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CofE at Crossroads over Same-Sex Unions * Orthodox CofE Leaders Pushback at LLF Process * CofE Safeguarding in Shambles * Anglican Church of Canada on Death Watch * Central Florida Bishop Compromised. Canterbury Conf. Center Suspends Operations * More

CofE at Crossroads over Same-Sex Unions * Orthodox CofE Leaders Pushback at LLF Process * CofE Safeguarding in Shambles * Anglican Church of Canada on Death Watch * Central Florida Bishop Compromised. Canterbury Conf. Center Suspends Operations * Sewanee University Celebrates first transgender theology student * ACNA Numbers Soar, TEC Declines

What should be the Christian's attitude to death? It is still an enemy, unnatural, unpleasant and undignified -- in fact 'the last enemy to be destroyed'. Yet, it is a defeated enemy. Because Christ has taken away our sins, death has lost its power to harm and therefore to terrify. Jesus summed it up in one of his greatest affirmations: 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die' (Jn. 11:25-26). That is, Jesus is the resurrection of believers who die, and the life of believers who live. -- John R.W. Stott

One of the things that never fails to amaze us at Anglican Watch are churches that say they're doing great and everything is back to normal post-pandemic -- but their revenue is $80K behind projections. -- Eric Bonetti

The Book of Common Prayer contributes to the English language just as much as Shakespeare. You know the only thing that has contributed more is the Bible itself --the King James Version. It's become a part of our culture." --Deacon Calvin Robinson

Morality cannot be legislated but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. --- Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are occasions in which civil disobedience is morally justified. As a general rule, we will assume that the law is the moral minimum. Obeying the law is the beginning of our moral obligations, not the end. -- Ethicist Scott Rae

Dear Brothers and Sisters
July 7, 2023

THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND is heading towards the cliff over prayers for same-sex unions.

Protests are coming from all quarters of the Church with fears that it could split the Church of England, further alienating the church from the broader Anglican Communion the vast majority of whom want nothing to do with a church that abandons Scripture on this issue. With Lambeth Resolution 1:10 now in the dust, individual provinces are flexing their progressive muscles, apparently willing to flaunt post-modern views on sexuality for all to see, while giving the middle finger to the Global South.

Could we see a new communion with headquarters in Alexandria, Egypt in the future?

Writing for Church of England newspaper, Dr. Rollin Grams made the case for why Synod should reject such prayers, not only for biblical reasons but for the vast majority of the Anglican Communion. Apparently over 80% of the Anglican communion remains firmly committed to the orthodox view that such unions are unbiblical and sinful.

"In these dioceses and provinces, prayers affirming same sex unions are considered blasphemous against God's holiness and abusive, pastoral care of sinners. One does not bless what Paul says will disqualify one from the kingdom of God; one instead offers the Good News of God's transforming grace in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6.9-11). Offering such prayers is not only a matter of calling evil good (Isaiah 5.20) in the Church of England but is also an irreparable fracturing of the Anglican Communion."

"Prayers imagined to be 'welcoming' become prayers that exclude and divide. Claiming to be wise, those promoting them are encouraging people given over in the lusts of their heart to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves with dishonorable passions against nature (Romans 1.22-32)."

Moreover, the argument for same sex unions among scholars has not developed, but has changed and fragmented, he writes. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/why-synod-should-reject-prayers-same-sex-unions

A fuller discussion of the issues by Dr Grams, in particular to give ample proof that there is no growing consensus in regard to arguments among Biblical scholars in favor of homosexual unions can be found here: https://anglicanmainstream.org/why-synod-should-reject-prayers-for-same-sex-unions/

Adding fuel to an already out of control ecclesiastical and theological fire, several Anglican networks are vigorously protesting the Living in Love and Faith process. calling it illegitimate and unconstitutional. They further argue that the Church of England faces legal exposure and ecclesial discord if Living in Love and Faith is passed.

So, if it is passed will evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics say this is the final line in the sand and walk away?

One orthodox journalist says evangelicals in the Church of England are running out of options. "The Prayers of Love and Faith bus has departed and there is nothing the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) can now do to stop it It is actually not too late for CEEC to start to co-ordinate an exit strategy out of the CofE."

