Friday, January 29, 2010

Worship & The Book of Common Prayer...

As a follow up to my last post and comments, here is an excerpt from an article in the Sept./Oct. 1999 Touchstone Magazine entitled “Common Prayer, Common Faith” by Louis R. Tarsitano:

It cannot be stated strongly enough that the intention of the original Reformers, whatever has become of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions that look back to them, was the conservation of the pre-medieval understanding of authority, of the scriptural doctrine of the Fathers and the undivided Church, of the local use of the common prayer in a language understandable to the people of the Church, and of spiritual communion based on one baptism into the one Body of Jesus Christ. From the beginning of the Reformation, some national churches were more successful than others in pursuing this goal of conservation. And it is worth noting that the precise cause of the appalling division among today’s non-Roman Christians in the West is the abandonment in subsequent generations of the Reformers’ traditional religion, elevating “protest” and “diversity” to ends in themselves.

Nevertheless, an exhibit remains of the Reformers’ true intentions, an embodiment of the reformed Catholic faith that they struggled to recover, not out of malice toward Rome, but for a greater love of God, of the truth of Holy Scripture, and of the faith and practice of the undivided Church. It is the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, which has become in over 150 different languages and local editions the chief formulary of some sixty to seventy million Anglicans in national churches around the world.

The entire article can be found at The Continuum.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some random thoughts on Christ, Law, and Gospel...

1. A number a years ago sitting with my wife on a Sunday morning in an evangelical church I wrote down the following on the bulletin sermon notes insert, concerning modern church services:

When one takes away the Liturgy [referring specifically to Thomas Cranmer's BCP] with its content (which is Christ and Scripture centered), it is difficult, if not impossible to replace it with something that doesn't fall short of a holy worship; a definite problem for the modern Church.

Newer and "more relevant" is not necessarily better when it comes to the faith once delivered and to what the Church has been called to as it gathers to worship Christ. One need only read through portions of the Book of Common Prayer (1928 or earlier) to be impressed with this.

Though the old style English is a bit foreign to our modern ear, the weightiness and focus is nonetheless apparent. Here is an excerpt from the Holy Communion (BCP 1662):

O LORD and heavenly Father, we thy humble servants entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that all we, who are partakers of this holy Communion, may be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction. And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.

2. William Willimon, a bishop in the United Methodist Church in the U.S., writes concerning the preaching from the pulpit in today's churches:

"Unable to preach Christ and Him crucified, we preach humanity and it improved"

Today, preaching Law and Gospel from Scripture is considered antiquated and something that all too many preachers (and Christians) think only relevant to those congregations of the long forgotten Reformation and not appropriate for our "advanced age." But man's condition hasn't changed. The preaching of Christ and Him crucified has never been fashionable. The Law, rightly presented, diagnoses man as he is - born into Adam's sinful race and willfully alienated from God as an enemy of righteousness... helpless to change or free himself from the bondage of sin. This resonates with the one who hears, as it is consistent with what is the reality within the hearer's conscience. The Gospel presents Christ Jesus as the only propitiation for man's sin and our only means of salvation; a salvation that by God's grace is obtained through faith and repentance in Christ alone; His merit of a holy life lived as man, His loving offering of Himself as the full satisfaction for our sins upon the cross, and His resurrection from the dead being the sole basis of our justification and sanctification before a just God; and that is freely offered to all who believe in Him. He takes our sin away and then accounts to us His righteousness unto eternal life. This is good news; and as saints who are yet still sinners we need to hear this constantly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coakley Witnesses Assault on Reporter...

carried out by one of her campaign aids/consultants (Michael Meehan) and does nothing but scurry away! Wake up Mass. Democrats... attack a reporter who asks a tough question?! And isn't Democrat candidate and current Mass. Attorney General Coakley complicit in that she witnessed and left the scene of an assault and battery against a member of the press (simply asking a question) committed by one of her people acting on her behalf? Full story at The Weekly Standard and at Boston
Video of the incident:

UPDATE #1: Here's the latest by Daniel Foster from National Review Online...

Michael Meehan, the man accused of strong-arming Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack for asking a tough question of Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley, was nominated by President Obama for a seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a semi-autonomous government body that oversees U.S. civilian international broadcasts such as Voice of America and Radio Free Europe....

... Meehan is not mere campaign muscle, but a well-connected political operative who worked for a number of high-profile national Democrats. According to a POLITICO bio, he has held top communications posts at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). He has also worked as an adviser to Sens. John Kerry (D., Mass) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), as chief of staff to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.), and as political director for former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

According to his LinkedIn profile and a web bio at Virillion Strategies, where he serves as senior vice-president, Meehan worked for NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2003, as “Vice President of Strategy and Politics.”

Meehan was reportedly on-loan to the Coakley campaign from the DSCC to “assist the Coakley camp with messaging.”

UPDATE #2: Coakley says, "Are you going to believe me or you're lying eyes??"
She claims she knows nothing about this incident and didn't see it happen...

Uh, see photo above^

UPDATE #3: After many reports by the MSM that he did not shove or trip The Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack, Michael Meehan admits and apologizes to McCormack:

Last evening I was a little too aggressive in the confusion of trying to help the Attorney General get to her car and catch a flight.

I clearly did not intend to cause John McCormack to trip and fall over that low fence. As the video shows and he confirms in his blog, I stopped to help him up and make sure he was OK.

I talked with Mr. McCormack this afternoon and apologized for my part.

... I wonder if Democrat candidate Coakley is still in the dark about what happened?