Thursday, March 13, 2008

12 March 2008

Presbyterians-Week Headlines

Union-PSCE at Charlotte
[2] Pittsburgh Goes Back to Court
[3] Laos Arrests 58 Christians, Sentences Church Leaders
The Heidelberg Catechism Was Wrong - CRC News: CRC Clarifies Position on Catholic Eucharist
[5] Ian Paisley Takes Second Step

Union-PSCE at Charlotte

Friends of William A. White Jr., a “Life Trustee” of Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, have pledged more than US$528,750 to establish a fund for teaching excellence at the seminary in his honor. The fund, which was initially established with a lead gift from the Trexler Foundation of Charlotte, establishes an endowment to support faculty at Union-PSCE at Charlotte. It is hoped th at the fund might grow into a full professorship in Charlotte for the teaching of New Testament. Endowed professorships at the Charlotte campus already support full-time faculty in Bible, preaching and practical theology, Christian education and theology.

+ Union-PSCE 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina 28274 (704) 337-2450

Pittsburgh Goes Back to Court

The Rev. Janet Edwards, a Presbyterian minister in Pittsburgh, says she will again be brought up on charges for officiating at a same-sex union ceremony even though a complaint against her for performing the nuptials was thrown out by a church court in 2006.

Edwards, a parish associate at the multi-denominational Community of Reconciliation, said in a statement that a Pittsburgh Presbytery investigating committee informed her on 25 February that it will pursue new charges against her for the June 2005 marriage ceremony of Nancy McConn and Brenda Cole.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202

Laos Arrests 58 Christians, Sentences Church Leaders

Laotian officials arrested 15 Hmong Christian families in Bokeo district on 22 February, a day before a court sentenced nine area Hmong church leaders to 15 years in prison for conducting Christian ministry and meetings that had grown beyond acceptable levels for Communist officials. The day before the sentencing, Laotian authorities arrived in Ban Sai Jarern village in Bokeo district with six trucks in which they hauled away eight Christian families. Authorities also arrested at least seven families from Fai village three miles away. “It seems they are rounding up all Hmong Christians from Vietnam to send them back to Vietnam,” said one Christian source. “What will happen to them is greatly feared and unknown.”

The nine church leaders sentenced for conducting prominent Christian ministry and meetings had been rounded up during a police and military sweep of suspected rebels last July that left at least 13 innocent Christians dead.

+ Compass Direct News, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana, California 92799-7250

The Heidelberg Catechism Was Wrong - CRC News: CRC Clarifies Position on Catholic Eucharist

After 10 years of study, dialogue, and debate, the Christian Reformed Church in North America has released its final report that clarifies the CRC's stance on the Lord's Supper as it relates to the Roman Catholic Church. Recently posted and made available on the CRCNA website, "The Lord's Supper and the Catholic Mass" is the result of extensive evaluation and discussion between CRC and Catholic educators and theologians.

At issue had been the Question and Answer 80 of the Heidelberg Catechism. In the answer portion, the catechism says the Catholic Mass "is basically nothing but a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ and a condemnable idolatry."

What the final report says is that there remain important differences between how the two denominations view the Lord's Supper. But the report also finds Question and Answer 80 in the catechism did not accurately represent the Catholic Church's beliefs on the topic.

The final three paragraphs in the catechism containing "condemnable idolatry" have not been deleted from Q and A 80, but the section has been put in brackets. In a footnote, the Synod has added the brackets "to indicate that they do not accurately reflect the official teaching and practice of today's Roman Catholic Church and are no longer confessionally binding on members of the CRC."

The report makes it clear that there are extensive differences on how the two denominations view the sacrament. However, it does show as well that there are some important commonalities. ."In summary," says the report, "in Reformed teaching the message (of God) is the privileged medium of grace, while in Roman Catholic teaching the Eucharist (as Catholics refer to communion) is the privileged medium of grace."

+ Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560

Ian Paisley Takes Second Step

The ultimate Ulsterman, Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley has announced his attention to step down as First Minister and head of the Democratic Unionist Party. The move follows his decision to leave the moderatorship of the Free Presbyterian Church.

According to published reports, many in the FPC and the DUP simply could not understand – or forgive – Paisley’s warm relationship with Sinn Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

Ian Richard Kyle Paisley was born in Armagh 6 April 6, 1926, and brought up in Ballymena, Co Antrim, by his father, the Rev. J Kyle Paisley, a dissident Baptist minister, and his Scottish mother, Isabella Paisley. After school in Ballymena, Paisley set out to follow his father's career path and went to South Wales Bible College and the Reformed Presbyterian Theological College in Belfast.

Paisley was ordained in 1946 and served from the time of its formation in 1951 until this year as moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster .

+ Dr. Ian Paisley, Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, 356 Ravenhill Road, BT 5 Belfast, Ulster Northern Ireland