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Defining Challenge of 21st Century * CofE Same-Sex Blessings Pushes Forward and Pushed Back * 14 CofE Bishops Affirm Doctrine of Marriage * CEEC Calls for Action * Canterbury Cathedral Derails Livestreaming over Consecration of Orthodox Bishops

Defining Challenge of 21st Century * CofE Same-Sex Blessings Pushes Forward and Pushed Back * 14 CofE Bishops Affirm Doctrine of Marriage * CEEC Calls for Action * Canterbury Cathedral Derails Livestreaming over Consecration of Orthodox Bishops * Storm over Gay Pride Flag on Parish Altar * Pope and ABC Hit Hurricane over Visit to Sth. Sudan * Stephen Sizer Banned for 12 years over Anti-Semitism Finding

The Call to Evangelise. The greatest single reason for the church's evangelistic disobedience centres in the church's doubts. We are not sure if our own sins are forgiven. We are not sure if the gospel is true. And so, because we doubt, we are dumb. We need to hear again Christ's word of peace, and see again His hands and His side. Once we are glad that we have seen the Lord, and once we have clearly recognised Him as our crucified and risen Saviour, then nothing and no-one will be able to silence us. -- John R.W. Stott

We sin against Christ and we misrepresent the gospel when we suggest to sinners that what God demands of them is moral improvement in accordance with Law. Moralism is not the gospel, and it will not save. The only gospel that saves is the gospel of Christ. -- Albert J. Mohler

Those expressions of ecclesial inclusivity (or catholicity, or universality) are not, however, what contemporary woke culture means by being "inclusive." As typically used today, "inclusion" is code for accepting everyone's definition of self as if that self-definition obviously cohered with reality, were inherently unchallengeable, and thus commanded affirmation -- George Weigel

Theology should produce the fruit of the Spirit, not the works of the flesh. -- Ronni Kurtz

The transwomen in prisons row has exposed the sheer derangement of the modern left -- Spiked Online

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
February 3, 2023

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat asks the question whether "the defining challenge of the 21st Century" will be climate change decried by so many analysts or, instead, the globe's accumulating "birth dearth" a.k.a. "baby bust" or "population implosion."

The second trend could well undercut societies' "dynamism and innovation" and pit "a swollen retired population" against the "overburdened young," he warned, while listing geopolitical factors in the coming "age of demographic decadence."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby made climate change his centerpiece at the recent Lambeth Conference. He ignored the fact that all Western Anglican jurisdictions are in serious decline owing to factors that include demographics, aging Episcopalians and Anglicans resulting in empty pews; the steady drumbeat of homoeroticism infiltrating the church, and pews empty of young people. Nones have no interest in organized religion, especially of the Episcopal variety.

Some Anglicans, driven by a sincere desire to present the gospel to the next generation of unbelievers are making small but steady inroads into the cultural morass, with startup congregations, sometimes in unlikely and unheralded places.

Anglican Watch, a feisty Episcopal blog that does not pull its punches about the abuse and decline in TEC noted that that the Anglican Church in North America, (ACNA) while not officially part of the Anglican Communion is successful, including membership in 2021 of 122,450, "can tell us a great deal about why the Episcopal Church (TEC) is failing."

From Anglican Watch; "In our experience, leaving [TEC] is almost always a last resort. Typically, the process begins with lousy behavior by clergy or others in positions of actual or perceived power. Specific behaviors include:
Substance abuse.
Passive-aggressive behavior, including gossip, failure to respond to legitimate concerns, or refusal to address conflict.
Abuse of power, including wage theft by taking unauthorized leave, refusal to perform specific job requirements or pastoral indifference.

