by Will Humphries, The Times:
Lesbians have accused Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, of erasing biological women by saying that “male-bodied persons with penises” can be lesbians.
The Lesbian Rights Alliance (LRA) has sent an open letter to Stonewall demanding that it take the L out of LGBTQ because it makes “lesbians invisible and erases lesbians through its promotion of the Trans Agenda”.
The 135 signatories say that Stonewall supports the “absurd idea that male-bodied persons with penises can be lesbians”.
They say that lesbians are biological women who are sexually attracted to, and have sexual and emotional relationships with other biological women only.
They wrote: “If we refuse to accept these men as lesbians you label us transphobes and ‘Terfs’, unleashing a torrent of hate speech upon us from your supporters.”Read here
by David Robertson, theweeflea:
It’s been an intense but revealing 24 hours. I have learned to an even greater extent just how deep the rot is in the contemporary church, and just how easy it is for us to be intimidated and bullied into silence.
Let me set the background, then explain what happened yesterday, and then offer some analysis of what precisely is going on.
Vicky Beeching brought out her book Undivided a couple of months ago and has been touring the TV studios and doing newspaper interviews ever since, telling everyone how bad and wicked the evangelical church is. I wrote an honest review of that book (here) trying to empathise with her, whilst not agreeing with her theology.
But Vicky has a problem. She is, either wittingly or unwittingly, being used as the poster girl for the liberal attack on the Christian church. Why else do you think the Guardian called her “arguably the most influential Christian of her generation”? Not because she is, but because that’s what they want her to be. She herself believes that the church will eventually unanimously adopt her new found (illiberal and intolerant) position and she states in the book that she sees herself as being on a mission to change the church and get us to rethink our theology to align with hers. “I dearly hoped that the church would change its views on same-sex marriage. The most effective way of working toward this, I found, was having one-to-one conversations with pastors and leaders who’d known me for years, encouraging them to rethink their theology.” She has allied herself with Stonewall, Steve Chalke and any non-Christian group that will give her a platform and support.
by William Kilpatrick, Crisis Magazine:
One of the interesting aspects of Fr. James Schall’s refreshing collection of essays, On Islam, is that it provides a chronological record. The first essay appeared in 2003, the last in 2018. This allows the reader to see how our understanding of Islam has changed over those years.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed much at all. In 2003, we understood next to nothing about Islam, and in 2018 it’s still next to nothing.
One of Fr. Schall’s main themes is that we must try to understand Islam as Muslims understand it, and not as we would like it to be. Instead of adjusting our theories to fit the accumulating facts, we keep trying to force the facts to fit our theory. This, says Schall, is the main reason we have failed to stem the tide of terrorism. We still assume that Islam is a religion like our own and that terrorism is a misunderstanding of genuine Islam.
On the contrary, writes Schall, terrorists are arguably more faithful to the essence of Islam than peaceful Muslims. As he puts it:
The terrorists themselves do claim with considerable historical and doctrinal evidence, on Qur`anic grounds, that they are in fact the true interpreters of Islam.
I don’t mean to oversimplify Fr. Schall’s argument. His essays are chock full of solid philosophical, theological, and historical evidence for his conclusions. But one of his conclusions is that:
advocates of the Islamic State are Muslims who faithfully follow what this religion allows and encourages them to do… To look on them as heretics or aberrations results in policies that only make the Islamic State’s success more likely.
Our insistence on seeing Islam through Western eyes, says Schall, means that we will be blind to the larger picture. Thus, “each bombing, shooting, knifing, or truck-crashing incident” is treated “as an individual problem of some usually ‘fanatical’ or otherwise confused youth acting on his own.” The authorities can’t bring themselves to admit that each incident is part of a pattern—that these actions are motivated by a world view that is shaped by the Koran and the example of Muhammad.
by Dan Doriani, The Gospel Coalition:
For centuries, liberal theologians have believed it their task to make Christianity palatable to “modern man.” In most cases, the modern man in question is anyone who shares the liberal theologian’s heritage and social status. The liberal theologian’s goal is to rescue Christianity by excising the elements that seem most offensive in that day.
In one era, the doctrine of sin is unacceptable; in another, it’s miracles; in another, it’s the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, or biblical sex ethics. But the theme is the same: In order to make Christianity believable, certain doctrines must be abandoned.Two Types of Liberals
Let’s define theological liberalism as Bible interpretation unconstrained by orthodox creeds or doctrines. But we can distinguish two kinds of liberalism.
