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Akinola vs Williams...'who will blink first' * Message of change from God in Virus * New York TEC Bishop vs Samaritan's Purse * ACNA Archbishop Outraged over murder of Black man * Churches line-up for Govt. Paycheck * Nigeria under Attack....more

Akinola vs Williams...'who will blink first' * Message of change from God in Virus * New York TEC Bishop vs Samaritan's Purse * ACNA Archbishop Outraged over murder of Black man * Churches line-up for Govt. Paycheck * Nigeria faces increasing attacks from terrorists * Times blasts Welby over church shutdowns * Egypt gets new Primate * Uganda Martyrs Day cancelled

God's Word to God's world. I believe we are called to the difficult and even painful task of 'double listening'. That is, we are to listen carefully (although of course with differing degrees of respect) both to the ancient Word and to the modern world, in order to relate the one to the other with a combination of fidelity and sensitivity ... It is my firm conviction that, only if we can develop our capacity for double listening, will we avoid the opposite pitfalls of unfaithfulness and irrelevance, and be able to speak God's Word to God's world with effectiveness today. ---- John R. W. Stott

I want to suggest that one way of looking at what is happening with the present COVID-19 crisis is that it is not only another manifestation of the Fall, but it is like a faint echo coming towards us out of the future. So, while on the one hand the virus is all part and parcel of living in a world under judgement, it is also a harbinger, a mild taster, if you like, of what is yet to come at the judgement. -- Rev. Melvin Tinker

In the past people didn't go to church to be made happy; they went to have their misery explained to them --- Philip Rieff

"The Church does not make the Eucharist but the Eucharist makes the Church" --- Rev. Dr. Joseph Muthuraj

A third of American adults today will never marry. This is "a new kind of milestone in American life, and it's unfortunate because marriage obviously gives meaning purpose happiness and solidarity to most of the men and women who marry in America." -- A. Bradford Willcox

"Ahmaud Arbery, may your soul, with all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. My heart breaks for his family, & I am more than outraged that this has happened again. When will this STOP? Will we see justice?" --- ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach

If we want the church to thrive, we should protect liberty, and that means progressive governments should be held accountable under law for their illiberal attacks on free exercise. But absent our own faithfulness, every legal or political victory will be for naught. We'll continue to bleed members, lose our witness, and close our doors. Our true challenge lies not with the drag queens without but rather with the adulterers and abusers within. --- David French

"Under communism, the Gospel shone a light through the darkness. Now, that light only strikes fog." -- Slovak Catholic Priest

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
May 15, 2020

Once upon a time when the progressives thought they would take over the Anglican Communion and destroy the last vestiges of "fundamentalism" in the communion, Rowan Williams, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, and the enabler of "progressives" told the then Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, "We shall see who blinks first!" Since that day, it is clear that neither Akinola nor his colleagues have blinked. Indeed, through the formation of GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) and union with biblically faithful Anglicans in the Global North, they are pressing their cause with an eye toward the next decennial assembly of bishops at Lambeth.

Today GAFCON "owns" 80% of the Anglican Communion and William's prognostication is dead on arrival.

William's successor, Justin Welby, has proven to be weak, wobbly and meta referential both as leader of the Communion and in the spread of the gospel.

Instead of supporting orthodox Anglicans who make up GAFCON (and who could have been his spear carriers), he has derided them as little more than a "ginger group". He has made his bed with the progressives especially and, including Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, permanently alienating orthodox (evangelical and Anglo-Catholics) and dissing orthodox Anglicans who make up the Anglican Church in North America. Is it any wonder that ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach returned the favor, calling most of Western Anglicanism "neo-pagan?"

You can pick up a copy of Akinola's book "Who Blinks First: Biblical Fidelity Against the Gay Agenda in the Global Anglican Communion? here: https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Akinola-Biblical-Fidelity-Communion/dp/1725264633/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=akinola+book&qid=1589560099&s=books&sr=1-2

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If you want to hear a conversation with Archbishop Foley Beach, you can see and hear it here: https://americananglican.org/aac-toolbox/covid19/a-conversation-with-foley-beach/ It comes courtesy of the American Anglican Council. You can sign up for their newsletter here: www.americananglican.org

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US believers see message of change from God in virus, according to a new Associated Press report. The coronavirus has prompted almost two-thirds of American believers to feel that God is telling humanity to change how it lives, a new poll finds.

While the virus rattles the globe, causing economic hardship for millions and killing more than 80,000 Americans, the findings of the poll by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicate that people may also be searching for deeper meaning in the devastating outbreak.

