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Welby's head handed to him by Africans at ACC-17 * Heather Cook gets 'Get out of Jail' card * Durham Parish welcomes Islamic Worshippers * Welsh Anglicans Quash Same Sex Marriage but Reject WO as Litmus Test for Ordinands*9,000 Churches to close in Canada

Welby's head handed to him by Africans at ACC-17 * Heather Cook gets 'Get out of Jail' card * Durham Parish welcomes Islamic Worshippers * Welsh Anglicans Quash Same Sex Marriage but Reject WO as Litmus Test for Ordinands * 9,000 Churches to close in Canada, Many are Anglican * Rev. Richard Bewes Dies * GAFCON Diocese underway in NZ

The left in America desperately wants a leftist faith as its handmaiden. They want (and even demand) a new and "progressive" Christianity. --- Albert Mohler

In the hands of left-wingers, the mantle of oppression has become the greatest tool for oppressing others, denying free speech, the free exercise of religion, academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, and intelligent free debate, thereby proving the doctrine of depravity ---Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.

"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility." -- Professor Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Discourse in the Age of Show Business

I loathe the cliche "everyone has a story". Most of our stories are quite wicked and regrettable but we glorify them on the basis of our common humanity without assessing them in light of divine holiness and truth. Demas had his story. Do we soften to it? Judas had his story. Do we respect it? Michael Curry and Jon Meacham have their stories. Do we tolerate them? Repentance in humility and love before God is our lifetime's soul-work down here. But we all commit the crime of heresy by going our own way and brazenly disputing with God. He is merciful to our honest doubts and desperate questionings but not to a career of controverting with his plain truth in a mood of religious nit-picking and deeming ourselves smart in so doing. Evangelicals are being seriously tempted to cozy up to the world. --- Rev. Roger Salter

In many parts of the world, the greatest competition for the hearts and minds of people is between biblical Christianity and the prosperity gospel. And the central problem of the prosperity gospel is not that it offers too much, but that it offers too little. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings salvation, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting. The prosperity gospel promises a Ferrari. At least it did for Joel Osteen. --- Albert J. Mohler

God's provision. Grace and mercy are both expressions of God's love, grace to the guilty and undeserving, mercy to the needy and helpless. Peace is that restoration of harmony with God, others and self which we call 'salvation'. Put together, peace indicates the character of salvation, mercy our need of it and grace God's free provision of it in Christ. --- John R.W. Stott

After hearing white "gay" state representative Brian Sims' harassing and attempting to shame a pro-life elderly Catholic woman for being a "white" person praying at an abortion clinic, the obvious response is: How does an abortion clinic killing a disproportionately high rate of Black babies support the view that Black Lives Matter? --- Robert A. J. Gagnon

There will be no way for the Archbishop of Canterbury to convene a task group to deal with ACNA without dealing with Gafcon, and there will be no way to have a fruitful dialogue with Gafcon without backing up to Lambeth 1998 and the "consequences" that flowed from it. And such a turnaround by Canterbury has been repeatedly refused. --- Dr. Stephen Noll

Free grace. The gospel is the gospel of grace, of God's free and unmerited favour. To turn from him who called you in the grace of Christ is to turn from the true gospel. Whenever teachers start exalting man, implying that he can contribute anything to his salvation by his own morality, religion, philosophy or respectability, the gospel of grace is being corrupted. That is the first test. The true gospel magnifies the free grace of God. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
May 17, 2019

Archbishop Justin Welby got his head handed to him on a platter in Hong Kong where the ACC-17 met last week, and the platter wasn't made of silver. John the Baptist did better.

The chaos of ACC-17 Hong Kong came to a head with Welby finding himself shot down in one resolution after another over homosexuality. Welby preferred to fall on his sword for a handful of homosexuals rather than persecuted Christians. He would sooner broker sodomy and homosexual marriage into the Anglican Communion regardless of how this impacts African Christians facing persecution by Islamic militants.

That was the takeaway from Hong Kong this week, where the ACC-17 crowd met. Welby left emptied-handed, with a failed resolution, apologizing all over the place. An Episcopal bishop from Oklahoma took it in the face from several African bishops, who expressed horror that homosexuality was so upfront in the Anglican Communion when other more pressing issues bewail the Communion.

One bishop even mentioned the hated "G" word, which must have had Welby wetting his pants. He hates GAFCON. He has called them a "ginger group" and he insulted Archbishop Beach by saying he can show up as an "ecumenical observer" next year at Lambeth.

