Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Strong Letter to ++Kenya from FIF Bishops

Ten ACNA bishops who are also in Forward in Faith, N. A. have written a strongly worded open letter to the Archbishop of Kenya regarding his consecration of a woman as bishop.  

Now it may not seem that strongly worded to those not used to the usual Anglican understatement, but know that it is indeed very robust by Anglican standards, and that from bishops of high reputation.  The conclusion alone calling upon the Archbishop of Kenya “to repent of your actions which have directly harmed your brother and sister Anglican Christians around the world” are the sort of words rarely seen publicly between Anglican bishops.

Do read the whole letter below.  I will add that I am especially glad to see this:

While the Anglican Church in Kenya currently maintains an orthodox understanding of the Gospel, it should be noted that every province that has adopted women into the episcopate has, in time, yielded to the pressures of the culture and left Biblical morality. Listen to the words of Saint Paul to Timothy, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

 

This reflects what has become the clincher to hardening my opposition to women’s ordination.  WO has been undergoing “reception” in large parts of the church for decades now.  And its fruit has been found wanting to say the least.  There is only one jurisdiction that ordains women as priests that I can recommend for now.  WO almost always comes with baggage the church should not carry.

 

By the way, I’ve seen it asked why more ACNA bishops did not sign this.  Note that the letter is from bishops in Forward in Faith.  Perhaps a better question is why aren’t more ACNA bishops in Forward in Faith? :)

 

The letter follows:

 

Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

 

The Most Reverend Jackson Ole Sapit
Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya

 

Your Grace, 

We, the bishops and members of Forward in Faith North America, write to express our profound sadness at the decision of the Anglican Church of Kenya to break two thousand years of episcopal principle and practice, the great tradition in Anglicanism since the English Reformation, as well as GAFCON protocol, and consecrate a female bishop. 

 

Your decision to act unilaterally in opposition to the expressed concerns and agreements of the GAFCON Primates Council is a break in the fraternal love and respect that has been a hallmark of GAFCON and witness to orthodox Anglicans worldwide. 

 

Sadly, the actions of your province directly harm Christ’s Church by failing to uphold the “doctrine, sacraments and discipline of Christ, as the Lord has commanded and as this Church has received them.” Specifically, this innovation directly harms the maintenance of the historic episcopate, challenges our missional and ecumenical relationships throughout the world, and opens the door for Satan to divide Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. 

 

The Historic Episcopate 

In a 2017 communique from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the Primates noted: “It is our prime recommendation that the provinces of GAFCON should retain the historic practice of the consecration only of men as bishops until and unless a strong consensus to change emerges after prayer, consultation and continued study of Scripture among the GAFCON fellowship.” The historic male episcopate provides the Church a common assurance of sacramental validity. * 

 

Ecumenical Relationships and Christian Mission 

Recently the GAFCON Primates Council has reached out to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churchesas well as Protestant denominations such as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, in order to further our relationships and further our common mission in fulfillment of our Lord’s prayer in John 17, 

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21). 

Our ability to fulfill this prayer, heal division, and carry out Gospel mission together will only be further impaired by breaking with the holy Biblical tradition given by all male apostles to all male successors. 

 

Doctrine, Discipline and Division 

While the Anglican Church in Kenya currently maintains an orthodox understanding of the Gospel, it should be noted that every province that has adopted women into the episcopate has, in time, yielded to the pressures of the culture and left Biblical morality. Listen to the words of Saint Paul to Timothy,  “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) 

 

Lastly, your Grace, for the sake of the Gospel and our unity in Christ we call upon the Anglican Church in Kenya to refrain from further actions of division and to repent of your actions which have directly harmed your brother and sister Anglican Christians around the world. 

