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34 years and still rolling * CofE abusive Bishop Dies * CofE Evangelical Vicar faces Sadomasochistic Charges * GAFCON Bishop says he was Spiritually Abused * Diocese of Maine Elects Homosexual Bishop. He calls Holy Spirit "she" * ACNA celebrates 10 years

34 years and still rolling * CofE abusive Bishop Dies * CofE Evangelical Vicar faces Sadomasochistic Charges * GAFCON Bishop says he was Spiritually Abused * Diocese of Maine Elects Homosexual Bishop. He calls Holy Spirit "she" * Anglican Communion now Canterbury Communion says ACNA Apb. * American Priest given 6-month remit in Sudan * ACNA Celebrates 10th Anniversary * 566 Bishops will be at Lambeth Conference

Have you ever noticed that every systematic effort to create heaven on earth--to "immanentize the eschaton"--has created hell on earth? Every. Single. One. Any belief system that fails to take seriously the determinateness of human nature and the fallenness and fallibility of man is, in a tragic and frightening irony, a dagger aimed at the heart of human dignity. It is a massive train-wreck waiting to happen. --- Robert P. George

Old Earth Creationists, such as myself, acknowledge the deep time of Earth's existence and human existence. We accept two key ideas of Evolution: mutation and adaptation. However, we question the theories of natural selection and common ancestry. The physical evidence does not permit us to regard natural selection as a law of Nature, though there certainly is evidence that such a mechanism may be at work at times and among isolated species. --- Alice Linsley

The gospel is less about how to get into the Kingdom of heaven after you die, and more about how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven before you die --- Dallas Willard

There are 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S. 477,000 are now followers of Christ. Many more are open to the gospel. --- Source www.newwineskins.org

Data from the Church in Wales shows Anglican churches are closing at a rate of about 10 every year, with attendance dropping off as the numbers of people saying they had no religion rose. --- Church of Wales

The decline in America's birthrate is dramatic, and profound for society. The National Center for Health Statistics reported a few weeks ago that the number of babies born in the U.S. last year fell to a 32-year low. Meantime, the general fertility rate--defined as the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44--fell to the lowest level since the start of federal record-keeping. --- The Wall Street Journal

United to Christ. When we become united to Christ by faith, something so tremendous happens that the New Testament cannot find language adequate to describe it. It is a new birth, yes, but also a new creation, a resurrection, light out of darkness, and life from the dead. We were slaves, now we are sons. We were lost, now we have come home. We were condemned and under the wrath of God, now we have been justified and adopted into his family. What subsequent experience can possibly compare with this in importance? We must be careful, in describing deeper experiences, not to denigrate regeneration or to cast a slur on this first, decisive and creative work of God's love. --- John R.W. Stott

Christianity is not disappearing--instead, it's spreading and shifting its geographical center. In 1910, Europe and North America (the West) contained 80 percent of the world's self-identified Christians. Today, it's 40 percent and declining. Meanwhile in the 21st century, almost 24 percent of the world's Christians live in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to less than 2 percent a hundred years earlier. The church in China is also rapidly expanding with an estimated 120 million Christians. --- Christianity Today

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
June 28, 2019

MORE THAN 30 years ago I began writing about the Episcopal Church and the broader Anglican Communion. They were heady days, but it was apparent to me even then that the Episcopal Church was heading down a road that it should not take and one I personally did not want to take. My own parish was orthodox (evangelical) at that time, but today is no longer.

At the time (now 34 years exactly), I said the Episcopal Emperors running the Church had no spiritual clothes and that by embracing pansexuality the Church would, over time, come to a disastrous end.

I came up against the powers that be with a vengeance. Liberals and revisionists yelled and screamed that I lacked inclusion, behaved like a fundamentalist, failed to see a new and rising diversity that would include everybody and sweep away people like myself as Neanderthals of another time.

Even conservatives berated me for being "shrill" and "strident." I would not last they said. I would be buried by both sides for lacking tolerance and understanding.

