Thursday, August 22, 2019

Look What Just Arrived . . .

I recently discovered Drinklings on the web.  They sell fair trade coffee and (more importantly) tea.  They also sell some really cool mugs!  For example these two that I just received.

Check out Drinklings!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Methodist Unscripted

Many of you who follow conservative / orthodox Anglican news watch a podcast known as "Anglican Unscripted."  You can actually get to it through my sidebar (which desperately needs to be cleaned up!).  -  Well, it seems that, following the special United Methodist General Conference 2019, Anglican Unscripted has done two presentation, unofficially called "Methodist Unscripted," where they have discussed the results of the General Conference.  Readers of this blog may well be interested in these.

The second of the two videos includes a fellow "Wesleyan/Anglican," the Rev'd. Dr. Ryan Danker.  That is to say, he is a member of the Wesleyan/Anglican group on Facebook, though he is not currently a member of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society. (Contact me, Ryan, if you want to become a member!)  -  Dr. Danker is also a fellow member of the  Wesleyan Theological Society (sorry I not make it to this year's meeting, and at your own school!) and the Charles Wesley Society.  He teaches at Wesley Theological Seminary in D.C. (not to be confused with Wesley Biblical Seminary or Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, the latter of which I teach for in their online program).  Dr. Danker is also the author of Wesley and the Anglicans: Political Division in Early Evangelicalism.  (I encourage the purchase of the book!) 

A quick note, in connection to the debates and arguments surrounding the United Methodist General Conference.  I have attempted to keep the Wesleyan/Anglican Facebook page free from comments that might lead to debate.  Though I have control over the Facebook page, it is designed as a group page.  There are people there who hold various positions.  This blog, however, is my own blog, and so the content of the blog reflects my own views.

With that in mind, I encourage you to take a look at the following two videos for "Methodist Unscripted"!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Another Denial Concerning Erasmus

Occasionally, someone will bring up the myth that John Wesley was consecrated a bishop by the Orthodox bishop Erasmus.  There is, of course, no factual support for this assertion.  Further, it flies in the face of everything that Wesley says about ordination.  Nevertheless, there are those who look for some way of placing Wesley within an historical, apostolic succession of bishops so as to shore up their own ordination.

What this attempt actually does is deny Wesley's own claimed authority to ordain as an elder given God's providential placement of him as an overseer of the people called Methodist.  In other words, by their very attempt, they are denying the validity of their own orders and hanging their hopes on this supposed myth.

Wesley, of course, denies these assertions of seeking consecration by Bishop Erasmus.  His right to ordain is on wholly other grounds.

Today, I was reading a passage where Wesley specifically addresses this issue.

In Wesley's "An Answer to Mr. Rowland Hill's Tract, Entitled, 'Imposture Detected,'" printed in volume 10 of Wesley's Works (Jackson ed.), on page 450, Wesley says:

I never entreated anything of Bishop Erasmus, who had abundant unexceptionable credentials as to his episcopal character. Nor did he "ever reject any overture" made by me. (Page 14) Herein Mr. Hill has been misinformed. I deny the fact; let him produce his evidence.
That sounds pretty clear, to me.  -  So, please, let's put an end to the spreading of this unfounded myth.  ☺  

Christian Perfection - The Doctrine of the Church of England

I was reading, today, in the 10th Volume of Wesley's Works (Jackson edition), and I came across a passage that says it so well!  -  It is found on page 450, in Wesley's "An Answer to Mr. Rowland Hill's Tract, Entitled, 'Imposture Detected.'"  -  It is a position that has long been held, but it was really nice to find it so explicitly stated by John Wesley, himself.

The quote is as follows:

The perfection I hold is so far from being contrary to the doctrine of our Church, that it is exactly the same which every Clergyman prays for every Sunday: "Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name."  I mean neither more nor less than this.  In doctrine, therefore, I do not dissent from the Church of England.

There is a further story about Phineas Bresee (primary founder of the Church of the Nazarene) and this very thing.  It seems that an Episcopal priest was criticizing the Nazarenes for their claim of Entire Sanctification.  Bresee responded by asking why he thought it so amazing that God would answer the very prayer that the Episcopalians prayed every Sunday.

