Tuesday, 5 September 2023

More evidence of apostasy in the Church of England

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

As reported by Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian, July 29, 2023:

A Cornish church that banned women from applying to be its new vicar – despite once counting Dawn French, star of the TV comedy The Vicar of Dibley, among its flock – has reversed the decision under new management.

A newly elected governing council at St Fimbarrus church in the picturesque port of Fowey in Cornwall has told parishioners that a “new season” has begun.

In a statement, the parochial church council (PCC) said the previous regime’s decision to advertise for a male priest to fill its four-year-old vacancy was “misguided and unrepresentative” of the parish and the town.

The decision had been taken without consultation and many people in the parish expressed a “strong desire for change”.

The new PCC wanted the church “to be accessible to all … The PCC has voted unanimously to rescind the previous PCC’s resolution requiring male leadership … We are keen to recruit the best candidate to meet the needs of Fowey parish church, regardless of gender.”

Merisa MacInnes, a member of the PCC, said: “We are encouraged that numbers in the congregation have doubled in recent weeks and we are confident that the right person to be vicar will come forward in the coming months.”

In March, the previous PCC defended its decision to ban female applicants for the vacancy, insisting it was “not sexist”.

It said: “As an evangelical church we look to the Bible for all matters of faith. The Bible is very clear on equality – all are equal …. There is, however, debate over the roles women play within the church.”

It understood that its desire for a male priest-in-charge “can be difficult to understand looking from the outside into the church, but [we] would robustly defend that this position is not sexist, is widely established in the worldwide church, and accommodates all views in the membership of our church without exclusion”.

Andy Virr, the previous chair of the PCC and a local Conservative councillor, and two other PCC members stood down in May amid objections to the stance.

Under exemptions from the Equality Act, the Church of England permits local churches to reject female lead priests and the oversight of a female bishop.

Martine Oborne, the chair of Women and the Church (Watch), an organisation that campaigns for equality in the C of E, and a vicar in west London, said the Fowey decision was good news.

She added: “I think it’s time for church members to assert themselves and not defer to clergy who seek to limit women’s roles in the church.”

Fowey was not unique, she said. Some churches had taken decisions to reject female priests without proper consultation or transparency.

The fight for equality was not over despite 30 years having passed since women were allowed to become priests in the C of E.

“I think personally it’s time for the C of E to find a generous way to bring the arrangements that allow churches to go on limiting or not recognising women’s ministries to an end,” she said.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

As reported by Alexandra Topping in The Guardian, August 30, 2023 (links in original):

Most Church of England priests want the C of E to allow same-sex weddings and to drop its opposition to premarital and gay sex, according to a survey.

In a major shift in attitudes over the past decade, a survey of priests in England conducted by the Times found that more than half supported a change in law to allow clergy to conduct the marriage of gay couples, with 53.4% in favour compared with 36.5% against.

The last time Anglican priests in England were asked, in 2014, shortly after the legalisation of same-sex civil marriage, 51% said same-sex marriage was “wrong”, compared with 39% who approved.

Last year a row erupted at the first Lambeth conference (a meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world) in 14 years, with the archbishop of Canterbury faced sharp criticism for affirming a 1998 declaration that gay sex was a sin.

But the new poll found that 64.5% of priests in England backed an end to the teaching that “homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture”. It also found that 27.3% of priests supported an end to any celibacy requirement for gay people, while 37.2% said they were willing to accept sex between gay people in “committed” relationships such as civil partnerships or marriages, and around a third (29.7%) said the teaching should not change.

Andrew Foreshew-Cain, founder of the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, said the survey showed there was “no excuse for further delay and equivocation” in welcoming gay people into the church.

“The clergy of the Church of England are kinder, more generous, and more welcoming towards LGBTI people than the current official position allows,” he said. “The C of E, and in particular our bishops, needs to stop wringing its hands over gay people and move forward towards blessings and, in time, to celebrating same-sex marriages in our parishes.”

The survey results were encouraging, said Robbie de Santos, director of communications at Stonewall. “We hope that church leaders reflect on these findings,” he said. “Too often, LGBTQ+ people of faith face discrimination and prejudice simply for being themselves.”

The survey also found that three-quarters of respondents thought Britain could no longer be described as a Christian country. Almost two-thirds (64.2%) said Britain could be called Christian “but only historically, not currently”.

In the 2021 census of England and Wales for the first time fewer than half of the population described themselves as Christian.

The Times poll found that two-thirds of priests in England thought attempts to stop the drop in church attendance would fail, with only 10.1% thinking it would be halted, and 10.5% believing that congregations would grow again. Average attendance for Church of England Sunday services in 2021 was 509,000, down from 1.2m in 1986.

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Archbishop of York whines about "oppressively patriarchal" Lord's Prayer

This provides more evidence that you can't be a satirist anymore--assuming that this item wasn't meant as satire. As reported by Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian, July 7, 2023 (links in original):

The archbishop of York has suggested that opening words of the Lord’s Prayer, recited by Christians all over the world for 2,000 years, may be “problematic” because of their patriarchal association.

In his opening address to a meeting of the Church of England’s ruling body, the General Synod, Stephen Cottrell dwelt on the words “Our Father”, the start of the prayer based on Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4 in the New Testament.

“I know the word ‘father’ is problematic for those whose experience of earthly fathers has been destructive and abusive, and for all of us who have laboured rather too much from an oppressively patriarchal grip on life,” he said.

His comment – a brief aside in a speech that focused on the need for unity – will divide members of the C of E, a body whose differences on issues of sexuality, identity and equality have been highly visible for years.

After Cottrell’s speech, Canon Dr Chris Sugden, chair of the conservative Anglican Mainstream group, pointed out that in the Bible Jesus urged people to pray to “our father”.

He said: “Is the archbishop of York saying Jesus was wrong, or that Jesus was not pastorally aware? It seems to be emblematic of the approach of some church leaders to take their cues from culture rather than scripture.”

Rev Christina Rees, who campaigned for female bishops, said Cottrell had “put his finger on an issue that’s a really live issue for Christians and has been for many years”.

She added: “The big question is, do we really believe that God believes that male human beings bear his image more fully and accurately than women? The answer is absolutely not.”

In February, the C of E said it would consider whether to stop referring to God as “he”, after priests asked to be allowed to use gender-neutral terms instead.

It agreed to launch a commission on gendered language, saying “Christians have recognised since ancient times that God is neither male nor female, yet the variety of ways of addressing and describing God found in scripture has not always been reflected in our worship”.
As reported in the Irish Times, February 8, 2023:

The Church of England is considering alternatives to referring to God as “he” after priests asked to be allowed to use gender-neutral terms instead.

The church said it would start a project in the spring to decide whether to propose changes or not.

Any potential alterations, which would mark a departure from traditional Jewish and Christian teachings dating back millennia, would have to be approved by synod, the church’s decision-making body.

Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield and vice-chair of the liturgical commission responsible for the matter, said the church had been “exploring the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years”.

Sunday, 30 July 2023

"Interfaith" service is appropriate for the retirement of United Church of Canada pastrix

I don't see any mention of alphabet perverts in the following article, but every other base seems to have been touched, providing moer evidence, as if was needed, to prove that the United Church of Canada is hopelessly apostate. As reported, with his typically idiotic liberal bias, by John Longhurst in the Winnipeg Free Press, June 30, 2023 (updated July 1, 2023):
I don’t know what heaven is like. But there may have been a clue June 11 at Westworth United Church.

That was the day the church acknowledged the retirement of its minister, Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd, with a service of gratitude and celebration.

What made the service a bit like heaven was how it included not only Christian scriptures and liturgy, but those from other faith traditions such as Islam and Judaism, along with contributions from Indigenous people.

The service opened with a treaty acknowledgment and included a Hebrew chant for peace and readings from the Hebrew scriptures, the Qu’ran and the New Testament — along with traditional hymns and choruses.

Participants in the service included Izzeddin Hawamda, originally from the West Bank in Palestine; Humaira Jaleel, founder and executive director of Healthy Muslim Families; Idris Knapp, executive director of Winnipeg’s Central Mosque; Rabbanit Dorit Kosmin, an interfaith health-care chaplain who has also worked as a cantor and Jewish educator; Cree elder and former United Church of Canada minister Stan McKay; Rabbi Kliel Rose of Congregation Etz Chayim; Anass Sebbahi, a Muslim musician; Rachel Landrecht, a sacred singer and songwriter; and Jedediyah Swampy of Sagkeeng First Nation, a traditional singer and drummer.

It was a joyous service from the opening introit, through the anthem and the Taize chant to the reading of scriptures, the hymns and postlude — albeit tinged with a bit of sadness at seeing a much-loved minister depart the church.

