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Belief in God all time Low -- Gallup * What Will Happen at Lambeth? * Welby Threatened Rwandan Abp * Global Leaders call for Reinstatement of Trad. Teaching on Sex * ACNA's Annual Provincial Assembly

Belief in God all time Low -- Gallup * What Will Happen at Lambeth? * Welby Threatened Rwandan Abp * Global Leaders call for Reinstatement of Trad. Teaching on Sex * ACNA's Annual Provincial Assembly

The New Testament assumes a missionary situation in which the Church is a small evangelizing movement in a pagan society. Leslie Newbigin

Once the "it is finished" message is the song that runs in the background of your life, then the disciplines of the Christian life will breathe with life and joy. It's not moral progress that makes you a Christian, but God's love. Start then by resting in God's approval of you. This is your new identity. You are His beloved and He sings over you with gladness! -- Chuck Collins

Testing Christian vocation. It seems true to say that God seldom calls people to a wider ministry before they have first proved themselves in a narrower; and the best and most natural context in which to put to the test an incipient sense of vocation is the regular evangelistic outreach of the local church. -- John R.W. Stott

One has to give Welby credit for sheer industry and determination: he has sought out and endorsed just about every single progressive cause he can think of in recent years, which is no mean feat given the proliferation of such campaigns. Translate such ideas -- be they Critical Race Theory, open-borders ideology, sexual and gender radicalism or whatever -- into Welbyism, that unique blend of the language of the management consultant and the banal uplifting jargon of contemporary liberal Evangelicalism, and hey presto, there's material for weeks of Archiepiscopal tweeting, Lambeth Palace press releases and outraged headlines in the Daily Mail. -- Capel Lofft in The Critic

Many Christians think the main function of the prophets was to predict the future, but it wasn't. The role of the prophets wasn't prediction, but proclamation. God moved them to preach about His people's status in the context of His covenant demands. -- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
June 24, 2022

AS we look at what is happening in the Anglican Communion,<.b> we can see three stages of progressivism, now fully articulated in The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and increasingly across the globe in other liberal Anglican provinces regarding homosexuality:

1. It's not happening, and it is a harmful right-wing conspiracy (read orthodox) theory and you lack inclusion and true diversity if you don't agree with us.
2. It's happening and it's good that it's happening with the help of a small, very shrill minority of pansexual activists.
3. We're making it mandatory for your church and for your children's education by exposing your children to "pride" parades.

American culture has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Before that time, Christianity was generally respected by the society while homosexuality was disdained. Today, the tables have turned to the point that almost anything LGBTQ+ is celebrated while the Church is largely denigrated. In short, if gay is good, the Church is bad. This is another reason why many have left the Church, especially among the younger generation, writes Michael Brown.

Consider American views on same-sex "marriage."

Gallup first began polling American views on this in 1996, at which point 27 percent of the public supported legalizing same-sex unions. In 2022, the number rose to 72 percent.

This is an unprecedented shift in public opinion. But it is not surprising because: 1. So many Americans have friends, relatives, or loved ones who identify as gay; 2. President Obama endorsed gay "marriage" in 2012; 3. The Supreme Court redefined marriage in 2015; 4. The media has been bombarding us with gay-positive stories for the last few decades.

Had the Gallup poll been conducted in 1986, let alone in 1976 or 1966, support for same-sex "marriage" would have been a fraction of what it is today. But even dating back to 1996, the shift in opinion has been absolutely dramatic, from 27% support to 72%.

A NEW GALLUP POLL shows belief in God at an all-time low in America. What does the new poll reveal?

A record-low 81 percent of Americans answered "yes" to the question "Do you believe in God?" down from 87 percent in 2017.

Belief in God peaked at 98 percent in surveys conducted in 1954, 1965, and 1967. By 2011, that number was down to 92 percent and dropped to 86 percent in 2014 before bouncing back up to 89 percent two years later.

Gallup notes that, although this survey forces respondents to choose "yes" or "no," similar surveys conducted in recent years found that "when given the option, 5 percent to 10 percent have said they were 'unsure'" about the existence of God.

