CANA becomes CONNAM

I just saw this:

Appointment of Bishop Felix Orji as the Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM)

The Rt Rev’d Dr Felix Orji, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the West in the United States has been appointed as the Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM) with immediate effect.

By this appointment Bishop Orji will coordinate the mission of the Church of Nigeria in the United States which operates in two Dioceses: Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) under the Rt Rev’d Amos Fagbamiye and the Anglican Diocese of the West under the Rt Rev’d Felix Orji.

The appointment was signed by the Primate of All Nigeria, His Grace, the Most Rev’d Henry C. Ndukuba on Friday October 16, 2020.

Congratulations to the Rt Rev’d Felix Orji, the Coordinating Bishop of CONNAM.

The LORD be with you.

The Ven. Paul Dajur, PhDGeneral

Secretary CON

I wonder what prompted this change?

An old catechism

I can’t remember where this came from, probably Credenda/Agenda. Maybe Doug Jones wrote it? Anyway, I found it in my files.

Opening

A. Why do the heathen rage?

The Lord has called them to a feast, quite fat

with milk and honey, rich with meat and bread,

but they would rather die than take a bite.

B. Why do they love the dark and not the party?

The dark helps them pretend they are alone,

where they can play the king of all,

where no one pushes back against their face.

C. And why does God offer a feast?

God is a feast: come taste and see; sweeter

than honey. He is a party, a dance

named Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

D. But what sort of dance is the Lord?

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dance

like heroes after triumph, King David,

and those women whirling at God’s wedding.

E. Wait, why does God have a wedding?

His joy bursts out, spilling; He wants to share

the pleasure of this dance. The Spirit woos;

the Father calls; the Son seeks out His bride.

Community

F. Why do Father, Son, and Spirit enjoy each other so much?

They have never been alone. Forever

side-by-side and through-and-through; they

have no secrets, and know each other inside out.

G. But some people who live long together despise one another.

But Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

give up life for one another, a sacrifice,

a gift received by each with greater thanks.

H. Why do they sacrifice for one another?

Each counts the other better, like friends who

brave a burning house to free a failing

friend; he cannot live without their breath.

I. But does that mean that God can die?

God cannot die; His sacrifice gives life,

more and more, a miracle of glory,

a light upholding light for evermore.

J. What do we call this mysterious connection of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
This sacrifice, this freedom, this excess
of joy that shapes all things, this dance of God,
this bond, this heart divine, we call: love.

Unity

K. So the three Gods love each other very much?

No, nein, nyet. Only one God lives and moves

and holds his own. Father, Son, and Spirit

are one, not three. Simple math is too loose.

L. Does this three-is-one not hurt your head?

No, we love the thrill. I am no judge

of God; no human mind would make this up.

We’re too bland and flat to match His art.

M. But still, can you make any sense of God’s oneness?

“The Lord our God is One” because the Son

indwells the Father, Father indwells Son,

Spirit in the Father, Spirit in the Son.

N. Is God also one from some other angle?

The Father brings forth the Son, begotten,

not made; the Son sends out the Spirit,

almighty, advancing from the Father.

O. Why is the oneness of God important?
We need not fear a thousand gods at war;
no petty squabbles with Zeus and Hera;
our One a handshake, a bond of harmony.

Particularity

P. So this one God must have three parts or wear three masks, a mask for Father, one for Son, one for Spirit?

No, nein, nyet. He wears no masks; God’s truly

three, each unique. The Father’s not the Son,

nor Spirit, Son, nor Father, Spirit.

Q. How is the Father unique?

The Father’s known for origins, beginnings,

and the past. He gets the story started,

then betrayed, and speaks the Son, begotten.

R. How is the Son unique?

The Son is known for body, fully God

in flesh, the present, faithful Word, the king

and priest who comes to win his bride.

S. How is the Spirit unique?

The Spirit’s known for power, giving life

to bones, the future. He brings relief and fire,

perfects with beauty, completes the story.

T. So some divine persons are better and some submit?
No, all are equal, wholly God on par,
none better, stronger, but the Son submits,
Spirit proceeds, none grasping for equality.

History

U. How, then, does God begin to draw us to His wedding?

At first, He pressed His face through matter,

His grin seen in whales, lions, ostriches,

that style shown in horses, locusts, marriage.

V. What marriage in creation is this?

Adam and Eve were married in the Garden,

a king and queen, enjoying peaches, hawks,

each other, sent to build bridges, phones, toys.

