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Lambeth Conference Grows more Strident * Persecution not only against Muslims in NZ, but by Muslims against Christians in Nigeria * TEC Bishops hear call to Evangelize * Full Communion between Methodists and Episcopalians in Jeopardy * CofE Faces Oblivion

Lambeth Conference Grows more Strident * Persecution not only against Muslims in NZ, but by Muslims against Christians in Nigeria * TEC Bishops hear call to Evangelize * Full Communion between Methodists and Episcopalians in Jeopardy * CofE Staring at Oblivion * Canada will close 9,000 churches * Bishop Sauls Loses Court Battle * TECinSC Pushes hard for Resolution to Property Battle

Promise and condition: offer and demand. The gospel offer is not unconditional. It does not benefit its hearers willy nilly, 'whether they hear or refuse to hear'. It is clear that sinners cannot be forgiven if they persist in clinging to their sins. If they desire God to turn from their sins in remission, they must themselves turn from them in repentance. We are charged, therefore, to proclaim the condition as well as the promise of forgiveness. Remission is the gospel offer; repentance is the gospel demand. --- John R.W. Stott

Homosexual practice is a violation of the very foundation of sexual ethics; polyamory is the violation of a principle extrapolated secondarily from a male-female requirement. Everyone ought to know that homosexual practice is worse than adult incest, which is worse than polyamory, which is worse than remarriage after invalid divorce. --- Robert A.J. Gagnon, Ph.D.

Not good advice. The gospel is not good advice to men, but good news about Christ; not an invitation to us to do anything, but a declaration of what God has done; not a demand, but an offer. -- John R.W. Stott

Once you have abandoned the principle that homosexual intercourse and transgenderism are immoral acts unworthy of federal protection and expansion, you have no case for maintaining a permanent religious exemption for your bigotry. --- Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.

"Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all." ― Bishop J.C. Ryle

Can you imagine being threatened by Administrators that, if you teach seminary students that belief in Christ's death as amends-making or atoning is (according to Jesus, Paul, and the early church generally) a sine qua non (essential) of the Christian faith, you have made students who think otherwise feel unsafe and are inadequately preparing them for Christian ministry by not agreeing that it is an equally valid representation of the NT witness to say that Jesus did not die to make amends for human sin? I repeat: Can you imagine that? --- Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
March 22, 2019

A wise reader of VOL wrote to me this week and made the following observation; "The Lambeth Conference seems to be the most expensive gathering for false doctrine since the Council of Trent." He may be right.

There are reasons to believe that the Lambeth Conference is generating so much heat from the left and right that Welby may be forced to cancel it.

It has emerged that the University of Kent where the bishops will be housed is coming under fire for allowing the conference to be held there because of Welby's insistence that the homosexual partners of homosexual bishops cannot attend. They are being accused of hosting a homophobic conference that will net the university over $5 million dollars from the 800 bishops. But all the rains of fire and sulphur of the media and the left have yet to fall upon it in torrents; when it does, the University of Kent may find it can no longer host the Conference.

A source in the UK told VOL that he has seen a rather pertinent question asked about banning those bishops who have engaged in multiple marriages. There are now several in England, contrary to 1 Timothy 3.2

You may recall that the event was pushed down the road by two years and an emergency gathering of primates was held in Canterbury to sort it the differences between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America. Nothing was resolved of course. GAFCON primates said they would not turn up because Welby was clearly conflicted over homosexuality. Liberals, revisionists and homosexual bishops are raising the middle finger to Welby telling him his stance on Lambeth Resolution 1:10, which Welby and Josiah Idowu-Fearon would violate, is homophobic. Welby can't win. He has already lost the plot.

Perhaps we should take bets on whether the Lambeth Conference will take place at the University of Kent in 2020 -- or at all? I will be writing more about this at length.

*****

PERSECUTION, but whose doing it? The massacre of 50 innocent Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand this past week was a horror show, reminiscent of Pittsburgh (Jews) and Charleston, SC (Blacks) being indiscriminately killed by white nationalists. In fact, over the last 16 years, white nationalists have been responsible for 98% of all the attacks on various ethnic groups in the name of racial purity.

