CHURCH OF ENGLAND DEPARTS FROM GOD’S WORD

Archbishop of York says gay sex is OK if in ‘committed, stable, faithful relationships’

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, and Rev. Canon Stephen Race (R) when he is consecrated as the new Bishop of Beverley during a service in York Minster on November 30, 2022, in York, England.

BBC Radio Four’s William Crawley asked the archbishop the following questions:

  1. Are homosexuality and same-sex marriage sinful? The C of E’s new stance on the issue is that it’s OK, as long as couples are in “committed, stable, faithful relationships,” adding that same-sex married couples will be “welcomed fully into the life of the Church, on their terms.”
  2. William Crawley asked the archbishop whether the C of E’s recent decision not to officiate same-sex weddings while allowing gay marriages to be blessed was a “bit of a fudge.” Cottrell responded, “I see it as a way of holding together a church which doesn’t agree on this issue and it takes us to a place where LGBTIQ+ people, people entering into same-sex marriages, people in civil partnerships are able to come to the Church of England and those relationships and marriages can be acknowledged and celebrated.”
  3. Crawley then asked if the denomination believes “gay sex is sin,? The archbishop replied, “Well, what we are saying is that physical and sexual intimacy belongs in committed, stable, faithful relationships, and therefore where we see a committed, stable, faithful relationship between two people of the same sex, we are now in a position where those people can be welcomed fully into the life of the Church, on their terms.”

Crawley said the C of E must be blessing same-sex unions because it believes it to be good. Archbishop Cottrell replied, “As I say, we believe that stable, faithful, committed, loving relationships are good. They are the place for physical intimacy …”

Crawley again asked, “And not a sin?” The archbishop then responded, “But well, that … that’s what I’m saying … we’re looking to focus on the good in relationships and we want people to live in good, stable, faithful relationships.”

Earlier this month, C of E bishops apologized to the LGBT community for their “rejection and exclusion” within the denomination, saying they were now “welcome and valued” within the denomination.

The group Christian Concern said Cottrell’s statement confirms the CofE’s departure from its own biblical teaching on human sexuality which states that marriage is: “in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman.”

Andrea Williams, Christian Concern’s chief executive who was also a member of the general synod for 10 years, said Cottrell’s comments “embody the compromised position of the Church of England on human sexuality.” “The role of the Archbishop of York is to lead in explaining God’s beautiful pattern for human life and relationships, not to preside over a convoluted process of compromise. Sadly, it has been a failure of leadership from the start by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. For this, they will answer to God, and we must pray for them. It is not loving or kind to hide the truth from the culture,” she said.

God’s Word is adamant that sexual expression is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman. Any other form of sexual relationship is sexually immoral.

This is just one of the many signs Jesus told us would happen before His second coming to restore righteousness.

And then many will fall away (from faith) and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:10-13

HOW DOES GOD REACH MUSLIMS IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES?

The founder of a ministry devoted to serving the Iranian underground church says that many people in the restrictive nation have encountered Jesus through dreams and visions — something that might seem foreign to those living in Western cultures.

The Rev. Lazarus Yeghnazar, founder of Transform Iran, an organization preaching the Gospel in Iran and planting churches, told CBN’s Faithwire how many Iranians find themselves enraptured by Christ following these apparitions. “They know it was real and they cannot stop talking about it, hence the severe persecution, the severity of the brutality,” Yeghnazar said of the persecution many Iranian Christians face. “[Believers will say], ‘I saw a vision of a man in a white robe, with a cross on his shoulder or on his heart, and he says, ‘I am Jesus.'”

