Episcopalians hold an Indian Rite Mass with Hindus

Service celebrates 2 beliefs
Episcopalians hold an Indian Rite Mass with Hindus and apologize for past religious discrimination.
By K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 20, 2008

Hindu nun Pravrajika Saradeshaprana, dressed in a saffron robe, blew into a conch shell three times, calling to worship Hindu and Episcopal religious leaders who joined Saturday to celebrate an Indian Rite Mass at St. John’s Cathedral near downtown.

The rare joint service included chants from the Temple Bhajan Band of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and a moving rendition of “Bless the Lord, O My Soul” sung by the St. John’s choir.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience in worship service,” said Bob Bland, a member of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church of Thousand Oaks, who was among the 260 attendees. “There was something so holy—so much symbolism and so many opportunities for meditation.”

During the service, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, issued a statement of apology to the Hindu religious community for centuries-old acts of religious discrimination by Christians, including attempts to convert them.

“I believe that the world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of our past, in which we sought to dominate rather than to serve,” Bruno said in a statement read by the Rt. Rev. Chester Talton. “In this spirit, and in order to take another step in building trust between our two great religious traditions, I offer a sincere apology to the Hindu religious community.”

The bishop also said he was committed to renouncing “proselytizing” of Hindus. Bruno had been scheduled to read the statement himself, but a death of a close family friend prevented him from attending the service.

Swami Sarvadevananda, of Vedanta Society of Southern California, was among about a dozen Hindu leaders honored during the service. He called Bruno’s stance “a great and courageous step” that binds the two communities.

“By declaring that there will be no more proselytizing, the bishop has opened a new door of understanding,” Sarvadevananda said. “The modern religious man must expand his understanding and love of religions and their practices.”

All were invited to Holy Communion, after the Episcopal celebrant elevated a tray of consecrated Indian bread, and deacons raised wine-filled chalices.

In respect to Hindu tradition, a tray of flowers was also presented. Christians and Hindus lined up for communion, but since Orthodox Hindus shun alcohol, they consumed only the bread.

During the service, the two faiths also blended practices during the handling of an icon of Jesus.

The Rev. Karen MacQueen, an associate priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pomona, who was the celebrant, carried the icon, a large painted image, during the procession. She placed it before the altar.

Then, as she and the others knelt before the icon, a second Hindu band, Adoration Chant Band, sang a hymn while the icon was anointed with sandalwood paste by the Episcopal celebrant. A flowered garland was placed on it and a lamp was lighted, a sign of Christ, the light in the darkness

Both Hindu and Christian texts were read.

In her homily, “A Vision for Inter-Religious Dialogue,” MacQueen said in both Hinduism and Christianity devotees believe that “the Divine Presence” illuminates the whole world.

MacQueen, who spent two years studying Hinduism in India, said both faiths revere “great figures who embody the divine light, who teach the divine truth.”

For Christians, Jesus preeminently embodies the divine light, she said. For Hindus, she said a number of figures embody the divine light and teach the divine truth.

“To my knowledge this is an unprecedented event in L.A., California and the U.S.,” said the Rev. Gwynne Guibord, head of the ecumenical and inter-religious affairs for the diocese, which initiated Saturday’s project.

“My personal, prayerful hope is that it will serve as a ‘model’ of good will toward building up of a ‘beloved community,’ ” she said.


Updated-LA Times’ Correction:

(Hindu-Episcopal service: An article in Sunday’s California section about a joint religious service involving Hindus and Episcopalians said that all those attending the service at St. John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles were invited to Holy Communion. Although attendees walked toward the Communion table, only Christians were encouraged to partake of Communion. Out of respect for Hindu beliefs, the Hindus were invited to take a flower. Also, the article described Hindus consuming bread during Communion, but some of those worshipers were Christians wearing traditional Indian dress. )

41 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    I’ve had some interesting discussions in recent months at my blog with a well-informed Hindu.  We’ve discussed linguistic, cultural and religious connections among the ancient Semites and the ancient Indus peoples. The connections are undeniable and we enjoyed the dialogue.  We didn’t discuss Christianity because the period we were examining was long before of time of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. That’s were Hinduism is, in practice and in its six recognized schools. To attempt to blend Christian worship and Hindu worship is to deny Jesus’ Incarnation. That being the case, the Hindus who received Communion from Bishop Bruno didn’t acknowledge the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. St. Paul warned about drinking damnation upon ourselves, but God is merciful to the ignorant. One wonders if that mercy extends to “bishops” who endanger eternal souls!

  2. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    It is an attempt to blend something new in the religious world, as it is certainly not Christian and against the teachings of the Bible, which demands no other god/gods in parallel to God the Father.

    There could be many other ways to show Christian love through humanity and social ties.

    What are we trying to tell the persons specially our children in the pews that, there are other ways of “salvation”?

  3. Pierre Says:

    As a Bible beleiving evangeleical Christian who is currently a member of church denomination which considers itself to be Anglican but is not recognized by the ArchBishop of Cantebury as part of the worldwide Anglican Communion although is recognized by other faithfully Anglicans many of whom are part of the Global South Anglicans I have read with great interest many of the the articles on this website as well as the the comments written in response to them. Normally I have not responded by posting my own comments even though I may have very stong opinions about an article or a comment posted in response to an article.

    However, when I read this article I was so shocked by how the name of our Lord Jesus Christ has been blasphemed in such a blatant way by those who would claim to be Chritians that I had to respond. If it had been those who were not even claiming to be Christian then I would have not even bothered to respond but because Christians have done this I had to respond for the sake of the honour of the name of our God, who has been so dishonoured.

    Let me say that I believe in religious freedom. That is freedom for all religions to worship without fear of persecution but also freedom for us to lovingly tell others that we beleive they are wrong and to gently share with them why we think they are wrong and to encourage them to seriously consider the claims of the Christian Gospel.

    I am an Evangelical Christian who believes that the Bible is the authoritative word of God which is our only final standard for believe and practice as Christians. I hope that all who claime to be Christians would beleive this but I know that many do not which is very sad. In the Episcopal Church in the USA there are faithful Bible believing members and leaders (such as Bishop Bob Ducan) but sadly there are many who do not hold to the authority of the Bible and who think human tradition and human reason have more authority then the Word of Almighty God. So I guess that those who most need to hear what I am saying in this post will not listen. My prayer is that God will open their eyes to the truth before it is too late and they end up in an eternity in hell without Christ together with the millions they have led astray by their false teachings.

    As I write this post please consider seriously what I have to say but also examine the Scriptures (Word of God - Bible) to see if what I am saying is true. If what I am saying is true then please listen to me. If what I am saying is not true please do not listen to me but listen to what the Bible has to say. I am not the authority. God is the authoriyt and he has spoken through His OWrd, the Bible.

