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Episcopal Church Statistics Show Decline * Curry's Leadership & Legacy Questioned * Egyptian Archbishop Challenges Anglican Communion-Pt 2 * Nigerians and ACNA Faceoff * CEEC Questions their future in CofE * Oxford Safe Churches * Future of Evangelicalism

Episcopal Church Statistics Show Decline * Curry's Leadership & Legacy Questioned * Egyptian Archbishop Challenges Anglican Communion -- Part 2 * Nigerians and ACNA Faceoff * CEEC Questions their future in CofE * Oxford Safe Churches * Future of Evangelicalism

An international community. Christ's kingdom, while not incompatible with patriotism, tolerates no narrow nationalisms. He rules over an international community in which race, nation, rank and sex are no barriers to fellowship. And when his kingdom is consummated at the end, the countless redeemed company will be seen to be drawn 'from every nation, tribe, people and language' (Rev. 7:9). -- John R.W. Stott

TEC. If you have tons of folks coming to your free laundry, that's great. ... But if you're still losing 25% of your congregation, well, then in a few years, you're just going to be a laundromat. --- Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams

"Nations don't decay and collapse because of the people who peddle pornography or narcotics, but because of Christians who are no longer salt and light. God expects sinners to act like sinners, though He disapproves of what they do; but He doesn't expect saints to act like sinners. Compromising Christians not only hurt themselves and their families and churches, but also contribute to the decay of the whole nation." -- The Rev. Warren Wiersbe, former pastor of Moody Church in Chicago

"I don't know how you could be a leader without having faith in God. How do you become a good leader? One of the first things you need to do is put on the full armor of God." -- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

God isn't terrifying because he's unloving. He's terrifying because Love is terrifying--undiluted love, love that refuses compromise with evil, love that will not negotiate away the good of the beloved by allowing the beloved to set the terms of her love, love that promises a good and a future beyond all the beloved can ask or imagine. There is in heaven or earth nothing so uncanny as love." --Peter J. Leithart, President of Theopolis Institute.
"Our citizenship is in heaven," wrote the Apostle Paul (Philippians 3:20). We need to remember that when we think of the growing Christian nationalist movement in the US and the persecution that will inevitably come if we stand for Christ and HIS kingdom. "In this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." -- Unknown

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
September 29, 2023

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH'S latest parochial reports point to continued denominational decline.

While the church appeared to show an uptick and some have rebounded from COVID-19 disruptions the long-term statistics reveal a steady decline from which there appears no real reversal.

The Episcopal Church's tally of baptized members dropped just below 1.6 million in 2022, down 21% from 2013, ENS reported.

But Average Sunday Attendance the true marker for denominational health revealed an even sharper decline over the past decade, down 43% to 373,000 in 2022, though that one-year total was up by 19% from the pandemic-driven low of 313,000 in 2021.

But churchwide plate and pledge income was effectively unchanged from 2018 to 2022 at $1.3 billion and up 6% since 2013.

Taylor Hartson, a sociologist at the University of Notre Dame identified four major themes in the responses: returning to in-person worship, supporting spiritual growth across generations, welcoming newcomers into the faith community and planning for long-term sustainability.

"Many parishes are experiencing increasing costs associated with older building maintenance and utility use while also experiencing a decrease in available finances from income and pledges," Hartson wrote. "Some parishes have had to dip into endowment funds to keep up with building maintenance, some have been fortunate to secure grants, and others have had to face the difficult decision of closing the parish because they were no longer financially able to support a congregation. With inflation affecting costs and pledging, parishes are faced with difficult decisions about how to plan for their futures."

But the real reason for decline is that TEC has no gospel to proclaim. The constant pansexual push; innumerable woke issues to accommodate to the culture are non-starters for Generations X,Y and Z. Nones are on the rise even as Christianity slowly collapses in America.

Boomers, who comprise 81% of the church, and who are its biggest donors and supporters will be gone in a decade, with no one to replace them. Their average is 75.

You can read Jeff Walton's take here: https://virtueonline.org/episcopalians-see-partial-attendance-rebound-membership-melts-down


A number of sex and abuse scandals currently rocking the Episcopal Church have stretched the ailing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, questioning both his leadership, his authority and legacy.

