“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” – Colossians 2:8
"When one does not know how to convince, one oppresses; in all power relations among governor and governed, as ability declines, usurpation increases." by Madame de Staal from The Wisdom of Women.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Second Reformation of the Anglican Church is underway.
An historic document signed by nine Anglican entities titled "Common Cause Partners," hosted by the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) Moderator Robert Duncan, and included leaders of the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC), the Anglican Mission in America (AMIA), the Anglican Province of America (APA), the Anglican Essentials Federation in Canada, Forward in Faith North America (FiFNA), the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) and the Reformed Episcopal Church met in Atlanta recently.
They expressed repentance for the divisions that separated them and then committed themselves to "Biblical faithfulness within a missionary movement" noting that this was a defining moment in Anglicanism." Nothing was said of the thorny issue of women's ordination, which clearly is seen as a secondary issue for the higher call of declaring what the substance of the faith is, in the face of the glaring theological and moral apostasies of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
It is significant that they released this statement on the eve of the Primates meeting in Ireland and it certainly sends a loud signal bolstering the case for the 22 Global South Primates to stand against US Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold when they meet.
And in that vein I have written an article "The Truth and Nothing but the Truth" identifying what it is the Primates face in terms of two worldviews that will confront them in Ireland. It should be clear that the Windsor Report resolves little or nothing, what is at stake however is what two very different groups of Primates see and how they expound the Christian Faith.
In another article, "ECUSA Has Chosen to Walk Apart" Frank Griswold and other Episcopal Church leaders reiterated this week that they would not change their minds about the consecration of an openly homosexual bishop to the Episcopal Church, nor do they have any intention of reversing themselves on the church's present direction. One primate I spoke to said that that would be duly noted in Dromantine next week.
Said Griswold: "I think the regret we can offer wholeheartedly and as a unified body is regret for the consequences our actions have had in other contexts. But that does not mean that we necessarily regret the action itself. Certainly, I, having participated in the ordination of the bishop of New Hampshire, do not regret having done so, though I recognize the complexities that that action has had in other places and regret the pain that it's caused other people." There you have it. Schism is built into the very words of Griswold. All that remains now is a formal statement of separation.
BUT THAT DOESN'T STOP THE REVISIONISTS trying to put a spin on things. A group of the church's most liberal bishops and theologians gathered at General Seminary in New York recently where they hosted a panel discussion on the Windsor Report. The future of the Anglican Communion hangs on "bonds of affection," they said. Rubbish. It hangs on 'sound doctrine' and a theology of sin and salvation. It is the tyranny of subjectivism, nothing more. The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, Bishop of Southern Malawi and a Visiting Professor at GTS, laid out the current situation as a "crisis based on our understanding of Scripture." Speaking in a prerecorded video, Tengatenga said, "It is time to get down on our knees to pray, to get down on our knees to study Scripture." He warned that some Anglican Communion members must learn to accept defeat. "Some may lose and some may win, but that is how dialogue works," he said.
The group differed on the role of structures and new mechanisms suggested in the Windsor Report, but failed to state or see the real problem. So John B. Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida, spoke up and said the problem facing the Anglican Communion is not simply about the ordination of a gay bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. "Let's take Bishop Robinson out of the hot seat and realize what we are talking about," he said. "It is putting the focus on what it takes to be in communion and what it means for the United States to be setting the agenda." Robinson's ordination simply sparked the current debate on the nature of the Anglican Communion, a debate that would have arisen sooner or later, Lipscomb said.
That was the closest any of the other panel members that included Titus Presler, Dean of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the Rev. Ian Douglas, professor of Mission and World Christianity at the Episcopal Divinity School, Henry N. Parsley Jr., Bishop of Alabama or Catherine Roskam Suffragan Bishop of New York, got to understanding how far the Episcopal Church has drifted away from the truth. They will only learn what damage they have done when the Primates tell them and then at the Last Judgment.
ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE this week it was announced that Prince Charles will marry his long time lover Camilla Parker Bowles. The Royal Soap Opera, episode 99 continues. The Prince, who agonized for months if not years over the marriage question, was urged by Sir Michael Peat, his principal private secretary, to bring order to his private affairs by marrying the woman he loved. He has to. The Prince will become the Supreme Governor of the Established Church and Defender of the Faith when he becomes King, and fornication is definitely frowned on by the Church of England. "We would want to avoid the succession being overshadowed by any controversy over whether the new King should marry his long-time love," said Peat. Oh dear me yes. I can barely contain my indifference. The Prince is, however, a big fan of the Book of Common Prayer for which we should all be grateful. He also talks to plants.
At the GENERAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND this week there was a call from Canon David Houlding to show support for the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles. The applause that followed was half-hearted at best (one member described it as third-hearted) and many Synod members clearly did not join in, Virtueonline was told.
JANE WILLIAMS, the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams will appear at the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) annual conference in Glendale, California concurrent to the primate's meeting in Northern Ireland (Feb. 25-26). Should the Communion head announce some form of impaired communion with the ECUSA Mrs. Williams would be in an awkward position. It is curious that she would be out of the U.K. during these all-important deliberations on the Windsor Report. Is this a signal that Dr. Williams is saying that all is well and Frank is safe? Ironically she is the keynote speaker and her topic is “The Changing Face of Women". Perhaps her husband can fly the Atlantic after he is done in Ireland and give his lecture on "The Changing Face of the Anglican Communion." We will all be ears.
AT THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND GENERAL SYNOD at a separate meeting of the Convocations of Canterbury and York, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity there were clear differences of opinion about the rightness of abandoning clergy freehold. However, of greatest concern was the proposal to transfer ownership of benefice property (church, churchyard and parson's house) from the Incumbent to the Diocesan Board of Finance. The members of the working party present were clearly prepared to consider alternatives to this such as vesting the properties in another body, the PCC or a local trust. These items will be debated later in the week.
In the House of Laity meeting one of the main items was a resolution from a Mrs. Margaret Brown. She attempted to bring back consideration of the Clergy Discipline Measure in relation to Doctrine. The Synod had previously rejected (in the House of Clergy only) the proposals for a Clergy Discipline Measure in relation to doctrine, ritual and ceremony. Although there was some opposition to this new resolution it was approved with the intent that new legislation should be brought before the Synod by July 2006. Perhaps in the light of this the Episcopal Church could revisit Resolution B001 and those bishops who could not sign on to certain basic doctrines of the faith should be excommunicated.
AND IN CANADA this week, Anglican theologian Edith Humphrey said the rift in the communion was the deepest since the Reformation. "The differences among Anglicans over Canadian and American churches' acceptance of same-sex unions may soon split the Anglican Communion," she said. "There hasn't been a division so deep since the (Protestant) Reformation. The kind of questions being asked are even more serious, and more fundamental than the questions asked at the Reformation," said the associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. "This isn't just about the issue of sexuality. It is about our understanding of scripture and tradition, our understanding of creation and humanity, and our understanding of the church."
AND IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH THIS WEEK loud, angry and despondent voices were raised in various dioceses across the land.
Bishop Daniel Herzog in the DIOCESE OF ALBANY blasted Stacy Sauls the BISHOP OF LEXINGTON over a godly priest Sauls was tossing out of his diocese. Sauls blamed Herzog an orthodox bishop over boundary crossing, but Herzog blasted back at Sauls saying, "Maybe you think that if you just knock off enough orthodox clergy that you will triumph. In the short run you probably will. In the long run what it will do is contribute to further decline and marginalization of what once was a great church." Sauls has already defrocked four orthodox clergy. He plans to empty his diocese of all orthodox folk. He has found the 'final solution.' You can read the full story today. You can also read another story, "What Kentucky Bishop Stacy Sauls Really Believes." You'll be enlightened how little it really is.
And in the DIOCESE OF OLYMPIA where two parishes have left that diocese over the consecration of Gene Robinson and more, they have produced a DVD which you can see online about their experiences, their hopes and the faith that holds them together. Go to www.AnglicanDecision.com. You can download watch and purchase by sending a note to Anglican Decision, PO Box 217, Port Gamble, WA 98364-0217 or call to order a CD at 360 621 9191.
