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GAFCON Launched in Ireland * South American Archbishop Blasts Liberals * Police Drop Bishop Bell Investigation * New Primate for Central America * GAFCON Primates Communique Stresses Orthodoxy in Faith & Morals * CofE Gay Dean Seeks Bishopric in Scotland

The God of the covenants. An understanding of the Bible is impossible without an understanding of the two covenants. After all, our Bibles are divided in half, into the Old and New Testaments, meaning the Old and New 'Covenants'. A covenant is a solemn agreement between God and men, by which he makes them his people and promises to be their God. God established the old covenant through Moses and the new covenant through Christ, whose blood ratified it. The old (Mosaic) covenant was based on law; but the new (Christian) covenant, foreshadowed through Abraham and foretold through Jeremiah, is based on promises. In the law God laid the responsibility on men and said 'thou shalt ... thou shalt not...' but in the promise God keeps the responsibility himself and says 'I will ... I will ...' --- John R. W. Stott

Public acceptance of same-sex marriage presupposed the normalization of homosexuality, and the normalization of homosexuality presupposed the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution--a combination of sexual liberty and second-wave feminism--remade opinions about family life that had long governed the American family. -- Scott Yenor

Dear Brothers and sisters
www.virtueonline.org
April 27, 2018

EPISCOPAL leaders are desperate for a turnaround to their Church's fortunes as they recognize that the present narrative has not been working for the past three presiding bishops.

The latest Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, was hoisted into place because Episcopalians were frantic for a way forward, because to stay the present course will see them out of business in the next 12 years. All the demographics point in that direction.

All the talk now is of evangelism, prompted and pushed by Curry, who has made it the cornerstone of his ministry. Everywhere you turn there is talk of the Jesus movement and evangelism, even though evangelism is not that kind of evangelism. There is less talk about the plethora of social issues, though racism and white privilege hover near the top of the PB's agenda; but the talk now is about "transformation" and "going deeper" and "learning powerful tools for relational evangelism" and "intentional welcome for newcomers." Now, one hears talk of networking and "exploring theological truths" and practicalities of the same...of inviting, welcoming and connecting.

None of this talk was remotely on the lips of Jefferts Schori, Frank Griswold or Ed Browning, but with Curry, the Church is banking that he can pull a rabbit out of the hat and save the Church.

It can't and won't happen, because while eulogizing and talking up the hope for new converts with "evangelism", TEC is, at the same time, pressing the case for same-sex marriage rites that could prove deal breakers and set in motion the final unraveling of the Anglican Communion!

The evangelical South American Archbishop Gregory Venables tore into western Anglicanism in Belfast recently at the launching of a new Irish GAFCON branch when he said, "We need (as a church) to go out and TELL... there are people out there who need a Savior. Anglicanism is based on the Word of God; the Bible is our authority. Help us stand firm in your truth so that others might come to salvation."

"The Bible says come as you are, but it never says stay as you are," continued Oxford priest Vaughan Roberts.

Therein lies the problem. TEC's leadership does not want homosexuals and lesbians to give up their behavior that does not comport with "justice" or "inclusivity" or "diversity", and therein lies the great demarcation line between ACNA and TEC, GAFCON and Canterbury, and GAFCON and most of the pro-pansexual West.

Simply put, Curry and Venables have two very different definitions of evangelism.

You can read my full take on this here: https://tinyurl.com/y6wcmsdz

*****

Archbishop Justin Welby is not happy or comfortable with GAFCON, as it has already overtaken him in raw numbers of Anglicans who support GAFCON than those who support him. Numerically, Welby has more provinces, but that could change with time.

His comment on the recent GAFCON Ireland launching speaks volumes. He said GAFCON is a "ginger group", a put down if ever there was one. In case you were wondering what a "ginger group" is, allow me to explain. A ginger group is a formal or informal group within an organization, seeking to influence its direction and activity. The term also means office-holders still support its general goals.

So, GAFCON is not a body that can add or subtract provinces in the Anglican Communion. Thus, the statements about Brazil (Recife) and ACNA as part of the Anglican Communion are false, according to Welby. GAFCON is, of course, free to recognize provinces outside the communion.

Not surprisingly, Venables said GAFCON was the only game in town for faithful Anglicans, words that no doubt stuck in the craw of Welby.

*****

The GAFCON Primates' Council meeting in Entebbe issued a Communique that was pretty well much what you might expect. They said the upcoming Jerusalem 2018 meeting will be about proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations. They welcomed a new Province in Brazil (Recife) and a new branch in Ireland.

They also grieved that the October 2017 Primates' Meeting in Canterbury Communique did not accurately describe the relationships that have been broken by The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Scottish Episcopal Church. "These provinces have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion. They are not walking together with us. The Communique also did not accurately describe the Anglican Church in North America, which we recognized as a Province in the Anglican Communion. In addition, in addressing cross-border interventions, the Communique failed to recognize that there is no moral equivalence between border crossing, which arises "from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation", and the innovations themselves (Dar es Salaam Communique 2007).

