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GAFCON Archbishops & Theologian Push Back on CofE Homosexual Bishop Appointment * Latest TEC Figures show Church Continuing to Plummet * Welby's Task Group in Desperate Spin to Keep Communion together * Bishop Jenkins Dies

How to find faith. It is no use moaning that we seem to suffer from a chronic unbelief, or envying others ('I wish I had your faith'), as if our lack of faith were like our temperament, a congenital condition which cannot be changed. For God himself has given to us the means to increase our faith: Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). We have to take time and trouble to hear in order to believe. --- John R. W. Stott

The evidence from neuro-moral psychology, the field of my current studies, is that in normal people, impulsive behaviors can be conditioned for better or for worse. The neuronal plasticity underpinning our affective and emotional responses, and the capacities we all have to build up regulatory cognitive responses, indicate that sexual reorientation therapies can work. --- Andrew Mullins

There is an area of the Atlantic Ocean, called the Bermuda Triangle, within which ships and aircraft vanish without a trace. When it comes to transgenderism all reason and logic disappears within what we might call the Gender Triangle. --- Daniel Moody

The entire nation has become a culture of sissies, each person taking offense at every little thing they possibly can -- real or imagined (mostly imagined). On college campuses, so-called safe spaces are set up for the truly sissified, where they can go and cry and be protected from big, nasty, conservative meanies calling the bluff on their idiotic culture of self-weaknesses. --- Michael Voris

Finding a church to attend regularly is a good move for your mental health and happiness, two new studies show. People who go to church feel happier both on Sunday and throughout the week, and gain both meaning and good coping skills, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found. -- Pew study

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
September 9, 2016

It should come as no surprise that the appointment of a homosexual bishop, Nicholas Chamberlain, as Bishop of Grantham, (albeit celibate) should get pushback by the GAFCON archbishops.

"We believe that this appointment is a major error," they said.

"In 2003, Jeffrey John's candidacy for the post of Bishop of Reading, caused deep divisions within the Diocese of Oxford and beyond, and this news about Nicholas Chamberlain will exacerbate the same divisions within the Church of England and throughout the wider Anglican Communion.

"In this case the element of secrecy in the appointment to the episcopacy of a man in a same sex relationship gives the impression that it has been arranged with the aim of presenting the church with a 'fait accompli', rather than engaging with possible opposition in the spirit of the 'shared conversations'.

"We remain opposed to the guidelines for clergy and Bishops, permitting them to be in same sex relationships as long as they publicly declare that the relationship is not sexual. This creates confusion in terms of the church's teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live, given the reality of our humanity, and temptation to sexual sin."

The letter was signed by The Most Rev. Peter Jensen, General Secretary of GAFCON Global, and the Rev Canon Andy Lines, Chairman of the GAFCON UK Task Force.

Of course, we only have the word of Chamberlain that he is celibate and why should we believe him?

My brother-in-law died of AIDS at the age of 42 (his partner died three weeks later) and they had been together for over 12 years. He said it was impossible for homosexuals to be celibate. Even after bath houses were closed down in New York City, men met in bars and had sex, most of it unprotected, he said. I also had a dear friend, a Baptist minister, who died of AIDS in the 80s (he had been married with two daughters) and he likewise confirmed that celibacy was not on anyone's mind.

So if he is celibate, why raise the issue of his being gay then? If sex is not part of the relationship, why not say he is simply sharing a house with another man, why make an issue of his (sexual) identity?

The Rev. Dr. Gavin Ashenden takes it even further and says that in coming out as gay, he is, to some extent, repudiating his faith in Christ. Why so? Because he is choosing a new identity that is nothing to do with Christianity or the Gospels or the lived tradition, but is a social and political construct designed to dilute the Judaeo Christian ethics that underlie Christianized culture.

"To come out as gay is to adopt and promote an anthropology that is pagan and not Christian. It is to repudiate the paradigms of Scripture and overlay them with a model of human self-expression that the Bible tells us heads off in a different one than the one God intends for us. The Bible and the Christian tradition is very clear. We are made men or woman, and we come together in marriage where the gift of sexual attraction and expression is located with the intention of becoming co-creators with God and having children. The Bible knows nothing about sex as recreation, sex as self-fulfillment or sex outside marriage. It understands that these are option (known as temptations) and forbids them.

