jQuery Slider

You are here

CORONAVIRUS: SPECIAL REPORT * ACNA Archbishop says Western Anglicanism is Neo-Pagan * Nigerian Primate says Province Under Pressure from Homosexuals * ABC Threatens Priests with Disciplinary Action * Bishop Love Hearing Postponed * Anglican-TV bust up

CORONAVIRUS: SPECIAL REPORT * ACNA Archbishop says Western Anglicanism is Neo-Pagan * Nigerian Primate says Province Under Pressure from Homosexuals * ABC Threatens Priests with Disciplinary Action * Bishop Love Hearing Postponed * Anglican-TV bust up

A God who sends. 'Mission' is an activity of God arising out of the very nature of God. The living God of the Bible is a sending God, which is what 'mission' means. He sent the prophets to Israel. He sent his Son into the world. His Son sent out the apostles, and the seventy, and the church. He also sent the Spirit to the church and sends him into our hearts today. --- John R.W. Stott

Although Peter is likened to the foundation stone upon which the Church is built, the Church isn't bricks and mortar; its character is not compromised by non-proximity. The Church is people: the Holy Spirit dwells within us; we are the temple, the Body of Christ. Believers, though dispersed throughout the world, are literally, Corpus Christi, the realized presence of Christ on earth; more than ordinary human notions of gathered corporeality. --- Archbishop Cranmer

We yearn over the lost, but the lost must be enabled to learn that they are lost, and then discover the compassion of Christ crucified. --- Roger Salter

The Episcopal Church, unlike Samaritan's Purse, is the leading mainline denomination supporting LGBTQ people, the first in the United States to ordain an openly homosexual bishop and one of the leaders in special liturgies to marry LGBTQ people. --- Associated Press

The current pandemic is a judgement on the dominance of Mammon not only in the UK and the western world but increasingly across the whole world. There is also the arrogance of Western Humanity which thinks that science/technology can and should solve all our problems. There are plenty of precedents in the Old Testament and especially the Psalms of plagues coming as judgements on human action. Of course, it is a tragedy for those who lose their lives and perhaps even more for those who suffer agonizing deaths and those who are bereft in consequence. All of which is a very unfashionable view in our society and also, sadly, within the Christian community. --- Philip Giddings

Lots of people (even Christians) claim they're not that bad. That's because they're measuring themselves against others, and not God. Therefore, they never really appreciate the depths of God's love for them. With respect, if you're not that bad, why the agony of the Son of God on your behalf? Couldn't he have just given you a slap on the wrist? --- Archbishop Cranmer

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
April 17, 2020

AROUND the world, Anglicans are engaged in both spiritual warfare and the healing of bodies, as a virus rages across the globe threatening tens of millions, taking countless lives, with no apparent end in sight.

It has tested peoples' faith as lives have been challenged and rocked by financial concerns, health issues, unemployment and the ever-abiding question, "Where is God when it hurts."

People are dying, unattended by family and relatives, often alone without benefit of priest or pastor.

It is now emerging that loneliness is the No.1 issue for Americans, not money or health concerns. A recent survey of 20,000 U.S. adults found that nearly half of people suffer from feelings of loneliness. The spirit of 'rugged individualism' isn't working out too well when you are on your back and all you see in front of you is a nurse covered from head to toe in clothes designed to keep her from catching what you're dying of.

An American Psychological Association study concluded that lonely people are at a greater risk for premature death. These findings build on previous research that showed loneliness is on the rise among younger people, too. It is a bigger issue than smoking or obesity.

Sadly, persons most affected by the virus are the poor, black and Hispanic communities with the occasional celebrity and political leader. This is the dark side of inequality that made Bernie Sanders so popular in his brief bid for the White House. (This not a plug for the Democratic Party).

Coronavirus is a hydra-headed monster. It is medical/spiritual/financial and political. None of us can escape the drama unfolding before us. One way or another we are all affected if not infected.

In her address, 92-year old Queen Elizabeth II said that many religions have festivals which celebrate light overcoming darkness. Such occasions are often accompanied by the lighting of candles. They seem to speak to every culture, and appeal to people of all faiths, and of none. They are lit on birthday cakes and to mark family anniversaries, when we gather happily around a source of light. It unites us.

As darkness falls on the Saturday before Easter Day, many Christians would normally light candles together. In church, one light would pass to another, spreading slowly and then more rapidly as more candles are lit. It's a way of showing how the good news of Christ's resurrection has been passed on from the first Easter by every generation until now.

