Jeremy Taylor on Shrove Tuesday Repentance

In The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, he writes:

Every true penitential sorrow is rather natural than solemn; that is, it is the product of our internal apprehensions, rather than outward order and command. He that repents only by solemnity, at a certain period, by the expectation of tomorrow’s sun, may indeed act a sorrow, but cannot be sure that he shall then be sorrowful. Other acts of repentance may be done in their proper period, by order and command, upon set days, and indicted solemnities; such as is, fasting and prayer, and alms, and confession, and disciplines, and all the instances of humiliation: but sorrow is not to be reckoned in this account, unless it dwells there before. When there is a natural abiding sorrow for our sins, any public day of humiliation can bring it forth, and put it into activity; but when a sinner is gay and intemperately merry upon Shrove-tuesday, and resolves to mourn upon Ash-wednesday; his sorrow hath in it more of the theatre than the temple, and is not at all to be relied upon by him that resolves to take severe accounts of himself.

Section VI.X.89

LDS Missions on Facebook?

In a piece of bad or misleading reporting, Ruth Gledhill says: "But soon the famously clean-shaven, clean-living Mormon missionaries might be shown the door for the last time." Her article goes on:

Elder Erich Kopischke, head of the Church’s European operation who is in London to mark the 175th anniversary of American missionaries setting sail for Liverpool on July 1, 1837, told The Times that one post on Facebook could reach 900,000 people in an instant. It would take many months, if not years, to knock on that many doors, he said.

He was speaking at a time when Mitt Romney is campaigning to become the first Mormon US President. The US musical satire The Book of Mormon is due to open in March next year in London.

Elder Kopischke, married with five children, who did his own missionary door knocking on doors in the Pope’s homeland of Bavaria, said: "Door-knocking was really the old way of communicating things."

There are 900 Mormon missionaries on the road in Britain, but the Church has a strong web presence and more than 600,000 people have "liked" its official Facebook page. "If you think about the idea of door-knocking, Jesus once said, ‘Your mouth speaks what your heart is full of’. Why do people knock on doors? Because their heart is full. Why do people use social networks? Because they have something to say. Door-knocking is sometimes understood as aggressive proselytising." Over time, he said, social networks would be more efficient. "If I want to share with you what is really on my heart or that I have observed something, it is easier than to make the trip."

Gledhill implies that Mormons are going to stop going door to door and will just reach out via social media, but the church says nothing of the sort. Rather, it emphasizes that it now does a lot of online chats:

A Church spokesman said that social networking was proving far more effective than knocking on doors. Over a 12-month period, Mormon social networking missionaries have taken part in more than one million online chats.

But I can’t see this replacing Missions at all. For one thing, the Mission is a formative tool in getting young Mormons to own their faith. They have to learn about it on the fly, defend it, and become apologists of sorts, all in a short, two-year time span while their secular counterparts are busy at keggers and hooking up. Also, they and their families have to fund the mission on their own, the church doesn’t pay for it. It is the central event of most young Mormon’s lives. Mormon families take enormous pride in their children successfully completing a Mission.
Also, many of the areas that LDS missionaries are serving aren’t exactly Facebook friendly. That approach might, *might*, work in the UK or the US, but how about Africa? And even in the UK, how many old folks or home-bound folks are on Facebook? There is no substitute for face to face interaction and I’m sure Mormons know this. If anything, the online chats probably lead to a follow up from the Missionaries.
So the tantalizing headline of this article is not at all fleshed out in the details. But I expect we’ll continue to see shoddy reporting on Mormon issues throughout Mitt Romney’s time in office.

PEAR Elects Breedlove as Bishop

PEARUSA will begin with three Networks and at least one new bishop (bishops Glenn and Barnum will no longer be actively serving as bishops). Rev. Steve Breedlove will become a Bishop for PEARUSA. An excerpt from the report by Don Schulze:

The first PEARUSA Celebration Assembly meeting in Raleigh, NC elected their first bishop and announced the formation of three network relationship groups that include the West/MidWest, the Southeast, and the North/Northeast. Provisional Network Leaders are Rev. Ken Ross for the West/Mid-West, Rev. David Bryan for the Southeast, and Rev. Steve Breedlove for the North/Northeast.

