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Albany Bishop William Love found Guilty of Violating Marriage Canon * Anglican Archbishop Calls on 50,000 Christians to Repent * Ravi Zacharias Faces New charges of Sexual Abuse in Spa * Justin Welby called on to Reinstate Bishop Bell * More

Albany Bishop William Love found Guilty of Violating Marriage Canon * Anglican Archbishop Calls on 50,000 Christians to Repent * Ravi Zacharias Faces New charges of Sexual Abuse in Spa * Justin Welby called on to Reinstate Bishop Bell * PB Curry Says he could sense Presence of Slaves at Royal Wedding * Healthcare Leading Issue for American Evangelicals Facing Election

God's programme. Now is the time of *restraint*, in which the secret power of lawlessness is being held in check. Next will come the time of *rebellion*, in which the control of law will be removed and the lawless one will be revealed. Finally, will come the time of *retribution*, in which the Lord Christ will defeat and destroy the Antichrist, and those who have believed in the Antichrist-lie will be condemned. This is God's programme. History is not a random series of meaningless events. It is rather a succession of periods and happenings which are under the sovereign rule of God, who is the God of history.
---John R.W. Stott

"Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word." ― J.C. Ryle, Holiness

Unless I start with the holiness of God, my whole conception of the love of God is going to be false. --- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

"Be very sure of this, - people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it only too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment." ― J.C. Ryle

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
October 2, 2020

Late Friday night, October 2nd, Albany Bishop William Love got the call that the Hearing Panel, convened by the Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, had reached its verdict regarding his issuance of a Pastoral Letter and Directive to the clergy and people of the Diocese of Albany on Nov. 10, 2018, in response to the 79th General Convention Resolution B012 that they were not permitted to perform homosexual marriages.

The decision took more than three months and the outcome is guaranteed. The Hearing Panel found him guilty of failing to abide by the Discipline and Worship of The Episcopal Church, thus violating his ordination vows. They issued a 42-page document outlining their decision, a copy of which will be posted to the Diocesan Website, said Bishop love.

A punishment has not yet been decided, but it would be fair to conclude that his number is up as bishop of the diocese. He will be shown the door, in the name of inclusivity, of course, the much-ballyhooed doctrine of TEC that only applies to those who have rolled over on sodomy and homosexual marriage. All others who don't succumb to the siren call of sodomy will henceforth be cast into outer darkness.

I have posted three stories on this news including the bishop's own statement regarding the judgement and my own take. You can read them here:
https://virtueonline.org/albany-hearing-panel-finds-bishop-william-love-violated-homosexual-marriage-canon
https://virtueonline.org/albany-orthodox-episcopal-bishop-found-guilty-violating-marriage-canon
A piece by Jeff Walton of Juicy Ecumenism can be read here. It provides a little more historic background. https://virtueonline.org/episcopal-panel-bishop-guilty-opposing-same-sex-rites

***

To argue that we are living in a time of extreme tension would be an understatement. Many Christians feel it is pre-Armageddon, that the smell of civil war is in the air, that Jesus must be ready to return to sweep us away from all our troubles. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Millions have still never heard the Good News of Jesus, His cross and saving love.

There are some 40 million Chinese Christians (6 percent are catholic) who have not bowed the knee to the authorities but to Christ, and the numbers grow daily despite persecution, buildings being torn down, Christians jailed and much more. There are 1.3 billion Chinese souls. In parts of Africa, revival is rampant with thousands coming to Christ in (civil) war torn countries like Nigeria and South Sudan. God's hand is not shortened by the nefarious behaviors of secular authorities. He overrides and overrules.

What we think is important demanding God's attention might not be so important in the light of other more pressing news and demands. Western spiritual arrogance is notorious for its demand that God work on our timetable and not His.

One particular issue that bedevils evangelicals at this pre-election time is the issue of abortion. If you open Facebook (and I do regularly), you would think that there is only one issue that separates the two candidates running for president.

However, a new study from Lifeway Research revealed the key issues for evangelicals include the following:
51 percent say healthcare, 46 percent point to the economy, 40 percent said national security, and 39 percent are looking at immigration. These issues were more popular than things like religious liberty (33%), abortion (29%), providing for the less fortunate (22%), and finding a solution to racial division (21%).

The study, conducted last November, polled 1,317 evangelicals to determine top policy issues impacting 2020 voting decisions.

Only half of evangelicals (51%) say they will only support a candidate who wants to make abortions illegal, the study highlights.

Russell D. Moore, pastor and the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, points out that the results from the study show how divided evangelicals are in America.

***

"God is calling us to repent of our known sins," said ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach before 50,000 hearers who had come to pray and repent of their sins. In an impassioned speech on Washington Mall for a Day of Repentance, Beach told his hearers to repent, abandon lukewarmness and allow the fire of God's Holy Spirit to revive them.

