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Costly San Joaquin Litigation * 106 Clergy File Amicus Brief Supporting Diocese of Sth. Carolina * Declaration Reveals Deep Divide in CofE * Evangelical Laywoman Resigns from Synod*St. James Newport Beach Reopens* Canada Apb Mulls St. Paul on S-S Marriage

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes - Ps.118:8.9

No perfect society. The followers of Jesus are optimists, but not utopians. It is possible to improve society; but a perfect society awaits the return of Jesus Christ. --- John R.W. Stott

The Church should do in the 21st century, what it did in the 1st. Preach the Gospel, care for the poor, avoid all sexual immorality, live in a community of love and fellowship and keep ourselves from being tainted by the world. --- David Robertson

Evil is a fact. And evil is a theological category. The secular worldview cannot use the word with coherence or sense. The acknowledgement of evil requires the affirmation of a moral judgment and a moral reality above human judgment. If we are just accidental beings in an accidental universe, nothing can really be evil. Evil points to a necessary moral judgment made by a moral authority greater than we are -- a transcendent and supernatural moral authority: God. --- Albert Mohler

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." --- Isaiah 5:20, ESV

Among gnostic ideologues and cultural Marxists, Jesus is the problem. His followers must be marginalized and eliminated. Jesus´ Name is increasingly forbidden, even here in America, in chaplaincies (including the military), schools, businesses, the media and athletic teams. Standing up for traditional, biblical Christian morality can land one in court, or heavily fined, or fired from a job, as with Kevin Cochran, the extraordinary Fire Chief in Atlanta. Behind all this opposition to Jesus is Satan, who hates the Bride of Christ, and her Lord. --- Bishop Paul C. Hewett

Because evangelicalism is part of this enduring Augustinian spirituality, I don't imagine it will ever go away, at least this side of the coming kingdom. We can abandon or change the name, but that won't change the reality of lived faith of this stream. And for now, since we can't think of a better name, we'll continue to call the current manifestation of this stream evangelical. That means sometimes I will have to acknowledge frankly our foolishness along with our idealism and heroism that has transformed the lives of so many. When I suspect we've lost our way, I will say so, which of course is a very evangelical thing to do: We are a movement in progress, never quite reaching the ideal we strive for, always laboring to reform not only the world but ourselves, that we might more perfectly reflect the life of Christ in us. --- Mark Galli, Christianity Today

At the heart of the [sexual] issue is whether heterosexual marriage is God's normative creative purpose for men and women, and whether sexual intimacy belongs inside marriage, and where it takes place outside it, needs to be repented of --- Bishop Gavin Ashenden

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
November 10, 2017

You have to ask yourself a question. What sort of a Church (TEC) spends $40 million dollars on property litigation while preaching the "gospel" of inclusion and diversity, and then watches as dozens of parishes they fought for and won in the courts, now stands idle and empty?

Take a look at what has happened in the Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin. The diocese and national church together spent just over $6 million litigating for properties and then having won them, 25 now sit empty, with the real kicker being that the diocese has in fact now got only TWO viable parishes with full time rectors. And they dragged a bishop up from New Zealand to be a part-time overseer for these and a handful of part-time parishes that will soon enough join the 25 already out of business. Any fiduciary would have a blue fit.

The biggest lie of course is that we were repeatedly told that they were preserving them for future generations. What generations? Who? Millennials, Gen Exers? They're not coming.

So, what moral authority does a presiding bishop have preaching his Jesus Movement message while spending millions of dollars litigating for properties that will lie fallow at the end of the day once they have been taken away from faithful congregations. Unless a deal is cut in South Carolina and mediation works to benefit all sides, the same thing will happen again. At stake is over half a billion dollars' worth of real estate.

How can Curry possibly talk about reconciliation, love and inclusion, (with a straight face) when an entire diocese has 25 empty churches taken back at a cost of over $6 million dollars only to learn that the diocese in question has two viable parishes, with full time priests. You can read Canon lawyer Allan Haley's fine piece on this here. It's entitled A Pyrrhic Victory: http://www.virtueonline.org/pyrrhic-victory-san-joaquin

One must also ask, what depth of hypocrisy is it that Michael Curry can talk about climate change while his bishops increase their carbon footprint jetting off to Taiwan and Alaska, fight with a former CEO (Stacy Sauls) over money and reputation, ignore another bishop - Bishop Michael J. Hanley of Oregon -- who stands accused of assaulting a female priest, sex discrimination, age discrimination and appropriating funds, and then jet off to Scotland to meet with your counterpart in the Scottish Episcopal Church and make nice, while failing to see that these two primates have torn the fabric of the communion by allowing and promoting homoerotic marriage!

