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TEC Bishops Fail to Recognize Islamic Threat in Orlando Killings * Washington Cathedral to keep Confederate Windows * Mississippi Bishop Okays Homosexual Marriage * Scottish Anglicans Face Split over SS Marriage *Tutu Nominates Palestinian for Nobel Prize

America, at least, appears to be on the edge of unraveling. There is deep disaffection with the political class, who appear to overwhelming majorities to care more about their own careers than for the country, and there is a deep pessimism that government can accomplish its intended goals. This, though, is just the symptom. Its cause is what is of real concern. For when the nation was founded, as John Adams said, the democracy that was being put in place could only work if it was sustained within a moral order. And George Washington said in 1796 that anyone who undermined the pillars of religion and virtue on which the democracy was being built was no patriot. It is these pillars that have now fallen in our society. Its moral order, whose own underpinnings were religious, has now collapsed. What held the nation together through the ensuing centuries is no longer there. It is therefore worth pondering this matter of a lost moral center a little further. --- David F. Wells, Professor, Gordon Conwell Seminary

'Total depravity'. The biblical doctrine of 'total depravity' means neither that all humans are equally depraved, nor that nobody is capable of any good, but rather that no part of any human person (mind, emotions, conscience, will, etc.) has remained untainted by the fall. --- John R.W. Stott

People raised in the faith but who don't practice it have ceased to identify with it. In other words, they are just being honest. Church attendance has been plummeting since the 1960s; hardly anyone baptizes their kids anymore. Britain is slouching toward Gomorrah. -- Alan Cowell, New York Times

More Americans have died from guns, including suicides, since just 1970 than died in all the wars in U.S. history going back to the American Revolution. --- Nicholas Kristoff

Five aspects of sin. The New Testament uses five main Greek words for sin, which together portray its various aspects, both passive and active. The commonest is *hamartia*, which depicts sin as a missing of the target, the failure to attain a goal. *Adikia* is 'unrighteousness' or 'iniquity', and *poneria* is evil of a vicious or degenerate kind. Both these terms seem to speak of an inward corruption or perversion of character. The more active words are *parabasis* (with which we may associate the similar *paraptoma*), a 'trespass' or 'transgression', the stepping over a known boundary, and *anomia*, 'lawlessness', the disregard or violation of a known law. In each case an objective criterion is implied, either a standard we fail to reach or a line we deliberately cross. --- John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
June 17, 2016

Theologian John Rankin takes a hard look at what happened in Orlando this week and offers some thoughts to help frame a biblical perspective on the massacre that took place there:

"We need to define the power of the level playing field defined by Moses, fulfilled in Jesus, but opposed by Muhammad.

"We need to define how both Islam and homosexual idolatry are one-way religions -- you are allowed to enter (by persuasion or force), but you may not exit.

"Then we need to step back and seek to understand how certain political positions affirm both Islam and the homosexual movement at the same time, thus living an internal contradiction in pursuit of a deeper political idolatry. And all the while, as people get crushed in the process.

"Thus, how do we live, speak and show the truth of the mercy that trumps judgment? (See James 2:8-13)."

Some 70 Episcopal bishops jumped in and opined on the shootings, all of them focused on the LGBTQI aspect of it, completely ignoring the Islamic dimension. Three of the bishops sided with what they call "moderate Muslims" and affirmed their support of Islam. All in all, it was an emotional out pouring of concern and love, berating homophobia and Islamophobia, but failing to deal with the deeper underlying theological and moral issues. You can read what they all wrote in today's digest.

Central Florida Episcopal Bishop, Greg Brewer, opining on the events in Florida, basically told us about his felt pain, (seven times in three pars), but offered up nothing more... "I had to work to take it in...That's how I feel...I will leave it to others to look for someone to blame...all I want to do is to stand beside, pray, and love as best I can...I categorically condemn what has happened. Better solutions must be found. I do believe that love is stronger than death."

Nothing on how America has reached this political and moral moment, nothing on the fact that this shooting occurred during Ramadan. (This year Ramadan runs from the 6th of June until the 5th of July.) The Islamic holy month is thought by clueless Westerners to be just a time of peace, with fasting in the daytime and feasting at night. But nothing could be further from the truth. The belief is that Ramadan is a time when no jihad or fighting should take place; it is the exact opposite. This month is, in fact, the time where Allah grants military victories to his followers through jihad. It is known in Islamic history as a key period for jihad. It goes back to year one in fact.

