Fruits and gifts. What are the marks of a person filled with the Spirit of God today? There can be no doubt that the chief evidence is moral not miraculous, and lies in the Spirit's fruit not the Spirit's gifts. --- John R.W. Stott
At this gathering [in Canterbury] a basic church-defining principle will be at stake: Will Christ rule our life and witness through His word, or will our life and witness be conformed to the global ambitions of a secular culture? Together, by the grace of God, we are praying that the Communion will emerge from its current crisis repentant, renewed and restored for its global mission of proclaiming the gospel which is good news for all people, in all places and at all times. This is the hope and testimony of the GAFCON Primates as they approach this gathering. --- Rev. Matt Kennedy
Why is it that so many of the LGBT3Q2 individuals are such heavy drinkers that they have to go into rehab? Here in London, Ontario the amount of alcoholism amongst the general population is huge. Why is this? London seems to be nothing now except rehab centers, medical pharmacies, mental hospitals and drying-out tanks. --- A Canadian Anglican
The baptism of the Spirit. The teaching of the Pentecostal churches, and of many people in the charismatic or neo-Pentecostal movement, is that we receive the 'gift' of the Spirit when we first believe, but then need a second and subsequent experience called the 'baptism' of the Spirit, usually evidenced by 'speaking in tongues'. What the New Testament teaches, however, is not a stereotype of two stages, but rather the initial blessing of regeneration by the Spirit, followed by a process of growth into maturity, during which we may indeed be granted many deeper and richer experiences of God. These often bring a fresh experience of the reality of God and a more vivid awareness of his love. But they should not be called 'the baptism of the Spirit'. The expression to be 'baptized with the Spirit' occurs only seven times in the New Testament. Six of them are quotations of John the Baptist's words 'I baptize with water, but he will baptize with the Spirit', a promise which was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The seventh (1 Cor. 12:13) emphasizes that all of us have been 'baptized' with the Spirit and been made to 'drink' of the Spirit - two graphic pictures of our having received him. --- John R.W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
January 8, 2016
A source deep in Lambeth Palace tells VOL that Archbishop Justin Welby is trying to engineer a split between the GAFCON primates. Divide et imperia is an old trick, and the source said that some of the GAFCON primates are likely to be lured by Welby's charm and the desire to remain attached to Canterbury.
If the Archbishop thinks he can pull that off, then Houdini was an Anglican.
The gathering of Primates next week will be a make or break time, and there is little doubt that Welby will do almost anything to keep the GAFCON archbishops at the table. That is easier said than done. Not only does he have a herculean task of keeping them at the table, he has to figure out what to do with ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach, the veritable thorn in the Anglican side of North American Anglicanism.
Can Welby schmooze US Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz into accepting Archbishop Beach as primus inter pares? That remains to be seen. Certainly nothing that Hiltz has said to date indicates that. He is willing to let Beach make his pitch at the beginning of the week-long talks, but then he wants him gone. But that's not going to fly.
The GAFCON archbishops have made it very clear that first on the agenda is the disciplining of those errant provinces that have departed from Scripture and have promoted pansexuality and "another gospel." They won't be fobbed off by "agonizing" diatribes over poverty, climate change and racism, which the primates can do little about except to pass resolutions at their synods and conventions.
The Dar es Salaam statement will be rolled out and Welby will have to face the fact head-on that the Primates Meeting in 2007 laid out a plan to bring discipline and restore order and was unanimously supported by all 38 Primates of the Anglican Communion. However, the statement was never implemented and was later unilaterally overruled by former Archbishop Rowan Williams. This further breach of trust only deepened the tear in the fabric of the Anglican Communion. Welby won't be able to get away with it this time.
One observer told VOL that Anglican revisionists of North America and Europe do not aspire to re-write or deny the past. They want to revise the present and future -- and control it. "As with most progressives, they are disinterested in the past." How true, how true.
