Christianity – Parish Church http://parishchurch.org.uk/ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 19:48:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://parishchurch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-37-120x120.png Christianity – Parish Church http://parishchurch.org.uk/ 32 32 The Rise of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity | Dale M. Coulter https://parishchurch.org.uk/the-rise-of-pentecostal-charismatic-christianity-dale-m-coulter/ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 12:48:25 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/the-rise-of-pentecostal-charismatic-christianity-dale-m-coulter/ Oe recently celebrated the centenary of Harry Emerson Fosdick’s famous sermon “Will Fundamentalists Win? Delivered on May 21, 1922, the sermon was a call to arms for progressives among Baptists, Presbyterians and Northern Congregationalists. The fundamentalist movement had taken off with the publication of the twelve volumes The fundamentals between 1910 and 1915. Fosdick saw […]]]>

Oe recently celebrated the centenary of Harry Emerson Fosdick’s famous sermon “Will Fundamentalists Win? Delivered on May 21, 1922, the sermon was a call to arms for progressives among Baptists, Presbyterians and Northern Congregationalists. The fundamentalist movement had taken off with the publication of the twelve volumes The fundamentals between 1910 and 1915. Fosdick saw skirmishes begin between fundamentalists and modernists and decided it was time to wake up the troops. Lambasting fundamentalists for their illiberalism, Fosdick argued for “an intellectually hospitable, tolerant and freedom-loving church.” He wanted a church that fused modern science with biblical witness in service of social issues. If fundamentalists won, then Christians would be driven out of Baptist and Presbyterian churches in the name of a literalist approach to Scripture that condones only one vision of the second coming and the virgin birth.

The ensuing fundamentalist-modernist debate tore Northern Protestantism apart; the modernists came to dominate northern institutions while the fundamentalists created new ones.

American Protestantism comes to be defined by this debate. In general, mainstream Protestantism has become a big tent for modernists and evangelicalism a big tent for fundamentalists. Of course, the details are much more complex. You cannot reduce evangelicalism to fundamentalism or mainstream Protestantism to modernism. Nevertheless, the fundamentalist-modernist controversy set the tone for American religion for much of the 20th century.

Or did he? Over the past two months, no less than a dozen essays have appeared reflecting on Fosdick’s question and attempting to answer it. Historians such as Daniel K. Williams, Diana Butler Bass, and Thomas S. Kidd have all written about it, with Bass and Kidd agreeing that the fundamentalists won. What unites all of these pieces is a consensus that the fundamentalist-modernist controversy has shaped American religious life. In Bass’s words, the controversy “is a long shadow that hangs over the last century and . . . we feel its continued influence every day in our churches and in our politics.

What if this consensus is wrong? What if this is the wrong historical paradigm with which to view American religion in the 20th century? This paradigm overlooks the rise of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement in the decade between 1900 and 1910, which brought sweeping changes to American religion. The history of American religion looks different if one considers the rise of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity rather than seeing American Protestantism in the 20th century as primarily concerned with a debate for cultural and political power.

A better story might recognize how Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity captured the impulses of first-wave feminism and translated those impulses into a rhetoric of holiness that spawned women leaders such as Bishop Ida B. Robinson, Mother Rosa Horn, Florence Crawford, and Aimee Semple McPherson. Long before most Protestant denominations began debating the ordination of women, Pentecostals had women as pastors, bishops, and founders of new denominations.

Second, this new story would explore how early black Pentecostalism contributed to the development of blues, jazz, and gospel. The efforts of musicians like blues guitarist Blind Willie Johnson; the pianist Arizona Dranes who played the barrel; and singer Rosetta Tharpe would be interviewed to determine how they contributed to these new musical forms. Zora Neale Hurston called this musical expression “Protestantism”, leading to a renaissance in songwriting. James Baldwin (Go say it on the mountain) and Langston Hughes (Tambourines to Glory) sought to capture it in literary form.

A better paradigm would also examine how early rock history was influenced by Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity. Many artists like Elvis Presley and Marvin Gaye came out of Pentecostal churches, translating fast music into a new form. Both the rock concert and the Pentecostal worship were very participatory events with singing, shouting and dancing.

Third, it would examine the efforts of some Pentecostals, such as William J. Seymour and Charles H. Mason, to change the social fabric of American life by arranging meetings with male and female preachers and mingling different ethnic groups in the congregation, around the front of the altar and on the platform. These early efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful in overcoming Jim Crow laws and culture as other Pentecostals capitulated. Nonetheless, they set the tone for healing evangelists such as Oral Roberts and AA Allen, who sought to reclaim and implement this interracial view in the 1950s.

They also set the tone for the shockwave that hit black Pentecostalism when Emmett Till was brutally murdered. His mother, Mamie Till-Bradley, was a member of the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, where Emmett’s body was taken to the world. In 1963, Bishop AA Childs opened the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ for the funeral of Malcolm X when no other congregation in Harlem would. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech was at Mason Temple in Memphis.

Finally, a better story would need to reframe the major events of American Christianity in the 20th century, starting with the rise of the Pentecostals and exploring its rapid growth. Evangelicals wanted to bring white Pentecostalism under the umbrella of the National Association of Evangelicals just before the start of World War II. The fundamentalists, on the other hand, viewed the Pentecostals as little better than heretics and tried to make behind-the-scenes deals to have them removed from the newly formed NAE.

