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By David W. Virtue, DD
December 16, 2023

AT midnight tonight the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) prayers authorized by the House of Bishops will come into effect, despite the narrowness of the voting at General Synod. These are the same bishops who complained about Brexit being enacted because it was only a narrow majority in favor!

Midnight marks the turning point for the Church of England. Mark the day: December 17, 2023, Advent 3 is the first day of the anti-Reformation in England.

Its bishops have done the unthinkable; they have turned away from the gospel of Jesus Christ and embraced sin. Jesus must be weeping. Never mind that prominent LGBT activist Jayne Ozanne has claimed that repentance is not central to the gospel. Positioning herself as a "gay evangelical" Christian, she argued that "if repentance is not a salvation matter" then the church doesn't need to uphold biblical sexual ethics. That should tell you all you need to know. She is not alone. 100 clergy voted for it, 93 opposed it. In the House of Laity 104 voted for it, 100 opposed the resolution.

Both archbishops of Canterbury and York embraced the blessing of same-sex unions.

Response was swift. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Ron Munro, issued a statement on behalf of Anglo-Catholics in the CofE saying, "You do not need to do anything." There is no formal authorization or legal status to these prayers, he roared to his fellow bishops and clergy.

"Do not use the prayers. Their use is divisive, their legal status is questionable, the implications of their use will confuse clear biblical teaching, and there is not the necessary completed guidance and provision for conscience that is needed."

"I believe it is a serious error to allow in liturgy something that at best confuses people, and more seriously risks misleading them about issues of sin and salvation, by redefining repentance," he said. He went on to opine, "that leaves clergy and parishes on all sides vulnerable to legal and other challenges." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/uk-you-do-not-need-do-anything-says-bishop-prayers-s-s-blessings

A consortium of orthodox groups in the CofE including leaders of a number of networks within the Church of England from the traditional catholic, evangelical and charismatic wings of the church under the banner of the Anglican Alliance said; "The proposed Prayers of Love and Faith are a departure from the doctrine to which the Church of England has always held fast. They are opposed by the Anglican Primates of the Global South who represent over 75% of the Anglican Communion, and the unwillingness to sufficiently consult and take into account their views, seems to them to be a form of colonialism and racism."

"Furthermore, it is not just the wider Anglican Communion that is being ignored. The Canon Law of the Church of England has been developed in order to preserve the unity of the church. Any process which suggests an unwillingness to give appropriate recognition to the Church's constitution exposes the Church to risk of legal challenge and has the potential to cause irreparable harm to our unity.
Less declarative but equally."

The Church of England Evangelical Council has demanded "structural separation," but VOL was told that the odds are that they won't get any meaningful concessions from the bishops.

Other orthodox leaders have been advised to wait until January, in the hope that "something might turn up." But it won't VOL was told.

So, the question now is will we see the beginning of separation from the CofE by any number of orthodox Anglicans, both Evangelical and Catholic.

"There is no Third Province, no Ordinariate for Evangelicals. It will mean walking away, like the Christian congregation at St John's Shaughnessy in Vancouver," the source told VOL.

Waiting in the wings to receive them is Gafcon Bishop Andy Line who wrote, "For both clergy and laity now standing at the crossroads and prayerfully considering their future path, we want to reassure them there is a road available which avoids an unknown and unsafe future as part of an apostate denomination, and draw their attention to the recent Gafcon Primates' statement (9 Nov 2023) which speaks of a way of being authentically Anglican apart from Canterbury-aligned structures: "We... commend the ministry and witness of the Anglican Network in Europe as the appropriate and necessary provision of Gafcon for those who cannot in good conscience remain in a Church which flagrantly abandons the teaching of Scripture." He described the CofE bishops as "deaf and arrogant."

"Hard decisions will have to be made, as the toleration of immorality and false teaching on a first-order gospel-related issue in the church, brings the prospect of the Lord's judgment" (Rev. 2:20ff; Jude), wrote hardline evangelical Bishop Wallace Benn.

The year of our Lord 2024 will be the year when the damage is assessed, in terms of clergy, members and money removed from the CofE.

Where money is concerned, money talks. If evangelicals withhold their assessment, then the long knives of coercion could emerge. Endowments and Pension Funds do not last forever.

Archbishop Justin Welby, who is already history as far as the majority of the Global South Primates is concerned, might find himself even more isolated within the Church of England itself.

Any way you look at it, 2024 is going to be a bad year for the Church of England. But don't feel sorry for the Mother Church; they brought it on themselves. As St. Paul wrote; "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9--10)

Archbishop Welby and his fellow travelers should take note. They have sown to the wind and they will reap the whirlwind.


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