jQuery Slider

You are here

Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh Elects New Bishop * Great Lakes gets news ACNA Bishop * Sex Scandal at Kansas Military Academy * Did St. Paul's Dean deliberately mislead CofE Evangelicals * GAFCON Secretary General Rips ACC as irrelevant

The witness of Scripture. Scripture bears an unwavering testimony to the power of ignorance and error to corrupt, and the power of truth to liberate, ennoble and refine. --- John R.W. Stott

If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. --- A.W. Tozer

Modern divines generally go bad first upon the head and main doctrine of the substitutionary work of Christ. Nearly all our modern errors, I might say all of them, begin with mistakes about Christ. Men do not like to be always preaching the same thing. --- C.H. Spurgeon

China's growing Christian population is projected to become the world's largest within the next couple decades. --- Christianity Today report.

“When I was the Episcopal Bishop of Albany there was only a 70% chance of meeting a biblical parish; in the ACNA it is 100%.--- ACNA Bishop David Bena

It is the cross or nothing - Archbishop Peter Jensen

Prophecy today. We should certainly reject any claim that there are prophets today comparable to the biblical prophets. For they were the 'mouth' of God, special organs of revelation, whose teaching belongs to the foundation on which the church is built. There may well, however, be a prophetic gift of a secondary kind, as when God gives some people special insight into his Word and his will. But we should not ascribe infallibility to such communications. Instead, we should evaluate both the character and the message of those who claim to speak from God. The principal way in which God speaks to us today is through Scripture, as the church in every generation has recognized. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
April 29, 2016

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh elected a Georgia pastor Saturday to be its next leader in a landmark election to succeed the retiring Bishop Robert Duncan, who led the diocese's break with the Episcopal Church, eight years ago.

Clergy and lay delegates elected the Rev. James Hobby, who got his start in ministry in Southwestern Pennsylvania a quarter century ago, on the fifth ballot. Six candidates were originally on the ballot at a special convention, held at St. Stephen Anglican Church in Sewickley.

If his election is ratified by other bishops in the Anglican Church in North America at their June meeting, Hobby would be consecrated as bishop in September.

Hobby, currently pastor of Trinity Church in Thomasville, Ga., earned his Master of Divinity at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge in 1985, and served at two Mon Valley parishes from 1986 to 1990, before moving on to pulpits in other states.

"I look forward to coming home," he said afterward.

Through the early ballots, Hobby polled close to the Rev. Jonathan Millard, rector of the Church of the Ascension in Oakland, who ultimately withdrew his name after the fourth ballot.

In the final ballot, Hobby received 93 votes from clergy delegates and 75 from lay delegates, ahead of the Rev. Jack Lumanog, at 18 and 30, respectively.

Episcopal liberals and progressives (Episcopal Cafe and Mark Harris) tried to trash Millard, a divorcee, whose name was put forward for the process. Little did these pro-sodomite trashers know, that the priest in question was ABANDONED by his wife, who left him with the kids, while she hi-tailed off with a WOMAN. He pled with her to return, she did not. He has faithfully raised his children for 8 years alone. I don't see how that disqualifies him. Of course, the revisionists love to spin this that the ACNA is waking up to the real world. Really. ACNA knows the real world and knows about the real nature of sin and redemption. It is a pity the revisionists don't have a clue about either.

*****

The Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes opened a new chapter Thursday, six years after its establishment, by consecrating Ronald W. Jackson as its second bishop in a ceremony at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Akron.

The procession was led by Archbishop Foley Beach, head of the Anglican Church in North America. Anglican bishops and other church representatives from across the continent took part in the service, some coming from as far as Texas, Canada and New England.

"I enjoy seeing a new beginning," said Dan Klueg, one of about 250 attendees that filled the pews of the ornate church. "I'm confident [in Jackson] because the concept is steeped in prayer. We're listening to God, which is what I want to be part of."

Episcopal academies across the country have become mired in sexual scandal. The latest has a Tennessee father suing a Kansas military school run by the Episcopal Church, alleging its failure to adequately supervise cadets led to the sexual assault of his 12-year-old son by another student.

