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Church of South India Deeply Corrupt * Welby's Woolly Easter Message * Dead Muslim Judge Married to Episcopal Priest * Bishop Ackerman Bewails TEC's Innovations * Trump attends Episcopal Church Easter Service * 3 TEC Bishops Die * GAFCON Primates to meet

Liberal Protestantism without the Protestantism tends to gradually shed the liberalism as well, transforming into an illiberal cult of victimologies that burns heretics with vigor. The wider experience of American politics suggests that as liberalism de-churches it struggles to find a nontransactional organizing principle, a persuasive language of the common good. --- Ross Douthart

"Christians who hold to the biblical teaching about sex and marriage, have the same status in culture, and increasingly in law, as racists." --- Rod Dreher

The church in Africa is not divided on the sexuality issue. Africans generally agree with current church law that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. --- The Rev. Lloyd T. Nyarota

Ecclesiastical salt cellars. When men reject what they know of God, God gives them up to their own distorted notions and perverted passions, until society stinks in the nostrils of God and of all good people. Now Christians are set in secular society by God to hinder this process. God intends us to penetrate the world. Christian salt has no business to remain snugly in elegant little ecclesiastical salt cellars; our place is to be rubbed into the secular community, as salt is rubbed into meat, to stop it going bad. And when society does go bad, we Christians tend to throw up our hands in pious horror and reproach the non-Christian world; but should we not rather reproach ourselves? One can hardly blame unsalted meat for going bad. It cannot do anything else. The real question to ask is: where is the salt? --- John R. W. Stott

What all Protestants agree on is that if a person has a right relationship with God, forgiven and justified, it is not because of any personal merit that person can claim. Our main objection to Catholic theology is the implication (if not straightforward claim) that merit other than Jesus' own comes into play in the sinner's reconciliation and right standing before God. --- Roger E. Olson

It would be very exciting if the Church of England apologized for not evangelizing enthusiastically enough. I remember when I was converted back in1975 in an Anglican cathedral and I had been a choir boy since the age of six. I was confirmed in Canterbury Cathedral. I remember, as the Gospel struck me for the first time as a law student, saying: "Well, Lord. Where do you want me to be a Christian.? Surely not in the Church of England. They've had me since I was six and they managed to hide Jesus from me all that time." ... There has always been this sense that if the Church of England had anything to apologize for perhaps it ought to start with not having put enough energy into evangelism and actually telling people Who Jesus is --- Canon Gavin Ashenden on Anglican Unscripted

I think we'll see what the next few years will mean for religion in American life. But I think most Evangelicals right now, wherever they stood on the election, have the understanding that the Bible commands us to pray for our leaders, to wish the best for our leaders, to wish the best for our country. And so I think most Evangelical Christians are -- are willing to pray for President Trump, for his administration, and also too seek to be good citizens. --- Russell Moore

Dear Brothers and Sisters
April 21, 2017

We invite VOL readers to listen to this before reading the news. It will uplift you.


An Anglican priest who listened to Archbishop Justin Welby's Easter message urging strength, had this to say after the ABC said people facing despair should remember the words "Do not be afraid". He said it was woeful misapplication of the Easter message - where is redemption honoring the Savior? Pointless prattle. The bishop of balderdash. Woeful Welby - a waste of the office and its opportunities. A mere cub scout in a commander's costume, ecclesiastically speaking. May God give us a man to wear the mantle of mighty preaching - not this bleating apology for a bishop.

Here is the archbishop's sermon:

The Christian gospel runs 'utterly counter' to the world, a world where there is still evil.

"Christians in Egypt live surrounded by bombs and terror. We and those we love, know the grim, grey moments of illness, suffering, arguments, poverty, ill health mental and physical, prison, guilt and failure.

"We experience a world of pain and despair, grief and death."

These things must not be allowed to overshadow our lives, he said.

"They lie, they deceive, they pretend to have power that they do not have, when they say they are final.

"There is only one finality: Jesus the crucified one is alive. In the hard journeys we all face, in every moment of loss, the community of witnesses to the resurrection must come alongside and, with love and gentleness, bring restoration and hope.'

He added: "In our world today the only certain ground for hopeful expectation is the news of today; it happened, Jesus is alive."

Archbishop Welby was speaking during sung Eucharist.

He said terror cannot triumph over Christianity, because the Resurrection happened.

"Today across Egypt, but most poignantly at St George's Church - Tanta and St Mark's Church - Alexandria, God's people have already gathered to worship the One who was dead and is now alive.

"Seven days after the horrendous bomb attacks on these Christian communities the resurrection will be proclaimed and experienced. Because the church is established by this day.'

The witnesses are those who met him.