 

Faithfully, 

The Rt. Rev. Eric Vawter Menees, 

Ordinary of San Joaquin and President of Forward in Faith North America 

 

The Rt. Rev. Richard Lipka 

Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints and Vice President of Forward in Faith 

 

The Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton 

Ordinary of the Diocese of Mid-America 

 

The Rt. Rev. Walter Banek 

Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Mid-America

 

The Rt. Rev. Clark Lowenfield 

Ordinary of the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast 

 

The Rt. Rev. Ryan Reed 

Ordinary of the Diocese of Fort Worth 

 

The Rt. Rev. Jack Iker 

Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Fort Worth 

 

The Rt. Rev. Bill Wantland 

Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth

 

The Rt. Rev. Alberto Morales, OSB 

Ordinary of the Diocese of Quincy 

 

The Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman

SSC Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Diocese of Ft. Worth’s Resolution on GAFCON and Women Bishops

In the aftermath of the latest GAFCON Primates meeting, two responses I have seen stand out for being succinct and on point: Lee Nelson’s excellent article over at North American Anglican and the resolution released by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Ft. Worth yesterday.

Yes.  Something timely and well written came out of a church committee.  The Diocese of Ft. Worth must be of divine origin!  God be praised!

The resolution points out three things well:

1. The GAFCON Primates have rather blatantly chosen to ignore their own 2017 resolution on the subject of a male-only episcopate. (The Ft. Worth resolution puts it more nicely than I, of course.)

2. Since it pertains to the validity of the sacraments, whom is chosen to be a bishop is hardly a secondary issue.

3. Ideally, bishops are to be bishops for the whole church.  The innovation of women bishops disregards that.

But read the resolution, which follows, for yourself.  Again, it is not long and is very well written.

 

Resolution of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth 

21 September 2021 

Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist 

“Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). 

In a 2017 communique from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon), the Primates noted: “It is our prime recommendation that the provinces of GAFCon should retain the historic practice of the consecration only of men as bishops until and unless a strong consensus to change emerges after prayer, consultation and continued study of Scripture among the GAFCon fellowship.” In 2021, the Chairman of GAFCon, Archbishop Foley Beach, noted: “At our meeting, the GAFCon Primates agreed we have not come to a consensus on the issue of women in holy orders, and specifically women in the episcopate.” And yet, three women have been consecrated in the GAFCon provinces of Sudan and Kenya since the moratorium on such consecrations went into effect, despite the lack of consensus. 

We enthusiastically support the statement of our own Primate, Archbishop Beach, that “we will continue to stand with these brothers and sisters [of GAFCon] to the greatest extent possible to maintain the Biblical Faith in the Anglican Communion and proclaim the saving Good News of Jesus Christ.” And we enthusiastically celebrate the rich contribution of women vitally engaged with significant impact in the ministry of the church throughout her long history. In an effort to strengthen and not to whither our bonds of affection, we also wish to record our strong objection to the recent consecrations of women in provinces of the Global Anglican Future Conference and to the classification of the action as a “secondary issue.” 

Primary and Secondary Issues 

“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ . . . Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:15,25). 

In their recent meeting, the primates of GAFCon passed a resolution which noted: “In our discussion, the Primates acknowledged that while there is disagreement and ongoing discussion on the issues of the ordination of women as deacons or priests, and the consecration of women as Bishops, we are agreed that these are not salvation issues and are not issues that will disrupt our mission: to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.” 

Issues that touch upon the salvation of souls are always primary issues, and certainly not to be considered adiaphora (“things indifferent”). The catechism of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer describes the sacraments of Baptism and the Supper of the Lord as “generally necessary to salvation.” The Jerusalem Declaration affirms as a tenet of orthodoxy (#6), that “we uphold the 

1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer.” The validity of the sacrament of the Supper of the Lord is contingent upon the minister being a valid priest or bishop in Holy Orders. The validity of a sacrament that is generally necessary to salvation is, by definition, a salvation issue. 

The Jerusalem Declaration affirms as a tenet of orthodoxy (#2), “The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.” The innovation of the ordination of women is not respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading of scripture. 

Bishops for the Whole Church 

“The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1). 

Bishops are consecrated not just to serve a local diocese, but are consecrated for the whole church. What one province does in this matter affects all. 

