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Mere Anglican Conference Blows up over Women's Ordination * Church of England's Growing Entanglement over Same-Sex Blessings * Two TEC dioceses look to Merge * Nigerian Archbishop Suspends NA American Bishop*ABC called to resign over PO selection debacle

Mere Anglican Conference Blows up over Women's Ordination * Church of England's Growing Entanglement over Same-Sex Blessings * Two TEC dioceses look to Merge * Nigerian Archbishop Suspends NA American Bishop * ABC called to resign over P.O. selection debacle * Future of Christianity in UK in doubt

The Church of the West has descended to the very nadir of flagrant apostasy, twisted-ness, dishonesty and hypocrisy, far worse, it would seem, than its condition at the Reformation. -- Roger Salter

Evangelicalism is not immune to the cultural mood. Quite the opposite. We've been infected by it, and our current coterie of leaders seem incapable of resisting. --- Mere Orthodoxy

To offer a positive vision is to welcome misunderstanding from evangelicalism's leadership class and many of their most committed followers. --- Patrick Miller

THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION began to crack as traditional leaders -- representing about 85% of the global Anglican worshippers -- declared no confidence in Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the church's power structures in England. This followed a Church of England vote to allow blessing rites for same-sex unions. -- Terry Mattingly -- OnReligion

The people who call themselves LGBTQ activists are now recruiting many people, including our children. They don't know what they are doing, but they are destroying people's lives by engaging them in unethical activities. The West wants to make our country Sodom and Gomorrah, and we won't accept it.--- Gilbert Lubega of Uganda

"Christianity is not shrinking; it's shifting (dramatically) from the northern hemisphere to the south. There's a pernicious myth out there that the Church is in decline when it's actually growing. Fast. Since the year 2000, the world population has been growing at 1% per annum, but the church has been growing at 2% - 100% faster than the global population (with Pentecostalism growing at 4%.) -- Rick Warren

God continues to speak through what he has spoken -- John Stott

"When the Christian faith is politicized, churches become repositories not of grace but of grievances, places where tribal identities are reinforced, where fears are nurtured, and where aggression and nastiness are sacralized," --- Peter Wehner

By David W. Virtue DD
February 2, 2024

IN past years the Mere Anglican conference held in Charleston, SC drew noted Anglican heavy hitters to explore various themes. Last year it was C.S. Lewis; this year it centered more around apologetics.

The conference drew a distinguished group of presenters to theologically discuss, "Speaking the Truth in Love: The Church and the Challenge of the New Morality." The list included: The Rev. Dr. John Dickson, Anglican priest and apologist; the Rev. Sam Allberry, Anglican priest and apologist; Dr. D.A. Carson, Renowned New Testament scholar and author; the Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman, Professor, Grove City College; Dr. Rebecca McLaughlin, Apologist and author; the Rev. Vaughan Roberts, Anglican Rector of St. Ebbe's Church, Oxford; Dr. Amy Orr-Ewing, Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics; and the Rev. Calvin Robinson, priest, writer, and social commentator. Archbishop Foley Beach (ACNA II) was the Conference's Festival Eucharist celebrant.

Then it all blew up.

One invitee, the Rev. Calvin Robinson threw a monkey wrench into the works when he riffed off text and talked about the highly controversial issue of Women's Ordination. It is the third rail: Women in Holy Orders, as one commentator described it.

"It was my point that the reason Gender Theory, Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory are so prevalent in the Church today is because we have conceded too much ground to Feminism," wrote Robinson on his sub stack.

But then he hurled a hand grenade into the conference and tackled Women's Ordination head on.

"I put it to you that Feminism -- an arm of liberalism -- is the gate by which all the other woke ideas gain ground. They are all part of the same ideology, but Feminism is the brute force which breaks down the wall for all the others," he said.

"The Church has become effeminate and, therefore, vulnerable in a way that it needn't be. Men, being the stronger sex of the species, offer talents different from those of women. That is not to say they are better; goodness no, women are far better than men at a great many things. Men are simple beings. But we do have a practical role to play in the Church, which can only be played by men."

The conference host, one Rev Jeffrey S. Miller promptly banned Robinson from a final round table discussion "because he failed to address the topic assigned to him," with South Carolina Anglican Bishop Chip Edgar weighing in and saying that Robinson was not "cancelled" due to his position on Women in Holy Orders but was removed from the final panel because his talk was deemed to have veered substantively from the topic he was asked to address.