This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn't cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this. We know that Coronavirus will not overcome us. As dark as death can be -- particularly for those suffering with grief -- light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future.

A couple of Church of England leaders told VOL that what she said was better than Archbishop Justin Welby or what most of her bishops said. She bowled them all over with her affirmation of the faith. "She whacked all of them."

*****

This did not prevent the Archbishop of Canterbury from putting his foot in his mouth when he warned clergy that they cannot enter churches for solo prayer nor to film a service - despite provisions for this in the government's lockdown rules.

Those who breach the rules claim they have been threatened with disciplinary action. However, rebellious vicars vowed to defy the edict, it was reported in The Telegraph.

"Now is the time to revolt," one vicar told The Telegraph. "Ever since the lockdown, I have been going into my church, and I will be doing it again at 10.30AM on Easter Sunday," another added.

Warnings of a revolt come after the Welby issued a stern warning to members of the clergy and laity in a YouTube message earlier in the week.

He echoed the slogan repeated during the daily ministerial press conferences on coronavirus, saying it was vital that the church "set an example" in following the government guidance to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

"By closing the churches, we make a powerful symbol of the need to listen to that message," he said.

But then a number of vicars vowed to rebel and defy church edict and stream Easter services from churches.

The Rev. James Paice, Rector at St Luke's Wimbledon Park, in southwest London, described the ban as "nonsense" and vowed to continue streaming Easter services inside his church building. "I do know a number of clergy who are going against the advice of going into the church building to livestream services," he said. "I have been doing that, and I have various colleagues doing that. They think the advice is nonsense.

"If people can go to Lidl and get food and stand less than two metres apart from others who are in a queue parallel to them, then why can't clergy go into an empty building on their own?

"The advice that clergy should get shopping but not going into their buildings alone to minister online has elevated the humanistic and practical above the spiritual." The vicar also accused the Archbishops of "going beyond their authority", being very heavy handed" resulting in clergy deeming them not just "laughable" but also accusing them of "fast eroding their own authority".

"I've been going every Sunday to my church, in a separate room which is part of the main church: it's on a different WiFi network from my family, so I can upload at the same time as they watch," he added. "There are other clergy doing it from the main body of the church. Ever since the lockdown, I have been doing it, and I will be doing it at 10.30AM on Easter Sunday."

The Rev. Will Pearson-Gee, Rector of the Grade I-listed Buckingham Parish Church said that his revolt this Easter is somewhat tamer than that of Rev. Paice. "I haven't quite rebelled," he said, "although I have been into my building."

He revealed that he returned to church, recorded a video and took a picture of the altar which he is now using as a backdrop for his live-streamed services, thanks to the green screen he happens to have in his garden shed.

"I'm allowed inside my church as a janitor to make infrequent maintenance checks, but I'm not allowed in as a priest," he said.

"So, I went in, took my dog collar off, and recorded a video update from inside the church. I just wanted to show people that the church was still standing, and express my unhappiness at the fact that as a priest I'm not allowed into my building.

"We have tens-of-thousands-of-pounds of tech for live-streaming, so what has really, really pissed me off is that I can't use any of the tech, I have to livestream from home."
Another vicar, Melvin Tinker, of St John Newland in Hull, issued a call to arms for his fellow members of the clergy.

"Now is the time to revolt," he said. "Hospitals are asking for help in caring for the sick spiritually.

"Out of good conscience over and against the craven fear of the Muppet Bishops, clergy are to carry out their duties under God and blow a proverbial raspberry in the direction of Lambeth and Chelmsford."

The Rev. Tinker described the fact that clergy are banned from entering their churches to stream services or minister congregants who are gathered at a social distance as "monstrous".

"One of the main reasons Christianity eventually triumphed over the paganism of Rome was that they stayed behind to care for the sick when a city was struck by a plague, while the pagans cleared off," he added.

"The Church of England leadership are now demanding their clergy act like pagans."

In a very odd interview with Andrew Marr, Welby claims the closing of churches was not his fault but a committee's; that it was only guidance anyway, not instruction; and that the Church's primary duty was to set a civic example. Draw your own conclusion about both accuracy & integrity.

*****

ACNA Archbishop Challenges Neo-Paganism in the Anglican Communion. Dr. Gerald McDermott, theologian and Chair of Divinity and Director of The Institute of Anglican Studies at Beeson Divinity School sat down with ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and discussed a hard-hitting chapter he wrote in a new book titled, "The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism." The chapter is titled, "Neo-pagan Anglicanism."