Comparing the average results of the four surveys conducted between 2013 and 2017 with the results of the 2022 survey reveals that belief in God has decreased in every demographic. For married people and conservatives, it fell by only a single point. Liberals, Democrats, and Americans aged 18-29 all recorded double-digit drops.

Women, people of color, older people, non-college graduates, married people, and people with children were more likely to believe in God than their male, white, young, college-educated, unmarried, childless counterparts. Southerners expressed belief in God at slightly higher rates than Americans from other regions. The survey revealed no statistically significant gap between city dwellers, suburbanites, and small-town or rural Americans.

The poll surveyed 1,007 American adults between May 2 and May 22 and has an error margin of 4 percent.

THE UPCOMING LAMBETH CONFERENCE is beginning to make the news. Its leaders, including Archbishop Justin Welby, Josiah Fearon, Sec. Gen. of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba a Lambeth Palace press officer and other leaders held their first press conference this week and your scribe was in attendance on Zoom.

Among the highlights were:

1000 invitations were issued; 650 will attend along with 480 spouses. 300 bishops from Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria declined invitation owing to unresolved sexuality issues.
Same Sex partners of homosexual and lesbian bishops were not invited.
Kenyan Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit will not attend, making four African Primates not attending. They represent 35 million Anglicans, nearly half of all Anglicans.
Welby and Makgoba expressed disappointment those bishops will not attend.
Human identity and human sexuality issues will be discussed, said Welby.
Cost to attend is 4,950 pounds ($6,091.00) per bishop.
Half of all bishops got full bursaries
No resolutions but "calls" because Lambeth is not a legislative body
You can read the full script here: https://virtueonline.org/lambeth-press-conference-1000-bishops-invited-lambeth-650-will-attend-including-480-spouses


'CALL TO PRAYER' ISSUED TO UK EVANGELICALS AHEAD OF 2022 LAMBETH CONFERENCE. The Resource Group supporting evangelical archbishops and bishops from the Global South attending the Lambeth Conference have issued a 'Call to Prayer'' to all UK evangelicals. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/call-prayer-issued-uk-evangelicals-ahead-2022-lambeth-conference


WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT LAMBETH 2022? As the global Anglican bishop gathering looms, evangelical Anglican writer Chris Sugden thinks he knows. He writes, "The Lambeth Conference which is set to take place from 26 July to 6 August, last met with all Anglican bishops in attendance in 1998 -- 24 years ago.

"The 1998 conference was due to receive the report of the Decade of Evangelism from its secretary, Cyril Okorocha of Nigeria. This was shelved and Canon Okorocha was stood down in favour of pressure from some bishops to discuss the issue of homosexual unions. The outcome of the 1998 conference was a resolution, Lambeth 1.10, which 'while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals'.

"A senior Nigerian bishop recently told me that Nigerians are still concerned that no apology had yet been received for their treatment at the conference by some other bishops due to their advocacy of Lambeth 1.10 which was attributed to their being the beneficiaries of 'chicken dinners'." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/what-will-happen-lambeth-2022-global-anglican-bishop-gathering-looms


GLOBAL SOUTH LEADERS CALL FOR RESTATEMENT OF TRADITIONAL TEACHING AT LAMBETH. Two visions of the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops are emerging in advance of next months' 10-yearly gathering. Archbishop Justin Welby, who has recently urged Primates boycotting the conference to attend, announced a significant change introducing short 'Lambeth calls' instead of the previous practice of agreeing resolutions.

The group representing the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion said that the Lambeth Conference programme was "tightly designed to prevent formal discussion on marriage and sexuality or gender identity. This, despite the latter being 'the issue' the West is facing, and the one the 'spirit of this age' is using, challenging identity, marriage and relationships."

