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Prince Charles Supports Persecuted Church * Dying and Rising Anglican Provinces * Sexual Scandal Dogs Evangelical Leaders * St. James Newport Beach to reopen * Archbishop Sentamu Wrong on Conversion Therapy * Williams Blames Conservatives for Sex Scandal

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life! -- Alister McGrath

"In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps ...the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists." --Martin Luther King Jr.

So the Archbishop of Canterbury is clear when it comes to allegations of child (sexual) abuse and safeguarding: passing the buck by insisting 'It's not my job, mate' evidences a lack of humanity and leadership -- deficiencies in integrity and gifting which certainly ought to disqualify someone from holding a senior ministerial office in the Church of England. -- Archbishop Cranmer

If you notice that your next-door neighbor's house is on fire, you would take radical action to alert those inside and try to save life. No polite prayer meetings or wondering if it would be rude to intervene. You would instead smash down the door or bust some windows to get in and seek to alert others and save life. Sinners heading to a lost eternity also need such drastic action. And Christians spinning out of control in worldliness, compromise and carnality also need firm and direct confrontation. Tough love is needed on so many levels. If you don't know what this looks like, simply read about the OT prophets, or Jesus cleansing the temple, etc. If that does not quite inspire you, watch one of these reality TV shows to see what tough love is all about and how effective it can be. --- Bill Muehlenberg

What more do we need to know? There is no need for us to speculate about the precise nature of heaven. We are assured on the authority of Jesus Christ that it is the house and the home of his Father and ours (there are twenty-two references to the Father in John 14), that his home is a prepared place containing many rooms or resting places, and that he himself will be there. What more do we need to know? To be certain that where he is, there we shall be also should be enough to satisfy our curiosity and allay our fears. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
March 31, 2018

A member of the Royal family has taken on the concerns of the persecuted church. The Prince of Wales, in a recorded Easter message, showed support for persecuted Christians around the world.

Charles says in the video, released on Good Friday, how he has been "deeply moved" by the "truly remarkable courage" and "selfless capacity for forgiveness" of those he met who have suffered because of their religion.

The prince, who will one day become head of the Church of England, said: "My heart goes out to all who this day, whatever their beliefs, are being persecuted on religious grounds."

He said of persecuted Christians during Easter: "I want to assure them that they are not forgotten and that they are in our prayers."

The prince said: "Over the years, I have met many who have had to flee for their faith and for their life - or have somehow endured the terrifying consequences of remaining in their country - and I have been so deeply moved, and humbled, by their truly remarkable courage and by their selfless capacity for forgiveness, despite all that they have suffered.

"I have also heard that in the darkness there are small shafts of light, signs of resurrection and of hope that, slowly but surely, Christians who have had to flee from their homelands are beginning to return and to rebuild their shattered homes." [Source: Mail Online]

*****

The Church of South India is the most financially compromised and corrupt province in the Anglican Communion. (That title was once held by the Anglican Church of Mexico). Read stories here, here and here:
https://tinyurl.com/y8z79ctg
https://tinyurl.com/y84knxtf
https://tinyurl.com/y9mox9y2

The Church of England is emerging as the most morally corrupt province in the Anglican Communion. Here is just a small sampling.
https://tinyurl.com/ybubaaxr
https://tinyurl.com/y8kfzek4

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are the most theologically compromised, apostate and revisionist provinces in the Anglican Communion. There are so many, I invite readers to click www.virtueonline.org and hit the archives link and type in The Episcopal Church.

The Anglican Church of Nigeria is the most evangelical and fastest growing province in the Anglican Communion despite thousands of Anglicans being slaughtered by Boko Haram. This province might earn the title as the most persecuted province in the communion, though you would never know that from the liberal Anglican media that generally ignores that reality so as not to offend Muslims.

The first three provinces are rapidly dying, the last province continues to grow at a rapid rate with new converts, new dioceses and more bishops and archbishops being consecrated with each passing year.

Now what about this picture don't you understand? If you have to think about it twice; (or at all,) then check yourself into the nearest clinic for signs of schizophrenia or possibly dementia.

The really sad question is why people continue to pour money into these dying churches. It boggles the mind. It's like betting on Toys "R" Us coming back from the dead after it has been liquidated and the company has gone out of business. But stupid is as stupid does, and the money will continue to flow till the last Octogenarian closes his eyes and heads to the nearest columbarium.

*****

"The sooner the practice of so-called conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night," boldly stated John Sentamu, Archbishop of York recently.

