jQuery Slider

You are here

GAY SEX: Gap widens between ECUSA, RC's and Orthodox..Panel of Reference...more

"Just simply to say that it goes against tradition and the teaching of the church and scripture does not necessarily make it wrong. We worship a living God, and that living God leads us into truth." V. Gene Robinson, bishop of New Hampshire

"If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God's Word; and if we be uncertain of God's Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he was in the true Church of Christ, or in the synagogue of Satan." Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The juxtaposition of the above two statements highlights the crisis in the Episcopal Church. In fact, it might be said that Robinson and Cranmer represent the polarities between the Global South and biblically orthodox Anglicans across the Anglican Communion and the liberal West and North, with its pluriform thinking on matters of faith and practice.

It is becoming clearer by the day that as the outrage of Western post-modern statements being made by some ECUSA bishops, priests and theologically uninformed laity continues, the Episcopal Church will only continue to isolate itself from the Anglican, indeed Catholic and Orthodox mainstream. The Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches of the East, and the vast plethora of Protestant Evangelical churches are standing firmly against pansexuality and maintaining that sexual behavior can ONLY be legitimized in the context of life-long fidelity of marriage between a man and a woman. They are not buying any other alternative.

This week the Russian Orthodox Church came out backing the Vatican's position on homosexuals in seminaries and accusing Protestant denominations of "succumbing to secular values" over the issue.

"Homosexuality was called a sin in Holy Scripture -- there's no possibility of any other interpretation," said Fr. Igor Vyzhanov, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Commission for Inter-Christian Dialogue. "There are certain differences in how we handle candidates for priesthood, since celibacy is obligatory for Catholics whereas Orthodox can marry if they don't aspire to hierarchical posts. But there's total agreement between both churches as concerns candidates' homosexual tendencies."

So the Robinson consecration, now seen by most of Christendom as an heretical and apostate act, will continue to gnaw and chip away at the Episcopal Church, causing parishes and people to leave. The result will be not open schism, because that would involve the Dennis canon and much more, but simply a withering away of the Episcopal Church. One bishop told VirtueOnline that it's only a matter of time before a number of dioceses will go bankrupt and be forced to merge with other dioceses in order to survive. And it will not just be revisionist dioceses. Orthodox dioceses will suffer as laity leave even evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes for Rome, the AMIA, and overseas primates. Everyone is suffering

from Robinson's consecration.

Is it any wonder that just about every diocesan convention in 2005 has raised the issued of diminishing income to the diocese, and talk of mandatory assessment is growing more commonplace?

IF YOU HAD ANY DOUBT about how far revisionists are prepared to push the homosexual agenda in the ECUSA, consider this. At St. Paul's Cathedral, the flagship parish in the DIOCESE OF WESTERN NEW YORK, where Bishop J. Michael Garrison resides, word comes that the cathedral has recently hired a lesbian priest in the person of the Rev. DeLiza Spangler, formerly of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in St. Joseph, Michigan. The cathedral also has a gay canon for congregational life in the person of the Rev. Ethan James Cole and a gay archdeacon in the person of Bruce Gillies. You should know that Gillies is also the diocesan deployment officer, and a source in the diocese told VirtueOnline that he is actively seeking gay clergy to fill clergy diocesan ranks. There is a real touch of irony about this cathedral appointment. The previous rector was the Very Rev. Allen Farabee, who was terminated by the vestry after a six-year reign that saw the parish plummet from a high of 754 communicants in 1998 to a low of 305 in 2002. It now has fewer than 200 members. The pro-gay dean preached an Easter Sunday sermon in which he bemoaned the closure of the only gay bathhouse in Buffalo, saying it was "an alcove of safety in a hostile and threatening world." He likened it to the Upper Room scene in the NT!!!

The archbishop of Canterbury's PANEL OF REFERENCE will begin considering cases, a source told The Christian Challenge magazine. Word out of London this week is that it has at last begun work on a number of cases involving requests from faithful Anglicans for alternate episcopal oversight. The panel, chaired by former Australian Primate Peter Carnley, was requested by Anglican primates "as a matter of urgency" last February to help facilitate adequate pastoral care for Anglicans in serious theological disputeswith their bishops. However, it was not fully appointed until June, and as of October it said to have received no paperwork on any petitions to it via Lambeth Palace, which is conducting initial screening of submissions to the pnel. However, TCC's London source says that individual cases are starting to be assigned to different members of the panel. "It's happening," he said.

