Opening Comments 10-21-2001
DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Sun Oct 21 00:01:12 EDT 2001
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"A good Moslem king was one who was strict in religion, valiant in
battle, just in giving judgment among his people, but not one who had
the slightest objection in international matters to removing his
If you thought these words were uttered by some latter day fanatical
Christian fundamentalist bent on making Islam look bad you'd be dead
These jaw-dropping words were penned on Nov. 4, 1911 by none other than
G.K. Chesterton, one of the best Christian writers of the 20th Century.
He also went on to say that there is an inherent tendency in Islam to
breed cruel warlords who, "spreading a reign of terror," are constantly
driven to create a new apocalypse. But it is even more informative -
and sobering - to read his warnings of what happens to a nation when
both its government and its commercial interests become too big and too
This is not the message that Frank Griswold and the Episcopal House of
Bishops want to hear. They would sooner "wage reconciliation" though
precisely how that is done, what it even means or is trying to achieve,
no one, not even the bishops themselves seem to know. Frank Griswold
also talks about "justness" (not justice) a word that means even-
handedness; a more ludicrous notion cannot be imagined in the present
situation. "Now Bin Laden, you've taken out two NY towers, symbols of
our power and wealth, now we'll take out two of yours. What, you don't
have any buildings! Rumsfeld, level Kabul."
One wonders how much longer Episcopalians will put up with this
nonsense from pluriform Frank. If the mainstream media really goes to
town on the Bishops' statement that blames America's wealth and
worldwide poverty on the terrorist attacks, perhaps it will be enough
for Episcopalians to recall Griswold for a moral and theological tune-
Griswold wants to "wage reconciliation" on the Taliban and he can't
even reconcile a minor battle in Accokeek between Jane Dixon and a
single orthodox priest. This is the same bishop who wants to reconcile
world forces and he can't even resolve or reconcile the issue of
women's ordination in ECUSA. How about a little "reconciliation" with
the AMIA Frank! Truth is he won't even sit down and talk to Bishops
Murphy and Rodgers.
Today's lead story "Why Liberals Won't Face Evil" examines the
underlying reasons why liberals are so uncomfortable with talk of evil,
and why they would prefer to blame America's economic might as the
cause of injustice that fuels the flames and anger of Islamic fears and
Why do some people look at a smoking ruin and see lives lost while
liberals look at the same horror and see a confirmation of their thesis
That does not mean to say that there are not economic consequences to
Sept. 11. There are plenty. The World Bank now estimates that at least
10 million people will slip into poverty in the economic fallout from
the attacks; most of these will be in the world's poorest and most
vulnerable countries. More will die from the poverty and hunger created
by the wake of the terrorist attacks than those who died directly on
Sept. 11. Hundreds of thousands will be Moslems, living proof that Bin
Laden's fury will also backlash against him. The truth is though he
doesn't care. His ideology and call for Jihad mean more to him than the
fallout of his actions.
The kind of muddled thinking from religious liberals like Griswold and
his House of Bishops will only encourage more terrorism and undermine
our national resolve to pursue and destroy terrorism in all its forms.
If ever there was a moment in which Christians needed to think long and
hard about what it is they believe and how they can best articulate it,
it is now. This is a Kairos moment. We have not had such a moment in
our immediate history. This is a time when the gospel can go forth with
such utter clarity as to be unmistakable in its message, its
consequences for this life and the life to come.
It is a time to bury Spong's twelve theses along with sexual
pluriformity, and the residue of American Protestant liberalism. Their
game is over. September 11 might well be the end of post-modernism. Let
the funeral pyres be lit.
But Griswold would sooner sweep ECUSA's problems under the rug than
face them head on. A case in point was the recent meeting of his HOUSE
OF BISHOPS IN VERMONT where a letter was given him by Kenya Archbishop
David Gitari and was read, but not in its entirety to the bishops. The
missing paragraph had to do with the African CAPA bishops calling on
Griswold to provide pastoral oversight in the form of flying bishops
for persecuted Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical parishes resident in
liberal ECUSA dioceses. The fallout on this story is sure to be strong.
Watch for it.
And ECUSA took another body blow this past week when a judge in South
Carolina gave summary judgment in favor of All Saints Church Waccamaw
on Pawleys Island declaring that neither the DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
nor the National Episcopal church had any claim to the property.
This means the parish and its various properties, worth over $15
million could now move over to the AMIA. Bishop Ed Salmon argued, when
the judgment came down that "although the lower court did not accept
the arguments made by the Diocese, they will be presented to a higher
court on appeal." While this case is far from over and appeals can
reverse lower court rulings, what it does say is that nothing is a sure
thing for ECUSA anymore.
Now this is the second major loss for the National Episcopal Church.
The first was in Morehead City, NC where the Bishop Clifton Daniel III
(East Carolina) lost in a jury decision, in his efforts to take back
the parish church of St. Andrew's.
What all this signifies is this. It is no longer guaranteed that the
Episcopal Church can automatically claim fleeing parishes on their say
so, and individual parishes can take on the powers that be and win.
