Category Archives: theology

Sunday Morning Kids Programming and New Church Staff!

I am so grateful to announce two new additions to our ASC staff team! Rev. Julie Cate Kelly is now our Ministry Coordinator. Julie will be working to organize and support our numerous lay ministry teams and preaching occasionally. She has a rich history of life and ministry experience. Dre (Andrea) Acosta is now our Director of Children’s Ministry! Dre has 10 years of children and youth ministry experience in the Church of England and is passionate and enthusiastic about connecting kids to Jesus! Please continue reading to find their bio’s and see pictures!

THIS SUNDAY! 

This Sunday we will worship at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., and kick off our Spiritual Formation classes at 10:15 between the services!

Children’s Program Information (Starting this Sunday!) 

– We provide nursery care for infants and toddlers at both services.

– Children’s Church for preschoolers only during the 9 a.m. service.

– Children’s Church for preschool through fifth grade during the 11:15 a.m. service.

– Nursery and children’s Sunday school classes are also provided during Spiritual Formation hour. It is at this time when we will offer our traditional Children’s Sunday School

Adult Spiritual Formation Classes 10:15-11 a.m. 

Bible Study: 1 Peter Hopeful Witness in a Post-Christian Age
How do we bear witness to “the hope that we share” (1 peter 3:15) among neighbors whose assumptions, imagination, and frame of reference are largely ‘post-Christian’? This focal question will guide our 10-week study of 1 Peter as we seek to allow an ancient pastoral letter to shape our imaginations, affections, and practices as a church. Taught by Dr. Ross Wagner.

Welcoming The Stranger: Discovering God’s Heart for Immigrants
Immigration issues can be complicated, controversial and emotional. We often get so caught up in personal experience and political arguments that it is difficult to understand what the Bible teaches. Come investigate what the Bible has to say about the strangers in our midst. This six week class is taught by Paul Watkins.

 

New Staff Bios! 

Rev Julie Cate Kelly 

Ministry Coordinator 

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I was born in a small village in the midst of the Iranian revolution to missionary parents, and spent much of my early life exploring the rich culture and sweet-smelling spice bazaars of the Middle East.  I transitioned (quite awkwardly) from the bustling streets of Cairo, Egypt to the sleepy, Amish countryside of Pennsylvania when I was 10 years old, and lived there until I went to Wheaton College (IL) to study Interpersonal and Organizational Communications.

Desiring the excitement of a big city, I ventured to Washington, DC upon graduation, and spent three years working on Capitol Hill as the Scheduler for a U.S. Senator. (I like to pretend it was my very own West Wing experience.) Upon my boss’s retirement from the Senate, I changed fields (entirely!) and began working as the Community Coordinator for Kairos, a vibrant young adult community at The Falls Church (Anglican),  just outside of DC.  I planned retreats and community gatherings, coordinated our weekly worship service for 300-400 young adults, organized small groups, recruited, trained and managed volunteer ministry leaders, and even tried out my very first (embarrassing) sermons on them. It was during my time at TFC that I sensed God’s call to pursue further theological training for a lifetime of ministry. I studied for my M.Div at Duke Divinity School in Durham, and especially enjoyed my ministry placements in a male juvenile detention center, a small Episcopal parish, and as a chaplain on the neuro-oncology floor at Duke University Hospital.  I was ordained by the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) as a Vocational Deacon on All Saints Day of 2008.  I love the creative job opportunities and hands-on aspect of the diaconate, which allow me to minister to people both in and outside the walls of the church. I enjoy creating thoughtful spaces and fostering community where pastoral care and spiritual growth can occurr, where individuals–young and old alike–can embrace God’s goodness, mercy and profound love for them.  I was drawn to the Anglican church while in college, because it offers beautiful liturgical order to worship, rich symbolism, and holy mystery to my then rather narrow faith.

I met my husband Patrick at a presidential inaugural ball (how DC is that!?), and we married and moved to Durham, while I was in seminary. We began attending All Saints the day after we returned from our honeymoon in August of 2007. We developed wonderful, rich friendships in our various 242 groups, and loved having ASC as our church home. Our daughter, Cecilia, was born in October of 2009, and baptized at ASC just before her 1st birthday.  Quite unexpectedly, in 2010, we were both offered jobs in Charlotte, and although we grieved the loss of our All Saints community and our plans to stay in the area, we felt as though God was calling us elsewhere, even if for only a season. Patrick was a management consultant, working primarily with federal agencies to streamline their systems and help with their decision-making capabilities. I worked there as the Pastor of Family Ministries at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. A year later, Patrick received an amazing job offer at a consulting firm in DC, so we packed up (yet again!) and returned to the endless beltway traffic and steep cost of living that Washington offers. Five months into our time there, Patrick was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was treated at NIH, but despite all of their best efforts and our hopeful prayers, his neurological decline and pesky cancer cells would not let him live past the young age of 34. He died in January of 2012, leaving me as his widow and the single-mom to our precocious 2 year old little girl, who couldn’t fathom why her daddy would never return home, (or why her mommy was constantly sad!).  In June of 2012, Ceci and I moved back to Durham, because the thought of being a single-mom in DC seemed practically impossible. We have loved being back here, and have credited our community and worship at All Saints as a major part of our healing process. She’s almost 5 now, and promises to be taller than me in a very short amount of time. She loves being “craftable”, and making friends with any furry creature she meets! (According to her, she’s lucky to have 3 “siblings” — two very fat cats and a sweet, but overly-friendly dog.)

I am excited to be back in ministry in a more formal way, and feel hopeful for the future of All Saints. I love bringing order to chaos, and establishing systems and mechanisms that can enable our life together to occur more easily, while equipping lay leaders to serve our church and community in fruitful, productive ways.  I hope I can help All Saints journey through this season of growth and change, and help to make it a welcoming, accessible, and healthy place for new and old members alike.

When I’m not singing show tunes to my daughter at bedtime, or keeping my animal kingdom fed and loved, I love watching tennis, enjoying a glass of oaky red wine, traveling with Cecilia, reading historical novels, making Middle Eastern food, and creating my own jewelry.

