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CofE Faces Historic Moment Over Blessing Same-Sex Couples * CofE Nixes Gay Marriage * Outrage Foments Within CofE * Global Anglican Response Could Lead to Schism * CofE $124M Slavery Reparations Gets Pushback * Central Florida Diocese Elects Pro B012 Bp

CofE Faces Historic Moment Over Blessing Same-Sex Couples * CofE Nixes Gay Marriage * Outrage Foments Within CofE * Global Anglican Response Could Lead to Schism * CofE $124M Slavery Reparations Gets Pushback * Central Florida Diocese Elects Pro B012 Bishop * ACNA Seats New Bishops * ANiC Elects New Moderator * March For Life

True testimony. So much so-called 'testimony' today is really autobiography and even sometimes thinly disguised self-advertisement, that we need to regain a proper biblical perspective. All true testimony is testimony to Jesus Christ, as He stands on trial before the world. -- John R.W. Stott

What is to be the relation of the faithful Common Global Family to the present Anglican Communion? Assuming that the present Anglican Communion is not reformed in accord with the essential marks of faithful, apostolic Anglicanism at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, there are only two possibilities: one is some form of impaired communion or the other is that of totally independent families. -- Dr. John Rodgers

Strange that the Archbishop of Canterbury can see the vandalism of a cemetery in Jerusalem as a desecration but says nothing about the attempted erasure of the image of God by a transgendered priest. --- Dave Doveton

Religion is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark -- Stephen Hawking.
Atheism is a fairy story for people who are afraid of the light -- John Lennox

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage -- C. S. Lewis

It is in the "developed" West itself, the cradle of Christendom, that the most remarkable attack on Christianity has taken place where, within a generation, to be a Christian has become synonymous with being a hate-monger, a racist, or a "deplorable." -- Stephen Noll

It shouldn't come as a revelation that America is now full of louts because we are, by and large, a morally bankrupt people. We need only consider a handful of statistics to get a fairly accurate idea of just how grim the moral landscape is:
(1) 98% of men and 73% of women look at pornography at least once every six months (and 80% of men view it weekly);
(2) 16% of Americans are outright pot heads (and 70% believe marijuana use is morally acceptable);
(3) 40--50% of American marriages end in divorce (and 81% believe divorce is morally acceptable);
(4) 23.7% of women, by the age of 45, will murder one of their own unborn children (and 80% of Americans believe women should be able to abort their unborn babies for at least some cause);
(5) 71% of Americans are sodomy friendly; and (6) 95% of Americans have premarital sex.
In the immortal words of Clark W. Griswold Jr., "We're at the threshold of Hell". --Church Militant News

Preaching the Gospel is non-negotiable. The Gospel alone can bring the Kingdom of God here on earth with all the peace and righteousness associated with it --- Oscar Amaechina

Dear Brothers and sisters,
January 20, 2023

Somewhere inside Lambeth Palace there is a self-destruct button, that, when pushed, exhibits a loud howl inside the office of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Howls of outrage are now ascending across the Anglican communion as news emerged that at the next CofE General Synod, bishops will propose blessing same sex couples, but not allowing them official rites of marriage.

Nobody, it seems, is happy with the compromise arrangement, even though the British are generally superb at trying to find a third way around mutually contradictory positions.

Various Anglican ministries, theologians and global Anglican leaders weighed in on the news. Some even threatened formal schism, saying out loud what has been hinted at since activist homosexual Gene Robinson was made an Episcopal bishop in 2004.

The late Dr. John Rodgers, an Anglican bishop, was prescient in his observations when he made his case back in 2008. He said ; "What is to be the relation of the faithful Common Global Family to the present Anglican Communion? Assuming that the present Anglican Communion is not reformed in accord with the essential marks of faithful, apostolic Anglicanism at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, there are only two possibilities: one is some form of impaired communion or the other is that of totally independent families."

