Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, March 28, 2011

1 of 9 Calvin's Doctrine of Predestination

There are several lectures at youtube on this. While we share this theology, we regret that this is the focus. What about Theology proper, Christology, Pneumatology, as well as the liturgy? Note the architecture, typical for the Reformed. We take from them what wisdom they offer and they have many things--but not all things--to offer.

Manchester Cathedral to host tarot card readers and healers at 'new age' festival | Manchester Evening News -

A roll of the eyes is in order.

Manchester Cathedral to host tarot card readers and healers at 'new age' festival | Manchester Evening News -

RIGHTLY DIVIDED | Episode 7: The Gospel Driven Trilogy with guest Dr. Mike Horton

Archeologists Discover Letter Written to St. Paul | CyberBrethren-A Lutheran Blog

Archeologists Discover Letter Written to St. Paul | CyberBrethren-A Lutheran Blog

Word is now coming out that a letter has been discovered that was written to St. Paul, in response to his letter to the churches in Galatia. Here is an English translation.

Parodios, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, to our brother Paulos.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our church recently received a copy of the letter that you sent to the church of Galatia. We hope you will not mind hearing our humble concerns. In the past we have noticed you are more interested in confronting people rather than conversing with them, but we hope you will receive this letter as an invitation to further dialogue.

First of all, we are uncomfortable with your tone throughout the correspondence. We know it is difficult sometimes to discern tone of voice from written communication, but you should keep this in mind as well. One could gather from your careless use of words that you are losing your temper. You certainly sound angry. This is unbecoming a spokesperson for the faith. As you say yourself, one of the manifest fruit of God’s Spirit is gentleness.

Aren’t you being a hypocrite to preach grace but not show it to our Judaizer brothers? They may not worship as you do or emphasize the same teachings you do, but our Lord has “sheep not of this fold,” and there is certainly room within the broader Way for these brothers. Their methodology may differ from yours, but certainly their hearts are in the right place.

You yourself know that our Lord required personal contact when we have a grievance against another. Have you personally contacted any of these men? Have you sat down to reason with them personally? Have you issued a personal invitation? Some of them may even reconsider their viewpoints if you had taken a different tack. We know that your position is likely that public teaching is open to public criticism, but we can do better than what is expected, can’t we?

In one portion of your letter, you indicate you don’t even know these persons! “Whoever he is,” you write. Our dear Paulos, how can you rightly criticize them when you don’t know them? It’s clear you haven’t even read their material, because you never quote them. We implore you to see that they are plainly within the tradition of Moses and of the Prophets. They understand the context of the covenant in ways you appear deaf to.

Similarly, we find your tone and resorting to harsh language not in keeping with the love of Christ. “Foolish Galatians.” “Let him be accursed.” “Emasculate themselves.” Really? Can you not hear yourself? You think this is Christlike? Does this sound like something our Lord would say? Do you think this flippant, outrageous, personal, vindictive manner of speech speaks well of God’s love or the church? It is clear you are taking this way too personally. Indeed, you ask the Galatians if you are now their enemy. Does everything have to be so black and white to you?

Paulos, what will unbelievers think when they read this letter? Do you think this will commend the gospel to them? This kind of harsh language just makes us look like a bunch of angry people. They see we can’t even love each other, and over what? Circumcision? This is a terrible advertisement for God’s love to an unbelieving world. You have given plenty of people permission now to disregard Jesus, if this is what his mouthpieces sound like.

We hope you will reconsider your approach. We know that you catch much more flies with honey than with vinegar. We are concerned that your ill-worded letter signals a divisiveness that threatens to fracture the church. We beg you to reconsider how important these minor issues are, and how in the future you may speak in ways that better reflect God’s love.

The grace—and the love!—of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brother.

HT: Justin Taylor

Chaplains Offered Exit Plan as Gay Training Starts | Politics | Christianity Today

Chaplains Offered Exit Plan as Gay Training Starts | Politics | Christianity Today

Chaplains Offered Exit Plan as Gay Training Starts

Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
The Army has started training chaplains on the repeal of the ban on openly gay military members, saying those who are unable to follow the forthcoming policy can seek a voluntary departure.

"The Chaplains Corps' First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change," reads a slide in the PowerPoint presentation, released to Religion News Service Thursday. "Soldiers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views
and beliefs."

Critics familiar with the Army presentation, however, say the military is essentially telling chaplains who are theologically conservative that they are not welcome.

"U.S. Army now warning chaplains: If you don't like the homosexual agenda, get out!" reads a headline on the website of Mass Resistance, an anti-gay group based in Waltham, Mass.

President Obama signed a law repealing Don't Ask/Don't Tell last December, but the new policy will not take effect until 60 days after Obama and military leaders are assured that it will not harm military readiness.

