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Viewpoints : ACI Theologians Write HOB over PB's Actions in SC*WB vote to be retested in 2013
Posted by David Virtue on 2012/11/30 11:00:00 (3609 reads)

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. --- Abraham Lincoln

The fight in which we are engaged requires convictional leadership. We look for leadership based on conviction as defined by the truth and that truth is grounded in Scripture. --- Albert Mohler, President Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Hope of Glory. What is and what will be. Already the kingdom of God has been inaugurated and is advancing; not yet has it been consummated. Already the new age (the age to come) has come, so that we have 'tasted ... the powers of the coming age'; not yet has the old age completely passed away. Already we are God's sons and daughters, and no longer slaves; not yet have we entered 'the glorious freedom of the children of God'. An overemphasis on the 'already' leads to triumphalism, the claim to perfection -- either moral (sinlessness) or physical (complete health) -- which belongs only to the consummated kingdom, the 'not yet'. An overemphasis on the 'not yet' leads to defeatism, an acquiescence in continuing evil which is incompatible with the 'already' of Christ's victory. --- John R. W. Stott

Our discourse reflects where our minds are. You have heard people say "healthy body, healthy mind." Let me reverse that and take it a step further: healthy soul, healthy mind, healthy body. If you take care of your soul first and foremost, your mind and body will follow suit. If you want a healthy mind, worry less about your body and more about the discourse that is filling your mind. If you want to be high-minded, talk about high-minded things. Otherwise we begin to resemble the topics that overwhelm our debate. --- Ted Swanson

The problems that the Church has faced over women bishops or gay priests are not the product of a "backwards minority" or an over-trendy majority at war with its own parishioners. Rather they are the consequence of refusing to speak with authority on anything. --- Dr. Tim Stanley is a historian of the US

Conservatives would be ill-advised to abandon support for conjugal marriage...they certainly shouldn't be duped into surrender by the circular argument that they've already lost. The ash-heap of history is filled with "inevitabilities." Conservatives-triumphant against once-unstoppable social tides like Marxism-should know this best. "History" has no mind. The future isn't fixed. It's chosen. The Supreme Court should let the people choose; and we should choose marriage, conjugal marriage. --- Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George in the Wall Street Journal

Dear Brothers and Sisters
November 30, 2012

"Of course I haven't broken any canons of The Episcopal Church and accusations of lawlessness are totally unfounded. I just believe in doing things my way." That might well be the gist of PB Katharine Jefferts Schori's retort to the multi-page blast aimed at her by heavyweights at the Anglican Communion Institute. This week they wrote a rip and tear against the "enlightened" Presiding Bishop telling her in no uncertain terms that her extraordinary and unconstitutional intervention in the internal affairs of the Diocese of South Carolina was without ecclesiastical warrant. You can read their take here: They wrote an open letter to the HOB raising canonical and constitutional issues, questioning the very basis of her actions. The deeper question of course is, will she listen, or will the HOB of act?

The answer of course is no. The orthodox bishops are now a mere handful with nine of them under notice of possible inhibition because they signed an amicus brief supporting Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Iker. You can count on one hand the remaining orthodox bishops in TEC. Based on what I saw at the last General Convention and, more recently, in New Zealand with the ACC, Katharine Jefferts Schori is firmly in control of her church and the Anglican Consultative Council of which she is its biggest financial contributor. She is going nowhere. No liberal or revisionist bishop would think of standing up to her. They fear their jobs, their pensions and, most of all, they are pro-gay and stand with her on all the major presenting issues.

A case in point is the research VOL did this week over who and what dioceses now support same sex blessings. It turns out that more than two thirds of all bishops approached either allow it while another group of bishops is seeking discernment on the issue (translation: they will roll over in time). Only 19 have made a declarative NO to SSB's in their diocese.

