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Pope Francis and Welby Hail Climate Change; Ignore Sexual Predation & Sodomy * 18 TEC Bishops set to Retire * Archbishop of York to Retire * Chile to be 40th Province in AC * NH Attorney General to Oversee Episcopal Academy * GAFCON Bishop Commissioned

Christian assurance. Christian dogmatism has, or should have, a limited field. It is not tantamount to a claim to omniscience. Yet in those things which are clearly revealed in Scripture, Christians should not be doubtful or apologetic. The corridors of the New Testament reverberate with dogmatic affirmations beginning 'We know', 'We are sure', 'We are confident'. If you question this, read the First Epistle of John in which verbs meaning 'to know' occur about forty times. They strike a note of joyful assurance which is sadly missing from many parts of the church today and which needs to be recaptured. --- John R.W. Stott

The U.S. (Catholic) bishops are being completely ravaged by laity who are mad as Hell about this homosexual clerical predation. --- Michael Voris

The truth is that Western Christianity isn't dying out from natural causes or murder. It's committing suicide. -- Tim Stanley, The Telegraph

You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God. If God only used perfect people, nothing would get done. God will use anybody if you're available. --- Rick Warren

God's powerful Word. We are not to think of the Word as existing apart from God or as possessing power apart from God. The Word is powerful only and precisely because it is *God's* Word, the Word which God has spoken and therefore continues to speak. And God's Word, when God speaks it, has God's authority and power. --- John R.W. Stott

Happiness does not depend on outward circumstances, but on the state of the heart. Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Do nothing that you would not like God to see. --- Bishop J.C. Ryle

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
October 5, 2018

THE whole situation is steeped in irony. Pope Francis is facing the worst sex scandal since the Borgia Popes, and one of his cardinals (Cupich of Chicago) says his holiness "has a bigger agenda" than the sex abuse of young men and seminarians. It is "the environment and protecting migrants." He says the pope should not get distracted by this "rabbit hole." Really! Many are demanding Francis' resignation if the claims are true that he turned a blind eye to sex abuse in Argentina.

Following his lead, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, would rather dodge the sexual bullet of Lambeth Resolution 1:10 and focus the archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion on climate change. At Trinity Wall Street recently he said, "We know for certain that climate change is a reality that will utterly change the lives of billions, including our own." Leaders of the Anglican Communion led by Welby are apparently uniting in a common cause against what they have labelled "the care for God's creation" and the "care for our common home." Climate change will be the central issue at Lambeth 2020.

The spiritual blindness of these leaders cannot be overstated.

It's as if Jesus had said, t'were better that a millstone be tied around the necks of people who don't believe in climate change and they should be dumped into the deepest part of the ocean.

Climate change, whether you fully embrace it or not, will not determine your spiritual destiny, homosexual practice will. I Cor. 6: 9-11 comes to mind as does Romans chapter 1. Sodomy destroys souls; climate change means you don't build a house on a beach or a faultline in the face of coming storms or earthquakes.

To make the point, Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh and his Standing Committee announced this past week that they would not be attending Lambeth 2020 because Welby won't tackle Lambeth 1.10 which has divided the communion into two distinct parts, and further because he won't invite Archbishop Foley Beach of the ACNA and the bishops of the Anglican Church of Brazil!

To that list you can add Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda, the Congo, Tanzania and West Africa, the Archbishop of South America Greg Venables, Archbishop Tito Zavala of Chile and a handful of others who represent 80% of the Communion!

Welby will muster 800 bishops, so he says, but at least 300 will come from TEC, which is every miter that can still be found breathing and they will be ordered to attend; add about 50 more from Canada -- the two fastest dying provinces in the communion -- and offer the rest of the communion's bishops an all-expense paid trip to Canterbury, with the promise of tea with the queen and a trip to Fortnum and Mason. Hey, presto, you have a full house where everyone can talk endlessly about climate change, while failing to note just how much carbon footprint was spent jetting to Heathrow. They will all dance around Lambeth 1.10 and pretend the elephant is not in the room.

Welby was in the U.S. last week and made a pit stop at Trinity Wall Street, the richest church in the world and gave a lecture, or was it a sermon, in which he insisted that exclusive truth was both arrogant and narrow. He praised God for Trinity's outward-lookness, which undoubtedly got him a big fat check ere he left the premises. You can read the full story here:

https://juicyecumenism.com/2018/09/26/archbishop-canterbury-justin-welby/

*****

In case you were not aware, there is an inordinate number of TEC dioceses looking for new bishops. Older bishops who have watched their dioceses slowly sink into the sunset, are now passing along their failing dioceses to another generation.

VOL's sterling reporter/researcher Mary Ann Mueller has uncovered the fact that there are 18 open bishops' searches going on in the domestic church.

