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Church of England Synod Will Focus on LGBTQ Sexualities * Lord Carey Unfairly Targeted on Sexual Abuse Charges * Australian Primate Pushes Back on GAFCON Consecration * Anglican League Pushes back on Primate

The purpose of gifts. Much misunderstanding surrounds the purpose for which God distributes spiritual gifts in the church. Some speak of them as 'love gifts', as if their main purpose is to enrich the recipient and we are to use them for our own personal benefit. Others think of them as 'worship gifts', as if their main purpose is the worship of God and their main sphere of operation is the conduct of public worship. But Scripture asserts that they are 'service gifts', whose primary purpose is to 'edify' or build up the church. --- John R.W. Stott

"On the other hand, there's the case to be made that it's irresponsible in extreme to put a smartphone -- with all of its connectivity, with all of its vulnerabilities, with all of its instant access -- into the hands of those who are certainly by a parental responsibility to be guarded from many of the very things that that iPhone makes instantaneously and anonymously and privately accessible." --- Albert Mohler, Southern Baptist Leader

No ungifted Christian. The fact that every Christian has a gift and therefore a responsibility, and that no Christian is passed by and left without endowment, is fundamental to the New Testament doctrine of the church. --- John R.W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
July 7, 2017

The arrogance of Church of England leaders defies all belief. The notion that if they repeat what the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have done embracing pansexuality and homosexual marriage, that somehow they will obtain a different outcome, is mind blowing.

The embrace of pansexuality by TEC has cost them millions of dollars in lawsuits, lost over 1,000 priests, put five dioceses in contention with more than 100,000 Episcopalians fleeing...all to allow Gene Robinson to wear a miter.

The CofE thinks that because they are the Mother Church they can get away with it, and can therefore lecture Africans, Asians and anybody who opposes them, is smug, hubristic and displays a superciliousness and haughtiness with no parallel. Their ecclesiastical colonial days are over, well and truly. The African Anglican Churches rule not the Church of England. The chairman of GAFCON, Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh, has a bigger following than Justin Welby; furthermore, he is more respected than Welby, and he will summon more representative Anglicans to GAFCON II next year in Jerusalem than Welby's Lambeth Conference in 2020.

Of course, Welby continues to argue that the C of E and the Church of Wales explicitly ban same-sex marriage, but a number of dioceses and their bishops have approved (in the name of pastoral discretion) informal prayers for couples at their request. It's a smoke screen. The ban is ecclesiastical, not ontological.

It is the thin end of the wedge and next week when Synod meets, of the 85 listed Synod questions, not one -- not one -- is concerned with the plight of the persecuted church worldwide, noted one blogger. Nothing about the murderous activities of Boko Haran that has seen the slaughter of hundreds of Anglicans and the elimination of at least one diocese in Nigeria. However, there are questions about sex, sexuality, sex, LGBT, sex, LGTBQIA (what?), sex, LGBTI, sex, same-sex marriage, sex, 'gay cure' conversion therapy, sex, sex, and sex. O, there's a question on 'Monitoring air quality', too. That's diversity of obsession. As the blogger noted, "Welcome to the General Sex Synod of the Church of England."

He is absolutely right. This is now the acceptable gaystapo approach to homosexuality...keep pushing and pushing and pushing till the other side caves in. We saw this in TEC and the ACoC and we are seeing it in the C of E. Neither Welby nor most evangelicals seem willing to push back hard enough (or at all) to stop this sodomite steamroller. They confuse or conflate preaching and proclaiming the Word with declaring and defending the Word against heresies, in the vain hope that if they are just nice and tolerant, adopting a live and let live approach then all will be well.

It is not going to happen, and it is why GAFCON exists and why Dr. Peter Jensen, Archbishop Okoh and others are pushing back even if CofE evangelicals seem lukewarm about it all.

However, one group of the General Synod's laity and clergy are pushing back, and have said that an invitation to Bishop John Armes, the proposer of a motion to amend the Scottish Episcopal Church's Canon 31, on holy matrimony, to attend the CofE synod, places them in an "invidious" position, and they wrote a letter to to the Church Times and said they will have to consider whether to "follow our consciences and withdraw".

The thin end of the wedge got a bit thicker.

From the behavior that should not even be named, to full acceptance and then jail for those who oppose the homosexual zeitgeist is the trajectory. England is only months behind the US on this. Welby it seems is ready to embrace homosexuality in the name of "radical inclusion" (stolen from the TEC playbook).

