Jay Greener in the Anglican Union

Former AMiA and C4SO priest Jay Greener who was investigated and resigned in 2022 has now emerged in the odd Kevin Donlon led group “the Anglican Union.” The Anglican Union split from what is left of AMiA for reasons unknown.

When he resigned, the public statement from C4SO said:

Because he is canonically resident in the Province of Rwanda, Jay will now be under the care of Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, Vice Chairman of GAFCON, who received the Independent Assessment Report and will ensure Jay’s future accountability.

Who knows what sort of care Mbanda provided Greener, or if Greener is still resident in Rwanda, but he popped up renewing his ordination vows with Donlon’s group this Holy Week.

The Jesus Movement of the 60’s and 70’s

People are talking about the Jesus Movement a lot again lately. It is a subject that endlessly fascinates me as I grew up on the tail end of it as a kid. My memories of it are just hazy, but still it was something of the water that we swam in back then. Keith Green was (and is) a hero of mine. Reading about the movement now and knowing what I know, it is easy to see its many, many failings. Sexual failings in particular seem to go right back to the start of it, as well as bad doctrine and idolization of musicians that I contend has mostly been a plague on the church in the decades since the Sixties.

My Mom was anything but a hippie, she grew up Lutheran in the 40’s and 50’s, and yet she dated her life as a Christian to 1967. In her words:

I had attended church, taught Sunday school, been active in a women’s group at church, but didn’t know Jesus. I would watch Billy Graham on t.v. & be amazed at his assurance of salvation. When he said, “you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” I would think, “I believe,” maybe if I’d quit smoking I’d have assurance.

In the fall of ‘67 Bill Bright came to Mpls. with the Lay Institute for Evangelism. I was attending a small church & thought about going to it to learn how to get more members for our church. I had just thought about it — & then a lady from church called & said our pastor had asked her to go as our church representative — & she wasn’t able to make it, & asked if I would go in her place. Praise God for His workings in our lives!

As I said, I thought I was a Christian, but was troubled not having the assurance that if I died I would go to heaven. I don’t remember much of what Bill Bright said that day — but this I do remember –

He spoke on John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life & that you might have it more abundantly.” Bill Bright asked, “Do you have the abundant life? And if not, why not? That is what Jesus came to give!” That clicked in my heart — I knew I did not have the abundant life — & that’s what I wanted.

Mom had grown up Lutheran, baptized, confirmed, teaching Sunday School, etc. but thought she had no assurance of her faith under that system. I think she was indeed regenerate and united to God’s people, but this moment with Bill Bright served to awaken faith in her and set her on a new course. She ended up leaving the Lutheran Church in part because they put out the word that if you spoke in tongues, you needed to leave. At least that is what she told me so it’s how she took it.

Although we ended up in a very sober, mildly charismatic church, she spent time at the local Jesus People Church and was rebaptized there in 1977. I assume she questioned the validity of her infant baptism as a Lutheran due to teaching within those circles.

She found local believing women that she connected with. She attended women’s AGLOW meetings regularly, and dedicated her life to prayer and Scripture reading. She experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit and sought to speak in tongues. I have memories of song from the Jesus Movement like this for example:

All of those songs seemed more reverent than most things today. Maybe because they were usually straight from Scripture, and most Scripture at that time was King James! Lots of songs with “Thy” and “longeth after Thee” as opposed to the familiar language that is now our norm.

Some of the physical signs of the movement that I grew up around, although totally unaware of their origin, included things like banners and sayings on our walls at home, such as:

And although we may laugh at the tackiness of Bibles like this:

It was a time where the Bible was central and seeing people carrying huge, marked-up Bibles was the norm. Perhaps that is still the case in some circles, but it certainly isn’t in the Anglican churches that I am now a part of. In fact it is rare to see someone bringing a Bible to church. Yes, we have them in the pews, and yes, we probably hear more Bible read during the service than I ever did back then, but that idea of personal study of, and mastery of, the Bible, is missing.

Unfortunately I think that the yearning for the Second Coming due to bad dispensational theology sucked up a lot of energy that might have been better spent learning from solid sources, but then as now, if those sources were all looking down on you and writing you off, would you go to them for teaching? Gary North was probably an exception in this regard, as he tried to make common cause with charismatics to create a larger project.

