In The News

Welby Says Gender Neutral: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said he doesn’t believe God is male or female.

Welby dropped this theological bombshell at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, where he told lecture goers, “God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father. God is not male or female. God is not definable.” Because of this, Welby explained, we can only refer to God metaphorically or by analogy.

Leaving aside a distinct lack of theological shock and awe at the archiepiscopal pronouncement, readers of Forward in Christ know where this leads. God is a perfect spirit and beyond gender, so ordain women as priests and bishops, get rid of those oppressive male pronouns in God Talk and while you’re at it, dialogue about trans inclusion in the church.

With that in mind, Canterbury might want to reflect on the Word notoriously becoming Flesh as a man and whether some analogies are better than others. 

Love Says No: The Episcopal Bishop of Albany, Bill Love, has directed diocesan clergy not to use same-sex marriage rites which were authorized by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention this year.

In a November letter Ad Clerum to be read out in churches, Love stated:

“Until further notice, the trial rites authorized by Resolution B012 of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church shall not be used anywhere in the Diocese of Albany by diocesan clergy (canonically resident or licensed), and Diocesan Canon 16 shall be fully complied with by all diocesan clergy and parishes.”

Resolution B012 goes into effect on December 2nd, the first Sunday of Advent, and mandates dioceses provide access to same-sex marriages, regardless of the belief of the local bishop. Where bishops are against gay weddings, churches can apply for episcopal authorization from bishops who are in favor of the same-sex ceremonies. 

Not all parishes in the Diocese of Albany were pleased with Love’s prohibition. Members of St. Andrew’s in Albany burned Love’s letter in front of their church after Sunday services. St. Andrew’s is one of a small minority of liberal churches in the Diocese of Albany to receive Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO). Their pastoral overseer is the Bishop of the Diocese of Central New York, the curiously named Duncan DeDe Probe.

Whether Love will be disciplined by the Episcopal Church for refusing to abide by Resolution B012 remains to be seen.

Witches On The Rise: According to studies carried out by the Pew Research Center, witches now outnumber Presbyterians in the US.
Pew’s 2014 research showed that there were 1.5 million people in America claiming to be occultist witches. By contrast, mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) trailed behind the witches with 1.4 million members.

Studies by Trinity College in Connecticut revealed explosive growth in the witch population from 1990-2008, rising from an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in 1990 to 680,000 Wiccans and Pagans in 2008. Since then, the witch population has continued to experience significant growth and aims to promote well-being through singing, dancing and casting spells or “hexes.”

The UK’s Daily Mail reported, “They practice outside in parks, gardens or fields. They endeavor to achieve self-awakening through dancing, singing, chanting, and with the use of herbs and incense.”

Wicca was invented in 1954 by a British civil servant, Gerald Gardner, who claimed the religion dated to a pre-Christian witch cult. The Episcopal Church currently has 300,000 more members than the occultists. 

Muslim Prayer at Blackburn Cathedral: An imam was filmed giving the Muslim call to prayer or Adhan in a Church of England cathedral on the night before Remembrance Day.

The call to prayer was part of a concert held at Blackburn Cathedral to commemorate the end of World War One and was made before 400 people. The Adhan, which was recited in Arabic, declares, “Allah is the greatest; I bear witness that there is no other God but Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” 

Recitation of the Adhan is seen by Muslims as an assertion of Islamic supremacy and is believed to claim the place where it’s recited for Mohammedanism. 

Following protests, Peter Howell-Jones, the Dean of Blackburn Cathedral, told the Sunday Times that the Adhan shouldn’t have taken place and that he sympathized with calls for his resignation: 

“I don’t think this should have happened here. If people are going to call for my resignation there’s nothing more I can say or do to people to pacify them because actually I agree with their arguments.”

Abortions Drop: Yearly abortions in the United States dropped to their lowest number since 1973 in 2015, according to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

According to the CDC, 2015 saw 638,169 reported abortions, a 2% decrease from 2014, and a 24% decrease from 2006. Most encouragingly, teenage abortions have dropped 41% since 2006. Writing in the National Review, Dr. Michael New explained the cause of the decrease:

“In reality, a key factor behind the 50 percent abortion-rate decline since 1980 is the fact that a smaller percentage of unintended pregnancies now result in an abortion. Pro-life legislative, political, and educational efforts have had a measurable positive effect. This new abortion data from the CDC should hearten pro-lifers across the country and give them some encouragement to continue their lifesaving work.”

Forward in Christ gives thanks for this news.

Forward in Christ

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