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Theologians Challenge B012 * Two State Abortion Laws Rock Christians, TEC Affirms Woman's Right * Heather Cook tries again to get out of Jail * Court Reaffirms LA Bishop's Suspension * Florida Bishop under Fire over B012 Implementation * More

Theologians Challenge B012 * Two States Abortion Laws Rock Christians, TEC Affirms Woman's Right * Heather Cook tries again to get out of Jail * Court Reaffirms LA Bishop Bruno's Suspension * Florida Bishop under Fire over B012 Implementation * Toronto homosexual bishop gets invite to Canterbury

"Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." --- St. Jerome

Justin Welby presides over an institution which was Erastian in its origins -- the episcopate redesigned by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I - which remains almost unchanged since Tudor times. With one important exception, that Henry himself appointed the bishops, as was his prerogative, claiming the divine right of Kings. We now have a quasi-papal court at Lambeth, which controls the appointments of bishops, making an episcopate which conforms to the day-to-day fashions and opinions of the secular House of Lords, and the BBC. And an increasingly papal Archbishop with personal authority over the General Synod via the Archbishops' Council, enabling him to control the agenda, to introduce new legislation, and to bypass the requirements of the constitution of the General Synod regarding church order and doctrine so that they can be changed by issuing unchallengeable Guidance notes in the name of the House of Bishops. In short, more Erastian than Henry VIII but without the theological resources, checks and balances of the Roman Catholic Church. --- Anonymous

"The most serious problem in the Church today is its tendency to compromise with the world and withdraw from proclaiming the whole truth." --- Cardinal Gerhard Muller

"How can we speak of the termination of a pregnancy when what we really mean is the destruction of a human life? How can we talk of therapeutic abortion when pregnancy is not a disease needing therapy and what abortion effects is not a cure but a killing? How can we talk of abortion as a kind of retroactive contraception when what it does is not prevent conception but destroy the conceptus? We need to have the courage to use accurate language. Abortion is feticide: the destruction of an unborn child. It is the shedding of innocent blood, and any society that can tolerate this, let alone legislate for it, has ceased to be civilized." --- John R. W. Stott

[Of] the very small (Episcopal) dioceses, it doesn't seem like there's any way they can be financially sustainable. At some point you're small enough, how do you cover the bishop's salary? --- Kirk Peterson in TLC

Imagine if every Christian in America took their commitment to Jesus as seriously as gun owners take their commitment to the Second Amendment. -- Shame Claiborne and Michael Martin

There are 16 dioceses in the United States that each have a lower average Sunday attendance than St. Martin's Church in Houston. And those same 16 dioceses collectively are smaller than the Diocese of Texas. It seems like some of these dioceses should not be there. --- Kirk Peterson in TLC

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
February 8, 2019

Consistency has never been the hallmark of church leaders any more than it is of politicians. Contradiction and acting contrarian, when it comes to church doctrine is almost standard fare these days. Consistency, it might be argued, is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Take Resolution B012 (please). General Convention believed it could turn the doctrine of marriage on its head and pronounce what Scripture said you could not do, declare the union of two men or two women as good and right in the eyes of God, when clearly it is not.

Writing for the Church Times in a new book from the CofE Evangelical Council on same-sex relationships, Elephants and penguins: one view of gay marriage a Dr. Martin Davie observes; "As something created by God, marriage is not subject to change until His eternal kingdom comes. This means that, in spite of prevailing contemporary feeling, a relationship between two people of the same sex, intrinsically closed to procreation, cannot be a marriage any more than a triangle can have a fourth corner, a truth can be a lie, or an elephant can be a penguin."

Not surprisingly the twitter feed went ballistic and the ranting and raving from the LGBTQ community would have given Cranmer, Hooker or Ryle heartburn.

But increasingly orthodox bishops and theologians are stepping up to the plate and challenging so called progressives on the nature of marriage, the promises made when bishops take office, the Prayer Book statement on prayer and much more.

Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison, the retired bishop of South Carolina, weighed in with a Letter to The Living Church in which he expostulated Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's response to Bishop William Love's refusal to authorize same-sex marriages in the Diocese of Albany, saying that those "who have taken vows to obey the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church must act in ways that reflect and uphold the discernment and decisions of the General Convention of the Church" [TLC, Dec. 2]." Really!

Allison went on to say that when Bishop Love took this oath, the doctrine of the Episcopal Church was, and had been for centuries, exactly what Bishop Love asserts. His views are in complete accord with Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 (1998).

"Does no one see the irony and contradiction after decades of bishops ignoring oaths and vows concerning scriptural and creedal faith, they now are demanding obedience to General Convention teaching that was until very recently condemned by previous conventions!"