Bishop Henry Scriven, General Secretary of EFAC, continued, "The current challenge to biblical orthodoxy by modern culture in the West should be regarded by the Church as a unique opportunity to answer these deep and fundamental questions -- pointing people to God, not encouraging them, in their confusion, to try secularist ideas, philosophies and hormonal and medical treatments which will never meet their deeper longings. Only a personal relationship with Christ will."

For more, click here: https://virtueonline.org/global-south-leaders-call-restatement-traditional-teaching-lambeth


WELBY THREATENED RWANDAN ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP ON VISIT TO UK IN 2019. VOL obtained an exclusive story of a letter written by Welby in Oct. 2019 in which he appears to threaten Rwanda Archbishop Laurent Mbanda with legal action over a visit he made to the UK without obtaining consent.

It is a careless letter clearly written out of irritation. Mbanda didn't seek permission because he didn't come...he was briefly slated to attend the Leeds conference but was not on the final program. There was a basic failure to check facts.

Welby wrote, "While writing, I see that you were in the U.K. recently for a Renew Conference in Leeds. I know that the permission of the local Bishop was not sought, nor was that of myself or Archbishop Sentamu, the Metropolitan of the Province of York. I would be most grateful if you sought permission in future, as I always do. In English Law it is required for Anglican Clergy of any Order to seek permission to minister in this country and has been for many centuries..." You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/welby-threatened-rwandan-anglican-archbishop-visit-uk-2019


WELBY AND RECONCILIATION: DOES HE HAVE IT ALL WRONG? The Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't like conflict. He believes it should be replaced by better thinking. He has published a book called The Power of Reconciliation, arguing that conflict should be replaced by negotiation and peace.

Here is what he wrote in The Guardian recently:

"The question of identity is core to any understanding of conflict. Identity can be inherited, it can be imposed -- but most of all, when it comes to conflict, identity is about our relationships with others. When we fall into the trap of defining ourselves by who we are not, or we attempt to forcefully define the identities of others, we set ourselves up for serious ruptures in the fabric of our relationships."

"That doesn't mean that peace is unanimity, a shared conformist identity. No, peace is the ability to deal with discord by non-violent means. It is the transformation of violent conflict into non-violent disagreement."

Noble sentiments indeed. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/welby-and-reconciliation-does-he-have-it-all-wrong

RWANDA'S ANGLICAN leader slammed Welby for wading into the row over UK's asylum plan. Archbishop Laurent Mbanda was a refugee in Burundi so knows how it can be. He said moving asylum seekers to Rwanda was not immoral, as many lived in exile. Welby called the Rwanda plan 'ungodly' in his Easter sermon. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/rwandas-anglican-leader-slams-archbishop-canterbury-justin-welby-wading-row-over-uks-asylum-plan


ANGLICANS IN OXFORD are being asked to commit to protecting the environment by its Bishop Steven Croft. An additional note has been added to the Baptismal liturgy for parents to affirm.
The addition to the liturgy comes as the Oxford diocese announces plans to spend £10m improving the energy efficiency of its vicarages in an effort to hit net zero emissions by 2035. It is one of 10 dioceses to have divested from fossil fuel companies, making commitments not to invest in coal, oil and gas in the future.

At a national level, the Church of England has been criticized for not acting quickly enough to cut its links with fossil fuel companies. It began to cut ties to coal and other heavily polluting industries in 2015, then pledged in 2018 to divest by 2023 from high-carbon companies that were "not aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement". But as the deadline approaches, the organization has said it is still "engaging" with key oil and gas interests, rather than cancelling all of its holdings.

The additional wording in the liturgy reads:
Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth?
With the help of God I will

Pushback was swift. Writing on twitter, the vicar of St Mary's Kilburn and St James West Hampstead in the diocese of London, the Rev. Robert Thompson said his parish was "very pro care for creation as being part of Christian discipleship. But to add it as a sort of baptismal promise constitutes an attack on the Catholic & creedal nature of the Church." The Rev. Marcus Walker, rector of Great St Bartholomew in the diocese of London asked on twitter, "Which other contemporary political issue are new Christians having to swear allegiance to in order to be baptized? @oxforddiocese this is really, really bad."


ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach said "sinful relationships" precluded accepting an invitation he got to attend the Lambeth Conference. Welby said he could come as an "observer" but did not recognize his Anglican orders. Beach says he is in "full communion" with three-fourths of the 80 million Anglicans around the world. No ACNA bishop has been invited. Ironically, the Episcopal provisional bishop of Eastern, Western Michigan Prince Singh said he would not attend Lambeth because same-sex partners were being excluded!


THE ACNA held its 2022 annual Provincial Assembly in Falls Church, VA this past week. This is the highest legislative body of the ACNA. The Assembly drew a number of international Anglican leaders including Nigerian primate Henry Ndukuba. Among the stats, it was reported that attendance has not returned to pre-2020 levels. Reports showed a 30% decline in 2021 since pre-pandemic 2020 numbers. You can read my full report here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-archbishop-says-sinful-relationships-preclude-lambeth-appearance You can read Jim Walton of IRD's report here: https://virtueonline.org/anglicans-challenged-covid-slump-and-abuse-investigations As he was present, Jeff covers ground my report does not. One story regards abuse revelations.


There's an excellent article on the short-lived life of the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth by Mary Ann Mueller. The original Fort Worth diocese is to fade into history, she writes, following a disastrous legal loss to the Anglican Diocese of Ft. Worth.

After a short 40-year lifespan, the original Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, temporarily renamed The Episcopal Church in North Texas (TECinNT), is just weeks away from becoming an historical footnote, she writes. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/short-life-episcopal-diocese-fort-worth

These legal fights by TEC have been costly and they have not won nearly what they had hoped. They lost the Diocese of Quincy and Ft. Worth; won about half of the parishes that they had hoped for in South Carolina. They won in San Joaquin, but the millions of dollars spent in legal costs has not been worth it. In time, their small parishes will be sold off to other denominations and secular places of "worship". TEC will be the long-term loser as more and more dioceses are uniting to fight inevitable entropy. One issue that is generating the most discussion, and some of the strongest opinions, was a measure proposed by the Diocese of Northern California that would repeal the Episcopal canon that requires worshipers to be baptized before receiving Communion in Episcopal churches.


TEC is the Anglican Communion's Undisciplined Child writes Alice Linsley, a social anthropologist who has followed the wayward denomination over several decades.

She writes, "There is no conciliar spirit in the Episcopal Church USA. ECUSA/TEC has consistently set itself apart from the received Tradition by its dangerous innovations. It does not care about the Anglican Communion. It acts on its own impulses like an undisciplined, rebellious child.

"Rebellious actions are evident in the way TEC has progressively distanced itself from the core beliefs and practices of Christianity. Catholicity and ecumenical consensus play no role in the body's decisions.

"TEC was the first to break the back of catholic orders when it unilaterally began to ordain women to the priesthood. Then came the ordination of partnered gay and lesbian clergy, and the consecration of partnered gay and lesbian bishops. This was followed by same-sex "marriages" and experimental liturgies and prayers that ooze political agendas and leftist ideologies." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/tec-anglican-communions-undisciplined-child


ANGLICAN EFFORTS IN AFRICA are being weakened by the Ukraine crisis. Anglican aid groups are grappling with program delivery as the Ukraine crisis continues.

Aid groups say the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put a strain on their aid and resilience building efforts in many African nations.

Anglican Overseas Aid and the global Anglican Mother's Union reported that the crisis was driving shortages that in turn were imperiling Africa-based programs including work on gender-based violence prevention and children's rights. Their comments came as Human Rights Watch noted that many African countries relied on Russia and Ukraine for wheat, fertilizer and vegetable oil, and that shortages were leading to a spike in food prices. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-efforts-africa-weakened-ukraine-crisis


The financial health of the oldest Episcopal seminary General Theological Seminary deteriorated during the pandemic to the extent that the trustees have considered closing the school and selling its assets, according to testimony at a recent online legislative hearing in advance of General Convention.

