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The Great Dechurching: Some Good News * GSFA Appalled at CofE over SS Blessings * Bishop Mouneer Anis Says Communion Deeply Divided * CofE faces Safeguarding, SS Issues. Schism Looms * Times Survey "a Con" says Theologian * GAFCON Europe Forges Ahead *

The Great Dechurching: Some Good News * GSFA Appalled at CofE over SS Blessings * Bishop Mouneer Anis Says Communion Deeply Divided * CofE faces Safeguarding, SS Issues. Schism Looms * Times Survey "a Con" says Theologian * GAFCON Europe Forges Ahead * TEC Bishops Excoriate Abuse of Power * PB Complicit in Silence * Bishop Singh Resigns Amid Title IV Probe

Christ the controversialist. The popular image of Christ as 'gentle Jesus, meek and mild' simply will not do. It is a false image. To be sure, he was full of love, compassion and tenderness. But he was also uninhibited in exposing error and denouncing sin, especially hypocrisy... The evangelists portray him as constantly debating with the leaders of contemporary Judaism ... Christ was a controversialist. --- John R.W. Stott

Liberal churches die faster than any other brand. They give no reason to join, they make no demands, so why turn up? For the young progressive types (who hold Church as irredeemable, toxic, heteronormative, patriarchal) this is just another reason not to turn up. We might as well have huge banners outside our church porches saying: 'Nothing worth seeing here.' --- Daniel French

"I don't pray for revival; I pray for repentance. I don't think America deserves a single more blessing from God; not one. We need to repent. Not only do we need to turn away from things, but we also need to equip and encourage the Church to go toward this: How do you stay out of your pornographic addiction? How do you now engage ... the one family in the church [that] ends up fostering and adopting?" -- Evangelist Nick Vujicic

We do not need MAGA churches (nor do we need MSNBC churches). And we must guard our prayer and devotional time from the ever-encroaching news headlines. We must preach the gospel, worship God in Spirit and truth, and disciple the nations according to the teachings of Christ. Christianity must remain a religion and not a partisan of the flesh. The Christian should participate in the political arena, including voting, organizing, or even running for office. But we should never let this activism define who we are. It should never overshadow or distort our spiritual duties. It should never take first place in our hearts. -- Steven Wedgeworth, Anglican Church rector.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
September 15, 2023

Deep inside The Great Dechurching: Who's leaving, why are they going, and what will it take to bring them back, there is some good news. It is possible to bring back the 40 million Americans who have left the churches if we as Christians engage them with what is possible and true, once the scrub has been cleared away.

From the book. "We need a fully orbed gospel that emphasizes God's true, good and beautiful vision for humanity. If evangelicalism doesn't begin to take greater ownership and address the problems within its own movement, the consequences will continue to be serious. We cannot control people's disordered wants and idols, but we can stop the rate at which we are scoring goals on ourselves."

"There must be a vigorous pursuit of the authentic Jesus of the Bible. All counterfeit versions of Jesus must be removed: prosperity Jesus, white American Jesus, shock jock Jesus, and a dozen other caricatures. We must return to the teachings of Jesus in the Kingdom parables, the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus' interactions with religious leaders to see what kind of person he is and what kind of kingdom he is creating. The individualistic two-chapter gospel will be insufficient in the older-brother West. Only the full four-chapter gospel will suffice for an increasingly skeptical world that is more concerned with whether our Jesus is good and beautiful and true."

"When talking with friends or neighbors who have a strong pull to a secular left utopian vision, we don't need to freak out in our souls and bemoan the death of America. While the desire for justice, equity and human flourishing are good, those desires and impulses can't be found through the secular left avenues employed."

"When you know people who are deconstructing, dechurching, or even deconverting, don't pull away from those relationships. Lean into them by asking open, curious questions and then listen. There are probably many areas where we can find common ground and agree on problems within our movement. Obviously, we can't ever affirm people in their sin and idolatry, but we can be people who love others where they are and not abandon the relationship."


As the Anglican Communion begins to devolve; the Global South and the Global North (or west) are at loggerheads with little sign that compromises can be made that will ensure a long term united global Anglican communion. While no formal break is envisaged there are signs and upcoming meetings that might change the present situation.

This past week the chairman of the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA), Sudanese Archbishop Justin Badi issued a letter declaring that the 11 provinces that make up the GSFA (with others considering) will remain faithful to the teachings of scripture on sexuality issues and that compromise is not possible.

He wrote that he was "appalled" by the recent decision of the Church of England's General Synod to pursue the designing of liturgies for the blessings of same sex unions. "This is clearly contrary to the biblical and historic teaching of God's one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. We call for a genuine repentance of the trajectory set by their synod."

