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Trump Trumped by Evangelical Leaders * Dean Drapes LGBTI Flag over High Altar * CofE Seeks Third Way over Homosexuality * Votes shy of Majority needed for ACoC on Homosexual marriage * 'God is Gay' says Poet Laureate * 2018 GAFCON Conference in Jerusalem

"It is amusing to watch the left wing lunatic Episcopal bishops squirm when caught in the crossfire between their two best friends: radical Muslims who stone gays and gays who get stoned in nightclubs!" --- Vox populi

The latest research has confirmed what thoughtful Christians have understood for at least two decades (if not longer): we live now in a time of "no religion". "No religion" means that people do not go to church, even infrequently, and religion plays no obvious part in their lives. ---- Alan Billings speaking about the Church of England.

Confessing and forsaking. It is important, when we bring our sins into the open before God, not to stop there, but to go on to adopt a right attitude towards both God and the sin itself. First, we confess the sin, humbling ourselves with a contrite heart before God. Secondly, we forsake it, rejecting and repudiating it. This is a vital part of what is meant by 'mortification' in the New Testament. It is taking up towards sin an attitude of resolute antagonism. The uncovering of sin is in itself of little value; it must lead us to an attitude both of humility towards God and of hostility towards sin. 'Ye that love the Lord hate evil', or 'the Lord loves those who hate evil' (Ps. 97: 1 0, AV and RSV); and it is this holy hatred of evil which is promoted by the faithful, systematic uncovering and confession of our sins. --- John R. W. Stott

Over 50% of gay men's relationships are sexually non-exclusive, while lesbian women are more typically wedded to serial monogamy. A Ministry of Justice response to my Freedom of Information request for same-sex divorce statistics provides an early indication of a probable trend. For every gay male couple that filed a divorce petition, 3.2 female couples did so! Over recent years, civil partnership dissolutions of lesbian couples have held steady at roughly twice the level of gay men's civil partnership dissolutions. ---- BBC Magazine

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
June 24, 2016

Once again a Christian columnist tried to nail down Donald Trump on the extent of his Christian Faith and once again got ambiguous non answers.

Columnist Cal Thomas asked the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, "You have confessed that you are a Christian." Trump responded: "And I have also won much evangelical support."

"Yes, I know that," said Thomas. "You have said you never felt the need to ask for God's forgiveness, and yet repentance for one's sins is a precondition to salvation. I ask you the question Jesus asked of Peter: Who do you say He is?"

Trump responded: "I will be asking for forgiveness, but hopefully I won't have to be asking for much forgiveness. As you know, I am Presbyterian and Protestant. ... We have tremendous support from

the clergy. I think I will be doing very well during the election with evangelicals and with Christians. ... I'm going to treat my religion, which is Christian, with great respect and care."

Thomas repeated the question: "Who do you say Jesus is?"

Trump tried again: "Jesus to me is somebody I can think about for security and confidence. Somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind."

For the record, here is St. Peter's response: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Later in the week Trump met with more than 1,000 evangelicals, but when eight prominent organizers spoke at a press conference afterward, they were asked who was ready to endorse the winner of the Republican presidential primaries. None raised their hand.

Not Franklin Graham, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, nor Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, said she felt the meeting was "positive. But the question still is whether I can feel confident in asking people to join me."

Trump's speech also earned scorn. Southern Baptist Convention policy head, Russell Moore, arguably Trump's loudest evangelical critic, did not attend, and he tweeted in disgust at the standing ovation Trump got.

Trump also asserted, "The evangelical vote was mostly gotten by me." Not really. Sen. Ted Cruz won in 12 states with a high percentage of evangelicals, such as Texas, Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma. Trump did win much of the evangelical south, but in Missouri he squeaked out by 40.9% percent to 40.7%, but he lost those who attend church weekly by 20%.

You can read stories on the new Trump initiatives to win over evangelicals in today's digest.

*****

Among the ongoing blasphemies over the alleged sainthood of the 49 Latinos who died in a gay nightclub in Orlando, came this discovery in the Diocese of Sodor and Man where the Dean of the local cathedral draped an LGBTI Flag over the high altar and a Jesus icon.

An overwhelming number of residents in the Church of England's smallest diocese expressed outrage and revulsion at the 'desecration' of the altar in St German's Cathedral, Peel ,on the Isle of Man.

Earlier, during in the week, the mother church of the diocese flew the Rainbow flag at half-mast in the Cathedral grounds.

A special candlelit vigil service was organized by the Dean, the Very Rev. Nigel Godfrey, in memory of the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting with the Cathedral and the Manx Rainbow Association.