GTS has "an unsustainable financial model, overly reliant on variable and vulnerable revenue streams, declining interest, applications, and declining enrollments in core programs," said the Rt. Rev. Robert Wright, who is Bishop of Atlanta and chair of the GTS board of trustees. He was one of half a dozen witnesses from both seminaries who testified in favor of the resolution at a June 16 hearing of the joint Committee on Agencies and Boards.

Instead, pending approval of Resolution A139, General Theological Seminary (GTS) intends to cede significant governance autonomy in a formal affiliation with Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), the largest and most affluent Episcopal seminary.

Most of TEC's seminaries are in trouble both financially and for lack of students. Only Virginia Theological Seminary, Trinity School for Ministry and Nashotah House are seriously viable.


Next month's Episcopal General Convention is being seriously undermined by a number of issues and it is not just COVID. The whole affair has gone from 10,000 attendees to a few hundred, basically the bishops and their assistants and a handful of House of Deputies. Some 230 deputies resigned saying they would not attend because of COVID and TEC has had to fork out $1.1 million to change all the reservations. A brouhaha erupted over the cost of box lunches which got cancelled, so the few delegates will be on their own in the city looking for food. One wonders why they bother with these conventions. TEC has won the culture war on sex, so screaming about racism (a constant theme of PB Michael Curry), climate change and other issues seems hardly worth it, when most of this can be shoveled out on social media. There is one hot button issue that is on the desk of General Convention's committees on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music heard testimony on a diverse selection of resolutions, from proposals to add the late Bishop Barbara Harris to the church's calendar of feasts to a measure "addressing antisemitic, anti-Jewish and/or supersessionist interpretations of our lectionaries."

A resolution that is generating the most discussion, and some of the strongest opinions, is a measure proposed by the Diocese of Northern California that would repeal the Episcopal canon that requires worshipers to be baptized before receiving Communion in Episcopal churches. There has been considerable push back by a number of theologians. When you are desperate for people to fill pews, TEC is going to any length to find people. There's not a single church that has grown, absorbing LGBTQIA persons and their theology.


I invite readers to check out these Culture War stories. Links are provided.

PRIDE: THE REAL AGENDA -- Part One by Lisa Nolland can be read here: https://virtueonline.org/pride-real-agenda-part-one

LETTERS: Regarding the Lambeth Conference on banning certain media. https://virtueonline.org/letters-regarding-lambeth-conference

Welcome to Pride Month, Christian by Carl Trueman. An excellent read: https://virtueonline.org/welcome-pride-month-christian
A word to New Believers and to old believers by Chuck Collins can be read here: https://virtueonline.org/word-new-believers-and-some-old-believers-well

WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT LAMBETH 2022? GLOBAL ANGLICAN BISHOP GATHERING LOOMS: https://virtueonline.org/what-will-happen-lambeth-2022-global-anglican-bishop-gathering-looms

LAMBETH 2022 AND AFRICAN ANGLICANISM by David Goodhew can be found here: https://virtueonline.org/lambeth-2022-and-african-anglicanism

Trigger Warning: The Episcopal "Church" isn't a Church https://virtueonline.org/trigger-warning-episcopal-church-isnt-church

Episcopal Diocese of Chicago's Financial Woes and Loss of Parishioners... https://virtueonline.org/episcopal-diocese-chicagos-financial-woes-and-loss-parishioners-escalate

TEC is the Anglican Communion's Undisciplined Child https://virtueonline.org/tec-anglican-communions-undisciplined-child

THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE: A PERSONAL REFLECTION https://virtueonline.org/lambeth-conference-personal-reflection

MOORE WARNS OF US EVANGELICAL COLLAPSE https://virtueonline.org/moore-warns-us-evangelical-collapse


THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE is barely a month away and I have received credentials to attend. I do need help financially to make this possible. There are air fares, accommodation, Internet needs and human support for getting the stories back to you. VOL's staff will be working overtime and odd hours with the time differences to make all this possible. VOL will be one of a very few orthodox media voices covering this Decennial event.

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