"The large evangelical churches among its members have resources and they could lead the way. Of course, leaving would be difficult, risky and messy. Among the various hurdles, new meeting places would have to be found for churches and accommodation for their ministers."

But will they? VOL's sources say they will not. They will huff and puff, but in the end they will stay. There is no institutional way out.

Of course, many persons will leave for more healthy spiritual climes, some priests and perhaps a bishop or two will resign, but the rest will stay, much like the Communion Partner bishops in the Episcopal Church posing as the loyal opposition, writing papers that will soon be lost in the church's archives never more to be read.



The Church of England is considering defrocking bishops and priests found guilty of abuse or serious misconduct abuse. General Synod could reinstate the [previously] repealed power to strip clergy members of Holy Orders and no longer allow them to keep religious titles, according to an article in The Telegraph. You can read more here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/07/02/church-of-england-defrocking-bishops-priests-abuse/


The Church of England's safeguarding methods program is coming under fire for its failure to do what it set out to do -- safeguard those abused by priests and bishops. Things reached a fever pitch this week when it was announced that the independent safeguarding board was being abolished and its members sacked for asserting independence, in order to make safeguarding more independent.

The Independent Safeguarding Board, set up to provide vital scrutiny of the Church of England's safeguarding processes, was abolished by the Archbishops' Council. The Council claimed that "working relationships between two members of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) and the Council have broken down."

This comes after two members of the ISB had served the Archbishops' Council with a formal dispute resolution notice in May. They alleged that the Council had frustrated the Board's work of providing independent scrutiny of Church of England Safeguarding practices. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/independent-safeguarding-board-abolished

I have quit the Church of England says the Rev. Brett Murphy.
He now joins GAFCON in a new church plant ministry. You can see it here.


THE Anglican Church of Canada has a death wish. Its leaders are doing and saying things that to a trained psychiatric ear and eye would set off alarm bells and put the Church on suicide watch.

The recent 43rd General Synod authorized a set of gender-themed liturgies, including a blessing on gender transition, for use in the Anglican Church of Canada--in dioceses where they have been authorized by the bishop. In 2021, the Council of General Synod voted to authorize the liturgies for study, trial use and evaluation. Well, now it is a done deal.

Up until 2021, they had been for trial use, but now Synod has decided that they will be added to the Book of Alternative Services as official liturgies. According to news reports, some clergy and lay delegates at Synod spoke against adopting the liturgies, but the majority spoke in favor.

Evangelical Canadian blogger David of Samizdat noted that this action illustrates the delusion that has bedeviled the ACoC for decades. Doing more of what has brought it to the verge of extinction will, for some incomprehensible reason, reverse the decline.

It won't of course, it is merely another nail in the coffin of the ailing church. The church can barely muster 90,000 on any given Sunday. All the while, the population of Canada has soared from 36 million to 40 million over the last decade. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-church-canadas-death-wish


SEWANEE, the Episcopal University recently celebrated its first transgender theology student and postulant for Holy Orders. The Episcopal Church's only university says Kelton Riley, T'23, will undergo formation for the priesthood at the School of Theology.

Riley, who goes by his last name, says that he has felt "celebrated" at Sewanee.
Sewanee is one of the worst colleges in the US to study at, according to the Herald Weekly. In a study titled, The Worst Schools in the U.S, the Episcopal University was ranked 18th. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/sewanee-university-celebrates-first-transgender-theology-student-and-postulant


CENTRAL FLORIDA. The new Episcopal Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Justin Holcomb is an author of some considerable theological weight. He has written over 20 books. One of them is about heresy, but Holcomb fails to see the irony in belonging to an apostate Church

The evangelical Episcopal Bishop holds a Ph.D. in theology, which only a small handful of bishops presently possess. His resume is revealing in its affirmation of orthodoxy. By any standard, Holcomb's books would rank him high in the pantheon of bishops in the Anglican Church in North America had he not first sworn fealty to The Episcopal Church.

He blasts John Shelby Spong for his heresies, but feels no disconnect that he has taken a job in a diocese and province that is at odds with 85% of the Anglican Communion over sexuality issues.

