Archive

Archive for September, 2010

PrayNow 2.0 Available Now

September 27th, 2010 1 comment

I’m happy to report that PrayNow 2.0 is available in the iTunes store. Owners of PrayNow 1.0 will receive 2.0 for free. As of right now, the auto-update/sync feature in iTunes is not working, but I’ve heard from a couple owners who were able to download it for free, manually.

PrayNow fully supports the iPad and features complete integration of the daily readings in the daily prayer orders. Enjoy! Read more about it, and buy it, here.

Video on Lutheranism 101 – Why did we do this book? How did we do this book?

September 27th, 2010 Comments off

Please share this video around the Interweb via your contacts, your blogs, your lists, your discussion forums, your Facebook account, your Twitter feed, your … whatever your thing is on the Internet, would you share this there?

Categories: CPH Resources

European Court of Human Rights Rules That Roman Catholic Church Can Not Fire an An Employee Over Adultery

September 27th, 2010 Comments off

Ecumenical News International
Daily News Service
27 September 2010

German church loses unfair dismissal case in European court
ENI-10-0655

By Anli Serfontein
Trier, Germany, 27 September (ENI)–The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has dealt the Roman Catholic Church in Germany a blow over its employment practice by saying that the church cannot dismiss an employee because of adultery.

The European court ruled on 23 September in favour of a church musician from the diocese of Essen, in western Germany, who lost his job in 1997 after separating from his wife and forming another relationship.

In the last 13 years, church organist and choirmaster Bernhard Schueth has fought a protracted legal battle in his country. Time and again, Germany’s courts have ruled in favour of the parish of Sankt Lambertus because Schueth, like all employees of Catholic Church institutions, had to sign a pledge to uphold the values of the church.

In separating from his wife and in forming a relationship with another woman, German courts ruled that Schueth was in breach of contract with the church even though he is not divorced. Some commentators say that this legal view means that because the Catholic Church’s ruling does not accept divorce and certain moral behaviour, and employees have to sign up to its views, divorced people cannot be employed in Catholic institutions, including hospitals and educational institutions.

In its judgement, the European Court of Human Rights said, “The court found that the German labour courts had failed to weigh Schueth’s rights against those of the church employer in a compatible manner [with the European Convention on Human Rights].”

The parties now have three months to reach an amicable agreement. Schueth told a German radio station this week that he would like nothing more than to have his job back.

“That church [where Schueth worked] houses the organ that I love, and which I helped to build. I often attend concerts just to listen to it but I really want to play it again,” said Schueth

The Protestant Church umbrella, the EKD, and the Catholic Church in Germany are the country’s biggest employers after the State, and the ruling has led to renewed calls for the existing labour law exemptions that apply to religious institutions to be changed.

In a 24 September editorial, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper in Germany said, “Whoever does not live his or her life pleasing God is dismissed, and the Catholic Church determines who pleases God. A Catholic nursery school teacher who gets divorced is apparently not pleasing to God. Therefore, employees of the church and church orders – teachers, doctors, nursing staff – have until now enjoyed precarious labour relations but the time of watered-down labour law is ending.”

The newspaper wrote that, to date, the Catholic Church has put its morals above the German State’s labour laws, and added, “If the church sees the Strasbourg judgement as an inadmissible intervention in the freedom of religion, it is deceiving itself.”

The Allgemeine Zeitung in Mainz said that the judgement can be seen as a warning against a double morality. It wrote, “When, in many places in the Catholic Church, the liaisons that priests have are silently tolerated, then it is difficult to endure a situation in which a church employee loses his job because of a divorce.” [544 words]

ENI News Headlines and Featured Articles are now available by RSS feed.
See http://www.eni.ch/rss/
All articles (c) Ecumenical News International
Reproduction permitted only by media subscribers and
provided ENI is acknowledged as the source.

Ecumenical News International
PO Box 2100
CH – 1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland

Tel: (41-22) 791 6088/6111
Fax: (41-22) 788 7244
Email: eni@eni.ch

Make Protecting Biodiversity a Priority, Says Ecumenical Coalition (Since Making the Gospel a Priority is Out of Fashion)

September 27th, 2010 Comments off

Make biodiversity protection a priority, ecumenical coalition urges
ENI-10-0656

By Hisashi Yukimoto
Tokyo, 27 September (ENI)–A coalition of churches and civil society pressure groups has urged governments and the tourist industry worldwide to make biodiversity protection a priority.

“Biodiversity works like a magnet for tourism. Yet, ironically, it is also one of its greatest victims,” said the Ecumenical Coalition for Tourism, in a statement released on 24 September ahead of World Tourism Day on 27 September.

The coalition is made up of regional ecumenical organizations and other groups. It is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and aims, “to promote socially, ecologically and ethically responsible tourism”.

