Inward freedom. Jesus Christ gives an inward freedom of the spirit which even the most oppressive tyrant cannot destroy. Think of Paul in prison: was he not free? John R.W. Stott
GAFCON is enabling the Anglican Communion to be fit for God's purposes in the twenty-first century. We are uniting Anglicans around the world in faithful witness to Jesus Christ and recovering Biblical truth where it has been compromised. There is much still to do, but we give great thanks to God for his grace at work among us. GAFCON is the future. --- Archbishop Nicholas Okoh - GAFCON Chairman
The choice of Matthias. It is instructive to note the cluster of factors which contributed to the discovery of God's will in this matter. First came the general leading of Scripture that a replacement should be made (Acts 1:16-21). Next, they used their common sense that if Judas' substitute was to have the same apostolic ministry he must also have the same qualifications, including an eye-witness experience of Jesus and a personal appointment by him. This sound deductive reasoning led to the nomination of Joseph and Matthias. Thirdly, they prayed. For though Jesus had gone, he was still accessible to them by prayer and was acknowledged as having a knowledge of hearts which they lacked. Finally, they drew lots, by which they trusted Jesus to make his choice known. Leaving aside this fourth factor, because the spirit has not been given us, the remaining three (Scripture, common sense and prayer) constitute a wholesome combination through which God may be trusted to guide us today. -- John R.W. Stott
In the first volume of his history of World War II, Winston Churchill looked back at the storm clouds that gathered in the 1930s portending war and the loss of human freedom. Churchill wisely and presciently warned Britain of the tragedy that would ensue if Hitler were not stopped. His actions were courageous and the world was shaped by his convictional leadership. We are not facing the same gathering storm, but we are now facing a battle that will determine the destiny of priceless freedoms and the very foundation of human rights and human dignity. --- Albert Mohler
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
March 24, 2017
Tammany Hall politics hit the Episcopal Church this week when it was revealed in a report from the meeting at the House of Bishops that the bishops are considering creating a pool of prospective candidates for the episcopacy. One blogger called it, "Pre-approved Bishops: A Nursery for Ambition."
Springfield Bishop, Daniel Martins, said this pool of wannabee bishops would be a list of prospects who are vetted ahead of time and dioceses electing a new bishop would be encouraged to use that list. Martins also infers that dioceses choosing to look beyond the list provided them, would run the risk of failing to receive approval for their bishop-elect.
Hitler would have loved it. Only those of pure Aryan race can join the Nazi Party. Jews and homosexuals need not apply.
Creating another smoke-filled room or a nursery for ambition in the church is a profound theological and spiritual mistake, said Martins.
This will tie the noose around the neck of any diocese who dares to defy the revisionism of the Episcopal Church and put up a candidate who said they could not accept sodomy, same sex marriage, women bishops, gay and lesbian bishops and woe unto you if you even apply. Your name will be entered into the Goat's Book of Death and you will be cast into outer darkness, just like Bishop Stacy Sauls.
This is a form of ecclesiastical fascism that allows political correctness to reign. God forbid that "it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit," now it is good for us as a committee to decide if you pass the political correctness test. Added to that will be which theological seminaries (liberal of course) you have studied at, and God forbid that TSM or Nashotah House should appear on your resume.
"As a priest and a theologian, I view this development with a considerable amount of dismay and I hope that -- after further reflection -- the House will abandon their plans to create a pool of candidates in this fashion," said Martins. Which begs the deeper question, why the blazes are you still in the Episcopal Church, Brother Martins?
Dear bishop, you have watched over the years the systematic rejection of historic, catholic Christianity in one general convention after another as resolutions have been passed that have undermined and destroyed biblical faith and order and still you persist in believing that TEC is part of God's one, holy catholic and apostolic church! Really!
Furthermore, If you are right to stay, what does it say about Anglo-Catholic bishops like Jack Iker, William Wantland, Keith Ackerman, et al who, in conscience, walked away from TEC, saying it no longer contended for the faith! Were they wrong?
How many more acts like this will you tolerate, how many more prevarications and lies will you put up with, how much longer will you turn a blind eye to a group of unregenerate men and women who dress up and pretend to be what they are not, just because they have had hands laid upon them, men and women who continue to systematically destroy the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Enough, sir, get out before your soul is irreparably damaged.
You can read the full story in today's digest.