While many Christians in the West might meet Jesus as the result of others sharing the Gospel, these dreams and visions are the touchpoints in Iran that spark life-change and heart transformation. Yeghnazar pointed back to Scripture to show how God has used visions to communicate with humanity in the past and explained why Iranians might be having this spiritual experience today. “In the Middle East, people see visions,” he said. “In the Western understanding, we want everything to be tangible, verifiable, accountable.” But he said the dynamic is quite different in the Middle East, where these experiences deeply resonate with those who have them. “In Iran, people see a vision — they will wake up sweating and shaking,” Yeghnazar said. He cited specific biblical examples of when God spoke to prominent figures through dreams, delivering life-altering and important messages. “You know, paving that way from Abraham to Moses, to Daniel, to Joseph, to Mary, the mother of Christ … all of them see dreams,” Yeghnazar said. “Peter, at the beginning of his ministry, started seeing dreams.” The preacher said people might be surprised to see the juxtaposition when it comes to the prevalence of God speaking through dreams for Westerners versus those in the Middle East. “Any gathering of Iranians or Afghan Christians, if you say, ‘How many have seen dreams that have been touched, if not radically, transformed because of a vision,’ 90% will raise their hands,” he said. “If you ask a church in Wisconsin, or in Maryland, or Boston, ‘How many people have come to Christ through a dream?’ they would say, ‘What is a dream?'” Sadly, we also know that many of these people are not born again and do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling their spirit. When the prophesied “last days” tribulation comes upon us many will fall away. However, many will cry out to God and He will turn up in dreams and visions as He is in Iran. Watch for the full discussion.

IS THIS THE CHURCH GOD INTENDED?

The catholic church like most institutional churches is not the church God intended, as described in the Book of Acts. It is very different, there were no buildings and no paid clergy. In fact, all members of the church were to be disciples that made disciples.

Look at what is unfolding in the catholic church. It involves the recently deceased Australian Cardinal Pell who incidentally I respected for what he tried to achieve when he was Archbishop of Sydney.

The following post was taken from an article in BBC News entitled “Late Cardinal George Pell called Pope a ‘catastrophe’ in an anonymous memo

Cardinal George Pell has ripped into Pope Francis from the grave, with an explosive secret memo scathing of his “catastrophic” papacy, detailing that the Vatican is losing as much as 35 million euros a year and that the Pope has used his power to interfere in judicial proceedings.

Cardinal Pell not only penned a column directly challenging Francis’ credibility about the process surrounding the adoption of the Catholic Church’s synod for The Spectator magazine, but he is also now revealed to be the author of a hard-hitting series of blogs to Vatican insiders and a bombshell secret letter that was distributed last March to cardinals.

The previously anonymous cardinals’ letter ridicules Francis’ tenure as being “a disaster”, “a catastrophe” in which “decisions (were) made for political correctness” and claiming the political influence of Pope Francis and the Vatican was“negligible”.

It also alleges a widespread practice of wire-tapping inside the Vatican and claims that the extent of losses on an infamous corrupt investment, the Sloane Avenue building in London, is as much as 217 million euros.

He said this was in addition to the $230 million lost by the Vatican in the Banco Ambrosiano scandal in the 1980s, and because of inefficiency and corruption, he said the Vatican has lost at least another 100 million euros in the last 25-30 years.

As well, he warned the Vatican finances were “serious” with financial deficits almost always every year of at least 20m euros which has escalated in the last three years to 30-35 million euros a year. In addition, the Vatican faces a large pension fund deficit that is projected to be around 800 million euros in 2030.

On the eve of the funeral, it emerged that Cardinal Pell, 81 was a secret contributor to the Vatican blog Settimo Cielo as well as the author of the cardinals’ letter. The Vatican journalist Sandro Magister had regular dialogue with Cardinal Pell, whom he said used the pseudonym “Demos” for the blog and had asked for him to distribute the cardinal’s letter, which he wanted to become public.

The Australian Newspaper has seen the contributions made by Demos, which say the centrality of Christ in teaching is weakened and Christ is removed from the centre. He also details the extent of the Vatican’s financial woes, which are much worse than many believed.

“Commentators from every school, though for different reasons, with the possible exception of one, agree that this pontificate is a disaster in many or more respects, a catastrophe,’’ he wrote.

