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ECUSA HoB in disarray, Akinola Threatens Griswold with no-show, Canada implodes

"The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the Word of the Lord; so what wisdom do they have?" Jeremiah 8:9

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

These words of Jeremiah could be written over the doorposts of the entranceway to Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas as the current holders of apostolic succession - The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops - weighed their recent actions. These words might also be their epitaph.

The vast majority of ECUSA’s bishops have rejected the Word of the Lord, and so they lack wisdom and knowledge, preferring compromise and the heavy legal hand of the canons and constitutions to keep everyone in line.

There is, furthermore, no grace, no joy, no love that drives these men and women, just vitriol, ast and compromise. And it would also seem to be that no matter what tokenism and nonsense the HoB hands out to the orthodox, they always take it and say, "come let us work together and let us see what God can do."

As Albany Suffragan Bishop David Bena, a thoroughly orthodox bishop put it in his summation of the events that transpired in Texas recently, “some of the bishops thought the document went way too far in granting alternative episcopal oversight to traditional parishes. One bishop wanted to so obfuscate the document that it would make no sense at all. He was shouted down. And some bishops felt the document went nowhere near far enough to provide oversight.”

So what is being sought here is not the mind of Christ, or the Word of the Lord, or the wisdom that comes from the very mind of God, but deal making, so no one goes away empty handed. Put orthodox bishop Bob Duncan and homoerotic bishop Gene Robinson in a small group and see what they can come up with. “Find a way forward gentlemen, and we’ll hold the champagne glasses till you do.”

There is no one truth, “it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit”, merely, “find a way through the mess and we’ll all meet on a plain with Sufi Rumi and celebrate victory together.”

And that is the sorry state of the House of Bishops in the US Episcopal Church as we begin the 21st Century. I have written at length about the recent actions of the HOB in today’s digest.

AND THINGS AREN’T ANY BETTER IN CANADA. The following is a critique by members of the Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC) of the report of the Canadian Primate's Task Force for the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada concerning Adequate/Alternative Episcopal Oversight for Dissenting Minorities, published on 3rd March 2004.

The Report Legitimizes Local Option for False Teaching and Practice ran the headline. “This is an unacceptable way for a Province to move forward theologically. The Book of Judges is critical of the situation where "everyone did what was right in his own eyes". To abrogate responsibility as a National Synod to the level of Diocesan synods is a misuse of the principle of subsidiarity. Bp Michael Ingham's unilateral action in approving the blessing of same-sex unions is given legitimacy. Conservatives are expected to stay in communion, albeit in a form of parallel jurisdiction with a Bishop who has violated the Lambeth Quadrilateral. This is an attempt to add sticking plaster to the wounds created by decades of liberal theology. Parallel jurisdiction is unacceptable as it authorizes what scripture regards as sinful. Replacement jurisdiction is the only way forward. The Report falsely assumes that this is an issue over which Christians can agree to disagree and that the unity of the Church is more important than truth.

There is no hint of discipline by the ACC of Ingham or his wayward Synod. The Report acknowledges a breach in Communion but sees this as something time can heal.

So there you have it. Compromise. Find a way forward together, time heals all wounds, but the casualty, dear friends, is truth.

AND THIS WEEK FOUR VANCOUVER PRIESTS who had had enough, finally told New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham they were out of there and resigned from the diocese.

This is a not a matter of the wheat and the tares, which the owner will decide which is which ‘on that day’. This is Galatians 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be eternally condemned.” They are words that should strike fear into the heart of every bishop. Apparently they don’t.

These words of the Apostle Paul can never be compromised or pluriformed away. Never. They are cast in stone, set in Holy Writ, forever emblazoned on the foreheads of every person who calls him or herself a servant of the most of high God.

And it is the standard God himself has set and He will not compromise or change it for anyone, even and including a bunch of American Episcopal bishops in purple shirts and fancy gold crosses who think they can change God’s mind for Him. They are fooling themselves all the way to Hell.

The good bishop of Albany is wrong. It is not, as he writes, a case of half a loaf being better than none. It is a either the full loaf of God’s truth, or no loaf at all. Once mold has penetrated the loaf it is good only for the birds and squirrels, no sensible human will eat it. You cannot hope to receive God’s blessing by brokering in apostasy and heresy and believe God will either blink, wink or turn a blind eye.

This is not a discussion on which view of the sacraments is the most biblical or your view of baptism; it is about parishes that do not believe that God has changed his mind about how human beings should behave with their bodies, or have the right to do as they will, and to marry whomever they please.

These boundaries have been crossed at the peril of souls being lost for all eternity (1 Cor. 6: 9-10). Truly the Preacher of Ecclesiastes was right: “Whoso breaketh a hedge a serpent will bite.”