The first, the hostile liberal, hates Christianity and wants to replace it with a better religion. The second—the focus of this article—is more friendly. It hopes to rescue the faith and win its “cultured despisers.” Unfortunately, as friendly liberals attempt to save Christianity they destroy it, for their first allegiance is to culture, not Scripture.
The Enlightenment had a series of hostile liberals, men like Hume, Kant, and Voltaire, who directly opposed orthodox Christianity. For them, miracles were impossible, the doctrine of sin was repugnant, and the idea that salvation comes through Jesus violated the principle that truth is necessary and universal. For Enlightenment thinkers, religion is simply ethics.
by James Risdon, LifeSite:
Same-sex “marriage” in the United States is not improving the health of gays and lesbians, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, an American think-tank.
In their paper, Effects of Access to Legal Same-Sex Marriage on Marriage and Health: Evidence from BRFSS, the researchers say that the legalization of same-sex “marriage” has improved access to healthcare for gays and lesbians.
Even with that improved healthcare access, though, those in same-sex “marriages” did not see any sort of bump up in their health, they concluded.
Health indicators for lesbians in these legally-recognized “marriages” did not suggest they are any healthier than non-“married” lesbians.
Gay men in these “marriages” also showed no improvement in their health.
“Turning to health outcomes, we find no relationship between legal access to same-sex marriage and self-rated health, substance use, or preventive care take-up for men in same-sex households,” the authors wrote.
by Dale M Coulter, First Things:
I have watched with keen interest the debates unfolding around the Revoice Conference, which takes place in St. Louis at the end of July. (The mission of Revoice, for those who don’t know, is to support LGBT Christians who seek to observe the historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.) The debate began with a concern over whether “Side B” (celibate gay) Christians can sustain the tension between homosexual identity and Christian identity expressed in the phrase “gay Christian.” This question has now led to a debate over the nature of temptation and the presence of disordered desire in the Christian.
Denny Burk and Rosaria Butterfield are among those who have taken the lead in criticizing Revoice. In response to Ron Belgau’s defense of the conference, Burk and Butterfield have articulated the theological foundations of their position in the controversy. Though they seek to defend the traditional Reformed interpretation of St. Augustine, their understanding of concupiscence misinterprets Augustine in fundamental ways.
Privileging Augustine’s anti-Pelagian writings, Burk and Butterfield have argued that the mere presence of concupiscence is itself a sin, even among believers. But their concerns about eros do not take into consideration the nature of salvation as the ecstatic flight of desire to its true home. In Augustine’s vocabulary, eros is amor, not concupiscentia.
Designer babies: Picking traits for non-medical reasons could be ‘morally permissible’, says UK ethics group
by Alex Matthews-King, Independent:
Letting parents use new gene-editing technology to pick characteristics of their unborn child can be “morally acceptable” as long as it doesn’t increase social inequalities, an influential medical ethics group has said.
In a major report on the looming frontier of human gene-editing, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCB) said it did not believe there was an ethical red line in tinkering with the genetic material that will be passed to future generations.
It also did not draw a distinction between using these techniques to tackle genetic diseases and for enhancing desirable physical or intellectual traits, so-called “designer babies”, so long as it meets strict ethical and regulatory tests.
by Ryan Bomberger, LifeSite:
So, instead of exhibiting outrage over the shedding of innocent blood, protestors were outraged by relevant history being invoked (that’s regularly exploited by liberals who falsely compare today’s America with pre-Civil Rights America)
Supposedly, because I’m black, I’m allowed to say things people with lighter pigmentation can’t. For the love, we’re all just one human race (Acts 17:26). Since when is speaking truth relegated to one’s pigmentation?
There’s no justice without truth. Period.
Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, boasted about keynoting a Ku Klux Klan meeting on in her autobiography (pp. 366-367). And no, not everyone was a racist in 1938, nor was every political figure open to speaking to a terrorist organization like the KKK. But Sanger found it amusing to address a secret meeting with KKK members and bragged about getting a dozen offers to speak to similar groups.
From The College Fix:
‘”Hard-line, leftist indoctrination” seems to have failed as a marketing strategy’
Wilfrid Laurier University may have thought that its public-relations problems ended in December, when its president admitted it should have never investigated a grad student’s decision to show a gender-neutral pronoun debate in class.
