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To Open or Not to Open * Lambeth Conference Delayed till 2022 * Cottrell Confirmed as next Abp of York * SC Anglican Bishop calls for Coadjutor * SC Anglicans to Reorganize * ACNA Archbishop Blasts Church's Acquiescence to Western Materialistic Culture

To Open or Not to Open * Lambeth Conference Delayed till 2022 * Cottrell Confirmed as next Abp of York * SC Anglican Bishop calls for Coadjutor * SC Anglicans to Reorganize * ACNA Archbishop Blasts Church's Acquiescence to Western Materialistic Culture * Houston Episcopalians Got Millions from Govt.* Whitefield Statue to be removed at UPenn

Some these days are attempting to drive a wedge between what they call 'core doctrine' and behaviour or lifestyle. The Bible never does this: believing, belonging and behaving are always closely integrated in the Christian life -- Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

Old and new. Christianity is old, and is getting older every year. Yet it is also new, new every morning. As John put it: 'Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning ... Yet I am writing you a new commandment, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining' (1 Jn. 2:7-8). What he wrote about the commandment is equally applicable to the whole of Christianity. It is both old and new at the same time ... the Jesus of history is the Christ of faith, whom we know and love, trust and obey. -- John R.W. Stott

Whenever things are going to pieces, it's critical to lean hard on those things that never change. Like Jesus Himself, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). --- Frank Viola

In the age of Trump, prosperity theology and religious nationalism have gained at Christian orthodoxy's expense, the official religious right is a client of a heathen president, and the evangelical-Catholic alliance is rived into countless warring cliques. --- Ross Douthat

"Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who as a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all." --- J.C. Ryle

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
July 10, 2020

As we all continue to experience "house arrest" (we can now sympathize with the apostle Paul), it helps us focus on what really matters -- pray, more time with the Lord, deepen your relationship not only with Jesus but with family and friends, perhaps less opportunities for sin, loving those closer to us, staying in touch with friends if only by Facebook, phone, Zoom, Skype and e-mail and taking more time to smell the roses. For myself, it has meant less time on FACEBOOK, where my blood pressure rose dangerously high over comments made, but it was a lesson I needed to learn. We can also be more creative when we are free of distraction and noise. We have time to think and imagine. You actually can remain calm, caring, and considerate -- and be a more tolerable human being. All of us can.

*****

The Archbishop of Canterbury announced this week that the Lambeth Conference will now take place in 2022. It should have taken place in 2018, ten years after the last one, then it was pushed back to 2020, then 2021, now it is 2022. Welby encouraged then 1,100 bishops and spouses to "walk together and be good news". He also said this, "As we look around the world, we see how important it is that the Anglican Communion walks together as we seek to be good news." Sadly, the communion is not walking together. It will be interesting to see what GAFCON leaders will do now. Will they postpone their Kigali meeting next year or will they go ahead? Nothing has been decided, a source told VOL.

It's official. The Rt Rev. Stephen Cottrell was confirmed as the next Archbishop of York and received the "spiritualities" of his new see. An hour-long Zoom service incorporating the legal proceedings was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the virtual presence of the Bishops of London, Durham, Carlisle, Manchester, Blackburn, and Winchester.

Here is what one source told VOL about Cottrell's elevation; "Cottrell has no theological education to speak of, but has kissed the Blarney Stone and has a frightening gift of demagoguery, utilized in favor of all the wrong things, including his own advancement, it is now full speed ahead for the CofE to become a province of TEC."

For an excellent read on why Cottrell does not understand Christianity, click here:
https://virtueonline.org/cofes-second-command-who-doesnt-understand-christianity

Judi Sture, a frequent VOL contributor, says Cottrell is the gift that keeps on giving. Here is what she says about what his vision will be as Archbishop; "I've been listening to Bach's Goldberg Variations and they're really interesting because you start with a basic musical line, and then it's almost like endless variation, and I suspect that's all I'm going to do. I will play new variations on the basic theme."

Question for Archbishop Cottrell: What exactly are the 'new variations' on the basic theme? Wouldn't happen to involve changing the teachings of the Church, would they? Sture thinks Cottrell knows exactly what he will do, but he ain't saying anything yet. Given time; all will be revealed. You can read her piece here: https://virtueonline.org/archbishop-cottrell-gift-keeps-giving

IN OTHER NEWS, the Church of England is axing Christmas carol concerts that normally draw 5.5 million people, according to an announcement prepared by Church of England bishops.