Bishops' sworn obligation to guard the faith has been strikingly absent since Bishop James Pike's denial of the doctrine of Christ and the Trinity. He was censured by the House of Bishops for the "tone and manner" but not for the substance of his teaching, said Bishop Allison. You can read the full letter here:
https://www.virtueonline.org/selective-discipline-former-south-carolina-bishop-blasts-bishop-curry-over-bishop-loves-partial

Anglican Theologian (The Rev. Dr.) Stephen Noll weighed in with a weighty piece tackling the contradictory takes on homosexual marriage by Communion Partner bishops John Bauerschmidt (Tennessee) and George Sumner (Dallas), who both affirm heterosexual marriage, but in convoluted, compromising language go on to say they will allow visiting bishops to perform sodomite marriages in their dioceses and then have the audacity to say this does not mean "impaired communion!" Really.

This is what Noll says about Bauerschmidt: "Bishop Bauerschmidt offers the teaching "in a spirit of charity, to all people of good will." The document "attempts to speak positively of the things handed down, and not negatively about things now coming into view. Presumably this positivity explains why the bishop does not mention any of the condemnations of sexual immorality in the Old and New Testaments." BAM.

His take on Sumner's compromise, which saw the "marriage" of some 24 homosexuals and lesbians in his diocese just a week ago, was just as strong: "George Sumner seems to have moved from his position of "no compromise" in 2010 to "impaired communion" today. For many of us who served in the Episcopal Church, the steady erosion of orthodoxy over the past two decades brought us to the hard decision that "broken communion" is the only honest and possible option."

It is clear that what was once a loyal opposition to TEC with the Communion Partner Bishops, is no more. Only one bishop, William Love, stood above the herd and refused to capitulate over B012 and he was "partially inhibited", which means he cannot stop a homosexual marriage taking place in his diocese, but history will record that he never caved in as all the other CP bishops did, including the evangelical charismatic Bishop of Central Florida, Greg Brewer.

Of Bishop Love, Dr. Noll had this to say; "Bishop Love proved the exception to the rule among the Communion Partner bishops: he spoke strenuously against Resolution B012 in July 2018 and voted against it. Then in November 2018, he wrote a lengthy Pastoral Letter to his diocese, which concluded with a Pastoral Directive stating that the trial rites authorized by Resolution B012 "shall not be used anywhere in the Diocese of Albany."

Bishop Love's defense begins with his ordination vows to guard the faith and to teach and uphold the Scriptures. The Episcopal Church, he says, "in effect is attempting to order me as a Bishop in God's holy Church, to compromise the 'faith once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3)."

Richard John Neuhaus was right: "Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed."

Or, as C. S. Lewis opined; "We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful."

You can read Dr. Noll's brilliant analysis here: https://www.virtueonline.org/impaired-communion-flawed-compromise-episcopal-church

*****

But contrariness is not just confined to churches and General Convention resolutions.

The Roman Catholic Church is reeling under more disclosures that homosexual priests abused hundreds of young, mostly men and seminarians. First it was in Boston, then Pennsylvania, and now it is in Galveston, Texas, where some 300 more priests, now mostly dead or laicized, were exposed this week. The RICO act is now in play and the damage nationwide could well bankrupt the Church with lawsuits that could go on for years.

What is not reported is the damage done to godly priests, who continue to labor in the trenches doing the work of the Church while bishops, archbishops and cardinals who knew what was going on all along, sit quietly by hoping it will all go away. It won't, of course. They will be held accountable if not by the church, then by the state.

Contrast all this with what is taking place in The Episcopal Church. TEC has legitimized sodomy and homosexual marriage and believes that by doing so it has headed scandal off at the pass. While homosexual abuse scandals might only be a few, this has still not worked to TEC's benefit. As a result of their acquiescence to pansexuality, TEC has split and now faces fierce opposition from the fast-growing Anglican Church in North America.

TEC is dying and nothing short of repentance and revival and a complete turning around on sexuality can or will stop the rot. Money will not keep the Church afloat forever; you need people, and TEC is running out of them. Dying rich only means that someone else collects.

*****

ABORTION is another shameful blot on America's national character. Democratic party leader Nancy Pelosi called President Trump's wall "immoral," while seeing no contradiction in support of legalized infanticide.

"We will not give one dollar for the immoral wall, period," Pelosi declared. "We need to allocate taxpayer money toward honorable and humane purposes, like the half-billion we give Planned Parenthood each year to kill 330,000 unborn children."

How ironic that the states of New York and Virginia both passed laws allowing a child to be aborted at the moment of birth, and in the state of Virginia after the baby has been born. Can the judgement of God be far behind?