This new historiography would then examine the emergence of the divine healing movement in the 1950s. Oral Roberts, not Billy Graham, would be the main evangelist. This would look to the emergence of the charismatic movement in the 1960s and 1970s as mainstream Catholics and Protestants began to experiment with Pentecostal spirituality. This movement occurred simultaneously with the turning point in immigration and the influx of Hispanics in the 1970s and 80s. Since Pentecostalism had taken off in Central and South America, many of these immigrants were either Pentecostal-charismatic, or Catholic. This explains why most Hispanics in the United States belong to one of these two forms of Christianity.

What if we rewrite the history of Protestantism in the 20th century in terms of the rise of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity rather than in terms of the debate between fundamentalists and modernists? The history of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity is not simply a Protestant history. It’s a story about American religion rooted in a spirituality rather than an institution. It is the story of a spirituality that pleases both Catholics and Protestants. It is a story about American musical forms and ongoing efforts at racial integration on a populist level. It is the story of the demise of white European Christianity (whether fundamentalist or mainstream) and the rise of a new, multi-ethnic Christianity that celebrates popular culture.

Dale M. Coulter is Professor of Historical Theology at Pentecostal Theological Seminary.

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Mary Ellen McCorkle Ray | Christianity https://parishchurch.org.uk/mary-ellen-mccorkle-ray-christianity/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 19:20:00 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/mary-ellen-mccorkle-ray-christianity/ Mary Ellen McCorkle Ray, born October 4, 1933, died Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in hospice care at Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown. Originally from Upton, Mary moved to Rineyville after marrying the love of her life, Virgil Ray, in 1951. Mary lived her life as a caregiver, the loving daughter of Oneda and Bill McCorkle, […]]]>

Mary Ellen McCorkle Ray, born October 4, 1933, died Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in hospice care at Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown.

Originally from Upton, Mary moved to Rineyville after marrying the love of her life, Virgil Ray, in 1951. Mary lived her life as a caregiver, the loving daughter of Oneda and Bill McCorkle, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and best friend to many. Virgil and Mary lived between their parents’ homes and provided loving care to both parents as they grew older.

A convert to the Roman Catholic faith, Mary was a longtime member of St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Vine Grove and a member of the choir for many years. She enjoyed sharing her faith and guided many friends and family to confirm themselves in the Catholic faith. With courage and the grace of God, Marie and Virgile faced the loss of three of their adult children and helped raise their grandchildren. They raised their granddaughter, Mia, from the age of two and a half.

Mary was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Virgil Ray; his son, Billy Ray; his two daughters, Rosemary Ray Kincheloe and Patty Ray Best; his parents; and three brothers, Howard, Madison (Mac) and Wayne McCorkle.

Survivors include his two daughters, Sharon Ray Wren of Elizabethtown and Regina Ray Ryan (Mike) and son, Mark Ray of Rineyville; two sons-in-law, Bobby (Lola) Best and Nicky Kincheloe; and a daughter-in-law, Jan Ray. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren/step-grandchildren, Jeff (Sara Jo) Best, Lisa (Gerrick) Luken, JR Best, Zachary (Amanda) Kincheloe, Jacob Kincheloe, Mia (Danny) Embry, Samantha ( Patrick) Wood, Blake (Danielle) Ryan, Brad (Carol) Ray, Patrick (Elise) Ray, Kaleigh Ray (Haril Rains), Lesley Ray, Laura Ray; and 22 great-grandchildren.

A Christian burial mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 18 at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Vine Grove with the Reverend Daniel Lincoln officiating. Interment follows at St. Brigid Cemetery.

Visitation is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday with a prayer service at 7 p.m. and continues from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Nelson-Edelen-Bennett Funeral Home in Vine Grove.

The family requests that any donations be made in Mrs. Ray’s name to St. Brigid’s Catholic Church, 314 E. Main St., Vine Grove KY 40175.

Condolences can be expressed on nebfh.com.

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How to Think About Christianity and Politics https://parishchurch.org.uk/how-to-think-about-christianity-and-politics/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 12:45:02 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/how-to-think-about-christianity-and-politics/ In a recent essay for first thingsRoss Douthat, serious Catholic and conservative columnist for The New York Times, begins with this question: “How should contemporary Christians react to the decline of their churches, to the secularization of culture, to the definitive loss of Christianity? Granted, we are not looking at the literal plunder of Rome […]]]>

In a recent essay for first thingsRoss Douthat, serious Catholic and conservative columnist for The New York Times, begins with this question: “How should contemporary Christians react to the decline of their churches, to the secularization of culture, to the definitive loss of Christianity? Granted, we are not looking at the literal plunder of Rome as in Augustine’s time, but Douthat’s pessimistic assessment of our time is not far from the truth. If the Christian foundations of the West have not been entirely eradicated, the Christian assumptions have certainly been. The relationship between Christianity and Western civilization is now more of an antithesis than a synthesis. It is therefore not surprising that Christians talk and debate politics a lot. We are all trying to figure out what is going on, where we are going and how to react.

Undoubtedly, we need many intelligent people thinking about the intellectual principles and practical priorities of our moral philosophy. This is a crucial conversation. But that’s not the conversation most ordinary people have online, at church, and around the dinner table. They (and I should say we) have a messy conversation, but if done right, a really important conversation about how to approach the conversation itself. As Christians in a time dominated by politics, we try to think about how we should think about Christianity and politics.