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Dre (Andrea) Acosta 

Director of Children’s Ministry 

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I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, and have loved working with children and youth since I was a pre-teen! An excellent youth group allowed for missions opportunities throughout high school, both locally and abroad in Australia and England. After graduating high school, I interned with a local missions organization, specializing in discipleship and international mission, before becoming staff and expanding my role. Just after my 20th birthday, I moved to the south west of England to pursue youth & children’s ministry training, while working for two local Anglican churches. Three fantastic years later, I moved on to Coventry, England, to become Youth & Children’s Minister of Holy Trinity Church. After developing healthy rhythms of ministry in the church and local community, it was time to return Stateside, with a four month stint in Nairobi, Kenya on the way. My immediate family had trickled down South from Buffalo over the years, so I came to Raleigh, where I met my awesome husband, Jorge.

Jorge is a Miami-raised Cuban-American. He graduated cum laude in the honors program at Florida International University with a B.A. degree in History and Asian Studies and a minor in Religious Studies. After teaching high school history and criminal justice for three years in Florida, Jorge was drawn to North Carolina to pursue graduate studies in Christian apologetics and focus on his deep love for computers, technology and all things digital. He currently works for a local branding agency as a digital engagement specialist. We were married on October 5th, 2013!

I have just begun my studies to complete a degree in Developmental and Child Psychology, with a view of developing quality care standards for vulnerable children, foster children, and those recently adopted. I’m currently serving as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the Wake County Court System, monitoring and advocating for foster children in their custody cases. I’m consistently studying Spanish in hopes my fluency will someday overtake Jorge’s!

Jorge and I both love animals and have one four legged, curly haired fur-child at home. We love to dance salsa, cook Cuban feasts, and are both voracious readers.

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New Service Times and Spiritual Formation Classes

We will be worshipping together on Sunday mornings in one service at 10am for the next two weeks (August 24 and 31). On Sunday, September 7th we will begin offering two services of Holy Eucharist on Sunday mornings: 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Spiritual Formation classes will begin on September 7th as well. These classes will meet between the services from 10:15-11:00 a.m. Spiritual Formation classes for children will be offered at this time as well and nursery is provided.

This Fall we are pleased to offer two course for adults: A Bible Study on 1 Peter, and a class on God’s heart for immigrants in our midst. Please plan on participating in one of these offerings. Look below for more details.

1 peter bible study fall 2014


ASC WELCOMING THE STRANGER PROMO 2014

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All Saints Church Reads: Reflection by Paul Watkins

Last week we had our first (of many I pray) meetings of the All Saints Church Reads book club.

torranceThere were two meetings: one in the morning at 7 am at the Upper Room and one in the evening at 7 pm at my house. Over 15 people met and discussed the first two chapters of James Torrance’s book Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace.

It is a short book that profoundly explores the depth and grace of the gospel of God! It is a book that leads me to worship and marvel at the grace of God!

The book club will meet again on July 24th (at 7am and 7pm) to discuss the last two chapters of the book. All are welcome!

Paul Watkins attended and wrote this poignant reflection:

“The worship and mission of the church are the gift of participating through the Holy Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father and the Son’s mission from the Father to the world.” (p. 9)

This sentence embodies the main thesis of Torrance’s book: that we live Christianly by entering into participation with what is already happening within the life of the Trinity.

Acceptable worship is already ascending to God – from our great High Priest in the heavens who ever lifts up holy hands to His Father in praise and thanksgiving; when we worship rightly, we do so only by entering into and taking part in the Son’s worship already taking place.

Likewise, acceptable mission is already happening – climactically in the Father’s sending forth the Son into the world to call all men to Himself, but also in the Son’s sending forth of the Spirit He received from the Father into the world to carry on the same mission; when we do mission rightly, we only do so by entering into and taking part in the Son’s and Spirit’s mission already taking place.

Which is to say, living Christianly does not mean offering worship and mission of our own to God, but in participating in what the Father has already provided for Himself through His Son and Spirit. This is the meaning of “grace.” It is not so much that God gives grace for us, extra nos, and we respond in faith and service for God, extra Deum, as two actions by two different actors playing their parts in turns; rather, our faith and service are nothing other than the faith and service of the Son through the Spirit operative in us, which is one and the same thing as grace itself, as one action by two different actors playing their respective parts in simultaneous, intimate co-action.

So our work (of worship and mission) and God’s grace are not two different things, traded between us; they are one and the same thing, seen from two perspectives. This is why we can never imagine our service to God apart from His grace (Pelagianism), nor imagine His grace apart from our service (radical Protestantism).

So remember, when we worship it is the Son through the Spirit that is worshiping through us. And when we go forth in mission to the world, it is also the Son through the Spirit that is going forth in mission through us.

All that we do, if we do it Christianly, is nothing other than what God Himself is doing while using us as His vessels. It is “not I, but the grace of God which is with me.” Which is to say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” So let us be cooperators with the Spirit, and co-workers with the Son, joining them in their worship and mission as we are drawn ever more intimately into the life of the Triune God.

– Reflection by Paul Watkins

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Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, c. 202

Irenaeus_of_Lyons_202

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Irenaeus! 

There is some doubt as the year of Irenaeus’ birth, with estimates varying from the years 97 to 160. Most authorities settle on a year around 130. Born in Asia Minor, Irenaeus learned the Christian faith from Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, who was himself a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus later studied at Rome and then became a presbyter in the church at Lyons, at the invitation of its first bishop, Pothinus. Lyons, then known as Lugdunum, was a flourishing trade center that soon became the most important of its kind in the West, and the principal see in Gaul. During a sudden persecution which caused the imprisonment of many of the members of the church in Lyons, Irenaeus was sent to Rome to mediate a dispute regarding Montanism, a sect of enthusiasts whose teachings Eleutherus, the bishop of Rome, seemed to embrace. On his return to Lyons around 178, Irenaeus was elected bishop, as Pothinus had been killed during the persecution.

True to his name (which means, “the peaceable one”), he acted as mediator again in a dispute in 190. Victor, the bishop of Rome, had excommunicated the Quartodecimans (the “Fourteenthers”) of Asia Minor, who celebrated Easter on the same day as the Jewish Passover, the fourteenth day of Nisan, instead of on the Sunday following the fourteenth day of Nisan, with all other Christians. Irenaeus urged patience and conciliation, and a result of his intervention, good relations were restored. Some centuries later the Quartodecimans conformed to the practice of the catholic Church of their own accord.