Also, nothing on the easy purchase of semi-automatic weapons by just about anyone with enough money in their pockets to buy one; nothing on the moral moment that America has come to that brought about this massacre. Also .nothing on why Islam hates democracy, praises Sharia Law, hates homosexuality and the cost to Anglicans in Nigeria who face Boko Haran every day and have seen HUNDREDS of Anglicans slaughtered because Boko Haran sees homosexuality as the enemy of the family and so-called Western Christians doing their bidding. including the Episcopal Church. Nothing about the protracted Gaystapo tactics of American sodomists. who have brainwashed an entire generation of Americans into believing that homosexuality is good and right in the eyes of God. We just get to feel the bishop's pain and solidarity!

The modernized world of the West is coldly impersonal and anonymous. And, because it has been emancipated from the divine, it is a world in which dark human impulses have no restraints. Most of the homosexual lifestyle is precisely that...cold, impersonal and anonymous. My brother-in-law told me that as he embraced men in bath houses in NYC. Then he died of AIDS. His brother blamed the Church's homophobia. What a crock. So, along with the solidarity of the bishops comes self-righteousness.

For those who think this was a simple hate crime against homosexuals, consider this:

Mateen traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- before the FBI interviewed him in 2013

• A former co-worker reported Mateen's extremism to their employer, but no one took action... because Mateen was Muslim

• Last year, the FBI investigated Mateen's connection to "the first American suicide bomber in Syria"

• According to Fox, Mateen was enrolled in online courses from a notorious terrorist recruiter

• Mateen took two trips to Saudi Arabia

• Mateen's wife knew he was planning an attack; she told law enforcement one potential target was Disney World.

Of course, most of the Episcopal Church's bishops immediately saw this as a hate crime. Take Washington Bishop, Mariann Budde's, fawning comments, "To our friends of the LGBT community, know that we love you and walk alongside you in your grief and pain, which is all the more searing following an attack in a presumed safe space during LGBT Pride month. Your tears are our tears. You will find shelter in our churches." She then went on to say how wonderful Islam is, and that "our support for you remains strong. We know that the hatred that fuels such violence is a perversion of the Muslim faith, and we remain your friends and interfaith partners."

Why has she never shown any outrage against Boko Haran attacks on our Anglican brothers and sisters in Northern Nigeria? She wouldn't, of course, because they are all "fundamentalists" in her mind and probably deserve what they get. Well, honey bunch, your diocese is withering and dying. Your cathedral is mostly empty and needs millions of dollars to stay open following an earthquake, and you wouldn't know Jesus if he strolled down K Street, Washington, on a donkey with a saddle marked "The Jesus Movement".

You can read what the bishops and other world leaders, including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, had to say about this horrendous shooting in today's digest.

*****

The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri has appointed a deputy for gun violence prevention. "People of faith must challenge the tragedy of gun violence and I lend my voice to that challenge," said the Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, announcing the appointment of the Rev. Marc D. Smith, as deputy for gun violence prevention, less than a week after a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando claimed the lives of 49 people.

So I checked the diocese's website, and, lo and behold, they have ministries ranging from dismantling racism, though as far as I can make out there are no recorded racists in the diocese, to caring for creation and promoting a green environment. But there was nothing on evangelism, discipleship or church planting. Go figure.

*****

The Bishop of Quebec, Dennis Drainville, reluctant to allow an atrocity go to waste, has issued a pastoral letter on the Orlando murders in which he makes the grotesque comparison between the injustice of murdering someone and the "injustice" of not marrying them in a church:

Here is what he said: "The atrocities perpetrated by the lone gunman in Orlando are not just a grievous act of violence against the LBGTQ community but an attack on every citizen in the world community. As such, it is imperative that we speak out directly and forcefully against this monstrous act.

[.....]

The discussions that we in the Anglican Communion have had over the last 30 years regarding the ordination of Gay persons, the blessing of same gender partners and the current debate regarding the nature of marriage are in actuality our own attempt finally to bring about justice for the members of the LGBTQ community. God's gift of human liberty cannot be made hostage to any philosophy, religion or sectarian attitudes. I call on all people who believe in peace and justice to encourage friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to take a united stand with the LGBTQ community. Let us work together to ensure Love, Hope and Faith are shared freely among all of God's precious children."

*****

The Washington National Cathedral is apparently going to keep its Confederate stained glass windows.

For the past six months, a Windows Task Force appointed by the Cathedral Chapter has been examining a range of issues relating to stained glass windows in the Cathedral that pay tribute to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

After detailed research, careful deliberation, and prayerful discernment, the five--member Task Force submitted its report and recommendations to the Chapter. Following lengthy and substantive conversation, the Chapter unanimously concluded that the windows can serve as a catalyst for the difficult and uncomfortable conversations about race that we need to have on the road to racial justice. In addition, they also serve as a visual reminder that Lee and Jackson fought to preserve a way of life that kept African Americans enslaved. Keeping the windows in place, for now, provides us a chance to tell more truthful and additional stories of the lives oppressed by the institution of slavery in the nation and in the church.

