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Church of England Faces Pushback on SS Blessings * Is Schism inevitable in CofE * Will ACNA overtake TEC? * Israel Faces Historical Moment * Antisemitism on Rise * I visit Kurdistan and Central Asia -- Report

Church of England Faces Pushback on SS Blessings * Is Schism inevitable in CofE * Will ACNA overtake TEC? * Israel Faces Historical Moment * Antisemitism on Rise * I visit Kurdistan and Central Asia -- Report

An international community. Christ's kingdom, while not incompatible with patriotism, tolerates no narrow nationalisms. He rules over an international community in which race, nation, rank and sex are no barriers to fellowship. And when his kingdom is consummated at the end, the countless redeemed company will be seen to be drawn 'from every nation, tribe, people and language' (Rev. 7:9). -- John R.W. Stott

"I don't pray for revival; I pray for repentance. I don't think America deserves a single more blessing from God; not one. We need to repent. Not only do we need to turn away from things, but we also need to equip and encourage the Church to go toward this: How do you stay out of your pornographic addiction? How do you now engage ... the one family in the church [that] ends up fostering and adopting?" -- Evangelist Nick Vujicic

"I must state clearly and emphatically this fundamental truth--Jesus Christ is the only path to everlasting life; no other path to salvation can be found!" -- Texas Catholic Bishop Jospeh Strickland (IV Tyler)

To the undeserving. The repeated promises in the Qur'an of the forgiveness of a compassionate and merciful Allah are all made to the meritorious, whose merits have been weighed in Allah's scales, whereas the gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales. -- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
October 13, 2023

The progressive tide is turning in the Church of England. Its push for prayers via the same-sex project "Love and Faith" is bedeviling its House of Bishops and is roiling the Church's faithful.

"The progressive tide is turning in the Church of England. Its push for prayers via the same-sex project "Love and Faith" is bedeviling its House of Bishops and is roiling the Church's faithful."

Twelve bishops have publicly dissented from the decision, announced on Monday by the House of Bishops, to commend blessings for same-sex couples, saying that there is "deep disagreement within the House".

In a statement published on the website of Premier Christianity on Thursday morning, the signatories say that they are "unable to support the collective decisions made by the House which we believe fail to safeguard the pastoral stability, mission and unity of the Church".

On Monday, after a meeting of the house, it was announced that agreement had been reached "in principle" that the Prayers of Love and Faith should be commended, and thereafter used in existing liturgies, but that stand-alone services using the prayers would require full synodical approval (News, 10 October).

In these 12 bishops' statement, the dissenting group includes seven diocesan bishops, as well as three suffragan bishops elected to the House and bishops designated as Provincial Episcopal Visitors, who are non-voting members. There are currently 53 members of the House of Bishops.

In their statement, they call on their colleagues to "reconsider the course we saw mapped out in our meeting".

Disagreement among the bishops on the issue of same-sex relations is well known, but Monday's statement -- which began "The Church of England's House of Bishops has agreed . . ." -- gave the impression of its being a collective decision of the whole house, given the concession it contained to refer the Prayers to the General Synod.

But Thursday's statement undermines this apparent collegiality. It continues: "We have participated in good faith in attempts to find consensus but were unable to support the decisions taken on Monday. There was deep disagreement within the House.

"Sharing the profound concerns of many in the Church of England and in the wider Communion, with heavy hearts we find it necessary to dissent publicly from the decisions of the House."

To read more click here: https://virtueonline.org/uk-bishops-go-public-their-rift-over-blessings-same-sex-couples
To read the Premier Christianity story go here: https://www.premierchristianity.com/uk-church/exclusive-dissenting-bishops-speak-out-on-same-sex-blessings/16497.article

A group of 78 ordinands and deacon-curates have also written to the House of Bishops warning them that such a move would "indicate a departure from the historic teaching of the Christian faith."
If the liberals refuse to listen and will continue to push for the same sex blessings, they could well suffer the same fate as The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada which saw their denominations split and new Anglican churches form. The Church of England has no thought on how this will affect the wide Anglicans Communion, especially as the Global South Fellowship of Anglican (GSFA) primates are meeting now in Cairo, Egypt, where we can be assured, they will be commenting on this decision.