What does that tell you? It tells you this - the trajectory of The Episcopal Church is towards self-immolation. How do I know this? Consider that Americans are growing religiously unaffiliated at a rapid pace, rising from 15% to nearly 20% in the last five years, according to a major study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Curiously, two-thirds of the religiously unaffiliated assert they believe in God and three-fifths feel a deep connection with nature and the earth. Another third say they are "spiritual" but not "religious." Yet nine out of ten are not looking for a church that would be right for them. Why? Their perception is that churches are too concerned with money and power, focused on rules and overly involved in politics.

Quick, what denomination focuses more on money (TEC is using millions of dollars to litigate) and power; who wields more power than anyone in TEC than Jefferts Schori; and what denomination has its own office of political affairs in Washington DC trying to influence politicians on the most liberal agenda in the US?

The deeper truth is that the vast majority of Episcopalians don't care. Most churches are struggling to stay open, their congregations are small (under 65) and their age is just over 65. Ask Bishop Bill Love of Albany how many of his people know what TEC does in Washington DC. In other words, if TEC wants to attract Millenials and Gen Xers, it is focusing on all the wrong issues, according to the Pew study. It is making huge mistakes focusing on what Jefferts Schori calls "God's mission", which in fact is little more than pushing a liberal social agenda on issues like abortion and trying to influence Washington to adopt a liberal program that the vast majority of Episcopalians don't support.

Just to add insult to injury, we learned this week that the outgoing homosexual Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson is heading to Washington DC, leaving behind the love of his life in New Hampshire, to serve as bishop-in-residence at a DuPont Circle parish. Unsurprisingly, he will continue to serve as a senior fellow with the liberal Center for American Progress. He is being billed "as a bridge builder for a nation strained by divisive issues." Some bridge. "Our big goal is to change the nature of the debate in Washington," Robinson said during an interview at his Concord office. He aims to model, for instance, how to translate religious views into secular policy statements that anyone could endorse.

The situation in South Carolina just gets worse. Tom Tisdale, the presiding bishop's attorney for the SC situation, told a meeting of TEC loyalists that the national church has been preparing for the fight with Bishop Lawrence and the majority faction in the diocese for some time. No surprise there. We all saw that coming. Did anyone really think, despite having lost the properties in a court battle, that she would take it lying down? Not a chance.

Tisdale won't say anything, of course, while potential litigation continues. In his address to the approximately 40 clergy and lay members of the diocese present, he stated that in light of the suspension of Bishop Lawrence on 15 Oct 2012 by the presiding bishop and the vote by the standing committee to withdraw from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, there is no functioning ecclesiastical authority in South Carolina.

He stated that he is legal counsel for the presiding bishop in South Carolina; a "few months ago" he was asked to organize a transition group by the national church in preparation for such an event. Retired Bishop Charles vonRosenberg will officiate at public worship as a priest in the jurisdiction of the rump Diocese of South Carolina. He is thought to be Jefferts Schori's pick of the month.


Slowly the truth trickles out. It usually does. We now learn that half of women bishops opponents in the Synod vote last week were themselves women. John Bingham, writing for the Telegraph, said 33 of 74 members of the House of Laity were women. They rejected the plan to open the episcopate to women, official voting returns show.

So all the hand wringing and weeping and wailing on Rowan Williams shoulder by women was largely show and did not truly reflect the mind of nearly half of the representatives present.

In news later in the week, we learned that Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals will not block new attempts by the General Synod of the Church of England to introduced legislation permitting the consecration of women clergy to the episcopate, provided adequate safeguards are introduced to protect liberty of conscience, freedom of worship and association for the members of the Church of England opposed to the innovation.

The chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod, the Rev. Canon Simon Killwick and the chairman of the conservative Evangelical group Reform, the Rev. Preb. Rod Thomas released a statement pledging their cooperation with the proposals set forth by Archbishops' Council to reintroduce legislation on women bishops for consideration at the July meeting of General Synod.

At the close of their 27-28 meeting, the Archbishops' Council released a statement saying that some of their members were saddened and shocked by the outcome of the women's bishop vote. Therefore, "the Council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013.

"There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency," the statement said, adding that the forthcoming meeting of the House of Bishops should "put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July."

