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ACoC Vote on SS Marriage a Comedy of Errors * GAFCON leader urges Irish Church not to change teaching on Sexuality * TEC San Joaquin Diocese forced to sell Properties * United Methodists roll over on Gay Marriage * Episcopal Divinity School to close

The profoundly compromised character of the Anglican Church of Canada is certainly no secret. Liberalizers love to publish their apostasy to the world so that they might delude themselves into thinking that media coverage and approval from cultural elites means approval from God -- at least for those churchmen (or women) who still believe in a personal God. --- Joe Boot

As many as 20 Anglican Churches in the Diocese of Huron which is based in London are on the chopping block, the new Bishop is very liberal on the various social issues of the day and so there will be very few new members now, many parishioners are both angry and saddened at the turn of events when the national church passed the gay and lesbian weddings [resolution] recently. It is predicted that the Anglican church will not last and the diocese of Huron is in serious trouble. -- Source who asked not to be named

The three major constituents of the gospel of God are Jesus Christ and him crucified, the plight and peril of man in sin and under judgment, and the necessary response called 'obedience of faith'. Or, in simple monosyllables, 'sin - grace - faith'. This is the irreducible minimum. --- John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
7/22/2016

The Anglican Church of Canada would be a sitcom of comedic errors if it wasn't for the fact that the destiny of souls is at stake.

As you all know the Synod of the ACoC voted last week to change its canons to include same-sex marriage, even though the Old Testament, New Testament, Jesus himself and 2,000 years of church history have never embraced the idea and would not call it marriage by any stretch of the imagination.

No matter, the ACoC is riding the cultural wave all the way to Hell, and taking tens of thousands of Canadians with them.

The "comedy" of errors began with the electronic voting machines failing to pick up Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada's vote, which, when confirmed, overturned the nay voters and swung the vote into the yes camp, (by one) giving heartburn, albeit temporarily, to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, resulting in anger from the handful of orthodox bishops.

No matter, a vote is a vote and the ACoC announced the triumph of queer marriage and the right for persons with homogenital attraction to cohabitate legally and with the church's blessing. That should have been an end to it.

Not so fast.

It turned out that none of the electronic votes cast by National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald were recorded because he was "erroneously listed" as "non-voting.

The error, which the Anglican Journal and another publication brought to Thompson's attention, came on the heels of a vote miscount which dramatically reversed General Synod's vote on same-sex marriage.

MacDonald, it turned out, was wrongly listed as non-voting in the spreadsheet provided to Data-on-the-Spot, the electronic voting services provider hired to manage the voting by clickers.

But the "good news" is this, Thompson said that even if MacDonald's vote were to have been registered and counted, it would not have changed the outcome of the motion to change the marriage canon to allow the solemnization of same-sex marriages.

"It would have increased the number of opposed in the order of bishops from 12 to 13 total (one-third of bishops present and voting). The number of bishops in favor would still have met the legislative threshold of two-thirds," he said. Twenty-six, or 68.4%, of bishops voted in favor of the resolution.

MacDonald voted 'no' not because he very orthodox. He is not. He did so because his Native American constituency will have nothing to do with sodomite marriage and see it is as another western colonial intrusion on their way of thinking.

The deeper truth is that no matter how the marriage canon vote played out, it made no difference, since liberal bishops were and are determined to plough ahead no matter what anyone votes, says or does, but surely this latest revelation makes a mockery of the whole process and, since this could be the tip of a very ugly iceberg, invalidate every decision that was made.

Anglican columnist David of Samizdat noted that, laughably, some from the ACoC turned up at the El Salvador presidential elections in 2014, to make sure everything was above board. It would be only fair, I think, to invite Salvador Sánchez Ceren, El Salvador's president, to return the favor and scrutinize the results of the 2019 synod. (Laughter please).

All of this led Toronto Bishop Colin Johnson, to grace the church with yet more of his pleonastic rambling on the recent general synod. He came up with a word destined to be overused by Anglican clerics everywhere: "ambiguity". It is the only concrete belief left to the Anglican Church of Canada -- the belief that contradictory beliefs can co-exist in the same belief system.