In their earlier Ash Wednesday Statement (February 20th) GSFA leaders called for a re-set of the Communion along the lines of "reform and renewal" re-calling the communion to its biblical foundation. The GSFA will meet in Cairo (Oct. 17-19) to address the issue. (VOL has been invited.) You can read his full statement here: https://virtueonline.org/gsfa-chairmans-letter-i-will-build-my-church

The primates had already declared that they no longer recognized the Archbishop of Canterbury as their titular head and that Justin Welby was no longer Primus inter pares.


To drive home the point about how dysfunctional and apostate western Anglicanism has become in its pursuit of full LGBTQ+ acceptance, Archbishop Emeritus Mouneer Anis of Egypt wrote a scathing indictment of the state of the Anglican Communion which he sent to VOL.

Here is what he said: "There should be no doubt that the Anglican Communion is deeply divided and being torn apart. Yet, there are those who claim that the Communion is still united, in spite of the major theological differences between its Provinces. This claim of unity is deceitful and far from the truth. Provinces are not all in communion with each other, so it is simply wrong to use the term Communion of global Anglicanism or even the weaker language of a Federation."

The erudite Anglican leader is not a pessimist or doomsdayer; he believes there are ways to heal and restore this fractured Communion, but compromise on the 'faith once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3) is not one of them.

In his long peroration, he explains the reasons that tore the fabric of the Communion; The story of systemic institutional failure; the Canterbury Primacy in crisis; the fundamental failure of the Archbishop of Canterbury to be a focus of unity; Neocolonialism and Manipulation through economic dependence and much more. You can read his full statement here: https://virtueonline.org/deeply-torn-communion The godly archbishop plans a follow-up piece on how the Communion can be restored. VOL will post it as soon as it becomes available.


THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND is facing numerous crises over a series of issues from safeguarding to the blessing of same sex unions. As a result, there is a growing conservative (evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wing) of the church pushing back on all fronts.

A 'Living with Difference' group has been launched with the task of offering 'insight and reflections' on the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process. This group comprises both evangelicals and liberals, bishops and clergy.

The group is set to meet three times in September and is being tasked with helping to 'define those aspects of differentiation that will deliver the required levels of reassurance'.

Those participating in this group from the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC) perspective will be advocating the concept of 'settlement' as the only way to avoid the otherwise crisis if the bishops pursue their current direction of travel. This 'settlement' will have to be without theological compromise and involve structural differentiation.

But an Alliance Group continues to challenge the archbishops.

Following a letter sent in July by a broad alliance of leaders across different traditions within the Church of England, they received a reply from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York accusing them of "legalism" arguing that they should provide "pastoral responses to address concerns around homophobia and discrimination in the Church." The alliance sent a further letter pressing the archbishops and bishops to pursue the only legitimate route through General Synod.

This broad alliance of signatories, from a wide range of CofE organizations including CEEC, the HTB network, Forward in Faith, New Wine, Renew, Living Out and both the Catholic and Evangelical Groups on General Synod, among others, remains committed to both promoting a legal route that respects the integrity of General Synod and its decision making (especially around potential doctrinal changes), and upholding the authority of the bible on matters of sexuality.

You can read canon J. John's LAMENT FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND here: https://virtueonline.org/lament-church-england

Thought crimes for an anti-Woke vicar can be found here: https://virtueonline.org/thought-crimes-anti-woke-vicar

However, a group calling themselves "inclusive evangelicals" has emerged led by a Paul Roberts who lectures in Worship and Church History at Trinity College Bristol. He believes that you can be evangelical and not agree with the CEEC.

He, along with a growing number of evangelicals have parted company with the traditional line on marriage. "We recognise that the Bible was written by people of their time, and that their own understandings are weaved into the fabric of God's revealed word. It therefore needs to be contextualised and interpreted into our own age."

So, the authority of the unchangeableness of scripture goes out the window. My good friend and social critic Os Guinness, shot down the argument saying this: "Roberts' piece is depressingly predictable. He demonstrates no awareness of two things that are crucial to the battle. First, the openly stated intentions of the sexual revolution to subvert the church. Second, the truth that is central to the miraculous survival of the Jews in history. The courage to be different is essential to survival! Why are English deaf-mute Evangelicals so often naive?"