The two parishes in Puget Sound, St. Stephen’s Church, Oak Harbor, and St. Charles’, Poulsbo, Wash., transferred their pastoral oversight to Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti of the Diocese of Recife in Brazil. Since they departed they still maintain a dialogue with ECUSA bishop Vincent Warner. The Rev. Dr. Peter Strimer, diocesan communications director told Virtueonline that the bishop wants a cordial resolution over the property issue. The Rev. Carol Harlacher, rector of St. Stephen’s, and the Rev. Duncan Clark, rector of St. Charles’ say that while painful and sad, both sides agree their meetings have been congenial and respectful. "He has looked at the actions of other bishops and doesn't like it," Harlacher told VirtueOnline. Said Warner; "We want to seek the mind of Christ in this."
Newly consecrated Suffragan Bishop Bavi Edna Rivera, the first Hispanic woman bishop has said she would never sign a marriage license until she can sign it for gays and lesbians. Ironically her father was the Anglo-Catholic Bishop of San Joaquin for 20 years and he did not approve of women's ordination. The diocese had offered Bishop Ed Little of Northern Indiana, for alternative oversight (DEPO) but that was deemed unacceptable to the parishes.
An interview VirtueOnline did with Bishop Bertram Herlong DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE reveals the heart of an orthodox bishop, even though he has not signed on to the Network. With a diocese split almost evenly between orthodox and revisionists, he is managing to hold it together and says his last diocesan convention was one of the best and most irenic.
PRIEST CLEARED. Former DIOCESE OF FLORIDA priest, the Rev. Claudia Kalis who left the diocese because Bishop John Howard seemed to be falling all over himself to accommodate to the liberal zeitgeist, was charged for Domestic Battery by her husband Ken, had all the charges dismissed. She wrote: "Both the prosecuting and defense attorney believed I had acted in self-defense. They requested that I be interviewed by Peaceful Paths -- an organization that works with VICTIMS of domestic violence, not the perpetrators of abuse. Both wanted to make sure that I had access to support and counsel for me and the children."
And in the DIOCESE OF MASSACHUSETTS, Bishop Tom Shaw told the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, where he was honored for his active support of legalizing same-sex marriage (even though his own denomination defines marriage as heterosexual,) told the group that he plans to launch an effort to change the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church USA to allow same-sex marriage. Shaw, it should be noted is a close personal friend of Frank Griswold and would like to succeed him as Presiding Bishop. The Primates should know that if they don't discipline Griswold there will be no change of course for the ECUSA if Shaw gets the nod for the top mitre.
THE DECADE TO OVERCOME VIOLENCE: Churches seeking Reconciliation and Peace (2001-2010), an initiative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) calls churches and ecumenical organizations, including the ECUSA to work together with communities, secular movements, and people of all faiths for peace, justice and reconciliation. It also highlights efforts to overcome violence in its different forms, and provides a space for networking and sharing.
Martha Gardner, consultant for Environmental Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center, has served on the DOV U.S. committee for several years. She writes: "I think there is a lot the church can do in raising the issues of violence in all its forms," she said. "We are surrounded by violence, and don't always recognize it, and it is the church's responsibility to point out the many ways we are violent and the alternatives."
Well Ms. Gardner how about some "reconciliation and peace" and some "nonviolence" by revisionist bishops towards orthodox priests. Perhaps Gardner will call up Bishop Stacy Sauls (Kentucky) and have a word with him about the "violence" he is wrecking on his orthodox priests. Let's clean up our own household before we jump on the bandwagon of the WCC or UN and plead for peace on earth and good will to all men. Let's start with how some of our bishops treat their godly clergy.
And in the DIOCESE OF SOUTHERN VIRGINIA this week Bishop David Bane got another wake-up call. He's already on notice that he could be out the door if he doesn't shape up and he's been living on borrowed time for over a year. After hours of haggling over the future of the bishop, delegates to the diocese's 113th Annual Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution requiring Bane to communicate with the church's presiding bishop within 30 days about the conflict and division surrounding Bane's leadership. The resolution was approved with 229 lay delegates voting for it and 12 voting against it. Clergy delegates voted 92 to 6 in favor of the resolution.