This column begins a series of columns that will try to help us think about what to think about. To that end, I want to address six questions: (1) Why is it so difficult to talk about politics? (2) Are Christians too focused on politics? (3) Should Christians be engaged in the culture war? (4) Does Christianity transcend all our political philosophies and disagreements? (5) Is the church the problem? (6) What is the need of the hour?

Christians have trouble thinking and talking about politics because almost everyone has trouble thinking and talking about politics.

Let’s start with the first question. Here are four reasons why we find it so hard to talk about politics.

1. Internet. There were probably as many angry and mad people in the world a generation ago, but they didn’t have the access or ability to tell the world their angry and mad opinions. The days of the three networks are long gone and Walter Cronkite signs off triumphantly with “Et c’est comme ça.” There is no more consensus on “the way it is”. There is no single voice or institution that everyone trusts. The most influential platforms only need to attract a small segment of passionate followers to be a big deal. This encourages offering the hottest outlets. And because we have access to more stories and more tragedies than ever before, there will always be stark examples in the news to confirm the way we already see things.

2. Polarization. It’s not just that our two main political parties are more distinct than they used to be (partly because one party now clearly opposes abortion and one party now clearly celebrates abortion ). People are more separated than before. We sort ourselves numerically and geographically into like-minded hives. Humans are tribal creatures. With the decline of religion and family and the rise of a national (or world) culture at the expense of localism, we have turned to ideological clans. And like clan loyalty of old, we can always find ways to defend our clan while defining ourselves based on being the opposite of the other clan.

3. Politics has become lingua franca of our age. Walk around the airport and every TV shows news or sports. These are two things we are all supposed to know and care about. Everything has become politicized with advertisements, corporations, education, entertainment and sport itself deciding that everything should be about everything. Staying in your lane is seen as not doing your part in the great struggle of our time. Ironically, the only institution tasked with being political – Congress – has become a platform for individual branding more than a place where political issues are debated and political compromises reached.

4. Christianity has often struggled to find a formal, established political philosophy. Among Reformed Christians we have Quietists, Theonomists, Neo-Kuyperians, God-and-Country types, and Two Kingdoms theology proponents. Moreover, Christians with the same formal theology may have very different cultural instincts. For all the weaknesses of Richard Niebuhr Christ and culture, we can see his five models – Christ against culture, Christ above culture, Christ of culture, Christ and culture in paradox, Christ transforming culture – as fundamental insights, and generally tacit, at work in the Church. Even the label “conservative” as a political ideology is unstable, with leading thinkers vying for (or against) everything from populism and nationalism to republicanism, fusionism, classical liberalism and Catholic integralism.

Christians have trouble thinking and talking about politics because almost everyone has trouble thinking and talking about politics. We are no worse than the others. But maybe with an open heart and a clear head, we can be a little better.

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LETTER: The decline of Christianity in Canada and around the world is not surprising https://parishchurch.org.uk/letter-the-decline-of-christianity-in-canada-and-around-the-world-is-not-surprising/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 09:00:42 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/letter-the-decline-of-christianity-in-canada-and-around-the-world-is-not-surprising/ According to the latest Gallup poll, Christianity continues to decline in Europe, North America and other “Western” countries. Their latest poll found that only 47% of American adults were members of a church, synagogue or mosque. For the first time, the number fell below 50%. A recent poll in the UK claims that only 6% […]]]>

According to the latest Gallup poll, Christianity continues to decline in Europe, North America and other “Western” countries.

Their latest poll found that only 47% of American adults were members of a church, synagogue or mosque. For the first time, the number fell below 50%. A recent poll in the UK claims that only 6% of adults identify as practicing Christians, while 42% say they are non-practicing adherents.

In the United States in 2020, 47% belonged to a church, up from 70% in 1990. Self-identified Christians made up 63% of the United States in 2020, up from 75% in 2011. “Spiritual but not religious” consist of 29% Americans, and the Unaffiliated (not affiliated with an organized religion) consist of 21%.

The numbers can be confusing and there are overlaps in the categories (using different sources), but the conclusion to be drawn is that there has been a steady decline since the 1970s.


It is customary to blame secularism, materialism and anti-religious tendencies for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame the religions themselves for their own situations.


This decline is most evident in Quebec, where the dominant Roman Catholic Church began its downward spiral in the 1900s with the “Quiet Revolution”. Today, about five percent attend church regularly. A similar decline is occurring in Ireland, once considered the most Catholic country in the world.

According to Statistics Canada, we have 68%. 100 claiming any religious affiliation. Those who identify as Christians make up 63% of the population. However, only 23% go to church.

In Atlantic Canada, only 17% attend church, down from 38% in 2019 (the pandemic is also thought to be a factor). The Anglican Church in Canada has grown from 1.3 million in 1961 to 282,000 in 2017. A recent analysis estimated that 9,000 churches will close in Canada over the next decade. We see that happening here as the numbers in most denominations keep dropping.