    I Corinthians 6:14 -18 says:

    “14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
    17"Therefore come out from them
        and be separate, says the Lord.
      Touch no unclean thing,
        and I will receive you.”
    18"I will be a Father to you,
        and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

    As Christians we are to separate from those who worship fals gods and idols. That does not mean we are to leave the World or that we ae not love unbelievers, pray for them and seek their conversion but it does mean that we are not introduce their pratices into our worship. For there is only one true and liveing God and we are to worship him alone in the way he has prescribed.

    The book of Deuteronomy is full of warnings against worshipin false gods

    The Bible is clear that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and indeed God himself (John 1:1-2, John 20:28, Colosians 1:13-20, Hebrews 1:3, 1 John 5). The Bible is also clear that true salvation from the power, guilt and punishment of our sin is only by God’s grace, through faqith in who Jesus
    (as revealed by God in the Bible) and his finished work on the cross and his resurection from the dead (John 14:6, John 20:30 - 31, Acts 4:8 - 12, Acts 16:31, Romans 10:8 - 13, Colosians 1:19 - 20, 1 Timothy 2:5 -6, 1 John 2:2). Accourding to the Bible there is no other way of salvation but through Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The cross is the centre of the Christian Gospel message (1 Corinthians 2:2, Galatains 6:14). 

    The communion Service or Lord’s Supper is a pictorial representation of the Cross of our lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26 - 29, Mark 14:22 - 25, Luke 22:14 - 20, ! Corinthians 11:17 - 34). The passage in 1 Corinthians 11 also warns us to examine ourselves before we eat of the bread or drin k of the cup for if we eat and drink without recognizing the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ we bring judgement on ourselves. The Lord’s supper is also a fellowship meal or communion where we declare our unity in Christ as Christians (1 Corinthians 10:14 - 17).

    What about Hindus? Do they beleive that Jesus Christ is God? No! He may be a god but he is not God to them. Do Hindus beleive in salvation through Jesus Christ alone? No! Is the cross of Jesus central to the Hindu message? No! Do Hindus recognize the body of our Lord Jesus Christ? No! So what fellowshio can a Christian have with a Hindu? How can we worship together with a Hindu? How can we particiapte together with a Hindu in celebrating the Lord’s Supper when a Hindu does not even understand the cross. Yes we must love Hindus, pray for them and share the Gospel message with them but we cannot particiapte in the Communion service with them. This is an utter abomination to God and a damnable trampling down of the cross and its meaning.

    2 John 9 -11 says:
    ” 7Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.”

    Clealrly if what I have been saying is the truth then many of the leaders in the diocese of Los Angeles are not continuing in the teaching of Christ and as Christians we canot welcome them or we will be sharing in thier wicked work. Also if the leaderrs of the Episcopal Church in the USA do not condem what has happened in Los Angeles then they are sharing in that wickedness and I think we would be right in condeming the Episcopal Church as an apostate church that does not seserve to be called the Church of Jesus Christ.

    My prayer is for wisdom for faithful Christians in the Episcopal Church as what t do in these dark days. My advice would be for them to leave the Episcopal Church as soon as pssible and join another faithful local expression of the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ wether Anglican or not. May God be with faithful leaders such as Bishop Bob Duncan.

    My prayer is for the Hindus who particiapted in this service in ignorance that God might open their, eyes, mionds and hearts to receive the truth and so that they would not be condemed.

    Finally my prayer is for the leaders and members of the Episcopla church who particiapted in this abomintion that God would gran them repentance of their wickedness.

    God Bless you all.

  4. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Pierre, Bienvenue!

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Please visit again, dear brother in Christ.

  5. Steven Berry Says:

    Bishop Ijaz Inayat,

    Can you verify the following AsiaNews article?

    11/19/2007 13:25
    INDIA
    In under a year over 190 cases of Hindu persecution of Christians
    by Nirmala Carvalho

    A report by All India Catholic Union, into anti Christian persecution gathered data with the aid of leading National groups. The report underlines widespread marginalization of non Hindus, and government apathy which protects aggressors.


    New Delhi (AsiaNews) – In less than one year over 190 violent attacks against Christians took place in India.  These assaults include homicide, armed assault, sexual mole station and lynching,  All India Catholic Union (Aicu), an association grouping together lay Catholics warned in a document published November 17th last.

    Aicu President, John Dayal, underlines that data was collected tank to the collaboration of various Christian groups throughout the country, and that cases were Christians were attacked for reasons other than their faith were not taken into account.  Therefore says Dayal, “the cases that were presented and certified fall into the category of persecution. We have not taken into consideration the situation of social marginalization of our many brethren in the faith in many Indian States, because it would be impossible to count them”.


    Sajan K. George, national president of the Bangalore based Global Council of Indian Christians told AsiaNews: “GCIC has recorded 464 cases of atrocities against Christians throughout India over 20 months and Karnataka has the worst record in this period with 87 cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 30 cases”.  In the light of this data he adds “submitted a memorandum to memorandum to the National Human Rights Council and also to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), seeking an independent inquiry into the incidents. After the BJP came into the coalition- and they are now in power, there has been a climate of impunity for any acts of violence that are committed against non Hindus. Many of these attacks have occurred inside homes in the places of worship of Christians, as people were worshipping within the privacy of their homes and churches”. Often he concludes, “Often the Administration and Police have refused to either file or pursue the matter with seriousness. Unfortunately in our 60th year of Indian Independence, the government as yet has done little to bring these hate crimes under control”.

    End of article -

    Bishop, at a time when the TEC has their shorts all bunched up over “Jurisdictional breeches”, they appear to have no problem giving the Sacraments to those who openly worship false gods contrary to Scripture, the BCP, and the General Rubrics of the Order for Holy Communion?

    “If among those who come to be partakers of the Holy Communion, the Minister shall know any to be an open and notorious evil liver… he shall avert him… until he [the one taking communion] have openly declared himself to have truly repented and amended former evil life…”

    Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness…”

    Just what are these people thinking?

    Steve

  6. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Dear Pierre,
    God bless you. Your witness about interaction with people of other faiths blessed me. Surely we are not allowed to compromise on instructions in the Bible about the worship we render to our God because it is always manifestation of our inner chambers before our Lord and our witness to all those who happen to watch it or participate in it. 

    It is my prayer for all those who bring in their own (alien) applications in matters of faith and worship that the Holy Spirit should convict them to repentance and that your comments reach them to be read loud and clear.

  7. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Dear Steve,

    Greetings, love and peace from a brother.