Irenaeus’ enduring significance rests on his writings as a theologian, in particular a large treatise entitled, The Refutation and Overthrow of Gnosis, Falsely So-Called, usually shorted to Against the Heresies. In it, Irenaeus describes the major Gnostic systems of thought, thoroughly, clearly, and often with biting sarcasm. This treatise is one of our chief sources of knowledge about second century Gnosticism. He also makes a case for teaching authority in Christianity that has deeply influenced subsequent thought, resting primarily on Scripture (of which the four Gospels are supreme) and emphasizing the interpretive authority in the continuity between the teaching of the apostles and the teaching of bishops and presbyters in the churches, generation after generation, in a visible and public succession (as opposed to the secret handing on of Gnostic doctrines from teacher to disciples). Against the Gnostics, who despised the material and exalted the spiritual, Irenaeus stressed the doctrines of the goodness of creation and of the resurrection of the body. A quote from Irenaus:

If Jesus did have a special secret teaching, to whom would He entrust it? Clearly, to His disciples, to the Twelve, who were with Him constantly, and to whom he spoke without reservation (Mark 4:34). And was the teaching of the Twelve different from that of Paul? Here the Gnostics, and others since, have tried to drive a wedge between Paul and the original Apostles, but Peter writes of Paul in the highest terms (2 Peter 3:15), as one whose teaching is authentic. Again, we find Paul saying to the elders of the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:27), that he has declared to them the whole counsel of God. Where, then, do we look for Christ’s authentic teaching? In the congregations that were founded by the apostles, who set trustworthy men in charge of them, and charged them to pass on the teaching unchanged to future generations through carefully chosen successors.

In his other major treatise, the Demonstration of Apostle Preaching (which was rediscovered only in 1904), he also sets out the case against Gnosticism. His principal points in this work are a clear reassertion of Christian monotheism, emphasizing the identity of the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New, and the unity of the Father and the Son in the work of revelation and redemption.

Irenaeus died at Lyons about the year 202 and was buried in the crypt of the church of Saint John (now Saint-Irenée). According to a late and uncertain tradition, he suffered martyrdom for the faith.

Taken from The Oxford Dictionary of Saintsand Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980)

The Collect

Almighty God, you upheld your servant Irenaeus with strength to maintain the truth against every blast of vain doctrine: Keep us, we pray, steadfast in your true religion, that in constancy and peace we may walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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All Saints Church Reads: Book 1

Our first book is Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace by James B. Torrance. We will be discussing the first two chapters together this Thursday at 7am in the Upper Room or at 7pm at my house (1 Hampshire Court, Durham.) It is a richly theological book that draws my heart to worship as I read. I pray that it deepens our understanding of God as a triune being and our astonishment and experience of the gospel of grace! It is a book about how our Triune God is at work drawing us into himself. “The Father has given to us the Son and the Spirit to draw us into a life of shared communion—of participating through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father—that we might be drawn in love into the very Trinitarian life of God himself.” It is a deeply worshipful and pastoral book and one that has many echoes of Bishop Steve Breedlove’s sermon on Trinity Sunday just a few weeks ago. Join us tomorrow or at our next book club meeting on July 24th when we discuss the second half of the book.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen

Thomas Kortus

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Here is a short blogpost about the author and the book:

When the Rev Professor James B. Torrance died at the age of 80 in 2003, Christianity Today magazine chose to highlight three areas of his life of service – 1) he was Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at University of Aberdeen in Scotland, 2) he was known as a mentor to other Christian leaders, and 3) he wrote “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace” (IVP, 1997).

He had also been a family man and a pastor, and whether serving in pastoral ministry, teaching theology, writing, or in mentoring others, Torrance was keen on worship and on discussing in simple but profound language the relationship of grace and the continuing priesthood of Jesus in Trinitarian worship.

It is interesting to note that “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace” [WCTGG] contains a mere 130 pages, and yet it has gained wide influence in denominations around the globe, as in it Torrance offers a brief but profound discussion of prayer and worship that is Christ-centered, incarnational and Trinitarian. The book is an expanded form of lectures on the theology of worship he gave in Manchester in 1994, and is also from articles he wrote or lectures he gave in different countries in the 70’s and 80’s. It has been pointed out that these themes have struck more of a chord in the last decade or so than they did in some theological circles in the earlier years. With this easy-to-read book Torrance is still helping “mentor” those of us serving in ministries today. Here are some excepts from WCTGG:

There is no more urgent need in our churches today than to recover the Trinitarian nature of grace—that it is by grace alone, through the gift of Jesus Christ in the Spirit that we can enter into and live a life of communion with God our Father.

Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father.

The Father has given to us the Son and the Spirit to draw us into a life of shared communion—of participating through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father—that we might be drawn in love into the very Trinitarian life of God himself.

Whatever else our faith is, it is a response to a response already made for us and continually being made for us in Christ, the pioneer of our faith.

In worship we offer ourselves to the Father ‘in the name of Christ’ because he has already in our name made the one true offering to the Father, the offering by which he has sanctified for all time those who come to God by him (Heb 10:10, 14) and because he ever lives to intercede for us in our name.

(Trinitarian worship) means participating in union with Christ, in what he has done for us once and for all, in his self-offering to the Father, in his life and death on the cross. It also means participating in what he is continuing to do for us in the presence of the Father and in his mission from the Father to the world. When we see that ….. (and) that the unique center of the Bible is Jesus Christ, ‘the apostle and high priest whom we confess [Heb 3:1], then the doctrines of the Trinity, the incarnation, the atonement, the ministry of the Spirit, Church and sacraments, our understanding of the kingdom….all unfold from that center.

We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit into the community, the one body of Christ, which confesses faith the in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and which worships the Father through the Son in the Spirit. We are baptized into a life of communion. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is the grammar of this participatory understanding of worship and prayer.

(We need to) return to the ‘forgotten Trinity’ – to an understanding of the Holy Spirit, who delivers us from a narcissistic preoccupation with the self to find our true being in loving communion with God and one another—to hear God’s call to us, in our day, to participate through the Spirit in Christ’s communion with the Father and his mission from the Father to the world—to create in our day a new humanity of persons who find true fulfillment in other-centered communion and service in the kingdom of God.