One wonders if the dean ever held a service and draped the flags of murdered Christians in the Middle East. Did he ever have a nice word to say to Nigerian Anglicans who are being constantly singled out and slaughtered by Boko Haran? Not likely. The triumph of sodomy in the Diocese of Sodom. How fitting. You can read the full story in today's digest.

*****

Pressure is mounting in the Anglican Church of Canada to affirm homosexual marriage, but resistance is being met by a handful, about 10, with 11 bishops unknown, with 19 for the sinful act.

There are a total of 40 Canadian bishops, with 27 needed to pass out of 40 (67.5%). The number of Unknowns needed to pass: 8/12 (67%).

VOL put together a list of yes, no's and maybes, but we make no claim to perfection, as most of it was obtained from FACEBOOK.

There are hints that if the marriage canon fails, a small number of dioceses will adopt 'local option', an idea from The Episcopal Church playbook, and proceed with marrying same-sex couples. If this happens, Archbishop Fred Hiltz will throw up his hands and I say 'I told you so' and then proceed to do nothing. It is guaranteed they will not be disciplined for their actions any more than Episcopal bishops were disciplined for doing the same thing in TEC.

It is a forgone conclusion that, sooner or later, the Anglican Church of Canada will allow same sex marriage, knowing that they will not be disciplined by the weak-willed Archbishop of Canterbury, who will not bar either TEC or the ACoC from attending the next Lambeth Conference.

*****

The Church of England is trying to thread the needle over homosexuality and the latest news is that when Synod meets next month, they aim to agree to disagree over sodomy.

Synod will try a new approach to avoid a disastrous formal schism over homosexuality. After two days of discussing legislative matters in open session and once all outsiders have left, the 550 representatives from around the world will break into groups of 20 for three days of intensive and personal discussions about sexuality.

The idea is not to reach agreement -- 30 years of wrangling have established that this is quite impossible -- but to try to bring people on both sides of the debate to see their opponents as fellow Christians. Naturally, conservative evangelicals have denounced the scheme as an attempt to manipulate opinion, which, of course, it is. The question is whether it will work. Probably. This was a favorite tactic of Frank Griswold when he ran the Episcopal Church. The idea of small groups was to put Gene Robinson next to someone like Jack Iker or Bill Love and break down the hostility, then doctrine and happiness would reign. In the end it didn't work. The ACNA was born and the rest is history.

What's new about this approach is that the manipulation that Justin Welby's strategists have in mind is not to be carried out from the top down. It is hoped that the process of facilitated conversations will allow the church's activists gathered in the synod to take note of the social changes that are happening in their own congregations and their own families, where acceptance of gay people is becoming much more common.

None of this will soften the hardcore conservative evangelical resistance to change, and it may indeed harden it. But Welby's strategy is becoming clear: he may not be able to change the church's official doctrine, but he can hope to minimize the threatened formal split by softening and dividing the evangelical vote.

Two men who seem to have a strong handle on all this are the Rev. Chris Sugden and the Rev. Vinay Samuel. Here is a couple of paragraphs from their very excellent paper on pastoral accommodation (or Anglican fudge) which you can read in today's digest.

"The orthodox are committed to ensure that the Bible is never seen to be wrong on anything it teaches, whether on evolution or sexuality. Once one part of biblical truth is unpicked, where does the unravelling stop? Orthodox Anglicans seek to build on biblical truth as foundations, rather than dismiss some of it as errors of previous generations. If the position is taken to have 'diverse' views in one church, that is agreeing to truth and error abiding together, biblically revealed truth is reduced to a matter of opinion.

"There is enough evidence to suggest that evolution is generally true but Creation is also true for the Christian who is both scientifically knowledgeable and biblically faithful. He/she negotiates both realities and can live with them in even though such a combination raises some serious questions like the historicity of Adam and Eve."

"The same may well be true with sexuality. We know what the Bible teaches and are not willing to accept that the Bible is mistaken. But we also know that same sex reality in many cases is more complex than people deliberately breaking traditional sexual norms. So we take a pastoral approach that for us as pastors keeps our conviction of the truth of biblical teaching intact while enabling us to respond pastorally with people in same sex attraction and relationships." You can read their paper in today's digest.

*****

Then there was the outrage over a controversial poem by England's Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, claiming that "God is Gay" is like the writings of the Apostle Paul, an outspoken Church of England bishop has argued.

The Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt. Rev Alan Wilson, said the outraged reaction in some quarters to Duffy's poem "After Orlando: Gay Love", is similar to the response some of the New Testament epistles would have attracted when first written.

Duffy's 19-line verse, written in tribute to the victims of the Orlando massacre in which 49 people died in a gay club in Florida, highlights how the LGBT community includes people from all walks of life.