Of course, TEC is consumed with issues; Climate change, LGBTQ rights, racism (critical race theory) and reparations to name but a few issues, plus PB Michael Curry's endless revival 'love' talk. All of that is going on while diocesan headquarters are closing for lack of funds to keep what's left of a diocese going. Again, Anglican Watch noted the growing sale of diocesan headquarters:

Several dioceses have already taken the plunge, including:

The Diocese of Southern Virginia, which offloaded the Talbot Hall property after a fraught discernment process;
The Diocese of Maryland, which sold its headquarters and the building's Tiffany-stained glass windows separately in 1994;
The Diocese of Newark, which sold its headquarters to a nearby arts center;
The Diocese of Rochester, which offloaded its $1.2 million headquarters;
The Diocese of Pittsburgh, which sold office space next to its cathedral; and
The Diocese of Oregon, which has listed its lovely headquarters and gardens for sale. Once sold, the diocese hopes to move its headquarters to a less isolated location with greater accessibility and better opportunities for staff collaboration.
And, of course, the ever-contentious proposed sale of the Diocese of Chicago headquarters remains on the table. There, the proposal is complicated, as the cathedral, located next door, shares HVAC and accessibility infrastructure with the headquarters building. Pennsylvania sold off its headquarters in the reign of the disgraced Charles E. Bennison.

In short, ACNA has decided to grow. On the other hand, TEC still doesn't understand that it has two paths forward: Growth or death. Of course, with no gospel of God's grace to proclaim, how can it possibly grow! TEC has already chosen the path of death.

As a sign of the growing decline, two dioceses, Nthn. Indiana and Indianapolis announced this week that they were in merger talks (for God's greater mission of course), reunifying as one single diocese.

Bishop Doug Sparks of The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana and Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows of The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis have maintained a close working relationship since being elected to serve their respective dioceses in 2016. They began this conversation with members of their staff in early 2022, said a press release. "We know that the Holy Spirit is guiding us into this exploration of what we may further do together." You can read it all here: https://virtueonline.org/indianapolis-and-northern-indiana-talks-discuss-merger-dioceses

Other dioceses are talking merger. Wisconsin's three dioceses, Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and the Diocese of Eau Claire are pursuing reunion as one. In the Northeast three dioceses, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont bishops "would assist each other's dioceses," code for we are not making it and will have to merge in time.


THE BIG NEWS that just keeps on keeping on, is the Church of England's inevitable approval of same-sex blessings. The leaked document that Synod would approve the LLF report, forced Archbishop Justin Welby out into the open.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was so overcome by his church's change of mind that he announced that he was "extremely joyful" about plans to allow church blessings for same-sex couples. As an aside he said that he is mindful that most of the Anglican communion does not support God's alleged change of mind.

The Archbishop of Canterbury would rather "see the Church of England disestablished than split over same-sex marriage it was revealed. You can read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/01/better-c-of-e-is-disestablished-than-risk-split-justin-welby-reportedly-says

The Archbishop of York, Steven Cottrell went one stage further and said the church should allow homosexual marriage as a "gift" to the church. Some gift! Since when did anal sex become a gift?

It was also revealed on twitter that Cottrell said the orthodox Anglicans should just leave the Church of England if they could not get on board with same-sex unions.

Cottrell later confirmed in a BBC interview that he believes that sexual immorality is not sinful.

The interview on BBC Radio Four's Sunday program came following the Church of England's (CofE) announcement that it would not allow 'gay marriage,' but would allow 'blessings' for same-sex couples in civil partnerships in its churches.

Replying to a question that rejecting gay marriage was a "bit of a fudge," the archbishop responded by saying that he thinks the Church of England has found a "human... but I think godly way forward." You can read more here: https://christianconcern.com/news/archbishop-of-york-says-sexual-immorality-is-not-sinful/

This has led to bloggers saying that in time there won't always be a Church of England. Quoth one blogger; "We all knew this was coming, issued warnings, but the die was cast. There is nothing left to do except wait for the next shoe to drop."

Of course, this is the same slippery slope the Episcopal Church slid down after homosexual activist Gene Robinson was consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire.
In time, the Church of England will be disenfranchised, split asunder; one group will perform same-sex marriages, and the other will try to remain orthodox in belief and practice.

While the bishops and most of the clergy will be on board with the changes, there is no guarantee that the laity will go along. They have shown themselves to be voting "obstructionists" in the past and may well be again.

Not all are prepared to accept the whine of lesbian Jayne Ozanne or homosexual activist Colin Coward who believe that God needs updating on sexuality issues.

There is also the strong likelihood that many of the evangelical and Anglo-Catholic laity will leave the Church of England for newer Anglican pastures led by GAFCON bishop Andy Lines that include the Anglican Network in Europe. Time will tell.


"We find ourselves constrained by what we sincerely believe the Scriptures teach which cannot be set aside. We pray this will be a constructive contribution to the life and ministry of the Church while the work of discernment continues in General Synod and elsewhere. There is still work to be done on how the church can best provide a better welcome and radical inclusion for LGBTQI+ Christians and others, and to find appropriate ways to affirm the goods of same-sex relationships. Yet the theological framework outlined above explains why, for many, a move towards same-sex marriage in church is not the way to do this, and why the witness of Holy Matrimony to the gospel in the ways outlined above needs to be preserved." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/14-cofe-bishops-affirm-cofe-doctrine-marriage


The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) is calling for action and offers the Church of England a better way forward. "CEEC is grieved and dismayed by the House of Bishops' response to Living in Love & Faith, and subsequent public communications, believing them to be contrary to the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England. If pursued, we believe these proposals will create further division and broken fellowship within the Church of England and a greater tearing of the fabric of the worldwide Anglican Communion." You can read more here:


St. Helen's Bishopsgate, a mega evangelical parish in London has responded to the Living in Love and Faith report and wrote to Bishop Sarah Mullaly. They made it very clear that it would act if the LLF report is passed by Synod. In a letter to her they wrote, we "express our grave disappointment and concern at the House of Bishops' response to Living in Love and Faith."

First, as you know, for many years the St Helen's Church family has been a safe place for a significant number who live with same sex attraction, but who seek to live a celibate life in accordance with God's commands. They are greatly encouraged by knowing that they are loved and included within the body of Christ at St Helen's. The pastoral damage from the House of Bishops' decisions for these members of Christ's flock is very significant. We have been hearing since the announcement about how they are being affected personally by it.

The parish has cut back on its contributions to the diocese and then said this: "We wrote to you prior to the completion of this process to indicate that steps such as you have taken will inevitably further affect our already broken partnership with the House of Bishops. We shall await the conclusion of the General Synod in February before seeking a conversation about the provision which will be necessary for those forced by your decision into having no acceptable episcopal oversight." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/london-st-helens-bishopsgate-responds-living-love-and-faith


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL did a U-turn over livestreaming 'particular' consecrations, reports the Church Times. The consecrations of two new flying bishops in Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday are now to be livestreamed, reversing an earlier decision that "gracious restraint" be exercised because of their "particularities".

The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev. David Montieth, a man living in a homosexual relationship didn't want the "particularities" of the evangelical and Anglo-Catholic bishops' consecrations taking place in his cathedral because they might just offend his sexual proclivities. He reversed himself saying "my/our position is that both may be livestreamed but only one may not be livestreamed. Since the afternoon is not livestreamed, the morning cannot be livestreamed either."

The ballyhooed doctrine of inclusion means less about inclusion and more about the steady relentless drive to marginalize and oust orthodox bishops, something that TEC had mastered years ago. The Church of England is learning from its sister province. You can read more here: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2023/3-february/news/uk/canterbury-cathedral-u-turn-over-livestreaming-particular-consecrations


If you want to know how fast the pansexual agenda is invading the Church of England, St Nicholas Church in Leicester is in a row over a plan to show the Pride flag on its altar. Detractors claim it politicizes a place of worship and will lead to 'moral anarchy'. The reverend claims the flag is to let visitors know they are 'welcome and safe'. Opponents have accused the church of 'woke' virtue signaling.

A test case will now be heard by the Church of England's consistory court, with campaigners warning it will 'open the floodgates' to ideological imagery in other churches if given the go-ahead. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/church-row-over-plan-show-pride-flag-altar-over-claims-it-politicises-place-worship-and-will-lead


IT'S OFFICIAL: HOMOSEXUALITY IS NO LONGER A SIN! Fornication is still considered sin, despite numerous men and women now living together without benefit of marriage. Pre-marital sex is still sin in some quarters. The Episcopal Church tried to downplay it all by passing resolution D039 in the year of our Lord 2000, that recognized there were "couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in other life-long committed relationships..." it was the thin end of the wedge.

Adultery is still a sin, even by Episcopal standards. Witness the number of bishops who have been kicked out of the church when it was found that they had sexually misbehaved; in one case before the man had even become an Episcopalian, let alone becoming a bishop! But homosexual behavior has now been ruled out as sin; the behavior gets a pass. You can read my full take here: https://virtueonline.org/its-official-homosexuality-no-longer-sin


Pro-Palestinian Anglican vicar, Steven Sizer has been banned from serving as a Clerk of Holy Orders for 12 years following a tribunal that declared that he had indulged in 'antisemitic activity' and caused grievous offence to the Jewish community over a number of years. He will not be able to act as a minister until 2030, after time served.

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: "I am pleased that the Tribunal has made an unambiguous statement in banning Stephen Sizer from being able to act as a Clerk in Holy Orders for 12 years.

"I am grateful to the Tribunal for hearing our evidence and look forward to a continued strong and close relationship with the Church of England in the coming years." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/church-england-tribunal-gives-disgraced-vicar-stephen-sizer-12-yearlong-ban


Pope Francis' visit to South Sudan along with Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby has hit a diplomatic minefield due to the Anglican archbishop of South Sudan's condemnation of same-sex blessings as constituting "unfaithfulness to the God who has spoken through His written word," according to Vatican-based Church Militant reporter Jules Gomes.

In an explosive statement targeting Abp. of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is traveling with Pope Francis to South Sudan, Abp. Justin Badi Arama threatened to break communion with the Church of England after it approved blessings for homosexual couples on Jan. 18.

Anglican bishops led by Welby were violating the "clear and canonical teaching of the Bible," Badi warned on Tuesday, noting how the role of archbishop of Canterbury as a "moral leader and a figure of unity within the Communion" will be "severely jeopardized."

The response of the English bishops "belies the loss of confidence by the bishops in the authority and clarity of the Bible as we have received it. They are re-writing God's law for His creation; laws that are re-affirmed by Christ in the gospel accounts," Badi Arama added. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/popes-south-sudan-trip-hits-lgbt-minefield

THE Primate of South Sudan, the Most Rev Justin Badi, who is also the Chairman of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), says his warm participation does not in any way diminish his biblical views on marriage or sexuality.

South Sudan is currently going through a civil war, persistent floods have destroyed homes and livelihoods, food shortages are widespread, and millions of South Sudanese people are displaced. South Sudan's Archbishop Badi said: "We appreciate these Christian world leaders for their prayers, and their tireless efforts under the most challenging circumstances, to engage the world in the immense need to stand with the South Sudanese people. We pray their visit will remind us as South Sudanese people to repent of our own spirit of violence and mistrust, and to recommit ourselves to true reconciliation, justice and peaceful co-existence."


The Church of Pakistan (CoP) condemned the dastardly terrorist attack on a mosque in Peshawar as well as the abhorrent act of desecration of the holy Quran in Sweden by a right-wing politician.

"The CoP strongly condemns the brutal bombing of the mosque in Peshawar's Police Lines and the disrespectful desecration of the holy Quran in Sweden.

"These acts of violence and intolerance have no place in our societies and go against the teachings of love, peace, and respect for all religions. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and call for an end to such hateful actions," CoP Moderator Bishop Dr Azad Marshall said in a statement.

Bishop Marshall stated that the resurgence of terrorism in Pakistan was a cause of serious concern for all Pakistanis, especially in wake of the economic challenges facing the nation. You can read more here: https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/31/church-leader-condemns-peshawar-bombing-quran-desecration-in-sweden/#.Y9kMiqhZvig.whatsapp


Representatives from Anglican provinces around the world, including The Episcopal Church, are preparing to travel to Accra, Ghana, for prayer, worship and discussions on the future of the Anglican Communion at the 18th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, or ACC-18.

