Saturday, June 29, 2019

WHY CHOOSE THE ANGLICAN WAY?


 WHY CHOOSE THE ANGLICAN WAY?
When you search for “churches” you find a bewildering assortment of names and types of churches and denominations.  As you drive through the streets of a town or city you see an astounding variety of names outside buildings which are churches or temples or mosques.  It is as though there is in America a supermarket of religion where each of the churches and denominations is on display and we have the daunting task of choosing one or the other as we survey the packed shelves searching for our Sunday consumption.
In this fascinating but confusing supermarket of religion you will find the general category of “Anglican” and within this category you will “traditional” and “modern.”  “Anglican” does not take the same amount of space on the shelves as do the names “Roman Catholic” and “Methodist” and “Southern Baptist” but it is easily identifiable there.

Why choose the Anglican Way (traditional) from among this bewildering display?  Consider these reasons:

1. The Anglican Way has been around a long time.  When it comes to such things as smart phones or vehicles we rightly buy the latest tested technology.  However, when it comes to matters of the human spirit and soul and of man’s relation to God, looking to the accumulated wisdom of the centuries becomes vitally important.  In religion what has been believed, taught and confessed for centuries and what has been prayed and performed for more than a millennium is more likely to be our guide in making a sound choice than what has been produced in the last few years.  This is not just an arbitrary criterion but one based on the belief that what has been believed, taught, and confessed has been informed, guided and directed by the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.   

Of course, having been on the scene a long time a traditional faith may look tired and may seem to be merely part of the way things are.  However, this is not necessarily so and the Anglican Way as an historical religion can be as vibrant today as it was two, three, or four centuries ago.  In fact a clear definition of the Anglican Way was formulated in the sixteenth century as part of the reformation of the Church in England.  The intention was to keep it the ancient and biblical Church it had always claimed to be, thus confounding the popular notion that it was founded by Henry VIII.  What actually occurred was that reform took place in his reign and that of his successors.

2. The Anglican Way is not a system of ideas but it is a living Faith.  Therefore we do not refer to it as “Anglicanism” or “Episcopalianism” for such terms suggest an ideology where people are committed to certain ideas or principles or beliefs thus making it a religion only of the head, a cerebral faith.  One of the first descriptions of Christianity was “the Way” (Acts ix.2) and our Lord Jesus Christ referred to himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John xiv.6).  He is the Way to Almighty God, our Father, because he is the Truth and the Life.  So the center of the Anglican Way is union with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one and only Way.  Thus this religion is a total way of life for every day or every year for the whole person, the whole family and the whole congregation.  It is a walking with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit through the world to the heavenly Father in glory.

3. The Anglican Way is both personal and corporate.  Each baptized person is encouraged to know the joy of a personal relation to the Lord Jesus Christ and to experience the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart assuring him that he is a child of God our heavenly Father.  Yet he is also taught to see himself as a member of the body of Christ, bound in the Holy Spirit to other members of the body.  Part of limb separate from the body has no proper use; likewise to be fully Christian the individual believer is called Christ into a dynamic relation with fellow members of the body of Christ.  This calling to be together and belong together occurs in public worship but it also takes place in a variety of forms of fellowship and service together in parish life.  The belonging together in Christ Jesus is especially proclaimed by the rite of infant baptism wherein a child from a Christian family is made a member of the body of Christ.  Later that child publicly embraces the faith of his Baptism at Confirmation, and receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  So he learns to pray, “Our Father…” in both a personal and a corporate way.

4. The Anglican Way orders our lives a Way to the living God and with one another in the Body of Christ through the discipline of common prayer.  In fact the service book that is used is called, The Book of Common Prayer, which was first produced (from earlier services) in 1549 in England.  We find in the pages of this book provision for our relation with God on every day of the year, with special attention to Sundays and festivals.  For each day of the year there are two services, Morning Prayer (Matins) and Evening Prayer (Evensong).  Then there are services for every Sunday and for the great festivals of the Church Year (Christmas, Easter, etc.).  Also there are services for holy Baptism, for Confirmation, for Matrimony and for the Burial of the dead.  When a person or a family or a congregation follows the discipline of the Book of Common Prayer in sincerity and truth then he or they will be practicing the Anglican Way, walking with Christ Jesus in the Spirit and in the communion of saints to the Father.

