What your delegates will be voting on…

Posted: March 11, 2014 by boydmonster in Uncategorized

Hey Church, as many of you already know, the convention of the Diocese of South Carolina is coming up this weekend.  I still remember travelling to one of my first diocesan conventions as a junior at The Citadel (interestingly, that convention was held here at Trinity.  It was my first time here!)  Before we left, my chaplain, Doug Petersen, looked at me and said “Iain, just remember, laws are a lot like sausages.  Everyone knows they’re good, but nobody should ever have to see them get made.”  I assure you, diocesan conventions in South Carolina aren’t just legislation machines!  This year’s convention will begin with a series of workshops with some top notch presenters.  These are open to the public, so feel free to register and come on down!  http://www.diosc.com/sys/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=554:223rd-convention-workshops&catid=144:conventionnews&Itemid=257

Also of note are three particular resolutions the convention will be voting on.  Resolution R-1 is a resolution for the diocese to become a member of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans by signing onto the Jerusalem Declaration, a statement of faith addressing contemporary issues of faith for global Anglicans today.  I see this as a very positive step as Anglicanism was originally constructed as a confessional and liturgical church centered around the 39 Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.  Over the years, many have drifted away from these standards.  It is heartening to see them returning to the central place they deserve. Not only that, this aligns us with literally millions of Anglicans around the world who desire to stand together in proclamation of the gospel.

In the meantime, the second resolution calls for the formation of a committee to be made by Pentecost of this year to begin the discernment of our future affiliation as Anglicans.  You can see both of these resolutions here: http://www.diosc.com/sys/images/documents/conventions/223_conv_resolutions.pdf

The third resolution of note is a resolution from the floor, Resolution R-3.  This resolution is in response to happenings that have developed since the first resolution was proposed.  The Global South Primates have offered primatial oversight to The Diocese of South Carolina.  What this means is that while South Carolina discerns its pathway for affiliation in the future, (to be prayerfully sought out by a committee formed by resolution R-2) we will have pastoral oversight from the archbishop of another province of the Anglican Communion.

I see these resolutions as encouraging steps towards what Anglicanism is at its best.  For centuries, Anglicanism has been known as a sort of Reformed Catholicism. We are reformed in our doctrine, which is to say that we are a church that looks to the Scriptures as the supreme authority over faith and life and see in those same Scriptures the centrality of Jesus Christ and the gospel.  And we are a church in catholic order, which is to say we have a polity like the historic church with Bishops in communion with one another in global fellowship.  It is my opinion that these three resolutions honor these commitments to reformed and gospel centered faith and catholic order. If you have further questions feel free to call or contact your convention delegates, John Ed Copeland, Tom Webb, Danny MacDonald, and Bob Bell.  In the meantime keep me and your delegates in your prayers!

I read once — but cannot remember where — a children’s story of a king who had an infestation of mice in his palace.  He went to his counselors who advised him to hire some cats.  Soon the cats cleared the palace of the mice but the cats multiplied. He returned complaining about his infestation of cats.  So his wise men counseled him to get some dogs.  Well the dogs soon supplanted the cats, sleeping upon the king’s bed and being a general nuisance—howling at night and barking at his guests.  So returning again to his counselors to get rid of the dogs they all agreed that lions would scatter the dogs—which of course they did.  But before long the lions were lounging on the beds and couches and eating his store of fine meats.  “What am I to do now?” he quizzed his wise men?   They said, “Get some elephants!”  Well the elephants drove out the lions but then they played havoc with his Great Room and hallways, leaving unseemly droppings and crushing furniture.  “Now what?” he asked his advisers.  “Bring in some mice” said the wise men, “they will scare the elephants away!”  Far too often we try to deal with our problems with solutions that only lead to other problems and we end up back with the mice because we never bothered to ask the question, “Why are the mice in the palace in the first place?”

Read the rest here… 

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A Lie About God is a Lie About Life

Posted: February 24, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

Originally posted on Reformedish:

lies Our culture likes the idea of heresy. Whenever you see the word ‘heresy’ used on your average blog or article it’s synonymous with bold, controversial, and creative thinking. It is thought not confined with dogma and church controls. It’s ideas that scare the “theologians”, and break out of the traditional mold. (As to why scaring theologians has become a valued activity, I’m clueless. Is there similar trend elsewhere? Should I want to perplex philosophers? Or, mystify mathematicians? Maybe frighten some physicists?)

In some quarters, heresy is sexy.

Alister McGrath has even gone so far as to talk about our “love affair with heresy.” It epitomizes all that we entrepreneurial, free-thinking, radically individualistic Americans believe about religion. It’s up to us to figure out and nobody has a right to lay down a “correct” or “right” way to think about spirituality and God.

In this context, anybody trying to talk about orthodoxy or…

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“Christ is the almighty Builder” by J.C. Ryle

Posted: February 10, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

Originally posted on Tolle Lege:

“Great is the wisdom wherewith the Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church! All is done at the right time, and in the right way. Each stone in its turn is put in its right place.

Sometimes He chooses great stones, and sometimes He chooses small stones. Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is doing.

But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great Builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning.

He works by a perfect, unalterable, and certain plan. The mightiest conceptions of architects, like Michaelangelo and Wren, are mere trifling and child’s play, in comparison with Christ’s wise counsels respecting His Church.

Great is the condescension and mercy which Christ exhibits in building…

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Hear Me Out: On Sitting Through Sermons

Posted: February 5, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

doulos tou Theou:

Well worth your time.