As I see it now, the fruit of the movement was very mixed. Lots of charlatans, people who fell away, people who ended up in the word of faith movement or cults. Lots of divorce. Lots of people who stayed in the milk stage instead of moving to meat. And yet I cannot write it all off because of people like my Mom. Housewives and other faithful, ordinary saints who were rekindled and put on a path of faithfulness for the rest of their lives. We won’t know the true story of it all until we are reading it in a library in the new heavens and new earth some thousands of years from now, but I suspect there is a lot of good mixed in with the bad, as there seem to be with most of our history.

Is Fame Good?

Is fame ever good for anyone? Or does it ultimately poison and destroy anyone who achieves it? Fame meaning not just Hollywood, Nashville, or Broadway, but being the famous professor who shakes up the field, the pastor who has a huge church and influence, or the politician who makes a mark. In his book The Frenzy of Renown, Leo Braudy says:

Between the ideal (and safely dead) figures of the past and the infinite compromises and corruptions of the present appear the figures of contemporary fame-aspiring to a condition of achievement and recognition independent of the normal pressures of age and imperfection. Like a dim remembrance of unfallen purity, the dream of fame promises a place where private dreams of recognition triumphantly appear in public. Fame allows the aspirant to stand out of the crowd, but with the crowd’s approval; in its turn, the audience picks out its own dear individuality in the qualities of its heroes. Famous people glow, it’s often said, and it’s a glow that comes from the number of times we have seen the images of their faces, now superimposed on the living flesh before us-not a radiation of divinity but the feverish effect of repeated impacts of a face upon our eyes. The ease with which we allow ourselves to be absorbed by such images, the desires to be that way ourselves, confirms that the essential lure of the famous is that they are somehow more real than we and that our insubstantial physical reality needs that immortal substance for support. Where the infinite reproductions of the faces of the famous mediate between us and whatever they have actually done, the urge to public fame has little necessary connection to the urge to recognition for worthy actions. Its goal becomes a state of being. In compensation for the erosions of life and death, the new media of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries thus create the modern dream of fame as a vision of wholeness, an effort to move outside the blare of publicity by using it for oneself, to be an object of attention rather than one of the mob of attention payers.

Ignatius on the Judaizers

St. Ignatius of Antioch.

The New Perspective on Paul has stressed the nature of the conflict between the Judaizers who insisted on the Sinatic definition of Israel and Paul and others who stressed the Abrahamic (by faith) nature of Israel. I thought the following extracts from Ignatius also shed some light on this conflict in the early church:

The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians

8:1 Be not deceived by heretical opinions, nor by ancient fables, which are unprofitable. For if we live until this present, according to the religion of the Jews, we acknowledge that we have not received grace.

8:2 For the divine prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account were they also persecuted, who by his grace were inspired, to the end that the disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested himself through Jesus Christ, his Son, who is his eternal Word, who came not forth from Silence [some mss. omit “not”], who in all things was well pleasing to him that sent him.

9:1 If, therefore, they who were under the older dispensation came into a new hope, no longer keeping the Sab- bath, but living in observance of the Lord’s day, on which day also our life rose through him and through his death, which certain deny, through which mystery we have received faith (and through this abide, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ, our only teacher),

9:2 how shall we be able to live apart from him, of whom even the prophets were disciples, and waited for him in the spirit as their teacher? And on this account, he whom they rightly expected, when he came, raised them from

the dead.

10:1 Let us, therefore, not be insensible to his goodness. For if God should imitate our actions, we are undone. On this account, becoming his disciples, let us learn to live according to the religion of Christ. For he who is called by any other name than this is not of God.

10:2 Lay aside, therefore, the evil leaven, which hath waxed old and become sour, and be ye changed into a new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be ye salted in him, to the end that none of you become corrupt, since by your savour shall ye be tried.

10:3 It is inconsistent to name the name of Christ Jesus, and to live after the manner of the Jews. For Christianity did not believe upon Judaism, but Judaism upon Christianity, so that every tongue which believed might be gathered together unto God.

The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians

6:1 But if any man preach unto you Judaism, hearken not unto him; for it is better to hear Christianity from one circumcised, than Judaism from one uncircumcised. But if both speak not concerning Jesus Christ, then are they in my view sepulchres and graves, on which are written only the names of men.