We recognize that the ordination of women has been a contentious and divisive issue. We urge our brethren and spiritual fathers to move away from divisiveness, not toward it. We affirm the unanimous statement of the ACNA College of Bishops about the subject on 7 September 2017. While acknowledging that the ordination of women is practiced within some dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America, it stated: “we also acknowledge that this practice is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order” and “we agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women’s ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province.” This standing committee, together with our bishop, believes that the same principle of restraint should be applied locally as well as in the global church. 

In our view, the way forward toward our global Anglican future lies in faithfulness to the Holy Scriptures and the received tradition, not in a theological innovation which would seek to overturn created order by attempting to consecrate women as spiritual fathers. The sacred trust placed in the episcopal office, as successors to the apostles, is to hand on the historic Christian faith and practice to a new generation of believers. 

Adopted unanimously at the 21 September 2021 regular meeting. 

The Rev’d Timothy M. Matkin, President of the Standing Committee 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Watch Checks That Told More Than the Time

Few acts are more mundane that checking one’s watch.  I used to do that a lot.  Now I check my phone.  My, how technology advances.  But before I get distracted by my phone again, my point is that people checking their watches is hardly the stuff of history.  

Or is it?

No, I cannot think of a time when someone checking their watch changed the course of history . . . yet.  But I can think of watch checks that revealed a lot about history before it was history.

 

October 15th, 1992

During the Second Presidential Debate with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot, President George H. W. Bush checked his watch at the beginning of a question of how the recession affected him.  That told more about him and about his re-election campaign than about what time it was, namely:

1. His disinterest in debating and campaigning, that in contrast with Bill Clinton, who clearly enjoyed it.  The mercurial Ross Perot also enjoyed barnstorming on a good day.  Bush wanted it to be over with. He admitted as much:

Bush later suggested that his gesture may, in fact, have revealed something about his discomfort with the debate. "Was I glad when the damn thing was over?" he said to PBS Newshour anchor Jim Lehrer. "Yeah."

It would be very much over soon.  Bush’s disinterest while Clinton oozed empathy assisted in that.

2. His sense of superiority and overconfidence.  He was a Bush after all.  He was better than that blowhard Perot and that young playboy Governor of Arkansas, of all states.  

It was not just the President who felt that way.  His campaign was hampered by overconfidence that surely he would not lose to Bill Clinton of all people.  Heck, the only reason Clinton got the Democrat nomination was because bigger names did not want to run against Bush.  Adding to the misplaced confidence was that Republicans had won the last three presidential elections and four of the last five.

So it wasn’t just Bush who was ready to get the campaign done with and won.  And it wasn’t just this then Republican Precinct Chairman who did not see the result coming.

 

March 30/31st, 2013

Elected earlier that month, Pope Francis was in the Vatican presiding over his first Easter Vigil as Pope.  For those unfamiliar with Easter Vigils, they are not services to be done with in less than an hour so one can rush home or to the pub.  The Easter Vigil on Easter Eve is the most solemn occasion of the church year for many traditional Christians.  At their best, they are evocative, glorious, and definitely not rushed.  One of the most memorable services I’ve ever attended was an Easter Vigil at St. Matthias Anglican Dallas in 2005; it lasted well over two hours, and I would not have it a minute shorter.

But Pope Francis apparently did not feel that way about his first Easter Vigil as Pope.  Bishop of Rome only for days, he had already acted to shorten the service.  But it wasn’t short enough apparently.  During the service, he checked his watch, just as he checked his watch during his installation service on March 19th.

Twenty years older and somewhat wiser, I knew immediately there was something profoundly wrong with Francis long before many whom I respect caught on.

Why? Unless one is hinting to an overly loquacious preacher to wind his sermon up, a priest just does not look at his watch during a service.  It’s not in the rubrics; it doesn’t have to be.  It sends the wrong message to the congregation and to God as well.  For a pope to check his watch during one of the more solemn services of the year . . . .  It was unthinkable . . . before Francis.

Thus in the first month of his pontificate, those with eyes to see could already see Francis was a man of impious priorities who had little respect for the liturgy, for the need of solemn and traditional celebrations of even the Resurrection of our Lord.

The slow motion disaster of the pontificate of Francis should not have afterward surprised anyone, particularly his attempted vandalism of the Lord’s Prayer and his attacks on the traditional Latin Mass.  Early on, his watch check foretold his attacks on catholic worship.