The Rev. Steve Breedlove was elected by unanimous acclamation to be their first bishop. He has been senior rector of All Saints, Chapel Hill, SC and will leave that position in five weeks. He will serve as the Presider Pro Tem of PEARUSA and as network leader of the North/Northeast regional network of PEARUSA till his inauguration in October.

The working group of the Northeast Network met to identify its members and found that there were approximately thirty-six churches represented, from North Carolina to Connecticut.
Among the issues discussed was the need to find a way to communicate or meet in the months between June and September to consider, propose, and elect one or more network bishops. As various considerations were voiced and a number of ideas were considered, it appeared that the idea of such a large and geographically diverse group working in a cohesive way after leaving Raleigh was going to be difficult and a Network bishop would be necessary.

Breedlove was considered the choice for Network Bishop in view of his past experience in team leadership and pastoral care and oversight. Following a brief discussion the decision to make him the first Bishop Candidate of the new PEARUSA was made by acclamation.

I hope we’ll be able to see video or read the text of the presentations from this Assembly.

PEARUSA Celebration Assembly

Reports are emerging from the PEARUSA Assembly in Raleigh. The Rev. Don Schulze writes:

In a brief ceremony Archbishop Rwaje, Bishop Laurent Mbanda, and Bishop Gasatura formally installed Rev. Steve Breedlove as the "Presider Pro-Tem" of the new Missionary District. A "Missionary Council Pro-Tem" will replace the "steering committee" that has served so well for the last five months. They were also "sworn in" by the Rwandan Bishops.
The Rev. Clark Lowenfield and Rev. Alan Hawkins who played critical roles in getting PEARUSA to this point will not be serving on the provisional missionary council. Lowenfield will take up duties as Vicar of the new Diocese of the Gulf West Coast for ACNA and will be an ACNA clergyman. The Rev. Alan Hawkins will remain as a PEARUSA clergy and rector of his church in Greensboro, NC but will take on additional responsibilities as Vicar of the Anglican 1000 church planting initiative.
It was formally announced that Bishop Terrell Glenn would remain a Bishop in Rwanda. He will not serve in an active role for some time as he takes a much-deserved sabbatical and seeks God’s direction for the future.
Bishop Thad Barnum will not serve on the Missionary Council Pro-Tem in an active role. He was appointed by Rwaje to serve as counselor, advisor, and pastor to Rev. Steve Breedlove as he leads that working group until October.
Another major PEARUSA gathering, an Inaugural Assembly, will be held in October at a place and date to be announced. At that time the Provisional Missionary Council will have done their work of finalizing structures, documents, offices, and regional responsibilities and relationships for the new organization. At that meeting the official episcopal structure of the new PEARUSA Missionary District will be announced. This will entail consecrating new bishops and formally establishing regional oversight.

Read the rest here.

PEAR USA on Women’s Ordination

The Proposed Charter of the new Missionary District says:

Section 3. Men and Women in Ministry

PEARUSA upholds the biblical teaching that both men and women are created in God’s image and called to service in his Kingdom. For this reason, PEARUSA is committed to promoting the ministry of women alongside men, both within and outside the church. At the same time, the Bible also teaches that God created men and women with distinct differences, and has given them different roles within his Kingdom. Within the Anglican Communion there is a diversity of opinion regarding the ordination of women. While the Anglican Province of Rwanda does ordain women as Presbyters, PEARUSA does not, nor does it consecrate women as Bishops, nor does it receive or license women to serve as Presbyters or Bishops.

Technically, AMiA held this same position, although it watered it down over time by creating various sub-jurisdictions and entities. This is a very encouraging step towards rolling back the errors inflicted on the Church in the Seventies.

The Dude Abides

As I mentioned last month, Bishop Todd Hunter is slated to be a speaker at the ACNA assembly. That was before AMiA removed itself to the Congo, a Province that has been more in communion with Rowan Williams than Robert Duncan. You might think that Hunter’s participation in disobedience to Rwanda and flight from GAFCON would make him an unlikely speaker at the Assembly, but ACNA now has a story up that very much confirms that he will be there.

Bishop Hunter has hopped from place to place, having worked as National Director of the Association of Vineyard Churches from 1998 until 2001, then from 01-04 he was the Director of Allelon, an emergent movement that seems to have vanished, from 04 to 08 he was the National Director of Alpha USA, from 08 to 10 he headed a non-profit called Society for Kingdom Living. He was then brought in from being a non-Anglican to being ordained and consecrated as a bishop by Chuck Murphy in 2010.