LAMBETH CONFERENCE 2008 dates have been announced by the archbishop of Canterbury. The Anglican Communion News Service says Dr. Rowan Williams has officially announced the Lambeth Conference dates in an Advent Letter to the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. The conference, which meets every ten years, will take place at the University of Kent in Canterbury from July 16 to August 3, 2008. Williams, at whose invitation the bishops come to the conference, outlined his hopes for the global meeting of Anglican bishops. He spoke of the conference as an opportunity for "individual Christian pastors to meet Jesus afresh, for our Church to be renewed in mission, for the world to hear good news."

Williams emphasized the enabling for ministry aspect of the conference. "The main focus I long to see at this conference is the better equipping of bishops to fulfill their task as agents and enablers of mission, as co-workers with God's mission in Jesus Christ," he said.

IN OTHER NEWS the archbishop also attacked what he called "PC" Christmas this week, saying that "silly bureaucrats" wanted to wipe Christian symbols from Christmas. Writing in the Daily Mail newspaper on Sunday, he said this was prompted by a fear that such symbols would upset people of other religions. Former Archbishop Dr George Carey added that he had concerns that a minority in leadership want to privatize religion. A week before Christmas Day, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said: "What makes some people suspicious of Christmas these days is that it's too religious."This year there seems to have been even more stories about the banning of Christian images and words by silly bureaucrats." He compared the politically correct approach to Christmas to the 17th-century Puritans who felt celebrations were not Christian enough. "It's all because of the idea that our neighbors from other religious traditions will be offended by Christian symbols," he said. Dr. Carey warned against "political correctness that is creeping in and undermining the public expression of the Christian faith." He said there is a "minority in leadership today who want to privatize religion" because of "nervousness excited by the visibility of Muslims."

THE AD HOC group of 15 bishops from across the theological spectrum who met in Chicago recently hosted by the bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, to discuss the development of a response to the Windsor Report, came up with virtually nothing. (Twenty of them met in July and got into bitter arguments.)

The HOB is going to meet in Kanuga and come up with an appropriate response to the Windsor Report in March of 2006. VirtueOnline received a copy of the meeting schedule, and you can read that here. (See below).

The following is a list of bishops who attended the Chicago meeting:

? The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, (Los Angeles) ? The Rt. Rev. John B. Chane, (Washington) ? The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, (Pittsburgh) ? The Rt. Rev. Dorsey F. Henderson, (Upper South Carolina) ? The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., (Ohio) ? The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, (Florida) ? The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson, (West Tennessee) ? The Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, (West Virginia) ? The Rt. Rev. John B. Lipscomb, (Southwest Florida) ? The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little, (Northern Indiana) ? The Rt. Rev. Robert O?Neill, (Colorado) ? The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, (South Carolina) ? The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, (Lexington) ? The Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, (Los Angeles) ? The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, (Rhode Island)

Two Network bishops, Duncan and Salmon, attended, and the rest were hard-core revisionists and a couple of moderates who will go along with the consensus. Sources told VirtueOnline that all they could agree on was an apology to Forward in Faith for treating it so badly. Perhaps they should have included an apology to evangelicals and the orthodox seminary, TESM, whose graduates are not permitted in most of these dioceses. Don't look for it. Perhaps as an act of contrition and true diversity, Bishop Bruno will agree not to go round three in litigation against the three parishes that have sued successfully to leave his diocese. Now, that would be a mea culpa worth reporting on. Don't look for it to happen.

From the DIOCESE OF MINNESOTA comes this from a reader: "Surprising

fireworks at this year's convention. After two successive years of either abomination (2003) or chastisement of traditional Anglicans and Buddhist prayer bowl bonging (2004) at worship, everything was pretty straightforward and traditional when it came to evening worship. A most welcome relief. But at the budget close of 2004 it was learned that the diocese received $70,000 less than it anticipated and spent about $146,000 more than it expected, to end the year with a $216,000 deficit, which it closed with unrestricted endowment money, which is now about empty, according to the finance commission."

"We had to reduce the budget by about $300,000 from $2.6 million to $2.3 million in round numbers. Three interesting things to note:

"At the start of business, before everyone was seated and ready for business, someone (introduced) a resolution in somewhat arcane legalese language, which, after it passed, was then explained by the bishop that it would (potentially) not seat those parishes that hadn't ponied up their diocesan assessment next year. Very sneaky.

"Next came bellyaching about parishes who weren't paying their assessments by the finance committee. But one clergy and one lay person actually had the courage, because they knew first hand, that their parishes couldn't do their assessment because they were continuing to lose members as a result of GC2003. The assessment is based on the previous year's revenues so if they continue to bleed membership (most Minnesota parishes are small so a departure of 2 or 3 families would kill most of them) they're pretty well screwed. The lay person said he asked someone from the diocese after GC2003 what their action plan was if there was a loss of membership due to all the controversy. The diocesan official said they had none because they didn't expect any net loss.

