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GAFCON Dodges Bullet * Bishops Love and Herzog Join ACNA * Nigerian Anglicans & Methodists agree on Homosexuality * Christians now a Minority in US * Former Nigerian Archbishop Lashes out at West over Homosexuality * Jonathan Fletcher's Abuse Allegations

GAFCON Dodges Bullet * Bishops Love and Herzog Join ACNA * Nigerian Anglicans & Methodists agree on Homosexuality * Christians now a Minority in US * Former Nigerian Archbishop Lashes out at West over Homosexuality * Jonathan Fletcher's Abuse Allegations Deepen * Anglican Church in South America gets New ABC * FCE Scandal Erupts * TEC Turnover of Bishops * CofE News

What no church has a right to do, according to the apostle Paul, is deny the Lord's Supper to a fellow believer in Christ who accepts the core gospel of Christ's atoning death and new-creation resurrection and is not engaged in immoral behavior of a magnitude warranting church discipline. --- Robert Gagnon

The fundamental test. The fundamental doctrinal test of the professing Christian concerns his view of the person of Jesus. If he is a Unitarian, or a member of a sect denying the deity of Jesus, he is not a Christian. Many strange cults which have a popular appeal today can be easily judged and quickly repudiated by this test. The extreme seriousness of the lie is that a second denial is implicit in the first: he *denies the Father and the Son* (1 Jn. 2:23). --- John R.W. Stott

Let it be a settled principle in our minds that the first and chief business of the Church of Christ is to preach the Gospel. The words of Paul ought to be constantly remembered -- "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel" (1 Cor. 1:17). When the Gospel of Christ is faithfully and fully preached we need not fear that the sacraments will be undervalued. Baptism and the Lord's Supper will always be most truly reverenced in those churches where the truth of Jesus is most fully taught and known. --- J.C. Ryle

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
April 9, 2021

GAFCON dodged a bullet this week. Just when you thought that division between GAFCON chairman and ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and Nigerian Primate Henry Ndukuba was irreparably damaged and a parting of the ways was inevitable, a compromise was reached.

The two men issued a joint teaching statement on the ACNA document titled "Sexuality and Identity: A Pastoral Statement from the College," which initially caused a furor in Abuja with the Nigerian Primate going ballistic.

Now, having deliberated together we acknowledge:

• Both the Anglican Church in North America and the Church of Nigeria are
committed to Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10
• Both churches are committed to the Jerusalem Declaration (2008)
• Both churches uphold the teachings of the Bible on Human Sexuality and Marriage
• Both churches are committed to honouring and blessing each other.

You may now breathe a sigh of relief. At one point, Ndukuba had even threatened Beach's leadership of GAFCON which must have cause heartburn for Beach. But kiss and make up they have done. You can read their full statement here: https://virtueonline.org/joint-primate-statement-abp-foley-beach-abp-henry-ndukuba

This could have been a field day for Satan had he managed to break up GAFCON.

***

The other big news of the week was the announcement that the former Episcopal Bishop of Albany, William H. Love was joining the Anglican Church in North America and will act as Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of the Living Word under Bishop Julian Dobbs.

Bishop William Love served Albany for 15 years and resigned from his previous diocese in February, forced out by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for his refusal to allow homosexual marriages in his diocese. That Bishop Love graciously accepted the offer to resign saved face for Curry not to have to depose him and accuse him of "abandoning the communion" of the church, a favored tactic of Jefferts Schori and previous presiding bishops. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/former-episcopal-bishop-appointed-bishop-anglican-church-north-america

In a final blast at the actions of the Standing Committee, who will now take over the diocese of Albany, I wrote this piece; "Hope; the Episcopal Church's Failed Fallback Position". It features, among other things, parishioners at St. Andrews, Albany burning Bishop Love's letter while it was being read at the church. Love's eight-page letter labeled homosexuality "sinful and forbidden," cast the long-simmering Episcopal debate over same-sex marriage as a kind of existential crisis for the church, which he argues, has been "hijacked" by a powerful, secular "Gay Rights Agenda." So, burn, baby, burn. You can read my final RIP here: https://virtueonline.org/hope-episcopal-churchs-failed-fallback-position

You can read Archbishop Foley Beach's reception of Bishop Love into the ACNA here:
https://virtueonline.org/statement-archbishop-beach-reception-bishop-love

BREAKING NEWS. Archbishop Foley Beach has announced that Bishop Dan Herzog, formerly assistant Bishop of Albany, who recently resigned from the Episcopal church, has been received as a retired bishop into the Anglican Church in North America. He will continue his ministry under the guidance of The Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs, Bishop Ordinary of the Anglican Diocese of Living Word.