    Hereunder are some links to some of the latest news about the recent persecution of Christians in India.

    http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=13240

    http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=13281&tag;=


    (December 30, 2007) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) http://www.persecution.org has learned that state police and federal armed forces have failed to contain the anti-Christian violence that began on the eve of Christmas and has led to the killing of at least six Christians in Orissa state’s Kandhamal district.
    A local Christian, on condition of anonymity, told ICC that 600 Christians had to hide in a Baptist church in Udaigiri village in Mallikapur area the night of December 28, as they anticipated attacks on their homes.
    “Extremists tried to attack them during the night, but they were not more in number than the Christians, who could scare them away,” added the source.
    According to a fact-finding team led by Dr. John Dayal, Secretary General of the All India Christian Council (AICC), six bodies of Christians were found, 400 Christian homes and 60 churches were burnt down in the last six days in Baliguda Block of Kandhamal district.
    “Young and healthy Christians have left their villages to flee for their lives, children, women, old and sick, who could not flee for their lives, are in great danger of their lives,” Dayal said in a statement.
    “Remnants are starving for the last four days, and sick are suffering without medical attention. They are being forced to convert to Hinduism if they are to get food, medical attention and shelter, and their heads are [shaved],” Dayal quoted a victim as saying.
    Meanwhile, The Indian Express newspaper reported that on December 22, local Christian leaders met the District Collector (administrative in-charge) and the superintendent of police, seeking protection.
    “They handed over a letter which said they felt ‘insecure and paralyzed’ and requested that their ‘life and day-to-day livelihood should be ensured at least from 24th to 26th of December’,” it said.
    However, the administration did not heed the cry of Christians.
    “The fundamental rights provided by the Indian Constitution to protect lives has failed to reach the minority Christians in the state of Orissa. State security forces have been at the hands of guns and fundamentalists. No complaint from victims and Christian individuals has been filed by any police station,” said Dayal.

    If I had your e-mail, that would be good to forward such news in future.

  8. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    If we have love for one another we will pray for one another. Christians in India and elsewhere (Jos, Sudan, and North Korea), need our prayers. Please, let us argue less and pray more!

  9. Steven Berry Says:

    The more I re-read what the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has done, I think it incredible.

    Bishop Schofield has been “Inhibited”, by the TEC, meaning that he “… cannot give sermons, do confirmations or perform any religious rites until the national denomination’s leaders meet to determine a final judgment by March 13”, per the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

    And based on what?

    TEC Canon Nine “Abandonment of the Communion”

    “If a Bishop abandons the communion of this Church (i) by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church, or (ii) by formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the same, or (iii) by exercising episcopal acts in and for a religious body other than this Church or another Church in communion with this Church, so as to extend to such body Holy Orders as this Church holds them, or to administer on behalf of such religious body Confirmation without the express consent and commission of the proper authority in this Church”

    Their argument is that Bishop Schofield has violated section (i) of Canon Nine. Well, if the good Bishop can be “Inhibited” for being orthodox in doctrine and discipline, then surely the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno should at a minimum be inhibited for being an apostate.

    I met with Bishop Schofield a few minutes ago,  but unfortunately due to time constraints, we were unable to discuss this particular issue. I will be sure to ask him about it the next time we get together though. I am sure that the irony of it would not be lost on him.

    Blessings


    Steve

  10. Bryden Black Says:

    Having spent some 35% of my life in the two thirds world, mostly in Africa, as well as residing and ministering in western countries, what is obvious to me is far from many contemporary westerners’ understanding: they just do not realise how staggeringly offensive this kind of syncretism is - offensive to Christian converts from faiths other than Hinduism (including western neo-paganism!), but especially of course to ex Hindus.

    Three things follow for me.  Western Christians need to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters in those lands where persecution is rife and explicit and dangerous to the point of martyrdom.  So MANY thanks for the posts above.  We need to prophetically - now there’s a word often used nowadays to curry the exact opposite! - declare that the Lord God of Hosts is not mocked, and is indeed a jealous God even if slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.  And to build upon such Scripture: God’s simplicity declares that the divine goodness and love, righteousness and holiness (to name four attributes) forever coinhere.  The fuzziness of this Episcopalian ‘god’ on the other hand beggars belief.  So thirdly, our evangelization needs to be both steadfast and imaginative, establishing apologetic bridges as well as sharing immediate testimonies of faith, all of which may help to address the staggering blindness of those who participated in, let alone organized such an event.  Mercifully, I am all too aware that many other, good Christians around the globe are already doing just these things that run totally counter to this alleged “model of good will”.

    Kyrie eleison ...

  11. teddymak Says:

    Do you all now see what scripture believing Episcopalians have had to deal with in America and Canada? There has been over 40 years of this, from my first hand experience. There is no heresy too blatant for them.

    Pray for our deliverance. It will come from God, but through the GS Primates and people.

  12. The Heretic Says:

    You people really need to get a grip (and crack open a history book once in awhile).  Have you ever been to an Oriental Christian service?  Do you really think the modern day of Christmas is in any way related to the birth day of Christ?

    Syncretism has always existed since the beginning of the church.  Paul told the Corinthians it was okay to eat meat sacrificed to pagan idols.  And, I have done missionary work in India.  Many Hindus DO believe Jesus was an incarnation of Brahman (God). It’s reactions like this that caused Gandhi to say “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.”

    Finally, who are we to decide what is an “utter abomination” in the eyes of God?  “By their fruits you shall know them,” said our Lord.  I see a lot of rotten fruit on this blog.

  13. Gerry OBrien Says:

    Dear Heretic:  I really believe that you mean well with your words, but we must remember that as Christians, we are instructed to follow the words and teachings of Jesus Christ.  Part of our Lord’s teachings was the constant reference back to the teachings found in the Old Testament.  One of the great teachings (I believe) comes from the Book of Ezekiel:  EZEKIEL 44:5-9

    “5 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations regarding the temple of the LORD. Give attention to the entrance of the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary. 6 Say to the rebellious house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Enough of your detestable practices, O house of Israel! 7 In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant. 8 Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary. 9 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.”

    It appears to me that it is blatantly obvious that God does not want His People’s Sanctuaries desecrated with falseties. 

    I think it is wonderful that we can fellowship (in a very broad sense of the word)with persons of other Religious Backgrounds BUT, we do not leave room for encroaching upon the Deity of Jesus Christ, PERIOD.

  14. Bryden Black Says:

    Dear Heretic - whose nom de plume I take it is a reflection of Peter Berger’s accurate sociological depiction of the religious options of our modern age (1979), rather than a throw back to the likes of GL Prestige’s admirable rendering of the Patristic era in Fathers and Heretics (1940).

    While I too have met folk who deem Jesus’ identity along the lines of an avatar or “an incarnation of Brahman”, we both know that the hard won Christian theology of creation ex nihilo depicts the unique union of Creator-and-creature, the Word become flesh, rather differently to the plethora of cosmologies among the Hindu religious tradition!  We both know - or should know! - that thereafter God’s grace in Jesus Christ is a similarly different notion.

