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Welby Faces Pushback over Bishop Bell Accusation * Changing Face of Anglo Catholicism * Church of South India ABC Charged with Embezzlement * New Anglican Jurisdiction Formed in Zimbabwe * Anglicans and Methodists Talk Unity * Tennessee faces S-S Crisis

I am following the One who is worthy to be followed --- Archbishop Foley Beach

We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace alone, and redeemed from our sin by Christ alone. Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God. -- Albert Mohler

When we go down the road of brave new families and the new biotechnologies, the whole notion of what is a family is raised, as is our understanding of parenthood and the parent-child relationship. All this gets thrown into the air, and confusion starts replacing certainty when it comes to family structure. As family commentator Maggie Gallagher has put it, "What is at stake in this debate is our fundamental conception of the family and the most primal personal right -- the right to one's own children." -- Bill Muehlenberg

Fully human. If sex is for marriage, what does the Bible say about singleness? First, it reminds us that Jesus himself was single, although he is also set before us as God's model for humanness. This should not lead us to glorify singleness (since marriage is God's general will for human beings, Gn. 2:18) but rather to affirm that it is possible to be single and fully human at the same time! The world may say that sexual experience is indispensable to being human; the Bible flatly disagrees. The truth is: although unmarried people may find their singleness lonely (and at times acutely so), we will not end up in neurotic turmoil if we accept God's will for our lives. Unhappiness comes only if we rebel against his will. --- John R.W. Stott

The Bible gives no age of consent for sex. It simply teaches that sex must be a loving, lifelong one-flesh union between a man and a woman who are not otherwise related (see Leviticus 18 for who is ruled out by that requirement). If these conditions are met, maturity and age disparity become less of a moral issue than an issue of whether the relationship is wise based on other factors. --- Tom Hobson

The meaning of history. If we had to sum up in a single brief sentence what life is all about, why Jesus Christ came into this world to live and die and rise, and what God is up to in the long-drawn-out historical process both BC and AD, it would be difficult to find a more succinct explanation that this: *God is making human beings more human by making them more like Christ.* For God created us in his own image in the first place, which we then spoiled and skewed by our disobedience. Now he is busy restoring it. And he is doing it by making us like Christ, since Christ is both perfect man and perfect image of God (Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4). --- John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
January 26, 2018


Does the person believe homosexuality is a sin?
Call them a homophobe, You win!

Does the person believe the Bible is inerrant?
Call them narrow-minded. You win!

Does the person believe in complementarianism?
Call them misogynist. You win!

Does the person believe Jesus is the only way to heaven?
Call them intolerant. You win!

Does the person believe transsexuals need to repent and believe in Jesus?
Call them transphobic. You win!

Did the person voice an opinion which criticizes your beliefs?
Call them a bully. You win!

Source: Fuller Theological Seminary


Archbishop Justin Welby seems to have difficulty moving off of the hot seat. Almost every time he opens his mouth or acts, he gets into trouble. His latest screw-up is over the George Bell affair.

The Carlile review made by a group of experts, of charges of pedophilia against Bishop Bell said there was not enough verifiable evidence to convict Bishop Bell. As a result, the experts urged Welby to withdraw the George Bell 'cloud' statement after the Carlile report exonerated Bell over charges that he and Church of England officials had "rushed to judgement" when they concluded that Bishop Bell had sexually abused a young girl in the 1950s.

Two letters -- one from seven academic historians, and another from 11 correspondents associated with the wider Church internationally and ecumenically -- have been sent to the Archbishop. A third, from a group of theologians, is understood to be in preparation, according to the Church Times.

The historians' letter expresses "profound dismay" at the Archbishop's public statement after the publication of the Carlile report, and is scathing in its criticisms. It declares that the office of Archbishop gives him "no authority to pronounce on the reputation of Bishop Bell in the manner you have done. We are prepared, in this letter, to claim that authority. We state our position bluntly. There is no credible evidence at all that Bishop Bell was paedophile."

Welby fired back, saying he could not with integrity rescind his statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile's review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case. "I affirmed the extraordinary courage and achievement of Bishop Bell both before the war and during its course, while noting the Church has a duty to take seriously the allegation made against him.

"Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions. I need only refer to the issues relating to Peter Ball to show an example. As a result, the Church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focused in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Our first hearing is in March."

