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United Methodists Nix Homosexual Marriage * Welby Mounts High-Level Campaign to Induce Orthodox Bishops to come to Lambeth 2020 * UK and US Bishops Blast Welby and Fearon over failed invitations for Same-Sex Spouses * Resolution 1:10 already violated

United Methodists Nix Homosexual Marriage * Welby Mounts High-Level Campaign to Induce Orthodox Bishops to come to Lambeth 2020 * UK and US Bishops Blast Welby and Fearon over failed invitations for Same-Sex Spouses * Resolution 1:10 already violated * More Women Bishops ordained in TEC * Trinity Wall Street buys Liberal West Coast Seminary

Religion and morality. In the history of mankind, although this is a shameful thing to confess, religion and morality have been more often divorced than married. -- John R.W. Stott

Left-wing sexual extremists who profess to be Christians declare, "Jesus excluded no one!" Jesus' outreach excluded no one. Yet admission to his band of followers and so to salvation itself was predicated on repentance and a life-reorienting belief in the gospel, which included taking up one's cross, denying oneself, and losing one's life. --- Rev. Dr. Robert Gagnon

Religious experience. Mystical experience without moral commitment is false religion. -- John R.W. Stott

The problem is that our progressive (Church of England) bishops have fallen prey to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's pivotal argument that human beings are born good and evil is the product of systemic forces. That's why they speak of jihadi-brides as vulnerable victims who were groomed. They are closet Pelagians who believe humans have the capacity to act virtuously and secure salvation through their own efforts and so they dare not use the heavy artillery of moral condemnation lest they be judged as judgmental. -- Dr. Jules Gomes

Empty religion. We need to listen again to the biblical criticism of religion. No book, not even by Marx and his followers, is more scathing of empty religion than the Bible. The prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries BC were outspoken in their denunciation of the formalism and hypocrisy of Israelite worship. Jesus then applied their critique to the Pharisees of his day: 'These people ... honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me' (Is. 29:13; Mk. 7:6). And this indictment of religion by the Old Testament prophets and by Jesus is uncomfortably applicable to us and our churches today. Too much of our worship is ritual without reality, form without power, fun without fear, religion without God. --- John R.W. Stott

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

The United Methodist Church made history this week when it voted against a plan that would have paved the way for homosexual "marriage" and clergy.

At their General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, Methodist delegates from around the world defeated the "One Church Plan" -- which had been favored by the majority of Methodist bishops and theological liberals -- 438 to 384.

By voting to uphold the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the Methodist Church, which has over 12 million members, has distinguished itself as the only mainline Protestant church to not go down the path of normalizing homosexuality.

Choosing instead the "Traditional Plan," delegates also signaled their support for sanctioning clergy who disobey the same-sex "marriage" and LGBT clergy prohibitions.

While half of the Methodists' members are Americans, most of the rest live in Africa, where the denomination enjoys impressive growth, adding about 100,000 members annually. It was the African delegates who brought overwhelming support for the Traditional Plan.

Observers on both sides of the contentious vote noted the immense significance of the move.

"History...was made this week because the United Methodist Church, the only one of those mainline churches not to normalize homosexuality, voted to uphold biblical standards of sexual morality, the historic teachings of the United Methodist Church consistent with 2,000 years of church history defining marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman," declared Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the most influential voices in Evangelicalism.

And that, dear friends, is why the United Methodist Church managed to hold onto the faith over sexuality and why The Episcopal Church has gone in the opposite direction normalizing LGBTQI behavior and homosexual marriage, snubbing their African brothers and sisters, and then wondering why the denomination is slipping in average Sunday attendance while the Global South grows by leaps and bounds.

Lambeth 1:10 was the Anglican Communion's response to same-sex marriage, but it was immediately violated when then Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold laid hands on Gene Robinson, thereby bringing about a schism in TEC and the birth of the ACNA and GAFCON. Sin has not paid out for TEC. Mr. Revival and "love" Bishop Michael Curry is doing his best promoting the Jesus Movement, but there is no sign of any uptick in new parishioners pouring into churches. Every diocese is on a downward swing.

