Friday, April 25, 2008

AAC weekly message from Bishop David Anderson

From Bishop David Anderson, American Anglican Council, via email [boldface mine]:

Beloved in Christ,

The troubles in the American Episcopal (TEC) world continue unabated, like an aircraft that has gone into a death spiral and can't pull out. One of the major TEC seminaries, Seabury-Western, has given termination notices to its entire faculty. Although it was known that Seabury-Western was having financial difficulties, this announcement came as something of a surprise. Physically closing the doors and turning out the lights can't be too far away. Meanwhile the two orthodox Anglican/Episcopal seminaries, Nashotah House and Trinity, continue to prosper. Is it too much to say that the hand of God's blessing rests on those who teach and live the true Gospel of Jesus Christ?

TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori snubbed the Pope, turning down an invitation in order to attend to second or third-level appointments. I'm afraid that she may miss the second coming, if only because it didn't get on her calendar far enough in advance, and she has "see me" appearances already scheduled in Florida or Utah.

Under the Schori public mantra, we are about at the end of the churches leaving - most of those so disposed to leave have done so. In fact, she is terribly out of touch with the real world; churches are leaving on a weekly basis. Now it is true that as long as one or two people don't leave with the rest of the parish, and the bishop can hold onto the name and the building (four walls and a janitor) then TEC will claim that they haven't lost the congregation. The truth is that a viable church has been lost to the diocese, and down the street in a school cafeteria or gymnasium a new orthodox Anglican Church has been formed with most of the former Episcopalians, now under the care of an overseas Anglican province. This week one of the churches departing TEC was Church of the Good Shepherd in Tomball, Texas. The building was left behind, but the congregation will move to a junior high school nearby for this Sunday. Pray for them on this first Sunday "out." It kind of gives "coming out" a new and more acceptable meaning than that to which we have been accustomed.

When the Pope spoke in New York and Presiding Bishop Schori was so very busy elsewhere, she had Bishop Mark Sisk stand in for her. Although the Pope's words were clearly applicable to TEC, Sisk claimed that the Pope's observations were "respectful of our legitimate disagreement." I read the remarks and I saw no such sentiment. The problem with using refined and diplomatic language when speaking to revisionist TEC bishops is that they will purposefully dodge the clear meaning.

We have read that the membership in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, using their highly successful 1+1+3 program, has increased in the last three years from 18 million 25 million. This growth has enabled the Province to tell the respective dioceses to stop sending assessments, as they are no longer needed, and to spend their resources on evangelism locally. The churches are encouraged to have fundraising projects, for which the members donate time, to assist in achieving financial independence. Additionally, the Province of Nigeria has been able to raise enough money internally to provide the means for the Nigerian bishops attend the GAFCON Jerusalem Pilgrimage.

If the Anglican Communion is supposed to have 77 million members, but of England's 25 million only 1.6 million can be found, and of TEC's 2.4 million only 1.6 can be found, then just between those two provinces 24.2 million needs to be subtracted from the 77 million. That leaves a number 52.8 as a more realistic number. If you add back in the new Nigerian increase of 7 million new members, that bumps the total up to 59.8 million. Of that number Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya total 40-45 million or between 66.9% and 75.2% of the Anglican Communion. Dr. Williams, are you listening? I imagine not, since he is more concerned with reinforcing Archbishop Fred Hiltz in his protests about Archbishop Gregory Venables visiting Canada without permission of the Anglican Church of Canada. These Archbishops, when they give up on the Gospel of Christ, first begin to explain things in such a fuzzy way you can't understand them... then as the disease of revisionism progresses they become clearer, but also more alarming in their heresy. When they lose the power of the Gospel, they grasp for the coercive power of Canon Law. They believe that they have an invisible but real spiritual "force field" around their boundary, and no uninvited prelate can come in.

All I can say, from Star Trek days, is "beam me up, Scotty!" Revisionist Anglicanism is so unlike real Anglicanism that they are in fact two different religions entirely, just with interchangeable vestments. They can't keep the Roman Catholic bishop out of their province, they can't keep the Eastern Orthodox bishop out of their province, and they certainly won't keep the orthodox Anglican bishops and archbishops from visiting their own flocks, no matter how many fictional boundaries they have to step on, across, or over. We wish Archbishop Greg a wonderful visit to his Canadian flocks.

Blessings and peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson
President and CEO, The American Anglican Council

No comments: