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Albany Bishop says Diocese is in Battle with Uncertain Outcome * ACNA Apb. re-elected for second 5-year term * Diocese of Ft. Worth gets new bishop * GAFCON bishops nix Women Bishops * ACNA says it has 1,053 parishes *CofE bishop and Vicar in trans battle

Albany Bishop says Diocese is in Battle with Uncertain Outcome * ACNA Archbishop Re-elected for second 5-year term * Diocese of Ft. Worth gets new bishop * GAFCON bishops nix Women Bishops * ACNA says it has 1,053 parishes * CofE bishop and Vicar in battle over transgender issue

In 1910, Europe and North America (the West) contained 80 percent of the world's self-identified Christians. Today, it's 40 percent and declining. Meanwhile in the 21st century, almost 24 percent of the world's Christians live in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to less than 2 percent a hundred years earlier. --- Ed Stetzer, missiologist

"The problem is that revivalism only works when Christianity is triumphant or on the rise. Revivalism ... it isn't going to be as effective when Christianity is seen to be in eclipse -- like it is in American culture at this point." --- Albert Mohler

"This unique survey shows that American voters understand what anti-Semitism is and that it is rising, and they don't like it. Though much more needs to be done to combat this hatred and violence, the good news, as our poll demonstrates, is than anti-Semitism is not mainstream or normalized within American society." -Nina Shea is director of Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom

Whose decision? A decision is involved in the process of becoming a Christian, but it is God's decision before it can be ours. This is not to deny that we 'decided for Christ', and freely, but to affirm that we did so only because he had first 'decided for us'. This emphasis on God's gracious, sovereign decision or choice is reinforced by the vocabulary with which it is associated. On the one hand, it is attributed to God's 'pleasure', 'will', 'plan' and 'purpose', and on the other it is traced back to 'before the creation of the world' or 'before time began'. --- John R. W. Stott

"Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years."--- Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) English Reformed Baptist Preacher

"The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid." --- Martin Luther

Reading and understanding the Bible involves lots and lots of interpretation. Not just in light of the world and culture around us, but in reference to other parts of the Bible." --- John Piper, Founder of Desiring God

"The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home." --- St. Augustine of Hippo

"It is mind-boggling to me that the Almighty power created everything I see; the Bible says that God created the entire universe just so he could create this galaxy just so he could create Earth so he could create human beings so he could create a family." --- Rick Warren, Founder of Saddleback Church

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
June 14, 2019

This week's lead story begins with Bishop William H. Love of the diocese of Albany, who told delegates to the diocese's 151th annual convention that he and his diocese were in the midst of a battle with an uncertain outcome.

"The greatest threat to the Church in the West comes from the ongoing cultural wars over human sexuality and same-sex marriage; abortion; "hate-speech legislation" and court rulings by judges who seem to have little to no regard for the U.S. Constitution (particularly the First Amendment and its guarantee of religious freedom and freedom of speech)", he said.

In a candid appraisal of the situation he personally faces along with the future of the diocese of Albany, Bishop William H. Love told delegates that the very nature and character of the diocese was under attack from forces outside, as well as from within.

The evangelical catholic bishop painted a grim picture of the state of the Church, his own partial inhibition and the state of the diocese's finances. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/albany-bishop-love-says-diocese-midst-battle-uncertain-outcome

*****

IN PLANO, TEXAS this week, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America re-elected the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach to serve as its archbishop and primate for a second term. According to the Church's Constitution, an archbishop may serve up to two 5-year terms. In the ACNA, the archbishop oversees bishops, dioceses, and parishes in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. He has certain responsibilities and duties beyond that of other bishops in the province,but does not hold unilateral authority. Beach was recently installed as the Chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). GAFCON is a global movement of orthodox Anglicans representing over 70% of the denomination's active members.

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In other ACNA news, the College of Bishops consented to the election of the Very Rev. Ryan Reed as the Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of Fort Worth. Reed was elected by the Fort Worth convention on June 1.

Last summer, the current bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker, who has served the diocese in this capacity for over 25 years, announced his coming retirement. In the same announcement, Iker also called for the election of a bishop coadjutor to enter as an assistant with the expectation of taking over the position when he retires. Reed will fill this role and take over for Iker at the end of the year. His entire ordained ministry tenure has been within the Diocese of Fort Worth, most recently as Dean of St. Vincent's Cathedral, the location of the Inaugural Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009.

Archbishop Foley Beach also announced that since its inception 10 years ago, the ACNA now had 1,053 congregations. Across both the US, Canada, and Mexico from coast to coast (plus Hawaii and Alaska!), and from the cold north to warm south, in small towns and large cities, in college towns, inner city neighborhoods, suburban communities, there are congregations of all kinds of sizes and strengths and ages.

By contrast, The Episcopal Church has closed more parishes than it has opened during the same period.

Some churches came into the ACNA as a whole unit, some lost their property and some are still under threat of litigation. But these churches, their leaders and families are part of the Anglican Church in North America.

Next week the ACNA's Provincial Assembly opens and invitations are still open - - www.disciple2019.com

"We have durable friendships with the Anglican Church all around the globe. This assembly will see more than a dozen Archbishops and Bishops who represent the vast majority of Anglican Christians around the world attending our assembly. We have a robust and theological rigorous catechism, a brand new beautiful Book of Common Prayer, a united College of Bishops, and a clear gospel message for the years to come. We have young leaders and faithful seasoned believers who remain active in gospel work," said Archbishop Beach.

*****

A GAFCON Task Force on Women in the Episcopate presented an Interim Report on its work to the GAFCON Primates' Meeting in April 2019.

The subject of women in the episcopate is beginning to appear in the discussions, even in the regions of the Church where the subject has not been so central or controversial as it has been in the West. It has therefore been of great value to meet together with brothers and sisters from Africa, North and South America, UK, Australia, and Asia. We have seen the value of careful study of Scripture and asking how far the historic episcopate can be "locally adapted," as the Lambeth Quadrilateral states. As GAFCON seeks to uphold the faith once for all delivered to the saints, we are committed to continuing study and consultation until such as time as we can say together, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us."

There has been no fore-ordained conclusion to our work. The Task Force's prime recommendation to "retain the historic practice of the consecration of men only as bishops" is conditional: "until and unless a strong consensus to change emerges after prayer, consultation and continued study of Scripture among the GAFCON fellowship."

The Anglican Church in North America specifically forbids the ordination of women bishops.

On all the available evidence nothing has been achieved in either The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada or the Church of England ordaining women bishops. They have not demonstrated that women bishops make churches grow or plant new churches, despite the fact that TEC has had women bishops for nearly 30 years. The dioceses they have led have had no ASA upward tick and show no signs of spiritual revival.

*****

The Diocese of Michigan recently elected a lesbian bishop to lead it. The previous bishop had seen the diocese drop by over 40% in communicants and average Sunday attendance.

The first woman to become a bishop in the Anglican Communion was Barbara Harris, who was ordained suffragan bishop of Massachusetts in the United States in February 1989. As of August 2017, 24 women have since been elected to the episcopate across the church.

A report in the Detroit Free Press opined that Bishop-elect Bonnie Perry statements indicate that she should run for political office or become a lobbyist, rather than a bishop. Perry told the Free Press that she intends to get the church involved with secular foundations and government officials to help make the region more equitable. So, there was nothing about evangelism, discipleship or spiritual development, just another politically active bishop who will do nothing to make the diocese grow. More than likely she will be the last bishop of the diocese.

IN other Michigan news, two dioceses have decided to share a bishop. The Diocese of Eastern Michigan and Diocese of Western Michigan held a joint clergy retreat in May and finalized a process of experimentation and dialogue that eventually could lead to a long-term commitment between the two dioceses.

The dioceses have not shied away from discussing the possibility of someday merging, a canonically governed process known as "juncture," though that is just one of many options on the table as they consider the future of The Episcopal Church in Michigan. The state encompasses four dioceses, All four dioceses have collaborated in the past in various ways, from joint formation programs to coordinated public statements on statewide issues.

In October, Eastern Michigan's convention is scheduled to vote to elect Western Michigan Bishop Whayne Hougland Jr. as bishop provisional. If approved, Hougland would be following in the footsteps of other dual-diocese bishops, in particular, Northwestern Pennsylvania Bishop Sean Rowe, who also serves as bishop provisional of the Diocese of Western New York.

The transition underway in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan follows a spirit of innovation that dates back to its creation in 1994, when it was carved out of the Detroit-based Diocese of Michigan.

The deeper truth is that the dioceses are slowly dying and within a few years will cease to exist. Of course, the official press release puffery from ENS makes it sound like a glorious future awaits the dioceses. "We're getting better as a church on focusing on mission-driven priorities rather than trying to squeeze the mission into an existing structure," said Bishop Todd Ousley, Bishop for the Office of Pastoral Development in the Presiding Bishop's Office. Yes, and cows fly and homosexuals breed.

*****

IN TASMANIA, disciplinary action against a former Anglican, Bishop Philip Newell was halted this week. In the 1980s, former Bishop Phillip Newell allowed a now convicted pedophile to stay in the church. He won a court bid to have disciplinary action halted.

In its 2017 report, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted failures of the church in Tasmania and criticized Bishop Newell, who allowed a now-convicted pedophile to stay in the church.

The commission referred to evidence he had been made aware in 1987 that now-convicted pedophile Louis Daniels had sexually abused three boys. Bishop Newell applied to the Supreme Court for a stay of proceedings based on ill-health.

*****

IN JAMAICA, the newly elected archbishop of the Anglican Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) Howard said that the diocese is in a period of preparation as the province makes changes in the administration of baptism and communion.

Gregory pointed out that he would be focusing on strengthening the ties across the region. He advised that he will be moving towards implementation of a number of issues that have not advanced beyond discussions over the years, especially as agreed in the action plan.

"We are not a church that just focuses on ourselves, but we see ourselves on a mission of ministering to the nation and throughout the province," Gregory said.

Meanwhile, asked about the advancement of women in the province, Gregory said that: "The province has accepted that women can be bishops... This synod approved a process to take it through. So right now, with immediate effect, a woman can become a bishop in the province."

*****

Having successfully seduced the Anglican Church of Southern Africa with money and more, the Episcopal Church has now turned its attention to Southern Sudan.

A US Episcopal priest has been appointed as a bishop in South Sudan to foster links between the two Episcopal Churches.

He is Canon Patrick Augustine, who has left his post of Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, La Crosse, in Wisconsin, and is now an assistant bishop in the diocese of Bor, in South Sudan.

Bishop Augustine, who is 69, plans to divide his time equally between the US and Bor diocese, ministering in particular to the South Sudanese diaspora in the US. He aims to try to strengthen the relationship between the Episcopal Churches in the US and South Sudan.

The appointment was made by the Archbishop of Jonglei and Bishop of Bor, the Most Rev. Ruben Akurdid Ngong. He has known Bishop Augustine for many decades; the Pakistani-born US cleric has spent years travelling to and from South Sudan.

Part of Bishop Augustine's remit will be to try to heal divisions over the US Episcopal Church's affirmation of same-sex marriage.

A decade ago, during the height of the controversy about Bishop Gene Robinson -- the first openly homosexual-partnered Anglican bishop -- the then Archbishop of South Sudan, Daniel Deng Bul, called for Bishop Robinson to resign. Bishop Bul insisted that he would not take part in any pan-Anglican discussions on sexuality, because it was "not approved by the Bible" and there were no LGBT people in Sudan.

Bishop Augustine told the Episcopal News Service that, although he personally supported the Episcopal Church's moves to accept homosexual relationships fully, he recognized the sincerity of the South Sudanese opposition.

"We do it in the name of compassion and justice. They disagree with us on conservative theological grounds." [ENS report).

VOL will stay on top of this story as we learn more.

*****

A war over the meaning of words has broken out between a Church of England Bishop and one of his vicars, the Rev. John Parker, over allegations in which the vicar has accused his bishop of supporting the transitioning of an 8-year-old child in his school and endorsing a training session by transgender activist group Mermaids. The bishop, Stephen Cottrell said the vicar misrepresented the entire narrative.