Even some who don't affiliate with organized religion, such as Lance Dejesus of Dallastown, Pa., saw a possible bigger message in the virus.

"It could be a sign, like 'hey, get your act together' -- I don't know," said Dejesus, 52, who said he believes in God, but doesn't consider himself religious. "It just seems like everything was going in an OK direction and all of a sudden you get this coronavirus thing that happens, pops out of nowhere."

The poll found that 31% of Americans who believe in God feel strongly that the virus is a sign of God telling humanity to change, with the same number feeling that somewhat. Evangelical Protestants are more likely than others to believe that strongly, at 43%, compared with 28% of Catholics and mainline Protestants.

In addition, black Americans were more likely than those of other racial backgrounds to say they feel the virus is a sign God wants humanity to change, regardless of education, income or gender. Forty-seven percent say they feel that strongly, compared with 37% of Latino and 27% of white Americans.

The COVID-19 virus has disproportionately walloped black Americans, exposing societal inequality that has left minorities more vulnerable and heightening concern that the risks they face are getting ignored by a push to reopen the U.S. economy. Amid that stark reality, the poll found black Americans who believe in God are more likely than others to say they have felt doubt about God's existence as a result of the virus -- 27% said that, compared with 13% of Latinos and 11% of white Americans.

But the virus has prompted negligible change in Americans' overall belief in God, with 2% saying they believe in God today, but did not before. Fewer than 1% say they do not believe in God today, but did before.

Most houses of worship stopped in-person services to help protect public health as the virus began spreading, but that didn't stop religious Americans from turning to online and drive-in gatherings to express their faiths. Americans with a religious affiliation are regularly engaging in private prayer during the pandemic, with 57% saying they do so at least weekly since March -- about the same share that say they prayed as regularly last year.

Overall, 82% of Americans say they believe in God, and 26% of Americans say their sense of faith or spirituality has grown stronger as a result of the outbreak. Just 1% say it has weakened.

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The revisionist Episcopal Bishop of New York, the Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche, failed the national church's inclusion test it was revealed this week when he kicked out the evangelical ministry Samaritan's Purse from his cathedral, St. John The Divine, because Samaritan's Purse failed to bow down to the Moloch god of sodomy and homosexual marriage. Graham And Samaritan's Purse hold to traditional views on marriage.

You see all Samaritan's Purse wanted to do was use the mostly unused cathedral as a place to help all COVID-19 patients recover from their affliction, and to do it in the name of Jesus. But the bishop has a different Jesus he worships and told Franklin Graham that his understanding of marriage was too narrow. He and his diocese were clearly more enlightened on such matters and booted Samaritan's Purse out of the cathedral, causing the ministry to decamp into Central Park.

They did, of course, and they helped cure 191 patients before heading off to Alaska to continue their ministry of healing there.

Dietsche only proved that in the parable of the Good Samaritan he stands with the Levite and the Jew. It is Graham that stands with the Good Samaritan!

The mantra of hate, aimed so frequently at evangelicals, is in fact the mantra of the LGBTQ left, who will brook no resistance from people of faith. The New York City Council naturally went along with the hate mantra, but not everybody agreed. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/new-york-episcopal-bishop-fails-inclusion-test-over-samaritans-purse

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The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Rt. Rev. Foley Beach expressed outrage at the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black male cut down in the prime of life.

"May your soul, with all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. My heart breaks for his family, and I am more than outraged that this has happened again. When will this STOP? Will we see justice?" tweeted Beach.

Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council echoed Archbishop Beach's words and said there are many other voices in the Church who have expressed a will to advocate for the racially marginalized in whatever segment of America they find themselves in. "Many pastors voiced anger, frustration, and a desire to contribute to the solution to racism and the continued confrontation and killing of individuals based on race." You can read my full story here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-archbishop-outraged-over-georgia-shooting

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Surveys show that about a quarter of Protestant congregations and more than a third of Catholic parishes successfully pursued loans under the first round of the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program.

Religious leaders in America who have had qualms in the past about taking money from the government, may be relenting under financial stress. Surveys suggest that between a quarter and a half of all Christian churches in the country have applied for emergency loans under the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with most of their applications approved for funding.

Of the approximately 17,000 Catholic parishes in the country, about 10,000 applied for PPP loans in the first round of lending, according to Pat Markey, executive director of the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference. Of those, 6,000 had their applications approved. About 3,000 additional parishes have been notified that their applications were accepted in the second round, Markey says.

