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2023 - The Year in Review * Evangelicals Wrestle with what to do now that SS Blessings are Approved * Welby's Mother leaves him $3million * WCC Head Berates Israel over War in Gaza * Evangelical Bishop Colin Buchanan Dies * More

2023 - The Year in Review * Evangelicals Wrestle with what to do now that SS Blessings are Approved * Welby's Mother leaves him $3million * WCC Head Berates Israel over War in Gaza * Evangelical Bishop Colin Buchanan Dies * More

The greatest gift. God gives the Spirit; we receive him. Indeed, the greatest gift the Christian has ever received, ever will or could receive, is the Spirit of God himself. He enters our human personality and changes us from within. He fills us with love, joy, and peace. He subdues our passions and transforms our characters into the likeness of Christ. Today there is no man-made temple in which God dwells. Instead, his temple is his people. He inhabits both the individual believer and the Christian community. 'Do you not know', asks Paul, 'that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you?' Again: 'Do you not know that you yourselves [plural, corporately] are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?' (1 Cor. 6:19; 3:16). -- John R.W. Stott

I believe the Episcopal Church draws more than its share of media attention because its leaders wear religious garb, work in conveniently located buildings, speak fluent politics and promote a mystical brand of moral liberalism. Episcopalians look like Roman Catholics and act like liberal politicians. -- OnReligion.com

As 2024 begins, it's hard not to notice that wokeness is a religion in decline. The data points are all around us -- whether seen in a growing awareness of the futility of transgender surgery, the hypocrisy of elite climate panic peddlers, falling support for same-sex relationships, or the dawning realisation that the cult's high priests would sooner support Hamas terrorists than the babies they murder. -- Kurt Mahlburg, Mercator.net

This year marks the eightieth anniversary of the lectures that became C. S. Lewis's book The Abolition of Man. Speaking to an audience at the height of the Second World War, Lewis identified the central problem of the modern age: The world was losing its sense of what it meant to be human. --- First Things
Modernity has shunted religion and the supernatural to the margins, at the cost of stripping the world of its mystery. The sea of faith recedes, Matthew Arnold wrote in a great poem, and we hear only its "melancholy, long, withdrawing roar." --- Carl Trueman

Evangelicals have been taking a thrashing for the support many in their ranks have lent to Donald Trump. One can ignore the criticism as just more venom aimed at a group that was always "outside" the mainstream--or make some hard choices. Either way, things are about to get ugly --- Mike Cosper

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
January 5, 2024

Welcome to 2024.

If you thought 2023 was unwieldy, you might be surprised at how 2024 could turn out.

Here are some observations and predictions.

If there is not a nationwide spiritual revival, the following could take place.

Forty million dechurched Americans will not suddenly return to church. Their numbers might even increase. The numbers of Nones, (people without religion, but vaguely spiritual) will continue to rise. Liberal mainline Protestant denominations will continue to decline; evangelicals will likely grow, but there is little evidence that they will be anything but vacuous theologically. (As the late J. I. Packer observed, evangelicals in America are 3000 miles wide and half an inch deep.) Homosexual marriage and LGBTQ sexualities will be normalized, with transgenderism becoming more acceptable. Abortion will rage on as an issue, and with the abortion pill in doubt by the Supreme Court, states will continue to exercise their right to determine if a woman can have an abortion.

The drug culture will see more deaths and homelessness will continue to rise. A gun culture will increase the likelihood of civil war if Trump loses the next election. A woke culture, if not contained will sweep America off the cliff. However, as Kurt Mahlburg of Mercator News notes, there are signs that as 2024 begins, it's hard not to notice that wokeness is a religion in decline. The data points are all around us -- whether seen in a growing awareness of the futility of transgender surgery, the hypocrisy of elite climate panic peddlers, falling support for same-sex relationships, or the dawning realization that the cult's high priests would sooner support Hamas terrorists than the babies they murder.

Christians will feel more isolated, with many losing jobs over their failure to express the language changes that go along with sex changes in society.

Mega churches will begin to flame out, as their leaders will reveal themselves as more interested in power, sex, and money. The Roman Catholic Church will stay afloat with immigration from South America. Older generations of Catholics will die off forcing many parishes to close. Pope Francis will either retire or die, but his legacy on homosexuality will live on causing chaos and confusion among the faithful.

There will be fewer seminaries and seminarians as churches shrink, making it impossible to find and fund the next generation of pastors and priests.

Technology will continue to isolate people, loneliness will increase, while the concept of community continues to shrivel. Suicides will increase as will Medical Assistance in Dying, (MAID) is normalized.

Trump and evangelicals will continue to dominate the political scene as we head towards a national election.