Against all odds I held on. I knew in my heart of hearts that Scripture could not be broken, that the gospel was true, and any compromise on sexuality issues would bring disaster and God's wrath. Come as you are, stay as you are, went the cry. It proved to be a wrong formula for success.

Now more than three decades later, the ranks of orthodox Episcopalians have been shredded, only a handful of orthodox dioceses can be found; some say just one remains -- the Diocese of Albany and its Bishop, William H. Love. That is probably the truth, but the tide is against even him as he fights to keep his bishopric.

One by one, dioceses fell over themselves to promote the new-fangled doctrine of inclusion which meant homosexual priests and homosexual marriage. In time, homosexuality included lesbianism and soon LGBTQI was born and now holds sway in the halls of ecclesiastical power.

Today, openly homosexual and lesbian priests and bishops dominate pulpits and dioceses, actively pushed and promoted by a presiding bishop who sees nothing wrong with a behavior that Scripture proscribes. Increasingly, the number of women taking over dioceses has increased even though there is not a shred of evidence that they can make churches or dioceses grow. But for the sake of "rights" and "virtue-signaling", women must be given everything a man can do and promoted to the highest ranks of the Church. A female presiding bishop was inevitable, who said she could not believe in personal salvation, miracles and Christ's substitutionary atonement.

And what has The Episcopal Church attained for all its inclusiveness? Growth, peace and harmony, acknowledgement by society for its openness...a Nobel Prize for inclusion? None of the above. Today the Church is in freefall, held together mostly by The Church Pension Group and dead men's money. Lawsuits for properties rage on with millions of dollars spent to recover properties that will soon be empty in 10 years, if not earlier. The average age of an Episcopalian is now in his/her mid Sixties and most of the clergy are aged between 55 and 70, with fewer and fewer younger clerics coming forward to replace them.

Nearly half of the denomination's parishes are run by part time and/or non-stipendiary priests. The hope that following the consecration of Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual man to the episcopacy, there would be a mighty inflow into the Church never materialized. It was a lie pushed and promoted
by pansexualists. It never happened.

More than 100,000 walked out the door and the Anglican Church in America was born, The rest, as they say, is history.

*****

It was another bad week for the Church of England (do they ever have good weeks?) This time the bad news revolved around four separate incidents that seemingly show just how morally corrupt the CofE is and why GAFCON is needed, growing and will, in time, take over the Anglican Communion.

The first piece of bad news is the Bishop Peter Ball saga. Ball was a priest who sodomized his way through 16 boys and young men over a period of 15 years, was a protege of Britain's royal family anddied this week in Taunton, in southwest England. He was 87. Mr. Ball had a sprawling network of well-positioned friends, among them Lord Carey and Prince Charles, who provided him housing on one of his estates.

Those powerful friends helped reinstate Ball to the ministry in 1993 after he had admitted to an act of gross indecency, as described under the law, with a 19-year-old man and accepted a police caution, which allowed him at first to avoid a criminal trial. Two decades later, in 2015, the case was reopened. His trial was an acute embarrassment to the church, unearthing a history of complaints about Mr. Ball that had gone ignored by church officials. He served 18 months of a 32-month sentence.

Then came news that GAFCON missionary bishop Andy Lines, who covers for Anglicans in Scotland, the UK, and Europe, was a victim of spiritual abuse and had undergone months of counselling and support.

"Those with spiritual authority are like all in authority. All authority is open to abuse or manipulation," he said in a statement issued through Anglican Mission in Europe (AMiE).

"I have been coming to terms with elements of spiritual manipulation in my own life. It has been a very hard and painful process requiring months of professional counselling for me to come to terms with what I have experienced. I now realize the nature of what was happening. I have come to realize that this can happen to strong as well as vulnerable people. I have become aware that the particular manipulation and control I have experienced has been experienced by a number of others." You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/leading-gafcon-bishop-says-he-was-victim-spiritual-abuse

BOTTOM SMACKING. It seems to be the fetish of choice with evangelicals in the Church of England. First, we had a certain John Smyth, a British barrister, who was alleged to have carried out "sadomasochistic physical abuse" on young men in the 1970s and 1980s at Iwerne Trust camps, an evangelical camp where more than 80 survivors stepped forward with complaints that they were beaten by Smyth. The said gentlemen then fled to South Africa, where his activities sadly continued and 90 other young men were abused. Smyth died before being brought back to England. Survivors of abuse and campaigners expressed dismay at the news that Smyth died before he could be brought to justice.