"This heading off in a different direction is something we all do (we call it 'sin'), and the remedy is simple. Jesus has paid the price, so turn round, come back, stop and start again (we call it repentance.).

"By repudiating his identity in Christ and putting on a secular identity which is defined by erotic attraction outside the boundaries of marriage, a Christian would be repudiating his Christian identity and adopting a romanticized-erotic one instead.

"Why would a Christian repudiate their identity in Christ and adopt a secular erotic identity instead? Well, it might be to justify pursuing sexual intimacy with a person of the same sex."

The bishop of Grantham has told the world three things.

The first is that he is adopting an erotic, sub Christian anthropology as a way of describing his core identity as a human being. No longer primarily 'in Christ', but rather primarily 'gay'.

The second is that he is not pursuing sexual intimacy with another man. That's a good thing, because the House of bishops have passed 'guidelines' saying that is a requirement of bishops. (They could have referred to the Holy Scriptures, but House of Bishops guidelines seem to have more authority in the C of E.)

The third thing he has told the world is that he is 'in a relationship' that has no sexual or erotic expression. I find this very confusing. Many men are in a relationship with another man (though married to a woman) to whom they are deeply committed in an affectionate, and non-erotic way. We call it friendship. We could even call it 'best friends.' But what is its relevance to anyone else?

Unless, of course, the bishop means to tell the world that he is sexually aroused by this (and other men), but claims special virtue for not acting on it.

Dr. Ashenden has it exactly right. You can read his full take here: Gay in Grantham? The eroticizing of the Church of England http://www.virtueonline.org/gay-grantham-eroticising-church-england

Dr. Ashenden's views contrast sharply with those of Dr. Idowu-Fearon, general secretary of the London-based Anglican Communion Office, who said: "It is clear that Bishop Nicholas has abided by the guidelines set down by the Church. In fact, his lifestyle would make him acceptable to serve the church at any time in its history. I reject the suggestion that his appointment is an 'error'.

"I do recognize that this is a sensitive area for many people whatever their convictions. It is also a difficult time for Bishop Nicholas with revelations about his private life being made public in such a dramatic way, against his will, by anonymous sources that seem to be out to make trouble.

"The Anglican Communion is a worldwide family and, like any family, we don't agree on everything," he added. "But we are committed to working together on difficult issues. I want to reassure the Communion of my commitment to what was set out at the Lambeth conference in 1998 -- that human sexuality finds it full expression in marriage between a man and woman."

One can sense the coming battle between Fearon and Okoh is not far hence.

Naturally, after Chamberlain revealed his true sexual identity, a dozen or so married, homosexual clergy wrote an open letter to the Church, demanding "full inclusion of LGBTI people in the Church".

In an extraordinary move, the letter was signed not only by priests and canons who have already been open about their same-sex marriage, but by also some who are revealing their marriage for the first time. The 14 clergy behind the letter include eight revealing their identity and six concealing it, but wishing to signify their support. Another eight married LGBT lay members of the Church have also put their name to the letter.

Guidelines from the College of Bishops -- also known as the House of Bishops, which, as part of the General Synod sets rules within the Church -- currently forbid same-sex marriages among clergy and only allow same-sex relationships if they are sexless. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the nature of Chamberlain's relationship did not contravene Church of England rules.

The letter appeared in The Sunday Times and was sent to the College of Bishops in advance of their three-day meeting about LGBTI issues of September 12. It calls on the bishops to "move forward", "be bold" and "respect that diversity of theology within the Church now exists and that there is more than one understanding of what a faithful Christian may believe".

The letter ends: "We will always want to see the full inclusion of LGBTI people in the Church, and we will continue to work towards it. We look forward to welcoming a first step in that process and a move away from the harm and hurt that has so often been done in the name of the Church."

There is little doubt that Archbishop Justin Welby will cave into these folk, he has at least been consistent on that score. Bit by bit, the pansexualists have whittled away at his authority, the Church and Scripture

It should further come as no surprise that Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh says that the "greatest cause for concern continues to be the British Isles".

