Surprise Attack on the Church of England
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep The Faith Ministry once again. I am thankful that I can spend this time with you. I hope that today you will see how prophecy is being fulfilled in a unique way.
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The papal visit of Benedict XVI to Britain in September was one of the key moments in a high-profile Vatican assault on the Church of England. The current papal effort to overthrow the Anglican Church is astonishing. Separated from Rome since the 16th century, but divided and weakened, the Church of England is now vulnerable. There have been many steps along the way, including a vigorous ecumenical dialogue. But recent papal moves have put the Church of England on its back. The latest twists and turns underscore papal ambitions, and point directly to Bible prophecy.
The papal state visit to Britain this past September is full of prophetic significance. Rome wants her religion to dominate the world. The Anglican Church has been the queen of Protestantism in the English-speaking world. Rome is therefore anxious to bring the Anglican Church back into her bosom because she knows that this would serve to help her achieve her ambitions.
I would like to begin by reading a few verses found in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. I’m sure you have heard these verses before. But they are especially applicable today. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Please notice that there is a long list of sins that are rampant in the last days. Among them is the lack of natural affection. Today the world is filled with those who are without natural affection. In fact, this problem has gained so much traction that even churches that should be faithful to scripture, are now blessing same-sex marriages, and ordaining homosexual clergy.
This situation would disturb the founders of those churches very deeply. No doubt if they arose from the grave and saw what was going on today they would be absolutely astonished and horrified. What has happened that men and women who claim to represent Christ to the people could be so far from His word in belief and practice?
The priestly scandal in the Catholic Church is shocking, but similar sins are being condoned in the formerly protestant churches. Just as Rome has ordained priests that are without natural affection, so now, other churches are following in her steps and openly ordaining to the office of minister or priest those who cannot contain themselves to the natural order that God has created for the blessing of humanity, but who have same-sex partners instead. Many of these churches are in turmoil because of these developments. Today, even the churches have become like Sodom in many cases.
We need to understand that God is trying to wake up those in all the churches and denominations, who sincerely want to follow Him. The moment for the proclamation of the last warning message, “to come out of her my people,” is now, and soon under the Holy Spirit’s power in the latter rain it will swell into the loud cry. The reason for calling sincere souls out of corrupt churches which constitute Babylon and her daughters, is so that they will “be not partakers of her sins,” and “receive not of her plagues,” as it says in Revelation 18:4.
The confusion and disarray in various denominations is being used to benefit the Roman Catholic Church by bringing disaffected members of these churches into the Catholic Church. The “man of sin” as the Bible calls him, is angling to regain what he lost in the Protestant Reformation. But at the very time when Rome is about to have universal victory, the Bible tells us the message that Babylon has fallen, and to call as many as possible to “come out of her my people” is to be given. Are you ready to help with that? Right now, our task is to prepare spiritually to give this message. It will be difficult because of the opposition and swirling end-time issues, but it must be given, and you and I are called to that responsibility. What a privilege!
Remember that the Bible tells us that the first beast of Revelation 13 is trying to build a global religion. The only possible entity that fulfills this prophecy is the Holy See. Revelation 13:8 tells us that “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him.” That’s talking about a one-world religion. But it will not be entirely universal, though almost. There will be some, a few, who will not worship the beast. They will worship Jesus and follow His truth and live by His Ten Commandments. These have their names “written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” They will stand in the way of the Papacy and its takeover of the whole world. They will be equipped by the Holy Spirit to give the message, and empowered to endure the fiery trial of the coming conflict over worship.
Perhaps the most important thing for you to do right now is to get your name in the Lamb’s book of life. That is your only safety net. “Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” What more important thing is there to do in our lives than this? We want to escape the sins and the punishment of the great spiritual whore and all her daughters. We want to stand before the Son of Man.
The only way to escape is to watch and pray. We are not to have anything to do with the Papacy and its teachings. We are not to have anything to do with the ecumenical movement either, for it is leading the churches right back into the lap of Rome.