The truth is Bane is a total disaster who can't get along with his own suffragan or just about anybody including his clergy and most of the lay people. Perhaps the church has an opening for sextant. If Frank Griswold manages, after a graceful "conversation" to get rid of him and he gets the diocese to cut the same deal he got for the worthless former Bishop of New Jersey Jo Mo Doss, then Bane could be another rich ex bishop just like all the others.
AND FROM CHICAGO comes a story about a former activist homosexual now an Episcopal priest and married with five children, who says that different meanings of the Christian faith and moral order threaten schism in the Anglican Communion. "We have two understandings of the Gospels, Christologies, moral worldviews and anthropologies which do not reflect a biblical understanding of homosexuality and represents radically different positions," he told Virtueonline. The Windsor Report is tragically flawed on the subject of homosexuality representing radically different positions that threaten schism. You can read the Rev. Mario Bergner's testimony and story in today's digest.
It's interesting when you think about it, Griswold and the revisionists always want to have "conversations" with sodomites, but never with healed homosexuals, men and women who have encountered Christ, been delivered, washed clean of their sexual sin and now walk in newness of life.
A BILL TO SECURE PROPERTY RIGHTS for dissenting US parishes failed this week. The legal bid to secure greater property rights for churches in America that are opposed to their diocesan bishop has temporarily failed. Lobbying by church leaders in Virginia blocked a bill brought by state senator, William Mims that would have allowed congregations to retain their property if they seceded from their denomination. Mims, an Episcopal layman and a member of a conservative parish opposed to the recent actions of ECUSA, argued that the bill would have updated existing legislation governing the disposition of Church property in the event of schism.
WARDEN'S LAMENT. Bill Boniface formerly warden of St. Thomas's parish in the DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON has written a story about why he left a liberal parish for an orthodox one. This is an eye opener story. It reminds one of Dante's harsh judgment when he wrote; "sheep leave church, having been fed on wind."
And in the DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA on Wednesday, the Rev. Dr. David L. Moyer will be consecrated a bishop in the Traditional Anglican Communion through the American branch of the Anglican Church in America, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, his parish. On hand for the occasion will be Archbishop John Hepworth TAC leader up from Australia and Archbishop Louis Falk of the ACA.
PA Bishop Charles Bennison said he had issued a "warning" to the Parish. He allegedly told the Philadelphia INQUIRER that he warned leaders in the Main Line parish that by holding the service over his objections, they are "in direct violation of the church's canon law." VirtueOnline will report on this consecration and post it to the website immediately.
In other diocesan news, Bennison wrote Griswold at the height of the Moyer/Bennison crisis in May, 2002 saying that his decision not to withdraw the proceedings or give Fr. Moyer a trial was prompted by advice from his fund-raising consultants that he could not raise as much money in his fund-raising campaign. This raises the obvious concern that Bennison was clearly putting money ahead of the fundamental rights of the Anglo-Catholic rector!
For those interested I will be in ST LOUIS, MISSOURI March 3 -6 where I will be giving a public lecture at the Marriott West Hotel on Thursday evening, March 3rd, at 7:30 PM. The lecture is free but will require a ticket for admission. Free tickets may be obtained by calling 314-664-2340 or 314 971-1039 no later than February 28th. The Topic for my lecture will be "Whatever Happened to the Episcopal Church?" I will also speak at Church of the Resurrection on Sunday March 6th at 9:00 AM and will preach at the 10:00 AM service. I will also address Holy Trinity Church, Webster Groves, at a noon luncheon.
WEBSITE. In the last few days the website has been swamped resulting in some brief shutdowns. We are upgrading our website capacity to serve more readers. Nearly five million visitors have gone to the website - www.virtueonline.org. Please take a moment and go to the new CULTURE WARS link as well as original stories posted 7 days a week from 6am till midnight EST.
I have posted a number of stories today and close with a satirical essay that the Episcopal Church goes right over the top and consecrates a Buddhist priest. Why not? After all we have a gay bishop, numerous gay and lesbian priests and a transsexual deacon in the Diocese of Oklahoma. If satire is not your thing then stop at the DEVOTIONAL.
The next time I write to you all, following the consecration of Fr. David Moyer, will be from Ireland where the Primates are gathered for an historic occasion.
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