jQuery Slider

You are here

Pope Should Resign say Critics * TEC continues on Downward Demographic Spiral *VA Bishop Johnston's Resignation Revealed * Wannabee Nevada Bishop has Trans and Cis Kids * Mother's Union News * Half Christian Growth in Africa * Evangelicals give Trump Bump

Glorifying Christ. Christian experience is experience of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There really is no such thing as 'an experience of the Holy Spirit' from which the Father and the Son are excluded. In any case, the Holy Spirit is a reticent Spirit. He does not willingly draw attention to himself. Rather he prompts us to pray 'Abba! Father!' and thus witnesses to our filial relationship to God. And above all he glorifies Christ. He turns the bright beams of his searchlight upon the face of Jesus Christ. He is never more satisfied than when the believer is engrossed in Jesus Christ. --- John R.W. Stott

It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church's teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest. And the decision to act upon this disordered inclination is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable. --- Bishop Robert C. Morlino, Madison

"Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them." -- St. Peter Damian

Word and Spirit. We must never divorce what God has married, namely his Word and his Spirit. The Word of God is the Spirit's sword. The Spirit without the Word is weaponless; the Word without the Spirit is powerless. --- John R. W. Stott

"From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge -- a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision." --- Prof Josef Ratzinger

Pope Francis, Holy Father, for the salvation of your own soul, you must step down from the Chair of Peter and do so immediately. --- Michael Voris

"Tragically, the gospel has virtually been lost in the nations of the West because the churches have lost the essence of the gospel." -- Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
August 31, 2018

It was a week that the Roman Catholic Church might wish was buried in the era of the Borgia Popes.

Pope Stephen VI, it was recorded began his brief tenure as pope in 896 with a grisly spectacle. He had the body of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, dug up and put on trial for blasphemy. Formosus's real crime had been his allegiance to a different faction in the halls of power.

Sound familiar?

Poor Pope Francis is on the hook for not acting on information that one of his cardinals, one Theodore McCarrick did not obey sanctions put on him by a previous pope. In fact, Francis was involved in covering-up the now ex-Cardinal's behavior and made him "his trusted counselor".

Challenged on all this on a flight from Dublin to Rome, the Pope said he would not say a word for now, but later he told the American bishops they had to clean up their own house. He threw them under the bus, "you're on your own," he said, despite calls that he himself should resign.

Here are the top 10 takeaways from Archbishop Carlo Vigano, a former diplomat's 11-page, 7000-word statement saying that he personally spoke to Pope Francis about McCarrick's abusive behavior.

1. Archbishop Viganò accused Pope Francis of covering up for McCarrick

2. Viganò called on Pope Francis to resign

3. Viganò named McCarrick as a 'kingmaker' for appointments in the Curia and U.S.

4. Viganò explained why Cardinal Raymond Burke was demoted

5. Viganò explained how Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich and other liberal prelates were elevated

6. Viganò confirmed homosexual network operatives in US church at highest levels

7. Viganò called Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl a liar

8. Viganò implicated Cardinal Parolin, who is considered papabile, in the McCarrick scandal

9. Viganò revealed Pope's dislike of 'right-wing,' i.e. faithful, bishops

10. Viganò identified Jesuit Fr. James Martin as someone who promotes 'LGBT agenda'

Pope Francis is not going to get a break. It is not only Vigano that is calling for him to step down, the leading lay American catholic organization Church Militant.com led by Michael Voris says he should step down for the sake of the church and his soul. Tough talk.

Dr. Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. wrote in his blog: A Cleansing Fire - The Catholic Thing that his conscience required him to reveal facts that he had experienced personally, concerning Pope Francis, and none of them were good.

"Given the destruction that sexual abuse has caused not only to numerous individuals and families in Ireland, but Chile, America, Honduras, Australia, and many other nations, I suggested weeks ago that the World Meeting on Families should be canceled and a penitential procession, to be repeated annually, should take its place," he wrote. The World Meeting was not cancelled and the Rev. James Martin got to affirm LGBT Catholics.

Royal also predicted that more major revelations, in addition to the McCarrick case, were going to erupt within weeks. "We are in for a long string of painful days now, but I believe it will become a "cleansing fire." Many in the Church hierarchy, especially in Rome, are still under the delusion that they can manage this monstrosity. They can't. You can read what Michael Voris had to say here: https://www.virtueonline.org/church-militant-statement-pope-it-needs-end

You can also read my piece: OF MILLSTONES AND DEEP WATERS here: https://www.virtueonline.org/millstones-and-deep-waters

Mary Ann Mueller has written a brilliant analysis piece on the Pope's woes here:
https://www.virtueonline.org/storm-tossed-barque-peter

We await more in the coming weeks.