They include:

Bishops ordinary:
Arizona
Nevada
Northern California
Kansas
Colorado
El Camino Real
Maine
Montana
South Dakota
Missouri
West Tennessee
Virginia
Minnesota
San Diego
Michigan
Vermont

SUFFRAGAN
Texas

The American bishop in Europe.

Here are their names: Wendell Gibbs (X Michigan); Dan Edwards (IV Nevada); Barry Beisner (VII Northern California); Robert O'Neill (X Colorado); Mary Gray-Reeves (III El Camino Real); Stephen Lane (IX Maine); Franklin Brookhart (IX Montana); John Tarrant (X South Dakota); George Smith (X Missouri); Don E. Johnson (III West Tennessee); Brian Prior (IX Minnesota); Kirk Smith (V Arizona); Thomas Ely (X Vermont); Shannon Johnston (XIII Virginia); Dean Wolfe (IX Kansas); and James Mathes (IV San Diego).

Pierre Whalon (the American bishop in Europe.)
Dena Harrison (Texas - suffragan).

Resumes are being written and those with dreams of wearing a miter are burnishing their CV's to make them look as good as they can be. All of them are progressive types that look forward to being administrators with a big ecclesiastical show when they turn up to a local parish. Their sermons will bleed the latest in inclusion and diversity and they will try and follow the example of their charismatic presiding bishop Michael Curry with faux calls for revival.

Now, if they had done their homework and looked at the stats of the diocese they hope to inherit, they would know that there are more funerals than new communicants and baptized put together, and more aging priests than young priests, with nearly fifty percent of all TEC parishes now with part time, non-stipendiary priests filling pulpits, as aging congregants get ready for the last stage of their journey -- the church Columbarium.

Within a decade they will have merged, junctured, or just gone out of business as parishes empty and are sold off to upstart evangelical churches, mosques or art galleries. The wealthier inner-city parishes will have been sold off to housing developers who smell high-priced condo dollars to be made in failing inner city parishes. For most, if not all of these dioceses, it will be the last bishop they will ever have. Of course, there is always the pension to look forward to when all else fails.

*****

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, has announced his retirement. Sentamu was the UK's first black archbishop and the Church of England's second most senior clergyman. He was enthroned at York Minster in November 2005, in a ceremony that broke with tradition and included drums and dancers.

In a statement, Sentamu said he would retire in 2020, but had decided to break the news now to give the Church time to find a successor. He will go on until June 7, 2020, three days before his 71st birthday.

Sentamu has had a stellar career, escaping from persecution as a lawyer in Uganda to Cambridge University, where he achieved top honors in Theology and a subsequent PhD. He has served as a parish priest, suffragan bishop, diocesan bishop and as Archbishop of York.

It would be difficult, however, to identify what his lasting achievement will be. On General Synod he has contributed substantially to the liberal drift, as an outspoken supporter of WO, and latterly of the transgender agenda. He is indistinguishable from the modern managerialism of the current bench of bishops. His retirement will almost certainly be an opportunity to advance the deconstruction of orthodox Anglicanism via the appointment of someone representing some extreme aspect of the­ TEC agenda. A pity he did not retire five years ago when this might have been avoided, but the system is now totally in the grip of the Lambeth Kremlin.

There is talk that a woman might replace him, which will further unsettle orthodox Anglicans at home and abroad.

*****

The Iglesia Anglicana de Chile was confirmed as the 40th Province of the Anglican Communion this week. It had been a diocese of the Anglican Church of South America.

In what will be a bitter sweet moment as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will travel to Santiago next month to formally inaugurate the new province, after both the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, and a majority of Anglican Communion Primates, confirmed that the diocese should be given provincial status. The decision to become an independent Anglican province follows a sustained period of growth of the Anglican Church in Chile and is designed to make further growth easier.

Bishop Hector Zavala Muñoz, more commonly known as Bishop Tito, will become Primate of the new Province when it comes into being on 4 November.

"It is incredible to see that in 2015 we were a single diocese, and today we are four dioceses: Valparaíso, Santiago, Concepción, and Temuco," wrote Zavala.

The irony should not be missed. Chile is solidly in GAFCON's corner. Tito Zavala was the first Latin American and Chilean Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in the Southern Cone of America, and he is on the Primates' Council of GAFCON. He won't be attending the next Lambeth conference. One can't imagine Welby being particularly thrilled by all this. He just lost again.

*****

Once thriving Episcopal parishes are fading into history on a yearly basis, writes VOL reporter Mary Ann Mueller. TEC, she says, has lost 2,000 parishes in a century.

The Episcopal Church started keeping track of the number of open congregations in 1855. That year there were 1,821 Episcopal churches dotting the map, mostly along the Eastern Seaboard, in the South and along the Midwestern frontier. The highwater mark came in 1915 during World War I, when there were 8,506 worshipping locations.