The group commended the United Nations World Tourism Organization for choosing the theme of “Tourism and Biodiversity” for World Tourism Day in 2010. Still, the coalition questioned whether tourism and biodiversity are the, “natural allies” that a 4 September joint statement of the U.N. tourism body and the secretariat of the U.N. biodiversity convention called them.

“Saturation mass tourism, with its impact on the environment, does not help biodiversity,” the coalition said. Such tourism disrupts ecosystems’ delicate balance as contributing to the loss of forms of life.

“At the cost of countering the growth-without-limits economic philosophy, the tourism industry needs to understand that a tourism built on no limits to tourism numbers and destinations that places undue pressure on the environment cannot be sustained indefinitely,” the coalition added.

• Ecumenical Coalition for Tourism Web site: www.ecotonline.org/
• UNWTO World Tourism Day Web site: www.unwto.org/wtd/index.php
• UNWTO homepage: www.unwto.org/index.php [255 words]

ENI News Headlines and Featured Articles are now available by RSS feed.
See http://www.eni.ch/rss/
All articles (c) Ecumenical News International
Reproduction permitted only by media subscribers and
provided ENI is acknowledged as the source.

Ecumenical News International
PO Box 2100
CH – 1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland

Tel: (41-22) 791 6088/6111
Fax: (41-22) 788 7244
Email: eni@eni.ch

Methodist Churches in England Using More Languages

September 27th, 2010 Comments off

Methodist churches in Britain using more and more languages
ENI-10-0652

(correcting headline and lead to note that it is not 90 languages spoken, but different languages at 89 churches)
By Trevor Grundy
London, 23 September (ENI)–Almost 90 Methodist churches in Britain conducted services in languages other than English and Welsh, one of the official languages in Wales, in 2009, the church has announced.

“All this reflects the multi-cultural nature of Britain in 2010,” the Rev. John Chambers, a minister at Walworth Methodist Church in London, told ENINews. “We have four fellowships in our church: Sierra Leone, Ghanaian, Zimbabwean and Nigerian.”

Chambers said that during the year, each fellowship holds its own service. “There will be readings in local languages, hymn singing in different languages, and now and again preachers from the countries concerned will address congregations. People come to the Methodist Church knowing that their ethnic traditions will be acknowledged.”

The media officer for Britain’s Methodist Church, Karen Burke, said that languages used at services include Afrikaans, Cantonese, Eritrean, Farsi, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Shona, Swahili, Urdu, and many others.

The church’s research officer, Christopher Stephens, said on 23 September, “We are collecting these statistics each year to get an accurate picture of who and what we are as a church in the 21st century.”

He explained, “The report will enable us to support local churches in their mission needs, and help congregations do the same. This report reveals that we are diverse and modern.”

With almost 241 000 members, the Methodist Church is one of the largest in Britain. It has 5237 churches in the U.K., and maintains worldwide links with other Methodist churches having a total of over 70 million worshippers. [267 words]

ENI News Headlines and Featured Articles are now available by RSS feed.
See http://www.eni.ch/rss/
All articles (c) Ecumenical News International
Reproduction permitted only by media subscribers and
provided ENI is acknowledged as the source.

Ecumenical News International
PO Box 2100
CH – 1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland

Tel: (41-22) 791 6088/6111
Fax: (41-22) 788 7244
Email: eni@eni.ch

Dare to Read the Book of Concord: Free PDF Download

September 27th, 2010 Comments off

A friend put together this excellent little introduction to the Book of Concord. I think you’ll enjoy it. You can download it, for free, by clicking here. You can also share it with friends at the site, or read it, online.

Categories: Book of Concord

Leading Sheep Out of Danger is Not Sheep Stealing

September 27th, 2010 3 comments

“The Missouri Synod Lutheran cannot understand why a rightly called but heterodox pastor, one who is thus Lutheran in name only, is allowed to lead an entire congregation, even an entire generation of the flock that has been entrusted to his care, into heterodoxy or even apostasy, while the ecclesiastical authorities stand silently by or even maintain that the congregation is after all still Lutheran because the doctrine (publica doctrina) of the Lutheran Church still has official standing in it. Who can disagree with the Missouri Lutheran on this point? Who has the right to prevent the Gospel being preached to souls deceived by others?”

— Hermann Sasse

Confession and Theology in the Missouri Synod, (Letters to Lutheran Pastors No. 20, July 1951).

Advances in Technology: An Illustration

September 26th, 2010 2 comments

This illustration is even more astounding when I compare the iPhone 4 to my first Macintosh, the Mac SE, which I purchased in 1987.

Below are the tech specs for the SE. Note: It weighed 17 pounds. But no worries, I had a big canvas bag which made carrying it around “easy.” The iPhone, on the other hand, I must keep clipped to my belt or else I have a bad habit of “misplacing” it.

