The sea is surging and the waves are high: but we have nothing to fear because we stand on a rock-the rock of faith. Let the sea surge with all the power at its command, and let the waves rise as high as mountains; the rock on which we stand will remain firm and unshaken. Do I fear death? No, because on the rock of faith I know that death is the gateway to eternal life. Do I fear exile? No, because on the rock of faith I know that I am never alone; Christ is always beside me, my friend and my brother. Do I fear slander and lies? No, because on the rock of faith I know that I am always protected by the truth-Christ who is the truth, is my protector. Do I fear poverty? No, because on the rock of faith God also provides for my needs. Do I fear ridicule? No, because however low I may sink in the esteem of those without faith, on the rock of faith all are treated with respect. Far from fearing the surge of the sea, I enjoy it, because it assures me that the rock on which I stand is immovable. ---- St. John Chrysostom
The Unity of the Church. One Father, one family. The fundamental spiritual unity of the church is as indestructible as the fundamental unity of the Godhead. You can no more divide the unity of the church than you can divide the unity of the Godhead. The one Father creates the one family; the one Lord Jesus creates the one faith, hope and baptism; and the one Holy Spirit creates the one body. --- John R.W. Stott
Do Not Tolerate False Doctrine. If we would hold fast that which is good, we must not tolerate any doctrine that is not the pure doctrine of Christ's Gospel. There is a hatred that is downright charity: that is the hatred of erroneous doctrine. There is an intolerance which is downright praiseworthy: that is the intolerance of false teaching in the pulpit. Who would ever think of tolerating a little poison given to him day by day? If men come among you who do not preach "all the counsel of God," who do not preach of Christ, sin, holiness, of ruin, and redemption, and regeneration, - or do not preach of these things in a Scriptural way, you ought to cease to hear them. You ought to carry out the spirit shown by the Apostle Paul, in Gal.1:8: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed.". --- Bishop J.C. Ryle Every believer a bishop? It is a mistake to suppose that God commits the oversight of his people to ministers only, and that the laity have no share in it. Hebrews 12:15 contains the exhortation: 'see to it that no-one fails to obtain the grace of God'. The words 'see to it' translate *episkopountes*. This is a general exhortation to members of the local church to accept spiritual responsibility for each other and to care for each other. Moulton and Milligan quote papyrus examples of the use of the verb as a common salutation at the end of letters, as we might say 'look after yourself' or 'look after so and so'. In this sense ... every believer is a bishop also. --- John R. SW. Stott
Loyalty to the apostolic message. A congregation's attitude to their minister should be determined by his loyalty to the apostolic message. No minister, however exalted his rank in the visible church, is an apostle of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, if he is faithful in teaching what the apostles taught, a godly congregation will humbly receive his message and submit to it. They will neither resent nor reject it. Rather, they will welcome it, even with the deference which they would give to an angel of God, to Christ Jesus himself, because they recognize that the minister's message is not the minister's message, but the message of Jesus Christ. --- John R. W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters
March 16, 2012
BREAKING NEWS As VOL was going to cyber press, news came across the wire that the Archbishop of Canterbury was going to resign at the end of the year and take up an academic post as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge effective January 2013. Dr Williams' intentions were conveyed to The Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and who formally appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Williams, 61, was appointed the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002. The normal retirement age for Church of England bishops is 70.
His tenure was by and large a disaster and he will not be greatly missed. He heads back into academia where he belongs.
The long struggle to prevent a schism over women and gay bishops and same-sex unions has gone badly with a realignment of the Anglican Communion now firmly underway.
The 72-million-strong worldwide Communion has been threatened with division for several years, with progressives, liberals and revisionists pushing the boundaries on sexuality and women bishops, while conservatives have pushed back and formed new alliances.