*****

In another new twist on the growing realignment of world Christianity, Nigerian Evangelical Anglicans and Methodists are on the same page over homosexuality. Both churches applaud the spilt in their respective churches to maintain orthodoxy over sexuality issues. There is a deepening collaboration between the two churches.

Nigerian Methodists made it clear that they support the split in the United Methodist Church in America over that church's acceptance of homosexual practice. They issued a strongly worded support for a "Protocol" proposal for the separation of their denomination into at least two new ones and rejected the perspective of the more liberal "African Voices of Unity" group.

The Nigerian UMC leaders declare, "we are traditionalists rooted in the Biblical Christianity," "strongly believing that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."

The Anglican Church of Nigeria, while still a member of the Anglican Communion led by Archbishop Justin Welby, is also a founder member of GAFCON, the (Global Anglican Future Conference) that was formed as a counter point to the revisionist/liberal/progressivism of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. It is only a matter of time before they add acting as a counter point to the Church of England, which is rapidly heading in the same direction as the North American provinces on homosexuality.

When I asked a source how money from TEC was going to influence African Anglicans into accepting homosexuality, I was told it wasn't working very well. TEC may well seduce one or two bishops, and certainly the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has rolled over, but not another province has followed Archbishop Makgoba and his province.

You can read my full story here: https://virtueonline.org/nigerian-evangelical-anglicans-and-methodists-same-page-over-homosexuality

*****

It will not come as a huge surprise that Christians are now a minority in the US. The decline has been going on steadily since World War II. A Gallup poll says that only 47% of Americans indicate they have actual formal membership in a church or religious congregation. In the 1930s, that number was over 70%. Nones, (people with no religion) are now in the ascendency.

Commentators say it is about secularization, that is a decline and belief in God. Secularization results in lower church attendance, in religious identification.

Baptist theologian Al Mohler notes in The Briefing, the biggest issue for the society is the loss of a binding understanding of theism. Theism is a binding understanding of God that means that we are bound to His laws, bound to His word, bound to truth because He is the author of truth.

But the Gallup organization says we have reached the point where a minority of Americans identify as members of any religious organization, specifically in the United States. Given the fact that the vast majority of citizens say they believe in God, and the vast majority of them identify as Christians in one way or another in answer to a pollster statement, this is a very significant issue, writes Mohler. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/christians-are-now-minority-us-gallup-poll

*****

Mainline Protestants, especially members of the Episcopal church and, increasingly it would seem, the Roman Catholic church have slowly been reducing the Christian Faith and the morals of the Church to individual feelings and matrices of oppression.

Appeals to Scripture as our primary source of truth are fast disappearing. Alternatively, Scripture is made to mean whatever revisionists (now called Progressives) want it to mean. So, when the Bible explicitly says homosexual behavior will exclude you from the kingdom, revisionists go into overdrive and talk about "justice" for homosexuals, or how they feel oppressed, or hated by people of orthodox faith. Of course, it is not true. It is the big lie repeated over and over, until it becomes the truth.

Feelings and matrices of oppression are the combined forces driving the Church's narrative; scripture be damned.

The most recent example of this, and the most blatant, was the occasion of an evangelical leader being invited to preach at the Washington National Cathedral.

Liberal Dean Randolph Hollerith invited evangelical preacher and author Max Lucado to preach a sermon. This action brought down the wrath of homosexual bishop Gene Robinson, lesbian activist priest Susan Russell and a bevy of pansexualists, angry and aggrieved over the decision to invite Lucado. They went into overdrive condemning the dean for inviting Lucado. Even Washington Bishop Mariann Budde got into the act, groveling before the homosexual community with apologies for the hurt Lucado caused. It was a lie, of course. You can read my full take on all this here: https://virtueonline.org/episcopal-church-has-reduced-faith-and-morals-individual-feelings-and-matrices-oppression

*****

One African Anglican province seems ready to lash out at the West for any signs of weakness and is ready to excoriate Western Anglican homosexual practices.

The retired Bishop of Lagos and former Archbishop of Province 1 of the Church of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo, blasted Western homosexual practices. He called homosexuality a "misnomer" and "abnormal", saying the Nigerian Church is not with them [The Episcopal Church] and vowed his church would only "bow to biblical scrutiny."

"If we change our stand, there is no going back. If we change our posture our members would stone us. It is not negotiable. It is not debatable."