The poem lists priests, politicians, scientists, farmers and doctors as gay, closing with the lines: "The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker; our children, are gay. And God is gay."

It was mocked by some commentators on the internet and angered traditionalist Christians. You can read more in today's digest.

*****

Forward in Faith has produced a map of society parishes nationwide in the UK. So if you are visiting England, you can click on the following link to find a parish near you. http://www.forwardinfaith.com/fullposts.php?id=231

The Society's bishops encourage the parishes under their oversight to affiliate to The Society.

The churches of those parishes that have affiliated so far - 200 churches - are now plotted on a new interactive map: www.sswsh.com/map.php. This will help people to find their nearest Society church both when at home and when travelling. Further churches will be added to the map as more parishes affiliate.

*****

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has launched a consultation on the future shape of the continent and the role played in it by the churches. The CEC brings together 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, and Old Catholic churches from across the European Continent, including the Church of England, Church of Ireland, Church in Wales and the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church.

In an open letter to Europe's churches ahead of the UK's referendum on continuing membership of the European Union (EU) on Thursday, the CEC's governing board set out its view of the current situation in Europe.

Explaining the thinking behind the letter, they say that Thursday's EU referendum in the UK "is just one sign of the difficulties facing the continent. Developments in Europe toward more unity and cooperation, so much appreciated some decades ago, are now increasingly put into doubt.

"Churches in many parts of the continent have been contributing to the European project at different stages by raising their voice, highlighting the role of churches in society, emphasizing the role of churches and ethics and values, reaching beyond economic wellbeing."

*****

A man who threatened to shoot a priest and hold a congregation hostage was thwarted on Sunday by police who were lying in wait at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach, Florida.

The attacker, 33-year-old Jorge Arizamendoza, was known to the congregation and leaders of the St Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church, which is based at the monastery, because he has previously received assistance from the church's homeless ministry.

The monastery dates back to AD 1133 when construction began in Sacramenia, near Segovia in northern Spain. In the 1920s it was dismantled, brick-by-brick, and transported to the United States where it eventually ended up as an Episcopal church in North Miami Beach.

Police were lying in wait for Arizamendoza at the church on Sunday, following a number of incidents during the week. In one, he caused damage estimated at $2,000 USD (approximately £1,360 GBP) when he threw a stone at an electronic sign. He returned the following day and smashed a video camera before decapitating an 800-year-old stone statue of Alphonsus VII, one of the artifacts from the original Spanish monastery that was shipped to the US.

Police say that Arizamendoza forced his way into the church during Sunday's Eucharist and threatened to shoot the priest in the face. He shouted at the congregation, warning them not to attend Mass at the church.

*****

The former Bishop of the Church of England's Diocese of Guildford, the Rt. Rev. Christopher Hill, has condemned an assassination attempt on Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Karim of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

Three members of the security forces were killed and another five injured when a suicide bomber detonated his bomb outside St Gabriel's Church in the al-Wusta district of Qamishli in north-east Syria. The bomber, disguised as a priest, had tried to enter the church as the congregation commemorated the Assyrian genocide on the Orthodox Pentecost Sunday at the weekend; but he was stopped by the security personnel when he detonated his bomb. It was the fourth attack against Assyrian Christians in the city in the past six months.

"I am shocked and horrified to learn of the assassination attempt," Bishop Hill, President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) said. "CEC grieves the loss of life and prays for the recovery of the wounded. We extend our prayers and support for the church and all Christians in threatened positions in the Middle East."

The CEC general secretary, Father Heikki Huttunen, commented: "Despite killing other people, the assassin could not achieve their goal. We thank God that the patriarch is able to continue in his apostolic and pastoral mission. May he be guided, strengthened, and consoled by the Spirit of Pentecost."

*****

The Anglican Communion's "significant influence" in more than half of the countries that criminalize same-sex behavior ought to be put to use to repeal those laws, a new report says.

Anglicans and Sexuality: A Way Forward?, research done in conjunction with the Institute of Public Affairs based at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London between January and May of this year, studied "the narrative arc of Christianity and Anglicanism's troubled history around human sexuality." Researchers also considered both the historic and current role of the Anglican Communion and its individual provinces and churches in decriminalization efforts.

In January, as the study was beginning, a majority of the leaders of the communion's 38 provinces -- known as primates -- said, after a gathering in Canterbury, England, that they recognized that "the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt." A majority of the primates at that same meeting also called for three years of "consequences" for the Episcopal Church in response to its 2015 decision to authorize marriages between same-sex couples.