The Rev. Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, the 1,700-strong network of conservative evangelicals within the Church of England, said: "Many people will have appreciated Rowan's great courtesy in dealing with people of different views within both the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. But his departure opens up the potential for a new leader to heal the deep divisions within the Anglican Communion. What is needed is someone who will hold firm to Biblical truth in areas such as human sexuality in order to promote the gospel and unite the church in the face of militant secularism."
You can read the official news announcement and my own take on his resignation. A "View from the Pew" piece by a London VOL reader is eminently insightful.
O tempora. O mores.General Convention 2012 will, in all probability, vote for and pass trial use rites of blessing for same-sex unions. They will, writes constitutional attorney Allan Haley, also most probably trample on the Church's Constitution in doing so.
He is right, of course. Nothing will or can stop the pansexual steamroller that is rolling right over that which is set sacredly in Scripture - that marriage and the Rites to go with it lie squarely with a man and a woman. The Episcopal Church is following the cultural bell curve and is Hell bent (literally) on sending itself and its people on a one way ticket to perdition, with the pied piper of 815 leading them along...all in the name of social justice, human rights, civil rights, sexual rights, pansexual rights, abortion rights, contraceptive rights, gay rights, inclusivity, and diversity. Gene Robinson is bringing up the rear (if you'll pardon the pun) throwing rice to happy, but aging Episcopal crowds just waiting to touch the hem of his cassock for a healing of their sexual myopia.
In 2009, the Episcopal Church officially began laying the groundwork for gay marriage ceremonies to occur in sympathetic parishes. Now, in 2012, the church has released drafts of what same-sex marriage rites could look like.
While these are merely rough drafts that are under review, they are what the future holds for pansexual nuptials. Even though these maybe refined before becoming made official, there is little doubt that it is a done deal.
While some churches are already performing same-sex marriage ceremonies, there is no official liturgy to govern these actions. The Episcopal Church's Public Affairs office addressed this issue through the following announcement on its web site last week:
The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) of the Episcopal Church has forwarded to the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies excerpts from its report, "I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing": Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.
The report, nearly three years in the making, was prepared by the SCLM in compliance 2009-C056, "Liturgies for Blessings," a resolution approved by the General Convention (GC) of the Episcopal Church in 2009 which directed the SCLM to collect and develop theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-gender relationships through an open process.
Later this month, the House of Bishops (HOB) meeting will begin to look through the report to discuss their next steps. The discussion and debate will be available for public viewing from March 16-23 on the Deputy Online Forum.
The excerpts that were released last week include a theological reflection on blessing gay marriages and relationships, a proposed liturgy and other recommendations that will be made at the denomination's general convention in July.
Lord have mercy.
On the positive side, some 400 church planters came together under the banner of Anglican 1000 Church Planters Conference an initiative to plant 1000 new Anglican churches in the next five years. Such a call is both ambitious, even doable they say. They met at Christ Church Plano, and heard the best minds from across the world talk about the possibilities with growth strategies, formative ideas, all bathed in prayer. These Anglican church planters heard dramatic, informative and gospel affirming presentations that will guide them over the next five years.
These Anglican planters now no longer look in the rear view mirror at The Episcopal Church. The vibrant evangelical pastors are on the march to a new and better tomorrow, and they are doing it at a time when the culture is in free fall, the Episcopal Church is apostate along with mainline Protestantism, and where political correctness rules the day. Bathe the whole mess in pansexual drippings and you have a recipe for spiritual death.
The TEC sponsored Hadaway Report recently revealed that 72% of all Episcopal parishes in the U.S. are under water or in serious financial straits, and it is only going to get worse. Congregations are aging and getting smaller. With no discernible life-changing message, there is little hope that they will survive. Even conservative parishes are suffering. One of the largest in Pennsylvania, The Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, has lost 20% of its 500 plus congregation over the past two years. Often it is failed or inept leadership or the Episcopal Church's pansexual agenda that orthodox folk can no longer stomach and the fear by mothers that their children will be exposed to a sexual agenda that threatens the possibility that they will ever see grandchildren.