The first real step on the road to prayer is to recognize that none of us knows how to pray as we ought to. But as we bring our desires to God, we find that we have someone who is praying for us, with us, and in us. Thereby he teaches us to pray and motivate us to pray and to pray in peace to the Lord. Jesus takes our prayers—our feeble, selfish, inarticulate prayers—he cleanses them, makes them his prayers, and in a ‘wonderful exchange’ he makes his prayers our prayers and presents us to the Father as his dear children, crying ‘Abba Father’.

This blog post appeares on Trinitarian Worship: http://trinitarianworship.blogspot.com/2009/10/worship-community-triune-god-of-grace.html

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Filed under Anglicanism, Bible, Discipleship, In the News, Prayer, The Holy Spirit, theology, Uncategorized, Worship

All Saints Reads!

This summer All Saints Church is beginning a book club for all interested in exploring topics in theology, Christian spirituality, church history, and relationships. We will meet monthly and read and discuss a wide variety of books. The first two meetings will be held June 26th and July 24th in the morning and evening 7 am and 7 pm. The 7 am meeting will be held at the ASC Upper Room (3622 Lyckan Parkway Suite 5005) and 7 pm at Thomas Kortus’ Home (1 Hampshire Court, Durham). Feel free to attend the time that best fits your schedule.

For the first two months, we will discuss James Torrance’s book on Christian worship: “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace.” On June 26th, the first meeting, we will talk about the first 68 pgs.  Please contact thomas@allsaints-chd.org for more information.

 

torrance Description of “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace” from the  publisher:  “Here is a book that sets our worship, sacraments,      communion and language of  God back on track. In a day when refinement of method and quality  of experience are the guiding  lights for many Christians, James Torrance points us to the  indispensable who of worship, the  triune God of grace. Worship is the gift of participating  through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s  communion with the Father, writes Torrance. This book explodes the notion that the doctrine of  the Trinity may be indispensable for the creed  but remote from life and worship. Firmly rooted  in Scripture and theology, alive with pastoral  counsel and anecdote, Torrance’s work shows us  just why real trinitarian theology is the very  fiber of Christian confession.”

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Admitting we don’t know

by Kara Martin   May 10th, 2012

The God I Don’t Understand, Christopher JH Wright.

Christopher Wright is a great Old Testament scholar. His work on Old Testament ethics for the people of God has been foundational in my understanding of the character of God through the laws he laid down.

So to have him admit that there are difficult parts of Scripture, for which pat answers will not suffice, is… spirit warming. Some evangelical writers are so adamant in their writing that they leave no room for doubt, no room for mystery, no room for limits in human understanding!

The sub-title for this book is: Reflections on tough questions of faith. Wright looks at four areas of great contention, not just for atheists, but also within Christianity:

  • What about evil and suffering?
  • What about the Canaanites?
  • What about the Cross?
  • What about the end of the world?

He begins by pointing out that even if we struggle to understand parts of Scripture, this does not stop us from knowing and trusting God. In fact, it would be more surprising if everything were plain for us, for God himself declares in Isaiah 55:9: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

With honesty and humility he admits there are things he doesn’t understand, but also opens up different forms of not understanding:

  • Some things just don’t make sense, cannot be explained theologically or philosophically, and we can only respond with anger or grief, such as when confronted by the wrenching reality of suffering and pain.
  • Some things are morally disturbing, including some of the violent acts described in the Old Testament.
  • Some things are hard to understand but not in a bad way, for example, exactly how has the Cross dealt with our deepest needs? The response might be gratitude and hope, but it is difficult to explain.
  • Some things are simply puzzling or confusing, such as the narratives of the end of the world.

Wright points out that many in the Bible also wrestled with God: Abraham questioned God about Sodom and Gomorrah, Sarah mocked God’s ability to reverse her barrenness, Moses questioned God several times, Elijah could not understand why God would save life only to destroy it (1 Kings 17:20-21), Job’s whole book is a question of God, Jeremiah could not understand the words he was being asked to speak, while the Psalms are full of anguished questions.

The key for Wright is to ask questions, while acknowledging God’s good character, and continuing to worship in faith (following the pattern of Psalm 73).

While space will not allow me to deal with each of the issues in detail, here are some pointers from Wright on each concern:

  • The problem of evil. We need to keep three truths in tension: the utter evilness of evil, the utter goodness of God and the utter sovereignty of God; and note that all three meet at the Cross of Christ. Jesus defeated evil at the Cross, and in the new creation there will be no more death, pain, sin, impurity, darkness, international strife or curse. In the meantime, in the face of suffering, the Bible gives us models and words for grieving, weeping, lamenting, protesting, and screaming in pain and anger and frustration.
  • The problem of violence in the Old Testament. Wright makes a series of comments: it was set in violent times, the conquest of Canaan was a unique and limited event, God is sovereign and just and the Canaanite culture and religion was wicked, the same justice was applied to Israel, and ultimately God has a vision of peace for all nations.
  • The Cross = why, what and how? Wright speaks about balancing God’s anger and God’s love, and understanding the different dimensions of what was achieved by the Cross: coming home, receiving mercy, being redeemed, receiving forgiveness, reconciliation with God and one another, being justified, being cleansed, and opportunity for new life.
  • The last things. Wright opens up the ‘cranks and controversies’ around seven areas: death, the intermediate state, the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the day of judgment, heaven, and hell. He goes through the biblical material, and concludes on the high note of the hope we have in Jesus.

In his conclusion to the book, Wright speaks about two consequences of his musings in these areas:

  1. All of our behaviour now must be governed by the standards of the new creation. We must act against evil and violence, to bring peace and ease suffering.
  2. All that we do and work at now contributes to the content of new creation. All we have accomplished will be purged and redeemed, but not obliterated and forgotten. What we do every day matters, because of the Cross, and the promise of the new heaven and earth.

This book review can be found here

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Why ‘Welcoming The Stranger’?