"Instead, he took advantage of the opportunity and opined on what he considers the exceeding evil of women in Holy Orders. Most importantly, he did so in a way which was inexcusably provocative, and completely lacking in charity and pastoral consideration of the people in attendance--especially the many women clergy both of our diocese and others who attended."

Edgar went on to explain that The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has maintained a "dual integrities" position allowing dioceses to choose what direction to take.

This then prompted the Rt. Rev. Alex Farmer, Bishop of the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic (ACNA) declaring that Robinson had an "unclean spirit" when he spoke at the Mere Anglican conference in Charleston, SC. Alarm bells went off. The bishop later apologized for his remarks saying he was sorry for the way he questioned the spirit behind his motivations. "That was improper of me, and especially in the context inappropriate. I am deeply sorry for the harm that this has caused to the wider Body of Christ."

Nonetheless the whole subject stirred a hornet's nest of opinion, with commentaries coming down mostly on the side of Robinson with some even suggesting it could blow up the ACNA! That is not going to happen. Since 2009, the ACNA has lived with the "two integrities" and that seems likely in the foreseeable future. In truth there is nowhere else for the Anglo-Catholic to go to. The Continuing Church groups are way too splintered amongst themselves to offer a safe haven for ACNA's traditionalist wing.

The following links will give you a fuller picture on all sides of the issue.









Last week, the lead bishops for Living in Love and Faith (LLF) reconciliation process, the Rt. Rev. Helen-Ann Hartley and Rt. Rev. Martyn Snow wrote a piece for the Church Times, in which they said,
"We are at a crossroads: either we have reached the point of separation, accepting that different views cannot co-exist within the same Church, or we must shift the debate to the question how we live well with difference. We believe firmly in the latter approach, and, therefore, we are issuing a call for reconciliation and bridge-building."

Their attempt to 'reset' the debate will rest on a number of commitments, which will be brought to General Synod for discussion in February. They have yet to be published -- but for once the devil will not be in the detail - but in their purpose and underlying premise, writes Susie Leafe of Anglican Futures.

"These commitments will honor the votes already taken by the Synod and the general sense of direction, while also inviting the whole of the Synod to make a commitment to the principle of being a broad Church in which different views are not just accepted, but honored as part of what it means to be the living, dynamic, and beautiful body of Christ."

The orthodox should be shocked. There is a danger that this development is being seen as a partial victory.

Why? Because the bishops have used a simple bait and switch. Alongside the 'broad church' principle was the offer of a 'prize' -- a delay to the introduction of standalone services and a promise that Synod will examine "legal safeguards and appropriate structures" for those needing reassurance.

And that is the bait.

But the switch is devastating.

If the bishops are to be believed, Synod will be asked to commit to:
"...the principle of being a broad Church in which different views are not just accepted but honored as part of what it means to be the living, dynamic, and beautiful body of Christ."

If words mean anything, such a commitment has serious implications:
• It means accepting that the presenting issue of same-sex blessings and the underlying debates about the nature of marriage, the authority of Scripture and the means of salvation -- are to be considered adiaphora -- things indifferent.
It is a commitment to accept those who deny the teaching of Christ, rather than rebuke them, and to honor those who promote a false gospel, rather than avoid them.
• It is to affirm that the presence of sin makes the body of Christ more beautiful.

You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/living-love-faith-and-reconciliation-exercise-bait-and-switch

You can read a Masterclass in Manipulation here:

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY has faced yet another call for him to resign, this time he 'should quit' over claims he backed the disgraced former Post Office boss Paula Vennells to be Bishop of London.

Gabriella Swerling, Social and Religious Affairs Editor for the Telegraph
says the Archbishop of Canterbury, is accused of endorsing Paula Vennells while some 700 sub-postmasters were falsely accused of money that went missing from their sites.

The late Queen's former chaplain, the Rev Canon Jeremy Haselock, an associate priest at Great St Bartholomew's in the City of London, criticised the alleged endorsement, writing on social media: "Surely this is the point at which Welby must go. Another demonstration of his complete lack of sound judgment."

Paula Vennells, who was the Post Office chief executive from 2012 to 2019, handed back her CBE last week.

You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/justin-welby-should-quit-over-claims-he-backed-paula-vennells-be-bishop-london


An insightful piece on the future of Christianity in England, titled, IT'S OVER -- PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE by someone called Campbell documents that too many Christians in the UK are living with an illusion. "Let me tell you plainly: it's over. The days of being a Christian country have gone, and they are not coming back any time soon. It is imperative that we grasp this. Instead of pretending we are living in a pale imitation of the past, we have to work out how to live in the present and prepare for the future."

