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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Deception


Archbishop Barry Morgan


"They also apologised to gay and lesbian people
for the persecution and mistreatment they have
endured at the hands of the Church and they
committed themselves to providing a safe place
within the Church for all gay and lesbian people." 


So said the bench of bishops at the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in April 2016 when they introduced their 'Pastoral Letter to all the faithful concerning gay and lesbian Christians'. It was the precursor to the dangerously absurd conclusions Dr Morgan advanced in his final Presidential address in September when he claimed that ‘Biblical stories can reveal a new understanding of same-sex relationships’.

In February 2015 Christian Today reported that Jayne Ozanne, a founder member of the Archbishops' Council in the Church of England (CofE) and one of the CofE's most influential evangelicals had come out as gay. Formerly from the orthodox wing of the Church she held strictly conservative views on sexuality but Ms Ozanne came out after 'falling madly in love' and starting a relationship with a another woman. (Video interview here).

A 'LGBT activist', Ms Ozanne commissioned a YouGov poll which purported to show that 45 per cent of Anglicans (of over 1500 surveyed) believe that same-sex marriage is right, while 37 per cent believe it is wrong. Ms Ozanne and others "hailed this result as indicative of a shift in public opinion, as compared to a YouGov survey three years ago. At that time, 38 per cent of Anglicans said they supported same-sex 'marriage', while 47 per cent said they believed it was wrong".

A priest in the Church of England and consultant statistician, the Rev Peter Ould, questioned the way that the results of the poll were represented and has given a detailed account of how the findings are the opposite of those claimed by Ms Ozanne and her supporters.

His analysis of the figures indicate that Church of England is regarded as welcoming by a margin of 7:1. A majority of C of E members also said that the church was welcoming to the LGBT community by a margin of two and a half to one. For unclassified Christians the majority was 2:1. Only those of 'no religion' took a negative view. Read what Peter Ould had to say about the poll on Facebook (here) and listen to his explanation on Periscope TV (here). You can also find him on Twitter.

Rather than apologising to gay and lesbian people for the alleged "persecution and mistreatment they have endured at the hands of the Church", on this evidence the bishops should have congratulated members of the Church for providing a safe place for all gay and lesbian people. The new analysis helps to explain the number of gay and lesbian people among the clergy and the laity.

In another recent article for Christian Today the question is asked, Why Do People Stop Going To Church? Ms Ozanne said: "The Church of England needs to have the courage to look decline directly in the face and have the humility to ask 'Why?'. She repeated her assertion, "As my recent YouGov poll clearly shows many - even within the Church - do not believe it is there for everyone, as the Secretary General so confidently asserts. Indeed the young and those of 'no religion" - who we need to reach most - have the most negative perception of the Church. Growth will only come through a honest assessment of the mistakes we have made and a humble admission of the pain we have caused to so many."

We have been deceived. For too long we have been cowed by false assertions for fear of being thought uncharitable while pressure groups use every tactic to get their own way. Deceit has been used to damn the faithful and change the Anglican Church into a pale shadow of her former glory, often by trendy bishops who have taken the lead in this shameful process. One has to wonder what is in it for them. Cheap popularity or the hope of 'respectability' for those in the closet?

At last in the Church in Wales there are signs that people have had enough. The bench have not had their way on same sex marriage and at their last meeting the Governing Body refused simply to 'take note' of the relentless decline resulting in less than 1% of the population regularly attending church each Sunday. They passed this revised motion:

That the Governing Body
(i) Do take note of this Report with a heavy heart; and
(ii) Request that the Standing Committee, as a matter of urgency, identify the minority of parishes which are growing, investigate the factors behind this, and suggest what we might learn and implement from this good practice.


As an example of the blind attempting to lead the formerly blind, the Ass Bishop of Llandaff claimed that "much more was happening than could be recorded by statistics. We are beating ourselves up and I am sorry about that. There’s a lot going on – God does not depend on our contribution to thrive. We need to joyfully let down the nets and go fishing at His command." He and the Archdeacon of Llandaff were appointed by Dr Morgan from outside the Province to advance Dr Morgan's political objectives at the expense of the church and many faithful worshippers. He should go fishing and take the like minded with him.

Ordinary members must stand their ground and return the church to the Apostolic faith into which we were baptized, not a variant of nonconformity. 

In a final flourish before he retires Barry and his bench sitters have decided that anyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion in church regardless of whether they have also been confirmed, thus opening the door to the Uniting Church in Wales. In pursuit of their ambition the bench calls us to look to the tradition of the Church. So we should, not to become nonconformists but to return to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The liberal experiment has been an absolute disaster for the Church of England and the Church in Wales using deceit and deception to mask the truth. We must return to orthodoxy. Pray that the appointment of the new Bishop of St Davids will aid the church in that mission.