Why ‘Welcoming the Stranger’?
We need everyone’s help promoting our “Welcoming the Stranger” event on 4/27 and so we wanted to give you a list of a few reasons why we think this event is so important and exciting for evangelical churches in the Triangle. In no particular order, here are a few reasons:

Why It’s Important:

  • only 9% of Protestants claim that their faith is the biggest influence in thinking about immigration.
  • the future of the church in N. America depends on immigrants:
    • immigrant churches are the fastest growing churches in the US
    • by 2050, White Americans will no longer be the majority of residents in the US
  • Through Christ, the Church does not respond out of fear but with love (1 John 4:18), which requires concrete relationships with others, not avoidance.
  • Our own salvation depends on “foreigners” (Gentiles) being welcomed into another people, Israel (Eph. 2:11-22), who were themselves “foreigners” in Egypt (Lev 19:33-34).

Why We’re Excited:

  • Over 12 churches and organizations have joined us as co-sponsors.
  • Matt Soerens is a knowledgeable, experienced, and disarming speaker on these matters.
  • A panel with local experts will be answering your questions (a Q&A time after Matt speaks).
  • We’ll highlight ways you can concretely love and serve your immigrant neighbors (volunteer opportunities).

How You Can Help:

  • Pray. Pray that people would come and that Christ will be present and glorified.
  • email your pastors and church leaders: invite them to the pastors breakfast and ask them to promote the event to the church.
  • volunteer (we’ll need help setting up and cleaning up the event; you can also volunteer with us to work with refugees and immigrants in the Triangle). Email tmcgee@wr.org to volunteer.

Thank you for all your help. Here’s a short video for World Relief’s “Mission on Our Doorstep” conference that happened in March:

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Jeremy Begbie: What can we learn about the gospel from music?

The important question when engaging culture is not, “Do I like this?” but rather, “What’s going on here?” said Jeremy Begbie, the Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology and director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts at Duke Divinity School.

By engaging works of art in this way, Christians can learn about the Holy Spirit, about the culture around them, and about other people, he said.

Begbie, a systematic theologian who trained as a concert pianist, specializes in multimedia performance-lectures which demonstrate the interplay between theology and the arts.

He is ordained in the Church of England and in addition to serving on the Duke Divinity faculty is a senior member of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an affiliated lecturer in the faculties of divinity and music at the University of Cambridge.

Previously he has been associate principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and honorary professor at the University of St. Andrews, where he directed the research project Theology Through the Arts at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts.

Begbie is the author of a number of books about theology, music and the arts, including “Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music,” which won a 2008 Christianity Today Book Award.

He spoke with Faith & Leadership while at Duke’s 2011Convocation & Pastors’ School to deliver the Gray Lecture. The following is an edited transcript.

Q: Is there any particular music you recommend for Christians?

Sometimes I’m asked in classes, “What kind of music do you like?” And I refuse to answer. The reason I refuse to answer is because it’s assumed that that’s the most important thing you could ever ask about music: “Do I like it?”

I think Christians need to learn — if they’re really interested in engaging culture, they need to learn to ask a subtler question, which is: “What’s going on here?”

Why is this person doing this writing, performing, whatever? Why are people buying this, listening to it, whatever? What’s happening when they consume this music?

And then I think one learns a lot more. You learn a lot more about other people. We learn much more about the culture that we’re living in. And so I’m often recommending music that I know will be a bit of a stretch to perhaps the group I’m with, and they’ll recommend music to me that might be a stretch for me, but I think we’ll both just learn a good deal more and expand as Christians a little bit more.

Some examples: I’m a great fan of the Scottish Roman Catholic composer James MacMillan. James MacMillan is a — that’s tough music. It’s not the toughest contemporary music, but you wouldn’t have it with the shower on, you wouldn’t have it as background music. It has to be listened to, but when you do — I’ve known people who have no classical training and who would never think of going to a classical concert being totally mesmerized by this music and feel that they learned something as Christians about the Christian faith in the process.

That I would like to see going on more. A student in a class the other day played a song by Sufjan Stevens. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was about a serious topic. I thought it was banal given the serious topic.

It turned out a lot of the class, particularly those of a certain age group, in their 20s and early 30s, were deeply moved by this and thought that it was completely appropriate to those lyrics.

So I had to do a bit of thinking on that instead of just swipe that aside. I said … , “What’s going on here? Why do you hear profundity or at least music that’s appropriate to those words where I only hear trivialization? Because it sounds almost facetious, that sound, considering the profundity of the words.”

That’s an example of a two-way learning process where we need to challenge each other on Christian terms, to say, “Christianly, what can we learn about the gospel or the Christian worldview from this music?”

That’s the key question to ask, I think. Not instantly, “Do I like it or not like it?” — because until we ask the first question, actually, you’re just not going to like it, but then we might be missing out on something fantastic.

Q: How do you learn to listen with the question, “How can I learn about the Holy Spirit through this music?” How would you train someone to hear the answer to that question?

Say with a composer like Bach, I would say, “Let’s listen to his music, and I’ll tell you a little bit about how it’s constructed, and then let’s listen again.”

Very often, depending on the music, you’ll say, “This is beautifully ordered music. It doesn’t sound chaotic, but it also sounds like he’s having a lot of fun. It sounds open, abundant, unpredictable. Hmm.”

Then I would try to ease from that into the Christian worldview, which sees the world as ordered and yet the Holy Spirit as the one who brings abundance, surprise, novelty, unpredictability, in the midst of and out of the order that’s in the world.

That’s the way I would go, and then I would actually say that I think that’s — Bach himself wouldn’t say, “I composed with precisely that in mind,” but he turns out vast quantities of music that effectively are doing just that. So that music, to me, can speak of a worldview that takes the Holy Spirit seriously.

That’s the sort of way I would do that. And that takes a bit of time, and you’ve got to invite people to hear it in a certain way, but that’s all right. We’re always inviting people to hear things in certain ways. That’s fine.

Q: So what music do you listen to for enjoyment?

I listen to all sorts of music. There’s very little music I don’t listen to.

I have my favorites, I suppose. I love Bach, I like a lot of 19th-century music. I like particular singers. I think Michael Bublé is a fantastic artist; his voice is extraordinary. Sufjan Stevens is a very gifted songwriter.

But among the classics, I listen to most things and gain a great deal from them. There’s very little music I really can’t stand. Very little.

Q: Do you listen to pop music?

To a certain extent, yes. I find the sort of song that you’d find on American Idol fairly dull. I think jazz is more interesting generally. But there is some interesting pop. I think a lot of U2’s music is impressive.

But as far as, say, the 20 or top 50 songs are concerned, it’s not that I find this music offensive; I just find it less and less interesting now than I used to.