Less well reported is that in Nigeria more than 120 Christians were gunned down or killed by machetes over the past 3 weeks by Muslims. Did one see that reported in mainstream media? Some twelve Christian villages were wiped out by Fulani tribesmen last June, resulting in over 200 Christians dead. Many of them were Anglican Christians.

In the Philippines, Muslims bombed a Roman Catholic cathedral, killing 20 people and wounding dozens more. Also not reported widely. Worldwide, Christians are the most persecuted faith. Did you see this on CNN or MSNBC or even FOX news? Breitbart News picked it up as did a number of blogs and other news services like Global Christian News and VOL. In fairness, NEWSWEEK ran a headline "CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION AND GENOCIDE IS WORSE NOW THAN "ANY TIME IN HISTORY," but it is not common.

To date, in 2019, there have been 453 Muslim attacks in which 1,956 people have been murdered. In 2018, a known total of 4,305 Christians have been murdered in Muslim attacks across the world, with very little reporting in the mainstream news. But if a Jew or a Muslim or a Black is killed by a white nationalist, it is front page news on TV and across the world.

Is it fair, of course not. It is why VOL and news services like this have to report the rest of the news you won't see elsewhere. In the US, cultural Marxism is killing the nation's Judeo-Christian heritage. You can read the excellent What is the Message for our Time by Roger Salter here: https://www.virtueonline.org/what-message-our-time

*****

Episcopal Bishops heard the call to evangelize, even as the denomination faces its own inevitable demise. The bishops met in Kanuga, NC this past week in an attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

The bishops heard from an AME lady bishop and an evangelical Church of England bishop on why the bishops should evangelize and make new disciples or face going out of business.

The African American Methodist Church's mandate is "to seek out and save the lost and to serve the needy." TEC hasn't saved a soul in decades, but it does have oodles of causes that keep it busy with no mention of seeking and saving anything, except whales, bashing white privileged folk and lots of talk about unidentifiable racists in the Episcopal Church. TEC is riddled with programs with none having to do with the salvation of souls. Based on year-over-year numbers, TEC is presiding over its own attrition.

The Episcopal Church needs to truly commit to evangelism, rather than fight about sex, money and power, said orthodox light Honduran Bishop Lloyd Allen during his sermon. At the last General Convention, he thought the biggest problem was lack of translation for some sessions. Go figure. But TEC's problems have always been about sex, specifically homosexuality and money, as in tons of dead men's money to spend on any number of issues the HOB can come up with. And power, well look how power has destroyed orthodox bishops who only wanted to stand for the gospel. All of the orthodox bishops are now gone, with one two exceptions.

Church of England Bishop of Islington, one Ric Thorpe, a bishop from the HTB/Welby gene pool, told the bishops the story of his conversion experience, which led him to become an evangelist and church planter. As the bishop of Islington, he supports the Diocese of London's goal of creating 100 new worshipping communities within the diocese by 2020. Praise the Lord.

The essence of church planting is about making disciples and teaching them to make disciples of others, he said. Clergy and all church leaders need to repent, saying "we have lost our way; we've lost our passion for the Gospel," Thorpe said. They need to admit to Jesus that "we've tried lots of stuff and it just doesn't work and we need something different."

In terms of risk, evangelists need to have a loose hold on their traditions and be willing to "go down in flames, not just be comfortable," he said. The essence of church planting, Thorpe said, is about making disciples.

Pick me off the floor, Mildred.

You can read more here: https://www.virtueonline.org/episcopal-bishops-hear-call-evangelize-even-church-faces-inevitable-demise

*****

Will it still happen? Is full communion between United Methodists and the U.S. Episcopal Church now possible?

Next year, delegates at the United Methodist Church's General Conference are supposed to consider a full-communion plan with the U.S. Episcopal Church, writes Terry Mattingly.

"We seek to draw closer in mission and ministry, grounded in sufficient agreement in the essentials of Christian faith and order and assisted by interchangeability of ordained ministries," states the current text for "A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness."