You can read more here https://virtueonline.org/growing-pressure-schism-anglican-communion:

The Rev. Prof. Dr. Stephen Noll, an evangelical theologian, went even further saying that the communion bureaucracy has been complicit in its failure to discipline errant provinces. "In fact, these same practices are being condoned in the Church of England, where the government has legalized same-sex marriage and enforced LGBT rights and promoted them across the Communion. Within a few years, the CofE will formalize these practices, and the Communion bureaucracy will insist that other Anglicans accept these practices in terms of "good disagreement," along lines of the "Living in Love and Faith" exercise."

Noll has written 14 theses on the subject which you can read here at these two links.

Within the Church of England, several informed persons weighed in with their insights. Lay theologian Cornelius Harding said the church must face reality.
"In Oldspeak it is called, quite frankly, 'reality control'. In Newspeak it is called doublethink, though doublethink comprises much else as well.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt." Harding cited George Orwell's, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Susie Leafe of Anglican Futures said The Church of England's statement is illogical, lamentable and predictable. "Offering prayers of blessing to those in same-sex marriages, while claiming to maintain the doctrine Holy Matrimony as a marriage between one man and one woman for life is illogical. It is lamentable because it denies the gospel and will please no one. It is predictable because it has been evident for at least 18 months that this was the most likely path for the bishops to take."

CHURCH SOCIETY critiqued the LLF Report, observing that it is notable that there is no overall methodology running throughout the report, which reduces its dependability...there was no attempt to ensure that those who responded to the survey were within the Church of England, or that multiple submissions were not made by a single person.
You can read more here: https://www.churchsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/LLF-Church-Society-Response-1.pdf

Lee Gatiss, writing at Church Society blog said the compromise is unworkable. "It is simply not good enough to throw 1 John 4:16 into this debate like a grenade and think that "God is love and those who abide in love abide in God" is sufficient to establish that he approves of same-sex marriage relationships. This text is beloved of revisionists in the current debate (and is probably where the title for Living in Love and Faith comes from) but is rarely unpacked in its context. What they seem to want it to mean is that it doesn't matter who or what you love, God is in you if you love them. But is it possible to be living in sinful love, and to hold on to the true Christian faith? Or does orthodox Christian belief rule out certain kinds of love?" You can read more here: https://www.churchsociety.org/resource/responding-to-the-bishops-proposals-for-same-sex-blessings/

Global outrage ran swiftly and predictably. GAFCON chairman and ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach ripped the decision of the CofE bishops to 'go their own way' on matters of faith and practice, Beach said that the bishops' actions to bless same-sex couples, deny holy practice, reject the authority of Scripture and the teaching of the historic church. In a statement to GAFCON followers who represent more than 70% of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Beach said their decision went against the consensus of the Body of Christ from every tribe, tongue, people and nation alive today.

Three Anglican theologians in the Anglican Church in North America weighed in with a headline that read: THE GREAT AWOKENING AND THE END OF CANTERBURY'S LEADERSHIP OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION. The Rt. Rev. Derek Jones, Rev. Canon Justin Murff, & Archdeacon Job Serebrov said the communion is facing a critical breaking point if the CoE General Synod pass the LLF proposal which would effectively abandon the biblically faithful, historically Christian view of marriage in favor of authorizing same-sex marriage.

"Should the motion pass, "Living in Love and Faith" will almost certainly be the death knell for continued allegiance to Canterbury's leadership of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It will most assuredly draw the Global Future Anglican Conference (GAFCON) and the Global South into solidarity. It's believed that the Primates could even take the bold and immediate step to elect from among themselves a new Primatial leader of the Communion Provinces and summarily dismiss any further connection to the Archbishop of Canterbury."

