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Colorado Struggle Continues...Cox Walks from TEC...Bruno Blasts APB...More

Christianity, Religion and Culture. "Union with Christ is a unique emphasis among the world's religions. No other religion offers its adherents a personal union with its founder. The Buddhist does not claim to know the Buddha, nor the Confucianist Confucius, nor the Muslim Muhammad, nor the Marxist Karl Marx. But the Christian does claim -- humbly, I hope, but nevertheless confidently" - to know Jesus Christ. --From "Life in Christ" ---John R.W. Stott

"What people want is an easy-going syncretism, a truce in inter-religious competition, a mishmash of the best from all religions. But we Christians cannot surrender either the finality or the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. There is simply nobody else like him; his incarnation, atonement and resurrection have no parallels. In consequence, he is the one and only mediator between God and the human race. This exclusive affirmation is strongly, even bitterly, resented. It is regarded by many as intolerably intolerant. Yet the claims of truth compel us to maintain it, however much offence it may cause". --From "The Contemporary Christian" ---John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
4/10/2007

This question might validly be asked of the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the rebellious state of the Episcopal Church:Is his taking three months off to write a book and take a vacation, an example of Nero fiddling while Rome burns?

The Episcopal Church is hip deep in bad morality and bad theology. It is repeatedly being said by one liberal and/or revisionist bishop, after another, that we are an independent church and not accountable to anyone. These same leaders then say they want to remain in the Anglican Communion but on their terms, not abiding by a universal consensus of truth based on Holy Scripture, tradition, reason or revelation.

It is the same as the spoiled child who wants to have all the benefits of living at home without having to obey the house rules.

Liberals like to say that the church is like a giant wheel with Canterbury at the center with all the spokes making up the wheel - conservative, orthodox, gay and straight - pointing inwards to keep the wheel from collapsing.

That is not correct. The center of the wheel is our Nicene Christology, not the Anglican Communion. The truth is the communion can no longer agree on who Jesus is, what he has done at the cross for our sins, the passage of Resolution B001, the authority of Scripture nor basic tenets of Christian faith. It is no wonder we are in the mess we are in. Come Sept. 30, the vast majority of the Anglican Communion will bid the TEC farewell, or the TEC may pre-empt the Primates and announce that it will have its own communion. Anything is possible.

My parish priest preached from the Book of Jeremiah this Easter noting that the Episcopal Church is under the judgment of God. He further observed that complicity with the revisionists by orthodox priests and bishops could also make them subject to the same judgment. We are in deep waters, a situation made clearer when you listen to what Dean Jeffrey John of St. Albans in the UK said this Easter about Christ's atonement. It is very scary when a cathedral Dean, who almost became a bishop, says that Christ's sacrificial death makes God a barbaric abuser of His Son, our savior, Jesus Christ.

Noted one London theologian, "Jeffrey John's views about the meaning of Easter are not biblical. They stand against the overwhelming consensus of Christian tradition, and as Jeffrey John himself admits they conflict directly with the official teaching of the Church of England, as expressed in the confession in the Prayer Book liturgy for Holy Communion. If tolerated, they will have devastating pastoral consequences, for penal substitution is central to the faith of countless Christians all over the world. Jeffrey John's views must be firmly rejected."

To assist in that struggle, a new book, written by Steve Jefferey, Mike Ovey and Andrew Sach (foreward by John Piper) has been published to counter Jeffrey John's nonsense. "Pierced for our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution (IVP)" was issued in connection with Jeffrey John's Lent Talks broadcast. VOL strongly recommends you buy this book. It is probably the best book on the subject since John Stott's "The Cross of Christ." The bottom line is: we are not victims; we are sinners deserving the wrath of God, precisely because it is rooted in the love of God who sent his Son to die for us. A major response, to Jeffrey John's sermon, is being prepared by our resident cyber theologian the Rev. Dr. Robert Sanders.