ECUSA lies wounded, perhaps mortally, its people perishing or fleeing, and all we will have left are beautiful buildings and no one in them. One only has to look at the English scene to see the devastation of formalism, a lost gospel and the dry rot of ecclesiasticism. No life, no hope. No vision. . The people look up and are not fed, and the husks of inclusion and diversity, ual perversion and doctrinal denial ring hollow with each passing day.

THERE WAS SOME DRAMA LEADING UP TO THE HoB meeting this week. Both the Presiding Bishop and representatives of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes were in regular consultation with Archbishop Williams right up to the eve of the meeting. The Archbishop counseled charity on everyone's part, as well as encouragement to go as far as possible in providing adequate Episcopal Oversight for traditional parishes in non-traditional dioceses.

Bishop Bena said the Archbishop was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, because he realized the need the Episcopal Church has for such an organization to act as an advocate for persons and parishes who hold to orthodox Anglican teaching.”

Interestingly enough Bishop Griswold denied that the NACDP had such approval from Williams. He was wrong. But now we know that he regularly consults with the Presiding Bishop AND with leaders of the Network.

Obviously, writes Bena, his consultation had a positive effect on the House of Bishops meeting. While no one got the whole loaf, both sides got half a loaf.

The document "Caring for all the Churches," was passed which hopefully offers a way through with the title, Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight. It won’t, and most of the orthodox branches of the Episcopal Church have spoken out and said so.

But the one question no one is asking is this. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? What do parents say to teens coming into puberty? What do mothers and fathers say to their sons and daughters as they watch a moral periwinkle like Michael Jackson with his false face and falsetto voice declaiming about children. Or the Rev. Michael Hopkins or Louie Crew or Otis Charles proclaiming the joys of homoerotic behavior, with every parent wondering if his or her son or daughter won’t one day walk through the front door and say, “hey ma, the Rector says that should leave my wife to live with Fred.” It will soon be a crime to even suggest reparative therapy. It is in Canada.

What do parents say and or do when their daughter discovers that the Diocesan Youth leader in the Diocese of NJ is a pregnant lesbian and conducts “happening” weekends. That’s cool? The hell it is.

Everybody has forgotten the children, except those who prey upon them. At the last General Convention in Minneapolis a father wrote and told me that his son was constantly being solicited for right under the noses of the bishops and no one cared because of the beloved doctrine of inclusion and “my right” to do as I please and God be damned.

One of the “negatives” that Bishop Bena pointed up in the DEPO document was this. “There are no teeth in this document; it can be easily abused by a diocesan bishop indisposed to sharing power.” He’s got that right. PA Bishop Charles E. Bennison has already gone on the record saying he will never honor DEPO…not now, not ever. So what chance do orthodox parishes have in the Diocese of Pennsylvania of getting around having Bennison force himself on them? The answer is none, unless you want to face fraudulent charges of “abandoning the communion of the church” Bennison tried (unsuccessfully) to use on Fr. David Moyer.

AS A SIGN OF THE TIMES, an evangelical family of a large prosperous metro Washington parish noted that the guest book which lies open in the Narthex had barely a visitor since Dec. 2003. “They have only had 2 visitors a month in 2004 to sign the guest book. In previous years there would have been as many as a dozen,” he noted.

People are not flocking to the new doctrine of inclusion; many of them are going to upstart church plants with the REC and AMIA.

ONE HOPEFUL SIGN ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT THIS WEEK WAS that Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of the Diocese of Recife was found not to have violated the constitutions or canons of the Brazilian Church by performing Episcopal acts outside of his diocese in an unauthorized confirmation service in Ohio on March 14 in defiance of the local diocesan, the Rt. Rev. J. Clark Grew II. There HoB met at approximately the same time as the Episcopal House of Bishops. The episcopal college of the Anglican Church in Brazil rejected a call by its primate, the Most Rev. Orlando Santos de Oliveira, to discipline the Bishop of Recife. The Bishops' Chamber of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (IEAB) made their ruling on March 23. Not everybody rolls over.

UBERPURPLE BISHOP WALTER RIGHTER WHOSE ECCLESIASTICAL activities were reported on in the last digest has been a busy little bishop. He has not only been functioning illegally at Calvary but at five other parishes, Virtuosity has learned. They are; Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh PA, Holy Cross Church, Pittsburgh PA, St Brendan's Church Franklin Park PA, St Stephen's Church Wilkinsburg PA and St Andrew's Highland Park, Pittsburgh PA.

Bishop Duncan was well aware of these actions but was waiting for the "right" time to play his hand, a source told Virtuosity. The question is when is it the right time? The five dissenting bishops just got their knuckles rapped for performing allegedly illegal acts in Ohio and now the orthodox bishops have a golden moment to come down on Righter with a ton of bricks. The question is whether the orthodox bishops will bring Righter’s actions officially to the attention of Griswold! If they do and Griswold does nothing and fails to act against Righter it is “selective prosecution” and “denial of due process” when the revisionists bring charges against the orthodox bishops the next time they cross Diocesan lines.