After the service, I asked MacKenzie Shepherd why she chose an interfaith service for her farewell.

It grew out of the church’s history of interfaith involvement, along with her own personal commitment to engaging with people from other faith groups, she said, adding “I have long believed that the only way through generational conflicts between cultures and faiths is a third way that emerges between entrenched, oppositional sides.”

For her, “to find this third way requires us to listen deeply with compassion to views that may be anathema to what we believe. But as we listen, we develop relationships of trust where the other can know that they are safe in our presence. We may respectfully disagree, but we commit to standing with each other against societal hostility, such as antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and homophobia.”

MacKenzie Shepherd also believes triangulation is key to bringing diverse faith communities together — not focusing on interfaith dialogue but asking people to give attention to some other justice-related topic or issue.

For Westworth, the thing they focused on was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. MacKenzie Shepherd brought together people from the Islamic, Jewish and Buddhist communities, along with Indigenous people, to discuss those calls. In the process, “trusting relationships” were established, she said, leading to greater interfaith engagement.

Those meetings “touched a spiritual need” and fostered a “deep desire to come together,” she said.

So when she was asked what kind of gathering she wanted for her retirement service, bringing people from those groups together for an interfaith worship service was an obvious choice.

“This is the first time that both Westworth and I have ever been part of such a service,” she said, adding it was “a natural culmination of all of our work together.”

Friday, 30 June 2023

World Evangelical Alliance is tied in with the United Nations, and supports the agenda of the UN and the World Council of Churches

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36

For those who wonder if the Evangelical establishment (Big Eva, as A.D. Robles calls it) is part of the world system (it seems to this blogger that the higher up on the Evangelical ladder they are, the greater the chance that they're actually playing for the other team), one need look no further than the home page of the World Evangelical Alliance, where the WEA boasts of its ties to the evil and corrupt United Nations (bold in original):

An Evangelical Voice at United Nations

Serving a constituency of some 600 million evangelical Christians, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is uniquely positioned to represent an evangelical voice at the United Nations (UN). Since the relocation of its Headquarters to New York in 2010, the WEA has increased its engagement at the UN promoting peace and reconciliation, advocating for the poor and needy, and also communicating evangelical beliefs and values.

The WEA holds Special Consultative Status in the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC) which serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system.

The WEA is also accredited to the UN Department of Public Information.
The following hardly needs commentary; the reader will notice not only the WEA support for the United Nations (including the UN's Sustainable Development Goals), but the WEA's referring to "Christian sisters and brothers in the World Council of Churches," and support for the WCC's position, thus showing a complete lack of discernment (bold, links in original).

UN New Agenda for Peace: Submission of the World Evangelical Alliance.

/ Human Rights, Human Security / By WEAatUnitedNations / June 12, 2023

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has offered input to the UN’s “New Agenda for Peace,” a process recognizing the shared human responsibility to “protect and manage the global public good of peace.” In its submission, the WEA affirms the six potential areas for the New Agenda for Peace – reducing strategic risks, strengthening international foresight and capacities to identify and adapt to new risks, reshaping responses to all forms of violence, investing in prevention and peacebuilding, supporting regional prevention, and putting women and girls at the center.

UN New Agenda for Peace

Submission of the World Evangelical Alliance

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) commends the United Nations Secretary General for identifying the necessity of A New Agenda for Peace. We are grateful for the opportunity to join many voices contributing to a global conversation that we pray will lead to a future of hope and peace where swords are beaten into ploughshares and people can enjoy life in all its fullness with none to make them afraid.

The WEA began in 1846 as collective desire of Protestant Christians to be engaged in the social issues and injustices of their day. This original seed continues to grow and has become a global communion of approximately 600 million Christians in more than 140 countries. We believe Jesus Christ calls us to be actively engaged in the well-being of the world and all its peoples and that integral to that is the call to peacemaking and the building of societies where there is “positive peace” as described by the 2022 Global Peace Index.1 We believe Jesus Christ calls us to speak and act toward God’s transcendent and moral vision of the flourishing life for all people and creation that is sourced in faith, hope, and love. We believe God calls human authorities to remember our finiteness and dependency, our need for divine wisdom and forgiveness, and our responsibility to steward and build systems and structures together that are just and righteous, with particular concern for the vulnerable and oppressed. We confess we continue to have much to learn from God and others in the global human family in this regard. We also believe our global alliance, with its active congregations, organizations, and networks has much to contribute to this important dialogue upon which so much depends.

We celebrate the contribution to A New Agenda for Peace made by our Christian sisters and brothers in the World Council of Churches and add our affirmation to their submission.2 As fellow Christians with shared concerns, we seek to add to their important voice.

We also celebrate that the United Nations recognizes the shared human responsibility to “protect and manage the global public good of peace.” This submission seeks to contribute to this global public good by affirming the six potential areas for the New Agenda for Peace – reducing strategic risks, strengthening international foresight and capacities to identify and adapt to new risks, reshaping responses to all forms of violence, investing in prevention and peacebuilding, supporting regional prevention, and putting women and girls at the center. We are committed to the SDG's as focused goals to address those issues in our global communities that challenge environments of living in peaceful ways. We also recognize the value of strengthening and building upon the pillars for positive peace named by the Global Peace Index – well-functioning government, sound business environment, acceptance of the rights of others, good relations with neighbours, free flow of information, high levels of human capital, low levels of corruption, and equitable distribution of resources. Toward a New Agenda for Peace that will see the six potential areas strengthened and the eight pillars for positive peace undergirded, we call for special attention to be given to the following:

• Faith community participation

We submit that since faith communities of all kinds and confessions are found everywhere, in rural and urban settings, are uniquely contextually aware, have members involved in many segments of society, and are organized for community engagement, it is crucial that they and their leaders be welcomed, listened to, equipped, and involved as vital partners in any new agenda for peace. Both the Global Peace Index and Our Common Agenda name realities that faith communities are engaging and experienced in, and yet they are unnamed as potential contributors. The WEA has commissioned a Peace & Reconciliation Network to increasingly connect and assist our national alliances in peace and reconciliation work, have a Global Advocacy department with UN representation, and know other religious bodies care for the public good in this way as well. Most importantly, we have thousands upon thousands of local congregations, compelled by their faith in Jesus and his teachings, who actively care for and are engaged in their communities. A New Agenda for Peace in a globalized and pluralistic age should welcome and include the convictions, learnings, insights, contributions, and corrections of faith communities that are forming people who inhabit, labour, and serve within the areas and pillars that require crucial attention for the global public good.

• Trauma-healing

We submit that special attention be given, and investment made in trauma-care and the formation of trauma-responsive communities and structures. Unresolved trauma is a significant contributor to the breakdown of family and social structures, creating the individual and communal conditions for conflict and violence to simmer over generations and erupt disastrously. Attentiveness to the health of the whole person – mental, emotional, relational and spiritual – and the role trauma plays in eroding that health is a crucial part in forming communities and societies equipped to build positive peace.

• Mandatory peacebuilding education including women and children

We submit that special encouragement be given to educational curriculum development that includes the history and practices of peacebuilding. We believe that a global expectation of peacebuilding as a core educational component beginning with the youngest, and including women, would greatly facilitate the equipping of people of all ages, genders, areas and pillars of life to contribute to reducing strategic risks and be a deposit in prevention that would produce generational fruit in family, neighbourhood, business, culture-shaping, and governance.

• Investment in peacebuilding by government and business

We submit that national governments should be called to set a standard investment in peacebuilding. We also submit that business and industry should be invited to invest in peacebuilding as well.

Recent conflicts have increased defense spending by many countries with plans for greater expenditure. A New Agenda for Peace should call for governments to set minimum standards of investing in peacebuilding across their societies. Research, recognition, and rewarding of successful and grassroots efforts should not be seen as optional, but critical investment in human and environmental flourishing. We believe careful attention to regional voices of all involved parties, and religious and indigenous conflict resolution resources that exist in societies is a necessity. We propose that recognizing practices already and historically inherent in many cultures can help build a positive peace if attended to, learned from, and adapted for current realities. These, along with new and emerging peacebuilding capacities should be expected governmental investment.

In addition, we propose that business and industry should be challenged and incentivized to make social investment in peacebuilding an expected part of their social responsibility, entrepreneurship, and contribution to thriving and flourishing communities. Government and business, understanding the economic and environmental impact of violence and the economic and environmental impact of peace,3 should partner creatively in addressing the horrific, unjust, and peace-preventing impact of increased militarization and weaponization and expect investment that produces positive peace.

