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Sth. American Primate Pushes Back Jordan Communique * Albany Bishop Faces Hearing to decide his Future * ACNA College of Bishops Affirm Biblical Stand on Sexuality * Church of South India gets new Primate * CANA now has 8 bishops for 2 Dioceses * More...

Sth. American Primate Pushes Back Jordan Communique * Albany Bishop Faces Hearing to decide his Future * ACNA College of Bishops Affirm Biblical Stand on Sexuality * Church of South India gets new Primate * CANA now has 8 bishops for 2 Dioceses * CofE says Sex only in Man/Woman Marriage * Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes Resigns

Our participation. We participate in Christ's sacrifice only in the sense that we share in the benefits of it, not in the sense that we share in the offering of it. --- John R. W. Stott

The New Testament describes the church as a priestly community, both a 'holy priesthood' and a 'royal priesthood', in which all God's people share equally as 'priests'. This is the famous 'priesthood of all believers', on which the Reformers laid great stress. In consequence of this universal priesthood, the word 'priest' (*hiereus*) is never in the New Testament applied to the ordained minister, since he shares in offering what the people offer, but has no distinctive offering to make which differs from theirs. --- John R. W. Stott

The logic of Roe v. Wade is not only deadly, it is contagious, and that contagion continues to spread. The pro-abortion movement in 2020 is not even satisfied with Roe v. Wade. It wants to press forward demanding federal funding for abortion and the fact that the right to abortion should be covered by federal programs such as Medicaid. And it goes on to argue that there should be no restrictions whatsoever that would be acknowledged as lawful or constitutional in any of the 50 states of the United States of America --- Albert Mohler

It would appear that the term "born again" has evolved somewhat among the American public. What used to be seen as a touchstone experience for many evangelicals who went forward at a revival, youth camp, or especially moving Sunday worship service, now seems to mean something more. In essence, the word seems to have been adopted by people of other faith traditions as a way to indicate that they are a devout believer. The data suggests that individuals take the term to mean that faith plays an important role in their life and their religious activity serves more than a social purpose --- Ryan Burge in Christianity Today

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
January 24, 2020

The Archbishop of Canterbury's attempt to put a positive spin on the primates gathering in Jordan last week got pushback from South American Primate Gregory Venables.

In an exclusive interview for VOL, Venables said the vast majority of the Primates in attendance were in agreement that we should preach Biblical, saving faith and not embrace innovations that go against the Bible such as same-sex marriage or the blessing of same-sex unions. Those are not the only problematic teachings, but they are often the presenting issue from those who do not conform to Biblical authority and the historic teaching of the Church.

That was not what you heard from Justin Welby, who tried to draw a distinction between those who looked "inward", meaning focusing on sexuality issues and those who looked "outward" focusing on climate change.

A GAFCON primate, Venables said he felt a deep conviction that the Lord wanted him to be there. "I pretty much have one priority and one message wherever I go and that is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of theological confusion from some Anglican Provinces pursuing another direction other than the Gospel, I followed the leading I sensed from the Lord to attend and went with the express commitment to speak the Gospel into the meeting."

"As the meeting proceeded, more and more Primates made it clear that they would not go the way of the innovations, that they believed the "faith once for all delivered." I was particularly encouraged that almost all the new Primates (and there were 12 who were new) were very clear that they are orthodox."

Again, this is not what you heard from Welby, who tried to playdown any talk of sexuality and to seek common ground on other issues that many believe are secondary.

Venables also made the startling observation that the provinces where unbiblical practices have been permitted...that there was still a lot of orthodoxy in their regions.

So how is it that the Communique made things sound like everything was OK?

VENABLES: That description was referring to the atmosphere and the honest and mature way with which people dealt with the contentious issues. Everyone was clear that the differences are fundamental and major, that we are in a broken state of communion and that we haven't been able to find a way forward. We talked freely about how all attempts so far haven't been followed through.

"We were all conscious of the awareness of the inevitability of some kind of a split in the Anglican Communion. We have already seen the reality of it in the formation of the ACNA and the new Anglican Province in Brazil."

So. there you have it. Please read the full interview here: https://virtueonline.org/interview-archbishop-greg-venables-after-january-jordan-primates-meeting

For another perspective you can read my take on Welby's spin on the Jordan communique here: https://virtueonline.org/future-anglicanism-fisking-welby

IN OTHER NEWS, Justin Welby briefed members of the Kenyan House of Bishops during a meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, even though Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit says he will not be at the Lambeth Conference over Lambeth 1:10 arguing that "God's plan of marriage is between a man and woman for procreation. Homosexuality is a sin before God."

However, in an odd twist, Archbishop Ole Sapit was elected to serve as one of five primates on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council! Even though he is one of five primates including Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria in boycotting the 2020 conference. Apparently, some of Kenya's bishops plan to attend the 2020 Lambeth conference.

