to return to our common faith, to that which was believed by the whole church, everywhere, & at all times. I t is undeniable that the faith of each group has evolved since the great schism, it will be imperative that each be willing to hold their faith up to the light of the undivided church. Only then can we ever hope to arrive at true unity.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Anglican Communion: Is it over?

This is an excerpt from an excellent article found "here":

It is now abundantly clear that the balance of power has moved decisively to the Global South (from whence Christianity came). Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis reminded conferees to Entebbe of that fact.

It was made clear to me that many of the Global South leaders see Western Anglican leaders as the "Pharisees and Sadducees" of biblical times - Jewish leaders that Jesus overtly condemned for leading people astray. They believe that archbishops like Jefferts Schori and Rowan Williams have done precisely that.

There is the belief by many African bishops that Jefferts Schori is quite simply not a Christian with any beliefs that are discernibly biblical, while it is thought that Dr. Williams' understanding of the faith and convoluted syntax saves no one and nothing. As one archbishop commented to VOL, "If you cannot explain the gospel to a five year old, what sort of gospel is it that you believe?"

The Anglican Communion will never formally split. There will not be two communions and there will not be a see in Alexandria. What will and is happening is a slow disintegration of the communion, with orthodox Anglican leaders going their own way, refusing to sit down with their liberal Western counterparts, collaborating only with their orthodox counterparts in the West. It is death by a thousand cuts.

To all intents and purposes, a paperless divorce now exists in the Anglican Communion.

(From Virtue Online)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Burning Ceremonies

As much as I despise being dragged into the media malaise of the day, I sense a responsibility to address the promised book burning ceremonies in Gainesville.

It seemed wise to go Holy Scripture first, and to search them for any words of wisdom that might be directed at this event. Look up the word “books” in a concordance and you will find that it appears eight times in the Old and New Testaments. Most of the passages refer to books of scripture; a few address the books used by God in the final judgment; and one addresses a “book burning”. It is found in Acts 19:

Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19: 18-20

There was indeed a book burning recorded in the New Testament, however, it was not carried out by Jesus, an Apostle, or any churchmen, but rather, by converts who after their conversion saw the great deceit and danger contained in the books they previously believed to be holy.

Unlike this event in the book of Acts, Pastor Jones’ book burning ceremony has all the makings of a 21st century marketing scheme. This individualistic, and politically motivated “self-appointed protector of the faith,” may have gotten more than he bargained for. The media has not even had to present him as the typical moronic fundamentalist, because he has done a very good job all by himself. His actions present our faith to the watching world as backwater religion for the undereducated that thrive on hate. Sadly, he claims that his reason for the book burning is to demonstrate the hateful nature of Islam, yet, his actions demonstrate the same seed of hatred.

Would Pastor Jones have searched for wisdom outside of himself, and consulted the bible he is supposed to believe in and teach, he might have noticed that “Koran burning,” or any book burning, only has serious meaning when be done by those who have converted to Christianity, and now despise the falsities contained in a book they previously deemed holy. Until the day Muslims burn the Koran due to their conversion, then any Koran burning done by the likes of Pastor Jones has no real meaning, and could even lead to disastrous consequences.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Authentic Christinaity Summed Up

Apostolic Tradition & Spirituality

The preceding year we dedicated our studies to the patristics and compared their teaching to that which is most common in today’s western church. Below are key quotes that shaped our study.

The Fathers

Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches? To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendor, shall come in glory, the Savior of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent. St Iranaeus of Lyons ca 180 AD

The Vincentian Canon

Some one perhaps will ask, since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters.

For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation. Moreover, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense “Catholic,” which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. (A Commonitory (A Reminder), Vincent of Lerins, 434 AD)

The Seven Ecumenical Councils

The doctrinal decisions and formulations of the seven ecumenical councils between 325 and 787 stand as the formal deposit of normative dogma. One reason for this is that no later actions of any church lay claim to the title “ecumenical.” (Credo, Jaroslav Pelikan, 2003)

The Spiritual Disciplines

My critique then of the three prominent forms of evangelical spirituality, is simply this: they all situate spirituality the self. “I keep the rules”; “I know God in a system of thought”; “I had a born again experience”. In contrast, historic Spirituality situates spirituality in the story of the Triune God, who creates, became incarnate, took my humanity up into his, entered suffering by the cross, and rose from the grave. God drew me up into himself, and did for me what I could not do. He Himself restored my union with Himself. Now having been baptized into that great mystery, I contemplate God’s work for me and the whole world, and I participate in God’s purposes for the world revealed in Jesus Christ. Spirituality is a gift, and the spiritual life is a surrendered life. (The Divine Embrace, Robert Webber)

The Gospel

According to the apostles and the early church fathers the gospel is comprised of the three following parts:

Trinity: The one true God exist in three persons: Father & creator, Son & victor, Spirit & giver of life. There exists within the triune God, a life that is primarily characterized by a communion of love. Hence, God is love.

Incarnation: God the Son took on flesh, and became one of us. So that even after the human race had turned way from God under the enticement of evil (sin & death), the Son might still bring the love of God to us, destroy evil by dying to destroy sin and death (sacrifice), He rose from the grave the victor (Savior), and He gave life eternal to all mankind (the final resurrection).

Restoration: The Son now has the authority to draw all mankind back into God’s Trinitarian family by pouring out upon mankind His life giving Spirit (baptism), which places the presence of God’s power within humans, making those persons incarnations of God (Christians- little Christs), here and now, healing & restoring (saving) them to dwell within the Trinity.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rex Gloriae

It is a very difficult thing to promote a parish in a way that is genuinely Chirstian. I have tried to do this in various ways that do not insult the faith, the link below will take you to web page desinged to inform anyone who might be interested about our parish.