Here is what he said: "The freedom of conscience in the Anglican experience is not only in superficial matters but even as we approach critical doctrinal issues -- how we have understood baptism, the Eucharist, the scriptures, the outward and the inward expression of our faith. We have a broad and messy tent. Personally I'd like to clean it up, but I have lived long enough and I have been ordained long enough to know that such a house cleaning is more about me making the church to be what I would be comfortable with. It usually has little to do with how God wants it to be. The Anglican Church is an uncomfortable place for those who cannot deal with ambiguity." Hardly in the vein of St. Paul, as old Muggeridge would say.

Nonetheless, bishops are starting to worry about unity after the marriage canon vote. Writes David of Samizdat, "Considering dozens of parishes have left the Anglican Church of Canada since 2008, numerous dioceses and their bishops have sued parishes and individuals over property ownership and hurt feelings, and a number of high profile clergy were inhibited by their bishops, it's about time someone started worrying about unity. Unfortunately, since most of the bishops now wringing their hands are liberals who were - and still are - the cause of the disunity, all this tearful posturing accomplishes is illustrate the contempt bishops have for their flocks who, they must think, will fall for it all - again.

Melissa Skelton, bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, set the ball rolling in the current Canadian Anglican dystopia, condescendingly implied that those who disagree with same-sex marriage, do so only because they are "not ready", not because they have good reasons for disagreeing. The condescension continues when she asks how the ACoC can "continue to make room for their point of view in a sensitive and caring way". I suppose it will continue as it started: conservatives will be herded into fundamentalist ghettos, out of sight and mind; a few tame residents will occasionally be let out for good behavior and paraded before diocesan synods as a show of exclusivity.

Of course, the vote appeals to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who had no interest in stopping a bishop from performing same-sex marriages because he is entirely sympathetic to the idea. A plea of impotence is rather convenient for him, since he hopes it will absolve him from any culpability that could result in consequences imposed by the next up the chain in ecclesiastical eunuchs, Justin Welby.

He also stressed that he has no jurisdiction over diocesan bishops to stop them from doing what they want on the issue.

So there you have it, a church with little faith, no over-arching binding morality, no new converts, dictating a new moral order even as it goes over the cliff into extinction. A case of the blind leading the deaf, dumb, stupid and blind into oblivion.

*****

IN IRELAND this week, Archbishop Peter Jensen, the outspoken General Secretary of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), a movement of orthodox Anglicans who have distanced themselves from liberally-driven mostly Western Anglican provinces, says pressure is being exerted within the Church of Ireland to change its teaching on sexual morality - in common with other Provinces in the British Isles - and, as a consequence, weaken her commitment to Biblical authority.

Dr. Peter Jensen, the former Archbishop of Sydney, an evangelical, told the Church of Ireland Gazette newspaper that the GAFCON Primates are deeply concerned about this pressure to change the Church's traditional and biblical stance on sexual morality, but that he was encouraged by orthodox Anglicans on the island of Ireland. These orthodox Anglicans are encouraged that Biblical leadership is being shown by the Primates of GAFCON, and they are delighted to know that there are people willing to stand with them.

"Each party looks forward to a future of Gospel mission, growth, mutual interest and support, under God. You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****

Last week, the California State Supreme Court did not take up the case involving a property dispute in the diocese of San Joaquin, which meant that the Appellate Court's decision in favor of the Episcopal Church diocese stood. This case involved 28 properties (valued at $50 million) which had been held by the bishop's corporation sole and include the diocesan cathedral, some diocesan funds as well as various parish churches. Three other property disputes involving parish churches which were not held by the corporation sole, remain to be resolved.

In a written statement, Bishop David Rice of the Episcopal Diocese said; "I have suggested in the past that we assume a position of prayerful restraint. There will be an appropriate time and place for celebration. What we do now, which is what we are always called to do, is to give thanks to God that we are called to be...and the ways in which we continue to emerge in this Jesus Movement remains our focus."

In a written statement, the current Anglican (ACNA) Bishop, Eric Menees, has said that the Anglican Diocese will now work to hand over the properties; "In essence, and practically speaking, this is a conclusion to the case involving the Anglican Diocese Holding Corp. properties."

So you would think that Rice would be running up the victory flag, announcing party time and Eucharist for all, with "we won, come fill up the churches, write out checks to the diocese...praise the Lord."

Well apparently not.

In an interview with Episcopal Cafe, Bishop Rice was asked what he realistically was going to be able to do with them. The camp and the cathedral seem like they could be put to quick use, but what about all the various parish churches?