BODY LIFE MOVEMENTS. The Anglican Mission in America announces that one of its bishops will relocate to the northeastern United States in order to help plant a new church and grow a new region for the Anglican Mission. The Rt. Rev. Thaddeus Barnum and his wife, the Rev. Erilynne Barnum, a deacon in the Anglican Mission, will move to Fairfield, Connecticut to assume a leadership role with the newly-named Church of the Apostles and establish an office that will encourage the growth of new churches throughout the northeast corridor. Archbishop Kolini of Rwanda asked the couple to consider this move. They will provide leadership and care to developing new churches in the Northeast, from Washington, D.C. to Maine. This is one dynamic duo.

THE AMERICAN ANGLICAN COUNCIL recently saw two new staff additions at their headquarters in Washington, DC. Another dynamic southern duo, the Rev. Canon Ellis E. Brust and his wife Cynthia have landed with a bang inside the Beltway. He has landed the title of COO and Chaplain to the President of the AAC. Brust was formerly Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Florida for five years. Cynthia has taken up the position of Director of communications for the AAC. They are two fireball evangelicals.

The south is rising again and heading north to convert the highly secularized northeast region. Interestingly enough the Roman Catholic Church learned a long time ago that if you evangelize the centers of intellectual and political power, you will impact the rest of the nation. Recent priestly scandals in Boston, Ct. and New York have opened a door of opportunity for a gospel driven alternative.

AS A SIGN OF A SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT REVOLT at All Saints, Attleboro, Ma. the parish has put a sign out front stating Anglican-Orthodox.

CANON JOHN PETERSON, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council is moving to Washington, DC where he will take up his new post as Canon for Global Mission at Washington National Cathedral when his term expires, according to the Anglican Communion Office in London. Peterson spent most of his time working against orthodoxy in the nine years he was in the ACO and was accused by this writer of manipulating two Archbishops of Canterbury with his leftist views and working against the vast majority of global orthodox Anglicans in the Communion. At Lambeth 1998 he was roundly criticized by several Global South Primates including Moses Tay for suspending the Communion’s Office of evangelism two years before the Decade of Evangelism ended. Following the historic passage of the resolution saying that homosexual practice "was incompatible with scripture," Peterson said he would work to make sure that future Lambeth Conferences would never be run by bishops and would include clergy and laity to offset the bishops. He was also accused by this writer of attempting to manipulate the annual Primates' Meetings that provided his support.

That he has wound up in one of the most revisionist of ECUSA’s diocese speaks volumes. He will fit right in. One hopes his successor will be an African, but it is up to the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican primates and the Anglican Consultative Council that chooses the secretary general. Predictions are that it will not be an American or a Brit. The calls from some quarters are for his successor to come from the global South, where Anglicanism is strongest and growing.

THE CLAIMING THE BLESSING crowd is having a celebration event called 'It's About Love' in May. Billed as a "blockbuster" event and engineered by Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, the honoree will be none other than Vicki Gene Robinson. Jon Bruno, the ex-cop bishop of Los Angeles will also participate and they are also throwing in Norman Lear, Maya Angelou, Dionne Warwick, et al. The 'Rev.' Susan Russell of 'Claiming the Blessing,' will round out this assemblage of Christian Faith deconstructionists. And here’s the kicker, you can sit with Vicki Gene at his “platinum” table for a cool $10,000. The event flyer says it’s an evening benefit that will bring together voices from both the sacred and secular community speaking in favor of love and justice and against the proposed amendment that threatens to write discrimination into our Constitution. Of course. Now think what $10,000 would do to fight AIDS in Southern Africa.

BUT FOR A TRULY UPLIFTING OCCASION GO TO COLORADO SPRINGS April 20-23 to hear some of Anglican’s best known theologians and Dr. George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. It's not too late to register for the Anglican Communion Institute Conference, Anglicanism, History and Hope: The Future of Anglicanism in North America. Your scribe has been asked to speak at the banquet, so you won’t be bored. Along with The Most Rev. Dr. George Carey, is Professor Edith Humphrey, the Rev. Dr. John Karanja, the Rev. Dr. Robert Prichard, the Rev. Dr. Jeremie Begbie, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Seitz, the Very Rev. Dr. George Sumner, the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, and the Rev. Dr. Ashley Null. They will offer their perspective, encouragement, and theological basis for thinking Anglicanism does indeed have a future in North America. (See details in the digest.)

I AM POSTING A NUMBER OF STORIES TODAY including late breaking news that Nigerian Bishop Peter Akinola has come out slamming Frank Griswold saying that the future of true Anglicanism in the United States lies with conservative groups within the Episcopal Church that oppose gay marriage and the church's approval of an openly gay bishop. Akinola said he will never attend a meeting with the ECUSA leader or attend the 2008 meeting of the world's Anglican bishops if the U.S. hierarchy participates. That’s a right hook to the revisionist Presiding Bishop’s chin. (See full story in today’s digest.)

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All Blessings

David W. Virtue DD

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