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Archbishop Welby should Resign over L'Affaire Postmaster * Evangelicals in CofE at Crossroads * CofE in Major decline * Turn around for Diocese of Peru * Will that be Sola Scriptura or Prima Scriptura? - Orthodox Anglican Theologians weigh-in * More

Archbishop Welby should Resign over L'Affaire Postmaster * Evangelicals in CofE at Crossroads * CofE in Major decline * Turn around for Diocese of Peru * Will that be Sola Scriptura or Prima Scriptura? - Orthodox Anglican Theologians weigh-in * PB Curry Faces Title IV Investigation * Rector of Largest Episcopal Parish resigns.

All revealed truth is held in stewardship. It is given to be shared, not monopolised. If men cannot keep their scientific discoveries to themselves, how much less should we keep to ourselves the divine disclosures? --- John R.W. Stott

His [Justin Welby's] total failure to bring pastoral care to the fore during the pandemic and the disastrous decisions he made at that time shows his complete and utter lack of understanding of the Church and its ministry. His has been a terrible primacy and clutching his GCVO [Royal Victorian Order], he should go. -- Rev. Jeremy Haselock

This [American] crisis is both political and personal. It is political in that white evangelicals have been the steadiest base of support for the least outwardly faithful president in half a century, at the alleged expense of their prior platitudes about morality and ethics being central to public service. But, as Tim Alberta explains, it is also deeply personal, leading to rifts in families, communities, and congregations. --- Daniel Bennett

Disciples with high CQs (Contextual Intelligence) also have a high missional consciousness. Missional is not a winning or a conquering but an invitation to a feast and festival--a feast in the kingdom of God (Luke 14:16). All mission must be "mission in Christ's way"...which means it is kenotic, self-giving, humble, sacrificial, loving and forgiving. --- Leonard Sweet and Michael Adam Beck

It costs something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a person in an arm-chair and taking them easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. --- J. C. Ryle

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
January 19, 2024

Yet another scandal and another bad week for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The leader of the Anglican Communion (perhaps only a small part of it at this point), is facing calls to resign after backing Paula Vennells, ex-Post Office boss, after it was said he wanted her to become Bishop of London.

Queen Elizabeth's former chaplain, Rev Canon Jeremy Haselock, called for Justin Welby to resign after it was claimed he pushed Vennells' application for bishop. It comes after she said she will hand back her CBE with immediate effect amid the fallout of the Horizon IT scandal, which led to the wrongful prosecution of hundreds of sub-postmasters.

Apparently, Vennells, an ordained priest who has never held hold a senior position in the Church of England, nor been the priest of a parish, is understood to have been interviewed for the role.

She was in the final shortlist of three but was not appointed, according to the BBC.

A lot of people got hurt by the false charges, with some of the postmasters committing suicide, say several reports!

The real kicker is that Welby was looking for a managerial type not a spiritual leader for the parishes and vicars in London. THAT speaks volumes about the titular head of the communion. Can you imagine the Primate of Nigeria sitting down with his fellow bishops and announcing, "yes the next bishop of Abuja must be chosen from the government to spiritually lead a million souls!" Never going to happen. Welby's strategy reeks more of his days as an oilman, not the spiritual head of the Church of England.

There are other reasons Welby should go. His total failure to bring pastoral care to the fore during the pandemic and the disastrous decisions he made at that time shows his complete and utter lack of understanding of the Church and its ministry.

"His has been a terrible primacy and clutching his Royal Victorian Order, he should go," said Haselock. Another former Anglican chaplain to the queen, Dr. Gavin Ashenden echoed much the same thing saying that short of a public statement it was hugely embarrassing for all Christians. "She should not have been ordained. She was underwhelming intellectually. Based on Welby's cumulatively moral sensibility perhaps he should resign," said Ashenden.

Furthermore, GAFCON and GSFA archbishops would lose no sleep if he resigned. In fact, they are working to "reset" the communion over Welby's failure to uphold biblical standards on human sexuality. The LLF report and the passage of blessings for same-sex unions has been his undoing.

You can read several stories here: https://virtueonline.org/justin-welby-should-quit-over-claims-he-backed-paula-vennells-be-bishop-london

The failure of Anglican managerialism: https://virtueonline.org/failure-anglican-managerialism

A Gospelphobic Church is a brilliant take down of Welby. Here is a sample paragraph. "Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury and captain of the good ship Anglican, having steered the ship onto the rocks is bailing furiously in an attempt to stop the vessel from sinking. His officers meanwhile can only give one order 'Full steam ahead'. Meanwhile most of the deckhands have taken to the lifeboats or jumped into the cold cold water, deserting the sinking ship however they can. The remaining tenacious few of the crew left behind are frantically trying to persuade the officers to alter course and patch the leaks." You can read it all here: https://virtueonline.org/gospelphobic-church


The group of Anglicans most affected by the church of England's decision to bless homosexual unions are evangelicals. They now find themselves at a crossroads.