Here is a teaser:

McDermott: Archbishop can you tell us this thing you call "neo-pagan Anglicanism?" arise?

Beach: It's been happening for a while. I began to notice that a lot of the practices in modern Anglicanism and teaching of modern Anglicanism, and actually, we could say more of Western Christianity as well, seemed to be getting more in common with what was known as pagan religion than what the Bible calls the faith.

In North America it's been going 40, 50, 60 years. It started in the seminaries with a gradual withdrawal from the authority of the Word of God, the holy Bible, the scriptures. And because of that, there began an acceptance of all kinds of things that I would say are non-Christian but are now treated as Christian.

I define as a modern form of Anglicanism which practices and performs the historic forms of worship within the ecclesial structures of Anglicanism, but at the same time it embraces theological beliefs and practices which Christians once considered pagan, non-Christian. Its modern emphasis is on reinterpreting non-Christian beliefs and practices into forms that Christians find acceptable. Theological beliefs once considered unbiblical and even heretical are taught as Christian doctrine. And just to take it one step further, moral practices that were once believed to be sin and an offense to God are now really taught and embraced as Christian in the name of love, compassion, unbridled acceptance, on and on we go.

To read the full interview which has had more than 10,000 reads on Facebook, click here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-archbishop-challenges-neo-paganism-anglican-communion

*****

Coronavirus Searches Lead Millions to Hear About Jesus. Tens of thousands have clicked to pray for salvation since the outbreak. Is the increase temporary or a harbinger of greater gospel witness online?

Millions of worried people who have turned to Google with their anxiety over COVID-19 have ended up connecting with Christian evangelists in their search results--leading to a spike in online conversions in March, according to an article in Christianity Today. You can read more here:
https://virtueonline.org/coronavirus-searches-lead-millions-hear-about-jesus

The following posts are gathered from the best available global Anglican sources on the coronavirus pandemic.

These particular articles from the American Anglican Council are generating the most feedback:

CLARITY IN CRISIS: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIpcuuspjstGNJ5Vfqt5lbQSQ2q-H7VYnA7

Holy Communion During Social Spacing: https://americananglican.org/aac-toolbox/covid19/holy-communion-during-social-spacing/

Gratitude in Times of Crisis: https://americananglican.org/news/gratitude-in-times-of-crisis/

Finding Serenity through Prayer: https://americananglican.org/news/finding-serenity-through-the-power-of-prayer/

Expanding our Outreach Online: https://americananglican.org/featured/the-voice-of-the-heart-an-online-experience

Biblically Orthodox in an Online World: https://americananglican.org/news/biblically-orthodox-in-an-online-world/
Bringing Hope for Healing: https://americananglican.org/news/bringing-hope-for-healing/

Pushing Back the Darkness (on past pandemics and how the Church has responded): https://americananglican.org/featured/pushing-back-the-darkness/

COVID19 News: Vital Moments: Thriving, not just Surviving
https://americananglican.org/category/aac-toolbox/covid19/

OTHER STORIES AND LINKS:

Churches in Africa and South Asia respond to the Coronavirus pandemic: https://virtueonline.org/churches-africa-and-south-asia-respond-coronavirus-pandemic

South Sudan Anglican Archbishop says not first unique Easter: https://virtueonline.org/south-sudan-anglican-archbishop-says-not-first-unique-easter

Church of South India accused of offering fake help in coronavirus pandemic:
https://virtueonline.org/historian-blasts-church-south-india-leaders-offering-fake-help-face-coronavirus-pandemic

Will the lockdown turn us back to the truth?:
https://christianconcern.com/comment/will-the-lockdown-turn-us-back-to-the-truth/

Covid-19: how a virus is turning the world upside down:
https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1336

BAHAMAS: Anglican Diocese lays off 66 staffers across central administration and schools: https://ewnews.com/author/ava-turnquest
UK: Church leaders address theological issues on crisis: https://www.churchnewspaper.com/81528/archives

What an Early Anglican Can Teach Us about Sickness Today:
https://livingchurch.org/covenant/2020/04/16/what-an-early-anglican-can-teach-us-about-sickness-today/

Evangelical Pastors Seize Political Opportunity in Coronavirus Crisis:
https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/church-exemption-coronavirus-193105687.html

Virus concern grows around the world:
https://www.churchnewspaper.com/81531/archives

