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By David W. Virtue, DD
September 7, 2020

On Sunday, Sept. 27 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Primate of All England and titular head of the Anglican Communion, will celebrate Holy Eucharist and preach at Washington National Cathedral, where Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde presides.

It will be an auspicious occasion on several levels.

COVID-19 will still be upon us, so there will be a certain mystique in that whatever the content of the sermon is, it will undoubtedly draw upon the times in which we live. It may capture not only the man behind the mask, but unfold to us the One who needs to wear no mask, revealing to us His glory. Maybe.

Welby will no doubt see this as a great honor bestowed upon him. Possibly Welby is unaware that the cathedral was the hardest hit of all the buildings in Washington by an earthquake that shook the East Coast. That earthquake damaged two nationally recognized institutions: the Cathedral and the Washington Monument. Several people opined that the worst hit building might just be the judgement of God on an apostate cathedral and diocese that does not preach the gospel.

The Cathedral had no earthquake insurance and has been in constant financial turmoil for the last decade. The project is still not finished nine years later. The earthquake cracked dozens of flying buttresses around the Cathedral, jarred columns out of place and knocked a 350-pound hunk of carved stone off the northwest tower and onto the ground outside the main visitor's entrance. All that damage has added up to about $34 million in repairs.

Late last year the cathedral made staff cuts reducing its full-time workforce by 15%, eliminating 13 full-time and 13 part-time positions. Another 12 full-time employees were fully or partially furloughed, and most remaining part-time employees now work fewer hours.

This is the situation into which Welby will preach; a stone's throw away from a president he has no use for. He told the British press that he "really genuinely" doesn't understand why so many Christians in the U.S. support President Donald Trump.

Welby is also totally out of step with the vast majority of evangelicals in the global south. He has lost their confidence because he has failed to uphold 1998 Lambeth resolution 1.10. He is complicit with the pansexual West, betrayed his theological roots and is pushing the Church of England in the same direction as The Episcopal Church. It is a recipe for disaster, failure and spiritual death. He is an increasingly alienated leader.

He is dissing his evangelical roots in favor of currying favor with a Western branch of Anglicanism that has embraced homosexual marriage, which not even his own Church has done, but in time, probably will. TEC allows homosexual and lesbian bishops to function in its ranks, which his own church has yet to do. Welby, himself, is conflicted over homosexuality, even though the Scriptures are abundantly clear on that behavior.

He will enter a diocese that is run by a woman bishop who has publicly admitted that her fantasy theology comes from her favorite "theologian", New Age master, David Whyte. Here is a quote from Whyte; "Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you." Hardly in the vein of St. Paul.

Bishop Budde once said liberal Christianity can be saved, and then further told TEC's House of Bishops that her diocese is in deep trouble. She offered up that within ten years her diocese might no longer exist, based on demographics and "precipitous decline."

Budde went on to say, "There's no doubt in my mind that the Jesus Movement is alive and well in the Diocese of Washington. I cannot say the same about the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement in all of its expressions."

The bishop suddenly became the canary in the coal mine, standing on the crumbling ramparts of TEC, shouting that the emperor (Michael Curry) has no clothes (the Jesus Movement is not working for her) and TEC is slowly withering and dying? Has the realization dawned that there is no future for her diocese, and by implication The Episcopal Church?

Into this mess steps the Archbishop of Canterbury, no doubt hoping to give the Cathedral a PR, if not a financial boost, perhaps hoping to whisper in PB Michael Curry's ear that he needs money to keep his own church afloat.

Watching from the sidelines will be the growing Anglican Church in North America, whose archbishop, Foley Beach, has been publicly excluded from the Canterbury 2022 Lambeth Conference. You will forgive him if he gets a chuckle that Welby is preaching in a partially destroyed cathedral in a theologically bankrupt diocese run by an air head bishop.

Will Welby be greeted by a cadre of homosexual and lesbian priests waving Homosexual Lives Matter (HLM) banners! One can only hope. Perhaps it will be payback for President Donald Trump carrying a bible to an Episcopal parish near the White House. This event brought down the wrath of Bishop Budde.

In both cases, it would seem that a morally and theologically conflicted archbishop and a woman bishop presiding over a dying diocese, might have more in common than one first thought.

The only question is who will go out of business first?


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