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Luther Lives * Oregon Episcopal Bishop Sued * VA Episcopal Parish Removes Plaques of Lee & Washington * Singapore Primate Blasts Absence of ACNA at Canterbury Primates Meeting * PB Curry Backs Colorado against Christian Bakers * Virtueonline 2.0

"I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus, I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen." --- Martin Luther

The offence of the cross. The 'stumbling block of the cross' remains. Sinners hate it because it tells them that they cannot save themselves. Preachers are tempted to avoid it because of its offensiveness to the proud. It is easier to preach man's merits than Christ's, because men greatly prefer it that way. --- John R.W. Stott

Just as every sinner has a future, every saint has a past. --- Oscar Wilde

Past history and present reality. It is by preaching that God makes past history a present reality. The cross was, and will always remain, a unique historical event of the past. And there it will remain, in the past, in the books, unless God himself makes it real and relevant to men today. It is by preaching, in which he makes his appeal to men through men, that God accomplishes this miracle. He opens their eyes to see its true meaning, its eternal value, and its abiding merit. --- John R.W. Stott

Today God is raising up young churches around the world who see mission as their central reason for existence on earth because in worship they have met a missionary God and heard His call to proclaim the Kingdom of God to a lost and needy world --- Paul Hiebert

The true divide in the church today is between those who believe the Christian religion is a faith revealed by God for the salvation of souls and the redemption of the world by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary and those who believe the Christian faith is a man made religion whose purpose is to make the world a better place...kind of like the Rotary Club but with prayers. --- Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
October 27, 2017

REFORMATION 500 is upon us and we are celebrating Martin Luther's abiding 95 Theses and his discovery of Justification by Faith alone through the finished work of Christ at the cross.

It all began with a fellow named Tetzel who was selling indulgences as a ticket to heaven, matched today by preachers like Joel Osteen and Pastor Popov's Miracle Spring Water and other prosperity preachers willing to sell anointed water, candle, oil and handkerchiefs to gullible folk who don't know the difference between an indulgence and an artichoke. Clearly, Tetzel is not dead, he's just reincarnated in America's version of Rome's pre-Reformation decadence. Tetzel sold indulgences, American health and wealth prosperity preachers sell snake oil from Walmart.

The Reformation is still with us even after 500 years and while it is alive, it is hardly well. The 500-year old experiment has fallen on hard times, not because Catholics have been won over, they haven't, but because liberal Protestants don't believe the Great Solas that came out of the Reformation and social gospellers have dispensed with 'amazing grace' in favor of climate change and racist talk. Truth be told, liberal Protestants and liberal Catholics have more in common with each other and orthodox Protestants feel more 'at home' with orthodox Catholics. Strange times in which we live.

While historians debate whether Martin Luther really did nail his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg on this date 500 years ago, we have records that he sent that same document to the Archbishop of Mainz on this day, effectively kicking off the Reformation. So, we commemorate that historic event on the day before All Saints Day to recognize this watershed event in Christian history.

Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, had to put his spin on this historic event by saying "...in this age, where we all now live with great ethnic diversity and religious plurality, I wonder if the way of love that Jesus of Nazareth taught may rise as a key for faithful living. The Internet revolution and the globalization of our lives in virtually every respect now demand that we must find the way to human community and community with the creation itself."

Why new forms of communication should in any way mean a change in the message is bewildering. The printing press and the Internet are mere tools, that is all, and why talk of "human community" and "creation" changes the need for personal repentance and faith is equally bewildering. Interfaithery and sodomy, much heralded by the PB have emptied churches, not filled them, and those churches that do preach an unvarnished gospel in the spirit of Luther are growing and thriving.

Curry's been in office for nearly three years and, while we keep hearing a lot about the Jesus Movement, it doesn't seem to be catching fire. There are no reports of revival fires, of public repentance for sins (except of course for racism and white privilege for which there are endless rants), but nothing along the lines of a Wesley or Luther.