    As for dates of Christmas etc., let’s not get hung up on minor issues; there are human destinies at stake here my friend!  Or was Sadhu Sundar Singh’s life’s conversion in vain?

    Peace and joy (John 20:19-20), Bryden Black - Phil 3:12 ...

  15. Rick Arllen Says:

    (With apologies to any Hindi who might be offended)

    Just more bovine scatology from TEc.

  16. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    This is the sort of thing that is encouraged and funded by retired Bishop Swing’s United Religions Initiative.

  17. The Heretic Says:

    Bryden, my “nom de plume” is neither of what you referenced.  Rather, it is an inside family joke, since I am a transplanted Scottish Anglican who married an American Methodist. My mother-in-law, who was an organist for her church, used to joke when I arrived for service, “look, the heretic is here.” (Before anyone starts bashing Methodists, it really was in jest, and not an insult. She said it in response to my complaint that Methodist services were “boring.”)

    Anyway, I find it ironic you dismiss Christmas, Advent, and Easter—all holidays co-opted from pagan rituals as “minor issues.”  I’m not really sure from reading the LA Times article if this service was an actual HE service, or a joint ecumenical celebration. I don’t really trust a secular reporter to understand Anglican (or Hindu) rituals.  In any case, it seems as much a “minor issue” as early Christian practices.

    As to “Creation ex-nihilo,” this is completely in the realm of theological reflection and is not scriptural or traditionally orthodox.  This is a Roman Catholic re-interpretation of God’s creative powers.

    Gerry, your reference to Ezekiel proves my point.  In this passage, he clearly states that uncircumcised “foreigners” were a desecration of the temple, yet Paul later chides the Corinthians for not accepting uncircumcised believers into fellowship.  Seems to me Paul was acting like a syncrenist.

    An an Anglican unaffiliated with either TEC or the GAS, I see a lot of people with planks in their eyes running around speck hunting.  I think it is sad if your theology and dogma is centered on finding fault in other people.  On this blog, it appears that every opportunity for bashing Episcopalians is encouraged.  Why not pray for them instead, and love them like the prodigal son?

  18. Br_er Rabbit Says:

    #8

    If we have love for one another we will pray for one another. Christians in India and elsewhere (Jos, Sudan, and North Korea), need our prayers. Please, let us argue less and pray more!

    Yes. I would invite your prayers for an unnamed (for security reasons) Islamic country in South Asia where a leader in my communion was killed for preaching the Gospel earlier this month.

  19. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    May be of some intrest to some.
    Interesting News published today in The Times Of India
    A hindu sect claims that their ancestors have fought along side Imam Hussain (AS) in the battle field of karbala and they call themselves Hussaini brahmin.
    Interesting enough is the date of Aashura given in some books, it is 10 of october 680 AD according to these texts.

    Hindus participate in Muharram
    21 Jan 2008, 0355 hrs IST , Faizan Ahmad , TNN

    MUZAFFARPUR: On the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar, Shia Muslims across the world spend the day in mourning to commemorate the 1327-year-old martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family and followers. Here on Sunday, a group of Hindus participated in the Muharram procession with equal veneration.

    They claim their lineage to Hussaini Brahmin sect. And, from this year, they have revived their centuries-old tradition of shedding tears in the memory of the martyrs of Karbala—which their ancestors used to do. Mostly Bhumihars, the group marched barefoot from Bara Imambara in Brahampur locality here beating their chest and chanting “Ya Hussain”.

    They also carried a banner proclaiming their sentiments towards the Imam and his martyrdom. “Our ancestors also fought in support of Imam Hussain and sacrificed their lives in Karbala and we are equally pained at the historical martyrdom,” said Bhumihar Brahmin Mahasabha convenor Arun Kumar Sharma.

    References in several books and records confirm that some Hindus did join Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, when he was through a bloody battle against Yezid at Karbala (in Iraq) on October 10, 680 AD.

    The sect, which was later named Hussaini Brahmin, had settled on the banks of river Euphrates. Subsequently, they returned to India and assumed various titles like Datts, Mohiyals, Tyagis and many others. They also practised an intriguing blend of Islamic and Hindu traditions.

    This was the first time in recent memory that the people claiming the lineage joined the Muharram rituals in this part of the country. The late Sunil Dutt, who belonged to Hussaini Brahmin sect, used to attend Muharram processions.

    Asked why this practice remained discontinued for decades Sharma, a practising lawyer, said: “We can say this was the fault of our fathers and grandfathers who did not teach us about this aspect of our historical and cultural heritage.”

    Marching in the procession ahead of the band of young Shia youths injuring their chest and back with blades fixed to chains, small daggers or even razors, Upendra Prasad Shahi said, “The battle of Karbala was a war to save humanity and faith. We are proud that our ancestors, too, sacrificed their lives.”

    Legend has it that Rahab Sidh Datt had fought on behalf of Imam Hussain in the battle of Karbala, sacrificing his seven sons in the process. Rahab was the leader of a small band of career-soldiers living near Baghdad at the time of the battle of Karbala. In his novel “Karbala”, Munshi Prem Chand mentions about Hindus fighting for Imam Hussain and referred to them as descendants of Ashwastthama, son of Dronacharya.

    The Hussaini Brahmin sect is today a rapidly vanishing community. The younger generation of the clan are said to be abandoning their ancestral heritage, some seeing it as embarrassingly deviant. “We should, rather, feel proud of this tradition,” said Sharma who has painstakingly pursued his caste people to help revive this heritage. “Before the advent of Islam, we had blood relations with the people of the Arab world,” Sharma claimed.

  20. The Heretic Says:

    Looks like I was correct about the accuracy of the secular press.  Some of you have rushed to judgment. 

    Read the retraction about the story in the LA Times:
    http://tinyurl.com/3djjwt

    What was it Jesus said about throwing stones?

  21. The Heretic Says:

    Here’s the retraction again if you don’t have a subscription to the LA Times:

    Hindu-Episcopal service: An article in Sunday’s California section about a joint religious service involving Hindus and Episcopalians said that all those attending the service at St. John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles were invited to Holy Communion. Although attendees walked toward the Communion table, only Christians were encouraged to partake of Communion. Out of respect for Hindu beliefs, the Hindus were invited to take a flower. Also, the article described Hindus consuming bread during Communion, but some of those worshipers were Christians wearing traditional Indian dress.

  22. Bryden Black Says:

    Dear ‘heretic’, Many thanks for the delightful explanation as to the history behind your nom de plume.  Although some of us might be forgiven for wondering why you chose such an in-joke to depict your persona on a Christian web site ...