But recent votes by the UMC to keep marriage between a man and a woman have come up against The Episcopal Church's more inclusive approach of homosexual unions. Now what?

While it was never intended as a merger, nor is there interchangeability of clergy, it is giving pause for LGBTQ clergy and laity in the UMC to go ahead and investigate nearby Episcopal parishes.

A special General Conference recently voted to reaffirm current doctrine that marriage is the "union of one man and one woman" and "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." The historic gathering also passed pieces of a "Traditionalist Plan" requiring UMC clergy to follow those laws in their Book of Discipline.

So far, leaders on the United Methodist left haven't announced plans to leave. But that doesn't mean that Episcopal clergy and other liberal Protestant leaders shouldn't be prepared to help United Methodists who come their way, said the Rev. David Simmons of St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Waukesha, Wis., a leader in several regional and national ecumenical efforts. Watch for more developments.

Both denominations are in free fall. The Episcopal Church membership has declined from 3.6 million in 1966 to 1.7 million. In the United States, UMC membership has fallen from 11 million to 6.8 million in roughly the same timeframe.

The Global South for both denominations is solidly biblical on marriage and they are increasingly controlling the agenda and doctrine of both denominations.

*****

The Church of England is staring at oblivion as just 2% of young Britons say they identify with it. New research finds that the UK's national religion is facing "unrelenting decline". The number of people who identify as belonging to the Church of England has dropped to a record low that could threaten the denomination's future, research suggests.

CofE affiliation has fallen to just 2 per cent among adults aged 18 to 24, while the majority of every age group now has no religion, the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey found.

The number of Britons who describe themselves as part of the church has more than halved since 2002, from 31 per cent to 14 per cent. The number who actually attend sermons is far lower. You can read the full story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/church-england-staring-oblivion-just-2-young-britons-say-they-identify-it

*****

A New York State Supreme Court judge March 12 dismissed substantially all the claims in a lawsuit against the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), the corporate name of The Episcopal Church, filed by Bishop Stacy Sauls, who was removed from his post as chief operating officer in April 2016.

Sauls' suit against the DFMS and an unspecified number of unnamed defendants associated with the church. Sauls claimed that the church's decision to replace him as chief operating officer breached Sauls' contract, damaged his reputation and made it difficult for him to find a job elsewhere in the church.

Judge Paul A. Goetz found that Sauls' contract was not breached because he was an "at will employee;" and that "nothing in the [DFMS] handbook limits the defendants' right to terminate plaintiff's employment for any reason."

That's three for three so far this year. In February, Bishop J. Jon Bruno learned that an Episcopal Church court concluded that he was properly suspended from ordained ministry for three years because of misconduct. His three-year suspension retroactive to Aug. 2, 2017, will stand. The court said in its order it found that "the majority of the factual determinations of the hearing panel are supported by substantial evidence when viewed as a whole in light of the record on appeal." Both men are toast. And then of course there's the bishop of Maryland Heather Cooke who is languishing in jail and yearns for freedom after killing a cyclist because she was drunk, on drugs and couldn't steer straight. The wife of the killed cyclist wants her to do the full time of seven years, and so far, the courts are siding with her. Cooke has shown little remorse. Keeping her locked up seems an appropriate response.

*****

The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee elected Phoebe A. Roaf to be the next bishop of that diocese. In keeping with Bishop Michael Curry's call for more women and people of color to be bishops, Roaf fits both categories. Now if she had been a lesbian it would have been three for three. No such luck. Maybe next time. Perhaps there is a transgender bishop just waiting in the wings.

*****

Meantime, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina is growing impatient with all the delays over who owns the properties in that state.

TECinSC has petitioned the SC Supreme Court, seeking enforcement of the church property decision.

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) and The Episcopal Church filed a petition asking the South Carolina Supreme Court to order the Dorchester County Circuit Court to enforce the high court's 2017 decision and return control of diocesan property and 29 parish properties to The Episcopal Church and its local diocese, TECSC.

The Petition for Writ of Mandamus asks the high court to require Circuit Judge Edgar W. Dickson to take action and execute the decision that the justices remitted to Judge Dickson 16 months ago.

The disputed properties currently are under the control of a group led by Bishop Mark Lawrence that left The Episcopal Church in 2012 and then sued the church in an attempt to keep the property. The delay in enforcing the high court's decision is continuing to cause harm to TECSC, the petition says.

"The extraordinary remedy sought [a writ of mandamus] is therefore necessary given the long delay and misdirected undertaking of the Circuit Court to attempt to revisit the merits, while the property to which Petitioners are entitled is being wasted, misused, and depleted," the petition says.

"The Circuit Court has unduly delayed and appears to be reconsidering the case on its merits, exceeding its jurisdiction on remittitur," the petition says.

However, an attorney VOL spoke with, says TEC is saying that the lower court should be ordered to enforce the judgment in favor of TEC. Apparently, the lower court seems in no hurry to do this, he said.

*****

In England, which is rapidly falling down the sewer of cultural Marxism, there is a current relentless push to normalize transgenderism and same-sex parenting to the youngest of primary school children. Dissenters to the new normal are smeared and discredited for being intolerant and non-inclusive. A recent article on the subject entitled 'Don't Let Bigots Win Sex Education Battle' draws the obvious inference: if you dissent, you are a bigot to be fought and silenced.

This has sparked a conflict as inevitable as it is striking: the progressive liberal elite has turned on Muslims. The coalition of the minorities assumed by the cultural Marxist Left has collapsed like Humpty Dumpty, writes David Kurten.

The flashpoint is Parkfield Community School, a secular school not far from the center of Birmingham, attended by over 98% Muslim children. The trigger is the so-called 'No Outsiders' program, which is ostensibly promoted as teaching the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, and promoting tolerance and inclusivity.

This sounds eminently reasonable to busy parents who do not have time to peruse the lesson content of this and other anti-bullying programs like Educate and Celebrate or CHIPS (Confronting Homophobia in Primary Schools). Such programs, however, often provide material which deliberately and knowingly undermine traditional family values. Now the progressive liberal elite has turned on Muslims. The fireworks can be seen here: https://tinyurl.com/y6ssxyms

*****

A group of Continuing Anglican bishops recently released a statement on the matter of abortion and affirmed the right to life.

They call it "reproductive health," but what it really amounts to is killing unborn or newborn babies. If abortion doesn't kill them, their lives now can be extinguished shortly after they take their first breath. On January 22, New York State passed a law allowing infanticide for babies who have survived abortion attempts, while Democrat Gov. Cuomo, who professes to be Catholic, chortled and grinned while state assembly members, some of whom call themselves Christian, clapped and cheered. That night, New York City buildings were bathed in pink light in ghoulish celebration. In Orwellian newspeak, the law is called "The Reproductive Health Act." Health for whom?

Continuers normally stay under the radar on such issues, leaving it to orthodox Anglicans like the ACNA to make pronouncements of this kind. Now they have stepped up to the plate. You can read their full statement here: https://www.virtueonline.org/anglicans-affirm-right-life

In other continuing Anglican news, the 'G-4' churches have begun a dialogue with the Polish National Catholic Church. The continuers are coming out of the shadows after years of splitting and squabbling with the Big 4. They are determined to be better positioned on the public stage of Anglicanism internationally, especially as they see the Church of England rapidly declining and the ACNA a major player on the Anglican scene.

*****

CANADA is set to shut down a third of Its churches, some 9,000, in the next few years. According to a World News Report, Canada has been a religious nation in the past, but low numbers of worshippers at many of the churches in the country are forcing closures.

This will result in several potential outcomes for these churches according to the head of the National Trust for Canada, Robert Pajot. Some of the buildings are likely going to be sold off, while many others will just be demolished. While plenty are worried about the loss of the sacred spaces, others are just as worried about the loss of historic buildings. Some churches will be renovated and turned into places to host art galleries or even become shelters for the less fortunate. However, there is a sense that a deeper loss is occurring in the towns and cities impacted by these closures. Most notably, they are going to lose a sense of community that appeared over time and was fostered in the churches.

