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GAFCON III hits home run for Biblical Anglicans * ACNA Archbishop to head GAFCON Movement * Church of Ireland Bishops attacked for attending GAFCON III * Buying Bishops to attend Lambeth 2020 * Cultural Marxism Rips Churches Apart

We were there. The blaming of the Jewish people for the crucifixion of Jesus is extremely unfashionable today. Indeed, if it is used as a justification for slandering and persecuting the Jews (as it has been in the past), or for anti-Semitism, it is absolutely indefensible. The way to avoid anti-Semitic prejudice, however, is not to pretend that the Jews were innocent, but, having admitted their guilt, to add that others shared in it. This was how the apostles saw it. Herod and Pilate, Gentiles and Jews, they said, had together 'conspired' against Jesus (Acts 4:27). More important still, we ourselves are also guilty. If we were in their place, we would have done what they did. Indeed, we *have* done it. For whenever we turn away from Christ, we 'are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace' (Heb. 6:6). We too sacrifice Jesus to our greed like Judas, to our envy like the priests, to our ambition like Pilate. 'Were you there when they crucified my Lord?' the old Negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, 'Yes, we were there.' Not as spectators only but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining, and handing him over to be crucified. We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate. But our attempt will be as futile as his. For there is blood on our hands. Before we can begin to see the cross as something done *for* us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done *by* us (leading us to repentance). --- John R.W. Stott

The suicide crisis in the USA is in part a crisis of meaning. Recent changes in American society, greater detachment and a weaker sense of belonging, are increasing our existential despair. Although we try and distract ourselves (most of the time nowadays successfully) we realize that everyone we know and care about, including the person we care about the most, ourselves, will die. --- Marcus Roberts

"Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam. The problem lies within Islam itself. Jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be readily traced to specific elements of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice, including those portions of fiqh--classical Islamic law or shari'ah--that enjoin Islamic supremacy." -- Paul Marshall

Nearly half of all Church of England churches have fewer than five under 16-year-olds --- C of E General Synod report

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
June 29, 2018

GAFCON III. It was billed as the largest gathering of Anglicans in fifty years, nearly 2000 orthodox Anglicans turned up in Jerusalem to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.

They did it with a mixture of gusto and seriousness, lectures and testimonies mixed with forming new networks and ministries aimed at countering the dated, moribund structures of the Anglican Communion Office whose approach now appears gospel compromised, ecumenical (but not in the traditional sense) and less than evangelically driven.

Representing the majority of the world's Anglicans, they had come from 50 countries, equally represented by clergy and laity, gathered in the Holy Land for worship, prayer, Bible study, teaching and fellowship. The conference's impact was amplified as over 730,000 people from 64 different countries engaged with the conference online.

Nine new ministry networks were launched this week, spreading wide roots by building teams dedicated to the work of:

Theological Education (The Rev. Dr. Andrew Shead, Australia)
Church Planting (Canon Alan Hawkins, United States)
Global Mission Partnerships (Canon William Beasley, United States)
Youth and Children's Ministry (The Rev. Craig Roberts, Australia)
Mothers' Union and Women Senior Leaders (Mrs. Gloria Kwashi, Nigeria)
Sustainable Development (The Rev. Dr. Dennis Tongoi, Kenya)
Bishops' Training Institute (Bishop Samson Mwaluda, Kenya)
Lawyers Task Force (Canon Phil Ashey, United States)
Intercessors Fellowship (Canon Catherine Shimanya, Uganda)

All this got pushback from the General Secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who accused GAFCON leaders of imposing a parallel administrative organization to the existing one without the Anglican Communion.

GAFCON leaders were unmoved by his fit of pique and dismissed it, with Archbishop Peter Jensen accusing Fearon of making false allegations.

"The attempt by the Anglican Communion Office to challenge the GAFCON Primates for supporting new ministries is further evidence of how much the institutional form of Anglicanism is out of touch with spiritual reality. The launch of our networks is a sign of spiritual vitality which ought to be welcomed and applauded. Voluntary movements getting involved in much needed ministry has a long tradition within the Anglican Communion."

GAFCON has insisted from the beginning that: "We are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the majority of the Anglican Communion seeking to remain faithful to our Anglican heritage." As Archbishop Nicholas Okoh stated: "We are merely doing what the Communion leadership should have done to uphold its own resolution in 1998."