Those who keep Sunday sacred and break the Bible Sabbath are in agreement with Rome for it is the Papacy that brought Sunday sacredness into the Christian Church. Those who follow in her steps, even though they are not Roman Catholics are in fact following her lead. They are giving token allegiance to her. Some, perhaps many, will also follow her lead in other areas as well, such as ordination of those without natural affection to the ministry.
Even though Sunday observance is not yet the mark of the beast, it is time to follow all of God’s Ten Commandments. For when the laws of the land require Sunday worship and it actually does become the mark of the beast, it will be very difficult to break our habits and start following the fullness of the truth. We will need to break the connection to it. Better sooner than later. It will be much easier now to change our practice than it will be when the laws of the land require Sunday worship and punish those that refuse. Please help your neighbors and family members to see this principle.
Today, the Church of England is disintegrating in slow motion. And the papal state visit to Britain certainly will hasten the process. The visit of Benedict XVI is significant in that it set many precedents, some of which would have been absolutely unthinkable just a few years ago.
Never before, for instance, have the Pope and the Queen met in official context at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British royalty when in Scotland. This palace is also the place for state visits. Benedict XVI also gave an address to politicians, which has never been done before. And he also met with Rowan Williams the Anglican Archbishop, at Lambeth Palace, the home of former Catholic archbishops before Lambeth was taken over by the Church of England.
The significance of this is that Britain was once a strongly Protestant country, which has now almost thrust aside her Protestant past. Imagine Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, kneeling side by side in Westminster Abby bowed in prayer just yards away from the tomb of Elizabeth I, who was the one who established the English Protestant Church in the 16th century in the first place. She was also the ruler of England when the Spanish Armada was defeated which secured England’s Protestant heritage. Now the two churches are talking about unity.
Benedict XVI was even so bold as to call for unity between the two churches. “I come here today as a pilgrim from Rome… to join you in imploring the gift of Christian unity,” he said. Elizabeth I would be horrified and shocked. After all, the coronation oath says plainly that the monarch swears to the utmost of their power, to “maintain the laws of God the true profession of the Gospel and the Protestant reformed religion established by law”? Historically, the British monarchy has been anything but friendly to Rome.
Benedict’s visit was in effect an insult to those who gave their lives for the Protestant truths that God had given them for their times. The Pope returned to Rome having increased his popularity significantly.
Why are these things happening? Why does the Church of England no long hold to its Biblical foundations? There are many reasons for this which go back especially into the 19th century, when the Church of England failed to progress with the light that was sent, such as during the time of John and Charles Wesley. As a result, the Anglican Church is vulnerable to Rome’s advances and decline.
I wonder what would have happened if the Church of England would have followed the light brought by the Wesleys and others since then, if today they might be a Sabbath-keeping church and would join in the proclamation of the last message to the world. But in every era the Church of England acted much like the Church of Rome, persecuting those who dissented from her teachings and practice, such as the Puritans, the Wesleys and others. Over the decades they have gradually lost all their spiritual traction, and have come to the point where they will openly do things that are officially forbidden in scripture. At the same time, they have been courting and flirting with the Vatican. And moving ever closer toward unity with Rome. As a result, they have become a daughter of Babylon.
Today the gradual disintegration has become obvious and raises the question in the minds of many if in time, the church will cease to exist, or perhaps fold itself into the Catholic Church. Maybe it never will, but the Church of England is certainly shrinking and fast. The disintegration began to accelerate over the ordination of woman, the ordination of homosexual priests and bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions. As a result many traditional Anglicans and Episcopalians are reacting by requesting full, visible and sacramental union within the Roman Catholic Church.
But the disintegration is not just over these liberal actions. In reality, behind them there is something else going on. Rome is trying to give the Church of England a fatal blow. The Pope’s actions in recent months, followed by his visit to Britain could well be the death knell for the Anglican Church. Both churches deny that Rome had any ill intentions by the papal actions. But it is hard to miss the practical out come.
The King, or in the present case, the Queen of England is the head of the Church of England. The fact that the Pope can visit England on a state visit for the first time in history tells us that the end of the Anglican Church must be near. The Pope was very warm and offered friendship to all people in Britain, not just Catholics. This not-to-subtle embrace of Anglicans and the Anglican Church is a further attempt to push the church away from its foundation principles and into the arms of Rome.
