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GAFCON Chairman Sets Sights on CofE * CONCORD, NH: St. Paul's Faces Lawsuits from Angry Parents * TEC Exec Council Gets Financial Wake-Up Call * CofE heads for Demographic Rapids * Homosexual CofE Dean Blasted for Centurion/Servant Sodomy Claim

A recent Gallup poll exposed three terrible truths. First, we are not succeeding in transforming hearts and minds to cultivate and sustain a Culture of Life. Second, we are losing the younger generation to materialism, secularism and moral relativism. Third, the moral compass and Christian conscience in America is systematically being phased out of existence while indifference and tolerance of evil fill the void. --- Fr. Shenan J. Boquet HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL

The teaching of Jesus. It is difficult to understand those who cling to the doctrine of the fundamental goodness of human nature, and do so in a generation which has witnessed two devastating world wars and especially the horrors which occasioned and accompanied the second. It is even harder to understand those who attribute this belief to Jesus Christ. For he taught nothing of the kind. Jesus taught that within the soil of every man's heart there lie buried the ugly seeds of every conceivable sin -'evil thoughts, acts of fornication, of theft, murder, adultery, ruthless greed, and malice; fraud, indecency, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.' All thirteen are 'evil things', and they come out of the heart of 'the man' or 'the men', every man. This is Jesus Christ's estimate of fallen human nature. --- John R.W. Stott

How can people with stained consciences draw near to God? It's relevant because there's one thing that modern life and scientific progress and psychological therapies and medical discoveries have not made the slightest advance in solving. And that is, what is God's work in this "time of reformation" and this text all about? (Heb. 9: 1-14). It is all about how people with stained consciences can draw near to God. -- John Piper

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
June 10, 2016

The Africans are coming, the Africans are coming, and if the message is not getting through, THE AFRICANS ARE COMING...this time to England. Archbishop Welby, beware. Dumb and dumber things are happening in your church and the Africans have finally had enough.

The spotlight is now squarely on the Church of England and the man who is pointing the high beam right at Lambeth Palace is Nigerian Archbishop, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the new chairman of GAFCON.

This week he let loose a thunderbolt and said the Church of England had recently crossed a "line" with a series of decisions seen as endorsing a more liberal stance on homosexuality and this behavior is intolerable.

Okoh said many orthodox Anglicans now view the British branch of Anglicanism in a similar light to The Episcopal Church (TEC), which has been accused of "heresy" for ordaining openly gay bishops and endorsing homosexual marriage and had already torn the fabric of the communion, possibly never to be fixed.

In whacking the CofE, he also gave his full backing to a new breakaway network of churches in England, the AMiE set up outside the control of the Church of England and the Anglican Church in North America.

His intervention is the clearest sign yet of a renewed threat of schism within Anglicanism, writes John Bingham in The Telegraph.

This came about when a single Nigerian diocese last week broke off ties with the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool because of the appointment of an American bishop who supports homosexual marriage to a special role in the area. They were angered by the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff as an assistant bishop in Liverpool as part of a twinning arrangement with her diocese in the US.

The Diocese of Akure in Nigeria responded by cutting its own long-standing ties with Liverpool.

This was a bridge too far for orthodox Anglicans and Okoh said so in no uncertain terms.

Last month there was also anger among traditionalists, after a cleric from the Church of England's Oxford diocese took part in a celebration of Desmond Tutu's daughter's homosexual wedding in South Africa.

A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself ... The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalized in England, said Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.

The worldwide Anglican Communion has been in turmoil for the last 13 years since TEC ordained its first, openly homogenital bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, overturning 2,000 years of church teaching on marriage. The Episcopal Church went further and changed its canons at its most recent General Convention to allow homosexual marriages.

Orthodox Anglicans said this was an abandonment of Biblical teaching and accused the Americans of heresy, alongside the Anglican Church of Canada, which also takes a liberal line on sexuality.

While it was thought that a make-or-break summit in Canterbury in January, involving the primate, has brokered a deal by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, they agreed to "walk together" despite their differences, but imposed sanctions on TEC, including barring it from key bodies for the next three years.

Within weeks, GAFCON leaders claim this had been reneged on at a meeting of Anglican leaders in Lusaka, in April.

