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Showing posts from 2007

The First Sunday After Christmas - Gal. iv

From the start, it was proclaimed that this child born to Mary was on a definite mission. The angels tell the shepherds that He that was born was a Saviour, and by an angel Joseph was told to name the child Jesus, for He was come to save His people from their sins. Thus it was that his cousin, John the Baptist, was sent to the Jews to call them to repentance. One cannot very well be saved from their sins if they are not willing to give them up! If the child’s mission was to be fulfilled, the people would have to repent. Why Was He Born? We are very strange people. We hate our sins, which cause us to mess up our lives, yet we also love them; we don’t want to give these things up that keeping ruining us. We are in a desperate condition of self-destruction. We need someone to save us. We need someone to come into our lives and change us from within, that we will hate our sins and be glad to be rid of them. Thankfully, this is par

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - XXXI - H. C. G. Moule

Chapter viii - Conclusion I have quoted at the head of the chapter those words of the Psalmist which lead us up the River to its Source. “For with Thee is the fountain of Life”; with Thee, Jehovah ; with Thee, Jehovah-Christ , for “in Thee is Life”; “he that that Thee hath life.” Let that verse just remind us of the duty and the blessing of continual remembrance of Him as our reason and our rest. There is such a thing as studying even the “possibilities of grace” more than Him who is “the God of all grace.” It is because of what He is that His people are, even for a moment, what He would have them be. And one deep secret of the development in them of what He would have there, is the contemplation of Him. Our life and walk, in a sense most practical, need be no intermittent stream of peace and of obedience. Why? Because He is no intermittent spring. Every winter, in modern Jerusalem , a remarkable phenomenon is observed. The channel of the Kedron, usually dry as the

Simeon Book

I have a paperback copy of sermon outlines, primarily by Charles Simeon, that I would like someone to have. 202 outlines, c. 500 pp.; Baker Book House, ISBN: 0801090024. If you want it, and are willing to pay the postage, send me an e-mail. The next Moule installment should be up later today.

Ready for His Coming - Advent IV

My wife and I have been immersed in wedding traditions this year, with the marriage of our son. She read books on the subject, and got our son’s fiance reading about it as well. Our desire to learn from tradition was a significant factor in the simplicity of the wedding and in how well it went. While I was waiting for the wedding to begin, the other pastor who was there told me of some horrors he has had to go through at weddings with people who just didn’t have the right attitude about it or didn’t know what they were doing. One I remember vividly was the bride who was determined that her bridesmaids come down the isle in step with the music, which was very unfortunate, because it meant spending an enormous amount of time trying to get a couple of her friends to step to music when they had never been able to keep time to music one day in their lives. Some of this kind of thing is due to personality type, but some of it is due to the idolatrous value that some peo

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Comments on Christmas

A lot of people are talking about the Archbishop's comments on Christmas in his interview with Simon Mayo of BBC Radio 5 on Sunday. Even Rush Limbaugh today spoke of it. He complained about Williams denying the virgin birth. While I thought Limbaugh's complaint about "liberals" denying the basic tenets of Christianity while still calling themselves Christians was correct, the Archbishop did not deny the virgin birth. The conversation was about the typical "Nativity scene" depictions and what is or is not historic about them. When it came to the virgin birth, Williams said that he is "committed to it", but that belief in it was a process in his life. What concerns me was his further comment that he did not think that belief in the virgin birth was a hurdle that people should have to jump in order for them to be "signed up" in the Church. I have to disagree with that. While I believe it is certainly possible for people to come to faith in C

New Website for Common Cause

The Common Cause Partnership has a new website: . Our church is affiliated with Common Cause through the EMC's membership in the Federation of Anglican Churches in America and in our own membership in Forward in Faith.

Priests Among the Priesthood

Yesterday being the 3rd Sunday in Advent, my sermon was on the gospel ministry. At several points, I referred to a sermon by Dr. Robert Rayburn of Faith Presbyterian (PCA), Tacoma, Washington. In this sermon, he explains the tension in Scripture between the doctrine of the ministry and the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. He especially emphasises the importance of the preaching of the Word for the health of the Church; a message that Episcopalians have desperately needed. You can read his sermon here .