*****

The Episcopal Church continued its downward spiral, shedding additional members in 2017. Despite shrill revival cries to jump start the Episcopal Church, celebrity-driven Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's denomination failed to show a rise in market share, with latest figures revealing shedding congregations and members along the way.

The Fast Fact domestic stats for 2017 released this week, showed The Episcopal Church continuing its downward trend both in baptized membership and average Sunday attendance.

Between 2016-2017, there were 29 fewer reporting congregations. In 2016, there were 6,476 functioning churches; in 2017, only 6,447, a drop of 29 churches. Ten years ago, in 2008, there were 6,964 parishes and missions; by 2013, the number of churches had dropped to 6,622.

Baptized membership dropped 32,593 from 1,745,156 in 2016 to 1,712,563 in 2017, reflecting a 1.9% one-year drop. Current baptized membership figures show a 10% drop (62,369 souls) in five years (2013-2017) and a 19% drop in 10 years (2008-2017).

The ASA took a deeper dive, falling 2.4% with 13,709 fewer Episcopalians showing up for Sunday service in 2017 (556,744 souls) than they did in 2016 (570,453 souls). The five-year figures (2013-2017) reflects a 13% dip (66,947 souls) and the 10-year (2008-2017) decline was 24% (148,513 souls).

You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/ya48avwc

*****

What is the mystery surrounding the sudden departure of Bishop Shannon Johnston from the Diocese of Virginia? Both Michael Curry and diocesan staff were involved, but nobody is saying why. Everyone is being tight-lipped, including Curry. Why?

A reliable source on the staff of a certain seminary told VOL that it was solely a matter of dissension within the diocesan office. "A Mennonite team was brought in to reconcile the opposing sides but to no avail. And the upshot was Johnston's retirement." Somehow, all the professional reconcilers could not put Humpty back on the Episcopal wall or in his office again.

Of course, it might be godly payback for the wreckage Johnston caused in his diocese over parishes that left his authority because of Gene Robinson's elevation to the episcopacy. The worst was his shredding of The Falls Church, Virginia, which has mercifully recovered and now has a new place of worship and a new young rector in the person of the Rev. Sam Ferguson. It also happens to be the church that Vice President Mike Pence visits when he can, a slap in the face at all the TEC parishes he must pass to get to Falls Church on a Sunday.

*****

A bishop in South Sudan has written an open letter to church and government leaders, calling for an end to bribery and violence. In the letter, Bishop of the Diocese of Malek, Peter Jon Mayom, condemned corruption and called for all Christians, particularly leaders, to set examples of holiness.

Bishop Peter encouraged the Church to take the current ceasefire in South Sudan as an opportunity to turn away from former patterns of behavior. "It is time to tell the leaders, whether in the Church or in the government, that the Lord God has given us a chance for peace and reconciliation," he writes. "It is a chance to change and put things right. It is not time to loot and kill innocent people anymore. It is time to deliver service to our citizens."

He believes that South Sudan as a whole, needs to change its ways, and is convinced that the Church must set an example for the government. "We need a change of heart and mind, to turn to God and it is the Church's job to do that."

In his experience, leadership in South Sudan is an opportunity to take advantage of public resources. Bishop Peter reminds readers of the Biblical reaction to corruption, such as bribes. He goes on to meditate on the impact of extortion on a society. In his mind, the erosion of moral values, loss of public trust, the undermining of democracy and oppression are direct consequences of this kind of behavior.

Bishop Peter composed the letter after his experience representing the Episcopal Church of South Sudan at the South Sudan Council of Churches. Reflecting on his own experience facing corruption, Bishop Peter admitted to feeling powerless at times. "I ended up fighting a war I couldn't win and I felt discouraged."

*****

The Mothers' Union recently celebrated 70 years of serving "family, church and country" in Burundi. So, does the Church today need mission agencies, like CMS, USPG and Mothers' Union (to name but three amongst many)? Isn't the amazing growth of the Church in the global south both eloquent testimony to the success of mission agencies - and evidence that they're not needed anymore?

Canon Philip Mounstephen, Executive Leader of Church Mission Society, recently joined the 'Navigators of Faith' for one leg of their sea voyage around Britain. The aim is to follow in the wake of the Celtic saints who did so much to spread the Christian faith around the British Isles and beyond. These saints tended to be monks who were sent out on mission from their communities to take the gospel wherever the wind (and the wind of the Spirit) took them. Inevitably it was not a wholly organized enterprise, but dependent on much that was outside their control, the wind and the tides not least.

"We in the West live in a society which can be very focused on direction, but have little clue as to purpose. How much better to be confident in purpose even if the direction isn't always clear -- like my friend the bee, and, indeed, those ancient Celtic monks.

"And there's a lesson in that for the Church of today. We still need to be ready to be taken where the wind of the Spirit leads us, always ready to surrender our sense of direction to the greater purposes of our God. At our best the mission agencies have done just that, being ready to be led onwards and outwards by the Spirit, in a way that is often harder for the Church in its more institutional and settled form.