Anglican Archbishop Foley Beach condemned this legislation, calling it a disastrous development for all of us. "One of the foundational responsibilities of the State is to provide physical security to the vulnerable, and none are more vulnerable than babies. I am profoundly saddened by the blatant disregard for the value of life exhibited by the politicians who have done this and by the evident celebration exhibited in the New York City skyline. They have not only abdicated their responsibility to protect the vulnerable but have facilitated their destruction and murder. Pray for them, that God by His goodness will lead them to repentance (Romans 2:4).

"Beyond the damage this "Reproductive Health Act" will have on women, men, and families, the killing of unborn babies undermines the State itself. Abortion not only ends the life of a human being, it denies the world all that she or he would have contributed to society. Future leaders, artists, teachers, doctors, and engineers are being denied the opportunity to fulfill their God-created purpose."

And what was the response from the Episcopal Church? SILENCE. And why, because TEC back in 1996, the ECUSA Executive Council clearly told everyone that in its inclusivity the church does not make any room for a pro-life point of view. With respect to the emotionally-charged issue of abortion, the Episcopal Church categorically rejects any viewpoint other than unfettered support for abortion on demand. The Executive Committee formally made the Episcopal Church a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a group that works against abortion restrictions and opposed the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito.

According to The Living Church, The Episcopal Church Center joined the organization "on behalf" of the Episcopal Church in 1986, despite a 1978 vote by the Executive Council to decline such membership because the organization's position is inconsistent with positions taken by earlier General Conventions. Not satisfied with the ambiguity this situation created, the Executive Committee saw a clear need to take sides.

George Vanderstar, a member of the Executive Council, claimed that the church's position on abortion is, "Unequivocal opposition to any federal or state legislation that would interfere with a woman's right to make a decision on terminating a pregnancy."

There you have it. Another nail in the coffin of TEC. Why aren't the Communion Partner bishops speaking up on this issue? Clearly, they want to keep their heads under the radar, so they can issue statements on being "in communion" with the rest of the Anglican Communion. But that day has long gone. For ACNA and GAFCON, broken and/or impaired communion are firmly in place.

*****

TWO deplorable Episcopal bishops appeared over the threshold this week looking for exoneration. Former Maryland Episcopal bishop Heather Cook sought for the FIFTH time to get out of jail. Heather is serving a seven-year sentence after killing cyclist Tom Palermo with her car in December 2014. She was driving drunk while texting on Roland Avenue in North Baltimore and she left the scene of the crime.

Nearly three months after a Baltimore judge turned down her request for early release, former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook, 62, is once again asking a judge to permit her to serve the remainder of her prison sentence at home for the hit-and-run death.

The cyclist's family want none of this and urged the judge to let her serve out her sentence.

Cook's request last spring for home detention was denied. Cook also previously applied for parole and a work release program. Her parole request also was rejected, and she withdrew the work release request. In November, a judge denied Cook's request for a sentence modification that would have granted her early release.

ANOTHER BISHOP, the retired Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno, was properly suspended from ordained ministry for three years because of misconduct, according to a Court of Review for Bishops, but made the three-year suspension retroactive to Aug. 2, 2017.

The case against Bruno involved his unsuccessful 2015 attempt to sell the property of what was then known as St. James the Great's in Newport Beach, California, to a condominium developer for $15 million in cash. That effort prompted some St. James members to bring misconduct allegations against Bruno, alleging he violated church law.

*****

FLORIDA Episcopal bishop Samuel Johnson Howard found himself under fire over his failure to fully implement B012 resolution passed at General Convention last summer.

Accusations of intimidation flew around the diocese from pro-homosexual priests who say Bishop John Howard is not honoring GC resolution. They accused him of intimidation.

Resolution B012 has not gone down well with the handful of Communion Partner bishops who have tried to thread the needle by saying that while they believe marriage is between a man and a woman, they would allow alternative oversight from another bishop if a priest or priestess requested homosexual marriage.

Howard clearly doesn't like B012 and has told his priests that they must come and "look me in the eye" to request performing a homosexual marriage. They squealed to the Presiding Bishop, who told Floridian Episcopalians that they need to sort it out among themselves because he doesn't interfere in diocesan politics. Not true. Michael Curry interfered totally in the Diocese of Albany, where Bishop William Love said he would absolutely not allow a priest to perform an unbiblical, scripturally unsanctioned act and got "partially inhibited" for his stand.

Of course, Howard will roll over because he doesn't have the cojones to go against the Church, values his pension and has no intention of allowing a repeat of Albany in Florida.

Only one bishop, William Love of Albany, refused to cave in to the General Convention resolution saying that it violated the vows he took as a bishop to safeguard the doctrine and teaching of the church. "If I have to decide between following God's Holy Word or what I believe to be a "flawed" General Convention resolution that contradicts God's Holy Word, there is no question. God's Holy Word "trumps" everything." Clearly Bishop Howard is not prepared to go that far; intimidation is a far better idea.

