Never Underestimate the Devil. Let it never surprise us, if we are tempted by the devil. Let us rather expect it, as a matter of course, if we are living members of Christ. The Master's lot will be the lot of His disciples. That mighty spirit, who did not fear to attack Jesus himself, is still going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. That murderer and liar who vexed Job, and overthrew David and Peter, still lives, and is not yet bound. If he cannot rob us of heaven, he will at any rate make our journey there painful. If he cannot destroy our souls, he will at least bruise our heels (Gen. 3:15). Let us beware of despising him, or thinking lightly of his power. Let us rather put on the whole armor of God, and cry to the Lord for strength. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you". (James 4:7) --- Bishop J.C. Ryle
"With this strong re-assertion of the ancient doctrine of Scripture's authority over that of the Church and its tradition, the reformers laid the foundation for their reform of the Church, its doctrine, worship, and discipline, in subjection to the Christ, and not - as they accused the Roman church of the later Middle Ages - usurping his authority. In these latter days, we may consider that the Roman church is not the gravest danger to the Gospel, but rather the churches which are the heirs of the English reformation, but have largely forgotten that heritage both reformed and catholic." --- The Rev. Gavin G. Dunbar, President, Prayer Book Society, and Rector, St. John's Episcopal Church, Savannah, Georgia
Eternal life. To be 'in Christ' is Paul's characteristic description of the Christian. But John uses it too. To be (or to 'live', 1 Jn. 2:6) 'in' him is equivalent to the phrase to 'know' him (3, 4) and to 'love' him (5). Being a Christian consists in essence of a personal relationship to God in Christ, knowing him, loving him, and living in him as the branch lives in the vine (Jn. 15:1ff). This is the meaning of 'eternal life'.--- From "The Letters of John" John R.W. Stott
Let us live on our guard against this sore disease, if we make any profession of serving Christ. The harm that it has done to the Church of Christ is far beyond calculation. Let us learn to take pleasure in the prosperity of others, and to be content with the lowest place for ourselves. The rule given to the Philippians should be often before our eyes: "In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves." The example of John the Baptist is a bright instance of the spirit at which we should aim. He said of our Lord, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (Philippians 2:3; John 3:30) --- Bishop J.C. Ryle
Christian Assurance. The perseverance of the saints'. He who stands firm to the end will be saved' (Mk. 13:13), not because salvation is the reward of endurance, but because endurance is the hallmark of the saved. --- From "The Letters of John" John R. W. Stott
A living relationship. The idea of spiritual growth is foreign to many people, not least in the areas of faith and love. We tend to speak of faith in static terms as something we either have or have not. 'I wish I had your faith,' we say, like 'I wish I had your complexion,' as if it were a genetic endowment. Or we complain 'I've lost my faith,' like 'I've lost my spectacles,' as if it were a commodity. But faith is a relationship of trust in God, and like all relationships is a living, dynamic, growing thing. There are degrees of faith, as Jesus implied when he said, 'You of little faith' and 'I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith' (Mt. 8:26, 10). It is similar with love. We assume rather helplessly that we either love somebody or we do not, and that we can do nothing about it. But love also, like faith, is a living relationship, whose growth we can take steps to nurture. --- From "The Message of Thessalonians"
Abba Agathon said, "I have never gone to sleep with a grievance against anyone, and, as far as I could, I have never let anyone go to sleep with a grievance against me."
Dear Brothers and Sisters
August 19, 2011
The Episcopal Church is slowly self-destructing; its clergy are inept; and the church has turned its back on its historical traditions.
The liberal road toward compromise, says Dr. Os Guinness, is rarely taken knowingly or traveled completely. Simple factors, like character and time, sometimes frustrate their best efforts and keep some Christians from going the whole way. This is part of the difference between the mild liberal, like say, the Bishop of Bethlehem Paul Marshall, and the more trendy and extreme revisionist traitors like John Spong or Charles Bennison Bishop of Pennsylvania. The further liberalism and revisionism go, and the more extreme they become, the more disloyal and and damaging they are to the Christian faith.
The public lawsuits, the tightening of budgets, the closing of ranks and the deep hatred that Episcopal liberals and revisionists now have for orthodox Episcopalians grows quantifiably by the day. The gulf is so wide there is no going back. Can you imagine how long it will be before PB Jefferts Schori takes the gloves off to go after SC Bishop Mark Lawrence?
Now the tactics of extreme revisionist bishops is to go from compromise to confrontation. The cruel exposure of extreme revisionists always has repercussions, sometimes on the revisionists themselves, but always on Christian conservatives and on complete outsiders.