*****

The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas against St. John's Military School, is the latest in a string of litigation that has dogged the Episcopalian boarding school in Salina.

The lawsuit stems from an accusation that in spring, 2014, a grade-school boy sexually assaulted a fellow student in a dorm room.

The school says it did not learn of the accusation until a month ago, when child welfare officials, who are investigating, contacted them.

The plaintiff's attorney says the boy did not tell anyone about the alleged assault until months later.

No criminal charges have been filed.

*****

Did the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral Deliberately Mislead C of E Evangelicals? When Dr. David Ison's name was proposed in 2012 to be the next Dean of St. Paul's in London, Church of England evangelicals were heartened that one of their own would ascend to one of the most prestigious pulpits in England.

However, immediately after his appointment was announced, it emerged that his position on homosexuality was less than fully biblical, even unbiblical, causing concern among those who had been his supporters and advocates.

Matthew Holehouse reported in The Telegraph on March 9, 2012, that the Very Rev Dr. David Ison, 57, had performed ceremonies for homosexual couples who had had civil partnerships, as Dean of Bradford, even though the Church still forbids formal blessings. This begs the question, why had his actions not been made public at that point? His views, as an evangelical in a position at Bradford Cathedral, which is appointed by evangelical trustees, would be of some significance in the Church, government and society.

The announcement took evangelicals by surprise and shock. No more so than Alison Ruoff, who had been elected from the Bishop of London's Council to the Appointment panel, to choose the new Dean of St Paul's cathedral. In a memo to friends following The Telegraph report, she described herself as "absolutely devastated."

"I could not believe my eyes, such were the headlines. However there is no doubt that there is ambiguity in the apparent quotes from David as to exactly what he means with regard to 'gay' marriage. You can read the full report here or in today's digest. http://www.virtueonline.org/london-did-dean-st-pauls-cathedral-deliberately-mislead-c-e-evangelicals

*****

Former Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen and secretary general of the GAFCON primates is visiting North America, and he spoke at a number of venues from Toronto to Philadelphia. This week, he spoke to the CANA East diocesan convention in Wayne, PA, where I was able to interview him.

Here are some of his choice lines:

"I never knew there was an ACC till 1999... who gives a fig. Only 150 turned up and they passed 54 motions that were largely irrelevant."

"The Primates' meeting in Canterbury Meeting was a complete Failure. It was worth attending, as it revealed all the theological weaknesses in the Anglican Communion."

"The Lambeth Conference is out of date. It is a 19th century structure; GAFCON is functioning in the 21st century."

"There is a new Anglicanism boiling up that is real and based on the Word of God, and current tensions are not in this new emerging communion. We are renewing the Anglican Communion for the 21st century and not the 19th century, and it is based on the First Century the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. We are in for exciting time."

"None of the GAFCON primates could care less about what took place in Lusaka recently. They have a different gospel."

"I understand Archbishop Welby called homosexuality a sin when he visited President Mugabe. I hope he will repeat that in the West and say so, standing on the Word of God -- The Bible."

You can read my full interview with him in today's digest.

*****

The Church of England has issued a prayer in advance of the June 23 vote deciding whether the United Kingdom will remain in the European Union (the proposed "Brexit," or "British exit".)

The New York Times reports concerns that the C of E is taking a political position:

The prayer, urging honesty, openness and generosity, asks God to imbue voters with "discernment" so that "our nation may prosper and that, with all the peoples of Europe, we may work for peace and the common good."

The prayer was seen by some as a sign that the Church of England -- whose supreme governor is Queen Elizabeth II -- was joining with President Obama to side with those who want Britain to remain a member of the European Union.

Peter Bone, a Conservative legislator who is strongly in favor of a British exit, or "Brexit," said it was "outrageous" for the church to seem to take a position.

"This is politics and should be nothing to do with the church," he told The Daily Mail, adding, "I would have thought that God was rather neutral on this issue."

A spokesman for the Church of England said in a telephone interview, that the church was not taking sides in the debate, and that the prayer was not intended to push voters one way or the other.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, last month said that the church would stay neutral. He said that Britons had a "genuine fear" about immigration, and that, "it is really important that that fear is listened to and addressed."