• Publish good news

As those who claim to be people of “good news” (the etymological root of “evangelical”), we submit that the publishing of good news stories of peacebuilding and reconciliation would contribute significantly to forming culture and shaping practices. A New Agenda for Peace should emphasize the telling of stories from all around the world, including faith communities, where a positive culture of peace is being formed and built. While not minimizing the responsibility to counter “fake” news and tell the truth of what is fractured and broken, we propose that telling good news stories of where the public good of peace is being worked at, contended for, and being realized is strategic for transformation, particularly in an age where the technological interconnectedness of the world enables rapid and viral information sharing.

In conclusion, we express again our gratitude for the invitation of the Secretary General to make this contribution to A New Agenda for Peace. We concur with the view of the World Council of Churches in their submission that “in a world beset by such a constellation of converging crises, a traditional silo-ed approach to addressing peace and security could not pretend to be fit for the purpose.” We encourage the United Nations to a collaborative and wholistic approach that does not ignore voices of faith but welcomes their contribution and participation as vital for the healing of the nations.

With respect and for the sake of the world,

Archbishop Prof. Dr. theol. Dr. phil. Thomas Schirrmacher, PhD, DD, Secretary General

Rev. Phil Wagler, Global Director, Peace & Reconciliation Network

Prof. Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham, Director, Global Advocacy


1 Institute for Economics & Peace. Global Peace Index 2022: Measuring Peace in a Complex World, Sydney, June 2022. Available from: http://visionofhumanity.org/resources (accessed May 18, 2023).

2 World Council of Churches’ submission for UN New Agenda for Peace. Peter Prove Director, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs World Council of Churches Geneva, 6 April 2023.

3 Global Peace Index 2022, 43-44

The reader will notice the closing words "for the sake of the world" rather than "for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ." The reader is invited to compare the WEA's submission to the World Council of Churches’ submission for UN New Agenda for Peace (bold, underscore, links in original):


Formed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the perspectives and priorities of the World Council of Churches (WCC) were marked from the outset by moral abhorrence at the suffering resulting from and atrocities perpetrated in that conflict. In response, the WCC committed itself to working for the development of international law, to promoting multilateral international cooperation, and to a holistic approach to seeking a sustainable global peace founded on justice and human rights.

At the 11th Assembly of the WCC, held in Karlsruhe, Germany, on 31 August-8 September 2022, delegates from the WCC’s over 350 member churches in more than 120 countries, representing a total global constituency of approximately 580 million people, reflected on a current context in which all of those commitments and values are threatened and undermined. The prevailing ‘polycrisis’ of climate change, conflict, forced displacement, pandemic, rampant inequality, economic instability and political fragmentation was recognized by the Assembly as demanding a holistic approach and intensified international cooperation more than ever before.

Among other relevant policy positions1, the Karlsruhe Assembly:

– rejected the polarization and division of the human community and declared WCC’s commitment to stay together as an ecumenical fellowship, and to grapple with the threats and challenges to peace, justice, human security and environmental sustainability through dialogue, encounter, the pursuit of mutual understanding, and cooperation, rather than through exclusion and confrontation;

– reasserted the ecumenical movement’s rejection and denunciation of war as contrary to the will of God;

– reiterated calls for a global ceasefire, as an urgent moral imperative, in all armed conflicts around the world, and for parties to such conflicts to engage and persist in dialogue and negotiations until just and sustainable peace can be achieved, and to abstain from war;

– appealed for much greater financial and practical support by the international community for peace-building and peace-making rather than for division and military confrontation, and underlined the important role of women and youth as peacemakers;

– called for greatly increased investment by governments and other actors in the foundations of true human security and global stability, including for urgent action for climate justice and to avert the threat of catastrophic climate change, for a just transition to renewable energy, for the elimination of extreme poverty, for sustainable development, and for measures to control rampant inequality, including through tax justice and reparations; and

– encouraged renewed efforts to reform and improve the effectiveness of UN and other intergovernmental instruments for promoting peace and human security. Accordingly, the WCC welcomes the opportunity to make this submission for the ‘New Agenda for Peace’, proposed by the UN Secretary-General in his report “Our Common Agenda”.


The WCC strongly affirms the urgency of the Secretary-General’s call for concerted collective efforts to respond effectively to multiple converging global challenges, or risk significant systemic breakdown and perpetual crisis.

We concur with many of the main directions proposed for promoting peace and preventing conflicts, including with regard to:

– Reducing strategic risks (nuclear weapons, cyberwarfare, autonomous weapons);

– Strengthening international foresight;

– Investing in prevention and peacebuilding;

– Supporting regional prevention; and

– Putting women and girls at the centre of security policy.

Further, we underline the intersectionality of many proposals in other areas, and their critical importance for sustainable peace, including especially:

– Urgent and effective action to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies;

– A renewed social contract anchored in human rights;

– Universal social protection, including health care and basic income security;

– Removing barriers to young people’s participation in politics and society;

– Ensuring that policy and budget decisions take into account their impact on future generations;

– Eradicating violence against women and girls;

– Promoting women’s economic inclusion;

– Legal identity for all, ending statelessness, and protection of internally displaced persons, refugees and migrants;

– Ending the ‘infodemic’, ‘fake news’ and ‘the war against science’;

– Tackling corruption and illicit financial flows

– Reforming the international tax system;

– Promoting regulation of artificial intelligence; and

– Stronger global health security and preparedness.

Among the many issues that must be encompassed in the New Agenda for Peace, we wish to place special emphasis on the following:

Nuclear disarmament

Though the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought the threat of nuclear conflagration back more prominently into the public discourse and consciousness, the threat had always persisted. Despite paying lip service to their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), nuclear-weapon states have consistently resisted progress towards the “general and complete disarmament” that the NPT envisages. Moreover, international efforts to prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons have been fatally undermined by the obvious hypocrisy of such efforts being led by members of the same club of recalcitrant nuclear-weapon states.

It is legally and ethically anomalous that unlike chemical weapons, biological weapons, antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions, nuclear weapons – the most indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction ever created by human beings – are not prohibited in a comprehensive and universal manner. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) seeks to fill this gap in the international disarmament regime, by establishing a new normative principle in international law for the comprehensive elimination of nuclear weapons, prohibiting the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of such weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities, in line with the commitment expressed under article VI of the NPT. Rather than on the narrow military/security basis of previous nuclear disarmament negotiations, the TPNW is founded upon recognition of the appalling humanitarian and ecological consequences of nuclear warfare. Nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-umbrella states that seek to undermine and obstruct the TPNW do so at the peril of the entire globe.

Moreover, non-proliferation efforts within the framework of a multilateral commitment to the comprehensive elimination of nuclear weapons will carry greater political weight and credibility than such efforts by nuclear-weapon states while seeking to retain their own arsenals and the political leverage they bring.

Therefore, the WCC expects the New Agenda for Peace strongly to profile the TPNW as the hitherto missing link in the nuclear disarmament regime, and to build upon the new normative principles it has introduced for the stigmatization of nuclear weapons (regardless of who possesses them) and for accelerating progress towards the elimination of this most morally egregious category of weapons.

Other disarmament challenges

The WCC is greatly disturbed by the efforts by some States and private companies to develop autonomous weapons systems – so-called ‘killer robots’ – capable of being deployed and engaging in theatres of armed conflict without meaningful human control. The concern we have for the regulation of artificial intelligence in general is greatly amplified with regard to applications of AI in armed conflict. The moral and legal issues are so self-evident that they hardly require belabouring here. However, the WCC expects that the New Agenda for Peace will be clear and categorical in its opposition to autonomous weapons systems, and in its support for a pre-emptive ban on such weapons.

Likewise, the New Agenda for Peace should include a stronger renewed focus on controlling and reversing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which bring so much death and suffering in so many societies in both South and North, in some cases to the point of destabilizing entire nations. The WCC has been a strong advocate for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and its implementation. We believe that in this period of escalating militarization, confrontation and social fragmentation, there must be even stricter oversight and control of the manufacture of and trade in small arms and light weapons, nationally and internationally, to prevent the spread of such weapons becoming even more of a threat to peace and social stability.

Supporting national capacities for prevention, peacebuilding and resilience: The role of religious leaders and interfaith peacebuilding

The WCC strongly affirms the need for the New Agenda for Peace to promote increased support for national capacities for prevention, peacebuilding and resilience, and investment in national level infrastructure for peace. Within this context, we particularly wish to highlight the importance of engaging religious leaders and faith-based actors. In many societies, especially - but not only - in the Global South, religious leaders, communities and institutions constitute the foundations of societal resilience, remaining even when governmental and other forms of authority fail or are absent.