They believe they can negotiate their way around a church that now blesses same-sex unions, even though the church says no change of doctrine has been officially endorsed. The push is on for a full-on assault for gay marriage which, based on experience in the American Episcopal Church will come sooner rather than later.

An article; The CofE's Clandestine move toward gay marriage, which you can read here https://virtueonline.org/c-es-clandestine-move-toward-gay-marriage demonstrates the truth of what we saw happen in TEC with the passage of Resolution B012. The steam roller of pansexuality marches steadily on, the sodomists brook no opposition, their outrage and grandstanding at future synods will go on and on, cowing even the hardiest of heterosexuals. Their identity is at stake.

"Does my lord bishop really think that God cannot change His mind in keeping with an upwardly evolving society, the joys of multiculturalism, pluriformity and the rich diversity now found in England?"

"Is the member not mightier than the sword, my lord Bishop."

The recent prayers and blessings approved of by the church was just another move in the Church of England chess game to fully approve that which God has said a resounding no too, along with 2,000 years of church teaching. To hell with it all. We will have our way. It is written. You can read my take here: https://virtueonline.org/evangelicals-crossroads-church-england


Adding fuel to the fire of Church of England decline, The Rev. Dr. David Goodhew of The Living Church said COVID was bad for the Church of England. And new data show just how bad. Overall, the church lost one in five of its Sunday worshipers during COVID. For children at worship, it's worse.

Canterbury Cathedral makes the CofE appear impressive, but appearances can deceive. The Diocese of Canterbury had 1,600 children in Sunday worship in 2019, before COVID. By 2022 it had 1,000 children in Sunday worship. That's nearly a 40 percent drop.

Long-term decline coupled with COVID has left much of the church in deep trouble. Yes, there are wonderful pockets of vitality, but their number is shrinking. The new data show that, during COVID, the condition of much of the church has moved from serious to critical. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/after-covid-deepening-decline-church-england


There is an update on the late John Smyth who performed sadistic beatings on schoolboys and young men who regarded him as a spiritual father. Smyth died while under investigation, so criminal charges were never brought against him.

A Statement from the National Director of Safeguarding has been issued by the independent reviewer into the Church's handling of allegations against the late John Smyth owing to years of delay. "We would like to say as commissioners of the review, the NST recognizes the process has gone on longer than is acceptable for those waiting for an outcome and for the Church to act and learn on the outcomes of the report. Along with the reviewer we apologize for this delay. We continue to offer additional resources and financial support to ensure the report is received by the end of April with a view to publication as soon as practically possible after that date."


On a positive note, The Diocese of Peru is experiencing a turn around with Bishop Jorge Aquilar recently ordaining 18 in a packed emotional service at the Anglican cathedral.

Dean Ian Montgomery was in Lima and reported on the situation there, in an exclusive story for VOL.

"I watched as tears of joy and sweet gratitude were shed for the love and blessing of God being so active in the diocese. The crowd overflowed into the parish hall as many could not be seated in the Cathedral. There were moments when the congregation exploded with exhilaration as we sang, prayed, clapped, and shouted our approbation and praise. This was emotional, exciting and faith building. God is doing a new thing in the revived Diocese of Peru." You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/turn-around-diocese-peru


On the Global front there are strains emerging among biblically faithful Anglicans.

Can the Cairo Covenant unite both Global South Anglicans and GAFCON (and resolve theological differences and strategies at the same time)? GAFCON has put forth the Jerusalem Declaration, their official statement on Anglican orthodoxy.

The argument is over sola scriptura and what is now being suggested, prima scriptura as the church's official position.

The American Anglican Council has put out a story dealing with all this which you can read here: https://virtueonline.org/can-cairo-covenant-unite-both-global-south-anglicans-and-gafcon-and-resolve-theological-differences

Some 75-85% of the Global Anglican Communion has rejected the Global North's progressive Anglicanism which has been teaching and exporting unbiblical teaching on God's creation of male and female, human identity in the image of God, human sexuality, marriage, and human flourishing--to name but a few essentials.

