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TEC: What's Left * AAC Asks What's the Future after Coronavirus * Meacham Denies Jesus's Uniqueness * CofE Archbishops Clash with Clergy over Shutdown * Aussie Pedophile Dean Jailed * Church of South India Corrupt * Future of Orthodox Anglicanism..more

TEC: What's Left * AAC Asks What's the Future after Coronavirus * Meacham Denies Jesus's Uniqueness * CofE Archbishops Clash with Clergy over Shutdown * Aussie Pedophile Dean Jailed * Church of South India Corrupt * Revival? * Future of Orthodox Anglicanism Interview

Some evangelism, to be sure, is no better than a thinly disguised form of imperialism, whenever our real ambition is for the honour of our nation, church, organization, or ourselves. Only one imperialism is Christian, however, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom. The earliest Christians, John tells us, went out 'for the sake of the Name' (3 Jn. 7). He does not even specify to which name he is referring. But we know. And Paul tells us. It is the incomparable name of Jesus. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die. --- John R.W. Stott

Of course, there is no surgery on the planet that can actually turn a biological male into a female or a biological female into a male because that is a part of the basic genetic structure, and as Christians understand, it is a part of our identity as given to us by our Creator on an individual basis, making us as male or female. --- Albert Mohler

Many Anglicans, accustomed to weekly feeding on the Body and Blood of Christ, are sorely missing the sacrament in these days when they only have the Word, and that through a screen. --- Dr. Gerald McDermott

The vision of Anglicanism that is currently being advanced in the ACNA represents a different set of answers: Anglicanism is simply a form of mere Christianity, and disaffected American evangelicals should be drawn by the heightened ceremonial of modern Anglicanism. --- M. H. Turner

Porn is by far the greatest cancer ever to the church...the problem is particularly relevant given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. --- Josh McDowell

Change is painful to us all, especially when it affects our cherished buildings and customs, and we should not seek to change merely for the sake of change. Yet true Christian radicalism is open to change. It knows that God has bound himself to his church (promising that he will never leave it) and to this Word (promising that it will never pass away). But God's church means people not buildings, and God's Word means Scripture not traditions. So long as these essentials are preserved, the buildings and the traditions can if necessary, go. We must not allow them to imprison the living God or to impede his mission in the world. --- John R. W. Stott

If Trinity Wall Street liquidated one third of its portfolio, it could support salaries for two church planters at $100k per planter for five years for 18 plants in EVERY DIOCESE IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. --- Chris Corbin

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
May 1, 2020

Some Anglicans asked me the other day; what is there left to report on about The Episcopal Church. It is a fair question. Here are a few thoughts.

Homosexual and lesbian bishops are (yawn) a done deal.

There will be more and more pansexual priests in the pulpit, some black, most will be white.

Albany Bishop William Love will be found guilty of violating B012 and will be punished with banishment in the name of inclusion and diversity.

There will be a transgendered bishop elected in the not too distant future (in the name of inclusion and diversity, of course.) With Bishop Love gone, nobody will object because they fear the Episcopal Gaystapo.

The Communion Partner bishops will disappear in the next few years and no one will miss them. They rolled over a long time ago.

TEC will go from a black male PB to a black female PB and then, inevitably a black (or white) homosexual PB. At some point, the House of Bishops will nominate a transgendered PB and cries of MISSION ACCOMPLISHED will be heard across the land. The latter will make brief, but spectacular news. It will probably not shock GAFCON bishops, but it will give heartburn to Archbishop Justin Welby, who is desperate to pull a rabbit out of the hat to keep the communion together.

TEC's ASA will continue to sink, and with the Coronavirus upon us no one knows what the numbers will be when TEC is back up and running. It stands at around 500,000. Many nominal Episcopalians (and they are the majority) may now be asking, why bother. SURPRISE; many parishes now report diminished income. Committed Episcopalians will continue of course, but they are a dwindling minority.

The Anglican Church of Canada's ASA has now dropped below 100,000 and is fast approaching life support time. (The figure is closer to 97,000.) The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) now has over 135,000 members, which makes it larger than the ACoC and is growing!

Will there be an accounting of the millions of dollars spent on litigation for properties that, at the end of the day, will lie fallow or sold to upstart evangelical churches and to Muslim groups? One thinks not.

It would come as a surprise if the ACNA lost five per cent of its parishioners during this Coronavirus pandemic.