    As you say, plank for speck is not exactly edifying stuff, but a few corrections for truth’s sake might be in order.  You only mentioned Christmas initially - neither Advent nor Easter.  And it is precisely the history of this first feast that is most directly linked to old pagan celebrations.  While we are both no doubt aware of the debates between East and West regarding how best to celebrate Jesus’ birth/baptism, within “a hierarchy of truths”, many do reckon nowadays such date contests do not rate that highly.  Easter of course is directly Jewish and remains directly a function of the lunar calendar.  Its celebration via the Triduum liturgies is certainly not incidental!

    Your dismissal of the development of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo displays, I suggest, a serious failure to appreciate the ethos of Anglican theology and history, and its reverence for the Early Church’s practices and thinking, together with the general reason that doctrine is needful at all.  Even the founder of Methodism used to read St Augustine while riding upon his horse through his “parish of England”!  I take it that you do repeat the creed during the Eucharist - ?  And that you hold to its contents in more than a merely ‘symbolic’ manner - ?  After all, one of the attempts to define Anglicanism makes explicit reference to such things: the Lambeth Quadrilateral.

    Lastly, it is good that we can agree upon one thing, the dubious nature of secular reporting on religious affairs often.  However, and it is of no small consequence, once an impression is created by any piece of journalism, and notably banner headlines, it is often hard to undo.  Media barons and elites generally are well aware of such things ...

    Let us both stay clear of glass houses, as we “pray more”.

  23. Gerry OBrien Says:

    Point to ask:

    When I see an article written in a secular newspaper by a secular writer and then after many people become upset by it, a retraction is printed, I often wonder which power it was that pressured the retraction into being made.

    I’m not saying for a moment that it was the liberal church or the Hindu’s that pressured for
    the retraction but I have a feeling that one can perhaps assume (not a good word) that it was not the conservatives who did the pressuring. 

    Think about it…. who is under the most pressure to get that retraction in print?  Yep…you likely got it guessed correctly.

    In Christ,
    Gerry

  24. Steven Berry Says:

    Dear heretic,

    If you are “joining” the ongoing discussions here to make a positive impact (while staying on topic), you will be more than welcome.  Having said this, I think that your posts are somewhat based on a basic misunderstanding. 

    You stated: “On this blog, it appears that every opportunity for bashing Episcopalians is encouraged.” Actually, it is just the opposite. Most everyone that posts here are either members or clergy within the Anglican Communion or have a great love for traditional historic orthodox Anglicanism.

    You also stated: “I think it is sad if your theology and dogma is centered on finding fault in other people.” You would be hard pressed to find anyone that would disagree with you on this point, but I do think that you are confusing what our “center” is. With few exceptions, those who post here are godly men and women who are seeking to honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are passionate in contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. We are jeolous of the faith and are seeking to protect it from those who wish to destroy, water down, or reinvent it. As I am sure that you would agree, just because someone claims to be following or teaching Episcopal or Anglican doctrine doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. That is what the various dialogs here are about… “what is and what isn’t orthodox Anglican Doctrine.”

    “The Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, “has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.” It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to “the faith once delivered to the saints.”

    Your point: “Why not pray for them instead, and love them like the prodigal son?“ is valid, and in fact we do, but we are also called to contend against these false teachers who would lead the unsuspecting astray.

    2Timothy 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2]  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. [6] For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, [7] Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. [8] Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. [9] But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.”

    Just how are these false teachers to be stopped? Paul answers by telling Timothy to:

    2Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3]  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5]  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

    When you say: “I see a lot of people with planks in their eyes running around speck hunting.” That is a conclusion that you have drawn, but one which I think overstates the case. To be honest, from reading your posts, I could draw the same conclusion about you. It appears that you are going around trying to find specks in everyone who posts here, but for the time being, I will hold off on drawing that conclusion.

    Trust me, I have made my share of critical, insensitive, and poorly thought out comments.  For example, I initially thought that Bishop Inayat was someone to be wary of. What a big STUPID mistake on my part. I now count him as a dear brother in Christ and co-laboror in the work of ministry. So basically, we need to be very careful with our choice of words and watch our tone.

    One point in your post does intrigue me though. When you say: “As to “Creation ex-nihilo,” this is completely in the realm of theological reflection and is not scriptural or traditionally orthodox.  This is a Roman Catholic re-interpretation of God’s creative powers “; it makes me question your understanding of language, theology, patristics, and church history.

    For those not familiar with the term “Ex nihilo”, it is Latin for “from nothing”  i.e. God created everything from nothing.

    From a Biblical position, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Logically, it follows that prior to the creation there was nothing (except God, of course). So, if God didn’t rearrange preexisting material to make the material universe, He must have created it from nothing (ex-nihilo).  Being that He is God… He can do that!

    In the book of Hebrews we read, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).  This indicates that the universe came into existence by divine command and was not assembled from preexisting materials.

    Lastly, I have found that people who use names like “heretic” to identify themselves, especially within a Christian context, typically do so solely for shock value and are, by the continued use of it, deliberately begging a fight. Your explanation that it is rooted in an insider’s story is not a justification for using it where others are unfamiliar with its origin. Couple it with the style and tone of your posts and people will think you simply to be rebellious and not take you too seriously.

    Just some things to think about.

    In Him

    Steve

  25. Pierre Says:

    Dear Heretic

    The Los Angeles times may have written a retraction of the original article but it would appear that they only retracted one point in the original article, namely that the Episcopal “Christian” and Hindus had communion together but they do not deny that the Episcopals and Hindus had a joint worship service or that the Bishop of the diocese of Los Angeles issued a statement apologizing for the discrimination of Christians against Hindus and promising that as Episcopals they would not longer attempt to proselytize Hindus. So it follows that majority of what I said in my previous post is still very much valid.

    God Bless.

  26. The Heretic Says:

    Steve,
    You wouldn’t be the first not to take me seriously, nor first among them (my wife owns that honor). But, you are correct, even though it is my family nickname, I am admittedly using it for its contrarian value.  Don’t worry, I do the same on the progressive blogs too.  I find that people who preach to the choir all the time get too high of an opinion of themselves.  Call it a reality check, we can all use those once in a while.  Besides, when I joined this blog, they didn’t ask for my party affiliation. 😊 But rest assured, I am firmly libertarian and don’t toe any party line.  I can change my name to “Doubting Thomas” if it makes you feel better. 😉

    As far as the ex nihilo doctrine, it wasn’t a commonly held belief before St. Augustine.  Does that mean I think Augustine is wrong?  Not necessarily, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is a theological opinion, not supported by scripture.  The chapters you cite in Genesis also states that the spirit of God moved over the face of the waters.  Do we take Genesis literally?  I think it is a mytho-historical narrative cobbled together by different authors, often with contradictory views.  But I believe it expresses a sacred (but metaphorical) truth.  Thomas J. Oord, an evangelical theologian, author, and minister has written several excellent books about this (check out his book “Tanya.”)  Oord (a relational theologian) claims that ex nihilo doesn’t make sense spiritually or scientifically (and, it supports the Big Bang theory, which many physicists are rethinking).  It’s a bit complicated, but Oord argues that God created the universe out of primordial chaos, and since chaos cannot predate God, it must somehow be related to the very existence of God.  Roughly (and perhaps badly) paraphrasing, God created the universe out of himself.  Like when a woman gives birth to a baby.

