Christian penetration. Christians should seek to penetrate the world of the mass media, and equip themselves as television script writers, producers and performers. We can hardly complain of the low standard of many current programmes if we take no constructive initiatives to provide alternatives which are not only technically equal if not better, but more wholesome as well. In previous eras, as each new medium of communication has been developed (writing, painting, music, drama, print, film, radio), Christians have been among the first to discern its potential and to press it into the service of worship and evangelism. It must be the same with television. Indeed, in some parts of the world, it already is. --- John R.W. Stott
Divine guidance. Take our need for divine guidance. Too many people regard it as an alternative to human thought, even a convenient device for saving them the bother of thinking. They expect God to flash on to their inner screen answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, in such a way as to bypass their minds. And of course God is free to do this; perhaps occasionally he does. But Scripture gives us the warrant to insist that God's normal way of guiding us is rational, not irrational, namely through the very thought process which he has created in us. Psalm 32 makes this clear. Verse 8 contains a marvellous threefold promise of divine guidance, in which God says, 'I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you' (RSV 'counsel you with my eye upon you'). But *how* will God fulfil his promise? Verse 9 continues: 'Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.' If we put together the promise and the prohibition, what God is saying to us is this: 'I promise that I will guide you, and show you the way to go. But do not expect me to guide you as you guide horses and mules (namely by force, not intelligence), for the simple reason that you are neither a horse nor a mule. They lack "understanding", but you don't. Indeed, I myself have given you the precious gift of understanding. Use it! Then I will guide you *through* your minds. --- John R.W. Stott
People use this word 'inclusive' a lot. If I'm honest I'm slightly suspicious of it because it can be a weapon. --- David Goodhew
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
March 10, 2017
Michael Curry, TEC's Presiding Bishop, saw into the mind of God this week and forged a new path to a future glowing brightly with the transcendent luminosity of harmony, truth and justice. He and Gay Jennings, HOD president, signed an amicus brief urging the high court to allow men to use women's toilets and vice versa. The New Jerusalem is upon is, writes David of Samizdat.
They were the lead signers of 1,800 clergy and religious leaders in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving transgender-bathroom use policies.
The two say they anchored their decision to be the lead signers on the theological understanding that all people are created in the image of God and thus entitled to equal protection under the law.
Of course, "gender identity" is now completely subjective. The amazing, or odd thing, is that Black folk are not permitted to wake up and say, "Today I'll be white." The question is why is gender open to self-definition, while race and ethnicity are not?
There is little doubt that this will jump start the Jesus Movement in TEC and hordes of unenlightened folk will now come pouring into the Church, not only in search of God, but looking for a new identity.
Psychiatrists say the whole transgender thing is pure quackery. No one is born transgendered any more than they are born gay; it's a lie that goes on being perpetuated week after week until it suddenly becomes the truth.
Curry anchored his support of the brief in Genesis 1:26-27, which declares that every human person is created in the image and likeness of God. However, there is not a shred of evidence to say that God created a single transgendered person. Not a shred. You can read my story in today's digest.
The Cambridge-based Episcopal Divinity School announced recently that it was folding its money and student losing seminary into the ultraliberal Union Seminary, an ecumenical institution in New York, bypassing its sister Episcopal seminary -- General Theological seminary. The question is why?
Why would EDS unite with a liberal, nondenominational seminary, with ancient Presbyterian roots, rather than connect with General Theological Seminary, also in New York and located a mere six miles away from Union?
It turns out that GTS was not liberal enough for EDS students.
In part, the joint new release said: "The Board of Trustees of Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) today (Feb. 24) voted to pursue an affiliation with Union Theological Seminary that would create an EDS entity to provide Episcopal theological education and other programs at Union's campus in New York. The Board of Trustees of Union Theological Seminary has voted enthusiastically to support Union's leadership in bringing negotiations with EDS to a successful conclusion. The two seminaries will begin negotiations immediately in the hope that both boards can vote on an agreement when they meet in May, before EDS's final commencement at its Cambridge campus."
