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Alternative Anglican Communion on Horizon? * ACNA Bishops Oppose Transgender Ideology * Seoul Bishop Calls for Renewal * Canadian Primate to Retire * AMiA Bishop Dies * Archbishop Okoh Optimistic About Nigeria's Future * SEC Row over new Woman Bishop

A foundation principle. Since it is mainly on the facts of creation that Paul bases his case for the husband's headship (Eph. 5:22f.), his argument has permanent and universal validity, and is not to be dismissed as culturally limited. The cultural elements of his teaching are to be found in the applications of the principle, in the requirement of 'veiling' certainly, and I think also in the requirement of 'silence'. But the man's (and especially the husband's) 'headship' is not a cultural application of a principle; it is the foundation principle itself. This is not chauvinism, but creationism. The new creation in Christ frees us from the distortion of relations between the sexes caused by the fall (e.g. Gn. 3:16), but it establishes the original intention of the creation. It was to this 'beginning' that Jesus himself went back (e.g. Mt. 19:4-6). He confirmed the teaching of Genesis 1 and 2. So must we. What creation established, no culture is able to destroy. --- John R. W. Stott

Biological sex is not assigned. Sex is determined at conception by our DNA and is stamped into every cell of our bodies. Human sexuality is binary. You either have a normal Y chromosome, and develop into a male, or you don't, and you will develop into a female. There are at least 6,500 genetic differences between men and women. Hormones and surgery cannot change this. --- Bill Muehlenberg

Jesus did not come to gratify people's innate desires, he called people to repent of sin. --- Robert Gagnon.

Headship and responsibility. On the one hand, headship must be compatible with equality. For if 'the head of the woman is man' as 'the head of Christ is God', then man and woman must be equal as the Father and the Son are equal. On the other hand, headship implies some degree of leadership, which, however, is expressed not in terms of 'authority' but of 'responsibility'. --- John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
January 12, 2018

Alternative Anglican church looms large in the shadows, screamed a headline in The Times (London). Arch traditionalists are preparing to break away if the Church of England goes 'too far' down the road of modernization, the article opined.

Last month a group of hardline conservative Christians ordained nine men as deacons and priests in the clearest sign yet that they are threatening to set up a breakaway Anglican church, said the story.

The ordinations last month were carried out by the AMiE led by Bishop Andy Lines, ordained as a GAFCON "missionary bishop to Europe" by the Anglican Church in North America last summer, although he had been privately warned by the Archbishop of Canterbury that this does not give him any more authority in Anglican churches.

Now you will note the language used by The Times. Phrases like "arch traditionalist" and "hardline conservatives". These are pejorative terms. These Anglicans are simply orthodox Anglicans conserving and holding on to that which is true. Call them 'upholders' or 'preservationists' if you will, but they are not breaking away from 'the faith once for all delivered to the saints'. They are the true upholders of the faith; it is the other side that has departed from the faith, causing eruptions by ordaining women to the episcopacy, proposing gay marriage and much more.

Secular newspapers unfairly brandish and label true believers as the nasties who won't cooperate. Truth is, it is Justin Welby who is making the compromises and then wonders why he gets opposition statements from archbishops like Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, who, month by month, notes the weakening of the faith by Welby as he moves further away from Scripture to accommodationist views propounded by the likes of lesbian leader Jayne Ozanne and Colin Coward of Changing Attitude. Ozanne has now started a foundation to push lesbianism onto the church.

If it all comes tumbling down round his ears, Welby can only blame himself, not those who faithfully want to retain and preach an unchangeable gospel in a fast-changing world. Perhaps the ABC needs to relearn a simple lesson that "Jesus is the same, yesterday and forever;" that compromise never works, Just look at the havoc wrought by the Episcopal Church resulting in the birth of The Anglican Church in North America. Has Welby seen and learned nothing?

To make the point, GAFCON Chairman Nicholas Okoh unloaded on the Archbishop of Canterbury, blasting him for redefining the Anglican Communion to mean whatever Churches are recognized by him.

"There are worrying signs that the Mother Church of the Communion is itself unable to clearly and unambiguously uphold apostolic faith and order, judging by the words of some of its leaders," said the Anglican Primate of All Nigeria, the largest province in the Anglican Communion.

"Ten years ago, at our first gathering in Jerusalem, we dedicated ourselves to the service of this gospel. We described ourselves as 'confessing Anglicans' in contrast to those who were embracing a false gospel, yet had not been called to account by the traditional leadership of the Communion."

