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ACNA Archbishop on COVID-19 * Coronavirus News From Around The World * Bishop Steve Woods Goes Home * ACNA Bishop faces Ecclesiastical Trial * Bishop Grant LeMarquand appointed Interim Bishop of Great Lakes Diocese * CofE Launches LGBTQ Chaplaincy * More

ACNA Archbishop on COVID-19 * Coronavirus News From Around The World * Bishop Steve Woods Goes Home * ACNA Bishop faces Ecclesiastical Trial * Bishop Grant LeMarquand appointed Interim Bishop of Great Lakes Diocese * CofE Launches LGBTQ Chaplaincy * Two Homosexual Anglican Priests Marry in South Africa

Holy worldliness. All down history the church has tended to go to extremes ... Sometimes, in its proper determination to be holy, it has withdrawn from the world and lost contact with it. At other times, in its equally proper determination not to lose contact, it has conformed to the world and become virtually indistinguishable from it. But Christ's vision for the church's holiness is neither withdrawal nor conformity. --- John R.W. Stott

Fundamental in this Anglican Crisis is the emergence of two incompatible and competing religions within the Church, that are not mere differences of "emphasis" but profound differences about the content of Christian belief and the character of Christian life. They express themselves in the authority of experience, over against the authority of Divine revelation that is the basis of Christian orthodoxy. --- Arthur Middleton

When we serve the powerful, famous and wealthy, we get their approval and reward. When we serve the poor, they tell God about us. --- Benjamin Kwashi

There is a demonic side to the sentimentalism of saving lives at any cost. Satan rules a kingdom in which the ultimate power of death is announced morning, noon, and night. But Satan cannot rule directly. God alone has the power of life and death, and thus Satan can only rule indirectly. He must rely on our fear of death. --- R.R. Reno

It may well be that the church is called to be a counter-cultural community in the face of the modern tyranny of management and the almighty dollar, showing people by way of our oddly nonproductive insistence on setting aside time for prayer, Scripture, and Sabbath that what God has already achieved for us in Christ and already given us in creation is of far greater importance than what we can achieve by becoming our most productive and efficient selves. --- Jordan Hylden

Fear of death and causing death is pervasive--stoked by a materialistic view of survival at any price and unchecked by Christian leaders who in all likelihood secretly accept the materialist assumptions of our age. As long as we allow fear to reign, it will cause nearly all believers to fail to do as Christ commands in Matthew 25. It already is. --- R.R. Reno

The State has no right to determine whether religious assemblies constitute an "essential service" in the midst of a pandemic, much less the right to arrest pastors for gathering their flock. The first line of the First Amendment makes that absolutely clear. This is all the more obvious when the State declares abortion an "essential service." The State can issue a strong advisory for churches not to assemble regularly. Churches that assemble can be subject to criticism by the State, the general public, and other churches. But the State cannot order churches to stop assembling, much less arrest pastors for assembling, without violating the First Amendment right to "free exercise" of religion. If you don't know that, then our major problem is not the virus. I'm shocked that so many Evangelical leaders seem not to know this. --- Robert A. J. Gagnon

Up to the present in the UK, there appears to be little by way of answers from our spiritual leaders as to the significance of the tragic events which are unfolding every day. The Episcopal Bench, too, has remained strangely silent just at the time when a strong spiritual lead is needed. -- Archbishop Cranmer Blog

Dear Brothers and sisters.
www.virtueonline.org
April 3, 2020

ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach shared this word with his clergy this week. It was passed along to him by Archbishop Wong of the Province of the Indian Ocean:

In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, "you want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don't want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can't go to church."
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7.14

*****

I have no wish to be morbid about this virus, but there are a few things you might consider as you face the possibility of death.