GAFCON UK has recently been reconstituted precisely to meet the challenges that Archbishop Okoh outlines and is committed to grappling with the departure from orthodoxy in the UK. The AMiE is about to launch an ambitious plan for pioneering church-planting in the context of the ReNew Conference in September, where the aim is to encourage regions throughout England that pioneer, establish and secure healthy local Anglican churches.

The sparks are just beginning to fly in England, and, despite the Bishop of Chichester saying that this is nothing new and that the CofE will muddle through as it always has, he is living in self-delusion. The ball game has changed. A new day has dawned for the Church of England. The Episcopal Church (TEC) is no longer the only Anglican player in the US, the ACNA is slowly but surely supplanting it. In time, the same will happen in England, it will just take a little longer. But remember, the biggest Anglican players in England with the largest churches are all Evangelicals, and they pay the bills for liberal dioceses. IF they should coalesce under a single AMIE umbrella, then much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth will be heard throughout the land.

*****

TEC's latest attendance numbers came out this week and, to no one's surprise, the Church continues to plummet.

Even with a new presiding bishop at the helm, The Episcopal Church continues to hemorrhage membership. Apparently all talk of the Jesus Movement is not catching on. What a surprise. Beating people up with charges of racism and white privilege are hardly church growth starters.

Jessica Jones with CMC News, a broadcasting arm of The Christian Post, reported that according to information she recently received from the Office of the General Convention, The Episcopal Church's latest membership tally shows a loss of 60,000 in members, resulting in the closure of 69 parishes.

Each autumn The Episcopal Church releases its general diocesan and parish membership, ASA and Plate & Pledge figures in the form of bar graphs. The 2016 bar graphs, which have now been posted, reflect information gleaned from the 2015 parochial reports. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society will follow up with the release and posting of the 2015 Table of Statistics later this year.

The 2014 Table of Statistics show that The Episcopal Church had 7,044 parishes or missions. A loss of 69 churches would bring that figure below 7,000 active congregations. Also, The Episcopal Church's 2014 membership figure was 1,956,042. A three per cent loss of 60,000 souls would mean that slightly more than 1,896,000 persons still claim to be Episcopalians.

You can read Mary Ann Mueller's full report in today's digest.

*****

It looks very like Los Angeles Bishop Jon J. Bruno will get his day in court, (but not because he wants it) and if he loses, he will suffer the humiliation of being among just a small number of bishops to be tossed out of the church. He has already announced his retirement.

His undoing is the way he handled, or mishandled, the St. James the Great parish debacle.

Anglican curmudgeon and canon lawyer, Allan Haley, has called Los Angeles Episcopal Bishop Bruno -- the Hypocrite par excellence, accusing him of speaking "with a forkèd tongue.

"Bishop Bruno is the recipient of Title IV disciplinary charges filed against him by various Episcopalian members of St. James the Great, the choice parish in Newport Beach, California, built upon donated property worth millions in today's real estate market. Prior to filing those charges, the same group had filed a civil action against Bishop Bruno in the Superior Court for Orange County.

"Bishop Bruno rejected all efforts at mediation or conciliation under the Title IV disciplinary canons, and simply refused to recognize that he had violated any canons as to the remnant congregation of St. James the Great -- whom he eventually locked out of their church, and forced to hold open-air services in a nearby park. Meanwhile, his attempt to sell the property on which St. James was built met with a roadblock filed by the original donor of the property, who had imposed a condition that the property be used only for church, and not real estate development, purposes. (Unfortunately for the donor, California has a statute that eradicates any such limitation after a stated period of years, unless the donor files a renewal -- so the condition may turn out to be unenforceable, after all.)

"And now that the proceedings have reached the Hearing stage, the Canons provide that all proceedings (except its private deliberations) "shall be open ... to persons from the public." (Canon IV.13.6.) So this blog is not violating any confidentiality of the proceedings by publishing Bishop Bruno's hypocrisy for all to see." You can read Haley's excellent commentary in today's digest.

Another twist in this story is Bruno's response to the Title IV by St. James action. He states:

"6. On May 17, 2015, I visited St. James the Great and met with the congregation to formally announce the sale, and to discuss issues going forward. This was done on this date as a result of breaches of confidence regarding the pending sale by a number of persons, including Suffragan Bishop Mary Glasspool."

