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Two Groups of Anglicans * Nigerian Primate Rips Welby and Primates' Communique * Nashotah House Coup * St. James Newport Beach Disses Woman Rector * TEC Income Plunges * CofE debates holding SS services * Virtueonline 2.0

A doctrine of God. Behind the concept and the act of preaching there lies a doctrine of God, a conviction about his being, his action and his purpose. The kind of God we believe in determines the kind of sermons we preach. ---- John R.W. Stott

'The painful truth is that the authority of Scripture is being replaced by the authority of Canterbury.' --- Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria

Words matter. We must not acquiesce in the contemporary disenchantment with words. Words matter. They are the building blocks of sentences by which we communicate with one another. And the gospel has a specific content. That is why it must be articulated, verbalized. Of course it can and must be dramatized too. For images are sometimes more powerful than words. Yet images also have to be interpreted by words. So in all our evangelism, whether in public preaching or in private witnessing, we need to take trouble with our choice of words --- John R.W. Stott

We should draw a direct line from Hugh Hefner to Harvey Weinstein. The first made the second possible.
Hefner would not have approved of rape; but the severing of sex from marriage that he vigorously sought (and achieved) led to a sexual environment with few rules--and few protections for women.
Hefner created the culture that Weinstein ravaged like a sex-crazed Gulliver. --- Owen Strachan

My concern is not simply that [Karl] Barth was a sinner and that his sin was an extramarital affair. Many fine people do stupid things in life.
It's that he justified the affair on the very grounds that substantially contradict his theological project as well as his theological method.
And did so year after year after year. What was I to make of his theology now?
And could I in good conscience continue to recommend Barth to others if he himself could not follow his own theological path? --- Mark Galli, Christianity Today

On the fallacies of progressive utopianism. "We're not called to leave a better world but to leave the world as better people" --- Christophe Akers

To discover the truthfulness of original sin, all we have to do is step out of our front door --- G.K. Chesterton

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
Oct. 20, 2017

GLOBAL NEWS

Let us be very clear, (because it grows clearer by the day.) There are two very distinct bodies of Anglicans in the Communion and they have two very different gospels.

One is orthodox in faith and morals, predominantly evangelical and Anglo-Catholic. They are the regenerate ones.

The other group is liberal and revisionist in faith and morals. They are the unregenerate ones.

One group believes in the authority of Scripture, the other group believes in multiple authorities like culture, science and the fear of not being liked and loved unless they accommodate to the culture. They believe in pluriform truths and terms like generous orthodoxy, inclusion and diversity.

The first group is seeing their churches grow and thrive especially in the Global South where the Holy Spirit is clearly alive and active. They believe and preach a gospel of God's grace and his love for all and salvation through the cross of Christ. They call sin, sin. The message is so simple a 5-year old can grasp it.

The other group is watching as their churches shrink and dry up, unsure of what they really believe, sounding an uncertain trumpet from their pulpits. The death watch beetle has settled into the pews, the columbariums are filling up, clergy are aging and churches are closing.

The first group still wants to remain attached to the second group out of loyalty to a world that has long since gone. They can't seem to disentangle themselves from the historic ties that bind them because they think they might cease to be Anglican, even though the Mother Church can barely muster a million poor souls on any given Sunday. This, in a population of 66 million. Now of that million, when you take out the liberals and Broad Church types, you can probably count the number of real Christians (meaning regenerate) about 50 percent of that number. This would be the size of a small to medium diocese in Nigeria.

This issue is loyalty to Canterbury and Lambeth Palace, now increasingly misplaced, as the shine has gone off that Anglican apple quite some time ago, and because the bully boys over at the Anglican Consultative Council believe they and they alone can say who is an Anglican and who is not. It's a lie of course, but it seems to work. The bigger question is for how much longer.

Defiant acts by the American Episcopal Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church and what will inevitably be the Anglican Church of Canada and perhaps, in time, even the Church of England to embrace same sex marriage are making it more difficult for the Global South and, specifically, the GAFCON primates to want to stay in the Anglican Communion that openly embraces non-biblical sexual behaviors.

NIGERIA

In a major blast at the Archbishop of Canterbury and the recent Primates' meeting, GAFCON Chairman and Nigerian Primate, Nicholas Okoh, took the gloves off and said the Anglican Communion was in need of a new reformation. He publicly chastised Archbishop Justin Welby over the failure of the Primates to address Lambeth 1:10 when they met in Canterbury. The authority of Scripture is being replaced by the authority of Canterbury, he said.

"I and a number of brother Primates (representing between us over half of practicing Anglicans worldwide) did not attend as a matter of conscience. We cannot 'walk together' with those who have abandoned the teaching of the Bible, but that is what the Communique issued from the meeting encourages us to do."

Okoh tore into the attending archbishops, saying there was no mention in the Communiqué of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10 where the vast majority of the Communion's bishops reaffirmed the Bible's teaching on marriage and sexuality, including the clear statement that homosexual practice is contrary to Scripture.

