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Heroes of the Faith * Kansas Bishops get Push back on Guns in Churches * ACC Sec. Gen. Blasts Western Revisionism * Gunmen attack bishop's house in Juba * New Anglican church opens in Virginia * CAPA gets new orthodox African leaders

As Imaginative Conservatives, we know better than most the evil that men do. We also, equally, know and celebrate the glorious things men do. We know that Our Mother is the mother of Our Lord. And, we know that Our Lord is the Word, the beginning of all Creation, through whom all things were made. You, me, and that guy over there... God made every one of us--black, white, male, female, Greek, Jew--a unique reflection of His Divine Essence. We sin, but He forgives. We stumble, and He helps us back up. We sin again, and He dies for us, becoming the Lord of all, the one true King. And, when so animated by His Grace, we see not the janitor, the neighbor, that dude, or that Muslim terrorist, but the Image of the One True God, no matter what the accidents of birth or the corruptions we build for ourselves. When we see with reality, we see the true Weight of Glory inside each one of us, each a Temple of the Holy Spirit. Only in such faith, do we have hope. And, only in hope can we love. After all, love is all you need. --- Bradley Birzer

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. --- I Peter 1: 3-6

Leftism has taken over the world's leading educational institutions, the world's news media and the world's popular entertainment, and it has influenced Christianity (and Judaism) far more than Christianity (or Judaism) has influenced anything. --- Dennis Prager

I prefer to view this time in which we live as Pre-Christian. In doing so I want to emphasize that as Christians we are the leaven, life, light and seed needed to transform this age from within. We are the solution and cannot waste one minute wringing our hands. They need to be put to the plow, not looking back but sowing the seeds of renewal. (See, Luke 9:62) --- Deacon Keith Fournier

Salvation concerns persons. To call socio-political liberation 'salvation' and to call social activism 'evangelism' - this is to be guilty of a gross theological confusion. It is to mix what Scripture keeps distinct - God the Creator and God the Redeemer, the God of the cosmos and the God of the covenant, the world and the church, common grace and saving grace, justice and justification, the reformation of society and the regeneration of men. For the salvation offered in the gospel of Christ concerns persons rather than structures. It is deliverance from another kind of yoke than political and economic oppression. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
August 12, 2016

In the very dark and demonic times we now live in, being an ordinary person, an ordinary citizen, and an ordinary Christian, no longer cuts it. We now must be extraordinary for Christ and the Kingdom. We must dare to do mighty exploits for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And we must be willing to risk all for the sake of God and others.

Over the years I have documented a number of Anglican heroes who have stood out from the crowd, men and women who have not settled for the ordinary, the second best, the routine, but have soared with eagles' wings as they have tackled seemingly insurmountable challenges and obstacles...and triumphed.

These men and women have taken risks that most of us would never dream of taking.

As Bill Muehlenberg writes, "They are champions, heroes and valiant warriors in an age of cowards, spineless wonders, and wilted flowers. They stand out from the crowd because they have had a vision of the One who gave everything for them. They serve a risen Lord and do so by the power of his might."

Let me recall just a few. They are heroes of the faith.

Let's start with Bishop Bob Duncan, who challenged the enormous legal and ecclesiastical power structures of The Episcopal Church and launched out into the deep to form the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) where the odds were seriously against him. Not everyone thought he would be successful. He not only stood up to The Episcopal Church, he drew together a rag tag group of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic clergy and laity and did the seemingly impossible. If you thought that was easy, consider that, in 1977, four bishops formed the Continuum (following the ordination of women by PECUSA) and they still haven't been able to unite under one single Anglo-Catholic umbrella, though there are signs that they might now be doing so.

Robert Duncan is a success story. He first had to navigate the troubled waters of the Anglican Mission in America and Chuck Murphy, (a far from easy task), but he emerged mostly unscathed and brought together a new order of Anglicans committed to the Great Commission announcing God's unswerving love for all people.

His successor, Archbishop Foley Beach, is a different kind of leader, but a humble man who cares deeply for what he has inherited. He has big shoes to fill, but he fills them with grace. He is solidly biblical and faithful, open and warm to the Holy Spirit as he sees the Spirit move among his people. He will work well with a rambunctious Global South. He has earned their respect. In Canterbury, when the Primates were called together and he was the outlier, he acquitted himself with grace. He knows that the Africans own the Communion and he must be a supplicant in the new world order of Anglicanism.

