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Misleading Numbers of Evangelicals who Voted for Trump * Curry Appeals to Conservatives but at what cost? * HOB increases Women Bishops -- four and rising * CT Bishop Grabs St. Paul's, Darien * Diocese of VA can't find Bishop to fill Vacancy * More...

Misleading Numbers of Evangelicals who Voted for Trump * Curry Appeals to Conservatives but at what cost? * HOB increases Women Bishops -- four and rising * CT Bishop Grabs St. Paul's, Darien * Diocese of VA can't find Bishop to fill Vacancy * United Methodists and Episcopalians Seek Unity * RCC faces RICO over Sexual Abuse. Catholics now closer to TEC on Pansexuality

Ironically, Bowers, whom police wounded multiple times, was saved at the hospital by (among others) three Jewish doctors and a Jewish nurse. Christians ought to reflect that just as Jews brought life to the man who tried to take theirs, Jews brought to Christians eternal life in the olive tree of the God of Israel (Romans 11:17--24) --- Professor Gerald McDermott

"I am arguing that there are two incompatible worldviews and narratives at war today. One of them laid out in the Bible, sees marriage and family as God's unchangeable plan for mankind, which is designed for personal happiness, social cohesion and hope for the future. The secularist worldview, on the other hand, sets out to abolish God's good plan for the sexes, marriage and the family, and is leading to sexual confusion, sickness, loneliness, and social dissolution." --- Dr. Stephen Noll

How we read the Bible. The double authorship of the Bible will affect the way in which we read it. Because it is the word of men, we shall study it like *every* other book, using our minds, investigating its words and syntax, its historical origins and its literary composition. But because it is also the Word of God, we shall study it like *no* other book, on our knees, humbly, crying to God for illumination and for the ministry of the Holy Spirit, without whom we can never understand his Word. --- John R.W. Stott

Christianity was born into a religiously pluralist world, and in that sense pluralism does not present a new problem for the Church. --- Lesslie Newbigin

The American republic is suffering its gravest crisis since the Civil War. Conflicts, hostility, and incivility now threaten to tear the country apart. Competing visions have led to a dangerous moment of cultural self-destruction. This is no longer politics as usual, but an era of political warfare where our enemies are not foreign adversaries, but our fellow citizens -- Os Guinness in Last Call for Liberty

We are by nature idolaters, constructing images of truth shaped by our own desires --- Lesslie Newbigin

There is no such thing as an "LGBTQ Catholic" or a "transgender Catholic" or a "heterosexual Catholic", as if our sexual appetites define who we are ---Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

The philosopher Aristotle was clear that the family is the foundation of civic life. It is a simple fact of history that when civilizations decline and fall, they are preceded by disorder in the family, including practices of incest, prostitution, divorce and homosexuality. -- Dr. Stephen Noll

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
November 2, 2018

Religious leaders who fail to follow biblical commands to protect the poor and vulnerable in society cannot claim to be Christian, according to Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop, who shot to global fame after preaching at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan in May.

In an interview with the Guardian, Curry said he was concerned that some "representatives of Christianity were buying into political agendas that very often do not reflect the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth" and that the "moderate religious voice was not being heard in the public square".

American white evangelical Christians have become closely associated with Donald Trump after more than eight out of 10 voted for him in the 2016 presidential election. Evangelical leaders, such as Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr, have been vociferous champions of Trump and his policies.

First of all, that 81% figure that has been touted by the media is incorrect and inaccurate.

According to missiologist Ed Stetzer of the Billy Graham Center and LifeWay Research who researched this whole matter, that myth has now been debunked and only 56% of evangelicals voted for Trump and half of them held their noses while doing so. They mostly did because they couldn't stand the thought of Hillary Clinton being president and saw no alternative.

"Exit polls focused on only white evangelicals. But 1 in 3 US evangelicals today is a person of color. Over the past two years, few statistics have sparked as much debate both inside and outside evangelicalism as the fact that 81 percent of white evangelical voters picked Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Depending on your views, it's either a sign of solidarity or one of compromise--a number wrought with opinions and commentary to the point where fact and fiction are blurred," wrote Stetzer.