As the number of members dwindles, fewer are left to continue carrying out the programs and activities of the church. Those who remain are aging or engaged in other charities. The church is no longer in the foreground, more remote, and its presence less visible. People, including those raised as Christians, are now exposed to other forms of religion and given an array of choices if they wish to follow a spiritual path. What we have seen since the 1960s, starting with the baby boomers, each generation is less involved in Christianity. Previously, churches kept numbers because the next generation replaced the previous one. This is no longer the case. At the same time, registered members are less active and involved. Recruitment is difficult for many reasons.

Christians are divided on so many issues – doctrinal, ethical, political, cultural. Outsiders see churches as institutional rot, overt racism, tolerance of sexual abuse, lust for power, denial, self-defense and lack of courage. And there is a general lack of trust in organizations and their leaders, and churches are often viewed as hypocritical and narrow-minded.

It is customary to blame secularism, materialism and anti-religious tendencies for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame the religions themselves for their own situations.

Tomas Halik, an RC priest, says this time of empty church buildings exposes the hidden emptiness of the church. . . Unless they can show the world a completely different face of Christianity, the decline will continue.

Abraham Heschel claims that a religion declines not because it has been refuted, but because it has become purposeless, dull, oppressive, insipid, where faith is replaced by belief, worship by discipline, l love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an inheritance rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.

Currently, the fastest growing form of Christianity is Pentecostalism. One of the reasons for its growth is its emphasis on evangelism and conversion.

Everett Hobbs,
South Bay Design

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Study Reveals German Catholic Priests Sexually Abused Over 600 Victims | Christianity https://parishchurch.org.uk/study-reveals-german-catholic-priests-sexually-abused-over-600-victims-christianity/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 21:47:36 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/study-reveals-german-catholic-priests-sexually-abused-over-600-victims-christianity/ At least 610 children have been documented as having been sexually abused by Catholic priests between 1945 and 2020 in the diocese of the West German city of Münster, according to a study published Monday. The new report from the University of Münster revealed that almost 200 clergy members had committed almost 6,000 cases of […]]]>

At least 610 children have been documented as having been sexually abused by Catholic priests between 1945 and 2020 in the diocese of the West German city of Münster, according to a study published Monday.

The new report from the University of Münster revealed that almost 200 clergy members had committed almost 6,000 cases of abuse.

Researchers believe the true number of victims could be much higher – up to between 5,000 and 6,000 additional victims – due to unreported cases, the report’s authors said at a press conference outlining their findings. Monday.

Münster Bishop Felix Genn, who was appointed to the post in 2008, received the university’s findings on Monday and said he would make a public statement on Friday.

CNN has separately contacted the Vatican for comment.

Historian Natalie Powroznik, who participated in the study, accused priests of an average of two individual acts of abuse against victims per week, but said the number could also be higher.

“Three-quarters of the victims were boys between the ages of 10 and 14,” Powroznik also said. Victims were connected to the church through the service of altar servers, church youth camps or when receiving the holy sacraments.

The researchers further allege that bishops in the diocese over the decades were aware of the widespread abuse, but failed to act and repeatedly used abusive clergy in pastoral care, allowing other acts to occur.

According to the study, only 12% of alleged perpetrators were fired. A common practice for dealing with clergy involved in abuse was to either reprimand them or send them for short stays in a monastery, but most of the accused abusers were sent to another parish where they prosecuted. their crimes, researchers said.

Today, around 50 of the accused priests are still alive, they added.

The study also found that 43% of the victims surveyed reported severe physical abuse and had to endure “substantial consequences” psychologically, such as anxiety disorders and depression. Historians have also noted several suicide attempts among the victims believed to be due to the abuse.

The new report is the latest among allegations of a legacy of widespread child sexual abuse in the German Catholic Church in recent years.

In January, a Church-commissioned report into abuse by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising concluded that former Pope Benedict XVI knew of abusive priests during his 1977 stay there. to 1982, but did not act. A month after the report was published, the retired pope asked for forgiveness but denied any wrongdoing.

A 2018 report commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference found that at least 1,670 clergy were involved in at least 3,677 cases of clergy child sexual abuse between 1946 and 2014.

The-CNN-Wire

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia company. All rights reserved.

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Church leaders condemn UK asylum plan in Rwanda https://parishchurch.org.uk/church-leaders-condemn-uk-asylum-plan-in-rwanda/ Sun, 12 Jun 2022 11:19:11 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/church-leaders-condemn-uk-asylum-plan-in-rwanda/ It’s the opposite of Christianity: Church leaders condemn UK asylum plan in Rwanda Calendar An icon of a desktop calendar. to cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across it. Caret A right-pointing solid arrow icon. E-mail An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of Facebook’s “f” mark. Google An […]]]>





It’s the opposite of Christianity: Church leaders condemn UK asylum plan in Rwanda


































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Why the Church in Person Will Never Go Out of Style https://parishchurch.org.uk/why-the-church-in-person-will-never-go-out-of-style/ Fri, 10 Jun 2022 14:39:35 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/why-the-church-in-person-will-never-go-out-of-style/ An Associated Press poll last year reported that three-quarters of worshipers in the United States plan to resume regular in-person attendance as the pandemic subsides. The pastors I know stare at the empty seats with their fingers crossed, hoping that the prediction will eventually come true. I admit that during the confinement, I rather enjoyed […]]]>

An Associated Press poll last year reported that three-quarters of worshipers in the United States plan to resume regular in-person attendance as the pandemic subsides.

