Saturday, January 24, 2015

More evidence that today's yesterday's evangelicals are tomorrow's today's liberals

Another backlog item:

I like to constantly draw the reader's attention to the prescient warning from Samuel Tow in 1983, Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals. That "tomorrow" has been here for quite some time, and Dr. Tow's warning has come to pass. Submitted for your approval as evidence is the following example of a mainline church and an evangelical church supporting the same non-Christian cause.

From the Religion Calendar of the Edmonton Journal, October 18, 2014, p. G12 (bold in original, links inserted by blogger):

Power of Words--Scrabble Benefit: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Southminster-Steinhauer United Church, 10740 19th Ave. Supporting African grandmothers who are raising the millions of AIDS-orphaned children. Proceeds to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign under the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Cash donations at the door. Visit edmontongrandmothers.org.

Scrabble Benefit: Oct. 26, 2 p.m., at the Sherwood Park Alliance Church, 1 Clover Bar Rd. Eastside Grannies of Sherwood Park need players and sponsors to help African grandmothers who are raising 14 million orphaned grandchildren, having lost their adult children to AIDS. For information or for a pledge package: Carol, 780-464-4195, dmaier@shaw.ca or Cathy, 780-439-6785.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation, started by and named after a socialist politician and former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, sounds like a good cause, but is not Christian. As for the churches mentioned above, Southminster-Steinhauer United Church is the mainline church, with the slogan:

exploring an expansive Christianity and embracing the spirit of the Earth Charter

Click on the links to see what is meant by "expansive Christianity" and the Earth Charter, and you'll see that Southminster-Steinhauer United isn't a Christian church, but one that promotes and practices outright paganism; their god isn't worth worshipping, and they follow a false Jesus. You'll find this church mentioned in another item in this post, which gives a clue to something else it promotes.

Sherwood Park Alliance Church is the "evangelical" church mentioned in the item above. If you click the link for Mission and Vision, this is the first thing you see:

Reclaiming God's Dream.

Broken. Separated. Distant. Alienated. This was the state of our relationship with God after sin severed intimacy. Renews. Chooses. Accepts. This is what God does for us to see His dream of relationship with humanity restored.


Reading that makes me wish I had a flower in my hair (and enough hair to go with it). This looks like something from the late 1960s or early '70s, and more resembles the 1969 Tommy James and the Shondells song Crystal Blue Persuasion than anything you read in the Bible. I used to think "God's dream" sounded nice, until a few years ago when it occurred to me (long after it should have, I must admit) that nowhere in the Bible does it say that God has a dream or dreams, while there are numerous instances of God giving people dreams (e.g., Genesis 20:3; Matthew 2:12). God doesn't have a dream, but He does have an agenda and a prophetic timetable He's working out, and it's being fulfilled right on schedule.

There were a number of other items in the Journal's Religion Calendar that day that offer an interesting snapshot of the religious scene on October 18, 2014 (bold in original, links inserted by blogger):

Tibetan Nuns' Project: Sunday, noon to 1:30 p.m., at Garneau United Church, 11148 84th Ave. Ann Salmonsen speaks about her recent trip to India and a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery that is working to improve conditions for Buddhist women refugees. Free admission. For details, call Garneau United Church, 780-439-2501 or email: garneauuc@shaw.ca

Dancing For Fun: Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., at St. Augustine's Anglican Church, 6110 Fulton Rd. Weekly at the lower level. Circles, mixers, line dances. Couples and singles, teens welcome. No experience necessary. Refreshments provided. For more information contact 780-467-5180. $3 per person.

St. Albert Affirm Celebration: Oct. 25, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., at St. Albert United Church, 20 Green Grove Dr. Celebration begins with a diversity fair and potluck dinner at 5 p.m. featuring musical enetertainment, including Edmonton Vocal Minority, as well as a speech by Rev. Nancy Steeves of Southminster Steinhauer United Church. Free admission; dinner guests encouraged to bring a food contribution. For more information, go to stalbertunited.ca

Yoga & Exercise: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m., at Robertson-Wesley United Church, 10209 123 St. Gentle Hatha Yoga class every Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Circuit exercise class every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. offers cardio and weight training at your own pace. Register today; class size limited. Email: tmail@rwucorg or call 780-482-1587.