He is wrong; in some cases, fatally wrong. By denying the possibility of conversion, or reparative therapy as it is also known, he is saying that change is not possible, but sexuality we know is malleable, expandable and reconstructable and not always easily classifiable. "The evidence from science is veryclear that sexual attraction is not immutable. There is very realistic hope for change for those who desire it. A high percentage of those who believe themselves to be gay or bisexual end up becoming heterosexual, even without professional help", says Dr. Bruce Atkinson, a therapist and lay Anglican leader. The truth is Reparative Therapy has proven itself a powerful tool for change. You can read my take on the archbishop’s words here: https://tinyurl.com/y8mnm3ky

*****

St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California, will reopen April 8. The last service inside what was St. James the Great (and now renamed) was closed in June 2015. According to a statement from the bishop's office of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the church will hold services with Bishop John Taylor presiding.

St. James was embroiled in emotional legal and ecclesiastical tumult for nearly three years as then-Bishop J. Jon Bruno tried to sell the property to developers in 2015 and 2017.

In a letter to the St. James congregation and its priest, the Rev. Canon Cindy Voorhees, Taylor and the Rev. Abel Lopez, president of the diocesan governing body, said the congregation now has the organizational rank of "mission station" on a trial basis. It will regain use of the church facility at 3209 Via Lido, though a portion of it also will function as a broader Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries.

*****

SEXUAL SCANDAL seems finally to have hit mainstream evangelicals. It comes under the category of "morally inappropriate" relationships. The #MeToo movement came first. Then came powerful men in Hollywood and the media being accused of inappropriate relationships. The Roman Catholic Church has been wracked with pedophile scandals forcing entire dioceses into bankruptcy. Now, high profile evangelical leaders are confessing to morally inappropriate relationships. Here are the most notable.

Dr. Frank Page has resigned because of a "morally inappropriate" relationship. Dr. Page initially announced his retirement as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. Later, in the day, he announced his resignation. This resignation would be effective immediately. The explanation was for a "morally inappropriate" relationship.

Dr. Page was President of the SBC from 2008-2009. He was also a steady, helpful figure during the Conservative Resurgence. Page initially announced a retirement. He later clarified that his retirement was based on a personal matter of a "morally inappropriate" relationship.

Bill Hybels recently has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct (originally reported by the Chicago Tribune) by a few women.

Paul Pressler has been accused of a sexual abuse by a man. Along with Pressler's lawyers, the SBC has argued against this accusation in court. Pressler is a former state judge, lawmaker and leader on the religious right. He allegedly sexually assaulted a young man over a period of decades, beginning when the boy was just 14.

Andy Savage, the pastor who disclosed his decades-old assault on a teen in his former youth group to an applauding congregation, stepped down from his position at a Memphis megachurch this past week.

And then you had Roy Moore, who faced accusations which overshadowed his run for the U.S. Senate in Alabama. Moore, in the face of his trials, prayed for the accusers to see the error in their ways. Even Franklin Graham offered his prayers for Moore on Election Day.

The Church of England is currently wracked with sexual scandal with no letup in sight. One English commentator said it could go on for at least two more years.

All Christian leaders have the potential to fall into sin. The problem here is with evangelical leadership. These evangelical leaders spend much pulpit time protecting doctrinal purity, but then they lose their personal moral integrity. The truth is doctrinal purity is irrelevant where there is no moral integrity. They go hand-in-hand.

Hierarchical churches like the Roman Catholic church, the Episcopal Church and Orthodox churches have high accountability, but evangelical churches have no central form of accountability. Each church is technically autonomous and responsible for its own affairs. One reporter noted that the Southern Baptist Convention has no central database that keeps track of moral failures or sex offenses. As such, there is no "sex offender" listing for leaders. It is up to the local congregation as to how they will act, and that we know from experience does not always go down well for the offended one, because of the extreme loyalty some parishioners have to their pastor.

*****

Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, took a swipe at conservatives at an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse this past week. Williams was giving evidence and said The Church of England tried to "overcompensate" for its conservative stance on homosexuality by treating a pedophile bishop lightly, he said.

Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes, escaped with a police caution in 1992 after being accused of abusing a teenage boy, but continued to officiate in a number of private schools until 2007.

Williams said elements of the Church had "strong undercurrents of homosexuality" in his written evidence. These were largely "closeted", he told the inquiry into how the Church of England dealt with allegations of abuse.

'It does seem to be me, at a time when people were beginning to feel awkward about the traditional closeted attitude, there was perhaps an overcompensation saying, "well we don't want to be judgemental about people's sexual activities. We may formally, in a disciplinary way, we may disapprove, we may treat them according to the protocols but we mustn't be seen to be, or mustn't be, judgemental. We must therefore give people a second chance and understand the pressures and so on."

'So I think there is an element of that coming in; a rather paradoxical consequence of the traditional view of homosexuality within the Church - you want to overcompensate a bit for it.'

Lord Williams stressed that the link between homosexuality and pedophilia was a false one, although it was made at the time.

That is not entirely true. Child molestation and pedophilia occur far more commonly among homosexuals than among heterosexuals on a per capita basis, according to a new study.