I have posted a number of stories on The Reformation and its impact on the world which you can read at these links.
http://www.virtueonline.org/martin-luthers-american-legacy-500-years-later
http://www.virtueonline.org/three-ways-remember-reformation
http://www.virtueonline.org/defence-offensiveness

Pope Francis celebrated 50 years of dialogue with the World Methodist Council, praising John Wesley for leading people to a "knowledge of Jesus Christ".

Methodism founder, John Wesley, brought many people to Christ through prayer and Bible reading, Pope Francis said. "We are no longer strangers," he said, but rather, through our shared Baptism, "members of the household of God". Pope Francis said his example converted many people to God.

However, he concluded by saying we cannot grow in holiness without "growing in communion".

"Let us prepare ourselves with humble hope and concrete efforts for that full recognition which will enable us to join one another in the breaking of bread together."

SINGAPORE: The official news service of the Anglican Communion, the ACNS, completely ignored the ACNA and REC at a recent Missions Conference in Singapore. Of the 120 delegates to the conference, 75 were from ACNA and its affiliates.

Southeast Asian Archbishop Moon Hing addressing the Diocese of Singapore's Mission Consultation Roundtable said, "When I talk about church planting, I'm not talking about buildings, I'm talking about people," he said. "The cathedral will not last forever -- the people in the cathedral will last forever."

He said discipleship is the best way to counter extremism and terrorism and expressed criticism of the recent Primates' Meeting in Canterbury for ignoring the ACNA. You can read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/y97f42hp

A UK vicar banned Onward Christian Soldiers hymn from Remembrance Sunday service saying it offended non-Christians.

Does the Rev. Steve Bailey think that once it abdicates its own cultural identity, Britain will have any ability to stand up to jihadis and Sharia supremacists?

Furious members of a Royal British Legion club said they would boycott the service at St Peter's Church in Oadby, Leicestershire after the Rev. Bailey banned the hymn.

Participants march into the church to the traditional hymn at the end of the service every year.

Pete Green, chairman of the Oadby Royal British Legion club, said: 'It is absolutely unbelievable. I have been going to Remembrance Services in Oadby since 1967, and Onward, Christian Soldiers has been sung ever year apart from one.

"That was a few years ago, when another vicar tried to ban it. There was uproar then, and there is uproar now," he said.

UNITED STATES

A woman who once worked at the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon is suing her former employer and Bishop Michael J. Hanley for $845,000, accusing him of assaulting a female priest, sex discrimination, age discrimination and misappropriating funds.

Mary Macy, the former finance officer of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, claims she was fired for opposing Hanley's actions and wants the funds he misused to be returned to the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon Foundation. She accused the bishop of misusing money donated by the deceased grandmother of Mayor Ted Wheeler. According to the lawsuit, the foundation managed more than $10 million of her assets. Macy says Hanley assaulted a female priest when he visited her congregation in 2014.

The Oregonian newspaper reported that Mary Macy, who was the top finance officer for the diocese, claims she was fired from her job last year because she spoke up about Hanley. Macy claims in her lawsuit that Hanley allegedly assaulted the Rev. Margaret McMurren in Salem while he visited her congregation, Prince of Peace Episcopal Church, three years ago. You can read the full account of this sad saga here: http://www.virtueonline.org/oregon-episcopal-bishop-oregon-accused-wrongdoing-lawsuit

The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida is waiving payments from its parishes in an effort to extend financial relief for the end of the year, TLC reports. The Rt. Rev. Peter Eaton, Diocesan Bishop, made the announcement, and said the assessments would be waived only for November and December. He said it was possible because of careful stewardship of diocesan resources. "We hope most of all that this will allow our congregations to be able to attend to post-hurricane repairs that are not covered by insurance."

The centuries-old Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, announced it will remove a pair of plaques --- Robert Lee and George Washington --- marking the pews where some of its most famous congregation members sat with their families.