The diocese, despite its conservatism, has suffered the same fate as its progressive brethren. Attendance, the true bellwether of diocesan health, revealed that the ASA in 2012 was 13,294. By 2021, the AWA (now Average Weekly Attendance) was 6,960, a whopping drop of 6,334 or nearly 48%. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/central-florida-new-episcopal-bishop-writes-about-heresy-fails-see-irony-belonging-apostate-church
With almost delicious irony, as this digest was going to press, it was revealed that the Canterbury Conference Center owned by the diocese is in serious financial trouble and is suspending its operations for the foreseeable future. The center is running at a deficit of $40,000 a month. https://virtueonline.org/central-florida-suspends-operations-canterbury-conference-center


NASHOTAH HOUSE found itself in the middle of a bruhaha this week. A married homosexual postulant had his education rescinded at the Anglo-Catholic seminary, because of his marital status. According to an article in ENS, seminary Dean Garwood Anderson okayed the education, but three ACNA board members pushed back and said no.

Geoff Clark-Tosca, 45, said he discerned a spiritual call to study theology and said Nashotah House Theological Seminary was his first choice.

Clark-Tosca told ENS he was stunned at the rejection by several members of the board who were active in the ACNA. He said that Anderson, too, seemed distraught over sharing what the dean described to him as an ultimatum from members of the seminary's governing boards. The question is why Anderson was not fully on board with his governing council? You can read the story here: https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2023/06/30/document-reveals-nashotah-house-rescinded-seminarians-acceptance-because-he-was-gay-married/


Anglican congregations in the United States, Canada and Mexico are reporting a significant attendance increase of 17,228 persons following a widespread return to regular worship services post-COVID. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is also reporting modest growth in both membership and total number of churches in 2022.

Overall Average Principal Service Attendance in 2022 was 75,583, up 30 percent from 58,255 in 2021. Membership increased 2,549 (up 2 percent from 122,450) in 2021 to 124,999 in 2022. Congregations grew by three to 977 total.

Membership and attendance are among several metrics tracked year-over-year by ACNA. Baptisms were up 27 percent and confirmations up 25 percent from 2021-2022. Receptions from other liturgical denominations were down 8 percent, while reaffirmations were up 46 percent. All the while TEC congregations have seen a precipitous decrease in attendance. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-attendance-strongly-rebounds

For an overall take on the recent decisions by the ACNA Provincial Council, read here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-provincial-council-and-college-bishops-2023-recap

You can find links to the reports to Provincial Council and watch the recording of the meeting here: https://anglicanchurch.net/provincial-council-2023-christ-church-plano/

Still unresolved is the case of Bishop Stewart Ruch of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest and the presentment charges he faces.


THE CHURCH THAT DIED. The church must 'change or die', or so say progressive Christians. The core of their argument is that if the church resists the demands of the modern world, it will be doomed to irrelevance.

This might have some force if the evidence bore it out. However, those denominations which have gone the furthest with the progressive program have seen a fatal decline in numbers of worshippers and clergy, along with a distortion of liturgical practice.

To reach the world with the saving news of Christ, the church has to present the unchanging gospel in a way which people understand and which addresses their needs. It is when understanding the surrounding culture becomes adapting to and even adopting the surrounding culture, that the church destroys itself. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/church-died


THE QUEERING OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. If one had any doubt about how far the Episcopal Church will go in adapting to the culture, one need look no further than June -- Pride Month -- commemorating the 1969 Stonewall uprising. Pride started out as a homosexual men's rebellion. Today it has morphed into a spate of LGBTQ+ sexualities which both the culture and liberal mainline denominations celebrate with public displays that border, in many cases, on the pornographic.

The White House and its current president have also cheered it along, embarrassing a vast swath of Americans who feel uncomfortable celebrating a behavior that has taken so many lives. https://virtueonline.org/queering-episcopal-church

VOL was delighted to see this story picked up by international columnist Rod Dreher, who described VOL as "indispensable."