"Same-sex 'marriage' is referred to merely as a difference of understanding while the only call to repentance is to those who have crossed provincial boundaries to support orthodox brothers and sisters unchurched by leaders who have rejected God's Word.

"The Conference also affirmed the LGBTI community and their lifestyle, while unequivocally disowning the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), an orthodox Anglican Province." You can read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/y7mjbxd7

EGYPT

The Primates of the Global South met in Cairo from 8 September to 9 September 2017 in order to work together on a new structure for the Global South and discuss arising issues. In addition to discussion, the group also had time for prayer, worship, and communion. The members of the group shared the challenges and blessings that their regions are facing. They also spent their time working on a new structure for the Global South, placing an emphasis on Ministry Formation, Economic Empowerment, Mission Partnerships, Discipleship, and Youth Ministry. The group also asked Bishop Mouneer Anis to continue as Chairman of the Primates of the Global South.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND

The Church of England is to debate holding services for same-sex couples for the first time. The church's ruling general synod will discuss holding official services after a couple has been married in a secular ceremony or formed a civil partnership. Same-sex marriages in Anglican churches are banned in England and Wales, though they began in Scotland this year.

Traditionalists have called the plans a "fundamental departure". However, the idea for the services has been welcomed by LGBT campaigners in the church.

The plans were put forward by the diocesan synod in Hereford, which voted in favor of an "order of prayer and dedication" following a marriage or civil partnership, in response to couples who said they wanted it. The Bishop of Hereford, Richard Frith, said: "Clergy are already encouraged to respond pastorally and sensitively when approached. "The motion which is part of a much wider debate asks for guidance on materials to be used in affirming and praying with same-sex couples." You can read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/ybtubg59

UNITED STATES

Pity poor Cindy Voorhees, the priest of St. James, Newport Beach, she just can't catch a break.

First of all, she took over the parish after most of the orthodox left to join the ACNA. Things went well for a while then Bruno the Bully announced that he was selling the property from under her for a cool $15 million. She fired back with charges aimed at his behavior and got the Church's attention. Bruno was forced out of office. Score the first round to her. Meantime the church doors remained padlocked and she and her congregation decamped across the road and then to other digs across town.

With Bruno inhibited, the new bishop, John Taylor, then announced he had to keep the deal going for legal reasons and Voorhees again lost hope. But then the company that made the deal with Bruno backed off and allowed the bishop to retake control again of the church property, estimated to be worth some $20 million!

Now you would think that Ms. Voorhees would be jumping up and down for joy that she was now about to get the church back again.

Not so fast. Instead, the diocese has chosen to "reopen the church as a bishop's chapel, with supply, or guest, clergy" but only "after a suitable period of discernment and planning." That apparently did not include Ms. Voorhees.

This is not a step forward for St. James, for Newport Beach or for the diocese, bleated the leader of the ousted congregation. "What Bishop Taylor proposes is creating a new chapel with rotating pastors and no lay leadership. This is not a church with services every Sunday morning, with Sunday school for children, with pastoral care during the week, with community activities. The national Episcopal church, after careful consideration, strongly recommended that the Diocese of Los Angeles re-open the church, restore it to its congregation and its vicar. The congregation, still meeting in exile in the Civic Center community room, would like to return to its church. This is not what reconciliation looks like."

So, she is still blocked out again. The poor priestess just can't catch a break.

TEC's finances are in trouble. Big trouble. A "working draft budget" revealed an $8 MILLION deficit between anticipated revenue and spending asked for by the churchwide staff and council's joint standing committees which stood at just more than $12 million.

"It is not the budget we will receive in February and it is not the budget that we will propose in July," Diocese of Maine Bishop Steve Lane, PB&F's vice chair, warned. "There is not a budget until General Convention acts."

Both Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, said the Executive Council "wrestled with a budget that has big dreams and limited resources, and which we are agreeing to trust one another more than perhaps we have in many decades."

Jennings said the committee faces such questions as whether "our modest expectation for increased income [will] be able to fund our vastly increased hope for mission and ministry across the church and far beyond" and what it will cost "in other areas of ministry to follow what we believe God is calling the Episcopal Church to be in today's world." Curry placed the committee's budget work in an even larger context. The world, he said, is undergoing "profound shifts" religiously, culturally and politically.

Furthermore, not all dioceses are paying their full assessment. Fifty-six dioceses committed to paying the full asking of 16.5 percent or more in 2017. Another 22 have pledged between pledged between 12 percent and 15 percent.

Without getting a waiver, a diocese that does not pay the full assessment will be unable to get grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. That should make you feel good.

Jennings noted that the annual asking of dioceses stood at 21 percent five years ago. She said the projected revenue for 2019-21 is based in part on the assumption that dioceses that have been paying more than that will decrease their giving to 15 percent.

VOL predicts that in 12 years it will be zero percent as most dioceses will have run out of people as the average age of most Episcopalians is 64-65 and they will not be around with their check books. One wonders if a bishop, any bishop, has the guts to stand up and shout, "Why did you spend $60 million on lawsuits for properties, was it worth it?"