By the mid-20th century, during the midst of the massive post war baby boom, the number of Episcopal congregations was steadily falling.

In 1966, the baptized membership of the church peaked at 3,647,297 souls worshipping in 7,593 congregations. But that reflected a drop of 460 (-5.7%) churches from 1955 and a greater shedding of 943 (-10.7%) congregations since 1915.

By 2017, the final full year St. David's was a functioning congregation, there were 6,447 churches dotting the United States. That reflects a drop of 1,146 (-15.1%) missions and parishes since 1966 and a whopping decline of 2,059 (-24.2%) churches in 100 years (1915).

For the first time, in 2015, the total number of open Episcopal parishes worldwide dipped below 7,000 to 6,996 worship locations. You can read the full story here:
https://www.virtueonline.org/once-thriving-episcopal-parishes-fade-history-yearly-basis

You can also read Jeff Walton of IRD's take on the ongoing decline of the Episcopal Church here: https://www.virtueonline.org/episcopal-marriage-baptism-numbers-collapse

He notes that marriage and baptism numbers are collapsing at a rapid rate even as the number of funerals rise.

*****

The New Hampshire attorney general stepped in to oversee St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, over continued allegations of sexual misconduct stretching back decades at the elite school. The Pandora's Box was ripped open.

Most recently, the Episcopal School has not been able to shed the stigma of older predatory upperclassmen preying on younger female students in games of sexual conquest. The 2014 scandal has resulted in an 18-year-old graduate being tried for aggravated felonious assault, sexual assault and the child endangerment of a 15-year-old freshman. Then he was convicted of three misdemeanor sexual assault charges, a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child, and a felony charge of using his computer to solicit the girl.

Last Thursday, New Hampshire Attorney General, Gordon MacDonald, announced that St. Paul's School and his office had reached an agreement which would allow the school to forgo criminal prosecution for child endangerment by bringing the school under his legal oversight for a period of no less than three years and possibly up to five years.

You can read the full story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/new-hampshire-attorney-general-steps-oversee-st-pauls-school

*****

A Renew Conference calling for every member ministry, was held recently in Leeds and drew some 450 conservative evangelical clergy and PCC members.

"Evangelical churches are booming. The Church of England is not" wrote Rod Liddle in last week's Sunday Times. Liddle claims the C of E had replaced God with the virtue-signalling of the liberal elite. "The Bible", he wrote, " emphasises personal responsibility. We are constantly enjoined to do the right thing. To work hard, to save, not to steal, not to shag around, not to be avaricious. To raise children in a monogamous family unit in which parents of different genders are lawfully married. To teach those kids right from wrong. To worship God above all else and to pray for forgiveness for our frailties."

Evangelical writer Chris Sugden said Liddle would be pleasantly surprised to find that over 450 Conservative Evangelical clergy and PCC members who gathered in the Queen's Hotel for the fifth Renew Conference had an average age nearer 40 than 65. "A well-managed content-filled twenty-six hours focused on Bible exposition, how to engage every member as active Christian ministers in their communities, and to ensure every town and region had a Christian community dedicated to making the Biblical Gospel known. The conference's energy recalled Eclectics Conferences of 35 years ago when young clergy reported on risky and creative initiatives." The message is clear, all is not lost in England, even as the ground shifts underneath the church of England.

By contrast to this, a group of GAFCON leaders met in a Wimbledon parish outside London and consecrated GAFCON missionary Bishop Andy Lines to do the work of evangelism. Present for the occasion was the Bishop of Jos, Nigeria, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi. Six bishops from six provinces of the Anglican Communion joined with members of General Synod for the commissioning of Bishop Andrew Lines.

Bishop Lines was commissioned as chairman of GAFCON UK and as a deputy General Secretary (there is one for each international region) of GAFCON by the outgoing General Secretary of GAFCON.

Does one get the sense that the noose is slowly tightening around the neck of Justin Welby? GAFCON has a foothold in Scotland and Europe as well as Ireland. Can England and Wales be far behind?

To make the point, the Evangelical Fellowship of the Church of Wales came out rejecting same-sex marriage. "Formal Measures" for same-sex couples by the Church's governing body violates Scripture and will lead to impaired communion with majority of Anglican Communion, they said.

"We...do not believe that it can possibly be right for the church to bless what God has clearly said he does not bless, nor to say that what God has said is sin is not sin."

"We stand with the large majority of the Anglican communion and the large majority of the world-wide church in affirming that which the church has always believed and practised regarding marriage and sex. We urge our Bishops not to encourage the Church in Wales to take steps that would lead to impaired communion with our Anglican brothers and sisters in the majority world."