Lt. Col. Carleton Birch, a spokesman for the Army chief of chaplains, said about half of the military service's 2,900 chaplains have received the training, which started in February and is likely to
conclude in April.

"Our training is an opportunity for our senior chaplains to have an honest and open conversation about the repeal policy, its effects on them and their ministry," Birch said. "And it's going very well. ... In no way are we giving the message, shape up or ship out."

Birch said only one Army chaplain has left the service over the pending repeal of Don't Ask/Don't Tell.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent group that strongly opposes gays serving openly in the military, predicts more departures when the policy is lifted.

"The training is engaging in a form of strategic deception," she said. "I think active-duty people are being reassured nothing will change. That is an unrealistic expectation."

Donnelly, whose center received the presentation from a source and has distributed it among supporters, hopes an upcoming House subcommittee hearing will address questions about the effects of the policy change on chaplains.

"Many may be saying that now they will not leave voluntarily," she said, "but that doesn't account for those who would be forced out involuntarily when all of these conflicts become more apparent."

The Army slides include various vignettes, including a soldier who complains after a chaplain calls homosexuality a sin during a chapel service. Notes that accompany the presentation specify that sermons cannot be restricted "even with regard to socially controversial topics."

Birch said the vignette does not represent any change in policy.

"In my 23 years as a soldier in the Army, I've never heard a sermon specifically on homosexuality," he said. "So even though they have the right to do that, that doesn't mean that it's going on every Sunday in our chapels."

The other military services also have begun training of chaplains, with the Navy starting in February and planning to complete it by June. The Air Force started its training in March and hopes to finish by May.

Maj. Joel Harper, a spokesman for the Air Force, said none of that military service's 520 active-duty chaplains has asked to leave over the expected repeal. He called the training "informative in nature" about how the policy changes will affect them.

"It is not an attempt to change anyone's opinion about the subject," he said.

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Posted by Sarah Pulliam Bailey on March 25, 2011 4:18PM

Army chaplains are very different than civilian clergymen and always have been. While civilian clergy can choose to only welcome certain populations, it seems that an army chaplain is duty-bound to serve all soldiers. This does not mean calling sin good, but it does mean hearing them out and offering the most honest pastoring they can.

I honestly don't see how the repeal changes anything. Chaplains before were obligated to serve all soldiers. Maybe now they know they're gay. But they were gay before, and if a pastor couldn't minister to their situation even before the ban, I personally think they are failing as both a pastor and a chaplain. That failing is just more obvious now.

Posted by: Marta at March 25, 2011

Well now! What are they going to do and where are they going to hide, those who though the Military is some sort of special "branch" of Christendom?

How many preachers and how many churches, are going to continue lending their pulpits to the local Military recruiters?

There were and there have always been Homosexuals in the Military. As there were and are Adulterers, Fornicators, Idolaters, murderers, drunkards, thieves, blasphemers and whatever have you.

In spite of that or in ignorance of the facts. Many so called "pastors" and "churches" allowed these recruiters to use their pulpits for years to entice and mislead young "christian" men and women into joining the Military.

I don't think that's going to change now just because one more sinful behaviour is allowed. If they did allow it in the past, they'll continue to allow in the future.


Posted by: Salero21 at March 25, 2011

I cannot imagine a true pastor would resign from the chaplincy because of this. Years ago I read this short poem in a short biography of Jonathan Goforth, a Canadian missionary to China. It illustrate the heart of a pastor:
"Some want to live
within the sound of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop
within a yard of hell."
The military is just another mission field to be called to. Some will answer the call.

Hey! Salero21. Long time no hear from.

Posted by: Dan at March 25, 2011

For what it’s worth, I really don’t care if any soldier, Gay OR Straight, is disciplined or booted out of the military because of inappropriate conduct when on-duty. That’s not what’s at issue here. A qualified soldier should not be at risk for losing his career simply because of who he’s dating on his own time.

Hold all soldiers to the same standards of professional behavior, regardless of their sexual orientation, and the military will be able to do its job just fine. We don’t need DADT to accomplish that goal.

As for the fears of a few chaplains, they are in a unique situation, in that they are SUPPOSED to provide spiritual comfort and support to soldiers of ANY faith, not just their own. I would fully expect a Jewish chaplain to have enough understanding of the Christian or Muslims faiths that he would be able to provide a mortally wounded Christian or Muslim soldier spiritual comfort, without necessarily compromising his own beliefs. It would not be appropriate for a Christian chaplain to tell a mortally-wounded Jewish or Hindu soldier, “You’re going to HELL if you don’t accept Jesus as your Savior!”

Chaplains are supposed to be ecumenical than that. Frankly I wouldn’t want any chaplain, whose position is funded by taxpayers, to be preaching against Gay soldiers any more than they should be preaching against Muslim soldiers.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch, (Greek: "Ἰγνάτιος"; 35-50ish to 98-117ish),was among the Apostolic Fathers. He was the third Bishop of Antioch. He was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of several letters, exemplars of early Christian theology. He wrote letters to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans and to Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna.