There is little or no realization the headache this causes the deeply conflicted Justin Welby, who knows full well that this is another marker for GAFCON and another nail in the coffin of the Anglican Communion.

Not to be deterred, the Episcopal Church announced this week that it is awarding some $421,000 towards Church Planting and Mission Enterprise Zones Grants. Chump change bearing in mind what the church has spent on lawsuits. The deeper question is, will it work? If you don't offer up a life changing encounter with Christ but rail on about racism, white privilege and a whole host of social justice issues and gay marriage, who will come? If so, why and for how long?

Then there are the Stewardship of Creation grants that you can apply for that will definitely make your parish grow. Here are a couple of samples;
• St. David's Episcopal Church, Friday Harbor, WA. Is establishing a community composting program for the church campus: $2,364.

• St. Mark's and St. John's Episcopal Church, NY. Communication, theological resources and a meditation bench for the hoop house project: $2,800.

The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a place where you can poop and meditate at the same time. I suggest, if you are really serious and in need of cash, that a liberal lay person reading this should seek a grant to take lessons from former PB Frank Griswold on how to do the Circle Dance of Dispossession. If you are really smart, you should ask for at least $50,000 so you can go out and teach others. A real church growing moment not to be lost. The HOB definitely needs a refresher course.

*****

The Diocese of South Carolina (the diocese of Bishop Mark Lawrence) got support this week from 106 religious leaders who filed an Amicus Brief in support of the diocesan, petitioning for a rehearing.

It supports our understanding of proper application of neutral principles of law and explains the negative consequences of the current ruling on church property issues, a press release said.

In part, the brief states, "'If ownership no longer turns on publicly recorded deeds and trust instruments, but on the meaning of internal church rules and relationships, no one can know for certain who owns church property."

You can read the full brief here: http://www.diosc.com/sys/images/documents/tec/2017_11_10_amicus_brief.pdf

As one historian noted, this is the most destructive event in the 222-year history of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. Indeed.

*****

500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to a church door in Germany. He did it because the church had become corrupt.

Earlier this week, a Declaration was fixed to several cathedral doors in England because, it is alleged, the Established Church is becoming corrupt. The Church of England claims it has not changed its doctrine, but its practice on the ground has already changed: clergy are already adopting lifestyles which are not biblical and teaching that such lifestyles are holy in the sight of God.

This revisionism is causing a crisis not only in Southwark Diocese, but across the whole of the Church of England. It is weakening and destroying the church as it has done in the United States of America and Canada. When the church redefines sin and eliminates repentance, it can no longer offer the good news of eternal salvation from sin in Jesus; the church no longer remains distinctively Christian; it is no longer salt and light in the world - see Matthew 5:13.

The Southwark Declaration has been signed by a good proportion of clergy and Parochial Church Councils of Southwark Diocese, affirming and defending traditional teachings about the Bible and marriage and the kind of relationships God wants for his people.

The bishops of the Church of England now have a very narrow window - from now until General Synod next February - to regain the confidence of Bible believing Anglicans in this country and around the world and to avoid a rupture in the church, say evangelical church leaders.

It is often said: Leadership abhors a vacuum. Where leaders refuse to repent and submit themselves to the Word of God, the Lord raises up new leadership for His church and new structures: just as He did through Martin Luther 500 years ago.

You can read the man responsible for posting these theses to cathedral doors here: http://virtueonline.org/church-england-priest-confessses-posting-canterbury-cathedral

You can read Bishop Gavin Ashenden's excellent analysis here: http://www.virtueonline.org/judgement-and-church-england

Adding fuel to the fire of the Church of England,Lorna Ashworth, an evangelical member of General Synod and a member of the Archbishops' Council, resigned this week, saying that she was "no longer willing to sit around the table, pretending that we, as a governing body of the Church of England, are having legitimate conversations about mission."

As she said in July, in what will now be her final speech at General Synod; "As a corporate body we have become unable to articulate the saving message of Jesus Christ which fully encompasses the reality of sin, repentance and forgiveness -- without this message we do not teach a true gospel and people do not get saved."

In her resignation letter she blamed, "an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness" and "an agenda of revisionism which "is masked in the language of so-called 'good disagreement,'" for her decision.

Lorna Ashworth is not alone in her concerns and she said that many were calling on the bishops of the Church of England to offer clear and courageous biblical leadership.

A realignment is quietly going on in the Church of England, such as we saw in North America. It may take a while, but it is underway and it won't be stopped. There are a number of forces at work like REFORM, AMIE, GAFCON, Church Society and smaller Anglican groups that could coalesce in time. Of course, if the larger evangelical parishes decide to withhold money from liberal dioceses it could accelerate matters.