Is this why Glasspool was shuffled off to the Diocese of New York as Assistant Bishop to Bishop Andrew M.L. Dietsche? Inquiring minds want to know.

*****

The Task Group set up after the Primates' Gathering and Meeting in January to "maintain conversation" has met for the first time and stressed its determination to work together. But it acknowledged the process would take time and could not be rushed.

The Primates asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint the group to restore relationships, rebuild mutual trust, heal the legacy of hurt and explore deep differences. Archbishop Welby presented the group's mandate to ACC16 in Lusaka in April, where it was received and affirmed. This week, seven members of the group have been meeting in London.

"What we are trying to do here is mirror what we desire for the whole Communion," said the Coadjutor Bishop of Huron in Canada, the Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls. "We are trying to practice in our engagement with each other here what we long for in the wider Communion."

Archbishop Ian Ernest, from the Province of the Indian Ocean, said exchanges within the group had been frank and open.

"What has come out very clearly is the level of transparency that we have in the group. We have been able to be open and speak openly about our differences," he said. "We also recognize the richness of the Communion. And we all love our Communion -- that is what binds us together."

This group will achieve absolutely nothing that will appease the mostly orthodox Global South primates, who have made it clear they won't be in the same room with US-PB Michael Curry, who is part of this group. These mostly liberal clergy (Ian Ernest is the most orthodox) cannot stop the flow of history which is going against them. Western Anglican provinces are dying, the Global South is growing. They have different gospels and the two cannot ever be reconciled.

*****

Earlier this year, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh elected James Hobby as its new bishop by a majority of deputies at a Special Convention. He will shortly be officially consecrated. Here is what he wrote, "In the last 30+ years, I have had the opportunity of witnessing the consecration of 5 bishops (and the installation of 1 Archbishop). I can tell you, though my personal liturgical tastes run in the direction of simplicity, the sense of awe and of connection with the Church through time and space at these grand events can shape one's imagination and deepen one's commitment.

"Since you will have very few opportunities to experience the consecration of a bishop, I encourage you to join with the whole Diocese (and with 2 seated archbishops, 1 retired archbishop and the bishops of 17 dioceses, representing 3 continents!) in a grand celebration of what God is doing in our midst and around the world.

"In case you're wondering if I'm aware of how narcissistic it sounds to be inviting everyone to my consecration, I am. But, the consistent word that the Lord has delivered to me over the last several months has been, "This is not about you." So, my invitation is not to come see me consecrated. My invitation is to come and exalt Jesus who has been working steadily over two centuries to fulfill His promise that He would build His Church -- and then use that Church to break down the gates of hell. My invitation is to come and celebrate what God has done and is doing in our midst. My invitation is to come and see, come and sense, the breadth of this diocese and of the Church. I believe it will inspire and encourage you. Registration is NOT necessary.

"I'm looking forward to the many years of Gospel partnership that we will share. Remembering that it's not about any of us, only about Jesus."

The event will take place on Saturday, September 10, 2016, at 10:00AM at St. Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral, 108 N Dithridge Avenue · Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213 (Fronting on Fifth Avenue in Oakland). A celebration lunch will follow on the lawn at the Church of the Ascension,

4729 Ellsworth Ave · Pittsburgh, PA 15213

*****

The Rt. Rev. David Jenkins, former Bishop of Durham, died this week, age of 91. He made headlines during the height of his fame when he questioned the resurrection and the Virgin Birth. And his consecration as a bishop in York Minster was within a few days of a fire in that cathedral!

Jenkins was the inspiration for an American Episcopal, Bishop John Shelby Spong, who went on to write the book on heresies.

One blogger wrote, long before the ordination of women, David Jenkins was one of the reasons why many people decided to abandon the Church of England. As one good man, who had spent decades as a Naval Chaplain, and who was later ordained a priest in the Catholic Church, put it to me: "The Bishop of Durham professes the historic Christian creeds, but he also believes he can interpret them as he pleases. This means that the profession of the Creed is now meaningless, because it can mean whatever we want it to mean." This idea -- the malleability of religious truth -- is what drove Newman out of the Church of England, too.