Where all this goes, is anyone's guess, but there are multiple calls for his resignation, which will undoubtedly be ignored. But the damage has been done. Meantime, Welby's reputation with the Global South is pretty well mud; he is constantly being clobbered by Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. GAFCON archbishops will have little to do with him. He won't be invited to GAFCON III and GAFCON archbishops won't be attending Lambeth 2020. You can read an excellent report here: http://www.virtueonline.org/justin-welby-under-fire-over-refusal-say-sorry-over-trashing-bishop-george-bells-name

You can also read Jules Gomes brilliant take down on the archbishop's refusal to change his mind here: http://www.virtueonline.org/deluded-beyond-belief-why-welby-cant-say-sorry-over-bishop-bell


Slowly but surely many Anglo-Catholic parishes are becoming Affirming Catholic. Most Anglo-Catholic priests and parishioners in TEC that have gone to the Ordinariate, the ACNA or just left and upped to Rome, have slipped into affirming catholicism.

The traditionalist St. Thomas-Fifth Avenue in New York City has done just that and redefined what it means to be an Anglo-Catholic. The new rector, Fr. Carl Turner, says he will permit the marriage of same-sex couples, allows women priests to officiate, (his wife is a priest) and in the course of things has seen the parish drop in ASA from a peak in 2011 of 875, down to 625, a drop of 250 souls.

You can read Mary Ann Mueller's fine expose here: http://www.virtueonline.org/st-thomas-fifth-avenue-redefining-what-it-means-be-anglo-catholic


In July 2015 the 78th General Convention approved two marriage liturgies for trial use, along with a revision of the marriage canon, allowing same-sex couples to be married in The Episcopal Church beginning on First Sunday of Advent 2015 (November 29, 2015), when both resolutions take effect.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost for those dioceses that demure or fail to conform to the new sexual order. The Diocese of Tennessee under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Bishop John Bauerschmidt, bans same-sex weddings, but he is up against some four parishes who want to perform them. So they are appealing to General Convention for a ruling. As you know general convention resolutions now trump scripture and this puts the bishop in a bit of a bind.

What is he going to do? The whole issue is causing church members on all sides of the issue a great deal of emotional pain. And, they want the national church to know that.

VOL predicts (based on previous outcomes) that Bauerschmidt will strike a Faustian bargain and say that while he personally opposes same-sex weddings he will allow individual parishes to perform them if they pass a phony litmus test of "faithfulness and fidelity" and blah, blah, blah.

TEC bishops have very little spine when push comes to shove. How long will it take before Brewer of Central Florida folds when push comes to shove? And what will the bishops of Albany, Springfield and Dallas do when they are pushed? Time will tell.


A new unaffiliated Anglican jurisdiction has formed in Zimbabwe. It Is called The Church of Zimbabwe. Its purpose, according to its new territorial bishop, the Rt. Rev. Morris Brown Gwedegwe, is to throw off its colonial yoke and ties with the Church of England and preach a gospel free of any compromise with homosexuality. It's a separate but parallel jurisdiction with the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe, in the province of Central Africa.

Gwedegwe was one-time vicar-general to the now deposed Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and has a criminal record. He was Bishop Kunonga's election campaign manager, and was rewarded with ordination and the post of diocesan secretary after the Bishop's consecration.

"Zimbabweans expected a shift of Systems on the Church since the reigns were under the Church of England from 1890-1980 and anything Church was the Church of England," Gwedegwe wrote VOL. You can read the full story: http://www.virtueonline.org/church-zimbabwe-formed-updated


There was a time when the most corrupt province in the Anglican Communion was Mexico. In 2002, their archbishop and a local bishop ran off with more than $1.5 million, never to be heard from again. The money came from The Episcopal Church, which asked for little accountability and walked away from it all. TEC withdrew recognition of Bishop Samuel Espinoza as Primate of this church, and withdrew and suspended the episcopal authority and privileges of Bishops German Martinez Marquez and Samuel Espinoza.

Now, first place, for being the most corrupt province in the Anglican Communion is the Church of South India, where a battle rages over the Moderator's inordinate use of power to control everything, taking funds and using them for his own personal use. He was arrested this past week for embezzling $2.5 million.