Has the C of E overstepped its bounds, by British standards (given that the American separation of church and state is not reflective of the U.K. governmental structure)? Or is this a tempest in a teapot?

*****

Did the Archbishop of Canterbury tell Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe that gay sex is "morally wrong"?

"You know [homosexuality] is morally wrong, but legally we cannot condemn those who practice it," Welby said.

"As the leaders of the church. we are here to learn how Zimbabwe managed to resolve its conflict; this will be a lesson to the whole Anglican in the world," he reportedly told the Harare Sunday Mail.

When asked about the Anglican position on homosexuality, Welby reportedly said: "You know [homosexuality] is morally wrong, but legally we cannot condemn those who practice it."

Well, this got up the trousers of England's gay community. "Welby's tone on homosexuality appears to differ wildly to when he's speaking in Zimbabwe to when he's speaking in the UK," said a gay newspaper.

Earlier this year, Welby said, for him, it was a "constant source of deep sadness that people are persecuted for their sexuality". And you wonder why the GAFCON primates don't trust him. The real truth is that gays are the bullies in the Anglican tent.

IN OTHER NEWS, Zimbabwe opposition leader, Joice Mujuru, was barred from attending an Anglican church meeting. The former V.P and leader of the opposition party, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), she was banned after local media reported security agents suspected the leader could use the event for campaign purposes.

Once a powerful ally of President Robert Mugabe, Mujuru was sacked by the ruling ZANU-PF party in 2014, after accusations emerged that she was plotting to kill the president, a move many described as orchestrated by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Described as a reformist, Mujuru is now seen as a true contender for leadership in the forthcoming 2018 elections, while commentators have highlighted how her 10-year stint as Mugabe's deputy enabled her to cultivate a strong support base within the party. A spokesman for ZimPF, Rugare Gumbo, on 27 April, said the move was "undemocratic" and "an act of desperation by the Zanu PF regime".

*****

Billy Graham's Daughter says God Is Turning Away From America and leaving us to our sins. Commenting on the moral state of America and God's judgment on sinful nations, evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Evangelist Billy Graham, said America is imploding "morally and spiritually," that God is removing His "blessing and protection" from us, leaving us to our sins, and that this encroaching judgment is evident in the chaos of the political scene, the economy, and even the weather.

"Romans 1 describes the type of judgment where we sin, and we refuse to repent of our sin, then He backs away from us," said Anne Graham Lotz in a recent interview on CBN News with host Mark Martin. "He removes Himself from us and He turns us over to ourselves. That's what I think I see in America. I believe we're entering into that phase of judgment, where God is backing away."

At the start of the interview, Anne Graham Lotz said that she herself and all Christians need to take prayer very seriously and pray for the United States because, she added, the solution to so many problems is not political, but spiritual.

"Our nation, Mark, is in a mess, and you and I know it," she said. "You probably know better than I do because you follow the news very closely. But it's unraveling. We're imploding, and morally and spiritually, first and foremost. And I believe this is the time for God's people to humble themselves, pray, seek His face, turn from our sin, that He would hear our prayer, forgive our sin and bless America."

"I don't think the solution is primarily political or social or racial or economical or military, or some of these other things," said Lotz. "I believe the solution will be found on our knees before God."
*****

Kirsten Powers (contributor to USA Today and a columnist for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. Democratic commentator at Fox News) recently talked about her conversion to Christ.

"Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I'd be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion--especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt."

The she said this, "I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy...From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real." Is this what the Episcopal Church does to and for people? Apparently. Later she visited Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC and came under the ministry of Tim Keller. Big mistake. It wasn't long after that she bowed the knee to Christ and the rest as they say, is history.

*****

At Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning in the U.S., the official teachings of the church against homosexuality were set aside. Wednesday was the occasion for a "Lavender Graduation" event, described as "a special ceremony for LGBTQ and Ally undergraduate and graduate students," in order to "acknowledge their achievements, contributions, and unique experiences at Georgetown University."

Before this eyebrow-raising event was set to occur, Georgetown University hosted Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, which is responsible for 40 percent of all reported abortions committed in the United States. The student newspaper reported that Richards spoke "by invitation" from the student-sponsored Lecture Fund, which is funded by the university, and that she spoke about "reproductive justice" and "women's reproductive rights."