"I pray (literally) that there might be a recovery of both church and nation, that the Holy Spirit will sweep through the land and we will have godly leaders in church and state. In the meantime, until God does this, we Christians have to get our own house in order. Merely doing what we have always done in the hope that this time it will work is to embrace failure."

You can read more here: https://possil.wordpress.com/2024/02/02/its-over-prepare-for-the-future/


MORE TEC DIOCESES look to merge. The dioceses of Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan will merge later this year.

According to the Episcopal News Service the two dioceses, after more than four years of administrative sharing and ministry cooperation, are finalizing plans for a potential merger. Final approval would take place at the 81st General Convention in June when it meets in Louisville, Kentucky.

Across TEC as dioceses shrink with aging and dying parishioners, and with no new young people coming along to replace them, church coffers are drying up.

The Dioceses of Bethlehem and Central Pennsylvania are exploring merger.

Indianapolis and Northern Indiana are in talks to discuss merger of their dioceses.

Three dioceses of The Episcopal Church in Wisconsin are one step closer to merging into one regional body, which could be finalized at the denominational level next year.

The Episcopal dioceses of Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and Eau Claire each voted separately to approve a resolution to make a final vote to merge during the 2024 Easter season.

The bishops of the dioceses of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont while not talking merger, at least for now say they will serve as assisting bishops in each other's dioceses as part of an effort to increase collaboration in the region.

You would think the church's deep thinkers would start seeing the writing on the wall and ask some very hard questions about how much longer they can keep up the pretense that all is well and that rattling on about woke issues; racism, abortion, sodomy, gay rights, the war in Israel, guns, the border, and more is not making the church grow. In fact, it looks very much like it is emptying the church.

One can only imagine two octogenarians talking in church; Mildred turns to George, and asks; "who was that in the pulpit, dear?"

"It's one of these trannie creatures, my love."

"What's that?"

"Haven't got a clue, but the bishop who is very trendy, says this fellow appears on Tik Tok."

"What's Tik Tok?"

A VOL READER dropped me a line to say churches are closing in the Diocese of Northern California under the watchful eye of Bishop Megan M. Traquair.

Churches that closed are in Rio Vista, Antelope, Marin and Tahoe. Also, the conference ground at Lake Tahoe has been sold. The church in Orland was sold some time ago.

"In some areas, when the church is closed, the diocese returns the money to help people in the local community rather than taking the money."

At the national level, there is a discussion of charging the Episcopal Relief and Development for rent and personnel services. There was strong opposition to that idea once people became aware of it.

THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN TEC is also taking hits. Among key insights are the shortage of clergy and the aging profile of those currently serving, as well as the changing shape of employment prospects as numerous parish communities themselves undergo change.

The Church Divinity School of the Pacific has announced that in January 2026 it will withdraw from the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of multi-faith institutions in Berkeley, California, that CDSP helped found in 1962.

The announcement from Stephen Fowl, the seminary's president, and dean since Aug. 1, 2023, said that after the school moves to a fully hybrid model for Master of Divinity students beginning in the summer of 2025, few opportunities will exist for the kind of collaboration GTU has afforded students in the past.

TRANSLATION. They don't have enough students. Seminary education costs are prohibitive, young ordinands are not to be found.

The Episcopal Divinity School will relocate its office to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City following EDS' decision earlier this spring to discontinue the affiliation between EDS and Union Theological Seminary at the end of the current academic year.


THE LATEST FROM WAR TORN ISRAEL. This comes from an Anglican theologian visiting the area this week. He sent this report.

"On the plane and so far in the conference I have heard and seen stunning things. One of the rabbis from Sderot told us last night of seeing his people murdered and nearly getting killed himself. He said he prays for the Messiah to come "no matter which Messiah he is." Many Sderot refugees in our hotel.

An Arab pastor in Bethlehem spoke of Bible studies he is having among mothers and grandmothers of terrorists; they pray for Jewish soldiers. Much Christian work on the West Bank, much talk here of love for both Jews and Arabs.

The father of a soldier told us last night that before Gaza only 10% of soldiers prayed in the morning. Now it is only 10% who DONT pray.