The statistic has often been used in the media and in academia to represent the idea that all evangelical Trump voters were "all in" for everything that encompasses Trumpism. As Americans (both evangelical and non-evangelical) tried to understand one of the most polarizing and surprising elections in our country's history, the 81 percent became the go-to narrative for many. It fit longstanding criticisms that evangelicalism had become over-politicized, under-discipled and hijacked by some of its most belligerent elements.

However, in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College worked with LifeWay Research to better understand the 81 percent and evangelicals' political engagement. They polled 3,000 Americans in three categories: those who self-identify as evangelicals, those with evangelical beliefs and those who neither see themselves as evangelicals nor hold certain core evangelical theological views (such as a belief in salvation through Jesus Christ alone).

They found many useful insights, one in particular was that their anger was directed at Hilary Clinton, not their love of Donald Trump.

You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/yblyfgsv

Curry, whose progressive views on sexuality continue to separate orthodox from revisionist dioceses, expressed deep concern about "the cultural, political, spiritual and religious climate of this country" and appealed for conservative evangelical leaders to "talk as brothers and sisters" with Christians who hold progressive views.

Really! Let's migrate that over to The Episcopal Church and reverse the question and ask why progressive Episcopalians don't/won't "talk as brothers and sisters" with Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical Episcopalians who hold orthodox views on the faith 'once delivered' and sexuality, that they disagree with!

If he really wants to show Jesus Movement "love" that he bleats so openly about, why doesn't he pick up the phone and call Welby and ask him to invite ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach to Lambeth in 2020! I truly believe that icebergs in hell, presuming there are any, would freeze before that happened. Furthermore, why won't he stop the hemorrhaging of money in protracted lawsuits, lawsuits that have cost the Church over $60 million!

The real truth is this is always a one-sided transaction with progressives. They want conservatives to roll over (which they have done in TEC) and then they hammer them into the ground with one resolution after another until they capitulate. Then, when conservatives finally realize that the lines in the sand have buried them, they then up and leave. What will Albany Bishop Bill Love do in December when B012 goes into effect and he is forced to allow same sex marriages to take place in his diocese, which violates his conscience and without his permission? Let's see how "loving" Curry will be then! Don't hold your breath.

*****

The House of Bishops will see an increase in the number of female bishops joining its ranks in the coming years. This is the will of the last General Convention. At least five women are slated to wear the purple; more may be on the way.

In recent years, women have protested the fact that there were so few female bishops in the HOB and even fewer as bishops ordinary. When women bishops were elected as bishops suffragan, foul play was raised. But figures show that of the 27 women elected as bishops in The Episcopal Church, 14 women were elected as suffragan bishops and the other 13 ladies became bishops ordinary.

This year (2018) many bishops have been throwing their miters into the retirement ring, sending their dioceses into a search mode for a new bishop. You can read the latest by VOL's special research correspondent Mary Ann Mueller here: https://tinyurl.com/yctyuvqq

The Episcopal House of Bishops will see numerous changes in membership in the coming months, with women slated to become bishop in at least four dioceses. The Episcopal House of Bishops is facing a huge shift in membership over the next two years, as nearly 21 dioceses -- a fifth of the domestic church -- are in the throes of seeking new bishops.

The longest sitting Episcopal diocesan ordinary is Bishop Wendell Gibbs (X Michigan), who has been in the Wolverine State since 2000. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was also consecrated at the turn of the century as the XI Bishop of North Carolina and then he became the XXVII Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in 2015. Bishop Carlye Hughes (XI Newark) is the newest sitting bishop, who was enthroned on Sept. 22, 2018. She is also the 27th woman bishop in The Episcopal Church. The next bishop to be enthroned is Bishop-elect Michael Hunn, who is slated to be consecrated the X Bishop of the Rio Grande in November.

Only two domestic diocesan bishops were elected in 2005. Bishop Jeffrey Steenson (VIII Rio Grande) left The Episcopal Church in 2007 to become Roman Catholic and became a mitered monsignor and the founding ordinary of the Anglican ordinariate in the United States. The Reverend Kimberly "Kym" Lucas was chosen as the eleventh bishop of Colorado's Episcopal diocese over the weekend.