But the Canadian university’s problems are just beginning, as evidenced by new enrollment figures across Ontario institutions.
Laurier Finance Prof. William McNally pointed out the university’s admissions confirmations as of June 7 have declined 15.2 percent from a year ago, while first-place choices are down 12.5 percent, both the worst in the province.
This is in stark contrast to province-wide confirmations, which rose by 0.3 percent, he said: “Failing to stand for truth has consequences.”
Read also: University of Minnesota mulls expelling students for not using transgender pronouns by Calvin Freiburger, LifeSite
by Tony Perkins, FRC:
Rev. Franklin Graham is headed to England in September — but the British may be the last to know now that his ads have been pulled off area buses. Of course, nothing about the signs were offensive, unless you consider “hope” to be. And based on the response of local LGBT activists, they do.
Blackpool Transport, the double-decker bus line that was slated to promote Franklin’s event, pulled out of the deal after some members of the community complained. “The removal of these adverts is as a result of us listening and acting on customer and public feedback, which we aim to do at all time,” said the company manager. Interestingly enough, nothing about the banners had anything to do with social issues or even overtly Christian. The message was simply this: “Time for Hope.”
Franklin, who’s had a front-row seat for the censorship of religion in the U.S., wasn’t surprised. On his Facebook page, he talked about his festival and the obvious need for it around the world.
“I’m sorry that some see hope as offensive, but I can assure you that tens of thousands of people in Blackpool and across the United Kingdom are searching for hope. Sex, drugs, money, even religion — none of these are the answer. I’m coming to share with everyone in Blackpool, Lancashire, and across North West England that there is One who can give you hope. Hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for eternity. His name is Jesus Christ! Will you pray with me for this event in September and for God to work in a mighty way to transform hearts and lives across this region?”
Of course, the bus company’s response was mild compared to two British lawmakers who tried to ban Franklin from the country altogether. As Fox News’s Todd Starnes explains, that would be tall task in a country where nearly 200 local churches have worked to plan this Festival of Hope — “the largest ecumenical Christian event in a generation.”
Two new bishops have been consecrated for the Diocese of Chile as part of plans for it to become the 40th Province of the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Philip Huggins has challenged the Victoria Liberal Party, saying its election rhetoric risks negatively stereotyping young people.
The Anglican Communion’s Secretary General, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has urged Anglicans to “become more aware of the Communion’s life”.
from Dermot O’Callaghan
The ‘cry from the heart’ letter issued by more than 230 leading Presbyterians is understandable. Nobody wants to promote conflict and hurt. Your editorial (6 July) urges a solution through some kind of ‘rapprochement’.
But rapprochement between what and what? The issue is not about giving James and John the same rights as Jeremy and Janet, as the Church of Scotland seems to think (the European Court of Human Rights has said that same-sex marriage is not a human right). It is about how the Church should respond to the threat by gay activists to overthrow the family as we know it.
In 1971 the Gay Liberation Front set out its agenda which, in the words of Peter Tatchell, critiques inter alia “marriage, the nuclear family [and] monogamy”. Faced with such a challenge, the Church’s task cannot be to seek rapprochement between monogamy and promiscuity.
What is needed is a strategic agreement from all parties within the Church to work together to reaffirm the standards of sexual morality that it has upheld, despite regrettable lapses, since the time of Jesus, and to challenge the standards of the world which are increasingly influencing society.
It is also necessary to develop forms of Church discipline which can be applied lovingly, firmly and consistently to all persons, both homosexual and heterosexual.
This may be an impossible task, and will certainly be painful to implement, but the early Church did its best in the matter and changed the world greatly for the better.
from The Communion Partners of the Episcopal Church following the 79th General Convention, meeting in Austin, Texas:
1 During the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, we prayed the Collect for Proper 9:
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This prayer captures both the hope and the challenge we have experienced at this General Convention.
2 We give thanks to God for the way that members of our church who share the same baptismal identity have reached out to one another at this convention in common devotion to our Lord and in mutual affection, in order to seek common ground. We too seek to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Yet, in the midst of disagreement, the challenges to our communion in Christ are profound.