"I'm surprised that some conservatives are at ease with this development in the House of Bishops of the CoE. There is no good news in this for conservatives in the Church of England (CoE) because, if CoE General Synod approves this in February, CoE clergy will then be given permission and perhaps mandated by some Diocesan Bishops to BLESS same-sex unions, which is essentially blessing something that God calls an abomination. Besides trying to differentiate between "blessing a gay marriage" and "wedding a gay couple" is a deceitful and dangerous game of words. Both the "blessing" and "wedding" of gay couples are abominable practices that are contrary to biblical teaching and Anglican tradition and so will definitely impair communion with the rest of orthodox Bible-believing Christians in and outside the Anglican Church, wrote Bishop Felix Orji, OSB. Anglican Diocese of the West (ACNA).

William J Tighe, Professor of History at Muhlenberg College, wrote VOL; "Basically, the Church of England is following almost step-by-step the same trajectory that brought the Church of Sweden (in 2009), the Church of Denmark (in 2012), the Church of Iceland (in 2015), and the Church of Norway (in 2016) to allow same-sex "marriages" to be performed in churches, in ceremonies undifferentiated in any substantial way from those of alethogamous marriages, after having previously, in most of these cases, allowed clergy to "bless" same-sex "civil partnerships" and, later "civil marriages." Only the Church of Finland has not yet "progressed" from "blessing same-sex civil marriages'' (accepted in 2016) to allowing for church marriages of homosexual pseudogamists. The trajectory of the Church of Sweden in this matter seems to be the one which offers the most striking parallel to that on which the Church of England has embarked. We all know how it will end: Erastianism rules okay!"

Lamely, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby acknowledged 'deep differences' within the Church, even as he faced criticism for reaffirming 1998 Resolution 1:10 rejecting same-sex marriage. He later said he will not personally use proposed new prayers to bless same-sex couples. Welby said he celebrates the change but has a "responsibility for the whole communion". This will not placate the fears of the GSFA or GAFCON who see it more as a delay tactic.

Of course, howls of outrage came from lonely lesbian frolicker Jayne Ozanne, who accused the church of "institutional homophobia" in a 19-page blast at the church. If you have the stomach for it, you can read it here: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/james+paice/WhctKKXpSclqCtSCwNLDpKqhQkmJGNFFcCctKnCWZlfxTqdHlznLTCNmZZVSbxJNTvGfDSq?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1


The Church of England has other problems. The CofE's £100m ($124m) fund for making reparations for slavery is meeting with pushback. The Church Commissioners who manage the church's 10-billion-pound investment portfolio, will use the money for a fund that will invest in communities affected by past slavery, and research and engagement related to anylinks with slavery.

However, there are many complaining that while the church wants to part with all this money, there are parishes and dioceses running out of money and may not be around in a few years. A headline in the Telegraph described it as a "shameful waste", arguing the money could fix church roofs, help house the homeless or provide clergy for growing congregations. The Rev. Calvin Robinson asks; "Reparations, who pays whom? We made the biggest impact there ever has been, clamping down on slavery. That is something to be proud of. It cost us dearly. In monetary terms and in human lives. No reparations are due. We paid the price."


Episcopal Church attendance was hit harder than other denominations by COVID, according to Anglican Watch blog. Lifeway Research reports that church attendance across Christian denominations in 2022 returned to 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels. But Anglican Watch's review of data suggests that the Average Sunday Attendance, or ASA, in the Episcopal Church remains much lower.

Per reports from the Office of General Convention, ASA declined from 547,107 in 2019 to 483,098 in 2020, an 11.7% decrease. From 2020 to 2021, ASA further fell to 312,691, another 35.3% decline. More telling is ASA, which held steady from 1991 through 2002. However, from 2002 to the present, ASA declined steadily, except for 2011, when there was a slight upward blip. Even worse, the rate of decline has accelerated in recent years. For more, click here: https://www.anglicanwatch.com/episcopal-church-attendance-hit-harder-than-other-denominations-by-covid/


The evangelical Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida voted for a new bishop this week. They elected the Rev. Justin Holcomb. He will take over from Greg Brewer, a charismatic bishop. Holcomb is best described as another professional staff guy with little experience in parish ministry. He did a short stint as an associate rector in Charlottesville, VA.