You cannot turn truth on its head and hope for a better outcome, neither logic, scripture or history will let you do that. The pansexual wave has only thrown up moral and spiritual sewage into the church, based on human desire. What God has willed, He cannot unwill. What He determined in creation, before the foundation of the earth, He has not and will not reverse. It is our rebellion that is at odds with God's will. It is either His will be done, or our will be done. The choice is always ours.

A final communique recommended that GAFCON members decline all future invitations to attend meetings of the Instruments of Communion, including Lambeth 2020. Whether that is heeded, only time will tell.

The Jerusalem 2018 Conference ended with a passionate call to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.

One important development for North American Anglicans was the announcement that ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach will be the next chairman of the movement, succeeding Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, Province of Jos (Nigeria) was elected the next General Secretary of GAFCON, replacing Archbishop Peter Jensen of Australia.

This is huge as it sends a signal to TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry that he is no longer the major stakeholder of Anglicanism in North America. It also sends a signal to evangelical TEC Dallas Bishop George Sumner that he and a handful of Communion Partner bishops in TEC will ever effect reconciliation with the ACNA.

In a byline story for COVENANT magazine, he writes; "[GAFCON] needs to be taken seriously because the primate of ACNA is the chair of the Primates' Council and we must "reckon with these developments."

He goes on to ask the question, "What are we to make of the lack of any acknowledgment that we are part of this complicated North American scene? We represent a group of dioceses, including several in Latin America, which haven't left, but dissent from some of our own church's decisions. We are, demographically speaking, a sodality comparable in size to ACNA itself." You can read about his aspirations here and m y take on what he said: https://tinyurl.com/y8taxwjh

You can read all my GAFCON stories from Jerusalem and those of others including the final communique here at www.virtueonline.org

*****

BUYING BISHOPS...the Lambeth 2020 public relations machine and their fund-raising flaks are in full swing. It was recently announced that the Lambeth team had received some £750,000 (€855,800; $988,500-US) grant by the Allchurches Trust, owners of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group. It is the largest received to date by conference organizers to bring African, Asian and South American bishops to Lambeth in the year of our Lord 2020.

Of course, that's not the only money Welby can count on. Money is also coming from Compass Rose, the wealthy diocese of Hong Kong, the Episcopal Church and Trinity Wall Street. In short, there will be no shortage of money for any bishop who wants to attend.

They can fly business class, bring their wives, get free accommodation, dine well, have tea with the queen, buy stuff at Fortnum and Mason and, above all, vote out resolution Lambeth 1.10 which gives The Most Rev. Justin Welby heart burn.

That will be the real purpose of the next Lambeth conference...to broker in sodomy and same sex marriage in order to cater to one percent of Anglicans and to inform God that they have changed His mind for Him about how human beings should behave sexually. It will be a study in hubris and cultural Marxism with TEC bishops leading the way with Michael Curry, check book in hand, talking about "love". Welby will be an easy mark. He will roll over faster than a Harley Davidson doing 100 mph on the M5.

The seduction of the mostly African bishops is now in full swing but it might not work. Judging by the overwhelming success of GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem recently, which saw some 333 bishops present along with nearly a dozen Archbishops, Welby may not score a home run. Even if he draws 500 bishops and two dozen Archbishops, they will represent only about 30 percent of practicing Anglicans worldwide. And there's the rub. Most of these 333 bishops have pledged not to attend Lambeth 2020 unless there are serious changes in the direction of Lambeth, and that, it seems, is not going to happen

In truth, GAFCON owns the Anglican Communion now. Nigerian primate, Nicholas Okoh, has a bigger following than Welby. Despite cries of foul play by Josiah Idowu-Fearon over the new networks GAFCON has established, Welby cannot but help see that the elephant in the Narthex (GAFCON) and he cannot escape that fact. He will live with it till the day he retires, resigns or dies. The GAFCON tribe will increase even as Welby's decreases.

*****

Let go my Lego go. There are some stories you can't make up, that you can't outsatirize, and the latest is news from the Church of England's Lego Indaba department demonstrating the point.

Justin Welby thinks by using Lego he can build 3D metaphors for the state of the church. I kid you not. He thinks that we use Lego to solve the problems in the Anglican Communion. Really.

The Daily Mail reported this:

"The Church of England wants to build a new future... using Lego. Vicars used the toy bricks at a bizarre problem-solving session where they were asked to build 3D metaphors for the state of the church and also to describe themselves.

"The process apparently 'liberates the creative imagination' and helps explore how participants' 'ideas, identities, values and expectations might combine to solve problems or discover vision'.