You can read Robert's piece here: https://www.inclusiveevangelicals.com/post/can-you-be-evangelical-and-not-agree-with-the-ceec

You can read M Barratt Davie's response to Robert's piece here: https://mbarrattdavie.wordpress.com/2023/08/29/should-evangelicals-disagree-with-ceec-a-response-to-paul-roberts/

You can read Susie Leafe's powerful response to David Porter, Strategy Consultant to the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Anglican Futures here: https://www.anglicanfutures.org/post/oh-mr-porter

You can also read her brilliant piece Discerning The Times here: https://www.anglicanfutures.org/post/discerning-the-times


A poll of 1,185 Church of England clergy conducted by The Times on clergy attitudes on a range of things from workload pressures to sexuality was quite revealing.

The headlines of the survey claimed 'frontline clergy' no longer believe Britain is a Christian country and a majority of priests want the church to conduct same-sex weddings for the first time.

You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/church-england-priests-say-premarital-gay-sex-not-immoral

Conservative theologian and academic, the Rev. Dr Ian Paul, argues that the whole basis of the survey is 'a con'. Read more in his blog here. https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/what-do-anglican-clergy-think-about-christian-britain-sexuality-and-clergy-morale/

SAFEGUARDING. The whole safeguarding issue in the Church of England has collapsed, (the triumph of institutionalism over truth) and as a result a top UK barrister has been asked to lead a review into the collapse of CofE's Independent Safeguarding Board.

The ISB was put in place to investigate several cases of clergy or church sexual abuse, alleged to have happened in the Church of England. It attracted national headlines when it imploded earlier this year, after two of its members were suddenly sacked and the interim chairperson resigned, leaving confidential cases unresolved and seemingly no-one assigned to continue delicate support work with vulnerable survivors.

The Archbishops' Council instructed Sarah Wilkinson, a barrister from Blackstone Chambers, to undertake a review of what went wrong. In a statement the Church of England said Ms. Wilkinson's task is to establish "a clear account of the events from the conception, design and establishment of the ISB until the announcement of the termination of contracts of members, establish and identify the reasons for the action to terminate, and identify lessons to be learned based on the findings."

Her review is due to be completed by the end of November and the Church says the Council "will aim to make it public" as soon as possible after that. It says the findings will also inform the work of Professor Alexis Jay on the future of safeguarding within the Church of England. Abuse survivors and their advocates have long expressed dissatisfaction at the Church's slow response and handling of the matter.


Meantime GAFCON Great Britain and Europe continues to forge ahead confessing the apostolic faith, renewing the historic church, and joining the worldwide mission.

God's arm is not shortened by Church of England waffling and failures. Gafcon Great Britain and Europe exists to unite all Anglicans who are committed to biblical orthodoxy in belief and behavior, and link them to the leadership of Gafcon Global.

Their membership consists of those within the Canterbury-aligned structures who affirm the 2008 Jerusalem Declaration (eg CofE, CiW), as well as other Anglicans aligned to Gafcon in other jurisdictions (eg FCE), and those under Gafcon oversight (Anglican Network in Europe, Anglican Missionary Congregations).

They recently put out a statement affirming the GSFA at the same time prioritizing youth and children's ministry instructing them in the Word of the Lord, discipling them to maturity in Christ and equipping them for a lifetime of Christian service.

"Just before Covid, in February 2020, the Church of England published an honest and soul-searching report which estimated that more than two thirds of its churches had fewer than 5 young people under 16 attending church on Sundays, and half of these have no young people at all. Around half of all Anglican young people are gathered in less than 10% of churches. There was a 20% decline in numbers of young people in church overall, between 2015 and 2020. While most of the churches retaining young people in their mid to late teens are those with intentional efforts at evangelism and discipleship, even these face challenges, with over half reporting decline.

Western culture has experienced rapid and profound secularization for many decades. Surveys indicate that more than 60% of young people aged 18-24 do not identify with any religion, and it may be that among teenagers the percentage of these "nones" is higher still. Added to this, most Western countries have ageing populations, meaning that there are fewer young people anyway. They further noted that children from affluent middle-class families with a strong ethic of educational success were less likely to attend youth activities via Zoom on school nights, and many of these will not have returned to face-to-face youth meetings.

North American churches face much the same issue. Youth are not coming back to church and without them the churches all major denominations have no future.

While the GSFA primates will meet in October in Cairo to examine the state of the Communion and what should be done, preparations are underway for the meeting of Gafcon Primates in London in November.


Just when you think things could not get any worse for Justin Welby, the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia is calling on the Province of S. E. Asia to break ties with Church of England.