"Overwhelming evidence supports the belief that homosexuality is a sexual deviancy often accompanied by disorders that have dire consequences for our culture," wrote Steve Baldwin in, "Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement," that was published by the Regent University Law Review. Baldwin is the executive director of the Council for National Policy in Washington, D.C.

"It is difficult to convey the dark side of the homosexual culture without appearing harsh," wrote Baldwin. "However, it is time to acknowledge that homosexual behavior threatens the foundation of Western civilization -- the nuclear family."

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a therapist who helped men with SSA change their orientation says there is a real and growing movement to legitimize and also legalize sexual relations between boys aged 10 to 16 and adult males.

"Those who are interested in legalizing sexual relations between adults and children want to change the parameters of the discussion from the "absolutist" moral position, to the "relative" position that it can sometimes be beneficial," he wrote. Not surprising therefore that Williams would look to blame orthodox Anglicans attitude towards sodomy for the problem.

*****

The Daily Mail reports that organists are far becoming a thing of the past in the Church of England. Churches reveal a huge shortage of new musicians - forcing worshipers to sing along to recorded music
Less than four per cent of church organists are under 30, a survey revealed. Almost half of all churches that responded said that their organ player was over 70. The lack of organists means the congregation has to sing to recorded music.

*****

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop Reverend Jackson ole Sapit is urging Kenyans to obey court orders to enhance the rule of law.

Addressing the press after the Good Friday service at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Sapit said it was regrettable that senior Government officials were disobeying judicial orders with impunity. He said their actions could encourage other Kenyans to ignore court orders, a move that could fuel lawlessness.

"The blatant disregard to the judicial orders by security forces is regrettable. We urge the Executive to obey court orders. How can they demand the citizenry to obey court orders when they do not?" Sapit posed.

On Thursday, a court found three senior Government officials in contempt of court. Sapit said for society to thrive, the three arms of Government must function independently to check on each other for law and order to be maintained.

"We cannot have State officials continuously disobeying orders given by one arm of the Government. This is pure breach of rule of law," he added.

The Archbishop also condemned the attack on journalists covering Miguna's deportation saga by security officers at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

*****

The Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of South America, Greg Venables, has called together bishops from across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay to discuss ways the church can respond to "the ever-growing environmental challenges resulting from climate change."

Bishops from across the six countries of the Anglican Church of South America are to meet to discuss ways of tackling the "ever-growing environmental challenges resulting from climate change". Anglican bishops and other delegates from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay will gather in Lima, Peru, in May "to consider and try to define the role of the church in response to the devastating social and environmental effects of climate change within their respective dioceses." The meeting, "Climate Change and the Role of the Church", will include church members who share a common interest and concern for caring for creation from across the province.

The meeting has been called in response to a challenge from Bishop Gregory Venables, the Bishop of Argentina and Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of South America and is being supported by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN).

"The gathering is aimed at equipping bishops and Church delegates in defining the focus and strategies to respond to the ever-growing environmental challenges resulting from climate change," Bishop Gregory said in a statement.

*****

Unlike a recent decision by the Diocese of Christchurch that voted to push for same-sex marriage, the Diocese of Nelson, which covers the northern part of the South Island of New Zealand, recently voted to stay with the Anglican Church in New Zealand with a vote to support Motion 29, a proposal to allow individual dioceses to set their own path on same-sex marriage. The decision took place at a special meeting of Synod in the South Island New Zealand diocese on March 10, 2018 meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Nelson. The decision does not mean the diocese supports same-sex marriage, but a spokesman said that what the Synod did decide was to agree to remain within the Church.

In May 2016, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia meeting in Napier debated a report from the A Way Forward Working Group that offered options for the province on same-sex marriage. After extended debate, the synod found it could not reach a common mind and tasked the primates with forming a six-member committee, under the terms of Motion 29, to move the church forward. The second group was asked to "consider possible structural arrangements within our the three Tikanga church to safeguard both theological convictions concerning the blessing of same gender relationships".

The second Working Group, chaired by Bishop Ellena, reported that there were a variety of stances on same-sex marriage within the ACANZP that could not be reconciled across the whole church. It recommended a system of dual integrities that permitted liberal and conservative dioceses to maintain their theological integrities, while holding together as a province.

Bishop Richard advises that the vote for Motion 29 was not about approving the blessing of same-sex relationships; "what our Synod did decide was to agree to remain within the Church. Our Diocese is united behind the biblical mandate for our human sexuality (and has a statement to that effect which every person holding a bishop's licence has to affirm and sign) but divided on the issue of unity. As an evangelically orthodox Diocese we believe that within Motion 29 we will be able to hold on to the truth of scripture that offers light and hope (we believe) without being compromised by a church that challenges traditional doctrine to reflect the values of this confused world."