A third of the churches in Canada will likely see their end, and it's possible that more will see cutbacks in the future.

No gospel, no future. Liberal Christianity has been the slow death with the abandonment of the "faith once for all delivered to the saints." The United Church of Canada, a union of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Methodist Church (Canada, Newfoundland and Bermuda), the Congregational Churches of Canada, and the General Council of Local Union Churches and the Anglican Church of Canada are the two biggest losers in this ecclesial train wreck.

*****

CONVERSION THERAPY. There are three reasons to be wary of the conversion therapy bans that are going to keep rearing their heads over the coming years: because they often bring transgender therapy bans along with them; because they are illiberal and trample on freedoms of conscience and religion; and because the evidence is that therapy sometimes works and is not generally harmful. These are three reasons not to jump on board the latest 'progressive' LGBT bandwagon careering headlong through our liberties.

Tragically the Church of England and TEC disparage reparative therapy, which is not surprising bearing in mind the powerful pansexual lobbying against it found in their ranks.

*****

The Royal College of Physicians has abandoned its historic opposition to assisted suicide despite over half of its members saying they would refuse to participate in the practice if it was made legal.

The RCP said it had been moved to change its position after a survey of its own members found that there was no majority view on assisted suicide.

The poll triggered a backlash among doctors and academics who said it represented a "deliberate attempt" on the part of a minority in the RCP to drop opposition to assisted dying. Opponents claiming that the 60 per cent threshold to maintain the status quo was evidence of vote rigging and mounted a legal challenge, but this was rejected by the High Court on Thursday.

"The Church of England's position remains to affirm the intrinsic value of every human life and express its support for the current law on assisted suicide as a means of contributing to a just and compassionate society in which vulnerable people are protected."

*****

The TEC Communion Partner bishops keep hoping against all hope, logic, theology, ecclesiology and wisdom that they can thread the needle over a 50-year-old conversation about the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church began this week with the goal of seeking "a lasting path forward for mutual flourishing" of those Episcopalians who disagree about the church's stance on same-sex marriage.

It will never happen of course, and they could be back in another 50 years with no change, presuming, of course, that TEC is still around which it won't be.

The Task Force for Communion Across Difference's mandate, found in General Convention Resolution A227, sets that goal and asks the group to find that path while acknowledging Convention's "clear decision" that Christian marriage can be a covenant between two people of the same sex or of the opposite sex, and that the church is committed to providing access to marriage rites for all. The resolution also affirms "the indispensable place that the minority who hold to this Church's historic teaching on marriage have in our common life, whose witness the Church needs."

General Convention in July 2018 called for the communion task force as part of its decision to end (via Resolution B012) the church's requirement that bishops give their permission for clergy to use the two marriage rites that the previous meeting of convention had authorized (via Resolution 2015-A054) for trial use by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

The Rev. Susan Russell, one of the task force conveners and a lesbian priest from the Diocese of Los Angeles who has been advocating for years for greater LGBTQ inclusion in The Episcopal Church, admitted the "two polarities" in the church, but we all know she will never tolerate any opposition to her "polarity." The Communion Partner bishops are little more than quislings at this point. Oddly missing from this "task force" was the Rt. Rev. Bill Love of Albany, who has already been served partial inhibition papers for showing disobedience to B012. Everyone knows where all this is going. The orthodox position on marriage between a man and a woman is history.

*****

I hope you will consider a tax-deductible donation to keep the VOL lights on and these bi-weekly digests coming into your e-mail box. Recent findings from ALEXA rankings revealed that VOL is still the No.1 orthodox Anglican online news service in the Anglican Communion. In addition to a website, these digests go to more than 6,000 readers and our Facebook postings now get between 3,500 and 28,000 reads. I hope you think we are worth keeping the lights on for. Please make a donation at this link: https://tinyurl.com/yabemo37

All blessings,

David

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