Wednesday, May 20, 2009

20 May 2009

Presbyterians Week Headlines

[*] Correction

The 13 May 2009 Presbyterians Week article, [3] “Church of Scotland Accuses Wee Frees of Meddling in Church of Scotland Business,” referenced the Wee Frees as being the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) instead of the correct reference, which is the Free Church of Scotland.

The editor regrets this error, and promises to punish any future confusion of the Wee Frees with any organization other than the Free Church of Scotland by sitting through fifty consecutive iterations of the current Castrol Edge motor oil “Think with your Dipstick, Jimmy!” television commercial.

+ Christian Observer, 9400 Fairview Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110, 703-335-2844,

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN, 0131-225-5722

+ Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, The Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2LS, 0131-226-5286, Fax: 0131-220-0597,

+ Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Rev John MacLeod, Free Church Manse, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland,

[1] U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Member Thinks Normative Fatherhood should Move beyond “heteronormative view of fatherhood.”

Harry Knox, a member of U.S. President Barrack Obama’s President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, says that part of the Obama administration’s role in promoting responsible fatherhood should include moving beyond America’s “heteronormative view of fatherhood.”

Knox added, “Responsible fatherhood offers us an immense opportunity to speak to a real need in the country…. It’ll be challenging to do that for instance in ways that are not dismissive of the tremendous gifts of single mothers; not to sort of hold a heteronormative view of fatherhood up as the only model….One of the things I am suggesting on the council is that they look at mentoring processes that gay dads have developed to help each other be good fathers around the country.”

Knox is already under fire for responding to Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI’s statement on condoms and AIDS in Africa by saying, “The Pope’s statement that condoms don’t help control the spread of HIV, but rather condoms increase infection rates, is hurting people in the name of Jesus.,” and for responding to a Roman Catholic bishop’s barring a homosexual couple from receiving communion at Roman Catholic mass by saying, “In this holy Lenten season, it is immoral and insulting to Jesus to use the body and blood of Christ the reconciler as a weapon to silence free speech and demean the love of a committed, legally married couple.”

+ Cybercast News Service, 325 South Patrick, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, 703-683-9733

+ The Vatican

[2] Presbyterian Seminary Professor Publishes Part I of Article “Why Homosexual Behavior Is More like Consensual Incest and Polyamory than Race or Gender”

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Associate Professor of New Testament Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D., has published Parts I and II of IV of an article titled, “Why Homosexual Behavior Is More like Consensual Incest and Polyamory than Race or Gender” on Dr. Gagnon’s website, and will publish Parts III – IV later in the week of 18 May 2009.

Dr. Gagnon says, “The attempt of recent "hate crime" legislation to place "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" alongside race and gender is logically misguided and dangerous.” Dr. Gagnon is publishing the four-part article to provide a secular case against the appeals to arguments of race and gender discrimination common among proponents of homosexual marriage and civil unions.

+ Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 North Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206, 412-362-5610, Fax: 412-363-3260

+ Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228, Fax: 502-569-8005

[3] Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church Adopts Amendment on Biblical Marriage

At a 24 April 2009, meeting at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, the elders of The Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church (EPRC) voted unanimously to amend the denomination’s Form of Government to include a provision stating its position that Biblical marriage is between a man and a woman, and the ERPC’s opposition to same-sex unions of all kinds.

+ The Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church, Post Office Box 2383, Westminster, Maryland 21158, 888-368-4351,

[4] Westboro (Kansas) Baptist Church Members Plans Protest at Church of Scotland General Assembly

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Westboro, Kansas on 23 May 2009 are planning to protest the possible appointment of homosexual minister the Reverend Scott Rennie as minister of Aberdeen, Scotland’s Queen's Cross Church at the Church of Scotland’s 2009 General Assembly meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. Westboro’s preacher Fred Phelps is barred from entering the United Kingdom.

Phelps and the Westboro church are perhaps best known for their protests that disrupt the burial services of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

+ The Scotsman, Barclay House, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 8AS, 0131-620-8620

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN, 0131-225-5722

[5] Mount Hope Church Sues Invading Homosexual Activist Group for Disrupting Church Service

Mount Hope Church of Lansing, Michigan, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), has filed a federal lawsuit against the homosexual activist group Bash Back! for disrupting a 9 November 2008 church service by, in the middle of the service, having their members sitting in the congregation stand up, shout slogans, and unfurl a banner.

The ADF contends that it is a federal crime to interfere with people exercising their religious rights in a house of worship.

A response to the lawsuit on the Bash Back! website, declares, "Bash Back! and radical transfolk/queers cannot and will not be intimidated."

+ American Family Association, Post Office Drawer 2440, Tupelo, Mississippi 38803, 662-844-5036

+ Alliance Defense Fund, 15100 North 90th Street, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260, 800-835-5233, Fax: 480-444-0025

[6] U.S. Internal Revenue Service Rules Pastors’ Conference on Moral Issues Does Not Constitute Illegal Candidate Endorsement

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has ruled that a series of pastors’ conferences on moral issues funded by the Houston,
Texas-based Niemoller Foundation ahead of the 2006 elections did not constitute endorsement of a candidate, and therefore did not violate IRS restrictions on tax-exempt organizations.

An IRS investigation into the Niemoller-funded pastors’ conferences was made in response to a request from the Texas Freedom Network, which describes themselves as a “mainstream” group that “acts as the state’s watchdog, monitoring far-right issues, organizations, money and leaders.”