A survey of Protestant pastors by LifeWay Research found that a somewhat smaller share of those congregations, about 40 percent, applied for PPP loans in the first round. More than half of them reported that they were approved for assistance, according to Scott McConnell, LifeWay's executive director. No data is available for the second round. (NPR)

*****

Nigeria continues to be at the epicenter of the storm for the persecution of Anglicans. No other Anglican province comes close to what Nigerian christians isare experiencing. This week I obtained an exclusive interview with Nigerian Archbishop Ben Kwashi, who talked with me at length about genocide, GAFON and the way forward for the Anglican communion.

Archbishop Kwashi also holds the title of General Secretary of GAFCON -- the Global Anglican Future Conference -- a title and office he took over in 2019 when he succeeded Archbishop Peter Jensen, former Archbishop of Sydney. Here is my opening question to the archbishop.

VOL: Archbishop, Nigeria is Africa's largest nation, it is an important economic hub, but it is a nation under extreme danger from within with violence and terror intensifying almost daily. What is your take on this?

KWASHI: The war on terror seems to me to have multi-dimensional international interests. Firstly: the sophisticated chain supply of weapons available to the terrorists should concern the world community. Secondly: the number of troops recruited by the terrorists for them to be able to resist the nations of Chad, Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria, and to hold their grounds for up to ten years, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be a small venture of a band of terrorists. Thirdly: that this "band of terrorists", especially Boko Haram, has a single objective of Islamicizing Nigeria and has kept to that objective for ten years, should be a cause of concern not only to the Nigerian government, but also to the international community. You can read the full interview here or on FACEBOOK: https://virtueonline.org/nigerian-archbishop-talks-about-genocide-gafcon-and-way-forward-anglican-communion

To make the point, Canon Bayo and his family were attacked in their compound by militant Fulani tribesmen in the state of Plateau, Nigeria. Stefanos Foundation visited the scene, providing photos and reporting that the attack could have been worse. Stefanos reports, "...at about 8:40PM, yesterday, while the family was having their evening devotion, 3 armed Fulani young men stormed the house with AK 47, machetes and other weapons. Stefanos gathered that the attackers forced their way into the room where the reverend and his family were having devotion and demanded that the reverend should give them money. When he replied that there was no money in the house, one of the attackers holding a gun immediately shot the reverend in the head and also in the leg and left him in the pool of his blood. The attackers, thinking that the reverend was dead, left for the other room where the other family members went into hiding. The family at that time was struggling to send text massages to friends and neighbors for help when suddenly they heard gun shots on the door. The gunmen found their way into the room and shot two of the reverend's sons in their legs and also shot his wife in her back. They then immediately took to their heels when they learned that the security men were on their way to the house. After the gunmen left, the reverend, his wife Naomi and his sons who miraculously were all alive but with bullet wounds, were immediately rushed to Barkin Ladi General Hospital. However, due to the magnitude of her injuries, Naomi was later taken to Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTh)." Canon Bayo, is on the Diocese staff of GAFCON General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi. He is serving in pioneering missions and is the founding leader of the CAPRO Nigerian indigenous missionary organization.

*****

It is deeply ironic that while African Anglicans suffer for their faith, they continue to grow. By contrast, Western Anglicanism sinks more deeply each day into the slough of sexual sloth. Their churches are dying.

The ongoing moral sickness in the Church of England with the emergence of details about the abuse by John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher has caused evangelicals in England to reflect deeply on its current culture and the historic influences upon it. Although the culture of the camps that the Titus Trust ran today has changed significantly from the Scripture Union camps of the late 70s and early 80s, it revealed a degeneracy that may have set back the evangelical witness in England for decades. Bishop Ball may have done untold damage to the Anglo-Catholic witness in the church of England, but evangelicals will have to answer for what they have done.

The Trustees of The Titus Trust settled with three men who had suffered for many years because of the appalling abuse of John Smyth. "We are devastated that lives have been blighted by a man who abused a position of trust and influence to inflict appalling behaviour on others, and we have written to those concerned to express our profound regret at what happened and also to apologise for any additional distress that has been caused by the way The Titus Trust has responded to this matter." Welby responded at one point and said this was not a CofE issue! Really. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/titus-trust-issues-statement-settlement-case-john-smyth

An irate CofE priest wrote to VOL and said this: "Welby has an amazing political capacity to dodge truth bullets fired his way. These orgs are all Anglican affiliated but whether the CofE is liable I don't know. Smyth was a sadist and that he got away for it for so long speaks volumes. How was that possible? That he fled to Africa and mercifully died there leaves only his wife to mourn him. I don't know under British law who pays the piper but whatever I am glad Welby has been caught out for lying. I think he will be viewed as the last worst ABC the CofE has ever known."