5. The Anglican Way is preeminently a biblical religion.  In fact, when practiced according to its own rules it places before Christians a full encounter with the contents of Holy Scripture, an experience which is probably not equaled in any other form of Christian religion.  Each day in the two daily services there is the reading of a passage from the Old Testament and from the New Testament (so that the church reads through the whole Bible on a regular basis using a Lectionary); there is the meditative reading/praying of Psalms and there is the meditative reading/praying of biblical canticles (e.g. the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis). Further, there are readings from the Bible each Sunday and on feast days at the service of Holy Communion.  The faithful who read the Bible and hear it read are not encouraged to understand it according to their own privatized judgment and feelings of the moment, but as members of the Body of Christ, the holy, catholic Church.

6. The Anglican Way looks especially to the Early Church for guidance, illumination and inspiration.  Obviously the early centuries of the Church in the Roman Empire were the time when the Church developed its worship, doctrines, disciplines and pieties.  So when the Anglican Way was emerging in the sixteenth century as the English Way of being the Church of God in England, the bishops explained the relation to the early Church in terms of a 1,2,3,4,5.  They said that the Church of England (Anglican Way) is committed to One Bible which has Two Testaments.  This Bible is to be read and interpreted by those who believe the Three Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian), who have learned the Church’s dogma and doctrine and discipline from the Four Ecumenical Councils (Nicea 325; Constantinople 381; Ephesus 431; & Chalcedon 451).  Further, the Church is to learn from the way such things as Piety, Liturgy, Canon Law, Ethics and Sunday observance developed in the First Five Centuries.  Yet being in this Way does not mean looking back to live in the past but learning from the past for the sake of the present and the future.

7.  The Anglican Way is associated with the pursuit of excellence in the way it performs divine service in the public place.  The Book of Common Prayer was not written in the English spoken in the market or the tavern in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  It was written in a dignified, understandable English whose meaning can be quickly appreciated and learned by people of average intelligence.  The very title of the prayer book, The Book of Common Prayer, suggests that this is a Way of Prayer/Worship for all people whatever be their class or their profession.  Related to the Book of Common Prayer is the translation of the Bible known as the King James Version (1611).  These two book have had a tremendous influence not only upon the development of the English language but upon the formation of millions of souls in the love of God.  Th emotion of the dignity of language is an expression of the supreme dignity of God himself and also of the dignity of his Church where we gather in his holy Name.  Further, as used in the Anglican Way they have also attracted the production of memorable music, poetry and art.  Thus, for example, we now have (where there is a good choir) such beautiful services as Matins and Evensong where much of the whole act of worship is offered to the Father through the Son and with the Holy Spirit in chant and song with fine music.

8.  The Anglican Way is committed to Christian education for the whole Body of Christ.  The clergyman is seen as “the godly and learned minister” able to teach the flock of Christ from the Scriptures with wisdom and knowledge.  The laity is seen as called to acquire a working knowledge of the whole content of Scripture, to believe the Creeds and to practice the morals of the Christian religion.  Further, through parochial schools, colleges and universities, the Anglican Way is committed to the ideal of bringing all human knowledge under the rule of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  Thus it is not surprising that Anglicans have spoken of commitment to Scripture, Tradition and Reason, not as equal partners but in terms of acknowledging the authority of Scripture, through the help of Tradition and with the use of godly reason.  So the expression, Credo ut intelligam (“I believe in order that I may understand”), is taken seriously, for Anglicans seek to bring everything into subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ and the revelation of Truth from the Father through him.

