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Culture Wars oppose Christianity * More Women Bishops in TEC * New sexual allegations against NY Bishop Paul Moore * St. Paul's Darien heads to Court * CofE agonizes over God language * New Indigenous Bishop for Saskatoon * Stacy Sauls vs TEC

Paul reminded Timothy that "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim 3:12), while at the same time, "evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" --- (2 Tim3:13).

We're undergoing a Maoist-like Cultural Revolution -- with the power of the corporate mass media, corporate social media, the academy, most of corporate America, the deep state, the shadow government, and most of the legal apparatuses behind it. Anti-western, anti-individual, anti-Christian, anti-liberty monsters are ravaging our cultural legacies as well as our contemporary arts and letters. Our entire culture is under siege and undergoing an utter and relentless social justice dismantling. Leftist totalitarianism is running amok. We're on the precipice of completely losing our culture, the benefits of western civilization, and the entire legacy of western civilizational history. A major resurgence and counter attack is necessary and soon. --- Professor Michael Rechtenwald, NYU

Reason and revelation. The old Deist attempt to replace revelation by reason was wrong-headed from the beginning. Reason has a vital role in the understanding and application of revelation, but it can never be a substitute for it. Without revelation reason gropes in the dark and flounders in the deep. --- John R. W. Stott

I explained that Episcopalians, while mostly well educated, are for the most part functionally illiterate when it comes to theology and scripture due to their reliance on once a week (at best) worship, a three year lectionary which binds them to hearing the same small bits of scripture year after year, and priests and bishops who want to keep their sheep illiterate. Therefore, congregants help elect revisionist priests and bishops in large part because, except for the progressive pewsitters, they have no idea what they are doing. On the local level this results in most Episcopalians not caring about what goes on at the national level because they are happy with their church friends, most of whom are "nice people". Ignorance of the consequences of hanging out with "nice people" on Sunday mornings who are functionally illiterate of theology and scripture results in one hearing the oft repeated, "I am not worried about", "It will never happen here", or "It doesn't matter to me". --- From Not another Episcopal Blog

The place of tradition. When we seek to follow Christ in distinguishing between Scripture and tradition, we must be careful not to overstate the case. Jesus did not reject all human traditions out of hand, forbidding his disciples to cherish or follow any. What he did was to put tradition in its place, namely a secondary place, and then, provided that it was not contrary to Scripture, to make it optional. --- John R. W. Stott

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
November 30, 2018

War is being waged against Western culture from within, which is, in essence, a war against Christianity and its moral origins in the Hebrew Bible. By attacking these Biblical foundations in the name of reason and human rights, the culture warriors of secularism are sawing off the branch on which they sit. The only way to defend Western civilization is to reaffirm and restore its Biblical foundations.

Melanie Phillips' argument is developed in her 2012 book, The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power.

"We are living in an era which extols reason, science and human rights. These are said to be essential for progress, a civilized society and the betterment of humanity. Religion is said to be their antithesis, the source instead of superstitious mumbo-jumbo, oppression and backward-thinking.

"Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamization of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

"But this Enlightenment did not remove religion so much as pervert it. It took millenarian fantasies, the idea that the perfection of the world was at hand, and it secularized them. Instead of God producing heaven on earth, it would be mankind which would bring that about. Reason would create the perfect society and "progress" was the process by which utopia would be attained."

Phillips might have been describing Western liberal Protestant churches, including a vast swathe of Anglican Communion provinces that have bought into the lie that human amelioration focusing on a variety of social issues and ignoring personal redemption is now the order the day. Emphasizing climate change is a noble cause, but it won't make churches grow, it won't put bums on pews and it won't fill church coffers. Above all it won't make new converts to Christ.

Equally, thrusting homosexuality and same-sex marriage onto churches in the name of 'radical inclusion' has only radically excluded people of orthodox persuasion who don't agree with that position. The result: empty and closing churches.

We have reached a point where we now have two sides drawn up in the Anglican Communion, with Justin Welby hoping and praying that he can bring them together in the name of 'radical inclusion' in 2020 at Canterbury..

A recent meeting of Anglican Primates in Toronto was one such hope, but VOL learned that two of the primates, Gregory Venables Primate of South America and Tito Zavala, primate of the newly formed Province of Chile, "called out" Welby and let him know, in no in uncertain terms, that GAFCON primates would not be attending Lambeth in 2020. It was another failed Indaba moment. Welby keeps hoping he can pull a rabbit out of the hat and make all the problems go away. They won't.