“Previously the motto was: “Roma locuta. Cause finite est” [Rome has spoken, the cause is over]. Today it is: “Roma loquitur. Confusio augetur” [Rome speaks, confusion grows]’’.

He added that the Christocentric legacy of St. John Paul II in faith and morals is the object of systematic attacks.

In a blow to Francis’ papacy, “Demos” wrote that the political influence of Pope Francis and the Vatican is negligible. “Intellectually, papal writings show a decline from the levels of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict. Decisions and policies are often “politically correct”, but there have been serious failures to uphold human rights in Venezuela, Hong Kong, mainland China and now the Russian invasion.

The Bible tells us that in the last days, there will be a great falling away as the church compromises with the world. We have seen it with many of the denominational churches approving gay marriage, homosexual pastors, and Jesus is no longer central to Christianity. They no longer believe and teach the following Scripture.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6

Now it is being revealed that the catholic church is going down the same path as these other institutional churches.

This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come2 Timothy 3:1

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,2 Thessalonians 2:3

This Pauline perspective and prophecy of apostasy in the last days is not merely Paul’s, for it had been foretold by the Holy Spirit. 

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith…” 2 Timothy. 4:1-3

MANY CHURCH GOERS WILL CHOOSE APOSTASY

Jesus tells us that faced with the choice of persecution unto death or apostasy, many churchgoers will, unfortunately, choose apostasy. They will deny Jesus is the son of God and live for a short period of time longer than their faithful brothers. In both Luke and Matthew, we learn they will even betray their brothers and sisters who remain faithful. This is a horrible and almost unthinkable situation. Jesus says the love of “many” will become cold. I believe the parable of the ten virgins reveals that as many as 50% of people in our churches are not born again and they will choose apostasy rather than martyrdom. At greatest risk may be those people who were expecting to be “snatched away” in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

Do you trust God enough to be with you through whatever He calls you to do even martyrdom? Do you remember what happened when Stephen was stoned to death?

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God… And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.Acts 7:55-56, 59-60

In the following passage in Philippians, Paul builds on Jesus’s instructions to be fearless in the face of persecution. First, he admonishes Christians to stand firmly together. It is this unity in faith that accomplishes God’s goal. Standing firm in persecution, a unified Church is living in a manner worthy of the gospel. Earlier Paul states that “to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). If we truly believe that Gospel message, what will we fear? When persecutors see Christians standing in absolute faith that a better life and reward is coming, it is a witness to the persecutors of both their coming judgment and the sure salvation of God. This is God’s battle plan. How many millions of our opponents will see this and be converted by this faithful act of witness?

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.Philippians 1:27-30

NAR MOVEMENT – “END TIMES” FALSE APOSTLES, PROPHETS, AND TEACHERS

Is there a new reformation happening in the church? It depends on who you ask. The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a popular and fast-growing movement of Christians who emphasize signs and wonders and teach that God is giving new revelation through new apostles and prophets. Bethel Church in Redding, California is a prime example. But is this biblical Christianity? In “Counterfeit Kingdom – The Dangers of New Revelation and New Age Practices in the Church” apologists and NAR experts Holly Pivec and Douglas Geivett show how the NAR’s key tenets distort the gospel, twist the Scriptures, are influenced by New Age practices, and lead faithful Christians to shipwreck their faith. They also offer practical suggestions for listeners who are already influenced by the NAR, curious about it, or concerned about loved ones who have been swept up in the movement. What used to be on the fringes of the church is now mainstream, and many are being influenced by it unaware. This book is a wake-up call.

How do we discern who are the false prophets and teachers? One way is simply to ask them what evidence they can give us that they are God’s prophet for today? Also, we can observe what they teach and how they teach. What they teach about prayer is a telling sign. Not submitting their prayers to “not my will but Your will be done” is a telling sign. Obviously, if what they teach is not biblical then we should discount their claims. Also, many of the NAR prophets in the USA prophesied Trump would be re-elected President and got it wrong, and yet they are not considered false prophets. Look what God says about false prophets.

