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Lusaka ACC-16 lovefest gives TEC a Pass * GAFCON Primates Meet in Nairobi * Will Welby's history handicap Anglican Communion * Canadian Churches Close * San Joaquin and Ft. Worth Continue Legal Battles * Trinity Wall Street Grants influence Global South

Theological devotion. It is important to note from Romans 1 - 11 that theology (our belief about God) and doxology (our worship of God) should never be separated. On the one hand, there can be no doxology without theology.
It is not possible to worship an unknown god. All true worship is a response to the self-revelation of God in Christ and Scripture, and arises from our reflection on who he is and what he has done. It was the tremendous truths of Romans 1 - 11 which provoked Paul's outburst of praise in verses 33-36 of chapter 11. The worship of God is evoked, informed and inspired by the vision of God. Worship without theology is bound to degenerate into idolatry. Hence the indispensable place of Scripture in both public worship and private devotion. It is the Word of God which calls forth the worship of God. On the other hand, there should be no theology without doxology. There is something fundamentally flawed about a purely academic interest in God. God is not an appropriate object for cool, critical, detached, scientific observation and evaluation. No, the true knowledge of God will always lead us to worship, as it did Paul. Our place is on our faces before him in adoration. As I believe Bishop Handley Moule said at the end of the last century, we must 'beware equally of an undevotional theology and of an untheological devotion'. --- John R.W. Stott

"How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound Him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves." - C.T. Studd

"This hyper-self-consciousness about 'Who am I? Where exactly am I on the gender spectrum?' is mere navel-gazing, while in the Middle East ISIS is beheading people. It is a kind of madness of self-absorption." -- Camille Paglia

"What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use, men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer." --- E.M. Bounds

"Everyone recognizes that Stephen was Spirit-filled when he was performing wonders. Yet, he was just as Spirit-filled when he was being stoned to death." ---- Leonard Ravenhill

"The church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is college-trained but not Spirit-filled works no miracles." --- Samuel Chadwick

On homosexuality. "There is censorship of discussion about the causes of various gender issues -- for at least 25 years, now, in the case of homosexuality itself. In the 1980s there was talk of finding a gay gene, but when that was not found, silence [became the rule]. To even raise the question of how homosexuality is caused is considered homophobic. But I think it is imperative for everyone to ask questions about matters of development of the personality and sexual orientation. "I'm waiting for some brave young gays to protest against the censorship." --- Camille Paglia

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
April 22, 2016

Archbishop Justin Welby will shortly face a kairos moment when the GAFCON Primates meet next week in Nairobi.

The ACC-16 Lusaka lovefest is over and all the pleasant sounding words about a diverse communion filled with paradox and "difference" and "intentional discipleship" will be tested when, and if Welby comes face to face with those primates that refused to attend the Lusaka love-in.

The Episcopal Church got a pass thanks to chairman Bishop James Tengatenga and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who did not even attempt to implement what the Primates agreed upon in Canterbury last January. TEC romped home with all the prizes of inclusivity and diversity, with not a peep of disapproval from anyone, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. They got full rights of admission.

Now all this should make it much easier for the GAFCON primates as they meet in Nairobi. They will have read how Welby did nothing to implement what the primates earlier agreed upon.

So I predict this. Welby, an evangelical, will come to hate the very tribe he belongs too, namely his fellow evangelicals. Rowan Williams was not an evangelical, but he tried to square the circle and couldn't. He got eviscerated by Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh in language that no one had seen before. And the same will happen to Welby.

The GAFCON primates have too much to lose to compromise with Welby, and they will tell him so. Welby may well rue the day he took the job. They will not let him off the hook because he is an evangelical, and will, in fact, demand that he live to a higher standard than that sought by Williams. They will demand that he live up to the authority of scripture and not the faux authority of the Instruments of the communion, and they will tell him so in no uncertain terms.

Being the child of alcoholic parents will not get him off the hook. He cannot parse this and try and reconcile the irreconcilable. That day is long gone. If he ends up standing with the ACC and TEC and the ACoC, then the Anglican Communion is lost.

The argument that we can all get along is not working. There are two different gospels being advocated by the Anglican Communion. One is right; the other is wrong. One leads to eternal life, the other leads to spiritual death and, possibly, eternal damnation. The two are irreconcilable. One group believes in worldly transformation through the Five Marks of Mission; the other believes in personal transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit with a transcendent gospel of sin and salvation, which may or may not lead to societal transformation.

The notion that God has changed his mind about human sexual behavior is wrong. Dead wrong. He hasn't. The subject of our sexuality is ontologically driven; it is an order of creation. It is "male and female". God closed the sexual matrix in creation and has never opened it again. QED

Welby might well bless his son if he announced to him he was gay, and attend his son's "marriage", but God would not be present and he would not bless what He himself has not approved of.