 

Sunday August 29th, 2021

Joe Biden stands at Dover Air Force Base to receive the bodies of 13 service people killed in the Kabul bombing, an attack enabled by the shambles of his withdrawal from Afghanistan.  As he ends a salute, he quickly checks his watch.  It was so quick that perhaps he caught himself, realizing how wrong that was.  But he checked his watch nonetheless.  (And some reports have him checking his watch additional times during the ceremony.)

At this point, it is unclear just what this watch check tells.  Perhaps it tells that Biden’s cognitive decline is worse than most think.  One system of dementia is socially inappropriate behavior.  But I am not his doctor, and it would be wrong for me to presume that is what is happening.  

Perhaps he did not want to be there at Dover AFB and thought he had better things to do.  He surely wants to move on from his Afghanistan disaster.  Perhaps he was so detached from reality, he did not realize the solemnity of his role.  

It is hard to think that his watch check revealed shear callousness toward the fallen soldiers and their families.  But he has already greatly endangered Americans and allied Afghans.  How much of that disaster is from incompetence and how much from callousness, we do not know. 

In any case, what Biden’s watch check this past Sunday reveals is not good.

----

So the trivial act of checking one’s watch revealed much about these three men and their times, although exactly what was revealed in Biden’s case is not yet clear.  Did the checks also have consequences?

In the elder Bush’s case, probably not.  Yes, it was part of his lackluster debate in his lackluster campaign.  But it was the campaign and the recession and perhaps Ross Perot that brought about his defeat, not a watch check.

In Pope Francis’ case, it had virtually no consequences whatsoever before men.  Just about everyone was too eager to think hopefully about the new Pope.  The consequences before God are another matter best left to Him.

I doubt it will have lasting consequences for Biden either.  But I see similarities with Bush’s watch check in that it reveals traits that will have political consequences.  Bush’s disdain for actual campaigning, partly revealed by his watch check, assisted his defeat.  Whatever the mix of incompetence and darkness revealed by Biden’s watch check, that mix may and should lead to the downfall of his presidency as well.

There is a significant difference with Biden’s watch check.  Bush’s check, though revealing undesirable traits, was not awful or disgusting.   Biden’s watch check is disgusting and adding to widespread disgust with him – as it should.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Why Women Bishops in Kenya Could Be Important in ACNA

As Anglican Unscripted has reported, a diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya has elected a woman to be the Bishop of said diocese.  The culprit diocese has been something of a pain to the Archbishop of Kenya and to orthodox Anglicans there.  (Hmm, reminds me of a certain diocese in the Anglican Church in North America.)  It is not certain at this time that the Archbishop will recognize the new bishop.  I will defer to Kevin and George for further details.  It’s probably fair to say it’s a mess.

So why do I or anyone in ACNA care about this mess in Kenya?  Well, we place a high value on our relationship with GAFCON, a confederation of orthodox Anglicans mainly from the Global South that includes the Anglican Church of Kenya and ACNA as well.  And there is supposed to be a moratorium on women bishops in GAFCON.  In ACNA, women bishops are prohibited in our Constitution and Canons.  There has been two women bishops before in GAFCON that I am aware of.  But this is the first diocesan bishop.

To give an idea how important this breach in the moratorium could be to ACNA, I will give some condensed and oversimplified history.  After the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003 – and long before for many of us traditional Anglicans – The Episcopal Church was a no-go jurisdiction due to her brazen apostasies.  But part of our catholicity is we know we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and we want our structures and formal relationships to reflect that.  Some thirty years ago, I saw a sign for an “Independent Episcopal Church” around Paris, Texas; we don’t want that although some have been compelled to do that for a short time.

After 2003, as a stop gap, many of us put ourselves under orthodox Anglican bishops from the Global South.  But several of these bishops eventually let it be known, mostly in private but quite clearly, that they soon wished to be in communion with one orthodox Anglican entity in the United States.  They did not desire to sort through an alphabet soup of jurisdictions.  I know bishops of my Reformed Episcopal Church were politely told that if we wished to continue our formal relationship with the Church of Nigeria, we would have to join a new orthodox Anglican province once it was formed.