Q: Does it matter if the art is good or not, or is the experience enough? What if someone loves and is inspired by the paintings of Thomas Kincade or heavy metal music, or whatever? Does it matter?

I believe that artistic — let’s call it artistic quality for the moment — matters. That’s a very hard thing to define, but it would include something like unity and diversity, subtlety, different levels of meaning, the ability to generate fresh meaning in the experience each time you hear it, look at it, or whatever.

I do believe that if there’s a hymn used in a church, it matters that it’s artistically good, and I believe that because I think God calls us to be creative agents who can do subtle and complex things as well as basic and direct things.

Now, having said that, I want to say there is a time and a place to be very direct and not subtle or complex. So I can say to my wife, “I love you.” It’s not subtle. And at times I just need to say that. Indeed, in any marriage, if you don’t you’re in trouble. But there’s a time to send her a Shakespeare sonnet. There’s a time to play a Chopin nocturne. There’s a time to use a Michael Bublé song. These are subtler. They bear repeated listening. They will yield more and more with each hearing, and I think you can show they have objective qualities that make this possible.

In worship, I think there is a place for the unadorned love song, so I will defend even the simplest contemporary worship song, because I think within the spectrum of Christian worship it has a place and is needed. But there’s also a place for a Palestrina anthem, a place for Brahms, and a place for Messiaen.

Q: I’ve read that you describe yourself as a systematic theologian and not an “arts theologian.” What’s the distinction?

I see myself primarily as a theologian in the arts rather than an artist or musician that happens to dabble in a bit of theology. So I’m concerned with exploring and expounding the riches of the Christian faith, and doing so especially in the world of music or painting or sculpture or whatever. I’m trying to bring a rigor of Christian thought to the arts.

Q: In your career you cross a lot of boundaries — theology, arts, academic, performance, verbal, non-verbal. Do you see value in that border crossing and interdisciplinarity in and of itself?

I’m a great believer in interdisciplinarity. For as long as I can remember, even as a child, I was always looking for connections between things.

I suppose that’s grounded in a deeper conviction about the coherence of the world — that truth is ultimately one, that we’re not living in a totally chaotic world. It’s a world with distinctions and plurality and variety and diversity of parts, but it’s not a random world, flying apart.

And because God has made this world with a coherence and an order, everything will be connected in some way at some level. And I think interdisciplinarity is acknowledging that.

So we need to work at it. There will be connections. And you can’t tell what these connections will be in advance, and that’s what makes interdisciplinary work so exhausting!

Q: Becoming a Christian changed the course of your life — you became a theologian instead of a professional musician. Did it also change the way you play music?

Well, I think I’m less of a perfectionist than I used to be. When you’re trained to be a concert pianist, you’re trained rigorously never to go wrong, and to play a piece so brilliantly it can’t go wrong. You have to be a perfectionist. You simply have to be.

I think being a Christian has helped me lose a bit of that — not that I would want to be sloppy, but I’m much more aware of a cushion of forgiveness, so to speak, around what I do.

Also, before I was a Christian, music was a kind of religion. Since becoming Christian, I don’t have to invest music with divine qualities. I don’t have to make it into a kind of god and worship it. I am free to enjoy music much more because it doesn’t have to do everything for me.

In fact, I often think there’s too much music in worship. And I can go for days without music, and I’m OK.

Q: I’m surprised to hear you say there’s too much music in worship.

In English cathedrals, there’s a fear that if you’re in a service and someone needs to walk across the nave to take a book from one place to another, suddenly the organist has to start up to “cover” him, because he won’t make it to the other side without music. There’s this feeling you have to have music with everything. I go into restaurants and stores, and I’m surrounded by music. Music becomes a kind of aural lubricant.

The trouble with this, as well as taking music for granted, is that it means we forget the value of silence and quiet, stillness, waiting. When you do without music for a bit, you learn to value silence much more, and that’s no bad thing in today’s society.

Q: Why can music tell us about the value of silence?

A lot of music includes silence as part of its story, as part of its meaning.

Western music works largely by building up tensions and resolving them. The composer sets up a set of chords or rhythms or whatever, and you are made to expect certain events after that which resolve the tension.

You can feel these tensions even in silence. Then the silence is not empty. It feels full. I think that’s a great metaphor for learning to wait on God when there doesn’t seem to be any music around — in other words, when God doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Music can remind us that when nothing seems to be happening, God is still at work, that his promises still stand. The final resolutions of God’s promises are still to come, and we need to sense that, even when nothing seems to be going on.

Q: Does environment make a difference to the way we hear music?

A lot of music theory these days stresses that we always hear music in a context. That is to say, what a piece of music means for you, its significance, will depend on all sorts of things — the time of day, other people we hear it with, what we look at when you hear it, as well as a whole raft of cultural conventions and expectations.

And I think musicians — certainly, music theorists and those who reflect on the nature of music — are more than ever aware of those contextual factors today.

The idea of the disembodied listener, supposedly unaffected by context — that’s seen as a pretty old-fashioned idea. We’re much more aware of our physical, cultural and social embeddedness than before.

Q: Despite the fact that you’re not now a full-time concert pianist, I understand that you meticulously prepare for performance and preaching. Does that ever hinder spontaneity or improvisation?

I prepare very thoroughly for any public performance or lecture. But when I’m out there doing the job I usually improvise a fair amount, according to the audience and the occasion. I can only be spontaneous if I’ve prepared thoroughly. Preparation gives me the secure framework with which to improvise.

If I don’t prepare well, when it comes to the performance, then (as a tennis player might say) I “choke,” I don’t feel free.

I find the same with preaching. I usually write every word out, but in the pulpit I find I improvise a fair amount. Good preparation enables spontaneity.

Reposted from http://www.faithandleadership.com

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Resources for Exploring the Anglican Tradition

Here is an annotated bibliography for those interested in learning more about the spirituality, beliefs, and history of the Anglican tradition (descriptions are from the publishers). Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but a place to start in the journey. Please feel free to suggest others in the comments!

Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy By. Mark Galli 

Are you attracted to liturgy but don’t know why? Are you considering changing to liturgical tradition? Are you already immersed in liturgical worship but want to grasp its deeper significance? Beyond Smells and Bells addresses the lure and relevance of liturgy for your life today.