Monday, 24 October 2016

The oppressor wins


The Gay Marriage cake                                                 Source: Metro

Christian bakers have been found to have discriminated against a gay man by refusing to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan having lost their appeal against a previous ruling that they had breached equality legislation . Full report here.

The case was brought by a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space who had "wanted a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie with the phrase ‘Support Gay Marriage’ for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia".

According to the group's website their 'mainstreaming' operating practice is to strive to ensure respect for individuals and positive images of the LGBT community are integrated into everyday life of individuals, communities and organizations. They have failed on both counts.

Where is the equality in legislation which permits discrimination against what now appear to be minority Christian values?

It is no more 'homophobic' to oppose same sex marriage than it is to be 'Islamophobic' to be aware of the dangers posed by the Islamization of Europe.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

A presence in every community


The Font, St John's Church, Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil                                             Source: Wales Online


Has Anglicanism run its course in Great Britain ending a Christian presence in every community? 

The sad sight of the font in the derelict Grade II listed building, above, stands as a sorry reminder of all the souls who will have promised to "fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life". Since the Anglican Church has turned its mind to making sin respectable the consequences are plain for all to see, dereliction.

It comes as little surprise to read that the Church of England is considering a plan to abandon a legal requirement to hold Sunday services in parish churches thus changing their slogan "A Christian presence in every community" to "A Christian presence in some communities".

This is the inevitable consequence of declining attendances in the liberalised Anglican church. The Telegraph follows up its report on the plan with a question: Why is the Anglican Church in crisis? Its answer: The roots of the rift between liberal and conservative wings can be traced back decades but the current crisis erupted in 2003 when the US branch of Anglicanism – The Episcopal Church (TEC) - ordained its first openly-gay bishop, Gene Robinson.

Credit: Elinor Carucci for TIME
The baptismal dying to sin has become living to sin, a message eagerly proclaimed by too many bishops of the church. Tolerance of homosexuality and the gesture of remorse over the death of Alan Turing has been turned into an absurd clamour for equal treatment regardless of merit or circumstance. The 'victim' has become the oppressor. People demand 'rights' however bizarre the circumstances resulting in trans-sexual 'men' having babies. Eggs are being developed using skin cells. There are likely to be three parent families with every individual having "the right to reproduce" regardless of the effect on the children resulting from these 'unions'. How they may feel as they grow up is ignored. As women old enough to be great grandparents are helped to give birth it is increasingly likely that the child will be motherless within a few years of birth. In these circumstances the absurdity of gender neutral toilets looks almost comic.

Instead of "fighting valiantly against sin, the world and the devil", many liberal clerics prefer to excuse human weakness regarding it simply as part of life's tapestry, thus making it appear not only acceptable but respectable often in justification of their own lifestyle.

There is a certain irony in all this. Not satisfied with Civil Partnerships, the latest liberal push is to allow same sex couples to marry in church but sooner or later there will be no churches for them to marry in given the current rate of decline. Our churches will become derelict monuments to past glory or converted into mosques for the growing number of Muslims in our midst who worship regularly and already outnumber Anglican worshippers.

During his visit to the UK Patriarch Kirill, expressed his concerns about developments within Anglicanism drawing Archbishop Justin Welby’s attention to "the Russian Orthodox Church’s concern over the liberalization of the Church of England’s teaching on church order, particularly, the ordination of women as priests and bishops and on the family and morality", concerns previously expressed by Metropolitan Hilarion but ignored as were earlier pleas of the Catholic Church. We live with the consequences.

As Christianity declines and Islam becomes more prevalent in the UK we are more likely to have a Muslim presence in every community. One has only to look at the fate of Christians in Muslim countries to be aware of the dangers of aiding the expansion of Islam in this country. After Birmingham council's  'disastrous failure' over Islamism in schools there have been more recent worries over "extremism" and "twisted ideologies" in a Nottingham Muslim school.

The same pattern has been repeated many times in the greater sexual exploitation of children by Muslim men, often of Pakistani heritage. There are 'No-Go' Zones and there has been electoral fraud. Multiculturalism is a disaster.

Many church leaders show misguided Christian charity in pressing the Government to take more refugees regardless of the consequences. In a recent report "743 Christian refugees living in camps in Germany were attacked by Muslim refugees in 2016, pointing to big failures on the part of German authorities when it comes to understanding the role of religion in the lives of refugees". Meanwhile adult migrants pretend to be 'Calais kids' at the expense of genuinely vulnerable children to gain access to the UK.