*****

Archbishop Justin Welby is mounting a high-level campaign to lure orthodox Anglican bishops to Lambeth in 2020. The archbishop's take now is all about strategy.

He and ACC Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon are pulling out all the stops to bring everyone to the table, even as a number of orthodox primates and progressive Western Anglican leaders, question whether they will attend.

The Archbishop and Bishop (two Instruments of Communion) believe they have a strategy; but will it work?

Lines are being drawn up. On one side are progressive pro homosexual western pan Anglican provinces who have embraced pansexuality and homosexual marriage. These include The Episcopal Church, the ACoC, most of Australia, New Zealand, England, Wales, Scotland, Europe, most of Nthn. Ireland and Southern Africa.

Pro homosexual voices in the US and England are now questioning whether they will attend because Archbishop Welby has nixed the partners of several active homosexual bishops. At a recent executive council meeting, angry Episcopal House of Deputies president Gay Jennings questioned the pool of money TEC gives, and wondered out loud if it should be given if the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't change his mind.

On the other side are GAFCON provinces, some 27, many of whom have indicated they will not be attending, and they far outnumber Western provinces. TEC will provide the largest number of suffragan bishops, assisting bishops, associate bishops and, if they can, bishops resurrected from columbariums in order to boost numbers, even though they can barely muster half a million on Sunday morning. The truth is GAFCON owns the communion and in time they will be the communion. Lambeth 2020 will be all smoke and mirrors.

You can read the full story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/welby-mounts-high-level-campaign-lure-orthodox-bishops-lambeth-2020

The Archbishop of Canterbury has found himself caught in a homosexual vortex of his own making. By inviting even one homosexual bishop, Welby has violated Lambeth resolution 1:10. Denying them the right to bring their spouses is sheer hubris and hypocrisy. Bishop Idowu-Fearon of the ACC and Welby's No.1 sidekick told the lesbian bishop of New York that she couldn't bring her spouse Becki, which got a thunderstorm response from her bishop Andrew M. L. Dietsche who called the refusal "alarming." Dietsche said he would raise up the slight at the next HOB in North Carolina. The two bishops even suggested that they might not attend.

That was all faux outrage of course, because in the next breath they said they would attend and raise it with the ABC when they all meet in Canterbury at the University of Kent. Both Church of England bishops and a number of American Episcopal bishops are now berating Welby for his double standard.

These progressive bishops have a point. Welby and Fearon said they couldn't come because it would violate Lambeth resolution 1:10 passed in '98. The two key sections of that resolution read thus: "In view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage; (and we) cannot advise the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions." That's pretty clear.

Homosexual bishops' spouses should not be denied access to the conference, they cry. Technically, they are correct. Once you accept the notion that sodomy is good and right in the eyes of God, and clearly Welby does, then on what grounds can he deny the other half coming! Lambeth Resolution 1:10 has already been breached!

Of course, the spouses will go and they will walk around the University of Kent and offer themselves to the Times, Guardian, Telegraph and the Independent for sympathetic interviews. They will only be denied listening to the predictable, highly forgettable deep thinkers on matters of concern with special guests and keynote speakers, seminars, plenary sessions and discussions that will soon be forgotten.

As a result, the upcoming Lambeth conference is looking increasingly like a three-ring circus with Welby and his two ecclesiastical henchmen, ACC Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon and Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba doing handstands in an effort to bring everyone to the table in the name of a benevolent, inclusive, wink wink, God. You can read my full account here: https://www.virtueonline.org/archbishop-canterbury-caught-homosexual-vortex-his-own-making

*****

The feminization of the episcopacy in the Episcopal Church continued apace this week, when the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas made history --- consecrating its first female bishop.