You can read Ms. Ashworth's letter of resignation here: http://tinyurl.com/y883d4s7

You can also read Bishop Gavin Ashenden's fine analysis of her resignation here: http://www.virtueonline.org/anglican-christian-resistance-resignation-lorna-ashworth

The Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas issued the following statement saying; "I am very sorry that Lorna is resigning. She is a good friend and has been a brave, lively and winsome voice in the General Synod and Archbishop's Council, as she has urged us all to remain faithful to the Word of God.

*****

The Diocese of Los Angeles announced a plan for resuming the use of St. James, Newport Beach, a dispute that saw a bishop tossed out of the church. Members of the Church have not worshipped in the building since mid-summer 2015.

The property has been at the heart of disciplinary proceedings this year against Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno for his attempts to sell the church, and members of St. James have been forced to worship in a Civic Center community room while the property remains in dispute.

Los Angeles Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor and the Rev. Rachel Anne Nyback, president of the diocese's Standing Committee, said in October that the diocese would help St. James the Great regain mission status, but such efforts did not include the immediate return of the congregation's pastor, the Rev. Cindy Evans Voorhees. That has apparently changed and Voorhees will be allowed to return with her small band of followers.

The statement released this week said that after St. James the Great regains mission status, it will be invited to resume use of the church, and Taylor will name Voorhees vicar. The diocese also plans to use part of the facility for its Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries.

*****

Scottish Episcopalians appointed their first female bishop this week, thus confirming its place solidly in the camp of liberal Anglicanism.

The Episcopal Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church elected the Rev Canon Anne Dyer as the new Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney. Canon Dyer is Rector of Holy Trinity church, Haddington (since 2011). Her wider church involvement includes being a member of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Council and a member of General Synod.

Being in the first group of women for each of these Orders, Canon Dyer was ordained Deacon in 1987 and Priest in 1994 in Rochester. She served as Warden of Cranmer Hall, Durham and before that was Ministry Development Officer in the Diocese of Rochester. Prior to ordination, Anne Dyer read Chemistry at St Anne's College, Oxford, and was a Business Systems Analyst with Unilever before training for ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and studying theology at King's College, London.

Canadian Primate Fred Hiltz wondered this week what St. Paul would make of the Anglican Church of Canada as it thinks about considering marrying people of the same sex. Canadian blogger Samizdat says it is akin to pondering whether Karl Marx would approve of Walmart.

"Any Christian whose thought processes are still anchored in the reality our familiar old four-dimensional space-time continuum knows the answer. It is the one thing Paul and Marx would have in common: the strength of their respective loathing for same-sex activity and Walmart."

Hiltz made the comment in an address that began and ended by wondering what St. Paul might think of the church, what advice he might give it and how he might pray for it.

Quoth Hiltz; "On the church's deliberation over changing its marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage, for example, Paul might remind it of his counsel to the Ephesians to be "humble and gentle and patient with one another, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3)."
In an interview with The Anglican Journal, Hiltz said it was partly the idea of the importance of good leadership in the church at this point in its history that had prompted him to imagine what the apostle might think if he were to look at it "with a penetrating eye."
Hiltz concluded his address by speculating that St. Paul might pray for the Canadian church as he prayed for the Ephesians, "that we understand the incredible greatness of God's power--that we might have power to comprehend how wide, and how long, and how high and how deep is God's love for us in Christ; that we be filled with that knowledge and in and through it live our lives and do the work to which God calls us."

Oddly enough, the apostle gives us a hint in I Cor. 6:18; "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body." Of course, it might have been a number of years since Hiltz read Paul's two letters. But the culture long ago overwhelmed Scripture in the Anglican Church of Canada as its primary source, so why should we be surprised .

It will probably come as no surprise that the Church of England's two most notorious pansexualists claim they were sexually abused in their earlier lives. Colin Coward, former head of Changing Attitude, a gay advocacy group and Jayne Ozanne, a lesbian, both publicly stated they were abused and the solution is to now accept their changed sexual preferences, get the church to change its mind and reject the possibility of sexual healing. The Archbishop of Canterbury has floated the idea that "good disagreement" would allow their position and the orthodox biblical position to co-exist. It's nonsense of course. The Law of Non-Contradiction forbids it.

Coward has now gone a step further and wants you to believe that homophobic violence, prejudice and criminal laws held and practiced by Global South archbishops like Primate Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, are to blame for his need for acceptance.

