jQuery Slider

You are here

ACNA reports 1,000 churches in 10 years * Church of England okays baptism liturgy for Transgendered persons * ACNA advances in Mexico * NAE Compromises on Religious Freedom * Mississippi Bishop okays homosexual “marriage” * What is Anglicanism Conference

Prophecy today. We should certainly reject any claim that there are prophets today comparable to the biblical prophets. For they were the 'mouth' of God, special organs of revelation, whose teaching belongs to the foundation on which the church is built. There may well, however, be a prophetic gift of a secondary kind, as when God gives some people special insight into his Word and his will. But we should not ascribe infallibility to such communications. Instead, we should evaluate both the character and the message of those who claim to speak from God. The principal way in which God speaks to us today is through Scripture, as the church in every generation has recognized.

“The first battlefield is to rewrite history… Take away the heritage of a people and they are easily persuaded.” --- Karl Marx

“To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots”. --- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” --- George Orwell

If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to heaven. We must count it no strange thing, if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other men. Free pardon and full forgiveness, grace along the way, and glory at the end all this our Savior has promised to give. But He has never promised that we shall have no afflictions. ---J. C. Ryle

The nature of error. Two tendencies of heresy are most revealing. We would be wise to ask ourselves regarding every kind of teaching both what its attitude is towards God and what effect it has upon men. There is invariably something about error which is dishonouring to God and damaging to men. The truth, on the other hand, always honours God, promoting godliness (cf. Tit. 1:16), and always edifies its hearers. --- John R.W Stott

Persecuted Christians -– in the Middle East, for example – may well find themselves caught between militant Islam on the one hand and intolerant post-Enlightenment paganism on the other. – British Foreign Office Spokesman

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
December 28, 2018

Only 20% of the churches in North America are growing. And more than half of those that are growing are growing primarily through transfer growth; in other words – they are growing at the expense of other churches! Only 10% of North American churches are growing through people coming to Christ as Lord and Savior.

These are the findings of Alan Avera, Executive Director of Christianity Explored, a ministry of evangelism and discipleship emanating from All Souls, Langham Place, London.

But there’s another problem, which paradoxically reveals a great opportunity. Avera calls this the 80-30 opportunity. It is this: while 80% of unchurched people indicate that they are willing to engage in a faith conversation, only 30% of Christians have shared their faith in the past 6 months. Unchurched people are apparently more willing to hear than we think they are; they are more willing to hear than Christians are willing to share.

Writes Avera; “Call this an opportunity because unchurched people are willing to engage if we can just mobilize more Christians to share the good news of Jesus. But not all sharing is the same. The unchurched are willing to engage in faith conversations when those conversations come out of relationship.”

The aim of Christianity Explored is to help churches equip ordinary Christians to love, live, and tell the good news of Jesus. We are helping churches address this 80-30 opportunity, he writes.

Tragically, most Episcopalians don’t have a faith they can share (A) because they don’t have a faith worth sharing and (B) faith has been reduced to issues that most people can find in society and the broader world that doesn’t require a church to tell them.

The good news is that the Anglican Church in North America is successfully reaching out to a lost world. Their Archbishop, the Most Rev. Foley Beach recently wrote of his optimism in the face of national decline.

He reported that the ACNA has grown to 1,000 churches with more than 134,000 members in 10 years. Now that is some achievement in the face of its cultured despisers. Two of its most notable parishioners are former Ohio Gov. John Kasich who says he's considering challenging President Donald Trump in 2020 and Mike Pence, U.S. Vice President.

"This is an incredible achievement. We started in faith, and almost ten short years later, we see enormous growth in so many of our churches. Some are very small and struggling. Many are large and growing. But all of them are part of this extraordinary movement of God," he told his followers in a letter.

By contrast, The Episcopal Church is shriveling, with an ASA of 577,000 and is declining year over year.

"When I look at our Province and see that we are only ten years old, I am filled with joy and thanksgiving... and I see the power of the hand and power of God that has both guided and protected us."

The archbishop described it as an "Ebenezer" moment, allowing the ministers of the province to grow through prayer and support.

"We believe in church planting! I don't know of any movement that has seen such an explosion of church planting. We have learned so much over the past ten years...and we are developing this knowledge into practical training for a new generation of churches, ones that we are praying to see in our second decade."

.Beach said that one new ACNA church was being started every ten days. "I find this truth to be more than amazing. We had an initial base of congregations that established the ACNA ten years ago. Since then we have had huge church planting efforts to increase our capacity. It is working! The Always Forward Movement is leading with support, training, and encouragement for local congregations and dioceses. And now we have a steady 'birth rate' year by year."