Moreover, the years since the 1992 UN Agenda for Peace was published have been tragically and indelibly marked by the phenomenon of religiously-inspired extremism, and violence and conflict based on religious identity. In far too many, and seemingly an increasing number of contexts around the world, people and communities are targeted and attacked, often with deadly violence, on the basis of their religious identity. In situations where religious discrimination is reflected in official or practical access to citizenship rights, the risks of such violence are greatly elevated. In such contexts, interfaith cooperation to prevent and confront violence, and to promote inclusion, equal citizenship, and fundamental human rights for all is of vital importance. WCC and its member churches work with interfaith partners in many conflict-affected and conflict-risk situations around the world for these purposes.

Given the current and historical context in which the New Agenda for Peace is being formulated, in which religious discrimination and hatred has been a key driver of conflict but in which religion also remains such an important source of societal resilience, we expect that appropriate recognition and prominence will be given to the importance of engaging with faith-based and interfaith peacemakers at the national level in the construction of sustainable peace.

Sanctions/economic warfare

Though sanctions are generally and understandably seen as preferable to measures for the restoration of international peace and security that entail the use of armed force, in WCC’s experience this presumption warrants much closer examination and reconsideration. In practice, sanctions – whether unilateral or mandated by the UN Security Council – often produce humanitarian suffering and other consequences at least as severe, and generally more widespread, than the use of armed force. In terms of their humanitarian impacts, such measures can often be considered as tantamount to warfare by economic means. This is particularly true in the case of comprehensive ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions regimes. The imposition of such measures can also poison the political environment for negotiations and other initiatives for peace (including civil society initiatives), creating major obstacles to the resolution of conflict.

Moreover, according to our observations, sanctions and related measures are generally unsuccessful in achieving their stated aims. Therefore, we recommend that the New Agenda for Peace include a commitment to a thorough ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of the current utilization of sanctions and related measures, weighing their success (or lack thereof) in achieving their legitimate political/security aims against their negative humanitarian, human rights and political impacts.

WCC recently partnered with the World Evangelical Alliance, Caritas Internationalis, ACT Alliance and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva) to undertake research on the negative impacts of sanctions on humanitarian and social service activities from the specific perspective of churches and church-related organizations. The report is available here.

Mental health/psychosocial support and trauma-healing

To avoid repetition and inter-generational transmission of cycles of violence and instability, mental health, psycho-social support and trauma-healing is often the missing link. It is also generally the most underfunded component of any crisis response. In our view, the New Agenda for Peace must seek to raise the profile of and the support provided to this essential contribution to peaceful, inclusive and sustainable societies, not only in the context of preventing conflict but also for addressing many other aspects of the current ‘polycrisis’, and with a special priority for children and young people.

Especially in contexts where professional mental health services are inadequate to the scale of the need, local religious leaders and faith communities are often by default the primary providers – or potential providers – of psycho-social care and support. Again in the context of investing in local/national resilience, we recommend engagement with and capacity-building for local religious leaders and communities to enable them to provide better and more effective care in this domain, in order to help rebuild lives, and to break the cycle of violence and instability.

The resource extraction-conflict nexus

Resource extractive activities such as drilling for oil and gas, mining, and logging, not only impose heavy ecological costs, but have often been linked to increased incidence, frequency and duration of armed violence, particularly in contexts marked by high levels of socio-economic inequality and where local communities have been largely excluded from decision-making processes. In addition, the militarization of resource-rich lands with a view to exerting state or corporate control over resources has often led to violence and grave violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, farmers and fisher-folk, and threats against environmental defenders including religious leaders who have spoken out against such activities.

We believe that the effective management of a society’s natural resources – not least ensuring equitable sharing of benefits and just allocation of burdens – must be a priority not only for the sustainable development agenda but also for the New Agenda of Peace. In this regard, policies that promote equitable wealth distribution, public investment and dignified employment must be given due importance.

Moreover, we observe that continued development of new fossil fuel extraction and related infrastructure constitutes – in the context of the accelerating climate emergency – a kind of weapon of mass destruction (so-called ‘carbon bombs’) imperiling the entire living planet. The New Agenda for Peace should name, stigmatize and denounce this kind of environmental violence and destruction.

Racial justice

The commitment to racial justice, the elimination of xenophobia and of related intolerance has been widely discussed, affirmed and reiterated in various UN forums. However, these threats to our shared humanity remain firmly entrenched in most societies across the world. The persistence of racism, xenophobia and related discrimination remains a major threat to peace in many societies, the salience of which is increasing in some contexts. Accordingly, the New Agenda for Peace must help raise the profile and resources allocated to the UN racial justice mechanisms and amplify calls for inclusive and sustainable communities, free from such discrimination.

The intersection of racism and climate, health, food and social injustice must be lifted up in the New Agenda for Peace. because in our view sustainable peace will be impossible to achieve if some groups of people continue to be disproportionately burdened by the “polycrisis” of today according to their race, ethnicity, colour or place of origin.


The WCC welcomes the convergences and intersectionalities recognized in the framing of the New Agenda for Peace. Indeed, in a world beset by such a constellation of converging crises, a traditional silo-ed approach to addressing peace and security could not pretend to be fit for the purpose.

Moreover, the increasing gulf between global humanitarian needs (driven by the growing frequency and severity of extreme weather events, as well as by conflict) and the resources committed to meeting those needs, obliges the international community to finally move beyond rhetoric to action to address the upstream root causes in order to prevent such crises rather than perpetually failing to meet the critical humanitarian needs they produce.

Respectfully submitted

Peter Prove
Director, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs
World Council of Churches
Geneva, 6 April 2023
1 Expressed especially in the Assembly statement “The Things That Make For Peace: Moving the World to Reconciliation and Unity”, September 2022
These two submissions provide ample evidence that "Evangelicals" and liberals are now basically indistinguishable from one another. The "Evangelical" voice at the United Nations is an echo rather than a rebuttal; it reminds me of the old statement about Canadian politicians that they represent Ottawa to us rather than representing us in Ottawa.

Speaking of Canada, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada boasts of its connections to the World Evangelical Alliance, including the following (bold, links in original):

WEA Strengthened by Canadian Ties

The World Evangelical Alliance is a network of churches and organizations representing more than 600 million Evangelicals. The EFC is its national alliance partner in Canada.

Several EFC staff and former staff are involved in WEA leadership including:

EFC executive vice-president David Guretzki is treasurer of the WEA International Council.

Brian Stiller is the WEA global ambassador, and the EFC hosts his Dispatches blog.

Christine MacMillan is the WEA senior advisor on social justice as well as chair of the WEA Global Human Trafficking Task Force.

Janet Epp Buckingham is the WEA's director of global advocacy.

Steve Hubley is the WEA's director of development.

Canadians can donate online to support the WEA and individual Canadians who work there.

The WEA includes commissions on mission, religious liberty, theology, women, youth as well as initiatives on human trafficking, refugees, leadership training, nuclear weapons, generosity, creation care, business and more.

WEA Peace and Reconciliation Network in Canada

The Peace & Reconciliation Network of the World Evangelical Alliance describes its work using the acronym TRAIN (Teaching, Restoration, Assistance, Initiative, Networking). Some of its Canadian leaders include:

global director (and EFC global liaison) Phil Wagler of Kelowna, B.C.

Canadian coordinator Joel Zantingh of Guelph, Ont.

director of network development Manuel Böhm of Kitchener, Ont.
The EFC needs to update its information on this page; David Guretzki is now the president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. The reader will recognize the names of Phil Wagler and Janet Epp Buckingham as signatories of the WEA's submission on the UN New Agenda for Peace.

See my posts: Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals--A Warning from 1983 (January 13, 2010)

More evidence that yesterday's liberalism has become today's evangelicalism (November 8, 2011)

More evidence that today's yesterday's evangelicals are tomorrow's today's liberals (January 24, 2015)

Mainline church leaders 50 years ago advocated methods used by "evangelical" churches today (November 6, 2018)

Evangelical churches in Canada use Covid-19 as an opportunity to team up with unbelievers in promoting an antichrist agenda (March 31, 2022)

July 25, 2023 update: Tom Littleton has just posted this at his blog Thirty Pieces of Silver: United Nations & WEF Plan to Double Down on 2030 Sustainable Goals in September Meeting While Evangelicals Have Already Signed On (July 25, 2023)

September 27, 2023 update: The International Council of Christian Churches, at its 21st World Congress in Collingswood, New Jersey from June 21-28, 2023, adopted the following resolution (bold in original):

The World Evangelical Alliance and Apostasy


The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) traces its roots to 1846, when the Evangelical Alliance was inaugurated in Great Britain. At present, the organization includes in its membership an extensive list of regional bodies, such as the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in the United States. It also includes many wellknown mission, medical, legal, educational, and relief agencies as affiliates.