But Anthony Kilmister, chairman of the Anglican Association, said: "This beggars belief when the Church is facing so many serious issues. A little more proper conversation and action and a little less playing with Lego might achieve something more constructive."

The session was held in the diocese of Canterbury, overseen by Welby, whose spokesman said: "He is always positive about anything that encourages creative thinking."

Funny thing about this is that none of the 2,000 delegates at GAFCON III in Jerusalem were seen playing Lego, believing that would solve the Communion's problems.

*****

The attendance of two Church of Ireland bishops at GAFCON has sent the Church of Ireland into a tizzy. The Church of Ireland claims to "provide a context in which people of diverse views on theology and liturgy can live and worship together." The statement should read "diverse views that are not too orthodox." Is the Church of Ireland suffering from GAFCON derangement syndrome?

On Sunday, Church of Ireland Dean of Waterford, Maria Jansson asked "how can Bishops Harold Miller and Ferran Glenfield reconcile the vows they made at their consecrations as bishops to 'maintain and further the unity of the church' with their support of GAFCON which stridently endeavors to undermine that very unity?"

Their presence in Jerusalem illustrated "how utterly out of touch some senior clergy can become from the average member of the Church of Ireland", she said. Really.

They described it as "an absolute disgrace", "schismatic" and as illustrating "how utterly out of touch some senior clergy" were with church membership.

However, Bishop Harold Miller of Down and Dromore, who attended the meeting, described the experience as "nourishing and enriching". He said he "saw a spirit of forgiveness, love and blessing of others, alongside a determination to stand firm in what they believe. This for me was one of the most powerful experiences of the week". So much for the Dean of Waterford.

*****

Churches and ministries across California are rising up to fight a state bill that would limit how they minister to people who are struggling with same-sex attraction.

For Christian ministries, it's a battle for freedom of conscience and religious liberty. For the bill's supporters, it's a way to protect consumers.

AB2943 considers sexual orientation change efforts to be harmful and fraudulent. It outlaws advertising for such efforts and any business transaction that seeks to change sexual orientation, including behavior and gender expression.

This dramatic move could not only ban counseling, but also church conferences and ministry events where a nominal fee is charged. It also outlaws efforts to simply reduce sexual or romantic attraction towards individuals of the same sex.

Perhaps those most concerned about the bill are those who have struggled with same-sex attraction and found freedom in Christ.

Ken Williams and Elizabeth Woning minister at Bethel Church in Redding, California. They describe themselves as "once gay" and know personally that change is possible.

"I would never have made it without the ability to go find a counselor that was going to tell me, 'Hey, Jesus cares about this issue,'" he remembers.

You can read more here: ttps://tinyurl.com/y7ebslmc

*****

What you can expect at TEC's General Convention this summer in Austin, Texas: from the Living Church comes this: General Convention can be a cauldron of pent-up passion. What will be the hottest issues at the 79th General Convention, July 5-13, in Austin, Texas?

Same-sex marriage: The bishops of 93 domestic dioceses have approved the trial use of same-sex marriage rites, and same-sex marriages have been solemnized around the country. But the 2015 General Convention resolution that established the rites, specified they can be used only with the consent of the local bishop and eight domestic bishops do not permit same-sex marriages in their dioceses.

Proposed resolutions would eliminate the bishop's veto and start the process of adding the trial rites to the Book of Common Prayer. Proponents say that access to the rites should not depend on a person's Zip Code. Opponents see the resolutions as another step into wrongful doctrine and warn of further division.

Prayer Book revision: In addition to the issue of whether to add same-sex marriage rites to the Book of Common Prayer, a subcommittee of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music established in 2015 has been considering the possibility of a comprehensive revision of the 1979 prayer book. The subcommittee offers two alternatives, each with hefty costs.

Option 1 is a 12-year process aimed at adopting final revisions to the prayer book at the 2030 General Convention. Each triennium leading to 2030 would be devoted to different phases of the process, including research, drafting, trial use and approval at two consecutive General Conventions. The subcommittee asks for a budget of $1.9 million for the 2019-21 triennium alone and estimates that the total cost would be between $7 million and $8 million.

Option 2 calls for extensive research for a single triennium, leading toward "an intentional and fuller engagement" with the 1979 prayer book. The effort would include cataloging the texts currently used in bulletins throughout the church; convening focus groups; consulting with other Anglican provinces; and developing resources to help congregations connect with the prayer book. The proposed budget for this option is $1.2 million, which includes translating the prayer book into Spanish, French and Haitian Creole.