It's a nightmare story that seems never to end. Over the past five years VOL has documented the corruption in the CSI. The courts are now beginning to rule against CSI leaders. This is the latest developing story, written by VOL's South India correspondent, Dr. Joseph Muthuraj. You can read the full story here: http://www.virtueonline.org/chennai-church-south-india-moderator-arrested-embezzling-25-million


A working group established by the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia is recommending that bishops should be able to decide whether to authorize a service of blessing for same gender couples, using provisions already within the province's canons for "a non-formulary service." But it says that there should be no change to "the Church's teaching on the nature of marriage [which] is to affirm marriage as between a man and a woman."


The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria has criticized the country's government for failing to act against Fulami herdsmen who have carried out a series of fatal attacks. The anti-persecution charity, International Christian Concern, says that 80 people in Benue state have been killed in attacks by Fulani militants this year. At the heart of the conflict is the challenge to the Herdsmen's nomadic way of life caused by expansion of established farms and villages. According to the Global Observatory, farmer-herder violence in the country has killed thousands of people and displaced tens of thousands more since the current state of Nigeria was founded in 1999.


Are Anglicans and Methodists really about to unite after 200 years of schism? Can the two Churches come together? A magazine report says it's crunch time for the Church of England and the Methodist Church.

They are facing a crucial decision this year -- the CofE in February and the Methodist Church, assuming all goes well, in July. They have to decide whether their churches can share ministry, to the extent that an Anglican priest could minister in a Methodist church or -- more to the point -- a Methodist minister or 'presbyter' as many like to be described, could minister in an Anglican one. It's a big deal; both are thinly spread, particularly in rural areas, and an arrangement like this could be very helpful.

A previous scheme failed in 1972 when the Anglicans vetoed it. Having said that, in 2003 a Covenant was agreed that saw them taking slow and painful steps toward doing things together rather than apart. This latest move is another step on the way.


The Gospel and the Catholic Church. A conference discussing Anglican Patrimony today will be held April 25-26, 2018 in Oxford. The impetus for this conference began in the 80th anniversary year of Michael Ramsey's "The Gospel and the Catholic Church".

This suggested the possibility of a conference to consider the inheritance of traditional Anglicanism and the contribution this might make to the renewal of the Church. It is hoped, therefore, to attract a wide participation from those who value orthodox Anglican Patrimony. The themes consider mission and evangelization, ecumenism and ecclesiology, worship and liturgy, fidelity to the gospel (both in doctrine and ministry) and culture and relations with the state.

The conference has attracted highly-regarded speakers, who come from a wide range of churches and churchmanship. As well as providing the opportunity to hear from our speakers, we have designed the conference program to provide ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

The conference will discuss the following areas of importance for those of Anglican heritage today:

Anglicans and apostolicity
Anglicans and Christian unity
Anglican worship
Anglicans, culture and the state

The brainchild for this conference are bishops Michael Nazir Ali and John Hind.

You can click this link here for more information and to sign up: www.anglicanpatrimony.co.uk


President Donald Trump has promised to continue pushing an anti-abortion agenda during the rest of his time in office. Speaking via video feed to pro-life supporters in Washington for the March for Life rally recently, he said: "Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence and that is the right to life. Every unborn child is a precious gift from God."

He praised the thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered on the National Mall for having "such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure parents have the support they need to choose life. You're living witnesses of this year's March for Life theme, 'Love Saves Lives," he added.

Meanwhile, dozens of celebrities joined hundreds of thousands of people for women's marches across America in protest against President Trump and sexual assault.


The Episcopal Church's Executive Council has approved a $133.7 million draft budget for the 2019-2021 triennium that is based on requiring Episcopal Church dioceses to annually contribute 15 percent of their operating income.

The final version of council's draft budget also includes increases in two priorities of racial justice and reconciliation, and creation care. The draft budget also increases the money allocated for evangelism one of the three priorities General Convention set for the church at its last meeting in 2015. In the words of House of Deputies President, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, council heard a "clarion call" from the church to do so.

Evangelism is not a word readily found on the lips of Episcopalians. In fact, it is a word never uttered by former presiding bishops' Jefferts Schori, Frank Griswold or Ed Browning. It is a dirty word associated with fundamentalists and not for dignified, inclusivist, diverse, pansexualist Episcopalians. But now the word is back in vogue with "evangelical" Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The Jesus Movement demands evangelism, but not necessarily biblical evangelism, but the kind of evangelism that is full of social action and good works, focusing mostly on racism, white privilege and creation care. The paltry sum of $1.8 million is planned spending for evangelism.