The refusal of supporters of women bishops in General Synod to offer adequate safeguards that were stronger than a bishop's personal pledge to be fair led to the failure of the women bishops bill. The reaction from supporters of the bill to its defeat has entrenched views of some conservatives, who see in the hysterical response in some quarters a demonstration of the need for legal safeguards.

In their statement, the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical leaders wrote, "If agreement can be reached at round-table talks on fresh legislation which provides clearly and fairly for all members of the Church of England, there is no reason why fresh legislation should not be fast-tracked through the Synod before the next elections in 2015."

"No" votes were justified, they said, because the proposed bill was flawed. "The legislation which failed last week in the Synod would have had devastating consequences for the diversity and mission of the Church of England, had it been passed. We want the Church of England to continue to be a broad and comprehensive national Church," Canon Killwick and Preb. Thomas opined.

John Lloyd, who co-founded the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, wrote these insightful words on the whole subject, "It appears that the church is militant or it trembles; the rock on which it has claimed to stand must be granite or it crumbles. The part of the Anglican communion that has most enthusiastically accepted the "trends and priorities of wider society" is the North American one, with (in its U.S. guise) a history of independence from Britain and a more recent history of proactive promotion of women's equality. But it, too, is declining. Women's ascent to the House of Bishops, which is, as Archbishop Welby indicates, probably a matter of time rather than doctrine, will not save it from further shrinking. Liberal Christians cannot pretend to square the testaments with what they believe are the truths of science and the liberations of social progress. In that honorable dilemma lies the cause of their slow marginalization." Amen.


In the wake of the narrow defeat of the women bishops measure in the Church of England's General Synod by six votes in the House of Laity, a torrent of criticism has been unleashed on evangelical and Anglo-Catholic Anglicans who opposed the measure. From the Archbishop of Canterbury, members of Parliament, and down through the ranks, the consciences and reasons of those who voted against the measure have been belittled and even vilified.

This vilification is most obvious in the editorial in "The Guardian" (London) from Friday, Nov. 23 by Canon Giles Fraser. Until recently, Canon Fraser held a senior position in one of the most important cathedrals in the UK. In his editorial, Fraser demeaned the conscience and scholarship of faithful Anglicans who voted against the measure by caricaturing them as follows:

"There was this lad at school who got bullied all the time. When he wasn't being bullied he was being ignored. He was thin, quiet and spotty. It says something that I cannot even remember his name. But at some point, he got picked up by the Christian Union. They made him feel like he belonged and gave him a club to be a part of. And from then on, he began to wear the slightly superior look of someone who thinks he knows something that other people don't know. Being an outsider became a badge of pride. He was now a Christian. And, in a way, the more ridiculous and unpopular the things he believed the better."

AAC Canon Phil Ashey took on this nonsense in a well-argued rebuttal to Fraser in today's digest. "I submit that this is a revealing glimpse at the loathing that many in the leadership of the Church have for people of faith who are evangelical and Anglo-Catholic, and who both act and vote their conscience. It should be fairly obvious why this is a problem for Anglicans in the Church of England-and throughout the Anglican Communion wherever this kind of anti-Christian post-modern mindset has taken root among church leaders."

You can read his entire rebuff to Fraser here:


Could things get any worse within The Episcopal Church (USA) writes Allan S. Haley of "Anglican Curmudgeon"?

"Yes, of course they could -- but that admission does nothing to mitigate the sorry, sorry state of affairs that persists in that Church already. This is still calendar 2012 -- barely six months since the last meeting of General Convention. Since that time:

"ECUSA has lost another Diocese -- and not just "another" Diocese, but one of its largest, healthiest and most vibrant.

"ECUSA's House of Bishops, spurred on by its Presiding Bishop, is preparing to depose one of its most orthodox and spiritual members ever, in a triumph of mediocrity over mission.

"ECUSA points the blame at the Diocese (of South Carolina) -- but for doing what? According to ECUSA and its oh-so-wise attorneys, the Diocese hasn't left; only its people (and its Bishop) have.

