Practical and Pastoral – Ted Curnow
This is the archived site of Pastoral and Devotional resources provided by the Reverend Ted (E.A.) Curnow, (retired) minister and ACC member in Victoria. More resources are available at Ted's personal website.
Rev Ted Curnow reflects on growing older as a person in God's hand:
Just as we are born and experience the natural process of growing through childhood, so it is natural that in passing through the stages of life that we begin to experience the limitations that come with growing older to eventually face the finality of death.
When England experienced a major outbreak of cattle plague in 1865 J.C. Ryle, (1816-1900) later Bishop of Liverpool, drew attention to a factor which most of his contemporaries overlooked. Ryle called people to consider their national disaster as the Egyptians had in the time of Moses as ‘the finger of God’. Ryle called England to consider their national disaster in the same light.
Only minor alterations to Ryle’s text have been made here beyond the old English context to provide current application. References to ‘cattle plague’ have been bracketed with ‘Covid-19 virus’, or ‘global pandemic’.
Rev E.A. (Ted) Curnow August 2020
Rev. Ted Curnow provides a personal reflection in times of pandemic stress that leads to the assurance of Christian hope. This is followed by prayers related to the crisis of our time.
Rev. Ted Curnow comments on the continuing matters of false teaching in the church that has led to the present situation in many denominations.
Rev Julia Pitman refers to the sexuality debate as the “most destructive debate in the history of the three former denominations and in the Uniting Church.”( ‘The Uniting Church in Australia: The First 25 Years.’ p130-158) This collection of extracts and brief statements documents the decision of 2018 to expand and modify the Biblical understanding of Christian marriage. They capture the tension and mood of what it means today to contend for the revealed, historic faith. In this overview, Rev Ted Curnow provides links and notes to many of the significant decisions by the UCA and reflections about these decisions. (PDF 11 pages)
In an addendum, Ted Curnow provides a summary of the implications of the 2003-2006 UCA decisions to give context to the 2018 UCA Marriage decision. (PDF 2 pages)
These years are significant in the Uniting Church’s drift away from the orthodox Christian teaching of scripture and the understanding of the main historic church. In 2003after considering the view of ‘Celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in marriage’ and a policy of ‘Right relationships’ as outlined in ‘Uniting Church Sexuality and Faith’ the National Assembly adopted Resolution 84 that allowed the ordination of people living in a homosexual relationship. In preparation for the 11th Assembly of the Uniting Church July 5-11, 2006 the following theological summaries/explanations were offered by Rev Rod James to churches in the Hope Network and by Rev Ted Curnow to those of Evangelical conviction. The Uniting Church stepped further from orthodoxy in 2018 by formally changing and approving homosexual marriage by describing Christian marriage as now consisting of ‘two integrities.’
Rev Ted Curnow considers some of the changing views in the context of the UCA and Christian worldviews. "The debate about sexual practise in the Uniting Church and the decision of the 2018 National Assembly that adopted a theology of inclusiveness and polarised the church now seems a fact of distant history. This does not mean the issues of fidelity, compassion, integrity, and justice have been resolved. Local Congregations and the church universal continue to remain deeply divided."
The Church in our time faces sweeping change and threatening new frontiers. The giants and walled cities of Canaan were always frightening while later in Jerusalem following the events of the cross the disciples met behind locked doors. This series of devotional reflections for personal or group use seeks to strengthen and encourage. Rev. Ted Curnow provides a series to encourage and stimulate Christian reflection at this time of change and challenge.
With the helpf of other Christian commentators, Rev Ted Curnow provides and overview of the current cultural context and issues that have left many Christians perplexed about what to do.
Rev Ted Curnow shares some practical Christian insight relevant for this time in the context of the Uniting Church and its liberal theological decisions; providing a helpful reflection as during this critical time people may be considering their future even more.
Some time ago it was the Sydney minister Rev Martin Robinson, who pointed out that vast historical changes are happening across the world on a scale that only happen every 300 to 400 years. He suggested that something similar to the collapse of the Medieval era and rise of the Modern world was occurring in our time. He pointed out that as the West drifts from its Christian heritage we are left with no basis for a shared common understanding of social boundaries. Psychiatrist Carl Yung has said the neurosis of the Western World in our time is ‘emptiness.’ The Prophet Isaiah watched the decline of Israel and brought a message of doom to Jerusalem but amid judgement God spoke into the chaos and declared, “Behold I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth.”
Rev Ted Curnow provides a word of encouragement at this time.