Then there is Archbishop Joseph Adetaloya, the prime mover in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, who set that province on a course to evangelize Nigeria's millions. A brilliant and pragmatic evangelist, he declared a decade of evangelism in the Anglican Communion in 1990; this gave birth to the first set of Missionary Dioceses in the Communion. His legacy was passed on to Peter Akinola and to his successor, Nicholas Okoh. Today that province is the largest, most unswervingly orthodox in the Anglican Communion and the primary bulwark against Western Anglican imperial revisionism and progressivism. From this province, and others, GAFCON was borne.

Another man of God is Gregory Venables, former archbishop of the Southern Cone, who took the risk rescuing North American Anglicans when they most needed it. Other bishops who took risks include Jack Iker, Keith Ackerman, John David Schofield, Donald Davies, Terence Kelshaw, Dave Bena, and Peter Beckwith, to name just a few. They gave their all, risking pensions and a place at the Episcopal table, for the greater call of the gospel.

America longs for heroes, true heroes, not narcissistic celebrities and self-anointed pundits and third rate politicos. The world craves a man or a woman who stands outside themselves, announcing another king and another kingdom for which one can live and die for...an Augustine, a St. Paul, a Cranmer, a Wilberforce, a Mother Teresa; men and women who somehow transcended time and who brought us hope.

*****

The Episcopal bishops of Kansas and Western Kansas recently issued a letter to their respective dioceses saying that they would not permit firearms, openly or concealed, into churches or houses of worship. "These changes reflect the efforts of an active gun manufacturers lobby, and in our judgment they unnecessarily endanger the citizens of our state and members of our parishes.

"However, the chancellors (Canon lawyers) say that this pastoral directive is unenforceable, and that is probably true. But we think this is one way that the Church can say "enough"! wrote the bishops.

The bishops say they will not be installing metal detectors, and worshippers will not be frisked at the front door.

*****

The twists and turns in the Anglican Communion took another turn this week when Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, made the startling observation that the African church should not bow before Western revisionism.

This was a dangerous move for him. As a Nigerian, he stands with the Global South; as the head of the ACC, he must be a mouthpiece for the whole Communion, including and especially, the progressive revisionist West, so a statement like this will not go down well with primates like Michael Curry or Fred Hiltz, who view that Instrument of Unity as theirs to do with as they wish. After all, TEC pours over $400,000 a year into the ACC, so biting the hand that feeds him is a risky business. In Poker terms, you had better have a straight flush to beat a full house. Fearon is treading on cut glass. If he whacks Western revisionism, he stands to lose money, if he doesn't stand with the Global South, they will cast him forth if they haven't already done so. The big winner in all this is Justin Welby, who can say, 'look, Fearon said it, I didn't', you can accuse him of homophobia (if you dare) not moi. The spineless Welby can slither along on the coattails of Fearon and the ACC as one of his instruments of unity.

*****

Long standing news that religion in Britain, particularly the Church of England, is in decline might be coming to a halt, a major study recently revealed.

On the surface it looks like the tide might have turned, but a knowledgeable source told VOL that the source of the new numbers appears to be migration rather than conversion.

*****

Rwanda's capital city Kigali was festooned with blue and white decorations on 31 July as the Anglican Church of Rwanda [Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda] Mothers' Union (MU) celebrated a 50th jubilee. Joyous singing and dancing poured forth from a ceremony at the Anglican Kibagabaga Parish. Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, led the congregation in song. Rwaje is also the husband of MU-Rwanda president, Josephine Rwaje.
The first lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame, was the guest of honor. She acknowledged the role mothers have played in rebuilding Rwanda. She urged the men to value their wives, saying even the Bible shows that "he who finds a wife, finds a good thing, he obtains favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:19).

In nation building, she said, women and men are necessary and must work together. She drew smiles from the crowd when she likened a good family to a little heaven on earth, and said it is disheartening to see the rate of family breakdown, because this affects the whole nation.

She implored church leaders to do what they can to ensure families are stable, because frustrations at home lead to more instances of sex abuse, drug abuse and crime. She also encouraged church leaders to guide parents on how to talk with their children, especially about sexuality, and to do everything possible to encourage the children to stay in school. "We must work hard to train our children to embrace the real values of hard work, honesty and focus," she said. She promised that she was committed to work with all mothers in Rwanda.