    Aquinas also agreed that ex nihilo might be a logical impossibility (but he lived in a time when the RC church burned anyone who didn’t toe the line, so he probably was cautious in his statements).

  27. The Heretic Says:

    Pierre,
    The entire crux of your post was criticizing the fact that the HE was distorted by blending it with Hindu practices.  Since that “one point” was in fact reported in error, then the majority of your argument falls apart.  I find nothing wrong with joint prayer and worship, as long as it doesn’t take the form of a High Mass.

    As far as making apologies for proselytizing, no one can deny that the church (and I mean church in the catholic sense) has often blundered in the past.  Anyone remember the Crusades, the Inquisition, or Cortez?  (Personally, I think the bishop should be apologizing to Indians closer to home.  Native Americans suffered greatly in the name of the Gospel.  So says my good friend, a former bishop of Navajoland.)  In my missionary work in India, while there were genuine saints, such as Mother Teresa, I saw an equal (if not greater) number of devils who exploited the poor people of India in the name of Jesus. 

    Gerry, let me tell a little about how retractions work.  My brother is a newspaper editor.  Of course the people who are wronged in the article are going to push for a retraction, but if the editor double checks the facts and finds they have no case, then no retraction is printed.  It has nothing to do with political slants.  Typically, a paper’s staff is somewhat liberal, but the publishers tend to be conservative.  So this creates a tension that takes the middle ground.

  28. Steven Berry Says:

    Dear heretic (Doubting Thomas),

    The webmasters try their best to keep everyone on topic, and will rightfully delete posts, so in the future please focus on the topic.

    I will be more than happy to dialog with you privately if you would like to continue to discuss creationism, science, hermeneutics, history, philosophy, or any other subject that you would like. You really do need someone to help you in your pilgrimage of faith instead of relying on the “sugar plum fairies” whose teaching you seem to have accepted.

    I look forward to corresponding with you by email, but for now, here are a few things to contemplate.

    You stated: “… it [ex nihilo] is a theological opinion, not supported by scripture.” Well actually it is taught in Scripture. We read that our God is one who “gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.”  (Romans 4:17 NASB)

    I must admit that you provided some valuable scientific exegeses when you declared “… ex nihilo doesn’t make sense spiritually or scientifically …” then go on to say “… God created the universe out of primordial chaos.” Hummm? Tell me again which part of the idea of “primordial chaos” is scientific? This is pure Gnosticism and human speculation. You, or Oord can try to dress it up as Christianity, but alas, you will only be fooling yourself while leading others astray.

    While you make the claim: “As far as the ex nihilo doctrine, it wasn’t a commonly held belief before St. Augustine.” Again, you show your lack of training in patristics.

    Defenders of creation ex nihilo included Clement of Rome, Hermas, Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Eusebius, Augustine, and others.

    One of these defenders of “ex nihilo” was Theophilus, who became the well-known bishop of Antioch in 169. (Eusebius, Church History, 4.20, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, 1:197.)

    Theophilus was trained in Greek literature and converted to Christ as an adult. He defended the faith in an apology, To Autolycus. This work contains an extensive treatment of creation and became a model for other fathers. (Eusebius, Church History, 4.24, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, p. 202.)

    The classical scholar and Bible translator, Jerome (b. 347), included Theophilus in his Lives of Illustrious Men, which listed “those who have published any memorable writing on the Holy Scripture.” Jerome described Theophilus’ writings as “short and elegant treatises well fitted for the edification of the church.” (Jerome, Lives of Illustrious Men, preface & 25, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, 3:359 & 369.)

    Concerning Greek views of origins, Theophilus wrote: “Some of the Stoics absolutely deny the existence of God. . . . Others say that everything happens spontaneously, that the universe is uncreated and that nature is eternal . . . that God is only the individual’s conscience. Plato and his followers . . . say that matter is as old as God. But if God is uncreated and matter is uncreated, then according to the Platonists God is not the Maker of the universe.”

    For Theophilus, “God . . . made the existent out of the non-existent.” He explained, “They (the Greeks) made these statements (about origins) by conjecture and by human thought, not in accordance with the truth.”

    Theophilus knew that “the God and Father and Maker of the universe did not abandon mankind but . . . sent holy prophets to proclaim and teach the human race.”

    Theophilus admonished Autolycus to search the Scriptures so that he might discover the truth. When looking at the totality of all parts of Scripture concerning the origin of the world, God is shown to be its creator. The “Spirit of God . . . came down into the prophets and spoke through them about the creation of the world and all the rest.”  (Theophilus, To Autolycus, 2.4, 2.8, 2.34, and 2.10 Oxford Early Christian Texts)

    I will be happy to provide much more for you, but this should suffice for now.

    In Him

    Steve

  29. Steven Berry Says:

    In a previous post, the writings of Thomas J. Oord were cited as being authoritative as Mr. Oord was identified as an “Evangelical.” I would caution anyone reading materials produced by Mr. Oord to be very careful.

    Thomas J. Oord is one of the leaders of a theological movement called “Open Theology,”

    The following is taken from:  http://www.enc.edu/history/ot/what.html

    “While important differences of opinion exist among open theologians, the following statements comprise core themes that the majority, if not all,  would affirm:”

    “God’s primary characteristic is love.”

    “Theology involves humble speculation about who God truly is and what God really does.”

    “Creatures – at least humans – are genuinely free to make choices pertaining to their salvation.”

    “God experiences others in some way analogous to how creatures experience others.”

    “Both creatures and God are relational beings, which means that both God and creatures are affected by others in give-and-take relationships.”

    “God’s experience changes, yet God’s nature or essence is unchanging.”

    “God created all nondivine things.”

    “God takes calculated risks, because God is not all-controlling.”

    “Creatures are called to act in loving ways that please God and make the world a better place.”

    “The future is open; it is not predetermined or fully known by God.”

    “God’s expectations about the future are often partly dependent upon creaturely actions.”

    “Although everlasting, God experiences time in a way analogous to how creatures experience time.”

    End of quotes -

    While traditional orthodox Anglicanism may agree, in part, with some of the above stated concepts and ideas, much falls well outside of what is identified a “orthodox.” Theology.