The T shirt slogan, "Jesus is my Savior; Trump is my president" will be seen more frequently. The far left will clash with the far right, with many wondering if there is still a political middle. Fear and hatred will continue to ratchet up as we get closer to November. The left will increasingly win the culture wars, though pushback is increasingly being seen from concerned parents and conservative churches.

Politics and religion will be so intertwined that secularism might look attractive to both doubters and seekers.

What we will see emerging is small groups of believers, not denominationally driven, who will look for authentic worship, biblical (expository) preaching, Eucharistic practicing and community embracing. Such groups might well be the salvation of America. We shall see.

Small, orthodox denominations like the ACNA, PCA, NALC along with continuing Anglican churches and traditional Catholic Churches will grow but not enough to change or challenge the culture.

THE BIGGER global picture is that we will continue to see Christianity exploding in the Global South, with many predicting massive conversions of Muslims to Christ through dreams, prophecies, and healings. It could be the biggest breakout of the Christian faith in 2,000 years. Even as the west craters and major denominations slowly disappear their place will be taken by the rise of the Global South, especially in denominations like Anglicanism, Lutheranism and Catholicism. Pentecostals could outnumber Catholics in traditionally Catholic countries like Brazil.

The big news is the rise of house churches in countries where Christianity is officially forbidden. Christianity is growing the fastest in countries like Iran, China and Nepal. We could see a massive explosion of the gospel in the 10/40 window. There are predictions that many Jews will acknowledge Yeshua Messiah as Lord and Savior.

The overall picture is far from bleak, but for the West there is very little to shout about. While the Global South is winning the battle over homosexuality it is yet to be realized if they can win the war over modernity.


My lead story is the Year in Review. Of course, the top story was the Church of England's blessings of same sex unions. The bishops said there was no change in the church's doctrine of marriage. However, conservatives were upset, but revisionists and pansexualists said it did not go far enough. Archbishop Justin Welby took heat from both sides over the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) report calling for same-sex blessings and offered to resign.

The next three top stories involved GAFCON leaders meeting In Kigali, Rwanda and their rejection of the Archbishop of Canterbury as the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion. GAFCON chairman Foley Beach, said that unless Justin Welby repented, "we can no longer recognize him as first among equals."

Fourteen Primates and ten observers from the GSFA met in Cairo to reaffirm biblical doctrine of marriage. They call for a "reset of the communion" turning up the heat on Archbishop Justin Welby.

GAFCON Primates meeting in Uxbridge, UK reaffirm commitment to the Jerusalem Statement which rejects the proposition that authentic Anglicans are only those recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Reaffirm they are not leaving the Anglican Communion. Will work with GSFA to reset the communion. They say they will not attend the 2024 Primates' Meeting in Rome with those who support a revisionist agenda. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/year-review-top-ten-anglican-stories-2023


It should be apparent by now, even to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the locus of Anglicanism no longer lies in Lambeth Palace or Canterbury, and that Justin Welby no longer holds the spiritual or cultural reins of leadership in the Anglican Communion. It is why the Global South will win the Spiritual and Culture Wars in the Anglican Communion. A reset of the communion is underway and will not be stopped.

Mr. Welby has forfeited that right with decisions that have clearly gone against Scripture, the history of Anglicanism; slowly but steadily capitulating to the spirit of the age. You can read more here:


The big wrestle in the Church of England now that prayers for the blessing of same-sex relationships is official, is what will evangelicals do now?

In an interview Christian Today spoke with the Rev. John Dunnett, National Director of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC). He had this to say:

"The draft guidance being prepared by the House of Bishops included at an early stage the possibility that clergy can marry a same-sex partner and suggests it would be inappropriate to ask personal questions about the lifestyle of people offering for ordination. If these are included in the final guidance, then this would indeed be a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England. If that becomes the case, the CEEC would have to say that we cannot be part of a diocese that accepts two contradictory positions.

We need to be able to teach and preach what has always been understood as the Christian position on marriage, and call out other views as errant. The ordination and licensing of orthodox clergy should be overseen by an orthodox bishop and orthodox churches must be free to partner with other orthodox churches. They must not be forced to work with churches that have a view that has always been seen to be contrary to Scripture. There must also be a secure orthodox pipeline so that ordinations and training take place within an orthodox context, and senior appointment processes must be adapted to ensure orthodoxy into the future.