Yoga for Christians: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., ending Nov. 5, at Providence Renewal Centre, 3005 119th St. Prayer of the Heart and Body, with Glenda Sartore. Multi-level yoga practice suitable to both beginners and seasoned yoga practitioners. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga or exercise mat, a blanket, and a strap. Eight weeks: $112, no drop-in. For more information and to register, go to providencerenewal.ca or call 780-701-1854.

Christian Meditation: Mondays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Star of the North, 3A Saint Vital Ave., St. Albert. Experience the ancient tradition of prayerful stillness. Call for access information, 780-459-5511. Event cost by donation.

Emmaus Inclusive Catholic Community: Celebration of Eucharist, Sundays at 2:30 p.m., presided over by a member of Roman Catholic Women Priests. For information, visit emmauscatholic-community.ca or contact Lori at 780-720-3444, ldexter@telus.net

Edmonton Vocal Minority describes itself as "Edmonton's Queer musical voice." You'll notice that it's mentioned in the item that includes a speech from the female minister at the church that's supporting the same cause as the evangelical church in Sherwood Park. When you see the words "affirm" or "affirming" in relation to the United Church of Canada, it means that they're affirming homosexual behaviour--something that God doesn't affirm, but condemns (e.g., Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-32).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An example from Edmonton of a community service centre masquerading as an evangelical church

Another backlog item:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
II Corinthians 6:14-17

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
I John 2:15-16

At the top of Glenn Chatfield's blog The Watchman's Bagpipes is found this quote from A.W. Tozer:

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

The following article, which appeared on page 5 of the Summer 2014 issue of the Oliver Community League Newsletter in Edmonton, is an excellent example of some of what Mr. Tozer--a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor--was warning about (bold in original):

Plans for a new Church in Oliver

By Barry J. McLeod--Community Church Strategist


In the spring of 2012 we made the decision to leave the suburban reality of our lives and begin to search for a home in the neighbourhoods closer to the core of Edmonton. We landed in the Oliver area and immediately fell in love with its dynamic and vibrant nature. We feel we live in one of the best neighbourhoods in our city and want to play our part in ensuring that those bragging rights stay in place. One of the ways in which we will engage towards that end is establishing a new church ministry in this area.

The role of faith based organizations and institutions in participating in community building and life should not be overlooked. People of various faiths and religious backgrounds are often motivated by an innate sense of the need to add value to the neighbourhoods in which they find themselves. Volunteerism is the lifeblood of any great neighbourhood and people of faith should see themselves as not only having a part to play in the success of their own organizations but should look to serve with their neighbours to ensure the flourishing of our communities and beyond.

Our family of Alliance churches has a long history in the Edmonton area and we feel that it is time to re-establish a work in the heart of this neighbourhood. With this in mind we are currently preparing and making plans to begin public services sometime in the fall of this year.

As we begin this process we desire to engage the public as much as possible to learn and listen to the heartbeat of our neighbourhood. What do people care most deeply about? What are their views about what makes a community flourish? What are the burning issues and causes that capture their attention? And how might a new community of faith add value?

In starting this new work there is a deep philosophical perspective that informs our actions and attitudes. We are convinced that our faith calls us to be active participants in helping to make the place we live not just a better place to live but the best possible place it can be. We believe that this must start with a listening stance as opposed to telling one. Faith and a spiritual perspective may provide the answers that some people and even communities require to flourish but only in hearing and understanding can any of us suggest possible solutions.

If you would like to engage us in any way as we make plans to start this new church in our community we would love to hear from you. The easiest way to reach us is by email or you can follow the twitter. Our deep desire is to see a church established that is entirely cognizant of the fact that it is a privilege to partner with neighbours, other faith based organizations and any group who seeks to improve life for all in our community.
The perceptive reader will notice that in the article above the words "neighbours" or "neighbourhood(s)" are mentioned eight times, and "community" or "communities" are mentioned seven times. However, "faith" isn't defined, and there is no mention at all of God, Jesus Christ, or the gospel.