Meanwhile, messages written in chalk and appearing on campus in support of conservative causes are now being investigated, and disciplinary action against those responsible, could be taken.

*****

On Sunday, April 17, 2016, the Most Reverend George Takeli, former bishop of the Diocese of Temotu, was installed and seated as the sixth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM). More than 3,000 church members, partners and visitors gathered at the Provincial Cathedral of St. Barnabas, Honiara, Guadalcanal Island. Archbishop Takeli will also serve as Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia.

*****

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he convinced a Church of England vicar to marry him and his wife to be Lucy, saying that it would eliminate the risk of fornication.

Turnbull made the candid announcement, and then revealed how he convinced vicar to marry him and his wife. He confessed that he told the vicar that the union would prevent 'fornication'.

He said the vicar in a small village church just outside Oxford told him to "Get out of here, what are you talking about, you're not part of my flock, go to the registry office", Turnbull said.

'We said 'we really want to get married here'...I said: 'And the Church of England is an established Church in the United Kingdom'. 'Yes' he said. So I said: 'You are kind of like a public servant'.

'He said 'yes'. I said: 'Well, one of your jobs is to prevent fornication in this Parish. And he said 'yeah'.

'I said 'well look', Ms Hughes and I are not making any admissions, but we are young and in excellent health and sorely tempted.'

'If you marry us, you will eliminate the risk of fornication in the cottage where we are living down the road. And he thought that was so funny that he said 'done'. And we got married.'

*****

The Diocesan Bishop of Egba, Ogun State, Church of Nigeria, the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Adekunle, advised Nigerians to be courageous enough to recall any lawmaker in the National Assembly who do anything contrary to their wishes and aspirations.

According to the bishop, events in the Senate in the past few weeks informed the need for Nigerians to be vigilant, as it appeared that some of the lawmakers were in the legislature for selfish interests and not to make life better for the people.

"It is sad that many of our lawmakers in the National Assembly, most especially in the Senate, were there for selfish interests.

"The recent happenings in the Senate are shameful. I think Nigerians should be courageous enough to recall any of their representatives who are not representing them well, either in the Senate or in the House of Representatives."

The bishop also condemned Nigerian public office holders for wanting to hold on to power at all cost, even when they were on trial for corruption.

The bishop said there was no moral justification for the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to continue holding on to his position, because of allegations of corruption leveled against him.

Addressing newsmen on the pre-synod programs for the first session of the fourteen synod of the diocese, held at the Bishops Court, ‎Onikolobo, Abeokuta, he advised Saraki to resign from office and face his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT over false assets declaration.

*****

The Bishops of the Church in Wales issued a 'Pastoral Letter....to all the faithful concerning gay and lesbian Christians', accompanied by two sets of prayers 'that may be said with a couple following the Celebration of a Civil Partnership or Civil Marriage.'

What should we make of this letter from a theological perspective, writes Martin B. Davie?

First, the reasons the bishops give for not changing the teaching of the Church in Wales in relation to marriage or permitting 'the celebration of public liturgies of blessing for same sex unions' are because a process of consultation has shown there is not the necessary support in the Church in Wales to do so and because to do so would be to go against the recent statement from the Primates of the Anglican Communion. These are good reasons, but they do not get to the theological heart of the matter.

The fundamental theological reason why the Church in Wales should not change its teaching and practice is because the Bible makes clear (Genesis 1-2, Mark 10:2-9) that God has created human beings as male and female and has created marriage as a lifelong exclusive relationship between one man and one woman and as the sole legitimate context for entering into sexual union. You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****

The widely reported death by suffocation of Ding Cuimei, the wife of a pastor in China's Henan province, has shocked Christians worldwide. Ding and her husband were buried as they attempted to prevent their church from being bulldozed by developers, according to a report in Christianity Today.

Ding's husband managed to crawl to safety, but she did not. Their case highlights again the lack of legal protection for China's Christians.

