Jensen spoke words of love…

A voice rarely heard…

Jensen spoke words of love not homophobia

I am a pastoral worker for Liberty Christian Ministries. I once identified as a gay man and lived actively as one for about five years. In that time I went to Anglican churches where Dr Peter Jensen was the archbishop, and I was frequently warned against living in sin. Though I resisted hearing that at times it never once made me feel suicidal or depressed: rather, I felt loved and safe (Letters, September 12.)

I knew living as a homosexual was wrong even independently of what the Bible said because I had to have regular health checks to ensure I hadnt picked up hepatitis, AIDS, or blood toxicity from the things I was doing. That is what the gay life involves – risky sex that puts life on the line. It diminishes life quality and life expectancy.

Health research bears out the reality of the risks of gay sexual practice. The 2010 national STD conference run by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US produced evidence that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men is more than 44 times that of other men and that the rate of syphilis among this population is more than 46 times that of other men.

Peter Jensen’s words on Q&A were reasoned, reasonable and said in love because he wants, as I do, people to have freedom in Christ and live life to the full now. Thats not homophobic, thats love.

via Sydney Morning Herald Letters to the Editor 13th September 2012.

Archbishop’s letter ‘Redefining Marriage’ | Media Releases | Sydneyanglicans.net

An excellent and courageous letter. Thank you Archbishop Jensen.

The Lord Jesus quoted and affirmed the teaching Genesis 2, asking, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”’ (Matt 19:4,5). The Apostle Paul points to the deeper significance of this in saying that the union of a male and a female models the union between Christ and his Church, in which the Church is the bride of Christ.

via Archbishop’s letter ‘Redefining Marriage’ | Media Releases | Sydneyanglicans.net.

Stylish same-sex campaign glosses over real issues

Excellent analysis of the marriage debate by Archbishop Jensen. We need more courageous voices like this!

We are in the midst of a sustained and brilliantly orchestrated campaign to radically alter the marriage laws of this country to allow same-sex marriage.

Three slogans carry the message: ”marriage equality”, ”marriage won’t change”, ”it’s inevitable”. Of course, the difficulty with slogans is that they are not arguments and, so, are hard to refute, except by slogans in return.

via Stylish same-sex campaign glosses over real issues.

Autumn Ministers Conference 2011 Proc Trust

I’ve been listening to these excellent talks from the ever reliable and useful Proclamation Trust.

Dick Lucas’ reflections on 2 Peter were great. Whenever he makes observations on theology and church life we ought to sit up and listen. He notes that Richard Backham has written that form criticism is academically defunct, and Lucas sagely comments on what a waste of a hundred years of scholarship, essay writing and lecturing has gone into liberal form criticism.

What was really interesting were two talks on raising children in ministry households by Charles and Tricia Marnham:

http://www.proctrust.org.uk/dls/AJM2011-09.mp3

http://www.proctrust.org.uk/dls/AJM2011-08.mp3

Full list of talks: Autumn Ministers Conference 2011 | The Proclamation Trust.

Sliding not Deciding

Historical marriage has a proven track record. Don’t cut corners!

I’ve had other clients who also wish they hadn’t sunk years of their 20s into relationships that would have lasted only months had they not been living together. Others want to feel committed to their partners, yet they are confused about whether they have consciously chosen their mates. Founding relationships on convenience or ambiguity can interfere with the process of claiming the people we love. A life built on top of “maybe you’ll do” simply may not feel as dedicated as a life built on top of the “we do” of commitment or marriage.

via The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage – NYTimes.com.

Short review and thoughts on Driscoll’s “Real Marriage”

While not agreeing with everything in Driscoll’s book, it is generally helpful and I enjoyed the openness of Mark and his wife sharing their struggles and overcoming them to have a godly and happy marriage.

The book is not nearly as controversial as many are claiming. From the Reformation onwards, Protestant Christians have always had a very high and unembarrassed view of the God-given blessing of sex within marriage, for pleasure as well as procreation.

The past few decades have seen a wealth of evangelical books dealing explicitly with sex. This has not gone on unnoticed – for example, secular on-line culture magazine Slate carried an article in 1999 on the “booming Christian sex-advice industry“. That article refers to the book “Intended for Pleasure” by Ed and Gaye Wheate, which I would still recommend as more helpful and more basic than Driscoll’s practical sections.

The strength of “Real Marriage” is helping Christians recover from the mind-poison of pornography and the widespread sexual assault and abuse which clouds so many marriages. Not only does the gospel of Jesus Christ bring full forgiveness, but it has power to heal and reshape even the most struggling marriages. The book models this very well, it does not come quickly or easily but via the gospel there is hope for every marriage.