To "start with a listening stance" shows that this is an effort of man and not of God, and can hardly be called a Christian church. The true church of Jesus Christ doesn't begin with a listening stance toward the community, but with a stance of proclamation of who God is and what He has done:

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20

I'm a resident of Oliver, and one of the neighbourhood's distinguishing characteristics is that it seems to contain a disproportionately large number of sodomites and lesbians. There are several mainline churches in the area, at least one of which--Robertson-Wesley United Church--has adopted a "listening stance" toward the sodomite/lesbian "community" to the extent that, like its parent denomination, the United Church of Canada, it actively supports this "community"'s perverse agenda. The last thing we need is an "evangelical" church to do the same.

You could substitute the words "community service centre" for "church" and "community service" for "faith based" in Mr. McLeod's article and it wouldn't change the meaning; if anything, it would make more sense that way. Such is the social gospel.

HT: The Watchman's Bagpipes

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pope Francis's visit to the Philippines prompts two of 2015's best headlines

The year is young, but it will be hard to top the headlines of these items reported by Dierdre Haggerty of the Long Island Catholic Examiner (bold in original) ; click on the links for the full articles. The first, from January 7, 2015:

Pope's visit to Philippines will require traffic cops to wear diapers

The article links to the following (bold in original):

Procession of the Black Nazarene

The largest procession
The procession of the Black Nazarene is the largest procession in the country. It takes place on January the 9th and on Good Friday through the streets of Quiapo, a small part of metro Manila. The procession dates from the 17th century. Thousands of men parade through the streets with the life-sized, black wooden statue of Jesus (of Nazarene).

A miracle after touching the statue?
During the feast of the Black Nazarene thousands of barefoot men join the annual procession. Walking barefoot during the procession is seen as a sign of humility. During this procession the men yell "Viva SeƱor". Everybody who is in the neighbourhood of the cross tries to touch the statue. People believe that a miracle can happen after touching it. The statue was bought by a priest in Mexico and brought to Manila in 1606.

A black Christ?
The Black Nazarene is a more than 200-year-old statue. Black? One tale is telling that during the Spanish colonial period missionaries brought an icon to Manila. During the trip however, there was a fire on board and the icon, the Nazarene, caught fire. Despite its charred condition, the Nazarene was kept save and honored from then on. The statue is to be seen in the Saint John the Baptist Church in Quiapo in Manila, where it has been housed since 1787.

Feast of the Black Nazarene
Every year thousands of pilgrims from all over the country come to Manila to be part of the procession of the Black Nazarene. All participants in the procession hope that they will have the opportunity to touch the wooden statue. They hope that this will protect them from harm and ensure health in the future. Indeed, it is said that sometimes persons were healed of diseases after touching the statue! (A Filipino: "My daughter was very sick, so I joined this procession last year. Now she is cured...."). Some of them follow the statue during the procession because they believe it is an atonement of their sins or hope for some miracle.
The Procession of the Black Nazarene is an exhibition not of Christian faith, but of pagan superstition; click on the link for the full text of the article from the 19th century by John Nelson Darby, Superstition is not Faith; or, The True Character of Romanism.

They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’
and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me
and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
‘Come and save us!’
Jeremiah 2:27 (NIV)

My people consult a wooden idol,
and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.
Hosea 4:12 (NIV)

Then there was this item, from January 13, 2015:

Pope Francis encourages breastfeeding in the Sistine Chapel

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Canadian politician calls for dialogue between Orthodox churches in Canada and Ukraine, and a disconnect from the Moscow Patriarchate

The following item from my backlog shows the issues that can arise when churches are tied to national and ethnic loyalties. As reported by Marco Levytsky in the Edmonton newspaper Ukrainian News, June 19-July 16, 2014, pp. 1-2:

An MP who is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is urging dialogue between Orthodox churches in both Canada and Ukraine, along with a "disconnect" from the Moscow Patriarchate on the part of Russo-Orthodox churches in Canada and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Moscow Patriarchate (UOC--MP) in Ukraine.

"There has to be a disconnect because the Moscow Patriarchate from my understanding...has a direct connection with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in Moscow and that doesn't necessarily serve well when you have a religious entity in the country of Ukraine. There have to be influences coming through and I certainly believe that there are," Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring told Ukrainian News.

Goldring is a member of St. Barbara's Cathedral in Edmonton, which falls directly under the jurisdiction of the ROC, but most of whose members are of Ukrainian origin.