"A vote on the budget was taken and by voice it was close, but by hands it was close as well but I'm about 80% sure the 'nays'had it, but Jelinek said 'The ayes have it. The budget passes.' We all sort of looked around and wondered what the heck just happened. I don't think it would have made too much difference anyway because if a budget wasn't passed it probably would have gone to the standing committee or some other upper level diocesan deal and it would have come out pretty much the same.

"Every year they put out UTO boxes on the delegation tables. Last year the delegates put in a whole $300. Here's the REALLY funny part. After hacking the budget two successive years, with this year going from $2.6 million to $2.3 million, the 2006 budget is still about $2.85 million. What are these clowns smokin'?

"There was a resolution put before the convention, as a diocese, to

'commend' the Windsor Report to the GC2006 as a way through this current

mess. We got too hysterical; both in content and humor from the bishop and one clergy who thought this would set up something like 'The Roman Curia.' Anyway, some clergy member suggested an alternative resolution that would recommend that congregations and parishioners study the Windsor Report and then get in contact with the GC2006 deputation. In other words, why do SOMETHING when you can do nothing instead? It was said by the parliamentarian that we should pass the revised resolution so we wouldn't hurt other folk's feelings by voting on that nasty first resolution. Well the luke-warm milk-toast resolution passed and there wasn't even a vote allowed on the first one. In the end they passed a resolution which only has slightly more meaning than toilet paper. Can't wait until 2006."

VIRTUEONLINE has just received, in an unmarked brown envelope, the HOB Spring Meeting Schedule for Kanuga, and it reads like a prescription for a slow death march across a 1,000-mile desert with no water.

Consider the following session headlines: "Challenges in our life as bishops, as we prepare to address difficult concerns: removing road blocks to spiritual freedom."

TRANSLATION: Liberal dioceses are in growing financial trouble as wealthy orthodox parishes flee ECUSA. "Spiritual freedom" is everybody agreeing that Vickie Gene Robinson is lawfully consecrated, and "freedom" is agreeing with the pansexual agenda of the ECUSA and Frank Griswold that anything sexual now goes. PS. Sue any priest and parish that dares to leave ECUSA and apply for a "grant" from ECUSA to help defray legal costs.

SESSION: Our life in Christ: ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, voice hopes and concerns re General Convention; the Windsor Report; increase awareness of the potential impact of decisions that may be made in June.

TRANSLATION: If TEC does not fully accept the Windsor Report and repent of its moral failings at GC2006 or chooses to further its homosexual crusade by enacting rites that bless immorality or elect/confirm the election of another homosexual bishop, then it is clear to all that ECUSA has made a unilateral decision to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. Some 15 bishops, mostly revisionist, met in Chicago recently, and they understood this less than pluriform reality.

SESSION: Preparation for the election of the XXVI Presiding Bishop.

TRANSLATION: VirtueOnline has been told by a moderate bishop that Griswold is manipulating this process by doing background checks to eliminate anyone with sound theological convictions for this post. He wants a milquetoast PB who will continue the pansexual agenda and thumb their noses at the Anglican Communion.

SESSION: Engage the ways scripture is understood across the Communion.

TRANSLATION: The vast majority of the Anglican Communion believes in the authority of Scripture and that it cannot be changed to fit the sexual hijinks of Louie Crew or Vickie Gene. Then there's the Episcopal Church position(s), which translates into making Scripture fit into whatever Procrustean bed it chooses and if that fails, just say TEC is in basic conflict with Scripture and move on.

SESSION: The authority of scripture in a global Communion.

TRANSLATION: There is the historical/grammatical method of interpreting Holy Scripture, and then there is the "anything goes" ECUSA method of interpreting Scripture, which allows Vickie Gene Robinson to sodomize his partner with the full acceptance of the House of Bishops -- and presumably God and her Holy Spirit.

KENYA: Christians in the East African country said they were energized by new statistics showing that HIV infections had dropped by 4 percent over a two-year period. "This is commendable, but we ask the government to do more. We don't want to lose any more people through AIDS," the Rev. Peter Karanja, provost of All Saints Anglican Cathedral, told the Ecumenical News Service. Kenyan churches have stressed behavioral change as a means for rolling back the pandemic, and they felt their efforts were paying off following the drop in HIV prevalence from 10 percent of the population in 2003 to 6.1 percent of the 33 million people in 2005, according to government statistics. "We see a movement and commitment towards safer and protected sex," Karanja said. Oddly enough, "behavioral change" is not on the agenda of The Episcopal Church.