"So ECUSA, through its hopelessly conflicted Disciplinary Board for Bishops, blames the Bishop for the actions of the Diocese -- even though he had no vote on them to begin with, and no Constitutional power to set aside the acts of the diocesan convention.

"And then the Presiding Bishop, while trying with one hand to lure Bishop Lawrence into further mediation talks, uses her other hand to sign a certificate restricting his ministry -- and then still wants to continue talks as scheduled while keeping his restriction 'confidential.' (Oh, yes, that would certainly work.)

"To top it off, she then claims that 'her hands were tied', and that once she received the certification that he personally had 'abandoned' ECUSA by the actions the diocesan convention took, she had 'no choice' but to restrict him.

"Well, that is indeed the way the Abandonment Canon now reads -- but don't forget: it was Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori who decided she did not need the consent of the 'three most senior Bishops in the Church' to restrict Bishop Duncan back when the Canon (before its amendment in 2009) still required such consent. Could she have obtained that consent to restrict Bishop Lawrence in 2012, on such flimsy charges?

"I doubt it entirely. But she wanted the provision eliminated, and she got her way. So she now owns this process, and must take responsibility for bringing about the mess that exists in South Carolina today."

Meanwhile, she is also proceeding apace with the charges against the nine bishops who dared to disagree with her in open court, even though she is hopelessly conflicted in that situation, as well. (She sees nothing wrong with being (1) the person supposedly wronged; (2) the person charged with determining whether the charges are valid; (3) the person who decides what disciplinary remedy to impose; and (4) the person who actually imposes that final disciplinary remedy.) Prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner all in one? Move along; move along -- nothing to see here, just more dysfunction."


The Rt. Rev. George Edward Haynsworth died this week from complications of a heart attack he suffered on November 23. Bishop Haynsworth served as former Assistant Bishop under the Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison, in the Diocese of South Carolina. He also served as the Bishop of Nicaragua.


An Episcopal Priest in Maine accused of mailing drugs to inmates appeared in court recently. The priest faces one felony charge of trafficking in prison contraband at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

The Rev. Stephen Foote, 70, of Bremen, who has been placed on leave as a transition priest at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Augusta, faces one felony charge of trafficking in prison contraband. He didn't have to enter a plea in the pre-indictment hearing at Lincoln County Superior Court, but a grand jury is expected to take up the case in January.

Jennifer Read commented thusly on Foote in the "Press Herald", "Steve Foote made two years of my life a misery because his hatred of women, before he admitted his homosexuality, made him react against strong women. He remains in my memory as the only truly evil person I have ever encountered. I am trying very hard not to rejoice that he is finally being recognized for what he is, a stupid, nasty, ultimately ineffectual creep."

Foote appears prominently on the gay Integrity website which might tell you all you need to know about the man.


IN AUSTRALIA, an Anglican bishop has backed a child abuse inquiry. Seven cases of "inappropriate behavior" in the Bendigo Diocese have been reported to the local Anglican bishop in the past nine years.

Bishop Andrew Curnow said the incidents were reported to him. He turned them over to the Director of Professional Standards, separate from the church, who considered whether to take further action. Bishop Curnow said he believed one incident had then been reported to police.

It is understood that all of the complaints are related to sexual incidents, but Bishop Curnow said only one incident was related to an illegal matter involving a child. Bishop Curnow, who took up the position in 2003, said he supports the Royal Commission looking into child abuse accusations, recently announced by the federal government.

"I'm only happy if the victims feel they've been listened to and their complaints dealt with fairly, and I think that has happened."


The Ordinariate - a rescue operation by the Roman Catholic Church for disillusioned Anglo-Catholics continues to pick up steam, albeit slowly.

The latest convert to Rome via the Ordinariate is a former Lutheran on Long Island, a certain Fr. Gonzalez. He is a married man with two daughters. He is one of 22 former Anglican priests who have been ordained Catholic priests this year. More than 1,300 people in 35 communities throughout the U.S. and Canada have joined the Ordinariate. In several cases, entire parishes have entered the Catholic Church. By the end of the year, 30 men will have been ordained for the ordinariate, with another 69 applicants in the formation process for ordination in the future. Fr. R. Scott Hurd, vicar general for the Ordinariate, was among the concelebrants.