Thousands of Christians become interested in liturgy each year for the first time, as they turn to orthodoxy, tradition, and the lasting rituals of the Christian faith. In a culture that values spontaneity, liturgy grounds us in something enduring. In a culture that assumes truth is a product of the mind, liturgy helps us experience truth in mind, body, and spirit. In Mark Galli’s able telling, liturgy is an intriguing story, full of mystery, that transforms us.

The Sacramental Life by David DeSilva 

What happens when old meets new? As David deSilva has experienced the ancient wisdom of the Book of Common Prayer, he’s been formed spiritually in deep and lasting ways. In these pages, he offers you a brand new way to use the Book of Common Prayer, that you too might experience new growth, new intimacy with God and a new lens through which to view the world. Focusing on the four sacramental rites of baptism, Eucharist, marriage and burial, deSilva explores each one in depth through the prayers, liturgies and Scripture readings of the Book of Common Prayer, and then adds his own devotional exercises that help you immediately apply what you’ve reflected on. As you read and contemplate the material, you may notice old habits, wrong beliefs and negative patterns being replaced with new desires and perspectives that help you draw ever closer to God. In this innovative and engaging resource David deSilva invites you in to a new way of being spiritually formed through an old book that has shaped thousands of disciples through the years. “I hope that, as you read and pray through this guide,” he writes, “you will discover afresh the ways in which the rites contained in the Book of Common Prayer facilitate a genuine encounter with God, and a transforming experience of grace.”

The Reformation By. Owen Chadwick   

The beginning of the sixteenth century brought growing pressure within the Western Church for Reformation. The popes could not hold Western Christendom together and there was confusion about Church reform. What some believed to be abuses, others found acceptable. Nevertheless over the years three aims emerged: to reform the exactions of churchmen, to correct errors of doctrines and to improve the moral awareness of society. As a result, Western Europe divided into a Catholic South and Protestant North. Across the no man’s land between them were fought the bitterest wars of religion in Christian history. This third volume of “The Penguin History of the Church” deals with the formative work of Erasmus, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, and analyses the special circumstances of the English Reformation as well as the Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation.

Glorious Companions: five centuries of Anglican Spirituality by Richard Schmit  

This wonderful compendium of religious biographies offers a look inside the hearts and minds of significant shapers of Anglican spirituality over the past five centuries — Thomas Cranmer, John Donne, George Herbert, John Wesley, Dorothy Sayers, C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and many more.

Covering twenty-nine of the most influential Anglican figures from the sixteenth century to the present, Richard H. Schmidt deftly chronicles their lives and work while capturing at the same time the deep personal faith that they have managed to communicate so powerfully to the rest of the world.

These icons of the Christian faith include not only bishops and scholars but also housewives, poets, novelists, and teachers. Each chapter contains a brief biographical sketch of its subject, a selection of short, representative quotations from his or her writings, and several questions for reflection and discussion.

Written in a personable style that brings readers into direct contact with some of the church’s most admired witnesses, Glorious Companions will be valued both as a collection of insightful biographical information and as a lasting source of inspiration.

Evangelical is Not Enough By. Thomas Howard 

In this deeply moving narrative, Thomas Howard describes his pilgrimage from Evangelicalism (which he loves and reveres as the religion of his youth) to liturgical Christianity. He soon afterward became a Roman Catholic. He describes Evangelicalism with great sympathy and then examines more formal, liturgical worship with the freshness of someone discovering for the first time what his soul had always hungered for. This is a book of apologetics without polemics. Non-Catholics will gain an appreciation of the formal and liturgical side of Catholicism. Catholics will see with fresh eyes the beauty of their tradition. Worship, prayer, the Blessed Virgin, the Mass, and the liturgical year are taken one after the other, and what may have seemed routine and repetitive suddenly comes to life under the enchanting wand of Howard’s beautiful prose. Howard unfolds for us just what occurs in the vision and imagination of a Christian who, nurtured in the earnestness of Protestant Evangelicalism, finds himself yearning for “whatever-it-is” that has been there in the Church for 2000 years. It traces Howard’s soul-searching and shows why he believes the practices of the liturgical Church are an invaluable aid for any Christian’s spiritual life. Reminiscent of the style and scope of Newman, Lewis and Knox, this book is destined to be a classic.

Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God by Bobby Gross  

Infuse your days with meaning. You are part of a larger Story. And the One who began the Story is at work today, in your life, in the midst of your meetings and bills and family activities that make the days rush by and blur together. In these pages Bobby Gross opens to you–and opens you to–the liturgical year, helping you inhabit God’s Story every day.

Remembering God’s work, Christ’s death and resurrection, and the Spirit’s coming will change you, drawing you into deeper intimacy with God and pointing your attention to the work of the Father, Son and Spirit right now, in and around you.

You’ll be reminded daily that your life is bigger than just you, that you are part of God’s huge plan that started before time and will continue into eternity.

Whether you’re familiar or unfamiliar with following the liturgical year, this book makes it easy to do, offering here the significance and history of each season, ideas for living out God’s Story in your own life, and devotions that follow the church calendar for each day of the year. “The power that overshadowed Mary and raised Jesus from the dead also guarantees the final redemption of all things in him; that same power is at work in us now,” Gross writes. “Keeping liturgical time, making it sacred, opens us further to this power as, year after year, we rehearse the Story of God–remembering with gratitude, anticipating with hope–and over time live more deeply the Story of our lives.”

Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World by Robert Webber  

In a world marked by relativism, individualism, pluralism, and the transition from a modern to a postmodern worldview, evangelical Christians must find ways to re-present the historic faith.

In his provocative new work, Ancient-Future Faith, Robert E. Webber contends that present-day evangelicalism is a product of modernity. Allegiance to modernity, he argues, must be relinquished to free evangelicals to become more consistently historic. Empowerment to function in our changing culture will be found by adapting the classical tradition to our postmodern time. Webber demonstrates the implications in the key areas of church, worship, spirituality, evangelism, nurture, and mission.

Webber writes, “The fundamental concern of Ancient-Future Faithis to find points of contact between classical Christianity and postmodern thought. Classical Christianity was shaped in a pagan and relativistic society much like our own. Classical Christianity was not an accommodation to paganism but an alternative practice of life. Christians in a postmodern world will succeed, not by watering down the faith, but by being a counter cultural community that invites people to be shaped by the story of Israel and Jesus.”

