By David W. Virtue DD
A number of African and North American bishops claiming to be “foundational callers of reconciliation” met recently with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Fifth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue in Coventry, England.
According to an Episcopal News Service report, two-dozen bishops from Africa and North America renewed their pledge to reconciliation in the Anglican Communion and to walking together as a family despite deep cultural and theological differences.
Together, the bishops committed themselves “to consider Christ’s ministry of reconciliation in the world [and] to sharing a journey … into God’s intended future for humankind and all of the creation.”
High sounding words, indeed, full of noblesse oblige and richness of tone. But bear with me.
Bishop Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church, a 24kt card carrying liberal, a Jefferts Schori spear carrier, and one of two Episcopal Church bishops participating in the consultation, described it as “a pivotal moment for bridge-building efforts in the Anglican Communion.”
“I have come to wonder if the impediment to our communion as we have experienced it is neither justice nor orthodoxy, but pride. As we have come to understand one another as children of God and bishops deeply committed to the Gospel ministry of reconciliation, the wall of pride that has divided us has begun to crumble,” commented Sauls. Diocese of Colorado Bishop Rob O’Neill was the other Episcopal Church bishop attending the consultation.
VOL: Pride, PRIDE! What is proud about a church that openly embraces pansexuality, has gay and lesbian bishops in its ranks, and boasts of the fact that those who oppose such innovations are screamed at as “fundamentalist”, “homophobic”, “oppressive” and “uninclusive”? Oh, but it is about orthodoxy, why else would the Anglican Church in North America come into existence? It isn’t just about gay and lesbian bishops; it is about the authority of Scripture, about the gospel, about the very nature of truth itself. Where is the pride in leaving TEC; especially if when you leave, you lose your church, pension, some of your congregation, a steady income and have to start up all over again…and then watch the denomination you left spend nearly $40 million in lawsuits over ownership of properties they never built?
Sudanese Bishop Anthony Poggo from the Diocese of Kajo Keji said he greatly valued being a part of the consultation. “It’s important for us to respect each other and continue to talk with each other as part of one family,” he told ENS. “Some of us have taken a different view on various issues within Scripture, but this does not mean we look at the other person as an enemy.”
VOL: But enemies they are, Bishop, because one side views the other as “enemies of the gospel” (Rom. 11:28)
For Poggo, one of the main fruits of the consultation has been “to meet with my brothers and sisters from other parts of the communion, to renew friendships and also to have hope that we are one family although we have different opinions.”
Those “different opinions” have been around since before Lambeth ’98. Nothing has changed. Rebellion against the moral has only grown and deepened in Western Anglicanism since then with openly homogenital priests elevated to the episcopacy in the US (and will, over time, occur in the UK. Think Jeffrey John).
Furthermore, TEC and Trinity Wall Street (the single wealthiest church in the world) are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Africa, manipulating vulnerable provinces like Tanzania and Central Africa, enabled and pushed along by the Anglican Communion Office in an all out effort to move provinces away from their Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic heritage. The civil war and subsequent fall out in the Sudan is a gift to the Episcopal Church to bring money to bear on individual dioceses even though Sudanese Archbishop Deng Bul has made it clear he will not be swayed by overseas money to change his views on homosexuality.
Bishop Poggo’s hope for “one family…with different opinions” belies the fact of GAFCON I and II and, most of all,of a worldwide realignment of the Anglican Communion, presently underway that will not be stopped. The Anglican Church in North America rose up precisely because of irreconcilable “different opinions” made by the American Episcopal Church. It is utter delusory of the Sudanese bishop to think otherwise.
In testimony, released May 29, the bishops recommitted to what they identify as their “foundational call as reconcilers” and asked forgiveness for their failures.
“We testify first that we find ourselves to be brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. It seems an obvious point, but it has not always been taken for granted. Some have claimed otherwise. It is a deception,” they said.
VOL: It is a deception, a huge deception. Jefferts Schori, TEC’s ecclesiastical mountebank, has made it her virtual life’s work to destroy orthodoxy in The Episcopal Church and she has almost succeeded. (You can count the number of orthodox dioceses left on one hand…literally). When she finally leaves office, the Episcopal Church will have declined since 2002 by nearly 207,000 ASA and spent some $40 million on lawsuits for properties. She will have deposed more bishops than any other PB in the Episcopal Church’s history. A remarkable achievement by any standard.
“We have a lot to witness to a much-divided world,” Archbishop Colin Johnson of the Dioceses of Toronto and of Moosonee in the Anglican Church of Canada, told ENS. “Conversation is powerful as we ‘turn toward’ one another in mutual respect, learn from each other, and in the process of conversation we are converted by the always present third party to the conversation, the Holy Spirit.”
VOL: The ultra-liberal Archbishop of Toronto is one the most liberal bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada. He is second only to the former Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham who began the sexual train wreck in 2002 and who was also present at this gabfest. Parishes are closing down weekly in his diocese. If it continues, the whole diocese, indeed the entire Anglican province, is a generation away from extinction!