This very understandable and even godly encouragement from Global South bishops (who soon formed GAFCON in 2008) was one factor behind us joining ACNA when it was formed in 2009.  We valued our global relationships with orthodox Anglicans and wished to retain them as much as possible.

However, there was an outstanding difficult issue in the formation of ACNA and of GAFCON as well – women’s ordination.  No, I am not going to explain why here, but us traditionalists do not recognize the Holy Orders of women.  For many of us, it is a communion-breaking innovation.  So both sides of this issue had to flex for ACNA to be formed.  The compromise was that it would be up to dioceses whether to ordain women as priests or not, and dioceses who did not ordain women were not obligated to recognize women priests. Further, and most relevant to the current situation, no diocese would ordain a woman as bishop.  This is important as us Anglicans see the office of bishop as a focus of unity in the church.  To not recognize the validity of a bishop is a communion breaker; it is practically the definition of breaking communion. 

Up to recently, GAFCON’s practices on women’s ordination were similar but less formal: different provinces had different policies but women were not to be made bishops until there was a consensus accepting that.

I’ve glossed over a lot of history here.  My erudite readers are welcome to add or correct in the comments.  But I think you see the problems with now three women bishops being in GAFCON.  A big reason many of us traditionalists compromised and joined ACNA was to retain our relationships with those who now form GAFCON.  But what if we can no longer be in communion in GAFCON due to a proliferation of women bishops?

That would be one less reason for us to remain in ACNA.  I don’t want this post to become of litany of grievances, but some of us, even people like me who were excited at the formation of ACNA, have very mixed feelings about ACNA today.  If our relationship with GAFCON is no longer a desirable or even feasible part of the ACNA package, that would make remaining in ACNA itself that much less desirable.

We traditionalists in ACNA do not expect perfect polity; we would not have joined ACNA if we did.  And I know of no one getting ready to leave over this matter.  But we do have our limits.  Many of us have already left churches and suffered loss when those limits were violated before.  And women bishops in GAFCON could become one more test of those already strained limits if this is not dealt with in a timely fashion.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

An Open Letter to My Southern Baptist Friends

Last night and this morning, I have been hurting for my Southern Baptist friends who were on the right – and losing – side at yesterday’s Convention.  I felt I should say something, and, after reflection, I’ve decided a tweet or even a tweet thread won’t do.

First, I am indeed hurting and praying for you.  And I am sad for the church as a whole.  For most of my life, the Southern Baptist Convention has been a bulwark of orthodoxy.  For that bulwark to be so weakened and compromised diminishes the whole church.

Second, I advise that you do mourn.  I also advise that you wait awhile before making a decision about your future relationship with the SBC.  Early on after a bad event, both upset and denial can cloud your judgement.  So wait on the Lord, pray, and at least recover a bit first before deciding.

I cannot make that decision for you.  I can see a case for staying and fighting, and I can see a case for moving on.  Know that if you remain faithful, you have my respect along with my prayers.

Also know something that I am hesitant to say for fear of appearing to poach.  Know that IF you decide to leave, there is a place for you in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and especially in my jurisdiction, the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC – which has a large degree of independence but is within ACNA – it’s complicated).

You will have to get used to babies being baptized.  You will have to get used to real live bishops with those funny mitres even. You will have to get used to a wide range of orthodoxy under one roof.  We have people who are more catholic than the Pope and people who are more Protestant than Luther.  Our breadth is both glorious and annoying – like the whole faithful church.

But ACNA and the REC are committed to the authority of scripture and to the basics of the Faith as reflected in the Creeds.  AND both the Archbishop of ACNA and the Presiding Bishop of the REC have just made strong statements opposing Critical Race Theory.

We are not perfect.  There are a few dioceses in ACNA I cannot recommend.  And wokeness has infiltrated us as it has the SBC.  (Where has it not infiltrated?)  But unlike the SBC, our two highest bishops along with many other bishops are opposing it.  And it has not and will not gain a stronghold in the REC.