Confess your sins. Admit your shortcomings and idolatry, how we have placed so many other things before God in our hearts and lives.
Put your faith in Jesus. Salvation is found nowhere else. Turn to Jesus and accept his gift of forgiveness.
Repair your relationships. Reconciliation and forgiveness are hallmarks of Jesus' kingdom. Followers of Jesus should display these essential virtues as Our Lord did.
Pray. Use this as a season to learn to pray more deeply. Use the prayer book (especially Morning, Mid-day, and Evening Prayer). These services are available for free online at www.dailyoffice2019.com. Set aside time every day to be alone and pray. Verbalize your personal prayers from your heart. Pray with your spouse. Pray with your children. Pray with your church family when you call each other. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Worship: Make weekly worship an absolutely essential part of your life.
Read the Bible: You likely have more time available than you thought you'd have. One man I know who is working from home now said that with the removal of his daily commute, he now has 3 hours more time available each day. Redeem that time by reading and studying God's Word.

*****

THE CORONAVIRUS is affecting all our lives, our churches, our ways of doing business. It has thrown everything up in the air and it is crashing down on us in different ways. The one consistent thing is that we are all being forced to stay at home with few exceptions.

There are mixed results with that. The single biggest issue for single people is loneliness. There is a growing body of evidence that suicide is on the increase. Loneliness for old people is devastating. I am told there is more domestic violence, more drinking and more people (two million) stupidly buying guns, thinking perhaps they might need to shoot their neighbors for toilet paper. The NRA is scaring people into believing the government is coming for their guns. Bearing in mind that the government can't find enough ventilators or face masks for health and medical workers, it demonstrates just how stupid this argument is.

On the Church front, it is mixed results. 93 percent of America's churches have
stopped meeting, American pastors and priests have opted to close their churches and using social media to stay in touch with their flocks. A couple of pastors have defied this and have faced arrest and fines.

Ironically, the Church of England with its close ties to the state has the most outraged number of priests who believe they should be allowed to open their church doors to the faithful.

I have written a piece in which I believe small churches will do better than large or mega churches during this national crisis. Social media through Zoom, Facetime, Skype, email and more is making it possible to stay in touch. My wife and I now do compline online a couple of days a week with families in our church. We never did that before. What will kill off mainline denominations is nominalism. The pray, pay and obey crowd will ask themselves, why bother with church. There's always a silver lining. You can read more about this here: https://virtueonline.org/church-good-news-and-bad-news-about-coronavirus

One serious question that hovers over all our heads, specifically Christian heads, is this: Is the Coronavirus a Divine Judgment? I have posted two stories on this heady topic. Dr. David Kyle Foster of Mastering Life Ministries says that from Exodus to Revelation it is clear that God does indeed send plagues and disasters upon the earth - which begs the question: Is today's coronavirus pandemic one of them? Foster cities numerous biblical texts, including Exodus 9:14, "I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth." Strong stuff. Then he cites this: "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." (Matthew 24:6-8)

Birth Pang? Is the current pandemic one of the birth pains that presage the soon return of Our Lord? And is it Jesus who will be the final judge? You can read David's fine piece here: https://virtueonline.org/coronavirus-divine-judgment

Another perspective is that of theologian N. T. Wright who believes that the Virus has nothing to do with judgement or even God. He said, "Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It's Not Supposed To, he said", in an Op-ed piece in TIME magazine.

"No doubt the usual silly suspects will tell us why God is doing this to us. A punishment? A warning? A sign? These are knee-jerk would-be Christian reactions in a culture which, generations back, embraced rationalism: everything must have an explanation. But supposing it doesn't? Supposing real human wisdom doesn't mean being able to string together some dodgy speculations and say, "So that's all right then?" What if, after all, there are moments such as T. S. Eliot recognized in the early 1940s, when the only advice is to wait without hope, because we'd be hoping for the wrong thing?

Wright got taken to task by another theologian Owen Strachan, who wrote a response that "NT Wright Is Wrong: Hope in a Time of Pandemic".