The consultation – which has met previously in London (2010), Dar es Salaam (2011), Toronto (2012), and Cape Town (2013) – was created in response to differences concerning human sexuality issues and grew out of an informal gathering at the 2008 Lambeth Conference that Johnson convened.
VOL: And NOTHING has been resolved since Lambeth Resolution 1:10. The gold standard on human sexuality has been spun, blasted and shot at more times than a leopard making its way across the Serengeti.
A case in point is The Anglican Church of Canada’s upcoming proposal to change the marriage canon to permit same sex couples to marry that is nothing more than a “reconciling” smoke screen to conceal the fact that the decision has already been made. There will be no turning back. Orthodoxy on marriage will be squashed like a bug in the name of a higher inclusivity.
“I was determined that the moderate voices among Anglican bishops needed to be heard,” Johnson told ENS. Those voices, he said, include people who believe that the Anglican Communion is not falling apart and who want “to maintain and indeed deepen the relationships of mutual support and prayer that have been the hallmark of our life together as Anglicans.”
VOL: Johnson’s uber boss, Archbishop Fred Hiltz raced across the Atlantic and pled with Archbishop Welby not to recognize the ACNA and ANiC. If he didn’t feel so threatened by the existence of the ACNA, why waste the plane fare? Clearly, he did. Why won’t Jefferts Schori and Hiltz talk serious reconciliation with Anglicans in their own provinces? They can’t or won’t because they are polls apart.
The Rev. Canon Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, who served on Johnson’s diocesan staff at the time and who was named in January as Africa relations officer for both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, organized the first gathering of 11 bishops in London.
VOL: Mukasa is little more than a patsy for the liberal agenda of the Canadian church. He no more speaks for the vast Global South majority than he does for the ANiC.
Mukasa believes that the consultation over the past 5 years has made a “considerable impact” on communion-wide reconciliation. With each successive meeting, walls were broken down and the bishops came to realize that “they were actually doing the same kind of mission in different contexts,” he said by telephone from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he is meeting with church partners.
Mukasa observed that the questions and engagement between the bishops became more candid. “That truth-telling and honesty began to show there was a great deal of trust building between them, which reflected the kind of friendships that were developing,” he said. He described the Coventry consultation as “a gamechanger.”
VOL: Totally false. Tanzania was once an orthodox province. No longer. A local missionary told VOL that The Episcopal Church paid off electors $75,000 to swing the votes for a new more compliant archbishop, the Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya. TEC wanted Tanzania out of GAFCON and, with money, the floodgates opened to TEC personnel to push the gay agenda. Mission accomplished. In December 2006, the province declared itself to be in “impaired communion” with The Episcopal Church (US) over the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions. Not anymore. TEC got their man in following the controversial election.
Mukasa, who was ordained in the Anglican Church of Uganda in 1984, said that many African bishops “are tired of fighting. They have strong beliefs about human sexuality, but they also feel they were misled by their leaders,” he added, noting their recognition that conservative and breakaway Anglicans “came and occupied provincial offices and tried to lead them into a fight. Many African leaders are beginning to get tired of being used to fight this war.”
VOL: Not true. They are not tired and they have not been mislead. There were four Kenyan bishops at this gabfest. A source has told VOL that they went in a personal capacity and it’s not clear that all of them really understood what David Porter, Welby’s anointed professional “reconciler”, and his “reconciliation game” was really up to. “This was a deliberate attempt by Lambeth Palace to go behind the backs of GAFCON Primates.”
VOL was told that there was no consultation with Archbishop Eliud Wabukala who made his views on Indaba crystal clear in his March GFCA pastoral letter. He declared, Contrary to the claim made on the website of the London Anglican Communion office that there is a Kenyan ‘Resource Hub’ for Continuing Indaba, neither the Anglican Church of Kenya nor any of its learning institutions are participants in this project. We are strongly committed to the work of reconciliation within the Church and within civil society, but the gospel ministry of reconciliation is given to us by God and must not therefore compromise the Word of God.” Wabukala totally repudiated Indaba as a questionable construct undermining the gospel.
There is a “great appetite for conciliatory voices,” Mukasa said. “We are turning a corner.”
VOL: Again, not true. No such corner has been turned. The Anglican Communion is in the midst of a worldwide realignment; there is a de facto schism even if there is not a de jure schism.
Johnson told ENS that the main objective of the consultation is “to listen more than speak, to learn about each others’ missional contexts and to understand one another.
“We have discovered that what brings us together is much more central to our beliefs and profound in our calling than what causes division. We have discovered that we are all faithfully trying to live out Christ’s call to be disciples and to be the Church in our local contexts. We have learned from one another and we have developed deepening friendships.”
