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AAC's Authority Challenged over Primatial Admission * Pittsburgh Anglican Diocese seeks Bishop * Nothing has changed since Canterbury says Nigerian Primate * Boko Haran and ISIS must be destroyed * ABC heads biggest evangelism project in the UK

GOD HAS SPOKEN: Thoughts into words. The assertion that God has 'spoken' (Heb. 1:1), that he has put his thoughts into words, must be taken with full seriousness. It is impossible for us human beings to read even each other's thoughts if we remain silent. Only if I speak to you can you know what is in my mind; only if you speak to me can I know what is in your mind. If, then, men and women remain strangers to each other until and unless they speak to one another, how much more will God remain a stranger to us unless he speaks or has spoken? His thoughts are not our thoughts, as we have seen. It is impossible for human beings to read the mind of God. If we are ever to know his mind he must speak; he must clothe his thoughts in words. This, we believe, is precisely what he has done. -- John R.W. Stott

I have been an evangelical Christian all my life and am not willing to 1) be lumped together with evangelicals who are really also fundamentalists on a right-wing political binge, or 2) surrender my evangelical identity because of them and the media's mindless cooperation with them (in narrowing the label "evangelical" down to them). --- Prof. Roger E. Olsen

There is no temptation to worship the state once one has recognized that man is only great when he is on his knees before God. --- Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
February 6, 2016

For years it has been assumed that of the four instruments that one -- the Anglican Consultative Council -- had the power to say who was in or out of the Anglican Communion.

It was an assumption made first by Canon John L. Peterson, then Canon Kenneth Kearon who succeeded him and now Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the former Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna the present Secretary General of the ACC.

One of the reasons then ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan never applied for membership in the Anglican Communion is because he knew he would be turned down by Secretary General Kearon an Irish liberal, who would never have recognized two Anglican integrities on North American soil and because TEC gives some $400,000 a year to support the Anglican Communion office.

At the recent gathering of Primates in Canterbury the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry made the following observation that the Primates are one body and not as important as the ACC which he said had the real power to say yes or no as to who was in or out.

The Presiding Bishop emphasized the autonomy of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), in the wake of the Primates' decision to censure his Church.

At their meeting in Canterbury, the Primates' said the US Episcopal Church could no longer represent them on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, nor serve on the Primates or ACC standing committees, and not vote on matters of polity and doctrine at the ACC for a period of three years, because of its support for same-sex marriage.

However, a close examination of the constitution of the Anglican Communion office reveals that the ACC has no such power, that it has been an assumed and derived power and that, in truth, it has no authority to enforce such exclusion.

First, the ACC Constitution does NOT give the ACC jurisdiction over the application process. It only gives them jurisdiction to add to the Schedule of Provinces. Up to this point, the application process has been through the Primates who bring recognition first to their churches and then by resolution of 2/3 of the Primates to the ACC for confirmation.

You can read the full story in today's digest or here: http://tinyurl.com/hl47ak6

*****

The Anglican Pittsburgh of Diocese is on the hunt for a new bishop to replace the retiring Robert Duncan who served first as its Episcopal bishop, then its first Anglican bishop, then the first ACNA Archbishop.

There are some excellent candidates. (VOL was sent a list of aspirants) and we believe that any of the following would make a good replacement for Bishop Duncan. Bishop Frank Lyons, Anglican Diocese of the South in the Diocese of Atlanta; Canon Phil Ashey, CEO American Anglican Council, Atlanta, GA; The Ven. Canon Jack, Lumanog, COO, Anglican Church in North America; The Rev Canon John Macdonald, Associate Professor, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA; The Very Rev Charles "Chip" Edgar, Dean Church of the Apostles, Columbia, SC (PEARUSA); The Rev. Laurie Thompson, Dean of Advancement, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA.

While not a full list of contenders, any one of these would carry forward the flag of orthodoxy in that diocese. Prayers are requested.

*****

The Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh has written a letter to his people saying that "for whatever it was worth" nothing has changed and that "some of our provinces are [still] in impaired relationship with The Episcopal Church (TEC) and The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) in particular and other churches that are following in their footsteps." He wrote that this week following the meeting of 36 Primates of the Anglican Communion who met in Canterbury

The evangelical Anglican archbishop of the largest province in the Anglican Communion said that it had been the collective resolution of the GAFCON Group for several years that it would not participate in any gathering in the Anglican Communion to which TEC and The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) were invited, until they repented of their erroneous doctrinal and theological postures and practices.