You can read a number of stories from correspondents attending Lusaka and my own commentaries in today's digest. The bottom line is the issue of two masters and who the Anglican Communion will serve.

*****

The Archbishop of Canterbury's recent revelation that his father was not who he thought he was, but someone else, did not come as a shock, apparently, and Justin Welby treated the revelation with biblical insight, receiving near universal adulation for his stand and his support of his still living mother.

Kudos all round. That all three players, his natural father, his mother and his stepfather all had serious drinking problems with Welby, himself, nursing his ailing father till he died, speaks volumes about who Welby is, his compassion and love in the midst of a less than happy childhood.

A lot of people can identify with Welby's situation. Unnumbered children grow up in alcoholic and abusive homes, with many being scarred for life, while others rise to triumph over their awful upbringings to do great things. Some are strengthened by adversity, and others destroyed.

Clearly there are scars left and behaviors learned that determine how one might function in society at a later date.

Welby's behavior and reconciliation skills, both in the secular and religious realm, reveal much about the man and what an alcoholic environment did to him.

Dr. Charles Zeiders, an Anglo Catholic, clinical psychology expert and author of The Clinical Christ, talks about Welby's attempts at reconciliation in the communion in these terms.

Here is what he wrote to VOL:

"It is well known that children of alcoholic parents are often conflict- averse. In their personal lives they are at higher risk for so-called, codependent relationships, wherein they sacrifice their own welfare to unreasonable and even sick partners and friends. If such a person rises to leadership in a denomination or corporation, they are at risk for a people-pleasing style of leadership. During periods of organizational stability, such leaders do not injure the institution. However, when there is upheaval in matters of doctrine or crisis due to economic change, people-pleasing leaders represent a disaster for institutional survival. In churches, such leaders issue platitudinous, banal encyclicals, while tithing collapses in the face of inevitable ruptures into splinter groups. In corporations, the decisive reorganization from fast hiring and firing fail to occur, and innovation stalls, while the people-pleasing leader frets over keeping VP's and senior managers happy. You can read the full story in today's digest. (Note to David: Where is the end of this quote?It is missing its ")

*****

On another note, The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania voted by a razor thin margin to rejoin GAFCON, and authorized their primate, Archbishop Jacob Chimeledya, to attend this week's meeting of the GAFCON primates' council in Nairobi. VOL was told by an insider, that TEC is going to war to get it back, as they have poured millions into this province to keep it from straying into the arms of GAFCON. Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa, an Anglo-Catholic and former archbishop and primate of Tanzania, was one of the founding GAFCON primates, and gave up his throne in 2008 to the present archbishop. Mokiwa had abandoned GAFCON, and thrown his support to the Bishops in Dialogue and Indaba process. As recently as last month, he hosted a conference funded by the Episcopal Church in Dar es Salaam, designed to foster links between the Episcopal Church and Africa's Anglican bishops. Chimeledya is from the evangelical wing of the church and had attended the first GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem in 2008.

*****

As the GAFCON primates meet this week in Nairobi, many people around the world will be praying for these men and the wider Anglican Communion. They would value your prayers again. Here are some points to guide your prayers as well as your praise to our God, who is rich in mercy and grace.

Give thanks:

• for the Primates' willingness to serve the Anglican Communion through the GAFCON Primates' Council despite the heavy burdens they carry in their own Provinces.

• for the courageous and faithful leadership of Archbishop Wabukala as he stands down as chairman at this meeting.

• for safety in travelling and at the venue, for visa arrangements to go smoothly and for everyone to arrive as scheduled.

• that the Primates will be united and strong in their love for God's Word and their resolve to see the Church of God healed and renewed.

• for wisdom in the decisions that need to be made about GAFCON 2018, and the development of the GAFCON movement.

• for the Advisers, Consultants and Secretariat staff who will be supporting the Primates.

• for this meeting to be an encouragement to the Anglican Church of Kenya

*****

CANADIAN CLOSURES. Anglican churches are closing all across Canada. In Ladysmith, BC, St. John the Evangelist church will shut down this summer, ending 115 years of Anglican presence in the mid-Island community. The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia reported that the church's 35 parishioners have voted to disestablish or close down as a legal entity in the community. Catherine Pate, spokeswoman for the diocese -- comprising the 45 parishes on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Kingcome Inlet -- said an aging congregation and the need for a new building forced the decision. "There are not enough of them where they are in a position to feel they can start a new base and a new building." The church building dates to 1901, when a schoolhouse for children of coal miners was moved from what is now Nanaimo to be used for services.

The Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland is steadily closing churches. David of Samizdat writes, "Or, to use voguish Ecclesi-Speak, it is repurposing them. If the bishop does manage to find a purpose for his churches, it will be a first for the ACoC, an organization that has been meandering aimlessly in a theological wilderness of solipsistic ecclesiolatry for decades now."