After pointing VOL to the news release, Rebecca Wilson, a founding partner in Canticle Communications, which is handling the media for EDS, simply e-mailed: "Unfortunately, we won't be able to offer comment beyond the press release."
This demonstrates further that all is not well in the House of TEC and the Jesus Movement hasn't quite taken hold in the seminaries. If liberals and revisionists can't agree, what hope is there for the remnant orthodox in TEC finding much ballyhooed reconciliation, talk so beloved of TEC officials. VOL's special correspondent, Mary Ann Mueller, explores in detail this convoluted behavior by the ultra-liberal Massachusetts seminary.
GAFCON Chairman Nicholas Okoh blasted the Church of England's failure to uphold apostolic teaching on sexuality and said the 1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10 has now been downgraded to something provisional and secondary, in a letter to his GAFCON followers.
The Nigerian Archbishop says the Church of England's recent vote on marriage and sexuality was "very distressing", creating such "confusion" it now puts the Anglican Communion at greater risk of "confusion" being spread through the rest of the Communion.
The Evangelical Archbishop said the Synod report tried to face two ways. "While it recommended that there should be no change to the doctrine of marriage, it held out the possibility that could change in the future and that for the present, in line with present practice, there should be 'maximum freedom' pastorally within the existing legal framework."
Okoh said that following this rebuke to the House of Bishops, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a letter which seemed to entrench the contradiction. "They call for 'a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church' which not only draws on the traditional sources of Anglican authority, but also on what they describe as a '21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.'
"But the inclusion the gospel offers has always been radical. All are included in fallen human nature and yet all may be included in the Kingdom of God through repentance and faith in Christ crucified. While we are included in the Kingdom solely through God's grace, this is not cheap grace and there is a great gulf between the morality of the Bible and the neo-pagan sexual morality that is now dominant in the West. We need to be as clear today as the apostles were to the churches of the New Testament that new life in Christ means a radical break with the practices and lifestyle of the world." You can read my full report on this in today's digest.
Bishop Philip North, an Anglo-Catholic, withdrew his name from nomination as Bishop of Sheffield, under enormous pressure from liberals in the church of England this week.
"The news of my nomination has elicited a strong reaction within the diocese and some areas of the wider Church. It is clear that the level of feeling is such that my arrival would be counter-productive in terms of the mission of the Church in South Yorkshire and that my leadership would not be acceptable to many."
Forward in Faith leaders tried to gloss it by saying how thankful they were for the support they got, but clearly, traditional catholics in the CofE are being slowly marginalized.
In 2014, it was emphasized that traditional catholics could be chosen as diocesan bishops. As an integral part of that settlement, the House of Bishops' Declaration imposes no stained-glass ceiling on mutual flourishing. Apparently not.
"In the coming weeks, we shall be considering what action now needs to be taken -- and by whom -- to restore confidence in the House of Bishops' Declaration, and to correct definitively the false statements that have been made about the Declaration, the Five Guiding Principles, and the beliefs of traditional catholics. We hope that this can be done in partnership with those who bear responsibility for the Church of England at national level. We envisage making a further statement in due course," said The Rt. Rev. Tony Robinson, Chairman of the Council of Bishops.
London St Paul's Cathedral will welcome a female chorister for the first time in its 1,000-year history. Carris Jones, 35, said she never thought it would be possible to join the choir. The professional singer, who studied at the revered Royal Academy of Music, was appointed by St. Paul's director of music, Andrew Carwood.
The Diocese of South Carolina, which separated from The Episcopal Church in 2012, is set to vote Saturday at its convention on whether to join the Anglican Church in North America. The Diocese would remain fully intact, with Bishop Mark Lawrence continuing to lead its 22,000 members from 52 congregations across the eastern part of the state.
Diocese officials expect convention delegates to approve the new affiliation.
The University of the South, School of Theology announced a $250,000 gift from the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta this week.