This false teaching promoted by the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, and the Bishops of the Church of England has prompted the majority of GAFCON and Global South bishops to reject the Communion leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury [https://www.gafcon.org/news/gafcon-iv-the-kigali-commitment]. Biblically faithful Anglicans are prepared to "reset the Communion" on its biblical foundations. It feels as if we are in a new Anglican Reformation, long awaited, and soon to be consummated!

But the two entities must decide on how they view scripture as the church's final authority.

Here in a nutshell is the issue:

"The problem is that the Cairo Covenant uses the language of sola scriptura without sufficient qualification. The term sola scriptura suggests that the Bible by itself can ensure orthodoxy without the guidance of the historic Church. The Covenant defines sola scriptura as 'the Scriptures authority over the Church," which itself is 'a creature of the divine Word.' Yet as students of church history know, the Church produced the Bible and protected it against heretical interpretations at ecumenical councils like Nicaea...the Bible was a "creature" of the Church, not the other way around."

After citing other Anglican formularies such as the Thirty-Nine Articles and the canons of 1571, they conclude that the Cairo Covenant as written does not acknowledge that the guardian of Scripture has always been the Church's councils, creeds, and teachings. And so, they propose the following amendment to Section 1, paragraph 1.5 of the Doctrinal Foundations of the Cairo Covenant:
"We suggest replacement of sola scriptura with prima scriptura, Scriptures primary authority protected by the wisdom of the Great Tradition...reading Scripture with the Church's eyes of faith."

You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/can-cairo-covenant-unite-both-global-south-anglicans-and-gafcon-and-resolve-theological-differences

You can read Dr. Stephen Noll's take here: https://virtueonline.org/are-foundations-global-south-secure

Here is a sample paragraph: "Twice in the past six months, prominent Anglican theologians have written articles questioning the formularies of Global South entities: Gafcon and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GFSA). Both articles appeared in the online edition of First Things. While First Things is a highly reputable "journal of religion and public life," it has largely ignored the movements of global Anglicanism and in turn seldom read by Global Anglicans. It is important now that these articles be read carefully and discussed by Anglican leaders worldwide."


A report from Glasgow is calling for an investigation into the secretary general of the Archbishops' Council, William Nye. A Church Times carries a report: Psychologist reports 'significant harm' after closure of Independent Safeguarding Board which deals with the Glasgow report, as covered on TA previously here.

The letter, written by Synod member and safeguarding lawyer, Martin Sewell, accuses Mr. Nye of failing to heed a request from Steve Reeves, one of the sacked members of the ISB, to delay the announcement of its termination so that survivors could be informed privately rather than learning via the media.

The letter alleges that Mr. Nye "rejected that advice and chose to take the risk; it had foreseeable and foreseen consequences . . . avoidable significant harm towards the vulnerable people to whom he owed a duty of care."

The full text of this letter can be found here. https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Untitled-29.pdf


GAFCON has a new General Secretary, the Rev. Canon Paul Donison. He replaces outgoing Nigerian archbishop Ben Kwashi. The announcement was made by the Revd. Dr. Laurent Mbanda of Rwanda. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/most-revd-dr-mbanda-announces-revd-donisons-consecration


Even as he recuperates from brain surgery Presiding Bishop Michael Curry faces a Title IV Investigation, reports The Living Church. As the Episcopal Church girds for an important leadership transition in 2024, the current hierarchy is being roiled by a series of secular crises.

On January 10, it became apparent that Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry is the subject of a Title IV disciplinary investigation regarding his response to abuse allegations against another bishop. Confirmation came in the form of a letter from Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, vice president of the House of Bishops, announcing that she has recused herself from overseeing Title IV allegations regarding Curry and Bishop Todd Ousley, the bishop for pastoral development on the presiding bishop's staff.

You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/recuperating-presiding-bishop-faces-title-iv-investigation


The rector of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston -- which recently welcomed its 10,000th member, the most of any Episcopal church -- has announced plans to retire from full-time ministry in May.

The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson Jr., 62, who has led St. Martin's since 2007, plans to move to Birmingham, Alabama, to be closer to family. He has been a prominent voice among evangelicals in the church. You can read more here: https://livingchurch.org/2024/01/12/rector-at-largest-episcopal-parish-announces-retirement-plans/


These past two weeks, I had an opportunity during the rain and snow to read the 1988 A Document of General Principles & Polices, the official Manifesto of Hamas. It is worth reading because the Western Media simply does not read and 'get' what is really behind the war in Israel. I concluded that the War in Israel is about Religion, not just the Land or Politics.