But then at the HOB meeting in Kanuga, another bishop dropped a bomb on the whole proceedings in the person of Bishop Marianne Budde of Washington, DC, when she made the announcement in a sermon to the House that the Jesus Movement wasn't working in her diocese, but was clearly evident in other denominations. She could have mentioned Falls Church, VA, just across the river, where Vice President Mike Pence attends, bypassing a dozen or so Episcopal parishes on his way there on Sunday morning. What a huge slap in her face. She publicly admitted that her own diocese was rapidly sinking, with only about 12 out of 88 parishes that will still be viable a decade from now, with the majority disappearing or barely holding their own. Then she made the stunning observation that what her diocese needed was "born again" people. Say what! That is hardly the language of "inclusion," "diversity" or "generous orthodoxy" words we are so familiar with. And why isn't all the talk by the Presiding Bishop linking evangelism with anti-racism, filling churches?
Bishop Martins said the gathering felt like one "anti-racism training" center, which translates into "white privilege" guilt.
Ironically, VOL searched in vain for any comment on the recent HOB gabfest from orthodox bishops like Greg Brewer, Bill Love or George Sumner. No blog references or tweets. Nothing. The ONLY orthodox bishop to speak up was Dan Martins. What does that tell you!
Of course, none of this is really surprising. We at VOL have been watching this play out for over two decades, and it is only going to get worse. No gospel, no hope, no future. Certain death.
Now, if you thought things were bad in the Episcopal Church you can read my story about a visit I paid to an English country parish this past weekend in Pewsey, Wiltshire. What I experienced there made even the Episcopal Church look good. The service was barely discernibly Christian, let alone Anglican. No Confession of sin, (an absolution offered for sins not confessed) a made-up creed that bore no resemblance to either the Nicene or Apostles creed, a quarter- baked, totally forgettable sermon with a congregation of about 45 (the biggest in the diocese) whose average age was in the vicinity of 75. The biggest event in the coming years will be turning sod in the graveyard to bury this nearly dead lot. The most significant event was the pause in the middle of worship to hold the annual parochial meeting. You can read my story in today's digest. The deeper truth my English colleagues tell me, is that this a pretty common experience.
Archbishop Justin Welby seems to have hit the self-destruct button. The Designing Lambeth Conference 2020 Group met for the first time to plot what they will focus on in Canterbury in July of 2020. The theme of the Conference will be God's Church for God's world. The design group is being chaired by the Archbishop of Capetown and Primate of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba.
Makgoba is the most liberal archbishop on the African continent, bar none. He is a clone of TEC, having received millions of dollars over the years for being the single voice of liberalism on that continent. Included in the group which met at the Anglican Communion Offices at St Andrew's House in London, England, were the Bishop of Nairobi, Joel Waweru Mwangi; the Bishop of Sabah, Melter Jiki Tais'; the Bishop of Dallas, Dr. George Sumner; the Moderator of the Church of North India and Bishop of Amritsar, Pradeep Samantaroy; the Revd Dr Robert Heaney, of Virginia Theological Seminary'; Mrs Josephine Mujawiyera from Rwanda and Ms. Cathrine Ngangira, a member of the Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace.
Sumner is the token evangelical in this crowd, and the Indian moderator is from a church (including South India) which is the most corrupt in the Anglican Communion, a place once held by Mexico. VOL has written endless stories on the corruption of the Church of South (and North) India and still it continues. It's all about money, of course, and now the government is looking into the affairs of the Church with the real possibility that someone will go to jail. You can read yet another story in today's digest.
Welby said the group represents the "diversity in the Church." Well, that's a diversity way too far for the GAFCON primates, who will undoubtedly be no shows in 2020. The next GAFCON conference will be held in 2018, in Jerusalem, and they might well make public their views on this upcoming gabfest. You will recall that a third of the bishops were no shows at the last Lambeth Conference.
"God is smiling because there is a group of dedicated Episcopalians and Anglicans from all over the Anglican Communion, put together by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General, who are committed to birthing an innovative, creative Lambeth Conference, where we could listen to each other under God and in our own contexts and commit, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to participate in what God is up to in the world," said Makgoba. Really! The Africans have listened themselves to death over Western pansexuality and they ain't buying it. ACNA was birthed because of TEC's innovations. What about that does Makgoba not get!
The ACNA Provincial Assembly 2017 will be held June 26-30, 2017, in Wheaton, IL. The Assembly 2017 will be hosted by the Rt. Rev. E. Stewart Ruch III, Bishop of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest and rector of Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, IL.
"As Bishop of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, I could not be more excited that we are hosting the ACNA's third Provincial Assembly at Wheaton College this summer! Preparations are well underway. I am convinced that our gathering will be truly transformational, and I can't wait to see you there.
"May I speak to our clergy and pastors just for a moment? Your presence with us is essential. But not only you. We are designing this Assembly as a place of inspiration and training for every member of your church, and especially for your next generation of leaders. Can you picture who those might be?
"The Upper Midwest is a young diocese, and we launched with a strong value of raising up the next generation of leaders in the Church. At this event, everyone will:
The cast of speakers includes: Michael Nazir Ali, Benjamin Kwashi, Tito Zavala, Miguel Uchoa, Gregory Venables, Jackson Ole Sapit, and Sammy Wainana.