"ACC not only brings the 42 member churches together as a family but also encourages and enables them to grow in mission in their own contexts," Archbishop Paul Kwong of Hong Kong, the outgoing chair of ACC, said Feb. 1 in a news conference on Zoom.

They might want to reflect on why the vast majority of Anglicans don't care what the ACC thinks or does and have switched their allegiance to GAFCON and the GSFA where their mission is clearly evangelistic and disciple-making.


C S LEWIS was remembered and praised by scholars at 'Mere Anglican' Conference in Charleston, SC. I had the privilege of listening to seven brilliant academic minds lecture on the life and works of C.S. Lewis. I cannot possibly condense all their lectures into one single story, but their lectures will be made available to those who attended and I will post them to VOL's website when they become available. What follows are random thoughts by the speakers as they wrestled with Lewis as apologist, writer of children's books, explainer of pain and suffering, beauty and more. Nothing I write will capture the depth of the thoughts and words of these distinguished speakers. The main thrust of their lectures was Lewis as narrator of stories to bring us the gospel. Lewis' use of imagination in apologetics was key to understanding his thought and mindset. Over 900 attended the three-day event.

The speakers included Alister McGrath, Peter Kreeft, Philip Ryken, Amy Orr-Ewing, Simon Horobin, Jerry Root and Michael Ward.

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else," said McGrath, citing Lewis.

Under the banner of Longing for a more Beautiful Story, McGrath cited three key themes; longing, beauty and story as keys to understanding Lewis, and urged his audience to engage in what he called "our need for a bigger vision of reality." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/cs-lewis-remembered-and-praised-scholars-mere-anglican-conference



The Christian Legal Centre is assisting the legal defense of a Maltese Christian charity worker who is facing criminal charges for allegedly discussing and advertising 'conversion practices.' You can read it here:

Opposing gay marriage may seem like a lost cause, but history suggests it is not:

https://virtueonline.org/i-will-be-who-i-will-be-exodus-3-and-gender-identity by Dave Doveton is an excellent read.

Freedom and the Fate of America by Bill Muehlenberg can be read here: https://virtueonline.org/freedom-and-fate-america


This is the third of FOURTEEN THESES TOWARD REVIVING, REFORMING, AND REORDERING THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION, with Commentary by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll. This is an ongoing series and a must read. https://virtueonline.org/failure-communion-governance-and-crisis-contemporary-anglicanism-thesis-3

A paper by my favorite Bishop C. Fitzsimons Allison (SC ret.) titled THE EPISCOPAL EVANGELICAL TRADITION ..." Though with a scornful wonder the world sees her oppressed. By schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed." This is a must read for historians. Here is a sample paragraph.

"In these latter years, watching the Episcopal church has been like watching a father kill himself with strange debauchery." So writes a contemporary in a recent issue of the National Review. Not all agree to such discouragement, but none can be particularly happy about the Episcopal Church. TEC's statistics show an approximate 70 percent rise in the number of clergy while registering an approximate 17 percent decline in members from 1964 to 1977. They have lost more than half its members between 1984 and 2016! You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/episcopal-evangelical-tradition

We cannot bless what is contrary to God's revealed will, can be seen here:

WHY ANGLICANS SHOULD REJECT PROCESS THEOLOGY by Alice Linsley is an excellent read. One of the errors of Process Theology, as expounded by Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne, is that God is affected by temporal processes and is "becoming" alongside humanity. In Hartshorne's process-based conception, humans change for a while, whereas God always changes. This is not the orthodox view of God as immutable. You can read it here: https://virtueonline.org/why-anglicans-should-reject-process-theology

THEY ARE DUPED BY THE DEVIL. THERE ARE NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT! Mary Ann Mueller writes. "I have been watching the LGBTQ battle unfold for years and have wondered why it is not obvious to those who embrace the ideology that it is a false narrative -- that it goes against nature and all that God has created." You can read it here: https://virtueonline.org/they-are-duped-devil-there-are-no-two-ways-about-it


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