This bodes well for St. John's parish in Accokeek where Fr. Sam Edwards
is waging war against Bishop Jane Dixon in her efforts to secure the
property from him and the vestry.
It is also something that Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison might
want to have second thoughts about as he is about to wage legal war on
St. James the Less in Philadelphia, a parish that has left ECUSA but
has not affiliated with the AMIA. Nothing is set in stone anymore. He
cannot guarantee a win. Bishop Salmon learned that, as did Bishop
My own estimates of the legal costs in both sexual scandals by bishops
and in legal fights to take back parishes by liberal and revisionist
dioceses and the National Church is in excess of $5 million. (That
story is in the process of being written.)
Many of you are aware that on Nov. 4 a significant event will take
place on the sub-continent of India. A million Dalit (untouchable)
Hindus are set to convert to both Buddhism and Christianity.
They want to break away from the oppression of being an untouchable and
find a new status in that land that is predominantly Hindu with liberty
and human dignity for all.
The leader of this movement is a Mr. Ram Raj whom I interviewed
recently in Washington, DC. He is employed as a civil servant for the
Govt. in Delhi and will himself convert to Buddhism on this historic
occasion, though leading Indian Christians like Vishal Mangalwadi and
Rochunga Pudaite are trying to persuade him to become a Christian.
While there is much rejoicing about this in the Indian Christian
community and among evangelicals in America, about this upcoming event,
it would be wise, at this time to employ a wait and see attitude.
Christians I have spoken to in India are not so convinced that this is
an authentic Christian movement so much as it is a political one and
based on my interview with Mr. Raj and talking with a number of Indian
Christian journalists it would be wise to "lay hands on no man
suddenly" and let us see what happens on Nov. 4 and what transpires
following the event for the Christian Church in India. Less than three
percent of Indians are Christians and while most are middle class and
successful, Christianity has not made enormous inroads into Hinduism
since the time of India's colonization by the British. Without doubt it
is a small crack in cultural oppression. But it is a start. The
government will keep it under control not wanting to look like the
Taliban, or it could ignite extremists. At the very least it is worthy
of our prayers. It might well be the beginning of an unprecedented
movement of the Spirit of God. We shall see.
A Virtuosity reader noted that there is a global prayer movement going
on and Christians are praying as never before. Certainly judging by the
E-mail Virtuosity receives that would seem to be the case. I suspect I
am not the only one. Prayers for persecuted Christians seem to be a
constant these days.
In Southern Maryland a movement has begin to look into the possibility
of a new Diocese. This is the brainchild of Dr. Ralph W. Gardiner who
is heading up an organization for Traditional Anglican Friends.
The first forum for Traditional Anglicans of the parishes of St Mary's
County will be held Saturday, Nov. 24, 2 PM at the Regional Library
conference room, intersection of MD Rt 5 and MD Rt 6, Charlotte Hall.
(The library is on your immediate right after turning onto Rt 6 from Rt
Barbara Sturman, Senior Warden, St. John's parish will relate the
entire true story of the "Battle of Accokeek" stripped of media hype
and falsehoods promulgated by the diocese.
Ads will be placed in the local paper, "The Enterprise", but it is
hoped that as many as possible will be present to discuss the avenues
open to traditionalists in efforts to save our historic church, said
In the ongoing struggle by Episcopal Church Women to coerce resolution
A045 and make women's ordination mandatory on all dioceses, I asked
Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman how he fared when this group of female
tarantulas who want to put "thick skinned angels into his diocese" did
when they descended on his diocese. In a tersely written reply he said
simply, "they came, they heard, they left." Now that they have done
their thing they can now return to NY City and stand on George
Washington Bridge and all jump off it together. A fitting end to an
abominable resolution. It's one thing to say women's ordination is
acceptable; it is quite another matter to make it mandatory.
In today's line up of stories I have included a thoughtful sermon,
"This Changes Everything" by the Rev. David Roseberry, the founding
rector of Christ Church, a large evangelical Episcopal congregation in
the North Dallas area. In person Roseberry is mild-mannered and
understated, but his multi-thousand member parish is an example of what
happens when the gospel is faithfully preached and people are drawn
into a 21st Century experience of Christian discipleship. His reflection
on Sept. 11 is an excellent read.
Another story by British theologian Dr. Alister McGrath speaks to the
changing face of world evangelicalism. Other stories should hopefully
illuminate and educate with a report from the Gallup organization on
what is happening spiritually in the nation. Syndicated columnist Mike
McManus continues his five part series on mentoring couples to produce
ERRATUM. Many of you pointed out that I erred in saying said that
retired Bishop William Wantland was from Quincy. Not so. He is from Eau
Claire and is now resident in the Diocese of Oklahoma. In another story
Virtuosity advertently left off a credit in a story by Lee Penn in July
titled "ECUSA's 'United Religions' Advocate Scorns Christian Missions,
Excuses Islamic Persecution," and is happy to correct the oversight.
After the by-line, there should have also appeared a line stating that
the article was being reprinted from The Christian Challenge. We are
pleased to correct the record.
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David W. Virtue
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