Cathleen Bascom will be its 10th bishop, beating out three other women including a black woman and a lesbian.

She is the 1,112th bishop of the Episcopal Church and also the first diocesan bishop ever to be elected from a slate of all women candidates.

It's a sign the stained-glass ceiling is breaking for women in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, said a news report. The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom is the first woman bishop in the diocese's 160-year history and said; "I am receiving the privilege where women before me did not get this opportunity, and as much trepidation and joy that I have in it that, I have the privilege to do it where African American people were not, gay and lesbian people were not, all those people who were not given the chance to use their gifts. I just feel so blessed."

Recently, Susan Brown Snook was elected fifth bishop of San Diego.

The Diocese of Texas recently elected a new Suffragan Bishop in the person of the Rev. Canon Kathryn (Kai) Ryan. She will be the western-region Suffragan Bishop of Texas.

The Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson was chosen Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas during their 113th annual Diocesan Council.

To date there has been no discernible uptick in ASA because women now assume the episcopacy. The decline will continue. The pushing of pansexuality has been a non-starter for every diocese.

*****

Trinity Wall Street, the wealthiest church in the world with a $6 billion portfolio that includes major real estate holdings, primarily in New York where it is both a developer and a landlord, announced that it had acquired Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in a partnership which will mean a firm financial footing and expand offerings by the West Coast seminary. An ENS story said its assets now belong to Trinity.

Church Divinity School campus fills an entire block and is a mix of buildings from two centuries, which means that if and when the liberal episcopal seminary fails, Trinity will have some prime real estate in Berkeley it can sell off. One wonders if the deep thinkers at Trinity Wall Street had taken a cue from another well-known New York real estate developer with a deal like this.

Quoting the spiritual that says, "I got a home up in that kingdom, ain't that good news," Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in an emailed statement that the agreement "is not simply a matter of institutional rearrangement." Really. Curry said it was "forming leaders for a Jesus Movement committed to living, proclaiming and witnessing to his way and message of unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial liberating love." The Episcopal Church has certainly come a long way from John Shelby Spong and his deranged 12 Theses.

In 2017, Episcopal Divinity School announced it would be closing its Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus and entering an affiliation agreement with Union Theological Seminary in New York.

A former evangelical seminary president wrote VOL and said, "Yes, rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. But not a bad idea if the ship is sinking. Trinity Wall Street has buckets of $$ and why not put some of that into theological education. What really interested me about the EDS campus is not only the Catholics who bought 7 buildings but an evangelical group called "The Church in Cambridge" is also occupying the former EDS space."

*****

The Anglican Church of Canada will shortly face a torturous future over whether to bless homosexual unions. David of Samizdat wryly notes that the Canadian House of Bishops is wrestling over the issue.

"Considering the Anglican Church of Canada has become a repository for most of the nation's gay clergy, for those old enough to remember it, this headline may bring to mind the notorious nude wrestling scene in Ken Russell's film "Women in Love". If that's what the bishops were up to, no one is admitting to it.

"What is being admitted to is a "currency of grace", a reference to the fact that the bishops are desperate not to lose the currency derived from conservative parishes who might leave the denomination when the marriage canon is officially changed to permit same sex marriage later this year. At least, I think that's what they are getting at."

A press release stated thusly:

"The National House of Bishops has worked very hard since General Synod 2016--not only on the issues from General Synod 2016 and the ministry of the whole church, but on how we work and live together," said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. "We left this January meeting having wrestled with how we are the church and how we will remain united in Christ whatever the outcomes at General Synod 2019."

"One bishop commented that in our work there was a 'currency of grace,' a statement that resonated with members of the House. This is not to say there isn't diversity and there aren't differences among us, but there was space, respect and grace-filled conversation in how we went about our discussions, and for each other."

They also spent two days focused on issues that will come before General Synod when it meets in July 2019. These included the proposed replacement of the Book of Common Prayer's collect for the conversion of the Jews with a collect for reconciliation with the Jews; the second reading of the proposed amendment to the marriage canon (Resolution A051-R2); and changes to Canon XXII in response to the evolving self-determining Indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada.