Are there lessons in the collapse of the Anglican Church that would be instructive to us today? Could a similar thing happen to other churches?
When Henry VIII split from the Church of England he had his personal, marital reasons. But it happened that it was also at the time that the Reformation was sweeping over Europe and God used this situation to bring a mighty work of reform to the Church of England. Martyrs were burned at the stake as a witness for their faith in Christ. The Bible was published in the language of the people from the uncorrupted eastern manuscripts. The Great Reformation had great leaders and God was not short of men who would defend the truth as they understood it in their day. The political reasons for the English independence from Rome were really secondary to the larger and more important principles of the Reformation.
The loss of Great Britain was a devastating blow to the popes particularly on the long term, because Great Britain was destined to become the greatest superpower on earth for a period of time. Great Britain became truly great as its Protestant colonies sprung up everywhere.
But Britain’s global ambitions worried the pope. If possible he had to stop England from accomplishing her purposes. So he sent the Spanish Armada into the English Channel to try to overthrow the Protestant government of Great Britain.
England understood by experience the truth of Psalm 107:23-26. “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. “
Britain was desperate. The Spanish Armada sailed into the English Channel determined to overthrow the fledging power and re-conquer Britain for the Vatican. The British fleet was out numbered and outgunned. There was little hope of victory.
Psalm 107:27 says, “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.” Britain certainly was in a time of trouble and at their wits end. But the people and their leaders prayed to the God of heaven.
Verses 28-30 say, “Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.”
When the battle was over, the Armada lay in shattered ruins. God had brought a fog down on the channel. The Spanish captains with their huge galleons didn’t know the channel and could not maneuver. But the English captains knew the channel well and could attack the enemy effectively and destroyed them.
When the Armada was defeated by the vastly inferior English navy, and had to limp back to Spain ashamed, the pope could do nothing more at that time. God had delivered Britain from Rome and it was now free to spread her wings and colonize the world. And with her colonies, came her Protestant faith. With her Protestant faith came her Protestant Bible. And the King James Bible laid the foundation for the final message to be given to the world, the message of the three angels of Revelation 14, and the fourth angel of Revelation 18, the sanctuary message, and the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.
But what happened to the Anglican Church? Why is the Church of England in such disarray and splintering into pieces today?
Keep in mind, Rome has been very anxious to recover her lost English patrimony. She bides her time, and waits for opportunities. She works at many different levels to take advantage. But for nearly three hundred years after the Reformation, England was still a strong bastion against popery. And for more than 200 years the King James Bible kept the Catholic corrupted Bibles at bay.
Nevertheless, Rome continues working diligently to overthrow the English church. She has been working very carefully to restore her credibility and power in the country that took the English-speaking world out of the Catholic Church and out of papal control.
Churches tend to go through a cycle. In the beginning a new church has life and energy. Its distinctive message is the driving force that keeps its ministers focused and the church growing and expanding. This was true of the Anglican Church.
In the beginning of a movement or church, ministers and members clearly understand the doctrines. They clearly understand their identity and why the church exists. A high standard of piety is broadly practiced in the church, and its ministry and members are in general, a good example of its message.
After a few generations pass however, there comes a time when its members and even its ministers take the message for granted. Rather than teaching its principles with conviction and clarity, there is a period of quiescence in which most teachers and preachers don’t preach the core message effectively. Members are less and less familiar with the main pillars of faith. As several more generations pass ministry and members actually become uncertain about what they believe and why. Perhaps prosperity has made them a little lazy in Bible study and prayer. Perhaps their energies are diverted by earthly pursuits. Whatever the case, a more liberalizing mentality begins to diminish piety and spirituality. The church no longer has a clear voice in presenting its message.
Then a man arises who is intelligent, charismatic and articulate. He often becomes a well-respected teacher in a well-known educational institution whose classrooms are full of future ministers. He begins to question the validity of the distinctive doctrines of his church. This creates controversy and disunity and actually starts the process of disintegration. He publishes literature in support of his views, which is spread far and wide. He preaches widely and as his personal success increases, he becomes bolder in proclaiming his dissatisfaction with the original, biblical message of his church. Since his message has been more theological to begin with, it attracts the intellectuals and academics and those who have developed a more liberal bias within the church. Many of these people have become leaders in positions of authority and power. His preaching and writing addresses their own growing insecurities concerning their faith and doctrine. Their own lack of Bible study gives him an advantage over them as he defends his position by misusing much scripture. But these leaders often defend him against those who recognize the false doctrine and accuse him of heresy.