Hunter brings an unorthodox view of women’s ordination to the AMiA (and thus fits right in):

It’s not about ordaining a particular gender or an issue of social justice for me – ordination is not a ‘right’ for anyone. While I recognize and celebrate the differences between genders, I want to raise up human beings gifted and called to Kingdom ministry…I guess you can say I’m an egalitarian of the complementary sort.

I am excited about the potential for women to be part of our church planting movement on the west coast and am already seeing fruit of such ministry in C4SO. This is all about facilitating a missional commitment.

A close eye is going to have to be kept on ACNA to see where it goes on women’s ordination and a host of other issues. Is it going to be TEC without the gay stuff, or is it going to be something better? That story remains to be written.

PEAR USA Inaugural General Assembly and Other News

The Rwandan House of Bishops just issued another letter. The upshot of it is:

  • AMiA clergy have more time than AMiA bishops to make a decision about where they are headed. The bishops must decide within weeks (meaning April), while the clergy have until August to decide.
  • An Inaugural General Assembly for PEAR USA clergy and laity will occur in August, at which time the charter for the Missionary District will be ratified.
  • PEAR is working with ACNA to establish how the new Missionary District will function within ACNA.

Here is the text:

April 10, 2012

Kigali, Rwanda

To the Clergy of Rwanda serving the work of the Gospel in North America: Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus, the Risen Christ and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

We write to clarify some important questions that remain after our March 29 Resolution and April 2 Communiqué.

As a result of our March 29 Resolution, a Missionary District of PEAR in North America has been established. We are currently working with members of the PEAR‐USA Steering Team to create a temporary Charter for Ministry which will define the mission and structure of the Missionary District. Once we have approved the recommended Charter we will make it available to you. This Charter will be ratified through a proper process at an Inaugural General Assembly (of laity, clergy, and bishops) for the Missionary District which we hope to host in early August.

Members of the PEAR House of Bishops are also working with leaders from ACNA that Archbishop Robert Duncan has appointed and members of the PEAR‐USA Steering Team in the hope of establishing protocols that will govern the Missionary District as a sub‐ jurisdiction of the ACNA.

It is our clear intention that the Missionary District will be the only option for clergy and churches in North America wishing stay canonically resident in PEAR. As the details of the Charter for Ministry and the sub‐jurisdictional protocols become clear, we hope that all North American clergy resident in PEAR, along with their churches, will eventually join the Missionary District. A process of formal affiliation with the Missionary District will be described in the Charter. Until the Charter is approved, any North American clergy resident in PEAR can affiliate with the Missionary District by a simple declaration of desire and intent. (This declaration should be communicated in writing to the PEARUSA office. They will pass on further instruction for affiliation and participation for both clergy and churches.)

However, we understand that some clergy currently resident and in good standing in PEAR have chosen, with their churches, to begin the process of transferring to dioceses within the ACNA or other Anglican jurisdictions. Bishop Terrell Glenn is coordinating these requests for letters dimissory on my behalf. This process should continue as needed, and we are fully supportive of those moving directly into the ACNA and other Anglican jurisdictions.

We also understand that some clergy and churches may choose to remain affiliated with the Anglican Mission in the Americas. They are free to do so. Again, we will supply those clergy with letters dimissory to another Anglican jurisdiction upon request.

As per our April 2 communiqué, the bishops of the Anglican Mission who resigned in December have been asked to declare the ecclesiastical jurisdiction to which they wish to be translated within the next few weeks. However, we understand that clergy and churches require additional time to make this decision. Therefore, all PEAR clergy in North America must make a clear decision about either affiliating with the Missionary District or transferring directly to the ACNA or another Anglican jurisdiction by August

31, 2012.

In summary, as you come to understand God’s direction for you, please send all requests in writing:

• For those who desire letters dimissory to be sent to a diocese in the ACNA or any other Anglican jurisdiction, to Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, c/o Bishop Terrell____

• For affiliation with the PEAR Missionary District, to Archbishop Onesphore

Rwaje, c/o the PEARUSA ___

It is important that you are aware of one additional deadline: We anticipate the Inaugural General Assembly for the Missionary District to take place in early August. The proposed deadline for submitting lay and clergy delegates, which will be explained in the Charter, will be no later than thirty days prior to the General Assembly. Clergy and churches that have not decided to affiliate with the Missionary District at least thirty days prior to the General Assembly will be welcome to attend, but they will not have voice and vote.