The sheer arrogance of the CofE's bishops who believe that can act like imperial, colonial spiritual rulers over their own church and that the rest of the communion will buy it, is staggering. Their own church can barely muster a million attenders a week out of a population of 66 million and the only truly thriving parishes are independent African Anglican and Pentecostal churches that are thriving, even as Church of England parishes are shriveling.

See Angela Tilbys' take here: https://virtueonline.org/angela-tilby-emptied-out-belief-leads-empty-pews

She lucidly explains that emptied-out belief leads to empty pews. "The churches that are declining are those that have turned our 'very strange and very difficult faith' into something less spiritually nutritious, something essentially this-worldly and moralistic, in which the bulk of the sermon time is given to social criticism, at the expense of God and the soul.

"If our emptying churches are the result of an emptied-out belief, it would be wise to return to the sources. In scripture, the angels are represented as a divine hierarchy charged by God to warn, instruct, and encourage us in the only thing that really matters: the age-old cosmic struggle between good and evil." She gets it.

Cornelius Harding writes a heartfelt plea to Orthodox Anglicans in the CofE in a piece titled, "When your head is in the tiger's mouth," which you can read here:

Here is a sample paragraph: "To each and every Orthodox Anglican in the Church of England I have no words of comfort but rather a warning that the cost may be high. If you stand up for your brothers and sisters in Christ, there will be those who want to devour you, some may be ostracized in their churches, many will lose friends, some may lose their jobs as a Councilor King Lawal recently did, clergy may face disciplinary action or be forced out by their churches and so lose both their livelihood and their home, and ministries may have their funding withdrawn."

The CofE is being led by a man who once stood firm on the church's history, tradition and scripture, but has since turned and gone over to the dark side. Justin Welby, sadly, can no longer be trusted. He has gone from ALPHA to Delta. In the end it could well be a place of judgement -- a terrible place where talk of "reconciliation" and "good disagreement" does not exist.

Scripture makes plain that the time is coming that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17) Scary stuff.

We must never forget that Jesus reserved his harshest judgement for the Pharisees and Sadducees, while his love embraced the outcast and the one lost sheep.

Those modern-day successors in our houses of bishops, men and women who have embraced clericalism; who love to dress up and pontificate and whirl incense, while those in the pews are forced to listen to their rants and leave their churches with nothing but dust and ashes in their hands.

The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lampposts that light the path, said St. Athanasius, who goes further than Chrysostom by saying, "The floor to hell is paved with the skulls of priests."

Is it any wonder that the Church of England is emptying faster than sand through a sieve. Fewer vicars, closing parishes, less money and rapidly aging pew warmers.

Earlier in the week I wrote, Church of England Ratifies Blessings of Same-Sex Unions: where to for GAFCON and GSFA?

It was inevitable of course. Despite all the erudite theological pleadings by orthodox Anglican theologians not to do it, the Church of England's House of Bishops has agreed in principle that prayers asking for God's blessing for same-sex couples -- known as Prayers of Love and Faith -- should be commended for use.

It is the thin end of the wedge. The church's pansexualists will not rest untill full blown homosexual marriage is accepted and blessed by the church. We know this is true because the CofE is following the trajectory of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. The push has only just begun. Jayne Ozanne, the CofE's leading lay lesbian aided by Karen Carpenter and others has only just begun, the fight is on, and, based on the weak wobbly Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, it all seems inevitable. It is only a matter of time.

Now that the House of Bishops here has formally endorsed the blessing of sinful relationships, there can be no more doubt anywhere in the world that the Church of England has excluded itself from any claim to apostolicity, which requires fidelity to orthodoxy. You can read my piece here:

In response the Rev. Canon John Dunnett, National Director for the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), said this: "The news that the House of Bishops has agreed to commend the prayers asking for God's blessing for same sex couples is deeply concerning. The House of Bishops seems intent on pushing full steam ahead toward something that is contrary to both Scripture and the historic and apostolic teaching of the Church of England.

"... we are convinced that the only way ahead for the Church of England is to pursue a settlement for differentiation that protects and provides a safe space for those on both sides of the debate". You can their full statement here: https://virtueonline.org/ceec-responds-house-bishops-announcement
and here:


The Anglican Network in Europe came out with a devastating and withering response to the bishops.