Calling it a "sacred assembly," the archbishop called on the nation to repentance and prayer. Citing the Church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation, Beach condemned lukewarmness which, he said, ruins the church's ability to function.

"Jesus desires his church to be on fire, hot, not lukewarm; lukewarm ruins the church's ability to witness and serve God. It makes Jesus sick and eventually leads to the church being cold and it allows the drip, drip of continual sin along with our decisions and sins to go unchecked. The Holy Spirit is quenched in our lives and in the Church." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/god-calling-us-repent-our-known-sins-archbishop-foley-beach

***

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to be the next Supreme Court Justice might be the closest judge that evangelicals will have, or can expect to have, to the nation's highest court.

The court has been dominated by Catholics and Jews for decades. Even though one in four Americans are evangelicals, they have not had a justice they can call their own. Barrett is a Catholic charismatic. She and her family belong to a Christian covenant community known as the People of Praise. She and her husband, Jesse, who is a federal prosecutor, have seven children.

People of Praise members practice a form of spiritual direction that involves the supervision of a member by a more "spiritually mature" person called a "head". People of Praise maintains that members retain their freedom of conscience under such direction. The community, like the rest of the Catholic Church, excludes women from leadership positions. It nevertheless encourages women to pursue higher education and employment. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/amy-coney-barrett-faithful-judge-our-times

***

CONTRASTING VIEWS ON PRESIDENT TRUMP

Presidential historian and prominent Episcopalian Jon Meacham warned Tuesday that President Trump represents "the fullest manifestation" of "some of the darkest of human forces --selfishness and greed and appetite and ambition."

"What the tax story shows--and endless data show--is that [Trump] is a figure, a created figure of fantasy." Do we want a return to a nodding acquaintance with reason or to continue to indulge fantasy world of passion where our appetites govern everything. The deficit of decency will he erased if the numbers stay as they are. 86% of Americans have made up their minds, only a small margin will determine the outcome

On the other side of the Trump coin, evangelical Anglican, sociologist and culture watcher Dr. Os Guinness wrote this; "This deep-dyed suspicion, so corrosive of freedom, has been at the heart of the radical left ever since the convergence of the neo-Marxism of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School with the postmodernism of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida in the 1980s. God is dead, truth is dead, "essences" are gone, "binaries" are blurred, and all that counts is power. Such power without principle is a zero-sum game, or a scorched-earth style of war."

***

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says he could 'feel the presence of slaves' at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's nuptials and called it a 'sign of hope' for the future. "'After I preached the sermon, I just remember it was like I could feel slaves around the place. I don't mean to be spooky, but it was like their voice was somehow heard that day." Really.

It's hard to imagine a leader of a major denomination, even black, making a statement like this without people wondering if he had not been smoking peyote just before he said it.

St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle is not exactly a plantation where one might be excused for feeling the "presence of slaves".

But Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the leader of half a million practicing Episcopalians said he did and it was accurately reported in a British newspaper.

Did he not know that the best example of anti-slavery was none other than William Wilberforce (1759-1833), who owned no slaves? In 1807, Wilberforce accepted the responsibility to stop the slave trade in England. Wilberforce continued his indefatigable work and helped abolish slavery completely in the British Empire in 1833. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/bishop-michael-curry-says-he-could-feel-presence-slaves-prince-harry-and-meghan-markles-nuptials-and

***

CANADA NEWS. As the Anglican Church of Canada sinks slowly into the sunset, The Anglican Journal reports that the Archdeaconry of Qu'Appelle in consort with Bob Hardwick and the diocesan council recommends the merging of five Regina parishes along with the uncertain future of its other seven parishes in Regina and one outside of the city.

The archdeaconry recommends the merging of the Regina parishes--All Saints, St. James, St. Luke, St. Matthew and St. Phillip--into one parish with a new name and common vision, starting in January 2021. Under this plan, all five parishes would worship together at one main location still to be determined. Satellite locations may also be established for specific ministries.

The Anglican Church of Canada has formed a task force that is supposed to dismantle racism within the church. Having already dismantled Christianity, the clerics have decided to take a break and try something a little easier, writes humorist David of Samizdat.

"Naturally, there are some new acronyms to learn and inwardly digest: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour), ACIP (Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples) and BlAC (Black Anglicans of Canada). This will be bad news for those of you still struggling with LGBTQQIP2SAA. To avoid confusion, it might be worth lumping them all together to form LGBTQQIP2SAABlACACIPBIPOC."

"Incidentally, any children reading this who want to find out more about LGBTQQIP2SAA can go to Kids Help Phone to find out more. It's a Canadian registered charity that will explain more than your parents want you to know."

