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GAFCON Primates Will Consecrate Bishop for Europe * Scottish Episcopal Church Votes to Change Canon Approving Same-Sex Marriage * Diocese of Caledonia Capitulates to Revisionist Canadian Bishops. Drops Worley * God Sustains Two churches in Tough Times

A unique witness. What we hold, therefore, is this. The witness of the apostles to Christ was accurate (not corrupt), authorized by Christ (not the church), and unique (not repeatable). The church needs to assert today the uniqueness not only of the Christ-event, but of the apostolic witness to the Christ-event. We know nothing of Christ but what the apostles have given us. We cannot know Christ or reach Christ in any other way, except through the apostles. It is through their witness that we have come to believe in Christ, and so receive life in his name. --- John R. W. Stott

We have the saved and the unsaved. The godly and the ungodly. The righteous and the unrighteous. The redeemed and the lost. And this is found in the earliest biblical accounts of man. Just as soon as Adam and Eve fell, God told them about a divided humanity which would be continuous, extending throughout the generations. --- Bill Muehlenberg

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
June 9, 2017

Slowly the ecclesiastical noose tightens around the neck of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Sources tell VOL that Welby's attitude and behavior has become like "a thug" in dealing with any opposition to his Anglican reconciliation views on which he has poured out his diminishing capital.

And the harder he tries, the worse it all becomes. He has Sarah Snyder as his new Advisor for Reconciliation, Bishop Graham Kings, his mission theologian reconciler, his ACC consigliore, Josiah Fearon, along with a host of moderate corporatist bishops pushing the cause of reconciliation. However, the more he pushes this, the worse it becomes.

As a sop to evangelicals, Welby placed a miter on the head of the Rev. Rod Thomas to placate the conservative wing of the Church of England, but that has clearly failed to galvanize them. To prove the point, we have emergent movements like the Anglican Mission in England, (AMiE) a new Anglican bishop in Jesmond and now, horror of horrors, an Anglican bishop who will have hands laid upon him by GAFCON primates from the Global South including Africa, South America and Sydney, Australia.

They made the announcement in Edinburgh, Scotland this week, and who should lead the charge but the Anglican Church in North America primate the Most Rev. Foley Beach.

He held a press conference with Canon Andy Lines, the soon to be new Bishop of Europe and the Rev. David McCarthy, Rector, St. Thomas Church, Edinburgh and a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) right after the SEC announced it was changing its marriage Canon 31 to accommodate same-sex marriage.

It was all predictable of course, the SEC is following the Episcopal church and the Church of Wales. Same sex marriages have been allowed by law in England and Wales for more than a year but are not permitted in the church. No matter, give it time and they will all roll over. It is written. But where?

The Scottish Episcopal Church will become the first mainstream Christian denomination in the UK to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Its general synod voted to allow clergy to marry gay couples in a move that leaves the small church at odds with the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The move, following a historic debate in Edinburgh, means same-sex couples could be married in the church as early as this autumn.

It will also allow gay Christians from any Anglican church to ask to be married in Scotland's Anglican church.

Clergy who want to officiate at gay marriages will have to "opt-in", and the church said this meant that those who disagreed with the change would not have to act against their conscience.

Here's how they voted:

The three "houses" of the Scottish Episcopal Church's General Synod - Bishops, Clergy and Laity -- had to vote in favor with a two thirds majority. The narrowest margin was in the House of Clergy. The results were as follows:

For Against

Bishops (4) - 80% Bishops (1) -- 20%

Clergy (42) - 67.7% Clergy (20) -- 32.3%

Laity (50) - 80.6% Laity (12) -- 19.4%

For the record the Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) for the entire province is 12,511 with Edinburgh having the largest share 4571, fully one third of the province.

A statement from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, following Scottish Episcopal Church vote was a statement of yet more fence-sitting.

"The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law. The Scottish Episcopal Church is one of 38, soon to be 39, provinces covering more than 165 countries around the world.

"Today's decision by the SEC to approve changes to canon law on marriage is not a surprise, given the outcome of the vote at its Synod a year ago. There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican Communion but this puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman."

Then he said this: "This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The Anglican Communion's position on human sexuality is set out very clearly in Resolution 1.10 agreed at the Lambeth conference of 1998 and will remain so unless it is revoked.

"As Secretary General, I want the churches within the Anglican Communion to remain committed to walking together in the love of Christ and to working out how we can maintain our unity and uphold the value of every individual in spite of deeply-held differences. It is important to stress the Communion's strong opposition to the criminalization of LGBTIQ+ people."

Of course that is not going to happen. GAFCON has dealt a fatal blow to unity and so the polarization will continue.

"The primates of the Communion will be meeting in Canterbury in October. I am sure today's decision will be among the topics which will be prayerfully discussed. There will be no formal response to the SEC's vote until the primates have met."

Of course not, but the GAFCON primates will plough on persuading more and more primates to separate themselves spiritually from Canterbury. The latest departure to GAFCON was the new primate of Bangladesh, Paul Sarker, who found himself feted by Archbishop Foley Beach in company with Bishop Bill Atwood in Atlanta recently. They produced a Joint Statement on Communion which will no doubt irritate the occupant at Lambeth Palace.

That Archbishop Foley Beach is playing such an international role in GAFCON and among orthodox Anglican archbishops is a real slap in the face at both TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and ABC Justin Welby. Who would have thought that things and events would have turned out this way a few short years ago, but here we are?

The Global South is on the rise even as the liberal/revisionist West declines. Pansexuality has not filled churches, it continues to empty them along with aging Episcopalians and demographics that promise no future Millennials or Gen Exers filling churches.

You can read a number of stories about all this here:
http://www.virtueonline.org/edinburgh-rev-canon-andy-lines-named-gafcon-missionary-bishop-europe
http://www.virtueonline.org/scottish-episcopal-church-votes-allow-same-sex-marriage
http://www.virtueonline.org/gafcon-consecration-welby-fiddles-while-sec-burns

*****

Among the stories you will read today will be the story of how two churches survived the bitter ecclesiastical nightmare invoked by the Episcopal Church and how they rose above it all, went on, despite losing their church properties, to do greater things. You can read it here:
How God sustained two faithful churches through tough times

*****

As announced last week, we are slowly transitioning away from all the bad news generated by The Episcopal Church to the good news about what God is doing in the world today through our beloved Anglican Communion by those who remain faithful to the gospel and Scripture. We will not entirely ignore TEC, but they will no longer be the first order of business. The recent actions by GAFCON primates in Edinburgh, Scotland is a sign of the new thing God is doing and there will be more. Stay tuned.

*****

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In Christ,

David

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