We grieve with millions of faithful Anglicans around the world at the disastrous decision by the House of Bishops in the Church of England to agree in principle to commend Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples. This action is offensive to the God of love. It replaces his wonderful gospel of grace with a distorted message, blessing what God calls sin. This is heart-breaking, wicked and outrageously arrogant.

Together the House of Bishops have embraced heresy by departing from the clear teaching of Scripture on matters of sexual conduct. As a result, they have betrayed their office. At their consecration service, each bishop was instructed to "be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not." However, by introducing, and not banishing "erroneous and strange doctrine", they have become wolves. Together they have demonstrated they are not fit for office. They stand under judgement as did the shepherds of Israel in Jeremiah's day. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/not-fit-office


IS SCHISM INEVITABLE? if there is no longer a place at the table for orthodox Anglicans in either the evangelical or Anglo-Catholic camp, will they voluntarily leave the Church of England or be forced out as happened in The Episcopal Church which has formally embraced homosexual marriage with the passage of Resolution B012.

Several parishes have already left the CofE. The most recent is Wellfield Church, Leyland, Lancashire, which moved into the Anglican Convocation in Europe (ACE) and instituted Mark Simpson as its rector. On Sunday 1 October 2023, GAFCON Bishop Andy Lines inaugurated the parish into the ACE. You can read it here: https://virtueonline.org/why-we-left-church-england


The London College of Bishops including +Sarah Londin, +Emma Kensington, +Joanne Stepney, +Jonathan Fulham +Lusa Willesden +Ric Islington jumped into the fray in the hope of calming orthodox fears arguing for "reconciliation."

They issued an ad clerum to all clergy and church officers saying, "We have been humbled by your courage in naming your hopes and fears, and heartened by the sensitivity many have shown to one another at times, often in the face of stark disagreement. In our conversations as a College, we too have mirrored the broad range of perspectives consonant with Anglican teaching and tradition. However, we stand together, and are committed to working together with you, and for you, for this Diocese. We realise that some are looking for formal, structural, pastoral provision as the national process continues, and we will look at how best to provide this in London."

One can never reconcile the blessing of sexual sin. God has not, nor will He ever ratify what he has clearly repudiated. He has not changed his mind in 3,000 years. The only binary relationship He has ever endorsed is between a man and a woman for purposes of procreation. The alternative is celibacy for both heterosexual and homosexual persons.

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt. Rev Rob Munro put out a statement on behalf of evangelicals in the Church of England saying this:

"I am deeply concerned that the approach that is being proposed will ultimately harm our unity, sanctity, catholicity and apostolicity as a Church, and seriously impact our mission. I believe it is necessary, in commitment to my consecration vows- to uphold God's Word, to teach the doctrine of Christ and refute error- to publicly raise these concerns, that I have been expressing in the House." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/update-prayer-love-and-faith-house-bishops


GAFCON AND GSFA PRIMATES AND THE FUTURE OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION. The bigger question is what will the GSFA and GAFCON primates do now that the CofE has embarked on the slippery slope of full homosexual inclusion, a behavior proscribed by Scripture for over 3,000 years.

The GSFA primates are meeting in Cairo as we speak. You can be sure they will deliver themselves of the Church of England's bishops' decision in this historic moment, that sees a serious departure from Christian teaching.

But what of the future? Will the Church of England experience schism in its ranks? We shall see.

There is no doubt that the mission-minded GAFCON primates led by the Anglican Church of Nigeria would split from Canterbury along with Rwanda, Uganda, the Congo and possibly South Sudan. But what of the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA) primates many of whom have a foot in both GAFCON and GSFA camps?

Can the GSFA, a structurally concerned group of Primates, call the shots and keep the GAFCON primates in line?

The GSFA primates and bishops believe they can outlast the Church of England. They believe that the CofE will be out of business in 25 to 30 years and they can simply take over at that time. (It will be sooner for the Episcopal Church and certainly for the Anglican Church of Canada. Other provinces like the Church in Wales and Scotland are already on life support status.)

But is that feasible in today's fast moving Anglican world? Just as the Middle East is exploding, so is the Anglican Communion. Can the forces pulling the communion apart when money is being used by Western Anglican provinces like TEC is being used to persuade and coerce Global South primates to go along to get along, continue?

The question which must be asked is WHEN will GAFCON and GSFA finally wean themselves off their attachment to Canterbury and to Western money?