"In spite of the reservations of some, CoGS will be employing certain aspects of Critical Race Theory. This, in a nutshell, tells us that all white people are racist. It's innate: we are born that way. A pale person who claims otherwise is doubly racist for not recognizing it, confessing, donning sackcloth and ashes and self-flagellating over her white racist privilege. There is no way out."

"Unfortunately for CoGS, most of its members are non-BIPOCs, and thus riddled with racist bias, so the whole project is a bit of a non-starter."

Still, it's good to see that in this time of contagion, the clergy are hard at work trying to entice congregations back to church by telling them they are loathsome racists in dire need of anti-racism training. That should work.

In other news, Greening Niagara becomes Climate Justice Niagara. This is a sensible move, writes Samizdat: "the church I attended before the diocese bulldozed it was becoming increasingly green, mainly because there was mold growing in the carpet. The epithet "Climate Justice" is sufficiently stern to discourage unwanted verdant foliage in the dampest of church carpets."

"Sin and separation from God are not the most important issues facing us today, climate change is. The good news is that the mere renaming of "Greening Niagara" to "Climate Justice Niagara" is going to change all that. In fact, as I type this, I feel the cool winds of Justice blowing from the diocesan cathedral in Hamilton. Or maybe winter is coming.

"I admit, I did learn one useful thing from the diocesan article: God, on the advice of the Anglican Church of Canada, has abandoned transcendence, left heaven, and now lives on earth with us -- "Sadly and tragically our common home with God is in poor health and in steep decline". A bit like Laban's household gods Rachel stole and hid in her camel's saddle."

***

The Bell Society would like The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby to issue a public retraction for accusations made against Bishop Bell that he sexually exploited a girl who has stepped forward now, some 50 years later, to accuse him.

The Church has failed the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, and will continue to do so until there is a public retraction of the "significant cloud" remark by Archbishop Justin Welby, and the name of George Bell House is restored by the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner, writes Richard J. Symonds.

Archbishop Welby and Bishop Warner still appear to believe there is 'no smoke without fire' regarding the Bishop Bell abuse allegations, even though the two separate investigations by Lord Carlile QC and Timothy Briden - commissioned by the Church - have clearly shown there is 'no smoke and no fire'.

"Both have the power to heal serious divisions within a Cathedral community - and beyond it. It is also within their power to commission another investigation into 'mistaken identity'. 'Carol' was clearly abused when she was 8 years old -- and she should be fully believed and supported -- but there is now clear evidence her abuser was not Bishop Bell." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/church-has-failed-bishop-bell-public-retraction-sought
What's the best way of diagnosing the state of the Church of England? For some, we look at its canons and liturgy and conclude that if they have not changed, then neither has the church. This is a bit like judging the current effectiveness and ethical practices of a company just by reading its Articles of Association. A much richer and more accurate picture is built up from finding out what the organization is actually doing day to day, and what those responsible are saying. From that information, we can deduce what they believe and where they are likely to lead the organization.

Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream questions the recent Presidential address to virtual Diocesan Synod by the Bishop of Oxford, which he describes as a typical case study.

He begins by talking about "rebuilding and regathering" after lockdown. Of course, at the time of his speech (5th September) he was not to know that infection rates would rapidly rise, leading to a return to restrictions which may yet extend again to physical church gatherings. But there is no attempt here to review the way that the C of E initially responded to the pandemic. Later in his talk, Bishop Steven refers to the importance of physical meeting rather than worshipping as "disembodied minds", but he does not question the church's policy from late March to June of prioritizing the complete closure of churches, banning of public worship and repeating of government health and safety instructions, while obscuring the gospel message of hope in the resurrection in the face of death, and omitting any call to repentance and intercession on behalf of the nation.

So how does Bishop Steven describe the mission of the church? He says:

"We will be playing our part in sustaining villages and towns and cities across our Diocese as disciples as well as hospitals and universities and businesses and civic life."

This understanding does not see the geographical area of Oxford Diocese as a mission field, most of whose inhabitants don't have a relationship with God. The bishop's focus is not on the church as distinct from the world, a worshipping and witnessing community with different ethics and worldview. Rather, the focus is on what is seen as an essentially benign society, and how the presence of Christians and the church "sustains" it. You can read more here: https://anglicanmainstream.org/bishops-progressive-vision-church-combining-humble-presence-with-prophetic-edge/

American Christianity will recover from the virus, but English churches are in big trouble, writes Damian Thompson, a conservative catholic writer.

"When the shadow of the coronavirus is finally lifted, the British public will have a long list of people to thank: doctors, nurses, cleaners, shop assistants, charities and -- maybe -- Boris Johnson. But there won't be a round of applause for the parish clergy, that's for sure, and it's not really their fault: the bishops, especially the Catholic ones, have mishandled the Covid crisis spectacularly."