If you do wish to check out an Anglican church or two, feel free to message me for guidance.  You can contact me in the comments (And I will not post your comment unless it’s clear that you want it public.  I moderate comments.) Or you can message me on twitter.

I would prefer Baptist faithful stay in the SBC and take back their denomination from the woke cabal.  I want a faithful thriving SBC.  But if you become convinced that is not your path, you are welcome to help us remain faithful in ACNA.  Let me know if I can help you.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Presiding Bishop Ray Sutton’s Exhortation to the REC General Council

Yesterday began the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church.  It is held on Zoom this year because when it was being planned back when COVID was more of an issue than now, many did not want to travel to a large meeting.

The highlight was and will surely always be Presiding Bishop Ray Sutton’s formal exhortation or “Report” which you may find here beginning on page 4.  In spite of internet connection issues that were at times amusing, his address was very well received.  Even I greatly rejoiced in it.  I recommend reading the whole address.

The part that is likely of most interest to readers addressed issues relating to sexual identity, race, and social justice ideologies and the infiltration of these ideologies into the church.  He exhorts us to resist being overly influenced by these ideologies.  He instead puts forth a robustly Biblical view on these issues. 

I will excerpt only some of this. Again, I recommend reading the whole address.

All too often when the church attempts to be, “all things to all people that by all means we might save some,” she allows culture to seduce her into introducing secular thinking and concepts that insidiously confuse, confound and even violate foundational Biblical commitments (1 Corinthians 9:22, ESV). Far too often St. Paul’s statement about becoming all things to win some by finding common ground with the world, fails to heed the apostle’s other statement, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). For St. Paul, the will of God is clear in how we are to interface with the culture to win some to Christ. Whatever common ground with the world that St. Paul suggests in one passage, should not be interpreted to mean conformity to the world’s, secular thought. Rather, St. Paul calls for transformation to a “Christian mind,” in the words of the Anglican scholar, Harry Blamires, who wrote a book by this title.  Elizabeth Elliot, popular Anglican Christian author, refers to conformity to the world as capitulation. She grew up in the Reformed Episcopal Church and became the wife of Jim Elliot, one of the seven Wheaton graduates and missionaries in the 1950s, who were martyred by the Auca Indians in South America while attempting to spread the Gospel to these lost people. She once observed about the will of God: “The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God...or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” ….

He then dealt with issues of sexual identity and explained the statement by the ACNA College of Bishops on this area.  Then he proceeded to issues concerning race:

A second cultural concern where we must not be conformed to the world but be transformed in Christ concerns the church’s response to the sins of racial prejudice, hatred, and violence in our society. In recent months we have seen tragic, unjust, and unacceptable use of force in racially oriented crimes. These situations have included “the bad cop,” as well as retaliatory groups answering hate with hate and equal prejudice. Although not everyone is a racist, nor do these kinds of tragedy mean that all police are racist, Christians must speak the truth in love and peace with the standard of the Word of God. This calls for the application of a Biblical world view to provide not only the Scriptural understanding of race, but to avoid being conformed to the world by secular racial theories. While models such as Critical Race Theory may at some points offer useful information, they are not necessarily Biblical nor Christian in their premises, principles, and practices. They can even at times become explicitly anti-Christian displaying another kind of religious prejudice. And since they are only theories, they can offer misinformation or exclude key information. Moreover, these secular racial theories in the hands of some biased researchers unfortunately succumb to atheistic totalitarian, Marxist ideologies. 

Strong but truth-telling language!

Christians therefore must be extremely careful not to rely on secular theories and worldviews regarding any subject such as race and racism. Non-Christian viewpoints entering the Kingdom of God can confuse, mislead, and conform God’s people to the world instead of transforming their minds to the will of God. When this happens, our answers then become no different from a fallen, sinful mind, failing to offer true Scriptural solutions to cultural problems. I know some believe that if we concede to secular viewpoints where we can, some might be won to the Biblical view. Unfortunately, the opposite has proven to be the case throughout Christian history….

