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Laying down his life for his congregation

First Baptist Church of Maryville, Ill., pastor Fred Winters went right as his assailant, as all of us hope we would in similar circumstances. Enid, Okla., pastor Wade Burleson gives us the account of Winters’ best friend. Burleson writes:

Pastor Fred could have retreated backwards, and he may have saved his own life. But Fred went to the side of the stage toward the steps and then down toward the gunmen who concurrently moved toward Fred. The church member who sought to intervene and was wounded himself, had the best view of what was occurring. According to this churchman, as he ran forward to help subdue the shooter, he saw Pastor Fred had already come off the stage and had himself grabbed the gunman’s hands and was locked in a battle for the gun.

Thus in single combat for all, he died.

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March 11, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Crime, Religion | | Comments Off on Laying down his life for his congregation

Pope admits mistakes regarding Holocaust-denier, maps path forward

Pope Benedict XVI in a letter to be released Thursday admits mistakes in handling lifting of excommunication from four Society of St Pius X bishops, among them holocaust-denier Richard Williamson.

The Vatican’s path forward includes paying more attention to how news spreads over the internet. After all, there had long been ample information on the Web documenting Williamson’s incendiary holocaust-denying stands.

From a full translation of the letter by Chris Gillibrand at Cathcon we read:

Several groups, however, accused the pope of wanting to return to the time before the Council and an avalanche of protests began to move, which made bitter injuries visible and this could be seen immediately. So I am under an obligation to you, dear brethren, to provide a clarifying word, which should help to understand the intentions, which I and the competent organs of the Holy See have been following with this step. I hope in this way to promote peace in the church.

One for me unpredictable mishap was that the lifting of the excommunication was overtaken by the Williamson case. The quiet gesture of mercy to four validly but not legally consecrated bishops appeared suddenly as something quite different: as a rejection of Christian-Jewish reconciliation and the withdrawal of what the Council in this matter has declared as the way of the Church.

An invitation to reconciliation with a separated Church grouping became the reverse: an apparent return from all the steps forward in the reconciliation of Christians and Jews, which had gone on since the Council and whose achievement had been from the start a goal of my theological work.

Thursday, when the full text of the Pope’s letter is issued, he is to resume a Jewish/Catholic dialogue suspended by the Israeli side because of Williamson. He is receiving a delegation of Israeli rabbis.

In some regards, timing is everything, even for the Pope.

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Churches, Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Pope admits mistakes regarding Holocaust-denier, maps path forward

Will Southern Baptist TULIPs still bloom at SWBTS?

Tulips for the next generation of Southern Baptists

Tulips for Southern Baptists

Enid, Okla., pastor Wade Burleson’s TULIPs stand has tip-toed into Christianity Today. It isn’t over for the Calvinist professors Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) president Paige Patterson targeted for layoff. Jim Jones writes:

Randall Easter, a student and five-point Calvinist at SWBTS and pastor of First Baptist Church of Briar, near Fort Worth, told CT that tensions remained on campus over the possible firings. He said that some professors who hold to Calvinism told him they had recently been called into meetings with Patterson.
“They started with four-point and five-point Calvinists,” Easter said. “They said they were asked about their soteriology, their view of salvation. They were left with the impression that they may or may not be laid off because of their soteriology.”

This theological debate among Southern Baptists over Calvinism is expected to continue. The question is how destructive it will be. Tom Ascol, executive director of the Calvinist-oriented Founders Network, told Christianity Today:

“We need to address these issues like brothers,” he said. “If we disagree, okay. It won’t be the first time. Let’s find where we can agree and link arms in preaching the gospel message. It will be like iron sharpening iron.”

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Religion | , , , | 2 Comments