Rice, citing what he called "architectural evangelism", whatever that means, then averred that many were built in places where there was not significant population... So, in some of these cases, we'll really be looking at [options] ranging from hiring them out to selling them.

So there you have it. A public admission that the faux diocese will win very little. They can't win over the hearts and minds of San Joaquin Anglicans, so they will be forced to do the inevitable. Sell what remains. What a sad indictment.

I have written about this at length in today's digest.

*****

In a surprise move, the Board of Trustees for one of the 10 schools educating Episcopal Church seminarians has voted to cease granting degrees at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year. It is unclear how Episcopal Divinity School of Cambridge, Massachusetts might continue on, with the board stating that it "will explore options for EDS's future" in the coming year.

Interim Dean Francis Fornaro, who took office in March of 2015 following the departure of former Dean Katharine Ragsdale, will resign in November and stated "I totally disagree with this resolution." Fornaro is a 1996 graduate of the seminary and previously served as adjunct faculty there.

You can read the full story in today's digest

*****

South Carolina pastor, Rev. Mark Burns, took the stage at the RNC and delivered a prayer, breaking with precedent to deliver an explicitly partisan prayer.

He said that Donald Trump "believes in the name of Jesus Christ". Perhaps he misspoke and meant to say, he "believes that Jesus existed just like Buddha and Mohammed, go 'Merica!'" Because it's quite a bold thing to claim that Mr. Trump is truly a Christian, when he hasn't given any indication whatsoever of this being the case, including denying, as he's claiming to be a 'Great Christian', 'The Best Christian', basic tenets of Christian belief such as the need to repent of sin and be forgiven. If Mr. Trump is a Christian, I will jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge (which I can see from my window) without a parachute and trust that Jesus will save me.

Here's the thing, we've tried conflating the gospel with the political process. We've tried the Moral Majority and the Christian Right. We've hoped and prayed that if we concentrated on making people behave properly we wouldn't ever have to whisper the name of Jesus. We've trusted and believed, even in the face of all the evidence, that 'Merica was a Christian nation. And what has it wrought? What has been the fruit of all that work? Other than churches beset by heresy if they are full, and cultural disapprobation if they stick rather closely to historical doctrine and belief. Oh, and the greatest, the Yugest Fruit of all--Mr. Trump believing himself to be a Christian, or being willing to make this claim for political expediency.

*****

Police shootings have become a bad movie on an endless loop. Dallas was the first of three nearly back to back police targeted assassinations in the past week. It describes yet another national nightmare.

Dallas police chief, David Brown, a good and brave man, told the press and the world that he believes officers in his city and nationwide are under too much strain. It deserves more focus of attention.

"We're asking cops to do too much in this country," Brown said at a briefing Monday. "We are. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. ... Schools fail, let's give it to the cops. ... That's too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems."

Brown said he and other officers were frustrated by what police are being forced to do while lawmakers fail to seek solutions to the country's violence...

He also said that if he were confronted with the same perceived problems that have prompted demonstrations across the country, "I probably wouldn't protest or complain. I'd get involved and do something about it, by becoming part of the solution."

Brown later leveled a direct challenge to demonstrators: "We're hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in."

The Police chief did say at another point in time that 70% of black families were without fathers. What does that tell you? If the shooter had had a father (and he didn't) he would have found his son's bedroom full of hard weaponry including semi-automatic weapons. That he had been in the military made it just that much easier for him to do what he did.

Another factor, and one that most people don't want to talk about is the easy availability and purchase of semi-automatic weapons, which absolutely no one needs. There are 8.2 million such weapons in the hands of people who will apparently defend themselves against an alien enemy who will never come, or from a government whom they believe is ready to take their weapons from them.

The truth is, if the government wants to screw up your life, they don't need to take away your semi-automatic weapons, all they need to do is turn off the check writing machines that send out monthly social security, disability, WIC and other checks, and then refuse to pay Medicare and Medicaid payments and see what the nation looks like after 90 days! Who ya gonna shoot then?

*****

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has announced that he is to retire next year, after a long and distinguished career at the heart of the Church of England and the British establishment.

Chartres, who has overseen a remarkable renaissance of the London diocese with flourishing churches across all three main traditions of evangelical, liberal and Anglo-Catholic, has written to clergy and parishes announcing that his last public engagement will be Candlemas, at St Paul's Cathedral on 2 February, 2017, a few months before his 70th birthday.