We trust that this answers important questions and clarifies the possible directions that lie ahead for you.

You are beloved in the Lord! You remain the focus of our prayers. May God grant you his

Spirit in full measure as you continue to proclaim the Gospel of the Risen Lord! Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and the House of Bishops of PEAR

A Retraction

Last week I speculated that GAFCON was dropping the ball on church discipline based on the communique from Johannesburg. I was wrong. The Anglican Church of Rwanda is indeed setting out some clear parameters for the rebellious bishops of AMiA. It still offers the bishops the option of moving on gracefully, when I think there should have already been penalties, but nevertheless, it is a good step for the health of the Church.

The options facing these bishops are to resign their orders, find another Anglican jurisdiction to take them in or to face discipline and ‘get out’ that way. Clearly, if they can find another Anglican Province to take them, that would be their preference. Now, I think they already attempted this with a bishop in the Congo (not the Archbishop), but it came to light and nothing more was heard of it. I am not sure under what authority recent AMiA ordinations have occurred. So maybe their is a possibility that some other Province takes them in.

This does throw a wrench into the meetings of the "Design Group" of ACNA and AMiA bishops. Would ACNA accept AMiA in immediately per Rwanda’s demand? I doubt it, but stranger things have happened. I think it is more likely for AMiA to say that they tried to work with ACNA and it just didn’t pan out.

AMiA has already laid a foundation to say that Rwanda has no authority over it. They claimed that their submission to the canons of Rwanda was ‘voluntary’ and that they would not renew it. They claimed that due process was not followed in threatening to remove Chuck Murphy. So the likely scenario in my mind is to see a Kevin Donlon letter about canon law saying that Rwanda has no authority to do X, Y and Z. Perhaps the bishops could renounce their orders (or have them removed) and then be re-instated by the former Primates to the new Missionary Society that we saw put forward in December. This would be entirely outside of Anglicanism formally, but would retain a veneer of Anglicanism due to the historic connections of the ex-Primates.

Whatever happens, AMiA will be left with a small number of parishes and members, sustained by the donations of a few millionaires. The model looks more and more like many of the Anglican micro-denominations that we have seen over the past thirty years.