Time has shown how necessary that commitment has been, he said. "Some Anglican Churches have now adopted teaching and practice which puts them beyond the boundaries of what can be recognized as apostolic Christianity, but apparently they remain officially within the boundaries of the Anglican Communion."

*****

As a sign of the failing world of The Episcopal Church, its arch sodomist organization Integrity announced it will eliminate all paid staff and rely wholly on volunteers as it moves forward, according to a blog post at their website. Its president, Bruce Garner, wrote: "The Board of Directors of Integrity USA has recognized the need to shift the focus of the ongoing work away from paid staff and toward volunteers at all levels. Accordingly, December 31, 2017, marked the last day that Integrity USA had any paid staff. Other than items of contract work, the work of Integrity will return to the hearts and hands of volunteers... and we will need all the hearts and hands we can find!"

A commentator on this story I wrote, observed that their work is really finished anyway. They have essentially destroyed the church, which was all they ever wanted to do in the first place. "They have devastated congregations, diminished attendance, divided families and friends, viciously destroyed the lives of clergy who opposed their agenda, and depleted the effectiveness of our witness with people whose faith lacks discipline and formation. The gay agenda has all of the marks CS Lewis would suggest are the work of the devil."

You can read the full story here:
http://www.virtueonline.org/queer-episcopal-organization-integrity-goes-volunteer-it-runs-out-money

*****

Three ACNA Bishops went against the culture recently when they signed an open letter opposing "transgender ideology". They warned that harm could be done to children when they are told they can "change" their sex or be given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile.

Not surprisingly, not a single Episcopal bishop signed the document, which included the small handful of remaining 'orthodox' bishops in TEC who could have signed it.

The three Anglican bishops included ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop John Guernsey, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and Bishop Eric Menees, San Joaquin.

You can read the full story here: http://www.virtueonline.org/three-acna-bishops-sign-open-letter-opposing-transgender-ideology

*****

As a sign of the growth of the Anglican Communion in Asia, the Bishop of Seoul, Peter Lee, used a New Year message to his diocese to encourage Christians to change from believers to disciples. Bishop Peter said that he had chosen "From believers to disciples!" as the motto for his diocese in 2018. "We all have to live a life of disciples," he said. "The Lord calls us and says, 'Follow me!'

"The words that Jesus tells us and the personality and way of life that we showed ourselves must be revealed through us. We cannot expect the growth and development of our church without the desire and determination to be our disciples. Church reform is no different. Only those who are converted into disciples -- disciples in personality and in life -- will be able to make the church to be a church, and the glory of God will be revealed through them."

"Reform and growth are the most urgent and crucial challenges in this era," Bishop Peter said. "Reform and growth must be promoted together as both sides of the coin. The reforms that are not aimed at growth are empty, and the growth without underpinning the reforms is lacking."

He also urged Christians to welcome new believers and to "bring the lost sheep back to the Lord's bosom."

*****

The Bishop of the Diocese of Michigan, Wendell N. Gibbs Jr., announced his retirement this week after 20 years as bishop. What has he accomplished in two decades?

In 2000, the diocese had 29,769 baptized members. By 2016, it had dropped to 17,143, a loss of nearly 45%. Average Sunday attendance was 10,400 in 2000, by 2016, it was 6,284, a loss of nearly 40%. In its 2014 Parochial Report, baptisms totaled 240 and confirmations 101. Burials totaled a whopping 428.

The average age of all its priests is 58, slightly better than most dioceses, but the percentage 44 and under was a mere 14%. The percentage of priests over the age of 65 was a whopping 34% - a third of the entire diocese. The question is who will replace them as the seminaries are not churning out enough ordinands to fill pulpits in all 100 dioceses. The number of full time priests of one congregation is 49%.

Gibbs survived a scandal when, in 2014, he was accused of threats and bullying by priests and parishioners in his diocese. The Chancellor for the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, David Booth Beers, exonerated the bishop for conduct unbecoming a bishop because he said it lacked factual or legal basis. Disciplinary charges against the bishop, submitted by two priests under the Church's Title IV disciplinary process, were dismissed.

A three-page letter to Beers documented repeated threats and bullying by Bishop Gibbs towards Fr. Fred Engdahl and Fr. Kenneth L. Erickson over a five-year period, resulting in Fr. Engdahl being wrongfully terminated from his position as priest-in-charge at the Church of the Resurrection in Clarkson.

When Gibbs goes, the next bishop will undoubtedly be the last bishop of the diocese.