In a press release by the Synod of the Diocese of West they adopted a statement saying that the action of the General Synod of the Church of England to authorize liturgy prayers for the blessing of individuals in same-sex unions, contravening Lambeth Resolution 1:10 is enough to break ties with the Mother Church.
They argued for a new global leadership framework in the worldwide Anglican
Communion in which the current Instruments of Communion may be replaced by
structures which are more relevant to, representative and reflective of the present and continuing shift in the global membership of the Anglican Communion. You can read their full statement here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-diocese-west-malaysia-calls-province-s-e-asia-break-ties-church-england


One wonders what is going through Archbishop Justin Welby's mind as he watches his church implode and the GSFA and Gafcon primates and bishops circle his top-heavy church with bishops and clergy even as aging Anglicans disappear from the pews and head into graveyards.

If you really want to know how bad things are in the Church of England talk to the laity. Bishops and clergy have too much vested interest in telling you about what really is going on. Here are a couple of sample Letters to the editor of The Telegraph.

Letters to the Editor of The Telegraph
10 September 2023

SIR -- As the retired finance director of a major institution and current treasurer of a rural parish, I take issue with the secretary general of the General Synod, William Nye, who claims that the central Church is supporting frontline ministries.

In my parish we have so far seen nothing of the £3.6 billion he speaks of. Rather, we are faced with annually increasing demands for our contribution to diocesan costs.

To anyone with an understanding of parish finance, it is the overhead cost of the diocesan system that is the problem. There is an urgent need for that cost to be severely cut by merging the 42 dioceses, reducing the number of bishops from the present 113 to something closer to the 26 of 200 years ago. With the resultant savings and Mr Nye's £3.6 billion, it would be possible to increase the stipends of parish clergy across the board.

Meanwhile, the bell is tolling.

Donald R Clarke
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

SIR -- The "dossier" reported on by Gabriella Swerling makes for shocking reading, with accounts of inadequate consultation and coercion of clergy and parishioners in Cornwall.

It contradicts the Diocese of Truro's claim that the reorganisation of all its churches into giant groups or "mega-parishes" is not "top-down". Indeed, a document issued to parishioners in one of Truro's 12 deaneries stated: "We are not seeking opinions on God's given vision". The people have no right to legal representation in this unequal process.

The appropriate response to the dossier would be to hold a formal, thorough and independent investigation into how a proper process could possibly be conducted in this unjust, unkind manner.

Sir James Burnell-Nugent
Modbury, Devon


On the home front, The Episcopal Church and its Presiding Bishop Michael Curry faced accusations that bishops were being given a pass on abuse of power and sexuality charges.

He got his comeuppance when Julia Ayala Harris, president of the House of Deputies and the second-ranking officer of the church, wrote a letter stating concerns about the church's response to her allegations that a retired bishop subjected her to "non-consensual physical contact" as well as "inappropriate verbal statements" on July 9, 2022, the day she was elected president.

The bishop in question turned out to be retired Oklahoma Bishop Ed Konieczny.
As VOL was going to press Konieczny publicly denied any sexual misconduct took place. You can read all about it here: https://livingchurch.org/2023/09/14/bishop-konieczny-breaks-silence-denies-sexual-misconduct/

Konieczny was first identified publicly at the subject of Ayala Harris' complaint on Sept. 5 in a story by The Living Church, citing three unnamed sources and the Diocese of Oklahoma's chancellor, Bill Cathcart. Cathcart confirmed the allegations to media, saying he and Konieczny were barred by a "pastoral directive" from saying anything about the case. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/michael-curry-responds-complaints-free-passes-accused-bishops-spokane-bishop-calls-action

However Anglican Watch editor Eric Bonetti called out Curry on his statement about church discipline and accountability. "We are calling BS on him."

"For starters, his effort to address this issue is pure politics. By pushing the matter to the Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons, Curry is trying to keep the matter at arm's length."

"Second, Curry has ignored multiple complaints that have landed on his desk, including:

Pleas for help from Richard Losch's victim.
Complaints about Bishop George Sumner, who has personally retaliated against clergy opposing the sexual harassment of women.
Complaints about bishops who simply ignore the provisions of Title IV."
You can read more here: https://www.anglicanwatch.com/calling-bs-on-michael-curry/

One bishop who did get his comeuppance was, provisional bishop of the dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan, Prince Singh who was restricted from ministry because of allegations that he had physically and emotionally abused his wife and sons.

He was placed on leave and will be barred from practicing any form of ministry pending the resolution of a denominational investigation. Bishop Singh resigned the day after his ministry was restricted amid the Title IV probe.

