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Orthodox Bishops blast ECUSA

"We obviously live in a theological age that gives very little attention
to doctrine and theology. Bishops breathing this air seem to reflect
this neglect. +Jack Spong's Twelve Theses would take an exceedingly
modest theological competency to perceive its contradiction to the
Christian Creeds, yet only 52 of some 180 of our colleagues have
publicly disassociated themselves from this "New Reformation." (Rt. Rev.
C. FitzSimons Allison, Bishop of South Carolina, retired, "Letter to
Bishops of the Fourth Province, 23 January 2000)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A number of Primates of the Anglican Communion spoke out with a single
unified voice this week, and they blasted The Episcopal Church USA.

In a major statement issued by fourteen of the world's Anglican leaders,
they said the Episcopal Church has separated itself from the Anglican
Communion by its unholy act in consecrating a non-celibate homosexual to
the episcopacy.

"The actions of ECUSA in the election, confirmation, and consecration of
Canon Gene Robinson have created a situation of grave concern for the
entire Anglican Communion and beyond. Their actions are a direct
repudiation of the clear teaching of the Holy Scriptures, historic faith
and order of the church", the Primates write.

"The world needs to know that the rebellious and erroneous actions of
ECUSA are contrary to the teaching of the Anglican Communion and
represent a departure from five thousand years of Judeo-Christian
teaching and practice. By their actions, ECUSA has separated itself from
the remainder of the Anglican Communion and the wider Christian family."
You can read the full text in the digest today.

Dan England, Frank Griswold's, communications director, bemoaned the new
Primate's statement telling Associated Press, "there's nothing new here"
except that these primates "have jumped the gun on the commission's
work, which is unfortunate. It seems a bit premature," he said.

Frank Griswold has gone on record that the "diverse center" of the
denomination accepts "the tension caused by these different points of
view" as "something potentially positive and creative rather than a
threat." The Primates don't believe that and have acted accordingly.

But Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan jumped right in and had this to say
about the Primates Communique: "I rejoice in the Primates Statement of
support for the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, and
in their godly call to preserve, defend and uphold orthodox Christian
Faith and Order as outlined in Holy Scripture. The Network is gathering
bishops, priests, deacons and laity from across the nation who will to
rally around the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Great
Commission. We seek humbly to serve Christ as faithful Anglicans and to
offer hope to those in North America devastated and disenfranchised by
actions of the Episcopal Church, a Church of which we are a part. This
recognition by 14 Primates, representing 45 million Anglicans worldwide,
gives us great encouragement and affirmation of our mission, and is a
clear sign that the Anglican realignment in North America is moving

A NUMBER OF ANGLICAN PROVINCES including Guatemala, Papua New Guinea,
Kenya and the Sudan all expressed themselves in profound disagreement
with the actions of the Episcopal Church this week. Their statements are
published in today's digest.

So this action of the Primates now puts a lot of pressure on Rowan
Williams to do something. The thumbscrews just tightened on ECUSA's
presiding bishop and some 62-revisionist ECUSA bishops who thought they
could raise their middle fingers at the Anglican Communion by attempting
to legitimize unholy and outrageous sexual behavior.

As the Archbishop's Commission on Anglican Life, better known as the
Eames Commission, prepares for its first meeting, these 14 Primates
representing 45 million Anglicans wrote to the Communion on the current
crisis saying, "We offer our support and the full weight of our
ministries and offices to those who are gathering in a 'Network of
Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes' now being organized in North

One can now understand why the Network leaders in Christ Church, Plano
recently were just a little self-satisfied in answering reporters'
questions. Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan and his team knew exactly
what they were doing. The Network and these 14 Primates have formed a
pincer movement and they are closing in on ECUSA's revisionist bishops.

Dr. Williams is pinning all his hopes on the Eames Commission, sources
tell Virtuosity. But one should note that the Eames Commission was
designed to answer the "what if" of certain Provinces no longer
recognizing others - they now face a "has happened". As Nassau
Archbishop Drexel Gomez told Virtuosity recently, "The Eames Commission
is about structural and relational issues it is NOT about the truth or
falsity of homosexual behavior. That issue has been decided. The Lambeth
Resolution resolved that. It is now about how we remain in communion and
address the question of communion in the face of diversity and the
reality of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the various parts of the
communion in the situation of diversity. These are issues of provincial
autonomy and inter-Anglican relationships, and the Commission is to make
recommendations to the Archbishop with special reference as to how he is
to function."