In his pastoral letter this week, Archbishop Okoh said the original "focus of concern" for GAFCON leaders had been the churches in North America, but switched gears to say that "our concern is increasingly with the British Isles."

"A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff, of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.

"The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalized in England."

He added that GAFCON was standing in "solidarity" with the leaders of the Anglican Mission in England -- a network of traditionalist churches outside the Church of England - at "this testing time".

A source close to GAFCON added: "All of these things together are like a tidal wave.

"The fragile trust that enabled the last Primates' Meeting to take place in January hangs in the balance.

"The relationship between Akure and Liverpool is clearly broken and a lot now depends on how the Church of England responds to what has been done by one of their own dioceses.

"The GAFCON primates as a whole are paying careful attention. There is a high level of awareness about what is going on in England and there could be global repercussions, both for things done and left undone."

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt. Rev Paul Bayes, said the decision by the Diocese of Akure to cut its ties was a source of "regret".

"I would prefer to walk together with Akure as well as with Virginia, within the one Communion whose life we share," he said.

"Despite the tensions that beset us, the Anglican Communion still testifies to the love of the God who brings us together. In Liverpool I want us to play our part in this testimony of love."

But this squishy view of love won't play in the global South. They have been betrayed too often by talk of "inclusivity," "diversity" and false views of "love" and they aren't buying it any more.

You can be sure in the coming months, African leaders will be visiting England to jump start the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), just as they did the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and, before long, Welby will have a rebellion on his front door step.

In today's digest you can read a story by Julian Mann, who says that it should be easier for Local Churches to Join the Anglican Mission in England.

"GFCA chairman and Archbishop of Nigeria, Dr. Nicholas Okoh, reaffirmed solidarity with the Anglican Mission in England (https://anglicanmissioninengland.org/) so this now raises the question: how can it be made easier for established local churches to join AMiE?

"It is of course entirely proper and biblical that AMiE should exercise due diligence over the churches and ministers they are being asked to accredit. There may be thorny issues in certain cases that the AMiE selectors need to investigate thoroughly.

"But as a general principle, if a minister has already been serving a local church for some time and his church family is with him in wanting to join AMiE, should not the process be made as straightforward as possible? Surely long interviews and lengthy deliberations are going to put local churches off and drive them to look elsewhere for their wider accountability?" You can read more about all this in today's digest.

*****

Two months after Presiding Bishop Michael Curry fired two senior administrators for misconduct, the church's governing board has a new mandate: find out why the misconduct remained hidden and strive to prevent a recurrence.

That's according to several nonprofit governance experts, who say a board must take swift action to review and, if necessary, strengthen policies and procedures after receiving a misconduct report, writes Jeffrey MacDonald in The Living Church.

The 40-member Executive Council will have its first crack at the situation when it meets June 8-10 in Chaska, Minnesota. Among the pressing items: confront how long the misconduct went unaddressed and why.

"As part of the board's obligation to be informed, they're going to have to understand what that duration was and why the system failed," said Kevin LaCroix, an Ohio-based attorney and longtime insurance industry consultant on director and officer liability issues. Council members will then need to assure "not only that there are appropriate procedures, but also that they are followed."

The meeting will be the council's first since the Philadelphia-based law firm of Curley, Hessinger & Johnsrud delivered results of its independent, three-month investigation. The report led to the April firings of Sam McDonald, deputy chief operating officer, and Alex Baumgarten, director of community engagement.

*****

In Concord, New Hampshire, this week, the second shoe dropped on St. Paul's School, the prestigious Episcopal prep school, when the parents of the then freshman girl, who was caught up in the school's secret sex society's Senior Salute, filed suit in the US District Court in New Hampshire, charging that the elite boarding school failed to protect their daughter from sexual objectification, harassment, abuse and dehumanization. The girl's parents also charge that the school did not protect their daughter's well-being and safety while she was a residential student in its care, resulting in "ruinous harm" to her and the family.