Jenkins paved the way, using doubt and uncertainty as his guidelines, and only assisted the doubters and, ultimately, many who would renounce and denounce the faith.

Jenkins was the "enfant terrible" of theology and we have all suffered as a result.

*****

The Anglican Church of Canada is taking a prophetic stand on euthanasia, reports David of Samizdat. After a year of studying, conversation, theological reflection and discernment, the ACoC has produced a report on Canada's recent law permitting state sponsored assisted suicide. The report boldly proclaims that it is a reality -- it is actually happening. Really! It is!

The ACoC is neither for nor against euthanasia because it doesn't want to upset anyone; upsetting people is reserved for same-sex marriage.

The report noted; "In a nod to changing times, the Anglican Church of Canada's latest report on physician-assisted dying, rather than opposing the practice, recognizes it as a reality. The report offers reflections and resources around assisted dying and related issues, such as palliative care. In a statement accompanying its release, Primate Fred Hiltz acknowledged that everyone would like the fact that the argued neither against nor in favor physician-assisted dying. "A report like this is not going to please everybody because it doesn't give a direct answer, and that will frustrate some people," Hiltz said. "But...to give a direct answer is, in fact, to alienate people over very sensitive and complex issue."

The article goes on to note that the law 'allows assisted dying only to those who are either near death or whose death is "reasonably foreseeable."' The Anglican Church of Canada itself falls into that category and, I understand, will soon request to be put out of its misery.

*****

Christians around the globe are uniting in a World Day of Prayer for Creation, September 1 -- a move which was started by the spiritual leader of the Orthodox churches. The day of prayer -- and the Season of Creation that runs from today to the Feast of St Francis of Assisi (4 October) -- was launched by the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios, in 1989. Last year, Pope Francis called on Catholics to join in; and the Anglican Consultative Council -- while not specifying any particular period -- has repeatedly called on Anglican Provinces to set aside a liturgical season of prayer for creation and the environment.

Anglican blogger David of Samizdat notes that the size of the earth is 0.000000000000000000019% of that of the entire universe, a fact that goes to show that mainline denominations are not nearly as inclusive as they would have us think. They are only praying for the earth, leaving the rest of Creation to fend for itself.

"No matter; much as I dislike pollution as much as the next man, it seems fairly obvious to me that the church has made an idol out of environmentalism, the catchphrase used to conceal the real agenda of wealth redistribution, an activity near and dear to the hearts of liberals in every denomination.

"No right-thinking liberal believes that God actually answers prayer, of course -- that's why we needed the Paris get-together on climate change last year, when the world's elite flew their private jets across half the world to tell the rest of us we are using too much gas in our cars.

"Entropy is causing the universe to run down. Eventually all activity will end -- even Anglican clergy having conversations, hard to believe, I know -- and the universe will end up motionless and dead in thermodynamic equilibrium at a few degrees above absolute zero. In spite of the combined best efforts of Al Gore, the Pope and Fred Hiltz.

"Meanwhile, to take up the slack left by the negligent environmental department of the World Council of Churches, I suggest we all start praying for the black hole over-population in the vicinity of SAGE0536AGN. It's very worrying.

"To end on a positive note: according to Revelation 21, God will reverse entropy and remake the universe. The only problem is, mainline churches no longer believe the Bible."

*****

Phyllis Schlafly died this week at the age of 92. She will be eulogized extensively by those who knew this formidable, brilliant and complex woman personally. Schlafly was a lioness on the political right; brilliant, focused and a dynamic champion for faith, family and human liberty.

Her effectiveness as a defender of traditional family values is best witnessed by the unending hate and vitriol poured out on her personally, even now in her death.

The matriarch of the radical left feminist movement, Betty Friedan, famously told her in a 1973 debate, "I'd like to burn you at the stake." Such was the impact of this extraordinary woman.

To say that Mrs. Schlafly started a brush fire of grassroots activism that exerted enormous -- pivotal -- and continuing influence on American politics is probably too little credit.

*****

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Next month I will be heading out the door to Cairo to a meeting of orthodox Anglican archbishops.

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