We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Common-Prayer-Biography-Religious/dp/0691154813/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417814005&sr=8-1&keywords=jacobs+book+of+common+prayer. January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Cranmer-English-Reformation-1489-1556/dp/1592448658/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420055574&sr=8-1&keywords=A.F.+Pollard+Cranmer. February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at: http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Cranmer-Jasper-Ridley/dp/0198212879/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422892154&sr=8-1&keywords=jasper+ridley+cranmer&pebp=1422892151110&peasin=198212879
Monday, March 31, 2014
Jim and Greg have fun with healthcare.gov being down on the last day of enrollment, react to Chuck Todd saying Obamacare is un-repealable, and ponder Senator Angus King saying there is no such thing as Obamacare.
The Ugley Vicar — with the LordPosted on March 31, 2014
Filed under Church of England
Lee Gatiss in the UK shares some very painful news:
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but our good friend and faithful minister of the gospel, John Richardson, died this morning after recent illness.”
John was a good friend of many and a very able defender of the gospel. There will be many tears.
Ministry Monday: the next Church Society conference Posted by Lee Gatiss, 31 Mar 2014
Ministry Monday today is all about the ministry of the next Church Society conference! Yes, it’s that time of year again. This year our AGM and conference will be spread over two days, at Oak Hill Theological College in London. The conference is entitled ‘Positively Anglican’. As we seek a way forward in a time of confusion and change, now is the moment to reassert a positive evangelical vision for the future, as we re-imagine what it means for us to be committed to the Church of England. -
See more at: http://churchsociety.org/blog/entry/ministry_monday_the_next_church_society_conference#When:06:00:00Z
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Analysis of the bodies and of wills registered in London at the time has cast doubt on "facts" that every schoolchild has learned for decades: that the epidemic was caused by a highly contagious strain spread by the fleas on rats.
Now evidence taken from the human remains found in Charterhouse Square, to the north of the City of London, during excavations carried out as part of the construction of the Crossrail train line, have suggested a different cause: only an airborne infection could have spread so fast and killed so quickly.
The Black Death arrived in Britain from central Asia in the autumn of 1348 and by late spring the following year it had killed six out of every 10 people in London. Such a rate of destruction would kill five million now. By extracting the DNA of the disease bacterium, Yersinia pestis, from the largest teeth in some of the skulls retrieved from the square, the scientists were able to compare the strain of bubonic plague preserved there with that which was recently responsible for killing 60 people in Madagascar. To their surprise, the 14th-century strain, the cause of the most lethal catastrophe in recorded history, was no more virulent than today's disease. The DNA codes were an almost perfect match.
According to scientists working at Public Health England in Porton Down, for any plague to spread at such a pace it must have got into the lungs of victims who were malnourished and then been spread by coughs and sneezes. It was therefore a pneumonic plague rather than a bubonic plague. Infection was spread human to human, rather than by rat fleas that bit a sick person and then bit another victim. "As an explanation [rat fleas] for the Black Death in its own right, it simply isn't good enough. It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases that we saw during the Black Death epidemics," said Dr Tim Brooks from Porton Down, who will put his theory in a Channel 4 documentary, Secret History: The Return of the Black Death, next Sunday.
For the rest, see:
John Piper’s New Calvinism
John Piper recently gave a lecture at Westminster Theological Seminary about the New Calvinism that is already getting play at several Reformed sites (see here, here, and here). His aim was to argue for an interrelationship between Old Calvinism and New Calvinism and to attempt to ground the ethnic diversity of the movement in classic Reformed doctrines. If anyone has the stature and force of personality to will a connection between Old and New, it’s John Piper. Nevertheless, the probabilities are that Old Calvinists, who are better understood primarily as Old School Presbyterians, will remain unconvinced even if they think an alliance is the most effective way forward.
For the rest, see:
Are Celebrity Pastors Selling Their Pulpits for Commercial Gain?
By Gina Meeks, 27 Mar 2014
Many churches use visuals on stage while the pastor is delivering a sermon, but how about pulpits surrounded by advertisements for products, such as Cadillac or Monster Energy drinks?
“The thought is disgusting, but it is happening all the time, and it’s time we started pointing it out and objecting to the commercial corruption of the pulpit,” writes Christian blogger James Duncan.
He continues, “While a lot of deserved attention is being paid these days to the deceptive marketing behind many celebrity pastors’ books, another aspect of the whole endeavor reveals the primacy of commercial interests. Not only are pastors not telling the truth about how they’re earning money, they’re not proclaiming the truth until and unless they’re earning money.”