In today's digest you can read multiple stories of this very significant conference that took place in Plano, Texas. For those reading them who are in the process of renewal, there is much you can read, learn and inwardly digest. Please feel free to pass the stories along and print out what you need for your church. There is no copyright on truth.
Church growth is so important to this next generation of Anglican leaders that at this Anglican 1000 Church Planting Summit, Archbishop Duncan and Canon David Roseberry both spoke of a new phase in the life of the Anglican 1000 movement. Having been established through the catalytic leadership of Christ Church Plano, this signature piece of the Anglican Church will be moving to Pennsylvania and led by a new Vicar for Anglican 1000. This person will work even more closely with the Archbishop to serve as the provincial catalyst to make church planting the central enterprise of the Anglican Church in North America.
The Diocese of Washington's National Cathedral continues its desperate search for money. On March 14, 2012, Associated Press reporter Brett Zongker reported that the Cathedral now acknowledges that they need $20 million for repair costs, as well as $30 million for preexisting preservation needs. They have raised $2 million for repairs and $5 million for operating costs.
In the Diocese of Washington, the law suit that the Diocese initiated over the Soper Trust fund still moves ahead with the trial scheduled in late March. The Diocese of Washington hopes to gain complete control over the money left by the late Mrs. Ruth Gregory Soper.
Other news from the melting-down Diocese of Washington includes more lay-offs. On March 8, 2012, Bishop Mariann Budde realized that she was dismissing two long-term employees, Lucy Chumbley, who was the editor of the Washington Window, and Sheryl Wilcox, an event planner for the diocese. The cursory dismissal of the long-term popular writer and editor of the Washington Window, Lucy Chumbley, has caused both dismay and perplexity in the Diocese of Washington. At least one source said that with Chumbley's reputation for integrity, she might have threatened Budde by knowing too much about the inner workings of the diocese. Bishop Budde continues her adulation of atheist poet David Whyte. In her weekly "Message from Bishop Mariann", Budde released her usual weekly thoughts and once again stated that she takes guidance from atheistic guru, David Whyte. She writes, "I am well aware this week of that gap between what I, by exertion and discipline, can make happen and what depends on the grace and power of God. I'm reminded by the poet David Whyte that velocity is not always the best answer to complexity."
If you want the full story read Sarah Frances Ives comprehensive article on these issues.
The Church of England is slowly but surely unraveling. The possibility not only of women bishops but that homosexuals and lesbians will be able to marry and demand that right in a Church of England will test the consciences of evangelicals and a dwindling Anglo-Catholic minority as never before.
A VOL reader in the UK wrote saying, "It's an appalling mess, caused by generations of failed church leadership in this country - Roman Catholic as well as Church of England. He writes, "What I am hoping is that this will prove to be a crisis of such proportions that ordinary Christians finally wake up and ensure that they are led by Godly clergy, who will teach the gospel without fear or favor."
You can read multiple stories on this significant development in today's digest.
From Vancouver BC comes word that the new St. John's Shaughnessy (since it was forced out of its parish) has Sunday Evening services with standing room only. Canon David Short is knocking them dead. Church is packed and has grown by 20% since New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham tossed them out of their beautiful building on Granville Street. Meanwhile, those people and clergy in the old St. John's are struggling to remain relevant. The old St. John's doesn't even have enough people attending to qualify it as a mission church (by the definition of the Diocese of New Westminster). This is proof positive that "God dwells in temples not made with hands" and Canon Short and his people won the day.
CAVILCANTI FUNERAL: There was a huge outpouring of respect and cross-denominational praise for Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and his wife Miriam in Olinda, Brazil, this past week following their heartless murder by their adopted son. Frank Lyons, Bishop of Bolivia reports that thousands attended the burial rite. "Reports of his sectarianism have been exaggerated."
You can read a story on this tragedy and the funeral, which brought thousands together. Bishop Robinson was a close friend and his death is a personal loss.