Can PRIDE MONTH be reclaimed by the Church; can the rainbow be reclaimed? Yes, says Mary Ann Mueller. PRIDE MONTH: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the LA Dodgers ... an activist transgendered drag queen baring his breasts at White House Pride event ... transgender child mutilation ... Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light ... Target and women's "tucking" swimsuits ... Pride flags flying from White House portico and the U.S. Embassy at the Vatican ... Episcopal and Catholic churches celebrating Pride Masses ... triple X-rated Pride parades ... debauchery and the sin of lust openly celebrated ... it all looks like a lost cause. No, says Mueller. You can read her take here: https://virtueonline.org/redefining-pride-month


TWO FLAGSHIP EPISCOPAL PARISHES in Alexandria Va., are in trouble, reports Anglican Watch, an unofficial watchdog of the Episcopal Church dedicated to bringing light to the darkness over sexual abuse in the Church. They recently reported that at St. Paul's, long a haven for well-heeled residents of Old Town, has a lackluster leadership, unresolved conflict. Those factors plus the church's ties to the torture program during the so-called war on terror have caused Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) to crash from a pre-pandemic average of 414 to a barely sustainable 2021 average of 138. Grace Episcopal Alexandria is in more dire shape. It has gone from zero reported average Sunday attendance in 2020 to 151 in 2021. And while its budget would seem, at first glance, to be relatively steady, it has declined by more than 30 percent since 2011 when adjusted for inflation. Pledging units have dropped from approximately 375 to 167 since 2014, and signs indicate continuing sharp decline. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/two-flagship-parishes-alexandria-va-are-trouble


MUST READS taken from VOL's website:

TITAN, TITANIC AND IGNORED WARNINGS by Dave Doveton, Senior Editor of Anglican Mainstream is a must read. It can be read here:

Why bishops need to throw away their miters by Church of England theologian Ian Paul can be read here: https://virtueonline.org/why-bishops-need-throw-away-their-mitres

The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act -- let's have a proper conversation by Martin Davie is an excellent review of the international stink over this issue which critiques ABC Justin Welby for his role. https://virtueonline.org/ugandan-anti-homosexuality-act-lets-have-proper-conversation

The final three and the future of the Church of England by Cornelius Harding
He writes; There are now but three men left who may yet be able to stop the death of the Church of England and destruction of the Anglican Communion. These three bishops: Andrew Watson (Guildford), Paul Williams (Southwell and Nottingham), and Phillip North (Blackburn). You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/final-three-and-future-church-england

TOWARD A BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING OF SCHISM by The Rev. Dr. Tim Smith Argues that the schismatic is the one who causes the separation, not the one who separates. You can read his fine analysis here: https://virtueonline.org/toward-biblical-understanding-schism

We can recover and reconnect to our Anglican heritage, says Dean Chuck Collins.
Dean Collins offers the bishops a way forward through the quagmire. You can read his analysis here:


The following are the top five stories on the culture wars that we believe offer a biblical evaluation of the current issues facing us all today.

What Does the Bible Say About Transgenderism?

Michael Brown: I Hate to Say It, but I Told You So

The 'born gay' myth is dead

Os Guinness: Signals of Transcendence

Absent fathers, collapse in marriage major reasons why Christianity is declining.


The Recent SCOTUS ruling that the First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees, might have given breathing space to Masterpiece Cakeshop 2.0 Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker. He became famous for refusing to bake cakes with messages which violated his religious beliefs and then found himself on the receiving end of a lawsuit multiple times over the last decade. The Supreme Court ruled, however, on Friday that hopefully will inoculate him from further litigation."

Writing for a 6-3 majority split along ideological lines, Justice Neil Gorsuch concluded Lorie Smith could make wedding websites solely for heterosexual couples. "The First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees."


The Persecution of Christians, May 2023 A summary glance at persecution around then globe can be seen here: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/19752/persecution-of-christians-may


VOL. Dear friends. In a couple of months, the DRUPAL platform I have been using for over 30 years will no longer be supported by the company. I need to upgrade or move to some equivalent platform. This is an expensive transition and I will need financial support to make the move. I am hoping VOL's readers will come to the aid of VOL to make this transition possible.

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