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A Theologically Liberal Critique Of The Theological Liberals

With the PCUSA and the Church of Scotland having pretty jumped the shark as far as being Christian Denominations goes this piece of commentary was of interest.
Liberalism is a cynical exercise, as it trades on the forbearance and charity of genuine Christians to accept their unbelieving positions as conscientious reservations in order to find a foothold in Christian Churches, then progresses to endorsement of its positions as accepted standards, and finally excludes those who hold genuine Christian beliefs from their ranks.
Ensuring that those it ejects have no rights to properties or assets.
Brian Carpenter observes at Layman Online that the behaviour of Theological Liberalism in the way it treats the evangelical minorities they seek to choke out of existence doesn’t even model the (unbiblical) principles which it espouses, further demonstrating their hypocrisy.
In part:

You have systematically ratcheted up the pressure on the minority for a long time, until now it is to the point of causing even those traditionalists who have been quiescent and compliant for years to consider leaving. But they do not want to leave in dribs and drabs, like those of us who have left before. They want to leave as a cohesive group, with mutual support and care for the hazards of the journey. They want to envision a new future for themselves and build it. And they want to take the property and resources they paid for with their own blood, sweat and tears with them. And you extort them and take them to court to prevent it. You point to the rules you wrote to perpetuate your tenure in power and say “See, it’s the right thing to do.”
Tell me, liberal friend, do you exult in the part of the Exodus story where the children of Israel plunder the treasures of the Egyptians as just payment for their slavery? Have you preached sermons on how the oppressed have a right to seize the means of production for themselves in the context of their liberation? Would you feminists countenance any sort of law written onto the books which would not allow a woman to divorce her abusive husband unless she left all of her worldly goods in his possession and left the home destitute? Do you not rail against any laws anywhere in the world which treat a woman’s property as her husband’s and allow him to keep it?
For all the supposedly sharp-eyed speck removal in the eyes of others, the theological liberals in the PCUSA have a remarkably large log in their own eyes. While decrying the unjust use of power, you use power unjustly. While issuing thundering condemnations of abusers everywhere, you abuse everywhere you can. While denouncing theft from the poor and the weak you steal from the poor and the weak in your own household. Why?

Read: A theologically liberal critique of the theological liberals

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Great Special On Sojourn’s Two Isaac Watts Albums For The Price Of One

Sojourn Music have an Independence Day special which features all the songs from their two albums featuring revisionings of the hymns of Isaac Watts, The Water And The Blood and Over The Grave.
That’s twenty-three songs for US$10.
Limited time only.
Sojourn’s Independence Day Special.

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How Many Animals Will Save My Soul (via David Murray)

David Murray was disappointed by aspects of James Hamilton’s well received book God’s Glory Through Judgment, (which he otherwise commends) which he inferred to mean that the Israelites were saved through a mixture of faith, sacrifices and obedience in this post.

In a following post Murray provides his own understanding of the Old Testament sacrificial system and its purpose of pointing out that no amount of animal sacrifices could atone for sin, all they could do was point toward a great sacrifice that God Himself had promised He would provide.
He uses Hebrews 10:1-4 as an outline in the post How many animals will save my soul?

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Heal For The Honey – Album by Brooke Waggoner Free on NoiseTrade

Heal For The Honey by Brooke Waggoner is available free this week on Noise Trade.
(Although if you’re a soft touch like me you’ll probably leave a donation.)

The tags on the album page suggest that fans of Ben Folds, Kate Bush, Tender Forever, Regina Spektor, Blossom Dearie will like what they hear from this 2008 debut release from Waggoner, noted as the #1 choice for Patrol Magazine’s “Best Faith-Inspired Albums of 2008”

It’s worth a listen. Or two. Or more.
The blurb:

Waggoner’s critically acclaimed debut Heal For The Honey was independently released on Swoon Moon Music (her record label upstart) in September of 2008. Waggoner’s Heal For The Honey received mass critical acclaim and coverage, including the New York Times’ description of it as “… an eclectic, 10-track album that favors a serene voice quietly singing about the tribulations of love against a backdrop of classical piano crescendos.” Paste Magazine wrote, “In a music world overpopulated with acoustic guitars, warbling voices and tinkling piano keys, Brooke Waggoner and her cache of mesmerizing tunes stand out.” “For me, if I’m not taking a risk instrumentally, structurally, or even lyrically, I’m not making a good song,” remarked Waggoner. “You never know what kind of impact you may have on others with your work, but if you can capture a moment in a small musical package, then job well done. It’s a gift you’ve been given to give back.”