The pastors I know stare at the empty seats with their fingers crossed, hoping that the prediction will eventually come true.

I admit that during the confinement, I rather enjoyed watching religious services online while lounging in my bathrobe, sipping coffee and controlling the rhythm with a remote control. If something didn’t hold my interest, I could surf the web in search of better music or a more engaging sermon.

I’m not alone. In the UK, for example, a small percentage of the population attends church on average. (The late poet RS Thomas, a priest in the Church of Wales, called himself “vicar of big things in a small parish.”)

Yet a quarter of UK adults have watched or listened to a church service during the coronavirus lockdown, and one in 20 said they started praying during the crisis.

Like my memoirs where the light fell, says, I had a turbulent history with the church. As a child, I attended sermons of hellfire and brimstone in my Southern fundamentalist congregation – which kept black worshipers out and warned against electing a Catholic president (Kennedy).

To recuperate, I spent a few years away from church before getting a taste of a 60s-style house church that substituted the Communion elements of bread and wine for Coke and chips.

Eventually I settled into a more traditional church in Chicago that combined a spirit of grace with a focus on social justice. However, moving to a small town in Colorado limited my options. The church I now attend once drew a thousand regulars, but after church splits and attrition, it currently averages less than 30.

With so many good reasons to connect remotely, I wonder why I went back to the rented room we use on Sundays.

The most important reason, of course, is to worship God. The weekly gathering underscores my creature status as someone in need of higher moral authority. Great souls like Martin Luther King Jr., Václav Havel and Simone Weil have reminded us that what we believe about a Creator can largely determine how we treat our fellow human beings, especially the marginalized, as well as our planet.

Jesus summed up the whole law in two commandments: Love God and love your neighbour. I can complete the first in the privacy of my home, but what about the second? “If you want to grow in love, the way to do it probably won’t be to attend more Bible studies or prayer meetings; it will happen by getting closer to people who are not like you,” writes Canadian pastor Lee Beach.

When I walk into a new church, the more like and alike its members are to me, the more uneasy I feel. One Sunday, I sat sandwiched between an older man hooked up to an oxygen tank and a breastfed baby who grunted loudly and smugly throughout the sermon.

The church provides a place where children and grandparents, the unemployed and executives, immigrants and blue bloods can all come together. Where else can we find this unique blend? Certainly not online.

Not only that, but healthy congregations look beyond their walls to meet the social needs around them. For all its faults, the church still mobilizes workers to feed and shelter the homeless, adopt foster children, visit prisoners, and resettle refugees.

in in bowling aloneHarvard political scientist Robert Putnam noted that “nearly half of all associational membership in America is church-related, half of all personal philanthropy is religious in nature, and half of all volunteerism occurs in a religious context.

Rather than providing a place of entertainment, the true task of the church is to equip a community to serve others – and that task becomes more difficult for those who no longer meet in person. I have noticed that sharp divisions on politics tend to blur when believers unite in acts of service. Indeed, a real community can begin to take shape.

While working on my memoir, I came to see the church as a family – a dysfunctional group of people in need. I think back to my childhood church members, who showed up every Sunday to hear the pastor threaten them with hell, punishment for sins, and impending Armageddon. They came partly out of fear, but also because, like a family, they needed each other to withstand the onslaught of life.

Many of them belonged to the working class. They didn’t sit at home at night worrying about the niceties of theology; they worried about how to pay the bills and feed the children. When a family’s house burned down, or a drunken husband kicked out his wife, or a widow couldn’t pay for groceries, they had no recourse but their local church.

Since that childhood, I have come across many grace-giving churches that serve needs other than those of their members. Admittedly, the benches are less comfortable than the chairs in my living room, and the quality of the worship cannot match the polished productions I watched during the periods of confinement linked to the pandemic.

What they tend to have, however, is a strong sense of community, which is far too rare in our individualistic society.

Philip Yancey is the author of numerous books including, most recently, the memoirs where the light fell.

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Why Queen Elizabeth II is a “missionary” for Christianity https://parishchurch.org.uk/why-queen-elizabeth-ii-is-a-missionary-for-christianity/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 14:49:20 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/why-queen-elizabeth-ii-is-a-missionary-for-christianity/ Queen Elizabeth II, pictured meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2014. CNS Photo/Vatican Media via Reuters The Queen’s faith has been a ‘constant’ feature of her reign and since 2000 she has spoken about it more and more, making her something of a ‘missionary’ for Christianity, the former editor of The tabletsaid Catherine Pepinster. […]]]>

Queen Elizabeth II, pictured meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2014.

CNS Photo/Vatican Media via Reuters

The Queen’s faith has been a ‘constant’ feature of her reign and since 2000 she has spoken about it more and more, making her something of a ‘missionary’ for Christianity, the former editor of The tabletsaid Catherine Pepinster.

Speaking on a special Tablet webinar on the eve of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebration on her new book, Defenders of the Faith: The British Monarchy, Religion and the Next CoronationPepinster said it was when she was researching a previous book, The Keys and the Kingdom: The British and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francisshe realized how important Elizabeth II was in terms of religion in Britain.

Her new book examines the Queen’s personal faith as well as her public role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, with a particular focus on the coronation and the future of the monarchy.

The author and commentator pointed out that while the Queen is the defender of the faith, she was also the defender of other religions in a religiously diverse Britain.