A substantial appendix explores the development of authority in the early church, an important issue for evangelicals in a society that shares many features with the Roman world of early Christians. Students, professors, pastors, and laypeople concerned with the church’s effective response to a postmodern world will benefit from this paradigmatic volume. Informative tables and extensive bibliographies enhance the book’s educational value.

Never Silent By Thaddeus Barnum 

Thaddeus Barnum deftly and honestly recounts firsthand the remarkable events and intrigue surrounding the Anglican-Episcopal crisis over the blatant denial of Scripture and the ordination of openly gay ministers. But while this is a story that continues to capture international media attention, as Rwandan bishop John Rucyahana insists, It’s not merely about the gay issue. It’s about the gospel, and who Christ is. “You need to hear this story. You may not be Episcopalian, but what happened to them is already happening to you.” Carefully documented and yet powerfully told, with complete index. Foreword by Rick Warren; endorsements by J. I. Packer, Chuck Colson, and Christianity Today Managing Editor, Mark Galli.

Lancelot Andrewes and His Private Devotions by Alexander Whyte 

Lancelot Andrewes was born of honest and godly parents in 1555. In 1603 he assisted at the coronation of James I. In 1605 he was raised to be Bishop of Chichester, and he was one of the translators of the Bible in 1607. He was one of the most popular preachers of his day, and well beloved amongst the laity and the clergy alike. But for all of his worldly accomplishments, it is for his private devotions-never intended for publication-that he is best remembered. With that entrancing book open before us we search the histories and the biographies of his time; the home and the foreign politics of his time; the State papers, the Church controversies, and not least the Court scandals and the criminal reports of his time, with the keenest interest and the most solicitous anxiety. A timeless treasure of Anglican spirituality, now once again available from the Apocryphile Press.

Book of Homilies Edited By. John Griffiths

The Book of Homilies contains the authorized sermons of the Church of England. Originally published in two volumes during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I, the homilies were intended to provide for the Church a new model of simplified topical preaching, as well as to perpetuate the theology of the English Reformation.

 The Accidental Anglican: The Surprising Appeal of the Liturgical Church by. Todd Hunter

Many are longing for historical connectedness and for theology that is “not tied to the whims of contemporary culture, but to apostolic-era understandings of Christian faith and practice.” They also yearn for rhythms and routines that build spiritual health. Still others are responding to a call to participate in worship rather than merely sitting back and looking at a stage. Liturgy offers all of this and more. In this book Todd Hunter chronicles his journey from the Jesus People movement and national leadership in the Vineyard to eventually becoming an Anglican Bishop. Along the way he explains why an evangelical Christian might be drawn to the liturgical way. Curious about the meaning of liturgy? Come and discover what may be waiting for you there.

The Faith We Confess: An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles by Gerald L Bray

The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are one of the three historic ‘formularies’ (constitutional documents) of the Church of England. Along with the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal they gave the church its distinctive identity at the time of the Reformation, an identity which has had a formative infl uence on worldwide Anglicanism. The English formularies have played an exceptionally important role in shaping the Anglican Communion and they continue to serve as reference points whenever it is necessary to think in terms of a common Anglican tradition. In the confusion caused by recent developments, it is encouraging that in many parts of the Anglican Communion some have returned to these sources to satisfy a genuine hunger for both Anglican tradition and sound Christian doctrine. It is to meet this growing demand that this book has been written. Although the Articles have had a chequered historical career, the intention of this book is to take them as they now stand and interpret what they mean for us today. Historical circumstances cannot be avoided completely and will be mentioned as necessary, but the main emphasis here is theological. What do the Articles say about what we believe and how should they be understood and applied by us today? Read on! Gerald Bray is director of research for the Latimer Trust and research professor at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

The History of the English Church by John R.H. Moorman 

This authoritative account of the Church in England covers its history from earliest times to the late twentieth century. Includes chapters on the Roman, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and Medieval periods before a description of the Reformation and its effects, the Stuart period, and the Industrial Age, with a final chapter on the modern church through 1972.

Thomas Cranmer: A Life by. Dr. Diarmaid MacCulloch

Thomas Cranmer, the architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, was the archbishop of Canterbury who guided England through the early Reformation—and Henry VIII through the minefields of divorce. This is the first major biography of him for more than three decades, and the first for a century to exploit rich new manuscript sources in Britain and elsewhere.

Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the foremost scholars of the English Reformation, traces Cranmer from his east-Midland roots through his twenty-year career as a conventionally conservative Cambridge don. He shows how Cranmer was recruited to the coterie around Henry VIII that was trying to annul the royal marriage to Catherine, and how new connections led him to embrace the evangelical faith of the European Reformation and, ultimately, to become archbishop of Canterbury. By then a major English statesman, living the life of a medieval prince-bishop, Cranmer guided the church through the king’s vacillations and finalized two successive versions of the English prayer book.

MacCulloch skillfully reconstructs the crises Cranmer negotiated, from his compromising association with three of Henry’s divorces, the plot by religious conservatives to oust him, and his role in the attempt to establish Lady Jane Grey as queen to the vengeance of the Catholic Mary Tudor. In jail after Mary’s accession, Cranmer nearly repudiated his achievements, but he found the courage to turn the day of his death into a dramatic demonstration of his Protestant faith.

From this vivid account Cranmer emerges a more sharply focused figure than before, more conservative early in his career than admirers have allowed, more evangelical than Anglicanism would later find comfortable. A hesitant hero with a tangled life story, his imperishable legacy is his contribution in the prayer book to the shape and structure of English speech and through this to the molding of an international language and the theology it expressed.

In addition to these books you can check out this lecture given by J.I. Packer

Packer is Board of Governors Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also serves as a contributing editor to Christianity Today. Packer’s writings include books such as A Quest for Godliness (Crossway), Growing in Christ (Crossway), and Rediscovering Holiness (Servant) and numerous articles published in journals such as Churchman, SouthWestern Journal, Christianity Today, Reformation & Revival Journal and Touchstone.

Why I am an Anglican – J.I. Packer

http://www.regentaudio.com/why_i_am_an_anglican

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Filed under Anglicanism, Church Calendar, Church History, Discipleship, theology, Worship