Here are some choice morsels of information drawn from this Manifesto.

"Palestine is the cause of a people who have been let down by a world that fails to secure their rights and restore to them what has been usurped from them, a people whose land continues to suffer one of the worst types of occupation in this world.

"Palestine is a land that was seized by a racist, anti-human and colonial Zionist project that was founded on a false promise (the Balfour Declaration), on recognition of a usurping entity and on imposing a fait accompli by force.

"Palestine symbolizes the resistance that shall continue until liberation is accomplished, until the return is fulfilled and until a fully sovereign state is established with Jerusalem as its capital." You can read my full report here: https://virtueonline.org/war-israel-about-religion-not-just-land-or-politics

On another note, South Africa has now entered the fray taking Israel to the International Court of Justice charging Israel with genocide, It's an absurd charge. To charge Israel with Genocide when that is the same word to describe what the Nazis did to 6 million Jews is in fact outrageous. I was in South Africa in 1991 at the time when Apartheid came apart under PM F.W. de Klerk. There were no outbreaks of violence against whites. A Truth Commission was set up. The African National Congress (ANC) took over and peace reigned. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/apartheid-south-africa-and-war-israel


13 TEC Bishops berate President Trump over racial rhetoric. Writing as "teachers of the faith" and "shepherds of the souls of our parishioners," 13 Southern and Southwestern bishops from Province VII issued the following pastoral letter on January 9, about the racial rhetoric of presidential candidate, Donald Trump:

Bishops Are Not Political Pundits: An Episcopal and Theological Exhortation
Bishops are not political pundits. We are equally the pastors to Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others. We would not presume to instruct people how to vote. Immigration policy is a worry for Americans of various perspectives, and politicians should grapple with the question. However, bishops are teachers of the faith as well as shepherds of the souls of our parishioners. We speak specifically as such.

Donald Trump, our former President, has recently called immigrants 'vermin,' and had said that they 'poison the blood of our country.' A clearer example of racism, in this case with a eugenic edge, one could not find. When the parallels to Nazi rhetoric were pointed out, Trump claimed he knew no such thing. But then he repeated the very same statements, when he most certainly was aware of the parallels. You can read more here: https://livingchurch.org/2024/01/18/bishops-issue-pastoral-letter-about-trumps-rhetoric/


Canon Chuck Collins takes on liberal Catholicism in his latest piece; LUX MUNDI Here is a sample from his piece: "When the first bricks are badly laid, the wall in the end will be wonky. When the church abandons Scripture and the doctrinal formularies of the Edwardian and Elizabethan Settlement and wanders the road of personal preference, the end result is Charles Gore, liberal catholicism, and "Lux Mundi." Charles Gore, the popular Bishop (of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford) died January 17, 1932. At its best, the Liberal Catholic Movement wanted to "preserve the best of the past in the light of the best of the present so as to build for the best future" (Frank Gavin), but, in fact it was third-generation Tractarianism that tried to marry Anglo-Catholic ritual with liberal theology and the new biblical criticism of its day." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/lux-mundi

Another piece by Canon Collins; JUSTIFICATION & TRENT: How the Roman Catholic Church got it Wrong, can be read here: https://virtueonline.org/justification-trent-how-roman-catholic-church-got-it-wrong


Two stories (there are many more), capture the moment of cancel culture.
A Finnish MP, bishop may be dragged before Supreme Court despite acquittals over 'hate speech' against LGBT pride.

Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen, who served as Finland's interior minister from 2011 to 2015, could see the Supreme Court of Finland overturn her multiple acquittals related to alleged "hate speech" stemming from a 2019 Bible tweet.

The state prosecutor in Finland is appealing the second unanimous acquittal of a Finnish parliamentarian and Lutheran bishop over "hate speech" charges related to their faith-based views on sexuality and gender. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/finnish-mp-bishop-may-be-dragged-supreme-court-despite-acquittals-over-hate-speech-against-lgbt

The cult of sexual transitioning and disembodied transhumanism is a misguided quest for Eternity in denial of the Incarnation, writes Dr. Gavin Ashenden in the Catholic Herald

"Living in the light of the birth of Christ provides a different quality of life, of self-understanding, and a different quality of social relationship to the alternative secular solipsism. As our society loses its Christian memory, the task of evangelism is not to lament what is lost but to offer as medicine what can heal. The Incarnation heals. More specifically, the embodiment of the Logos heals." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/cult-sexual-transitioning-and-disembodied-transhumanism-misguided-quest-eternity-denial-incarnation


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