Take what the allegedly meek and mild milquetoast pudgy rump provisional Bishop of Pittsburgh Ken Price is now doing to orthodox parishes that want out of TEC.
It was reported for a while by VOL that he was trying to cut deals with some 24 fleeing orthodox parishes in his diocese and he was doing his level best to be nice to everyone and compromise. To date, one parish has settled and one has walked away. Most of the rest apparently want to settle.
A judge has ordered the Pittsburgh ACNA and the TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh to deal directly with each other and work something out. However, Bishop Price now wants to cull out each church and deal with them individually....a divide and conquer approach.
VOL learned this week that Bishop Price is not interested in negotiation, after all. He wants ALL the parishes on his dollar terms with the kicker being that IF they keep their properties, they must renounce any connection with the Anglican Church in North America and Archbishop Robert Duncan. This is causing terrible angst among the faithful.
Fleers have three options. Walk away from their property and buy or rent another place and keep their allegiance to ACNA; stay in TEC and compromise their souls by staying in an apostate denomination; or buy the bishop out on his terms and at his price and disown any Anglican allegiance, in short becoming an independent unaffiliated "Anglican" parish.
VOL wrote to Bishop Price and his Media Communications Director, Rich Creehan, asking for an explanation. Late on Wednesday Creehan wrote back saying, "While I would like nothing more than to set the record straight... unfortunately our policy against commenting on pending negotiations does not allow me to do that. I can assure you, however, that the Episcopal Diocese is fully complying with the applicable court orders." According to VOL's sources, Bishop Price has gone from playing Mr. Nice Guy to Hardball Harry. You gotta figure that the telephone wires between 815 2nd avenue (TEC's HQ) and downtown Pittsburgh have been running hot all week. Can one see the sticky fingers of Katharine Jefferts Schori all over this one?
MARRIAGE. You would think by now that, after a few thousand years, the human race would have finally figured it out. Every culture and religion, including the Judea-Christian religion, has settled on one man and one woman in marriage for life or until by reason of death and occasionally divorce it ends. But even in divorce, new pairings are always the same - a man and a woman, no change.
But this far-reaching wisdom (which has been around for several millennia) has not quite reached the Anglican Communion. Something called the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) drew 56 Anglicans from six continents and 19 provinces of the Anglican Communion to Canterbury recently where, in the sacred confines of the cathedral, they discussed Rites Relating to Marriage, the theology of marriage, the cultural contexts of marriage, and the shape and elements of the ritual. Is there something we don't already know, that a handful of people in the 21st Century are suddenly going to enlighten us with?
Behind this million dollar gathering (what do you think it costs to haul 56 people from six continents for round trip airline tickets, train, bus and accommodation for a week) to discuss what has been known for all time, are the revisionist minds of The Episcopal Church.
They used the Consultation to have a "consultation within a consultation" in order to broker in same-sex rites and to justify what they are already doing in North America. They tried to use the occasion to desensitize and dumb down Global South Anglicans to show that TEC is in the vanguard of change and THEY need to catch up with the times and presumably TEC.
Attendee Bolivian Bishop Frank Lyons said the "consultation within the Consultation" push by The Episcopal Church got no traction, with the IALC final Communique offering up a generalized description of TEC's presentation on the development of their new liturgies.
"When the issue came up in plenary it was dealt with as cultural innovation, not a theological issue. With the theological rationale dismissed, the task presented to the working group by TEC was to evaluate the rite as liturgy.
"It was impossible to deal with TEC's theological rationale because they have already reached their conclusions on this and removed it from discussion a priori. As there is no biblical warrant for it, only controversial discussion could take place in an Anglican setting anyway."
MAYBE. TEC got its foot in the door. They know that over time and with money, they will attempt to wear down the other side. This is always their strategy. First a toe, then a foot, then the whole body, then push like hell. (Think women's ordination in TEC). It's only a slightly modified version of trying to buy African bishops to keep them from going over to GAFCON/FCA.
What is truly outrageous is that all this was done in the sacred confines of Canterbury Cathedral where Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170 after the king knocked heads with the strong-willed Becket and is said to have exclaimed in frustration, "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" The knights took it literally and murdered Becket in his own cathedral.
Now this lot are murdering marriage and allowing the evil TEC to stab traditional marriage in the back by trying to broker in sodomite rites.
Lyons said the discussions were clear and frank and the working group was not deterred from its task about the significance of marriage between a man and a woman within an Anglican context. We shall see. So long as TEC has the money and the will, it will push and push till they win or get consent that God has truly changed His mind to fit their desires.