There will be sessions on how to do real ministry between cultures, including from Caminemos Juntos (Latino ministry), Jubilee (African American youth ministry). AMEN (Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network) and others. The first step to reaching today's America for Jesus is to learn, love, and engage.
The Church of England is taking a cue from TEC's playbook and is delivering its own version of bullying and mayhem.
You will recall that Bishop Philip North of the Diocese of Burnley withdrew his name from becoming the next Bishop of Sheffield because he lacked the growing diversity in the Church of England that recently appointed women bishops.
He was bullied into surrendering his option by a salvo from Dean Martyn Percy of Christ Church, Oxford who said he did not truly represent the new spiritual (dis)order now apparent in the Church of England.
Sadly, North backed down instead of fighting this nonsense, but in doing so, he rubbished all the talk of "mutual flourishing" that said the church would honor all positions in the CofE, including its catholic wing. Apparently, that is now a dead option. Will evangelicals begin to feel the whip of revisionism on its collective backsides over the next few months? The Five Guiding Principles were supposed to recognize the different loyalties and hold them together. Apparently not.
Score one for the liberals.
But then up jumps Jeffrey John, a homosexual Dean, who has been living with his lover for decades and demands to be made a bishop in Wales, having tried several times in other dioceses and failed. This time, armed with lawyers and zero humility, he is challenging the process that failed to give him a two thirds majority.
He is ranting and raging against the night and against the Welsh for not giving him the job and he is virtually blackmailing them to give him the position, accusing the Welsh of homophobia. A source told VOL he has a team of lawyers working on this.
The Church of Wales issued a statement in response to protests regarding its recent election for the next Bishop of Llandaff and said this, "We understand the disappointment felt by all the candidates considered by the Electoral College who did not secure enough support to be elected as Bishop of Llandaff. However, we are satisfied that the Electoral College process was carried out properly and fairly.
"The meeting was confidential and we will not comment on speculation about the nomination and discussion of candidates. However, we strongly deny allegations of homophobia in the process. Neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership are a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected as a Bishop in the Church in Wales. Moreover, this was made clear to members of the Electoral College by its President, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.
"The Constitution of the Church in Wales requires that an electoral college meets for up to three days and that if the college fails to elect, the decision passes to the Bench of Bishops. The Bishops are now acting carefully in full accordance with the Constitution. Unlike the Electoral College process, there is no fixed timetable for an appointment process, however, the Bishops would wish to announce any appointment made as soon as all necessary formalities are finalized. The appointment process is underway and we see no reason to halt it."
Apparently he cannot bully his way into the job. But there is little doubt he will keep on trying.
Jeffrey John is chomping at the bit to be made bishop just about anywhere (maybe he should try TEC) precisely because he wants to make the point that a homosexual can be bishop, and he is just the man for the job. He is yelling and screaming that he was discriminated against because he is a (non-practicing) homosexual so he tells us.
Of course, one is forced to ask, does J. John fulfill the requirements of 1 Tim. 3 "Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money." Is John's lifestyle above reproach? Temperate? Married only once (to a woman) not a man? By any definition he does not meet the biblical requirements.
As a point of interest, this same thing happened in The Episcopal Church, where traditionalists were crushed into compliance and that sort of spiritual cancer is spreading, originally from the secular society to the church, and now to the Mother Church of Anglicanism -- the Church of England.
Forward in Faith is gently pushing back on recent events to the See of Sheffield, based on a statement from the Archbishops and they are asked by the Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, to address the concerns that have arisen in the Church.
"We are grateful for their formal statement that, as Archbishops, Primates and Metropolitans, they reaffirm their commitment, and that of the House of Bishops, to its Declaration and to the Five Guiding Principles," wrote Tony Robinson, FIF chairman.
"We stand ready to engage with Sir Philip as he reviews the operation of the Declaration in respect of what was done over the last two years to inform and educate clergy and laity about the 2014 settlement, and also in respect of the recent nomination to the See of Sheffield and reactions to it. We trust that his report will correct the misrepresentation of the Declaration and of the Five Guiding Principles that has occurred.
"The Archbishops' call to pray openly for those with whom we disagree, and to demonstrate the mutual love which we are called to share, is something that all should take to heart."
The Episcopal Church ordained another female bishop this week in the person of Gretchen Rehberg, 52, as first female bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane.
Donning a plain white robe, Gretchen Rehberg stood before five consecrating bishops, and with 650 witnesses packed into the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, promised to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane as its ninth bishop.