"The Nigerian church is not with them in that regard, it is for Biblical orthodoxy. We bow to biblical scrutiny. It is a misnomer. I don't know how you can ask two males to come to church and you join them together. It is abnormal. There is no going back on our stand on the issue. We are holding to biblical principles." You can read my full report here: https://virtueonline.org/outgoing-nigerian-archbishop-excoriates-western-anglican-homosexual-practices

*****

There's a changing of the guard in the Anglican Church in South America. The Bishop of Northern Argentina, Nicholas Drayson, has been elected as the new Primate. The provincial synod met last month and elected Bishop Nicholas as Primate of the Province. He succeeds Presiding Bishop Greg Venables, who retired last year. The Bishop of Bolivia, Raphael Samuel, had been Acting Primate during the vacancy.

Bishop Nicholas was educated at Keble College and Wycliffe Hall in Oxford, England. He began his ministry with the South American Mission Society and became Bishop of Northern Argentina in 2011. His ministry in Northern Argentina has been focused on indigenous cultures and languages. He has translated the New Testament into Choroti, one of the native languages.
Bishop Nicholas is also a member of the Anglican Consultative Council, and an Eco-Bishop as part of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network. A source told VOL that he is orthodox, but a Canterbury institutionalist. He has been invited to participate in GAFCON events. We shall see.

*****

Jonathan Fletcher, the evangelical sadomasochist, but eminently believable by his rank-and-file followers, continues to make the news. More people are coming out and accusing Fletcher of abuse and multiple sexual shenanigans including masturbation in front of his devotees. It is all pretty sick stuff and you can read all about it from VOL's Anglican writer, Judi Sture, who is based in the UK. You can read her take here: https://virtueonline.org/jonathan-fletcher-and-cofe-heres-another-fine-mess

Here are her opening lines; "Reading the recent 'independent' report into the case of Jonathan Fletcher, one-time vicar of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon (ECW), is enough to make you despair. And not only of the failings of the Church of England, the Diocese of Southwark and all the other mitred and robed 'usual suspects' involved. Nobody emerges from this disaster unscathed -- and I am including the congregation and non-senior leadership of ECW in that comment."

Jonathan Fletcher was an Anglican clergyman. He carried out alleged abuses from 1982 until his retirement in 2012 when he was vicar of Emmanuel Church in London.
Anyone wishing to depress themselves by reading the report of the 'investigation' into the wreckage of human lives and the reputation of the Gospel in Wimbledon can do so at Final+Report+of+ECW+Review_March+2021.pdf (walkingwith.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com). If, however, you are hoping for any answers in terms of actual accountability of individuals, or of how this appalling mess was allowed, if not facilitated, then forget it. The deeper question is why so many evangelicals are willing to give Fletcher a pass.

One priest and his parish that has been caught up in this whole mess is William Taylor, rector of St. Helen's Bishopsgate, London. The church was deeply involved in Fletcher's teaching and so offered up an apology deemed inadequate by some who read it.

St Helen's offered up a "deeply problematic" response to Jonathan Fletcher's abuse, say Sam Allberry & Glen Scrivener, which can be read here:
https://soulinformation.org/blog/dear-william-taylor

On 23 March 2021, Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon released the report of a review they'd commissioned from safeguarding charity 31:8. The 146-page report examined both Jonathan Fletcher and Emmanuel Church and included evidence from 27 victims of Fletcher's abuse. It published 66 recommendations which called for far-reaching changes, not only for Emmanuel Church, but for others representing what it called the Conservative Evangelical Constituency in the UK.

On Sunday 28 March, two key churches of this constituency made announcements regarding the report's publication. All Souls, Langham Place made what we consider to be an exemplary statement (it can be viewed here) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1P_ZEaslNc_YC55nHMiBBoN4koS1q4fUv/viewSt Helen's Bishopsgate's announcement (copied below, video here) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CODV2xB56BPSnT72VORVskYjeXp6j_64/view was, in our opinion, deeply problematic.

England's Evangelicals are facing a period of soul searching, heartache and challenge as three separate scandals unfold.

The report into Jonathan Fletcher -- by safeguarding organisation Thirtyone:eight -- was commissioned by Emmanuel Church after allegations about his behaviour became public. In the run-up to the review's publication, a survivor told Evangelical News (EN) that close acquaintances of Fletcher should disclose all they know, and not presume to lead evangelicals out of the crisis prompted by the revelations.

Christian broadcaster and writer Anne Atkins, whose articles helped bring the case to wider public attention, has also spoken to EN and warned of the traps she fears evangelicals could fall into once the report is published. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/abuse-warnings-scandals-unfold

This issue will not be resolved any time soon, so stay tuned.