If you doubt TEC's ambition to rid the Anglican Communion of orthodoxy, you must read Canon Dave Doveton's brilliant assessment of the infamous "Listening Process" http://tinyurl.com/3nge7p5 and what Western pan Anglican pansexualists are trying to do to the Global South on sodomy. They are trying to broker in their agenda by desensitizing orthodox Anglicans into believing this behavior is good and right in the eyes of God.
Here are some of Canon Doveton's thoughts. "Underlying the clamor to listen to persons who experience homosexual desires and want to assert a 'gay identity' is the assertion that we will discover something we did not already know. This underlying belief is evident in many of the published website pages on the 'listening process' Communion site. For example part 24 of the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group states that the "Anglican way (is) a readiness to acknowledge that Christian disciples discern God's truth by learning to wait upon one another, and that it takes the whole Church to know the whole truth."[xxi] This implies that the fixed body of received doctrine that we adhere to is not sufficient to know the 'whole truth'. There is some further vital essential, not peripheral, truth. It is a version of the Gnostic heresy that truth resides in people, not in external objective doctrinal formulations, thus also this proposal, "The hope is that it will encourage you, if it is possible in your own context, to get to know other Christians whose personal experience gives them particular insights into questions of sexuality and identity".[xxii]
In his conclusion Doveton says this, "Examining the process whereby people with homosexual desires or tendencies 'tell their stories' it is clear that most of them fit into a 'hero story pattern'. The telling of their story then functions as a way of finding and establishing their identity, then asserting it. They find in this way identification with others who self identify as 'gay'. Because a group of people has accepted the Myth, it becomes a societal Myth and all who accept the Myth constitute themselves as a distinct group with boundaries.
"As they then 'tell their story' to others (especially those who suspend critical evaluation of that to which they are listening) the Myth exercises a profound and often unconscious influence on the listeners. These 'listening exercises' have served to influence those at the highest level in the Episcopal Church over the past 40 years - to the extent that they have changed their doctrinal stance regarding the ethics of homosexual behavior without major doctrinal debates on the subject.[xxiii] They continue to use this strategy to spread their error and so undermine other Churches in the Anglican Communion.
"It is clear that the metaphoric, non-rational dynamic of the 'listening process' abstracted from rational theological debate, exercises a powerful and subversive influence on the doctrinal convictions of Christians. It becomes understandable why Paul advises Timothy to both evaluate 'mythic' stories with apostolic doctrine and ban those who insist on teaching 'mythic' doctrines which conflict with sound doctrine. Established doctrine then has always been the yardstick to test whether certain behaviour conforms to the truth or not.
"Those with commitments to orthodox Anglican teaching who may take part in the listening process need to be aware of its assumptions about the nature of truth and the mythic power on which it draws as they make their own theologically rooted contribution. Some may well think the process is so flawed and excluding of serious theological contributions that they cannot themselves participate."
After you read this article, float it to every person you know who may be sitting on the fence on this issue. This article explores and explodes the subversive nature of The Listening Process and the damage it is doing. You should know it is also being funded to the tune of $1.5 million by a gay former Episcopal priest.
An article in the Church of England newspaper saying that Hungary was about to ban the Anglican Church under new laws has turned out to be false. VOL contacted the Hungarian Embassy in Washington DC and got the real story. The Hungarian Govt., which is subject to the laws of the EU, which includes freedom of religion and freedom of speech, is not hindering churches. They simply want them to register (re-register) so they can get certain benefits from the state. Now we might not like that in the US because we have enshrined the separation of church and state, but the Hungarians are not banning anybody. They simply want to keep tabs on even heretical movements like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons et al.
The Anglican Church in North America continues to grow. There is evidence all over the country of the new Anglican reformation taking place before our eyes.
In Sacramento, The Rev. Carl "CJ" Johnson, Folsom's Police chaplain, is shepherding a new flock. In Folsom, members of a new church gather every Sunday in a location that many may consider unconventional. Since April, the Holy Spirit Anglican Church has been holding services in the chapel inside Miller Funeral Home on Scott Street.
In Tonawanda, NY, members of St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church has, in less than three years, become a pivotal congregation within the Anglican Church in North America, a rival to the Episcopal Church. This week, the congregation served as host for a conference of the International Diocese with Bishop Bill Atwood dedicating St. Bartholomew as the diocese's pro-cathedral, giving the church special significance as the site of the bishop's chair.
Atwood cited the church's role as a stabilizing force in organizing the new diocese, which includes congregations in Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, as well as New York State. The church has 1,000 members, the largest Episcopal/Anglican church in New York State.