The diocese will discuss ways to develop greater community partnerships under the possibility of repurposing or divesting themselves of their current inventory of property and buildings.

Four parishes in Trinity South recently closed their churches, choosing instead to amalgamate into the repurposed Epiphany Elementary school in Heart's Delight-Islington. Bishop Peddle says they have seven parish churches in the St. John's area, and they're working with parishes on how to reshape themselves into the future. The bishop says this month's Synod will examine the ongoing process of deciding what they keep with them "on the journey forward."

In London, Ontario, in the Diocese of Huron, Bishop Cronyn Anglican Church has closed. The church had a lengthy history in the city, being the second Anglican church to be built here in London in 1873, after the building of St Paul's Cathedral. It was named after the first Bishop of Huron, Benjamin Cronyn, and became the anchor church in East London, attracting a congregation of 700 people to Sunday service during the Victorian era. Even as recently as the 1970's, the church drew almost 200 people to its Sunday services.

*****

TWO dioceses took another step in the ongoing legal saga of who owns church properties this week.

Canon lawyer, Allan S. Haley, along with attorneys for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, filed a petition with the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Fresno to grant a rehearing (and re-briefing) of the case which that Court decided on April 5, as reported in an earlier post. Based on what the Court wrote in its decision, the petition recites a number of grounds for granting a rehearing (Petition, pp. 6-7).

The Diocese of San Joaquin, in California, was the first Episcopal member diocese to vote to withdraw from membership in the Episcopal Church (USA). It did so by passing (with well more than the minimum two-thirds majorities required) certain amendments to its Constitution and canons at two successive annual conventions of the Diocese, in 2006 and again in December 2007.

In 2007, before it made its final vote to withdraw from ECUSA, the Diocese of San Joaquin under its then bishop, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, had several subsidiary trust entities used for holding title to real and personal property. The first was a "corporation sole", which is a special type of religious corporation having only a single officer/director (which is the reason for applying the adjective "sole" to it), called "the incumbent of the corporation sole."

There were forty of the Diocese's member congregations, along with their associated clergy, that voted in convention, in December 2007, to adopt amendments to its Constitution that changed its religious affiliation from ECUSA to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. (The realignment was on a temporary basis of necessity, until the Anglican Church in North America organized as an independent province in 2009 and the Diocese joined it.)

In opposition to that final vote in 2007, were seven member parishes and their clergy, who wished to remain affiliated with ECUSA. And so they proceeded to withdraw from the Diocese, with Bishop Schofield's blessings, and took their own real and personal property with them. You can read more in today's digest.

FROM the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth comes word that the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth heard oral arguments before a three-justice panel from both sides, regarding the appeal of last year's trial court ruling in favor of the Diocese and Corporation.

The appeal was filed by the plaintiffs' Episcopal Church parties after the trial court ruled that, under neutral principles of law, the church and diocesan properties held by its Corporation are held in trust for the Diocese and the Parishes and Missions in union with it -- and not The Episcopal Church. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in 2013, that the trial court should apply neutral principles, rather than deferring to TEC wishes. It also declared that the Dennis Canon has no force or effect in the state.

Attorney Scott Brister answered a very few questions from Justices Lee Gabriel, Bonnie Sudderth, and Gardner during his presentation on behalf of the Diocese and Corporation. The hearing concluded on time. There is no period defined for the court to hand down an opinion and judgment, but a ruling can be expected within a few months' time.

*****

If you have ever wanted a glimpse into how Trinity Church, Wall Street spends its money to influence the Global South towards TEC's worldview, then read this.

RECENT GRANTS include:

Emerging Out of Conflict Seeking Reconciliation ($332,500) to the Diocese of Bo, Sierra Leone, to pay diocesan staff and teacher salaries for three months due to ongoing economic impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease.

Diocese of Freetown, Sierra Leone: To support the diocese's continued response to the impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease and to pay diocesan staff and teacher salaries for three months due to the ongoing economic impacts of the disease.

Diocese of Guinea: To pay diocesan staff and teacher salaries for three months due to ongoing economic impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease.

Episcopal Diocese of Haiti Region du Nord: For Radio Redemption to broadcast information about community development and Episcopal identity.

Province of Congo: To convene a provincial synod.

Strengthening the Anglican Communion ($1,435,619)

Anglican Church of Tanzania: As a renewal over one year to support the construction of a hotel and conferencing facility.

Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia: To complete construction of an office complex for rental income and diocesan use.

Diocese of Asante Mampong, Ghana: To construct a student hostel at the Nursing and Midwifery Training College that will generate income for mission and ministry.

Eglise Anglican du Burundi: As a renewal over one year to construct accommodation facilities at the Faith Center Conferencing Facility.