Since its inception in 1948, the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) has stood in opposition to what was then called the New Evangelicalism. The NAE, a mouthpiece of this New Evangelicalism, championed a philosophy of “infiltrating” the apostate churches — particularly those in the Modernistic National Council of Churches (NCC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC). In contrast, the American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC), and the ICCC took the Biblical position that Christians and churches should “separate” from apostasy, compromise, and unbelief (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

As the years have passed, the warnings issued by the ICCC have proven to be correct. When a person or church begins to use human reasoning to countenance compromise on things concerning which the Bible is clear, there rarely is a return to Scriptural conformity and obedience. Compromise breeds compromise, and things usually continue to progressively diverge from what God has commanded in His Word. The WEA is a case in point. It has passed the point where its goal was just to “infiltrate,” to the place where it now fully cooperates with the apostasy.

WEA considers itself to be one of the “Four Pillars” to bring about global “Christian Unity.”

On June 17, 2022, the WEA website carried the headline: “WCC, Global Christian Forum (GCF) sign memorandum of understanding affirming mutual quest for Christian Unity.” The WEA writer reports: “Both Sauca [World Council of Churches Acting General Secretary at the time], and Essasmuah [secretary of the GCF] expressed joy at the pivotal role of the four pillars — ‘namely the WCC, World Evangelical Alliance, Pentecostal World Fellowship and the Roman Catholic Church.’”

The reporter continued that Archbishop Thomas Schirrmacher, secretary general / CEO of the WEA, stated at the meeting that he considered it to be “gracious of the WCC to agree to be just one pillar of several,” leaving room for the other three groups. This was not just the description of a WEA staff writer. Dr. Schirrmacher used this language himself, publicly declaring that the WEA is “one of the [four] pillars.”

The report continues that this memorandum of understanding was signed by Fr. Andrzej Choromanski, of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the WCC’s Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, Rev. Dr. Casely Essa­muah of the Global Christian Forum, Archbishop Thomas Schirrmacher of the World Evangelical Alliance, and William Wilson of the Pentecostal World Fellowship.

Ties between the WEA and WCC have never been closer.

At one time, many evangelicals agreed that the WCC was an apostate organization. Some top WCC leaders denied such cardinal doctrines as the Virgin Birth of Christ, the Deity of Christ, the necessity of Christ’s atonement on the cross, His bodily resurrection, His working of many mighty miracles, and so forth.

However, in recent years, the WEA has had extensive cooperation and has begun working closely with the WCC, The Roman Catholic Church, East Orthodox churches, and so forth.

At the WCC 11th World Assembly, August 31 through September 8, 2023, WEA Secretary General Archbishop Schirrmacher was in attendance. Together with greetings of ecumenical cooperation from Pope Francis, and representatives of Eastern Orthodoxy and Judaism, Schirrmacher spoke on behalf of the WEA.

He began by praising outgoing WCC Acting General Secretary Ioan Sauca, a priest in the Romanian Orthodox Church. Speaking of their close “friendship and cooperation,” he stated: “Professor Sauca has been a gift of God to the body of Christ for such a time as this.” Pointing out that the WEA and WCC were of approximately equal size, Schirrmacher stated: “We are aware that we have a considerable overlap in membership.…”

He continued: “Nowadays, WCC and WEA work together in most areas of ministry. We exchange members on all important commissions. My own involvement in [the WCC] Faith and Order [Commission] has given me enormous insight into the different theological topics that still divide churches and the urgent need for more intense listening to each other.”

This close union between the two groups has been apparent for many years. On August 25, 2021, the WEA official website carried a headline titled: “World Council of Churches (WCC) and World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Strengthen Their Collaboration [August 2021].”

In his concluding remarks to the WCC Assembly, Bishop Shirrmacher stated: “We pray for God’s blessing on all the ongoing work of the WCC and this Assembly. May God the Father give us all strength to work on behalf of his creation. May Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who saved us from sin and death, be our example in his willingness to give his life for the good of others. And may the Holy Spirit keep us all from evil ways and unjust thoughts and lead us into the growing truth promised to his church on earth.”

The entire message was based almost exclusively on “peace and justice” themes, decrying the war in Ukraine, and fearing that “racism” against Russians would arise from this. He also spoke strongly against anti-semitism. We will not judge Schirrmacher’s intentions, but almost any such speech he and others from the WEA make to ecumenical gatherings fails to explicitly promote the real gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone.

The WCC also speaks about Jesus Christ saving us from sin and death, but it is virtually always in vague terms, which could be interpreted in different ways. When it is explicit, it invariably is focused on social justice and making “all things new” on this earth.

Instead of an encouragement to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission, as presented in the Bible, Schirrmacher speaks of “work on behalf of God’s creation.” Instead of the Good News, we are to make Christ “our example in his willingness to give his life for the good of others.” Instead of the Holy Spirit illuminating the Scriptures, the sure and complete Word of God, we are to look to Him to “lead us into the growing truth promised to his church on earth.” In the context of social justice, we are to look to the Holy Ghost to “keep us all from evil ways and unjust thoughts.”

The WEA and WCC both promote a questionable version of “social justice” at the United Nations.

The WEA and WCC both hold offices at the United Nations, where they speak out about all kinds of “social issues.” The WEA holds Special Consultative Status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), “which serves as the central forum for dis­cussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system.”

The WEA uses this platform to advocate for “climate care,” and “global sustainability,” together with other issues of “social justice.” In its August 21, 2021, meeting with the WCC, the two organizations agreed to expand their cooperative work for “climate justice.” In 2019, the WEA established the “WEA Sustainability Center (WEASC) in the strategic ‘UN City’ of Bonn, Germany.” The whole goal of the Center is to teach and encourage the churches to take part in “climate care.”

The ICCC certainly desires to see clean water, clean air, and to discourage practices which harm our planet, but this is not the gospel of Christ. Further, since the WCC program for “justice” is decidedly Marxist, one must be very concerned that the WEA has such ease in collaborating with the WCC in these matters.

Evangelical churches and organizations need to be obedient to Scripture in order to warrant our support.

Many have criticized the ICCC, and other Bible-believing groups, for being too strong in their stand against such compromise. People often justify such compromise with the human rationalization that many WEA member groups “do so much good.” Some just choose to ignore the facts, or simply wink at the situation.

As Bible believers, we must not have a censurious spirit, and we should be patient and kind, but nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to support a church or organization because “they do so much good.” It is not there! The Bible is clear from beginning to end that true Christian love, cooperation, and support are based on obedience to Christ and His Word — nothing else.

Many so-called conservative denominations, including the Presbyterian Church in America, the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, to name just a couple, maintain their membership in the WEA through the World Reformed Fellowship (WRF). Even within that group there are many unfaithful churches.

In addition to regional evangelical organizations, and a few denominations with international reach, there are also many non-profit organizations familiar to many Christians. Even though many do seemingly “good work,” yet their disobedience must be a real concern for Bible believing Christians. These organizations include:

A Advocates International, AM International, Asia Theological Association, Asian Access, B Barnabas Aid, Bakke Graduate University, Barnabas Relief Fund, Bible Discovery, Bible League of Canada, Biblica, C Campus Missions International, CEDAR Fund, Center for Mission Mobilization, ChinaSource, Christian Endeavor World Union, Christopher Sun Evangelistic Association, COMIBAM – Cooperation of Mission from Latin America, Creatio International, Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., Cru, D David Chung Ministries International, E EFCA Reach Global, Elim Center International, Engineer Ministries International, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Every Home for Christ International, Every Nation Churches & Ministries, F Faith & Family Foundation, Finnish Lutheran Overseas Mission, Frontier Ventures, Frontiers USA, G Global Outreach Day, Global Scholars, Gospel & Information Technology, H Healthcare Christian Fellowship International, Holy Bible Society, I Integral Alliance, International Association for Refugees, International Association of Evangelical Chaplains, International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA), International Council for Evangelical Theological Education – ICETE, International Evangelism Association, International Justice Mission, International Needs Network, J Jews for Jesus, K Kenosis Media Group, L Luis Palau Association, M Micah Global, Middle East Concern, N The Navigators, No More Violence International, NORMISJON, Norsk Luthersk Misjonssamband (Norwegian Lutheran Mission), O Olivet Center for World Mission, Olivet University, One Challenge International, One Collective, One Mission Society, OneHope, Open Doors International, Operation Mobilisation, P The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Pioneers International, Power to Change, R Refugee Highway Partnership, Reliant Mission, RREACH, RUN Ministries, S Saint Luke Society, The Salvation Army, Scripture Union International Council, SIM International, Sojourners, T Take Heart, TEAM – The Evangelical Alliance Mission, Tearfund UK, Teleo University, Timothy Two Project International, Trainers of Pastors International Coalition, U United World Mission, V Veritas College International, Veritas Legal Society, Voice of the Martyrs Canada, W Water is Basic, World Evangelical Theological Institute Association, World Mission Prayer League, World Olivet Assembly, The World Reformed Fellowship, World Team, World Thrust International, World Vision International, World Without Orphans, WorldVenture, Wycliffe Associates, Wycliffe Global Alliance, Y Young Disciples of Jesus, Youth Evangelical Fellowship, Youth for Christ International.