"How striking that Wright speaks against both hope and rationality (in a biblical sense) in his essay. Truly, he ends up with neither; that is, we come away from his article neither gripped with the force of resurrection hope nor struck by the beauty of the true and defensible gospel of grace. Instead, we are left pondering that God laments evil and suffering yet does so without fullness of knowledge or power."

You can read both stories here: https://virtueonline.org/christianity-offers-no-answers-about-coronavirus-its-not-supposed

VOL's resident theologian Roger Salter has come out with a scathing response to Wright's piece. You can read it here: https://virtueonline.org/problem-nt-wright

*****

CORONAVIRUS NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

JERUSALEM -- Israel is working with foreign governments and Orthodox Christian leaders in the Holy Land to make sure that one of their most ancient and mysterious rituals -- the Holy Fire ceremony -- is not extinguished by the coronavirus outbreak, officials said Friday.

Each year, thousands of worshippers' flock to Jerusalem's Old City and pack into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre -- built on the site where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected -- for the pre-Easter ceremony.

The Church of England is offering a cash package to help dioceses. They said that stipends are 'absolutely not' at risk. About £75 million has been made available in short-term liquidity funding for dioceses and cathedrals struggling with their finances owing to the coronavirus.

The Church Commissioners and Archbishops' Council last week agreed to a package of measures to help parts of the Church of England whose income had collapsed during the pandemic and associated shutdown.

In addition, the National Heritage Lottery Fund announced on Wednesday that it was making an additional £50 million available to support heritage projects jeopardized by the pandemic.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is urging people to follow social distancing rules so they can "have the mother and father of all parties" at the end of the coronavirus crisis. He told anyone who is breaking the rules on social distancing to "get your act together". He added the crisis has caused a surge in attendances to online services with "ten times" as many logging on than those who turned up in person at church.