If you wonder where the abortion debate will go after Ms. Katherine Ragsdale, President of Episcopal Divinity School's recent reaffirmation that "about is a blessing and our work is not done", you can learn more here.
Doctors should have the right to kill newborn babies because they are disabled, too expensive, or simply unwanted by their mothers, an academic with links to Oxford University has claimed.
Francesca Minerva, a philosopher and medical ethicist, argues a young baby is not a real person so killing it in the first days after birth is little different than aborting it in the womb.
Even a healthy baby could have its life snuffed out if the mother decides she can't afford to look after it, the article published by the British Medical Journal group states.
The journal's editor has defended the piece, saying the publication's role is to present well-reasoned arguments, rather than promote one particular moral view.
But the article has angered other ethicists, peers and campaigners. They have described the call for legalized infanticide as chilling and an "inhumane defense of child destruction".
Writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Dr Minerva and co-author Alberto Giubilini, a University of Milan bioethicist, argue that "after-birth abortion" should be permissible in all cases in which abortion is.
Episcopalians are fast becoming hybrid believers, that is to say they pick and choose from an ethical and moral smorgasbord while paying lip service to the creeds and liturgy. Increasingly, Roman Catholics are doing it, also, for example in the area of birth control and abortion. Most Catholics oppose abortion (and rightfully so), but most (they say 98% but that is unverifiable) use birth control. Had they not done so, Catholic families would have 10 to a dozen kids as they did in Ireland in the 60s when I was passing out New Testaments in County Cork during the summer months after I was out of seminary. Those days are long gone in Ireland. Today the average Irish size family is 2.6. That could not be achieved without birth control. So it is in the U.S. But Catholics have never fiddled about the nature of marriage and who should be standing before the priest announcing their vows whereas Episcopalians have. Catholics are not going for same-sex marriage and they have shown no interest in Rites for it, either. To a man, the Pope, his cardinals, archbishops, bishops and laity oppose it, though one can always find a stray priest or two who will quietly perform such Rites, but they are a rarity. They usually get more publicity than they should, but that's the media for you.
On the other hand, Episcopal leaders openly espouse pansexual lifestyles that violate Scripture, history and tradition. Then they wonder why their churches are failing and shrinking. Can they not see that the passage of rites for same-sex unions (they are hardly legitimate marriages) will only force sane parents to leave those churches? Do they think that falling down in front of a handful of homosexuals and lesbians will bring about justice and righteousness or that Black liberation and homosexual liberation are on the same page? One is born black; one is not born gay. The lies and half-truths will continue it seems till the last Episcopal parish closes in the name of "justice" and "freedom" of course.
Although Prime Minister David Cameron has tried to assure British churches that any new same-sex marriage legislation will apply only to civil law, lawyers from the Church of England are arguing that the new legislation would force them to perform same-sex ceremonies in spite of their beliefs.
"If Parliament were in due course to legislate for same-sex marriage, as recently suggested by the Prime Minister, we would of course be in new territory," said the General Synod of the Church of England in a recent paper.
The proposed legislation is expected to allow civil same-sex marriage ceremonies that could be held in state register offices or other "approved premises," such as large homes.
Although members of Parliament have tried to craft legislation that would leave churches out of the same-sex marriage process, the Church of England is concerned that the pre-existing 2010 Equality Act will force them to either perform same-sex ceremonies or be subject to prosecution.
According to the church's paper on same-sex marriage legislation, "A key relevant section is section 29 of the Equality Act which makes it unlawful for a person concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public to discriminate on various grounds, including sexual orientation."
Should the same-sex marriage legislation be passed in its current form, both same-sex and heterosexual marriages could be considered the same "service to the public," thus requiring churches to provide the service without regard for sexual orientation.
Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu has urged Cameron to not move forward with the legislation, calling it "an unjustified change."