9. The Anglican Way is committed to the educating and sanctifying of the whole person, body and soul, and as a thinking, feeling and acting being.  The Way leads not merely through this life but to the life eternal, to the joy of the life of the age to come in the glory of heavenly bliss.  Thus Christians are encouraged by the grace of God to begin now to be what they shall be in the fullness of life in heaven.  We are to love the Lord our God with heart and soul and mind and strength.  So while the Anglican Way places a high premium on the development of our minds (so that we think as Christians) it also seeks o develop our affections and emotions so that they are directed to that which is good and true and beautiful.  In fact there is a beauty in orderly, spiritual Christian worship which elevates and purifies the affections, feelings and desires and directs them to their fulfillment in Christ.  Likewise in godly meditation upon the sacred Scripture each day there is not only a quickening of the mind but, as the mind drops into the heart, there is a raising and purifying of the affections and desires.  Finally, there is the vocation to be the willing servants of Christ daily at home and at work, in school and in leisure.  This is the practical outworking of loving the neighbor for Christ’s sake.

10.  The Anglican Way in obedience to the command of Christ is committed to the evangelization of the world and especially to each parish/congregation proclaiming the Gospel in word and action in its own area.  There are many ways of bringing people of both sexes and all races to know Jesus Christ, but when inquirers are ready to enter into the worship of the local church, then, in preparation for the common life in Christ, they are instructed in the meaning of the Creed, the Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer (what to believe, how to behave, and the art of prayer/meditation), in the reading of Scripture, participating in Christian liturgical worship and fellowship and service.  On this foundation they grow in maturity in Christ through sharing in Common Prayer.

11.  The Anglican Way is an ordered, hierarchical form of Christianity confessing Jesus Christ as Lord of all in a modern, egalitarian, secularist world.  Thus it is perceived by many as being anti-cultural, for it stands in opposition to the drift in our culture towards selfishness, self-destruction and chaos.  The Anglican Way promotes the ordered and generous living that gives the peace that passes understanding in God for God transcends all temporary and transient cultural fads.  Following divine order in creation and by grace it seeks to guide and control for the purpose of sanctification, our natural desires.  Being hierarchical, it does not fit into modern ideas of equality for, following the Early Church, it has three grades of clergy—bishop, presbyter (priest) and deacon.  Further, it confesses that, according to the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ, only those men called by God ought to be bishops, priests, deacons in the Church.  Moreover, this divine order is seen not a constricting but as liberating, for it releases man to serve the living God in ways which are pleasing to his Majesty and ennoble humanity.

O God our Father, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

[Lightly edited. The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon, President of the Society, Whitsuntide, 1997]

Saint Athanasius Anglican Church
10811 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
804.248.8940     GlenAllenAnglicans.Org
Christian Education 9:30am / Holy Communion 10:30am

Member of
The Anglican Province of America


Friday, May 24, 2019

Are You A Spiritual Person?


Are You A Spiritual Person? 
Spiritual? By what standard, man or God?
Many people today say they are spiritual but what does that mean? Has the phrase become a meaningless platitude in this age of forced subjectivism? True spirituality is the quality of life generated and nourished by the Spirit of God, in which believers experience the power and presence of God in their lives. True spirituality comes from living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and is evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit, spiritual maturity and growth in holiness. Take our test and see how many questions you can affirm to find out if you are a ‘spiritual’ person.

The foundations of spirituality

Do you have a need for spiritual renewal? 1Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Ro 7:14; Jude 19

Believers have been renewed spiritually, have you? John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Ro 8:11; Tit 3:5; 1Pe 1:3-23

Do you have Faith? Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Jn 6:53-58; 14:1; 20:31; Ac 16:31; Ro 10:9-10

Do you have a longing for God Psa. 27:8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Ps 119:2; 143:5-6; Php 3:10-14

The nature of spirituality

Enoch walks with the One True God.
Are you living under the Spirit’s control? Rom. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  Ro 8:12-13; Gal 5:16-17; Eph 5:18

Are you reflecting Jesus Christ’s character?  2Cor. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Ro 8:29; 1Jn 3:2-3

Are you intimate  with God through the Spirit?  Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. See also Gal 4:6


Evidence of spirituality

Are you bearing spiritual fruit? Rom. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Mt 7:17; Jn 15:5-8; Ro 14:17; Eph 5:8-9

Do you have love for one another? 1John 4:7   Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Jn 13:34-35; 1Co 13:1-4; Col 3:12