INDEPENDENT COLUMNISTS:

The good, bad and citizens' arrest: Reflections by Ladson F. Mills III
https://virtueonline.org/good-bad-and-citizens-arrest-reflections-questions-and-answers

Is Coronavirus God's Judgment? -- Fr. Dwight Longenecker:
https://dwightlongenecker.com/is-coronavirus-gods-judgment/

St. John the Divine and Samaritans Purse Clash over Coronavirus Pandemic Help
https://virtueonline.org/st-john-divine-and-samaritans-purse-clash-over-coronavirus-pandemic-help

More than an idle threat: Real Assaults on religious Liberty in the Pandemic -- Albert Mohler
https://albertmohler.com/2020/04/13/more-than-an-idle-threat-real-assaults-on-religious-liberty-emerge-in-the-pandemic

Panic and Pandemic: Fear is the Greater Enemy --- Dr. Bruce Atkinson
https://virtueonline.org/panic-and-pandemic-fear-greater-enemy

An Historic Holy Week and Easter --- Archbishop Foley Beach
http://www.anglicanchurch.net/?/main/page/2019

*****

For a limited time (until 30 June) Christianity Explored has made available all of their course films on their YouTube channel for free to make them easier to share during times of social distancing:

* Christianity Explored (https://ngo.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=73b7f54c1d6e718e32fabd62c&id=787e25bf9e&e=344787f59b)
* Life Explored (https://ngo.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=73b7f54c1d6e718e32fabd62c&id=f2417bea09&e=344787f59b)
* Discipleship Explored (https://ngo.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=73b7f54c1d6e718e32fabd62c&id=33679b59d8&e=344787f59b)
* SOUL (https://ngo.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=73b7f54c1d6e718e32fabd62c&id=84d9f915e6&e=344787f59b)

*****

HATE. It has become the word de jure of the moment. Both the left and the right are using it to great effect. When pansexualists on the left want to shut down orthodox Christians who oppose homosexual behavior and homosexual marriage, they accuse them of hate. Of course, it is not about hate all, it is a way to say that those who oppose the behavior do so because the Bible does. But they have said it often enough that it has become accepted by progressives everywhere. If you oppose sodomy you are automatically homophobic and hate-filled. It was and is a lie, that has been repeated over and over by folk like Jayne Ozanne until even archbishops have bought into the lie.

On the other side of the fence, if you are conservative and Republican but choose not to agree with something President Donald Trump says, you are automatically hate-filled. All democrats are automatically hate-filled, but so is a republican who says he voted for Trump but disagreed that Trump can decide when to re-open the country. It violated the 10th Amendment, he said. The poor fellow got hammered for being hate-filled.

*****

In NIGERIA this week we learned that the Anglican province is under pressure to recognize homosexual priests, according to its primate Nicholas Okoh. He says he will expose those pushing to recognize any homosexuals who come out of the closet.

The Primate has raised alarm over alleged pressure being mounted on the hierarchy of the Church to start recognizing and ordaining gay priests. However, he has said the church would not hesitate to show any gay priest the way out of the church if he is found.

He frowned at "the subtle compromises by some priests in the church, warning them to retrace their steps or risk being exposed.

"People are lobbying us to abandon our faith and theology, to embrace their false teaching. Unfortunately, some of our priests are already bowing to the pressure.

"If your priest is practicing evil or keeping an evil alliance, and you know, raise your hand, be a whistle-blower so they won't undermine our church. If they do, it will be difficult to rescue.

*****

BISHOP LOVE HEARING. The Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. William Love has been notified that the Hearing Panel will not meet on Tuesday, April 21, as originally planned. They are looking into the logistics and legality of holding the Hearing as a virtual online meeting. Once a new date for the Hearing has been set, it will be posted.

*****

ANGLICAN-TV saw the departure of its best commentator Dr. Gavin Ashenden over allegations of a public fight with the Rev. George Conger and Kevin Kallsen on air, (it was quickly pulled). Dr. Ashenden wrote VOL and said this; "I had to withdraw after Conger became personally abusive in a way that I would've hoped no Christian would have been, let alone someone I would've counted as a friend, let alone a priest. His emotional and theological incontinence destroyed the prospect of engaging in the kind of trust required for the kind of conversations we were having in public. I was unwilling to condone abuse and continue. I didn't expect him to own up to it in public, but the sanitizing of it was the surprise."