Originally posted on Alastair's Adversaria:

Vincent van Gogh - Church Pew with Worshippers

Donald Miller recently admitted to attending church irregularly. Church services really don’t scratch him where he itches: singing leaves him flat and he doesn’t learn much from sermons. He argues that he is not alone in this, suggesting (controversially) that most men struggle with church services.

One of the reasons why he struggles with church services, and sermons in particular, he maintains, is because he is the wrong kind of learner. He alludes to research that there are three different kinds of learners: auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), and kinaesthetic (doing). As he is a kinaesthetic learner, sermons and church services—which are designed for auditory learners—just won’t cut it. Instead of church services and sermons, Miller has discovered that he connects to God through doing—in particular, through building his company.

Donald Miller and I inhabit rather different Christian worlds and only occasionally does he drift into the periphery of my…

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new blessing every day and hour

Posted: February 3, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“All that Christ did and suffered, from the manger to the tomb, forms one glorious whole, no part of which shall ever become needless or obsolete; no part of which one can ever leave without forsaking the whole.

I am always at the manger, and yet I know that mere incarnation cannot save; always at Gethsemane, and yet I believe that its agony was not the finished work; always at the cross, with my face toward it, and my eye on the crucified One, and yet I am persuaded that the sacrifice there was completed once for all; always looking into the grave, though I rejoice that it is empty, and that ‘He is not here, but is risen’; always resting (with the angel) on the stone that was rolled away, and handling the grave-clothes, and realizing a risen Christ, nay, an ascended and interceding Lord, yet on no pretext whatever leaving any part of my Lord’s life or death behind me, but unceasingly keeping up my connection with Him, as born, living, dying, buried, and rising again, and drawing out from each part some new blessing every day and hour.

— Horatius Bonar
“Not Faith, But Christ”


Annual Address 2014: Writing the Song of Moses

Posted: January 29, 2014 by boydmonster in Uncategorized

The following is the text of the address I made Monday night at our Annual Parish Meeting.  

“This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day.”

So spoke Shakespeare’s Henry V on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt.  This speech has echoed down the ages as a prime example of mideival leadership.  In it, he spurs his troops onward with the thought of the ongoing glory they will enjoy for years to come.  John’s Revelation records a similar song where the saints of God sing the glory of the victories won in Revelation 15:2-4.

“And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb…”

It is interesting that the saint’s song is here called not only the song of the Lamb, but the song of Moses as well.  Isn’t God alone to be praised in heaven?  Of course.  However, the great acts of salvation are brought to bear in real life through God’s use of weak, empty, earthen vessels like Moses, you, and me.  What this means is that each of us will spend eternity recounting before God all the great acts of His salvation even as He has worked it through His own servants.

Forever, I will sing the praises of God for how He worked salvation in my own life not only by the accomplishment of my redemption on the cross, but of how His servants proclaimed that good news to me when I was lost in darkness, and how I persevered in faith because of the faithful ministry of His people.  I will forever praise God for sending a young undergraduate named Robert Sturdy to share the Gospel with me, so that for the first time in my life I understood that we are made right with God by faith and not by works.  I will praise God for the ministry of The Reverend Sandy Key, the chaplain at The Citadel who first showed me what godly character in ministry looked like so that I believed him when he told me about Jesus.  I will praise God for the ministry of saints at Trinity like Rod Sanders and Frank Sloan who have kept me encouraged through the trials of ministry.

Likewise, each of us will sing the praises of God for the work of His servants in our lives.  The question is, will God’s praises be sung because of our lives works?  Are we laboring for that which will result in eternal glory?  The mission of Trinity is “to Share the Gospel and make Christ-centered Disciples.”  This means nothing other than equipping each of the saints to so labor that their works will be to the eternal praises of the one who has saved them.

This work happens in unassuming ways.  Small groups, bible studies, one on one bible reading are all means by which we are training one another for the work of the ministry.  It is our desire not only that every person at Trinity would be trained and equipped to follow Christ, but that each of us would be trained and equipped to exercise our gifts to help others to grow as disciples of Jesus.

In the course of the past year, it has become increasingly obvious to me that our ministries are currently overextended, hampering our ability to fulfill this mission.  Chris Bear and I began discussing how to resolve this last fall.  It became clear to us that Trinity did not have the strength or the momentum to continue to support Coastal Fellowship and move forward with our mission.

After much prayer and discernment, Chris and Zhenya Bear have decided to go off staff at Trinity and make Coastal Fellowship a mission of the Diocese independent at Trinity.  From now on any support Trinity gives to Coastal Fellowship will be given as support to another ministry as outreach.  Chris will stay on our staff through May to help support me as I search for a new associate and Coastal Fellowship will continue to use the space in our chapel.

I applaud Chris and Zhenya for this step of faith.  They have courageously stepped out in obedience to where they feel God is leading them.  Let us not be guilty for not supporting them in prayer.  The congregation of Coastal Fellowship is to be applauded as well.  They have stepped up to the plate pledging to support Coastal Fellowship to the tune of $50,000.  I have been amazed at what has been accomplished through this enterprise in the last year and a half and I think that Coastal Fellowship will benefit from having Chris full time as their pastor and Trinity will be blessed as well having an associate who’s energy and time isn’t split between what is effectively two churches.

This associate will be tasked with creating the structures needed to produce a culture of discipleship at Trinity so that existing members can be resourced for spiritual growth and mission and new members can be grafted in to our body.  Please keep this search process in your prayers.  As you know, the associate’s position at Trinity is essential to our health and engagement in the mission of the Gospel.

And so as we enter on a new year of ministry, I am once again amazed at God’s grace and his working in this parish.  I look forward to seeing what He has in store for us in 2014!