The archbishop also believes that the government may not be able to pass the legislation without the Church of England's approval.
"It is not simply saying we have got to allow a civil partnership to happen," he said. "They have got a problem because the definition of marriage is in the 1662 prayer book and Article 30 of the Church of England, which are both Acts of Parliament."
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism in 2007, is backing the government's plan to legalize same-sex marriage before 2015, which has drawn sharp criticism from leaders of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.
On Sunday, U.K.'s "The Independent" reported it found that Blair, a British Labour Party politician, had told his friends that he "strongly supports the Prime Minister's proposal" to enact a new law to make gay marriage legal.
The government of Prime Minister David Cameron, led by his Conservative Party in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, announced their plan last September. The news of Blair's support comes days before the government is likely to release a consultation document concerning the proposal.
Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, is backing gay marriage despite strong reactions by his church. Pope Benedict XVI on Friday urged the Catholic community to resists the "powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage."
A VOL reader in Colorado Springs wrote to say that that the closing of Good Shepherd (reported on recently by VOL) was not the only closing. Since Bishop Rob O'Neal has been the bishop, Holy Spirit and St. Francis churches have also closed in town with many more around the diocese. He writes, "So many are near closing, it is stunning. St. Andrews in Manitou Springs, adjacent to Colorado Springs, is nearly closed. Most of the clergy in the diocese are female and have not gone to a three-year formational seminary. A study of all this would paint a picture of the new TEC perfectly."
FACTOID: 72% of all TEC parishes across the country are in some form of financial distress. (Hadaway)
A grade school in Las Vegas, Clark County, NV, M. J. Christensen was supposed to be having a St. Patrick's Dayparty except it has been renamed a spring spirit party and everyone is supposed to wear green. The kids are not supposed to mention St. Patrick because he was a Catholic Christian Saint. This is political correctness gone insane and it is being used to rewrite history. The school news letter March 1, 2012 Volume 1 Issue 7 and Friday said "Spirit Day wear green." *****
Parents are claiming that a Salina, Kansas, military school abused their sons, reports The Associated Press. This school was founded by "Father Bob" Mize late a bishop of ECUSA. He was a saint of his time, a VOL reader wrote, but the school has been secularized by ECUSA. The parents of cadets say older students regularly abused their sons with the blessing of school officials.
The Salina Journal reports the federal lawsuit was filed against St. John's Military School last week in Kansas City, KS. It claims the school allows older students, called "Disciplinarians," to discipline younger students who step out of line. The parents of four boys claim their sons suffered severe beatings by the Disciplinarians, and when the boys reported the abuse to school officials, the beatings got worse. School President Andy England says he was meeting with legal counsel and the school was doing "due diligence" before responding to the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims the school has settled nine similar abuse cases since 2006.
A new edition of The Next Christians is now available and is getting rave reviews for its concept of Q -the concept of restoration embedded in the Gospel. Q was birthed out of Gabe Lyons' desire to galvanize and democratize this "restorer" conversation. As the new subtitle suggests, this book is meant to help you discover practical ways to live the Gospel and restore the world. Authors like Tim Keller, Os Guinness, Chuck Colson and Scot McKnight speak highly of this book.
Wanna buy a church? For $1,725,000, you have the rare opportunity to purchase a vacant church in West Toronto that seats approx 240 (including balcony). Former St. Mark & Calvary Anglican Church is located in a quiet residential area. Move in condition. Well appointed. Bright lower level with above grade windows. Municipal parking lot abuts church. St Clair transit is at the front door. Kitchen. Elevator. The extras include all fixtures and chattels, pews, pulpit, office furniture etc.
If the Diocese of Virginia wins all the properties located in mostly Northern Virginia, watch for fire sales there. Falls Church, Truro, to name but two are sitting on prime land which no doubt can be sold for a Mosque or a Senior Citizens Center...take your pick....or Mrs. Jefferts Schori's favorite , a saloon.
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