IN OTHER NEWS, The Archbishop of Canterbury has been secretly volunteering as a chaplain at St Thomas' Hospital during the coronavirus lockdown, the Telegraph has learned.

Welby, 64, has been making regular visits to comfort the diseased and the dying at the London hospital from his nearby flat at Lambeth Palace.

Like other chaplains working on Covid-hit wards across the UK, the head of the Anglican church has undergone special training in infection control and wears personal protective equipment (PPE) over his black clerical shirt and dog collar.

It is ironic that while he has told his churches to close down, he has been making hospital visits! He has said no one over 60 should be doing this kind of ministry and he is 64. Go figure.

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Welby took it in the neck this week when The Times blasted Welby over Church shutdowns. 800 Priests rebelled against these closures.

The Archbishop of Canterbury found himself being ripped apart by both the secular media and some 800 of his priests for closing churches. This was a decision described by a Times editorial as "bizarre", castigating Welby's Easter message as "underwhelming", declaring the performance of his duties as "poor" and said just when people needed the Church most, it and he was AWOL.

There are some, of course, who insist the churches never needed to lock their doors (at least to their own priests and vicars, who were, after all, classed as 'keyworkers'): the damage to the Church of England's mission and perceptions of its ministry has been immense. Instead of boldly witnessing to the nation and defiantly proclaiming the light of salvation from its parish pulpits (via the Internet), every church was darkened; every liturgical service banned. If you were equipped technologically to give remote succor to your flock, you had to do it from your kitchen or conservatory. 'Ready, Steady, God' (or 'Easter Bakeoff') will become the abiding image of Justin Welby's period as Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote Martin Sewell of Archbishop Cranmer blog.

You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/times-blasts-archbishop-justin-welby-over-church-shutdown

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UGANDA. The annual Anglican Church Martyrs Day celebrations have been called off due to Coronavirus.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time in over 45 years that Anglicans from Uganda and the rest of the world will not celebrate the Uganda Martyrs Day. because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year on June 3rd, one of the biggest events for Anglicans in the world is held at Namugongo Shrine in central Uganda where 23 Anglican martyrs were brutally killed in 1888 alongside 22 Catholic martyrs. This killing was done by a local brutal king called Kabaka Mwanga over fears that the christians had become more loyal to their new religions than to him.

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EGYPT. The Rt. Rev. Samy Fawzy Shehata, Area Bishop of North Africa, has been elected Coadjutor Bishop of Egypt, and will succeed Bishop Mouneer Anis upon his coming retirement. Anis reached the province's mandatory retirement age of 70 in early April. Shehata was elected on April 22 in Cairo, receiving 73 percent of the vote. The Diocese of Egypt has been a strategic leader among Anglicans in the Global South. Shehata will play a central role in the establishment of the Anglican Communion's newest province, the Province of Alexandria, which will include the Diocese of Egypt and three dioceses in North Africa and the Horn of Africa created through its mission work. (TLC)

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I would like to commend a four-part series -- a critique of British theologian N.T. Wright by VOL's resident theologian, the Rev. Roger Salter. The four-part series on Luther vs Wright by Salter is a must read for those who wish to maintain the right views on Justification by faith. https://virtueonline.org/choice-pastors-nt-wright-or-martin-luther-part-2 Other parts can be accessed at www.virtueonline.org

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Bishop Steve Wood was recently released from the hospital following 10 days on a ventilator amidst treatment for COVID-19. Wood is the rector of St. Andrew's Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and bishop for the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas.

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On the alarming news front, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found some troubling statistics.

In the area of patriotism, Boomers/Silent Generation (55-91) rated 80% but only 40% for Millennials and Gen Z. Belief in God was 70% for Boomers but only 30% for Millennials. Only hard work got high ratios for both groups. -- 90% vs 80%. ONLY self-fulfillment rated higher for Millennials close to 80%, but only 60% for Boomers.

So, to sum up: we have an angry, young, rootless generation with little love for their country, no adherence to any higher moral authority, and little interest in investing in future generations. Yep, bright days ahead for the American republic!

*****

A poem for these stressful times

SERENITY

In order to settle down
in the quiet of our own being,
we must learn to be detached
from the results of our own activities.
We must be content:
to live without watching ourselves live,
to work without expecting immediate results,
to love without instantaneous satisfaction, and
to exist without any special recognition;

For it is only when we are detached from our selves
that we can be at peace with ourselves.
-- Thomas Merton

Warmly in Our Lord,

David

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