Here is List of articles updated regularly courtesy of Anglican Mainstream:
What does the Bible teach about quarantine? by Scott Brown, Christian Post
Coronavirus: Easter egg crackdown over essential status 'wrong', BBC News
Christians and Pandemics through the Ages (260, 1347, 1665,...2020), by Matthew Payne, Australian Church Record
When coronavirus comes to persecuted Christians--and how you can pray, from Open Doors
Vicar blasts famous Christian hymn down London street and leads those in lockdown in the Lord's Prayer, by Cara Bentley, Premier
The Judgment of God and the COVID-19 Virus, by Bruce Atkinson, VirtueOnline
Our prayers against coronavirus are being answered in amazing ways but one essential element is still missing by Peter Saunders, Christian Medical Fellowship
Watch: COVID-19 Pride? Dr Frederik Mulder
Being housebound by coronavirus is a price that I am willing to pay by Gavin Ashenden (scroll down)
Anger, boredom, fear -- and their antidote, by Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream
Living in the unwelcome land of Covid-19: J John, writing in CEN, seeks comfort from Martin Luther in the alien environment of 'Covidia'.
What South Korean Christians Want You to Know About Coronavirus, by Steve Chang, The Gospel Coalition [the TGC website has a number of excellent articles, too many to reproduce here -- Ed.]
How to Flourish During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Research from the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard by Tyler VanderWeele, Public Discourse
When you can do 'social distancing' and still bring the love of Christ by Canon Phil Ashey, AAC
Coronavirus -- responding like Jesus by Steve Fouch, CMF
Faith in a Time of Crisis by Bill Muehenberg, CultureWatch
A different perspective from Philip Giddings, Anglican Mainstream
Anglican Unscripted 586 -- is God smiting?
Anglican Unscripted 585 -- The Church has Left the Building
Coronavirus and Communion by Marc Lloyd, Church Society
COVID-19 -- What does the Bible say about epidemics? Some uncomfortable truths by Peter Saunders, Christian Medical Fellowship
Prayer guide for coronavirus, Christian Concern
Pandemic panic: Where is God in our current crisis? by Kurt Mahlburg, MercatorNet
9 Ways to Love Your Neighbor in This Pandemic, TGC
Just 5 people allowed at church weddings (including bride and groom) during coronavirus outbreak by Marcus Jones, Premier
Anglican Unscripted 584 -- COVID-19 & The Wine & The Bread
How to view enforced withdrawal from life by Archbishop Cranmer
Call to Fasting and Prayer by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
What will the world look like after the coronavirus panic ends? by Jonathon Van Maren, LifeSite
Coronavirus crisis proves we live in a godless society and need Jesus more than ever by John Horvat II, LifeSite
Coronavirus: Archbishops call for national day of prayer and action
The Humbling of Civilization: Praying for the Mercy of God by Albert Mohler
Praying for Britain: the history of national days of prayer, from History Extra
Responding to pandemics: four lessons from church history, by Glen Scrivener, The Gospel Coalition
Coronavirus and the fear of death by Jeremy Marshall, Psephizo
Coronavirus, Christianity, history and faith, by Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
What C.S. Lewis and Martin Luther Would Say About Our Coronavirus Panic by Tre Goins-Phillips, Faithwire
Three Bible passages to replace fear of coronavirus with hope in God by David Robertson, theweeflea
A Letter From Archbishop Beach re COVID-19
Anglican Unscripted 582 -- CoronaVirus Crisis in the Church (video)
Should Christians Be Anxious About the Coronavirus? by Todd Wagner, The Gospel Coalition
Taking Church Online in a Coronavirus Age by Jay Kim, The Gospel Coalition
The FAQs: Coronavirus Explained by an Infectious Disease Expert and Pastor by Miguel Núñez, The Gospel Coalition
How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus by Daniel Torkelson, The Federalist
Responding faithfully to the Coronavirus, by Ian Paul, Psephizo:
Coping with Coronavirus: How Should Christians Respond? by Tony Perkins, FRC
Coronavirus -- the Bad News and the Good News..Facts and Fears by David Robertson, theweeflea
Anglican Unscripted 581 -- Corona Virus (video with Kevin Kallsen, George Conger and Gavin Ashenden)
Read also: Coronavirus: finding meaning in a global pandemic by Archbishop Cranmer
The Political Effects Of Cataclysm by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

*****

IN OTHER NEWS, Bishop Steve Wood of the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas continues to heal. He has gone home. The doctors were pleased with his progress and that he was discharged Friday. People are asked to pray for his continued healing and continuing strength.

*****

The Board of Inquiry of the ACNA has determined that there is probable cause for canonical charges against The Rt. Rev. Ronald Jackson to be brought to an ecclesiastical trial.

In November of 2019, as the Archbishop's Office looked into information that had been brought forward, Jackson, then Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes, went on administrative leave to ensure the integrity of an investigation and allow for due canonical process.

The Board of Inquiry did not find evidence that any criminal or civil laws had been broken. However, the Board of Inquiry has unanimously determined that there is probable cause for the accused to be brought to ecclesiastical trial regarding:

1. Sexual Immorality (Canon IV.2(6)).
2. Conduct giving just cause for scandal or offense (Canon IV.2(4)).
3. Willful refusal to follow a lawful Godly Admonition (Canon IV.2(12)).
4. Violation of ordination and consecration vows of true and canonical obedience to the Archbishop (Canon IV.2(3)).

*****

The Rt. Rev. Grant LeMarquand has been appointed Interim Bishop of the Diocese of the Great Lakes. At the request of Archbishop Foley Beach and the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Dr. LeMarquand, TSM's professor of missions and director of the Stanway Institute for World Mission and Evangelism, has been asked to take on episcopal responsibilities for the Anglican diocese. This is a temporary, part time position until a new bishop for that diocese can be elected in the fall of this year and, God willing, consecrated in early 2021.

