TRIonlyOur final core Ridley Institute class, “What We Believe:  An Introduction to Christian Theology” will begin next Tuesday, September 22. This ten-week course covers, in a systematic fashion, essential topics of the Christian faith. This is a new course in Christian systematic theology, never before taught at Ridley which will be resourced first and foremost through the scriptures, but will also lean heavily on writings within our own Anglican tradition. As always, participating in a Ridley course is not just about learning but also about mission.  A portion of your tuition goes to pay for the live streaming service to impoverished churches all over the world that otherwise could not afford theological education for their clergy and lay leaders.

The class will be taught by The Rev’d Robert Sturdy. The cost is $120 and includes dinner. You can register for the class and take a look at the topics covered at If you do not live in the area, you can also register to watch the class via live streaming.

Today the Ridley Institute trains nearly 400 lay students a year in the thought and practice of Reformation Anglicanism as well as serving and preparing pastors and church planters for their ministries. We are privileged to be served by renowned Cranmer scholar, Dr. Ashley Null as our Senior Research Fellow and enjoy an international team of visiting scholars and church leaders to help advance our vision of Reformation Anglicanism in the church and the world. Learn more about the Ridley Institute.

The Opportunities at Alpha

September 9, 2015

Dear Friends,

I write you with an amazing two-fold opportunity.

Beginning Monday, September 14, we will kick-off The Alpha Course at St. Andrew’s. Over the past 20 years 5000+ people have participated in an Alpha Course at St. Andrew’s. And, as Alpha is a global phenomenon, over 15,000,000 people have participated in the course from every country and culture on the face of the planet. It has been a primary means by which the Spirit has grown and deepened our relationships with God and with one another here at St. Andrew’s.

What happens on The Alpha Course?

The Guardian newspaper wrote, “What Alpha offers, and what is attracting thousands of people, is permission, rare in secular culture, to discuss the big questions – life and death and their meaning.”

Bob Buford, of Leadership Network, says, “Most of us skip bases in developing our faith, leaving us plagued with unanswered questions. Alpha fills the gaps. Alpha fosters spiritual peace and stability.”

Over a 9-week period you will have the opportunity to explore the foundational teachings of Jesus Christ and to ask your questions of faith and spirituality. Unlike “programs” which simply seek to present a body of information, Alpha is geared toward the development of relationships – you relationship with God and with other people who are asking the same kinds of questions that you are asking.

Each night begins with a dinner, a talk (this year’s speakers are Rob Sturdy, Todd Simonis and me) on a topic like:

  • Why did Jesus die?
  • How does God guide us?
  • How do we deal with the problem of evil and suffering?
  • Does God heal today?

You will then have an opportunity to meet in small groups for discussion – discovering with others the joy and security of a living faith grounded in Christ.

The Opportunities

Back to my initial statement: you have an amazing two-fold opportunity before you.

First, God means for you to be sure of your faith in Christ. Sure that it has relevancy for today, sure that He is with you, and sure that your faith in Christ will see you through this life. One of the saddest things I’ve seen as a priest/bishop are folks who gave insufficient attention to their spiritual health and then were surprised when trials and suffering befall them and their faith faltered. If you would like to register for the Alpha course visit

Secondly, over the past decade we have asked our new members why/how they came to St. Andrew’s. 80% of them said it was because a family member, friend, work colleague, or neighbor invited them to come to St. Andrew’s. 80%!

God has placed into your hands the privilege and responsibility of sharing the Gospel message. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Quite literally, you are the one sent – sent to your families, sent to your colleagues and classmates, sent into the community to announce that God, in Christ, has come. And, what I want to do is to partner with you to reach your family and friends with the good news of Jesus Christ – you invite and we’ll present.

So, will you join me? Will you join me Monday night, September 14, as we together explore how our faith in Christ might deepen? Will you extend the wonderful, biblical, grace-filled invitation to “come and see” to the people in your world who are disconnected from Christ?

Together for the Kingdom,


Learn more about what others have said about Alpha

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If you have something to do with communications in your church, this might be for you. The workshop is for church staffs, pastors, church planters, and volunteers. The guest speaker is St. Andrew’s Communications Director, Greg Shore.