Ignoring these challenges is not charity, it is complicity. A common trait among liberal Anglicans which is witnessing the death of Christianity in this country and the spread of Islam to be the new presence in every community.

Updates

[22.10.2016]

From Twitter:








Also,

Monday, 17 October 2016

Gender


Source: Wikipedia


Yesterday morning three youngsters were interviewed on BBC breakfast TV with their Quidditch equipment, a semi-inflated bladder and a tennis sized ball in a long knotted sock which would have been instantly recognizable to Harry Potter fans.

Had the third guest not left it on the train, there would also have been a broomstick which, as can be seen in the illustration, is somewhat awkwardly straddled as the player 'flies' down the pitch. 

The three youths (from their appearance, one female and two males) explained how the game was played. When the interviewer asked if the teams were mixed, the girl (from her appearance) confidently explained in the most matter of fact manner that the participants did not have to be binary.

There were mixed genders, males, females, transgenders and anything in between but no more than four of a particular 'gender' would be permitted. This self assured answer gave the impression that the interviewer was somewhat backward in his understanding of gender.

Checking blog traffic after breakfast I noticed this headline on Anglican Mainstream: Transgender Advocates ‘Aim to Destroy’ Common Sense, Says Analysis

Sanity restored.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Tolerance - Acceptance - Oppression




From Christian Concern: "83 UK evangelical leaders from a variety of backgrounds, churches and organisations have signed a letter to the College of Bishops, regarding The Church of England’s current discussions on the issue of human sexuality. They urge the Church of England 'not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted', while affirming one-man, one-woman marriage as 'the only context in which physical expression is to be given to our sexuality'.
The letter follows two previous letters to bishops from members of the Church of England’s General Synod, which urged the Church to uphold biblical teaching on this issue". Full text here.

It beggars belief that the College of Bishops needs to be urged to uphold biblical teaching but that is where Western Anglicanism finds itself today after years of liberalisation. Constant chipping away at the faith has left many so bewildered that they have left the church altogether, starkly illustrated by recent figures which show that less than 1% of the population of Wales regularly attend Church in Wales services on a Sunday with a similar decline recorded by the Church of England.

The Church of England is now considering moves to abandon* the legal requirement to hold regular services of morning and evening prayer in parish churches because of declining congregations. In Wales, parishes are being replaced by 'Ministry Areas'. Mystery has been been replaced by management. Churches have become an extension of the workplace ignoring scripture and tradition to substitute spurious claims of equality of opportunity in the workplace for theology.

Anglican women clergy have become firmly established at all levels leading to calls to refer to God as a woman. Women And The Church (WATCH) leads the charge after their successful campaign for female bishops, claiming that the shift away from the traditional patriarchal language of the Book of Common Prayer is at an "advanced' stage". To cater for this new found 'faith', one church went so far as to request that the Holy Table could be used to serve tea, biscuits and orange squash!

Receiving bread and wine in a Holy space is, or should be, far removed from socialising over tea and biscuits. When mystery is subsumed by worldly understanding there is no otherness which enables campaigning organisations to spring up seeking to make human frailties acceptable, even respectable.

This has culminated in the campaign for same sex marriage leading to the loss of livelihood for some devout Christians. A small family bakery has been forced to close down in the US after the owners refused to make a cake for a lesbian wedding. They were fined $135,000.

Last year a judge in Northern Ireland ruled that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. The firm was found to have discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation and political beliefs. Florists are not exempt.

Christian beliefs are becoming marginalised, largely due to the efforts of those who were shown tolerance and understanding but accepting minority behaviour as 'normal' is not reciprocated. It turns into oppression.

Update [18.10.2016]

See also Church of England considers abandoning requirement for Sunday services from The Telegraph followed by "Why is the Anglican Church in crisis?"

Saturday, 8 October 2016

50th Anniversary meeting


Archbishop Justin Welby with Pope Francis at Vespers in the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio

Some may have thought that the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsay in 1966 was an odd event given the changes that have taken place between 1966 and 2016, particularly the ordination of women and questions regarding human sexuality in the Anglican Church.

A joint declaration admits that issues of women and homosexuality are "currently insurmountable", thus shattering the promises of the earlier 1966 meeting. But an understanding is being sought to make some sort of progress out of the rubble that has been created by the unilateral actions of some churches in the Anglican Communion against the wishes of the much larger Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In his sermon Justin Welby referred to the 'Good Shepherd', a theme which will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, and to the good sheep and the bad sheep, enabling those assembled to categorize themselves along doctrinal lines, each assuming any fault lay on the other side. Nevertheless, it must be seen as a positive step that the two leaders are 'undeterred'.