The International Council of Christian Churches, meeting in its 21st World Congress, June 21-28, 2023, in Collingswood, NJ, USA, condemns the compromise with apostasy that continues to characterize the World Evangelical Alliance. Bible-believing Christians are urged to channel their support exclusively to churches and Christian organizations which are not involved in such compromising relationships. Further, the ICCC calls on all churches and organizations affiliated with the WEA to:

1. Withdraw your membership from the WEA, its regional councils, and any other organizations which fail to remain separate from all unbelief and apostasy. The Scriptures make quite clear that Christian love and fellowship are based solely on obedience to Christ and the Scriptures. You simply cannot “work together in most areas of ministry” and “exchange members on all important commissions” with the apostate WCC and be faithful to Christ. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

2. Make fidelity and obedience to Christ and His Word the foundation of your church or organization. Utilitarian and pragmatic decisions are never of God if they violate His Word. God’s work must always be done in God’s way. ““Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not … in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.…” (Matthew 7:22).

3. Firmly recognize that it is God who must build our ministries. No associations which may bring funding and influence — even for worthy purposes — will ever justify being unfaithful to Christ. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

4. Actively carry out Christ’s Great Commission: “… Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.…” Although Christians are to oppose injustice and corruption in our fallen world, this is not the Gospel of Christ. Anything presented as the “gospel” apart from the glorious redemption purchased by Christ, is indeed a counterfeit gospel which cannot save.

5. Make common cause with those who seek to be faithful to the Scriptures. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7).
Click here to download the ICCC position statement.

Sunday, 28 May 2023

On the recent deaths of two Jewish clergymen

Harold Kushner, member of the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism and congregational rabbi of Temple Israel of Natick in Natick, Massachusetts for 24 years, died on April 28, 2023, 25 days after his 88th birthday. Rabbi Kushner wrote 16 books, and was best known for When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1981), in which he argued that a benevolent but finite God offers solace to those who suffer, but isn't powerful enough to prevent suffering. The book was very popular, appealing to people with "itching ears" (II Timothy 4:3).

On April 19, 2023, Albert Runge, born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, died in Abbotsford, British Columbia at the age of 94. He placed his trust in Jesus Christ as his saviour and lord at the age of 14, and spent his career as a pastor with the Christian & Missionary Alliance in the United States and Canada, including almost a decade (1981-1991) at Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton.

In a sermon at Beulah in 1983, Pastor Runge referred to Rabbi Kushner's most famous book, saying, "Doesn't that Jew know his scriptures? I feel sorry for that rabbi, worshipping such a weak god." Pastor Runge worshipped the true omnipotent God of the Bible and took his God seriously and kept the faith, but never took himself seriously. Pastor Runge told his story in his autobiography A Brooklyn New Meets Jesus (2001).

Friday, 21 April 2023

Flashback: 1998, 2001--more examples of sin finding people out

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

How embarrassing...as reported by Sun Media and published in The Edmonton Sun, February 11, 1998:

OTTAWA--A retired priest suffered a heart attack during a private showing in a Quebec strip bar, police said yesterday.

Jean-Paul Snyder died last Wednesday in the Champagne Room in Le Mandarin, a strip club in Mont Laurier, about 125 km northeast of Ottawa.

The 71-year-old priest, who was in his street clothes at the time, collapsed at about 10:30 p.m. The dancer, who performed for him in the private room and other club employees tried to revive him before the ambulance arrived.

"Snyder had a lengthy cardiac history," said said Quebec provincial police Const. Gilles Couture.

The priest was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital.

Snyder retired from the priesthood in 1992 for "health reasons," said Ottawa Archdiocese spokesman Guy Levac.

Archbishop Marcel Gervais' first thoughts were for Snyder's family when he found out the circumstances surrounding the retired priest's death.

"If on occasion a person makes mistakes or shows a lack of judgment, that does not erase the good done in their life," Gervais said in a statement.
As reported by Associated Press and Canadian Press, and repoted in The Edmonton Sun, April 20, 2001:

Colleagues of a Russian professor, described as a rising star in international law, were shocked yesterday when told he died in Newfoundland after cocaine-filled balloons burst in his stomach.

Gennady Danilenko, who taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, was on his way to Detroit from Amsterdam on Sunday when he became gravely ill aboard a transatlantic flight.

The airliner was diverted to Goose Bay, Nfld., where Danilenko, 45, was taken to hospital. Doctors removed a dozen balloons from his body and he died Wednesday.

An autopsy revealed six of the cocaine-filled balloons had ruptured.

"We were shocked by his death," said Joan Mahoney, dean of the Wayne State law school.

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

100 years ago--Roman Catholic priests in Michigan settle their differences

A direct approach in resolving personal differences is often very effective, as with this example reported in the Edmonton Bulletin, April 13, 1923 (bold in original):



Slayer Says He Was "Driven to Fury" by Alleged Ill-Treatment


KALAMAZOO, Mich., April 12.--The Rev. Father Charles Dillon, 56, assistant rector of St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, shot and killed Rev. Father Henry O'Neill, rector of the church, as they sat at the dinner table tonight, then calmly went to the telephone and notified the police and coroner.

Dillon fired four shots, all of which took effect. As Father O'Neill fell dead, Dillon turned to the Rev. Father McCollough, the only witness of the tragedy, and handed him a phial containing holy oils with the request that he administer the sacrament of extreme unction at once.

According to a statement, the assistant rector is said to have told the police and county officers he was "driven to fury" by alleged ill-treatment at the hands of the dead priest. Rev. Father O'Neill was a graduate of Assumption college, Sandwich, Ontario.
A gun and holy oils for extreme unction are strange things to bring to the dinner table, which leads this blogger to use his Sherlockian detective powers and deduce that Rev. Dillon's act was premeditated.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

1,600-year-old gold bead found in Jerusalem's City of David

The gold bead that was discovered in the excavations of the Antiquities Authority in the City of David (Photo: Kobi Harathi)

As reported by Israel365 News, February 8, 2023:

A unique gold bead dating back to at least 1,600 years ago was found by an 18-year-old Israeli volunteer as she was sifting dirt from the excavation to uncover a magnificent building on the Pilgrimage Road, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.

“Throughout all my years in archaeology, I have found gold perhaps once or twice, so to find gold jewelry, is something very very special,” said Dr. Amir Golani, an ancient jewelry expert at the IAA. “Whoever could afford a piece like this made from gold, was an affluent person, with means.”

The bead was crafted by affixing ten minuscule pieces of pure gold together in the shape of a ring, a technique that probably originated in Mesopotamia, where it is known to have been used already 4,500 years ago. It was likely part of a necklace.

“The most interesting aspect of the bead is its unique and complex production method,” Golani added. “A good understanding of the materials and their properties is required, as well as control over the heat, in order to on the one hand, solder the tiny balls together to create a tiny ring, while also preventing overheating which may lead all the gold to melt.”

According to the IAA experts, the bead might have been older than the structure where it was found, and it could have been brought there from outside the region.

The building where the artifact originated was at least 25 meters long.

“The wealth of the building’s occupants is evidenced by additional finds that were discovered in it, like imported clay vessels and a decorated mosaic floor,” said Shlomo Greenberg and Ari Levy, Excavation Directors on behalf of the IAA.

Archaeologists have been working on uncovering the impressive “Pilgrimage Road” – which connected the pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount – for about a decade. The site is part of the City of David’s archaeological park. The dirt removed from the site is brought to the nearby Emek Tzurim National Park to be sifted, mostly by volunteers.

“I saw something shiny in the corner of the sieve, different, that I don’t normally see,” said Hallel Feidman, the 18-year-old volunteer who found the bead. “I immediately approached the archaeologist and he confirmed that I found a gold bead. Everyone here was very excited.”
As reported by All Israel News, February 9, 2023:

...“Whoever could afford a piece like this made from gold, was an affluent person, with means,” he said. “A good understanding of the materials and their properties is required, as well as control over the heat, in order to, on the one hand, solder the tiny balls together to create a tiny ring, while also preventing overheating which may lead all the gold to melt.”

