Ad Clerum 6/12 November 2012 All Saints

Ad Clerum November 2012
Dear brothers in the Lord As Ordinations approach and new members of the clergy are set to enter the fight at our side, let us spend some valuable minutes evaluating our own ministries and the most recent achievements of our lives as Christian leaders and the pastors of our people. Are we still driven by the zeal that filled us when we came for ordination, or have we “lost our first love”?

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Being a Traditional Anglican means really that we are determinedly orthodox in our approach to our faith. We do not seek or allow innovations with regards to the fundamentals of belief to distract us from our core task, and that is the bringing the Gospel to all men, through our Anglican expression of the Faith. It does not mean that we are narrow-minded bigots, but it does mean that we understand the parameters of what we can and cannot do. As far as I am concerned, being a Traditional Anglican also embraces a few other important qualities. We are to be perfectionists – certainly in terms of our preaching, teaching, pastoral care and the management of the liturgy in our parishes, and we are serious competitors in terms of achievements for Christ.

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Ad Clerum 6/12 November 2012 All Saints But can a Christian be competitive? We most certainly can! Not only can we be competitive, we must be! The writer to the Hebrews speaks those wonderful words; “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, we run with patience the race that is set before us, our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….” [Heb 12: 1-2] I can speak for myself when I tell you that in the face of a mediocre and thoroughly compromised main-stream Anglicanism, I feel energised by the purity of what we teach and preach, and the way in which we are able to present ourselves and our message. Being a Traditional Anglican frees us from the need to conform to the world, and allows us the glorious liberty of the children of God, especially in not being tied down to any of the feminist or other liberal agendas that bind so many of our brethren. We are not a group of frustrated sociologists, but can operate as theologically driven men of God.

Let us return to the beginning paragraph of this Ad Clerum; “Do we still have the zeal that drove us when we came for ordination?” I sincerely hope we do, for in the face of so many new clergy entering our ranks, the level of competition has just increased considerably. Whatever we have done up to this point has to be accelerated. Whatever we have planted up to now has to be surpassed again and again; that is if we wish to win the race that we entered in the service of Christ our Saviour at our Ordination. The Psalmist continually reminds us; “I will pay my vows unto the Lord, in the sight of all his people; in the midst of the Lord’s house….Praise the Lord.” [Ps116:16] and “Offer unto God thanksgiving and pay thy vows unto the most Highest” [Ps50:14], and in Psalm 61:8 we are told to “daily perform my vows”. Our disciplined conduct and our zeal as Priests are to be an inspiration to our new colleagues, as they see for themselves that it is entirely possible to fulfil our high calling and our vows to God. All young men and newly appointed people look for role models on which to base their own life of service….will it be you? Will it be the holiness and order of your life that provides the example they are looking for? Will they one day say with pride, “I modelled my ministry on the holy and blessed life of Fr John”? I most sincerely hope so! “Paying our vows to the Lord” means that our study and exposition of Holy Scripture will be dedicated, pure and accurate, and that we will refute error as we find it, but with love. “Paying our vows” also means that we will pray without ceasing, for that we promised at our Ordination. Brothers, a life of prayer cannot be contrived, it has to be a real and living thing, and the results are as clearly visible as a life of deceit. 2

Ad Clerum 6/12 November 2012 All Saints Are we a “Peacemaker”, for that was another of the promises made at our Ordination? How often do we find that clergymen are at the heart of division in the church? Surely such a man cannot be fulfilling his calling. Our vows require that we are obedient servants of the church, obeying our Bishop and others set in authority. In my time as your Bishop, and during my service as Vicar General to Bishop Rhodes, I have been quite amazed at the conduct of some clergy who were openly greedy for power and defiant of their leaders – happily no longer with us…. One of any Ordination’s most beautiful moments is the anointing of the newly vested Priest upon his hands, that “whatsoever they bless shall be blessed and whatsoever they consecrate shall be consecrated and sanctified…”, but how can any of those things be accomplished unless our own lives are blameless and holy before God our Heavenly Father? In the light of this, we are obliged to consider the example of holiness, love and dedication we show in our homes, in our community and the manner in which we have been approaching the Altar these past many years… and whether our lives are an offering to our God, who is Holy, good enough to serve as an example to our newly Ordained brethren? Just before the Offertory, the newly Ordained is given authority to preach the Word of God. I would like to respectfully enquire as to the quality of your preparation and preaching of late… does it inspire or bore, does it draw people to salvation or drive them away from the church? Is it too many stories about “me” and not enough about “Him”? Ultimately, brothers, our Priesthood is about bringing the lost to Christ Our Lord; it is all about Salvation. I pray that the newly ordained will be able to approach us for advice on how to lead a man or woman or child to salvation, and see clearly in our ministry that the salvation of souls is of paramount importance to us. We do not want to talk of ‘churchmanship’ and ‘priest craft’ unless the real work of the Gospel is alive and well and being accomplished within our ministries. First things first! I do hope that this has given you food for thought and prayer? Brothers, we are never allowed to be complacent. We may not fool ourselves that we have reached our full potential. Jesus calls to be restless in our quest for what is holy and excellent, and vigorous in our pursuit of souls for His sake. The race is on…… In Christ

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