For archived resources, see:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Archbishop’s head examined: The Church of England Newspaper, March 25, 2011 p 6. « Conger

Archbishop’s head examined: The Church of England Newspaper, March 25, 2011 p 6. « Conger

Dr. Alan Cairns on Rick Warren's Gospel

Is Religion Becoming Extinct

The Parish Church of St. Michael Cornhill in the City of London

St. Michael's Anglican says this of themselves. Now, if they have Reformed theology, we might find a home here.

"We are traditional Church of England - real Anglicans. We use the Authorised (King James) version of the Bible (1611) and the Book of Common Prayer (1662). Our 11am Sunday service is Choral and always features musical settings from the classic tradition of church music from Tallis and Byrd through Purcell and Vittoria, Mozart and Haydn to Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Britten."

The Parish Church of St. Michael Cornhill in the City of London

Banner of Truth: Liberalism: A Warning From History

'How Liberal Theology Infected Scotland' is a deeply instructive short article1 written by R. A. Finlayson, the late professor of Systematic Theology in the Free Church College in Edinburgh.

Finlayson attributed the nineteenth century infiltration of Liberalism into a confessional Church to wrong priorities by the leaders. He wrote:

...not content with opening three colleges, in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen...her theological students would not deem their course complete, or their standing in the Church assured, without a postgraduate course of one or more years in one of the more famous Colleges in Germany.

From that folly, the product of spiritual pride, the Free Church was to reap a bitter harvest. Germany then was the nursery of Liberal theology, which was spreading like prairie fire through the Protestant Churches of Europe.2
Reading this assessment reminded me of the words of Archibald Alexander to the young Charles Hodge. Hodge has been given leave by the Seminary to spend two years studying in Europe. As well as developing his linguistic skills, Hodge would become acquainted with biblical criticism. Alexander cautioned him:
Remember that you breathe a poisoned atmosphere. If you lose the lively and deep impression of Divine truth, if you fall into scepticism or even into coldness - you will lose more than you gain from all the German professors and libraries . . .
At the start of the twentieth century a similar situation was faced by the young Gresham Machen as he studied in Marburg, Germany, under the renowned Liberal scholar Wilhelm Herrmann. Machen said that Herrmann believed hardly anything essential to Christianity. Yet here was a man who at the same time exuded an incredibly impressive piety. Although he rarely spoke of the profound spiritual struggle that he went through in Germany, one of Machen's students recalled him saying that:
. . . the great Dr. Herrman presented his position with such power I would sometimes leave his presence wondering how I could ever retain my confidence in the historical accuracy of the Gospel narratives. Then I'd go to my room, take out the Gospel of Mark and read it from beginning to end in one sitting - and my doubts would fade. I realized that the document could not possibly be the invention of the mind of a mere man3
It was a remarkable act of mercy that kept the young Charles Hodge, and the young Gresham Machen, from capitulating to the errors of their teachers. Embracing orthodoxy, and remaining orthodox, cannot ultimately be attributed to our own powers. How different would the history of Princeton have been if the poison of Liberalism had infected the blood stream of Charles Hodge. Perhaps we can see what it would have looked like by observing the influence of a notable Hebrew scholar on the other side of the Atlantic.

For more, see:

Banner of Truth Trust General Articles

Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven :: Choir of Westminster Abbey

2011 Ligonier National Conference - Session 12 (John Piper) by Tim Challies | Ligonier Ministries Blog

Why does Ligonier Ministries tolerate Anabaptists?
¿Por qué hace Ministerio Ligonier tolera Anabaptists?
Warum tut, duldet Ligonier Ministerium Wiedertäufer?
Pourquoi fait le Ministère Ligonier tolère des Anabaptistes?
Perché Ligonier Ministero anabattisti tollerare?

2011 Ligonier National Conference - Session 12 (John Piper) by Tim Challies | Ligonier Ministries Blog

Superstition: Catholic and Evangelical - Reformation21 Blog

Carl, a Presbyterian and historian, still calls himself an evangelical. A commendable article, itself, but why call oneself an evangelical? That's Carl's problem, not ours.

Superstition: Catholic and Evangelical - Reformation21 Blog

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bondage of the Will (Monergism)

Theological literacy, most minimally, starts with reading Bruder Martin's text. Yes, if you have not digested this foundational work...yes, you are not literate in the Reformation.

The Bondage of the Will (Monergism)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Ugley Vicar: Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop and Martyr

More on Cranmer as we continue to remember the 455th year of his martrydom at the burning stake for the classical, confessional, reformed and liturgical Church of England and her children.