Moving Forward Together – Day 2

The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy. Psalm 99.1-2

I am generally allergic to overly sentimental and pious language as it is typically deployed in the Church. However, today was a real mountaintop day for me in many ways, and it engaged my emotions as well as my mind.
Before I describe the events of the day, let me summarize what I see as the mood down here in Raleigh, at least from my limited perspective. First, it is humble. There is not a spirit of boasting or exulting in the situation. Rather, there is a sense of the seriousness of the hour we find ourselves in and a sense of our own brokenness. Second, there is a sense of unity despite our many and very real differences. That unity is exemplified in the worship of our Triune God every day, where we are all equally united in praise of God. This in no way minimizes the difficulties of relating to folks who hold very different positions on key issues, but it does show that we can agree on the essential function of worshiping God and finding a way forward. Third, there is a a sense of gratitude to our Rwandan brothers, Archbishop Duncan and CANA for standing so visibly by our sides during this moment of trial. There is no doubt that we are one body, whatever our earthly jurisdictions are. On to today:
We began with Morning Prayer and a sermon from Bishop Louis Muvunyi of Kigali. Bishop Muvunyi preached on wearing the whole armor of God. His sermon was expository and emphasized the spiritual warfare that we are engaged in. He said that Paul could have blamed Nero, Herod or the Jews for his troubles, but instead he pointed out the spiritual enemy. He encouraged us to keep preaching and keep planting churches. He said that we need prayer warriors who will pray for church leaders.
After a short break, CANA Bishop Julian Dobbs spoke on the theme “Come, Let us Arise and Build” from Nehemiah. This sermon ministered to me and many others in a most powerful way. The unction and annointing of the Spirit was upon Bishop Dobbs and I was ready to run out and plant three or four churches at the end of his sermon. Further, we have decided that he should be the next Archbishop of GAFCON, Canterbury, and possibly the Pope for good measure! Just kidding of course, but his Anglicanism is one that we can fully support.
Bishop Dobbs pointed out several paralells from the story of Nehemiah to the current situation in North American Anglicanism. Nehemiah dealt with false accusations, parties and misappropriated funds. Dobbs honored the Rwandans, saying “my brothers, thank you.” He also frequently broke into other languages, seemingly knowing three or four with some ability. He presented six insights for the task of rebuilding:
1. A confident commitment to Biblical truth. Jude 3 tells us to contend for the faith, this implies a struggle. When doctrine goes bad, so do hearts and minds. We submit to the Bible, period. This is the faith for which our martyrs died. Not everyone will like the gospel message, show me in the Scriptures where they are supposed to, said Dobbs. ACNA should re-read and re-appropriate the Gospel. Dobbs mentioned the Jerusalem Declaration and the Prayer Book and said they contain the same gospel. GAFCON has given these things as a gift to America.
2. A determined commitment to evangelicalism. This means regularly, personally sharing the Gospel. Not the occasional mention to the guy at your gulf club, but something regular. Lord have mercy on me, this was a cause for great self-examination and grief. Dobbs said, “Let’s get busy.” His call was a call to action.
3. A radical investment in church planting.
4. A conduit for new leaders. We need bi-vocational ministers. We must offer ourselves for Gospel service, not someone else. What about you, he asked. Have you considered entering the ministry, planting churches and serving. Why not? Again, this was the type of direct preaching that comes down from on high, and I was very moved to at least reflect on what God would have me do.
5. This is an Anglican moment. Bishop Dobbs firmly believes that we are in a situation akin to Nehemiah’s and that is may not come again for a long time. Moses discovered that not everyone who departed with him from Egypt was fit to obey the commandments of God and enter the Promised Land. What unites us as Anglicans is a vision of a global Christianity. We need the Africans to remain in relationship with us.
6. A dedicated and determined discipleship. A life of dedicated sacrifice. Leave the palaces behind. Israel quickly looked back to Egypt when they had been delivered, how many of us miss the buildings and the pension plans, Dobbs asked.
This post has gone on long enough. I highly encourage you to listen to Bishop Dobbs’ presentation when it becomes available and to prayerfully consider his exhortations. Thank you Lord for sending him to us today and may we heed your call through him.

Moving Forward Together

AnglicanTV should have videos of yesterday’s sessions up soon, if they don’t already. The first meeting took place at 3:30 in the sanctuary of Church of the Apostles. here in Raleigh. Archbishop Rwaje spoke, telling the gathering: “You are part of us and we are part of you.” He said that those who have ‘deserted’ are welcome back at any time, but that any such move must be orderly – there can be no cheap reconciliation.
Archbishop Duncan then preached, saying that Jesus’ last words to Peter in John were ‘follow me’, just like at the first. The challenge to us is to follow him today, not worrying about where he will take us tomorrow. Archbishop Duncan then said that he wanted to share wisdom with the Moving Forward Together that was gained by the ACNA leadership over the years.
He mentioned that something began to change with AMiA about two years ago. The move from full jurisdictional partner to mission partner took place, and all communication was to take place between the Bishop Chairman (Bishop Murphy). This was a profound sadness. Why did it happen – we don’t know, but we are all sinners. Reconciliation requires all parties to “claim.”
Duncan continued, “In the Spring of 2004, I received a communication from Lambeth that said you in North America will never get it together.” ACNA was birthed out of a resolve to show this to be wrong. Bishop Murphy was a founding signer of ACNA. Duncan mentioned three “do you love me” relationships:
1. With Rwanda. What must we do to feed that relationship? We must continue to be in relationship. We must continue to be on mission. You cannot abandon those who birthed and harbored you (applause).
2. With ACNA. “We need you.” Duncan mentions Anglican 1000 – “you were the heartbeat of it.” Church planting is key, Duncan says “I’m preaching to the choir.” We need to think about how and where discipline is done. It’s a cruel thing to hand discipline to bishops 8,000 miles away, it doesn’t encourage accountability. The notion of a personal prelature is not Anglican, not synodical. We must be in this together.
3. The 130 million. The unreached. It won’t do for us to stay closed in these buildings. I will do everything I can to stand with you. I am here with you, I will be here with you, we will do this thing together and will do it with Rwanda.