He and his fellow GAFCON primates and the Global South primates decided to accept the invitation anyway, following the almost unanimous resolution.

"The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) was not focused on because it claims they have not altered its Marriage Canon. However, we know that the Anglican Church of Canada. Scotland, Wales, Brazil and New Zealand are on the way to toeing the same line as The Episcopal Church. We are yet to be convinced that the restrictions imposed on TEC will be implemented. The bottom line, therefore, is that nothing has changed. You can read my full take on this in today's digest.

*****

Anglicans confronted the challenge of Islam in a series of addresses at this year's Mere Anglican conference in Charleston SC. While I have written about this, I believe that Jeff Walton of the Institute for Religion and Democracy captured the essence of the conference in a piece posted in today's digest.

Christianity and Islam together comprise the world's two largest faiths, each monotheistic and centered upon the importance of proselytization -- and in many parts of the world, they are on a collision course.

"The prospects for religious war in the next decade are extremely high unless groups like Boko Haram and ISIS are uprooted," warned Baylor University History Professor Philip Jenkins.

Dr. William Lane Craig of Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, opened the conference speaking about the concept of God in Islam and Christianity. Noting that the question "do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?" had recently been in the news, Craig instead sought to examine what each faith understood about who God is. The God of Islam, Craig determined, was deficient in the Christian view because he lacked the ability to love those who did not love him in return. Effectively, a God who loves sinners and a God incapable of loving sinners -- indeed, even declared their enemy in verses of the Qur'an -- were at their core sharply different.

Speakers encouraged participants to be relational in their interactions with Muslims, seeing them not as adversaries in an argument, but as people who might consider Christ by witnessing genuine love in the church.

"We have our own opportunities but we stay in our own clubs," observed Lebanese-born pastor Fouad Masri about how few Muslims in the U.S. are invited into Christian homes. "Our job is to share -- God makes people Christians, not us."

*****

The AAC and GAFCON. Most people are not aware that the AAC has supported and worked with GAFCON's leaders since the movement began in 2008. Their Board of Trustees has reaffirmed its support for the GAFCON movement. "We see in its leaders the hope for a future Anglican Communion that finds its identity in Jesus Christ and Biblical faithfulness rather than institutional loyalty. Regretfully, we do not believe the next three years of sanctions on The Episcopal Church (TEC) (or "relational consequences," as the Archbishop of Canterbury defines it) will produce the results for which most of the Primates hoped and prayed. Will the flood of false teaching from North America (TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada) continue to sweep into other Churches and regions of the Anglican Communion? Whatever the future may hold, we believe we have three years to build an ark," writes CEO Phil Ashey of the AAC.

"Our vision supports that commitment. We reaffirmed the vision of the American Anglican Council:

Locally: to help Anglican Churches in North America become transformed by the Holy Spirit, with leaders and congregations who are Biblically inspired, united, confessing, and passionately committed to fulfilling Christ's Great Commission

"Globally: to help Anglican leaders and national churches return Anglicanism to its biblical and apostolic roots, to prevail over all false gospels, to unite with other biblical and apostolic Christians and, together, to fulfill Christ's Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) in the world.

We do this by Developing Faithful leaders, Equipping the Church for Mission, and Renewing Biblically faithful Anglicanism worldwide. That's our mission."

*****

February 7, 2016 is WORLD MISSION SUNDAY. In Mark 16:15 Jesus told his disciples to "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."

Each year, the last Sunday after Epiphany is designated as World Mission Sunday across the Anglican Church in North America, writes Archbishop Foley Beach Primate of the ACNA.

"I invite you to make a special effort to highlight those mission projects that your congregation supports, and take up a special offering on their behalf. If you are currently looking for more ministry opportunities, you will find a variety of excellent projects being led by the Anglican Global Mission Partners (AGMP)."

AGMP is a network of 33 non-profit Anglican global mission-committed entities. Their vision is to see an Anglican Church in North America that is passionately committed to preach the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations in the name of Christ. A listing of those agencies can be found at agmp-na.org.

*****

The number of young evangelical leaders who start well and then fall from grace after a few years in the ministry seems to grow and grow. I think of names like Jim Bakker, Billy James Hargis, Robert Tilton, Kent Hovind, Peter Popoff...the list goes on and on. Then there are those like Frankie Schaeffer and more recently Bart Campolo, son of the famous evangelist Tony Campolo who fell right over the cliff edge into atheism.