What Welby should do (and it is doubtful he will) is hold firm to orthodox Christianity as historically presented by Anglicanism. He should side with the majority of the Anglican Communion (even if it is not the majority of Primates) and declare the gospel cannot be changed and that traditional sexuality written in Scripture cannot be rewritten to satisfy a handful of pansexualists. He should declare that all provinces preach the gospel, plant new churches and make disciples of all nations -- no compromises, no finger crossing -- and then say if bishops and archbishops are not willing to do that then they should go find another line of work.
The question is this: Is Welby able to gird up his loins and resist the revisionist pressures? Regrettably there is little to indicate this will happen without a miracle, and the Anglican Communion is short on miracles.
The truth this time, unlike previous occasions, is that GAFCON chairman Eliud Wabukala and the rest of the GAFCON Primates are fully organized in message, procedures, relationships, and rhetoric, to avoid the duplicity foisted upon them in the past decades.
The day of Anglican fudge is over. The revisionists can't pull off any more indaba or diversion on issues like global warming. The Global South have plenty of issues, like people being slaughtered for their faith by ISIS and Boko Haram. Just ask the Archbishop of the Sudan Deng Bul. Canadian Primate Hiltz, who is carrying the ball with TEC's Michael Curry hors de combat, can play that card, but it is a losing hand.
The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali announced this week that "godly order" must be restored in Canterbury or else he will walk out. He will not be alone. He and his fellow GAFCON archbishops will never be in communion with TEC.
Furthermore, the post-colonial attitude of many British bloggers that without Canterbury there is no communion is patronizing rubbish.
If it means the result will result in a smash-up with primates flying in all directions, with the GAFCON/Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans departing from the old Anglican Communion, then so be it.
The Global South is quite capable of rebuilding a global structure and breaking communion formally with the heretical, imploding Western provinces while keeping strategic lines open with Canterbury for the longer-run.
Whatever happens, I believe that this meeting will be THE transformative event for modern Anglicanism.
You can read multiple stories on all this in today's digest, including my own take here: http://tinyurl.com/jgo7duo
The next time I write to you all, it will be from Canterbury.
In yet more signs that some Africans can be compromised, VOL learned this week that the daughter of former Southern African Archbishop Desmond Tutu tied the knot with a woman professor in the Netherlands. The Rev. Canon Mpho Tutu wed Professor Marceline van Furth.
According to Netherlands broadcaster Jeanette Chabalala of News24, the couple reportedly "married" in a private ceremony held in Oegstgeest in the Netherlands. The couple is set to celebrate their wedding in Cape Town in May.
Tutu is currently the executive director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, while Furth is a professor in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Vrije University in Amsterdam, and holds the Desmond Tutu Chair in Medicine at the university.
It is the second "marriage" for both. You can read the full story in today's digest.
Closer to home, we learned this week that scandal has broken out at St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island, where some 40 former pupils say they were sexually abused by priests and a chaplain and that a cover up occurred. Two attorneys representing victims said that the more than 40 people contacted them with stories ranging from molestation to rape by staff and students at the Episcopalian prep school in Middletown, R.I. Most of the alleged crimes took place in the 1970s and '80s.
Note this is NOT about pedophilia. It is about homosexual priests seducing and raping young, vulnerable, pubescent men.
The Episcopal bishop of Rhode Island, the Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, has called for "disciplinary proceedings" at the school.
He said in a statement that he is in contact with Rhode Island State Police, "and I am following their direction as the investigation is being carried out" into the episodes discussed in a report issued by the school in December and in media coverage.
So far two Episcopal priests and a third person who worked in Episcopal congregations have been named in the report or ensuing media coverage, but we have heard nothing from the principal of the school.
The Boston Globe reported that past St. George's administrators "repeatedly broke Rhode Island's law that requires schools to report credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors"; and that current administrators in 2012 and 2015 "tried to 'gag' victims from talking about'' abuse.