*****

It will come as no surprise that The Episcopal Church lowered the boom on the Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. William H. Love this week and announced that a hearing will be held April 21 in Albany to determine his punishment; his guilt having pretty well been established. There will be no contested facts regarding his actions and neither side will be presenting witnesses. Instead, the attorneys will be making arguments as to what the canon law requires.

The offending status of the Title IV Disciplinary proceedings directed against Bishop Love was that he failed to uphold Resolution B012 and is therefore guilty of disobedience. Put another way, General Convention resolutions trump scripture and Bishop Love should just go along to get along. He won't and he hasn't and for his "sin" he will, in all likelihood get tossed out of the Church. We shall see. If by some miracle he was to be found not guilty. the heavens would rend and the two daughters of lesbos, Bishop Mary Glasspool and the Rev. Susan Russell would scream bloody murder, causing the already cowardly Communion Partner bishops to withdraw from the fray lest they be tainted by Bishop Love's orthodoxy.

The Hearing Panel of five individuals is solidly progressive, they are:

· The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, Convener
· The Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith
· The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
· The Rev. Erik Larsen
· Ms. Melissa Perrin

You can read my take on Bishop Love's Last Stand here: https://virtueonline.org/bishop-loves-last-stand

*****

The College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) reaffirmed the biblical stand on sexuality, which they said means living under the authority of Scripture, while recognizing the reality that some people experience unwanted same-sex attraction. The bishops remain divided over the thorny question of Women's Ordination.

Meeting in Melbourne, Florida, the bishops assigned a task force chaired by Bishop Stuart Ruch III "to develop a theological and pastoral statement that articulates the hearts of the bishops for many who have various kinds of sexual brokenness."

This echoes Lambeth Resolution 1:10, "which recognized that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships."

With a nod to those who experience same-sex attraction, the ACNA bishops said they engaged in a unified conversation around the opportunity for pastoral care to those within our churches who are same-sex attracted. "We identified the ways in which the church has not always seen and heard the reality of men and women living with strong same-sex attraction, and we discussed the importance of developing greater clarity around this pastoral ministry and providing more theological leadership for our province. Our discussion included the greater debate within the larger evangelical church around the kind of language that should be employed to describe a faithful follower of Jesus."

On the thorny issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood, the bishops remain divided.

"We have discovered again and again that there are layers upon layers of differences in ecclesiology, hermeneutics, theology, and tradition. These layers result in deep differences in our perspectives on the nature of holy orders in general and the role of women in orders in particular. We recognize that there is great pain over these differences both within our working group and throughout the Province. During the week, we spent time in small group discussions on this topic, both formal and informal. The working group continues to encourage the College to lead in both lament and prayer as we seek a way forward."

A resolution of this issue seems unlikely any time soon with some ACNA dioceses allowing it, while others do not. Archbishop Foley Beach is opposed to the ordination of women to the priesthood, but recognizes the ordination of women to the diaconate. The issue of the two integrities will continue into the foreseeable future.

The ACNA's Ecumenical Task Force for ecumenical partners endorsed concordats with the Episcopal Missionary Church and with the Independent Catholic Philippine Church (also known as the Iglesia Catolica Filipina Independiente). These concordats will be presented for approval to the Provincial Council in June.

The ACNA said they would continue dialogue with numerous church bodies with the goal of healing the Church and working towards Christian unity. Archbishop Thomas E. Wallace and Rev. Theron Davis Ham were guest observers at the conference. They are from the New Day Kingdom Assembly Church, which is exploring the "Anglican Way."

You can read my full take on this here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-house-bishops-affirm-biblical-stand-sexuality

*****

The Church of South India has a new Primate in the person of A. Dharmaraj Rasalam. He succeeds Thomas Oommen, the Bishop of Madhya Kerala, who has served as primate since 2017.

The CSI is, without question, the most corrupt province in the Anglican Communion.

According to VOL's Indian correspondent Joseph Muthuraj, his diocese, over the last ten years, is known for drawing huge sums of money as loans from banks by mortgaging many acres of church lands and valuable buildings. The outstanding loans face soaring interest rates and must be repaid.

There have been charges against Bishop Rasalam and his associates that they allegedly collected huge sums of money illegally from students aspiring for admission in Dr. Somervell Memorial CSI Medical College run by the CSITA in Karakkonam, Trivandrum.

Archbishop Justin Welby failed to address the corruption issue when he visited India last year.

*****

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), the missionary body of the Church of Nigeria, now has eight bishops for two dioceses in the U.S. with the recent ordination of two more bishops for North America by the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Now according to the guidelines for the creation of a new province of the Anglican Communion recognized by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and the Primates of the Anglican Communion, only four dioceses are necessary to create a new province. So, if CANA decides to form two new dioceses what can stop them applying for membership in the Anglican Communion? Presumably nothing.