Welby doesn't seem to get it that the fabric of the Communion has been torn without any immediate prospect of it being knit together again. Welby hopes that in producing documents like Towards A Symphony of Instruments that he can paste over differences in the communion and march triumphantly like some Roman Emperor through the streets of Canterbury in 2020, shouting that all is well and the communion is united. It is not.

*****

The story of the late Episcopal Bishop of New York, Paul Moore Jr., being a promiscuous bisexual has been bouncing around for the past ten years, but it recently resurfaced with new allegations of his predatory behavior towards young priests and others in this story from The Salt Lake Tribune.

The scope of Moore's abusive sexual misconduct has become known only this year, notably at a Catskill Mountains retreat in the spring attended by clergy from the New York diocese. At one session, participants were invited to share stories about difficulties they faced in their ministries. Among those at the event was the Rev. Alison Quin, rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Stone Ridge, New York. As recounted by Quin in a May 6 sermon, one female priest arose to denounce Moore as a serial exploiter who had affairs with many young priests and lay people. Quin said a male priest in his 60s came next, saying, "I was one of Paul Moore's boys -- he seduced me when I was a new priest. It nearly ruined my life."

Obviously, sexual deviancy is not confined to supposedly celibate Roman Catholic priests.

Meanwhile, the late Bishop's daughter had an interesting rationalization to offer for her father's sins, Honor Moore (the Bishop's daughter), in an interview, said she was dismayed that her father was the only person named in (Bishop) Dietsche's letter and objected to the label "sexual predator."

"It doesn't seem like a fair term," she said. "He was a sexually active gay man who lived in an era of unfortunate boundaries."

All I can say is, "Wow."

*****

The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee elected its first woman, an African-American in the person of Katherine Burgess, reported the Memphis Commercial Appeal. She will also be only the fourth black woman to become a diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Growing up as an Episcopalian in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the Rev. Phoebe Roaf never saw any priests who looked like her. Her role models, all white men, were affirming and wonderful, she said, but it wasn't until her 40s that she saw God was calling her -- a black woman -- to be ordained.

"I'm a person who's very optimistic about the future," Roaf said. "I have had a ministry of building bridges and reconciliation in my secular life and in my life as a parish priest, and that is sorely needed at this time in our nation's history. ... I'm coming there as someone who wants to build bridges and bring people together."

Statistics for the Diocese of West Tennessee are not very hopeful. Like all dioceses, it is slowly sinking into the sunset. Baptized Membership in 2001 was 11,648; by 2017, Baptized Membership had dropped by 30.5% to 8,095. Communicants in 2001 was 9,620; by 2017, Communicants numbered 6,381, a drop of33.7%. Average Sunday Attendance in 2001 was 4,536; in 2017, ASA was 2,970, a loss of 34.5%. The bishop has her work cut out for her if she doesn't want to see her diocese disappear in short order.

Of the 11 bishops elected in 2018, five have been women including: Carlye Hughes (XI Newark); Jennifer Redall (VI Arizona); Cathleen Chittenden Bascom (X Kansas); Kym Lucas (XI Colorado) and Pheobe Roaf (IV West Tennessee).

Roaf is also one of four women of color to advance to the bishopric. Other female bishops of color include: Carlye Hughes (XI Newark); Jennifer Baskerville Burrows (XI Indianapolis); and Kym Lucas (XI Colorado). In addition, Native American Bishop Carol "Walkingstick" Gallagher (Southern Virginia Suffragan -- 2002-2005) is a member of the Cherokee tribe. She is now the Canon for the Central Region in the Diocese of Massachusetts.

The West Tennessee election is the third time there has been an all-female slate of candidates, thus insuring only a woman would be elected bishop. The other dioceses to offer all-females for bishops was the Diocese of Kansas, which elected Cathleen Chittenden Bascom and the Diocese of Colorado, which chose Kym Lucas, who announced after her election she was fighting breast cancer.

Arizona also advanced a woman priest to be bishop. Jennifer Redall emerged from a field of three, which included only one man, upping the odds that a woman would be elected.

The Diocese of San Diego is also slated to put a woman into the House of Bishops. A one-woman slate has been proffered for the upcoming episcopal election in February.

In Texas, Bishop Suffragan Dena Harrison has put in her retirement papers in the Diocese of Texas. At this time, a new slate of candidates to replace her has yet to be announced.

However, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Texas told Virtueonline that The Episcopal Church is going out of its way to be overly inclusive and he did not even expect that he would ever be nominated for bishop since he is a straight white male priest.