*****

"Living in Love and Faith", a report to the General Synod of the Church of England, which is meeting later this month is a massive exercise by the Church to tackle the thorny issue of human sexuality. The general supposition is that the LLF results will be forwarded to the Lambeth Conference in 2020, to be discussed in table groups (indaba), which in turn will conclude that Anglicans have a mixed bag of views on sex and marriage and that they have agreed to disagree. Such a result will in effect nullify the clear teaching of Lambeth 1998, which has been a touchstone for the Global South churches.

The only problem is that the report makes no reference to Scripture or to Lambeth 1:10, the touchstone theology on human sexuality put forth at Lambeth 1998.

One gets high-sounding lines like this: "...inspire and create a hunger for learning about what it means to be human, or this, draw learners into the complexity and depth of the subject matter without oversimplifying or overwhelming, meeting the needs of a wide range of learners that spans academics and regular churchgoers."

The tragedy is that the entire report manages to avoid quoting the Book, the Bible, anywhere. Instead, we get vague allusions to "creativity" and "hermeneutical understandings" and "situatedness of the gospel" and "ecclesiology in the context of difference." The report makes no reference to Lambeth Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality and suggests that it will produce a deeper understanding of the interplay of "inherited teaching" on marriage and singleness with "emergent views."

You can read Dr. Stephen Noll's complete take here: https://contendinganglican.org/2019/02/05/living-in-love-and-faith-tree-or-billboard/

*****

The Church of England's Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, is to chair an official British government review into the persecution of Christians around the world. Bishop Philip, who was Executive Leader of the Church Mission Society prior to becoming Bishop of Truro at the end of last year, appeared recently alongside Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to launch the review. "We wanted to do this not just because freedom of worship is a fundamental human right", Mr. Hunt said, "but because also freedom of worship is the invisible line between open societies and closed societies."

*****

The Canadian Anglican Journal as an independent organ is no more. A decision has been made to take away editorial independence, and the editor has resigned. As a house organ, The Journal will become solely a vehicle mouth-piece of the Anglican Church of Canada, rather than accepting differing views.

*****

The homosexual Bishop of Toronto Kevin Robertson was one of 30 bishops invited to Canterbury recently by Justin Welby. Robertson married his same-sex partner in 2018.

On February 7th, Justin Welby welcomed him and 29 other bishops to Lambeth Palace. Not much confirmation is needed on where Justin Welby stands on same-sex marriage but, for those who remain unconvinced that he fully supports it, inviting a male bishop who is married to another man for a cozy chat at Lambeth Palace should do the trick.

The official statement reads: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, welcomed nearly 30 new Anglican bishops from around the world to his official London residence Lambeth Palace. This morning, the bishops are at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) in west London. They are taking part in an annual 10-day course run by Canterbury Cathedral -- the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion -- to teach them about the role of a bishop and the Anglican Communion. This year's cohort comes from Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Melanesia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the US, and Zimbabwe.

The annual event, affectionately nicknamed "the baby bishops course" by those who have taken part in previous years, includes a program of talks, presentations and workshops and a chance to build networks and relationships with other new bishops across cultural and geographical divides.

*****

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is running around preaching his love message to anyone who will listen, and he was recently in Orlando and Tallahassee preaching up "love" to anyone who will hear. He calls them revivals but there are no altar calls.

The funny thing about all the "love talk" is, that it is all very selective. Love does not apply to Albany Bishop William Love, whose conscience is seared at the thought of allowing homosexual marriage in violation of God's revealed will about marriage. It also doesn't apply to whole dioceses that believe the Robinson consecration was a profound violation of the moral order and now face losing all their properties. As St. Paul declares, brothers ought not to take brothers to court. Love does not apply to anybody who dares go against the LGBTQ lobby. If so, they will be accused of homophobia, when all the orthodox are saying is that the behavior is wrong as is fornication and adultery and God simply says no. Is God therefore homophobic? Well, next time you see Michael Curry, ask him. The Presiding Bishop is still riding the wave of his Royal Wedding sermon popularity.

*****

My new book, The Episcotape Letters, modeled on that of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, is available. For a donation, I will send you an autographed copy. This is a volume of my best satirical essays compiled over the years. It catalogues the unravelling of the Episcopal Church, its apostasies and heresies. Such pathology cries out for correction and there is no better way to do so than by humor and satire. In my book I expose the foibles and self-destruct machinations of the Episcopal Church's apostasies.

Please make a donation at this link: https://tinyurl.com/yabemo37

All Blessings,

David

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