The church marked both men's family pews with small plaques. After a month of deliberation, the Church Vestry, its governing board, voted unanimously to remove the plaques. Washington was one of the founding members of Christ Church in Alexandria, buying pew No. 5 when the church first opened in 1773, and attending for more than two decades.

This week the church announced it was pulling down a memorial to its one-time vestryman and the country's first president, saying he and another famous parishioner, Robert E. Lee, have become too controversial and are chasing away would-be parishioners.

While acknowledging "friction" over the decision, the church's leadership said the twin memorials, which are attached to the wall on either side of the altar, are relics of another era and have no business in a church that proclaims its motto as "All are welcome -- no exceptions."

Apparently now, there are two exceptions -- Washington and Lee.

Now what you might not know is that this church has four, yes four, women priests, as well as another five women lay associates, and a couple of men who look after the buildings, an accountant and youth director. The church is totally top heavy with wimmin.

"The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome. Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques," the church leaders said. REALLY. Plaques make people feel unwelcome and unsafe. That's rich. I would say promoting and preaching the gospel of lesbianism might make men feel unsafe. But who cares, parishes like this will die of political correctness in time.

One knowledgeable commentator noted, "George Washington and Robert E. Lee were two of the finest Christian men of integrity our nation has ever produced. Does this congregation today boast men or women of finer character?" she asks. "Both men willingly laid down their lives to protect the honor of our founding principles."

Are children in the Diocese of Atlanta being groomed for Witchcraft? You might think so if you saw what was going on at the Cathedral of St. Philips in Atlanta. Dean Samuel G. Candler is holding a Costume Blessing 2017 party. "All goblins, princesses, witches, and superheroes are invited to our Halloween costume blessing on Sunday, October 29 from 5--7 p.m. Join us for dinner, fun, and a Halloween procession with treats. We'll eat Farm Burger in Child Hall, then process around the Cathedral, then finish with dessert in the Cloister Garden. Bring or wear your costume to be blessed!" Harmless you say, or the thin end of the pagan wedge.

RACISM. If you listen to PB Michael Curry, you might think that racism is a huge problem in The Episcopal Church and that whites must atone for their white privilege. Well think again.

Karen Harradine has written an article titled Westerners are not the real, hateful racists. Here are a couple of paragraphs from her piece which you can read in full here: http://www.virtueonline.org/westerners-are-not-real-hateful-racists

"If UK and US are such racist places, why are so many trying to migrate to both? When we let professional whingers moan about racism where it doesn't exist, the more complicit we are in allowing real racism to flourish unheeded. This enforced focus on perceived racism in the West means most are blind to real racial injustices in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, such as Bangladeshi slave labour in Qatar, abused Indian maids in Dubai and the growing Islamist slave trade in the Maghreb where black Africans are sold like cattle.

"Racism in the West is minuscule in comparison with the horrific racism I witnessed growing up in apartheid South Africa. The belief that black South Africans were inferior to their white counterparts was sanctified and enforced by law and the fascist state. My fellow Africans truly suffered from the persecution created by racist apartheid. I remember mothers separated from their children for months at a time while they worked as domestic servants in white-only suburbs, their children banished to the dire 'homelands' and brought up by ailing grandmothers in tin huts with no heating or electricity." You can read her full account here: http://www.virtueonline.org/westerners-are-not-real-hateful-racists

Religious freedom be damned. The Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry joined a small handful of leaders of other major religious groups signing an Amicus Brief in support of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) in the United States Supreme Court Case, Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The Supreme Court case focuses on a bakery which refused to make a cake for a reception celebrating a same-sex marriage, an action that Colorado courts determined violated the state's anti-discrimination laws. The owners of the cakeshop say it violates their religious freedom to bake a cake contrary to their Christian beliefs.

In supporting the CCRC, Curry has once again demonstrated that he is on the wrong side of history.

Curry says the action by the cakeshop violates "public accommodations laws", but not apparently religious institutions where houses of worship may exercise religion freely within their walls.