While I will not be there in person, VOL will cover General Convention through livestreaming and other forms of communication. Mary Ann Mueller, a journalist living in Texas and a regular contributor to VirtueOnline, will be monitoring and writing about the event.

*****

CULTURAL MARXISM. In these two words we are seeing the biggest challenge and threat to orthodox Christianity and Church in the world today.

One person who is poking his finger in the eye of cultural Marxism is Bishop Gavin Ashenden. He recently gave a lecture on this to GAFCON delegates in Jerusalem. In a joint presentation with the Rev. Melvin Tinker, he examined the hidden ideology of Cultural Marxism, which is eroding Western culture and infecting the Church, and which lies behind gay and transgender issues, replacing the Gospel of Grace with social politics.

"The egalitarian redistribution Marx planned for at the hand of the all-powerful state, has simply morphed into an assault on our culture, instead of being channeled through economics and class warfare.

"Marxism set out to eradicate the longings of the human heart and replace them with a set of particular political values and secular ideology. It failed to deliver equality of outcome."

Ashenden points to The Frankfurt School, an esoteric group of thinkers based in Germany who moved to the USA. "I saw a political and cultural trajectory approaching whose effect was to the closing down of free speech and especially of Christian values, identity and ethics." In the New State, Ashenden saw that the Marxist state 1.0 attacked the family, so the new Marxism 2.0 is now attacking the family.

"Under the cover of extending human rights to the homosexual community it is attacking and redefining the family which in Christian terms is man and woman imaging God together, acting as agents of Creation. The family is not no longer about generation, but about sexual and romantic self-expression. It is co-opted into a sexualizing of society into a perversion and distortion of God's intentions as we encounter them in revelation.

"It was not enough for this new movement has set out to capture not only the secular society in the West primarily, It has set out also to capture the Church. And parts of the Church, quisling like, have cooperated with and welcome it."

The trick, says Ashenden, is always to use a set of attractive words and concepts but to redefine them and give them a wholly different and subversive meaning. So, DIVERSITY for Christians might signify the unlimited complexity and creativity of God's creation. But perverse diversity turns out to mean any combination of interests that excludes Christians.

"TOLERANCE for Christians signifies the elasticity of love that makes a distinction between the sin and the sinner, loving the sinner with a graced tolerance, while hating what poisoned him. Perverse tolerance means the celebration and promotion of an ethics of rebellion against God, particularly in the area of sexual unholiness and perversity and the exclusion of Christian values.

"INCLUSION for Christians is the ambition that there are no places where the mercy of God will not stretch inviting people to turn and be held by the Good Shepherd who will carry them home. Perverse inclusion is the overturning of Christ's teaching by celebrating what he warned us to avoid and detest, in particular the perversions that pour out of the corrupt human heart that defile the soul. And the exclusion of Christian values.

"EQUALITY is scarcely a term that's exists within the Christian framework. There is very little equality in the Bible or Christian tradition. After all God favors Israel over all others, and prefers the spiritually poor to the complacent, and the penitent to the self-sufficient, and the committed to the lackadaisical. To those who accomplish much more will be given.

"But if it means anything for Christians, it means that our understanding of universal sin places us equally in need of mercy. We are equally dislocated by the fractured human condition from the holiness of God; no category of humanity qualities for special treatment.

"There can be no (spiritual) discrimination with equality, no discernment of the difference between good and evil. Equality strips the faith of its inner workings, which is one reason why it's so dangerous.

"Anglicanism always misused the three-fold gifts of Scripture tradition and reason that Hooker articulated in his Ecclesiastical Polity.

"Reason for Hooker was not rationality but was the application of Scripture over against the Puritans who would not allow anything that Scripture did not articulate.

"But in our culture, reason has morphed into rationality. Rationality does not apply Scripture, it contradicts it as it edits it.

"Secularized Christians have no immunity against the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age. By swallowing the values and language of cultural Marxism Christians have deprived themselves of the protection they needed in the spirit and cosmic struggle against evil."

Ashenden outlines the four stages of the revolution: Feminism, Gay Marriage, Transgenderism, Pedophilia.

This is a must story for any intelligent Christian watching as mainline churches slowly slide into oblivion. You can read it all here: http://www.virtueonline.org/challenge-cultural-marxism-church.

Thank you for your prayers for my recent trip to Jerusalem and GAFCON III. It was a memorable occasion and one I will not soon forget.

All blessings,

David

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