The U.S. ordinariate is led by a former Episcopal bishop, Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson of Houston, Texas. In speaking about the ordinations nationally, Msgr. Steenson noted that they "mark a significant moment in the history of Catholic unity."


IN CANADA the liberalism of the church proceeds apace, a VOL reader reports. The Anglican Church of Canada is pondering their growing deficit; there is even talk of layoffs. Compassionate layoffs. A layoff that is "done with compassion, understanding, kindness and thankfulness" is one where the person being laid off has: the compassion not to swear at his superior, the understanding that there is nothing he can do, the kindness not to sue the church for wrongful dismissa,l and the thankfulness that his impending unemployment is contributing to the financial well-being of his former employer.

Luckily for CoGS, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Duraisingh, professor at Episcopal Divinity School, was on hand to explain that: Jesus's baptism was not baptism for forgiveness of sins, but an identity marker as being enlisted in the kingdom of God's movement. "We've turned baptism into sin-management rite. We need to put our baptism in line with Jesus's baptism."

A VOL reader wrote, "Perhaps it's my not being a Rev. Dr. professor that prevents from me seeing this as anything other than a restatement of Pelagianism - the heresy that Man is born without original sin. To 'put our baptism in line with Jesus's baptism', we would have to be as sinless as he was. I fear that the only movement being born in the Anglican Church of Canada is one that bears less resemblance to a movement of the Spirit than it does to a movement of the bowels."

The Ordination of Deacons in St Paul's Anglican Cathedral London, Ontario revealed that at least two of the 8 candidates, are "known" homosexuals. In the crowd and in the processional, there were about ten "out" gay priests, and many of the clergy were gay "allies", a new word for those who are supportive of the gay liberation movement in the Anglican Church of Canada. Several of the priests in the Huron Diocese are "formerly marrieds", another new expression, and have left their wife/husband and/or children for a same sex lover.

The mother of Calgary Stampeders superstar Jon Cornish is Rev. Margaret Cornish, an Anglican priest in Richmond, B.C., who is now married to a woman. Rev. Cornish had five children via male partners before taking on a female wife, Andrea Mann, who works at the Vancouver School of Theology. The seminary on the University of B.C. campus has long been training men and women for the ministry who are homosexual.


The Culture Wars grow determinedly more anti- Christian. The first was TIME magazine's cover story on Sandra Fluke being on their "Person of the Year" list. Fluke is a birth control advocate demanding it be covered under Obama health guidelines. How this will not promote promiscuity is anybody's guess. Many of these women lose their best child bearing years waiting for Mr. Right; by then it is too late.

Sweden has banned mention of Jesus at kids' Advent services. Education officials said "prayer, blessings or declarations of faith" are all banned from Christmas services. Head teachers in Sweden have been told they can take pupils to Christmas services in church - but Jesus cannot be mentioned. Advent services for children are part of the curriculum, but religious content has been ruled out by education officials. They said "prayer, blessings or declarations of faith" are all banned, yesterday's Metro newspaper reported.

Last year, the Scottish Government came under fire for failing to mention Christmas in its "Winter Festivals" program. St Andrew's Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night were all mentioned several times in the press release - but Christmas was excluded.

In January 2011, it emerged that the EU Commission issued more than three million school diaries with no reference to Christmas or Easter. The diaries made reference to Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Chinese festivities, as well as Europe Day - but December 25th just carried the message: "A true friend is someone who shares your concerns and doubles your joy."

In 2009 Christmas carolers were banned from the Houses of Parliament in case they inconvenienced MPs having lunch.

Political correctness going insane...Christmas tree vs. holiday tree in Providence, RI. Gov. Lincoln Chafee gave the public 30 minutes' notice for this year's tree lighting ceremony at the Statehouse, saying he wanted to avoid what happened last year when protesters crashed the event devolving it into chaos.