Church leaders are to warn that because of social distancing restrictions, services during Advent in December and at Christmas 'are inevitably going to look very different.'

***

TO OPEN OR NOT TO OPEN, that is the question. Shuttered churches have become a condensed symbol in the political controversies of the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps second only to masks.

Closing houses of worship in the name of containing the spread of COVID-19 is a shameless ploy by the godless Left to skirt the Constitution and functionally ban religion in America, voices charge from one extreme. From the other come accusatory tales of science-denying fundamentalists whose privileged demands for special treatment during an unprecedented crisis are literally killing people.

The New York Times published a case in point. "Churches were eager to reopen," the headline announced. "Now they are a major source of coronavirus cases." A shocking claim! Let's see the evidence:

Weeks after President Trump demanded that America's shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed. [...] More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of them erupting over the last month as Americans resumed their pre-pandemic activities, according to a New York Times database. [The New York Times]

Wait, that's it? The contrast is stark between the headline's branding of churches as a "major source" of contagion and the story's citation of 650 church-linked cases out of 3 million nationwide. It was a contrast promptly noted.

"The not-so-subtle subtext," observed Reason's Jacob Sullum, is that "[r]eopening churches was reckless, because they are more likely than other venues to be the sites of superspreading events, regardless of the precautions they take. But the evidence presented by the Times does not support that thesis." The Billy Graham Center's Ed Stetzer raised the same objection, deeming this "a headline looking for a story" and arguing the "real story" is that "churches are gathering and remarkably few infections are taking place."

The total number of church-linked infections is almost certainly not a mere 650. The Times doesn't tell us the size of its database, but it presumably does not account for all 3 million confirmed COVID-19 infections. That means 650 is a subset of some smaller number of tracked cases, how many, we don't know. We do know tens of thousands of cases have been tied to other locations -- 24,000 to meatpacking plants and 57,000 to prisons -- which suggests the story is much closer to Stetzer's characterization than its headline. h/t THE WEEK

***

The evangelical Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America says the Church in North America is becoming like the Church in Germany when Hitler took control and coopted it for his own political ends.

The Most Rev. Foley Beach said the German Christian Movement abandoned the idea that one must seek the Will of God from the Bible -- the Word of God -- in the name of what they called "Positive Christianity." Instead, they promoted the idea that one finds the Will of God in the voice of culture, the tides of history, and most importantly, the Third Reich. They preached unity. Most of the churches fell for it, he said.

Here is a taste of what the archbishop said:

• The culture says it's OK to kill over 50 million unborn babies.
• The culture says it's OK to live together whether you're married or not.
• The culture says it's OK to change the God-given definition of marriage.
• The culture says it's OK to be consumed by alcohol or drugs.
• The culture says it's OK for the government to be in debt to the tune of over $50 trillion.
• The culture says it's OK to ignore the plight of the poor and the needy while feasting on self-indulgent materialism.
• The culture says it's OK to condemn our elderly to homes where they live in isolation and loneliness away from their families.

"Has the Church been so enamored and enticed by the blessings of materialism and capitalism that it has lost its ability to speak to the culture about the issues vital to our day?"

It was a verbal explosion the like of which this writer has not seen from an Anglican leader in recent memory. I invite you to read Beach's blast here: https://virtueonline.org/wake-america-acna-archbishop-says-church-america-has-been-co-opted-culture

He later roared, Will you Stand in the Gap? You can read what he wrote here: https://virtueonline.org/will-you-stand-gap

***

Two pieces of news out of South Carolina this week. Bishop Mark Lawrence is calling for a Bishop Coadjutor. Lawrence, who has been bishop of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina since January 2008, announced his plans to call for a Bishop Coadjutor who will step into the role of Bishop of the Diocese at some time in the next 18 to 24 months. In a letter to the Diocese, he stressed he is not yet retiring or resigning. "I have many tasks, duties and commitments here before this can take place," he said. Yet it is essential for me to take this step of calling for a bishop coadjutor in a timely fashion."