Duncan, an associate professor of communication at Anderson University in South Carolina, argues that although pastors admittedly spend a long time writing books, they should offer their ideas to their congregation for free.
“Why not offer the results of their church-funded research to God’s people as soon as they were confident enough to put it to paper?” he asks.
He points out that it took nearly a year for Perry Noble’s book Unleash to be published. He coordinated a corresponding sermon series at the time of the release, but why did he wait nearly a year to share his ideas with his congregation?
Duncan argues that not preaching on a topic until a pastor’s book is released abandons the sheep.
For the rest, see:
Obama once walked on water. Today, he needs the Pope's support to make a move
By Christina Odone
How things have changed. Who would have imagined, back in 2008, that the pin-up of liberals around the world would need the Pope's support? No one. Just as no one would have said, in those dark days for the Catholic Church, that the leader of the much-reviled Vatican could ever add lustre to the leader of the free world.
It is a measure of Obama's failure and Francis's success that this week's visit to the Vatican by the US President has been seized by the White House as proof of the Pope's support for Obama. The Vatican, meanwhile, has downplayed the event, as if it does not want to be tarnished by association with the architect of Obamacare and a faltering foreign policy.
Back in 2008, Barack Obama held us rapt, in his thrall: he was black, brilliant, and above all, he was not Bush. He could walk on water. I remember weeping at his victory, and knowing that anyone who'd witnessed the racial tensions in the US in the 70s and 80s would have done the same. But that miraculous election proved to be the one thing Obama did right. From Guantanamo to Ukraine, Obama's administrations have turned out to be a huge disappointment.
Or worse. With his plans for Obamacare, he plunged the country into a culture war that has left his reputation badly bruised. America had always and admirably balanced secularism with respect for religious freedom. Obamacare upset that balance. By requiring religiously affiliated institutions to offer insurance coverage for birth control, the President's health care violated the Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom.
When Obama first outlined his health care package, he knew he didn't need to worry about the Vatican. Yes, he must beware of America's Catholic voters; but many among them were disenchanted with their Church hierarchy because of the paedophile priest scandals and the lingering whiff of corruption that clung to the curia. Obama figured this state of play would continue and see him victorious in the culture war he'd started.
Wrong. What no one – least of all the anti-Catholic Administration – had predicted was that Benedict XVI would resign from the papacy, making way for Papa Francis. In the new Pope, Catholics found a leader they could be proud of and the world, a spiritual figure they could love. Liberals of all nationalities trumpeted his humaneness and humility. Francis became so popular, Catholics regained their self-confidence.
From Jesus to Bieber, NY Pastor Makes Church Trendy
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Every Sunday thousands flock to Hillsong Church in New York City, but it's not your typical, traditional church. It is complete with strobe lights, concert-like worship and an unconventional leader in its pastor, Carl Lentz. The 35-year-old Lentz looks more like a rockstar than a man of the cloth. He chooses to wear leather jackets and jeans instead of a suit and tie. Lentz's message is also out of the box. "Our church is awesome; I love it," he told CBN News. "It's extremely imperfect and that's why everybody fits in." "One time somebody was like 'I don't come to church 'cause there's a lot of hypocrites,' and I'm like 'We've got room for one more,'" he joked.
For the rest, see: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2014/March/From-Jesus-to-Bieber-NY-Pastor-Makes-Church-Trendy/
The Basket of the Firstfruits (Deuteronomy 26:1-11) by Rev. Angus Stewart of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Northern Ireland
I. What It Is
II. Its Accompanying Confession
That’s funny. The Vatican summary of the discussion mentioned “questions of particular relevance for the Church, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection..” Since the entire Vatican summary of the conversation encompassed just 98 words, that suggests that the Pope laid heavy emphasis on those questions. Maybe the President wasn’t listening carefully.
Obama did say that he spoke with the Holy Father about “the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality.” That sounds entirely plausible, doesn’t it? And yet here’s the interesting thing: The Vatican statement doesn’t mention any of those topics. Not a single word.
If the subject of economic inequality was the main topic of the conversation, why didn’t the Vatican even mention that subject? I can think of two possible explanations:
Pope Francis unexpectedly took confession in full view of the congregation during a "Celebration of Penance" service at the Vatican's St.Peter's Basilica on
30 March, 2014