Now another similar report in England has just been released, where the Rev. Jonathan Fletcher of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, one of the Church of England's leading evangelical figures has been banned from preaching after "spiritually abusing" vulnerable adults, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Fletcher, 76, was stripped of his Church powers by the Bishop of Southwark in 2017, following complaints made to the London church where he used to be minister. In late September 2018, concrete allegations were made about conduct involving Jonathan and other men. In late 2018, a small number of allegations were made of the practice of physical discipline in the context of discipling relationships. One example of this involved men hitting each other on their naked backsides with a trainer for failing to meet personal targets. This took place over a period of time.

The Emmanuel Church has set up a website which offers support to those who have suffered from his "unacceptable behaviours", and since April there has been a hurried effort to ensure that those churches which have invited him to preach (without Permission to Officiate or presumably DBS certificate) withdraw such invitations as soon as possible. The terms of the letter sent out by the Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Rev. Rod Thomas, the Rev. Robin Weekes, the Rev. Will Taylor and the Rev. Vaughan Roberts certainly suggests that they were not entirely confident they had their former colleague's full co-operation in standing down.

Interestingly, Jonathan Fletcher's brother was Chairman of the Iwerne Trust which first invited, hosted and then excluded Smyth before he was "encouraged" to emigrate to South Africa following revelations of his hanky panky.

This is a bad time for the Evangelical wing of the Church of England. A report from the Archbishop Cranmer blog says full extent of the damage has not yet come to full public prominence. There is more to come.

He writes: "There is a further major complication for the church over the tensions associated with the Evangelical movements REFORM and GAFCON. These potentially secessionist movements present real problems for the Anglican leadership, which is treading carefully and sensitively in its engagement with those who threaten schism over well-known issues."

*****

The Episcopal Diocese of Maine consecrated a homosexual to be their next bishop. The Rt. Rev. Thomas James Brown was given his miter on Saturday as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Maine at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland. He is the first openly partnered homosexual to be installed as a diocesan bishop in the U.S. since Gene Robinson in 2003. The service was led by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

A video posted on the diocese's YouTube channel showed participants, including Brown, calling the Holy Spirit a "she" during the recitation of the Nicene Creed. It is unclear if Curry said "she." Microphones captured the creed being recited as, "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who with the Father and the Son, She is worshiped and glorified. She has spoken through the Prophets."

Brown's consecration comes ahead of next year's global gathering of Anglican bishops at Lambeth. Will Archbishop Justin Welby send a note to the newly anointed bishop telling him his male partner is not welcome next year? Stay tuned.

The Diocese of Maine reports 11,322 members and 3,694 attendees spread across 59 congregations. Membership declined 15.1 percent between 2007 and 2017, while attendance for the same period declined 25.8 percent.

A reader told VOL that Brown was previously director of education for a local Planned Parenthood affiliate for several years.

*****

An American Episcopal priest, the Rev. Patrick Augustine, who was ordained an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Bor in South Sudan, did not get the approval of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and will have to leave the country in six months.

A statement released by the Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Rev. Justin Badi Arama, said that misinformation about his consecration had been spread about his appointment (by the ENS) and he bluntly said that the Rev. Patrick Augustine was not a bridge-builder for reconciliation between the ECSS and TEC. Bishop Augustine's consecration and views do not reflect the stand of South Sudan Province
"He is not a bridge for reconciliation between The Episcopal Church and South Sudan," said the archbishop.

The Sudanese Episcopal Church repudiated the election of Bishop V. Gene Robinson to the episcopacy and the recent same-sex marriage resolution (B012) passed by the Episcopal House of Bishops. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/us-episcopal-priest-only-has-six-month-remit-stay-south-sudan

*****

It was a big week for the Anglican Church in North America. The ACNA celebrated its 10-year anniversary in Plano this week. There were over 1,100 attendees from 23 countries, that included 10 Primates from the Global South with ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach announcing new GAFCON Anglican dioceses, as the moral and theological divide between Lambeth and GAFCON grows exponentially.