Eventually his church has become so dislocated from its original doctrine and practices that the majority of the ministry accept his views instead of the truth of scripture. Eventually the charismatic voice is forced in one way or another to follow his convictions and he leaves his church, taking many of his ministerial and lay following with him, at least over time. Those ministers, teachers and other sympathetic leaders who remain, further influence future generations of ministers with his false doctrine that has now gone viral. The result is that he leaves the church in doctrinal disarray with a ministry that is promoting his anti-biblical views, and confusion among many, both in the ministry and the laity.
For the Anglican Church that man was John Henry Newman. He was born in 1801 after many generations had passed since the Reformation. He first became an Anglican priest and a professor at Oxford University in England. At this time, England was still quite Protestant, at least on the surface. But the intellectuals at the universities were beginning to feel restless about Anglican Protestantism. There had developed a subtle lack of clarity. In 1833, while at Oxford, Newman, along with several others led what was known as the “Oxford Movement,” which essentially raised questions about the apostolic origins of the Church of England, and hence the validity of the Anglican independence from Rome. After all, the Church of England had continued some of the unbiblical uses and rituals of the Catholic Church. What right had they then, to continue as an independent church?
John Henry Newman, who has now been beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to Britain, is well on his way to being a Roman Catholic saint. In fact, a Vatican spokesman said that Newman’s canonization to sainthood was a “concrete possibility.” He even said that once canonized, the church may also make him a “doctor of the church.” Now a doctor of the church is a very distinguished title. It would bring John Henry Newman into the league with Augustine, Jerome and Chrysostom among others. Being proclaimed a Doctor of the Church is an additional honor that can be bestowed on a saint, a distinction given to those the Catholic Church recognizes as having been of particular importance, especially regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.
While you may not know very much about John Henry Newman, his elevation to “blessed” by the Pope tells us very clearly that there is something very special about him as far as the Papacy is concerned. He is a Vatican hero.
The reason why John Henry Newman is important to the Vatican is actually quite fascinating. What John Henry Newman did to the Anglican Church bore so much fruit for the Vatican that the man is now worshipped as venerable and blessed, especially by English Catholics.
John Henry Newman had a lot to do with the present state of the Anglican Church. Newman published tracts supporting his views called “Tracts for the Times.” They raised doctrinal questions that subtly suggested that the Anglican Church did not have a basis in apostolic succession and was therefore an illegitimate church.
Newman was joined by Edward Pusey in 1835. Pusey was an influential preacher and writer. But he was a defender of what was called at that time, “high church,” or a more ritualistic approach to worship. Newman and Pusey were attempting to restore Catholic doctrine and ritualism into the Anglican Church and move the Church of England toward Rome. Pusey also wrote a number of books some of which were his attempt to find a basis for unity between the Church of England and the Church of Rome.
This influential group of Anglicans wished to return the Church of England to many Catholic beliefs and forms of worship, including confession, worship of images, the mass, and other rituals. They even established an Anglican “monastery” for training young Anglican ministers in the rituals of Romanism. Much of this was secretive at the time. This eventually led many of these young ministers to join the Church of Rome. Newman’s efforts to Romanize the Church of England were very successful. He was widely popular with the students and other professors and his influence at Oxford was supreme at least until 1839.
By the time Newman converted to Catholicism in 1845, irreparable damage to the Church of England had already been done. A whole generation of ministers had been affected by the teachings of the “Tractarians” as the “Newmanites” were often called. Many of those who would teach in the universities afterwards were deeply affected by the ritualistic movement and Roman Catholic ideas and this influenced future generations of ministers.
The efforts of Newman, Pusey and others, were really subversive of the Church of England. Bringing Rome’s doctrines into the Church paved the way for the Church to move closer to Rome, to the point where today, except for some key issues, such as a married clergy, women’s ordination, and a few other things, there is little difference between them.