If any prophet dares to speak a message in My name that I have not commanded him to speak, or to speak in the name of other gods, that prophet must be put to deathDeuteronomy 18:20

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.Matthew 7:21-23

Jesus told us ahead of time that apostasy, a falling away would occur in the church before His return to put things right.

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:11-13

CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED

In the Book of Acts, we find that all New Testament believers always had church in their homes. It was only in their homes that they gathered to do what we call “church”: praise God with the Psalms, celebrate the Lord’s Supper, fellowship, share the Word of God, and pray together.

I have listed all of the scriptures so the church God intended to establish is obvious. Also, we only need to look at the church in nations where Christians are persecuted and it is obvious that believers are once again meeting in homes. This will be the way forward for the church as we approach the last days before Jesus returns.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem — a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying.” Acts 1:12-13

And day by day, attending the Jewish temple together (evangelize) and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47

And daily in the Jewish temple (evangelize), and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.Acts 5:42

As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.Acts 8:3

And when he (Peter) had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.Acts 12:12

And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.Acts 16:40

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.Acts 20:7-8

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,Acts 20:20

“Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus … greet also the church in their house.” Romans 16:3,5

Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus.Romans 16:10-11

END TIMES APOSTATE CHURCH

Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, provocatively but convincingly calls “neo-pagan Anglicanism”—Anglican in style but not substance.

Speaking with a prophetic mantle, Beach observes that “liberal innovations in theology and sexual ethics” are hidden within an orthodox façade, comparable, I would say, to the Trojan horse: This so-called gift to Anglicans in North America and Great Britain signals ruin. He bemoans:

Neo-pagan Anglicanism is beautifully packaged in some of the most elegant liturgy, music, and tradition in Christianity. But it has become liturgy for the sake of liturgy, music for the sake of music, and tradition for the sake of tradition. As the apostle Paul wrote, they are “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). And as Athanasius argued against Arius’s heresy, the Jesus whom they promote is not the Jesus of which the Bible speaks.

As a result of this tragic accommodation to culture, Beach eschews the flaccid slogans of Canterbury and New York City about “communion across difference,” “mutual flourishing,” and “walking together” because there can be no truce with heretics and schismatics who advance a counterfeit gospel (Romans 16:17–18). Estranged Anglicans in the Global North, he argues, can address their “ecclesial deficit” by joining forces with Anglican leaders from the Global South, who, beginning in 2008, formed the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which has continued to serve as a vital reform movement: “As colonial and aging wineskins continue to promote neo-pagan beliefs and practices, the new wine of Christ’s continuing redemptive work will burst out to transform lives and renew our churches among the nations.”

I would like to think that Beach is right that GAFCON “will burst out to transform lives and renew our churches” but I do not believe the institutional church is capable of doing it.

C. S. Lewis envisioned Christianity as a house with “a hall out of which doors open into several rooms.” The rooms are ecclesial traditions that offer disciples a fire for warmth, a chair for rest, and a meal for nourishment and fellowship, whereas the hall is “mere” Christianity, a place where disciples greet and gift each other with riches from their respective rooms.

The Book of Acts describes the early church meeting in homes and the church in various cities, like the church in Antioch or the church in Caesarea were a collection of house churches but one church and the leaders of those house churches would often meet to deal with issues that sought to divide the church in that city. The “end times” persecuted church will be like the church in the Book of Acts and like we are now seeing in places where the church is already under intense persecution like in Africa, China, Middle East. Moreover, we are hearing amazing stories of the tremendous growth of the church in Iran.

IS CHRISTIANITY SHRINKING?

Glenn T. Stanton explains in his bookThe Myth of the Dying Church (2019): “The apparent shrinking of Christianity is both true and false. True in that nominal and weak ‘Christian-in-name-only’ folks are identifying as Christians less and less. But there is no indication whatsoever that serious faith is shrinking any.”

How Christianity Is Actually Thriving in America and the World

Stanton adds, “So is Christianity shrinking? Not if you’re talking about the biblically faithful congregations that call their people to genuine Christian discipleship. Only … the mainline churches … are free falling as if they have a millstone tied to their necks.”