THE ONGOING STORY OF THE WEEK continues to be the drama being played out in the DIOCESE OF COLORADO at Grace Churce & St. Stephens in Colordos Springs where an orthodox priest has taken the bold move of reclaiming his parish in the face of being inhibited by a revisionist bishop, the Rt. Rev. Rob O' Neill, who has no use for his gospel. The rector, the Rev. Don Armstrong, has built the parish into one of the strongest, most viable Episcopal parishes west of the Mississippi. The law suits and counter law suits will have this parish and diocese in the courts for months, possibly years to come. There are a number of stories you can read about this in today's digest. One layman, a medical doctor, has written a heartfelt, if not stern, response to the bishop, which you can read here: http://tinyurl.com/2zh3wc

In the DIOCESE OF OKLAHOMA, Bishop William Cox, 86, a retired Oklahoma bishop who was charged with violating church law by ordaining two Anglican priests, resigned from the Episcopal House of Bishops and was accepted into the Anglican Diocese of Argentina. He may now avoid a canonical trial because he has left the TEC. One of the presenting bishops, Robert M. Moody, (Oklahoma) who wants to put him on trial, called a diocesan clericus, last week. During his discussions he remarked, "Cox took the coward's way out." Word on the street it is that Moody has closed down as many as eight parishes during his tenure as bishop.

One church, St. James Anglican, in Oklahoma City, (formerly St. James Episcopal that pulled out of the Diocese of Oklahoma) is growing. It now has more than 130 members under the rector ship of the Rev. Vern Caswell. The old St. James Episcopal has about twenty-five members and lives off the diocese, which pays the salary of the priest. VOL was told that the two-year period for that priest ends shortly. It will be interesting to see if the bishop continues this financial arrangement. The Rev. Vern Caswell, rector of St. James Anglican told VOL that his parishioners have purchased a piece of property and will break ground some time this summer. "There are now four churches under the diocese of Argentina (Province of Southern Cone) in Oklahoma and we all are looking to plant new churches," Caswell told VOL.

In the DIOCESE OF KENTUCKY, The Rev. David Brannen is active with St. Andrews Anglican Church in Versailles now under the Diocese of Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese in Uganda. They have just produced a video called "Our Story" which you can see here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6277710022956845753&hl=en It might be an encouragement to some. You can also visit the church's website here: www.standrewsky.org

The financial crisis in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA deepens. A priest told VOL this week that the diocese will run out of money by summer and there won't be enough funds to pay salaries. Some unrestricted fund money is being spent on consultants Barnes and Roache, to the tune of $500,000, which Charles Bennison regards as "money well spent". One wonders if the dim light bulbs who work with Bennison will one day discover the lights don't work, because the electric bill hasn't been paid. Money is not coming from parishes either because they do not agree with the bishop's theology and moral views, or because parishes are getting smaller with fleeing Episcopalians. Even liberal priests cannot pay Bennison anything. Everyone is waiting for the shoe to drop over Bennison himself. Will the Title IV Review Committee give him the heave-ho? The diocese has not contributed a nickel in three years to the National Church. Ironically, in the midst of all this, Bennison flew to South Africa to participate in a conference on AIDS and MDGs. He and a group of bishops got the ear of the Archbishop of Canterbury quizzing him about what would happen after Sept. 30 if the TEC gets the thumbs down from his fellow Primates. Dr. Williams said it would be up to the Primates to decide. He would not make a unilateral decision. You can read that story here or in today's digest. http://tinyurl.com/38t5rc

Seminarians and college students at the UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH are planning a U2CHARIST service in All Saints' Chapel on Sunday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. on the campus in Sewanee, Tenn. The goal of Sewanee's U2charist is to educate students, community members, and others about the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals and to raise funds for programs to eradicate extreme poverty and promote social justice. Bono, the lead singer for Irish rock band U2, is the global ambassador for this campaign. The U2charist features the group's music during the service. One wonders if the college and seminaries will hold a Great Commission party and send their students out two by two to preach the Good News of the gospel...now that would be a story to tell.