What Not To Wear In Wynnum (My Old Home Suburb)

Next week I’m going on holidays to Queensland.
I’ll be spending some time in my old home suburb of Wynnum.
Nostaligia usually sees me walking around to check out the relentless burgeoning of real-estate agents, hair-dressers and opportunity shops which have taken over what used to be a more varied suburban shopping area.
So this news article in the online version of Brisbane’s Courier Mail Newspaper caught my eye.
From the article:

THE Brisbane bayside suburb of Wynnum will become a “hoodie-free zone” next month in a bid to fight the growing number of armed robberies.
Police have encouraged shopowners to demand customers remove their hoods when they enter the store to minimise their risk of becoming a “target”.
Shops will be given a “Remove Hoodies on Premises” sticker during the one month trial, which is likely to be extended across South Brisbane and Oxley Districts.
Wynnum District Officer Superintendent Jim Keogh said the initiative would rely on the co-operation of the community to comply with store rules.
“Late at night, you’ve got staff who are somewhat junior and when they see someone coming in wearing hoodies they start to panic,” Superintendent Keogh said.
“I think most people will understand that rationale behind it and they’ll comply.

Fascinatingly, the obligatory photograph of the backs of a couple of shadowy hoodie wearers is credited to the Daily Telegraph, a Sydney publication.
The highly amusing comment stream beneath demands to know when such a ban will be applied to the wearers of burqas.
Because, apparently, there are gangs of burqa wearing folk intimidating the good merchants of Wynnum.
I can’t wait to see this for myself.
But at least I know not to pack a hoodie (or a burqa).

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What Elders Meetings Can Be

At mgpc the elders meet formally twice a month. At one meeting we sit around a table and consider various administrative and strategic matters. It’s minuted and follows an agenda. The other meeting, the one which we added, takes place in our homes and involves a time of study, conversation about pastoral matters pertaining to ourselves and the congregation, and corporate prayer. We don’t keep minutes. I like the second meeting better. If the elders had to choose between one of the two meetings to attend, I’d recommend they not miss the pastoral meeting.

Here’s a piece from the blog Green Baggins</strong> which describes a similar model and the rationale behind it.
It commends a book which I may have to dig up.

I just finished reading (too long delayed, I know, I know) John Sittema’s wonderful book on the shepherd’s heart. One of the most interesting points he makes (and which convicted me no end) was his description of what elders’ meetings ought to model. He gave a description of a normal business-related model of session meetings (prayer, reading of minutes, old business, new business, reading of concept minutes, adjournment). He says that this should not be characteristic of most session meetings. Most session meetings should be about doing the ministry. His model involves training/study, pastoral consultation, and prayer (see pp. 233-234). Prayer, by the way, is not some adjunct to the ministry. Some people actually call prayer the work of ministry. Word and prayer constituted the work of the apostles (Acts 6). That’s why deacons became a reality. The elders did NOT want to do “business” of the church, if that meant administrative stuff. They wanted to devote themselves to word and prayer. Sittema argues that the session meetings should be a tool that helps equip the elders for the work of ministry. Most of the time, the meetings are seen AS the work of the ministry. Not so, according to Sittema! If some aspects of business are required to be examined, there should be a separate meeting for it. I was really excited, frankly, when I read this part. I am excited to start implementing this kind of idea.
What we need in churches today are elders that will be pastors, not business directors of the church that only define and govern the general direction of the church. There needs to be training in this area, and the session meetings are surely the place to do this.

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Wilson & Co Welcomed In Malawi (via Africa Partner Church Mission 2011)

I’m sure a lot of my Presbyterian facebook friends are probably already following John Wilson and friends trip to Africa.
If you’re not you’ll be missing a lot of good news and encouragement.
Imagine stepping off the plane to a welcome like this.
Africa Partner Church Mission 2011