The parents of Miss X, who are listed in the lawsuit as "John Doe" and "Jane Doe" -- using pseudonyms to protect their minor daughter's privacy and identity -- are demanding a full jury trial as they seek to hold St. Paul's School (SPS) accountable for its malfeasance and misfeasance in allowing an atmosphere to develop which led to graduating senior Owen Labrie's sexual conquest of their daughter, Miss X, who is referred to as "J.D." in the law suit. The true identity of the plaintiffs and their address, is known to and protected by the court.

The young St. Paul's freshman was allegedly "sexually slayed" by Labrie, on Friday, May 30, 2014 who then had graduated with top honors on June 1, and was arrested by the Concord Police six weeks later for his part in the Senior Salute sex games. As a result, Labrie's plans to attend Harvard, followed by divinity school, were dashed, and he found himself enmeshed in, and convicted through a criminal trial.

The lawsuit all alleges that Labrie "was far from a lone bad apple who failed to accustom himself to SPS culture and abide by school norms. Rather, Labrie embodied the warped culture of sexual conduct and deviant moral norms at SPS."

Naturally, the elite Episcopal school says the lawsuit is without merit. You can read Mary Ann Mueller's fine reporting on this in today's digest.

*****

Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA, has been accused of misusing memorial donations., according to a source who wrote VOL. Specifically, parishioners assert that, in pursuit of a personal vendetta, rector Robert H. Malm allegedly directed staff to misappropriate three separate memorial donations, totaling $450. While the parish has said it will refund the money, there remain other, unresolved allegations of financial mismanagement, including assertions that the departure of a previous parish administrator resulted in the discovery of more than $1,200 in loose cash in her office, as well as numerous stale checks. In addition, the parish has discovered major discrepancies in its financial statements. To date, neither the parish, nor the rector, nor the diocese, have made any public statement about these issues.

*****

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Chaska, MN, this week, and, not surprisingly, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry opined that there's energy, life and vitality in the Episcopal Church. "I really believe that we're on the right track," Curry said in his opening remarks.

He told council that his repeated call for the Episcopal Church to embody the Jesus Movement is not "a 21st century invention or a Michael Curry rhetorical concoction." The presiding bishop said, instead, that New Testament scholars refer to the beginnings of Christianity as the Jesus Movement.

However, TEC Treasurer Kurt Barnes reiterated a warning he gave council at its last meeting in February about drawing too much money from the church's investment income. Recent budgets have been based in part in taking more from the church's investment income than what had been its normal annual 5 percent. The 2016-2018 budget is based in part on an effective 5.75 percent investment income draw. The church has nearly $356 million in investments, including about $110 million invested for other Episcopal Church entities and about $180 million in long-term assets available to support the budget, according to Barnes' report. While the church's investments have outperformed other investing and index funds, Barnes said there is a "but." The high dividend draw "is eroding the future purchasing power of the trusts," he said. Investment models show that going forward, the portfolio is likely to earn 7.4 percent, a half-percent lower than historically expected. However, the portfolio would have to earn 8.4 percent annually to sustain the principal, a rate that would require riskier investments. "The arithmetic makes it harder for us to produce a return that keeps the portfolio whole," Barnes said. The council's own investment committee, which is an advisory body, passed a resolution on May 20, recommending reducing the annual investment income draw in the 2019-2012 budget to 4.5 percent by 2021, with no exceptions for special requests."

That might sober up how much it costs for "transformational" initiatives, and endless talk about inclusivity and diversity and what the whole liberal agenda is costing the Church, even as it continues to shrink in ASA. Will the EC heed Barnes warning? One doubts it.

There was also a warning about the lack of accountability of monies going to Haiti. Projects include ones in Haiti that exceed $22 million, multiple ones in Navajoland Area Mission a new building for the Archives of the Episcopal Church, plus a number of programs and projects related to reconciliation and the Jesus Movement. Curry has pushed "the pause button" on Haiti fundraising "for a few weeks" in order to be able to assure donors the level of accountability they expect.

Now we've heard this before when monies went to Mexico and India, and millions were lost when local Anglicans embezzled the funds, and no one at 815 did anything about it. Now, apparently, the brakes are being applied in Haiti. The bottomless pit of TEC money is apparently, no longer bottomless.

*****

The Church of England boat is still heading for the demographic rapids, writes Peter Mullen in London.