*****

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, Bishop of Dorking in the diocese of Guildford, is in the US to lecture at General Theological Seminary. She has served as Dean of Clare College in Cambridge, Director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke University, and Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Generally speaking, this would not make news except a source told VOL that she is on the conservative end of the Evangelical spectrum, but nevertheless self-evidently committed to WO, and by now almost certainly to the rainbow agenda -- she worked in ECUSA for a while. She is very well qualified academically, a very efficient professional, rather cold to deal with, and may well be the next ABC.
Her husband Sam is Vicar of St. Martin in the Fields in central London and is a loud and committed campaigner for the entire TEC agenda. The title of her address is "Anointed No More? Faithful Living When Leadership & Institutions Fail," which speaks volumes, and may in fact be prescient.

*****

In the never-ending quest for sexual acceptance, the Church of England announced this week that sex must be confined to heterosexual marriage and Christians in gay or straight civil partnerships should be sexually abstinent.

CofE bishops released a new pastoral guidance confirming their stance on marriage and sex outside of marriage after mixed-sex civil partnerships were introduced last year.

The statement from the House of Bishops says the church's teaching on marriage "remains unchanged", claiming sex outside of marriage is "falling short of God's purpose for human beings".

It adds: "For Christians, marriage -- that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows -- remains the proper context for sexual activity."

However, the church seeks to "uphold that standard" in its approach to civil partnerships and to "affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships".

Those in mixed- or same-sex civil partnerships can still be ordained -- but only if they abstain from sex, the bishops added.

But members of the clergy are also instructed not to provide a blessing for couples registering a civil partnership.

*****

Bishop Ronald Jackson of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes has resigned citing health reasons. A Joint Statement from the Anglican Church in North America and the Standing Committee of the announced his resignation and said the Rt. Rev. John Miller, had been appointed as temporary bishop for the diocese and will continue advising the Standing Committee and serve as a liaison with the Province.

Bishop Jackson has been on administrative leave since November 2019 concerning information brought to the attention of the Archbishop's Office that called for an impartial investigation to be conducted. At the provincial level, the investigative process has entered its middle stages and remains ongoing. Locally, a pastoral team has been put in place to provide holistic care for Bishop Ron and Patty.

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, commented on the transition: "Please keep Bishop Ron and his wife, Patty, in your prayers. This has been a difficult and complicated decision for them. Please also pray for the Standing Committee. I have been impressed with how they have proactively and wisely led the diocese over the last couple months. They will have my prayers and full support as they move forward during this challenging time."

*****

The Living Church reports on a gathering of Anglican and Episcopal leaders bent on seeking communion in the midst of disagreement. Fifteen Anglican and Episcopal bishops and a larger group of church officials, seminary faculty and clergy met January 13 and 14 for a consultation titled "When Churches in Communion Disagree."

The participants, who held a wide diversity of views, respectfully plumbed the depths of Scripture, church history, classic Anglican views on divinity, and contemporary ecumenical theology. The event was sponsored by the Living Church Institute, the House of Bishops' Ecclesiology Committee, the Dioceses of Dallas and Texas, and Virginia Theological Seminary, which hosted the meeting.

Robert Heaney, the director of Virginia Seminary's Center for Anglican Communion Studies and one of the consultation's organizers, described the event as marked by "a spirit of generosity and deep listening." The consultation, he added, "called the church to deeper and more patient and inter-cultural ecclesiological investigation for the future of the Communion. Amidst division there was real hope in the room this week."

Bishop Tim Wambunya of Butere, Kenya, said: "Personally, I think the GAFCON axis has become obsessed with the matter of sexuality. Secondly, I think the Archbishop of Canterbury should try to steer the Communion toward the gospel, rather than simply discussing the issue of sexuality. No more resolutions on sexuality, please."

Katherine Sonderegger, Virginia Seminary's Meade Professor of Christian Doctrine, urged Anglicans to revisit the 2004 Windsor Report, which remains relevant to contemporary conflict. "The truth is," she said, "that the Windsor Report is right -- or so it seems to me -- that the matter of homosexuality is not closed, not behind us, not settled, and most certainly not forgotten in the Communion to which we belong." Advocates for the full inclusion of LGBT people are called, she argued, like advocates for women's ordination in prior generations, to practice a "grace-filled and demanding patience."

That "patience" has long since run out. The birth of the ACNA and GAFCON are living proof that the communion is divided now and the gap is only getting wider, anything else is spin.

Kenyan Bishop Samson Mwaluda, founding bishop of the Diocese of Taita Taveta, got it right when he said, "GAFCON is growing. The liberals are shrinking. Here I can grow the church; here I can stand genuinely. My spirit is at peace. This is the faith I can die for. Your soul and pastoral work will be safe in GAFCON, not Canterbury."

One wonders how many more gabfests on "reconciliation", "deep listening", "mutual love", "more and deeper unity", around sexuality do we have to hear before someone finally says, "enough already, we can never square the circle over homosexuality, you are either for it or against it, there is no third way."

*****

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David

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