butter light

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Shall we do CPR on Mr. Pelagius?

File:CPR training-03.jpg

Apparently Pelagius, hero to the health wealth, prosperity and let’s spread groovy vibes crowd, still has a following. Despite the philosophy of Pelagius being soundly defeated by Augustine over 1,000 years ago, it seems that some Pelagian hold outs have migrated to the State of Georgia.

enter the

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

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Contributions of Pelagius

Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and   whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition, and  whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and   whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans,   Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition  And be it further resolved that this committee will report their conclusions at the next Annual Council.

Submitted by the Rev. Benno D. Pattison, Rector, the Church of the Epiphany

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What else might this Committee of Discernment be able to discern?


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have you look unto him?


On this day – January 6th, but in 1850 Charles H. Spurgeon looked unto Christ and came to Christ and cling to Christ.  His sermons have been widely read and quoted by many over the last century and a half.  Here is Spurgeon’s account of how he came to see Christ as the full sufficiency for his soul.


“I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm one Sunday morning, when I was going to a place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a court and came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel. In that chapel there might be a dozen or fifteen people. The minister did not come that morning: snowed up, I suppose. A poor man, a shoemaker, a tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had nothing else to say. The text was, ‘Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.’ He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter.

There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in the text. He began thus: ‘My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, “Look.” Now that does not take a deal of effort. It ain’t lifting your foot or your finger; it is just “look.” Well, a man need not go to college to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man need not be worth a thousand a year to look. Anyone can look; a child can look. But this is what the text says. Then it says, “Look unto Me.” ‘Ay,’ said he, in broad Essex, ‘many of ye are looking to yourselves. No use looking there. You’ll never find comfort in yourselves.’ Then the good man followed up his text in this way: ‘Look unto Me: I am sweating great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hanging on the Cross. Look: I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend; I am sitting at the Father’s right hand. O, look to Me! Look to Me!’ When he had got about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes, he was at the length of his tether.

Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. He then said, ‘Young man, you look very miserable.’ Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made on my personal appearance from the pulpit before. However, it was a good blow struck. He continued: ‘And you will always be miserable — miserable in life and miserable in death — if you do not obey my text. But if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.’

Then he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist can, ‘Young man, look to Jesus Christ.’ There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that moment and sung with the most enthusiastic of them of the Precious Blood of Christ.'”



The Metropolitan Tabernacle where Spurgeon pastored and preached is still after some 350 years a Gospel preaching and teaching church.  Dr. Peter Masters, a more quiet man than Spurgeon, is the latest man to fill that pulpit.  He is a Bible teacher in a style similar to Pastor Custer who has served many years at Trinity Bible Church of Greer (my spiritual home).  You can here Dr. Master’s sermons here.

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who’s craving historical tradition?


Houston Chronicle: on Reformation Day (Oct 31st) they wrote about the surge of interest in Reformed theology.


“The newest thing in Protestantism is really the oldest thing in Protestantism: Reformed theology.

Young Christians are turning to the centuries-old teachings of church fathers such as John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards — reading their work, watching pastors talk about them on YouTube and sporting their faces on sweatshirts.

The nationwide renewal of Reformed theology has been going on for about a decade, and it has finally made its way to Houston. Two Reformed seminaries opened local campuses this fall, Redeemer Seminary, which recently broke off from Westminster Theological Seminary, and Reformed Theological Seminary. They are holding classes for a couple of dozen young Christians from Presbyterian, Reformed, Evangelical and Baptist churches.”


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What is October 31st?


Hallowen, yes.  We have our candy ready at the door.  Don’t forget that October 31st of  the anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses on the church at Wittenberg in Germany (493 years ago).  I have read most of them and scanned the rest.  It is not an easy read if you aren’t familiar with the controversy of the day nor the Roman Catholic doctrine Luther was sparring with.  BUT you must meditate on the Sixty-Second thesis.  This we can understand in any age and it is cause for your daily joy.


“62. The true treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.”

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real commitment “to your church”

Ray Ortlund has some brief but poignant thoughts on our need to more committed to each other within the ChurchWe are not merely a group of Jesus followers assembled together.  We are assembled together as brothers and sisters in Christ.  That is a bond of family, a bond which is more adhesive than just being tied together by similar interests. What is your level of commitment to your “family” in Christ?

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a 500 year old example of passion for the Gospel

2009 marks the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth.  John Calvin is know to most for being a Calvinist.  He was the first Calvinist :).


BUT, God gave Calvin a passion to spread the Gospel.  Through his leadership and the devotion of others around him they sent missionaries all around Europe to places such as Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Germany, England and Scotland.  We also know of missionaries sent out from Geneva, Calvin’s home city, to an ocean and continent away – Brazil.  It is heart warming and challenging to read of John Calvin’s zeal for the spread of the Gospel so many centuries ago.  With all the conveniences of communication, printing, internet and transportation the task of spreading the Gospel far and wide has never been easier. 


Of course, there is always that person who works next to you and I at the office or the neighbor down the street that needs to hear of the blessings of the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ.  May we go here and there telling the news with a passion like that of John Calvin.