“Only a professional craftsman could produce such a bead, which is another reason that this find holds great value,” Golani said.

The crafting technique was probably Mesopotamian and is known to have existed about 4,500 years ago. The combination of a foreign crafting technique and the use of gold indicates the wealth of the owner. While it is possible the bead was crafted in another region and brought to the City of David through trade, it my also have been part of a family heirloom, passed down from generation to generation...

...Similar beads, crafted from silver, were discovered in the Ketef Hinnom caves southwest of the City of David, during excavations led by Professor Gabriel Barkay. Those beads were dated to the end of the First Temple period. However, only a few dozen golden beads have been found in Israel so far.
Part of the magnificent Roman structure inside which the bead was discovered (Photo: Kobi Harathi)

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

"Edmonton's Christian university" celebrates "Pride Week"

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

Bold, links in original:

The King's University in Edmonton, Alberta

The King's University is Edmonton's Christian University and serves students and communities across Western Canada and internationally. Its campus is located in Alberta's young and vibrant capital and sits on Treaty Six territory, the traditional home of many Indigenous peoples.
The world can be studied best when acknowledged that it was created by and belongs to God. Come to King's and you'll see friendly, welcoming faces. We do our best to reflect Christ's love and grace to all students. The university receives top rankings and recognition on national surveys for student-faculty engagement, a supportive campus, and quality of teaching. It's no wonder King's boasts of a 98% post-grad employment rate!

Anyone who thinks that The King's University is Christian simply isn't paying attention. In the 1990s, the school then known as King's University College pretended to oppose what they now openly celebrate. Submitted for your approval, the schedule for The King's University's 2023 celebration of "Pride Week":

Pride Week
March 06, 2023

Mar 06, 12:00 am - Mar 10, 12:00 am
The King's University

Join us as we celebrate Pride Week at King's March 6th to 10th. There will be various activities going on all week!

LGBTQ2S+ Space Space Training
March 07, 2023

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Join us in N101 at noon for LGBTQ2S+ space space training.

Pride Panel Discussion
March 08, 2023

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Join us for a Pride Week panel discussion at noon in N102.

Living Library
March 08, 2023

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Everyone is welcome to come to the library to connect one on one with individuals from the LGBTQ+ community.

Queer Music Bingo
March 09, 2023

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Level Coffeehouse

Get your bingo on! Join us in the Level for a game of bingo featuring your favourite queer artists and musicians.
In 1981, I heard Old Testament professor Ralph Alexander deliver a series of lectures on David as a man after God's heart, but he started with a lecture about Saul, who was not a man after God's heart. One of the things he said that has stayed with me concerns I Samuel 15, where God commanded Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, including not only all the people, but all the animals. Saul instead saved King Agag and the best of the animals, while claiming that he had obeyed the LORD. Dr. Alexander pointed out that Saul was guilty here of finding something good in that which God had condemned. The same is true for anyone who celebrates and takes pride in sexual practices that God calls abominations, a which connotes condemnation in the strongest possible terms.

See also my posts:

"Christian" play The Big Picture reduces the Bible to a two-hour production (February 15, 2012)

20 years ago: Activist Supreme Court of Canada invents sodomite rights in provincial legislation (April 2, 2018)

"Edmonton's Christian university" holds a silent online auction (September 23, 2021)

"Edmonton's Christian University" supports United Nations sustainable development goals (January 31, 2023)

Thursday, 2 March 2023

130 years ago--not-so- "secret societies"

I don't know how they could have been called "secret societies" when they were advertising their meetings on the front page of the newspaper, such as in the Edmonton Bulletin, March 2, 1893. If you can't read the small print, the ads for the secret societies read as follows:


A.F. & A.M., Edmonton Lodge. Regular meeting, third Friday in each month, in Masonic Hall, at 7,30 o'clock, p.m. Visiting brethren cordially invited. R.B. FERGUSON, Secretary; C.W. SUTTER, W.M.

ANCIENT ORDER OF UNITED WORKMEN. Meetings 2nd and 4th Friday in each month in Masonic Hall. All visiting brethren cordially invited.

A.O.F. COURT BEAVER HOUSE, 7866. Meetings in Masonic Hall first and third Wednesday's of each month. Visiting brethren cordially invited. W.B. STENNATT, C.R. J.R. MICHAEL, Secretary

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Trinity Western University promotes events that divide rather than unite Christians

Anyone who thinks that evangelical universities and colleges are actually Christian isn't paying attention; it's becoming increasingly difficult to see any difference between these institutions and the world, especially as the world becomes more anti-Christian. Submitted for your approval, the following items from the events page of Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia (bold, links in original):

27/01/2023 - 10:00 :

Trinity Western University's Lunar New Year celebrations bring students, staff, and the community together at Langley and Richmond campuses

As a global Christian university, Trinity Western is a community of learners representing over 80 countries. This year, during Lunar New Year, a festival celebrated by many communities globally, Trinity Western's Langley and Richmond campuses are filled with activities.

On January 23, TWU's Intercultural Student Programs (ICP) kicked off a week-long series of events for students and the campus community, starting with a Korean Dinner hosted in the Global Lounge (Kuhn Centre) on Monday evening. Students shared laughs and good food while participating in dumpling wrapping and lantern making.

Wema Kibe is a student leader who helped coordinate Monday's community dinner. The third-year International Studies major explained that "Community dinners are a great place for people to not just learn about a culture but to also make new connections. Ushering in the new year with people from diverse places was a great way to do this."

The first activity of the evening was making dumplings, and Wema reflected on the intercultural exchange, "It was fun to see people at different tables creating different shapes. I talked to someone from Japan who made a dumpling the way they do it in her culture, and it was interesting to see that integration."

Student leader Anasthasia Anjanette led participants in making paper lanterns. The activity symbolized "letting go of our past selves" and getting ready for the new year. Wema explains, "Inside the lanterns, they wrote down their wishes for the new year." Prizes were given out to the maker of the best-looking lanterns.

The campus Korean club, Manna, took charge of the cooking and cultural explanations of the food.

On Tuesday, a lion dance troupe graced the foyer of the Reimer Student Centre. Boisterous music and drum beats accompanied the traditional dance performance, which was enjoyed by students, staff, and faculty. Wednesday evening saw student dorms racing through a series of stations across the Langley campus—each station presenting a different game or challenge—in a cross-campus dorm night.

Thursday brought celebrations to TWU Richmond's two sites in Minoru and Lansdowne. Activities included calligraphy writing, trivia games, pastoral care and prayer, and a student dance performance. Dumplings and snacks were served, and red envelopes with a treat and a note of Scriptural encouragement handed out. The MLA for Richmond Centre Teresa Wat attended as well, to share new year greetings with the Richmond campus community.

MBA student Merghani Ahmed expressed that he enjoys studying at TWU Richmond, where the community represents "a diversity of different faiths and nationalities." He also appreciates "the flexibility of classes, and good events, such as today's Lunar New Year event, which are good experiences for students from international backgrounds."

The festivities continued that evening in the Reimer Student Centre, where bubble tea was served by TWU's Student Association (TWUSA), and various booths offered games, conversation, gifts, and snacks.

A week of Lunar New Year events wraps up this Friday evening with a talent show at Block Hall.

30/01/2023 - 09:00

Black History Month 2023 at Trinity Western University

Trinity Western University honours Black History Month this February. Join us as we recognize the importance, impact, and contributions of Black history and culture on a global, national, and local scale.

Find out how TWU is celebrating Black History Month, and how you can participate.

See our month-long schedule of events below:


Library Event and Book Display – Presentation by Aklilu Mulat, Senior Vice President, Business Operations & CFO, Trinity Western University
February 1 | 11:45 a.m. | Glass Room, Norma Marion Alloway Library

Topic: Blacks' Contribution to the TWU Family: The Ethiopian Connection

Mr. Aklilu Mulat's speech is inspired by his own journey and connection leading to Trinity Western, going as far back to the former emperor of Ethiopia (Haile Selassie), and the visible legacy that the connection created. Lunch provided.

TWU Afro-Caribbean Club (ACC) Games Night
February 2 | 8 p.m. | Global Lounge, Kuhn Centre

Join us in bringing TWU together, especially the student community, for a fun night of games, conversation, and friendship-building. Snacks will be shared.

TWU Chapel
February 3 | 11 a.m. | Enarson Gymnasium

Enjoy a special Praise Chapel worship experience with the TWU BHM Choir.