His wife Lorraine (nee Taschuk) is a descendant of settlers from the Bukovyna region of Ukraine who came to Canada at the turn of the 20th century. These early settlers were served by Orthodox Mission in North America, which at that time was part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Except for St. Barbara's Cathedral, the Russo-Orthodox churches whose members are of Ukrainian origin fall under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of America which considers the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to be the Mother Church.

The ROC recognizes the OCA as autocephalous, but this autocephaly is not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Goldring says there is a backlash over the Russian annexation of Crimea and its support of the separatist movement in Ukraine developing in the UOC--MP and in Edmonton as well.

"My bishop (Iov, Bishop of Kashira, Vicar of the Moscow Diocese, Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Canada) says please help my Ukraine. His priority is to help Ukraine not to keep repeating the Moscow Patriarch's line," says Goldring.

"There is a schism that is going on and quite frankly one of the best things that could happen to Ukraine is to have the two patriarchates joined together as a Kyiv patriarchate and separate from Moscow. There is too much influence coming in from Putin and from (Moscow Patriarch) Kirill...causing problems in Ukraine," he adds.

Goldring, who returned to Canada earlier this month after completing a month-long special investigative mission in the southeastern regions of Ukraine at the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, says one of his investigations took him to Odesa where on May 2, over 40 people died in a fire after clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators.

Prior to that incident members of local religious groups--among them Ukrainian Orthodox, Lutheran and Jewish got together to try and defuse the situation under the theme that we are all under one God, but the Moscow Patriarchate church refused to be a part of it and instead marched with the separatists shouting pro-Russian slogans.

"Frankly I think they really incited what followed three [or] four days later," he said.

One way to promote reconciliation among the churches in Canada would be to include the Russo-Orthodox churches among the sites that will be receiving a plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary of Canada's first national internment operations.

Since many of the Ukrainians interned during World War I were Bukovynians who were members of the Russo-Orthodox Church these churches deserve to have plaques especially as this project is receiving funding from the federal government, Goldring says.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Maryland's first female Episcopal "Bishop," with a DUI record, is placed on administrative leave and faces numerous criminal charges after being involved in a fatal collision with a cyclist

This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
I Timothy 3:1-3

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Titus 1:6-8

Besides not being the husband of one wife, there's at least one other reason why Heather Cook isn't biblically qualified to lead a church. As reported by Fern Shen of the Baltimore Brew, December 28, 2014 (bold in original):

In an email to the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton has identified the driver of the car involved in the fatal bicycle crash on Roland Avenue yesterday as Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook, ordained in September to serve as Bishop Suffragan, the No. 2 spot in the diocese.

“I am distressed to announce that Bishop Heather E. Cook was involved in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon, Dec. 27, that resulted in the death of bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41,” Bishop Sutton wrote today, noting that Cook did not sustain any injuries.

Bishop Sutton also confirmed reports that the driver at first left the scene of the accident, as police and witnesses have reported.

“Several news agencies have reported this as a ‘hit and run.’ Bishop Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions,” Sutton wrote, according to the text of the email obtained by The Brew.

Sutton also said that he has placed Cook on administrative leave, effective immediately, “because the nature of the accident could result in criminal charges.”

“Together with the Diocese of Maryland, I express my deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist and offer my condolences to the victim’s family,” Sutton wrote. “Please pray for Mr. Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time.”

Sutton, who was due to go on sabbatical at the start of 2015, said he would delay the beginning of the sabbatical to January 24 “to be pastorally present during this difficult time.”

He said he would be meeting soon with the church’s standing committee “to discuss ways we can move forward.”

Drinking and Drug Charges in 2010

The Brew attempted to contact Cook and Sutton via email tonight and have not yet received a reply.

UPDATE: Replying on behalf of Sutton, Sharon Tillman, director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, said tonight that Sutton’s comments are all they are releasing at this time.

The Brew asked Tillman if Bishop Cook is the same Heather Elizabeth Cook, 4325 Cabin Creek Road, arrested on September 10, 2010 on drinking, driving and drug charges in Caroline County, according to this local media coverage and online court records.

The two drug charges – possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia – were dropped in January 2012 by the Caroline County state’s attorney’s office, online records show.