The latest (in England) is The Rev. Mark Bailey, the national leader of New Wine, a thriving, charismatic evangelical network of churches with a dynamic and lively ministry around the country and a Team Rector of the hugely successful evangelical church, Trinity Cheltenham.

This week he resigned as leader of New Wine and CofE pastor resigns from all posts, but no reasons were cited. His resignation came after a meeting with the CofE Bishop of Gloucester Rachel Treweek.

The announcement by the trustees of New Wine that they had accepted his resignation, made with "the greatest sadness and regret", stunned the close-knit evangelical community in the UK and some prominent members of New Wine and the Church of England sought prayers for Bailey on social media networks such as Facebook.

The details of the case are not being disclosed but he is now subject to proceedings under the Clergy Discipline Measure. Neither the police nor any other statutory agencies are involved.

Bailey has been pastor at the church in Cheltenham for more than 20 years and involved in ministry for more than 27 years. He was previously a university chaplain and before that served his curacy. He has also worked in the secular world, in finance.

A British Anglican commentator wrote to VOL and said that if it is sex, (and we don't know) at least he has the decency to resign before it becomes public, unlike a number of vicars who openly live with their same sex partners, and in some cases have married them, and think they have done nothing wrong.

*****

The Archbishop of Canterbury is heading the biggest evangelism project in the UK so far this millennium. Every cathedral, church and clergyman and woman in the land is being urged to share their faith and win new converts to Christianity.

Cathedrals and churches are being urged to set aside the week before Pentecost as a week of prayer for evangelism.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and Dr. John Sentamu, are calling cathedrals and other churches to use the week running up to Pentecost Sunday on May 15 to pray for new followers to Christ.

The entire Church is being urged to pray throughout the week for "all Christians to deepen their relationship with Jesus" in order to have "confidence" to share the faith. The aim is for "all to respond to the call of Jesus Christ to follow him."

The two Archbishops are currently writing to all 11,300 Church of England clergy inviting them to "engage" with the project. They are being asked to organize round-the-clock prayer marathons, one-off events and other meetings and gatherings to help towards the evangelization effort.

Project leader Emma Buchan said: "The hope is that in many places, Christians across denominations and streams can pray together, as the unity of the whole Body of Christ is a powerful reality and symbol to the world."

*****

Pope Francis will meet Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Cuba next week in a historic first meeting between the heads of the two largest Christian churches, the Vatican announced Friday.

The gathering will be the first of its kind since a schism in the 11th Century split Christianity into Western and Eastern branches.

The two wings have been estranged ever since with each maintaining for centuries that they are the true heritors of the early Christian church established by the apostles of Jesus Christ.

Relations have warmed of late between Rome and other branches of the Orthodox tradition, but the Russian one, the most influential in the Eastern family, has maintained its distance, until now.

With Pope Francis having adopted an "any time, any place" approach since his 2013 election, the once-in-a-millennium sit-down has been set for Havana's Jose Marti International Airport on February 12.

Francis will stop over on his way to a scheduled visit to Mexico while Kirill is due on the communist island for the first leg of a February 11-22 trip to Latin America which will also take in Paraguay, Chile and Brazil.

A spokesman for the Russian church said the meeting would be principally focused on the persecution of Christians around the world and that a joint declaration would be issued after a private conversation between the two leaders.

*****

FACTOID. The worst case of Islamic persecution of Christians is not in the Middle East as is so often portrayed by the media. It is the slaughter of Christians by Boko Haran in Northern Nigeria. And who has suffered most from this kind of persecution and killing? They are Anglicans. An African bishop I met on Sullivan's Island, SC at an Anglican Leadership conference recently told me that the DIOCESE OF DAMATURU has bene virtually wiped out, its bishop, priests and parishioners either killed or forced to leave the area.

So next time you hear a whine from some Episcopal pansexualist telling you how hate filled and homophobic you are for not endorsing their behavior, tell them this and then tell them what the real face of hate looks like.

*****

The Upcoming Sony film RISEN promotes belief in the resurrection of Christ, say knowledgeable sources. Set to open on 2,700 screens across North America on February 19, Risen, starring Joseph Fiennes of Shakespeare in Love fame, begins where Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ concluded: the crucifixion. Seen through the eyes of Clavius, an ambitious Roman tribune (Fiennes) charged with guarding the body of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth, the story is told from the vantage point of an unbeliever on a desperate mission to crush the "rumor" of the Messiah's resurrection.