Viewers told VOL they were beginning to become increasingly vexed by Conger's intemperate and unprovoked attacks on Ashenden. They allege that over the past few weeks, Conger had begun to argue with Ashenden for the sake of arguing," an evangelical Anglican cleric said. "I got so put off by this that I began to fast forward the video and watch only the bits with Ashenden speaking," he added.

Earlier in the week, the Rev. Melvin Tinker, a respected conservative evangelical Anglican vicar wrote a comment in response to a news article on the Bishop of London forbidding clergy going into their churches and Archbishop Welby's weak attempts to justify this clamp down nationwide.

Conger lifted the comment and turned it into an article, titling it as a "Letter to the Editor," which it wasn't. After a protest, Tinker's piece was quickly taken down and commenters wondered where it had gone.

The link to Conger's website was also pulled last year from the The Rebel Priest run by Dr. Jules Gomes. Dr. Gomes reportedly pulled the Anglican Unscripted link from his website after he found that his articles were being reposted on Anglican Unscripted with headlines changed by the editor of AU.at https://www.julesgomes.com/

Viewers also told VOL that it was un-Christian that Kevin Kallsen, host of Anglican Unscripted had not let Dr. Ashenden come one final time and tell viewers why he was leaving. "That wouldn't be possible, of course, because Ashenden wasn't leaving, he was pushed out," a source close to Dr. Ashenden said.

"When Ashenden became Catholic in December, he generously offered to step down. However, it was Kallsen who insisted he continue on the show," the source added.

"What is shocking is the spin both Kallsen and Conger put on the turn of events. They painted it as if Ashenden was responsible and he'd quit because of his Catholicism," the source said, adding: "I would urge both Kevin and George to heed the commandment: Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Ashenden's presence on the program brought in the viewers by the hundreds. A number of viewers have said on the YouTube site that with Ashenden's departure they will no longer be watching the show.

Many new Catholic subscribers had also joined the growing number of viewers following Ashenden's conversion to Catholicism. Ashenden's departure has left a number of viewers unhappy with the apparent anti-Catholic bigotry displayed by Conger.

*****

HOW YOU CAN HELP: The Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS):
In this difficult season evangelical Anglicans are invited to support missionaries working on the frontlines. VOL supports this missionary endeavor. Go here:

*****

5 Good Things Coming Out of the Coronavirus Pandemic

While the world is essentially shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, God is up to something good. Our minds naturally gravitate towards the negative news out there, but it's not all bad. While not discounting the obvious seriousness of what we're walking through as a society, it's important to find the hidden gems within the crisis. On my Facebook Group, I asked the members to share something good God has done in their life during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of their responses:
1. More focus on what's important. One Christian wrote, "I feel like I've been more observant, it has forced me to slow down and see things that I wouldn't normally see or appreciate." Another wrote, "Less distractions. More time to focus on our creator." This pandemic is forcing us to prioritize and remember what's truly important in life.
2. God is speaking louder. Because of the removal of distractions, Christians are able to hear God speaking to them louder than ever. One Christian wrote, "God has brought His Word out loud and clear, spoken in song and on social media. His people, the Church, have risen and are staying connected and meeting needs."
3. Reconnecting with family. This was one of the most popular responses I received. Being forced to stay at home, people are able to reconnect with family in meaningful ways. One wrote, "Very much enjoy working at home with my lovely wife." Another shared, "The gift of extra time and conversation with my adult children that I didn't expect to have." A third wrote, "Given us sweet family time."
4. Great interactions with neighbors. A famous command by Jesus is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). But since most of us live life on the go, we don't have much meaningful time to interact with our neighbors. These stay-at-home orders that many of us are experiencing is changing all that. One Christian shared, "love seeing all my neighbors out in the pretty spring weather playing with their kids and pets." Another wrote, "more opportunities to encourage others and talk about my hope in the Lord."
5. Rest in God. Whether by choice or not, people are seeing the benefits of slowing down and finding the rest that only comes in God. One Christian wrote that through this crisis, she's been able to "rest in God and depend more on Him." Another shared, "I got closer to Jesus." -- By Josh Daffern -- Patheos.com

*****

I feel it is appropriate to post this Psalm which has become the Psalm de jure of Christians these days in the Time of Coronavirus.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, "The Lord is my refuge,"
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he[b] loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

VOL wishes all its readers a blessed Eastertide. Stay home, stay well, read through the Daily Prayer, Facetime and Zoom friends. Pray.

Subscribe
Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Prayer Book Alliance

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top