    Steve

  30. Steven Berry Says:

    While the LA Times may have retracted certain aspects of their previously published story, the TECs commitment Interfaith equevelancy continues.

    When Anglicans welcome and encourage the “blessings” of those who worship false gods, one can only conclude that the Gospel has ceased to be believed, much less preached.

    It is interesting that this story refers to PB Katharine Jefferts Schori’s replacement as Bishop of Nevada.

    http://newsblaze.com/story/20080115143111tsop.nb/topstory.html

    Leaders of various religions blessed new Episcopal Bishop of Nevada

    In a marvelous gesture, the new tenth Episcopal Bishop of Nevada, Right Reverend Dan Thomas Edwards, was blessed by a Catholic Bishop, Hindu chaplain, Muslim Imam, Jewish Rabbi, Bahai leader, Baptist minister, and a Native American faith leader here.

    During the interfaith blessing of his new Episcopal ministry, Bishop Edwards sat on a chair below the podium to receive the blessings in a ceremony held at the chapel of Bishop Manogue Catholic High School. He was rector of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Macon Georgia before coming to Nevada.

    Details of pictures attached (photos by M.L. Bates) Hindu chaplain Rajan Zed reading shlokas from ancient Sanskrit scriptures to bless the new Episcopal Bishop Edwards, whose back is seen on the left. Other religious leaders are also seen in the background.

    Starting with Most Reverend Randolph Calvo, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Reno; other leaders who blessed the Episcopal Bishop included Buddhist Priest Reverend William Bartlett, Jewish Rabbi Elizabeth Beyer, Hindu chaplain Rajan Zed, Imam of Northern Nevada Muslim Community Abdul Barghouthi, Bahai leader Trip Barthel, Reverend Onie Cooper of Second Baptist Church, and Native American faith leader Reynalda James.

    While Rajan Zed read blessing Sanskrit shlokas from oldest existing scripture Rig-Veda, composed around 1,500 BCE, Reynalda James brought special water from Pyramid Lake to bless Bishop Edwards. Some of these leaders of various faiths embraced the new Bishop, while others shook hands with him welcoming him to Nevada and wishing him best in his mission. His wife Linda, a law professor at Mercer, watched.

    Various religious leaders after the Service (from left to right)-Father Charles Durante, pastor of Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Community of Carson City; Reverend William R. Millsap of Trinity Episcopal Church; Rajan Zed, Hindu chpalian; Reverend Ruth Hanusa; Reverend Rebecca of International Community of Christ; Most Reverend Randolph Calvo, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Reno; Reverend Rhys Andrews of International Community of Christ; and Buddhist priest William Bartlett.

    Bishop Edwards has been a lawyer, has studied at Harvard Divinity School, and has worked with homeless in New York City. Reverend Laurie Chappelle of St. Catherine of Siena Episcopal Church organized this Service.

    Episcopal Church, with headquarters in New York and founded in 1789, has over 2.3 million members in over 73 thousand parishes in USA, including 39 in Nevada. Members profess two of the ancient Christian creeds: the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. It sponsors eleven accredited seminaries and there are eight Episcopal colleges and one university in USA besides two overseas colleges.

    End of story –

    The names change, but the actors in this sad play continue on.

    Steven

  31. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Very dear Steve,

    # (30) Thank you for cautioning all believers so that they are not deceived on matters, issues and texts, as they look from the surface.

    I want to add on that God is Spirit and those who worship Him or want to have a relationship with Him must keep it in their minds that they ought to do so in “Spirit and Truth”.

    We also know that there are spirits of darkness opposed to the Mission of God and the strongest of them is the spirit of anti-Christ. We also read in 2nd Cor. 11:13-14, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. (14) And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”.

    We counter two types of knowledge about the work of God. First is academic or textual and the second is spiritual, involving spiritual phenomena based on revelation and teaching by the Lord Himself, but only when we try to sit at the Masters feet and ask Him to teach. Very often we start learning from Him or some very devout teacher, but end up in the middle and start relying on our wisdom, education, philosophies and very often-distorted theologies (which we think is the best of all because of the limited knowledge of the Bible). Thank you Steve, and God bless you.

    Therefore, I suggest what I have set as a rule for my self that, “do not believe any thing relating to faith unless it agrees with the “Word of God”. Secondly, put every thing before the Lord in prayers for His approval. Those who want the Lords approval, get it.

  32. Steven Berry Says:

    For additional background, when it is stated that “Rajan Zed [Hindu chaplain from Reno] read blessing Sanskrit shlokas from … [the] Rig-Veda” over the Right Reverend Dan Thomas Edwards at his installation, Mr. Zed was calling on a variety of gods and goddesses to bless the Bishop.

    The Rig-Veda is a collection of over 1,000 hymns organized by dieties, which contain the mythology of the Hindu gods, and is considered to be one of the foundations of the Hindu religion. While the Rig is the oldest of the Vedas, there are three other Vedas. There is the Sama Veda, which is the “knowledge of chants” or a number of basic hymns recited at sacrifices.  There is also the Yajur Veda or “knowledge of rites” which serve basically as a “how to make sacrifices” book.  The final Veda is the Athara Veda, this Veda represents the knowledge given by Athara who was a sage.  These Vedas were passed on orally for many generations.  When they were written down, they were first written in Vedic, an early form of Sanskrit. Then around 300 B.C. the Vedas were written down in the form we have them today.

    Although there are many Vedas written, the most important is the Rig, which contains over 1,000 hymns directed to the gods.  The content of these hymns includes praises, blessings, sacrifices, and curses.  These hymns are the major way in which the Aryan people praised their gods.
     
    The “hymns” are typically chanted, which according to Hindu understanding, are used to create a worshipful mood in the person. When chanting these words, you are transported into another state of mind.
     
    The theology of the Vedas was later developed in the Upanishads. At the end of the Rig and all of the Vedas, the Hindu Brahmins added a summary of the philosophy of the Veda. The Upanishads became the basis of Hinduism.  For the Hindu person, they serve as a summary of all of the knowledge of the Veda as well as a commentary on them.

    Note: The above was compiled from various authoritive Hindu sources.

    God instructs us to “[15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16]  But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
    2 Timothy 2:15-16

    Steve

  33. The Heretic Says:

    Steve (and others),
    Pardon me if I take a break from the “ex nihilo” discussion for the moment. I am not an historian of the church, so admittedly my conceptions of “creation ex nihilo” are probably better explained (or refuted) by others (it wasn’t of much concern during my formative years at Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow). 