Small churches (as I earlier predicted) are doing better with the shutdown than larger churches. There is a new intimacy via ZOOM and other social platforms that is keeping them together. In our small (25-member) parish we pray more for one another than we have ever done. (I will even admit to praying more for at least 5 of our number who work on the frontline in the medical field).

Large churches with sub specialty groups like Christian bikers and hikers, et al and other social subset groups will grow and survive, perhaps even grow the church.

But the pray, pay and obey crowd could rapidly disappear, having learned that paying for a preacher who does little more than preach a sermon, keep the doors open and perhaps make an odd pastoral visit, is simply not worth it.

MONEY: The elixir that keeps churches up and running, might run out or simply not be forthcoming in the quantities needed to keep the doors open.

According to an article in TLC, collections are down as much as 70 percent. Tenants are struggling to pay church landlords. There are steep drops in investment income that's needed to pay monthly bills.

Across the Episcopal Church, congregations are weathering effects of a financial storm that shows no signs of abating anytime soon. As states have banned public gatherings in attempts to slow the fast-spreading coronavirus, congregations unable to pass offering plates are getting squeezed between shrinking revenues and rising costs.

"Needs are up. Income is down. It's is the same with everybody," said the Rev. John David van Dooren, rector of the Church of the Transfiguration, a Manhattan parish that depends on income from rental property and finds its tenants now struggling to make rent. Parishioners, meanwhile, face their own money woes and hope the church can help them.

A Catholic archbishop observed that the twin issues of COVID-19 and the persecution of orthodox priests and bishops by revisionist and so-called progressive archbishops and bishops could drive the churches into a new First Century style catacombs church. It worked then; it could work again now.

Think about this. Very little money is needed to run this type of church. People meet in their homes, with little cost. No fancy buildings to maintain. Clergy would have to be tentmakers. In the catacombs the church flourished and by the Third century (under Constantine) the Church became religio licita. Do the princes of the church need palaces? No. You work till you die. No free lunch.

George Barna, director of research at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University and founder of the Barna Group, writes: "Tens of millions of Americans consider themselves to be Christian but do not believe that God is really in control or cares what happens to them." You can put that down to bad or inadequate teaching by pastors and priests, so why pay them if the pulpit rings with an uncertain sound. Fire them.

Meanwhile, 51 percent of pastors on Barna's Church Panel said church attendance, in terms of virtual attendance, is up compared to typical Sunday in-person worship. Could that uptick change the worldview inventory trend -- if more people are in church and gaining a more biblical, traditional perspective of God?

Six-hundred Protestant senior pastors in America serve on Barna's Church Panel. According to the survey, more than 51 percent of pastors answered that virtual attendance has actually been greater than the typical physical Sunday gathering.

So, if virtual attendance is on the uptick, what will do this for parish buildings and the money needed to keep church doors open? Will pastors and priests, many of whom already have second incomes now find that being a "tentmaker" as the Apostle Paul was, is the new norm?

Whatever happens and whichever way it goes, nothing will be the same after this virus is spent. Who knows, perhaps it will weed out the wheat from the chaff, and leave a small but vibrant church that God can finally work with.

*****

Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council makes some astute observations in his weekly column about the Coronavirus pandemic. He says the number one question among pastors is this: How do we prepare our churches now for the day when we can re-open?

That question was followed by many others in the same vein: When? What will that look like? How will we "deep clean" and sanitize our churches in real time? What do we do about coffee hour/meet-and-greet, especially if social distancing remains a cautionary "new normal" for all of us? How do we walk in faith in regards to giving and church finances, while planning for shortfalls? For now, many such questions may remain unanswered, but they should all be asked and contemplated as we head towards weeks of gradual re-openings across the country. He mentions a helpful article that contains 24 such questions we should be asking now. You can find this list here: https://kenbraddy.com/2020/04/18/20-questions-your-church-should-answer-before-people-return/

Questions like these are expected to emerge. Churches in this country are in a moment of intense change and uncertain transition.

"We are in this John the Baptist moment to repent and ready ourselves for the coming of the LORD. Will it be a new great awakening and revival of the church in our land? Will it be an acceleration of our culture's secularization and anti-Christian hostility? Will it be both? Regardless, this can be a great awakening in our individual hearts, a revival in our own souls, if we allow it to be."

*****

Pulitzer Prize--winning author and Episcopalian Jon Meacham denies a basic Christian tenet and says that Jesus is not the only route to salvation.