Holcomb was a shoo-in on the first ballot largely, one suspects, because he has held the job as canon for vocations in the diocese since 2013 and the others were outsiders. He has a Ph.D. and is a sexual abuse survivor, according to a report in The Living Church.

But what of the hot button gay marriage issue? Central Florida is one of a handful of dioceses led by a bishop who does not support same-sex marriage. The diocese upholds the Book of Common Prayer definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

According to a TLC report, Holcomb supports B012, saying that as a deputy to the 2018 General Convention, he not only voted for the measure, but also supported it in legislative hearings. After the passage, he chaired a diocesan task force -- with members on both sides of the issue -- to study the implications of B012 for the Diocese of Central Florida.

So now you know why he will get consents and Charlie Holt languishes in Florida after being elected twice for the job there. Brewer, when he comes to retire at 72, will not follow former Central Florida Bishop John Howe, who left TEC for the ACNA, because "Brewer is a company man" who won't rock the boat, VOL was told. One voice notably quiet in all this is the ambitious George Conger, who took a run at Springfield and failed.


On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America seated two bishops and consented to the election of two bishops-elect. The College officially received the Rt. Rev. Felix Orji and the Rt. Rev. Scott Seely into the College of Bishops after they were recently released to the ACNA by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). At the same meeting, the College consented to the elections of the Rev. Chris Warner and the Rev. Canon William A. Jenkins, Sr. as bishops for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (REC), respectively. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-college-bishops-seats-two-bishops-consents-two-bishops-elect


There was a passing of the crozier recently in Canada. At a recent synod, Bishop Charlie Masters of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANIC), a sister member of the ACNA, saw Bishop Dan Gifford, only the third coadjutor bishop installed as the new diocesan of The Anglican Network. Six out of the seven Bishops were there in person. Gifford was previously archdeacon for the Vancouver area in ANiC and vicar of St. John's Vancouver. In total, there were 161 delegates and 42 observers. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/canada-reflections-recent-synod


ACNA LEADERWORKS recently obtained $1,000,000 to assist Anglican congregations. Canon David Roseberry established Leaderworks Trust to support clergy, congregations and the Anglican Church in North America in their ministry efforts. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-leaderworks-obtains-1000000-assist-anglican-congregations


To no one's surprise, the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, homosexual activist bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, was one of 13 clergy members from six faith traditions filing a lawsuit to challenge Missouri's abortion bans.

The clergy members came together at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis to announce their support of the lawsuit. They are represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the National Women's Law Center, and two legal firms. Following their press conference, the group symbolically processed from the cathedral to the courthouse for photos.


If you want to know who is really doing the persecuting, hint, it is not people accused of homophobia. A Christian charity worker in Malta has been prosecuted for 'conversion therapy'. Matthew Grech, 33, is facing criminal charges for allegedly discussing and advertising 'conversion practices.'

In a case believed to be the first of its kind, a Trustee of Core Issues Trust who works closely with the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC) and X-Out-Loud, will face trial on 3 February 2023 at the Court of Magistrates in Valletta, along with the presenters of a local free speech media outlet, PMnews Malta.

The prosecution has come after Matthew simply for telling his 'ex-gay' testimony during an online media interview, which was advertised on Facebook beforehand. Matthew shared his story about his childhood and the confusion he had experienced when it came to his own sexuality and relationships. He spoke about how, as an adult, he had been involved in homosexual relationships before becoming a Christian, which changed his life dramatically. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/christian-charity-worker-prosecuted-conversion-therapy


Some 16 million women have left the church in the last decade. "The church" meaning the physical church, not the Christian faith. For whatever reason -- religious trauma, busy schedules, toxic politics -- millions of women have stopped sitting in pews on Sundays. But with her latest book, author Ericka Andersen is betting that many of them are looking for a reason to return.