The Ugley Vicar: Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop and Martyr

The Old High Churchman: Cranmer - an Appreciation

One of the finest articles I've read on Cranmer in years. Spot on, historically. An "appreciation," but not hagiography.

The Old High Churchman: Cranmer - an Appreciation

Liturgy of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

The Nigerian Anglicans get it right, confessionally and liturgically. They are leagues above and beyond all--that's right, all--American Episcopalian/Anglican congregations.

Liturgy of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Modern Reformation: Contending for the Faith in America

Reprinted by permission. A spot-on article.

Modern Reformation - Articles

Fletcher Matandika The kind of Christianity that is being exported to the rest of the world (particularly the developing world) from America is incredibly harmful. As a Malawian Christian, I am concerned about negative influences of the American Church in my home country at different levels, not the least of all theologically.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)

To my dearly beloved North American Brothers and Sisters in Christ, greetings.

I thank God for this great privilege to write this letter to you. My hope and prayer is that the Lord will be pleased to use this letter to bless you and strengthen you as you contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. To God alone be all the praise glory and honor through Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen.

I am writing to share a few things that I have been thinking about over time regarding the state of the church in North America and in the Western world, in light of the prevailing trends we are seeing as a result of the church's departure from the Scriptures, from historic Christianity and its pillars. This matter is and has been of great concern to me for a very long time.

While I was in Malawi and before I went to Westminster Seminary in California where I studied for my Master of Divinity degree, I had a lot of questions about the content and depth of American Christianity as I encountered and interacted with Christians and missionaries (short term and long term) from America. The biggest questions for me centered on the Christ-centeredness and the Word-centeredness of American Christianity. Much of what I saw and experienced seemed shallow, subjective, and sentimental. It seemed more worldly than godly. This troubled me very much—it left a sour if not a bitter taste in my mouth and was often nauseating. However, I did not know what to do about it as I did not understand the root of the problem and, at times, I was unsure if my sentiments were right or wrong—but something just felt off balance.

While in seminary, I continued to interact with many American evangelical Christians. Things began to get clearer as many of my doubts and suspicions were confirmed regarding the shallowness, softness, and "safeness" of American Christianity. Christianity in America is relatively "safe" with very few risks involved (if any at all). The scandal of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the cross, and the cost of following Christ are not things many American believers like to talk about and celebrate. All this just seems so strange. While I expected to be able to speak the same language with my fellow Christian brothers and sisters in America (especially those in the Reformed Church), I felt as if we were speaking different languages and often speaking past each other.

As an African Christian, I have three main concerns when it comes to the American church and American Christianity. First, I am concerned for the future of global Christianity. The impact that this shallow, subjective, and sentimental (Americanized) Christianity is having on the rest of the world is of great concern to me and many of my fellow African brothers and sisters in Christ. The kind of Christianity that is being exported to the rest of the world (particularly the developing world) from America is incredibly harmful. As a Malawian Christian, I am concerned about negative influences of the American Church in my home country at different levels, not the least of all theologically.

In God's good providence, the American church has been used of the Lord to bless the church of the Lord Jesus Christ around the world in many ways. You have sent more missionaries to the world than any other country around the globe. That is commendable and something for which I give praise to the Lord. However, it goes without saying that what the rest of the world needs is not an Americanized version of Christianity. Rather, the world (and America included) needs the pure and Christ-centered Christianity clearly taught in the Holy Scriptures. The kind of Christianity that embraces pain and suffering and addresses the fundamental human problem—namely, sin—through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The kind of Christianity taught and practiced in North America is in many respects contrary to the Word of God. It is soft and easy. It teaches no self-denial and refuses to take risks. It is more about seeking personal comfort and security. If this kind of Christianity spreads and gets rooted among the nations, then I wonder what the future of the global Christian church will look like.

Second, I am concerned about the eternal impact of this kind of Christianity on individual souls. The kind of Christianity being frequently practiced across North America is, as Michael Horton has rightly described it, "Christless." (1) If this is indeed the case (as I believe it is based on my personal experience), then there is reason enough to be concerned about the eternal impact of this kind of Christianity not only on individual souls in the pews but especially on those who preach and propagate this kind of Christianity.

My third and greatest concern is the glory of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church of Jesus Christ must of necessity aim at and care about the glory of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ in everything she does. Christ must always be at the center of the church's worship, evangelism, and missions. The church must strive by the grace of God to open the eyes of the blind by faithfully proclaiming and living by the gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:1-6). I feel that many churches across North America are preaching a different kind of gospel, which the Lord through the apostle Paul condemns in Galatians 1:8-9. I plead with all who have been called to preach the gospel to follow the example of the apostle Paul and preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:26-27) and contend for the historic Christian faith (Jude 3).