Yes, indeed, the Collect of Purity encapsulates the essence of Christian Perfection.  May it be that Almighty God would cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we might perfectly love God, and worthily magnify God's holy name, through Christ our Lord!  Amen!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

O Jesus, Full of Truth and Grace

I sang this powerful Charles Wesley hymn during Morning Prayer, today.  Just wanted to share.

1. O Jesus, full of truth and grace,
More full of grace than I of sin,
Yet once again I seek Thy face;
Open Thine arms and take me in,
And freely my backslidings heal,
And love the faithless sinner still.
2.  Thou know'st the way to bring me back,
My fallen spirit to restore;
O for Thy truth and mercy's sake,
Forgive, and bid me sin no more.
The ruins of my soul repair,
And make my heart a house of prayer.
3.  The stone to flesh again convert,
The veil of sin again remove;
Sprinkle Thy blood upon my heart
And melt it by Thy dying love.
This rebel heart by love subdue
And make it soft, and make it new.
4.  O give me, Lord, the tender heart
That trembles at th'approach of sin.
A godly fear of sin impart,
Implant, and root it deep within,
That I may dread Thy gracious pow'r
And never dare to offend Thee more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Remembering Bresee

This portrait of Bresee hangs at the Nazarene
Global Ministries Center.  A copy of it hangs
 at the World Methodist Museum.
As a ("sanctified proud," as some have termed it!) Nazarene, I am happy to celebrate today's commemoration of The Rev'd. Dr. Phineas F. Bresee.  I am especially pleased that, thanks to For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations (Second Edition), those in the larger Wesleyan/Methodist tradition are also observing this commemoration.  (It was my privilege to have had the opportunity of writing the hagiography for Bresee in For All the Saints.) 

Below is the hagiography, followed by the prayer for the occasion (the prayer was written by Daniel Taylor Benedict, Jr):

Phineas Franklin Bresee was born to Phineas and Susan Brown Bresee in Franklin, NY, on December 31, 1838.  At 16, Bresee experienced his own "warmed heart" through a personal faith in Christ.  Soon thereafter, he sensed a call to ministry and was granted a Methodist exhorter's license.  He was ordained a deacon in 1859 and an elder two years later.(301)

In 1867, in Chariton, Iowa, Bresee "entered into the blessing of entire sanctification."(302)  Bresee had been struggling with doubt.  The altar call after his sermon that night produced only one seeker; Bresee, himself.  ". . . [A]s I cried to [the Lord] that night, he seemed to open heaven on me, and gave me . . . the baptism with the Holy Ghost . . . it not only took away my tendencies to worldliness, anger and pride, but it also removed the doubt."(303)  That experience of Christian Perfection would have a huge impact on Breese's ministry.

Bresee served rural charges, and then large, urban churches in Iowa(304) and, after 1883, Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA.  He was appointed presiding elder in West Des Moines (1864)(305) and in Los Angeles.(306)  Further, Bresee served as a delegate to multiple General Conferences.(307)

Education was important to Bresee, as was seen by his serving on the board of Simpson College(308) and the University of Southern California.(309)  Later, Bresee became the president of Pacific Bible College (now Point Loma Nazarene University).(310)

By the mid-1890's, Bresee's commitment to the message of holiness led to his role as vice president of the National Holiness Association (NHA).  The experience of holiness also brought a passion for the poor.  The Church's first miracle after baptism with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was upon a beggar, and so, Bresee reasoned, the priority of a Holy Ghost-baptized church ought to be the poor.(311)  This passion led him to withdraw from the MEC's appointive system in 1894 to serve with the Peniel Mission.  However, while away, preaching for the NHA, Bresee was ousted from the Mission.  he was now left without the Mission or a MEC appointment.(312)

Thus, at the request of a number of southern California's Holiness people, the Church of the Nazarene was organized on October 20, 1895 as a "Christian work, especially evangelistic and city mission work, and the spreading of the doctrine and experience of Christian holiness."(313)  Bresee was the general superintendent of a growing holiness denomination.  A series of mergers with other regional holiness groups established the church as a national denomination in 1908 at Pilot Point, TX.(314)

Bresee served as the denomination's senior general superintendent until his death on November 13, 1915.  He left behind his wife, Maria, six children, and what would become the largest denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness wing of Methodism.