Huge change in Israeli society. Even the far-left president of Israel said publicly the other day that they pray for the Messiah to come. The Minister of Tourism, a rabbi, told a Christian leader here; "We hope you send missionaries to all the Arabs here."

"But dont you hate missionaries?" He replied, "If you teach them what you believe, we will have peace in the Middle East. The Ultra-orthodox wife of a reservist who just returned from three months in Gaza, "the reason these Jews are marching in the streets for ceasefire is that they dont have God. We know God and know that death is not the end."

"We spent the day on the Gaza envelope, seeing the kibbutzim that were attacked. Grisly, horrifying. Blood dripping down walls next to baby things. Talked with good number of soldier reservists. All have a great spirit."


NIGERIAN ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP SUSPENDS NORTH AMERICAN BISHOP. The Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Dr. Henry C. Ndukuba has approved the suspension of the Rt. Rev. Olukayode Adebogun as a Bishop of the Church of Nigeria (in both his erstwhile role as a Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) and as the Area Bishop for Canada Missionary Region Area 1 in Canada).

An immediate full investigation and suspension refers to a series of utterances and actions attributed to Bishop Adebogun since the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria (CON) held at Nnewi from 12 to 16 September 2023 which sought to undermine the authority and lawful directives of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria and the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria with regard to the Church of Nigeria Mission in North America and Canada generally. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/nigerian-anglican-archbishop-suspends-north-american-bishop


Falls Church, an Anglican congregation in northern VA has retained an outside independent entity to investigate credible reports of sexual abuse by an employee of the church from 1990-2002 who served as the youth director between 1990-1999.

The investigation is proceeding, and dozens of interviews have been conducted as we seek to understand the truth, despite the passage of time. If you have information, please contact the investigation team at confidentialFCA@islerdare.com


African Anglican women are flexing their muscles, even as the Global South rises and the West declines. A group of African women bishops met in Kenya in January and released a communique emphasizing the need for authentic women's leadership, and calling on the church to stop its silence on gender inequalities.

"Women of faith shall continually be instruments of hope, transforming the world and offering thoughtful and practical leadership in various issues that affect society; Women of faith are placed at the core of progressive communities and their voices add valuable contributions to build a stronger Church;

Christianity is essentially a 'women's movement' and we are responsible for the growth of the church. We the six Africa Anglican Bishops believe the church needs to acknowledge, encourage, empower, and commission lay people in the ministry of the church to reach all people in their spheres of influence; and promote wholesomeness. You can read more: https://virtueonline.org/africa-anglican-bishops-communique


We are watching the biggest schism in American Protestant history. The United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the U.S., lost about a quarter of its total churches between 2019 and 2023 due to disaffiliations, according to a new Lewis Center report released this month.

More than 7,600 congregations have received permission to leave the denomination since 2019, according to the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, a research center out of the UMC-affiliated Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. The center's third and final report highlights the disproportionate number and demographics among disaffiliated churches, including how a majority of disaffiliations were in southern jurisdictions. The presenting issue? Homosexuality and homosexual marriage. United Methodist rules forbid same-sex marriage rites and the ordination of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals." It split The Episcopal Church, and looks to split The Church of England.


TO BLESS OR NOT TO BLESS? That is the question. Wherever we look, the church continues to get itself tied in knots over same-sex weddings. We have seen the Pope get the entire Roman Catholic hierarchy at odds with itself over whether or not they should bless same sex-couples. Pope Francis issued a Vatican document, Fiducia Supplicans, which authorizes priests to give spontaneous, non-liturgical blessings to couples in irregular situations, which includes same-sex couples.

This naturally has caused a storm within Roman Catholicism: it has been rejected by the entire Catholic church in Africa, while in Europe LGBTQ-etc. activists within the church see it as a watershed moment in their struggle for full recognition.

You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/bless-or-not-bless


Has science replaced faith as society moves more and deeper into secularity? Do we even need God when meds more than prayer seem to fix us faster than prayers which might take some time to work.
It has often been said, "All truth is God's truth."

Dr. Bruce E. Atkinson, has written, "On the Bible and Science: Preliminary Principles Associated with God's Revelatory Purposes."

He writes; "It is a horrendously false idea that the Christian faith and empirical science are enemies, that these fields can never come to agreement. While God has directly inspired and authorized the scriptures according to His divine purposes (Isaiah 55:8-11, 2 Timothy 3:14-17), we have to admit that He is also on the side of science."

You can read his take here: https://virtueonline.org/science-and-bible-relationship-revisited


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