My main goal in writing this letter is to highlight what I consider to be the central problem that I have observed and experienced in the North American Church, which is the lack of the faithful preaching of the Word of God. Article 29 of The Belgic Confession of Faith identifies this as the first mark of a true church. The Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q & A 89) clearly states, "The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation" (emphasis mine). The pure and unadulterated gospel of God's grace is a nonnegotiable priority for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sadly, something other than the pure gospel of God's salvation for sinners has taken center stage in the pulpits of North America to the extent that some churches have become what the Westminster Confession of Faith rightly describes as "the synagogues of Satan" (WCF 25.5). In many church circles, people do not want to hear about their fallen state because of sin and their need for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, leading to repentance unto salvation. These important truths are not always discussed, explained, or applied in the pulpits of America.

I have been to a number of churches where from the moment you walk in, you have no idea what's going on. You go there expecting to worship and meet with the Living God, but you come out dejected and wondering if it was all worth it—sometimes feeling as if you had just participated in some evil practice (like pagan worship). The moment the preacher opens his mouth, I have often caught myself reaching for a "seatbelt," not knowing where he was going to take me—many times not preaching from a text of Scripture but building the "sermon" around a movie clip, a newspaper article, or a story of his own making. It's like riding on the dirty and bumpy roads in Malawi in a jeep that has neither shocks nor brakes. It's very frightening and uncomfortable to say the least—and it's pretty sickening. What's worse though is hearing people's remarks after hearing such a "sermon," such as "Wasn't that a great sermon?" and how "so and so" is a great preacher. The people sitting in the pews are just gobbling up garbage and junk (which is pollution for the soul) as their level of biblical knowledge and doctrine is so low—almost nonexistent for many of them. They can teach their kids to sing songs such as "Jesus Loves Me This I Know," but they have no clue what that really means. I have been brought to tears, mourning for the lost opportunity for so many who need to hear "Thus saith the Lord"—a prophetic word from the mouth of God through the preacher to sinners who are at odds with him because of their sin.

A few years ago, an older minister from a mainline denomination who had reached retirement age lamented as we talked. "Fletcher, I cannot preach about sin in my congregation. People get mad at me, and they would walk out of the church if I did that." With great frustration and disillusionment, he continued, "I am serious! This is the reality in many congregations and in our denomination." I felt distressed to hear this minister lament in that manner at the end of his many years of ministry. What a sad reality! I did not know how exactly to respond to him. I did with him the only thing that I could do. I asked him if we could pray together for his (now former) congregation, his denomination, and for America. As I reflect on this, I wonder how many more gospel ministers in North America will reach the end of their ministries in this manner. I pray there will be few.

Let me just take a moment and address all of my brothers who have been called to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear brothers, remember that you have been given the highest calling that any mortal man can receive from the Lord Jesus Christ. In his divine providence, the Lord has graciously chosen and called you to declare the whole counsel of God for the salvation of sinners and sanctification of his flock entrusted to you. Heed the divine instruction handed down to Timothy and to us through the pen of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:2: "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."

Remember, dear brothers, that souls of sinful men and women are at stake! If you do not preach the Word faithfully, you may fill your churches with thousands of seemingly "happy" and yet unsaved adherents who will soon stand before the seat of judgment—perhaps without knowing Christ as their mediator—and you yourself will have to give an account for their souls before the Lord on the Last Day (Ezek. 33:8-9). Remember, dear brothers, that the gospel needs no improvement! In fact, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be improved upon. The Lord God has put his saving power in his gospel (Rom. 1:16-17). Any attempt to improve upon this gospel will only ruin it and further incite the wrath of God. The simple and yet life-changing gospel as handed down to us by the apostles in the words of Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3-4) is powerful to save even the worst of sinners.

I would be remiss to proceed in this letter without addressing you, my fellow brothers and sisters in the pews, especially because this letter is primarily directed to you and not necessarily the clergy, although I do pray and hope that they too will derive some benefit from reading it. But for you, I have these five things to say.

First, sincerely long for the Word of God. "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation" (1 Pet. 2:2). Seek to learn and be mastered by the Word of God. May God's Word be enough for you and sufficient to fill you up and guide you in all matters of faith and practice. Hunger and thirst for more of God's Word especially when you go to the house of worship. Make it central to everything that you do and desire as you go from day to day.

Second, fight against the spirit of the age. "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths" (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Paul's exhortation to Timothy written centuries ago still rings true today. It is sad that the entertainment culture has so penetrated the church in North America, so much so that the people in the pews expect to be entertained when they go to the house of worship, instead of confronted and comforted by the Holy Word of God in its totality.