She earlier pleaded guilty to the DUI charge and received “probation before judgement” with a $800 fine, $500 of which was suspended.

Tillman said she could not comment and referred us to Cook’s personal attorney, but could not provide the attorney’s name. (A religious publishing website lists 4325 Cabin Creek-Hurlock Road as the canonical residence of Heather E. Cook.)

According to a Baltimore police spokesman, they were called to respond to “a car accident” that occurred at about 2:37 p.m. yesterday and found Palermo still alive at the scene. He was taken to Sinai Hospital where he died of his injuries.

Police have not yet named the driver or disclosed whether she will face charges.

First Female Bishop

Cook, 58, is the first woman to be ordained a bishop in the Maryland diocese. Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Cook moved to Baltimore as a young child when her father was called to the Maryland diocese and later served as rector of Old St. Paul’s.

She was ordained to the priesthood in 1988. She has served as a boarding school chaplain at Stuart Hall in Staunton, Va.; assistant rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Bedford, NY; rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in York, Pa.; canon for mission in the Diocese of Central New York, and canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Easton on the Eastern Shore.
HT: Vox Popoli

January 10, 2015 update: As reported by Mark Reutter in Baltimore Brew, January 9, 2015:

A $2.5 million bail was set for Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook after a hearing this afternoon before a commissioner at the Baltimore City District Court.

The 58-year-old Episcopal cleric is currently being held at the downtown Detention Center until bail can be posted. Typically it would cost about $250,000, or 10%, to post bail, although the percentage sometimes is much lower.

Sources told The Brew that Bishop Cook appeared at the hearing after being transported from Father Martin’s Ashley, an alcoholism and drug addiction treatment center near Havre de Grace, where she had been staying.

A trial date was set for February 6, although that date could change if the cleric is indicted by a city grand jury, as State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said could happen.

Cook was at the wheel of a car that hit and killed 41-year-old Thomas Palermo on December 27. Her alcohol blood level was .22 – or nearly three times the legal limit – an hour after the crash, the state’s attorney’s office said today.

She was charged tonight with two felonies in connection with the crash, manslaughter and failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury. She was also charged with DUI and texting while driving.
The reader should click on the link above to see the laundry list of charges against "Bishop" Cook.

HT: Stand Firm in Faith

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Calgary renovation contractor with church-connected clients is charged with voyeurism

As reported by Annalise Klingbeil of the Calgary Herald, December 17, 2014:

A Calgary contractor has been charged with two counts of voyeurism after residents found a hidden motion-activated camera inside a bathroom electrical socket allegedly installed during a contracted job, police say.

The accused was operating a renovation company called The Good Shepherd Group and the victims were referred to the contractor by word of mouth through their church congregation, according to police.

Const. Neil Macpherson of the Calgary police centralized general investigations section said a covert camera and recording device were found in the home’s bathroom around Nov. 14 by one of the residents.

“When the item was discovered, the victim was in her bathroom and she noticed that the newly installed electrical socket … one of the screws was overly worn,” he said.

“She also noticed that one of the electrical outlets didn’t work so she decided to remove the socket from the wall and she discovered the camera and the recording device inside.”

The camera was reported to police and investigators discovered it contained compromising images of the two female residents, one in her 20s and one in her 40s.

The victims are understandably upset, said Macpherson.

“They were shocked and they were very embarrassed,” he said.

The contractor, who began work at the home in August, returned to the house on approximately 30 occasions, said Macpherson.

“It appeared that every time he went to the house, he would tell the victims that he had found other work that was required to be done, which caused him to return approximately 30 times to the house,” Macpherson said.

One memory card was seized from the camera the victim found and the computer of the accused has been seized.

Investigators are still trying to determine if there are other memory cards that were potentially switched out when the contractor returned to the home.

Ting Kay Chu, 43, (who also uses the alias Tohmus Tikay Chu), has been charged with two counts of voyeurism and two counts of failing to comply with a court order.

Macpherson said investigators are trying to determine if there are other victims and police are asking anyone who may have work underway, or have concerns about work done by Chu or his company, to step forward.

Police are also working with Calgary’s licensing inspector as Chu doesn’t have a valid business licence, police say.