"The Anglican Communion has a rich heritage that is evangelical and catholic, but the virus of revisionism and liberalism continues to spread all around the Anglican world. The powers that be in the Anglican Communion establishment are not doing anything to stop it and the result is that they are infecting provinces around the world. This is not the gospel and what the scriptures teach us," Archbishop Beach told attendees.

"Passion for the gospel and people must stand for truth against western secularism but in their own cultures," he said.

Beach praised the new extra provincial diocese in New Zealand and said a new bishop would be consecrated in October this year. When asked if reconciliation was ever possible between TEC and the ACNA, he said it was not possible to have reconciliation if the other side is suing you. You can read more about this significant Anglican conference here: https://virtueonline.org/plano-tx-acna-annual-assembly-draws-over-1100-anglicans-including-global-south-primates-and-bishops
Here: https://virtueonline.org/plano-tx-acna-leader-says-anglican-communion-faces-new-dark-age-and-new-reformation
And here: https://virtueonline.org/plano-tx-ten-years-anglicans-celebrate-prayer-book-and-discipleship
You can see videos of the conference here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AnglicanChurchNA

*****

In one of his first monthly newsletters as GAFCON chairman, ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach took a swipe at Archbishop Justin Welby and said the Anglican Communion was no more and should be called the "Canterbury Communion." He said the Archbishop of Canterbury had blundered by inviting progressive Anglican primates to Lambeth next year, while ignoring those primates who uphold reformational truths. "The liberals have their money, but we have the true gospel," said Ugandan Archbishop Stanley Ntagali.

Clearly orthodox Anglicans from both the West and Global South are exercising their spiritual muscle, declaring progressive Anglicans as enemies of the gospel. A growing number of Anglican provinces now say they will boycott the next Lambeth Conference. These include Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, with the ACNA archbishop and bishops refusing to attend as observers.

"We seek to be Biblical Christians in a global age as participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference. We are busy proclaiming Jesus Christ faithfully to the nations by making disciples, evangelizing those who don't know Jesus, and speaking into corruption, economic injustices, and moral concerns in their local communities," writes GAFCON chairman and ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach in his monthly newsletter.

*****

In Lansing, Michigan, a complaint was filed with the Roman Catholic bishop of Lansing, the Most Rev. Earl Boyea, after a parish in his diocese decided to host an Episcopal service for the retiring Episcopal Bishop of Michigan, the Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs. The complaint objects to Episcopalians using the consecrated space of St. Mary Magdalen on the grounds that the retiring Episcopal bishop supports LGBTQ marriage. Replacing Gibbs is a Chicago-area priest(ess), Dr. Bonnie Perry. Perry is an ex-Roman Catholic, noncelibate lesbian woman in a same-sex marriage.

The service, billed as a retirement service and mass for the outgoing Episcopal bishop is slated for November 9, at St. Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church in Brighton, which is located halfway between Detroit and the state capital of Lansing. VOL reached out to the RCC bishop for a comment, but had not heard back in time for this news bite. You can read the full report here: https://virtueonline.org/lansing-mi-pro-homosexual-episcopal-mass-catholic-church-draws-complaint

*****

Allegations of false teaching and prosperity preaching lodged against Suffragan Bishop-elect Augustine Unuigbe by a "Senior ACNA Clergy" elicited an apology from The Rt. Revd. Amos Fagbamiye, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT). The "senior ACNA clergy" has been identified as The Rev. Matt Kennedy, priest of the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, NY. He is in the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word, under Bishop Julian Dobbs.

In a press release from the diocese, Fagbamiye said Unuigbe had complied with all primatial directives on the issue. "Specifically, he submitted an undertaking to the Primate as directed in which he tendered an apology for any inadvertent error made in his sermon that elicited the allegations by the said "Senior ACNA Clergy." He assured the Primate of his continuous commitment to the teachings of the Word of God in its undiluted form and that he will continue to align with the vision of the Church of Nigeria, as a "Bible based" Church. He also re-affirmed his unflinching loyalty to the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and indeed to our Lord Jesus Christ."

