In The News

Merry Christmas! In a welcome change from recent tradition, this year’s White House Christmas cards took the bold step of wishing people a “Merry Christmas.”

Previous administrations had cautiously avoided the dreaded “C” word, preferring the euphemistic “Happy Holidays” or “Season.” In an October speech, the President reiterated his campaign promise to bring Christmas back:

“Something I said so much during the last two years, but I’ll say it again, as we approach the end of the year, you know we’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct. You go to department stores, and they’ll say, ‘Happy New Year,’ and they’ll say other things. It’ll be red. They’ll have it painted. Well, guess what? We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”

So we are; Forward in Christ wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Archbishop Justin Welby Doesn’t Understand: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told ITV’s “Preston on Sunday” that he doesn’t understand why so many US Christians support Donald Trump.

When asked by Peston why Evangelical or “fundamentalist” Christians support Trump, Welby replied, “No, I don’t understand it. I really genuinely do not understand where that is coming from.” The Archbishop enlarged on this, stating, “But then... I mean, you look... you look at the situation... maybe they felt... I don’t know... I just have... I don’t understand it, is the simple answer.”

Could it be that American Christians are encouraged by a President that dares to put Christ back into Christmas?

Tutus And Tiaras: A Church of England report, Valuing All God’s Children, encourages children to experiment with transvestitism as a way to combat bullying and discrimination.

The report states that pupils should be allowed to play “with many cloaks of identity” without “judgment or derision”:

“For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the firefighter’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment. Childhood has a sacred space for creative self-imagining.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, endorsed the cross-dressing report, stating that, “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.”

The Cof E enthusiastically affirmed transsexualism at its York Synod this summer and recommended that its bishops prepare worship materials to celebrate sex changes. The number of clergy who will adopt the tutu/fireman’s helmet combo remains to be seen.

The Church of Sweden Transitions God: The ultra-liberal Church of Sweden has voted in a new Handbook which discourages the sole use of masculine references to God. These are to be augmented or replaced by feminine terminology.

For example, instead of referring to the Trinity, the new Handbook encourages Swedes to say, “God, Holy Trinity, Father and Mother, Son – Sister and Brother, and Spirit – Lifeguard and Inspirator.”

The Church of Sweden’s leaderene, Archbishop Antje Jackelen, explains the reasoning behind the new language.

“Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human,” argued Jackelen as reported by Sweden’s TT news agency.

Whether Jackelen believes God actually became Incarnate as a Man is apparently open to question. 

Archbishop of Canterbury Goes to Moscow: The Archbishop of Canterbury met with the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, in Moscow in December. The Patriarch expressed deep concern over the secular attack on Christianity in the West.

Kirill raised the possibility of an “apocalyptic reality” if people and the state break the “Divine moral law”:

“There is an expulsion of God from human life, ignoring the Divine moral law. And especially devastating is the fact that ignoring the Divine moral law is clothed in the form of state law. This is a very dangerous trend. If people force the state law to try to commit a sin or to associate themselves with sin, then we will enter into some kind of apocalyptic reality.”

Patriarch Kirill went on to criticize the “media, the powerful of this world,” and emphasized the importance of “honest conversation” with Western Christians: 

Both Primates condemned the ongoing persecution of Christians, especially in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.

Diocese of South Carolina Appeals: The traditionalist Diocese of South Carolina has petitioned the US Supreme Court to review a ruling against it by the state supreme court.

In November, Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled against the diocese, awarding most of its property to the Episcopal Church (TEC). Former Chief Justice Toal dissented, stating, “The lead opinion in this case is nothing less than judicial sanction of the confiscation of church property masquerading as an attempt to promulgate a new deference rule for determining title in this matter.”

The Diocese of South Carolina, along with 50 of its congregations voted to leave the Episcopal Church in 2012. In a divided ruling this August, the state Supreme Court declared that TEC had a “trust interest” in most diocesan churches.

Forward in Christ urges your prayers on behalf of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina.

Fr. Michael Heidt is Editor of Forward in Christ and a mission priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.