John Henry Newman was taken into the Roman Catholic Church in 1845. In 1846 he was ordained a priest while on a visit to Rome. He returned to Great Britain and worked until 1889 as an educator and priest. He founded the Catholic University of Ireland. In 1889 he was elevated to a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. Usually the processes and steps between a priest and a cardinal are lengthy, but Pope Leo XIII was so thankful for “the signal services,” as he put it, that Newman had provided to the Catholic Church that he made him a cardinal without having to pass through all the processes along the way. Newman and his colleagues had gutted the Anglican Church of its Protestantism and the pope recognized and acknowledged it.
In 1991 the Roman Catholic Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints proclaimed Newman venerable. One alleged “miracle” was proclaimed by the Vatican as attributable to the dead Newman, paving the way for beatification. On September 19, Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Henry Newman on his historic visit to Britain.
It is significant that no pope has ever had a state visit to Great Britain. If the Church of England would have held to its Reformation principles, this historic visit would not have been possible. But because of John Henry Newman and his colleagues, the foundation was laid for the papal tour of Britain. Perhaps it is more than a symbolic gesture that Newman was beatified on that occasion. It is in fact another recognition and acknowledgement of the devastating work that Newman performed on behalf of the Catholic Church.
At the same time that the Church of England has drawn increasingly closer to Rome in doctrine and in practice, it has become less relevant to the people, and in consequence, society has become increasingly secular. Today its churches are largely empty, and it’s teaching has very little if any relevance to most of the populations where the Anglican Church exists, whether in England on in other countries.
To stay relevant, and to find common ground with a more secular society, the Anglican Church has become more secular itself and increasingly liberal. This has also moved church teaching and worship farther from Biblical truth. This is exactly what the Vatican likes to see. She may even have helped to facilitate this process by sending her own emissaries to infiltrate the church and promote doctrinal insecurity and liberalization.
But the current Anglican disorder goes back to the 1940s when the Church began developing a theology that would permit women to be ordained to the priesthood. The discussion continued for 30 years, on and off.
But it is the American branch of the Anglican Church, or the Episcopal Church that has led the way in liberalization. In 1976 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women Bishops. And in 1977 the first woman was canonically ordained to the priesthood. Others had been ordained uncanonically, or without approval of the highest authority in the church. No doubt it was hoped that by doing so, it might pressure the rest of the church to approve what was already happening.
The first female bishop was ordained in 1989. In 2006, for the first time, a female was elected as presiding bishop over the whole Episcopal Church. Her name is Katherine Jefferts Schori and she favors the ordination of female priests and homosexual priests. In fact, she has presided over the ordination of a practicing lesbian to the priesthood.
There is a Bible prophecy that applies to this situation. It is found in Isaiah 3:12. “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”
And err they did. The ordination of homosexual clergy and the blessing of homosexual unions had its beginnings in the early 1970s and from there parallels the feminist movement. About a quarter of a century later, during the 1998 Lambeth Conference, which is the highest authority in the Anglican Church, it was expected by gay and lesbian activists from western countries that the church was going to approve the blessing of same sex “marriages.” But African and Asian bishops overwhelmingly defeated the vote. The western bishops, who had already been unofficially blessing same sex “marriages,” said they would start doing them officially without Lambeth Conference approval.
It was five years later, in 2003 that chaos erupted. Again, it was the North American branches of the Anglican Church that led the way. The New Westminster diocese in British Columbia, Canada decided to bless same-sex marriages whether church policy supported them or not. The Archbishop of Canterbury openly expressed his worry that such an action would cause divisions within the church. That same year openly gay Gene Robinson was ordained a bishop to the diocese of New Hampshire, which generated significant dissatisfaction among conservative Anglicans and Episcopalians, bringing the Anglican Church to the brink of splintering into pieces. Most recently, in May 2010 Mary Glasspool, a practicing lesbian, was ordained a bishop in Los Angeles by Katherine Jefferts Schori.