Clearly, 'radical inclusion' has a dark side of radical exclusion. The scream of "no outcasts" by homosexuals a decade ago, could now become the cry of orthodox Episcopalians, who have clearly become the new outcasts in The Episcopal Church. Watch and see what happens to Albany Bishop Bill Love this month when he openly defies Resolution B012. You might well see the Doctrine of Exclusion playing itself out.

Quite a number of blacks who entered the Episcopal Church did so as evangelicals from Baptist backgrounds, so they know Jesus. Then they got seduced by the HOB clubbiness and quickly rolled over on homosexuality, eschewed in their former Baptist lives.

*****

Attorneys for the vestry of St. Paul's, Darien, CT, say that the hearing on the Complaint against Bishop Ian Douglas and diocese for seizing St. Paul's property and assets is set for Dec. 17 at 9:30 AM (courtroom 6b) before Judge Kevin Tierney of the Connecticut State Superior Court in Stamford.

Another Hearing is scheduled for December 18th and will start at 10:00 AM at the Courthouse and will likely be heard by Judge Tierney. This Hearing will be on two Motions: the first Motion on behalf of the Bishop and George Kovoor regarding the Court's jurisdictional issues -- (can a secular judge rule on a religious contract in the State of Connecticut?) Legal Briefs have been submitted on this issue from both sides. Also, this Hearing will include the Vestry's Motion for an Emergency Injunction against George Kovoor and the Bishop to return the church buildings and property back to the Vestry on behalf of their congregation.

*****

If we should stop calling God 'he', could we also stop calling Satan 'he'? Apparently, the Church of England hasn't thought this one through too well. Archbishop Welby can't stand a transgender God picking preferred pronouns.
Welby, who at some stage surely must have studied theology, knows the word "anthropomorphism"--- attributing human characteristics to God. He is facing an uphill battle with a bevy of newly elected women bishops.

Archbishop Cranmer blog, tongue-in-cheek, writes; Isn't the fact that devils and demons are consistently portrayed as male somewhat exacerbating perceptions of 'toxic masculinity'? Even the snake in the Garden of Eden is called 'he': 'Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman' (Gen 3:1). Why should it be a male snake that tempted a vulnerable woman and caused the Fall? Satan appears as the prosecutor in the heavenly court (Zech. 3:1ff; Job 1:6, 2:7ff); the chief seducer and tempter (1Chron 21:1); and the embodiment of evil (Mk 4:15). In the apocryphal book of Enoch, it is told how Satan rebelled against God and was hurled into the abyss (cf. Isa 14:12; Lk 10:18). And throughout, the pronouns are male: Satan is 'he'; Beelzebub is 'he'; Belial is 'he'; Lucifer is 'he'.

Could the Archbishop of Canterbury's vision be clouded by contemporary gender befuddlement, viewing divine revelation through a glass darkly?

*****

A Lambeth Palace press release says that "more than 800 bishops and their spouses will be invited" to the Lambeth Conference. The Church Times says that the cost per delegate is $6,314. If everyone came and if all are married, that's $12,628! Compass Rose will offer generous subsidies, as will The Episcopal Church and, if asked, Trinity Church Wall Street can certainly kick in big bucks.

The temptation for orthodox Anglican bishops who hang out with GAFCON is how to resist the siren call of such money with the added touch of a visit and tea with the queen and shopping at Fortnum and Mason.

*****

The tectonic plates are shifting in Eastern Christianity, according to George Weigel writing in FIRST THINGS.

While Synod-2018 was trying to grasp the polyhedron-like character of "synodality" and wrestling with the differences among sexual inclination, sexual orientation, and sexual attraction, tectonic plates were shifting beneath the surface of world Christianity. Like similar shifts in geology, which can produce tsunamis and earthquakes, dramatic movement in the underlying structures of ecclesiastical life can lead to great historical consequences. The recent decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant autocephaly to a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church--which would mean that church's independence from the Russian Orthodox Moscow patriarchate--is precisely such a dramatic, tectonic shift, perhaps the greatest in Eastern Christianity since Constantinople and Rome formally severed full communion in 1054.

This is, then, a Very Big Deal. That it got virtually no attention during Synod-2018, either inside the Synod hall or in the Synod's "Off-Broadway" conversations, says something (not altogether edifying) about the self-absorption of Catholicism as it continues its seemingly endless wrestling with the ethics of human love, the exercise of authority in the Church, and a raft of sexual and financial scandals. But one Synod father was paying close attention to what was afoot 2,300 kilometers northeast of here, and that was the ever-more-impressive Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major-Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches that are Byzantine in liturgy and polity, but in full communion with Rome.