DIOCESAN SNAPSHOT. If you want a real time look at what your average TEC diocese looks like, then reflect on figures VOL obtained on the Diocese of Easton.

In 2005, its ASA was 3,388. In 2016, it had lost 32.8% down to 2,422. Plate and pledge held steady at just over $5 million. The diocese has 38 congregations. Last year they had 59 adult and 25 child confirmations, but they buried 156 people. The real kicker is that the average age of all its priests is 61. (They must retire by 72). The percentage of priests under the age of 44 is THREE PER CENT. The percentage of priests 45-54 is 24%; 55-64 is 35%, and a whopping 38% are 65 and over. The latter group must retire in seven years with no replacement for them in sight.

The number of full time priests of one congregation is only 50%! The rest are part timers, priests in yoked congregations and non-stipendiary priests. Is this a diocese or church with a future?

The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Diocesan Convention is fast approaching. Interestingly, they will be voting on a Resolution regarding President Donald Trump's decision to pull the USA out of the Paris Climate Accord. Less well publicized is that the diocese has closed 16 congregations since 2006. Recently the diocese's only Episcopal seminary -- Episcopal Divinity School closed its doors, the need for the Church's progressively liberal views is apparently unacceptable to Episcopalians, who might finally be waking up to the fact denying the bodily resurrection and scorning substitutionary atonement is not working for them.

The big news of the week came from TEC's only Anglo-Catholic seminary -- Nashotah House -- in Nashotah, Wisconsin, where the chairman of the board, one Bishop Dan Martins was ousted in a bloodless coup over correspondence (that VOL published) between the Anglo-Catholic Anglican bishop of San Joaquin, Eric Menees and Martins, wherein the Anglican bishop blasted the chairman for offering the prestigious Archbishop Ramsey award to PB Michael Curry for beliefs he never believed, accusing Curry of failing in all three areas of Ecclesiology, Ecumenism and Liturgy. He further accused the Presiding Bishop of disregarding the will of the primates of the Anglican Communion and acting willfully as one not under authority.

After failing to re-elect Martins the board chose, for the first time in 175 years, a man not a bishop. He's a traditionalist priest from the Diocese of Dallas, one Canon Ed. Monk who, ironically wrote a paper in 2009 offering a way forward for the church to resolve property disputes without millions needing to be spent. Needless to say, his words fell on deaf ears and today nearly nine years later the church is still embroiled in diocesan lawsuits and spending millions of dollars to keep what they say is their's. You can read two stories on this sad situation and wonder at the future of the seminary caught as it is in the Church's culture wars.
Here: http://www.virtueonline.org/nashotah-house-culture-wars and here: http://tinyurl.com/y7nwxuns

CANADA

The Diocese of Huron is slowly falling apart and may not be around much longer. Never mind, even as they sink into the sunset, it is important to have a consultation on the proposed changes to the Marriage Canon? So beginneth the "dialogue" and "discussions" about LGBT2Q2 etc. weddings. One of the participants is Stephen McClatchie, a practicing LGBT2Q2. So, the question is how come he is on the committee? Some folk might be afraid to speak out against the changes to "marriage" and intimidated by his very appearance! After all, why would one speak up against it only to hear an enraged sodomite yelling "hate" and "homophobia" at you!

Here's the real kicker, a source told VOL that there has been only 3 LGBT2Q2 "weddings" so far in all of Canada in the Anglican Church! The current conscience clause in the Marriage Canon will continue, but will it protect clergy who decline to perform a marriage ceremony for any couple for very long?

Meantime Archbishop Fred Hiltz publicly acknowledge this week that he expects sanctions on the Canadian church if it approves same-sex marriage. He also questioned whether the primates, by taking these punitive measures, were moving beyond the original purpose of their yearly meetings.

When the Primates met in Canterbury, Hiltz said the meeting sanctioned the Scottish Episcopal Church, which voted in June to allow same-sex marriages, and agreed to accept the same "consequences" that the primates had imposed on The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2016 after its decision to allow same-sex marriages.

The sanctions ban the churches from representing the Anglican Communion in ecumenical and interfaith bodies, taking part in internal standing committees or "in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity" for three years.

Of course, this never happened and TEC has sailed along as it always does ignoring any "consequences". It must be nice to have money to buy off the ACC and Lambeth Palace, but the ever shrewd Michael Curry knows how to go along to get along.

Interestingly, Hiltz said, very few decisions about church doctrine or polity are made at the Communion level anyway.

VIRTUEONLINE is on the move. I want share with you something we are working on. It is huge. Big things are headed for Virtue Online in the near future:

We are calling it: "VirtueOnline 2.0"

VirtueOnline will undergo nothing less than a complete upgrade and overhaul of all our future articles, content, strategy, huge social media strategy, up to and including rebuilding the website itself!

We are launching a crowdfund campaign to make this happen with your help.
The campaign launches October 30th.

Announcement: http://virtueonline.org/crowdfund-campaign-virtueonline
Discuss on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/virtueonline/

We hope to hear from you.

David

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