Oct 24, 2006

Jensen Addresses Sydney Synod

Jensen's talk at the recent Sydney Diocesan Synod


Already we are being called upon by brethren elsewhere who do not enjoy our freedoms and our resources to stand with them and offer them protection and support. Thus, if a parish church, such as St John’s Shaughnessy in Vancouver, where David Short is the Rector, sees the need to withdraw at some level from its Diocese as it has, who can it form an association with? Some may be scandalised at such a question because of the high value they put on ecclesiastical unity and the need to keep boundaries intact. So do we. Disorder often opens the door to evil. That is why we must be sure of the significance of this issue and we should avoid inflammatory speech. But I have to say that I remain convinced that we are dealing here with something of that order of significance, and one can also say with some justice that those who have innovated. By introducing new practices, are the ones who have initiated the disorder which they are now seeking to contain by institutional means.

Calls for help are likely to intensify in the years ahead. We may even see a giant shift in loyalties and a new world-wide fellowship emerge. I think that we would be fooling ourselves to think that we will have a major role in such a seismic shift; but we would be equally foolish to think that we will not be involved at all. Only today I have received another anguished letter from an evangelical minister overseas seeking to bring his church into the membership of this Diocese. It is not the first I have received. My response has always been that the difficulties are best met at as local a level as is possible. The closer to the problem, the better the solution.

Why us? Because Sydney is one of the few places in the Anglican world with a concentration of evangelicals and a concentration of theological scholarship. There are numerically more evangelicals in the UK than there are here, but they are scattered and frequently embattled. It is difficult for them to combine; difficult for them to think that they amount to much. Typically, also, they have been so pastorally involved that they have not been as active as they should have been at the level of Diocese and General Synod. In fact their political successes are few and far between. They lack confidence and they lack organisation. The same is more so in New Zealand, far more so in the South Africa (in CPSA), more so again in Canada and far more so in the USA. The fact that we exist and can speak up brings comfort to thousands of people around the world.

The motion we will pass tonight will go around the world and will be a beacon of hope to many.

The two areas which I see us making our contribution in are helping to call people together and networking them when they are in minority and threatened positions, and in offering Biblical Theology, especially as the basis of theological education.

To the readers of this Blog: do you know what Biblical Theology is?

Oct 10, 2006

Accessible Owen

Though many a reformed Christian would place Owen outside the historical folds of Anglicanism (he's a Nonconformist afterall), I like to think of him as one of the fathers of English evangelicalism who certainly influenced later Anglican evangelicals.

Having lived in Wheaton, Ill. just a stone's throw from the headquarters of Good News Publishers, and, if I may say so (ahem), having been affirmed in my opinion by J.I. Packer himslef at lunch one day, that Crossway Books just might be the best source of good Christian reading, I'd like to recommend one of their new titles:

Overcoming Sin and Temptation

Do Christians know and practice (anymore) the mortification of sin? Should it be every Christian's experience to grow in grace and holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit? Is it really possible to overcome certain sins and temptations - even ones that we struggle with for years? And when we feel so burdened by sin, do we practice fleeing to the Cross of Christ where true comfort and pardon is found? In this rewriting of Owen's classic works, The Mortification of Sin in Beleivers, Of Temptation, and Indwelling Sin, a Christian today can access perhaps Owen's best and most pastoral treatisies on a subject that many a Christian may struggle with.

For more on John Owen please see...

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library (Calvin College)
God's Statesman: Life and Work of John Owen by Peter Toon
A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by J. I. Packer
Reflections on the Life and Thought of John Owen by John Piper