    However, I do know quite a bit about Hindu scripture and mythology.  Your broad description of Hindu religion is akin to a discussion of “American” religion. American religion encompasses everything from Mormanism, to Jehovah’s Witness, to Southern Baptist, to Jews, to the Roman Catholic church.  A wide variance of doctrine and belief. One important aspect you left out was that many Hindus today practice Vedanta, “The End of the Vedas” which is a monotheistic belief.

    The celebration with the “Hindus” in Los Angeles was actually a liturgical service from the church in South India, believed to originally have been founded by the apostle Thomas.  This wasn’t even a Vedanta service, but a CHRISTIAN service.

    Once again, even after the SECULAR paper retracted the story, why are people still insisting on speck hunting? 

    Jesus said to love one another and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Do you all think God is absent in these affairs?

  34. The Heretic Says:

    Steven,
    Thomas Oord is a respected theologian and a man of God.  He is an ordained minister in the Nazarene Church. I have personally met the man, and witnessed his good works on the behalf of the homeless.  I think the key quote in what you listed above is that “Theology involves humble speculation about who God truly is and what God really does.”

    Humble speculation.  I know a good number of “orthodox” theologians who approach their task with humility.  Unfortunately, not many are to be found on this list. 

    I am leery of anyone who claims to know absolutely the mind of God.  I am leery of anyone who elevates the bible to the level of idolatry. There’s an old Irish saying, “A foolish dog stares at your hand while you point to the moon.”

    It is easy to adopt the dogma of “It’s either my way, or the wrong way.”  Much more difficult (and humble) to engage people and God in all the rich complexity that creation demands.

    And to Bishop Inayat:  I have put this before God and I have prayed about it.  I feel that God tells me you are as wrong as those you oppose.  How do we know you are not the one who is a “false apostle?”  I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.  Are you willing to do so with those you disagree with? 

    Are you going to admit, as Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly.”

    I joined this blog because it had the word “Anglican” in its title.  My conception of Anglican is that we pray for all brothers and sisters in the communion, even if we feel they are wrong.  I will pray for you.

  35. Bryden Black Says:

    One last comment if I may on this thread.

    I happen to live in the same town as Bob Robinson, whose Christians Meeting Hindus: An Analysis and Theological Critique of the Hindu-Christian Encounter in India (Regnum, 2004) just also happens to be the first book reviewed in the latest edition of the IAMS Journal, Mission Studies Vol 24/2, 2007.  The reviewer, Peter Phan from Georgetown University, sums up: “Christians Meeting Hindus is the most comprehensive and informative work in English to date on inter-religious dialogue in India ... I strongly recommend this work to anyone interested in inter-religious dialogue both as a theological endeavour and as church activity.”

    Knowing both Bob and this book, and being fellow Anglican clergy and theologs together, may I also recommend its judicious conclusions to readers of this web site.

  36. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Dear Steve,
    our comment # 34.
    I do not claim at all to be an apostle at all and I do not judje any body as I am not given the right to do so. Bible and the Lord says, “A tree is known by its fruit”. I am required to defend any thing against the Word of God which is attempted to be called Christian and misleads others in this Name or from Him.
    The point here is that we are trying to re-define our faith as passed on to us and certified by the Word of God.
    Those who are working for GAFCON have the right to do so rather it is their duty.

  37. Steven Berry Says:

    Dearest Bishop,

    Your #36 post inadvertantly points to me. I’m sure that you meant to direct it to Doubting Thomas (Heretic) post #34.

    By the way, I will have to disagree with you my friend. Though you “do not claim at all to be an apostle”, and rightly so, you none the less are one.

    αποστολος – apostolos:

    a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”), messenger, one that is sent.

    The term “apostle” has been used throughout the history of the Church in different ways. And while no one today is an apostle, in the same sense as the twelve were, it is something that all members of the body of Christ should aspire to.

    For example, Gregory of Nyssa, a native of Cappadocia, born most probably at Cæsarea about A.D. 335 or 336, gave the funeral oration upon Bishop Meletius’ (the Patriarch of Antioch) death in A.D. 360. Of Bishop Meletius, Gregory said:

    “The number of the Apostles has been enlarged for us by this our late Apostle being reckoned among their company. These Holy ones have drawn to themselves one of like conversation; those athletes a fellow athlete; those crowned ones another crowned like them; the pure in heart one chaste in soul: those ministers of the Word another herald of that Word. Most blessed, indeed, is our Father for this his joining the Apostolic band and his departure to Christ. Most pitiable we! for the unseasonableness of our orphaned condition does not permit us to congratulate ourselves on our Father’s happy lot. For him, indeed, better it was by his departure hence to be with Christ, but it was a grievous thing for us to be severed from his fatherly guidance…”

    NPNF2-05. Gregory of Nyssa: Dogmatic Treatises

    God’s richest blessing be upon you!

    Steve

  38. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Dear every one,

    God bless you all.

    Although all the comments are educative and interesting, yet the basic rational of our participation is to communicate the value of living faith against the compromising faiths of the church and the world.

    The basic reason of the “Church” is availability of “Life” from the Person of Christ Jesus through faith based on the Bible as handed over to us by the faithful through the centuries which is regarded as canonical.

    The sole reason of the dialogue is to preserve our “faith for life” so that it is not misunderstood to mislead innocent people away from faith or life as it comes from the HOLY ONE. Holy mean something, which does not have anything external in it and remains as it is, that is why God is eternal. Hence according to the Word of God we Christians ought to know our God.

    When people do not know Him (as He is), or do not give enough emphasis in trying to know Him and yet insist to be called “Christians”, it happens so that they fill in the gaps in the knowledge of God with ideological theories, imaginations, philosophies, fairy tails etc. that they end up in developing an imaginary image of God which is no less than idol or god of their own making and keep worshipping that idol for their lives in deceit.

    We hence are trying to bring awareness to the so-called Christian world that they should strive hard to know their true God who can only be known from the Bible. Thus we shall be passing on to our generations the faith, which will give them life. 

    While the major part of the aware world is looking at the GAFCON from different angles it will provide opportunity to many to have a better look at their understating of faith from the Lord perspective.

    I think we need to stick to our “Mission”.

  39. berrytree Says:

    Your witness about interaction with people of other faiths blessed me. Surely we are not allowed to compromise on instructions in the Bible about the worship we render to our God because it is always manifestation of our inner chambers before our Lord and our witness to all those who happen to watch it or participate in it.

    It is my prayer for all those who bring in their own (alien) applications in matters of faith and worship that the Holy Spirit should convict them to repentance and that your comments reach them to be read loud and clear.

    berrytree

  40. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Yes! We must stick with our mission and if we compromise the Good News then we have no mission. We have nothing to offer the world that the world doesn’t already offer.

  41. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    A very dear sister,

    You have a “MISSION” and you are a “Missionary.”

    It is my prayer that the Lord should make all people like you.

    God bless you.