When Curry steps down as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church next year after the statutory nine years in office, he will leave behind a legacy of a church in continuing decline with no sign of it turning around. This, despite "It's All About Love" festivals -- intermittent "revivals" he hoped would reverse the decline and jump start the church. It never happened. Curry's legacy will be one of humiliation, failure and loss.

His most notable achievement - the infamous passage of Resolution 2018-B012 -- The Witnessing and Blessing of Gay Marriage - will be his signature imprint on the church, an act that further alienated the orthodox Global South from a growing pansexually driven West, which saw the ouster of a godly evangelical catholic bishop in the person of Albany Bishop William Love.

His revivals, mimicking more evangelically driven revivals but with less substance, and a marked lack of personal repentance, failed to ignite the laity or clergy. His message of "loving, liberating, life-giving (L3)" that he flogged around the country failed to galvanize anyone. Nothing changed. His southern revival style of preaching quickly got old. Burning up the revival trail with what sounded like that ol time religion was really wokeness in disguise of God. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/pb-michael-currys-legacy-will-be-one-humiliation-failure-and-loss


THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. To stay or not to stay, that is the question for thousands of evangelical Anglicans in the Church of England as it pursues the brokering in of blessings for same sex couples. The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) is trying to secure a witness for orthodoxy in the CofE. But will it work, or is it all too late.

The February 2023 General Synod of the Church of England (C of E) gave a 'green light' to the House of Bishops to continue in their endeavour to prepare prayers to bless couples outside of marriage between one man and one woman.

This has raised substantial questions for evangelicals (and other orthodox church members) who are now asking whether a biblical understanding of sex and marriage will not just be acknowledged as one amongst many viewpoints, but positively secured for the future so as to enable them to remain in the C of E.

Some ideas have emerged.

• help local church leaders (ordained and lay) think through their own position and need for provision;
• be drawn on by Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship (DEF) committees when discussing these matters with their bishops;
• contribute to a national discussion as to what might be needed in any 'settlement' (a phrase used by the Archbishop of York in his February General Synod speech).

CEEC has given substantial thought over the last few years as to what kind of provision might be needed in the situation in which we now find ourselves -- including to the various 'forms' or 'models' by which long term provision might be made.

In short, CEEC believes that the nature and scale of provision needed will necessitate significant structural rearrangement (the detail of these considerations can be found in papers available on the CEEC website : www.ceec.info) and welcomes a discussion to enable the C of E to avert the otherwise inevitable loss of large numbers of evangelicals from the C of E. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/securing-evangelical-witness-church-england

But will there be a place for me in the Church of England? Lamented John Dunnett National Director for the Church of England Evangelical Council.

"Where does this leave those of us who wish to uphold the faith 'as we have received it'? Having been an ordained minister in the Church of England for more than 35 years, I wonder if there will be a doctrinal place for me in my later years? For those now setting out on ministry in the Church of England (either as ordained or lay) will they have the freedom to teach and preach from Biblical conviction without fear or comeback?"

However, it does appear that the bishops are determined to introduce change and, in view of this, CEEC is giving consideration to the provisions that would be essential if orthodox evangelicals are to remain in the Church of England.

When all is said and done, the only cast-iron way to secure a place for those who wish to hold to the present teaching and practice of the Church will be through a structural rearrangement of the CofE which provides orthodox bishops and archbishops, pipelines to secure the future appointment of ministers, and legal protection for clergy and churches to minister in ways that keep faith with the apostolic inheritance that -- to date -- has determined the sexual ethics of the Church of England.

You can read his lament and thoughts here: https://virtueonline.org/will-there-be-place-me-church-england


Now they are taking names. The Oxford Safe Churches Project released a report rating Churches on LGBTQ Acceptance. Oxford University students advised which churches are 'safe' for LGBTQ+ peers. Churches are ranked on a scale of one to five according to inclusivity and transparency.

A spokesperson for the group told the Church Times that the Oxford Safe Churches Project was motivated by a desire to put on public record the stance that each church took on LGBTQ+ issues rather than have students trying to "figure it out" by attending.