Common Prayer for Pastors, Bishops and Abbatial Leaders

Gracious God, our Shepherd, we thank you for raising up Phineas Bresee as bishop and pastor in your church.  Remembering his faithfulness and care, fill all shepherds of your church with truth in doctrine, fidelity in Word and Sacrament, and boldness and vision in leading the people, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever.  Amen.
301 Ingersol, Stan. Nazarene Roots: Pastors, Prophets, Revivalists & Reformers. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. 2009. p. 87-88.

302 Bangs, Carl. Phineas F. Bresee: His Life in Methodism, the Holiness Movement, and the Church of the Nazarene. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. 1995. p. 71-73, 77.

303 Girvin, E.A. Phineas F. Bresee: A Prince in Israel. Kansas City, MO. Nazarene Publishing House. 1916. p. 50-52.

304 Ingersol. p. 88.

305 Kostlevy, William C., Ed. Historical Dictionary of the Holiness Movement. Lanham, Maryland, and London. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 28-29.

306 Bangs. p. 286.

307 Ingersol. p. 88-89.

308 Ibid. p. 88.

309 Kostlevy. p. 29.

310 Ingersol. p. 91

311 Ibid. p. 88-89.

312 Kostlevy. p. 29.

313 Bangs. p. 195-196.

314 Kostlevy. p. 29.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rick Lee James and Greg Lafollette: Songs of Common Prayer

My friend, Rick Lee James, introduced me to a brand new project (set to be released, today) by Greg Lafollette.  It is titled Songs of Common Prayer.  As the title implies, this is a CD that is based upon the Book of Common Prayer.

As a "Wesleyan-Anglican," I have been shaped by the Book of Common Prayer over several years, now.  It has been my practice to pray the offices of Morning and/or Evening Prayer each day from one of the versions of the Prayer Book (most often, by far, John Wesley's version, The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America).  Further, I have looked for options for liturgically based music that might be used to incorporate Prayer Book spirituality in worship for those who are unfamiliar with the Book of Common Prayer.  More than that, I've been looking forward to getting my hands on this CD, personally.

Rick Lee James (whose CD, Hymns, Prayers, and Invitations, I also have!) has a regular podcast called Voices In My Head.  (And I just saw that he has a podcast on The Gospel According to Superman, to which I will have to listen, soon!)

On today's podcast he features Greg Lafollette and focuses on the Songs of Common Prayer project.  -  Though I have not yet heard the entire CD, I commend it to you and invite you to listen to Rick's podcast.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Some Thoughts by John Wesley on the Sufficiency of Scripture

I have been reading through John Wesley's various writings about the Church of Rome.  In his Popery Calmly Considered, Wesley makes the following comments concerning the "Sufficiency of Scripture":

St. Paul says, "3.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

The Scripture, therefore, being delivered by men divinely inspired, is a rule sufficient to itself: So it neither needs, nor is capable of, any farther addition.

. . . 6. (3.) In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church.  And Scripture is the best expounder of Scripture.  The best way, therefore, to understand it, is carefully to compare Scripture with Scripture, and thereby learn the true meaning of it.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Ancient-Future Small Group

We have completed the first half of the Small Group, referred to below.  The second half of the study will begin this Sunday, October 21.  Again, we will be meeting at 4:15 in our home. 

I'm excited to announce that this study will be using Robert Webber's video curriculum Ancient-Future Worship: A Model for the 21st Century.

Here is a link to my video announcement on the Wesley-Anglican YouTube channel.  Or, you can simply watch it, below!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Commemoration of James Arminius

Today, October 19, is the "feast day" (the commemoration) of James Arminius . . . at least for those in the Methodist tradition who are following For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations.*Actually, interestingly enough, Arminius was not a part of the original edition of this book.  Calvin, on the other hand, was in that book.  To be fair, Calvin is a part of the established calendar of Feasts for The Episcopal Church, upon which Methodists would naturally draw.  Nevertheless, I found this omission odd given that we Wesleyans are Arminian! 
I argued that point back when the second edition was being put together.  Consequently, I was asked to write the hagiography for Arminius.  (At the time, I was still a member of the Order of St. Luke.)  What follows is the hagiography that appears in For All the Saints.  -  I invite you to join with me in commemoration of James Arminius!**