Recalling how Prince Charles in 1994 said in an interview that he would like to be known as a defender of the faith, Catherine Pepinster said: ‘There were headlines all over what Charles was saying, but his mother had quietly defending other religions and had shown great interest and tolerance towards them.

“Even in 1952, when she gave her first Christmas message of her reign, between her accession in February 1952 and her coronation in June 1953, on that Christmas broadcast she asked people to pray for her as she was preparing for her coronation. And she asked people of different faiths to pray for her. We can therefore say that she was quite progressive and advanced in her thinking.

She suspected that the Queen’s appreciation for the diversity of religions stemmed from her role in the Commonwealth.

Catherine Pepinster has also suggested that one of the most significant moments of Queen Elizabeth’s reign came in 2012, when the country marked its Diamond Jubilee. The Queen gave a speech at Lambeth Palace that year in which she said Anglicanism has a duty to protect the free practice of all other religions in this country. She said the Queen was “effectively rethinking” the role of the Church of England for the 21st century.

She described the Queen’s personal faith as “a fairly simple Christian faith” which had been influenced by her parents, grandfather and others like the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, whose prayer book to assist the queen in her spiritual preparation for her coronation was one of the monarch’s most prized possessions.

Speaking about the relationship between the British monarchy and the Catholic Church, the former Tablet editor recalled a Vatican official describing the Queen as “the last Christian monarch”.

Today there is “a friendship” between the Catholic Church and the Monarchy and between the Papacy and the Queen, which, given all the historical tensions since Henry VIII parted ways with Rome for the first time, she said, was “quite remarkable”. Most of this change and warmth had come during the Queen’s reign.

Asked if she thought there was still any residual anti-Catholic prejudice in the British establishment, Pepinster said that “given the levels to which Catholics have risen in public life, much of these prejudices has disappeared”. However, she noted that the monarch cannot be Catholic. “I don’t know if that will change. If that changed, it might all have to be unraveled about the relationship between the monarch and the Church of England.

On the question of the relationship between the monarchy and the Church of England and a possible dissolution, the author and commentator said that some people wanted to see reform, namely that Britain become a republic and a dissolution.

“I don’t feel like there’s such a huge appetite for republicanism in this country that it’s going to happen very soon. But the Church of England is somewhat different because even within the Church of England there are people who call for dissolution. I think republicanism is highly unlikely, but dismantling is more likely, although I’m not convinced it’s coming around the corner soon either.

At the end of Catherine Pepinster’s book, she suggests that the watchword of Prince Charles’ reign would be “stewardship”, which is a biblical idea.

She said the final chapter of her book was titled ‘Twilight’ because, she added, ‘I think we’re now in twilight with this queen – she’s 96.’

She warned that the transition to a new monarch would be “a pretty tough psychological blow for people”.

Asked what a future coronation ceremony might look like, Catherine Pepinster said the very sacred nature of it might surprise people. At the heart of the ceremony was a “deeply sacramental” anointing that always included the monarch receiving Holy Communion.

However, she suggested that the tenor of the ceremony would change as it would be about a very different person. “Elizabeth II was crowned when she was in her twenties. This young lady goes to the coronation dressed in these extraordinary robes. But when she is anointed, those robes are taken off and there she is in a simple white bend. It looks very sacrificial, and his youth plays in. I don’t think he’ll have quite the same feeling when it comes to an older man.

She also suggested the upcoming coronation will be ‘a testing time’ for the Church of England as it will be ‘very exposed’ and it would ‘inevitably lead to conversations about whether this is the established church and what role does she play” in view of its declining attendance.

“Another thing that will be very interesting with this next coronation is that it comes when the UK is not as united as it once was. And so you will have the Church of England crowning this monarch of the UK And I think there might well be a debate about that.

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3 Ways The Protestant Reformation Reshaped Christianity https://parishchurch.org.uk/3-ways-the-protestant-reformation-reshaped-christianity/ Tue, 07 Jun 2022 10:32:22 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/3-ways-the-protestant-reformation-reshaped-christianity/ Getty Images/Photos.com “Gentlemen, what must I do to be saved? This was the desperate question shouted by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16 after Paul, Silas and the other prisoners were miraculously freed by a divine earthquake. About 1,500 years later, the exact same question led Martin Luther – a German Catholic monk tortured by […]]]>
Martin Luther
Getty Images/Photos.com

“Gentlemen, what must I do to be saved? This was the desperate question shouted by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16 after Paul, Silas and the other prisoners were miraculously freed by a divine earthquake. About 1,500 years later, the exact same question led Martin Luther – a German Catholic monk tortured by the weight of his sins before a just God – to Romans 1:17. There, at last, he found the glorious doctrine of justification by faith alone.

The self-forged chains of Luther’s perpetual guilt finally fell. He exclaimed, “I began to understand that ‘God’s righteousness’ meant the righteousness by which man lives through the gift of God, namely, by faith…Here I felt that I I was completely born again and was entering heaven even through open doors” (Timothy George, Theology of the Reformers, 63).

Yet this soothing balm for Luther’s troubled soul – the biblical teaching that forgiveness and salvation are free gifts from God, not earned by human merit – would not be limited to the life and time of one man. No, it would be the spark of Reformation, igniting what Richard Sibbes called “that fire that the whole world can never put out” (Michael Reeves, The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation, 191).