"Laid stone cold dead in Joseph's tomb on Friday, on Sunday morning the tomb is empty, he is physically, bodily, tangibly alive. Why would we presume to know better than these first witnesses what took place?"

What brings the faithful out to worship in Tanta and Alexandria is truth. 'It happened. The resurrection is an event which -- although never experienced before or since -- changes everything because it happened.'


An Indian theologian blasted the duplicity of the Church of South India (CSI) Moderator's Easter message. The Rt. Rev. Thomas Oommen presents a false image of Church of South India to the Anglican Communion via the Anglican Communion News Service.

An Easter message by the newly elected Moderator was branded an "empty speech" devoid of any truth about the true state of the CSI, which an activist orthodox Anglican theologian says is embroiled in political as well as financial corruption and fraud.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph G. Muthuraj, resident of Bangalore, responded to the Moderator's message and argues that the Easter Message published by the Anglican Communion News Service (http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2017/04/easter-message-from-the-moderator-of-the-church-of-south-india.aspx) comes as a "total surprise" to members of the CSI, "You have never spoken in this manner to a CSI audience when all the bishops were present," Muthuraj expostulated.

The theologian criticized the Anglican leader, accusing him of speaking with a "double-tongue"; giving one message to the international community to earn a good name, and another message to his own national community," for public consumption.

He added, "This projects a false image of ourselves to the Anglican Communion when the Anglican Communion is fully aware of the crisis situation of the CSI which is embroiled in corruption and fraud."

Dr Muthuraj squared off against Oommen in the following exchange. You can read the full exchange in today's digest.


Following a story I wrote last week on crumbling parishes and dying dioceses, VOL got further word on a TEC diocese in the Northeast that is in deep trouble. A VOL reader wrote and said that the diocese in question back in 2006 was reasonably healthy. 36 churches had full time clergy. 56 had part time or supply. Then there were 92 parishes. Today there are about 80.

Now in 2017, those same 36 fulltime churches look very different.

1 left the diocese for ACNA
16 have part time clergy
19 have full time clergy (although some are at the very low end of a full-time salary, and expect with their next clergy change, to go part time). Meanwhile, the diocesan office is expanding hires, and renting more square feet.

Will Bishop Curry's Jesus Movement make a difference? Don't hold your breath.


On the occasion of Bishop Keith Ackerman 43rd anniversary of his ordination, he wrote this; "As I think about, the eve of my 43rd ordination to the Sacred Order of Deacons - 4/20/74, I realize how much has happened. The day was magnificent, and being ordained at Nashotah House was more than I could have hoped to encounter. Our 3 year-old son, Keith (now 46), prostrated himself before the Altar - because that was what Daddy was doing. Brien and Terry Kohler helped in every conceivable way, and the faculty absented themselves from their conventual Masses in order to participate.

"As I ponder what destruction has occurred with the theological innovations since 1974 I realize how heart sick I am. It is as if someone has taken the Church into which I, my parents, my grandparents, and great - grandparents and numerous generations before me were born and has altered it beyond measure. It becomes increasingly obvious that the ordination of women is more than simply an alteration - but is an innovative destruction of the Faith once delivered. While I want to celebrate these 43 years, witnessing the destruction of the Catholic Faith by virtue of the "ordination" of women is simply more than I can imagine. I remain an Anglican, but weep beyond what I can express. The onus remains on those who have sought to change the Faith - not on those who have sought to maintain it."


Sheila Abdus-Salaam, America's First Female Muslim Judge who was found dead floating in the Hudson River in New York City this week, was married to an Episcopal priest. Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam was married to her husband of less than one year, Canon Gregory A. Jacobs, Canon to the Ordinary & Chief of Staff for The Episcopal Diocese of Newark.

Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an associate judge on New York state's highest court and the first African-American Muslim woman to serve in that position, was nominated in 2013 to serve as an associate judge on the state Court of Appeals by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Officers with the New York Police Department's Harbor Unit reportedly discovered Abdus-Salaam's body after they responded to a 1:45 p.m. report of a person floating by the shore near West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan on Wednesday. The judge was pronounced dead by paramedics shortly after 2 p.m.

Police are still investigating how Abdus-Salaam ended up in the river. It was not clear how long the judge, who lived nearby where she was found in Harlem, had been missing.


President Donald Trump attended an Easter service at the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea near his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, this year.

The president attended with his wife, Melania, as well as his two younger children, Barron and Tiffany, and the first lady's parents. Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago after the service to join the rest of his family for annual Easter festivities, including a brunch and an Easter egg hunt.

Trump has been attending the Episcopal church for years, and he and the first lady were married there.


There were three notable bishop deaths in TEC this week. Two were orthodox, one revisionist.