That is not going to happen, of course. Archbishop Beach will not be there. But a couple of orthodox primates from the Global South will show up just to read the riot act (an Athanasian moment) to the assembled bishops, undercutting Welby's, "I am the focus of unity" message, which is now in tatters.

Meanwhile, the GAFCON primates who were meeting in Sydney turned the tables on Welby, totally blindsiding him and announced that they were going to hold a conference of their own next year in Kilgali, Rwanda, for all faithful bishops who will sign off on the Jerusalem Declaration and affirm Lambeth 1:10.

The GAFCON primates will meet in June, just one month before Lambeth. They just cut off Welby's legs.

Welby got upstaged...again. He must be fit to be tied. He can't spin, ignore, prevaricate any longer. He just got his head handed to him by GAFCON chairman and ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and his fellow primates.

Now regardless of how many show up, they will still represent only 20 million of the 70 million Anglicans worldwide. Welby may boast of a larger number of bishops at Lambeth, but they will represent only 20 million Anglicans. That includes the Bishop of Northern Michigan, who can boast a mere 400 ASA Episcopalians on any given Sunday. This is both laughable and pathetic.

One wonders what is going on in Welby's brain now that the Hong Kong debacle is over. He leaves, tail between his legs, hopelessly outgunned by liberals and a handful of African conservatives. Who knows, perhaps they were sent as ringers to torture Welby!

Would anybody really be surprised if Welby decided to do a Rowan Williams and leave the office years before he has to and run a small HTB parish in London's East End! You can read my story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/archbishop-justin-welby-should-resign
Another story I wrote can be seen here: https://www.virtueonline.org/welby-pushes-anglican-communion-edge-hoping-redemption

Perhaps the penny will drop and Welby will finally realize that he cannot serve two masters. What a lesson to learn.

Two very important commentaries on this event are posted here. One is by Wycliffe theologian Andrew Atherstone, which you can read here: http://virtueonline.org/what-really-happened-anglican-consultative-council-acc-17. The other is by Dr. Stephen Noll who critiques Atherstone's too irenic approach to ACC-17, which you can read here:
https://www.virtueonline.org/gafcon-and-acc-17-response-andrew-atherstone Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council also weighed in. Here is his take: https://www.virtueonline.org/anglican-consultative-council-adding-dysfunction-broken-instruments-communion

It's interesting to note that as the influence of the ACC wanes in the Anglican Communion and the influence of GAFCON grows, the ACC is doubling down and increasing its budget to fund its strategic plan from $3 million to $6.4 million for 2025. Do they honestly think they can head off GAFCON at the pass by throwing money at their cause?

*****

In Baltimore, MD, Heather Cook, the former Episcopal bishop who garnered headlines around the world after fatally striking a Baltimore bicyclist with her car while driving drunk two days after Christmas in 2014, has been released from prison.

Cook, 62, served just over half of the seven-year sentence she was originally given on four criminal charges in connection with the crash that killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo, a software engineer and married father of two, on Dec. 27, 2014.

Released from the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women, she will be on supervised probation for five years, according to her attorney, David Irwin of Towson.

Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said Cook will be required to report within 24 hours to a Parole and Probation field office for intake.

"She will then be classified and assigned to an office location according to the home address she provides to us," he said in an email.

Cook will learn the exact conditions of her probation at the meeting.

Cook was the No. 2 official in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland at the time she struck Palermo, who was 41 and the father of two young children, with her 2001 Subaru Forester in Roland Park. You can read more here: https://tinyurl.com/y5ga6zzw

It is quite amazing that we hear nothing from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry about the benefits of white privilege in that she was sprung from prison after doing half her sentence. Would such a male or female person of color be afforded such a quick release?

*****

As the Church of England declines into the sunset with diminishing congregations, slowly, but inevitably brokering in same sex marriage, some parishes want to bend over even further to make nice with local Muslims.

A case in point this week occurred in the Diocese of Durham, where a parish church, The Church of St Matthew and St Luke, Darlington, agreed to provide separate worship space so men and women could offer segregated worship. The church in question offered to cover crosses and other sacred images in order to host Islamic prayers and an Iftar meal for the local Muslim community. Rebel priest, Dr. Jules Gomes, ripped into this parish for "being ashamed of the gospel" after saying it would cover crosses.

Meanwhile, Durham Cathedral sent out a second email confirming it would be participating in the Gay Pride Parade on May 26 and invited staff and volunteers to join.

Dr. Andrew Bosanquet, a scientist, wrote to Bishop Butler, saying that he was "deeply saddened by the stand of the present Durham Cathedral authorities in so openly supporting Gay Pride. Bishop Butler did not respond to the letter.