The Church of England has rejected a proposal for a new service to mark a congregant's sex change -- but has given the nod to using an existing 'reaffirmation' baptism service, instead.

The decision by the Anglican House of Bishops to reject proposals for the development of a new special service to mark gender transitions was criticized by LGBT activists within the church.

The ruling comes after the General Synod voted overwhelmingly in favor of introducing such church services in July.

Though the House of Bishops rejects the writing of a new service, it advises clergy that they may use an existing rite used to reaffirm a Christian's faith, the "Affirmation of Baptismal Faith", to mark gender transitions.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt. Rev. Graham James, said: "The Church of England welcomes transgender people and wholeheartedly wishes for them to be included in the life of the Church."

A serious theological critique of this can be found here: http://www.virtueonline.org/uk-failure-take-sex-seriously-response-general-synod-misc-1178


We keep hearing statistics about religious decline in America. But new research has shot that down. "Intense" religion--that is, religious beliefs and practices that are taken seriously--is holding strong and even increasing. What is declining is nominal faith and "moderate" (a.k.a., "liberal") religion.

Glenn T. Stanton writes about these findings, as well as related research, in a must-read article in The Federalist: New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Growing Stronger.

Recent research argues that the US is secularizing, that this religious change is consistent with the secularization thesis, and that American religion is not exceptional. But we show that rather than religion fading into irrelevance as the secularization thesis would suggest, intense religion--strong affiliation, very frequent practice, literalism, and evangelicalism--is persistent and, in fact, only moderate religion is on the decline in the United States.

"The percentage of Americans who attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as wholly reliable and deeply instructive to their lives has remained absolutely, steel-bar constant for the last 50 years or more, right up to today," says Stanton, that number being just over a third of the population. "These authors describe this continuity as 'patently persistent."

Not only that, American religion is intensifying. Yes, there is a rise in the percentage of Americans who are unaffiliated with any church or religion. But the study shows that this number derives from the decline in the "moderately religious." You can read the full story here: http://www.virtueonline.org/new-harvard-research-says-us-christianity-not-shrinking-growing-stronger


Do-it-your-self faith on the rise thanks to the web, a new study finds. It seems religion in America just can't catch a break.

Religious affiliation and participation continue to dive, driven in part by young generations uninterested in belonging to anything, least of all churches.

And now newly published research suggests that the Internet -- which faith communities had hoped would bridge the gap with Millennials and the "nones" -- may have a hand in keeping those and other demographics away.

The Baylor University study found a possible link between Internet usage and decreased affiliation with religious traditions, says Paul McClure, a Baylor sociologist and author of the report published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

At the same time, web use also seems to encourage interest in beliefs and practices from multiple religions. "Where the Internet did have an effect ... was with religious affiliation as well as the exclusivism index, or the 'tinkering effect,'" McClure said. "That is, people flittering around these different religious ideas."

One of those ideas is that all religions essentially believe and worship the same deity.

McClure prepared his study, "Tinkering with Technology and Religion in a Digital Age," using data from Wave III of the Baylor Religion Survey. That slice of information was gathered in 2010 by the Gallup Organization, which surveyed 1,714 adults on a wide range of religious issues and attitudes.


Unitarian Universalists, atheists, and 90 percent of liberal mainline Protestants lead in abortion support, according to ChurchMilitant.com

Unitarian Universalists, also known as "UU's," atheists, agnostics, Jews and Buddhists lead other religious groups in their support for abortion, according to a report released by Pew Research.

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) is one of the most pro-homosexual, as well as pro-abortion denominations in the United States.

The report shows a 57 percent national average of American adults who favor the legality of abortion. Catholics came in at 48 percent. The religious group reporting the lowest support for abortion was Jehovah's Witnesses at 18 percent.

The United Church of Christ (UCC), an extremely liberal denomination historically connected to the UUA, and to which Barack Obama belonged before running for president, reported 72 percent support for legal abortion. The Episcopal Church surpassed the UCC, while trailing the top five most pro-abortion groups, coming in at 79 percent.


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