*****

The Rev. Noah Njegovan, a former archdeacon with the Anglican Diocese of Brandon, in Canada, used a church credit card for trips, expensive meals and was given a 22-month conditional sentence after pleading guilty to theft over $5,000. He charged almost $200,000 for private purposes, to a church credit card and sentenced by a Brandon judge for what described as a "horrible, horrible offence".

*****

Fred Hiltz, who has been Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada for about ten years, is set to retire next year. During his tenure, the church has lurched into a radical heterodoxy beyond the wildest longings of the Screwtapian Principalities assigned to gently steer it into the Pit, tens of thousands of parishioners have fled, congregations have left en masse to form a new Anglican Province, conservative priests and theologians have been persecuted, driven out, inhibited and fired, and multiple scorched-earth lawsuits have been instigated by his beloved church with a studied vindictiveness that makes Attila the Hun look like Winnie the Pooh. It's been nothing but devastation and chaos, wrote Canadian blogger David of Samizdat.

"It is little wonder that Hiltz wants to get out now before the whole putrid, corrupt moldering edifice collapses around his ears. The search for his replacement will, no doubt, concentrate on scouring the land - and overseas if necessary - for a suitable candidate in the form of a partnered lesbian who dabbles in Buddhism in her spare time.

Almost immediately three other Canadian bishops announced they were on the way out. They include Niagara's Michael Bird; Toronto's Colin Johnson; and Rupert's Land's Donald Phillips.

"They are all liberal and heartily endorse same-sex marriage. Why have they all decided to leave now? Do they know something we don't about the fate of the ACoC? Are they concerned that there is no future for them in the ACoC because they are all heterosexual? Have they reached that stage in life when ambition yields to the sad realization that all the ecclesiastical mayhem that can possibly be inflicted on the Anglican Communion in one lifetime has already been wrought during their climb up the greasy clerical pole?

We may never know but at least it is satisfying to bid them adieu.

*****

A retired priest from Northern NY wrote VOL recently to say that a number of small Episcopal parishes are experiencing furnace failures and burst pipes, owing to the very cold weather recently. "The lady bishop [from Texas via Virginia] was inspired to send advice to be watchful of their fabrics. Good try. As the proportion of men shrinks in parishes, and the clergy are female, I expect more failures of a mechanical nature. This will be an index of decline. So far, the idea to tax church property is only a small cloud on the horizon, but it will meet with approval by increasingly secularized communities. Already there is an uncontested tax on the sewer use of churches in many cities, based on the amount of public water paid for.

"I ended my ministry serving a parish with two enormous stone buildings, slate roofed, whose heating and other utility costs were in excess of $30,000 dollars out of a budget of less than $200,000. Since I left twenty years ago the budget has fallen to $100,000, but the utility costs remain the same or more. Not much future there. I used to tell my successor, hand the keys to the municipality, and walk away to somebody's garage."

*****

I was travelling in Europe recently and met a knowledgeable Australian Catholic who told me that the charges against Cardinal George Pell, 76, the most senior Catholic official who faces sex offense charges, amount to "lingering" while putting on his clothes with fellow ordinands after a football game shower some 50 years ago. Think about that. While the sex abuse of boys has overwhelmed Catholic dioceses, this single charge looks and appears absurd.

*****

A notable figure in the renewal of Anglicanism in North America, Bishop Charles "Chuck" H. Murphy died recently of brain cancer. He was 69.

Murphy was behind the First Promise Movement that led to the formation of The Anglican Mission in the Americas, in opposition to the theologically and morally deteriorating situation in The Episcopal Church. He is recognized for his vision, innovation and values that made him a major figure in the birth of the realignment of Anglicanism in North America.

He and the Rt. Rev. John Rodgers Jr., the second dean of the Ambridge-based Trinity School for Ministry, were consecrated bishops in 2000 by the Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop of Rwanda, and the Most Rev. Moses Tay, Archbishop of South East Asia in Singapore.

His tenure was not without controversy and in 2012, it all began to unravel. I wrote at that time that it was an unholy mess, a clash of wills, power struggles and theological direction. A constitutional and financial accountability issue with the Province of Rwanda led to charges and counter charges with the African province accusing Murphy of "disobedience and abuse of office" withdrawing its ecclesiastical support with counter charges by Murphy of "reverse colonialism. The AMiA lost her last ecclesiastical lifeboat. The Society for Mission and Apostolic Works was formed. In time all his bishops left him and the formation of the Anglican Church in North America under the leadership of Bishop Robert Duncan sidelined the AMiA.