Zambia Anglican Council: As a renewal over one year to support the construction of a twelve-unit block of residential rental apartments.

Emerging Out of Conflict Seeking Reconciliation ($300,000)

Deanery of Nepal: To support the rebuilding efforts of the Anglican Church in Nepal following the 2015 earthquakes

Earthquake Relief in Nepal: To support disaster response following the devastating earthquakes in the Anglican Deanery of Nepal.

Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi: Over one year to respond to the emerging humanitarian crisis as many Burundians flee growing political tensions

Strengthen the Anglican Communion ($284,000)

Diocese of Central Tanganyika: To fund a feasibility study to determine the development which would best suit the four underutilized plots of land owned by the Diocese.

Diocese of Maseno West: Over one year to support an income generating project to construct two floors for business purposes.

Special Opportunity ($36,000): The Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain

To update existing website to a well-designed, bi-lingual site with the ability to telecast services.

Strengthen the Anglican Communion ($57,300)

Anglican Church of Canada: To support African bishops' participation in the Bishops' Dialogue meeting to be held in the Diocese of Virginia in May 2015.

Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro: Over one year to conduct a feasibility study on diocesan land for potential income generation opportunities.

*****

Nearly 500 Anglicans from around New Zealand, including the Vicars of many larger churches, have met together this week at two conferences in Auckland and Christchurch to launch the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ (FCANZ). FCANZ is a local expression of the GAFCON movement, and a message of support was read out at the conferences from Most Rev Dr. Eliud Wabukala, Chair of the Gafcon Primates. Video greetings were also received from Most Rev Foley Beach (Primate of ACNA) and the Rt Rev Richard Condie (Bishop of Tasmania and Chair of FCA Australia). Rev Canon Vaughan Roberts (St Ebbe's, Oxford) gave 4 talks on True Gospel, True Sex, True Love and True Unity, and was joined by Rev Canon David Short (Vancouver), Dr Peter Adam (Melbourne), Rev Dr. Sarah Harris (Auckland) and others.

The formation of FCANZ has been in response to the passing of Motion 30 in 2014 and the subsequent release of the 'A Way Forward' Report, due to be presented to the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia next month. The report proposes the blessing of same-sex civil marriages, thereby rendering them as 'rightly-ordered' relationships opening up the possibility for those in them to be accepted as candidates for ordination.

Rev Jay Behan, Chair of FCANZ, said 'This week has been a hugely significant moment for orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand. FCANZ is committed to promoting faithfulness and providing fellowship, and orthodox Anglicans now know that through the FCANZ there is a place for all orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand, whether they are inside or outside the current Anglican structures. We continue to pray that General Synod will pull back from making a decision which will tear the fabric of the communion, undermining the allegiance to General Synod for many Anglicans in New Zealand.'

Enquiries should be addressed to: hello@fcanz.org

Read also: A review of A Way Forward the report of the Working Group of the Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia by Martin Davie

*****

From Kuala Lumpurcomes word that three of Malaysia's most senior Anglican clergymen want the authorities to act against award-winning Islamic scholar Ayub Abdul Rahman, whom they allege has been speaking in public under the fraudulent guise of a former Christian cleric with their church.

The Most Rev. Datuk Ng Moon Hing, the Anglican Church's archbishop for Southeast Asia; the Rt. Rev. Melter Tais, the bishop of the Sabah diocese and the Rt. Rev. Datuk Bolly Lapok, bishop of the diocese of Kuching, denounced those who have been repeatedly highlighting the preacher's alleged past Christian association without due checks.

"Such actions are mischievous and harmful in a multi-religious society," the trio said in a joint statement to Malay Mail Online. Archbishop Ng said the misrepresentation of Ayub's credentials in promotional posters suggest a 'sinister' motive on the preacher's part. You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****

ECUADOR was hit by a serious earthquake this week. The Bishop of Ecuador Litoral, the Rt. Rev. Alfredo Morante España, wrote saying the coastal area of his country suffered considerable damage to its infrastructure, loss of life, and a large number of people were injured and missing. Some of the most affected areas by the earthquake are the cities of Manta and Portoviejo and the town of La Pila, where his church has a presence. There are reports that 48 church members' homes were completely or partially destroyed and three churches had considerable damage to their physical structure. Fortunately, there was no loss of life among its members, but there were some with bruises and physical and psychological trauma.

The community is already engaged, because there are basic needs of drinking water, food, medicine, first-aid kits, and basic tools. In general,these are all the elements needed for rescue efforts. There are many victims that require attention. They will seek ways to send help although the roads have been affected. With the help of the National Police or other government agency they will find a way to reach those who need it the most. The bishop called for prayers and support.

*****

VOL could really use your help. Spring has sprung and we need funds to keep us afloat. Bills have to be paid and debts met.

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Thank you for your support.

David

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