By questioning the method of obtaining God’s grace for salvation in a Christian’s life, Luther – and later reformers – struck at the heart of the entire Catholic religious and political system. If sinners were justified by God on the basis of his free gift of grace, what need was there to participate in the costly and convoluted system of confession, penance, prayers, pilgrimages and the purchase of indulgences ?

Today, more than 500 years after the Reformation began, the overall results are evident. To better appreciate our heritage, one must understand how it continues to play out in our lives today. So let’s take a moment to zoom in and explore how the Reformation specifically reshaped our understanding of:

  1. the church
  2. The role of the pastor
  3. The administration of the sacraments (baptism and Lord’s Supper)

How the Reformation Reshaped the Church

The Reformation reshaped our understanding of the Church in at least two substantial ways. First, he reorganized the hierarchy of authority between the Word of God and the Church. Roman Catholic practice and tradition held that the Church, and ultimately the Pope, was the highest authority in a Christian’s life, even over Scripture.

But reformers like Luther came to understand that the truth was actually the reverse: “The Church, far from having precedence over Scripture, is truly the creation of Scripture, born in the womb of Scripture” (Georges, 82). It was from this doctrine of sola scriptura that Luther and others were able to slowly recover the New Testament vision of the Church as a body of believers, who unite in submission to the Word of God.

A second way in which the Reformation reshaped our understanding of the church was to explore this fundamental question: who can be part of the local and visible church? Prior to the Reformation, national identity and church membership went hand in hand. Although Luther, Calvin and Zwingli broke with Rome, they did not renounce infant baptism as an acceptable entry point into the life of the Church. And though we have records that Calvin sought to exclude notable debauchees from the Lord’s Supper – “I shall die sooner than this hand shall extend the holy things of the Lord to those who have been deemed contemptuous.”

The belief and practice of believer’s baptism was, to a large extent, initially brought into the Reformation mix by figures like Felix Manz, who was drowned out for his support of believer’s baptism, and notable Anabaptist leaders like Menno Simons. By preaching and practicing regenerated church membership, as well as the belief that “faith does not come from baptism but from baptism of faith,” Anabaptists placed themselves in the crosshairs of traditional reformers and Catholics alike. suffering severe persecution because of it.

How the Reformation reshaped the role of the pastor

The principle of sola fide (faith alone) dispensed with the need for priestly practices for the absolution of sins. This led to the abandonment of the observance of Catholic Mass as the main purpose of the gathering. Thus, the reformers came to understand that preaching the Word of God correctly to the people in a language they could understand was the primary responsibility of the pastor.

Few reformers embodied it better than John Calvin. After working in Geneva for less than two years, Calvin was, for a time, expelled. Yet, just three years later, Geneva asked him to return. Calvin reluctantly agreed, and in 1541 resumed his role as pastor and returned to his pulpit. Reeves writes that “the congregation braced itself for the torrent of anathemas that must surely come from an embittered deportee who now has a public voice. Instead, Calvin simply resumed the exposition of the next verse that followed his previous passage, from three and a half years before. Calvin returned without a personal agenda but had come as a preacher of the Word of God. In fact, “Calvin preached over 200 times a year and taught nearly the entire Bible” (Jon Balserak, Calvinism: A Very Short Introduction, 4).

Calvin was no exception among the early reformers, for Zwingli also prioritized preaching as the main function of a pastor, saying, “Behold, you have scripture here as master, teacher, and guide, not the Fathers, not the Church misunderstood by some people. (George, 131).

This understanding of a pastor’s primary role continued through Puritans, such as Richard Sibbes in the 17th century, Jonathan Edwards in the 18th century, Charles Spurgeon in the 19th, Martin Lloyd Jones in the 20th, and now to us today, with men like John MacArthur.

How the Reformation Reshaped the Sacraments

The Roman Catholic Church taught that there were seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Mass, Penance, Marriage, Ordination and the Last Rites, which functioned as “robins of grace” administered by the priests in the life of the Christian (Reeves, 18) .

But, with almost universal agreement, the Reformers rejected all but baptism and the Lord’s Supper as authentic sacraments. In their retention of these two, they argued for a fundamentally different understanding of the nature and purpose of the two. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper were no longer a means of receiving faith but rather the expression of a faith already confessed. Luther held that “you can believe even if you are not baptized, for baptism is no more than an eternal sign which reminds us of the divine promise” (George, 93).

With regard to the Lord’s Supper, the reformers made a radical change by pleading for the masses to receive both bread and wine, and on a regular basis. Previously, the practice of the Catholic Church was to perform the sacrament before the people, allowing attendance only once a year, and even then, just to receive the bread. More importantly, the reformers rejected the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation, the idea that bread and wine were transformed in their essence into the literal body and blood of Christ.

Conclusion

The Reformation not only reshaped our understanding of church, pastor and sacraments, but rather gave birth to a new ecclesiological and theological tradition. This tradition is one that prioritizes the authority of Scripture over human tradition, God’s divine saving initiative over human effort, and the sufficiency of Christ’s saving work over all human work to merit saving grace. I say “new”, but, in fact, it is as old as Christianity itself.