In October 2016, the University of the South announced the launch of a $250 million capital campaign, called Stronger Truer Sewanee--The Campaign for the University of the South. The campaign is the most ambitious in Sewanee's history, especially for the School of Theology, whose goal is to raise $25 million. To date, the School has secured $17 million towards that goal.
Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta, said he was delighted to partner with the University of the South to equip men and women for faithful Christian leadership for the 21st century and beyond.
With big TEC money from gay Atlanta diocese to gay Sewanee University mean that Bishop Wright, a prolific marcher in gay parades, will be Sewanee's next Chancellor? We waited with bated breath.
In the Washington Post this week, FIRE Executive Director, Robert Shibley, criticized last week's events at Middlebury College. Shibley called on campuses and police to do more to safeguard free speech after Middlebury erupted over the appearance of Charles Murray, a political scientist and W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, for his views wherein he describes what he sees as the economic divide and moral bifurcation of white Americans that has occurred since 1960.
Murray focuses on white Americans in order to make it clear that the decline he describes was not being experienced solely by minorities, whom he brings into his argument in the last few chapters of a book he wrote on the subject.
So free speech on campus is facing a profound threat.
No, as highlighted by the violent disruption and end of Charles Murray's visit to Middlebury College in Vermont last week, the immediate crisis comes from one of freedom's most ancient enemies: the angry mob.
The events at Middlebury prove that now is the time to take a stand for free expression, so please check out the full article and consider sharing it with friends and on social media.
So who created the modern Middlebury? Why none other than Sewanee University's very own current Vice-Chancellor, John M. McCardell, who served as the fifteenth president of Middlebury College for thirteen years. Will we see a repeat performance at Sewanee?
The Diocese of Oklahoma Episcopal is launching a new mobile app. Nicole Baxley, the diocese's communications director, said she designed the app to help serve people in the diocese wherever they are. She said it's designed to support them and provide tools and resources where they need them -- on the move.
Baxley said the app serves as a multi-way communication ministry tool designed to help strengthen diocesan community, provide new avenues for sharing stories of ministry and mission, and helps individuals and parishes engage in spirituality together in new ways.
Can revival be far behind?
The Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey voted on March 4 to become a sanctuary diocese, extending refuge, healing, material and pastoral support to those targeted for deportation due to immigration status. At least one local religious leader approves.
The Rev. Frank Crumbaugh, of Holy Innocents' Church in Beach Haven, said he supports the resolution, but it is probably a divisive question for many congregations. Truly.
A Church of England vicar faces an official complaint for installing a childrens' plastic table and chairs in a 12th century church. Rector Lynda Klimas introduced the pint-sized white furniture set as a way to keep young children entertained during services.
But a disgruntled churchgoer has made an official complaint as he feels it has no place in the "historically sensitive and sacred" Lady Chapel. OMG!
VOL believes this is such a serious offense, the vicar should be stoned to death for such outrageous behavior. 'Suffer the little children' now means she must suffer for daring to allow small children to hear the Good News because some disgruntled idiot doesn't like plastic chairs.
One VOL reader wrote saying, "What a terrible blasphemy against cultured refinement! The unforgivable sin of crass and tacky tastelessness! Profaning a sacred space with things to benefit children! What were they thinking?
"This guy has no idea that he is making a total fool of himself. However, he is the perfect symbol for the current priorities of the Church of England."
In a moving ceremony at All Saints Cathedral, Cairo, on February 27, 2017, Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis consecrated his 'dear brother', Rev. Samy Fawzy, as the first Arab area bishop for North Africa.
Bishop Fawzy succeeds Bishop Bill Musk, who presided over the diocese encompassing Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya since 2008. Bishop Musk was honored and thanked for his time of service and participated in Fawzy's consecration.
Joining also to lay hands on the new bishop was Bishop Grant LeMarquand of the Horn of Africa and Bishop Michael Lewis of Cyprus and the Gulf. Also present were Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Rennis Ponniah of Singapore, and other Anglican representatives from around the world.