“So the real story is,” notes Stanton, “this is a sheep and goats being divided thing. A clarifying of faith, rather than shrinking of faith.”

In John Calvin’s Commentary on Isaiah 9:7, he provides an excellent reminder for Christians of all ages that we are truly on the winning side: “Though the kingdom of Christ is in such a condition that it appears as if we are about to perish at every moment, yet God not only protects and defends it, but also extends its boundaries far and wide, and then preserves and carries it forward in uninterrupted progression to eternity.”

Dr. Byron Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences and Founding Director of the Institute for the Studies of Religion at Baylor University is one of the country’s leading researchers on the role of religion in public life. He gave this bit of advice: “the secular media will continue to push out the narrative that religion is dying … why not focus on the hundreds and thousands of peer-reviewed studies that show the power of faith to transform people’s lives for the better?”

The church as we know it, the institutional church is certainly dying as it is not the church Jesus established. In the last days before Jesus returns, we will return to House Churches as described in the Book of Acts. In fact, it is already happening. Francis Chan is leading the way in America. Can I also suggest you get a copy of Jim McCotter’s good book, Church Revolution Today to discover the truth about the church Jesus established and what God is doing through house churches that are following Jesus’ command to make disciples that make disciples.

A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW IS CRITICAL

A biblical worldview is critical because that’s what enables you to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Romans 12 talks to us about, ‘you have to have your mind renewed’, you must be ‘transformed’ by that ‘renewing of your mind’ with God’s principles at the core of all of your thoughts so that you can in fact live like Christ.”

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2

Moreover, this is impossible unless we have been born again with the Holy Spirit now indwelling our spirit. Proverbs tells us that the spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord and of course a lamp needs oil to function which is, of course, the Holy Spirit. To function as God intended we have always needed the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, our comforter, and our teacher.

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

 Also, according to Barna, the only way to achieve cultural transformation is if people choose to “believe God’s truths,” which in turn will allow them to “act upon those truths based upon those things that you believe.”

“We are here to be salt and light. That’s what transformation is: changing the world around us forever based on God’s truths. But in order to do that, we need a healthy church. We need believers who get it, believers who are willing to put their lives on the line. Today’s traditional church and leadership model has veered far from Christ’s New Testament model of disciples making disciples typically in house churches.

In fact, a study released earlier this year by the Cultural Research Centre of 1,000 pastors found that only 37% of Christian pastors in the United States have a biblical worldview. The majority possess the hybrid syncretism worldview.

“As you read the Scriptures, you find that biblically, it is the role of the community of faith, i.e., our churches, to be supporting families and particularly parents in that process, equipping them for raising up their children to be dynamic followers of Jesus Christ,” Barna advised. Only the church model Jesus established, as described in the Book of Acts, will achieve that goal. I a convinced that the House church model is Jesus model and the institutional church will not survive the prophesied “end times” tribulation.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MOVING IN AFGHANISTAN

Global Catalytic Ministries (GCM) has witnessed exponential growth in disciple-making through one of their leaders, “Jav.”

Massive Move of God In Afghanistan

GCM said, “We are always in awe of what God can do with just one ‘YES’. Jav was trained by the Iranian underground church and is leading the great move of the Holy Spirit in Afghanistan. Jav shared that he will baptize over 60 Afghan Muslims this week! He has discipled 5,000 people and communicates using one of the phones that were purchased with your donations. 5,000 new disciples a year is 416 disciples a month, 13 disciples a day, which means there is a brand new disciple every 2 hours for 365 days straight. That phone allows him to train, disciple, develop other leaders, and grow the kingdom of God. We will continue to keep you updated with information like this in the future. It is our privilege to share stories like this of how the Spirit is moving.” 

Joe Richardson whom I know is heavily involved with this ministry. Can I suggest you consider donating to GCM? You can check them out at http://www.globalcatalyticministries.com.