But then accusations arose that Church of England evangelicals were making secret plans to split the church. Nic Tall a member of General Synod and Secretary of the General Synod Gender & Sexuality Group made this charge and you can read it here: https://viamedia.news/2023/12/30/plotting-the-division-of-the-church-of-england/

This brought forth ripostes from theological heavyweights Ian Paul and Andrew Goddard. You can read their take here: https://virtueonline.org/have-evangelicals-made-secret-plans-split-church

Anglican Futures, a blog in touch with what is going on wrote this; "In October 2021, Anglican Futures predicted that the House of Bishops would seek to introduce experimental services to bless same-sex relationships in February 2023. Most dismissed it as fanciful, yet despite events unfolding in a slightly different order, by the end of 2023, approved blessings are taking place and standalone services may well be introduced on an experimental basis early in 2024.

For many this has come as a shock.

"Thousands of pages have been written to explain how those who accept the blessing of same-sex relationships have already turned away from what Christians have always believed about many foundational ideas; the nature of men and women, marriage, creation and procreation; how we define sin and what we need saving from; the nature and authority of the Scriptures; and even our understanding of the Triune God. But these are the doctrinal 'blocks' which have been quietly removed and replaced over many years, often without much comment from evangelicals." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/2023-four-lessons-learned

All false teaching has catastrophic salvific consequences and they are also, inevitably, attended by disastrous pastoral consequences."

The introduction of Prayers of Love and Faith cannot be dismissed as a storm in a teacup:

"What is clearly going on is that, contrary to all their protestations, the House of Bishops are sending a message to the country that the Church of England has changed its understanding on issues of human sexuality. And, to them at least, if that is the prize, the suffering of others, the rejection by the global church and the internal fragmentation is a price worth paying."

After November's Synod "The Day the Music Died", reflected the grief felt by many in the Church of England and it is unsurprising that in their heartache people have clung onto any hope offered.

As the impossibility of a Third Province (even for the faithful) became more obvious, other forms of 'Formal Structural Pastoral Provision" were suggested. To assist people as they considered the pros and cons of the options being bandied around, Anglican Futures explored a number of Anglican Myths:

Anglican Myth 1: It's my church - I'm the incumbent

Anglican Myth 2: "But can't we have "Alternative Episcopal Oversight"?

Anglican Myth 3: The bishop is the focus of unity

Anglican Myth 4: We can bankrupt the diocese

Anglican Myth 5: St Luke's is leaving the Church of England

Anglican Myth 6: The louder the better

Anglican Myth 7: The temporal-spiritual divide

Anglican Myth 8: Overseas bishops will be the answer

What it boils down to as that evangelicals cannot effectively do anything. If they leave, they will lose everything as the bishop and church owns everything. They will lose their pensions and security. But falling into compromise is no winning ticket either.

Aware of the difficult decisions facing faithful Anglicans in the year ahead, Anglican Futures began 2023 with an impassioned plea for clergy and laity to be like Daniel by considering the compromises which are part of living in a fallen world.

"Daniel resolved in his heart in advance what it was he would and would not do. In other words he was honest with himself about what he was doing and what was, and was not, acceptable. That is surely a good discipline - not to fall into compromise but to take reasoned decisions, justified by the exigencies of the situation, but always aware that doing so is somewhere between sub-optimal and a necessary evil.

"...the great test facing this generation is not getting the "right" answer to, "should I stay or should I go" but the holiness with which we treat those who come to the opposite conclusion. The real question, therefore, is, "How am I holy in this?"..."

2023 has revealed the theological instability of the Church of England and experience tells us it will take honesty and humility for faithful Anglicans to determine the best way forward.

Rico Tice of Christianity Explored, a movement out of All Soul's Langham Place left the Church to attend an independent church.... contact with CofE was damaging Christianity Explored but leading an ANiE church away from All Souls would have been seen as divisive.

Nicky Gumbel of ALPHA fame and the Anglican Alliance tried to play both ends against the middle. For 10-15 years he told his staff not to teach on sexuality to avoid damaging the Alpha brand. Now he has retired, and he seems to want to be in control of the orthodox.

The one option few seem to want to take is to leave. GAFCON, the ANiE and other entities await them if they so choose.

Andy Lines Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Network in Europe said this; "For both clergy and laity now standing at the crossroads and prayerfully considering their future path, we want to reassure them there is a road available which avoids an unknown and unsafe future as part of an apostate denomination, and draw their attention to the recent Gafcon Primates' statement (9 Nov 2023) which speaks of a way of being authentically Anglican apart from Canterbury-aligned structures: We... commend the ministry and witness of the Anglican Network in Europe as the appropriate and necessary provision of Gafcon for those who cannot in good conscience remain in a Church which flagrantly abandons the teaching of Scripture."


THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY WILL RETIRE RICH. When the Archbishop of Canterbury discovered via a DNA test that his father was Winston Churchill's private secretary, Sir Anthony Montague Browne, and not, as he had always believed, his mother's first husband, Gavin Welby, he admitted it was a great surprise but said it was also 'a story of redemption and hope'.