Zero Budget/Zero Time Church Communications


During the morning session Greg Shore, Director of Communications for ACNA parish, St. Andrew’s ~ Mt. Pleasant, will look at social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and hear not only why we should be using it, but when and how.

We’ll reconvene after lunch to have David Childs, Director of Communications for Church of our Saviour, John Island, show us how to create a low-cost website using Wix as well as a brief foray into other current programming options.

There will be plenty of time for conversations, questions, and answers.

To register visit the Diocese of South Carolina’s website.

About Greg Shore

Greg-Shore_200-pxGreg’s job responsibilities started 18 years ago at St. Andrew’s ~ Mt. Pleasant with producing two service bulletins for three services and a weekly newsletter along with producing occasional advertising and collateral pieces. The job has grown and he now produces or oversees the production of all visual communications at St. Andrew’s and the Diocese of the Carolinas which includes weekly materials for 11 services in four locations, six websites, multiple social media outlets, video production, printed and online advertising, press relations, and live streaming operations for a weekly theology class and occasional worship service. He attends St. Andrew’s church plant in North Charleston where he serves as a LifeGroup Leader. In his spare time he bikes, runs, and coaches other runners. Greg lives in North Charleston with his three cats: Burley, Kowbeidu, and Woody.

From Christianity Today:

When was the last time you read a book? For almost 1 in 4 of us, it was more than a year ago, according to Pew Research. That’s three times the number who didn’t read a book in 1978. In America, we have a literacy problem. But more concerning to me, we have a biblical literacy problem. Americans, including churchgoers, aren’t reading much of any book, including the Good Book. 

Christians claim to believe the Bible is God’s Word. We claim it’s God’s divinely inspired, inerrant message to us. Yet despite this, we aren’t reading it. A recent LifeWay Research study found only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over 40 percent of the people attending read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month. Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible—essentially the same number who read it every day.

Because we don’t read God’s Word, it follows that we don’t know it. To understand the effects, we can look to statistics of another Western country: the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom Bible Society surveyed British children and found many could not identify common Bible stories. When given a list of stories, almost 1 in 3 didn’t choose the Nativity as part of the Bible and over half (59 percent) didn’t know that Jonah being swallowed by the great fish is in the Bible.

British parents didn’t do much better. Around 30 percent of parents don’t know Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, or the Good Samaritan are in the Bible. To make matters worse, 27 percent think Superman is or might be a biblical story. More than 1 in 3 believes the same about Harry Potter. And more than half (54 percent) believe The Hunger Games is or might be a story from the Bible.

But it’s more than simply not knowing stories from Scripture. Our lack of biblical literacy has led to a lack of biblical doctrine. LifeWay Research found that while 67 percent of Americans believe heaven is a real place, 45 percent believe there are many ways to get there—including 1 in 5 evangelical Christians. More than half of evangelicals (59 percent) believe the Holy Spirit is a force and not a personal being—in contrast to the orthodox biblical teaching of the Trinity being three Persons in one God. As a whole, Americans, including many Christians, hold unbiblical views on hell, sin, salvation, Jesus, humanity, and the Bible itself.

Read it all.

From Paglia writing in Time:

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

Too many young middleclass women, raised far from the urban streets, seem to expect adult life to be an extension of their comfortable, overprotected homes. But the world remains a wilderness. The price of women’s modern freedoms is personal responsibility for vigilance and self-defense.

Current educational codes, tracking liberal-Left, are perpetuating illusions about sex and gender. The basic Leftist premise, descending from Marxism, is that all problems in human life stem from an unjust society and that corrections and fine-tunings of that social mechanism will eventually bring utopia. Progressives have unquestioned faith in the perfectibility of mankind.

The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.


Liberalism lacks a profound sense of evil — but so does conservatism these days, when evil is facilely projected onto a foreign host of rising political forces united only in their rejection of Western values. Nothing is more simplistic than the now rote use by politicians and pundits of the cartoonish label “bad guys” for jihadists, as if American foreign policy is a slapdash script for a cowboy movie.

The gender ideology dominating academe denies that sex differences are rooted in biology and sees them instead as malleable fictions that can be revised at will. The assumption is that complaints and protests, enforced by sympathetic campus bureaucrats and government regulators, can and will fundamentally alter all men.