Leaving aside the obviously distracting “Can We ___?” chapter, the book is full of biblical and practical wisdom on male servant leadership and wifely respect, on mutual friendship and understanding, working against bitterness and developing real forgiveness. It’s advocacy of ‘full disclosure’ between spouses as a path to healing and growth is to be commended. The discussion on contraception is very helpful.

This book is not bad and also not great, but it is a good book. I doubt it will become a Christian classic. I think there is more benefit to listening or watching Mark’s excellent preaching online where he deals with marriage topics.

In my view the best conservative evangelical theological and biblical primer on Christian marriage is still Douglas Wilson’s “Reforming Marriage” (published by Canon Press in 1995).

 

 

 

 

 

Moore to the Point – Arousing Ourselves to Death

This is a great article on the destructive nature of pornography.

Pornography, by its very nature, leads to insatiability. One picture, stored in the memory, will never be enough to continue arousing a man. God, after all, designed the man and the woman to be satisfied not with a single sex act but with an ongoing appetite for each other, for the unitive and procreative union of flesh to flesh and soul to soul. One seeking the mystery outside of this covenantal union will never find what he is looking for. He will never find an image naked enough to satisfy him.

via Moore to the Point – Arousing Ourselves to Death.

Have You Heard of the Priscilla & Aquila Centre?

Looks interesting – I wonder if this will help improve complementarian wisdom and persuasion of others?

Jane Tooher has joined the faculty of Moore College to become the founding director of the Priscilla and Aquila Centre.  This Centre, a new initiative for the college, aims to encourage the ministries of women in partnership with men and has a number of connected aims:1.  to encourage and strengthen the training of women for ministry2.  to encourage and promote a wide range of ministries by women, in genuine complementary partnership with the ministries of men3.  to encourage and support women to pursue postgraduate theological study at Moore and to write and publish at both a popular and academic levelThe first major public event arranged by the Centre is a conference to be held on 7 February 2011.  A range of men and women will address the topic of ‘Male and Female He Created Them’.  More details will be available on the website in coming weeks.

via Have You Heard of the Priscilla & Aquila Centre?.

Bp Glenn Davies seminar on Covenantal Parenting

Bp Glenn Davies gave a seminar at HTD recently on a biblical theology of parenting and a covenantal understanding of raising Christian children.

This is great material I commend it to you – especially if you want to hear a robust defence of baptising babies and a Christian view of households:

Glenn Davies – HTD Parenting Seminar

Love and Marriage » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch

Big Billy M weighs in on the marriage vow dialogue:

So if you are seriously considering marriage, my first word of advice to you would be to abandon any foolish thoughts about using such self-destructive phrases as “as long as our love lasts”. That is a recipe for disaster, and will pretty well guarantee that your marriage will be very short-lived indeed.

via Love and Marriage » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch.

Wedding Vows: APBA vs BCP

Let’s compare APBA (A Prayer Book for Australia) and the classic BCP. The BCP reflects the best of the western tradition of marriage:

1995 APBA Groom:

I, John in the presence of God,
take you Mary to be my wife;
to have and to hold
from this day forward,
for better for worse,
for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love, honour and cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

1662 BCP Groom:

I John. take thee Mary. to my wedded wife,
to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better for worse, for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part,
according to God’s holy ordinance;
and thereto I plight thee my troth.

The big difference is really in the bride’s vows, where BCP also has “obey” as well as to “love and to cherish”. That is not in the APBA, not even as an option. Otherwise an APBA wedding stands in line with BCP quite well.

1662 BCP Marriage Service

APBA Wedding Vows

The marriage vows we use at Holy Trinity Doncaster from the 1996 “A Prayer Book for Australia” (this is not used in Sydney).

If you include the consent and giving of rings, there are three sets of promises:

THE CONSENT

Minister
John, will you have Mary to be your wife,
to live together according to God’s word?
Will you give her the honour
due to her as your wife
and, forsaking all others,
love and protect her,
as long as you both shall live?

John    I will.

Minister
Mary, will you have John to be your husband,
to live together according to God’s word?
Will you give him the honour
due to him as your husband
and, forsaking all others,
love and protect him,
as long as you both shall live?

Mary     I will.

THE WEDDING

John     I, John in the presence of God,
take you Mary to be my wife;
to have and to hold
from this day forward,
for better for worse,
for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love, honour and cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

Mary     I, Mary in the presence of God,
take you John to be my husband;
to have and to hold
from this day forward,
for better for worse,
for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love, honour and cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

BLESSING OF THE RINGS

Minister     Grant, Lord that these rings may be a token and constant sign of the pledge of love and faithfulness which these two persons make to each other; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

John     Mary, with this ring I wed you;
with all that I am and all that I have
I honour you;
in the name of God. Amen.