Time will tell? But time is running out. Nothing remains static in the world for long. Nothing.

You can my piece here: https://virtueonline.org/church-england-ratifies-blessings-same-sex-unions-where-gafcon-and-gsfa


They elected a new bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany to replace outgoing Bishop William Love who was summarily tossed to the curb for failing to uphold the new-fangled doctrine of inclusion on homosexual marriage.

For their sins of commission, they elected the Rev. Jeremiah Williamson to lead them.

Bishop Love wrote VOL to say that he was deeply saddened for the orthodox clergy and laity in the Diocese of Albany who have tried to remain faithful to God's Holy Word, regarding marriage and issues of human sexuality.

"Unfortunately, I am not surprised by the outcome of the election. Had Fr. Scott Garno been elected, I am not sure that he would have gotten the consents needed in the House of Bishops and House of Deputies in TEC. The hand writing has been on the wall for Albany ever sense the outcome of my trial. It has only been a question of time."


WHEN WILL THE ACNA OVERTAKE TEC? David Goodhew has written a fascinating piece for THE LIVING CHURCH in which he asks the obvious question; when will the ACNA overtake the Episcopal Church?

"Given that the ACNA did not exist before 2009, readers of this article may wonder, "can these things be?" But the onus of proof lies with those who expect TEC to remain the biggest Anglican kid on the block. For that to happen, one of two scenarios must come to pass. Either TEC must arrest its long-term decline (and the data from 2019 to 2022 shows that such decline just grew significantly worse) or the ACNA must collapse (and the stress-test of COVID showed it to be much more robust than TEC). So, will the ACNA overtake TEC? The answer is yes, if current trends continue. When will it do so? Not soon, but not that far away either." You can read the full article here: https://virtueonline.org/when-will-acna-overtake-tec


ISRAEL stood on the brink of being overwhelmed by Hamas terrorist attacks from Gaza this past week, but were rebuffed by Israeli armed forces that quickly moved in to stamp out the political movement that has dominated Gaza politics for more than two decades. Nothing has been resolved as we go to press, but Israel has the war under control and is moving house by house, street by street and underground tunnel by underground tunnel to eliminate Hamas, a task that might take some time.

One of the chief complaints Hamas supporters make is that Israel will kill civilians as it seeks to eliminate Hamas. But is that a fair argument? Collateral damage has always been a part of war. Did Churchill ask permission to bomb Dresden and Berlin. Allied bombers killed tens of thousands and destroyed large areas with attacks on Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin, and the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Melanie Phillips a Jewish London newspaper columnist writes: "If there was a way to defeat Hamas without a war in which many civilians will unfortunately die, Israel would take it. There isn't one. Those calling for "restraint" therefore mean Israel must not defeat Hamas, which would sentence yet more Israeli civilians to be murdered."

"Yes, the prospects for Gaza's civilians are frightful. And the death of civilians is always to be regretted. But this is war. In war there are civilian casualties. And what other army warns its enemy civilians, as Israel has done consistently during this (and every) war, to get out of harm's way before it strikes?

"When the US carpet-bombed Afghanistan after 9/11, or when it razed Mosul to the ground in Iraq, did it issue warnings to the civilians to evacuate? Of course not. Did the west's virtue-signalers clutch their pearls then and demand that America show "restraint" because of the likely civilian casualties? Of course not; there was near silence."

A long time VOL reader who ranks high in the Church of England sent this note:

"I have been to Sderot and to kibbutzim in the area, as well as to the main crossing into Gaza. Israel has been under siege for many years from its neighbor, despite surrendering the Gaza strip entirely to the so-called Palestinians and removing all Jews from its territory. Two-state solutions have been proposed several times and always rejected out of hand by the militants, whose agenda is not independence but the genocide prescribed by Islam.

"Last Saturday's savage assault on Israeli civilians ranks with the worst crimes of Nazi Germany. It is of a piece with the pogroms committed by the Einstazgruppen whose atrocities killed many thousands of Jews in Easter Europe.

"Hamas and its sponsors bear full responsibility for the fate of Gaza, which I expect will now be levelled and its population forced out as refugees. It has become the only viable option for the defense of the State of Israel both now and for the future"

Some commentators think Israel is walking into a trap if it goes whole hog into Gaza. If they do, so the argument goes, world opinion will turn against Israel. True or not, Israel has very few friends to begin with. But she does have some who would stand by her including the US, Britain and Germany.