He also says that such laws further religious values by protecting human dignity, by guarding minority groups from the humiliation in the marketplace that arises from being denied service on a discriminatory basis. So, since when is sodomy a right, and when is it discrimination to violate the consciences of Christians who have a biblical world view not shared by Curry about human sexuality.

The couple should go find a baker who will bake them a queer cake, but don't ask Christians who have a conscience about a behavior that God has said NO to, to violate their consciences.

ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach writes that on this 500th anniversary celebrating the beginning of the Reformation, we are in the midst of a new Reformation that is sweeping the globe, not just within Anglicanism, but all of Christendom. People are returning to the plain teaching of the Scriptures and embracing Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior.

"It is in that spirit that I am pleased to commend to you a new resource that has been developed in conjunction with our Lutheran brothers and sisters. Four Pastoral and Educational Affirmations is a study guide produced by The Anglican Church in North America and The North American Lutheran Church which highlights our common understanding of Jesus Christ, the Scriptures, Baptism, and Communion.

If you are part of an Anglican congregation and live in a community where there are also North American Lutheran churches, I encourage you to consider joining together in grassroots ecumenical conversations to deepen your faith by learning more about the biblical truths that we share in common.

Four Pastoral and Educational Affirmations addresses the topics of "Jesus Christ, the Gospel and Justification," "Holy Baptism," "Holy Communion," and "Holy Scripture," with accompanying study guides designed to involve local lay people of all ages in learning, reflection and conversation. All are included in the attached booklet, which may also be accessed online at www.AnglicanChurch.net and printed as hard-copy.

Archbishop Beach hopes these materials will be used for study, reflection and discussion within congregations, families, small groups or other activities within parishes and congregations of ACNA and NALC.

GLOBAL NEWS

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, former Primate of the Anglican Province of Burundi, was installed as the new director of Rome's Anglican Centre by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, during a ceremony at the Oratory of S. Francesco del Caravita on October 26. He is the first African director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He succeeds David Moxon, a liberal NZ bishop put there by Rowan Williams, the former ABC and a liberal himself.

This is a shrewd move by Welby, who is watching African provinces migrate to GAFCON. Sources tell VOL that GAFCON primates are working hard to bring the present Archbishop of Burundi on board. Welby is doing all he can to undermine that possibility. We shall see.

CULTURE WATCH

The Disney Channel is presenting its first gay storyline aimed principally at a preadolescent television audience.

The gay narrative will debut in the youth-oriented cable network's Andi Mack program's second season premiere.

Young male lead character Cyrus will wrestle with his attraction to a male friend, while also having a new girlfriend, a Breitbart report said, opening the door for the 13-year-old to discover his sexuality in subsequent episodes. The median age for viewers of the Disney series is 10-years-old.

Parents might want to watch what their kids watch. Television's seductive power is uncompromising. Your children's spiritual future is at stake. The name of the game is to normalize sodomy and that, dear friends, is alien to the gospel.

A theology professor who escaped a prison sentence despite making the "mistake" of storing indecent images of male youngsters on his domestic computer in March of this year, is back to lecture at Durham University's School of Theology.

Professor Robert Hayward will give a seminar in Old Testament titled: Badgers and Greyhounds? Some Text-linguistic Comments on the Book of Proverbs on November 28, 2017. The lecture is being sponsored by the Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, Durham. Hayward was considered an icon of the Theology department, and one of its longest-serving members of staff.

VOL got in touch with the head of the Durham School of Theology, one Lewis Ayres, who wrote and said Professor Hayward is presenting academic work at one session of a research seminar at the University in November. "This is on an unpaid, voluntary basis. The seminar is attended by academic staff and PhD students who wish to attend. He also said Hayward ran a reading group for PhD students during the academic year but that it was all unpaid." He said Professor Hayward was no longer employed by the University.

However, when Hayward testified in court that he was sexually attracted to young men and is a convicted sex offender, this is callous disregard for the welfare of their students.

*****

Last week 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!

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

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