Pia Desideria

A few quotes from this book by Jacob Philipp Spener:

…the study of theology should be carried on not by the strife of disputations but rather by the practice of piety.

(Dr. David Chytraeus) “Beware! Satan has the intention of detaining you with unnecessary things and thus keeping you from those which are necessary. Once he has gained an opening in you of a hand-breadth, he will force in his whole body together with sacks full of useless questions, as he formerly did in the universities by means of philosophy.” Here we hear that  no little damage is done when one tries to be smart and clever without the Scriptures or beyond them. Nor is there want of examples to substantiate this.

When men’s minds are stuffed with such a theology which, while it preserves the foundation of faith from the Scripture, builds on it with so much wood, hay, and stubble of human inquisitiveness that the gold can no longer be seen, it becomes exceedingly difficult to grasp and find pleasure in the real simplicity of Christ and his teaching. This is so because men’s taste becomes accustomed to the more charming things of reason, and after a while the simplicity of Christ and his teaching appears to be tasteless. Such knowledge, which remains without love, “puffs up” (I Cor. 8:1). It leaves man in his love of self; indeed, it fosters and strengthens such love more and more. Subtleties unknown to the Scriptures usually have their origin, in the case of those who introduce them, in a desire to exhibit their sagacity and their superiority over others, to have a great reputation, and to derive benefit therefrom in the world. Moreover, these subtleties are themselves of such a nature that they stimulate, in those who deal with them, not a true fear of God but a thirst for honor and other impulses which are unbecoming a true Christian. When people are practiced in such things they begin to have great illusions and introduce them at once into the church of Christ, even if they know little or nothing of the one thing needful, which they hold in little esteem. They can hardly be kept from taking to market what gives them the most pleasure, and they generally concentrate on something that is not very edifying to their hearers who are seeking salvation. When they really achieve the purpose they set themselves, they succeed in giving those of their hearers who have ready minds a fair knowledge of religious controversies, and these hearers regard it as the greatest honor to dispute with others. Both preachers and hearers confine themselves to the notion that the one thing needful is the assertion and retention of pure doctrine, which must not be overthrown by errors, even if it is very much obscured with human perversions.

Pontoppidan on Modern Christians

We pretend to be the followers of the first Christians. But could we imagine that these professors of the truth in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, etc., were a people of such mind and such manners as the great multitude among us at the present day? Equally terrible, lavish, voluptuous, miserly, thieving, harlot-like, drunken, false and cunning? If they were so, could it be possible that their preaching and worship had ever gained power and had become permanent? Or even less that it had so conspicuously and so quickly put paganism to shame, and that without the slightest outside help, even in the midst of having to face death daily?

Dr. Erich Pontoppidan, Collegium Pastorale Practicum

James Jordan: From Land to City

What follows are some notes from this excellent lecture by James Jordan.

After A.D. 70 we have the city. In Revelation the city appears. From A.D. 30-70 the Bride is made ready, goes through tribulation, and the city comes at that point. A.D. 70 is the first coming of Jesus.

The shift from land to city is not a mere symbol but a cultural phenomenon.

In the city you have foreigners, you don’t have that in the country. There are different kinds of food in the city. Out in the country the eat the same stuff more or less.

In the Old Covenant, cities were for foreigners. Land was divided up for Israel. There was no land for the foreigner. You could maybe rent or lease land, but in the Jubilee year it goes back to God and then back to those he gave it to. 

Numbers tells you about the city. 1000 cubits out from a walled city is city space, you can grow crops in those areas. Cities are slightly more holy. Leprosy out in the land doesn’t mean anything. In the city, something has to be done about it. Slightly more holy in that system.

Deuteronomy 13. Foreigners are there seducing you. They don’t do that in the country.

The city anticipates the new creation already in the Old Testament. The city is not under the Jubilee laws. You can buy and sell land permanently, like the New Covenant.

Jerusalem itself is already becoming this new place. City life is not under the elementary principles–when we were children and angels were teaching us.

Angels instructed us using stars and animals. We worshiped bringing animals, they carried us to heaven. Proverbs, learn from the animals. Cherubim ox, lion, and eagle. Animals are first in the world. 5th day and first half of the 6th day. They precede us in the world. The animal trails leads you to the good water. They discover what’s good to eat and where the water is before we do. Now Jesus blazes the trail for us, not animals.

In the city you don’t live by the almanac or with animals, but with other people. 