You can read Mary Ann Mueller's finely researched article here: https://tinyurl.com/ydghlfho

*****

The venality of revisionist aka progressive Episcopal bishops never ceases. This week VOL got an exclusive story on how the Bishop of Connecticut, Ian T. Douglas seized the flagship charismatic parish, St. Paul's, Darien, grabbing its buildings and assets, changing the locks and locking out 200 parishioners, barring them from worship. The parishioners wanted the Rev. George Kovoor gone because he made false representations about his credentials when he applied for the job to be the church's rector in October 2016.

The bishop sided with the priest against the parishioners, and when that didn't work out they were shut out, leaving Kovoor with just 8 people on his side.

The deeper truth is that the bishop wants to take over the parish with its 16 acres and sell it for a small fortune. You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/y9j3gzrv

*****

Apparently, nobody wants the job. The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia has worked diligently with the Presiding Bishop's Office since August 3, 2018 to identify a candidate to serve as their Bishop Provisional, following the early departure (for unspecified reasons) of Bishop Shannon Johnston, the bishop who incidentally ripped off the parish buildings of a number of orthodox parishes in his diocese, including the landmark evangelical parish of Falls Church.

According to a press release from the diocese, the requirements for a previously consecrated, experienced bishop who would not reach age 72 before the end of the proposed term, and who would be willing to move to Virginia quickly for a term-limited position, made the pool of potential candidates a small one. Our hope was that we would be able to present a name to the Convention for election. We interviewed some outstanding candidates, but those bishops have concluded, through their own discernment processes, that they could not come to Virginia at this time. Meanwhile the Ecclesiastical Authority will be temporarily conferred on the Bishop Suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff.

*****

Matthew Shepard was laid to rest in Washington Cathedral this week. Shepard was a 21-year-old college student who was fatally beaten in Wyoming for allegedly being a homosexual 20 years ago. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's first openly homosexual bishop, extended a tearful welcome to LGBTQ individuals who, he said, had felt unwanted by their churches.

The only problem is that Shepard was not killed for being homosexual. Was he actually the victim of a hate crime? No. He was killed over a large amount of crystal meth. Twenty years after Shepard's death, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard, by investigative journalist Stephen Jimenez, who himself is homosexual, and who spent 13 years investigating Shepard's death, concluded that it simply was not true. Shepard was a drug dealer and had AIDS.

*****

United Methodists and Episcopalians convened at the Nicholas Center of St. James Cathedral in downtown Chicago recently to continue the United Methodist-Episcopal dialogue committee about a proposal for full communion between these churches, entitled "A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness." The committee received and reviewed reports on the proposal from The United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith, and Order (IASCUFO). Members of the committee discussed and implemented a final round of edits to "A Gift to the World" in response to input from these bodies and other public conversations surrounding the document. The document is now in its definitive form and will be going before The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church for preliminary action the first week of November 2018.
Current calendars allow for the proposal to be acted upon by The United Methodist General Conference in 2020 and the General Convention of The Episcopal Church in 2021.

I am reminded of what Malcolm Muggeridge once said of ecumenism; "Ecumenicalism is triumphant just when there is nothing to be ecumenical about; the various religious bodies are likely to find it easy to join together only because, believing little, they correspondingly differ about little." How true.

*****

The Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches now find they have more in common than not over pansexuality. The Catholic Church finds itself in such a mess over sexual abuse that the federal government issued a RICO complaint this week against the entire Roman Catholic Church, demanding all the documents that dioceses have on sexual abuse be retained, with a demand that no evidence be destroyed. The Episcopal Church, by contrast, has ratified pansexuality through successive General Conventions with the result that it faced schism and the birth of the Anglican Church in North America. Both churches are rapidly losing market share with little hope that they will recover any time soon. The Episcopal Church has about a decade to go before it quietly sinks into the sunset. You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/yatc8grl

*****

In a strange irony, The Church of England will give its blessing for transgender marriages, but same-sex couples' weddings remain barred. The announcement was made by the CofE in response to Prime Minister Theresa May's efforts to liberalize the laws that govern sex changes and gender identity.

Couples where the bride and groom were born into the same sex can have church weddings as long as one has an official gender recognition certificate for their acquired gender, its leaders said.