Two former St. George's staff members -- an assistant chaplain and the choir director -- "left the school after they admitted to sexual misconduct with male students. No mandatory abuse report was made by the school. They both went on to work in schools and churches and are still in settings where they are at risk to re-offend."
The only good news is that that there is no statute of limitations in Rhode Island on sex crimes. Watch the lawsuits fly. You can read two stories about this in today's digest.
It is with profound sorrow and deep regrets that we inform you of the death of the Rt. Rev. Donald James Parsons, 93, 6th Bishop of Quincy, former Dean of Nashotah House, and mentor to generations of priests. He died at approximately 9:30 P.M this evening. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Please pray for the repose of his soul and for his children, Mary, Rebecca, and Brad.
The College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America met on January 6, 2016 (the Feast of the Epiphany) and elected the next bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes.
Three candidates, The Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton, The Rev. Allen Kannapell, and The Rev. Dr. Canon Ronald Jackson, had been nominated when the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes met in an extraordinary Synod on October 3, 2015.
While at Christ Church in Vero Beach, Florida, the College heard the testimonies of all three candidates and had the opportunity to ask them questions about their faith, ministry, and calling. After a time of prayer, the College elected The Rev Dr. Ronald Jackson.
Archbishop Beach gave thanks for the election saying, "I am very excited about this godly man whom God has raised up to serve His Church."
Rev. Jackson will be the second bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes, taking over the episcopal ministry from diocese's first bishop, The Rt. Rev. Roger Ames. The consecration of bishop-elect Jackson will be in Akron, Ohio on Thursday, April 28th, 2016.
The head of the Anglican Church in Scotland has warned the Church of England against treading on his ecclesiastical territory in an historic agreement with the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
The bishop of St Andrew's, David Chillingworth, known as the "blogging bishop" who is also primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said, "The Church of England is not a Scottish Church nor does it have any jurisdiction in Scotland. The Anglican way is to recognize the territorial integrity of each province -- they are autonomous but inter-dependent."
He said the document had already caused damage to long-established relationships and called for its publication to be delayed to allow a fuller consultation to take place.
The Columba Declaration commits the Church of England and the Church of Scotland to growing closer together in communion and mission and to recognizing each other's clergy and laity. The document appears to take little account of the Anglican province in Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, which withdrew from the talks early on but remained present as an observer.
The Church of Scotland and the Church of England published the Columba Declaration on the morning of Christmas Eve, stating they had reached an historic agreement to work more closely together. Both churches will debate it later this year at General Synod in York and the General Assembly in Edinburgh.
An Anglican Seminary in Toronto is now offering Orthodox ministry training. A new Master of Divinity program at Trinity College, Toronto, is helping to prepare students for ordained or lay ministry in the Orthodox Church.
The post-graduate degree -- the only one of its kind in Canada -- is often a requirement for those seeking ordination in the Orthodox Church. Previously, students who wanted the degree had to travel to seminaries in the United States, usually a prohibitively expensive undertaking.
Trinity College's faculty of divinity has been offering courses in Orthodox Christianity for the past 10 years and the new degree, established last year, is an extension of that, says Father Ready. "We decided to take it to the next level," he says.
Three students were enrolled in the program in its first year, and Father Ready is hoping for up to 12 when the next school year begins in September. The degree includes courses in biblical studies from an Orthodox perspective, liturgics and pastoral ministry.
The Revd Canon David Neelands, Dean of Divinity, says the enhanced Orthodox curriculum and the new students it will attract will benefit the college. "I think it's a great development," he says. "It will benefit us and a new population."
Anglican students enrolled in Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Education programs at the college can take the Orthodox courses towards their degrees. "Orthodox historians and theologians have a lot to offer in terms of early church writers and history, and Anglicans have a long tradition of interest in Eastern Christianity -- its icons, its spirituality and its authentic character," says Canon Neelands.