Many commentators, including your scribe, have viewed what may be the impending independence of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in terms of its potential to derail Vladimir Putin's attempts to recreate a simulacrum of the old Soviet Union in the name of a historic "Russian space" (Russkie mir). Others, your scribe again included, have speculated on what Ukrainian Orthodox autocephaly would mean for ecumenical relations. Vatican ecumenists have bet most, if not all, their chips on Russian Orthodoxy as the "lead Church" in Eastern Christianity. That position will become even more untenable if Russian Orthodoxy loses a considerable proportion of its parishes and congregants to an independent Ukrainian Orthodoxy recognized as such by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, first among equals in the Orthodox world.

*****

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward J. Konieczny, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, has announced his intention to retire on January 1, 2021. Bishop Konieczny was elected and consecrated as the fifth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma in 2007, and at the time of his retirement will be in his 15th year as Bishop.

The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma includes all Episcopal congregations in the state of Oklahoma, spanning nearly 70,000 square miles and including numerous geographic landscapes. Our diocese includes approximately 25,000 Episcopalians; 70 congregations; and 150 resident clergy. They support 5 Episcopal schools, 2 residential communities for mature adults, and St. Crispin's, a thriving Camp and Conference Center.

What has he achieved in his 11 years? ASA in 2007 was 5,937; by the end of 2017, ASA was 5,314, a loss of 10.5%. All other diocesan statistics were down. Funerals in 2007 were 328, but had dropped to 240 in 2017. Sooner or later the old die and are not being replaced by younger millennials.

*****

Chris Harper was ordained as the first Indigenous bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Saskatoon, Canada. "I've always said I've walked in two worlds all my life. If we can find peace first, maybe we can walk together as human beings ... we're in this together."

As Harper walked into St. John's Anglican Cathedral on Saturday afternoon, the soon-to-be-ordained bishop-elect paused at the door to take part in a smudging ceremony.

As the first ever Indigenous bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Saskatoon, Harper -- originally from the Onion Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan -- said before the ceremony that he considered himself to be a "bridge" between the church and the Indigenous peoples in the city and the province.

Indigenous groups from Australia to New Zealand to Canada have all opposed same-sex marriage. This creates a quandary for pro-homosexual white bishops. If they oppose their indigenous brethren they can be accused of racism!

*****

LOVE according to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is the core message of the basic gospel message: Love your neighbor as yourself.

"It is a love that actually seeks the good and the welfare and well-being of others, and at the same time the self gets blessed too, but not first," he said.

Well now, how about a little love for ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and the promise to quit spending millions of dollars that could go to help the poor, rather than litigation costs to retake churches which total more than $60 MILLION! With just a word he could end litigation in Ft. Worth and South Carolina.

Later in December we will learn just how much "love" there is to go around when Albany Bishop Bill Love faces an ecclesiastical firing squad for his opposition to resolution B012. Curry will need to draw on his reserves of love to be inclusive.

*****

The latest hearing in the case of Stacy F. Sauls v. The Episcopal Church, filed with the New York Supreme Court in September 2017, has been postponed to Jan. 10, 2019, according to The Living Church.

Bishop Sauls, formerly the chief operating officer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, was dismissed in April 2016. He filed suit against the church in February 2017 through a circuit court in Mobile, Ala. Mobile County 13th Judicial District Judge Ben Brooks dismissed that case in August 2017.

Sauls appealed the Alabama judge's ruling, but he also filed a version of the lawsuit in New York.

*****

THE EPISCOTAPE LETTERS. My new book, The Episcotape Letters, modeled on that of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, has been published. For a donation of $100.00 or more, I will send you an autographed copy. This is a volume of my best satirical essays compiled over the years. It catalogues the unravelling of the Episcopal Church, its apostasies and heresies. Such pathology cries out for correction and there is no better way to do so than by humor and satire. In my book I expose the foibles and self-destruct machinations of the Episcopal Church's apostasies.

You can make a $100.00 donation and I will send you an autographed copy at this link. https://tinyurl.com/yabemo37

Thank you for your support.

In Christ,

David

PS. VOL is working hard to form a bare bones budget for 2019. We urgently need your support. Funds are low. Your tax-deductible donation will truly make a difference.

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