In Ft. Worth, TX, the First Anglican Mission hosted a Spanish-Language Faith Alive ceremony, Holy Spirit "Abundantly Present", during Worship in a converted garage. Tom Kay summed up the first Spanish-language Faith Alive weekend in five words, "The Lord was with us."
In Torrance, California, The Rev. Dale Smith has set up the office that Christ Our Savior Anglican Church now calls home in Old Torrance after its members split with the Episcopal Church. Four years ago, a small group of former Episcopalians - disheartened with the denomination - huddled in a Torrance living room for church services led by a Nigerian priest.
After the ordination of a gay bishop in 2003, these and other conservative members left the Episcopal Church, the U.S. arm of the historic Anglican Communion. They formed their own churches aligned with Anglican dioceses in Africa that share their views on biblical teaching.
Now, as the organizational structure of this fledgling Anglican body in the United States takes shape, the local congregations are planting roots in local communities and hiring American priests.
All this says that God's arm is not shortened by the lawsuits and anger of TEC leaders and their morally bankrupt church. They are dying and don't know it. It's as though the doctor has told the patient he or she has terminal cancer, but they continue to live in denial. The new Reformation has begun it will not be stopped.
As proof that it is not just Episcopalians now Anglicans in renewal, a new Lutheran denomination was formed this week in Hilliard, Ohio. They elected a new bishop as well. They chose the Rev. John Bradovsky, a western Ohio pastor, to lead the newly formed North American Lutheran Church.
About 800 members elected Bradovsky during a meeting in suburban Columbus this week. The church was formed last year by churches that left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America after America's largest Lutheran denomination decided to allow non-celibate gays into its clergy.
A statement from the church says more than 250 congregations, representing more than 100,000 Lutherans, have joined the new church. It says the church is committed to the authority of the Bible as the inspired word of God.
The new denomination is right out of the play book of the ACNA with numbers to match. Will we see new alliances of orthodox bodies forming in the future? Time will tell.
Queen Elizabeth II will inaugurate the Ninth General Synod of the Church of England in Church House, Westminster on Tuesday 23 November. The Inauguration ceremony will follow the Eucharist in Westminster Abbey, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will preside and Dame Mary Tanner (a President of the World Council of Churches) will preach.
The Synod will debate the Big Society and the Anglican Communion Covenant. On the first issue, Dr. Williams has already given Prime Minister David Cameron a thumbs down. He will likely roll out that the lawlessness England recently experienced was because of "Big Society's" failure to deal with unemployed youth and cutting back on entitlements. It won't be entirely true of course; the moral failure has more to do with the CofE's bishops and priests having no "certain sound" in the pulpit and behaving and talking more like social workers than priests with a clear (but very embarrassing) gospel message.
The Covenant is already dead on arrival. Each passing month, another province announces it will not sign it. The latest thumbs down came from the Province of the Philippines. Of course, TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada will never sign on to it. They have as much as said so. The Mexicans apparently like it, but this group of ecclesiastical inbreeds experiences church growth through family breeding. They are not remotely interested in evangelism. The last archbishop and bishop ran off with millions of dollars given by TEC. They cannot be taken seriously.
A friend of mine from the UK who was visiting a Traditional Anglican church, St Thomas in San Francisco, recently, reported his experiences to VOL. "There were about 25 present for the main Sunday service, quite a good mixture of men and women, older and younger. It was like a Sung Eucharist from my youth, with good hymns and a sung setting for the liturgy that I know well but have not sung for decades. "The minister, a bishop, spoke well about sonship in Romans 8, although his picture of the relationship sounded very formal: he mentioned the sacraments of Baptism and Communion, and the need for serious discipleship, but nothing about a nurturing personal relationship with Christ."
But then my friend said this, and I believe what he wrote is typical of Episcopal churches as well. "At the end of the service, no one spoke to me. They just talked animatedly with each other. I could have been invisible. As I left the church, the minister welcomed me, but no one else did." His conclusion, "I don't think this congregation will grow and flourish. Its focus seems to be about maintenance and security."
What he wrote of this APCK congregation is true also of 48% of Episcopal congregations who have indicated in a formal research project that they don't care about growing...it's all about maintenance. Death is certain.
IRAN'S CHRISTIAN SHUTDOWN. Iran's Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that Yosef Nadarkhani, a 32 year-old Iranian evangelical pastor, must reject his Christian faith or be put to death. It's the latest incident in the Islamist Republic's continuous and increased assault on its small Christian population.
Nadarkhani was first arrested on the charge of apostasy (leaving Islam for another faith) in October 2009 and sentenced to death by hanging for his refusal to teach Islam to Christian children. While Nadarkhani hadn't practiced any faith before he became a Christian at age 19, he was born to Muslim parents and thus considered to be a Muslim under Islamic law.