"The Western world of today is not so far removed from that of the 6th and 7h Centuries. Indeed, post-Christian Europe is in a very similar situation. We need today what my predecessor, Max Warren, called, 'The Spirit of Iona', and it may be that pioneering spirit is best expressed through the mission agencies. Indeed for Warren, 'The Missionary Societies of the Church are the true safeguard and citadel of the spirit of "Iona".'[1]

In that there's a challenge to us in those agencies; a challenge to ensure that we keep the flame of that spirit burning bright. But there's also a reminder to the church in its more settled form: to learn afresh how to 'wander for the love of God', with a clear sense of purpose, even as we wait for the wind of the Spirit to make our direction plain. And we in the mission agencies may be best placed to help the wider Church do just that.

*****

Apatheism is more dangerous to Christian faith than atheism and antitheism, writes Paul Rowan Brian and Ben Sixsmith for the Witherspoon Institute, because it is often not recognized for what it is since it does not present itself as an opponent as does atheism.

The "new atheism" fad of Richard Dawkins, Samuel Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and dozens of other ornery antitheists created a lot of noise over the God Question, reaching its peak in the late 2000s. The loud, kaleidoscopic festival of fallacies served up by these commentators attracted a lot of media attention. Westerners had never had such a public and prominent debate on God's existence, and millions were seduced by superficially intriguing yet ultimately facile questions like "who created God?" and "is a prime mover not equally as plausible as a giant plate of pasta floating in space?"

"Western liberals bemoaned the crimes of the religious, dreaming Lennonishly of a world without fanaticism--as if Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Hoxha had not amply proven that extremism can exist among the atheistic.

And it has entered our evangelical churches, writes historian David Wells. Os Guinness, in an apt phrase, has spoken of God losing "weight" and Wells has used this image, too. That is, "God" is no longer significant enough to us to wrench around our priorities and habits. He rests very inconsequentially on us. When that happens, the tensions between Christ and culture vanish and "Christ" simply melts into culture. When that happens, the soil is created for a new outbreak of Protestant liberalism, which is as destructive of biblical faith as was the original Protestant liberalism.

The questions and debates engaged in by the new atheists were often reductive, emotionalized and glib, but one does have to grant that they at least tackled the great questions of faith in their way.

*****

UK atheist Richard Dawkins is planning atheism books for children and teens to stop 'religious indoctrination', according to Christian Today.

The famous atheist Richard Dawkins continues to see belief in God as a threat to humanity and his latest effort to counter it is more books about atheism. But this time, it's not adults he wants to speak to but children and teenagers.

According to recent tweets, the scientist and 'God Delusion' author has two new books in the pipeline, Outgrowing God, which will be about atheism for teenagers, and a second one with the working title of 'Atheism for Children', that will be illustrated.

He explained in tweets this week that his 'Atheism for Children' book is not intended to be a storybook.

'My "Atheism for Children" book will be unflinching, not a storybook: children won't beg parents to buy it for Xmas. Are there parents who'll want to buy it for their children anyway? Do you anticipate a demand? Would you like to see a "children's God Delusion" by me published?' he said.

He then explained in another tweet that his goal was to arm parents against religious indoctrination by schools and grandparents.

*****

Half of the Christian growth across the world is in the continent of Africa, writes Peter Brierley in CEN. In 2018, the world had 2.5 billion Christian adherents, growing at the rate of 29 million people a year.

Africa had 630 million (25 per cent), growing at 14 million a year. Europe had almost as many -- 570 million (23 per cent) -- but only growing at 0.2 million a year and that largely because of all the immigrants arriving in that continent.

Asia had 420 million (17 per cent), growing at 7 million a year. The rest of the world had 890 million (35 per cent), growing at 8 million a year.

The obvious question is, "Why are there so many new Christians in Africa? "There is, at least in part, a threefold answer.

Africa still has a high fertility rate. In 2018, African women had 4.9 children each on average, while globally the figure is 2.5. Both figures have decreased quite drastically over the past 20 or 30 years, but the African rate is still twice as high as elsewhere. Consequently, as a result of gradually decreasing infant and child mortality rates due to slowly improving medical facilities and availability, many African children now survive to adulthood [...]

[...] In a number of countries, traditional Christianity was accepted as a result of Western European colonization and missionary work and has persisted and prospered in spite of radical political changes. Some 60 per cent of the African population say they are Christian (as when asked in a Census), against only 33 per cent globally. So, Africa has almost twice as many Christians pro rata as elsewhere.

African Christianity is growing almost three times as fast as in the rest of the world. Between 1970 and 2015, African Christians grew at an average rate of +3.3 per cent per annum, while Christians across the rest of the world only grew at the rate of +1.2 per cent per annum.