3 We are grateful that the convention has commissioned a Task Force on Communion across Difference (Resolution A227). This Task Force follows upon the “Communion across Difference” statement of the House of Bishops in 2015, which recognized the “indispensable” place that the Communion Partners have in our church’s common life, as a witness our church needs.
4 The work before the new Task force is to “seek a lasting path forward for mutual flourishing consistent with this Church’s polity.” The Task Force will bring together in equal numbers members of the church who affirm a traditional understanding of marriage and those who affirm same-sex marriage in order to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). The goal is to discover ways, in consultation with the wider Anglican Communion and others, to walk together with integrity as brothers and sisters in Christ within the structures of the Episcopal Church. This is a hopeful development.
Read also: AUSTIN, TX: The politicization of General Convention by Mary Ann Mueller, Virtueonline
by Fionn Shiner, The Conservative Woman:
I recently read Samuel Burgess’s book Edmund Burke’s Battle with Liberalism: His Christian Philosophy and Why It Matters Today. Samuel Burgess is a new writer, although the cover features glowing reviews from such figures as Jacob Rees-Mogg, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and Iain Dale, so he is clearly doing something right.
His book is a study of the ideas of Edmund Burke, the 18th century philosopher widely considered to be the founder of modern conservatism, with a heavy focus on the Christian basis of his thinking.
Burgess artfully contrasts Burke’s ideas with those of social contract theorists such as John Locke, John Rawls and the thinkers behind the French revolution. Whilst Burke is seen as the forefather of modern conservatives, the ideas of today’s Left sprouted from social contract theorists.
Whilst Burke draws his conclusions both from the existence of God, and humans as he finds them in the world, thinkers such as Locke used abstract ideas about humanity such as the ‘state of nature’ or John Rawls’s ‘original position’.
by Calvin Freiburger, LifeSite:
A ban on therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions critics say is broad enough to ban books on overcoming it easily cleared the California Assembly, but will apparently have a tougher time making it through the state Senate.
In April, the Assembly voted 50-14 to pass AB 2943, a bill that forbids minors and adults alike from obtaining “sexual orientation change efforts.” By classifying what leftists pejoratively call “conversion therapy,” also known as reparative therapy, under prohibited “goods,” critics say it would go so far as to ban the sale of books endorsing the practice, as well as other forms of constitutionally-protected speech.
Senate floor debate on AB 2943 was originally slated to begin last Thursday, but bill sponsor and Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low chose to delay the debate until lawmakers return from summer recess in early August, the Christian Post reports.
According to the Post’s sources, even lawmakers in liberal districts have been deluged with phone calls from constituents opposed to the legislation. Low reportedly wants to discuss how to amend the bill into a more palatable form with representatives of California churches, but the churches have expressed that no amendment would be enough to win their support.
Low has previously denied that the bill’s effects would spread beyond advertising or selling the therapy, but religious Californians are unconvinced.
Christian Today 12 July 2018
Christian Today. 13 July 2018
by Stephen Noll, Contending Anglican:
Part Two: Coming to One Mind:
This is the second of seven posts explaining the Letter to the Churches. The first post can be found here.
“For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15:28). How does a church council go about coming to one mind?” What an awesome task! The role of the Conference Statement, it seems to me, is to speak to those assembled and to speak for them to the wider church and world in the name of God. The role of the Statement Group is to so listen to the Conference Assembly that it can propose words for the Conference to speak. Again, an awesome task.
It is even more complicated than that. Gafcon has discrete hierarchies that properly play a role in any message. The Primates, for one, exercise a particular oversight within the movement. And at Gafcon 2018 two other bodies came into play: the Panel of Advisors and the Synodical Council.
The Panel of Advisors emerged this year from concern that the Primates Council by itself was too “thin” as a governing structure and that a Primate might exercise a kind of “personal prelature,” without support of his Province, which might be overturned by his successor. In 2016, the Primates themselves set up a “Task Force on Structure” to consider this matter, and the Task Force in turn recommended that each Province have a “Panel of Assistors,” now called Panel of Advisors, comprising one bishop, one other clergy member, and one layperson. In addition, as Gafcon has developed non-Provincial Branches, each of them is likewise represented by three Advisors. The Panel of Advisors is a subsidiary body and, as its name indicates, advisory to the Primates Meeting, but in meeting with the Primates at and between Conferences, it can bring a broad perspective on the life of the wider church.