The Iftar meal and Muslim prayers will go ahead on June 2 in the parish.

You can read the full story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/durham-church-offers-cover-crosses-while-hosting-muslim-iftar-meal

*****

Following the recent meeting of GAFCON archbishops and bishops in Australia, an "Anglican Foundations: A Handbook to the Source Documents of the English Reformation" was made available to attendees.

One attendee wrote VOL and said how they were privileged to hear Archbishops Foley Beach and Ben Kwashi speak at Holy Trinity, Adelaide, as part of their What's Next? Confidently Preaching Christ GAFCON Australia tour. You can see more here: http://www.gafconaustralia.org/.

"It was most encouraging, explaining clearly how the Anglican Communion had reached this current stage and providing a helpful update on the way ahead and the need to hold to the Word of God.

"During proceedings, mention was made of a recent book (December 2018), authored by Rev. Dr. Tim Patrick, Principal and Lecturer in Theology, Bible College of South Australia, setting out the foundational texts of the Anglican Communion. The book is readily available internationally. The best way for readers around the world to obtain it easily is via Booko, which provides a range of booksellers in different countries and their respective prices for the book and delivery."
https://booko.com.au/9781906327538/Anglican-Foundations-A-Handbook-to-the-Source-Documents-of-the-English-Reformation

Anglican Foundations is an unparalleled resource that offers students, ordinands, and all committed Anglicans the ideal orientation to the doctrinal texts of the English Reformation.

*****

IN WALES, the House of Bishops pondered same sex relationships. Following a debate, in a secret ballot, by a margin of 76 to 21, they supported the bishops' view that it is pastorally unsustainable for the Church in Wales to make no formal provision for those in same-sex relationships. They were clear to state that it was not a binding vote of the Governing Body, and did not, in any respect, change the Church's teaching and practice on marriage. Rather, the bishops received the vote as permission to undertake new work on the question of how the Church in Wales might make some kind of formal provision in this area.

Well, we know how all this will eventually go. There will be endless "listening" talks coupled with talks of "diversity" and finally, acceptance. The Church's pansexualists will wear down the opposition with cries of homophobia and hate and sooner or later, the bishops will cave in, as they have done in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland.

One small pushback did occur in Wales, when a motion, put forward by a woman priest demanding future candidates for ordination who do not accept the role of women priests, be denied access to ordination fell apart. The Church in Wales governing body rejected the proposal, with the Ven. Peggy Jackson back-peddling as fast she could, saying she was misunderstood.

*****

The Queen has appointed her first female 'Dean of Her Majesty's Chapels Royal' since the post was created in the Middle Ages.

Bishop Sarah Mullally, who was also appointed Bishop of London in March 2018, will take over from the retiring holder, The Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. Lord Chartres, this summer - which means one of her first tasks could be to baptize little Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the newborn son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Mother-of-two, Bishop Mullally is a self-described feminist, who ordains both men and women and has been described as a 'theological liberal'. The role means she is the primary representative of the Church in the Royal Court.

*****

In Toronto, Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS) v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). The court unanimously upheld the CPSO's policies on medical assistance in dying and human rights obligations. The policies require doctors who conscientiously object to ethically controversial procedures (such as euthanasia/assisted suicide and abortion) to take "positive action" to facilitate them, such as by providing an "effective referral" to a willing and available physician.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO), and the Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF) -- who jointly intervened in the case as a Coalition, said they were disappointed with the ruling. Bishop Ronald Fabbro, ACBO President and Bishop of London, commented:

"This decision is a step backwards for conscience rights in our province. Of particular concern is the wording in the Court of Appeal decision which suggests that conscientious objectors pursue an area of medicine that is less controversial. We run the very real risk of losing many good physicians who entered the practice motivated by a desire to heal their patients which was rooted in their own personal beliefs. Across Canada and throughout the world, we have seen an appropriate balance struck between patient rights and those of health care providers. Sadly, this is not the case in our province."

*****

Approximately 9,000 churches in Canada are estimated to close over the next 10 years based on data collected by the National Trust for Canada. There are only around 1676 Anglican parishes in Canada according to a 2007 census: https://www.anglican.ca/ask/faq/number-of-anglicans/), so if about a quarter close, that would be 400 or so closing. That would be at least two or three whole dioceses disappearing, which will be faster if the ACoC splits over the attempt to legitimize same sex marriage at their next general convention.

So, what do the churches lose?