CHURCH SPOTTER. St. Paul's Episcopal, Brookfield, Conn., is an ECUSA parish affiliated with the Diocese of Connecticut. However, it now sports a brand new, beautiful, rich red sign proclaiming it to be ANGLICAN. ECUSA isn't mentioned anywhere. The parish is evangelical and charismatic. The rector there is Fr. Andrew Buchanan. This is not the first parish in the United States making this change, but clearly there is a distancing of orthodox rectors from the embarrassing morals of the Episcopal Church, and they don't want ECUSA's name on their parish doors! It'll be interesting to see if revisionist bishops clamp down on this practice.

THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY THE VIRGIN in NYC has gone the way of the Church of the Advent in Boston. The self-perpetuating, closed board of trustees, intended to maintain a perpetual Catholic witness even if the diocese were hostile, has now been abandoned. The Achilles' heel of the old system was that it established a powerful lay board which the rector might find intimidating or limiting. The founders of these churches never thought they would see the day when the rectors of these churches would be more comfortable with the diocese than the lay trustees. St Mary's, of course, went the way of all flesh years ago, going so far as to welcome Bishop Catherine Roskam of New York to pontificate at the altar. As a source noted, "See how far has the place departed from its ideals."

VIRTUEONLINE has been told that at least two revisionist ECUSA bishops could be out the doors of their dioceses in the next few months -- forced to resign. Their administrative skills have proven less than satisfactory, and the money is not rolling in. Of course doctrine and morals have little to do with it, but there comes a point when even liberal clergy no longer trust their revisionist bishops, and when that happens their days are numbered. VirtueOnline was told that the standing committee in one diocese has already sent a letter to Bishop Clayton Matthews, Frank Griswold's consigliore for bad boy bishops, to get the ball rolling.

FEATURED FINDING: The Heritage Foundation in its December 2005 on Religion and Sexual Behavior observed that adolescents who felt religion was "very important" were less likely to engage in sexual activity.

Religious attendance, practice, and levels of religiosity are related to sexual attitudes and activity, according to numerous studies. For example, a study published in The Journal of Marriage and Family in 2002 found that individuals with high levels of religious involvement (broadly defined as religious attendance) were less likely to have permissive attitudes toward extramarital sexual activity. Another study using a sample of adolescents found that religious beliefs affect not only attitudes but also their choices in life: teens who felt religion was "very important" were less likely to engage in sexual activity.

All this could put a serious dent in the "doctrine" of permissive "inclusion" currently being trumpeted by the Episcopal Church as it looks for the next generation of young people for the priesthood. If young people coming into the priesthood through seven of the nine Episcopal seminaries that believe in cohabiting before marriage think that is cute or "non-judgmental," they might want to think again. If non-permissive attitudes among Christian young people, enforced or reinforced by their parents is happening, then ECUSA is signing its own death warrant.

TODAY'S STORIES include an interview with a world authority on Islam. The Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund recently visited the United States, where I was able to interview him. As a result we now have a new section on the front page of VirtueOnline's Web site called ISLAM and CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION. CULTURE WARS. Please take a moment to go there and read some of the stories about Christians being persecuted around the world. www.virtueonline.org

WEB SITE CHANGES. VirtueOnline's Web site (www.virtueonline.org) is now more interactive and personalized. Webmaster Robert Turner has changed the way hyperlinks display on the front page. Stories that you have not read are displayed with blue links. Stories that you have previously read are displayed with a red link.

Also, most of our standard advertisements are now at the top of the page and revolve with each new page. We have also added a Classified Ads section, wherefor a nominal $15.00 you can place an ad on the Web site. VirtueOnline reserves the right to monitor this for content and appropriateness.

Thank you for making VirtueOnline the most widely read news Web site in the Anglican Communion. Please send your comments and suggestions to webmaster@virtueonline.org

Please don't forget to buy your books from AMAZON.COM at the Web site and make a donation to this ministry through the PAYPAL link.

CORRECTION. In my last digest mention was made of Bishop Peter John Lee of the DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA. It should have read Peter John Lee of the Diocese of Christ the King, South Africa. VirtueOnline regrets the error.

THERE ARE ONLY 11 DAYS of 2005 left ,and VirtueOnline desperately needs more funds to begin the New Year. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to VirtueOnline; you are the only means of support for me to attend conferences like Mere Anglicanism, AMIA, and much more. Your donations allow this writer to travel and interview people you otherwise would know little about. Please be generous at this Advent season. You can also make a donation and send it to:

VIRTUEONLINE
1236 Waterford Rd.,
West Chester, PA 19380

OR at the PAYPAL link at www.virtueonline.org

Thank you for your support

Advent Blessings,

David W. Virtue, D.D.

Subscribe
Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Prayer Book Alliance

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top