Since June, the bishop has been voluntarily participating in a Title IV investigation.
In a letter dated Sept. 7 and obtained by Religion News Service, the Rev. Clifton Daniel III, the bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina who is overseeing the Title IV investigation, cited "a series of public allegations" as reason for the decision. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/episcopal-bishop-prince-singh-restricted-ministry


While the CofE bishops set about compromising God's Word on sexuality because of the whine of a few homosexuals, here is what real pain looks like. From Pakistani Anglican Bishop Azad Marshall had this to say about the recent persecution in his country; "Over 22 places of Worship were set on fire, nearly 100 homes were looted and destroyed in what can never be justified by any measure. Residents of these homes, men, women and children were forced to flee into the night and many more across the province in fear and despair. One month on, we remember the tragedy of that dark day the threat, the fear and the sense of isolation and despair that has often knocked on the door of our hearts and minds. But decidedly we must choose to remember the undeniable assurance that this is not the end of the road. God is with us. While I wish to acknowledge an overwhelming support from legal fraternity, the members of the Civil Society, both Muslims, Christians and members of other minorities. May I invite you to join us on this lonely road to strive for judicial equality, the right to flourish and exercise our human expression of worship and belief and to raise our children without fear for their future. Could it be that Jaraanwala's tragedy becomes a doorway toward freedom, hope and forgiveness?

The Finnish parliamentarian and physician Päivi Räsänen this week returned to the dock to face hate crimes charges for having quoted the Bible in defense of Scripture's teaching on homosexuality.

In her opening statement on Thursday, the Finnish prosecutor said, of a 2004 pamphlet authored by Dr. Räsänen, "The point isn't whether it is true or not, but that this is insulting.

Think about that: The point is not whether these words true or not, but that someone's feelings were hurt by them. This is the essence of totalitarianism: the demand to control reality. The Finnish state attempts to outlaw not simply expression it does not like, but facts it finds offensive. H/t Rod Dreher, European Conservative.


If you thought that homosexuality/pansexuality/LGBTQ+ issues were simply the province of Western mainline denominations, think again. The Roman Catholic Church is facing the same issues with similar outcomes.

If Gene Robinson began the long slow march away from Christian orthodoxy resulting in schism in the Episcopal Church; Rome, it would appear is heading in the same direction.

What happened to former Albany Episcopal Bishop William Love, might now be happening as rumors swirl that Pope Francis may ask for the resignation of Catholic Bishop Joseph Strickland, the firebrand conservative who oversees the Diocese of Tyler in Texas. Strickland signaled he would not give up his post voluntarily.

Strickland's criticism of the pope for his soft stance on homosexuality, his resistance to COVID-19 vaccines is not going down well in the Vatican and the flunkies that surround the pope who want to see more liberal views on homosexuality, divorce and a whole range of issues that were for years verboten to even talk about.

Rumors of Strickland being asked to resign, amplified by LifeSiteNews and other conservative Catholic websites, come after an apostolic visitation to Strickland's diocese in June, a rare disciplinary investigation by the Holy See. The visitation, in turn, followed a November 2021 incident in which Strickland was privately chastised during a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Reached by email on Tuesday, Strickland told Religion News Service he was unaware of any resignation request from the Vatican, saying, "I have received no information on this from Rome."


Sometimes you must wonder if the insane asylum is truly run by the lunatics. Practicing lesbian (the Very Rev.) Katherine Hancock Ragsdale who ran The Episcopal Divinity School into the ground and declared that "abortion is a blessing and our work is not done," has just been named Interim VP and Dean of Moravian and Lancaster seminaries. She will serve as interim vice president and dean of both institutions until the naming of a permanent dean following a national search.

Just to complete the bad news, more than $400,000 was stolen in a cyberattack on the trust funds managed on behalf of the Diocese of Virginia and its churches, prompting the diocese's fund manager to implement new security measures. One wag suggested it was the judgement on the Episcopal Church and its litigation posture in respect of the 7 parishes which seceded from the diocese. He may have a point.


The following are some excellent articles that capture the present zeitgeist:

Liberals Have Won the Culture War by Ryan Burge: https://virtueonline.org/liberals-have-won-culture-war

Woke mantra: peace through conformity. Americans aren't buying it (literall... https://virtueonline.org/woke-mantra-peace-through-conformity-americans-arent-buying-it-literally

CANADA'S WOKE NIGHTMARE: A WARNING TO THE WEST: https://virtueonline.org/canadas-woke-nightmare-warning-west

BEAUTIFUL ANGLICAN MISTS: https://virtueonline.org/beautiful-anglican-mists

"WE DO NOT HAVE FREE WILL" -- Chuck Collins: https://virtueonline.org/we-do-not-have-free-will-chuck-collins

7 Real Reasons Why People Are Turning to God: https://virtueonline.org/7-real-reasons-why-people-are-turning-god

Mainline protestant pastors are often more liberal than church members: https://virtueonline.org/mainline-protestant-pastors-are-often-more-liberal-church-members-does-it-fuel-conflict


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

P.O. Box 111
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