Furthermore the Rees Report (the Archbishop of Canterbury's legal
chancellor) states that there is no canonical solution to the threatened
unraveling of the Anglican Communion. This will be the legal starting
point for the Primates' Commission work

So there is a very real possibility now that the actions of the ECUSA
will tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level, and may lead
to further division on this and further issues as provinces decide in
consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that
choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA).

But will it change anything? Will it provide protection for orthodox
priests caught in revisionist dioceses? Not necessarily. The properties
still remain those of the diocese and the national church though its
revisionist bishops will use the Dennis Canon to try and seize the
property. But they will meet stiff resistance. It will be a long battle
in the courts. Action is required before all hope is lost. When orthodox
bishops stand at the Judgment Our Lord will not accept the excuse that
the canons prevented them from crossing Diocesan lines. What is needed
is another "March on Selma". On one Sunday the orthodox bishops should
cross diocesan lines and minister to persecuted parishes throughout the

BUT THE LIBERALS KEEP TRYING. One by one they drift across the Atlantic
to pay homage to their liberal paymasters, or as in the case of
Archbishop Robin Eames, to shore up support for his Commission report
which he hopes will have enough fudge in it to appease everybody in the
Anglican Communion at the end of the day.

This past week the Irish Primate came a calling on the Bishop of
Virginia, Peter James Lee to, in his words find some "realistic,"
"practical" recommendations, and "a degree of agreement to at least try
new ways of doing things."

He also predicted that the panel would consider the issue of
"discipline." It will "consider" it of course and do nothing. Eames is
the master of public relations. He's a sly old fox who has been around
the Anglican mulberry bush more times than Frank Griswold has danced the
circle dance of dispossession. He has more than the usual amount of
Irish blarney, and he gets no respect from REFORM IRELAND, who believe
he has betrayed the 'faith once delivered.'

Trying "new ways of doing things" is pure doublespeak and means simply
that on no account must we offend Western liberals who want
homosexuality brokered into the Anglican Communion and who still pay
most of the bills. But that dog wont hunt. The Global South Primates
and bishops won't buy it anymore. Those days are over. They no longer
buy what the ACNS or Episcopal Life or Anglican WORLD magazine is
telling them. They have the Internet, which tells a wholly different story.

Eames told one reporter he was there to "listen" to differing views on
homosexuality and the state of the church in the largest Episcopal
diocese, and convey them to the commission.

So how many "views" did he listen to exactly? When I inquired I was told
that Eames had already gone back to Ireland, so he never listened to the
views of say Bishop Bertram Herlong (Tennessee) Keith Ackerman (Quincy)
or John Howard (Florida) or Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh). Their views he
knows and he didn't want an earful from them about the non joy of anal
sex and how it is ripping their dioceses apart, especially as many of
them have large constituencies of sodomite priests and loud laity who
are giving them a rough time through their new organization called Via
Media. No, Eames doesn't want to hear those stories; they cut too close
to the bone. Better to stay with Bishop Lee the master of fence
straddling, or perhaps John Chane (Bishop of Washington) who has totally
sold out on sexuality issues, or Bob Ihloff (Maryland) who wouldn't
recognize Jesus if he bumped into him in downtown Baltimore.

Eames did sit down with a group of AAC leaders at Truro Episcopal Church
in northern Virginia where the Rev. Martyn Minns, an Evangelical, has
his feet firmly on the ground. One wonders if Eames really "listened" to
their viewpoint and if he will carry their views back to the Archbishop
of Canterbury.

The truth is we have "listened" ourselves to death and ECUSA's orthodox
knows it and they are sick of it. "Listening" as Griswold knows means
hearing the plaintive sad stories of ECUSA's pansexualists and then
voting their behavior in. We now have a bishop to prove that point.

Next door in the DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON, the most liberal of all the
African archbishops, Primate Njongonkulu Ndungane (Southern Africa) came
a calling on John Chane the Bishop of Washington, no doubt with his hand
out. He said all the right things in his sermon at their diocesan
convention, but again we know what the game is. He was there to try and
shore up ECUSA's credibility, which has been shattered by millions of
Anglicans, hundreds of dioceses and a dozen or more African provinces,
Southeast Asia and the Southern Cone. His less than memorable one liner
was, "we must face the challenge to develop an ethic of
together-in-difference." His fellow African bishops are not buying it.
That is not a phrase they read in the New Testament, and they know the
Apostle Paul would never have uttered it.