No final decision on the future of the Lee--Jackson windows will be made until the conclusion of this deliberative process. Yet, as the Task Force points out, "Whatever the Chapter's ultimate decision, the windows will not live in the Cathedral in the same way they have in the past."

*****

Safeguarding Children is a big deal in the newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. Changes to the Safeguarding Policy, Training, Background Checks is now part of the diocese's position, but what if a homosexual touches a child in a Gay Pride March, marches which TEC unofficially supports? Will that person be prosecuted? Or what about exposing children to these decadent parades as the Bishop of Atlanta Robert C. Wright did recently, high fiving children. Is this not a form of abuse?

*****

South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu says Marwan Barghouti - jailed for masterminding suicide attacks - is a 'defender of human rights', and he has nominated the Palestinian mass-murderer for the Nobel Prize.

The prominent anti-Israel campaigner, Tutu, has joined other activists in nominating imprisoned the Palestinian arch-terrorist, and he tabled the nomination in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Monday - cited by Al Arabiya - in which he hailed the Fatah-Tanzim commander as a symbol of the "struggle for freedom, [which] constitutes a clear signal of support for the realization of the Palestinian people's inalienable rights, including to self-determination."

Desmond Tutu is a longtime anti-Israel activist, and is a member of the "International High Level Committee of the Campaign for the freedom of Barghouti and all Palestinian prisoners."

Barghouti was jailed for five life terms in 2002, for masterminding scores of deadly suicide bombing attacks on Israeli civilian targets during the Second Intifada. But many anti-Israel activists still tout him as a symbol of "nonviolent resistance," and label him a "political prisoner."

The victims of Barghouti's attacks and the countless grieving relatives he left behind, would likely beg to differ.

*****

The Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi, the Rt. Rev. Brian R. Seage, has given official permission to the congregations and clergy of his diocese who are canonically resident or licensed to serve, to conduct homosexual marriages without his permission. He is the first Episcopal bishop to do so.

In a letter to the diocese, Seage says liturgies included are, I Will Bless You and You Will Be A Blessing, Revised and Expanded 2015, with The Book of Common Prayer (1979), for homosexual couples, legally entitled to marry.

Seage did say that any priest was free to decline to marry a same-sex couple and would not face disciplinary hearings. "My only request is that you refer, to me, any same sex couple seeking marriage, so arrangements can be made to offer these services of the church."

*****

The Anglican Church of Canada vacillates on euthanasia. In much the same way that it has submitted to cultural trends on same-sex marriage, the Anglican Church of Canada, rather than taking a stand either way, has decided to recognize euthanasia in Canada as a "reality". In church terms, this is known as being prophetic; or is it missional -- I don't know, this jargon is so confusing.

In contrast, the Anglican Church in North America states in its constitution:

God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.

This would be a difficult idea for ACoC theologians to grasp since they are still divided on whether the concept of sin is a reality, let alone whether its only remedy is Jesus Christ - after all, we don't want "to alienate people over a very sensitive and complex issue".

From the Anglican Journal comes this:

In a nod to changing times, the Anglican Church of Canada's latest report on physician-assisted dying, rather than opposing the practice, recognizes it as a reality. The report offers reflections and resources around assisted dying and related issues, such as palliative care.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down last year a ban on physician-assisted death for the "grievously and irremediably ill" as unconstitutional, notes the paper, entitled In Sure and Certain Hope: Resources to Assist Pastoral and Theological Approaches to Physician Assisted Dying, released June 9.

In the wake of this decision, the paper states, "public debate concerning the legal ban on physician assisted dying is in some ways over."

As a result, the authors continue, "our energy is best spent at this time ensuring that this practice is governed in ways that reflect insofar as possible a just expression of care for the dignity of every human being, whatever the circumstances."

"A report like this is not going to please everybody because it doesn't give a direct answer, and that will frustrate some people," Hiltz said. "But...to give a direct answer is, in fact, to alienate people over a very sensitive and complex issue." Waffle to the end.

*****

GAFCON leaders, through their new leader, Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, have stepped up the pace of the realignment in the communion following the Scottish Episcopal Church's decision this week to allow homosexual marriage.

No one should really be surprised. Archbishop Okoh is the toughest, sternest voice on the orthodox wing of the communion and he has a take no prisoners approach. Archbishop Welby, beware. Okoh and his predecessor Peter Akinola, gave Rowan Williams such a headache over their refusal to go along with sodomy, that Williams was forced eventually to resign to academia.