David cited Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher, theologian and poet to put it all in context and perspective: "A passionate tumultuous age will overthrow everything, pull everything down; but a revolutionary age, that is at the same time reflective and passionless, transforms that expression of strength into a feat of dialectics: it leaves everything standing but cunningly empties it of significance. Instead of culminating in a rebellion it reduces the inward reality of all relationships to a reflective tension which leaves everything standing but makes the whole of life ambiguous: so that everything continues to exist factually whilst by a dialectical deceit, privatissime, it supplies a secret interpretation -- that it does not exist."

It is a perfect description of today's mainline churches who pay careful attention to their symbols, liturgies and traditions but have meticulously emptied them of meaning.

Thus we have drive-through ashes, ashes to go and ashes to joke about.

Speaking of ashes, LGBT and other progressive activists around the country are now co-opting Ash Wednesday, substituting "glitter crosses" for ashes in order to make sure that homosexuals are celebrated as "fabulously made," according to LifesiteNews.

"Glitter Ashes lets the world know that we are progressive, queer-positive Christians," according to a statement by Parity, a New York-based advocacy group. "We are in the pews, in the pulpits and giving glitter ashes in the street to those who either may not have time to go to a church -- or may have been rejected by a church."

Through "glitter ashes" the group hopes to promote a more "inclusive Christian message."

The Glitter Ash Wednesday movement, which began in 2017, is just one more example of how LGBT ideology seeks to redefine Christianity, elevating its message above the message of the Cross of Christ.

*****

Kudos to Bishop Eric Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin who, when he found that one of his priests had been sexually abusing parishioners, had Jesus Antonio Castañeda-Serna arrested and immediately defrocked.

Castañeda was arrested after victims filed complaints with the Fresno Police Department.

Castañeda (commonly known as Father Antonio Castañeda) joined the diocese in 2008 as the vicar of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Fresno, California. On the evening of October 29, 2017, Bishop Eric Menees received credible accusations that Castañeda had committed sexual misconduct against adults in the diocese. The following morning, Bishop Menees suspended Castañeda from all pastoral and priestly ministry and reported the accusations to the police.

The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin hired an independent third party to conduct an internal investigation. Castañeda informed the bishop he would not contest the accusations and he consented to be deposed from priestly ministry in the Anglican Church. Castañeda was then stripped of all priestly roles, privileges and standing. Bishop Menees began lending day-to-day pastoral care and oversight to Castañeda's former congregation.

The Roman Catholic Church could take a cue out of the Menees playbook in the way he handled this.

*****

Evangelicals and the presidency. When he was elected president in 2016, the general wisdom was that Donald Trump received support from 81 percent of evangelicals in the country. This figure was touted by both the secular and religious media, including myself. Much later, missiologist Ed Stetzer in conjunction with the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton did their own studies and debunked that myth and concluded that that figure was grossly inflated and that in fact the figure was closer to 57 percent with certain caveats. Most who voted for Trump were from the southern states, often with poor or little education, but called themselves evangelicals for want of a better handle. Many might be thought of as fundamentalists. The Pew Research Center found in June 2016 that while 78 percent of self-identified white evangelical voters planned to vote for Trump, 45 percent were mainly voting against Hillary Clinton and only 30 percent were voting for Trump himself. More recently, studies revealed this group rarely if ever attended church and while they labeled themselves conservative, they might be evangelicals in name only. You can read that story here. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-ex-churchgoers-flocked-to-trump/

*****

For those of us who knew and loved Canon Michael Green, the greatest Anglican evangelist of the last Century, you can read Andrew Symes excellent summary here. Michael will live on in some 50 books he wrote, which generations from now will read.

https://anglicanmainstream.org/thanksgiving-for-the-life-of-michael-green/

*****

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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