jQuery Slider

You are here

AMiE Sets Goal of 250 New Churches in England * Nigerian Leaders Blast SS Marriage & Homosexuality * Three Indigenous Canadian Bishops Rip SS Marriage Vote * Welby tells Mothers' Union folk to get over it * Armed Police patrol Canterbury Cathedral

Laying up treasure on earth: The Episcopal Church (organization) has an incredible treasure of $355,969,542 in trust funds (see page 8 of the 2015 Trust Funds Report). Many of those funds' proceeds are supposed to go for specific causes, and some of these are not advertised to the people in the pews. --- The Underground Pewster

Mark 8:3, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." If we are too craven and carnal to speak out about Christ as Lord, we have effectively denied him. --- Bill Muehlenberg

The church in the West is at a critical moment. While the gospel is exploding throughout the global south, Western civilization faces militant assaults from aggressive secularism and radical Islam. Will the church resist the seductive shaping power of advanced modernity? --- Os Guinness

We no longer have the luxury of just sitting on the fence. Such 'neutrality' is impossible for the true Christian. "Whoever is not with me is against me" said Jesus. It is time in these dark days to take a stand and make a choice. Who will it be: the Lord Jesus, or the lord self? It cannot be both. It is one or the other. We either make him Lord of all, or he is not Lord at all. Your call. Choose wisely. Time is running out. --- Bill Muehlenberg

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."--George Orwell

Look to the Bible: has there ever been an unrepentant nation whom God ultimately spared from judgment? So why ever should He except the United States, so long as it remains committed to defying Him? -- Allan S. Haley

What is a Christian? The New Testament definition of a Christian is a person 'in Christ'. It is necessary to insist, therefore, that according to Jesus and his apostles to be a Christian is not just to have been baptized, to belong to the church, to receive holy communion, to believe in the doctrines of the creed or to try to follow the standards of the Sermon on the Mount. Baptism and holy communion, church membership, creed and conduct are all part and parcel of living as a Christian, but they can form and sometimes have formed an empty casket from which the jewel has disappeared. The jewel is Jesus Christ himself. To be a Christian is primarily to live in union with Jesus Christ, as a result of which baptism, belief and behaviour slot naturally into place. --- John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
Sept. 30, 2016

It's started. And the Archbishop of Canterbury is not amused. The Anglican Mission in England has a pioneering plan to plant 25 churches in England by 2025, and 250 by 2050.

Behind this are the deep thinkers in GAFCON, who have longed to re-evangelize England since most of the Western Anglican Communion has fallen off the cliff over pansexuality. They have launched out into the deep. This must deeply annoy Justin Welby, who thinks he has a plan as well, but clearly the GAFCON folk are not buying his model, it being riddled with moral uncertainty and theological doubt.

Anglican Church League outlines the new network of Anglican churches - 25 gospel-focused churches and then 250 more to rival the Church of England as a home for worshippers with conservative views on issues such as homosexuality.

The project, launched by a group called the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), aims to plant hundreds of Anglican churches outside the control of the Church of England and has the backing of a group of Global South Anglican archbishops from around the world.

There has been strong opposition from evangelical members of the Church of England against liberal views towards homosexuality.

****

That the Episcopal Church is in decline is not big news any more. It's been going on for at least two decades. But then the Underground Pewster, a conservative blogger, asked why the Episcopal Church Is not worried about a declining membership, an aging clergy and few replacements.

"The denomination continues to see church size shrink, with the average Episcopal parish attracting 58 worshipers on a Sunday, down from an average of 65 in 2011. Similarly, 71 percent of the denomination's churches have an attendance of fewer than 100 persons, while less than 4 percent attract 300 or more. The trend lines do not bode well for the future, with 55 percent of congregations experiencing decline of 10% or greater in the past five years. In contrast, only 18 percent of congregations grew their attendance by 10 percent in the same time span. As a whole, the denomination has experienced a 26 percent drop in attendance since 2005."

"Episcopalians don't seem to be particularly worried about the decline, and do not appear to have a plan to increase their numbers. Any other organization would be scrambling to create a new strategic plan, retraining of the employees in new ways of growing the church would be next, the board of directors would be calling for the CEO's head, and the stockholders would be demanding a new board of directors."

So what is it with Episcopalians that they don't seem to care? Here is a list of possible explanations:

1) Because they believe that they are right about same sex marriage, gender neutral language, etc. This attitude leads to an air of superiority and a belief that the rest of the world will eventually come around and endorse all of the Episcopal innovations.