*****

St. Thomas's Fifth Avenue in New York City has finally rolled over. Canon Turner who became XIII Rector of Saint Thomas Church in July, 2014, is allowing a woman to celebrate Holy Communion. Anne "Mother" Mallonee was Trinity Wall Street's first female rector and is now Executive Vice President and Chief Ecclesiastical Officer at the Church Pension Group. A VOL observer wrote to say that it was inevitable. "Fr. Turner had been permitting priestesses as guest preachers over the last couple years, but the dam has finally burst."

*****

Oatlands, Virginia has a new Anglican parish open for business. The Anglican Church of Our Saviour at Oatlands will consecrate its new sanctuary at a special service on Sunday, August 21st, at 9:30 a.m. Their lease expired with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and so they built their own new parish down the road. The old parish built in the Nineteenth Century now stands empty. You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****
A coalition of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders assembled by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has released the following statement:

The California Assembly has proposed legislation that is harmful to the free exercise of religion in higher education. In particular, the legislation disadvantages low-income minority students who want an education at private religious colleges. Though it purports to eliminate discrimination, Senate Bill 1146 results in its own form of discrimination by stigmatizing and coercively punishing religious beliefs that disagree on contested matters related to human sexuality. If SB 1146 were to pass, it would deny students' ability to participate in state grant programs--programs that exist to help low-income students, and which are overwhelmingly used by racial minorities--at schools that are found in violation of the bill. Moreover, it would severely restrict the ability of religious education institutions to set expectations of belief and conduct that align with the institution's religious tenets.

While we do not all agree on religious matters, we all agree that the government has no place in discriminating against poor religious minorities or in pitting a religious education institution's faith-based identity against its American identity. This legislation puts into principle that majoritarian beliefs are more deserving of legal protection, and that minority viewpoints are deserving of government harassment. Legislation of this nature threatens the integrity, not only of religious institutions, but of any viewpoint wishing to exercise basic American freedoms, not least of which is the freedom of conscience.

*****

In its World Watch List 2016, Open Doors documented reports of more than 7,000 Christians killed and more than 2,400 churches attacked globally last year.

The killing of Christians in Nigeria rose 62 percent in 2015, mostly perpetrated by Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani herdsman, and Islamist extremism in the government, according to Open Doors. Nigeria is ranked No. 12 on Open Doors' list of the world's most dangerous locations for Christians.

This summer in Nigeria, Muslim youth attacked church members after Friday prayers, stabbed a Christian man for eating during Ramadan, and beat to death a 74-year-old pastor's wife who asked a Muslim youth to do his ablution away from the front of her shop.

Two pastors were also killed.

Joseph Kurah, regional chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the central state of Nasarawa and a pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All, was murdered on June 30 by suspected Fulani herdsmen on his farm in Obi.

Then, on July 9, Eunice Elisha, 42, an assistant pastor at the Redeemed Church of God in the Kubwa region of the Nigerian capital of Abuja, was killed. She was buried on her birthday--July 23. Local media published photos of her husband, Olowale, and their seven children, all dressed in pale blue, standing next to her grave.

What Open Doors did not say and which has been better documented by Barnabas Aid, is that the vast majority of those killed in Nigeria are Anglicans, who suffer for the faith because Muslim extremists accuse them of embracing Western pansexuality.

*****

Gunmen attack bishop's house in Juba. Last month thousands of people sought sanctuary in All Saints' Cathedral in Juba, as fighting erupted in and around the city. Now the violence has reached the home of the assistant bishop of the diocese, Fraser Yugu, as it came under attack by gunmen.

A group of men fired bullets into the house of the assistant bishop of Juba in South Sudan in the early hours of Sunday, as they tried to force their way into the building. They fled when Bishop Fraser Yugu's pet dog began barking and raised the alarm.

Nobody was injured in the incident. But, as they left, the gunmen shot the dog and destroyed the rear windscreen of the bishop's car that was parked at his compound in Juba's Hai Kuwait residential area.

The motive of the attackers remains unknown. Christians in the Diocese of Juba have questioned why gunmen would want to storm the house of a clergyman who has maintained a neutral position in the recent political unrest. They have appealed to security forces to "take all necessary measures to protect civilians."

Bishop Yugu moved to the residence on his appointment as Assistant Bishop of Juba. Previously, he lived in the cathedral compound when he was Dean of All Saints' Cathedral.

Juba is the capital of South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011. There has been an upsurge of violence in the region in recent weeks, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of independence.

