Friday, June 06, 2008

AAC weekly message from Bishop David Anderson

Via email, from the American Anglican Council [boldface mine]:

Beloved in Christ,

Orthodox Anglicans are under attack from several quarters, with the rise of Islamic militancy in England and the press of homosexual advancement, which affect many areas of everyday life, from the courts to the market place to the schools.

In the first area, we note the disturbing trend in England of Anglican clergy being threatened in their own parishes by militant young Muslims who want to chase them out. We also note that the Church of England freezes like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming automobile whenever Muslim issues are raised. If CofE bishops believe that Jesus is the Way, and the Truth and the Life, and none come unto the Father except through him...and that statement is fairly direct - from Jesus himself, then why will they not allow discussion of evangelization to Muslims at the upcoming Synod? Are they frightened? You would have to think so, but why are the bishops frightened?

Not all are. The bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, has been bold, truthful and prophetic, and many ecclesiastics in England don't want to listen to him. He said there were "No-Go areas" where Christians ventured at their peril. On the other hand, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that Sharia Law is probably inevitable in some areas. What a contrast!

Now we read of two Christian preachers handing out Christian tracts to Muslims in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham, who were harrassed by the police for allegedly being involved in "hate" activities. My friends, if Western Civilization doesn't get its act together, we will certainly deserve the hell that is visited upon us. Wouldn't you think that someone should have arrested the police officer involved? The West Midlands Police apparently refused to apologize, although an investigation of the officer's actions was promised.

At the other end of the faith spectrum is the press of global homosexual activism. In the US, California's Supreme Court has ruled that the state must provide for homosexuals to marry legally. Meanwhile, a voter-led referendum has been qualified for this autumn's ballot which would put a change into the California Constitution that would limit marriage to between a man and a woman. In California, it often happens that laws and major changes have to be implemented by popular referendum of the people, since most of the public representatives and officials are in the grip of the homosexual lobby. Power to the people!

In England the government enforcement of pro-homosexual rules on adoption threaten to close the Roman Catholic adoption agencies. An article covering this issue points to some new options, however, if the agencies stipulate that their operations will be based on the religious and moral principles of the Catholic Faith. We pray that the RC's strategists will prevail and their agencies' good work will continue.

In the Episcopal Wars in the USA, the national Episcopal Church (TEC), has launched both a legal and public relations attack on the departed diocese of San Joaquin and the diocesan, Bishop John-David Schofield. Upon discovering that the Diocese of San Joaquin and Bishop Schofield, now affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, were in the process of moving assets into a Merrill Lynch account, they promptly named Merrill Lynch in the lawsuit already underway. Merrill Lynch, as most brokerages and banks in that position would do, froze the accounts until the court determines who the "rightful" owner is. San Joaquin's mistake was several fold: waiting so long to reposition the assets; putting them in a brokerage or bank that did not already understand the risk of litigation; and putting them in an account where TEC could so easily apply pressure.

Many churches departing TEC have learned the hard way that the first thing that hostile TEC operatives do is to visit the bank of record and present new signature cards. The bank panics and freezes the account until the court tells them which signature cards are the valid ones. Meanwhile the true owners of the bank accounts are unable to access their own money. There are ways to avoid this, of course, if care is taken to prevent this type of seizure, but it involves anticipating what TEC is going to do before they do it.

All of this is accompanied by slanted news releases from the official Episcopal Church party organ, Episcopal News Service (ENS). They are fond of referring to Bishop Schofield as "former bishop John-David Schofield," to convey the idea that their irregular attempt at deposition of Schofield successfully changed his status to that of a layman in the church. TEC seems unwilling to acknowledge that Bishop Schofield was accepted as a bishop into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, and thereby his status as a bishop was moved from TEC to the Southern Cone. Even if their deposition is finally held to have been effective, they lost jurisdiction over him before the "trial," and could at best only extinguish his right to function as a bishop in TEC. The Province of the Southern Cone holds the jurisdiction over his functioning as a bishop, yet the ENS continues to refer to him as "former bishop Schofield," and then as "Mr. Schofield." Although titles in themselves aren't that important, TEC actually puts great stock in them, and their refusal to use the title of bishop for Schofield, and instead insist on using "Mr." tells us that TEC must think that this is really important. Unfortunately, that makes them not only wrong, but petty.

Midway between those who have left The Episcopal Church and hard-core TEC'ers, a new Anglican group has formed. Communion Partners is made up of those not wishing to or unable to leave TEC, but believing that good things could still come of working with the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, primus inter pares. The new group says of itself, "The Communion Partner bishops will work together according to the principles outlined in the Windsor Report and seek a comprehensive Anglican Covenant at the Lambeth Conference and beyond." Three or four years ago this would have sounded better to us, but our observation is that neither Presiding Bishop Schori nor Archbishop Williams can be relied upon for any agreement, any implementation, or any safety for those of orthodox faith. We wish the Communion Partners well, and pray that God will protect them from harm and from the duplicity and deceit that many of us have encountered coming from TEC and Lambeth Palace. The Windsor Report was actually a flawed document from the beginning, but we think we could have lived with it if it were fully and strongly enforced across the board... failing that, we would look elsewhere for a better Anglican future.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,

The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President and CEO, American Anglican Council

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