The bishop takes over a diocese that is sinking like a stone. In 2005, there were 7,029 baptized believers. By 2015, it was down to 5323, a loss of 24.3%. Average Sunday Attendance in 2005 was 2,548. By 2015, it was down to 1,826, a loss of 23.3%. Between 2014 and 2015, the loss was 1.5%. Last year the diocese received a paltry 15, married 28 couples and BURIED 113!
With losses like that, the diocese wouldn't rank on the OTC's Pink Sheets. Just to drive the point home, there has never been a single woman bishop in the Episcopal Church that has made their diocese grow. Not one. But the pension will be substantial.
The persecution of Christians is on the rise in China. Apparently Episcopal PB Michael Curry didn't get the news when he was in China recently. However, a watchdog group says the persecution of Christians rose by 20% in 2015!
A new report published by a Christian charity reveals that the Chinese government's approach to religious policy has led to a significant increase in the persecution of Christians in the country.
The 2016 Annual Persecution Report, released by China Aid, noted that under former President Jiang Zemin, the Chinese Communist Party focused on efforts to encourage religions and socialism to mutually adapt.
However, in April 2016, President Xi Jinping highlighted the importance of religions "persistently following the path of Sinicization," prompting subordinate government departments to adopt the policy as a catalyst for many persecution attempts.
In an attempt to implement the Sinicization, local government units across China targeted house churches and coerced them to join the government-monitored Three-Self Patriotic Movement by threatening them with closure.
The charity asserted that Christians are being persecuted "at a frequency unseen since the Cultural Revolution."
Clearly the PB wasn't interested in hearing this news when he met with leaders of the Three Self Movement.
CANADA NEWS. While so many Anglican Church of Canada churches are amalgamating, or closing and women's organizations are folding up, who will be left to do the work?
However, the news is not all bad. The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) newsletter recently announced three new congregations in Canada; one in Trenton, Ontario, one in Oliver, BC, and another in Sarnia, Ontario.
EFAC-USA news. At the 'Evangelion' conference of Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church held at Trinity School for Ministry in 2016, three ideas for the future found widespread support: renewing our connection with Evangelicals in the rest of the Anglican Communion through EFAC-USA; getting together annually; and participation in our events by Evangelicals who are members of the various Anglican
churches that have come into existence outside TEC in recent years.
Following discussions among former board members of EFAC-USA, the American branch of EFAC, EFAC-USA will reorganize under a board of directors composed of equal numbers of TEC and ACNA members, and have its first annual Assembly at the Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center outside Orlando, Florida from April 19-21 2017. The theme of the conference is 'Positively Evangelical', and
speakers include Greg Brewer, Andrew Pearson, Phil Harrold, Charlie Holt, Ethan Magness and Josh Head, each of them addressing one of the five goals of EFAC-USA. All Anglican Evangelicals in the USA, whether in TEC or another church of the Anglican tradition, are invited to attend; for more information and to register, check the new EFAC-USA website, www.EFAC-USA.org or go to the EFAC-USA Facebook page (Facebook.com/EFACUSA).
The point however, should be made, that evangelicals have virtually been eliminated in The Episcopal Church. Most are now safely in ACNA, with only Dallas and Central Florida as holdouts.
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke out on the Westminster attack and the reaction to it, and he said it illustrated the foundational values of British society.
Speaking in the House of Lords in response to the Prime Minister's earlier statement, he offered three "pictures".
"The first is of a vehicle being driven across Westminster Bridge by someone who had a perverted, nihilistic, despairing view of objectives of what life is about, of what society is about, that could only be fulfilled by death and destruction.
"The second is of that same person a few minutes later, on a stretcher or on the ground, being treated by the very people he had sought to kill.
"The third is of these two Houses, where profound disagreement, bitter disagreement, angry disagreement is dealt with not with violence, not with despair, not with cruelty, but with discussion, with reason and with calmness."
Princeton Theological Seminary has rescinded an award initially given to Rev. Tim Keller, after a backlash over the pastor's views toward the ordination of women and homosexuals.
Craig Barnes, president of the seminary, said the Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness will not be award to Mr. Keller because it might "imply an endorsement" of his views.
"In talking with those who are deeply concerned about Reverend Keller's visit to campus, I find that most share this commitment to academic freedom," Pres. Barnes said in a letter, Wednesday. "Yet many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as an affirmation of Reverend Keller's belief that women and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained."
Mr. Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and is considered one of the most influential Christian thinkers in America. His church has over 5,000 practicing Christians.
Clearly, Mr. Keller doesn't fit the new-fangled doctrines of inclusion and diversity found in the Book of Post-Modern Lamentations.
The Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa has a new website domain. the Anglican Diocese of Egypt will change from www.dioceseofegypt.org to www.anglicandioceseofegypt.org on Saturday, the 25th of March, 2017, at 6 p.m. For those who are interested in the deaf unit, the domain will change from www.deafunit.org to www.deafunitegypt.org
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