Read more…

Categories: Digital Resources

Why did Martin Luther, C.F.W. Walther and Most Every Other Orthodox Lutheran Theologian Believe the Blessed Virgin Mary Remained Always a Virgin?

September 25th, 2010 12 comments


[Note: The following is an essay by the Rev. Dr. John R. Stephenson, Professor of Historical Theology at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario. He is also the General Editor of the  Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics series and the author of volumes 12 (The Lord's Supper) and 13 (Eschatology) in the series. The essay originally appeared on the blog: Gottesdienst Online.]

Et tamen Virgo mansit—Und gleichwohl eine Jungfrau geblieben ist—And yet she has remained A Virgin

Some thoughts on the dogmatic status of FC SD VII, 24 from John Stephenson

Permit me to make an oblique approach to a topic that the Book of Concord treats in the context of the “lofty articles of the divine majesty” in general (Smalcald Articles, Part I), which are “not matters of dispute or contention,” and of the Person of Christ in particular (FC SD VIII).

When they reach the years 1547 to 1549, Martin Chemnitz and his fellow writers of the History of the Sacramental Controversy (i.e., Timothy Kirchner and Nicholas Selneccer) tell how Peter Martyr Vermigli denied the real presence so crassly as to arouse censure even from the Calvinising theologian, Martin Bucer. The co-authors register their own offence at Vermigli’s Reformed sentiments on the Blessed Sacrament, appending a sentence that takes aim at Vermigli on other matters also.

And a Christian heart is justly horrified by his horrible, detestable talk about Mary the pure Virgin and other such things—Un[d] was der grewlichen abschewlichen redden/von Maria der reinen Jungfrawen/under dergleichen mehr sind/darob ein Christliches Herz billich erschrecket.[1] (512)

Despite repeated efforts during spare half hours over the last several years, I have been unable to discover what off-colour remarks Vermigli let slip concerning the one whom St. Elizabeth described as blessed among women (Lk 1:42). Indeed, speaking under the same inspiration as her aged relative and hence with luminous humility, St. Mary the Virgin herself prophesied that all generations would call her blessed (Lk. 1:48); as the Church sings the Magnificat at Vespers, she concurs with these holy women.

Unable to confirm my initial suspicion that Vermigli was among the first to deny the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God, I remain impressed by the disposition of heart and tone of voice in which the three co-authors of theHistory speak of one whose nativity the old Missouri Synod once saw fit to celebrate on the 8th of the present month (see William Weedon’s blogpost of 8 September 2010).

Clearly, the generation that promulgated the Formula of Concord was unanimously minded to express itself with deepest reverence on the subject of the Mother of our Lord. Equally clearly, as a glance at a single paragraph of the article of the Formula of Concord devoted to the Person of Christ will show, that generation of Lutheran confessors solemnly and deliberately reaffirmed a dogmatic decision taken (at the latest) by the Fifth Oecumenical Council that assembled in Constantinople in A. D. 552-553.

In the company of other mainline Western confessions, Lutheranism professes the Chalcedonian Definition forged at the Fourth Oecumenical Council of A. D. 451. But, as David Yeago has pointed out in an article[2] that I used to have my students read in the years when I taught Lutheran Confessions II, historic Lutheranism views the Chalcedonian Definition through the lenses of one and only one of the two main schools of Christological reflection that flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries of our era.[3]

Read more…

Categories: Lutheranism

A Word of Rebuke and Warning to Liberal Protestant Churches

September 25th, 2010 Comments off

I always enjoy reading the accounts of how Christian leaders from conservative and more orthodox Christian churches “lay down the law” when speaking to Protestant liberalism that has gripped much of Western Christendom. Here is another example, by Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church, speaking to an Anglican gathering in England, at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s palace. But the remarks could easily have just as well been addressed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

We are also extremely concerned and disappointed by other processes that are manifesting themselves in churches of the Anglican Communion. Some Protestant and Anglican churches have repudiated basic Christian moral values by giving a public blessing to same-sex unions and ordaining homosexuals as priests and bishops. Many Protestant and Anglican communities refuse to preach Christian moral values in secular society and prefer to adjust to worldly standards. Our Church must sever its relations with those churches and communities that trample on the principles of Christian ethics and traditional morals. Here we uphold a firm stand based on Holy Scripture. In 2003, the Russian Orthodox Church had to suspend contact with the Episcopal Church in the USA due to the fact that this Church consecrated a self-acclaimed homosexual … as bishop. The Department for External Church Relations made a special statement deploring this fact as anti-Christian and blasphemous. Moreover, the Holy Synod of our Church decided to suspend the work of the Joint Coordinating Committee for Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Episcopal Church in the USA, which had worked very successfully for many years. The situation was aggravated when a woman bishop was installed as head of the Episcopal Church in the USA in 2006 and a lesbian was placed on the bishop’s chair of Los Angeles in 2010. Similar reasons were behind the rupture of our relations with the Church of Sweden in 2005 when this Church made a decision to bless same-sex “marriages”. And recently the lesbian Eva Brunne has become the “bishop” of Stockholm. What can these churches say to their faithful and to secular society? What kind of light do they shine upon the world (cf. Mt. 5:14)? What is their ‘salt’? I am afraid the words of Christ can be applied to them: If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men (Mt. 5:13).