Once a Bishop, Always a Bishop?

"It is true that a king undertakes to be bound by the actions of his representatives. It is true also that we must humbly believe that Christ accepts as His own the actions of those who act on His behalf; otherwise what minister would ever venture to celebrate the Eucharist in the name of Christ? But this acceptance can never be unconditional. It depends on the minister being true to his trust, and acting only within the terms of his commission. Granted that the Bishop is the holder of a commission direct from Christ, and that ordinarily his actions in the Church may be accepted as the acts of Christ. What is to happen if the minister proves unfaithful, betrays his trust, and acts outside the terms of his commission? This is not a hypothetical case; it is one that has arisen time and again in the history of the Church. The answer of the Fathers is clear and unequivocal. The teaching of both Irenaeus and Cyprian is that if a bishop departs from the apostolic doctrine it is

Pleasing Others - Sermon for Advent II

My sermon yesterday, based upon the Epistle reading for The Second Sunday in Advent, Romans xv, 4f. I don’t know about your family, but my sister and I just could not get along. While it is especially hard to examine your motivations from 50 years distance, I am nevertheless certain that I was not without my own guilt in our relationship. Indeed, I can remember doing and saying things that could not have been very well received by my sister, and I have since apologised to her for it. It is very sad that brothers and sisters in our families have such problems getting along with one another. It is not a complicated thing. The Christian life is simple enough for a child to live. One need only love Jesus enough to follow the Golden Rule; to think about how to make others happy instead of only thinking about whether others are making you happy. That goes a long way in any relationship. A child that can wake up in the morning and start thinking about how to please his brother or

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - XXX - H. C. G. Moule

Chapter viii, continued. Our verse delightfully negatives the thought of grace as a something to be stored up in our own hands on occasions; a limited supply, to be economized and managed, and made to last, till it runs dry, or almost dry, and must be replenished by some new means. Here it flows for us, by us, in us, for evermore; ever passing, ever abiding, "new every morning, failing not,” for the soul which is in contact with the eternal source. Let us go forth in peace, in the peace which is itself a power, in great peace, while peace most humble, recollecting this truth, into the “changes and chances of this mortal life.” No two days and hours are quite alike; no two hearts and lives. On this we have already dwelt, as we considered* the manifoldness of need. But here is the heavenly antidote to the trials of succession , as we saw it above to the trials of multiplicity . For the succession in us there is this divine succession in our Lord. For th

Notes on the Collect for "Stir Up Sunday"

S TIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. This Sunday is the last of the Christian year. We begin next Sunday with a new Christian year, as we enter the Advent season. The Collect for this Sun. is a good one for us as the year ends. It reminds us of the same kind of thing that the famous Anglican, Robert E. Lee, was famous for: finishing well. As the various seasons of our lives come to their end, be it the end of the school year for the student, or the end of life for the aged, we should seek grace from God to finish well; to not say, “Oh well, it’s almost over now, time to just coast.” A Christian is never to coast. We are to be faithful servants. Like the watchman on guard in an army camp, he is to be looking out for the enemy through the whole watch; not just at the

Thanksgiving, 2007 - Matthew 6:25f

Our Trinity Season for 2007 is about to come to an end. Next Sunday is the Sunday Before Advent; “Stir up Sunday”, the day when the Christmas pudding is first put together in the English tradition. Through these months, as we’ve reflected on passages from various books of the New Testament, we have again and again been reminded of those great qualities of spirit which are the hallmarks of the Christian faith and the Christian temper: faith, hope, love, and peace. These are the main things that our Good Shepherd would have dominant in our lives, for His own glory and for our own good and blessedness. It is necessary for us to be reminded of these things, over and over through our lives, because there are elements of the world in which we live that militate against these spiritual qualities all day long, every day of our lives. Jesus, our great Captain, is mindful of our enemies and our weaknesses and so He instructs us in how to deal with one of these enemies in Ma