Now, Justin Welby's mother, Jane Williams, has sprung another surprise -- this time from beyond the grave. The Daily Mail disclosed that the archbishop has been informed that he has become a multi-millionaire, as his mother left him a staggering £2.4million ($3.08 million).

Welby can leave his post as a failure, having both wrecked the Church of England, and alienated himself from 85% of the Anglican Communion and retire rich.


The Rt. Rev. Colin Buchanan, (1934-2023) the last of a certain kind of evangelical bishop in the Church of England, died suddenly in the Leeds General Infirmary on November 29, at 89. The Church Times described him as "a devoted Reformation Anglican, which was a rather reactionary and unpopular thing to be in his prime, and he was persistent and focused, and surely was a major figure in ensuring that the Church of England's modern liturgies have a more Protestant character than those of other Anglican Churches in the Global North."

He was a force for growth of evangelicalism across the Anglican Communion in the last two generations. He was a passionate advocate of disestablishing the Church of England, and his 1994 book, Cut the Connection, led to a historic full General Synod debate on the subject. In all of these roles, as pre-eminent liturgist, as ecumenical opponent, as theological watchman, and as energetic bishop, Colin Buchanan was widely respected for his pastoral generosity, intellectual honesty, and abiding faith. Without a doubt, he stands in the line of John Wesley, Charles Simeon, William Wilberforce, and J.I. Packer as a tested guardian of Anglicanism's evangelical heritage. Ht/TLC


The growing verbal tumult over the war in Gaza is revealing in the side Christians are taking. Evangelicals, by and large, who stand with Israel are accused of Zionism, a slur word in today's debate, where robust opposition to Israel or Zionism crosses the line into antisemitism.

On the other side, the World Council of Churches, liberal Protestant churches of one stripe or another have taken up the cry of genocide aimed at Israel, calling for a ceasefire without thinking of the consequences of Hamas regrouping, rearming, and continuing to fire rockets into Israel.

Here is my opening paragraph: The gasbag irrelevancy World Council of Churches has weighed in on the war in Gaza calling for an immediate end to the brutal violence there. "Israel's military response in Gaza has become tantamount to a war not only against Hamas but against all the people of the territory," said WCC general secretary the Rev. Dr Jerry Pillay. Pillay himself has accused Israel of Apartheid in its policies towards Palestinians.

You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/religious-liberals-call-end-war-gaza-are-they-right


ON THE INTERNATIONAL front, NIGERIA has been ranked as the most dangerous and deadliest country for Christians. It is not mere speculation apparently. Nigerian Christians recorded several massacres at the hands of Islamists like Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen. Over 160 killed in Christian areas after wave of Christmas attacks. Armed groups attacked around 20 small villages in Plateau state in 2 days. Over the last 5 years tens of thousands of Nigerian Christians have been killed including many Anglicans. We hear little outrage from the world community or the UN these killings. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/tragedy-nigerian-christian-massacre

UGANDA. The High Court in Uganda's central district of Luwero has summoned 37 bishops, including the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda (CoU), Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, to defend themselves against the cancellation of the election of Rev. Canon Godfrey Kasana Ssemakula, as the fourth bishop of the Luwero Anglican Diocese. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/uganda-high-court-summons-archbishop-stephen-kaziimba-mugalu-36-other-bishops

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Steven Kaziimba Mugalu, has urged Christians in Africa not to pay attention to false teachings. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/ugandan-archbishop-warns-christians-warns-against-false-teachings


It is crunch time for the Anglican Church of Canada. The church's revenues are falling beneath the floor boards. Contributions from the dioceses to the national church are dropping, creating, on one level, uncertainty, on another, certainty - that program and staff cuts are imminent.

In one of those rare moments of inadvertent prophetic truth uttered by an Anglican bishop, Linda Nicholls observed:

The church is likely to remain smaller and be less affluent than it once was, she said, but these things should not be taken as signs that it is ending or that it is no longer watched over by God.

God is indeed watching as each year the ACoC becomes more liberal and less Christian than the year before. That is why it is in the sad state it's in today, writes orthodox Canadian journalist, David of Samizdat.

Amal Attia, the national church's treasurer and CFO, presented figures that showed that as of Sept. 30, the church was experiencing a revenue shortfall of just over $600,000, attributable mostly to diocesan contributions running $724,728 less than budgeted. Contributions from dioceses are expected to pick up by the time the year's numbers are finalized, she said, and a deficit of $153,667 is projected for the year. You can read more here: https://anglicanjournal.com/cogs-ponders-financial-future-as-revenues-drop/


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Epiphany blessings,


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