Do you possess spiritual maturity? 1Cor. 3:1   And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1Co 14:20; Heb 5:13-14

Do you show concern for weaker believers? Gal. 6:1   Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Ro 14:1, 3, 19-21; 1Co 8:9-13

What about your understanding of spiritual truths? (How are you doing so far?) 1Cor. 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Jn 14:17; 16:13-15; 1Co 2:15-16

Have you increased in holiness? Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Ro 12:1-2; 1Co 6:19-20; Gal 5:24; Col 3:1-2

Have you increased in humble obedience? John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 1Jn 2:2-6; 5:2-3

Aids to spirituality

Are you cooperating with the Spirit? Gal. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Ac 7:51; Eph 4:30; 1Th 5:19

Are you in meditation on God’s Word? Josh. 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Jn 17:7; 2Ti 3:15-17

Are you spending time with God? Luke 6:12  And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Mk 1:35; Ac 4:13

Do you encourage others? Heb. 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Col 3:16; 1Th 2:11-12

Are you prepared for tests and trials? James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Ro 5:3-4; 1Pe 1:6-7

Examples of spirituality

Gen. 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 6:8   And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.      
 Ge 6:9 Noah; Moses: Nu 12:3, 6, 8 David: 1Sa 13:14; Ac 13:22 Stephen: Ac 11:24 Barnabas

How did you do?  Did you find the answers difficult? Most of us do and we certainly are working to be able to affirm all these aspects of true spirituality.  Would you like to join in a community that seeks to perfect true spirituality?  Come and see.



Saint Athanasius is a member of the Diocese of the Eastern United States in the Anglican Province of America.



Source: Alister McGrath

Thursday, February 1, 2018

On the Feast of St Brigid

On this feast we offer the following links in recognition that social media, Facebook in particular, often seeks to suppress Christians and their beliefs and practices so the following is from a blog that has received such treatment from FB - because, apparently, it is dangerous stuff!

Visit Shower of Roses Blog  HERE and see for yourself if this is worth suppression!  Needless to say FB allows porn, propaganda, and all sorts of incivilities without question.

A Collect for this day.
Merciful God,
origin and reward of all charity,
you called Saint Brigid to teach the new commandment of love
through her life of hospitality and her care of the needy;
give to your people, by her intercession,
a generous spirit,
so that, with hearts made pure,
we may show your love to all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


FIRST READING Job 31:16-20, 24-25, 31-32
Have I been insensible to poor men’s needs,
or let a widow’s eyes grow dim?
Or taken my share of bread alone,
not giving a share to the orphan?
I, whom God has fostered father-like, from childhood,
and guided since I left my mother’s womb.
Have I ever seen a wretch in need of clothing,
or a beggar going naked,
without his having cause to bless me from his heart,
as he felt the warmth of the fleece from my lambs?
Have I put all my trust in gold,
from finest gold sought my security?
Have I ever gloated over my great wealth,
or the riches that my hands have won?
The people of my tent, did they not say,
‘Is there a man he has not filled with meat?’
No stranger ever had to sleep outside,
my door was always open to the traveller.

Or: Ephesians 3:14-21
This is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name:
Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.
Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine;
glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.
Amen.


RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 106 (107):35-38, 41-42.

R/. (v.1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.
He changes desert into streams,
thirsty ground into springs of water.
There he settles the hungry
and they build a city to dwell in.
R/. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.
They sow fields and plants their vines;
these yield crops for the harvest.
He blesses them; they grow in numbers.
He does not let their herds decrease.
R/. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.
He raises the needy from distress;
makes families numerous as a flock.
The upright see it and rejoice
but all who do wrong are silenced.
R/. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.


ALLELUIA 1 John 4:12
As long as we love one another,
God will live in us
and his love will be complete in us.


GOSPEL Luke 6:32-38
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.’ ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’


PRAYER OVER THE OFFERINGS
As we present these gifts, O Lord,
on the feast of Saint Brigid,
may we come to know you as the source of all true love.
Through Christ our Lord.