Commenting on this new development, a high-level Anglican cleric told VOL on the possible infringement issue of freedom of religion that, "legally speaking, freedom of religion in England is well protected by the Human Rights Act 1997 and the attendant European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9, which is therefore part of English law. (I have no knowledge of the situation in Scotland, which has its own legal system)."

"The police and some of the lower courts in England don't know this and from time to time some unfortunate Christian is arrested, but organizations such as Christian Concern are effective at defending such people, and gradually educating the legal system via a series of judgements that Christians too have the right to freedom of expression, so long as it does not cross the line into criminal activity."

"The chief threat to orthodox Christians lies within liberal denominations, where orthodox voices appear to have been silenced, and the liberal narrative prevails without challenge. Church of England bishops are in the forefront of imposing the woke culture across the denomination, including not only LGBTQ+ but the NetZero agenda. The Methodist Church is fully committed as is the United Reformed Church. Orthodox voices in the Roman Catholic Church appears to have been silenced, as that Church is being subverted by Pope Francis via his invention of "The Synodal Way" -- changing doctrine by popular vote rather than via a Council of the Church. A tactic he appears to have acquired from his Anglican friends."

He concluded, "In short, the Trojan horse entered our churches a long time ago, and its cohorts have largely done their work within the historic denominations."


On the 21st September 2023, the Diocese of Exeter, published the glossy "Statement of Needs" for its next bishop, which excluded any talk of pastoral concern for its priests or even gospel proclamation.

Anglican Futures responded by saying, "Despite the mega-byte crunching file-size, it is, in the main, the bland, managerial stuff that is found in such Church of England documents. There is nothing about looking for an episcopal leader with a proven track-record of numerically growing churches, or a proven inspirational preacher and evangelist, or a theologian with a deep understanding of historic orthodox Anglicanism. Instead, there is plenty of being, "...able to think strategically and creatively about..." and "...energetic in encouragement bold in advocacy and gentle in consolation", as if some dioceses long for a headless, heartless, visionless, voiceless bishop.


Away from Empire A vision for a more coherent Anglican Communion (Part 2) The second in a two-part series by Egyptian Archbishop Dr. Mouneer Anis on the state of the Anglican Communion, he writes that if the Communion is restored, can it be made strong enough to face future challenges? How can it fulfill God's mission in a world hostile to God? What will be the best structure that can sustain the Communion and also ensure the autonomy and interdependence of its member Provinces? In order to respond to these important questions, we need first to stop and look back at the history of the Anglican Communion and how it moved from a strong beginning to the current failures and fragmentation.

"I suggest that the process of restoring the Communion should proceed as follows: First: Developing the Anglican Covenant with representatives from all Anglican provinces. (A lot of work, that has taken years, has already been done on in this, which will make the task more straightforward now.) Second: The Anglican provinces should next be invited to adopt and sign the Covenant in order to join the newly reconstituted Anglican Communion as full members. You can read the full text here: https://virtueonline.org/away-empire-vision-more-coherent-anglican-communion-part-2

You can read Part 1 here: A DEEPLY TORN COMMUNION here: https://virtueonline.org/deeply-torn-communion It can also be found in the Summer edition of the Anglican Way https://anglicanway.org


Nigerian Anglicans might be co-laborers in the gospel but they play hardball when it comes to niceness in dealing with fellow Anglican believers, those who share common beliefs.

The Church of Nigeria recently rejected a request to fold their Missionary Diocese into the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Archbishop Henry Ndukuba has rejected all efforts to bring its missionary dioceses into the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) fold, despite requests by ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach to do so.

In an exchange of letters, Archbishop Beach wrote to primate Ndukuba saying that he had attempted in person and through letters to address the "Church of Nigeria's continued presence in the North America and his plans to expand his ministry in North America without concern about the ministry of your daughter province, the Anglican Church in North America." You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/church-nigeria-rejects-request-fold-missionary-diocese-acna


The Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia is calling on the Province of S. E. Asia to break ties with the Church of England. In a press release from the Synod of the Diocese of West Malaysia to the House of Bishops of the province argued that the General Synod of the Church of England had voted to incorporate into the Church of England's authorized liturgy prayers for the blessing of individuals in same-sex unions, which they said was in direct contravention of Resolution 1.10 of the
Lambeth Conference 1998 on Human Sexuality, which declared that "homosexual
practice is incompatible with Scripture" and advised against the "legitimizing or blessing of same sex union."

