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By David W. Virtue, DD
June 28, 2022

In the break-up of The Episcopal Church and the birth of the ACNA, much was talked and argued over about doctrinal changes and bad morals.

Faithful Episcopalians could not stomach the moral behavior of Bishop Gene Robinson and 100,000 orthodox Episcopalians walked away from many of their priests and properties. It is all outlined in a new book co-authored by myself and Brad Hutt, The Great Episcopal Church Robbery: 6,400 Congregation Properties Heisted by Radical Clergy. https://www.amazon.com/Great-Episcopal-Church-Robbery-Congregation/dp/1954682298 It does not make for pleasant reading.

But what of those who believed they must remain - evangelical and Anglo Catholic bishops and priests who, for a variety of reasons including pensions and power, wished to remain in the church? Perhaps they hoped to protect their dwindling flocks and thought they could influence the broader Episcopal Church for the gospel. Well, how did that work?

Not well. In fact, it proved to be disastrous. Over time, some rolled over because of the power of needing to belong. Some were persuaded that they could or should stay out of some conciliar consideration. Others felt the need to have a seat at the table as the 'loyal opposition' like the Communion Partner bishops. But what has become of them, pray tell. The truth is nothing. A CP position paper is written and promptly filed in TECs archives, and the steam roller of "inclusion and diversity" rolls on.

They sit in the seat of scoffers who reject Biblical sexual ethics that expressly forbid homosexuality. They stand alongside of bishops who no longer delight in the law of the Lord, preferring their own understandings. They temporize over issues as abortion rights and LGBTQ inclusivity.

A Windsor Report and a Covenant were designed to keep everyone at the table in the vain hope of reconciliation. It never worked. Global South Primates remained adamant that they would have no dealings with Belial. (II Cor.6:15) GAFCON and the Jerusalem Declaration was born.

In the case of the Episcopal Church, it all ended when a faithful bishop in the person of Bill Love of Albany got pushed out because he refused to allow homosexual marriages to take place in his diocese. Love was told, not so politely, to get lost.

But what of the orthodox stayers like the bishops of Central Florida and Dallas, to name two of the most obvious players. What have they achieved by staying?

I was reminded in my reading of Scripture what their response should have been:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1

Orthodox Episcopal bishops continue to walk in the "counsel of the wicked", in places like General Conventions. They sit in the seat of scoffers over the rejection of biblical sexual ethics that expressly forbid homosexuality. They hang out with bishops who no longer delight in the law of the Lord, preferring their own understandings and compromises over a bevy of issues, changing canon law to include abortion and LGBTQ issues.

The Psalmist David penned this in Psalm 26:4-5:

I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.

But that is precisely what is going on when an orthodox priest or bishop sits with men and women who proclaim falsehoods and consort with hypocrites. David, the Psalmist, was abundantly clear, "I hate the assembly of evildoers and I will not sit with the wicked."

How much clearer could he be?

"Therefore, come out from among them and be ye separate," (II Cor. 6:17) This was not a reference to separation from the world as such, but to those who claim to be followers of Christ but in reality, are not.

Were the handful of remaining orthodox bishops able to stem the tide of heterodoxy in TEC? Of course not. The majority knew the minority posed no threat and with words like 'inclusion' and 'diversity' thrown around, they overpowered them at General Conventions. At times they scorned and derided them publicly when it suited them, making false claims of hate and homophobia.

Look at what is presently happening to Charlie Holt, the wannabe Bishop of Florida. He won a free and fair election, but because he wasn't declarative enough about homosexual marriage, a small strident group of pansexualists and a liberal woman theologian say he should not get consents to be the next bishop. He is probably toast.

Holt is trying to thread the needle of acceptance, but it is not working. He should do what the psalmist tells him to do...walk away. So should bishops Brewer of Central Florida and Sumner of Dallas. It took a while, but Bishop John Howe (formerly Central Florida) managed to do it and got out.

And this is going on in the global Anglican front.

Southern African Primate Thabo Makgoba, who heads the Design Group for the Lambeth Conference wants orthodox primates to come to Lambeth so their voices will be heard and they can become part of the conversation. Makgoba wants the orthodox primates to listen to the whine of homosexual bishops and then be accused of "hate" and "homophobia" if they don't roll over. Four evangelical African primates have said no, they won't go.

If they did, they would only play into the hands of progressive archbishops and bishops, including Welby, who are pushing their agenda of inclusion. They would be publicly humiliated and the liberal British media would have a field day accusing these African bishops of being backward and holding fundamentalist views of scripture. The bishops would be placed in a no-win situation. So why go?

For the moment, Justin Welby is feeling the heat by these Primates not attending.

The words of Martyn Lloyd-Jones come to mind: "The tragedy of the twentieth century especially has been that the Church in her folly has been trying to accommodate herself to the world, thinking that by doing so she could attract it. But the world expects the Christian to be different, and it is right -- this is the New Testament emphasis. It is nothing but a departure from New Testament doctrine that ever tries to make the Church ingratiate herself to the world; the Church is meant to be, and is, essentially different."

In the 21st century, it has only gotten worse.

Orthodox bishops who have stayed in TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada have essentially compromised the gospel. And for that, there will be all hell to pay.


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