Division of labor in the city. High culture as opposed to folk art. Temple orchestra, Temple choir.

When the new creation happened, the world changed.

Passover was not a family meal. Do it with someone next door or later it was done in the Tabernacle. Made into a family meal after AD 70. The Jewish animal-centric system was forced to end.

Pagans were terrified of their gods, New Age is playing games, playing paganism. Nobody has taboos, nobody has fear and dread, such as not eating foods. Modern paganism is Humanism with frosting on top.

A.D. 30 to 70 is a type of what happens everywhere over the world when the Gospel arrives. The horsemen of Revelation:

It conquers.

Opposed to each other.

Old things starved out. Bread, wine and oil protected.

Green horse kills off the old ways, continue in Christ or come into Antichrist, you cannot go back to where you were before. 

It brings city. We have to learn to live with each other, can’t avoid it anymore.

City becomes manifest over time. Bible is truth given to exorcise us and de-mythologize us. The Bible purges out all mythic thinking. It never uses mythic language or categories. It is pure history. It has its own chronology.

Gods are sucked out of human fears and consciousness by exorcism and technology results. Technology is the extension of human beings as governors and transformers of the world. It enhances our hands, our feet, our ears. We are extended by this. No longer afraid to do it.

No longer in bondage to be a farmer in the USA. Any return to the land today is voluntary. The whole world is citified. Farming is citified. Garden in your backyard is for fun. 

Folk music disappeared replaced by commercial music. World becoming city. Money economy. Globalism. Increasingly universal noosphere.

Confessions of faith written 500 years ago in a largely agrarian society. What questions do we have that they did not? Not to change the facts but how they are expressed. Have to change or we become little sects over here on the side.

Rebellion of the old against the new. Country life is better. How much incest is there in country life? It is just different, not better.

Big reaction against the city in the 20th century Europe was against it. Germany, Austria, Romania, folk movements, land and blood. A reaction against city and city life.

Nazism: using Wagner with gigantic displays with people in squares. City stuff going on trying to go back to blood and land. Agrarian ideal. Volk. Pure race. Reaction against what Jesus has done. What He has done can’t be stopped. Those reactions fizzle out. It can’t work. The world is mixed and cosmopolitan. USA is on the forefront, pioneers. More kind of people in one place. Not a pat on our back. What Jesus has put in front of us. Europe tried to stop it. Didn’t want Jews and got Muslims. Neo-pagan movement in USA agrarianism. Universities. People are discipled by working in soil with animals. Discipled better. Vanderbilt. An ivory tower thinking that blacks and poor whites should live that way when you yourself would never do it. Nature doesn’t disciple people, the Holy Spirit does it. Angels and spirits used nature to disciple people in the Old Cov. Agrariansim failed. Familism still around in some Christians and it has failed.

Gal 4: 8-11

Church calendar is our choice, not imposed on us. 

We don’t live by the almanac in the church. The old world had to know the seasons, sun, moon, stars, etc. to plant their crops.

We no longer have lunar months. We are free from that.

The Church as city is the heart of the New Covenant. It starts in the church and flows out. It undergirds everything. The Alpha form of the Kingdom, not the Omega form. 

Acts 2, all languages in one faith. Koran only in Arabic. Hebrew Bible only in Hebrew in older days. Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirt comes and speaks in every language EXCEPT Hebrew.

The Bible can be translated into every language accurately.

All languages, one faith.

Not one language, one faith.

Jew and Gentile have to come together. Circumcision tore the world in half, Jew and Gentile. The resurrection puts them together. The distinction is gone. Be mutual to one another and esteem one another better than ourselves. Baptists are better than us, Pentecostals, etc.

Get along, mutuality in the city. Everybody is the same in justification. By acting in the right way the Church patterns it for society.

Islam is a huge international tribal religion with an idol at the center, the meteorite. It’s written in a book. Arian Christianity gone to seed. Another form of the perversion of the gospel. 

Is the city bad in the OT? Cain and Nimrod’s cities, Nineveh, Babylon, premature cities. The pagans get there first. No polemic against the city as such. Jacques Ellul agrarian, city life is dangerous. In reality city life is tough, but it’s a grown up problem. More challenges, more fearful than the countryside. The city isn’t bad, the city of man is bad.

Counterfeit cities. 