Official figures just announced say that between 25% and 40% of full time stipendiary clergy are aged over 60. Only 3.4% of all clergy are from black or ethnic minorities. In his commentary, the Church of England Director of Ministry, Julian Hubbard, writes: "While the number of stipendiary ordinations showed a welcome increase between 2012 and 2015, this is not sufficient to redress the gathering effect of clergy retirements predicted over the next ten years."

He added, "The statistics on the age and ethnicity of clergy show that we still have some way to go to ensure that the whole cohort fully reflects the demographics of the wider community."

Mike Eastwood, Director of Renewal and Reform, the Church of England's main response to falling church attendance, said: "These figures support what we have been saying about the need for renewal and reform in the Church of England. Renewal and Reform is about a message of hope, through changed lives and transformed communities, as people discover their vocation to love God and serve others. Renewal and Reform is not a top-down project to fix the church, but a narrative of local hope in God shared throughout the church. As part of Renewal and Reform, we are currently consulting on how we better release the gifts of all Christian leaders in church and wider society, whether ordained or not."

"As a priest with 46 years service, let me try to interpret the ecclesiastical spin for you."

"In a word, Mr. Hubbard has looked in the cupboard and found it to be bare. These numbers mean that the Church of England is very shortly going to be desperately short of full time, decently educated and properly trained priests." You can read Mr. Mullen's piece on all this in today's digest. He does conclude with this line; "Under all the spin, smoke and mirrors, the truth is that congregations will continue their precipitous fall and increasingly be taught and ministered to by people who are hardly qualified for the task."

*****

A new study published by the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St. Mary's University, Twickenham, has found that 48.5% of adults in England and Wales identify themselves as having no religion.19.8% identify themselves as Anglicans, 8.3% as Catholics, 4.4% as Muslims, and 3.3% as members of another non-Christian religion.

In 1983, 44.5% identified themselves as Anglicans, and 8.2% identified themselves as Catholics.

Among the other key findings of the study:

"The age profile of Catholics is notably younger than that for Christians as a whole."

"Among the main Christian denominations, Catholics have the strongest retention rate: 55.8% of cradle Catholics still identify as Catholic in adulthood. But Catholics also have the weakest conversion rate: only 7.7% of current Catholics were not brought up Catholic."

"For every one Catholic convert, there are 10 cradle Catholics who no longer regard themselves to be Catholic."

28.5% of Catholics say they attend Mass weekly, while nearly 60% of cradle Catholics say they rarely or never attend Mass.

"There are clear positive correlations between regular church attendance and being female, older, and/or non-White. Two-thirds of all weekly-or-more Mass goers are women. Almost a quarter of all weekly-or-more Mass goers are women over 65."

*****

Did Jesus heal the centurion's alleged homosexual lover? If you listen to the Dean of St Alban's, Jeffrey John, an avowed sodomist married to his partner, you might believe he did. He preached a sermon in which he declared that the centurion had a homosexual relationship with his servant because that was sort of the norm in those days.

But, no, he didn't, says Dr. Ian Paul of PSEPHIZO blog and a renowned NT scholar who said that John's sermon on the healing of the centurion's servant in Luke 7 was speculative at best and theological nonsense.

"The Marriage of Roman Soldiers ... in the period of Roman history this passage occurs, it would have been inconceivable that a Roman soldier would have been permitted to have had a sexual relationship with either another soldier, any freeman, or even a male slave. There is however evidence that some Roman soldiers bought slave boys in order to have sex with them, but the documentation of this phenomenon is scarce. In some parts of the Empire at this time (i.e. Egypt) it was already unheard of for a free Roman to enter into pederasty with a junior. By the middle to end of the third century it was almost eliminated from the life of the army across the Empire."

Of course, the reason the Dean wants to make this happen and make us believe it is true, is because he has to justify his own behavior, and, what better way to do it, than to take Scripture and distort it for his own sexual proclivities.