With the slow creep of full acceptance clearly on its way, the door having been opened fully by the Scottish Episcopal Church which has fully embraced homosexual marriage, the next push by the LGBTQI crowd is the CofE itself, led by people like Jayne Ozanne, a vociferous lay lesbian.

Just how vociferous are the opposition voices? One conservative commentator is saying that sexuality is a "salvation issue" and revisionist voices should be "excommunicated". However, a progressive bishop implied a comparison between his fellow bishops and the high priest who handed over Jesus to be crucified.

"This is serious stuff -- even though the vast majority of synod members and those in the pews on a Sunday morning would not care to speak about each other in this way," wrote a blogger.

What, then, is the way forward? Short of a miracle, there is no obvious practical answer. The Archbishop of Canterbury's statement following the synod vote gave some hints. "To find ways forward, we need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church," he said. "This must be founded in Scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology; it must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st-century understanding of being human and of being sexual."

Of course, Scripture is absolutely clear that homosexual relationships have never been approved and churches which embrace it will never flourish, because such behaviors (LGBTQI) have never been approved of by God...and never will be. It is both a fiction and a lie to say otherwise.

Here is what one blogger concluded: "At the same time, while the sexualization of the clerical life of the Church moves forward at pace, one can only wonder how in heaven it is to be expected that mere bureaucratic procedures are supposed to keep vulnerable children and adults safe from a carnal Church which in its heart seems more engaged in the pursuit of worldly power and political influence, than upholding unpalatable biblical truths and unappealing standards of ethics and Christian living." Indeed.

You can read a number of stories and commentaries on this in today's digest, including one by VOL's own commentator, Dr. Bruce Atkinson, on the bullying behavior of the Church of England.

*****

The saga of former Archbishop George Carey and his failure to expose the abuser of children continues, but there's pushback from some quarters for the harsh treatment he has been getting at the hands of Justin Welby, the present Cantuar.

Carey is now being seen as the victim. Lord Carey's forced resignation as assisting Bishop of Oxford, is an injustice: he, too, was a victim of Bishop Peter Ball, writes Martin Sewell, a retired Child Protection Lawyer and a member of General Synod. He advances a plausible defense of Lord Carey.

If one reads the Gibb Report, with the child abuse story organized and catalogued in a single document, Lord Carey's serious errors and misjudgments are obvious, especially through the lenses of our modern understandings of abuse, writes Sewell.

The other truth is that a lot of the safeguarding talk now in place was not in place when Carey was in office.

But what of Welby's own inadequacies in this area. He ignored 12 letters sent to him by a man who later became a priest, who said he was raped by a priest who later committed suicide!

You can read a number of stories about all this in today's digest.

*****

PUSHBACK on the consecration of Canon Andy Lines of the UK by some 50 Global Anglican archbishops and bishops at the ACNA's recent Assembly in Wheaton, Ill. is heating up. The primate of Australia, Phillip Freier, publicly admonished Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney and Bishop Richard Condie of Tasmania (he omitted or overlooked the Bishop of North West Australia, Gary Nelson) for participating in the consecration and hinted at some sort of disciplinary action, but didn't say what.

Well, the Anglican Church League (of Australia) pushed back on the Primate and said that while an Australian Primate is always free to give advice within the bonds of Christian fellowship, there is no constitutional provision for formal advice, nor is there any sense of hierarchy in the position of the Australian primate in relation to the other 22 diocesan bishops. No Australian diocesan bishop is obligated to follow the 'advice' of a primate.

"The Primate appeals to the Fundamental Declarations which are the bedrock statements of belief in the Anglican Church of Australia. The Scriptures are the ultimate rule and standard of faith; the commands of Christ are to be obeyed and his doctrine taught, but no conclusion is drawn by the Primate from this reference. The obvious conclusion to draw is that the Scottish Episcopal Church, by virtue of its recent decision to amend the definition of marriage and allow same-sex couples to be married in its churches, has moved away from the commands of Christ and his doctrine and the Scriptures as the ultimate rule and standard of faith."

They said it was hypocritical of the archbishop to condemn the appearance of the three bishops in Wheaton, Illinois, but not to rebuke (by saying absolutely nothing) about the actions of the Scottish Episcopal Church in voting for same sex marriage!

Consistency is clearly the hobgoblin of small minds.