Chartres, who is Dean of the Chapel Royal and has become a close friend of all the senior members of the Royal family, has primarily been a figure of unity in a Church divided over the last two decades by women's ordination and the issue of sexuality.

Although a supporter of women's ministry, his dignified restraint from ordaining women priests himself, possibly in aid of preserving that unity, might have cost him translation to the top job at Canterbury during either of the last two vacancies when many senior church people had hoped to witness his elevation.

He was also a dedicated and expert ambassador for the Eastern Orthodox churches in this country and in Eastern Europe. His familiarity with the eastern rite and love of the ornate flourishing of the best in liturgy and ritual, could easily at times have led him to being mistaken for one of their number.

One wonders if the Anglo-Catholic bishop, whose diocese sports some 30 percent homosexual priests, would have been as nearly successful without the help of Holy Trinity Brompton and the evangelically-driven ALPHA. He consecrated Sandy Miller just to take care of that burgeoning movement. Without the rising tide of evangelicals in the Diocese of London, one wonders just how successful he would have been!

*****

The United Methodist Church went over the cliff this past week and proposed ordaining an open lesbian to be the United Methodist Church's Western Jurisdiction. The partnered lesbian activist, Karen Oliveto (currently being challenged), will now shimmy down the path that the Episcopal Church has trod, with devastating schismatic possibilities.

As pastor of Bethany United Methodist Church in San Francisco, she made headlines last year by officiating at a number of same-sex "marriage" ceremonies, in violation of the United Methodist Book of Discipline she vowed to uphold.

On the opening night, Oliveto preached on Acts 1:6-11, which describes Christ's ascension to heaven. She speculated that Jesus laughed at his disciples for continuing to look up as he was lifted out of their sight, trying to "keep their eyes locked on a past that is no longer," rather than looking down and moving on.

The RMN leader then proceeded to use this as a biblical argument for acceptance of homosexual practice. While our church "remain[s] rooted to ... old traditions" which "may have served us once," being "rooted in the past" will deprive us of enjoying what God is doing here and now, she warned. By not affirming homosexual practice, Oliveto lamented that the United Methodist Church "has kept its face turned to a past that no longer serves the whole family of God."

Mark Tooley of IRD, said this Western jurisdiction has defied church law regarding sexual ethics, by electing as bishop an openly avowed lesbian married to another woman who is an exponent of radical theology and politics. The church's South Central Jurisdiction has asked the church's top court, the Judicial Council, to address the legality of her election.

In United Methodism, jurisdictions elect their own bishops without wider ecclesial approval. In contrast, under the Episcopal Church system, when the Diocese of New Hampshire nominated Gene Robinson as the their denomination's first ever openly homosexual bishop, approval was required and gained from the Episcopal Church's General Convention, setting in motion an ongoing Anglican schism in North America and globally, over the last 13 years. The Episcopal Church's membership decline accelerated, and New Hampshire lost about 20 percent of members under Bishop Robinson, who's since retired and is now a fellow with the politically liberal Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

Unlike the Episcopal Church and other declining USA Mainline Protestant bodies, liberals in United Methodism have failed to liberalize the denomination's official teaching on marriage, thanks mostly to their own membership losses while conservative overseas United Methodist churches grow. So United Methodist liberals have, in recent years, touted defiance of church law, which officially teaches monogamy in male-female marriage and celibacy in singleness. Oliveto's election is the latest defiance.

For many liberal United Methodists, LGBTQ affirmation is the primary justice cause of the day demanding church affirmation. Political social justice advocacy has been a theme of liberal Methodism and much of Mainline Protestantism since early in the 20th century, with a presumed univeralism/syncretism that doesn't prioritize evangelism or discipleship. Instead, the church's primary calling is to urge and model egalitarian political social justice. Over the last century there have been many urgent political crusades touted by zealous church activists who claimed their cause of the moment was crucial to God's Kingdom on earth, says Tooley.

*****

The chaplain of the Anglican Church in Nice told BBC radio that the French city is stunned by the recent attack, which left at least 84 people dead and dozens more injured. But, the Rev. Peter Jackson said Nice was resilient and would recover.

Jackson told the Today program that one of his church wardens saw the lorry crush people who had been watching a fireworks display to mark Bastille Day. He said it has been "highly traumatic" for her.

"Other people are just stunned," he went on. "If you go to the site where so many people died, it is extraordinary -- almost surreally quiet."