"This is another remarkable reality. The average Sunday attendance in all ACNA churches in every diocese is strong. And getting stronger! Many of these beloved churches are meeting in rented facilities. Their members willingly gave up the comforts of an established congregation to launch a new church. As I travel the country and speak with our bishops and clergy, I find that our churches and leaders are finding ways of making it all work to the Glory of God. In fact, many churches have been raising capital campaign funds for their own building expansions."

The archbishop, who will soon take over as the new chairman of GAFCON, is one of the youngest archbishops in the Anglican Communion, and in command of one of the fastest growing denominations in America. VOL urges its readers to pray for Archbishop Beach and his family. He will be under great spiritual attack in 2019.

*****

Loneliness, we are now being told, is one of the single biggest issues facing millions of Americans. A massive study finds nearly half of the US feels alone, young adults most of all. It is a crisis of such proportions that suicides are at an all-time high.

The online survey of 20,000 adults consisted of self-reported responses to a series of 20 statements or questions. Analysts used the well-known UCLA Loneliness Scale to calculate respondents’ loneliness scores, which range from 20 to 80.

Those scoring 43 and above were considered lonely. The average loneliness score in America is 44, suggesting that “most Americans are considered lonely,” according to the report.

Younger adults born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with about 39 for respondents ages 72 and older.

So, what’s making Americans so lonely?

An NPR survey found that working too often or not enough contributed to loneliness, making workplaces a significant source for fostering social relationships and ensuring a work-life balance. The result is increased heart disease and diabetes. The survey found that working too often or not enough contributed to loneliness, making workplaces a significant source for fostering social relationships and ensuring a work-life balance.

Allied to all this is the breakup of the traditional family. The Leave it to Beaver idealized motherhood role which supplied a perfect model for American families, has long since disappeared and new family structures have emerged. “Ozzie and Harriet” is finished.

The end result is that many today feel rejected by both family and friends. I hardly know a family that is not in some sense dysfunctional, my own included.

But must we fear the rejection of family and friends? The answer is no. If you keep caring more about what your family and friends think of you than what God thinks of you, you’ll never do the things God has called you to do.

Jesus knew this because he lived it. At the age of 12 he started ministering in the temple. When his parents discovered he was missing as they were going home, they returned to find him in the temple arguing with its leaders. We see this in Mark 3:21 where it tells us that when Jesus began his ministry, his family went to “take charge of him, for they said, ‘he is out of his mind.’” He wasn’t, of course, and then he dismissed his parents by saying, “I must be about my father’s business”.

After Jesus reached age 12, his father Joseph vanished from the Gospels and was never heard from again. In the Semitic culture in which Jesus was born, bringing shame upon your family was inexcusable.

Whatever, Jesus put the kingdom of God ahead of his biological family, choosing the path set before him, and that might be the lesson for all of us. We are “set apart” for a new and better calling and that just might mean putting family and friends behind and launching out into the deep. No one ever lost by following Jesus. For our Lord it was all or nothing and perhaps that should be our lot and calling as well.

*****

THE ACNA is making advances into Mexico. From the Office of the Canon, Diocese of the Southwest comes this; "The role of the Area Dean is to be a partner with the Bishop and the Bishop's Staff in the mission and ministry of the deanery. The Area Dean has a strategic role in the diocese, helping to shape planning, policy and deployment, drawing on their local knowledge. Within the deanery, the Area Dean in partnership with the Bishop is the key person under God to provide vision, leadership and pastoral care."

In practical terms, it means that our current ministry of training leaders dovetails very nicely with the needs of the diocese and that, "A wide door for effective work has been opened to me(us)". It is not a salaried position. It is an opportunity to work with the bishop and local church leaders in forming and building the Anglican Church in Mexico and we are very excited, as we hope you are.

MOCLAM, a ministry that is making accessible high-quality theological education available to Spanish speakers throughout Ibero-America, offers an undergraduate program consisting of 18 subjects, which have a focus in biblical studies. There are currently over 500 students studying with MOCLAM across a range of countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Spain. TEC is now being challenged on home turf it has occupied for some time. The same is true in Brazil.

*****

Religious freedom found itself compromised this past week when the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), two of the nation's foremost evangelical organizations, publicly announced they now support adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as officially protected minority classifications to the ranks of federal nondiscrimination law.

Explaining their support for the "compromise" that is dubbed "Fairness for All," (a legislative initiative driven by the argument that religious freedom can only be achieved while also conceding "no one should face unjust discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or gender identity"), one spokesperson who serves on the board of both the CCCU and NAE explained: "We are increasingly persuaded that the most viable political strategy is for comprehensive religious freedom protections to be combined with explicit support for basic human rights for members of the LGBT community."

This is a fool's errand.