Chafee's office announced at 11:31 a.m. on Thursday that the governor would host a lighting of the tree at noon. Several days' notice typically is given for such events. Chafee said before flipping the switch at the sparsely attended ceremony that he gave short notice this year because last year the event turned into a "disrespectful gathering." Protesters who oppose Chafee's use of the term "holiday tree," rather than "Christmas tree," last year crashed the ceremony and interrupted a children's chorus with their own rendition of "O Christmas Tree."

The City of Brussels will ban Christmas trees out of fear of "offending Muslims". Government officials announced this month that they would not be erecting the usual Christmas tree exhibit in the city center due to worries about offending the local Muslim population. Brussels News reports that the city will replace both the tree and the Nativity scene this year with an "electronic winter tree."

The 82 foot tall electronic sculpture will be built of a group of television screens, according to the blogger, Brussels Expat, an Englishman who lives in the city. "During the daytime you can climb to the top of the tree where you will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the city," he wrote. "As soon as it becomes dark the tree turns into a spectacle of light and sound. Every ten minutes an amazing show will unfold."

City councilwoman Bianca Debaets called it a "misplaced argument" over religious sensitivities that have moved the city to build the sculpture. "I suspect that the reference to the Christian religion was the decisive factor" in replacing the tree, she said. "For a lot of people who are not Christians, the tree there is offensive to them."

The Right Perspective website reports that a 2008 study showed Muslims make up 25.5 per cent of the population of Brussels, 3.9 per cent of Flanders and 4.0 per cent of Wallonia. Two Muslims elected to the Brussels city council last month have vowed to turn Belgium into a Muslim state based on Sharia law.


The Rev. Robert Schuller lost a court bid to obtain more than $5 million from the ministry he founded, a now-bankrupt religious empire that included worldwide "Hour of Power" broadcasts and Orange County's landmark Crystal Cathedral.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge rejected most of the breach-of-contract and copyright infringement claims that Schuller and his family made against Crystal Cathedral Ministries. Schuller was awarded $615,625 for housing allowances, health-insurance premiums and unpaid compensation from the ministry. His wife, Arvella, got nothing. His daughter, Carol Schuller Milner, and her husband, Tim Milner, sought $272,000 but together were awarded only $77,615, the Orange County Register ahs reported.

On Tuesday, Schuller's daughter said she believes the judge disregarded much of the evidence.


HUMILITY. Not much of it in the Episcopal Church or even among the episcopi vagantes these days. Yet, when John Stott's name comes up people rarely use the words "John Stott Ministries." In reality, those three words have been used almost exclusively in the United States. Globally, the vision and passion to develop the maturity of the global church has become known as the "Langham Partnership."

In December, they will officially change the name of John Stott Ministries to Langham Partnership, aligning itself with its partners, staff and affiliates around the world.

Stott understood that the ministry was never about a person. Rather his passion and work has always been about impactful strategies to advance a deepened faith in Christ through the Scriptures.

The "Langham" name actually was chosen in the late 1960s with a nod to the Central London Street of All Souls Church where Stott served for decades literally on "Langham Place." But, when you mention the Langham name among evangelicals in Uganda, Egypt, the Philippines, Romania and so many other nations, the name means much more than a London address. Instead, "Langham" is viewed as a path on which a movement is bearing forward. On this "Langham" highway is a throng of people from over 80 nations who believe that solid teaching and preaching of God's Word will lead the church toward maturity in Christ. We could not agree more.

Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics might learn from this hugely important figure who was honored by secular publications like "The New York Times" when he died.


This week VOL is sending out its annual appeal for funds to keep this ministry moving into the New Year. Please consider a tax deductible donation to help us continue. This ministry depends entirely on donations from its readers. We have staff to pay, a website to maintain, and a theological institute that reaches over 300 people each week. We do need your help. PLEASE make a donation. Every contribution counts, even small gifts are appreciated. Our address is:

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