Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Friday, February 13, 2009

yes, the authentic Gospel IS a scandal!

The London Times is covering the Synod in England, and the tone of this article, and those objectors reported in it, sums up how secularized the media is, and even some in the pews and pulpits.

The work of the Church IS TO EVANGELIZE EVERYONE! Because Jesus is Lord and the only way to the Father. There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.

Thank God the Synod at least passed this legislation. My guess is that it would not pass in the Episcopal Church's General Convention this summer.

Anglicans were commanded to “go forth and evangelise” yesterday in a dramatic assertion of missionary fervour that could jeopardise carefully built-up relations with Muslims, Jews and other faiths.
The established Church of England put decades of liberal-inspired political correctness behind it in a move that led one bishop to condemn in anger the “evangelistic rants”.
For Muslims, to convert to another religion is condemned as apostasy.
The Church’s General Synod, meeting in London, overwhelmingly backed a motion to force its bishops to report on their “understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in Britain’s multifaith society” and offer guidance in sharing “the gospel of salvation” with people of other faiths and none.
The move echoes 19th-century missions to Britain’s overseas colonies, with the difference being that modern-day evangelicals want to be mandated to carry out these missions on home turf.
The Rev Nezlin Sterling, who represents the black-led churches and is a minister in the New Testament Assembly, said that the marginalisation of Christianity was proceeding at a rapid rate, with further examples reported every day.
She said that the churches were so anxious to be politically correct that they were in danger of forgetting their mission. “We have positioned ourselves like the disciples did immediately after the death of Christ, behind closed doors, paralysed with fear of the world.”
Evangelisation should be a priority, she said. “Every person in my mind is a potential convert.”
The move was proposed by Paul Eddy, a lay member from the Winchester diocese, who said that he was aware of the religious and cultural tensions in many parishes in England. He also understood “the distress that talk of the historic Crusades can evoke” and that, to some, sharing the Christian gospel equates to sharing the “values of the West”.
He quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to British missionaries to India: “I would suggest first of all that all of you Christians, missionaries and all, begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, practise your religion without adulterating or toning it down.”
He said that the uniqueness of Christ must not be compromised by Anglicans. “It does no harm for the Church to re-state it’s beliefs time and time again and then to go further — in this case commending good practice in making that belief known.”
The Rev Andrew Dow, a vicar in Cheltenham, said he did not think bishops should be put through a “sort of doctrinal and theological Ofsted”. It was something the whole Church had to wrestle with. “I believe we are in danger of losing our confidence in this great although admittedly difficult truth,” he said. The Church needed to recover its confidence in proclaiming that “Jesus is the only saviour”.
Referring to conversion, he continued: “The dreaded ‘C’ word, we are terrified of it. But why? We need to recover our nerve. We need to refute the lie that to be evangelistic is to be a religious bigot or fundamentalist fanatic.”
However, the Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe, who leads the Church’s mission in urban life, told The Times that he was “saddened” by the debate.
Condemning the “evangelistic rants” of some members, he said: “There are one or two contributions that worried me because they did not seem to have any understanding of the nature of relationship that precedes good evangelism.” He added: “There’s an element of people who have not got experience of living and spreading the gospel in a multicultural, multifaith context telling those who do have that experience how to do it. That makes me very uneasy.”
He conceded that a Muslim would expect a Christian to proclaim his faith. “But it has to be on the basis of mutual respect and mutual understanding.” Earlier, legislation introducing women bishops cleared its first hurdle at the Synod.
After more than two hours of debate, members voted to send draft legislation allowing women bishops and a draft code of practice to the revision committee stage.


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