In another move by orthodox Anglicans, the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas is reorganizing its episcopal areas for what it calls "more fruitful mission and ministry." Bishop Steve Wood would remain the central authority with two "Area Bishops" in North and South Carolina. Bishop David Bryan will be the Area Bishop for South Carolina and Bishop Terrell Glenn will move to Raleigh, NC and be the Area Bishop for North Carolina. Churches will still have the freedom to continue with their current bishop and the dioceses will attempt to honor any preferences and requests for visitations. For the failing Episcopal Diocese of SC this must be a cause for ecclesiastical heartburn. The Anglicans grow even as they wilt and die. In the last round of legal battles, the Anglican diocese retained all the rights to its properties, causing even more heartburn.

***

Houston-area Episcopal churches received millions in federal forgivable loans, with some 233 Houston-area churches receiving forgivable federal loans of $150,000 or more. Hundreds of Houston-area churches received tens of millions of dollars in forgivable government loans during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis of federal records. Many of them were Episcopal churches. Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop of Texas, said the loss has been huge across his 160 congregations in the state. "We are looking at a $25 million loss for the year," he said.

Whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Well, apparently that doesn't apply when you can't attend church in person. So, the state now props up churches.

"Not everybody enjoys online worship. Not everybody finds that refreshing, and not everybody wants to give to that if they can't go in person, so it created a real crisis," Doyle said.

A local radio station found the 233 Houston-area churches received forgivable federal loans of $150,000 or more. The collective total is at least $67 million! Records show another 918 religious organizations in Greater Houston received loans smaller than $150,000. For that data set, the SBA data did not name the church, but did provide an exact dollar amount. The collective total of those loans was $40.9 million.

Doyle said the federal funds were primarily used to pay personnel, from pastors and ministers to administrative and custodial staff. For St. Martin's Episcopal in the Galleria area, records show it received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP loans. The church reported 174 jobs retained from the funding.

So why not let churches die like businesses? Are we all socialists now, feeding at the big teat of government? VOL was offered $10,000 from the government and turned it down. We are not socialists.

He e is a U-Tube on why churches should not accept the Govt. PPP money: YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NhKH91nvJg

***

The Anglican Provincial Council voted recently to establish Via Apostolica as a special missionary district in The ACNA under bishop Todd Atkinson. This is a church planting movement entering ACNA in Canada.

***

Nigerian Anglican Archbishop, the Most Rev. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba recently announced the Decade of the Reign of God and said this: "I have realized that as I engage in church mission, church planting, training of pastors and nurturing the believers, the church grows and there will be the need for us to expand. As of now, I cannot tell you the number of dioceses that will be created." By contrast, Western Anglican churches are engaged in a decade of decline marked by the inability of the Anglican churches in Canada, the US or England to grow. The result is that there are two centers and two trajectories going on simultaneously in the Anglican communion. One trajectory is centered in the Global South, the other is centered in the Global North and West. I have written about this at length here: https://virtueonline.org/decade-reign-god-vs-decade-rate-decline

***

On July 9th, South Sudan Day, the country celebrated nine years of formal independence from Sudan. Following a civil war from 1983, and a subsequent truce period, the people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly in January 2011 for independence from Sudan. This was enacted on July 9, 2011.

The newly formed Episcopal Church of Southern Sudan under Archbishop Moses Deng Bul refused to take aid from the Episcopal Church of North America and similar Anglican agencies and provinces because of their ordination of active homosexuals as senior clergy.

Anglicans meeting at the first GAFCON Conference in Jerusalem in June 2008 took the view that they could not stand inactively by while orthodox Anglicans were facing such an uncertain future without support. 90% of the 8 million population were living on less than a dollar a day, and fifty percent were Anglican Christians. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/south-sudan-celebrates-nine-years-independence

***

As woke young people wander the country tearing down statues and monuments of the past that reflect their history, one particular statue caught my attention that I found particularly egregious. Pennsylvania University will remove the statue of George Whitefield, the Anglican preacher who advocated for the education of slaves throughout his life.

The University of Pennsylvania announced plans to remove its statue of Whitefield -- a highly influential 18th-century minister -- due to his slave ownership. The statue of Whitefield is not even in public view: it is tucked away in the courtyard of a residence hall. Whitefield was an English-Anglican itinerant preacher who was a figurehead of the First Great Awakening movement. Whitefield regularly admonished slave owners for mistreating their slaves and failing to educate them in Christianity. Whitefield preached to mixed crowds and addressed African Americans specifically; when he visited a city, slaves rushed to finish their work so that they could hear his sermons. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/penn-will-remove-statue-george-whitefield

***

That loud flushing sound you hear is the Diocese of Huron, Canada loosening its ecclesiastical bowels with a new ruling on same-sex weddings.