2) Because they have enough money in trust funds, some $355,969,542.

3) Because the clergy have enough money in their pension funds. (As of September 30, 2014, those assets stood at $11.8 billion (unaudited)). See page 6 of this General Convention report.

4) Because fewer seminary graduates will suffice for the fewer churches and all those older retired priests will have plenty of work filling in the gaps.

5) Because it is the troublemakers who are leaving and the old conservatives who are dying off and this leads to a safer club for those who want to push the progressive agenda.

6) Because many clergy are going to retire soon and it won't be their problem anymore.

When last I checked, "the typical (median) rector, vicar or priest-in-charge is 59 years of age and was called to his or her congregation in 2009 (note: survey was completed in mid-2014)" (Episcopal organization publication p.4).

7) Most Episcopalians never were taught that they are supposed to go out and make disciples. Of course when you are given a false gospel to spread you are going to have a hard time building a following.

8) Most Episcopalians are blissfully unaware of the trouble they are in.

*****

If you ever wondered what passes for a parish or a diocese and the sheer absurdity of the numbers in TEC, then consider this.

Since its founding in 1952, St. Martin's Episcopal Church in the diocese of Texas, has grown to become the largest Episcopal Church in North America, with more than 9,100 members.

Compare and contrast this with, say the Diocese of Navajoland, which has a total of 664 members. The Diocese of Northern Michigan has 1393, Western Kansas has 1397, Eau Claire has 1880, San Joaquin (TEC) has 1984. Eastern Oregon has 2026.

Combined, these SIX dioceses have just 244 more members than St. Martin's in Houston.

How can a diocese even call itself a diocese with 664 members? It is simply not sustainable.

ALL of TEC's rump dioceses have fewer than 9,000 baptized members and, in 2013, the Diocese of Quincy was folded back into the diocese of Chicago.

The real irony is that the largest diocese in the Episcopal Church is HAITI with 84,562 baptized members.

The Five offshore dioceses of MICRONESIA: 249, VENEZUELA: 1080, TAIWAN: 1129, CENTRAL ECUADOR: 1502, EUROPE: 2788 and COLOMBIA: 3019 combined, are only 667 more than St. Martin's.

*****

In Nigeria this week, the Standing Committee and Anglican Archbishop, Nicholas Okoh, flexed their provincial muscles over marriage definition and roared that homosexuality and same sex relationships are not acceptable alternative or lifestyle. They also said that apostasy is the new orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, and the Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, confirmed the Primate as chairman of GAFCON, and his place in the Anglican Communion at a recent meeting of church leaders in Awka, at the Cathedral of St. Faith.

The Standing Committee, which is the governing body in the church of Nigeria, blasted those parts of the Anglican Communion "which continue to pursue a revisionist theological agenda and negate the place of God's Word written."

"The Church of Nigeria restates its position that Christian marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. Homosexuality and same sex relationships are not acceptable alternative or lifestyle, as our Church is a Bible believing Church."

Nigeria is taking its leadership role within the Anglican Communion with African leaders, declaring that in many parts of the Anglican world, apostasy is the new orthodoxy. "The Standing Committee believes now is the right time to ask the Anglican world, 'who is on the LORD'S side?'" You can read the full report in today's digest.

*****

In Canada this week, three Indigenous bishops blasted the same-sex marriage vote.

The Anglican Church of Canada's three Indigenous bishops ripped their Church's decision to approve, if only provisionally, changes to the marriage canon, which would allow same-sex marriages. Most believe the ACoC will rubber stamp that decision at their next General Synod in 2019.

Following the July vote on same-sex marriages at General Synod, which was confusing and got passed by just one vote, National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald; Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh; and Bishop Adam Halkett, of Missinipi, released a joint statement they say was requested by an Indigenous circle that met after the results of July's vote were revealed.

The bishops did say that, while they did not speak for all Indigenous peoples, they said they consulted "broadly and deeply" with many who voiced displeasure both with the decision and the process it was made, and expressed desire for a more self-determined Indigenous Anglican community in Canada.

"We do not agree with the decision and believe that it puts our communities in a difficult place in regards to our relation and community with the Anglican Church of Canada," the bishops said.

The irony should not be missed. The Anglican Church is full of double speak. On the one hand, the church is pushing for Truth and Reconciliation policies with the Aboriginal peoples, then the Church votes in a policy approving same sex weddings, changing its very canons, opposed by the Aboriginal peoples. Fred Hiltz, Archbishop of the Church, wants his cake and eat it. Of course he approves of same sex marriage, but it would seem he would prefer to insult aboriginal peoples than men and women who engage in a sexual behavior proscribed by Scripture and 4,000 years of history! You are what you believe, and Hiltz has told us by his actions what he believes.