Furthermore, switching the game from issues about Human Sexuality to talk about Anglican polity and governance, is little more than rearranging the seating plan in the dining room of the Hindenburg. GAFCON primates will have none of it.

In time, the Global South will win. Only a totally blind man cannot see the numbers written on the subway walls and tenement halls. The West is withering and dying from age and bad morals with no clear gospel to proclaim to stop it. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's "Jesus Movement" cry is little more than a three-card monte game, betting the church will grow without a clear salvific message. Screaming at little old ladies and a few families about racism and white privilege will get old. GAFCON and the rest of the Global South have the numbers, and they are tirelessly and relentlessly faithful to scripture in proclaiming the gospel of God's redeeming grace. The chess game is moving rapidly in their favor. The Western (white) king is in a corner surrounded by black bishops, rooks and knights. The game is almost over. Checkmate awaits.

*****

According to British Anglican commentator Julian Mann, Church of England bishops are not powerless against the present spiritual disorder.

"With scandals over Zen Buddhist meditations promoted by promoted by the Canon Chancellor of York Minster, the Church of Nigeria severing links with Liverpool Diocese over the appointment of an uber-liberal American bishop, and an Oxford cleric appearing to bless the same-sex 'marriage' of Desmond Tutu's daughter in South Africa this has been a lousy summer so far for the Church of England.

"But dare one respectfully suggest that Bishops disturbed by these developments should not despair? They are not powerless in the face of such gross spiritual disorder.

"Certainly, the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) is difficult to deploy against errant clerics on doctrinal issues. The CDM's main focus tends to be on 'conduct unbecoming'. However, Bishops can stand up for the Lord Jesus by arguing against doctrinal violations and they have the historic biblical teachings of the Church of England as their armory."

In fact, says Mann, bishops should speak out because the Book of Common Prayer's Ordinal - the historic Reformed Anglican liturgy for the consecration of Bishops - says they should. The Archbishop asks the Bishop elect: 'Be you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the same.'

The Bishop replies: 'I am ready, the Lord being my helper.'

Don't hold your breath. Church of England bishops are reluctant to rock the boat even if their dioceses are sinking, and your average Brit no longer cares about their nation's historic church.

*****

With less than two weeks to go before Britain votes on whether to remain in the European Union, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have indicated their support for the "remain" case.

Writing in The Mail, Justin Welby said while there can be no official Christian line on the vote, he wants to create a "vision of peace and reconciliation." He said a vote to remain on June 23 would avert economic damage that could harm the poorest.

Writing in The Telegraph on June 9, the Archbishop of York said political institutions need regular pruning, but "Europe is bigger than European institutions."

On another matter, Archbishop Welby has said it is impossible to understand the world today without understanding religion.

Speaking at the annual Sanford St. Martin awards for religious broadcasting on June 9, the Archbishop said religion needs to be covered not simply to keep some strange people happy "but because religion is a prime motivator of behavior for both individuals and communities."

*****

Two prominent bishops have called for evangelicals in the Church of England to cease their fighting over homosexuality and accept other evangelicals as such, even when they take a pro-gay stance.

Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes and Bishop of Dorchester, Colin Fletcher, are among contributors to a new book edited by Jayne Ozanne, a lay member of the General Synod and former member of the Archbishops' Council, who counts herself as evangelical and last year came out as gay.

Bishop Fletcher criticizes the "immense" damage to "far too many good Christian people" by the Church's attitude to gay people. Bishop Bayes says: "We need to change the Church -- to make room and to extend the table."

In the book, Journeys in Grace and Truth -- Revisiting Scripture and Sexuality, the contributors explain why they have moved towards an "affirming view" of same-sex relationships.

Copies have been posted to all 460 members of the General Synod, who will meet behind closed doors in York next month to discuss the results of the "shared conversations" that have been taking place on sexuality and the Church. You can read the full story here: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/leading.evangelical.bishops.call.for.church.to.change.on.gays/88533.htm

*****

At a recent luncheon of Christian attorneys and judges in San Diego, a prominent Federal District Judge stated that the next big civil rights movement in the United States will be over religious freedom. As an illustration of what lies ahead, this respected jurist quoted an article in which a Harvard law professor has publicly stated that Christians in this country should now be treated like Nazis. In the face of these increasing secularist attacks, the dedicated attorneys and staff of the Freedom of Conscience and Defense Fund (FCDF) are even more committed to the preservation of our nation's long tradition of support for religious liberty--the first freedom in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

*****

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