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SEX, SEX, HOMOEROTIC SEX * CofE's Love and Faith Report * Australian Anglican Diocese Okays Homosexual Marriage * Anglican APB says God builds His Church Despite Persecution * Sewanee Muslim Read Qur'anic Verse at Graduation * GTS President steps down

SEX, SEX, HOMOEROTIC SEX * CofE's Love and Faith Report * Australian Anglican Diocese Okays Homosexual Marriage * Anglican APB Beach says God builds His
Church Despite Persecution * Sewanee Muslim Read Qur'anic Verse at Graduation * GTS President to step Down * Is Soft Totalitarianism coming to U.S.?

Christ abolished death. One of the most searching tests to apply to any religion concerns its attitude to death. And measured by this test much so-called Christianity is found wanting in its black clothes, its mournful chants and its requiem masses. Of course dying can be very unpleasant, and bereavement can bring bitter sorrow. But death itself has been overthrown, and 'blessed are the dead who die in the Lord' (Rev. 14:13). The proper epitaph to write for a Christian believer is not a dismal and uncertain petition, 'R.I.P.' (*requiescat in pace*, 'may he rest in peace'), but a joyful and certain affirmation 'C.A.D.' ('Christ abolished death'). --- John R.W. Stott

"Let it be a settled principle ...that men's salvation, if saved, is wholly of God; and that man's ruin, if lost, is wholly of himself." -- J. C. Ryle

Sex has been divorced from love, love from commitment, marriage from having children, and having children from responsibility for their care. -- David Kyle Foster

"Walk more closely with God. Get nearer to Christ. Seek to exchange hope for assurance. Seek to feel the witness of the Spirit more closely and distinctly every year. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily threatens you. Press towards the mark more earnestly. Fight a better fight, and war a better warfare every year you live. Pray more. Read more. Subdue self more. Love the brethren more. Oh that you may endeavor to grow in grace every year, that the end of your Christian course may be better than the beginning!" -- J. C. Ryle

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
November 13, 2020

SEX, SEX, SEX, it always comes back to sex - homoerotic sex -- to be precise. This week the Church of England and the Anglican Church of Australia moved forward to fully embrace homosexual marriage, defying 2,000 years of history, church teaching and Scripture. The two churches are caving into moral relativism at precisely the moment when the Church should openly resist post-modernity and the forces of darkness encompassing the culture.

It is discouraging to watch what were once world class Anglican provinces slowly sinking into the zeitgeist as they watch their churches decay and collapse. The situation in the Episcopal Church has been called "dire" by one of its own reporters, as year over year, numbers show a church in decline. And now we are watching the Mother Church and a branch office -- Australia -- follow that same path.

It is beyond all human understanding that the CoE and Australian archbishops and bishops see no cause and effect to their actions, They bless homosexual unions and marriages. Then they sit back and watch as people walk out of those churches, never to return. The church doors close, thefinances shrivel and endowments are raided to keep the doors open.

Revisionists (now called progressives) will blame COVID of course, but coronavirus is just the headstone on the grave.

***

The Church of England's Living in Love and Faith came out with the project making certain assumptions: that church teaching and practice can never be static or set in stone; they need to move with the times. This is evidenced by numerous sections in the LLF book devoted to explaining the history of 'development' of Church of England approaches to marriage and divorce, contraception, homosexuality and transgenderism. The implication is that change in attitudes, doctrines and canons is not just possible, it is inevitable. That the Church of England needs to come to an agreement on policy with regards to sexual ethics and marriage, and especially a way of offering "radical inclusion" to LGBT people. The die is cast.

So, what will be the evangelical response? Will they man the lifeboats and pull away from the Mother Church as she slowly sinks beneath the waves? Apparently not. The CEDEC and Bishop Rod Thomas think they can mount a campaign to stay in with talk of 'keeping the articles' and securing 'votes at Synod'. But as one commentator noted, this is akin to the same misplaced trust the allies had in the Maginot line which looked impressive on paper. . All Hitler had to do was to go around the line and outflank the armies, leading to the rout at Dunkirk.

Another report said The Church of England could hold a historic vote on homosexual marriage as early as 2022, as Archbishops apologized for the "damage and hurt" caused to the LBGTI+ community.

Of course, the report never addressed the thousands of men and women who have rejected homosexual attractions, returned to the normalcy of heterosexuality, married and had children. The report never touched on the validity of reparative therapy, a tried and true approach ridding sexually vulnerable men and women of their homosexual desires. God, forbid!!!

You can read three very fine articles at VOL's website about this "Love and Faith" report. They will offer you in-depth reporting and analysis.
https://virtueonline.org/church-england-heading-down-same-pathway-american-episcopal-church-over-pansexuality
https://virtueonline.org/living-love-and-faith-early-thoughts
https://virtueonline.org/here-we-grovel-we-can-do-no-other

***

In Australia, an Appellate Tribunal issued a majority opinion backing homosexual blessing liturgy, a sign that evangelicals in Sydney may need to rethink their future in the Anglican Church of Australia, a source told VOL.