In his new book "Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross", Meacham, a renowned Episcopal layman and scholar of American history writes; "I am in no sense an evangelical, for I do not share the view that faith in Jesus is the only route to salvation, nor am I determined to convert others to my point of view. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god," Thomas Jefferson remarked. "It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

Meacham cited the Roman writer Symmachus, arguing against Christians who wanted to remove an altar to the pagan deity Victory, saying, "We cannot attain to so great a mystery by one way: I agree."

"I adhere to the broad outlines of the Christian faith as it has come down through the Anglican tradition," he writes in his book. It apparently does not include Article 18 of the 39 Articles of Religion which reads, "Of Obtaining Eternal Salvation Only by the Name of Christ."

This is not Meacham's first run in with orthodox Christianity. In 2009, he slammed the then Bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan over heterosexual marriage, accusing the bishop of fundamentalism.

Meacham was editor of NEWSWEEK at the time, a favorite son and a graduate of Sewanee. He revealed a real and personal animus towards the Pittsburgh bishop. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/jon-meacham-says-jesus-not-only-route-salvation

*****

From the Anglican Diocese in New England, we learned this week that the Venerable Alex Kasirye-Musoke is in hospital with coronavirus. The Archdeacon is in charge of the Ugandan Churches in the Anglican Diocese in New England and former rector of St Peter's Anglican Church (Belmont, MA).

*****

On March 27, 2020, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to the clergy of the Church of England. The letter included these words: "We are in a time of great fearfulness. The numbers of those becoming seriously ill and dying is increasing. It therefore remains very important that our churches remain closed for public worship and private prayer."

This instruction seeks to prohibit the clergy from entering their own churches for private prayer, at a time when the law of the land specifically exempts ministers of religion travelling to their place of worship from the restrictions on free movement brought about to fight the coronavirus. The instruction is something for which the archbishops will have to answer on the Day of Judgment, and it would be imprudent to comment further here.

This did not sit well with at least one priest in central London. There was quiet defiance from a certain Fr. Marcus Walker, when he stood alone near the altar of St. Bartholomew the Great -- London's oldest surviving church -- on the first Sunday after Easter and said, "I speak in the name of the Living God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. And so, we're back."

There was no response from his Facebook Live flock, but the priest stressed that he had been listening to his people. The bottom line: There had to be some way to proceed that stressed public safety, while addressing people's spiritual needs.

"Their voices have been loud, insistent and -- so far -- unanimous," he said, in his sermon. "I have received scores of letters and emails, calling on services to be restored here in their church: the church they have upheld and kept up, where they were married, where they buried a partner, saw a child christened, found God, were confirmed."

Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester penned a stinging rebuke of the current lockdown policy of the House of Bishops -- and in the Roman Catholic magazine The Tablet he writes that "many in the C of E feel let down by the official response." There is deep discontent with the church at the moment, and even with the House of Bishops itself.

But when a priest lives right next door to the church, or when their vicarage is even physically attached to the church and connected by an internal door, even then the priest is not allowed in to pray or to record worship on behalf of the community.

As Selby argues: foremost among the reasons given why clergy could not enter their churches was the need to "set an example" of clergy as law-abiding citizens staying at home. The case was never made that clergy are key workers, exercising an essential public function, one rooted in the architecture and layout of their churches and the liturgical function they carry out within them, especially in Passiontide and Eastertide.

*****
In the Church of England this week, another woman was put up for bishop at the same time as one new orthodox Anglo-Catholic bishop. This is the first orthodox appointment since c. 2014. A source told VOL that it is far too little, far too late to be meaningful. The CofE is now TEC, crafted by Welby.

The Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda learned of the appointments of Fr. Will Hazlewood SSC to be the next Bishop of Lewes and of the Rev. Ruth Bushyager to be the next Bishop of Horsham. This is especially welcome news, as it is five and a half years since the last announcement of a traditional Catholic priest to be appointed to a Church of England bishopric; at that time it was the appointment of Fr Philip North to be the Bishop of Burnley.

So why was the Anglo-Catholic Society so eager to acknowledge the appointment of a woman bishop? A source told VOL that this pair of appointments somehow marks the "mutual flourishing" which were promised when the Women Bishops Measure was passed in 2014. "There has been no mutual flourishing and Anglo-Catholics have been excluded from ALL senior appointments since 2014 until now. It has only happened in this instance because the Bishop of Chichester, who makes these appointments as Diocesan Bishop, is the only surviving Anglo-Catholic diocesan bishop in the Church of England, and almost certainly the last."