As a result of these developments, the splintering and disintegration has begun to accelerate. At least six independent conservative Anglican communions have been formed which are no longer in communion with Canterbury, Bishops and churches within national boundaries have broken communion with one another, and individual members are deserting the Anglican Church in unprecedented numbers, many becoming Roman Catholics.
In August 2010, fifteen Anglican bishops said that because of the new ordination of woman policy, that 1000 priests and deacons would possibly leave the Anglican Church for Rome.
Since the Church of England is a state church, it is especially significant then that the Pope can make a state visit to Great Britain. It symbolizes the fact that the Anglican Church has virtually lost is identity and left a vacuum that Rome intends to fill. A state visit to Britain at this time in Anglican history is strategically significant. It is also prophetic because it is one of the elements that will help take Rome toward its prophetic destiny, that of managing a world religion and becoming the universal moral guide of the nations.
While the Catholic church has been accommodating to individual members who want to convert to Rome, even giving them freedom to use their Anglican liturgy (known as Anglican Use Catholics), never before has there been a provision or a facility for Anglicans to join the Catholic Church as whole churches, or groups of churches.
But in 2009, in an unprecedented surprise move, Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic curia strategically took advantage of the now accelerating disintegration by making it easy for whole churches and networks of conservative churches to become Roman Catholic churches under the authority of the pope.
In November, Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Constitution, the highest form of papal decree, known as Anglicanorum Coetibus. The Apostolic Constitution created what is known as personal ordinariates. These are like regional conferences that overlap other geographical territory, but because they cater to a special group of people, they are permitted with approval of the pope within national or diocesan boundaries of other jurisdictions. But the practical meaning of the personal ordinariate is that whole congregations and whole groups of Anglican Churches can now convert to Catholicism while keeping their Anglican liturgy, traditions and even their married priests.
“Rome has parked her tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn,” wrote Britain’s Times Online.
“This is a mortal blow to Anglicanism which will inevitably lead to disestablishment as the Church shrinks yet further and becomes increasingly irrelevant,” said the National Secular Society.
Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced the papal move and said that hundreds of Anglicans had expressed a desire to return to Catholicism. There are also quite a number of bishops that are considering the same thing.
The Apostolic Constitution was created in response to the October 2007 request of the Traditional Anglican Communion for full corporate union within the Catholic Church as a body, not as individuals. The Traditional Anglican Communion was formed in 1991 as a separate denomination from the Anglican Church because of its mostly liberal directions, particularly in ordaining woman, and more recently, ordaining openly practicing homosexuals, and for blessing same-sex unions.
The Roman Catholic personal ordinariates will be presided over by former Anglican priests or bishops ordained in the Catholic Church as priests, directly responsible to the pope. If they are married the pope will make an exception so that they can continue to serve their congregations and communions as married men.
So far there have been at least five requests to the Vatican to establish personal ordinariates.
In March of 2010 the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America, a separate denomination, voted unanimously to join the Catholic Church along with 3,000 members in 120 parishes in four dioceses across the United States. They then requested the Vatican to establish a personal ordinariate for them.
Also in March the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada formally requested the erection of a personal ordinariate in Canada.
The Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, and a group called Forward in Faith Australia jointly applied for an ordinariate there.
Also in Australia, the Church of Torres Strait, another conservative Anglican Communion covering Northern Queensland and Torres Strait, has also applied for a separate ordinariate.
The Traditional Anglican Church in England, Scotland and Wales has also applied for an ordinariate there.
Anglican Church in America
Anglican Catholic Church of Canada
Anglican Catholic Church in Australia,
Anglican Church of Australia,
Forward in Faith Australia,
Church of Torres Strait,
The papal move is strategic, but it is also prophetic. Pope Benedict XVI is once again using an offence-reconciliation cycle to accelerate the disintegration of the Anglican Church. He offended the Anglican Church by authorizing personal ordinariates through his Apostolic Constitution. Then he follows this up with a state visit to Britain in which he spoke warm words of love and friendship, making the very ones he is attempting to sabotage feel good about it. Beatifying Cardinal Newman however, reveals his real intentions – to further destabilize the Church of England, and eventually eliminate it.