First, it is legally and politically untenable to pretend you can grant minority status to any group of people and then maintain for yourself an "exemption" to deny these people the minority protections you just granted them. You can read the full story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/compromising-religious-freedom

*****

The Church of England seems hell bent on following The American Episcopal Church on matters of sexuality. The CofE use of the baptism liturgy (and reaffirmation of baptism) to recognize transition of gender is the latest piece of ecclesiastical insanity.

Here are eleven reasons put forward by Rebel Priest Dr. Jules Gomes on why he disagreed with that ruling.

1. It confuses the purpose and meaning of the sacrament of baptism by adding and/or refocusing upon the additional elements of 'naming' and/or physiological changes. Neither of these elements are in the biblical record; both unhelpfully draw us away from the biblical purpose of baptism

2. It calls for us to use a church service to mark the mutilation of and destruction of body parts

3. It calls for us to deny basic human biology; the nature of male and female; the fact that every single cell in a person's body is male or female (XX or XY)

4. It denies the teaching of Jesus that God made us male and female

5. It distances the CoE from the worldwide, catholic, Church and the teaching throughout all times and in all places -- until this modern, western, phenomena of gender politics

6. It asks us to re-purpose a liturgy to fit with a change in wider society, rather than allowing the timeless-truth of the Gospel to inform our liturgy

7. It embraces the 'T' ideology; which is in essence little more than Gnosticism -- that 'I am not my body' and 'my body is not me' -- which flies in the face of God having made us body, soul and spirit (1Thess 5, Gen 2:7) (soma, psyche, pneuma)

8. It fails to address the very real possibility that 'T' persons may in fact be suffering from a dysphoria and require help to reorder their confused mind, rather than encouragement to reinforce their dysphoria

9. It calls for us to embrace an ideology that has its origins outside of the Christian Church

10. It is an example of Cultural Marxism finding a home within the CoE; this is something that ought to be resisted rather than complied with

11. It is based upon a flawed theology of 'love'. 'God is love'. 'Love is not necessarily God.'

*****

ON THE HOMEFRONT, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, Brian Seage sent parishes across the state a letter last week allowing priests to marry -- without the need to petition for permission in advance -- same-sex couples or those who identify as part of the LGBT community.

Church members from parishes across the state had asked the bishop for resources to foster discussions about same-sex marriage at a January Diocesan Council meeting in Biloxi, Seage said in the letter.

Rather than just give literature, Seage also recommended action -- the liturgies he offered to Mississippi's congregations in his letter "permit marriage in church for all couples legally entitled to marry," Seage said. Prior to the release of the bishop's letter, parishes were required to submit to Seage a petition requesting approval to perform same-sex weddings.

Now, priests -- if they so choose -- are able to marry LGBT members who wish to have a church wedding.

"I am aware that any change brings anxiety, but I'm also aware of the grace-filled way our church has walked together and supported the differing viewpoints that exist," Seage wrote.

One wonders what will happen to Albany Episcopal Bishop Bill Love, who sent out a letter to his diocese saying he would not allow such unbiblical “marriages”. Will he be deposed? We shall see how “grace-filled” TEC bishops will be then.

*****

The sexual beat goes on. This week, Owen Labrie, 23, a New Hampshire prep school graduate convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old classmate, reported to jail to begin serving the remaining 10 months of his jail sentence.

Labrie turned himself in to the Merrimack County jail Wednesday morning, more than a week after a judge refused to shorten his sentence. Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, was acquitted in 2015 of raping a 15-year-old classmate Chessy Prout as part of "Senior Salute," a game of sexual conquest, at St. Paul's School. But a jury found him guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault charges and endangering the welfare of a child. He also was convicted of using a computer to lure an underage student for sex, requiring him to register as a sex offender.

*****

More churches are closing in the Diocese of Huron, Canada. One wonders just how much longer the diocese is sustainable. The end of an era has come for two Howick Churches. St. Stephen’s Church, Gorrie and the first Trinity Anglican in Fordwich. Fordwich and Gorrie were part of a three-point parish that included St. James’ Anglican Church, Wroxeter, that closed in 1969 due to declining membership.

In recent years, St. Stephen’s, Gorrie and Trinity Anglican, Fordwich have been part of a six-point charge that includes Christ Church, Listowel, St. Alban’s and St. David’s, Atwood, St. George’s, Harriston and St. Paul’s, Palmerston. Five of the six churches including Gorrie and Fordwich have closed their doors, with final services held at Christmas in 2016.

The disconcertion services for all of these beautiful old churches have been completed. Now the parishioners are tasked with dismantling their sanctuaries. Sadly, according to Canon Law, if another church cannot be found to take their altars, they must be burned. The baptismal fonts will suffer the same fate if they are wood or if they are concrete, they will be smashed and buried. With more and more church closures it becomes increasingly difficult to find a new home for these sacred pieces of the church’s history, said a newspaper report.

