Thursday, September 10, 2015

Locusts and Wild Honey signing off; New site now operational

This blog is going dark, having served its purpose. My new blog is Flashes of Lightning, Peals of Thunder. It is now operational, so please be sure to bookmark it.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

GAFCON Chairman's July/August Pastoral Letter

To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

‘When they became fully awake they saw his glory.’ Luke 9: 32

My dear brothers and sisters,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our only Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I am writing to you on the day when the Church has traditionally celebrated the Transfiguration. The veil that covered Jesus’ glory in his earthly ministry is briefly drawn aside before he begins his journey to Jerusalem and death upon the cross. While Jesus prayed, Peter, James and John slept, but we must not judge them harshly. Climbing mountains is hard work! In fact, they were so deeply asleep that the reality being revealed was not immediately clear to them, yet the impact was lasting.

Years later, Peter recalls this moment on the mountain as he writes to spiritually sleepy Christians who are in danger of forgetting the truth of the gospel and have become complacent about false teachers. He reminds them that ‘we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty’ (2 Peter 1:16).

Peter’s apostolic challenge needs to come to the Church in every generation and this is what GAFCON exists for. We are not a movement that finds its energy in division and controversy, but in the desire that all should be fully awake to the majesty and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the radiance of his glory has truly imprinted itself on our hearts and minds, then we will find ourselves longing for fellowship with others who share that vision and being much more alert to the tragic confusions and divisions which false teaching brings.

How is it that the glory of Jesus is recognised in the Church today? As Peter was speaking out of his ignorance about making shelters for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, the voice of God the Father interrupts him saying “This is my Son, my Chosen One, listen to him”. The same is true today. We must listen to him. But we can be much more interested in our ideas than God’s Word. We must listen to the voice of Jesus as it comes to us through the whole of the Scriptures, but the recent decisions of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) and the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) to amend their marriage canons to accommodate so called ‘gay marriage’ remind us that parts of the Church are becoming increasingly bold in speaking what they have learned from listening to the world rather than listening to the Scriptures and the witness of the Church through two millennia.

The problem TEC in particular continues to pose for the rest of the Communion was highlighted by another but less reported resolution from its 2015 General Convention, A051, ‘Support LGBT African Advocacy’ which mandates that Church to spread its ideas to Africa. In the light of this resolution it is increasingly difficult to see what purpose the dialogue of Continuing Indaba and associated projects such as Bishop Graham Kings’ ‘Mission Theology in the Anglican Communion’ project can serve except as a means, even if unintentional, by which TEC can promote further confusion and division around the Communion.

But there is better news from North America and I continue to give thanks to God for the Anglican Church in North America which continues to grow as a church that is committed to listening first and foremost to the Word of God. The bishops have announced a ‘Matthew 25’ initiative to increase funding for ministry to the poor and have appointed a theological Task Force under the leadership of the Rev Dr Stephen Noll on Marriage, Family, and the Single Life to enable the authentic voice of the Scriptures to be heard clearly on these vital subjects.

Let us pray that whatever our situation, we shall be fully awake to the glory of the Lord Jesus. On the Mount of Transfiguration we see the one who is truly the Son of God, who is to fulfil the Law and the Prophets by his offering of himself for our sins, who will be raised gloriously from the dead and is yet to return in awesome majesty as Lord and Judge of all. May this vision capture our hearts and inspire our labour.

The Feast of the Transfiguration, 6th August 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sojourn in a nation under judgment: Anne Kennedy's epic takedown of Rachel Held Evans

Any article critiquing Rachel Held Evans ought to be required reading. This morning, Anne Kennedy scored an epic takedown of the sniveling, neo-Pharisaical, proto-millennial blogger, who never seems to tire of pointing an accusing finger at Christians who actually believe Jesus is who he said he is and the Bible is what the church has always said it was.
First off, I wish she would desist calling me, and others who love the Bible and the Jesus revealed in the bible her “fellow Christians”. We are not fellows together. We believe contradictory opposite gospels. She is not curious enough about the gospel I embrace to know what it says, to understand that love is at the center of this issue, that Christians like me are horrified to find that the culture, and self identified “Christians” like her, have created a new definition of love that lets a person sexually tie himself or herself to a person of the same gender, regardless of God’s clear, explicit hatred of such an act. Love demands, love implores, love does everything it can to warn of the peril right ahead. So yes to fear, this is a perilous place we inhabit, now. But from whence cometh the entitlement? Christians have rightly perceived the rejection of their world view and are retreating in sorrow and grief. As for the charge that we are obscuring the gospel, I think the church has already been complicit in that confusion, and I think now Jesus himself is making the gospel more than abundantly clear. One of the ways (only one way, there are so many) gay “marriage” is so hateful to God is because it obscures the central relationship between Christ and the Church. Marriage isn’t about individuals. Each and every marriage paints a picture of Jesus’ sacrificial love for his bride, who is not the same as him. Gay “marriage” paints a lying idolatrous picture of this reality and is one reason why, I think, the winners are so angry. Because living in a horrible lie is actually not that comfortable and pleasant. Look in the defiant, tragic gaze of a child who is lying and who doesn’t know how to get out, and you have an expression of the anger we are seeing everywhere. Why, pray tell, in this moment of great joy, Rachel Held Evans, do you pause to take a wack at bible loving Christians? I’ll tell you why, because the lie is ugly and hurtful, and so there must be lots of shouting and anger to cover up the great wound that leads to death. But moving on.
Kennedy's concluding observations are most insightful.
God’s judgement is pouring out. His burning anger is already here. If you feel angry, I long for you to look in his face, and not flinch when you see his abiding, perfect wrath. Really, my Christian identity has never been clearer than at this precise moment.
Hardly a day goes by now that I don't see some Facebook post or meme issuing the dire warning that "God is going to judge America" for all of the abominations it is now condoning. But, as Kennedy implies, the judgment is already happening. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul speaks about "men behaving indecently with men," etc. precisely in terms of judgment. The prevalence of such abominable acts is not a sign that God's wrath is about to be poured out but, indeed, that it is already being poured out. It's not the popular caricature of lightning striking, but the more subtle judgment of God giving a rebellious people over to their "dishonorable passions." God may not judge a nation because it celebrates sexual deviancy. Rather, the celebration of deviancy may very well be evidence that God's judgment has already come.

If that is the case, it presents us with a very crucial question. What is the church's responsibility as it sojourns in the midst of a nation under judgment? Most assuredly, it has a more significant role to play than the complacent compromising suggested by the likes of Rachel Held Evans. In his commentary on Revelation (unfortunately, long out of print), M. Robert Mulholland, Jr. offers this sacramentally saturated observation on the church's mission in the midst of a rebellious order.
For the church in John's day, as well as today, the vision reveals the profoundly deep reality of what it means to be a citizen of New Jerusalem. To be part of the eucharistic community of God's people is to become part of God's response to the rebellion. To partake of the Eucharist is to be drawn into the very being and nature of God so as to be shaped in the image and likeness of God. To partake of the Eucharist is to be thrust out into the midst of Fallen Babylon to participate in God's costly, redemptive response to the rebellion. The vision images this in the bowls [Revelation 15:6-16:21], which, on the one hand, are the prayers of the saints that open them to the shaping presence of God and that, on the other hand, being filled with the presence of God, are then poured out into the life of the world.
The outpouring of God's wrath is never an arbitrary act. Its purpose, like all the purposes of God revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is ultimately redemptive. The church, as an active participant in God's response to the fallen order's rebellion, is called to be an agent of what Mulholland calls redemptive wrath.