In Reason to Return: Why Women Need the Church and the Church Needs Women, Andersen draws on her experience as a lifelong Christian and a mostly lifelong church attendee to address women who aren't spending their Sundays in church -- but perhaps wish they were. "Many women today are in the market for revitalization," she writes.

Men are not faring much better. So-called deaths of despair such as from suicide or alcohol abuse have been skyrocketing for middle-aged white Americans. It's been blamed on various phenomenon, including opioid abuse. But a new research paper finds a different culprit -- declining religious practice. You can read more here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/deaths-of-despair-may-be-driven-by-loss-of-religion-new-research-paper-argues-11673876749


The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) continue to diverge in social policy and theological belief surrounding bodily autonomy and the sanctity of human life.

Those viewpoints were on display January 20 as the ACNA hosted a service of morning prayer preceding the National March for Life. Two hours later, the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations hosted a conference call titled "Roe 50 Years Later: Faith Communities' Response to a Post-Roe America." The latter discussion was framed to "explore where the pro-choice faith community goes from here."

"We at the Office of Government Relations are committed to restoring access to abortion for all in line with our mandate from the General Convention," explained Episcopal Church Policy Advisor Rushad Thomas, who moderated a panel featuring United Methodist Pastor Carolyn Davis and Glenn Northern of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW).

The Episcopal Church General Convention reasserted denominational support for legal abortion at any stage of pregnancy in July as lay and clergy deputies reacted against the Supreme Court ruling Dobbs v Jackson that returned abortion policy to states.

The perspective of the Anglican prayer service was diametrically opposed. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/fifty-years-post-roe-anglicans-and-episcopalians-diverge-abortion


My friend David Duggan's travails through the C[r]ook County IL court system continue. A new judge has been assigned to the case (replacing a lesbian, not exactly the sort of jurist you want to hear a case involving a homosexual minister claiming that objections to his ordination constitute "stalking"). But after a month of delay, no judgment has been entered. He remains under the pall of an "emergency order of protection" that of course affects his life, not only as a Christian, but as a lawyer who has devoted most of his career to serving those without the means to pay for his services. He has spent what amounts to a year's income, mostly from sums stored up for his retirement, in defending against these ridiculous allegations.

A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 30, when maybe the issue will be resolved. Meanwhile the bills mount up. He is offering a copy of his book of devotional essays, "Glimpses of Grace, Reflections of a Life in Christ" to anyone who helps fund his opposition to this travesty. Back when "The Living Church" and the Chicago diocese's "Anglican Advance" were winning awards for their reporting on The Episcopal Church, they ran David's essays and won awards for doing so.

David's longtime colleague in the practice of law has offered to use his clients' funds account to receive whatever contributions are made. Checks in any amount should be sent to "Leslie A. Blau, PC, Attorney-at-Law IOLTA account," 566 W. Adams St., Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60661. Thank you and may God richly bless you in this season and forevermore.


Israeli antagonist and Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer, who was recently found by an Ecclesiastical tribunal to have engaged in anti-Semitic activity, has now withdrawn his membership in an evangelical church - Above Bar Church - according to Evangelicals Now blog.

Following the ruling, the alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem said; "We applaud the Church of England for invoking church discipline in this matter, as anti-Semitism has no place within the church of Messiah Jesus, adding that there were lessons for believers. Criticism of Israel can easily cross over into anti-Semitism...The church needs to approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with wisdom and love toward both Israelis and Palestinians."

The Church of England has not yet ruled on what judgement they will mete out on Sizer.


VOL continues to lead the communion in bringing you the news that most other Anglican news outlets won't touch. We reached a new readership high with nearly 1.5 million page views this past year and we remain the leader in global Anglican news reporting. Our track record over three decades is solid and speaks for itself. We don't need to toot our horn, but perhaps a little. You can make a tax-deductible donation here by check, credit card or PAYPAL to keep the news coming and make my travels possible to bring you the news. I will write later in the month from Charleston, SC where I will be attending Mere Anglican conference addressing the impact C.S. Lewis had on the Christian world.

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