"One might have guessed as much. For years, the two main churches have been in the hands of mildly spiritual middle-managers who have somehow managed to acquire miters."

"And in the United States? To be sure, there are bishops and pastors who, like the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, form a Mafia of the Mediocre. But there is dynamism, too, and it's interesting to note the extent to which successful Catholic and Protestant parishes share a common culture.

***

New, graphic accusations of sexual misconduct have emerged against recently deceased Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, who died in May after decades as a globally renowned Christian speaker and writer.

Christianity Today reported the new accusations include several women who provided regular massage therapy to Zacharias at spas he owned, claiming he had touched them without their consent, masturbated in front of them, and asked for sex and explicit photos.

While CT's reporting was based on unnamed sources, WORLD has spoken to the former manager of one of the spas, Anna Adesanya, who spoke on the record. She says a therapist had complained about Zacharias asking her for "more than a massage." The accounts raise questions about a potential pattern of sexual harassment by Zacharias. He was 74 when he died of cancer earlier this year, after 48 years of marriage to his wife, Margie.

The ministry Zacharias founded, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), issued a statement calling the accusations "false." The ministry would not answer WORLD's questions about the accusations, but said it had commissioned an independent investigation.

The denomination where Zacharias was an ordained minister, the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA), said the new accusations "have raised concern" and it is assessing "additional steps" to take in light of the new information. Both the ministry and denomination had staunchly defended Zacharias' reputation in 2017 and 2018, after the apologist was accused of initiating a sexting and phone sex relationship with a Canadian woman 30 years his junior.

***

ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT

The Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah is retiring as the Bishop Singapore and will assume new duties as General Secretary for the Global South. VOL hopes to obtain an interview with the outgoing bishop for our readers.

The Primate of All Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja, the Most Rev'd Henry Ndukuba, said the Church of Nigeria has mapped out its missions and evangelism vision and is re-strategizing to reach out to rural, urban and the international community to more people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

The Primate also outlined projects and proposals for his tenure, among which was the building of a University of Technology to be sited at Kwaita, Abuja. The University, when completed, will serve the Church's vision of developing manpower and skills for the country, as a part of the vision of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, who had not only established the church, but also developed the people and the congregation.

An Anglican priest who had been elected as a Bishop but was later dropped, has dragged the Church of Uganda into a court of law.

The Rev. Charles Okunya Oode has sued the Church of Uganda over its failure to consecrate him as the second Bishop of Kumi Diocese, a position he had been elected to.

His consecration and enthronement as the second Bishop of Kumi Diocese was revoked after some Christians complained that he was not morally fit to be a Bishop. They reportedly said he had a second wife. Oode is also seeking an injunction to stop the election of another overseer until his suit is disposed of.

UPDATE on the medical condition of Jos Archbishop Ben Kwashi. "Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi and his family are so very grateful for all your prayers, messages and Christian love and care. Having been diagnosed as having colon cancer, the Bishop had his first chemotherapy on 19th September. After a rough first week, he is now feeling much stronger and has even been able to come into the diocesan office. A second chemotherapy is planned, which may be followed by surgery after all the necessary tests and checks have been completed. We give God all the glory, thanks and praise." Source: From Dss Susan Essam, Administrative Chaplain, Anglican Diocese of Jos.

***

Earlier this year, we learned of the Chinese Communist Party's intention to undertake its own, state-approved "translation" of the Bible. Evidently, the Christian Scriptures are not as amenable to CCP orthodoxy as the Politburo would like.

According to the state-run Xinhua News Agency, the Party assembled a group of obedient and pliable "scholars" late last year and charged them with "making accurate and authoritative interpretations of classical doctrines to keep pace with the times." In other words, the CCP plans to turn the Scriptures into another piece of regime propaganda by rewriting them beyond all recognition.

***

Anglican theologian, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll is starting anew with his "Stephen's Witness" blog. He writes, "I am hoping to produce three regular columns: "Monday Feature," "Wed Talk Wednesday" and "Favorite Film Friday."

I am attaching my first Monday Feature on "Amy Coney Barrett: An Esther Come to the Kingdom?"

https://stephenswitness.org/2020/10/03/amy-coney-barrett-an-esther-come-to-the-kingdom/

https://stephenswitness.org/2020/08/29/welcome-to-stephens-witness/

***

The times and news have never been more troubling. One wonders if things can get any worse. Apparently, they can. You'll forgive me if I say I am depressed at what is going on. Just writing about it can be depressing. VOL is the Anglican Communion's mostly widely read orthodox Anglican online news service. The news never sleeps.

We could use some financial support to keep the engines of news coming to you. I have a staff to support, as well as a website and Internet costs to maintain. Please send a tax-deductible donation to:

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You are our only lifeline to keeping the news coming.

Warmly in Christ,

David

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