As such, a lower Iranian court upheld Nadarkhani's conviction in September 2010, when it found that he had proven his apostasy by "organizing evangelistic meetings, sharing his faith, inviting others to convert, and running a house church." At that point, Nadarkhani appealed to Iran's Supreme Court to have his death sentence reversed, but that appeal has now been rejected.
To Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Nadarkhani's attorney, the Iranian court decision came as a surprise as only one month ago he had been under the impression that his client's appeal had been granted. Instead, Nadarkhani now stands to be the first Iranian Christian executed for apostasy since 1990.
Ironically, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah finds himself unable to provide his client further legal assistance as he has just been sentenced by an Iranian court to nine years in jail and a ten year ban on practicing law for "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime."
To read more go here: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/07/19/iran%E2%80%99s-christian-shutdown/
From Elam news comes this. Silence from the prisons. Currently we know of eight Iranian Christians still imprisoned for their faith. Six have spent several months in jail: Farshid Fathi, Vahik Abrahamian, Abrahim Firouzi, Masoud Delijani, Noorollah Ghabitzadeh and Yousef Naderkhani - who was sentenced to death.
There has been very little news of the well being of the prisoners, though there are unconfirmed reports of ill health, solitary confinement and continued mistreatment. This silence increases the stress on the family and supporters of the imprisoned.
Two Azeri Christians, Vahid Rofegar and Reza Khanamoei, were arrested on July 15th near the city of Kalibar and are now in prison. These arrests might be linked to complaints about the spread of Christianity in Azerbaijan.
The majority of the nearly 300 believers arrested over the last year have been released, either on bail or with severe warnings and threats against any further Christian activity.
Please pray for news from the prisons, for families of the persecuted, and wisdom for those advocating for the persecuted.
Researchers from several prominent U.S. universities participated in a Baltimore conference reportedly aiming to normalize pedophilia. According to the sponsoring organization's website, the event examined ways in which "minor-attracted persons" can be involved in a revision of the American Psychological Association (APA) classification of pedophilia.
B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile activists and mental health professionals, is behind the August 17 conference, which will include panelists from Harvard University, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Louisville, and the University of Illinois.
B4U-ACT science director Howard Kline has criticized the definition of pedophilia by the American Psychological Association, describing its treatment of "minor-attracted persons" as "inaccurate" and "misleading."
After facing criticism from the media and the Canadian Egyptian Congress, Toronto's Coptic Orthodox leaders have renewed their threat to remove up to 4,000 families from the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) should it fail to protect Catholic teaching in the schools.
Nazeer Bishay, president of the Canadian Egyptian Congress (CEC), called on parents on August 8th to reject the Coptic leaders' position in an interview with the Toronto Star.
But Fr. Rueiss Awad, the priest for St. George and St. Rueiss Coptic Orthodox Church in North York, told the Star that the CEC "is just one man's personal opinion and it carries no weight. We do not recognize the authority of this group to represent our congregations, or our families, or the church in any way, shape or form."
LifeSiteNews revealed at the end of July that Fr. Jeremiah Attaalla had warned the TCDSB in June that the Coptic Orthodox Churches in Toronto would withdraw their 4,000 families if they did not pass crucial amendments to their controversial equity policy. One expert LSN spoke with said if the threat were carried out, the board could lose upwards of $40,000,000 in annual public funding, and over 150 teachers.
Sir Paul Reeves, a former Anglican archbishop and primate who became New Zealand's first Maori governor general, died on Aug. 14 from cancer at the age of 78.
His body was taken on Aug. 15 to Holy Sepulchre Church in Auckland, where members of his tribe, Te Atiawa, welcomed the hearse with a waita, or song. More than 5,000 people are expected to pay their respects during the tangi, or Maori lying-in-state mourning ritual.
Maori bishop Kito Pikaahu said in a tribute that the church was very special to Reeves. "As the bishop of Auckland and the archbishop of New Zealand, he had much to do with the Maori mission, so he wanted the church to be able to welcome people here and to allow people to come from all over the place and gather together and remember a place that was very dear to him."
The Maori, New Zealand's indigenous people, represent about 15 percent of the population of 4.4 million.
Prime Minister John Key announced that Reeves' body would be taken on Aug. 18 to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland for a state funeral.
Key said Reeves was one of New Zealand's greatest statesmen whose tenure was one of inclusiveness and compassion. "He modeled his governorship on the life of a bishop saying; 'a bishop travels, a bishop stands alongside his people and searches for common ground.' We are indebted."
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