Rome must regain her power over those churches that were once in her communion. Without that, she cannot be successful in raising herself to be the queen of the earth and establish her global religion as prophesied in Revelation 13:8.
There is a statement that is certainly important in the context of the conservative movement of Anglicans into the Church of Rome. It is found in the book Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, page 182.
“As we approach the last crisis it is of vital moment that harmony and unity exist among the Lord’s instrumentalities. The world is filled with storm and war and variance. Yet under one head—the papal power—the people will unite to oppose God in the person of His witnesses. This union is cemented by the great apostate.”
The stated purpose of the Papacy is to work toward full, visible sacramental unity with separated churches. This is a principle of her ecumenical policy. At the very same time, God’s people are to unite. Without unity in doctrine there can never be a successful outcome in the war with Satan and his agencies on earth.
With the new personal ordinariates, the Vatican has accepted married clergy under a papal exception, and can pick over the parts of the Anglican Church like a vulture picks over its carrion. Bit by bit, more and more conservative Anglicans are seeking union with Rome. Rome knows that there are a large number of conservative churches and people in various Anglican communions around the world.
The Papal Apostolic Constitution to open the door to disaffected Anglicans en masse may well be a model for other communions or denominations. And there are plenty that ordain women and/or homosexuals.
The Evangelical Lutheran Churches, for instance, in Germany and Scandinavia are so liberal, they view homosexuality as moral. The Lutheran Church in Sweden permits gay clergy and blesses same-sex unions. In Germany these churches permit gay and lesbian clergy, and some, particularly the more liberal city churches bless same-sex marriages.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada allows a “local option” for same sex unions. That presumably means that the local parish can decide for themselves.
A few Pentecostal churches permit homosexual clergy, but most do not.
The Presbyterian Church permits homosexual clergy and blesses same-sex unions, but not marriages (the difference is unclear). And beginning in 2010 homosexual members in partnerships can serve on boards of elders.
The United Church of Canada, the Uniting Church in Australia and some churches in the United Church of Christ, and the Swedenborgian Church of North America all permit homosexual clergy.
Even the Waldensian-Methodist church based in Italy has bowed to the pressure to permit the blessing of same-sex unions. Apparently, their motto, “Lux Lucet in Tenebris” or “the light shineth in darkness” doesn’t apply anymore. Instead, sadly, they have joined the darkness.
Those church communions that no longer hold to the authority of the Bible as the basis of their faith, and no longer have a distinctive voice because of the ecumenical movement, may well find themselves slowly disintegrating because of rifts and divisions over non-biblical practices. The conservative branches of these denominations may well find themselves anxious to join the Roman Catholic Church too. After all, lacking an adherence and loyalty to biblical authority, the Catholic Church through the Pope is the only authoritative voice left.
There are a few lessons that can be drawn from our message for today.
First, those who think that women should be ordained as pastors don’t usually realize what comes next. Virtually all churches that are now blessing homosexual marriages and who are ordaining homosexual clergy started out with the practice of ordaining women as elders, or pastors, sometimes without the consent of their church’s authoritative bodies. This was followed eventually by a push by the homosexual members of the churches to ordain gay and lesbian clergy and bless same-sex unions.
Secondly, the farther a church moves away from its Biblical roots and its original sense of identity, the more likely it will develop a lack of certainty of its message and mission. Membership declines because of a lack of relevance. This then pressures the church to come up with new and creative ways to get people to come to church. So they invent celebration style worship, ordination of women and other innovations that are anything but worshipful.
The Roman Catholic Church benefits by disunity and division within the various churches because she can more effectively woo disaffected members. Participating in these unbiblical practices makes the church vulnerable to the ecumenical movement whose destiny is full, visible and sacramental unity with Rome under the authority of the pope.
Perhaps the greatest lesson of all is that we must do what we can to uphold the high standards of the Bible in our homes, our churches and schools and other institutions. The closer we stick to the Bible, the less likely we will fall for the superficial arguments and pressures that lead toward the so-called “progressive” agendas urged upon the churches.
May the Lord help us all to be faithful to the truth of His word and live by His commands. This is the only way to avoid the pitfalls of the modern idea of church currently taking root in quite a number of denominations.
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