Bishop Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, said after the primates' gathering, that as much as Episcopalians are scandalized by the criminalization of homosexuality in some parts of the world, other Anglicans are scandalized by the Episcopal Church's decision to allow same-sex couples to be married in the church. He said that decision "puts many of us at risk" in parts of the world "where the cultural sensibilities about human sexuality are so very different."

The researchers said that "the retention of penal sanctions against same-sex intimacy across the globe in the 21st century is the result of a toxic mix of political expediency, religious fervor and notions of nationalist purity masquerading as popular opinion."

Not mentioned is that, for most of Africa, homosexuality is not part of their culture and they view it as an intrusion on their culture by Western pansexualists. Furthermore, Africa is not seeing the same rates of HIV/AIDS infection precisely because homosexuality is not an approved behavior.

HIV/AIDS infection rates among men who have sex with men are significantly higher in jurisdictions which criminalize that activity than in those which don't, according to research the report cites. Studies cited show that adverse mental health, family breakdown and poverty can also be attributed in part to criminalization. Nonsense.

Since the left is now engaged in an all-out effort to blame Christianity for the Orlando massacre, actually committed by a homosexual, muslim, ISIS, jihadi, then a decent respect for the truth is in order. Christians have not created a climate of danger for homosexuals. If anything, the following CDC data clearly indicates where the single-largest threat to homosexual life comes from: other homosexuals (though under ISIS, that's about to change).

Thirty-five years into the AIDS pandemic, some 311,000 men who have sex with men (MSM) have died of the disease here in the U.S., and MSM are responsible for almost 30,000 new HIV infections per year.

*****

The Chairman and fellow Primates of the GAFCON Council are pleased to announce that the third GAFCON conference will be held in Jerusalem in 2018.

Jerusalem has a special place in the hearts of the GAFCON movement as it was the location of the first conference in 2008. Moreover, Jerusalem stands as a constant reminder of the birth of the Gospel and the movement's determination to remain true to the teachings of our Lord and his Holy Word.

GAFCON was greatly blessed by both the initial conference and the second meeting in Nairobi in 2013. When Anglicans from across the Communion come together in unity it is a tremendous blessing, and we are excited to see the Church built up in the land where it was given its foundation.

Dates and further details will be announced in due course.

*****

The Episcopal News Service announced with a great flourish that both the interior and exterior of Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Zanzibarhas undergone a massive restoration. "The Cathedral stands here as a symbol of remembrance to the men, women and children taken from East Africa and sold into slavery. A massive stone structure just outside the historic city's narrow streets and corridors, the cathedral also serves as a reminder of the Anglican Church's role in abolishing the slave trade, and its contribution to the spread of Christianity in Africa.

"Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Stone Town receives more than 100,000 visitors annually, with many of them visiting the cathedral, where guides offer tours of the property built on a former slave market."

In the fall of 2013, the Anglican Diocese of Zanzibar -- part of the Anglican Church in Tanzania -- in partnership with the World Monuments Fund-Britain began a project to preserve the cathedral and to create a heritage center to commemorate the abolition of slavery and to educate people about slavery in its modern forms.

"The project will preserve a highly significant monument, and promote access to one of the most important heritage places in East Africa," said Bishop of Zanzibar Michael Hafidh, in an email message. "Telling the story of this dark chapter in the region's history in an open and factual way will help bridge social and ethnic divides and promote tolerance, reconciliation and an inclusive society."

But the kicker is that TEC did not put one dollar into the restoration. It was an ACNA priest, the Rev. Jerry Kramer, who was overall in charge of the project and raised the bulk of the money.

The major givers were the EU, and the US Embassy, followed by some 30 ACNA parishes and members, he wrote to VOL.

*****

Bishop of Makamba, Martin Blaise Nyaboho, has been elected as the fourth archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi. When he is installed on Aug. 21, Nyaboho will succeed Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who has led the church since 2005.

The 61-year-old bishop, a former member of the Anglican Consultative Council (2005 to 2009), was baptized in 1965 and confirmed in July 1969. He was ordained a deacon in 1985 and a priest four years later. He was consecrated in 1997, becoming the first bishop of Makamba.

His theological education began at the Mweya Bible Institute and Matana Theological School in Burundi and continued at the Kenya Highlands Bible College (now known as the Kenya Highlands Evangelical University) and the Asbury University College in Wilmore, Kentucky, in the U.S. He has also studied at the Haggai Institute Leadership Training in Singapore and the Panzi Development Training Centre in what was Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).

Before becoming a bishop, Nyaboho served in a variety of roles, including as a teacher at Matana Bible School, and as a Christian literature and Bible translator for Scripture Union and the Bible Society.

He has participated in a number of local and international conferences on social transformation, leadership, peace-building and reconciliation, and on sustainability of the Anglican Church.

*****

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