Third, seek to understand Christ's atoning work on the cross. (2) Christ's atonement for sin on the cross is, in my view, the bedrock of our salvation and of the Christian faith. Any serious Christian should be amazed by and seek to better understand the grace of God given to us through the Lord Jesus Christ and his substitutionary death on the cross, where he stood condemned in our place and made us right with God (2 Cor. 5:21). I plead with you to make much of this truth when you go to the house of worship and in all aspects of your life to the extent that others will be compelled and challenged to passionately embrace and behold Christ as "the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Anyone whose life has been gripped and impacted by the sobering and sweet truth of Christ's atonement for sin on the cross will do everything in his power (under God) to make sure that others get it and that they too are gripped and impacted by this good news of God's salvation for sinners.

Fourth, let me encourage you to learn to appreciate the gospel and its necessity for the salvation of sinners. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the world's only good news. It gives hope to the hopeless "sinners in the hands of an angry God," as Jonathan Edwards said in his most famous sermon. A sober understanding of the gravity and misery of sin will lead any serious-minded Christian to savour the sweet gospel of God's salvation. The pulpits as well as the pews must seek to make the gospel crystal clear and treasure it above all things. "Good" moral advice and self-help tips will do nothing to save dying souls and must be shunned at all costs.

Fifth, keep your ministers accountable, especially by praying for them. I think this point is self-explanatory, but I will say one thing here. Every gospel minister must be kept accountable in terms of how faithfully he exercises his duties and responsibilities, especially when it comes to the preaching of God's Holy Word. There are many ways to keep ministers accountable, but I will not delve into all that except to say pray for your ministers that by God's grace and the working of God's Holy Spirit they may be kept faithful and true to their calling. In my view, that is the best way to keep your ministers accountable before God and their congregations.

I would like to end this letter with a warning, an exhortation, and a promise from the Word of God. First, here is the warning: Beware of the devil and his schemes. There are many false prophets running around today trying to destroy the church of Jesus Christ through deception. Beware of them (Matt. 7:15-20). The devil is, of course, at the center of all this deception. He does not come clothed in wolf's clothing. He is too smart to do that. He comes clothed in sheep's clothing and so do his messengers, as the Bible tells us. He disguises himself as the "angel of light" as do his servants (2 Cor. 11:14-15). But he is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The Bible calls us to resist him so that he may flee from us (1 Pet. 5:8ff). Paul Harvey's If I Were the Devil illustrates this biblical truth. (3)

To my fellow gospel ministers, let us heed Paul's instruction: "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). Guard God's flock from ravenous wolves that may be among you.

Second, a pleading exhortation: Stop playing as the church and start being the church that the Lord Jesus Christ bought with his precious blood. Church is serious business and so is the worship of God. We do not have the luxury of worshipping the Lord God in the way of our own choosing. If we are going to worship God rightly and truly reflect his character, then we must worship him in accordance with his Word. "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). In addition to that, we must strive to "be holy even as he is holy" (1 Pet. 1:16). It's time to get real. The world is perishing. There is no time for playing church games. Souls of sinful men in the hands of an angry God are at stake. God's glory is at stake. Let's honor Christ, the Head of the church who shed his precious blood and died to purchase a people for his own, even the church to be his bride.

Third and finally, a promise for your encouragement: Do not despair. Remember the faithful words of our Lord Jesus Christ, "I will build my church." The situation might be pretty bad in your own denominations and/or congregations, but don't lose heart. There is hope in Jesus Christ. The battle is not lost! If you are a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, hold on to the faith. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. If you are a gospel minister, pray for the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit upon America and keep preaching the gospel faithfully. It's not a lost cause. Preach Christ, the Son of the Living God, and him crucified. Remember his own words, "On this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). Hold onto that promise and watch what he will do, and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will be found blameless.

Thank you very much for letting me share these concerns with you. May the Lord be pleased to pour out his Holy Spirit afresh upon America! May we experience a new reformation and a return to the true worship of the Triune and Living God through Jesus Christ!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

Your brother in Christ,
Rev. Fletcher Matandika
Pastor, New Westminster Chapel
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada


Sunday, March 20, 2011


In the Arms of an Angel - American Soldiers Tribute


Don't look for this kind of leadership amongst American Anglican leaders.

Episcopal priest banned from practicing Islam: The Church of England Newspaper, March 18, 2011 p 7. « Conger

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

An Episcopal priest’s decision to give up Christianity for Lent has not been well received by his bishop.

On March 10, the Rev Steve Lawler, an assistant at St Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson, Missouri, distributed a press release announcing that he would be practicing the rituals of Islam for the 40 days of Lent. However, Bishop George Wayne Smith of Missouri informed Mr Lawler that if persisted in this Lenten devotion he would be defrocked.

Speaking to a reporter for the St Louis Post-Dispatch about his spiritual exercises, Mr Lawler said that on Ash Wednesday he began the five-times-a-day Salah, the formal prayers to Allah required of all Muslims. He also began a study of the Qur’an and followed Muslim dietary laws. Holy week, Mr Lawler told the reporter, would see him fast from dusk to dawn in imitation of Muslim customs during Ramadan.