FROM WIKI
Saint Brigid of Kildare
 or Brigid of Ireland (IrishNaomh BrĂ­dLatinBrigida; c. 451 – 525) is one of Ireland's patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun,[3] abbess, and foundress of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was famous and was revered. Her feast day is 1 February, which was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc, marking the beginning of spring. Her feast day is shared by Dar Lugdach, whom tradition says was her student and the woman who succeeded her.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yes, The Sojourner Has Certainly Been Oppressed.


"Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears:
for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
Psalm 39:10

Have you heard it?

"Your bible permits sojourners and so it is wrong to have borders- where is your Christian compassion you hypocrite?”

The latest apologetic sentiment for the political Left seems to be the ‘sojourner,’ and very likely, those making this assertion have not read the Bible, or having read a little, read in a self-serving and superficial manner. Likely though, they merely rely on what others say that the Holy Scriptures teach rather than laboring through diligent and communal study as do Christians-- within the Body, the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit.

The usual result of such an approach is something known as Presentism a fallacy or logical error imposing contemporary cultural agendas on ancient texts without generally realizing they even commit the error. Others though, are certainly aware some Christians will not have the wherewithal to spot such twisting of an archaic doctrine and these people are guilty of committing argumentum ad ignorantiam, another fallacy 
exploiting the ignorance of an issue and thereby ‘guilting’ the hearer into accepting the error as valid.

The line of faulty reasoning behind the sojourner issue insists that an illegal alien is the contemporary and moral equivalent of the Old Testament sojourner and that Scripture tells us the breaking of our Country's laws are acceptable to God.

This new dogmatism (dogma being the epiphany of Revelation and subsequent preservation) we are not to question comes from the very people who mock us for accepting the authority of God in the first place. A God they claim to be myth and reject in their own lives. We are, under this new Inquisition, to be judged by a subjective ignorance born of the uninitiated in whom the Holy Spirit has no home and therefore sojourns not. The Christian knows that without Godly understanding (Isa 11:1- etc), one is in a state of natural man and thereby repeating the same errors as endless generations before them.

Epistemology: We have sound historic and doctrinal reason to reject these fallacies:

Sometime prior to the fourth century an anonymous author penned an apologetic known as the Epistle to Diognetus. The relevant themes in this letter with which we concern ourselves are Christian faith and manner in the world. It presents a bit of a problem for our friends who think they understand what sojourning actually is and believe they have ‘evolved’ in intellect and society.
"Every foreign country is to them as their native land, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry as do all; they beget children; but they do not commit abortion. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are the citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all. They are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil-spoken of and yet are justified. They are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign a reason for their hatred.”

So just who is this ‘sojourner?’


We Christians are told to accept illegals as sojourners all the while being treated as illegals in our own country. Throughout today’s world Christians are ostracized, marginalized, sued, slandered threatened, and often killed by those who say our book says we should be accepting of others. Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today and yet we accept not just our own as Christians, but people of all cultures and races. Why? Because that old ‘book’ the Bible says we are all "of one blood" and all one in Christ. Our detractors want to impose their dogma on us while using our tax dollars to fund the government as a proxy for their compassion.

The student of the Bible knows the OT foreshadows the New and understands the concept of dispensation and covenant. She knows the Bible is not an amalgam of isolated rules but rather a coherent revelation on living towards an ultimate end- being acceptable to God. The Christian interprets the Scriptures in context and indeed this novel Leftist Dogma has no historical context. The idea that sojourning can be twisted into a convenient political agenda in such a way as abrogating the articles of the Decalogue is no more logical than believing a local municipal ordinance can abrogate the U.S. Constitution. Attempting to present such fallacious and fantastic ‘doctrine’ only makes those attempting it foolish in the eyes of anyone with reasonable familiarity. The attempt to displace true doctrine with such nonsense is to treat us as illegals in our own religion- an act condemning the perpetrator as both superficial and hypocritical. The sojourner, just as many doctrines, has both a literal as well as allegorical sense. Not only do they misconstrue the literal sense, in this case the greater sense is lost on them as well, a loss that may well condemn them for their effort.