In a byline story, http://tinyurl.com/ybja4bc4 Coward complains bitterly about former British colonial nations' alleged homophobia because they oppose, on biblical grounds, homosexual behavior that violates not only their cultures but everything the church has ever taught for 2000 years. Coward wants them to repent of their alleged homophobia.

Coward says he was abused by a priest when he was 16, but did not report it. He should have. To go from there to demanding that his being a homosexual and should therefore be accepted, is a bit like saying a person with cancer should have his or her cancer accepted and promoted, without anyone looking for a cure. It is a reductio ad absurdum argument. You can read my full story here: http://www.virtueonline.org/changing-attitude-unchanging-truth

On a more positive note, I had the privilege recently of interviewing one of Sudan's Lost Boys. The Rev. John Daau came to the Philadelphia area and we sat down and talked about growing up in his war-torn country.

What's it like to grow up in the midst of a Civil War that never ends? What's it like to see people die every day of bullet wounds, hunger, starvation, malnutrition and sheer hopelessness? What's it like to see a nation torn in two over oil, and when it is finally resolved, watch as tribal wars begin and the bloodshed just goes on and on.

Fr. Daau has seen it all first hand. He was one of over 40,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were displaced or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War between 1983--2005, where nearly 2 million were killed and millions more were displaced. Of the 30,000 Lost Boys only 10,000 survived, John was one of them.

Fr. Daau dodged death on more than one occasion, saw his village invaded and destroyed, became an orphan, ran and hid in the wilderness and refugee camps of East Africa. As an orphan and refugee, John was denied every advantage of life. But then God stepped in and made a way for him in the midst of the carnage and miraculously he received an education and a call to be a minister of the gospel. Christ transformed his life. In 2004, John responded to the call on his life and became an Anglican priest. You can read my story here: http://tinyurl.com/yd868n76

*****

Recently I announced our exciting new project to overhaul VirtueOnline: we plan add many elements and features needed to bring the website to the next level, and address whatever was not working on the current site. That campaign is now live! We have called it VIRTUEONLINE 2.0

https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/help-build-virtueonline-2-0-thank-david-virtue

The Challenge

Over the last twenty years in the trenches, VirtueOnline has seen it all, and you've been there right alongside with us. With the Anglican Realignment becoming a magnificent reality, the Gospel once more has a chance of being safe; yet the forces marshaled against it are gathering and they are very mighty. It is clear that we need to do much more, do it better, and do it faster. The faithful are called to do their utmost like never before. There is much that we at VOL must be better at:

• We don't live on social media -- at all. With e-mail we reach thousands of people every week, yet we might as well not exist on much more relevant and vital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium.
• We write a lot, but how much of it has an impact? Some sections of VOL no longer serve a purpose, or could be done much better.
• The VOL platform is not helping us understand what you read, what you choose not to read, and how we can be more helpful to you.
• The website is outdated and a refresh is long overdue, and many of you have told me that!
In short, to make a lot more impact for global orthodox Anglicanism, VirtueOnline needs to do better, and do more.

Building VirtueOnline 2.0

We are launching an exciting crowdfund campaign to completely overhaul and upgrade VirtueOnline, its content, publishing, and social media strategy for the future. We're calling it "VirtueOnline 2.0", which will:

• revamp the VOL website, analyzing all of the major sections and taking away content that nobody reads.
• formulate a major social-media strategy, giving VOL a far greater exposure on channels where people actually live today.
• improve VOL's content strategy, helping David produce articles that people are actually interested in.
• upgrade VOL's antiquated email-list system to new/emerging platforms with the most-efficient distribution.
• build a brand-new website for VOL. We want to make it look like The New York Times!
• hire staff to help bring VOL into the new era: content staff, social-media staff, technology platform staff, etc.

Our goal is to raise $40,000.

Stretch Goal: $60,000.

NEW WEBSITE!

If we reach the goal of $60,000, VirtueOnline will have attained sufficient resources to build a totally new website and a fresh brand identity for VirtueOnline from the ground up, as well as completely updating the server hosting, Content Management platforms, e-mail organization, and more.

Stretch Goal: $80,000.

NEW VOL STAFF

If we reach the goal of $80,000, VirtueOnline will have raised the funds to undertake a major staffing campaign to grow and expand the volume of articles, social presence, and technological savvy. Local cities and towns have countless colleges and universities (UPenn, Villanova, St. Joseph's, Temple, over eighty in number); we will build relationships with those universities, and bring young fresh eyes to work on VOL. This will be the ground where future interns and part-time VOL staffers, journalists, reporters, designers, and technologists will be found.

https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/help-build-virtueonline-2-0-thank-david-virtue

Please go to ww.virtueonline.org for the latest stories. I post several new stories daily.

In Christ,

David

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