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations to the Annual Nicean Club Dinner (Lambeth Palace, 9 September 2010). The full text of his remarks follow in the extended entry. HT: Touchstone Magazine.

Read more…

Thanks for Reading Cyberbrethren

September 24th, 2010 5 comments

For whatever reason, the number of daily visits to the Cyberbrethren blog site is nearly up to 3,000 visitors, per day, every day. I do not know who you all are, but thanks for reading this blog. I hope you find it helpful and useful, and even if you find yourself disagreeing with what is posted here, I hope it gives you something to think about. It is my hobby and I enjoy sharing information, and of course, “plugging” great resources from Concordia Publishing House.  I have met so many great people through my blog and I appreciate all my loyal readers! Thanks, and God bless. I tried to find the most manly looking “thank you” graphic I could find, but utterly failed.

Categories: Blogging

Muslims Back Bulgarian Orthodox Call for Religion in Schools

September 24th, 2010 1 comment

Ecumenical News International
Daily News Service
24 September 2010

Muslims back Bulgarian Orthodox call for religion in school
ENI-10-0654

By Ivan Andreev
Sofia, 24 September (ENI)–The head of Bulgaria’s Muslim community has announced his backing for a campaign by the country’s Orthodox Church to make religious education compulsory in schools.

The church held a mass march in Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia on 24 September in support of its aim as protestors shouted against “60 years of atheism”, introduced during the communist era.

In a statement reported in the Bulgarian daily newspaper Klassa, the office of the Chief Mufti, who is the spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslims, the second-largest religious group in the country, said, “The mufti calls on Bulgarian citizens professing the religion of Islam to support this expression of solidarity with the campaign by Christians.”

Most of Bulgaria’s population of seven million are Orthodox Christians but the country’s laws say that school education must remain secular, although in recent years the study of religion has been allowed as a voluntary subject.

The church’s governing body, the Holy Synod, approved a campaign to make the study of religion compulsory in schools, while saying that schools would have a choice of teaching about different Christian denominations, Islam or Judaism. Where schools did not wish to teach religion, ethics would be compulsory.

In an interview with the Bulgarian daily newspaper Trud, Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, said that religious education in schools would mean for children, “their moral strengthening, teaching them stable values, bringing them closer to the cultural achievements of European civilisation, which, forgive me, is Christian”.

Nikolai added, “Everyone is concerned about increasing juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, violence in schools … The education system does not point the way to a solution but the church suggests the right path.”

Asked why religion could not remain an elective subject, Nikolai said, “Why not make physics or chemistry, mathematics or literature elective? Sounds absurd, doesn’t it?”

Speaking to Bulgarian National Television on the eve of the 24 September Orthodox march, which was planned to centre on Sophia’s landmark Alexander Nevsky cathedral, and end with the presenting of petitions to the prime minister and speaker of parliament, Metropolitan Neofit of the town of Rousee said, “believers from all over the country” were to take part in the demonstration.

Neofit explained that the Holy Synod wanted to shape public opinion and reverse the attitude of the Ministry of Education, which opposes making religious education compulsory.

The Sofia-based news agency Focus has reported that the head of the Bulgarian Union of Teachers, Yanka Takeva, has also endorsed the church campaign.
In a series of interviews in print media and on television, education minister Sergei Ignatov, of the country’s ruling centre-right party, rejected making religious education compulsory.”I fear that Bulgarian schools could become an arena of religious rivalries,” Ignatov said. [467 words]

ENI News Headlines and Featured Articles are now available by RSS feed.
See http://www.eni.ch/rss/

All articles (c) Ecumenical News International
Reproduction permitted only by media subscribers and
provided ENI is acknowledged as the source.

Ecumenical News International
PO Box 2100
CH – 1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland

Tel: (41-22) 791 6088 – 6111
Fax: (41-22) 788 7244
Email: eni@eni.ch

On Lutherans in Africa and Methodists in America: Fisk Video

September 24th, 2010 7 comments

Categories: Uncategorized

MePublic – New Study of “Digital Natives” Released

September 24th, 2010 5 comments

The study is all in German, but you can read a nice summary here.

[Tapping on micrphone, leaning into microphone, saying, "Pastor and youth workers, are you listening?"]

Categories: Culture

September 24th, 2010 Comments off

Categories: CPH Resources