Jackson explained how the church was providing comfort.

"I have met lots of people, I have been on the phone to them, emailed them. . . We do have our church open every day from eight o'clock in the morning to six o'clock at night. I go in and out of the church a lot during the day and you encounter people there, people coming to pray and also just to find somewhere quiet, a bit of sanctuary."

France marked three days of national mourning for those killed and injured in the attack. French President François Hollande has described it as a terrorist act and has extended the country's state of emergency by three months.

*****

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) will launch a Decade of Intentional Discipleship at its biennial renewal conference, Anglicans Ablaze, later this year. It follows the call from the Anglican Consultative Council, at their meeting in Lusaka in April (ACC-16), for "every province, diocese and parish" in the Anglican Communion to "adopt a clear focus on intentional discipleship" as part of a "season of intentional discipleship" to run for the next nine-or-so years.

The launch of the Decade of Intentional Discipleship will "signal the start of a season of vision sharing and preparation ahead of mobilization," the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said.

In a letter to the archbishops of neighboring provinces, inviting them and their bishops to bring or send young people to the event, Archbishop Thabo said: "The aim in this conference is to involve young people fully, and to expose, inspire, equip, and encourage participants to return to their communities and engage in holistic mission, evangelism, discipleship and service in the power of the Holy Spirit."

Around 1,500 people are expected to attend the conference.

Now you should know that this is the most liberal Anglican province on the continent of Africa, so you have to ask yourself is this going anywhere? One orthodox Anglican from South Africa wrote VOL and said it was a "whole lot of hype"!

"ACSA trots out this "Anglicans Ablaze" stuff to show the rest of the communion that they tolerate evangelicals, while at the same time gay marriages are going on in several liberal dioceses. It's all rather sickening. It's the whole 'unity is more important that truth' nonsense.

*****

Christchurch Ponders Future: New Zealand's Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister, Gerry Brownlee, has announced a five-member working group that will recommend the best option for the stricken Christ Church Cathedral. Brownlee acknowledged "the strong public interest in what is happening to this iconic building."

The working group is expected to report by Dec. 7. Earlier this month, engineers used a drone device for the latest survey of damage to the building. Markers on the cathedral are in place to measure further movement. Recent drone footage graphically illustrates damage inside the cathedral.

"Back in 2010 and 2011 the Diocese of Christchurch said we would put people and safety first and we have kept our word," said the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch. "The film from the drone in the Cathedral shows severe damage from many earthquakes, including the February and March quakes this year. I look forward to what the working group recommends for the beloved Cathedral building."

*****

ChristianMingle.com rolled over this week and said they will open its 16 million-member site to gay and lesbian users following an anti-discrimination lawsuit.

According to a settlement approved by a California judge last week, the country's most popular Christian dating site will offer options for same-sex matches, rather than limiting searches to "a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The plaintiffs in the case sued ChristianMingle in 2013, for violating a California civil rights law requiring "all business establishments of every kind whatsoever" to offer full accommodations, regardless of a person's sexual orientation (among more than a dozen other protected classes).

A spokesperson for ChristianMingle's parent company, Spark Networks Inc., said in an email to CT, that they recognize "this is a divisive issue and hope that the greater good of our mission is what people appreciate about us."

ChristianMingle, known for its commercials promising to "find God's match for you," is the largest dating site owned by Spark Networks. The company brought in $48 million last year, running niche sites including JDate.com, LDSSingles.com, CatholicMingle.com, and AdventistSinglesConnection.com, as well as sites for black, aging, and deaf daters. The settlement applies to a few other Sparks Networks sites.

ChristianMingle has already changed its homepage to ask users about their own gender and let them select their own search parameters.

So, can they legitimately call themselves ChristianMingle? Not really. Maybe PansexualMingle.com. So, please remove the Christian bit. That's no more.

*****

And for the latest in widget and social media taste comes this. For your liturgical amusement during this politically charged week, an Episcopal priest Fr. Bosco Peters has developed a collect for Pokemon.

Almighty God,
who has gotta 'catch us all',
within the great Pokeball of your love.
Give us the power that's inside,
so that we might not divert our eyes from the game map that you have set,
but instead, with Clefairy, Charmander and that electrocuted yellow rat thing,
come to the great PokeGym in the sky, where prestige points are infinite.
Amen.
And this will fill churches!

*****

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