This week Singapore Bishop Titus Chung Khiam Boon was elected the new primate of the Church of the Province of South East Asia during an Extraordinary Provincial Synod that included representatives from the four dioceses in the province: Kuching and Sabah, on the northern strip of Borneo, along with Singapore and West Malaysia.

Chung will take office in February 2024, when he will succeed the current primate, the Most Rev. Melter Tais, who will continue to serve as bishop of Sabah. It is not known at this time of going to press where Primate Boon stands on the hot button issues currently dividing the communion.

The Church of the Province of South East Asia is thought to be the fastest growing of the 42 Anglican Communion member churches. It has missionary deaneries in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal, reports ENS.


Has former New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham gone Buddhist? I was in Vancouver, BC recently and asked several sources all of whom said that they had heard that he had. It was Ingham who began the sexual revolution in the ACoC in 2002 over the blessing of same-sex unions, causing a wider rift in the Anglican Communion. Is anybody really surprised?


In an article entitled "What is the Future of Evangelicalism?: Evangelicalism Now", the late Dr J. I. Packer, a distinguished Canadian Anglican theologian and author, lamented that North American evangelicalism had entered a "winter" from which it is unlikely to emerge any time soon. Christianity in America is 3,000 miles wide and half an inch deep, opined Packer.

A recent book The Dechurching of America by three authors, Jim Davis, Ryan Burge, and Michael Graham argue that 40 million Americans have left the church with most not likely to return any time soon, if ever.

More than half of the entire group of dechurched evangelicals surveyed fell into the category of "cultural Christians." Graham explained that this group is predominantly male and white, with high marriage rates, education, and income. This group also leaned left on the political spectrum. Its members were labeled as "cultural Christians" because they scored the lowest of any group on Christian orthodoxy. For example, only 1% of this group said that they believed the statement: "Jesus is the Son of God" and just 22% agreed that "the Bible is the literal word of God." That speaks volumes.

What this says to this writer, who has been watching the slow deterioration of Christianity in North America, is that the problem lies squarely in the pulpit. Preachers are preaching an uncertain sound. They have failed to preach "the whole counsel of God." Preachers have ridden their hobby horses in a scattershot way, instead of grasping the fullness of what God has revealed. That often means preaching in an expository way through the books of the Bible. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/christianity-america-3000-miles-wide-and-half-inch-deep-dr-ji-packer

FIRST WOMAN BISHOP SUFFRAGAN FOR ARMED FORCES. The first woman bishop for Episcopal Armed, The Rev. Ann Ritonia will be consecrated as bishop suffragan for Episcopal Armed Forces and Federal Ministries during an 11 a.m. ET service Saturday, Sept. 30, at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, in Washington, D.C. She will be the first woman to serve in that role in the ministry's nearly 60-year history.

In a note of conciliation, The Rt. Rev. Derek Jones, Bishop of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy for the ACNA said, "I give my heartfelt congratulations to Bishop-elect Ritonia and spoke with her at length just a few days ago. Within the US Military, Chaplains are charged to ministry working in pluralistic settings and, thus, Anglican Chaplains and those from the Episcopal Church often work alongside one another, and with chaplains from varying faith traditions. Her experience in the USMC and Reserves will serve her, and the Episcopal Church, well."


MALE OR FEMALE: THERE'S NOTHING IN BETWEEN. Since the dawn of our species, the evolution of two distinct sexes has been fundamental to human reproduction. There is no such thing as a 'sex spectrum.' More than 99.9 percent of animal species that have developed since the emergence of male and female sexes reproduce sexually. And 95 percent of those animal species--including humans--have male and female sexes in separate individuals, whereby organisms are either male or female for their entire lives.

Zachary A. Elliott made his case articulately here: https://quillette.com/2023/09/25/male-female-end-of-list/
25 Sep 2023


STACKING THE CONCLAVE. By the end of the day on Sept. 30, Pope Francis will have crossed an important threshold: He will have appointed enough cardinals to have created a supermajority at the next conclave, the gathering of cardinals that will select his successor.