The Sony Pictures film is reminiscent of the 1985 film The Fourth Wise Man, starring Martin Sheen in that the ever so familiar events are retold from a fresh perspective, making the narrative all the more convincing. Rich Peluso, senior vice president of AFFIRM Films, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, spoke of it as the "intersection of Scripture and historical fiction," which allows for a "refreshing and exciting way to relive this story that I know and love so well with different eyes."

Peluso, who after working 15 years in Christian music joined Sony to "utilize corporate worldly resources to tell stories that point to Jesus," told LifeSiteNews in an interview last week that Clavius is a composite character of many who must have taken the news of the resurrection back to Rome.

How is it, said Peluso, that the "dominant empire in the world, focused on crushing Christianity, gets flipped in a number of generations into a Christian empire?" Obviously, the truth of Christ's resurrection witnessed by the Jews and Romans had a transformative effect.

Peluso said that Risen has had incredibly positive feedback from the Christian leaders who screened the film.

*****

There seems to be no end to the outrage of Episcopal sodomists to open its doors to promote pansexuality to whomever.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a devout Catholic, went to St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral to marry his husband, Michael Shiosaki, in a deeply traditional ceremony.

Of course Mayor Murray is described as a "devout" Catholic; that adjective always comes into play when a reporter is applauding a public figure for dissenting from Church teaching. That dissent explains why a "devout" Catholic would want to be married in an episcopal church. But feast your eyes on the final phrase of that sentence: "a deeply traditional ceremony."

No doubt it was "deeply" traditional in the same sense in which Murray is a "devout" Catholic. (I wonder if he's "deeply" devout) But tell me: just how traditional can a wedding ceremony be, if the couple are of the same sex?

In a spectacularly lopsided article for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Joel Connelly is determined to show that it is unreasonable for a Catholic high school to refuse to publish a notice of a graduate's same-sex wedding. Connelly blames the refusal on the "chilly, hardline stand" taken by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who has been "raining down prohibitions on same-sex marriage."

Other Catholics are apparently more willing to accept the homosexual alliances, Connelly reports.

******

New divorce statistics reveal some terrifying trends. Women are more likely than men to utter the words, "I want a divorce". Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, examined data from Stanford's 2009-2015 How Couples Meet and Stay Together project, and looked at 2,262 adults, ages 19 to 94, who had opposite sex partners in 2009. By 2015, when it came to divorce, Rosenfeld found that wives initiated 69 percent of splits, compared to 31 percent of men! Another poll revealed that women are prepared to dump their husbands after 30 or more years of marriage even when they are 60 and older!

*****

AMERICA is "in trouble" and the solution is not in the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, said the Rev. Franklin Graham, who added that "the only hope for this nation is God," and if people "turn from their sins" and turn back to God, He "will help us fix the problems that we face."

Franklin Graham, son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, made his remarks on CNN's New Day, where he was asked by host Chris Cuomo on Wednesday about the 2016 presidential race.

"Our country is in trouble and I can tell you right now, I have zero hope in the Democratic Party and I have zero hope in the Republican Party," said Rev. Graham. "The only hope for this nation is God."

"And if we'll turn our attention back to God, I believe God will help us fix the problems that we face," he said. "But Chris, we have no individual that can turn this thing around. Only God can do it."

As for the various political candidates, the Rev. Graham said, "There are some good guys out there that have some great ideas for this country, to move this country forward. But those good ideas aren't going to go anywhere without the hand of Almighty God."

"And yes, I do believe in the Divine Hand," said the reverend, who oversees the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "I believe that God has blessed this nation that His hand has been on this nation."

"But we have taken God out of our country," he said. "We have taken him out of politics, we have taken him out of schools, out of the education system and we are a broken nation."

America's many problems are "not going to get fixed by politics," he said. "It's only going to be fixed if the American people turn from their sins and put their faith and trust in almighty God."

*****

"It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel," said Princeton Professor Robert George to a large crowd at the Legatus Summit in Orlando, Florida last weekend. Professor George added that people can still safely identify as "Catholic" as long as they don't believe, or will at least be completely silent about, "what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life."

He said "the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call 'political correctness,'" will still grant a comfort to a Catholic ashamed of the Gospel, "or who is willing to act publicly as if he or she were ashamed."

The Princeton professor, who has been a leader in the fight for life and marriage, reminded his audience of Christ's words: "If anyone wants to be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me." "We American Catholics, having become comfortable, had forgotten, or ignored, that timeless Gospel truth. There will be no ignoring it now," he remarked.

*****

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