But extreme sex crimes like rape-murder emanate from a primitive level that even practical psychology no longer has a language for. Psychopathology, as in Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s grisly Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), was a central field in early psychoanalysis. But today’s therapy has morphed into happy talk, attitude adjustments, and pharmaceutical shortcuts.

Read it all.


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Around-the-Horn[1]How To Distinguish the Holy Spirit from the Serpent
John Owen suggests four ways in which the Spirit and the serpent are to be distinguished . . .

The Benedict Option or the Benedict Arnold Option?
All of these outcomes would flow from the misnamed “Benedict Option,” favored by Dreher, who for years has advocated a sort of apolitical Christian separatism.

Catching Sleep and Catching Revival
From John Starke: “Smith uses the analogy of sleep to help us think about rhythms of discipleship, but what if the dynamic of sleep is the same for spiritual awakening in our churches?”

The Prayer Meeting Revival
Would God do this again?

Are We Preaching Christ or Preaching About Christ?
A thoughtful article from Ray Ortlund.

That Decoupaged Chapter
One of Saul Alinsky’s rules was that the activist should always make his adversary live by his own purported rules. In the case of what Christians are currently up against, one of the secularist rules is their so-called commitment to free speech. They are quite pleased with themselves about that commitment, and preen themselves in the mirror. But at the same time, their inner tyrant wants to control public discourse in such a way as to quit losing all those debates.

The NYT is Confused About Protestant Denominations
Why is it, though, that the media treat shrinking and declining progressive church bodies so well while disparaging those larger church bodies that retain their doctrines in the face of pressure? Consider the fluffy coverage generated for the Episcopal Church.

The “Heroic Impulse” and How It’s Not A Good Thing
Many contemporary Christian men’s ministries tell men they need to be the hero of the story – what’s wrong with that?

How Should You Talk to Your Children About Same-Sex Marriage?
With the Supreme Court decision last week legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States, some Christian parents wonder how they ought to explain all of this to their small children. So how does one teach about the law and the controversy, without exposing one’s children to more than they can handle?

From Sam Storms (our New Wine 2016 speaker):

In 2002, the synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster

authorized its bishop to produce a service for blessing same-sex unions, to be used in any parish of the diocese that requests it. A number of synod members walked out to protest the decision. They declared themselves out of communion with the bishop and the synod, and they appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican primates and bishops for help.

Packer was one of those who walked out.

When asked why he walked out, he answered, “Because this decision, taken in its context, falsifies the gospel of Christ, abandons the authority of Scripture, jeopardizes the salvation of fellow human beings, and betrays the church in its God-appointed role as the bastion and bulwark of divine truth.” In other words, it was Packer’s confidence in the functional, life-directing authority of Scripture that led to this decision.

“My primary authority,” wrote Packer, “is a Bible writer named Paul. For many decades now, I have asked myself at every turn of my theological road: Would Paul be with me in this? What would he say if he were in my shoes? I have never dared to offer a view on anything that I did not have good reason to think he would endorse.”

Here we see that, for Packer, affirming biblical authority is meant not merely to provoke a debate but to give ethical direction to life. Regardless of what personal preferences one might have, irrespective of the cultural trends in play at the time, the Bible is the ethical standard by which Christians such as Packer judge their responsibility.

What’s Really at Stake

Packer then proceeds to exegete Paul’s thought in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 as justification for his decision to lodge this protest. There are only two ways in which we might miss Paul’s point and his directives. One is to embrace an artificial interpretation of the text in which Paul is conceived as speaking of something other than same-sex union.

The second approach, notes Packer, “is to let experience judge the Bible.” Experience suggests that homosexual behavior is fulfilling to some; therefore, the Bible’s prohibition of it is wrong. But the appropriate response is that “the Bible is meant to judge our experience rather than the other way around,” and “feelings of sexual arousal and attraction, generating a sense of huge significance and need for release in action as they do, cannot be trusted as either a path to wise living or a guide to biblical interpretation.”

What is at stake in such a debate is the nature of the Bible itself. There are, notes Packer, fundamentally two positions that challenge each other . . .

Read it all.