Black History Month Opening Event
February 3 | 5 p.m. | Kuhn Centre Lobby

Our Black History Month kick-off celebration features music by TWU's BHM Choir and the Kara-Kata Afrobeat Band from Vancouver, alongside talented TWU students Ose Obetoh, David Mutabazi, Eddison Bryan and Tamilore Awonusi.
Warm appetizers and Afro-Caribbean beverages provided.

TWU Chapel
February 8, 10 | 11 a.m. | Enarson Gymnasium

TWU President Mark Husbands continues the Chapel sermon series on Justice.

Black History Month Movie Night
February 15 | 6 p.m. | DeVries Auditorium

Movie: Hidden Figures
See the story of three African-American female mathematicians working at NASA—Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson—whose efforts served to launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a monumental accomplishment in U.S. and world history.

February 19
Black History Month Podcast Interview

Learning Matters: a Bridge to Practice – Episode #50

What do you get when a Communication Scholar, Historian, Geographer, and a Biologist walk into a room during Black History Month?

On the podcast Learning Matters: a Bridge to Practice, hosted by TWU's Scott Macklin, professors and scholars Divine Agodzo, Robynne Healey, Maxwell Ofosuhene and Laura Onyango discuss and celebrate intersections of black contributors to history and issues of diversity, inclusion and reconciliation across the full spectrum of our educational offerings and scholarship. Answering questions such as, What do you believe are some of the unique challenges facing Black students in Christian universities today, and how do you work to support and empower them? In your opinion, what can be done to address systemic racism and discrimination within Christian universities and communities? What are some books or movies that you consider helpful in exploring or learning about black history?

Black History Month Closing Celebration
February 27 | Front of Reimer Centre

Talk by Hon. Justice Olufunlola Adekeye, CON, CFR,JSC (rtd.) Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria 2009-2012
February 28 | DeVries Auditorium

Topic: The Place of Black Women in Leadership in the 21st Century—Experience as a Trailblazer

Hon. Justice Adekeye will share her Lordship’s experience as a Christian woman who helped to break the glass ceiling in the Judiciary of Nigeria. She was the first woman to rise to the High Court of Ondo and Ekiti States, and the second woman (and first in Southern Nigeria) to rise to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which is the highest court in the country.

Throughout the month of February: A display of books written by Black authors will be featured at the Norma Marion Alloway Library.


Gender Cafe: EDID, Politics, and Christian Institutions

Christian organizations should be in the forefront of creating and advancing equitable, diverse, inclusive, and decolonized environments. It is a part of our DNA. So, why are we not leading in this endeavour? The problem is that we follow the political and cultural trends instead of forging faith-led approaches to achieving a just and humane society. How are Christians called to lead the work of shaping the Beloved Community?

Dr. Adkins’ talk will be followed by discussion and a question-and-answer period.

It's FREE and open to the public and refreshments are provided.

About the Speaker

Jennifer Adkins, PhD, is Vice President of Inclusive Excellence at TWU. An expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion, she is a key member of the executive leadership team, the University leadership council, and the strategic planning committee, and she provides strategic leadership and counsel to the University. She is advancing TWU’s work in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and helping to propel the University forward in pursuit of our shared vision to prepare graduates for faithful lives of excellence.

About the Gender Studies Institute at TWU

The Gender Studies Institute fosters interdisciplinary teaching, intellectual dialogue, research, and collaboration in all areas of gender studies. The interdisciplinary nature of the institute will enable TWU scholars to collaboratively address with students gender issues that come out of every discipline, such as domestic violence, child abuse, and gendered visions of care, exploring how categories such as class, race, and gender intersect, to train leaders who will enjoy and foster restorative gendered relationships. The role of our Christian faith in the working out of gender in all aspects of life will inform our teaching and research.

Lunar New Year has considerable worldly superstition and pagan content; from the article The Lunar New Year: Rituals and Legends at the site Asia for Educators (bold, links in original):

Preparations for the New Year

... Domestically there is a traditional cleansing as well. In decades past, the most thorough “spring cleaning” of the year was initiated as a ritualistic sweeping away of all the evil spirits feared to be lurking in dark corners behind heavy and rarely moved pieces of furniture. Today, the only consideration for the vast majority of Chinese is a spotless presentation of one’s home to the many family members and guests who will be welcomed during the holiday season. Windows are washed, or were repapered in the old days, and the courtyard gate or other wooden parts of the house might be repainted. The old agrarian calendar cites the 20th day of the 12th lunar month as the “day for sweeping floors,” and this date still marks the beginning of the major pre-holiday housecleaning projects in Hong Kong. In much of China, peasants waited until the 23rd (in South China) or the 24th (in the North) to pick up the broom and dust pan. It was on this day that the Kitchen God, or god of the hearth, was scheduled to depart to make his report concerning household activities to the Jade Emperor in heaven. So as not to unnecessarily disturb and possibly offend him, housewives waited until he was on his way before they started moving furniture and raising dust.

Sending the Kitchen God off to heaven was a matter deserving special attention. In residence year-round at the hearth, where he was represented by a prominently displayed picture, or in parts of the South by beautifully calligraphed characters for his name, the Kitchen God observed all the family’s comings and goings. Had they been generous to any beggar at the door? Had they wasted any hard-earned food, which some farmer had toiled and sweated to produce? Measures were taken to insure the kitchen god’s cooperation in giving a glowing report to the Jade Emperor, and thereby winning for the family a little heavenly favor. This included ritual offerings of candies or pastries and wine, and even smearing his lips with honey to make certain that he would only have sweet things to say about the family. Once this was done, the picture of the Kitchen God was torched, and he was off on his yearly journey, not to return until New Year’s Day. The dusting, washing, and scrubbing could then begin. Many believed they should sweep with inward strokes toward the center of the room so as not to whisk any of the family’s good fortune out the door...

...New Year’s Eve

By New Year’s Eve, family members, some of whom may have traveled long distances to return home, gather for a reunion. In preparation for his return from heaven on New Year’s Day, the new portrait of the Kitchen God is hung, as are the brand new door gods, the duilian (door couplets), and any other festive decor. Some southern families place stalks of sugar cane behind the doors. The height and section-upon-section construction of the sweet stalks represented the family’s hope for a ladder-like ascent to new levels of glory in the coming 12 months. Everyone dresses up, preferably in new clothes, and is on best behavior.

Traditionally, on this last night of the year, the male head of the household led the family in making offerings to various gods of the house and to the ancestors. The ceremonies would begin by sealing the cracks around the door with red paper to prevent the last vestiges of the old year’s bad luck from stealing into the house, and any of the family’s good luck from escaping. Respects would be paid to the god of wealth, the gods of the well, the bed, the hearth, or any others with whom the family wanted to remain on especially good terms. The attention would then turn to the ancestors, to whom sacrifices of food would be given along with burning of incense. Each member of the family would kneel in respect before the ancestral tablets, symbols of many past generations, all the spirits of whom some families believed were in attendance that night. In wealthier households, an entire room might be devoted to use as an ancestral hall, complete with altar, while in poorer families, the ancestral tablets might occupy a modest shed in a corner. Just as important was to show respect to one’s living elders. Younger family members would ketou (kowtow) to members of each generation above them, in order, beginning with the eldest. When children showed respect in this way, they were rewarded with red envelopes (hongbao), which contained New Year’s money (yasui qian)...

...New Year Festivities

...It was at this time that the male head of the house in many educated households would write auspicious characters or phrases to be hung at the entrance to the home. Some also waited for this day to approach the ancestral altar for seasonal rites, and to perform ritual ketou...

...In the days after the new year, it is common to make pilgrimages to temples, especially nowadays for residents of Hong Kong. Theater groups and acrobatic troupes perform in the streets at marketplaces, on temple grounds, or at large public stadiums. Dragon dances, lion dances, stilt-walking performances, and folk pageantry are still particularly popular...

...The Lantern Festival

The 15th day of the first lunar month is known as the “Lantern Festival.” The name for this day on the traditional calendar is Yuanshao, which has come to mean the small round dumplings of rice flour conventionally eaten at this time. The Lantern Festival signals the end of the New Year festival period.

Originally, lanterns were said to have been used on this night to help see the gods by torch light. Each family would construct an elaborate paper lantern for this purpose. Now in many parts of China there is great emphasis on the craftsmanship used in making exquisite lanterns in a variety of shapes and styles, which are then often shown at public exhibitions.
All of the events mentioned above appeal to only certain segments of the population rather than the whole. Lunar New Year is of interest mainly to Orientals; Black History Month helps to perpetuate the separation of Negro history from general history; and "equitable, diverse, inclusive, and decolonized" is Orwellian Newspeak for "eradicate everything coming from white people, especially white males." I defy anyone to find anything distinctively Christian in these events--or in allegedly Christian institutions of higher education.