Jacob (or James) Arminius, Dutch pastor and theologian, was born the son of Harmon and Elborch Jacobsz in Oudewater, Holland in 1559. He received his early education at Utrecht. In 1575, Arminius' mother and siblings were killed during the Spanish massacre of Oudewater.  Through the generosity of friends, Arminnius was able to study at the University of Marburg and, from 1576 to 1581, at the University of Leyden.  Through the support of the Merchants' Guild of Amsterdam, Arminius went on to Geneva where he studied under Theodore Beza from 1582 to 1586, including a year at Basel.  Returning to the Netherlands in 1587, he began a fifteen-year pastorate in Amsterdam.  There he was ordained in 1588.  In 1603 he received his doctor's degree from Leyden and became the university's professor of theology.
When the United Netherlands (Dutch Republic) became independent, Calvinism became the official state religion.  However, Arminius could not accept the popular predestination position.  Instead, he attempted to modify Calvinism so that God could not be viewed as the author of sin and so that human choice might be safeguarded.  Arminius, facing much opposition, was reluctant to express anti-Calvinistic views, but, as time went on, he was accused for what he refused to say and write.

Arminius urged the government officials to call a national synod so that he might openly present his positions.  However, in 1609 he became ill and died, nine years before the synod was called.  The year following his death, Arminius' followers presented a Remonstrance over against the five points of Calvinism.  They "held that Christ died for all men [sic], that salvation is by faith alone, that those who believe are saved, that those who reject God's grace are lost, and that God does not elect particular individuals for either outcome."
Arminius taught that Christ is the object of God's decree.  The predestination of individuals is conditional, depending upon their acceptance or rejection of Christ.  In other words, God, according to divine foreknowledge, has predetermined to save all who place their faith in Christ and continue in that faith.
Although condemned by those of a Calvinist persuasion at the Synod of Dort in 1618, Arminian teaching has, nevertheless, gained permanent standing in John Wesley and the Wesley/Methodist tradition.
The suggested collect for the day is as follows:

God our Teacher, from whom comes all true knowledge: So bind your words to our lives and write them on the tablets of our hearts, that we may not be swayed by false winds; and grant us faithful guides like your servant James Arminius, that our path to you be made straight  and sure through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.
*This is the second edition, edited by Heather Josselyn-Cranson. Order of Saint Luke P. 2013.
**Cf., the article as found in the book for all citations.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

Today we celebrate Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (1556).  One of my seminary professors once commented, as we look back to John Wesley as our spiritual father, we ought to look to Thomas Cranmer as a spiritual grandfather.

Cranmer was the major force in the English Reformation, and the person to whom thanks is due (in Christ!) for the Book of Common Prayer (in its variety of forms). Cranmer was primarily responsible for the very first Book of Common Prayer in 1549 and its first revision in 1552. In his development of the BCP, Cranmer followed closely the medieval forms of worship, especially the Old Sarum rites.

The 1662 BCP, which is still in use in the Church of England, as well as other Anglican provinces, and which is considered the standard by which all other Prayer Books are gaged, was a revision of Cranmer's previous work.

Especially important for Wesleyan-Anglicans, John Wesley, in the preface to his own edition of the (1662) BCP (viz., The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America), says, "I believe there is no liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety, than the Common Prayer of the Church of England. And though the main of it was compiled considerably more than two hundred years ago, yet is the language of it, not only pure, but strong and elegant in the highest degree."

Thomas Cranmer was born in Aslockton, Nottinghamshire on July 2, 1489. He earned his B.A., M.A. & a Fellowship from Jesus College, Cambridge, and became a Doctor of Divinity, a lecturer in the same school. Cranmer was highly influenced by the Lutheran reformers. King Henry the Eighth, with confirmation from the Pope, appointed Cranmer to the See of Canterbury, and he was consecrated Archbishop on March 30, 1533.

When Queen Mary the First took the throne, as a staunch Roman Catholic, she had Cranmer arrested due to the protestant reforms he had implemented in the English Church. On March 21, 1556, Thomas Cranmer, along with other church leaders, was burned at the stake.

Thomas Cranmer has and continues to influence countless Christians in their spiritual formation and lives through the Book of Common Prayer, and all who use a version of the Book of Common Prayer or a liturgy that has been influence by one of the Prayer Books owe an immeasurable debt to Thomas Cranmer.