The bishop-elect reiterated his obedience and absolute loyalty to the sole authority of the Holy Scriptures, and further said he will not undertake nor engage in any form of teaching that is opposed to the Holy Scriptures. He will desist from interfacing and arguing with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a body or members of her Province.

*****

The largest parish in the Scottish Episcopal Church, St. Silas, with some 225 members, voted to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church this past week. The parish voted to discontinue its status as a licensed private chapel within the Scottish Episcopal Church. After a process of consultation and prayer, a members' vote was held and an emphatic majority of 86% voted to leave.

The Church has made the following statement:

Recent decisions of the Scottish Episcopal Church have made clear to us that the denomination does not regard the Bible as the authoritative word of God. With deep sadness, we have therefore decided that for reasons of integrity we can no longer continue as part of the Scottish Episcopal Church. We want to leave with goodwill towards those with whom we are parting company, and sincerely pray for God's blessing for the SEC in the future, and its renewal around God's word. You can read the full story here:
https://virtueonline.org/st-silas-votes-leave-scottish-episcopal-church

*****

In Australia, the Diocese of Grafton Synod rejected both the National Constitution and Bishops' Agreement on Same-Sex Marriage, indicating it would walk away from aspects of the national church constitution and the recent Bishops' Agreement.

The Synod debated asking the General Synod to introduce same-sex marriage and blessing liturgies. That motion, as expected, was passed along with a number of related matters. What surprised some delegates at Synod was that the following motion was comprehensively defeated.

The doctrine of the Church is that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. If the Church is to change its doctrine to permit same-sex marriage, the appropriate mechanism is through the framework of the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church of Australia. Bishops should give leadership in demonstrating trust in this framework as the way to move forward together...

The synod of Grafton essentially said, "we'll decide for ourselves what our doctrine and liturgy is". You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/australia-grafton-synod-indicates-rejection-both-national-constitution-and-bishops-agreement-same

*****

Should Christians support paying reparations 150 years after slavery? No, writes Laura Baxter of the Federalist. The evils of slavery are too great to be fixed with cash. Forgiveness cannot be bought, and no number of government commissions will make things right, she says.

Yes, Christians should, says the Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, the Episcopal bishop of Maryland, who urged Congress to pass HR 40, a bill to form a commission to study reparations for slavery. Sutton, perhaps himself a candidate for the commission, claimed to represent the perspective of the faith community in favor of reparations. After all, reparations have unanimous support from his diocese, which is 90 percent white. Reparations have been supported by multiple Democratic presidential candidates and religious leaders.

Along with religiously tinged words, Sutton explicitly claimed to base his remarks on the "Holy Scriptures" and "teachings of Jesus." However, Sutton was vague on the specific verses or Christian teaching that he was espousing.

This is not surprising. When Christ came to save the world from its sin--including slavery--he did not start by chairing a 13-member commission with his disciples. Sutton distorted four key biblical concepts in his remarks to Congress. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/no-christianity-does-not-support-paying-reparations-150-years-after-slavery

*****

Some 566 bishops and their spouses have so far registered to take part in the Lambeth Conference 2020, the decennial gathering of the bishops of the Anglican Communion. Bishops from 40 Anglican Communion Provinces and five Extra Provincial Areas have been invited to the event by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. However several of the larger African provinces have said they will not come owing to the fact that the apostate provinces like TEC and the ACoC have been invited in defiance of Lambeth 1:10.

"We are delighted that so many of our international guests have already confirmed their attendance at this historic event and we look forward to welcoming more registrations in the weeks and months ahead," said Phil George, CEO of the Lambeth Conference Company.

Truth be told, regardless of how many bishops show up they will represent only 20 million of the Anglican Communion's 70 million Anglicans.

All Blessings,

David

For more stories go to www.virtueonline.org Follow VOL on FACEBOOK here: https://www.facebook.com/virtueonline

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