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - XXIX - H. C. G. Moule

Chapter viii grace for grace. Joh. i. 16. – Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. Psal. xxxvi. 11[sic]. – For with Thee is the fountain of life. In the last chapter we have had much to say about the applications of sanctifying grace, and in the last but one something of its nature. Here is a Scripture which speaks of it again, and describes a delightful special aspect of our derivation of grace from its fountain. On the first clause of the quotation from St John I say but little. Only observe that it points to Jesus Christ as the embodiment, the reservoir, the fountain, of all that grace means for us. And it speaks of the vital connexion of us, of His believing followers, with Him as a definite and accomplished fact. “We have received,” or, somewhat more literally, “we did receive.” Of himself and of all believers St John says this. They have come into receptive contact with Jesus Christ, with the divine fulness th

Mea Culpa on Gledhill Quote

You may have noticed that Ms. Gledhill commented on my previous post that she had not said those things and that was the reason I couldn't find them on her blog. I can only assume now that they are instead the words of Mr. Virtue and that I was misled due to his not providing quotation marks or some other device for the quote in question. I apologise to all parties involved. I would like to keep the quotation up, however, because I still think it a good one. Many thanks to Ms. Gledhill for her correction and her ongoing work to keep us informed about Anglican issues.

Quote on Church Feminization

Please Note: at 5:30 p.m. EST, on the 16th of Nov., I altered the title of this post and the body of the text, removing Ms. Gledhill's name from it. See the comments below and the succeeding post for the explanation. The following is a quote from ... in an article by David Virtue that I thought was spot on. I couldn't find the reference on her website, so I just copied from David below. The link for David's whole article is at the end. ...The feminization of the ministry is one of the most significant trends of this generation. Acceptance of women in the pastoral role reverses centuries of Christian conviction and practice. It also leads to a redefinition of the church and its ministry. Once women begin to fill and represent roles of pastoral leadership men withdraw. This is true, not only in the pulpit, but in the pews. The evacuation of male worshippers from liberal churches is a noticeable phenomenon. Furthermore, the issues of women's ordination and the normaliza

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life – XXVIII – H. C. G. Moule

Chapter vii, concluded. iii. Now we turn from St Peter to St Paul , and hear him speak of what is manifold also; “the manifold wisdom of God .” The words have a special reference, as will be seen, of special and beautiful significance. The Apostle speaks of his manifold wisdom, not in the abstract, but as illustrated and in action in the true Church, that is to say in “the blessed company of all faithful people”;* and in the view of very important spectators. “The principalities and powers,” the spirits of the heavenly world, “angels and archangels and the company of heaven,”* are seen in this wonderful verse studying the wisdom of God as shown in the believing company. To take the simplest aspects of this disclosure of God’s word; we have it indicated here that Christians, of every grade, and character, and situation, and age, and name, are capable of thus being viewed from above, to the glory of the wisdom of their God. The poorest, humblest, most forgott

The Humble God

When Christ emptied Himself and became a man (Phil. 2), he did not veil his divinity but revealed it. He showed us the humility of God. As he walked among us He told us that, if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. How? Certainly, according to Phil. 2, in one sense especially: the Father - indeed, the whole Godhead - is humble.

James & Paul Follow-Up

The following is the body of an e-mail I wrote to a friend about my previous post. On your first paragraph, I see the challenge to be: 1) to maintain the tension between the poles of truths revealed to us in a "dialectic" form. Rev. Rob Rayburn of Seattle (PCA) has a remarkable series of sermons on this subject: but you are familiar with the idea, for example, the tension between "all of grace" on one side and "human responsibility" on the other regarding salvation. To quote Rayburn: "I am speaking of the fact that biblical truth is universally presented in dialectical form. By that I mean that the Bible characteristically presents any doctrine in terms of its polarities. The truth concerning any particular subject or theme is taught, now in one place, now in another, in terms of the poles that lie at the opposite ends of the particular continuum." 2) to give credit to each passage of Sc