The Diocese of the Great Lakes has parishes in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan. Bishop John Miller (a Trinity School for Ministry graduate) had been the temporary bishop for some months but has had to step down also for health reasons.

*****

I heard it on good authority that 78-year old Bishop Richard Lipka was elected Co-Adjutor of the Diocese of All Saints (ACNA) to succeed Bishop William Ilgenfritz. Apparently, a letter was sent to all lay delegates to their Synod and to all clergy of the Diocese.

*****

In response to the continuing health crisis generated by the Coronavirus, the faculty of Trinity School for Ministry announces that it will offer its June
InterTerm 2020 courses in an online format, insofar as that is feasible for individual instructors and courses. All June InterTerm non-credit courses and June InterTerm events have been canceled. However, some of the regular for-credit courses, again, will be offered online. The courses which are still being offered will open for registration on Monday, April 6, 2020. Registration will end on May 22, 2020. The professors of those courses will contact registered students regarding course formats and requirements in due course. In addition, the Ancient Evangelical Future Conference (AEF) that was to be held at Trinity School for Ministry beginning on June 4th has been canceled. Next year's AEF conference will take place June 10-11, 2021.

*****

The Church of England launched first LGBTI chaplaincy service to make Christianity a 'safe space for all'. The chaplaincy service - which volunteers claim provides a 'lifeline' for some congregants - marks the first scheme of its kind
The scheme, backed by the Bishop of Oxford, was launched two months ago and offers special monthly services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender congregants at Christchurch Cathedral.

A press release said the chaplaincy service, based in the Diocese of Oxford, features eight voluntary chaplains offering support to members of the LGBTI community in the form of a cup of coffee, a walk, or just someone to confide in so as to " serve people who have not been well-served by the church".

*****

Two homosexual Anglican priests got married in South Africa this week. According to Instinct magazine, Paul Mwaura, a South African pastor of an Anglican Church, got married to John Maierepi, a Kenyan Anglican priest. The wedding ceremony was held in South Africa with Mwaura's church members in attendance. Mwaura's and Maierepi's wedding was covered by several anti-LGBTQ religious news sources such as Reformation Charlotte and Benin Web News TV.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is the most liberal province on the African continent. It has been vigorously supported by the American Episcopal church for many years. The full onslaught of modernity has yet to hit Africa; this is just the beginning.

*****

As you all know, GAFCON in Kigali and the Lambeth Conference have both been cancelled owing the spread of COVID-19. Both will hold their gatherings sometime in 2021.

One can't but imagine that Archbishop Welby is not breathing a sigh of relief. He won't have to explain to whatever orthodox bishops show up why he did not pressure those involved to shut down the Queer eucharist planned just before the opening bell.

*****

Christians across the United States gathered outside hospitals this week to pray for medical staff and their patients during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Many gathered outside hospitals in Albany, Georgia; Kissimmee, Florida; and Alexander City, Alabama, among other cities. "The concept is that sometimes we feel helpless in the community. We know what's going on and want to help, but there's only so much you can do. This is an opportunity for us. We can all do this," said Jaime Gaudet, who is one of the event's organizers.

"The people that are patients or providers in the hospital, they get tired and they're missing their family."

*****

A little light humor. This made my day, perhaps it will make yours: https://youtu.be/fRsOq-SBosg

*****

I would like to close with this as more and more people seem to hate MSM (Mainstream Media) and it is this; there's a difference between news and opinion content. The problem is that the line often becomes much grayer than it should be. A factual story can be told by far left or far right media and both will get it right if it is just the facts, ma'am. Opinion on those facts differ from one news organization to the next. VOL writes from a position of theological orthodoxy. I am, therefore, loathed and loved by two different sets of people. Very well. It is hard when those on my side of the fence disagree on some minor issue with little thought of the impact it might have on me. I ask you all to stick to the BIG picture and not get caught up in minutiae. Please read the entire story before making a comment. Thanks.

Lenten blessings to you all,

David

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