Parker, Vicar of All Saints, Fordham and Eight Ash Green, in Colchester, told the Daily Mail: "I was basically told by my bishop that if I wished to faithfully follow the teachings of the Bible then I was no longer welcome in the Church. It felt very much like I was being silenced by the Church and the school."

The British tabloid reported on May 25 that the vicar "resigned following a bitter dispute with his bishop over the way a Church of England school handled an eight-year-old pupil's plan to change gender."

However, Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, responded categorically on Saturday, stating that he "had no conversation whatsoever with JP on this matter, or any other for nearly a year."

In another tweet, Cottrell told Emma Sivyer, Church Army, "I never said this to John Parker, and would be horrified if I had." He adds: "Moreover, another inexplicable bit of this story is that I've never actually had any conversation or exchange with John Parker on this matter whatsoever."

When Virtueonline contacted the bishop for comment, Cottrell replied, saying: "I am at a loss to know where these comments attributed to me by John Parker come from." The bishop said he would release a full statement on Monday.

Hours after Cottrell's tweets, Parker released his own statement on the Christian Concern website, claiming Cottrell had a meeting with him in September 2018. The same month, "after a meeting with Bishop Stephen, I declared myself to be in broken communion with him; no response was forthcoming," Parker wrote.

This is an unfolding story and we have yet to get to the bottom of who said what to whom. You can read my story here, but watch for more unfolding news. https://virtueonline.org/church-england-bishop-refutes-vicar-john-parkers-allegations-escalating-transgender-war

*****

A story I wrote with the headline, "Homosexual and Transgender Behavior is Worse Than You Think" got blocked by Facebook, which probably comes as no surprise as this is not the first time this has happened and won't be the last. Still and all, the story got over 3,500 hits on Facebook and another 1,600 at VOL's website.

Promoters of homosexual relationships and transgenderism are some of the most judgmental people around. If you don't agree with them, they call you homophobic and transphobic bigots and then vote for political policies designed to coerce and indoctrinate those with whom they disagree. They are not against being judgmental; they are just against judgments by God of the behaviors that they promote, says theologian and sexual ethicist, The Rev. Dr. Robert A. Gagnon.

The Episcopal Church has fully embraced the LGBTQ lifestyle and mantra, and, with money, wants to push these behaviors onto the Global South in the hope of winning over African Anglican leaders into a new world sexual order that not only violates their own history and consciences about sex, but Scripture as well.

"God himself judges such behaviors to be severely wrong, according to the consistent witness of Scripture. Jesus viewed a male-female prerequisite for sexual ethics as foundational for other standards, like the limitation of two persons to a sexual union (based on God's intentional design of binary sexuality). Jesus intensified God's demand for sexual purity, reaching into adultery of the heart and rejecting divorce and remarriage after divorce. In the midst of doing that in Matt. 5 Jesus warns that if one's hand, eye, or foot should threaten one's downfall, cut it off, because it is better to go into heaven maimed than to enter hell full-bodied," writes Gagnon at his Facebook page.

Today's pansexualists think that they know better than Jesus and Jesus' Heavenly Father.

"If one applied their standard consistently, they would have to refuse judgment of adult-consensual "loving" relationships between close kin (incest) and between three or more persons concurrently, not to mention bestiality and pedophilia. Isn't any statement that leads to such ridiculous results patently absurd? Judgement of evil is a good thing, not a bad thing. Every parent who has an ounce of sense knows this when it comes to directing their children on a path that leads to life rather than a path that leads to death," writes Gagnon.

"Homosexual relationships dishonor one's God-given sex by treating it as only half-intact in relation to one's own sex (two half-males unite to form a single whole male, on the analogy that man and woman each comprise one half of the sexual spectrum)." You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/homosexual-and-transgender-behavior-worse-you-think

*****

Next week I will be attending the ACNA annual Assembly in Dallas, TX, where I will be reporting to VOL's global readership. The growth of the ACNA over the last decade has been astonishing, living proof that if the ACNA had not been born out of the apostasies of The Episcopal Church, the very stones would have cried out. Mercifully that did not happen. With nearly 140,000 members and growing steadily, one can only rejoice at what God is doing with those who remain faithful and who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones to preach the gospel 'to whosoever will.'

All blessings,

David

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