 

Scripture teaches that all of humanity represented by Adam and Eve fell into sin (Romans 5:12). The apostle concludes, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). Everyone in every race is a sinner. No one person or race is exempt from the effects of sin. However, although humanity became totally depraved this does not mean that every person has become utterly depraved. There’s a big difference between totally and utterly. Total depravity means that humans in every aspect of their person – mind, emotion, and will – became tainted and enslaved by sin. This is not the same as utter depravity. The phrase utter depravity suggests that every sinner commits every sin. This goes beyond the Scriptural teaching of the effect of the fall. By God’s restraining common grace every human does not become so utterly depraved that he/she commits every sin. Just as not every individual is a murderer, or robs a bank, not every person participates in the sin of racism. On this point, secular racial theories like CRT actually exceed the Biblical doctrine of sin by effectively accusing all humans of certain races of the sin of racism. They say things like, “all white people are racists.” This kind of generalization is not accurate according to Scripture or experience, any more than it would be to say that every human is a murderer. It’s reducing individuals of a race to utter and not just total depravity. It is more Scripturally precise to say all races have racists but not everyone in a given race is a racist.…

Thus he nicely but directly contradicts Critical Race Theory.  He also contradicted the woke crowd’s incessant accusations against the church by reminding us how Christianity and the church have greatly assisted progress in racial justice, such as . . .

…the remarkable story of overcoming slavery and racism in England by courageous Anglican Evangelicals like William Wilberforce and John Newton who authored the great hymn, Amazing Grace. What some don’t mention is John Newton’s own testimony of how he was changed from being a slave trader, by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to become a champion for the very people whom he had hated and enslaved. 

Though Christians are sinners saved by grace and not perfect in this life, the prevailing Gospel story regarding race is overwhelmingly constructive. One of the most powerful stories of Christian restoration is the first African Bishop, Samuel Ajayi Crowther (1809-1891). When only twelve years old, his family was captured by Muslim slave traders in Western Africa. Traveling in the captors’ slave ship, a British Royal Navy Squadron of Ships enforcing the ban on slave trade intercepted the vessel. Crowther converted to Christianity through English missionaries. Eventually called into the ministry, the English Church Missionary Society provided for his education at Oxford University where he earned a doctoral degree. Upon returning to Nigeria with the CMS, he became the first Anglican African Bishop. During the same period, Henry Townsend, was a 19th century Anglican missionary to the West Coast of Africa in the area of Abeokuta, Nigeria. He encountered slave markets. On a certain day he attended one, bought a slave, and right in front of everyone after he had purchased the man, unshackled his chains, and set him free. That act became a powerful Christian witness for the man and his culture. Both men worked together to spread the Gospel and stop the evil slave trade. 

There is also our own history in the Reformed Episcopal Church. It is a classic example of how Jesus Christ changes people from being racist. The first Reformed Episcopal bishop in South Carolina was Peter Fassyoux Stephens. He was the white Commandant of the Citadel in Charleston and fought for the South in the Civil War. After the war was over, Christ moved in his life. He took up the cause of freed African American slaves. He worked to reform the educational system in South Carolina so that African Americans could receive an education. And when the Episcopal Church would not ordain African American Christian men called into Holy Orders, he ordained them after they had left the Episcopal Church. He, together with these faithful lay and clergy African Americans, began a grand work for Christ. It continues to this day as a key witness in and from the Reformed Episcopal Church in the Diocese of the Southeast.

For those unaware, the REC Diocese of the Southeast consists mostly of Black brethren. He then counseled against complacency and for standing with those suffering wrongly.