A 12 May 2009 statement by Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel of Liberty Legal Institute which represented organizers of the conferences, said, "There is now a clear IRS statement outlining these pastors' events and approving them as valid under the law."

+ Church Executive Magazine, 4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340, Phoenix, Arizona 85016, 602-265-7600, Fax: 602-265-4300,

[7] One-Half of Iraqi Christians Have Fled Iraq, Never to Return

One-half of Iraqi Christians have fled Iraq, most of them since the U.S.-led 2003 invasion, due to continual sectarian violence often directed at Christians, and due to Shiite and Sunni Muslim control of professions such as medicine, engineering, and civil service, where Christians used to have a major presence, but are no longer welcome.

The Christian refugees that have fled Iraq often live in crowded and substandard conditions, but are unlikely to return to Iraq, as they see little hope for conditions to again become favorable for Christians.

+ Assyrian International News Agency

[8] Desmond Tutu to Address 2009 Church of Scotland General Assembly

Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will give an address on the last day of the upcoming Church of Scotland (COS) General Assembly meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. Tutu is attending as a guest of the former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, George Reid.

Tutu is an outspoken advocate of homosexual rights, and his visit coincides with the debate to take place at the COS General Assembly meeting as to whether or not the Presbytery of Aberdeen’s decision to appoint actively homosexual minister, the Rev. Scott Rennie, to the pulpit of Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen, Scotland, will be allowed to stand.

+ Ekklesia, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY, England, 0845 056 5445,

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN, 0131-225-5722

+ Worldwide Anglican Communion, St Andrew's House, 16 Tavistock Crescent, London W11 1AP, England, 44-0-20-7313-3900, Fax: 44-0-20-7313-3999,

[9] Sunday Ferry Service to Outer Hebrides’ Lewis Island to Begin Later this Year

The Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland is a bastion of strong Calvinism, and thus observes the Sabbath by shutting down almost all businesses on Sundays. Many Isle of Lewis residents limit Sunday activities to Bible reading and to attending church, otherwise avoiding worldly activities.

After being told by legal council that withholding Sunday ferry service to the Isle of Lewis was illegal, ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has confirmed that ferry service from Ullapool, Scotland to the Isle of Lewis will begin including Sundays later in 2009.

In 2008, the Lord's Day Observance Society (LDOS) collected 4000 signatures on a petition opposing Sunday sailings. LDOS director John Roberts, warned there would be angry protests and commented, “The Western Isles are unique and are a Christian bulwark….Sunday sailing will shatter the uniqueness of the islands and cause unnecessary work. People will not lie down if the company plans to put profit before the law of God and break the Sabbath."

Islanders in favor of the Sunday ferry service accuse the Sabbatarians of imposing their religious beliefs on the wider community.

+ Guardian News and Media Ltd., 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER, England,

[10] Ligonier Academy Begins Distance Learning Non-Degree Certificate Program

Registration is open for the Certificate Program of Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies. The program is a non-degree distance education curriculum designed for laypeople, ministers, and educators who desire a structured way to study biblical and theological subjects at their own pace, at their own level of interest, and in their own home.

Curriculum and tuition information are available at

+ Ligonier Academy, 400 Technology Park, Lake Mary, Florida 32746, 407-333-4244, Fax: 407-333-4233

[11] 63rd Annual Conference of The American Hungarian Reformed Presbyter's Association to be held 22-23 August 2009

The 63rd Annual Conference of The American Hungarian Reformed Presbyter's Association will be held at the Bethlen Communities Conference Room in Ligonier, Pennsylvania on Saturday and Sunday 22-23 August 2009. All members of the consistory, Presbytery or Church Council, along with their families and guests are cordially invited to attend.

The guest speaker will be the Rev. Chuck Huckaby of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, who will speak on “The Reformed Elder – Biblical Basis,” and “The Reformed Elder in the Postmodern Parish.”

A tentative agenda, along with a list of motels in the Ligonier, Pennsylvania area and other important information will be available after 4 July 2009.

+ Calvin Synod, C/O Rt. Rev. Koloman K. Ludwig, Bishop, 7319 Tapper Avenue, Hammond, Indiana 46324, 219-931-4321,

[12] First Bible Presbyterian Church of Kalispell, Montana Celebrates 50th Anniversary 31 May 2009

First Bible Presbyterian Church (FBPC) of Kalispell, Montana will be celebrating the church's 50th anniversary on Sunday, 31 May 2009. Following the 11 a.m. service, a special dinner will be served.

For more information, please contact FBPC pastor Jim Huff at 344 5th Avenue West, Kalispell, Montana 59901, by phone at 406-755-1181 or by email at

+ Bible Presbyterian Church

[13] Western Reformed Seminary Makes Available Online the 2009 Dr. Ronald W. Taber Memorial Lectures

Western Reformed Seminary (WRS) of Tacoma, Washington has made available online the Dr. Ronald W. Taber Memorial Lectures for 2009 at The lectures feature Dr. Burt Folsom of Hillsdale College and Dr. John A. Battle of WRS, who presented a four-lecture series on the topic, “Capitalism: Biblical and Practical.” This series is especially timely in view of the current rush to big government.

+ Western Reformed Seminary, 5 South G Street, Tacoma, Washington 98405, 253-272-0417, Fax: 253-627-4882,