Johnson said that bishops have a responsibility to build bridges across divides, “interpret our local community to the wider church and the wider church to our local church. This group is doing that informally, as a grassroots initiative.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who has identified reconciliation as his main priority, joined the consultation for a day of prayer, teaching, and conversation. Welby’s presence “had a profound impact on each of us and was an important influence in our subsequent deliberations,” according to the testimony.
VOL: “Missional contexts” does not change the content of the gospel. It is the same in New York as Nairobi, only how it is presented within those contexts is different. The most alarming thing about this is that it amounts to an abandonment of Scriptural authority….if we see “dimly” (1 Cor. 13:12) on gay sex, then what is clear in the Bible? And Welby is directly implicated…they say his teaching had a “profound impact”….
The truth is (homo)sexuality is the elephant in the room and it won’t go away because a handful of liberals wish it so. GAFCON I and GAFCON II are evidence of that. With none of the big African players like Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Kenyan Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Ugandan Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, Rwandan Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje or any of their choice of bishops present at this consultation, it is nothing more than a handful of liberals on an expensive junket in England talking to themselves. It is delusory to think otherwise.
On the US side, it was even worse. The obvious appearance of Jefferts Schori’s consigliore Stacy Sauls might be expected, but the appearance of Rob O’Neil, Bishop of Colorado, raised eyebrows in a number of quarters. Here is a man who spent $3 MILLION diocesan dollars going after one single priest, Fr Don Armstrong, in order to take away his parish because he denounced TEC’s apostasies and fled to CANA. O’Neil also used the courts to bring legal charges against the priest that amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist.
As Fr. Armstrong narrates it, “He is the guy who said his first priority as bishop was to run me and (the Rev. Dr.) Ephraim Radner out of the diocese. He was the one who told me his intention was to destroy me, to have me spend the rest of my life in jail. He is the guy who spent $3,000,000 building a false case against me involving still attempts to involve the IRS in my life. He is the guy who alienated so many in the diocese and spent all their reserves…what will reconciliation look like for O’Neill, what will he bring to the table or leave at the altar?
“I do know that reconciliation is costly (Jesus was crucified), so I know from my side I need to let go of all malice and revenge, of which I let go five years ago, as did my parish, many of whom were personally sued and threatened by Bishop O’Neill.
“If he is going to these discussions, this is his own reconciliation challenge to think through. Without reconciling with me, who he went after to tame the rest of his diocese, he has nothing to say to the larger church.”
Bishop Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada, put this spin on the consultation, “We talked about the fact that one of the primary signs of our redemption is our love for other Christians … We came away from this reminded of that, but also with some sense that we do really love one another. Despite our differences there is passion about who we are as brothers and sisters in Christ, but also who we are as people with a very distinct calling.”
VOL: Really! Where is the love for all the tens of thousands of lay people, unnumbered priests and bishops who have left over TEC’s theological and moral innovations? This is pure fiction. Leftists feel the “love” because they are in agreement with one another; there is no love by the left for conservatives. They are to be coerced and persuaded into changing their minds and if they don’t, they are gone.
Toronto Archbishop Johnson says he has grown increasingly hopeful with each encounter. “It is clear to me that the Anglican Communion is full of life and has enormous potential as a witness that unity is not uniformity, that diversity is a gift of the Spirit and does not necessarily lead to division (and is a reflection of God’s own life in Trinity), and that conflicts that arise because of differences can be healed by praying together, conversation, listening, mutual understanding and patience, rather than by separation and dis-enfranchising the other.”
VOL: The only true “life” is in the vibrantly growing Anglicanism of the ACNA and ANiC; there is no “life” in TEC or ACoC. Just visit a dozen or so churches and witness aging flocks, most with less than 50 people with few Nones, Millennials or Gen X’s to be found in the pews.
“Diversity” means only one thing in TEC and other liberals; it means that all opinions are of equal value, based loosely on the notion that it doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you are sincere. But if the notion of “diversity” on sexuality issues is not met with total unambiguous approval by orthodox Episcopalians, all hell breaks loose and the shouts of “homophobia” ring from the rafters of the Integrity organization and seminaries like GTS and EDS.
These expensive gabfests cost money with thousands spent on airfares and hotels all to maintain the fiction that things are getting better every day in the Anglican Communion. It’s a lie. They are not. Welby blew off GAFCON II when he could have used it as a Kairos moment. He failed. He has obfuscated over homosexuality making him no better than his predecessor, Dr. Rowan Williams. The three oldest Anglican provinces: The Church of England, The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are a generation away from extinction. There will be nobody in the pews twenty years from now to keep them alive. Mergers and juncturing with other denominations just extend the patient’s death rattle a few more years.
The future of the Anglican Communion, if there is one, resides totally in the hands of the Global South. Right now they are loyal to Canterbury, but they know full well they don’t need to go through Canterbury to get to Jesus. How long that position is sustainable, only they know. The timetable is there’s; no one else’s.