So I checked some commentaries just in case I may have missed something. I looked at the following commentaries on Luke 7: Matthew Henry, Jeannine K. Brown, David Guzik, Adam Clark, Haydick's Catholic Bible commentary, The Disciplers Commentary and some most ancient manuscripts containing this chapter:
Papyrus 75 (AD 175-225)
Papyrus 45 (ca. AD 250).
Codex Vaticanus (AD 325-350)
Codex Sinaiticus (AD 330-360)
Codex Bezae (ca. AD 400)
Codex Washingtonianus (ca. AD 400)
Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (ca. AD 450; lacunae: verse 17 to end)
Papyrus 2 (~550 M; extant: verses 22-26 and 50 in Coptic language)
Papyrus 3 (6th/7th century; extant: verses 36-45)

Lo and behold, not a single one even mentioned the possibility that the centurion might have been buggering his servant. And to think this Jeffrey John fellow is dean of an English cathedral!!!

Just before going to press, a professor from Sri Lanka wrote VOL with his take on the Jeffrey John sermon and ripped it apart. He sent a copy of his letter to Archbishop Welby and got a polite "thank you" from the ABC, who I'm sure, tossed it in the garbage. Who, after all is going to upset Jeffrey John, the poster boy for sodomite marriage in the Church of England. You can read his letter in today's digest.

*****

The life of an ordinary Church of England vicar doesn't usually include kicking police, drinking binges, bomb hoaxes, cannabis, fraud and criminal damage. But, in the case of Rev. Gareth Jones, it does.

Rev. Jones is the vicar (still, according to the website!) at St. Mary's in Ilford, a parish that claims to be "A place of prayer, dialogue and hospitality" - unless you are a policeman. The parish is Anglo-Catholic, employing the usual trappings of incense, candles and an eastward facing priest at the altar - while he is able to stand, of course. No mention is made of the concentration of cannabis used in the thurible.

If Rev. Jones finds himself without a job - as surely he soon must - he could move to Canada and seek employment with the Anglican Church of Canada; if he pretends to be gay, he is almost guaranteed a position.

From the BBC comes this word: "The Reverend Gareth Jones swore at officers and claimed he had diplomatic immunity from the Vatican when he was arrested two weeks ago. A paramedic found him passed out on a street in central London. Jones, who later said he was "deeply ashamed" about what happened, had drunk three bottles of wine, several pints of beer, gin and tonics and vodka.

"As police intervened, the priest from St Mary's Church in Ilford, East London, kicked an officer in the face, the court was told.

"When asked which embassy would grant him diplomatic immunity, the priest said "the Vatican" and swore at officers.

"Jones, who has previous convictions for a bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, and criminal damage, now faces formal church disciplinary proceedings."

Here's hoping they kick the drunk out of the CofE.

*****

The Rev. Hilda Kabia recently became the first woman to head Msalato Theological College, located just outside Dodoma, Tanzania, in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika. "She's a trailblazer," said the Rev. Ranjit K. Mathews, the Episcopal Church's Africa partnerships officer, who, along with his wife, served two years at Msalato, through the Episcopal Church's Young Adult Service Corps program.

Prior to leading the theological college, Kabia served nine years as dean of students and an assistant lecturer at both Msalato and St. John's University of Tanzania, an Anglican institution in Dodoma.

When VOL inquired from a local source if the college was orthodox, back came the answer, "God no! That's a TEC Epicenter, they own it."

*****

In Kampala, Uganda, Christians should emulate the Uganda martyrs by staying faithful to God and being ready to die for their faith, but not worship other gods, Catholic Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa of the Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese has cautioned.

Bishop Zziwa was preaching as the main celebrant at the Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations at the Namugongo Roman Catholic shrine on Friday. He rebuked Christians who go to traditional shrines to praise other spirits besides God.

"It is wrong for Christians to live a double life. Being a Christian during day and a pagan during night. Being a Christian while in a place where you stay and you are known and then behaving like a pagan in places where you are not known," he reiterated.

Bishop Zziwa told the pilgrims to "be faithful" and "be renewed by the pilgrimage to Namugongo"

"Let us resolve to take this message and avoid the social evil of visiting shrines," he said.

*****

We do need your support to keep VOL going. Funds from our spring fund appeal drive are light and I hope you will take a few moments to put a check in the mail to support VOL's vital ministry. You can also send a donation via PAYPAL at the link here: http://www.virtueonline.org/support-vol/

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David

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