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The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, International

Book Review The 1662 Book of Common Prayer International Edition Given that the vast majority of 110 million Anglican Christians around belong to provinces that identify the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as their standard liturgy, it is no surprise that a publisher has...

Freedoms Assailed

One of the most concerning aspects of all the Covid restrictions is the way police, politicians, and governments have acquiesced so readily regarding the restrictions being placed and enforced on freedom of speech and worship in majority Christian nations—even in a...

Free Church of England Congregation Leaves After Actions of Bishops

The Church Council & Trustees of Emmanuel Anglican Church (FCE), Tunbridge Wells have unanimously voted to leave the denomination after actions by Bishop Primus (Presiding Bishop) John Fenwick and Bishop Paul Hunt have gone unanswered. The parish was a recent...

FCE Primus Accused of Blackmail & Racism

Free Church of England Bishop Primus, The Rt Revd John Fenwick has been accused of attempted blackmail and racism in a growing public dispute within the denomination. The FCE left the Church of England in 1844 and linked with the Reformed Episcopal Church in the US...

St Vincent Update

The West Indian island nation of St Vincent & the Grenadines is still struggling with the aftermath of a series of eruptions from the La Soufriere volcano that began 9 April. Twenty-thousand residents have been displaced by the disaster. Things have become more...

Dean of Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham Cites Ongoing Conflict within The Episcopal Church.

The Very Revd Andrew Pearson, Dean and Rector of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama has resigned. The large, downtown parish has long been a bulwark against an increasing departure from biblical standards within the Episcopal Church, USA....

Finnish Bishop-Elect Charged by Prosecutor

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Heidelberg Catechism

Lord’s Day 4 Q & A 9 Q. But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do? A. No, God created human beings with the ability to keep the law.1 They, however, provoked by the devil,2 in willful disobedience,3 robbed themselves and all...

Skrine Instituted as Rector of All Souls’

The Revd Charles Walter Douglas Skrine was instituted as Rector of All Souls’, Langham Place on Wednesday, 28 April. His predecessor was The Revd Hugh Palmer. Palmer had been rector of the parish since 2005 and Chaplain to HM The Queen since 2012. Skrine had been the...

‘Lockdowns’

30 April 2021 During the 3 'Lockdowns' over the past year preachers who minister the Gospel in the open air have continued to be stopped from fulfilling their ministry to the public. For example in the past 5 weeks alone we have noticed: On Saturday 20 March 2021 two...

Pilgrim’s Process

By The Revd Peter Sanlon

We need reliable information to keep us on the right path to heaven. For this we have the Bible. But our use of the Bible is less than what it needs to be, if all we get from it is accurate information. We must so handle God’s Word that it stirs up love.

The Book of Common Prayer, in its introduction, explains: ‘The people (by daily hearing of holy Scripture read in the Church) might continually profit more and more in the knowledge of God, and be the more inflamed with the love of his true Religion.’

Charles Dickens pictured a school class of students, in Hard Times, as ‘little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim.’ Clearly, the Victorian author found such a cold portrait of school distasteful. How much more repugnant should we find a vision of preaching or a church service that merely and only aims to fill the mind with facts?

If our experience of church has been to focus exclusively on information transfer, we will find that words in the Bible have been redefined to make scripture fit an intellectualist mould. We will read of ‘faith’ and think it means ‘understanding and assenting to the propositions in the Bible.’ By way of contrast John Calvin notes in his commentary on John ‘no person can be said to have faith in Jesus who does not cordially embrace him in love.’

Information can be rote-learned, drilled into people by means of punishments, threats, rewards or fear. Love, on the other hand, must be awakened by the beauty of the beloved. So Richard Sibbes understood faith as having a ‘transformative sight of the Saviour.’ Growth in godliness or healing in relationships may require some new nugget of information from the Bible – but it is more likely to require a fresh vision of the gentle beauty of Jesus, such that instructions we already know, become pleasant and appealing to us. Preachers who help us become more like Jesus will not only help us understand the Bible – they will stir up love for the author of scripture. Without love for God, we can no more understand the Bible than we can live like Jesus. As Augustine observed in his Confessions, ‘I am carried through life by my love.’

 

Rev. Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk

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