You can read the full story here: http://www.virtueonline.org/charles-h-murphy-iii-1948-2018-'he-fought-good-fight...'

*****

The College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America met recently and elected two suffragan bishops for the Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy.

The two candidates, The Rev. Michael Williams and The Rev. Mark Nordstrom, had been nominated by the Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy, and this month were brought before the College for election.

Both Rev. Williams and Rev. Nordstrom were senior officers in their respective military branches where they served throughout their adult lives until retirement.

*****

A major row erupted in the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) with half the paid clergy in one region rebelling over the appointment of their new bishop.

An open letter to bishops of the Anglican SEC accused them of fostering 'disquiet and division' by nominating Canon Anne Dyer, the first female bishop in the SEC who is also strongly in favor of gay marriage, to be bishop of the largely conservative Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.

Dyer is now being urged to step down from her promotion with clergy protesting her appointment. Two senior clergy have already quit over the issue and the letter threatens that 'others are considering similar action' in a diocese that is already struggling to fill a number of empty posts across its 41 churches.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church hit back at the group saying she was selected by an Episcopal Synod, in accordance with the Church's canons, after the diocese twice failed to complete the process of selection. Bishop Mark Strange says he "deplores" the publication of the Open Letter, saying, on behalf of the College of Bishops: "we are dismayed at the invidious position in which it places Canon Dyer as the Bishop elect of the diocese."

The open letter, signed by 18 clergy and lay leaders says that Canon Dyer's appointment "directly goes against the established wishes of the Diocese on the views it would hope that our new Bishop would hold, and minister to us from the perspective of them." They say: "our protest is not in any way personally directed at Canon Anne and should not be construed in that way" but ask that their concerns about the process be "discussed at the next General Synod as the action of the bishops in our case have caused unnecessary anguish and distress in a Diocese which had been largely united in its hopes and aspirations for the years ahead."

The Rev Canon Anne Dyer has been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage insisted she will take up role despite protests from members of her own church.

*****

The killing of Christians around the world continues, especially in the Middle East.

In Egypt, eight Christians and a Muslim policeman were killed in an Islamist terror attack on a church in the southern Cairo district of Helwan. Egyptian government officials say that a gunman attacked and killed two Coptic brothers in a shop, before moving onto the Mar Mina Church. Six Christians were killed there, along with an auxiliary policeman. The attack took place on Friday (29 December). The gunman was arrested after being shot by security forces. He is reported to have had an explosive device and a machine gun with 150 rounds. The country's interior ministry said that the man was known to security services and was believed to have "carried out several terrorist attacks which resulted in the martyrdom of a number of policemen and civilians." Two Copts were killed in a separate attack on New Year's Eve in Giza province.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has called on South Africa's President Jacob Zuma to be replaced, and for a "carefully targeted Cabinet reshuffle." Archbishop Thabo, the Primate of Southern Africa, made his comments during a sermon at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in St George's Cathedral, Cape Town. He said that President Zuma and his "cohorts of corruption" had been acting as if the South African treasury was their personal property. Archbishop Thabo's comments follow the election last month of South Africa's Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as the new leader of the ANC. Mr. Ramaphosa is widely expected to be the next President of South Africa after the country's General Election in 2019.

The Bishop of Abuja, Nicholas Okoh, used his New Year Message to predict a "year of optimism and happiness" for Nigerians. Archbishop Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria, made his comments in a New Year's Message, as it emerged that 17 churchgoers were shot dead as they left a midnight Eucharist service at a church in Omoku, about 56 miles north-west of Port Harcourt, in southern Nigeria's oil-rich River State. The attack has been blamed on one of a number of armed gangs which are active in the area and mainly target multi-national oil companies in the region. The local Anglican Archbishop of the Niger Delta, Ignatius Kattey, and his wife Beatrice, were kidnapped by one-such gang in September 2013. They were released, unharmed, a short time later.

The Bishop of the Upper Shire in Malawi, Brighton Malasa, urged his fellow religious leaders to take a leading role in the fight against HIV and Aids by helping to spread the right information about the pandemic. Bishop Malasa made the remarks during commemorations for World Aids Day in the Zomba district in the east of Malawi.

*****

VOL will bring you all the news that's fit to print in 2018. Please support us by making a tax-deductible donation here: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/help-build-virtueonline-2-0-thank-david-virtue

Thank you for your support.

David

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