In Beijing, meanwhile, a less noticed but more significant event provides insight into how China's atheistic regime plans to deal with the country's growing Christian population, projected to become the world's largest within the next couple decades.

At a long-awaited national conference on religion, held April 22-23, in Beijing, China's president Xi Jinping called on leaders to take the initiative in reasserting Communist Party of China (CPC) control over religion.

Xi's speech, his first specifically on religion since coming to power in 2012, delineates a clear hierarchy in which religion is subordinate to state interests. According to Xi, uniting all believers under CPC leadership is necessary to preserve internal harmony, while warding off hostile foreign forces that may use religion to destabilize the regime.

X's insistence is not new, nor is it simply a function of China's Communist rule. Since imperial times, state power has been seen as ultimate. It is, and has always been, the prerogative of the Chinese state to define orthodox belief and to set the boundaries for religious groups whose doctrines fall outside official limits.

In an environment in which the CPC is moving aggressively to rein in all expressions of civil society, Xi's message on religion comes as no surprise. His vision for reasserting control over religion--an area the CPC finds particularly difficult due to the diversity and complex history of China's various religious communities--combines legal means with tightened supervision over religious doctrine and organizations.

Under the banner "rule by law," Xi Jinping has overseen the drafting of new legislation and regulations governing nearly every sphere of life, from recreational dancing to national security. Curiously absent has been legislation dealing with religion.

In his recent speech, Xi made several references to regulating religion through law. Now that the first national conference on religion under Xi has been concluded, it is likely that a new law on religion is not far off. For China's Christians, such legislation could be a two-edged sword.

The CPC's control over religion is to be exerted not only through law, but also by reconciling religious doctrine with the party's socialist values. While "religion serving socialism" has been in the CPC lexicon for some time, direct intervention in the beliefs and practices of individual religions--including calls for the "Sinification" of Christian theology--have become more common under Xi.

*****

In Hope Mills, NC, just outside Fayetteville, Christ Episcopal Church and parish hall was donated by the Diocese of East Carolina to the township to establish a history museum.

The town plans to locate a history museum in the parish hall of the former Christ Episcopal Church on Patterson Street in the downtown. Hope Mills Museum will become a reality.

I suppose we should breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't sold to an Islamic group. A museum seems appropriate, bearing in mind the way TEC is going. Perhaps, as part of the museum, they might show an unused 1662 BCP.

The museum that Hall and other committee members envision, would tell the story of the town with an emphasis on its history as a textile mill village.

*****

The Episcopal Diocese of Easton, on the Eastern shore of Maryland, is looking for a bishop. Whoever is elected will have to figure out what to do with all the time on his hands, especially if he is not an evangelist or church planter, and 98% of Episcopal bishops are not.

Now the diocese has been without a bishop for a couple of years, and there was talk of uniting it with either the Diocese of Maryland or the Diocese of Delaware, which itself is on life support. (They recently sold their cathedral.)

Most of the diocese is run by volunteers, which should come as no surprise. There are 9 parishes in the diocese with Sunday attendance over 100, and 13 more parishes with Sunday attendance exceeding 50 worshipers. The Diocese of Easton has 16 churches, with less than 50 people at worship on any given Sunday. That figure is almost half of all the churches in the diocese. Most of the parishes are facing dwindling numbers and are struggling to continue.

So why does the diocese need a full time bishop? Why, to keep the illusion going that bishops are needed even for dying dioceses. Seventeen churches have one full time clergy and two additional churches employ two full time clergy. The remaining half of the churches get by with a part time or retired clergy person.

One suspects that whoever becomes bishop will spend a lot of time on committees reimagining the church (TREC) or just reimagining. As the diocese has a long coastal line, the bishop might want to take up fishing to fill in the time.

*****

We at VOL are in our spring fund raising appeal time and you might be tempted just to throw out our appeal letter when you get it before reading it. It's only one page so we won't bore you. We don't hit you up monthly as most agencies do, but we at VOL hope you will take a few moments to read it and use the envelope provided to send us a check. Regardless of size every penny helps. You can also send a donation via PAYPAL at the link here: http://www.virtueonline.org/support-vol/

You can also 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
Trinity School for Ministry
Prayer Book Alliance

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top