*****

Archbishops Chama and Ntagali elected to head Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa. The Archbishop of Central Africa, Albert Chama, has been elected as the new chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). He will be assisted by the new vice-chair, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali from Uganda. CAPA brings together all 12 Anglican Provinces in Africa as well as the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa from the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East to "coordinate and articulate issues affecting the Church and communities across the region."

Archbishop Albert Chama, who also serves as Bishop of Northern Zambia, became the Primate of Central Africa in 2011. His Province includes Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Earlier this year he hosted the Anglican Consultative Council as they met in Lusaka's Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Archbishop Chama chairs the board of the Anglican Alliance.

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, who is also the Bishop of Kampala, was installed as Primate of Uganda in 2012. In recent years, he oversaw the redevelopment of the Anglican shrine and a museum dedicated to the memory of the Martyrs in Namugongo; and, last year, welcomed Pope Francis to the centre. And he persuaded the country's President, Yoweri Museveni, to declare an annual national holiday on the day that the country's former Archbishop, Janani Luwum, is remembered. Archbishop Luwum was assassinated in 1977.

This week's elections of Archbishops Chama and Ntagali took place this week during a meeting of CAPA in Kigali, Rwanda.

*****

It is clear that Pope Francis might not be the most solid brick in the seminary wall. He is, say his followers and some of his detractors, more heart than head, unlike his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who was clearly more head than heart. In this day and age, people prefer heart over head, which may not be the best thing in the world. This week, Canon Dr. Jules Gomes took on the Pope's latest gaffe, "I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don't want war. The others want war," he said, just hours before Fr Jacques Hamel, an elderly priest had been brutally killed in France by Islamic extremists while celebrating Mass. Dr. Gomes takes the Pope on in a piece about this in today's digest.

*****

The wages of battling sin are getting better for men and women of the cloth. Non-Catholic clergy have experienced significant increases in income even as their work weeks declined by more than 15 percent in recent decades, according to a major new study of clergy compensation published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. (While the non-Catholic category was primarily Protestant, it did include a small number of non-Christian clergy, the study said.)

The study is believed to be the first to take into account the benefits clergy receive in the form of housing allowances or living in church-provided residences, which usually cause difficulty in any wage comparison of clergy to the general public.

Overall, in inflation-adjusted wages, non-Catholic clergy made $4.37 more per hour in 2013 than they did in 1983. That figure is more than double the wage increase of the average worker with a college degree.

*****

It should not come as a complete surprise that Muslim representatives in Italy are now demanding the legalization of polygamy.

Responding to a new law allowing same sex couples to enter civil unions, Hamza Piccardo argued that if gay relationships, which Muslims disagree with, are a civil right, then Italians must accept polygamy as a civil right, too. The head of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked body insisted polygamy is a civil right and a matter of "equality of citizens before the law".

The UCOII president wrote: "When it comes to civil rights here, then polygamy is a civil right. Muslims do not agree with homosexual partnerships, and yet they have to accept a system that allows it. There is no reason why Italy should not accept polygamous marriages of consenting persons."

The call for polygamy, from Italy's largest Muslim umbrella group, was met with outrage by a number of politicians. Perhaps, but the logic is inescapable. Now, when will this thinking come to America and make its way to the Supreme Court?

The legal recognition of civil partnerships has been highly controversial in Italy, with its deep Catholic roots. In October, a representative from influential billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations attended an LGBT activist event in Rome.

The event, which lobbies the Synod of Bishops, was run by the newly formed Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. The network agitates against all Catholic scripture and Church decisions, language, and doctrine that it deems intolerant to homosexuals.

*****

One of the enduring myths sustained by Islamist scholars and helped along by idiot savants like Paul Vallely and published in The Independent is that Islam is the great innovator and inventor. It's all lies. For the full story on what they did not invent and did not change the world, click here:

https://wikiislam.net/wiki/How_Islamic_Inventors_Did_Not_Change_The_World

*****

Do you ever wonder where the Episcopal Church is headed? Do you ever wonder who will be our next generation of leaders? 'Come and see' on August 24th, when Kyrsha Allen and Matthew Yochum are commissioned as the 2016-17 interns by Georgia Bishop, Scott Benhase, and Columba House Missioners, the Revs. Guillermo and Kelly Steele. Well, look no further: http://www.virtueonline.org/dropbox/images/2016/08-August/next-tec-leader.jpg

*****

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