Weddings between brides and grooms who have both changed sex can also go ahead as long as both have the legal recognition. Same-sex couples remain barred, but it has been possible for transgender people to wed in church since the 2004 Gender Recognition Act came into force. Clergy may choose not to conduct the service, but may not prevent a couple from being married in his or her church by another minister. You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/yatjtl2d

*****

In what looks to be a deep betrayal by some retired evangelical CofE bishops, two bishops have criticized a letter from 11 serving evangelical bishops that hinted at a schism in the Anglican Communion should the Church of England change its teaching on marriage.

The 1800-word letter, posted on the website of the Church of England Evangelical Council last week, defines traditional teaching in the light of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, stating: "We believe that this vision of (1) sexual intercourse as 'an act of total commitment which belongs properly within a permanent married relationship', (2) marriage as a union of a man and woman in a covenant of love marked by exclusivity and life-long commitment, and (3) faithful, sexually abstinent love in singleness and non-marital friendships, is the teaching of scripture. It therefore expresses the character and will of God."

In a critique of the letter, posted on the ViaMedia website, the Rt Rev. David Atkinson, a former Bishop of Thetford, argues that it is far from being fixed: "Christian understanding of the 'scriptural teaching' on marriage and sexuality has developed from Augustine, Aquinas and Cranmer, and within Anglican theology in recent decades, not least post-Freud."

On the same site, the Rt. Rev. David Gillett, a former Bishop of Bolton, calls for a patient and humble approach to scripture. His prayer, he says, is that, "While preserving the tradition that marriage is a commitment to a faithful, life-long and intimate relationship between two people, we will now be able to see the tradition in a fully inclusive way -- or, at the very least, hope that others who disagree will allow blessings of same sex marriages -- thus leaving a variety of ways of living God's story that recognizes the full humanity and equality of our LGBT+ brothers and sisters."

And you wonder why the GAFCON primates laid hands on Andy Lines to be an orthodox Anglican presence in Europe. The only question that now remains is, how long will CofE evangelicals tolerate the growing infiltration of pansexuality into their ranks before they cry foul and leave. They are a still a huge paying block into CofE coffers and money still talks. You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/yahz4esx

*****

Can the Church of England be rescued at this late stage when 98% of the British public basically ignore the institution as being relevant to their lives.

There are 42 very separate and different dioceses in the Church of England, each presided over by a local pope. The CofE nationally does not have significant extra funds available for estate churches. The Church Commissioners have provided £100m for mission projects, but it is largely being dissipated on diocesan schemes which have little or no practical effect. Some is filtering into HTB plants, but they focus on recruiting wealthy middle-class professionals, a source told VOL.

"The statistics reveal that church attendance is falling steadily in line with the demographics of church membership. Our leadership has failed to connect for several generations with the surrounding culture and we live in a society whose children are (with a few exceptions) entirely divorced from any knowledge of religion or church. In fact, religion is now seen by many as something which migrants to the UK do.

"Our bishops are much more concerned with maintaining the empty façade of Establishment and maintaining the privileges which this confers upon them. Church attendance is at its lowest level since the Dark Ages, there are fewer and fewer stipendiary clergy, but we have 120 bishops now compared to the twelve dioceses created at the time of St Augustine, employing a vast panoply of administrators and advisers to run their little fiefdoms, at the expense of the parishes where the money concerned would be much better spent on mission."

*****

Final preparations are underway for the inauguration of Chile as the 40th Anglican Communion Province. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is travelling to Santiago to officially inaugurate the newest province of the Anglican Communion. He will preside over the ceremony, which will be held at the Grange School in the city of Santiago.

"The birth of a new province of the Anglican Communion is moment to rejoice and give thanks and praise to God", Archbishop Justin said. "It is a hope-filled reminder that God's vision for the Church is always bigger than we can imagine."

Really. When he arrives, Welby will be met by a contingent from the Anglican Church in North America, including its Archbishop, Foley Beach, as Chile is also a member of the GAFCON Hall of Fame, with Primate Tito Zavala as one of its primates!

It must stick in the craw of Welby that he is inaugurating a new province that won't recognize him and whose primate won't be going to Lambeth 2020. On the other hand, it would be a grand and inclusive moment if Welby reached out and offered an invitation to Foley Beach to attend Lambeth 2020, but then he would be in deep do do with PB Michael Curry if he did that.