But the lesson here is to organize, and it is a lesson that ECUSA's
orthodox need to re-learn. If you want to win you must ORGANIZE,
ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE. The biblically orthodox clergy in several dioceses
are doing precisely that. The orthodox can organize AAC chapters and
they can sign on to the Network. "It seemed good to us and the Holy
Spirit&" is a lesson we can all learn.

IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA at the cathedral a very important conference took
place this week. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church Foundation Fellows
Forum the conference engaged the question, Reconstructing Anglican
Comprehensiveness. The conference, two years in planning, featured
speakers on both sides of the great sexual divide. I am posting two
papers from this conference. The first is by the Very Rev. Dean Paul
Zahl who makes the case for Alternative Episcopal Oversight and the
other is by theologian Dr. Chris Seitz. Both papers are solid reads.

IN MASSACHUSETTS WHERE SECULAR COURTS sought to approve legislation for
gay marriages, there is tremendous energy and money behind the same-sex
marriage agenda, using language that says, among other things that
"marriage is a basic human right." The Rev. John C. Rankin, a Christian
apologist who lives in the area wrote, "this is not true, as it replaces
the unalienable rights given us by the Creator, with new humanly defined
"rights" determined by those in political power. Since when in human or
U.S. history has marriage been defined as a human right? Rather,
marriage has been defined as the basic social responsibility where man
and woman, as complements and in mutual fidelity, give and receive
trust, and model the same for their children. Then, within true
marriage, there are certain rights designed to protect marriage and
children, all of which accrues to the betterment of the larger society."

"If this homosexual agenda is unchecked, in the final analysis, the
religious, political and economic liberty to dissent from its
redefinition of culture will be removed."

No ministers will be allowed by the state to perform heterosexual
marriages unless they also agree to perform homosexual "marriages"; No
speech, which disagrees with homosexuality, will be permitted; and no
businesses will be exempt from laws requiring approval of homosexual

In other words, the freedom to live, then preach the Gospel to hurting
people, will be in danger.

But this week's ruling will be heralded by the secular press as another
step towards the inevitability of same-sex marriage. However, there is
another side to the story. The Alliance Defense Fund lawyers asked the
court not to replace marriage with civil unions either. Why? Because the
court has now made the battle lines even clearer: it is either
full-blown marriage or no marriage substitute for radical homosexual
activists. "While some may bemoan this ruling, we see this now as an
opportunity to protect marriage from the clutches of the radical
homosexual activists, since no redefined replacement, such as civil
unions, is acceptable," said a spokesman for The Alliance Defense Fund
an organization that provides resources to keep the door open for the
spread of the Gospel through the legal defense and advocacy of religious
freedom, the sanctity of human life, and traditional family values.

IN ECUSA THIS WEEK, Bishop Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh again
stated that there will be no split in the Episcopal Church over the
ordination of a homosexual bishop last fall. That's the message he
imparted to one his parish's this week. He added that while the
ordination of Robinson is a very divisive issue, the Pittsburgh Diocese
has no intention of separating from the Episcopal Church.

THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE DESIGN GROUP meets in London shortly. The brief
of the Design Group is to plan for the proposed Anglican Gathering in
2008 and the next Lambeth Conference. The chairman of the group is the
Most Revd Sir Ellison Pogo, Archbishop of Melanesia. Depending on what
the Eames Commission concludes one wonders if there will be another
Lambeth, and if there is WHO will be there. Nigerian Primate Peter
Akinola is on a very short fuse these days and, in a very real sense, he
has more power than the Archbishop of Canterbury does! If he, the new
Archbishop of Uganda and the CAPA bishops decide to take matters into
their own hands they could precipitate a crisis with far-reaching
repercussions for the whole communion.

THE ECUSA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL is scheduled to meet this week in Tampa and
it will be interesting to see what emerges from this meeting. Follow the
money is good advice.


CORRECTION: In a story on the Diocese of Fond du Luc I mentioned the
name of Neil Jacobus as the bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. That
was incorrect. His name is Russell E. Jacobus.

I WANT TO WELCOME all new Virtuosity readers today and I invite you to
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All blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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