The first opinion referred to regulations passed by the Synod of the Diocese of Wangaratta in August 2019. This provides a form of service for a church blessing for couples who are married in accordance with Australia's Marriage Act. The second concerned an ordinance by the Synod of the Diocese of Newcastle, drafted in 2019, which removes the possibility of disciplinary action taken against a member of the clergy married under the Marriage Act to a member of the homosexual; or who blessed -- or declined to bless -- a homosexual marriage.

The Appellate Tribunal has validated a form of service for a church blessing for couples who are married in accordance with Australia's Marriage Act, that was approved by the Wangaratta Diocesan Synod in 2018.

The Bishop of Wangaratta, Clarence Bester, said: "In this opinion and determination, I do not believe that we have any winners or losers. This matter will continue to be a bone of contention within the Anglican Church, as certainly within our Diocese, as some do not hold the same position.

Responding to the Opinions, the current Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Archbishop of Adelaide, Geoff Smith, described them as "an important contribution to the ongoing conversation within the Church about how to respond to issues of human sexuality while reflecting God's love for all people."

You can read two opinions about this by Dr. Peter Tong and Dr. Mark Thompson here:
https://virtueonline.org/appellate-tribunal-anglican-church-australia-blesses-homosexual-marriage

***

By contrast, Anglican Archbishop and GAFCON chairman Foley Beach wrote in his November newsletter these words; "A few years ago, I heard Archbishop Deng from the Province of South Sudan describe the growth of the church in his worn-torn nation. He said (paraphrased) they murder our people and the church grows. They raided our villages and the church grows. To those of us listening, his words were so clear to us: the church preaches the gospel (in season or out of it) and God builds His church. We commend these brothers and sisters who prevailed seeing more baptisms and more new churches in a very difficult spot in world history. Their example is a great reminder to the rest of us of the fruitfulness of faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Western Anglican churches, rather than face persecution for holding fast to the faith, are folding their tents with no evangelism or discipleship. All they offer is endless talk of "mission", which is little more than hastily put together social programs designed for this life amelioration, ignoring the spiritual consequences of spiritual death and eternal judgement.

***

Sewanee, the University of the South, and the Episcopal Church's only university, experienced a first recently when a graduating Muslim student was invited to read a Qur'anic verse on stage. Marjan Ata (C'21) is a Muslim student leader who serves as head proctor. She chose Qur'an 4:135.

This is what it says: O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.

Speaking on her choice of reading, Ata said, "I want people to understand how Sewanee traditions and their values are actually quite universal. When we get gowned, we become a part of the Order, it's not just about us anymore. It's about holding ourselves, others, and our community to a higher standard."

The deeper question is, can Sewanee hold itself out any more as a Christian institution?

You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/sewanee-expands-religious-inclusion-campus-include-islam

***

Even as the The Episcopal Church sinks into the sunset, God keeps doing new things. This week a new Anglican parish was born in Islip, New York. A new Haitian congregation of evangelical Anglicans was born and a new young Haitian priest was ordained at St. Matthew's Anglican Church in this Long Island town.

"The excitement of the parish overcame the challenges of the environment and Christ was glorified," said a visiting priest, who said the tent was packed for the occasion.

One can't imagine that the Episcopal Bishop of Long Island, Lawrence Provenzano is too happy about this "intrusion" on his turf, but then he only has himself to blame. No gospel, no future.

The congregation sought out the Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word, a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America to be the bishop of their majority Haitian congregation. You can read the story here:
https://virtueonline.org/islip-ny-anglican-diocese-formally-opens-new-haitian-parish

***

Some Episcopal church leaders simply don't get it. Reflexively they attempt to thread the needle, even though TEC has rolled over the embankment into the slough over pansexuality.

The Rev. Brandt L. Montgomery, writing in The Living Church, talks up "mutual flourishing" (THAT WE ALL MAY BE ONE), as a way to heal the divisions.

Montgomery opines; "I wonder how long the majority's toleration of the minority's disagreement with homosexual marriage and, with it, their function within the Church will last. It makes me wonder, "Will what has happened to Bishop Love eventually happen to me?"

Well, I will tell you, Mr. Montgomery, not long, and yes, it will. This has dragged on for more than 40-years. The LGBTQ community has taken no prisoners and brooked no going back. Forward ever forward...and they won and if you resist, you will be trampled to death under the Episcopal pansexual steamroller or you will be forced to jump ship. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/living-church-priest-and-mutual-flourishing

The soon to be out the door Bishop of Springfield, Dan Martins keeps trying desperately to put lipstick on a pig. He reflects on the decision of TEC to throw out the last godly TEC bishop in the person of William H. Love of Albany.