W. Why did they never accomplish these things?

They grew impatient, ungrateful, fussy;

they pictured God as simple, stingy, a rule.

God closed His dance and sent them off to grow.

X. Where did they go? What did they do?

Their numbers grew, and some loved Oneness,

as tyrants, others loved the Many, as

fragments; they could not dance the One-in-Three.

Y. How would they ever return to God’s wedding?
God gave them wedding gifts: sweet law, good land,
and death; he gave big piles of promises,
free desert trips—but no groom, no Son or Spirit.


Z. Who could overcome such thirst? such darkness? such death?
The Trinity unveiled in flesh, in Jesus Christ,
the long awaited groom, the Son of God,
who came to free His dirtied bride, weeping
and torn, now longing for the dance. He
slayed her dragon, poured her water, fed her
bread and wine. He brought her new white clothes
and a new white name, Church. He pulled her close
and whispered: Rage no more, just kiss the Son.

History

Y. How could the dirtied bride enter the Son’s wedding?

Christ killed her sin upon His bloody cross;

Like Father and the Spirit, triune life

is death and gift, a dance of sacrifice.

X. Where did the Son take her? What does she do?

United to His wife, He raised her from

the dead, ascended into heaven, and joined

the dance, the fellowship of Trinity.

W. How can the bride not fall again, like in the Garden or the desert?

Unlike Mosaic saints, who strained without

a will, God poured the Spirit in His Church,

empowering us for loyalty and love.

V. What is the purpose of this marriage of Son and Church?

This new Adam and Eve pick up the work

abandoned by the first—to raise a godly

seed, expand the feast, and build a garden city.

U. How does God send us from the wedding?

He loads our arms with water, wine, and bread

and sends us cheering down the highway,

to fill the wedding hall with guests

Particularity

T. How do connections in the Church somewhat reflect the Trinity?

The Church is one, a body joined by bone,

skin, and blood; some of us knees, some eyes, all

dependent, no toes surging to be lips.

S. How does the Spirit shape the Church?

The Holy Spirit changes us, step-by-step,

matures us for divine surprises now

and evermore, expectations unimagined.

R. How does the Son shape the Church?

The Son gives His body, His righteousness,

so we can share His throne beside the Father,

and join the song against His enemies.

Q. How does the Father shape the Church?

The Father calls the Church to love the past,

learn its story, overcome, hear the Son,

and boldly walk through earth and heaven.

P. How do the real differences between Father, Son, and Spirit reflect life?

God sends us death, disease, and war to help

us love the burning chasms bright within

His glory, depths beyond compare.

Unity

O. Why is God’s oneness important for the Church?

The Son prayed for union within His bride,

as Father dwelt in Him, and He in Father,

and so one day our splinters will connect.

N. How do we indwell one another?

We indwell by giving up our life and strength

for others, making them more free and full,

and they, in love, return the gift to us.

M. What does giving up life and strength look like?

The laws of God express the love of God,

they show us sacrifice and loyalty,

tenderness and jealousy, faith, hope, and gift.

L. How do we learn these mysteries of love?

We do not learn them in a lab or draw

them in a proof. The Lord reveals these things

in Scripture and leads the Church to truth.

K. How does Scripture go about showing Father, Son, and Spirit are one?

Scripture calls each one God and marks their work:

creating, saving, judging, all divine,

while saying none beside or like Him lives.

Community

J. Why can’t hermit-like gods of other religions love like the Trinity?

They “lived” alone from all eternity,

not sharing, giving, speaking to an equal;

they had no social skills, just solitude.

I. Should we think of three first then one, or one first then three?

God’s mystery declares for both, as one

ancient said, I cannot think one without

the three, nor three without the one.

H. Is the will of God arbitrary, able to change any which way?

Loner gods live like that, with no one else

to press against, but Father, Son, and Spirit

submit their wills in love, creating one.

G. Why is it often so hard for humans to get along together?

The modern world believes we’re little gods,

each alone, each supreme, each full, each a bead,

disconnected, rolling for no goal.

F. How can we imitate how the Father, Son, and Spirit enjoy each other?

For us, love must cover many little sins,

consider others as better than ourselves,

and keep our eyes on what’s important.

Closing

E. Why do Father, Son, and Spirit wish to share their life?

They find each other most intriguing—artists,

after all, of eagles in air, serpents on rock,

ships across sea, and men and women kissing.