Regeneration Works estimates that there are about 27,600 faith buildings in Canada, based on data from the Statistics Canada business register that was included in a 2009 survey by Natural Resources Canada. Of those, 9,000--a third--are estimated to close in the next 10 years. The impact of these closures would reach beyond where people worship on Sunday mornings.

"At the moment it is believed that faith communities are the largest not-for-profit landlords, real estate holders, in this nation," says Fry. "So there's a great deal of land that, if we don't make careful decisions, will pass back into commercial landlords' hands."

*****

As the Church of England slowly implodes and parishes begin leaving for better spiritual pastures, you will see more parishes like this declaring their independence.

Recently, the Rev. Peter Sanlon vicar of St. Mark's Church of England parish in Tunbridge Wells took his congregation out of the Church of England and began Emmanuel Anglican Church. This is a new congregation of the Free Church of England congregation, which now meets in the library of a community center on a housing estate about a mile down the hill from the center of town.

The decision was influenced by the history of the town: a fellowship with the name of Emmanuel Church was established as part of the foundation of the Countess of Huntingdon in the 18th century; this later became part of the Free Church of England, but closed in the early part of the 20th century. So, the new church is actually a revival of an old one. You can see a video detailing his theology and departure from the CofE here: https://youtu.be/26N8eYfglDU

*****

A notable British clergyman died this week. He was the Rev. Richard Bewes, successor to the Rev, John Stott of All Souls, Langham Place, London.

Christian leaders from across the world responded with warm tributes to the news of Prebendary Richard Bewes' peaceful release from months of suffering from cancer. He died at his home in Virginia Water, surrounded by Timothy, Wendy, Stephen and his wife, Pam.

A child of the East African Revival in the 1930s, he treasured his African roots and was the UK chairman of African Enterprise for 32 years. The son of missionary parents, Canon Cecil and Mrs Sylvia Bewes, Richard was born in 1934 in Nairobi and spent his first five years in what became (over 40 years later) the library of St Andrew College of Theology and Development in Kabare, founded by Archbishop David Gitari in 1977.

Richard's send-off from All Souls in 2004 was accompanied by a spectacular rendition of the Beatles' great hit Hey Bewes by the members of his staff team. In his mid-70s he launched the online video website "The Sermon".

He was appointed Prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral in 1988 and awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2005.

Richard was a longtime friend of Billy Graham. Bishop Gavin Reid writes: "Richard was the key player in bringing Billy Graham to London for Mission '89, which centered on three mission phases around London: West Ham, Crystal Palace and Earls Court, with a finish at Wembley. He was an enthusiastic chairman of the event.

"He proved a very tactful leader of the various committees full of people with strong personalities."

Richard named his last home "Montreat" after Billy Graham's home in Asheville, North Carolina. Leighton Ford writes: "Richard Bewes was one of my brother-in-law Billy Graham's special friends, and one of his valued advisers. He respected him so highly that, if it had been timely, he wanted him to preach at his own homegoing service."

A funeral service with thanksgiving and memorial will be held at All Souls, Langham Place, on 7 June at 2 PM.

You can read the full obituary here: https://www.virtueonline.org/richard-bewes-bible-his-pocket-and-jesus-his-heart

*****

Last month, the Gafcon Primates affirmed the decision to form a new Anglican extra-provincial diocese, and your prayers would be much appreciated as the inaugural synod are meeting in New Zealand Friday 17th and Saturday 18th May.

As representatives of 12 churches meet, please pray for the ability to discuss things robustly, good gospel unity and for the Lord to guide us to good decisions.

Please pray that the structure and leadership we come up with will allow us to preach Christ faithfully here in the coming days and years. This is the day of small things, and there are large areas of the country where people live far from gospel-minded churches so pray we'd ensure that the evangelism of this nation, the raising up of leaders, and planting new churches amongst the unreached would be the heartbeat of the new diocese.

In 2016, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ACANZP) accepted a report which stated that the Church wanted to find a way to remain united despite having two integrities on matters of sexuality. After much debate, the Church changed their canons last year to allow the formal blessing of same-sex relationships. For some, the decision in 2016 caused them to leave the ACANZP, others followed when the canons were changed. Relationships between these folk and between them and the ACANZP have, for the most part been gracious and cordial. The churches forming the extra-provincial diocese include those who left in 2016 and those who left later. As they made their decisions about the future, their desire to serve each other and those who will come after them, was evident.

Rev'd Jay Behan, the Minister of St Stephen's in Christchurch was at the Primates Council at the start of the month and has been so grateful to Gafcon for standing with them and praying with them. Watch his interview here in which he discusses the reasons for leaving and how the new diocese will be formed.

*****

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All Blessings,

David

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