The Anglican Church in Canada continues to decline. In the Diocese of Newfoundland & Labrador it was a significant day in Trinity South. Four Anglican churches along the Trinity Shore -- St. Matthew's of Green's Harbour, St. George the Martyr in Whiteway, The Good Shepherd in Cavendish, and St. Matthew's in Heart's Delight-Islington -- were all deconsecrated this week.
The churches have been combined into a single parish, now located in the old Epiphany Elementary school building in Heart's Delight-Islington, which has been refurbished for the needs of the parish.
An Anglican Bishop of the Province of Nigeria was accused of cultism and chased out of the church.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Adebayo Oluwarohunbi, the Bishop of Yewa Anglican Diocese, has been barred from presiding over church activities over allegations that he belonged to a cult and allegedly cancelled existing religious activities.
The Nigerian Pilot reports that members of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Onala in Ilaro area of Ogun state stormed the church with placards and barred the bishop from presiding over the first service of the year on Sunday, January 3.
It was reported that the intervention of security operatives prevented the case from degenerating into conflict and the religious center was eventually placed under seal.
A member of the church accused the bishop of cancelling a revival and installing in its place a family fun fair. It was reported that Solomon Oluwarotimi Adewunmi, the former provost of the church, refused invitation by the bishop to join his cult.
The bishop's decision to cancel all standing committees in the church led to protests. Nicholas Okoh, the primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, called the parties to a meeting in Abuja and ordered the reinstatement of the standing committees.
The Anglican mission agency Mothers' Union is celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2016. Throughout the year it will hold a number of events to mark 14 decades of "faithful outreach to families of all faiths and none."
The Mothers Union was formed in 1876 when Mary Sumner brought together parents in her own Hampshire parish to build their confidence in bringing up their children. Since then it has grown to an organization of over four million women - and men - in over 80 countries of the world, and it continues to encourage parents in looking after children, not only physically and mentally but also spiritually. From the outset, the Mothers' Union recognized that strong relationships and the role of family, however defined, are crucial in building healthy communities.
"Whilst the ways in which we operate to fulfill that need may be different from that of the world of the 19th century, our vision today is still of a world where God's love is shown through loving, respectful, and flourishing relationships. This is the essence of our work," the agency says on its website. "We aim to show our Christian faith by the transformation of communities worldwide. We can do this through the promotion of stable marriage, family life and the protection of children. This is our mission. It is what we aim to achieve."
A special anniversary celebration service will be held on 22 September at Winchester Cathedral, England, where the Mothers' Union was founded. Service resources are being made available to help local churches hold their own Mother Union anniversary services on Mothering Sunday (6 March), Lady Day (4 April), and Mary Sumner Day (9 August).
The Mothers' Union has also set itself a fundraising challenge of £1.4 million to provide practical support for 500,000 people throughout the year.
An evangelical Christian preacher, Pastor James McConnell, has been found not guilty of making "grossly offensive" remarks about Islam. The 78-year-old from Shore Road in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Ireland denied two charges relating to a sermon he gave in a Belfast church in 2014.
A judge said that while he considered the remarks offensive, he did not consider them "grossly" offensive under the law. Supporters of the pastor applauded when the verdict was given.
Speaking outside court, Mr McConnell said his only regret was the response from the Muslim community that he was "out to hurt them. There was no way I was out to hurt them. I wouldn't hurt a hair on their head, but what I am against is their theology and what they believe in."
The next time I write to you all it will be from Canterbury, England. Please keep me and all those faithful to the gospel in your prayers as the Communion faces the greatest spiritual and ecclesiastical crisis in its history. Much is at stake. Pray for ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach as he will come under much scrutiny from primates across the communion. Pray for the GAFCON primates and the GAFCON chairman, Kenyan Primate Eliud Wabukala. Pray that Wabukala will be given the grace to stand even as he upholds the authority of Scripture and biblical morality. Above all, pray that God's will, will be done.
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