*****

Here is a vignette on the Culture Wars as we are seeing them play out in the universities of America. This comes courtesy of Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, master theologian whose book The Bible and Homosexual Practice has never been answered or contradicted by any liberal, revisionist or progressive.

Conservative students have filed a lawsuit in the University of Florida charging discrimination. “Why should conservative students have to pay student fees that are used to shut out conservative voices at a state-funded university? Why should they be compelled to fund another propaganda arm of the hard-left Democratic Party? May their lawsuit prosper.

"UF denied budgeted organization status to YAF [Young Americans for Freedom], but the student group was able to obtain funding for a speaker honorarium via the school's Special Request policy. UF changed its Special Request policy to apply only to budgeted student groups after YAF attempted to obtain funds for a second speaker honorarium....

"'All students are entitled to viewpoint-neutral access to and allocation of student activity fees—or they should get their money back,' ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer.... 'The YAF chapter deserves the same equal access to university resources as every other student organization on campus,' YAF Associate General Counsel Mark Trammell commented in the release. 'It is completely inappropriate for the University of Florida to treat students differently because of their beliefs. The purpose of today’s lawsuit is to remedy this inequity.'

[And now the doublespeak from the UF administration:]

"'The University of Florida is committed to upholding the First Amendment right to free speech and promoting a campus community that is open to all points of view,' UF spokeswoman Margot Winick told Campus Reform."

Apparently, by "open to all points of view" the spokeswoman means views other than those that are opposed to the "LGBTQ" agenda, abortion and unrestricted or illegal immigration.

*****

I hope you will take a moment and read my commentary on The Two Communions that now exist in the Anglican Communion. Here is a taste.

It's unofficial of course, and only a few dare whisper it in the corridors of Lambeth Palace or the Anglican Communion office, but the truth is, the Communion is so badly broken that only a miracle now can ever reconcile what has now become unofficially two bodies of Anglicans.

Archbishop Justin Welby can hotly dispute this all he wants, and he can fake talk about GAFCON being a "ginger group", preach inclusion, reconciliation and diversity, but the truth is the mostly orthodox Global South is evangelical in faith and morals and they are not going to cave into Welby, U.S. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Canadian primate Fred Hiltz or any other western pansexual progressive liberal leader who, they believe, holds "another gospel" -- (Gal. 1:8.) That day is over.

With all the talk of radical inclusion in the Church of England by two Archbishops, it seems increasingly clear that the only people not being included are orthodox Anglicans, particularly evangelicals, says the Rev. Melvin Tinker, author and rector who was recently banned from preaching at Derby Cathedral at a Carol service organized by the local university Christian Union over the three issues of money, power and sex. (Money, which the cathedral is running out of; sex, over playing a porno movie and power, by a liberal establishment that hates evangelicals).

Welby can weep, wail and gnash his teeth and rage at the Nigerians and Primate Nicholas Okoh and privately indicate his distaste for South American Archbishop Gregory Venables, but the fact remains, the only primates who stand with him are from failing provinces like The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, most of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa and a single African province -- the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, which was bought and paid for by The Episcopal Church decades ago. In short, Welby owns about 10 million active Anglicans out of 55 million -- the vast majority -- over 80% belong to GAFCON.

You can read the full story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/anglican-communion-now-two-communions

*****

If you need a refresher on ‘What is Anglicanism’, the 2018 Anglican Theology Conference was held recently at Beeson Divinity School's Institute of Anglican Studies at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Hosting the occasion was The Rev. Gerald McDermott; Anglican Chair of Divinity, at Beeson Divinity School. It can be viewed at the You Tube link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=rVAh3kMwS8k&feature=youtu.be
What is Anglicanism?

You can read the story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/anglican-theology-conference-highlights-what-anglicanism

*****

VIRTUEONLINE wishes all its readers in North America and around the world a very blessed New Year. May God prosper your ministries as you reach out for Him in the turbulent times in which we live.

We have not quite reached our financial goal for 2019, and I am hoping that you will consider a tax-deductible donation. My new book, The Episcotape Letters, modeled on that of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, is available. For a donation of $100.00 or more, I will send you an autographed copy. This is a volume of my best satirical essays compiled over the years. It catalogues the unravelling of the Episcopal Church, its apostasies and heresies. Such pathology cries out for correction and there is no better way to do so than by humor and satire. In my book I expose the foibles and self-destruct machinations of the Episcopal Church's apostasies.

You can make a donation at this link: https://tinyurl.com/yabemo37

Thank you,

David

Subscribe
Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top