Consider some facts about the sojourner in the sense of the Old prefiguring the New Testament. Whether today, or ages past, the sojourner is not one who willfully violates the law while expecting material handouts from the host. The sojourner is here for a season because he is not of this ‘country.’ In a greater sense the sojourner is not of this world, but of another. Such a sojourner is “not without honor except in their own land” (Mark 6:4). He has not come to stay, but is journeying towards a Kingdom which is not of this world and yet is visible in this world. Dare they see this Kingdom is Christ’s Church? Just as Diognetus explains centuries ago, the true sojourner, whether the coming King or his subject, seek a Kingdom not fully manifest. Sojourning as it were, for a season and estranged in the land he lives.

'He is to the world what the soul is to the body, in the world but not of the world, a light to that world just as the soul enlivens and enlightens the flesh. Bodies have many members and the soul enlivens them all and the soul is in the body but not the body. Christians dwell in the world and are not of the world. The world hates the Christian and the blood of martyrs, the seedbed of the Church, proves this both today and historically. The body hates and is in constant war with the soul because the soul aspires to a higher state of being than the flesh, which is weak and fleeting in nature, unable to reach such a state on it’s own.

The greater sense is that the flesh represents the world, and the world hates the Christian striving to perfect his soul and subjugate his flesh as he sojourns here for a season in preparation for a higher state of holiness that the world cannot attain. Reproved, the flesh hates the soul and hinders it yet the soul loves the flesh, all of it's members, and tempers it towards perfection, just as the Christian loves those who hate him or her while working to elevate natural man to a higher state.'

“But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him
who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.”

So the moral of the story is beware the people who decry the Christian for not showing compassion to those who break our laws as they are the same people who do all in their power to make us strangers in our own land. Compassion aimed at those they will never bear the burden of personally- theoretical persons if you will, all the while subjecting real neighbors to un-vetted criminals and diseases long unknown in this country. Persons who will rely on State welfare and entitlements and vote for those offering the handouts.

These same ideologues that redefine the sojourner to fit their political agenda attack our Church and culture by redefining marriage, inventing genders, suing florists and bakers for not accepting the new dogma, the Inquisitors that sue towns for displaying crosses and Nativity scenes. They demand our unalienable 1st Amendment right to religious freedom be silenced in the town square and exiled into private practice. They mock and scorn us for adherence to that 'old book’ written by ‘primitive patriarchal misogynists’ and then, as the double-minded are want to do, they cite those very patriarchs out of context to drag us down to their worldly level!

The truth is that this moral equivalency conflating a sojourner with illegal immigration also throws the precepts of God into contradiction. The idea that willfully breaking the law, and at the same time, demanding hospitality is preposterous. It is especially so, when having broken our laws of immigration with impunity, to commit more crimes emboldened by our Inquisitors willingness to aid and abet the criminal behavior. This is the compassion we are to imbibe?

The sojourner doesn't break down the door or scale the wall of the host like a common thief; he knocks in humility and allows the host to answer generosity and with grace or accepts rejection as the case may be. Yet this is exactly as our self appointed Inquisitors would have it- judging sinful things as good and good things as sinful because they are of the world and without Light, and in so doing absurdly redefine sin itself as compassion.

The precepts of the Kingdom to which Christians aspire preclude the true sojourner from violating authority and demanding welfare in the City of God.

“And Jesus answering said unto them,
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
And they marveled at him”.
St. Mark 12:17

There is a Gatekeeper in this City and a standard of character and conduct that determines either entry or rejection. There is no entitlement for sustenance, but rather the Bread of Heaven to quicken one for immortality.

“There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: [no] sojourner of the priest,
or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.”
Leviticus  22:10

Setting Scripture against Scripture is an evil enterprise and not binding on us. Buying into such distortions is to be blindly led by the blind- falling into a ditch of hypocrisy. Such will clamor at the Gate of Hospitality but their cloaking and deceit may well be their turning away. The reward for evil at the Gate of the Kingdom is the hearing of the words "I know you not.”

Let us continue our sojourning together in truth.


John Dixon
Warden
St. Athanasius Anglican


Sources and excerpt:  Joseph Cullen Ayer. "A Source book for Ancient Church History"

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