Bishop Todd Townshend says he expects blowback as he took another step in making the diocese more accepting and inclusive by allowing priests to perform marriages for same-sex couples without special permission.

This diocese, like most Anglican dioceses, will be OOB in little more than decade. This will only make it go a little faster...all in the name of inclusion of course; what higher doctrine can be found, pray tell!

***

The Archbishop of Canterbury seems anxious to revisit the collective sins of the past and abase himself before contemporary statues that must now be torn down in the name of political correctness.

Nick Timothy, a columnist at The Telegraph, argues that there is no biblical justification for making the forgiveness of one generation conditional on the actions of another.

"Whether you are a Christian or not, this departure from scripture is profoundly worrying. Christianity's promise of redemption, and the idea that we are each accountable for our own sins, has shaped our civilisation," Timothy wrote. "We are members of families and communities large and small, but we are more than just featureless components of some greater group identity. This is one reason why we have equal political and civil rights, and stand equal before the law."

The columnist added Britain's Christian heritage and its associated history of bloody religious conflict inspired an important Western principle. "The realisation that clashes between different values, beliefs and interests are inevitable gave rise to the essential liberal idea of pluralism. We should accept and tolerate difference, while agreeing (that) laws and processes to mediate clashes, guaranteeing rights for minorities, and protecting the norms, traditions and institutions that foster a common, unifying identity to build trust and reciprocity."

On BBC Radio 4, Welby also said the Church should reconsider portraying Jesus as white. "You go into churches [around the world] and you don't see a white Jesus. You see a black Jesus, a Chinese Jesus, a Middle Eastern Jesus -- which is, of course, the most accurate," he said.

Timothy suggested that Welby could have said that "the significance of Jesus is spiritual, not political or racial, that Jesus was God made flesh, and that we are all made in God's own image." Instead, Timothy continued, "he agreed that the depiction of Christ in Western countries should change." Welby said Jesus was "Middle Eastern, not white."

The archbishop "studiously" avoided "the more accurate description that Jesus was a Jew. But then Middle Eastern Jews, or Israelis as we also call them, are these days an unfashionable minority to defend," the columnist wrote.

***

Concerns have been raised over the free speech of Christians in Scotland as the Scottish Parliament considers broadening hate crime laws. The existing law covers race, but the Justice Committee is considering extending the law to include religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Nigel Kenny, the Christian Institute's Scotland Officer, fears that the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill as it currently stands will have "profound consequences for free speech and religious liberty". "These new offences could very easily restrict our freedom to proclaim Christ as the only way of salvation or to call people to repent of sin -- even in church," he said. He went on to warn that the Bill, if passed, could lead to people "unwittingly" committing offences even "in the privacy of your own home".

***

In a historic verdict, Turkey's top court has returned the world's greatest Byzantine basilica to its previous status as a mosque after it abolished President Atatürk's 1934 decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a museum.

Turkey's highest administrative court, the Council of State, reached a unanimous verdict declaring that president Kemal Atatürk's cabinet had no right to turn Hagia Sophia into a museum as part of his secularist reforms and has rendered the decision unlawful. Numan Kurtulmuş, deputy chairman of Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), told Turkish media that on July 15, or even earlier, Hagia Sophia will be opened as a mosque "for prayer."

The ruling was also confirmed by the popular Turkish history Twitter channel Ottoman Records. Built 1,500 years ago as an Orthodox Christian cathedral, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. In 1934, it became a museum and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Defending the move, a Turkish official stressed that tourists could still visit the site after it once more became a mosque. You can read Jules Gomes' breaking story here: https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/court-declares-hagia-sophia-a-mosque

***

I close VIEWPOINTS with these words from Archbishop Foley Beach; "We will not survive as a nation unless the people of God stand up before God and plead for the survival of America. Spiritual laws are like the laws of physics -- they are absolute unless another force intervenes. Therefore, as America increases its violation of God's laws at an increasing rate, we will face both the implicit and explicit consequences of violating God's laws unless He intervenes -- we must pray for God's intervention!" Amen.

In Christ,

David

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