*****

CHURCH OF ENGLAND NEWS

Archbishop of Canterbury on Muhammad cartoon controversy: 'In this country, we have to hold on to freedom of speech'. Read more here: www.JihadWatch.org

Justin Welby: "What I learnt from Covid, the threat of cancel culture and the truth on Harry & Meghan's wedding". You can read more here: http://www.repubblica.it/

Church of England will order 30 per cent quota for BAME candidates on its leadership programme as leaked report demands 'repentance' for historic links to the slave trade and anti-racism training. You can read more here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/

Church of England's first black female bishop says race report was wrong and Britain is NOT model for other white-majority countries on racial equality. You can read more here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Bishop of Carlisle given an "informal rebuke" for giving a reference to a convicted sex abuser priest - https://virtueonline.org/bishop-carlisle-given-informal-rebuke-giving-reference-convicted-sex-abuser-priest

*****

The Free Church of England is facing a scandal with the South American Synod declaring impaired communion with its Primus John Fenwick. A Middlesborough parish is fighting the bishop's decision to close the church

In November 2020, the Central Trust of the Free Church of England contacted the minister, The Rev. Jonatas Bragatto, without any consultation with the congregation, and proposed to reduce the minister's stipend and possibly terminate his employment agreement with St. Stephen's within 6 months.

This proposal was rejected by the Rev. Jonatas in a letter to Central Trust, affirming the illegitimacy of such proposal, since Central Trust was never the minister's employer. His contract was with the local church. The response from the denomination was that the diocesan Bishop went behind the back of the minister, calling a minority of members in the Church to seek their support to close St. Stephen's and force our minister into redundancy. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/fce-south-american-synod-declares-impaired-communion-primus-john-fenwick

*****

MYANMAR is facing a crisis of epic proportions with daily murders and much more. Paul Barker, Bishop in the Anglican diocese of Melbourne has offered a distressing first-hand account he received from Myanmar. Barker taught in Myanmar for 15 years and has visited over 40 times.

Some of you may think we, people from Myanmar, are very sensitive and emotional due to Military Coup in Myanmar. But what you may know or hear is just the tip of the iceberg. The followings are some of the shocking facts happening in Myanmar.

1. If someone is arrested alive at night, most likely his or her dead body will be returned the next morning. In some cases, they won't even return the body of deceased.

2. If you are a medical staff helping injured protesters, then you can be arrested and tortured or get killed. Even if you are working in your own clinic treating the wounded patients, you can still be abducted or tortured.

You can read more here: https://www.eternitynews.com.au/world/lord-have-mercy-on-myanmar/

*****

The turnover of bishops in TEC is heating up again. The Living Church reports that S. Ohio, Connecticut and W. Missouri bishops are all heading for Pension City, USA.

The Diocese of Southern Ohio has announced that it will not renew its contract with the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, 77, who has been serving as an assisting bishop since Bishop Thomas Breidenthal resigned for health reasons in late 2020. Nothing personal about Price, they simply want to call a new diocesan bishop.

Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas announced that he will retire on October 8, 2022, in the 13th year of his episcopacy. Douglas ran for Presiding Bishop but got decisively beaten by Michael Curry. His claim to fame are the churches he closed during his episcopacy. They fled to greener spiritual pastures. One, St. Paul's, Darien, a former Episcopal charismatic congregation is empty and falling apart. The other, Bishop Seabury, a landmark church, got sold to a Baptist congregation after the rector one Ron Gauss lost the property battle in a legal fight. The diocese has gone steadily downhill under Douglas's administration. There is little likelihood that it will recover under a new progressive bishop.

West Missouri Bishop Marty Field said he is resigning. Field and the diocese had a sometimes-rocky relationship, according to TLC. In 2016, the Standing Committee initiated a canonical mediation process for "Reconciliation of Disagreements Affecting the Pastoral Relation between a Bishop and Diocese," found in Title III of the Canons of the Episcopal Church. The nature of the disagreement was not made public, and Field could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2017, the bishop and the Standing Committee announced that "Bishop Field will participate in professional counseling with a counselor appointed by the Presiding Bishop in order to improve his emotional accessibility and cultural sensitivity and to become better aware of how he is perceived by some and how he relates to all people."

One doubts that any of these bishops will be missed, as average Sunday attendance has been steadily going down in all these dioceses for the past decade. Their replacements will presumably be people of color, preferably homosexuals or lesbians as the preferred sexual orientation.

*****

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In Christ,

David

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