Taken at face value, Francis' statistical watershed suggests he has ensured that the next pope will share his style and vision. But the reality is far more complex. History shows that conclaves exercise a logic of their own that owes little to the pope who devised them.

After all, Francis, who is seen as a liberal reformer, was elected by a conclave for the most part assembled by Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II, both staunch conservatives.

Of course, stacking the deck is nothing new to The Episcopal Church and now increasingly the Church of England where Justin Welby is putting in place women bishops and activist homosexuals in key positions, one is the Archbishops' Secretary for Appointments who sits at his right hand in Lambeth Palace!


Abortion has gone from being tolerated to celebrated. What kind of sick people would tell you that killing your baby is a pathway to joy asked Tucker Carlson. The former FOX news anchor is a member of The Episcopal Church. Apparently, he is going to stay because the people like him. You can watch it here: https://twitter.com/TuckerCarlson/status/1706428363705835678

Now there is increasing evidence that the laity in TEC and in most mainline churches is far more conservative than their clergy and bishops. A new survey of mainline clergy finds those leading the historic denominations that once shaped the American Protestant scene are far more liberal than their congregants on a host of political and social issues.

The Public Religion Research Institute survey of 3,066 mainline clergy, released Thursday (Sept. 14), shows that about half identify with the Democratic Party, 28% identify as independents and only 14% as Republicans. You can read this story here:


The esteemed Anglican House Publishers is moving their non-liturgical books to a new platform with Amazon KDP, so they will be much more accessible and affordable. They are beginning with a Tenth Anniversary sale. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-house-publishing-amazon-kindle-direct-publishing-kdp



The Rise and Fall of the Evangelical Elite can be read here: https://chroniclesmagazine.org/featured/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-evangelical-elite/

Andrew Brunson Offers a View of Impending Persecution can be read here: https://virtueonline.org/andrew-brunson-offers-view-impending-persecution-part-1

Mainline clergy are more liberal than their congregants:

When your head is in the Tiger's mouth: https://virtueonline.org/when-your-head-tigers-mouth-heartfelt-plea-orthodox-anglicans-cofe

Pets Are Us: https://virtueonline.org/pets-are-us

Male and Female: There is nothing in between: https://virtueonline.org/male-or-female-theres-nothing-between

John Henry Newman: A tortured mind who attempted to straddle two worlds:


I conclude this week's VIEWPOINTS on this note: Christian Identity, Christian Genocide. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director, Barnabas Aid writes that the history of the Church is a history of persecution, of suffering for Christ. There have been many mass killings of our brothers and sisters as in Lyon, sadly unknown and unrecognized even by most Christians. If Christians are considered another race, the term "genocide" is particularly appropriate. Jesus suffered for us and He calls us to suffer for Him. There is no escape from this, for "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus took care to warn His followers of this (John 15:18 -- 16:4). In our identification with our Lord, we must be ready for that suffering and ready, if necessary, to pay the ultimate price by dying for Him.

"Much of the Christian writing and preaching that circulates in our world comes out of Western contexts where Christians have for centuries enjoyed freedom and, until recently, general societal approval. But this is an abnormal situation for Christians worldwide and throughout history. Furthermore, things are changing and increasingly we are all faced with the issue: what is my identity? If it is a Christian identity, founded on Christ and His cross, we are called to journey in the way of the cross, which will bring with it opprobrium. But we can learn lessons from the past, from the faithfulness of those who have gone before (Hebrews 11), and apply those lessons to our own age as we seek to be faithful to Christ in an ungodly world which lies in the hands of the evil one."

"The Bible sees only two categories of person: either we belong to Christ or we do not. 'Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life' (1 John 5:12). The world will inevitably persecute those who belong to Christ. Let us therefore rejoice in all our sufferings, especially if we are granted the privilege of suffering for Christ, and join our prayers with all our fellow citizens of heaven."


Dear friends. Next week will find me in Kurdistan, Iraq, meeting with Christian missionaries reaching out to the Islamic world. I will be in the company of two fine young Anglican missionaries who are doing sterling work among Muslim groups across the Middle East and Africa. If you think you can help, you can make a tax-deductible donation by check, credit card or PAYPAL below.

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