THE LISTENING process on human sexuality, established after the last Lambeth Conference, has come to some conclusions. Canon Philip Groves, who heads the American Episcopal Church funded organization based in London, wrote the summaries. The reports were seen and approved by each province and posted to the Anglican Communion Office website. I have written up a summary in a story titled: LISTENING OURSELVES TO DEATH. The summary concludes, naturally, with contradictory results. The Anglican Communion is divided over how it views homosexuality. Thirty-two of the thirty-eight provinces have sent in reports following an official "Listening Process" on human sexuality. You can read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/3exjfy

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES made VOL's headlines this week when he initiated attacks on orthodox Episcopalians and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Bruno has emerged as a bitter opponent of Christian orthodoxy. The ultra-liberal bishop has a history of bombastic, finger-pointing rhetoric starting with his blast at Dr. Williams last November at an organizational meeting of The Episcopal Majority. He made the comment that Mrs. Schori had "better damn well have a seat at that table" referring to the then upcoming Primates meeting of Anglican Archbishops in Tanzania. He has gone steadily down hill with more blasts at people who do not see things his way. You can read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/2kejwt

When the story was posted to the website, one observer noted the dysfunctional nature of the bishop's remarks when Bruno cited a book he had been reading, "'A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix,"' by Edwin H. Friedman. Bruno said Friedman's description of characteristics encountered in a 'chronically anxious' family seem to reflect recent events and attitudes within the [Anglican] Communion."

Wrote the Texas priest, who is also a clinically-trained therapist, "This is a good example of why it is counter-productive for people with serious mental health issues to read about psychology and sociology - it just gives them more tools for manipulating other people, which makes their behavior worse and more difficult to treat. If he were still alive, Rabbi Friedman would be horrified to find someone like Bruno abusing his ideas. TEC and the Anglican Communion are indeed like dysfunctional families and systems theory is definitely applicable, but Bruno is using it to blame the orthodox for being '"reactive'" family members instead of recognizing that they are just setting boundaries in their relationships with the revisionists, which is what people who are psychologically healthy do when they have to deal with tyrants such as Bruno (removing oneself from the relationship is the preferred behavior but, if that's not possible, one must set boundaries)."

Bruno doesn't want to admit why the family is "chronically anxious": control of the family has been usurped by a band of narcissistic tyrants, who are enabled by a regressive middle management (bishops and priests) primarily motivated by safety (protecting their salaries and pensions) instead of leadership (taking risks), which is a reflection of what Friedman calls our "seatbelt" society. Like those who plot and scheme to seize control of families, the tyrants running TEC are insecure (they know they got where they are by aggression and manipulation, not competency) and, thus, intolerant of anyone (ege.g., the orthodox) and any ideas (e.g., Scripture) that challenge their authority (e.g., asking for alternative episcopal oversight) or the agenda (e.g., Homosexuality isn't a sin) of those who brought them to power (e.g., the GLBT lobby). Like typical family tyrants, they project their own faults (e.g., intolerance and aggression) onto those who set boundaries (the "scape goats") in order to manipulate the rest of the family - falsely accusing opponents (e.g., the orthodox) of their own sins (e.g., intolerance and being "reactive," like in this latest Bruno blast), while at the same time intimidating middle management into keeping silent (e.g., by prosecuting orthodox clergy with trumped up presentments) and exerting control over other family members (e.g., tightening the "seatbelts" that keep parishioners in their pews by filing suits based on the "Dennis Canon" against any parishes that leave).

The heart of the problem with addiction is the problem of sin - any behavior is a sin if it becomes so important that one is willing to compromise everything and everyone else (including God) to continue engaging in the behavior. Treatment cannot begin until the addict admits that he or she is an addict and that the addictive behavior is harming themselves and everyone close to them - confess that it is a sin and repent of it. Effective treatment requires that the addict acknowledge that he or she is incapable of overcoming the behavior on their own - that they need the Grace of God to overcome sin. Effective treatment requires that the addict stop the behavior - practicing addicts cannot be treated.

MARRIED GAYS Die twenty-four years younger, according to new medical reports. Marriage between a man and woman seems to result in longer life for both. Does it work that way for gay marriage? "No," says Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute, a Colorado-based think tank.