D. Why does God laugh at those who reject His gifts?

Loyalty: the Son turns tables for the Father,

the Spirit defends the Christ, the Father

mocks those who seek the Son’s inheritance.

C. Why does God give us a banquet in front of our enemies?

To show the smallness of their hearts; they so

hate their bodies and its hunger, they cannot

dance or bear the triumph of His grace.

B. How do we come to love the wedding and not the dark?

By nothing in ourselves; God’s foolishness

undoes ours; He gives new eyes; some He drags,

some He pushes, many come born inside.

A. What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?
And why has He crowned us with such glory?
Praise God’s excellent name—Father all-gracious,
victor, Son our mansion, Spirit our breath.

This is why you avoid tainted leaders

Ravi Zacharias's Ministry Investigates Claims of Sexual Misconduct at Spas  | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

Over a year ago I expressed my disappointment that Ravi Zacharias was being invited to speak at the ACNA Assembly; you can read the post here. Lo and behold, the now dead Zacharias is being exposed more and more. One of the worst things about his sexual sins is that they caused others to give up on the faith:

One of the women said she stopped believing in God for a while after her encounter with Zacharias but has returned to faith after extensive counseling. Another said she has not been to church since and can’t trust religious institutions. It took her seven years of therapy to come to the conclusion that what Zacharias did to her was not her fault, she said.

The third moved away from Atlanta, changed names, changed careers, and never mentioned what happened—not even to her closest family—until she was contacted by CT.

“I put all of that behind me,” she said. “I don’t want money and don’t want them to even know who I am. The only reason I’m talking is for other women out there who have been hurt by him.”

ACNA messed up by inviting the fraudulent apologist because his history was already public knowledge, it was not some big secret. The latest stories from his spas are revolting and new information, but there was enough out there at the time to see that we should steer clear of him.

The other speaker I was worried about was Archbishop Mbanda. He has shown his true colors many times but western Anglicans are generally too ignorant to connect the dots and see his problems.

Who we ally with can say a lot about who we are. ACNA lacks wisdom in this area.

The Culture Wars Weren’t Real

Writing in the February 9, 2018 TLS, Julius Krein says:

…the culture wars, in a critical sense, were never real. The Right did not “lose” and the Left did not “win.” The true winners were Goldman Sachs, Amazon and Facebook, and their victory was inevitable. What was disputed all along were merely the terms under which a neoliberal political economy would be legitimated.

LLDM history

I first heard of La Luz del Mundo (LLDM) in 2018 when someone told me about a group trying to buy land in Flowery Branch, Georgia, which was creating controversy. Knowing nothing about them, I started doing some research. One great source of information I found was Native Evangelism In Central Mexico by Hugo and Jean Nutini. The basic history of the sect is as follows.

The Spanish La Luz del Mundo means “the Light of the World” in English.[1] The full name is the Church of the Living God, Foundation, and Support of the Truth (La Iglesia del Dios Vivo Columna y Apoyo de la Verdad), abbreviated to La Luz del Mundo. The sect was founded in 1926 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The founder was a man named Eusebio Joaquín González.

Eusebio Joaquín González, aka Aarón

González was baptized by two Pentecostal prophets going by the names of Saulo and Silas, who had themselves converted to a sect founded by Carmen Valenzuela who became a Pentecostal while in Los Angeles. When González was baptized he was named Abraham, however, on April 6, 1926, “he heard God tell him, “Here is a man whose name will be Aarón.” The clamor made him tremble, and, being very disturbed by this, he awakened his wife, who said she had heard nothing. Eusebio Joaquín went back to sleep, and a thundering celestial vision told him, “Your name will be Aarón.” He saw a hand with the index finger pointing at him. With a great splash of brilliance, the celestial vision told him again, “Your name will be Aarón, and your blessed name will be known and famous throughout the world.”[2] Amatulli Valente 1989:7–8 cited in Nutini, Hugo G.. Native Evangelism in Central Mexico (pp. 74-75).

González/Abraham/Aarón moved to Guadalajara, Jalisco where he tried out the Baptist and Congregational churches but eventually moved on to start his own church. As the church grew, “…Eusebio Joaquín realized that he had not been properly baptized by Saulo and Silas, who had done so in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but not in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. On July 18, 1927, he baptized himself by total immersion and took the name of Aarón, as henceforth he was referred to by his followers.”[3] Nutini p. 75.