We teach that the Church is subject to the authority of the Word of God. We prioritize the role of a pastor as an exponent of the Word of God. And we properly administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, not as means of saving grace but as “high signposts in the road of life” (George, 94). These recoveries from the Reformation, this reshaping of our lives and our teaching as Christians, have served as landmarks for more than 500 years until now. And if the Lord tarries, we hope they will continue to lead the way for another 500 years.


Originally published at Standing for Freedom Center.

William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, serving as deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his administration service, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including former Rep. Dave Brat. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Covenant College and is completing his master’s degree in theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Follow William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe

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Early Christianity was a ‘feminist movement’, says Catholic nun https://parishchurch.org.uk/early-christianity-was-a-feminist-movement-says-catholic-nun/ Fri, 03 Jun 2022 13:42:52 +0000 https://parishchurch.org.uk/early-christianity-was-a-feminist-movement-says-catholic-nun/ REUTERS/Jim Young Was the fight against feminism at the heart of the first century church? That’s the question a Catholic nun addresses in an article for the Global Sisters Report, an “independent, nonprofit source of news and information about Catholic sisters and the critical issues facing people who ‘they serve”. Claiming that the Bible “shows […]]]>
Rob Bank Sisters
REUTERS/Jim Young

Was the fight against feminism at the heart of the first century church?

That’s the question a Catholic nun addresses in an article for the Global Sisters Report, an “independent, nonprofit source of news and information about Catholic sisters and the critical issues facing people who ‘they serve”.

Claiming that the Bible “shows how the early church was a feminist movement” and that it’s time to tell the true “story” of female discipleship, the article celebrates the news that Pope Francis has opened the door to expanding senior roles for women in the Catholic Church, citing scriptural reasons behind such a move.

The nun who wrote the piece is Nameeta Renu, a member of the Order of Consecrated Bombay Virgins in Mumbai, India. She compared the church to Mary and Martha, two women who were disciples of Jesus.

Renu, whose biography states that she has a doctorate in theology on spiritual orientation and integral formation, writes that while Martha embodied the “relatively conservative” views of the early church on the roles of women, which pointed to “more traditional roles,” Mary “represents the feminist church as envisioned by Jesus.

Questioning these two archetypes, Renu then suggests that Martha and Mary “represent the church at different points on the broad spectrum of feminism” and cites “Martha from the Margins: The Authority of Martha in Early Christian Tradition”, an article co-edited by agnostic atheist Bart Ehrman.

After asserting that God “wants men and women to be freed from patriarchy”, Renu says this can only happen “when the victims are freed from domination and when the oppressors are converted and freed from sin”.

She goes on to call Mary Magdalene “the apostle of the apostles” and suggests that such a claim to the apostleship carries as much weight as the apostle Paul.

“Mary Magdalene has a very important role in following Jesus, but she is excluded from the Twelve Apostles while Paul boldly calls himself an apostle to the Gentiles even though he was not a disciple of Jesus before his death and resurrection”, writes Renu.

Christian blogger Erica Lee, whose blog “Unfiltered & Free” examines gender and other topics through a biblical lens, told the Christian Post that filtering scripture through feminism will only fuel further division.

“The feminist movement is nothing more than another societal ploy to divide the population against itself,” Lee said. “Satan is the master deceiver and he works hard.

“All social justice movements pit us against each other when we are all one Body in Christ. Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was the great equalizer.”

Lee also said characterizing Mary Magdalene as a type of “13th apostle” is without scriptural basis.

“It seems to me that the author is simply elevating an already important woman of the Bible to high status to remove perceived victimization,” Lee said. “Such twisting and manipulation of Scripture is dangerous.”

Renu’s article also goes against the traditional interpretation of Acts 6:3, which says that the apostles said to the disciples, “Therefore, brethren, choose among yourselves seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we appoint to this duty” to distribute to the widows in the church.

According to Renu, there is little documentation of the identity of the “seven” who were chosen and that the church fathers often used gendered language “to represent all the baptized”, even in the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D.

Renu suggests that the seven could have been male, female, or a combination of both.

She also argues that because the head of the family traditionally receives the blessing for all family members, “some of the seven names could indirectly refer to their daughters, sisters, mothers, or other relatives.”

“They could even refer to couples or all of their family members selected for service,” she added.

Lee told CP that such hermeneutical teaching is “a direct reflection of the modern church” and cited a recent study that found only 37% of pastors adhere to a biblical worldview.

“It’s a heartbreaking accusation against the church,” Lee said. “Therefore, as a result, we see articles like this.”

Renu’s article appears to have been written in response to news from the Vatican that would allow women to serve alongside all-male clergy in the senior leadership of the Catholic Church.

Released in March, the new constitution calls for “the involvement of lay people and laity, even in roles of government and responsibility.”

The document, however, did not alter the role of women with respect to worship in the Catholic Church.

In most countries, women were already serving as readers and catechists in the Catholic Church. However, with formal ordination, more conservative bishops will not be able to prevent women in their dioceses from taking on these roles. Francis changed the laws of the Roman Catholic Church in January 2021 to officially allow women to give Bible readings during Mass, act as altar servers and distribute Communion.

Throughout his pontificate, Francis called for women to have more formal roles in the church, but stood firm on banning women from becoming deacons or priests. Catholic doctrine forbids the ordination of women as priests, as these roles are reserved for men.

In April 2020, the pope created a commission to study whether women should have the right to become ordained deacons. In this role, women would be allowed to preach and baptize, but not lead Mass.

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