*****

Incarnation Anglican is a church plant of Restoration Anglican Church which will launch in September, 2018, in South Arlington, VA. Incarnation is currently holding monthly interest events in order to gather a team of interested people who will launch the church together this fall. They decided to serve their community through a stream cleanup.

"People here just don't do that" is the most common reaction we receive when discussing how to be a neighbor in Arlington, VA. Whether it is going to a neighbor's house for tea, taking a stroll with friends through a common neighborhood, knocking on a neighbor's door to borrow milk because you've run out, shoveling snow from driveways, or picking up trash from a local park, these common neighborly acts can only happen when trusting relationships are formed between members in a community.

For the last 7 weeks, our small groups have been discussing the book The Art of Neighboring, and when we heard that Arlington County was having their 30th annual stream cleanup, we jumped at the opportunity to help out! In January and February, we held interest evenings where we could share how God was forming this community, but this was a unique chance to show people two reasons (among others) that we love South Arlington: 1) it's beautiful, and 2) amazing local food.

It was a blast cleaning up the Four Mile Run, a stream which careens through Arlington, finally making its way to the Potomac River. Armed with gloves, bags and fortitude, we traversed the creek and climbed the hills, scouring the land for trash. With 25 folks we picked up over 10 full bags of trash and recycling from the river.

The park ranger who led us that day has lived in the area for years and, in her last four years of facilitating this cleanup, she has only had a total of about 15 people help. She was so surprised by our 20+ people arriving together, that she had to radio in for more garbage bags! What a blessing to make her day and to show other members of the community that our church is here to serve. We had great conversations with local neighbors who were asking us questions about who we are and what we're doing.

The Rev. Morgan Reed is a church planter in the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. He is part of the team planting Incarnation Church in Arlington.

*****

The Coming of Islam to England. Watch it here:
YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gakr4eOF-8w

*****

The Lion has Whimpered, says David Robertson of theweeflea:

[Editor's note: Robertson's devastating critique of Church of Scotland evangelicals' failure to contend for the truth and capitulation to LGBT lobbyists]: "...invited to the table but they were not allowed any say in the menu... outmaneuvered every time by fine words, appeals to unity (and to pride), threats and empty promises of jam tomorrow... Most evangelicals stayed in, but not to fight. Now they have been re-assimilated into the Establishment to such a degree that they are completely toothless. ...

If it has become impossible to fight and make a stance on the important issues, then maybe it's time for the evangelicals to leave -- for the sake of the gospel.... If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, should anyone listen? ...If evangelicals write a sound theological paper, and no one is listening, do they still make a sound? ...they need to realize that it's too late. This ship has sailed."

You can read it here:
https://theweeflea.com/2018/03/28/the-lion-has-whimpered/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

*****

There are signs of renewal everywhere. A case in point is a new church plant in Bristol, England, meeting as TRINITY CHURCH BRISTOL. The new Bristol Evangelical Church will gather a core team of Christians to launch a new Biblical Anglican Evangelical Church in 2018, near the university.

"We're passionate about seeing the Lord Jesus glorified as his Word the Bible does its work in people. So we make proclaiming God's Word central to our meetings, depend on Him in prayer, and model everything we do on what He says. We're convinced it's the Word of God that has the power of God to do the work of God in the people of God," said a spokesperson.

On the home front, CANA East Anglican bishop Julian Dobbs reports than when his diocese meets in May, he will announce three new church plants in Ct. NJ and PA. --- right under the noses of dying liberal Episcopal dioceses.

*****

Billy Graham's Death Leads 10,000 to Pray for Salvation, ran a headline in the latest issue of Christianity Today. We have yet to get a figure from the national church on how Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's evangelism program is going. Ten converts perhaps, five...one. Don't hold your breath.

*****

There are days, and they are increasing, when the volume of news stories is overwhelming and depressing. Trying to grasp what is going on locally, nationally and internationally taxes me and my small staff. We love what we do, but it does take its physical and emotional toll churning out unpalatable and uncomfortable news that we would love to avoid writing about. We try hard to find good news, and from time to time we do. A new church plant, a conference on evangelism and discipleship, the story of someone laying down their life for another, a convert from Islam who loses hearth and home. We cannot avoid the bad and the ugly, because those who push it don't see the damage they are doing to the Church. It is unfathomable that a woman like Heather Cook could be even considered for bishop with overwhelming evidence that she had a drinking problem. That she kills a cyclist and shows no remorse only adds to the obscenity of her appointment. In any other sphere, the woman would be schlepping plates of food at a diner. Hopefully, she is cleaning plates in the prison kitchen.

To keep the news coming we do need your help. If you would like to support VOL with a tax-deductible donation we would appreciate that.

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Thank you for your support.

In Christ,

David

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