I invite readers to watch this powerful video: of Douglas Murray's address to a Jewish audience in the UK posted by the Jewish Chronicle.


Tikkun Global, a messianic Jewish movement led by my good friend Dr. Daniel Juster had this to say on the situation unraveling in Gaza.

God wants to birth something new about who we are as the Body of Messiah: Jew, Arab, and International together. As we are UNIFIED, so can we be GLORIFIED.

Then we can focus in the time of war for VICTORY! This is a spiritual war, and it needs to be won in the spirit as well as militarily. And it needs to be won with lightning-like power from heaven.

There is a divine opportunity for REVIVAL to sweep across the Middle East in the wake of this war, as the demonic spirits behind Hamas-ISIS-Jihad are exposed and driven out!

PRAY with us! This is a crucial time both in history and in Yeshua's kingdom. Amen to this.

ANTISEMITISM is on the rise. It was reported that there has been a "massive increase" in antisemitic incidents in London since the Hamas attacks on Israel, the Metropolitan Police said.

Between 30 September and 13 October there were 105 antisemitic incidents and 75 offences. In the same period last year, there were 14 antisemitic incidents and 12 offences. The Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu called the rise "disgusting", adding extra funding had been given to protect Jewish institutions.

In the US antisemitism is also on the rise. Antisemitic incidents are on the rise across the U.S., report finds. Antisemitic hate crimes rose in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, home to the country's three largest Jewish populations, according to their police departments.

Last year's report found that 2021 set a new high for antisemitic incidents, with the coronavirus pandemic fueling a worldwide rise in antisemitism. This year the researchers said that "2022 did not mark a universal reversal of the trend, and in some countries, most alarmingly the United States, it intensified."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. increased by more than 35 percent in the past year, from 2,721 in 2021 to 3,697 in 2022. Antisemitic and white supremacist propaganda in the U.S. also hit new levels, the organization said.


I have just returned from 10 days traveling in Kurdistan and Central Asia meeting believers who are making and forming the next generation of Christian disciples. I had the opportunity to meet brothers and sisters from Iran, Kurdistan, Syria and Central Asia.

I was told that this lay led movement has formed 1,200 churches and discipleship groups over the last two years. Yes, you read that right...all in two years! Some have reached the 10th generation of church planters, that is a church that has planted a church to the 10th generation right across the Middle East.

In Nthn. Iraq some 367 churches have formed from small groups, who then form Networks that meet in homes. N**I a beloved evangelist makes $500.00 a month overseeing these 367 churches. Compare that to what TEC and ACNA bishops get paid and what they oversee. And all these churches have been planted in the last two years!

When have we seen anything like this in the ACNA? Perhaps, the old paradigms of church planting are outdated and bishops need to rethink how to do mission, based of course on the Great Commission.

Could we not learn from our Middle East brothers and sisters how to do mission once again?

Just before I left Central Asia, I attended a baptism in a private home where a dozen men and one woman were baptized in a homemade blow-up swimming pool placed in a living room. Such baptisms would never be tolerated in the public square or hotel, too dangerous.

All this says, is that God is at work. Iran is the fastest growing church in the world today. Believers can cross the border into Iraq, because Iraq is a proxy for Iran. Here they are discipled and sent back to make new disciples. Some are caught and murdered for their faith, but they press on.

As Christianity spreads in Iran, it was reported that around 50,000 out of Iran's 75,000 mosques have closed, highlighting the growth of Christianity in Iran and disillusion with "the regime's use of Islam to justify its authoritarian rule," a prominent human rights activist told Worthy News.

Farrukh H. Saif, whose Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved (ECSPE) has rescued Christian converts, referred to cleric Mohammad Abolghassem Doulabi, an adviser of Iran's rulers.

Doulabi, a liaison between President Ebrahim Raisi's administration and Iran's Islamic seminaries, called the 50,000 mosque closures a "worrying admission" for a state built around the principles of Islam. Clearly God is at work in the world. One source said that Christianity is growing faster in this century than any other century despite persecution, or, as he noted, perhaps because of it. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/50000-mosques-closed-iran-christianity-spreads


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