*****

The former Anglican Dean of Newcastle, Graeme Lawrence, once Australia's most senior Anglican clergyman is going to be locked up for child sex offences. Lawrence, aged 77 years, is now defrocked and a convicted pedophile. He's been sentenced to eight years in prison. He'll serve at least four and a half years behind bars before having any hope of parole.

The unmarried and likeable Lawrence was the Anglican Dean of Newcastle for 25 years. He ruled over Christ Church Cathedral. Every bishop that came to Newcastle knew that Lawrence was not to be crossed. He was the real master conductor of the Diocese. In fact, one bishop who refused to conform told the Royal Commission, "I am the bishop who is not welcome in his own cathedral".

Lawrence was well-connected within the church, with lawyers and with business people. He had lots of friends at the Newcastle Club, an old private club adjacent to the Cathedral where Lawrence was a regular and an Honorary Member. But his 'good old days' are over. You can read the full story here: https://virtueonline.org/australia-graeme-lawrence-paedophile-offender

*****

There was a time when the Mexican Episcopal Church, now The Anglican Church of Mexico was the most corrupt province in the Anglican Communion with a bishop and archbishop running off with over $1 million never to be heard from again. Now that "honor" has passed along to the Church of South India (CSI), where its former primate has served jail time for corruption and its present primate seems headed to jail for massive misuse of monies. VOL's Indian correspondent, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Muthuraj, has documented the decline of this once thriving church. The CSI is engulfed in escalating and endemic corruption, he writes.

A Commission Report has levelled charges of bribery and corruption against the Anglican Moderator of the Church of South India, the Most Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam.

Following an interrogation of 24 complainants, it was revealed they had given substantial sums of money as bribes totaling three crore rupees ($400,000) to Bishop Rasalam and two other men to secure admission to the Medical College run by the South Kerala diocese. The admissions were denied and the money was not returned. You can read his full report here: https://virtueonline.org/church-south-india-primate-faces-corruption-charges

*****

I was delighted this week to do an interview one of the Anglican Communion's most widely respected and brilliant theologian/historian's, the Rev. Dr. Gerald McDermott following the publication of his latest book; THE FUTURE OF ORTHODOX ANGLICANISM. The renowned theologian weighs the future of orthodox Anglicanism and says that progressives who embrace gay marriage worship another Jesus, a different gospel, and proclaim another Spirit. These are not two ways of being Christian; they are two religions worshipping different gods. The book is a collection of essays.

David W. Virtue interviewed the Rev. Dr. Gerald McDermott on the occasion of his new book on THE FUTURE OF ORTHODOX ANGLICANISM. The book grew out of an Anglican theology conference at Beeson in 2018, to which Anglican leaders and theologians from around the world were tasked to answer two questions. First, what is the deep character of Anglicanism? Second, what is its future?

"We were careful to invite only leaders and thinkers who have resisted the great creation heresy of our age on marriage and sexuality. We also decided to meet after the two telling events of the summer of 2018, TEC's General Convention and GAFCON's meeting in Jerusalem. The talks became essays, to which we invited responses from two bishops and an ACNA theologian."

I believe this is one of the most insightful interviews that I have done and I urge VOL readers to read it in full. https://virtueonline.org/renowned-anglican-theologian-historian-weighs-future-orthodox-anglicanism

*****

Is revival in the air? Possibly. Some 132,000 recently responded to Jesus during a 'Quarantine Revival' virtual evangelistic event. Individuals around the world made the decision to come to Christ during a Good Friday virtual evangelistic event that was hosted by Pulse and featured well-known Christian leaders and singers, according to new data.

Since the virtual revival was hosted, tens of thousands of people have reached out to Pulse to share their decision to follow Jesus through phone call centers, emails, websites and text messages. Pulse founder Nick Hall said in a Saturday tweet that a total of 132,000 people "responded to Jesus" due to the Good Friday broadcast and more than 100 million people tuned in. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/quarantine-revival-132000-respond-jesus-during-virtual-evangelistic-event

*****

VOL urges all its readers to stand firm in the faith. Reach out virtually to church, family and friends. Don't let loneliness cripple you. Tweet, twitter, phone, email, skype, zoom...do whatever it takes to stay in touch with the outside world, and as your state or country slowly gets back to normal and restrictions are lifted on public gatherings, do so with care and attention. Read (the Scriptures), pray, love, and remember don't listen to the doomsayers or end of world nutters. Only God knows the when the End is and He is not saying. Meantime get on with the business of the kingdom and work till your time is up.

David

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