"We were disappointed both in the content of the Communique and the process of its production. The Communique was not made available until the very last day of the meeting, and there was not adequate time to consider its content. At the moment when trust between the provinces of the Anglican Communion is exceptionally fragile, this was not an event that facilitated healing and reconciliation. Instead, the Primates' Meeting in Canterbury has contributed to a deepening of the divide in our beloved Communion."

You can read the full statement here: https://tinyurl.com/y9qs93j5

*****

A blockbuster moment came this week when it was reported by the British Press that proposals to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into TEC's Book of Common Prayer (BCP) will increase pressure in the Church of England to "dissociate" itself, warned William Nye, secretary general of the Archbishops' Council.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church's Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Nye writes that, if the rites -- written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples -- are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, "the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC (The Episcopal Church), in all manner of ways, would increase". Such a move would also be "potentially damaging" to work in the CofE to create a new teaching document on sexuality, he writes.

He goes on to warn that, if provision is not made for traditionalists in The Episcopal Church, it would be a "serious blow for interfaith relations, negatively impacting Christians around the world especially in areas where they are persecuted minorities, as well as harming the stringent efforts to reinforce moderation in religious expression in countries like ours which are affected by terrorism". The Episcopal Church's promulgation of the new liturgies is, he writes, "at the least, unhelpful to those of us seeking to bring the Church of England's deliberations to a good outcome".

This was a red rag to TEC's pansexualists; pro-LGBT Anglicans hit back at suggestions the Church of England's gay-friendly sister church in America could be booted out of the global Anglican Communion over its stance on same-sex weddings.

The lobby group led by lesbian priestess Susan Russell responded with "anger, frustration and disappointment". The Church was being judged and found "sorely wanting" for its attitude to same-sex couples, she expostulated.

"No-one is attracted to a group of Christians who profess the love of Christ but seem incapable of recognizing it in the loving, committed relationships of two people."

Seven Anglican provinces, including the CofE, responded to TEC's consultation and six of them said such a change would have a negative effect.

The Primate of Tanzania, Most Rev Jacob Erasto Chimeledya, said: "From now onward be informed that we are not having any church partnership. Please do not write me back on this matter."

However, TEC seems content to push ahead undeterred by the criticism from fellow Anglican provinces. The changes will be discussed in July.

This can only end badly. GAFCON will continue to grow; western pan Anglicanism will continue to sink into the sunset. You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/ycmakpfr

*****

If you want to know how Nigerians really feel about the compromising Welby, then you will want to read what one journalist had to say about the "same-sex-marriage-loving" confused English archbishop after he sat down with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for a chat in Lambeth Palace. President Buhari literally ripped into Welby and said the confused English Archbishop deserves to be hung, drawn, quartered and burnt at the stake! "You have defecated on the memories and the sacrifice of the martyrs and pissed all over the holy scriptures. I have nothing but contempt for your weakness and inability to preserve and protect the gospel" blasted the journalist. You can read the full account here: https://tinyurl.com/yd7hk8r7

*****

A police investigation into former bishop of Chichester, George Bell, has been dropped amid criticism of the Archbishop of Canterbury for smearing his name.

Sussex Police told the Daily Telegraph that they were no longer investigating a new allegation which was referred to them earlier this year.

A spokesman said the investigation "was completed in March 2018" and added "of course further police investigation or action is not possible as Bishop Bell died 60 years ago".

An independent review released last year by Lord Carlile found that Bishop Bell had been besmirched by the church in 2015 when officials released a statement formally apologizing over allegations of abuse made by a woman who is now in her seventies.

It also paid out £16,800 to the woman, known as Carol, for the alleged sexual abuse over a period of four years, beginning when she was five years old.

Archbishop Welby has stuck to his guns on his statement that Bell had a "significant cloud ... over his name" after the publication of the Carlile review. "I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile's review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case," Welby said.

The Diocese of Chichester has had a long history of failures in child protection practice. A submission by the national church's Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Chichester (March 5-23) said Chichester had fallen far short of what was to be expected, and that the church could and should have done better at the time, and that it failed to protect children and respond properly to survivors.

This is a bad case of pedophile fever wherein Justin Welby totally over reached himself and assumed blame on a spotless man's career and life, where there was none. You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/y969hpxy

Here is what Canon Chris Sugden had to say: "The actions of the Church of England leadership over Bishop Bell have been determined by seeking to 'appease' a secular culture that is quick to condemn, has forgotten 'innocent till proven guilty' and the commandment against false witness, issues instant red cards, and knows nothing of repentance, forgiveness and transformation. What witness is the Church bearing to this culture?"