Even non-liturgical Nazarenes owe an immense debt to Cranmer. Our own ritual for the Lord's Supper in our Manual (Book of Discipline), until our last General Assembly, was an abbreviated form of the Methodist Episcopal ritual, which came from Wesley's Sunday Service, which was a version of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. Even more important, Wesley's understanding of holiness was, in many ways, shaped and supported by the liturgy of the Anglican Church, and the Collect of Purity at the beginning of the Communion service (and found as #58 in our Sing to the Lord hymnal, has been said to encapsulate our understanding of holiness:

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For more information on Thomas Cranmer, I commend to you the Episcopal Church's Lesser Feasts and Fasts - 1997, For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations Second Edition (OSL), and the "Introduction" to James' printing of The First English Prayer Book.  For an much more detailed study of Cranmer, see God Truly Worshipped: A Thomas Cranmer Reader by Jonathan Dean, and Diarmaid MacColloch's Thomas Cranmer: A Life.

Let us give thanks to God for Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury!

Friday, August 17, 2018

New Tippet Seals

I recently received my tippet patches and had them sewn onto my tippet.  -  Unfortunately, the seal for the Wesleyan-Anglican Society (especially) is not straight.  They are having to redo it for me.  -  Still, I thought that I would post an early picture, here.

What do you think?

I will be sending information to members of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society, via an upcoming e-newsletter, about how they can get a WAS seal for themselves.

(By the by, it doesn't have to go on a tippet.  -  I've seen seals from some other religious orders placed on the sleeve of their alb.  And, of course, it could go on a motorcycle vest!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

New Small Group

It has been a long time since my last post, I know!  -  I am posting, now, to let you know about a new small group study that I will be starting in mid-August.  It will be divided into two sections, each lasting approximately five weeks, with a break between each section corresponding with the New Albany/Floyd County Schools’ Fall Break. 

The first half will focus on discovering John Wesley’s criteria for identifying Authentic Christian Worship and applying that to our day (a topic I have taught and written about on numerous occasions).
The second half will use Robert Webber’s Ancient-Future Worship video curriculum and will give us an idea of what authentic Christian worship looks like, as we look back to the Ancient Church in order to move into the future.
 Here is a video with more information.


Now, obviously, you do not have flyers to fill out, etc.  This video will actually be shown at a couple of churches in our area.  However, if you are in this area and would like to join the study, just comment, below.  In any case, your prayers for the study would sure be appreciated!

(Here is a link to the video on my Wesleyan/Anglican YouTube channel.)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Remembering Bishop Thomas Coke

Today, May third, according to For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations (Second Edition),
we commemorate Bishop Thomas Coke.  Coke, an Anglican priest and assistant to John Wesley, was ordained by Wesley to be Superintendent of the American Methodists.  He convened the famous Christmas Conference in 1784 in Boston, which brought into being the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Upon Wesley's instruction, and with the consent of the preachers present, he ordained Francis Asbury deacon, elder, and superintendent.  They became the first bishops for the American Methodists.

In Bufford Coe's commemoration, he quotes one of Coke's prayers for a deep spirit of prayer in the Methodist preachers.  May this prayer be for all of us who stand in the lineage of those first Methodist preachers.

Glory be given to thee, thou has already bestowed much of it upon them: O! preserve it, increase it, inflame it, till their very life be one constant sacrifice to thee: till, by being daily stamped with brighter and brighter characters of thyself, they continually bring down, like thy servant Moses, a bright shining from the Mount.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Sign of the Cross

Facebook just reminded me of a post I made two years ago.  It is a quote from Scott Hahn's "The Lamb's Supper."  Two weeks ago my sermon focused on the cross, and I made reference to the sign of the cross.  I thought that it would be good to post the Hahn quote here:

Among the early Christians, the sign of the Cross was probably the most universal expression of faith. It appears often in the documents of the period. In most places, the custom was simply to trace the cross upon the forehead. Some writers (such as St. Jerome and St. Augustine) describe Christians tracing the cross on the forehead, then the lips, and then the heart, as . . . just before the reading of the Gospel. Great saints also testify to the tremendous power of the sign.... St. Cyprian of Carthage, in the third century, wrote that "in the. . . Sign of the Cross is all virtue and power. . . . In this Sign of the Cross is salvation for all who are marked on their foreheads" (a reference . . . to Revelation 7:3 and 14:1). . . . St. Athanasius declared that "by the Sign of the Cross all magic is stopped, and all witchcraft brought to nothing." Satan is powerless before the cross of Jesus Christ.
(Scott Hahn, "The Lamb's Supper")