*****

In the wake of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach wrote to encourage the Church to show tangible support for their Jewish neighbors. "This week I have been grieving for those directly affected by the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and I have been grieving for all of us who have been touched by this evil. I hope that you will find ways to reach out to our Jewish neighbors and friends in the midst of this painful and frightening time.

"I am encouraged to hear reports of our members in Pittsburgh who have responded in love, and I am thankful to those churches around our Province who are planning to join local synagogues this Friday night in a show of solidarity. I want to commend the #ShowUpForShabbat initiative for your consideration."

For a superb article on this terrible massacre in Pittsburgh, I recommend this article by Professor Gerald McDermott, author of Death at Tree of Life in FIRST THINGS, found here https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/11/death-at-tree-of-life Here are some teaser paragraphs:

On Saturday, October 27, 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers shot eleven Jews dead and wounded nine at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue. As he started his twenty-minute shooting spree, Bowers shouted, "All Jews must die!"

Many Americans are numb to mass shootings, but this one was different because of its heinous anti-Semitic character. There have been three other recent anti-Semitic shootings in America (in 1999, 2006, and 2014), but this was the most deadly. How should Christians, who are historically and theologically related to Jews, respond?

I suggest we begin by remembering that the Jews are God's beloved people. Most Christians know this is the teaching of the Old Testament, but few Christians realize this is taught in the New Testament as well. St. Paul's most mature reflection on God and the Jews, written toward the end of his life, states that the Jews are "God's beloved because of their fathers" (Romans 11:28). Even if many had not accepted the gospel, they were still "chosen" by God and that chosenness is "irrevocable" (Rom 11:29). Paul might also have known Jesus's reminder that "salvation is from the Jews" (John 4:22).

There were tens of thousands (myriads) of Jews in Jerusalem alone, who accepted Jesus as Messiah (Acts 21:20), even if most had not. No matter, Paul wrote. God still has a special love for them. They are "beloved," chosen to be a light to the nations, and their special "calling" to be God's chosen could not be revoked (Rom 11:28--29).

*****

A recently completed study of faith and belief in Aotearoa offers both good and bad news on the New Zealand public's view of Christians and the church.

According to Anglican Taonga, the survey findings confirmed that the most effective form of evangelism in Aotearoa today comes from Christians who demonstrate Christian actions first, before sharing their faith in words.

59% of New Zealanders filling out the survey thought they would most likely be influenced to investigate faith by seeing others live out their faith. And if that faith was lived out while caring for people suffering from a personal trauma or life change, the impact of that Christian love and care went up. The survey also found that 54% of Kiwis were open to changing their religious views or exploring other beliefs.

The 'Faith and Belief in New Zealand' report has come from a Wilberforce Foundation commissioned survey carried out by Australian communications company McCrindle Research. Zooming out on the wider church, the majority (66-68%) of New Zealanders in the survey named the church as a positive contributor to the community on church responses in areas of: disaster relief, caring for the homeless and aged, and providing financial and food relief to the poor.

A full summary of the 'Faith and Belief in New Zealand' study report can be downloaded here. http://anglicantaonga.org.nz/news/common_life/studyf_b

*****

The 1928 Book of Common Prayer is 90! (1928 to 2018). Check out the latest here from the 1928 Prayer Book Alliance here website: http://www.1928prayerbookalliance.org/

*****

And for those of you still blissfully married to your first partner, Americans reporting only one lifetime sexual partner have the happiest marriages, according to analysis published this week by the Institute for Family Studies.

Nicholas Wolfinger, sociologist at the University of Utah, looked at results from almost 30 years of the General Social Survey, a nationwide survey funded by the National Science Foundation. It asks, among many things, detailed questions about sexual biographies and marital happiness.

Wolfinger previously studied the tie between sexual promiscuity and divorce rates and found those who married as virgins had the lowest rates of divorce. (By the 2010s, just 5 percent of new brides were virgins and their rates of divorce in the first five years of marriage were 6 percent.) But Wolfinger was curious about the tie to marital happiness, a factor that is not necessarily intertwined with divorce.

The odds of having just one sexual partner plummeted after the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Prior to that, a person's first sex partner tended to be either a spouse or a future spouse. But someone's first sexual encounter usually doesn't lead to marriage any longer. Since the sexual revolution, the chances of having one lifetime sexual partner have landed at around 40 percent.

All blessings,

David

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