In a long peroration, Martins concluded with this; "We want to remain, we believe ourselves called to remain, despite our discomfort with where the mainstream of the church has gone. But we want to do more than remain. We want to flourish. (And we, as bishops, speak on behalf of a generation of amazing young leaders who will be key contributors to the revitalization of this church in God's good time.) What has happened in Albany makes us think you don't share that desire, that you are not willing to work with us in creating a space in which we can flourish. Are we wrong about this? What concessions are you willing to make to prove your good intentions? " DELUSION UPON DELUSION. When Martins is gone, he will not be missed. Another Communion Partner quisling bishop out the door, soon to be forgotten.

***

There's a high cost to sexual abuse. The RCC is experiencing that in spades. Recently, the archdiocese of Long Island declared bankruptcy. But Anglicans too, are facing similar issues. The Anglican Church of Tasmania finalized $3.65 million compensation package to survivors of sexual abuse. The Church expects a total liability of $23 million. The Tasmanian church confirmed it will pay $3.65 million in compensation to 24 survivors of sexual abuse. The Tasmanian church will look at selling more assets after its liability estimates more than doubled.

The Church expects between 150 and 200 people to come forward over 10-year period of the National Redress Scheme, with an estimated total liability of more than $23 million. The Diocese of Tasmania is selling properties to recoup costs. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/anglican-church-tasmania-finalises-365-million-compensation-survivors-sexual-abuse

***

Controversial Episcopal Seminary Dean Kurt H. Dunkle, who presided over a time of turmoil and attempted rebuilding at General Theological Seminary (GTS) has announced he will step down at the conclusion of the academic year.

Dunkle has served as the seminary's top official since October 2013, when he was recruited from the Episcopal Diocese of Florida to lead the school. He noted at the time that he did not hold a PhD, but described himself as a turnaround artist: "I fix broken things."

Dunkle sought to reposition the school, which had struggled long before his arrival. He is perhaps most known for, in conjunction with the school's Board of Trustees, effectively firing all but two fulltime faculty in a heavily publicized 2014 dust-up. He infamously booted from campus a credentialed Associated Press reporter seeking comment on the faculty dismissals.

Conflict at the Episcopal Church's oldest seminary erupted into public view in autumn 2014 when eight of the school's ten full-time faculty members were effectively dismissed. Faculty authored a letter to the GTS Board of Trustees protesting a series of alleged abuses involving the dean. Most of the dismissed faculty later returned "provisionally" to work at the school for the remainder of the academic year.

According to the Association of Theological Schools, the seminary counts fifty students (with a fulltime enrollment equivalent of 40.4) and five fulltime faculty. This is down from the 61 enrolled seminarians at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

Graduates of GTS include both orthodox and progressive clergy, among them Anglican Church in North America Archbishop Emeritus Robert Duncan and retired Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson. One doubts he will be missed. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/episcopal-church-general-seminary-dean-step-down

***

The best response to Islamism is Christianity, says the former Bishop Rochester Michael Nazir Ali. Christian freedom of conscience results in the value of free speech; to say what is in our minds and hearts, he writes

"It has become normal to think of the Islamist attacks in Europe as attacks on a secular way of life. The beheading of the teacher in Paris, the murders in Notre-Dame in Nice and the shootings in Vienna are presented as a struggle between radical Islamism and a particular kind of enlightened secularism born of the French Revolution. That's the way Emmanuel Macron sees it; that's the way most educated atheists across Europe see it. But what they forget is that Enlightenment ethics -- the ideas of tolerance and fairness -- have their foundation in Christianity. And the best response to violent Islamism isn't humanism, but the idea of a loving, merciful Christian God."

You can read Bishop Nazir Ali's take here: https://virtueonline.org/best-response-islamism-christianity

***

Is 'soft totalitarianism' coming to the U.S.? The advance of socially liberal ideas like cancel culture and transgender ideology, combined with movements such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter and the intrusion and control of massive technology companies are signs that an anti-religious totalitarian regime is coming to the United States, an author warns.

In his new book "Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents", Rod Dreher documents the evidence for what he labels "soft totalitarianism" and how American Christians should respond.

"Back in the Soviet era, totalitarianism demanded love for the Party, and compliance with the Party's demands was enforced by the state," Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative, wrote in the book's introduction.

"Today's totalitarianism demands allegiance to a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incapable with logic -- and certainly with Christianity." You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/soft-totalitarianism-coming-us-author-warns

***

Let me end on a high note. Please watch The Malaysian Blessing, 120 singers sing this beautiful piece here...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9vJw3tZ7E0&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1T996Jdm1T6uaWKeJFLiO5wbthHEY1g9jnl10tch2BaNBLa4XRF1Yqk1U

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In Christ,

David

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