*****

It was the week that saw the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush, a lifelong Episcopalian. Mary Ann Mueller, VOL's Texas-based correspondent has written a moving account of the funeral with some interesting facts and figures about the church she was eulogized in. Here is what she wrote: "Bush-41 is the last living Episcopal president. There have been 11 throughout history, starting off with George Washington. St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston is the most well-attended Episcopal parish in the country with more than 2,000 weekly attenders. (It claims 9,000 on the books.) You can read her account here: https://tinyurl.com/y943xmr2

*****

Tammie Jo Shults--the pilot who guided Flight 1380 to the ground April 17 after a midflight engine failure shot debris through a window, killing one passenger--is a recognizable figure at the Texas Hill Country church, which averages 900 in worship. She has led the children's worship program at First Baptist and taught Sunday School for children, middle schoolers, high schoolers and adults, said Staci Thompson, a longtime friend and administrative assistant in the church office.

Thompson said Shults long has evidenced a heart for evangelism and ministries of compassion. She has provided housing for hurricane victims and widows, helps care for her disabled younger sister and her husband's elderly mother, and shares her faith in Christ with co-captains on Southwest flights.

Now you didn't read that in the secular media did you?

*****

The annual Synod of the Missionary Diocese of CANA East will be held at Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY, from May 3-5. Some 39 congregations from Maine to Miami and from Tulsa to Long Island will gather together under the leadership of Bishop Julian Dobbs.

In attendance will be Dr. Ashley Null. who is considered the world's leading voice on Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, martyr and founder of the English reformation. Dr. Null teaches regularly in seminaries and churches in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia. You can read my interview with Dr. Null here: https://tinyurl.com/ycnyallb

*****

The Anglican Communion News Service reported this week that Bishop Julio Murray was elected the new Primate of the province of Central America (IARCA). He was unanimously chosen during the province's Sixth synod which was held in San Jose, Costa Rica. The province includes five dioceses: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama.

Bishop Julio is currently the bishop of Panama -- a role he will continue to fulfil -- as well as interim bishop of Costa Rica. He succeeds Archbishop Sturdie Downs, who stepped down earlier this year. His installation service is expected to take place in Panama in August.

In an interview with the Anglican Communion News Service, Bishop Julio spoke of his surprise and delight at being chosen for the role and said he thanked God for the opportunity to serve as the province's 'chief pastor'. Looking ahead, he pledged to continue what he called 'kingdom business' across the province.

"It is important to continue to empower young people, women, men as disciples of the gospel of Jesus Christ," he said. "We have been a people of hope and we are not going to stop ... because the kingdom business is here to stay. And we want to be prepared, as disciples, to make our contribution as disciples of Jesus Christ.

"We are a vibrant church. We are a small church but we are well respected (in society). We have been called several times to be part of conflict resolution -- so we are taken seriously. And we are an inclusive church - we want to be a church that walks with those who have historically been excluded. We want to work with people who are usually excluded from the table where decisions are made -- so that they can have a voice."

VOL inquired as to where this primate stands on the hot button issues and was told by an ACNA bishop that "he is more with us than against us."

TEC has been pouring money into Central America for years to keep these mostly orthodox bishops and priests in line. They are unlikely to bite the hand that feeds them. They mostly stay under TEC's radar on hot button issues.

*****

Jeffrey John, the homosexual dean of St Albans Cathedral, is determined to wear a purple shirt. He has been trying hard enough over the years. Now he has been shortlisted as one of four possible candidates to be bishop of Brechin, in the Scottish Anglican church. Dr. John has been passed over after having been shortlisted seven times over his career.

The Scottish Episcopal Church changed its laws on marriage last year to allow same-sex couples to marry in church and allow gay priests to get married as well.

In a sign of its shift in stance since then, another openly homogenital cleric, Chris Newlands, vicar at Lancaster Priory, is also listed as a candidate to be bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane.

*****

Half of Americans believe their lives are planned by God, a new survey suggests, with only a quarter saying God hardly ever determines the course of their life.

As many as 27 per cent say God always determines what happens to them and 21 per cent say God is behind most of what happens to them, the study found.

It is part of wider research by the Washington-based Pew Research Center into what Americans believe about God.

The study questioned more than 4,700 US adults and found that while 80 per cent say they believe in God, only a slim majority (56 per cent) say they believe in the God of the Bible. A third say that while they do not believe in the God of the Bible, they do believe in some other higher power or spiritual force.

The survey examined what Americans believe about God and found 80 per cent think God has protected them -- a similar proportion who said they believe in some form of deity -- while two-thirds say they have been rewarded by God. Fewer Americans see God as judgmental with just six in 10 saying God will judge all people on what they have done, and four in 10 say they have been punished by God or the spiritual force they believe is at work in the universe.

When broken down into those who believed in the God of the Bible and those who believed in some form of higher power, those who held to a 'biblical' view tend to see a more powerful, knowing, benevolent and active deity.

Among those who believe in the God of the Bible, 97 per cent say God loves all people compared to 69 per cent of those who believe in a higher power. 94 per cent say God knows everything, compared to 53 per cent of those who believe in a higher power; 70 per cent say he determines what happens compared to 25 per cent.

*****

In six weeks I and my team will head out the door to Jerusalem to cover GAFCON III, the greatest Anglican moment of this year, perhaps in the last five years. But we do need your support and help to get us there.

If you can make a tax-deductible donation of any amount we would be truly grateful.

You can make a donation here:

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Donate link
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