ACNA: Husch Blackwell, Greenhouse, and GuideOne Insurance

Canon William Beasley

The long-awaited report on sexual misconduct in the Upper Midwest Diocese of the ACNA has been released. There is much to digest in the report, but one situation that receives mention on pages 38-39 could have wider implications. That is the apparent lying on an insurance application which the Greenhouse organization submitted to GuideOne Insurance. Greenhouse is an amorphous church planting organization that dates back to AMiA days if not before and which was primarily, though not exclusively, housed within the Upper Midwest Diocese. The founder of Greenhouse is Canon William Beasley, who has since been forced to retire from official leadership of the organization.

In 2013 Beasley submitted an application for insurance to GuideOne Insurance. The report’s account follows:

Beth Thompson was also interviewed by Husch Blackwell as part of this investigation regarding an issue relating to Greenhouse. However, Thompson was not interviewed as part of the Greenhouse Review discussed above because she was no longer serving as an Administrator at the time of the review. Previously, Thompson worked for Greenhouse directly with Canon Beasley from 2011 to 2015. She explained how on an insurance application for GuideOne Insurance dated December 2013, she believed Canon Beasley did not answer the questions about Greenhouse’s sexual abuse policy accurately. Thompson stated that she believed Canon Beasley incorrectly answered “yes” to the following questions:

> Does your policy include a procedure in which you ask employees and volunteers if they have ever been accused of, participated in or been convicted of sexual misconduct?

> Are all employees, and those volunteers involved with any activity involving a minor, required to sign a release form which you keep on file that allows you to request a criminal background check?

> Do you conduct criminal background and reference checks on employees and volunteers?

Specifically, Thompson explained how Greenhouse did not have any volunteer sexual abuse policies in place, and no volunteers who worked with children had any background checks done. Thompson described how, at the time, when she told Canon Beasley that she did not agree with his answers on the insurance form, he said that someday we would have these procedures in place. Thompson stated that Canon Beasley went on to say that since Greenhouse was a healthy culture, it would not have any problems. Thompson explained how Canon Beasley was very autonomous with little to no oversight or structure, especially because the ACNA was so new. During Thompson’s time with Greenhouse (2011-2015), she believes that Greenhouse never had any sexual abuse policies in writing nor talked about them

What are the implications of this? Well, one would assume that there has been some insurance money and/or lawyers involved from GuideOne in relation to the sexual abuse that went on within Greenhouse ecclesiastical units. Would GuideOne now be able to terminate this support based on these new facts? Would any other insurance company want to pick the organization up as a client? Are there wider implications for Upper Midwest or ACNA? What are the consequences for knowingly falsifying an application? And what does it say about individuals who are commanded to not bear false witness and who would (apparently) lie with such ease about so serious an issue? An issue that would in fact come back to explode in their faces and cause so much damage to the entire denomination.

I expect that this report is not the end of this story, but only its midpoint.

Objections to the Bible: the death of Judas Iscariot

For some, the accounts of the death of Judas Iscariot reveal contradictions in the scriptural text. Again I have to ask the question: were the first Christians really so stupid that they didn’t notice these supposed contradictions? The arrogance of the modern really shines through in some textual criticism. The basic accounts are in Matthew 27 and Acts 1 and harmonize easily if we picture Judas hanging himself on a tree over a valley and then falling and bursting apart.

R.J. Knowling’s commentary on Acts has this to say:

Wendt and others maintain that St. Luke here follows a different tradition from St. Matthew, xxvii. 6 ff., and that it is only arbitrary to attempt to reconcile them. But Felton and Zockler…see in St. Luke’s description a later stage in the terrible end of the traitor…if the rope broke, or a branch gave way under the weight of Judas, St. Luke’s narrative might easily be supplementary to that of St. Matthew. Blass, in loco, adopts the former alternative, and holds that thus the narrative may be harmonized with that of St. Matthew, when the rope broke, he fell to the ground…

The words no doubt mean strictly “falling flat on his face”…not “falling headlong,” and so they do not necessarily imply that Judas fell over a precipice, but Hackett’s view that Judas may have hung himself from a tree on the edge of a precipice near the valley of Hinnom, and that he fell on to the rocky pavement below is suggested from his own observation of the locality…At all events there is nothing disconcerting in the supposition that we may have here “some unknown series of facts, of which we have but two fragmentary narratives:”