Researchers Paul and Kirk Cameron reported at the Eastern Psychological Association convention that married gays and lesbians live about twenty-four fewer years than their married heterosexual counterparts.

Some surveys indicate 0.9% to 2.3% of the population is gay, while LGBT advocates assert, faultily, as much as 10% is. It is a sad occurrence when AC/DC becomes cross-wired. It is an old saying about the tail wagging the dog. This situation indicates that only the tip of the tail wags 98% of the body. It is not required to follow such tendencies with conduct. Such behavior does contribute heavily to HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Respect for others is commendable; but sanctification of such lifestyles is nonsensical. It is not a question of civil rights such as the ability to vote, attend church, and associate with others. This small group of advocates has infiltrated the American Episcopal Church, and forced it to "flip the bird" to the rest of the world. Many new euphemisms have been created such as the term "gay" to the consternation of many. The word, integrity, meaning above the standard, has also been prostituted to become the mantra of those who deviate from generally accepted conduct.

CANADA."...At its General Synod in Winnipeg in June, it is highly likely to vote to give the green light for dioceses to go ahead with same-sex blessings..." wrote a knowledgeable insider recently. You can read a report by Canon James Robinson who says that same sex blessings will need a sixty percent approval vote, "but that there is no precedent in our procedures or practice requiring a 60% vote and this seems to me like 'pulling a rabbit out of a hat.'" http://tinyurl.com/34kqcj

In yet another crack at the Archbishop of Canterbury, Canadian Primate Andrew Hutchison launched a stinging attack on Dr. Williams this past week calling his leadership "indecisive" amid growing fears that the worldwide Church will split within months. The head of the Anglican Church of Canada, said that Williams's handling of the crisis over homosexuality has been "disappointing and lacking" at critical points. You can read the full report here or in today's digest: http://tinyurl.com/3yoyup

DEATH NOTED: The Reverend Dr. Reginald H. Fuller, 1915-2007, Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary and renowned biblical scholar and professor in several Episcopal seminaries died on April 4th in Richmond, Virginia, from complications following surgery for a broken hip. Professor Fuller celebrated his 92nd birthday last week. Born in Horsham, England, in 1915, Fr. Fuller was educated at Cambridge and ordained to the priesthood in June 1941. He served churches in England and Wales and taught at the University of Wales at Lampeter. In 1956, Professor Fuller and his wife moved to the United States where he began teaching at Seabury-Western Seminary. From 1966 to 1972 Father Fuller served as the Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary, New York. In 1972 he assumed the Molly Laird Downs Chair of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, in Alexandria, where he served until his retirement in 1985. He was Visiting Professor of New Testament at Nashotah House in the 2004-2005 academic year. His wife, Ilse, to whom he was married for 65 years, survives him. They had three daughters, one of whom preceded Fr. Fuller in death.

THE TIME FOR TRUTH conference in London. Is Gay Real? The possibility of change. Understanding the Causes and Healing of Homosexuality with Dr Joe Nicolosi, the President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. www.narth.com This is cosponsored by Living Waters, CARE, The Lawyers Christian Fellowship and Anglican Mainstream. It is for Professional Counselors, Psychotherapists, Pastoral Care givers, Church Leaders and those dealing with or affected by homosexuality. If you are interested in attending this conference, it will be held June 22/23, 2007 - Friday and Saturday. Place: Central London. Venue: TBC. Cost for two days £85. Contact: Dr Lisa Nolland @ ls.n@talktalk.net or Living Waters @ lw1uk@aol.com. Dr Nicolosi will take a scientific rather than an explicitly Christian approach.

THIS DIGEST is going out two days earlier thant usual because I will be attending the NEW WINESKINS conference at Ridgecrest, NC. Stories coming out of that conference will be posted directly to the website: www.virtueonline.org VOL urges its readers to check the website regularly as stories will be posted throughout the day and evening.

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All Blessings,

David W. Virtue DD

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