For more on Western Anglican loondom and apostasy, read:
Episcopal priest banned from practicing Islam: The Church of England Newspaper, March 18, 2011 p 7. « Conger

The Reformed Reader

“Lazy minds breed lazy hearts and hands. The greatest threat to Christianity is never vigorous intellectual criticism but a creeping senility that transforms truths into feelings, public claims into private experiences, and facts into mere values. Christianity is either true or false, but it is not irrational. If its claims are not objectively true, then they are not subjectively useful. If our only reason for believing that Jesus is alive is that ‘he lives within my heart,’ then, as Paul said, ‘our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain….’ (1 Cor. 15.14-15, 17, 19).”

For the rest, see:
The Reformed Reader

Friday, March 18, 2011

In Praise of God:Hymns of the Anglican Church Tradition

Protestant Church - Processional Hymn

Liverpool RC Cathedral Thy Hand Oh God Has Guided

Exeter City, Devon, UK

The City of Exeter in Devon England

Exeter Cathedral, England

Maternal ancestral home until 1859 and the move to Toronto-area.

Founded in 1050, it was established to provide support for the Bishop of Exeter in his ministry and mission across Devon, and to be a community of prayer, and christian worship. It is the symbolic focus of the Bishop's centeredness in the life of the Diocese, and the home of his cathedra' (his seat or throne). All involved in its life seek to reflect the love of God revealed in the eternal community of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Cathedral building, dedicated to Peter, one of Jesus' earliest followers and the model for all subsequent bishops, is the finest example of Decorated Gothic architecture in any Cathedral. The building itself proclaims something of the beauty and holiness of God. To see it on a day when the sun streams through its windows is breathtaking.

Exeter Cathedral

The ancestral home on Mum's side, the family residing a few blocks to the north and in the cathedral's shadows almost. St. David's Street...have a chair from their home.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Deus Misereatur: "The Accidental Anglican" - A Book Review

An excellent review by Rev. Michael Philliber, PCA, of an odd work, "An Accidental Anglican," the story of an ADHD traveller from Pentecostalism-to-deacon-to-Presbyer-to-Anglican bishop in AMiA...all within two years. Even Todd Hunter, the new Bishop, was surprised at the rapidity. As to AMiA, we're not surprised. They "are what they are," charismatics. Reproduced by permission.

Deus Misereatur: "The Accidental Anglican" - A Book Review

"The Accidental Anglican" - A Book Review
The Accidental Anglican: The Surprising Appeal of the Liturgical Church
Todd D. Hunter
InterVarsity Press
P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426
Copyright: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8308-3839-4; $15.00
3 1/2 stars

Wayfaring through the Ecclesiastical wilderness is becoming a hot past-time for many wanderers in North America. Todd Hunter’s small, 138 page paperback, “The Accidental Anglican: The Surprising Appeal of the Liturgical Church” is another story of such a journey. This book is written to tell his tale in a way that may resonate with others who are floundering in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

“The Accidental Anglican” breaks down into two sections. The first portion recounts the author’s pilgrimage through the Jesus People of the early 1970s, then Calvary Chapel, later the presidency of Vineyard Churches USA, afterward into a non-churchly church plant, and most recently into the episcopacy of The Anglican Missions in the Americas (TheAM). In the second segment, Hunter relays several of the salient reasons he likes Anglicanism, touring through a few of his heroes, and then briefly admiring the colorful variety of flora and fauna of the Anglican garden. The writer’s account and admiration is an easy read, told from his low-church perspective, striving to address the concerns and questions “seekers” might have as they gaze on the scene with him.

Though the book is nicely written, it becomes obvious quite quickly that Hunter has been on a experiential journey for a while, looking for something that will firmly grip his spiritual ADHD. One of the questions that kept niggling at the back of my mind while I read the book is, “Where will he go next?” There seems to be an unsettledness, or fickle searching that has driven the author from one ecclesiastical shop to another, out of each he staggers exhausted, but eager to grope after another consumer experience, singing with Bono, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

A second troubling question cropped up repeatedly, “How could TheAM’s leadership promote him so quickly?” By the author’s own account, he went from non-Anglican, to deacon, then priest and finally bishop within roughly 2 years. And underneath this, the fast and furious movement began with the offer to plant a Church for that denomination before he was even a card-carrying Anglican. I must confess my perplexity! This reviewer can’t help but wonder if the leadership has been kidnapped by the American quasi-divinity “Pragmatism”.

“The Accidental Anglican: The Surprising Appeal of the Liturgical Church” is a comfortable piece to read. Many readers will find that Hunter’s questions on his journey are theirs, and his findings will likely catch their attention. I mildly recommend the book, and hope the author has found his permanent home.