One must conclude that the imposition of same sex weddings on the Anglican Church by members of Synod 2016, can only be considered cultural genocide against the Aboriginal citizens of Canada!

*****

A humorous, but sadly true reflection on the state of the Anglican Church of Canada, David of Samizdat headlines his story "Rethinking Christianity in the context of postmodern Pacific coastal culture."

"I have no idea what that means but the clergy of St. Bridget's in the Diocese of New Westminster must, because they are doing it.

"The church claims to be "an emerging, LGBTQ-affirming Christian community rooted in the Anglican tradition". I don't really know what that means either, but perhaps the "resident community developer" -- although I don't know what that means -- can help. He was recently seen at the Vancouver Pride Parade, sporting a placard designed to entice alcoholics off the wagon: "Free wine on Sundays," said the placard.

"No, that didn't help.

"Had I seen all this before becoming a Christian, it might have put me off forever! God, in his mercy, spared me all this emerging, postmodern Pacific coastal culture, alphabet-sexuality affirming hideousness until I'd built up an immunity.

"I am going to my safe space to recuperate now."

*****

Prayer is urgently requested for the Anglican Church in Libya. Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis said he wants to keep the Church of Christ the King in Tripoli "alive and more vibrant".

Writing for the ACNS, Gavin Drake reports that The Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, has said that the Anglican Church in Tripoli is struggling to survive. In a message on the website of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, the Archbishop explained that the Church of Christ the King in Tripoli was "struggling to manage and run with the income we receive during divine services."

The country descended into chaos after the 42-year leadership of Col Muammar Gaddafi came to an end in 2011. He was killed in a civil war where opposition forces were supported by Western-military. Despite the formation of a National Transitional Council which gave way to a newly elected parliament, the General National Congress, a power-vacuum followed.

Rival forces battled for control of the country and, despite the formation of a UN-backed unity government this year, the country remains riven with divisions and factions. Many areas are under the control of militants, including Daesh.

*****

Last week, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, told the Mothers' Union that the idea of a Victorian golden age of traditional family values was a "myth." The "myth" of stable Victorian values was "just that--mythology." At the 140th anniversary of the Mothers' Union, the spiritual leader of 85 million Anglicans told an international gathering of women that they had to face up to modern day society, where divorce and same-sex couples are the norm.

When the shepherd speaks well of the wolf, the sheep are in serious trouble. What do the sheep need to know to debunk Welby's fatally flawed sermon? wrote British Anglican columnist Jules Gomes.

"Welby fails to distinguish between facts and values. No one makes this distinction more succinctly than former President of the British Academy and secular philosopher, Sir Anthony Kenny: 'In order to judge Victorian values, the question each of us should ask ourselves is not would I like to be the kind of person the Victorians were; but would I like to be the kind of person the Victorians admired. In my case, the answer to the first question would be a definite no, the answer to the second question would be a qualified yes.'

"Welby could well have been urging the Mothers' Union to abandon the biblical myth of the traditional family since there is no perfect family in the Bible. Even Jesus's father suddenly disappears in the middle of the story! Most families in the Bible are dysfunctional--as Welby admits his family also was when he was growing up. But is there a family value to which both Jews and Christians aspire in spite of the social pressures of the cultures around them? Jews and Christians believe that this norm is to be found in the creation story in Genesis 2 with its ideal of a man leaving his father and his mother and cleaving to his wife and the two becoming one flesh. For Christians, this becomes normative because it is reiterated by the Lord Jesus Christ in the gospels of Mark and Matthew.

"The image of the Victorian family--husband, wife and children--gathered around the hearth was meant to represent an ideal to which the Victorians aspired. For John Ruskin, the role of the wife and mother was central, for "where a true wife comes, this home is always around her." Ruskin's understanding of the Victorian wife is similar to the role of the wife in Proverbs 31--a "myth"--if one understands the term "myth" as an idealized conception of a person or thing to which we aspire and which is the foundational narrative of society's norms. You can read Dr. Gomes full account in today's digest.

*****

Wycliffe Hall is getting a new Academic Dean in the person of The Very Revd. Dr. Justyn Terry. He will give strategic oversight to all their teaching programs, both academic and ministerial, and driving for co-ordination and quality.

The Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Michael Lloyd, writes: "Justyn has, for the past eight years, been Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry, in the wonderfully named Ambridge, USA, so he brings an extraordinary wealth of experience to this new job. I am thrilled at this appointment, and am looking forward with great excitement to working with Justyn. His outstanding gifts will help Wycliffe provide women and men with the best possible training for a lifetime's service of God."

Justyn is the author of several books, including The Justifying Judgment of God: a Reassessment of the place of Judgment in the Saving Work of Christ, The Gospel according to Galatians: The Good News of Jesus Christ for a Secular Age, and The Five Phases of Leadership: An Overview for Christian Leaders. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity School for Ministry.

*****

A new collection of resources to strengthen and support the use of the Bible in the life of the Churchhas been published by the Anglican Communion. Described as a tool-kit, the Deeper Engagement collection of educational resources has been prepared by the Communion's Bible in the Life of the Church (Bilc) project "to encourage us, as churches, to engage more deeply with the Bible," the coordinator, Stephen Lyon, said in a letter to Primates.

Deeper Engagement is a collection of around 120 different educational resources from different parts of the Communion. They have been gathered "to help us in our engagement with Scripture," Mr. Lyon said. "Most have been used to great effect already and those responsible for creating them are enthusiastic about sharing them with others in the Communion."

In the foreword, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says "I see this project as utterly foundational for our life together. I can hardly stress that enough."

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said that he hoped that the resources would help to develop "a wider and fuller biblical literacy" within the Anglican Communion.

*****

An armed police patrolled Canterbury Cathedral amid terrorist fears, this week. Security was increased, following the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel. Police with guns are patrolling Canterbury Cathedral amid fears about terror attacks.

The extra security comes after a series of jihadist attacks across Europe, including the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in Rouen. Essex and Kent Police have ordered armed officers to guard potential terrorist targets, including the cathedral, major shopping centers, the port of Dover and London Southend Airport.

Photos have emerged of police officers carrying Heckler and Koch G36 assault rifles, Glock 17 semi-auto 9mm pistols and Tasers outside the cathedral.

A spokesman for Canterbury Cathedral said: "Having grown used to armed police patrols in our rail stations, airports and in the capital cities we should not be surprised that Kent Police has judged the same provision for the security of people needs to be made at significant sites in their own area.

"It is a sadness to us all that such a response is necessary but the police has made this decision with the safety of the public in mind."

In July, the Home Office also announced £2.4 million of funding to bolster security in places of worship, and churches were advised to review their security measures.

Canterbury Cathedral, consecrated in the 11th century, is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It receives a million visitors a year.

*****

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was in North Dakota, Sept. 24-25, to declare, in person, that he, the Episcopal Church and, most importantly, God, stands with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in its struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline that will run under their water supply, over its treaty lands and through some of its burial places.

Curry also called for racial reconciliation in the midst of opposition that has, at times, surfaced the area's historical tensions between Indians and non-Indians. He engaged Episcopalians, leaders of other churches, Bismarck residents and its mayor in conversations about racism and environmental justice. He urged people to continue talking with each other after he left.

The Rev. John Floberg told Curry that action against the pipeline is a "kairos moment," a Greek word meaning God's appointed time to act. The moment, said Floberg, supervising priest of the Episcopal churches on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, is filled with hope because "God is doing something here" beyond the actual protest.

That something has brought together Standing Rock Indians with members and leaders of at least 250 of the recognized tribes in the United States in an unprecedented show of unity. Many non-Native people have come to join the protests, as well, including Episcopalians from other parts of the country.

And many people are re-exploring how they have traditionally related to each other in the context of the protest that some say is damaging the part of the state's economy that is dependent on natural-resource extraction, particularly oil and gas, and the jobs the pipeline will provide.

*****

We are into the fall season and we could really use your support to keep VOL coming into your e-mail box. Our work is encouraged by your giving. Your donation is tax deductible donation. It helps us believe that all we do is worthwhile. Our hard-working team of reporters and commentators feel the encouragement when you give.

In a few days I will be heading to Cairo, Egypt, to be with 36 Primates of the Anglican Communion as they explore how they can work together in an increasingly fragmented communion. It will be no small task.

Please help make this possible. You can send a donation to VOL via PAYPAL at the link here: http://www.virtueonline.org/support-vol/

Or you can send a snail mail check to:

VIRTUEONLINE
570 Twin Lakes Rd
P.O. Box 111
Shohola, PA 18458

Thank you for your support.

David

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

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top