In a Common Declaration Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby declared that "While we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred."  Their 'sending out' of  pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops shows a willingness to work together, something that the Church in Wales is belatedly learning to do, living with diversity within its own structure.

Update [09.10.2016]

The ACNS lists the pairs of Commissioned bishops covering 19 countries/areas. There is no mention of Wales or Scotland so unless 'England' is intended to cover Great Britain, Wales and Scotland will be excluded from the united mission "to those who are captive and oppressed".

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sense and nonsense


John Sentamu, Archbishop of York  


The Archbishop of York and the Archbishop of Wales have both been in the news recently speaking about immigration. John Sentamu fled Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda for the UK in 1973 so unlike the Archbishop of Wales he has some experience in the matter. Dr Sentamu has taken the biblical view inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Dr Morgan's view is typically academic emphasising the popular political but partial view that EU migrants help sustain our economy and health service.

Of course immigration has benefited the UK but in a controlled manner. Evidence from Europe, particularly in Germany where opinion has changed sharply, shows that a huge influx of mainly young Muslim men has not been as rosy as Dr Morgan suggests. Had we not voted to leave the EU hundreds of thousands of migrants would have been eligible to move to the UK from Europe.

Dr Morgan is quoted as saying that "the Christian faith compels us to affirm the dignity of every human being and to offer help to anyone in need. Britain has always in the past shown generosity, kindness, solidarity and decency to those facing persecution, even at times of greater deprivation and difficulty than the present time" but unfortunately Muslims are not reading from the same book.

The Archbishop's words also sound very hollow to members of his own church who continue to believe in the authority of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They have been left in a spiritual vacuum without sacramental assurance and pastoral support since Dr Morgan refused to appoint a replacement after Bishop David Thomas retired as Provincial Assistant Bishop eight years ago.

Politics were in evidence when Dr Morgan was thanked at the last meeting of the Governing Body for his "extraordinary" service to the Church. The Chair of the Governing Body’s Standing Committee praised the Archbishop for his Presidential Addresses and the sermons on "church governance matters, women bishops, the Anglican Covenant, etc. You have explored devolution, climate change, Gaza, gender and sexuality, parenting, assisted dying, organ donation and much more, he said as if Dr Morgan were retiring from the Welsh Assembly. He went on, you use public media so effectively that on all these issues the imperatives of the gospel are heard. They are always carefully constructed, based on extensive reading and scholarship, and learning lightly worn. They are listened to with respect even by those expert in their own field." Not a view taken by others when Dr Morgan's 'scholarship' was queried following his last Presidential Address entitled ‘Biblical stories can reveal a new understanding of same-sex relationships’. It was widely ridiculed.

The praise heaped on the Archbishop made no mention of the steep decline in church attendance or of the divisions caused in the Church in Wales under Dr Morgan's leadership. He must have had his tongue in his cheek when the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon praised Dr Morgan for his "leadership" of the Church in Wales "at a time when significant changes in society have caused us to examine some of our own disciplines, some of our own opinions and practices". Bishop John said that Dr Morgan's approach to walking those paths, to examining possible changes, has been to "remind us of scripture, tradition and reason" and has done that "cogently, consistently and compassionately". A more accurate description would have been in the absence of scripture, tradition and reason as Dr Morgan pursued his political agenda thus secularising a diminished Church.

It is clear that the bench of bishops live in their own little bubble. Although they claim membership of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church they go their own way having ignored pleas of the Orthodox and Catholic churches and forged closer bonds with local Free (or non-conformist) Churches under the guise of Ecumenism.

The bench of bishops appear to have their heads in the sand unless it is their ultimate desire simply to be a tiny segment in the Uniting Church in Wales. In a tribute to the Bishop of St Davids as he prepares for retirement, Dr Morgan described Bishop Wyn as a "quintessential Dean and a rather reluctant bishop". That is true. Bishop Wyn is greatly admired for his extraordinary work as Dean of St Davids but in a video interview marking his retirement he sadly illustrates how the bishops of the Church in Wales all appear to become infected by 'Bazzeritis'.

Referring [@29 mins] to people who 'tend to slag the church off in terms of decline' Bishop Wyn highlights a small but stable congregation of 8, ignoring the massive decline in church attendance under Dr Morgan's leadership. If that had been his vision as Dean, his Cathedral would not be the jewel in the Church in Wales' crown that it is today, especially when compared with the sorry state of Dr Morgan's Llandaff Cathedral.

Is it any wonder that so many of us feel like refugees in our own Church?