*****

The Diocese of Nevada is looking for a new bishop and three contestants have stepped forward -- two men and one woman.

The woman in question is Tara K. Soughers, married with two "sons", one is trans one and the other is cis. Trans means transgendered, but we are not told if he is transmale or transfemale! The other self identifies as cis. This means (in case you were wondering) identifying with their sex assigned at birth and not a transgendered person.

Of course, Soughers is a big PRO LGBTQ fan with an emphasis on the T -- transgendered. She is the author of: "Beyond a Binary God: A Theology for Trans* Allies". Her book is sold by Church Publishing. There is no doubt that if she wins, she will push the transgendered agenda in the diocese...and in time push it into oblivion.

*****

The Diocese of Christchurch, NZ is to get a new bishop following the departure of former Canadian Bishop Victoria Matthews. The Ven. Peter Carrell will now lead the diocese and, of course, he supports the 2018 General Synod decision to bless same-sex couples. "Christchurch is a theologically broad diocese," he said. "It includes some Anglicans who are delighted by that decision -- and some who are deeply disturbed by it."

However, he faces four evangelical parishes that have expressed an intention to separate from the diocese. He says he will try to lead the diocese "towards a deeper understanding of being Anglican: to live with difference and to not divide because of it. I'm prepared to authorize blessings where I'm satisfied that this will enhance the unity of the ministry unit concerned."

In short, no change in the diocese's direction and now it will depend on how gracious he is about those who leave and if they can keep their properties. It'll be interesting to see if "sharing the good news of Jesus" (which does not comport with sodomite marriage) goes along with separation without litigation. Among liberals the two are never compatible. We shall see.

*****

On a sad note, we must report that an Anglican priest in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, Fr. Eric Dudley has resigned as Dean of St. Peter's Cathedral in Tallahassee, Florida. Bishop Neil G. Lebhar wrote to his people to say Dudley is being let go for admitting "to inappropriate treatment of others, abuse of alcohol, and anger issues. The complaints included patterns of undesired physical displays of affection which were deeply damaging to others and contrary to diocesan harassment policy."

Dudley recognized his own and his family's needs for long-term therapy and healing, and he understood that he was currently in no position to function as a priest, wrote Lebhar.

*****

Churches are the on the front line of mediation efforts across the world, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the United Nations Security Council recently, in part because they are often "the only functioning institutions in a fragile or pre-conflict situation."

He said that churches and other faith communities are "intimately present where there are conflicts; we cannot and will not walk away from them." He cited the role of Sudanese Anglican Primate and Archbishop Justin Badi Arama in peace efforts in South Sudan.

Welby repeatedly stressed that mediation must take place within the context of reconciliation.

"Where mediation is about resolving conflict, reconciliation is the process of transforming violent conflict into non-violent co-existence where communities have come to terms with history and are learning to disagree well," he said during a briefing that made him the first Archbishop of Canterbury to address the Security Council. "Mediation by itself, however skilled, is like using a garden hose to put out a forest fire, when what you need is rain over the whole area to let new life grow and sustain itself."

Funny thing is, Welby can't reconcile the differences in the Anglican Communion which grow weekly. Who is going to listen to him on the world stage, pray tell?

*****

President Donald Trump hosted a "state-like dinner" for 100 evangelical leaders invited to the White House this week. Naturally, the mainstream media did not pick up on it, but this is Trump's base.

The Washington Times characterized the dinner this way: President Trump hosted a dinner of Evangelical leaders at the White House Monday night and told them that he has delivered "just about everything I promised" on policies of religious liberty and defense of life. "The support you've given me has been incredible," Mr. Trump told the group. "But I really don't feel guilty because I have given you a lot back, just about everything I promised."

Among those attending the event were the Rev. Franklin Graham, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Pastor Paula White, a prominent spiritual adviser to the president.

Mr. Trump said under his administration, "the attacks on the communities of faith are over." He cited actions to defend the religious conscience of health-care workers, teachers, students and religious employers; executive branch guidance on protecting religious liberty, and proposed regulations to bar taxpayer money from subsidizing abortion.

"Unlike some before us, we are protecting your religious liberty," Mr. Trump said. "We're standing for religious believers, because we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life. And we know that freedom is a gift from our Creator."

*****

What will the Church of Jesus Christ look like in the future? Prof. Josef Ratzinger thinks he knows. He says the Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed.

Ratzinger went on to become the pope, but his words should resonate with every Anglican. Following the nightmare departure of The Episcopal Church from the faith and the gospel over doctrine and sexuality, the ACNA was born, and is fulfilling exactly what Ratzinger wrote.

In Christ,

David

For more stories about the worldwide Anglican Communion go here: www.virtueonline.org

Subscribe
Get the latest news and perspectives in the Anglican world.
comments powered by Disqus
Letter to the Churches, text and commentary
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top