You can read more about this in today's digest.

*****

The 34th annual British Social Attitudes Survey has shown that non-religious people represent a clear majority of British people in 2017, accounting for 53% of the population. This is a new high for the non-religious population, which was previously estimated at 51% in 2014.

That isn't particularly surprising, since a similar poll in 2002 found that 50% of Anglican clergy are also non-religious insofar as they don't believe in the Virgin Birth or that Jesus is the only way to be saved. If Church of England clergy work really hard, I imagine they will be able to talk the remaining 47% of Britons out of their faith, too, wrote Samizdat of Canada.

A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection and only half are convinced of the truth of the Virgin birth, according to a new survey.

The poll of nearly 2,000 of the Church's 10,000 clergy also found that only half believe that faith in Christ is the only route to salvation.

So think about it. The CofE wants to accommodate sodomy, which will not fill churches, while some of its clergy can't even affirm basic church doctrines! Is it any wonder that only 1% of Brits go to church? Why should they when many clergy don't believe their own beliefs.

*****

The disappearing diocese of Huron. The diocese closed two more churches this week and three more will close. The Ven. Nancy Adams de-consecrated the churches at special services and said more would be coming. "There is no benefit or consolation to be found in pointing fingers or trying to assign blame for this new institutional reality through which the Church is passing," she wailed. Of course not, why should one dare to say that if you have no message more cogent than teenage twitter about Justin Bieber (who might be better known than Jesus Christ by a younger generation), why bother with a church that won't tell you why it should exist!
The diocese of Huron is planning to build a funeral home, with a chapel, visitation rooms and reception area, at Woodland Cemetery on Springbank Drive. Appropriate we think.

A source told VOL that St. Albans Church in London, Ontario, is also closing, as is a church in Pond Mills in London, Ont. All the while, the Anglican Church of Canada keeps talking about "fresh expressions" (whatever that means) and rails on about climate change.

*****

Some good news. Two Christian street preachers have been found not guilty of inciting public disorder at Bristol Crown Court. In February, Michael Stockwell and Michael Overd were convicted at Bristol Magistrates Court of an offence under the Crime and Disorder Act, after police claimed that the crowd around them became disorderly as a result of their preaching. They appealed to the Crown Court and, after a 3-day hearing, on Friday were found not guilty of religiously aggravated harassment, according to the Barnabas Fund.

Barnabas Fund provided an expert witness, who demonstrated that the content of their preaching was largely quotations from the King James Bible (the "Authorized Version"). However, at their trial in February, the lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) claimed that this was irrelevant, arguing that publicly quoting from the King James Bible in modern Britain should "be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter".

Serious questions must now be asked about the conduct of both Avon and Somerset Police, who arrested the preachers, and the CPS. Barnabas Fund has seen the official transcript of the video recording that the two men made of their preaching. The preachers were clearly attracting a crowd of disorderly hecklers who were swearing at and abusing them. Yet none of the hecklers were arrested -- only the street preachers, who, whilst robust in stating the Biblical teaching, were respectful towards those asking questions.

However, even if people express their ideas very strongly, or even offensively, they are still entitled to freedom of speech. Not all Christians will be comfortable with the style of the men's preaching. However, if those people are silenced, the next to be silenced will be people saying the same things in a gentler way.

It is also clear from the transcript of the preaching that much of the heckling centered on questions about Islam, and the question must be asked as to whether some hecklers were deliberately seeking to set them up. If so, then what the police have effectively done by arresting the preachers, is to enforce the Islamist agenda of prohibiting any criticism of Islam.

The actions of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) must also come under scrutiny. If the CPS felt that the manner in which the men were delivering their preaching was causing a disturbance, such as by being too loud, then they could have prosecuted them under nuisance laws. Instead, they chose to prosecute them for the content of their preaching. Consequently, as the preachers' defense solicitor Michael Phillips commented in February, the case had become in effect a "modern day heresy trial".

This is a very important verdict. Had the men been convicted and subsequent appeals turned down, it risked setting a legal precedent which would have introduced a form of censorship on the public reading of the Bible -- which is what the CPS lawyer argued the court should rule. Clearly the CPS has very serious questions to answer.

*****

For a truly definitive reading on the whole issue of Transgenderism, I have posted a major piece by Dr. David Kyle Foster on the subject. You can read it here or in today's digest. http://www.virtueonline.org/truth-about-transgender-movement

*****

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