The Rt. Rev. David Standish Ball, Seventh Bishop of Albany and a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, died. A native of Albany, he was a graduate of Colgate University and General Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1953.

Bishop Ball began his ordained ministry as a curate at Bethesda Church in Saratoga Springs, serving there until 1956, when he was made canon sacrist at the Cathedral of All Saints. He served three years as canon sacrist and two years as canon precentor, and was elected dean of the cathedral in 1960. He served as dean for 23 years.

He was elected Bishop coadjutor of Albany in 1983 and consecrated in 1984. Soon after becoming bishop, he established the Step Out in Faith campaign, which raised several million dollars for the diocese. He was known for supporting hospitals, nursing homes, schools, St. Margaret's Center for Children, and ministries among the poor and the homeless. He retired as bishop in 1998. [The Living Church]

The Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch, who as the Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles crusaded for an inclusive social justice agenda that empowered women, gays and lesbians, blacks and Hispanics, and poor and low-wage workers, died on April 11 at his home in Philadelphia. He was 81.

Despite opposition from the world's Anglican bishops, he championed the ordination not only of celibate gay men and lesbians but also of those in committed monogamous relationships. He was among the worst of revisionist bishops. His legacy in Los Angeles was Jon Bruno who now faces charges that could get him tossed out of the Episcopal Church.

At his death, he was a professor of New Testament studies and the chairman of Anglican studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. During the high noon years of Charles Bennison's reign he stayed largely under the radar screen not wanting to get involved in the battle either for or against his brother bishop. His sympathies undoubtedly lay with Bennison, but he was smart enough to stay out of the fray and watch as Bennison sank beneath the waves of his own duplicities.

Finally, there was the passing of the Rt. Rev. Robert Hibbs, 84, retired Diocese of West Texas bishop suffragan. As bishop suffragan he served alongside then-Diocesan Bishop Jim Folts until Hibbs' retirement in December 2003. A former TEC bishop said he seemed a Christian gentleman, but not a Catholic Anglican. There is no word that he was particularly evangelical either.

Hibbs was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church after graduating from General Theological Seminary. After some graduate work in Canada, Hibbs served on the faculty of St. Andrew's Theological Seminary in Quezon City, Philippines, for 15 years as sub-dean and later dean. He then served on the faculty of the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. For five years, Hibbs served in the Diocese of Northwest Texas as vicar of St. Peter's, Borger, and vicar/rector of St. Stephen's, Lubbock. In 1993, he arrived in the Diocese of West Texas and served as rector of St. Barnabas, Fredericksburg, from 1983 to 1988; and assistant rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi, from 1988 to 1996.

As bishop suffragan, Hibbs' passions included Recovery Ministries, both in the diocese and the national church, and the Cursillo movement.


A team of Bible translators in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, working against the backdrop of civil unrest and religious persecution, have completed the first ever translation of the whole Bible into the Central Kurdish Sorani language. CMS missionaries completed the 28-year project to publish whole Bible in the central Kurdish Sorani language.

Over the last eight years, Church Mission Society mission partners, Joel and Ruth Hammond (pseudonyms, for their safety), worked alongside indigenous Kurds and other indigenous Christians in drafting text, checking names, terminology, and style. The team finally checked both the Old and New Testaments so they could be published together for the first time as the complete Bible.

The whole translation of Old and New Testaments will enable 6 million native speakers of the Sorani language to hear and read the Bible in their own language for the first time. As well as physical copies, the new translation is available digitally, both through a YouVersion app and a newly designed Kurdish app called Pertukekem (My Book).

The new translation, which has been a joint initiative between Church Mission Society, Biblica, and several other linguistics services, was launched at a special ceremony April 3, by Carl Moeller, CEO of Biblica. [The Living Church and other sources provided this information].


Neil Gorsuch, an Episcopalian, and recently elected to the Supreme Court of the United States, faces his first religious liberty case in a playground fight. Evangelicals are eyeing how the new Supreme Court justice will impact this term's only remaining church-state case.

Now, for the sake of Christian schools across the country, American evangelicals are hoping the new justice will continue his pattern of siding with religious groups' First Amendment rights.

More than 15 months after the high court took on a case involving a Missouri church denied a state grant to make its preschool playground safer, the nine justices will hear oral arguments on Wednesday in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer.

"The church isn't asking for favorable treatment. It is asking to be treated the same as every other nonprofit," said David Cortman, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Trinity Lutheran in court.

The case tests how far officials can take the separation of church and state, and whether constitutional principles can be used to justify what Cortman calls "worse treatment" for religious organizations.
Depending on how broadly the court rules, the dispute over this Lutheran school playground could determine the future of state funding to religious schools, which has become a particularly hot issue amid the recent push for school choice.


Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, Arkansas, will hold a service of prayer and vigil ahead of the scheduled executions of prisoners on death row this week and next.

In a statement, the church said: "Our prayers and music for this solemn occasion are Easter-themed. They will be for the men sentenced to death and their loved ones, for the victims of the acts for which they have been sentenced and their loved ones, and for those who must execute these sentences. For all of these, and for ourselves, we will pray for hope, for strength, and for mercy.

"This service will take place whether or not executions go forward on Thursday night. The uncertainty itself calls for prayerful attention.


The Anglican Church of Canada celebrated Earth Day this year with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, and bishops Mark MacDonald and Susan Johnson pooling the considerable resources of their little green brain cells to pray for it. Jesus' Resurrection has become a handy illustration, what really matters: spring is just around the corner!

As we celebrate this great mystery we recall how he helped us understand death and resurrection using the image of a seed planted and coming out of the earth as a new growth--budding, bursting, blooming, bearing beautiful fruit.


Our churches are committed to responsible stewardship of the earth.

That's why the ACoC is demolishing so many of them, writes Anglican blogger, David of Samizdat.

"The Carbon Pariah receives an honorable mention, even though the ACoC is using diesel fume spewing bulldozers to demolish its churches observed in the Diocese of Niagara."

We recommend that you or your congregation get involved with the Faith Commuter Challenge, a creative way to reduce your carbon footprint and raise awareness of the impact of our actions

Naturally, we have muddled -- twisted, really -- wording to prompt right Gaia thinking: world -- as in "for God so love the world" here seems to mean "earth" rather than "people":

Through our Lenten Journey to Easter we have been reminded once again that Jesus offered his whole life and death for the love of the world

"Speaking of God, Hiltz doesn't, he refers to Creator instead, an Indigenous metaphysical replacement that Hiltz seems more comfortable with these days. Or perhaps he is referring to the process of Darwinian evolution.

"Likewise, Father and Son have not been seen in a Hilztian prayer for decades and, by the end of the prayer, the Holy Spirit has metamorphosed into "Spirit One"; who was Spirit Zero, I wonder."


Next week, the GAFCON Primates arrive in Lagos, Nigeria, for the annual Primates' Council meeting to be held between the 25th - 27th of April. Peter Jensen, General Secretary, asks us to pray for this important gathering. Below are some specific points to help guide you.

Please pray for:

• The safe arrival of the Primates (archbishops), representatives and advisers from GAFCON provinces and branches.
• Clarity and understanding as the Council reviews GAFCON activity over the past 12 months (e.g. the inaugural Bishops' Training Institute course) and considers a range of reports, including theological education and church planting.
• Plans for the 2018 GAFCON Conference in Jerusalem next June.
• Discussions about GAFCON policy in Communion matters and its implementation.
• Discussions about further expansion and funding of the movement.


The annual Synod of the Missionary Diocese of CANA East will be held at the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY, from May 4-6.

38 congregations from Maine to Miami and from Tulsa to Long Island will gather together under the leadership of Bishop Julian Dobbs.

Celebrating the 500th anniversary of The Reformation, this year's synod is called REFORMATION 500.

In attendance will be: the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach; Director of Anglican Church Society from the United Kingdom, The Rev. Dr. Lee Gatiss and the Anglican Bishop of Kafanchan, Nigeria, the Rt. Rev. Markos Dogo, whose diocese has experienced significant persecution from terrorists.

CANA East is one of three missionary dioceses in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. CANA offers an authentic connection to the Anglican Communion through the Church of Nigeria and full membership in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).


A conference has begun in Chicago, facilitated by a group of more than 60 Episcopal bishops working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. "Unholy Trinity: the Intersection of Racism, Poverty and Gun Violence" is a three-day event grounded in scripture, liturgy and theology.

The conference will feature a "three-note" panel of African-American leaders offering perspectives on poverty, racism and gun violence and include Bible study focused on the conference themes as well as a prayerful procession to sites of gun violence on Chicago's South Side.

Workshops at the conference are devoted to helping participants work with police, young people, legislators, the media, anti-violence advocacy groups and other constituencies to reduce gun violence.

"Our goal is to continue creating a network of Episcopalians inspired and equipped to work against gun violence and the social forces that drive it," said Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark, one of three co-conveners of Bishops United.


VOL's Easter appeal has gone out to all our readers and we hope you will respond. Week by week we pour out the news you won't find anywhere else. Who knew that America's first female Muslim judge was married to an Episcopal priest or that a black Episcopal bishop deliberately invites a Muslim woman to preach at a service designed to confirm the Christian faith of its priests in their (alleged) preaching of the gospel. You can't make this stuff up. It is beyond parody.

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