Mary     John, I receive this ring in token of our marriage.
May God enable us to grow in love together.

Mary     John, with this ring I wed you,
with all that I am and all that I have
I honour you;
in the name of God. Amen.

John     Mary, I receive this ring in token of our marriage.
May God enable us to grow in love together.

John I, John in the presence of God,

take you Mary to be my wife;

to have and to hold

from this day forward,

for better for worse,

for richer for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love, honour and cherish,

as long as we both shall live.

This is my solemn vow and promise.

Mary I, Mary in the presence of God,

take you John to be my husband;

to have and to hold

from this day forward,

for better for worse,

for richer for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love, honour and cherish,

as long as we both shall live.

This is my solemn vow and promise.

Customised wedding vows

The Wall Street journal reports on For Better or for Worse: When Marriage Vows Get Creative.

Sydney Anglicans has some good reflections here: I say ‘I won’t’ until they say ‘I will’

In my marriage preparation ministry at Holy Trinity Doncaster (about 15 or so couples per year) I’ve built most of the material around understanding, cherishing, and daily living out the marriage vows.

They shape the actual wedding service, and the relationship, and my counseling of married couples in crisis.

And no, we do not allow modifications to the vows!

A Beautiful Wife #4 – Marriage Vows

I really enjoy preparing couples for marriage. I hope you could any of the couples I have prepared for marriage what the main thing I taught them was, and they would answer: “the significance of your marriage vows and promises”.

Something that I love about my own marriage is that we often speak of our marriage vows, that we will always love each other till death do us part, and as long as we both shall live.

There is something beautiful and wondrous about having a wife who is able to say that to you regularly and mean it. It gives a great sense of security, a great sense of joy. I hope that I am also able to give that to Helen as I tell her regularly that I would die before breaking my promise to her.

We love, as parents, telling our children about our wedding day, talking about the photo they have of the wedding in the kids bedroom. The magical day when we made promises to each other before our families and before God. We have told the story many times, and will continue to.

I love attending weddings with Helen. Every wedding we renew our promises to each other as we hear the couple make their promises.

At Holy Trinity I get to take a lot of weddings. The number one topic I always report to Helen when I get home from a wedding, or even a wedding rehearsal is: How were the promises made? Were they reverent and trembling? Were there tears of serious joy? Did the groomsman act the man through the service? Or was he goofing around?

The promises we made at our wedding day are re-articulated often in our household. It is a beautiful gift to have a wife who tells me regularly that she will never give up those promises.

A Beautiful Wife #3 – Laughter and Shared Story

One of the joys of marriage is the laughter.

For me one of the great joys of life is making my wife laugh.

Thank you, Helen, for laughing at my jokes.

Even more so, my wife is a great listener to my stories. Whereas I am a very impatient listener, Helen is great at listening carefully to my excited thoughts about a book I am reading, or an issue I am struggling with, or the events of a meeting.

I love the expression of unity we share in recounting the day’s details of an evangelistic encounter or a difficult pastoral issue. My ministry is her ministry also. The struggles are shared and the joys are shared. Helen is a great sharer with me.

A Beautiful Wife #2

I have a beautifully loyal wife. She respects and upholds me in private and in public, when we are together and when she is apart from me. My wife and I achieve great things, we are a great team. I can count on her loyalty as I take initiatives, leads and risks for her benefit and for the good of our family. We regularly touch base and ponder difficult decisions together, but at the end of the day, we get much done because I don’t call the marriage committee for every decision, but simply take the lead and try to take the course that is most sacrificial to myself and best for my wife and family and our gospel mission. I am never afraid to take leadership and show initiative, I know my beautiful wife will be standing right by me. Together we are running a home school/theological college/Christian family and pastoring in an exciting local church.

I love the local church, but I dearly desire for local churches to look at my beautiful wife and show the same loyalty, fidelity, trust and submission to the Lord Jesus that Helen shows to me. The church is often a very ugly and disloyal bride to her Lord Jesus Christ. The local church is a glorious thing. But the glory is diminished when the local church and her leaders fail to show true and godly fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ.

And my prayer is that I might daily lay down my life for Helen, giving myself up for her, to make her holy, through the Word to make her radiant. That too will be a message to the local church, of the great care that the Lord Jesus has for his church. May marriage be a constant sign to the local church that her beauty is established through trust and submission to the exalted Lord Jesus Christ.