… in these challenging times of racial turmoil, I exhort us to renew our stand with our African American brothers and sisters, especially our fellow Reformed Episcopalians. I believe we can strengthen our work together first by weeping with those who weep. My/our hearts go out especially for our African American brothers and sisters who have lived once again through a painful period and witnessed racially oriented crimes. We are all grieved and concerned. But for our African American brothers and sisters, old wounds have been reopened from the recent abuses in our culture. Although not all in our society are racist, it has pointed out the need for reform among some our law enforcement agencies. We should realize the effects of these tragic events on our brothers and sisters, hurt with them, uphold them, pray for them, and weep with those who weep. At the same time in our stand together to proclaim Christ, particularly those of us in the Anglican Church in North America and in the Reformed Episcopal Church, let us not lose sight of the difference between faithful, Biblical and believing Gospel churches and the unbelieving culture. I don’t know of any lay or clergy in the ACNA or the REC who are racist. Some may be confused and frustrated, but the word racist does not apply to our fellow Biblical Anglicans. I ask us not to be confused with the confusion in our society to the extent that we forget the distinction between lost sinner without the grace of God and saved sinners by grace in Biblical churches. I know we have so much more in which we must be sanctified. I realize that in our increasingly diverse society, we in a Biblical church must reach all diversities with the Gospel. In calling us to stand with our fellow African American Reformed Episcopalians, I ask that they minister to us and help us better to fulfill the Great Commission to all ethnicities of the world and in our ministries together. 

Yes, it was a moving address and dealt with much more than racial issues.  I’ve attended several REC General Councils, and I cannot recall a better address in such trying times, nor one that has been more appreciated.  I really cannot do it justice here.  I do hope it serves as a template for the ACNA College of Bishops as they address race and Critical Theory.  

Again, read it, especially if you are in the Anglican Church in North America.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The Lid May Be Coming Off Georgia Election Fraud

This could be big.

A Democrat donor judge is concerned enough about evidence of massive 2020 election fraud in Fulton County Georgia (Atlanta) that he has ordered the 147,000 mail-in ballots to be unsealed and inspected.

Among the evidence is sworn testimony of hundreds of duplicate ballots voting for Biden.  The following is particularly damning and far from alone:

Suzi Voyles, a veteran Fulton poll manager who audited the Nov. 14 recount at Georgia World Congress Center, testified she examined several stacks of ballots of about 100 ballots each from a cardboard box marked “Box No. 5 — Absentee — Batch Numbers 28-36.” She said these ballots “came from the ballot [drop] boxes that had been placed throughout Fulton County.”

“Most of the ballots had already been handled; they had been written on by people, and the edges were worn. They showed obvious use,” she wrote in her Nov. 17 affidavit. "However, one batch stood out. It was pristine. There was a difference in the texture of the paper,” and these mail-in ballots hadn’t been folded even though they ostensibly had been removed from envelopes.

All but three of the 110 ballots in the bundle — which had been labeled “State Farm Arena” — were marked for Biden and appeared to be “identical ballots."

The most “alarming peculiarity” was the identically marked ovals next to Biden’s name. In every ballot, “The bubble next to ‘Joseph R. Biden’ had a slight white eclipse in the bubble,” she said, leading her to believe that the batch of 107 Biden ballots had been “copied" from a single ballot.

Voyles speculated that “additional absentee ballots had been added [for Biden] in a fraudulent manner” at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on election night.

The void she and other auditors witnessed in the exact same spot of the oval filled in on 107 ballots for Biden “was alarming to us,” Voyles said in an RCI interview. “Every single bubble was precisely alike. I had never seen that before in 20 years” of election monitoring.

But when she and other recount workers raised concerns with county election officials, “we were told not to worry about it,” she said. “They seemed uninterested in the [integrity of the] ballots.”

After Voyles later blew the whistle in affidavits and state election hearings, she was fired as a poll manager by the Fulton County Department of Elections. “I got the boot for speaking the truth,” she told RCI.

At least three others have similar testimony of seeing mail-in ballots for Biden that appeared to be duplicates.

Biden “won” Georgia by less than 12,000 votes.  From what is sworn already, the fraud from Fulton Co. is likely well into the thousands.  One estimate is 10 to 20 thousand.

Now the mail-in ballots will be inspected unless the Democrats can stop that somehow.

Again, this could be big.  Watch Fulton County, Georgia.

(And, no, I am not among the na├»ve who think the election will be overturned with Trump taking the White House before 2024 or even this year.  That is just not how the Constitution works.  But if the election is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a public forum to be stolen in one or more states, that will surely have consequences nonetheless.  At the very least, the credibility of the Biden regime will be diminished and the determination of Americans to be rid of it increased.)