Archbishop Beach also welcomed Bishop Fawzy, greeting him in the name of GAFCON, and celebrating their partnership in the gospel while assuring of his continued prayers.
Pope Francis: Drop the cellphone, pick up the Bible. Pope Francis has called on the faithful to consult the Bible with the same frequency as they might consult their cellphones for messages.
Francis urged a packed St. Peter's Square following his weekly Angelus blessing Sunday to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones, asking: "What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones."
The message was a twist on Francis' frequent use of social media to reach the faithful, including regular messages on Twitter.
Christians in Egypt are fleeing ISIS violence. As the Biblical Feast of Passover draws near, reports have surfaced from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that the ancient Christian community of the region is making an Exodus of their own amidst growing conflict between the government in Cairo and the local franchise of the Islamic State (IS) terror militia. IS has claimed responsibility for a spike in murders targeting Christians in the cities of Northern Sinai and has also posted videos online warning them to leave the area or face destruction.
CANADA NEWS. In London, Ontario, six more Anglican churches are going to close, amalgamations have already begun, a source told VOL.
Yet there are at least 10 conservative non-denominational community churches in London, Ontario, which have literally thousands of members attending every week.
"It is easy to see that it is the conservative churches that are growing and expanding, while churches in the Anglican Church of Canada that have embraced liberal social and family values are going downhill fast no matter what the Diocese and the powers that be say.
"The proof is in the pudding."
The Forest Community Church (which is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America which has its headquarters in Burlington, Ontario, and Grand Rapids, Michigan) had 10, 000 individuals attend its eight Christmas Eve services in southwest London, Ont.
Delegates to a special convention of the rump Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin overwhelmingly elected Provisional Bishop David Cappel Rice as their diocesan bishop.
Rice, a New Zealander, was the only nominee. He was elected on the first ballot by a vote of 21 to 1 in the clergy order and 41 to 2 in the lay order. The election required a two-thirds majority in both orders. I think this is called a stacked deck.
The Diocese of North Carolina elected the Rev. Samuel Rodman, special projects officer in the Diocese of Massachusetts, as its 12th bishop. He led among lay delegates on the first ballot and in both orders on the second ballot. He won on the third ballot.
Rodman has also served as the Massachusetts diocese's project manager for campaign initiatives and rector of St. Michael's Church in Milton, Massachusetts, for 16 years.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, most Americans think their nation is becoming more tolerant, at least when it comes to warm feelings about most religious believers, writes Terry Mattingly.
A recent Pew Research Center survey found that, in terms of "thermometer" ratings, Americans felt "warmer" about nearly all religious groups than they did in 2014. Even chilly ratings for atheists and Muslims are approaching a neutral 50 score.
But there was one glitch in this warming trend, with evangelical Protestants stuck on a plateau. Christianity Today magazine noted that, when the views of evangelicals were removed from the mix, only a third of non-evangelical Americans had warm feelings toward evangelicals. Flip that around and that means two-thirds of non-evangelicals have lukewarm or cold feelings about evangelical Christians.
"There's a sharp divide in this country and it's getting stronger. ... This tension has been obvious for years, for anyone with the eyes to see," said political scientist, Louis Bolce, of Baruch College in the City University of New York. "It's all about moral and social issues. Some people don't like the judgmental streak that they see in traditional forms of Christianity, like in evangelicalism and among traditional Roman Catholics."
Of course, it might not be judgmental at all, rather it might be a matter of truth telling even if it is unacceptable to a lot of people. If the truth about sodomy is that could destroy your soul for all eternity (and scripture is clear that it is) is it therefore judgmental or loving to say that?
You're the reason VOL is able to do all that we do. You're the reason we're able to challenge and expose the rot in the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion. And you're the reason we're crying foul over the CofE's sneaky attempt to establish sodomite marriage in all but name into the church and then try and spin it to the wide Anglican Communion. To keep this issue alive and to follow it across the world. Won't you help us meet this challenge?
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