Michael Philliber is pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA), Midland Texas. He earned his Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in 2007.

[Permission to reprint & re-post is hereby given as long as credit is given to the author of this book review and notification is sent to the reviewer-MWP]

Psalm 119: Nederland Zingt- Uw Woord is een lamp voor mijn voet/ Ps 119

Before Isaac Watts, Englishmen filled the London churches to sing metrical Psalms for hours outside divine worship, including St. Paul's. They loved the simple, strong, and simple melodic lines, as these Dutchmen capably evince. Ah, for better times--singing canonical texts themselves.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nederland Zingt- Uw Woord is een lamp voor mijn voet/ Ps 119

Psalm 119, from our Dutch Calvinistic brothers and sisters! Excellentissima,

A Brief Break

I have taken a brief break from posting, but shall resume shortly. The anguish over American Anglican capitulations has driven me to the knees with--on occasion--serious tears in the eyes, a most un-Canadian thing--and yet with hope in our Sovereign God. The anguish, at times, is too much.

I will be posting clips on Anglicanism, shortly. These will be designed for my four children and one grandchild. For the memory. For exploration. For thought. The children were raised on the BCP and the Westminster Shorter Catechism. They are all in university (and busting my budget while at it, but pressing them to "at least" get a Masters degree, in keeping with the 4-generation tradition of Masters + degrees. It's a Veitch-thing.) I want them to have the family record re: Anglicanism, although it will entail the wider concerns.

More later.

Best regards.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Few. The Proud. The Marines.

Too bad I am more proud to be a US Marine than an Anglican. We had and have leaders with Marines, men with high-IQ's.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New USMC Recruiting Video

Marine Corps "Honor, Courage, Commitment"

Semper Fi, fellow Marines.

I wish I could find the similar level of honour, courage, and committment amongst waffling Anglicans in the West. But alas, it is not to be found.


The Few. The Proud. The Marines.

Semper Fi, brother Marines. We earned the covetted title, U.S. Marine. A salute from a fellow Veteran.

Navy Hymn Tribute

Having spent 13 calenderical years of my life--25% of my life--at, upon, above, aloft, and under the blue seas, a salute to my fellow Navy vets. And beyond the 25%, years spent in the deserts, fields, mountains and snows with US Marines. A salute to my fellow Navy and Marine Vets at sea tonight.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reasonable Christian: Cessationism Versus Continuationism: Why The Pentecostal/Charismatic Attack On Reformed and Protestant Theology Fails

Cessationism Versus Continuationism: Why The Pentecostal/Charismatic Attack On Reformed and Protestant Theology Fails
As you may have noticed in my biographical sketch, I spent ten years or so within the Pentecostal/Charismatic camp and was a solid Arminian. However, over the years I began to feel manipulated and coerced and any legitimate questions I had about the reality of so-called miracles and gifts which were being claimed through stories and anecdotes were either ignored or reprimanded by practically everyone in the movement from the top to the lowliest person in the pews. The short of it is that within the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement honest questioning of the theology, practices and "gifts" is discouraged and anyone who dares to raise such questions is immediately shunned or "counseled" so that the "body" is not harmed.

While Pentecostals and Charismatics are advocating what they would call "power evangelism," made popular by the now deceased John Wimber of the Vineyard movement, I would contend that "power evangelism" and the signs and wonders movement actually undermines evangelism and the biblical accounts of miracles which took place in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. If the poor quality of today's miracles and signs and wonders are the same sorts of signs and wonders recorded in the Bible, then we would have to question the resurrection, divine healing, and other biblical miracles, including the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in the coming of Jesus Christ. In fact, what we see today in the charismatic movement is a poor imitation of the genuine supernatural miracles recorded in Holy Scripture. I can say this with confidence because few if any miraculous healings performed by Pentecostal/Charismatic ministers either on the local level or on national television can be documented or substantiated. The vast majority of such miracles are either outright false or only partially true due to "evangelistic" exaggeration, as noted by Roger E. Olson, who is also a former Pentecostal and familiar with the practices of the movement. Olson comments:

"Still another aspect of Pentecostalism's dark side is its tendency to condone dishonesty on the part of influential and popular evangelists and ministers. One day I was browsing through the books at a publishers' overstock sale and came across the autobiography of a Pentecostal evangelist who held tent revival meetings in the small Midwestern city where I grew up. I remembered his rather farfetched sermon illustrations of miraculous occurrences in his life and ministry. The book contained a chapter on a miracle that supposedly happened during his revival in our town."

For more, see:
Reasonable Christian: Cessationism Versus Continuationism: Why The Pentecostal/Charismatic Attack On Reformed and Protestant Theology Fails

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Old Dutch Calvinists singing one of our great Psalms given to us under the magisterial hand of His Majesty.