GAFCON Bishop Andy Lines weighed in and said Gafcon UK welcomes the recent statement by the Evangelical Fellowship of the Church in Wales, which gives a pastorally sensitive and doctrinally clear summary of the biblically orthodox position on the issue of same sex relationships.

"EFCW is absolutely correct to warn of the serious implications of the Welsh Bishops' plan to push ahead with sanctioning services of blessing for same sex relationships. Such a move rejects the unambiguous teaching of the bible on God's guidelines for human flourishing, and will indeed "lead to impaired communion with our Anglican brothers and sisters in the majority world", he said.
You can read the full story here: https://www.virtueonline.org/wales-evangelical-fellowship-church-wales-rejects-same-sex-marriage

*****

The worldwide persecution of Christians is stepping up at a pace that I have not seen in my lifetime. Even as that happens, more and more people are becoming Christians. I hear stories of Muslims and Jews coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers.

Among the worst offenders is China. The world's most populace country Is destroying 1000s of crosses and bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers to renounce their faith in cities like Beijing. Up till now, the Chinese government has largely tolerated the booming house church movement, but now that era of toleration is officially over. New religious regulations that went into effect in February are being brutally enforced, and this is causing some to point out the frightening parallels between Communist China and Nazi Germany.

The suppression of religious freedoms is part of an official campaign to "Sinicize" religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party and removing any potential challenge to the party's power in the country.

According to the Express, authorities have also "raided Christian homes to remove religious symbols, arrested church members and seized churches". In Henan province alone, more than 7,000 crosses have been destroyed.

A Christian Pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang, whose name was not identified out of fear of retaliation by the authorities, reportedly confirmed that crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5.

According to Chinese laws, religious believers are allowed to worship only in government-sanctioned congregations. But many millions of Christians belong to underground or house churches that ignore government regulations.

Recently, Islamic radicals viciously attacked home churches in Egypt. Homes of Copts in the Minya region were attacked by hundreds of furious locals, leaving two Christians with knife wounds in the head and face, World Watch Monitor reports.

Four homes were ransacked, looted and partially set on fire by a Muslim mob during the three-hour-long attack, which was reportedly in protest of one of the properties being used as a home church.

A local source for Christian persecution watchdog World Watch Monitor said the small Coptic community had been warned about the attack on August 31, a few days before it took place.

In Ethiopia, earlier this year, a total of 69 churches were torched by radical Islamists. Muslims burned down the homes of 30 Christian leaders, killed one Christian, wounded several others, and torched 69 churches, a Bible school, and a Christian orphanage.

One of the worst compromises has been Pope Francis's kowtowing to Chinese leaders and abandoning his true Catholic base. He has rashly kissed the proffered toe of President Xi Jinping and, in the course of doing so, is making China Protestant. There are some six million Catholics in China. The pope has openly repudiated successive underground bishops who remained loyal to the Vatican through much repression over the many decades since the Communists took power in 1949. These clandestine bishops are now expected to step aside to make way for the State approved ones whom alone the Vatican will now recognize. There are thought to be about thirty underground bishops. This is betrayal by any other name.

Of course, there is no significant difference about what the pope has done and the Episcopal Church, which recognizes the Three Self Movement -- state sanctioned Protestantism in China. The vast majority of Chinese Christians, over 100 million, are solidly evangelical and will have nothing to do with the state recognized churches.

The good news is that persecution strengthens true believers and they grow despite persecution. One has only to witness the first three centuries of the Christian Faith when Christians were continuously persecuted. Later, they became recognized under Constantine and the rest, as they say, is history.

*****

We close this week's VIEWPOINTS with this satirical essay which is a lot nearer the mark than you may realize. It's from The Babylon Bee and you can see more here: https://babylonbee.com/

Episcopal Priest Forced to Resign After Revealing He Believes in God

PETERBOROUGH, NH--In a major scandal, Episcopal priest Frederick Willumsberth was forced to resign from his position after confessing to believing in a "higher power" in a statement released Friday.

The shocking revelation came after months of rumors, as church members claimed they had seen Willumsberth praying, reading his Bible, and occasionally referencing "the Man upstairs" in casual conversation. Finally, the longtime priest could no longer deny the allegations, leading to his public statement and apology to his congregation, along with his resignation.

"This is a major blow to our church body," one parishioner said in an interview. "If we can't trust our priests to doubt everything the Bible says and question the very existence of God, who can we trust?"

Other congregants called the news "disturbing," stating that they had heard of church scandals before, but never thought a theistic priest would come to prey upon their very own congregation. "We always thought it was something that could happen to other churches, but not ours," said one long-standing member of the church.

At publishing time, the disgraced clergyman had further confirmed he believes the Bible to be the Word of God, leading to a full-blown investigation by Episcopal authorities to see how far the corruption has reached.

All Blessings,

David

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