Mary Puckett describes what happened next: “In 1954, Apostle Aarón, founder and first Apostle of the Luz del Mundo (LDM), was granted a tract of land from the government of Guadalajara to establish a colony reserved for LDM members. Securing this grant was made possible thanks to Aarón’s indigenous Mexican background and the church’s origins in Mexico. The LDM was posited as an authentically Mexican church in contrast to the Catholic Church, accused of participating in the widespread government corruption which had inspired the Mexican Revolution. In return for the grant, the LDM agreed to contribute to the development of Mexico’s infrastructure…”[4] Puckett, p. 10.

Aarón died in 1964, and his son Samuel Joaquín succeeded him as the next apostle.

References   [ + ]

1. The full name is the Church of the Living God, Foundation, and Support of the Truth (La Iglesia del Dios Vivo Columna y Apoyo de la Verdad), abbreviated to La Luz del Mundo.
2. Amatulli Valente 1989:7–8 cited in Nutini, Hugo G.. Native Evangelism in Central Mexico (pp. 74-75).
3. Nutini p. 75.
4. Puckett, p. 10.

La Luz del Mundo (LLDM)

I have been meaning to write for some time about LLDM because it is a cult putting down roots in the United States due to immigration. I will try to discuss its background and beliefs soon, but before I could write, a story emerged about sexual crimes on the part of it’s current leader:

The leader of La Luz del Mundo, a church with its headquarters in Mexico that claims to have more than one million followers worldwide, was charged Tuesday in Los Angeles with more than a dozen sex crimes, including allegations that he forced children to have sex and made them pose naked for photos, the authorities in California said.

Zaveri, Mihir. “Leader Of Mexican Church La Luz Del Mundo Charged With Sex Crimes In Los Angeles”. Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/us/la-luz-del-mundo-garcia.html.

Christians are familiar with religions like Mormonism and perhaps the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but these newer groups are worth paying attention to as well.

A prayer for one in boot camp

Our son just left for boot camp this week, and so we have been ransacking prayer books to find prayers for him. Although there are collects and prayers for the Armed Forces, branches of the same, wars, and remembrance days, we have not found much for someone in boot camp, which is arguably the hardest time for any new recruit.

I did find a good prayer on this website by Priscilla Carroll, but it wasn’t quite Anglican enough for us, so I have modified it a bit to bring it more in line with the Prayer Book tradition. I hope this helps others:

O Gracious Father, We bring to you name who you gave to us. How quickly the time has passed. He has grown up to be an adult. We thank you for choosing us as his parents and giving us the privilege of raising him under your watchful care.  Many prayers have been said for him  by us and others and we thank you, that you have heard them all and answered them according to your own wisdom and the direction that you have always had for him.

O Lord, our heavenly  Father, we come to you again in prayer, as name undergoes training in the Armed Forces of our country. You have guided him in pursuit of this goal and we pray that the good work you have begun in name will be overseen with your supervision and love of him as he completes this training.

We beseech  you to help him in every expectation the military has of him. We ask you to make all things possible for name as he faces the standards and goals that the military has for him.  If anything seems impossible to him, we beseech you to strengthen him with your power in order for him to achieve whatever is expected.

We pray you to  put name in the company of Godly influences who show him Your ways of excellence.  We ask that you will use these people to impress upon him the importance of following and obeying your blessed will to be successful as a member of the Armed Forces and as your child.

We ask you to place name into your protective custody so that he may finish all that is required without any delays. We pray that Your angels would be assigned to keep him in all the ways you have planned for him  to follow.

We turn name completely over to you for all of your good works in him to be secured.  We trust that our prayer  will be answered to your glory as we await name’s  graduation and his official recognition as a member of the Armed Forces in service to you and his country;  through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor, world without end. Amen.

Berdyaev on Russian Darwinism

Nicolas Berdyaev writes:

Russians are always inclined to take things in a totalitarian sense; the skeptical criticism of Western peoples is alien to them. This is a weakness which leads to confusion of thought and the substitution of one thing for another, but it is also a merit and indicates the religious integration of the Russian soul. Among the Russian radical intelligentsia there existed an idolatrous attitude to science itself. When a member of the Russian intelligentsia became a Darwinist, to him Darwinism was not a biological theory subject to dispute, but a dogma, and anyone who did not accept that dogma (e.g. a disciple of Lamarck) awoke in him an attitude of moral suspicion. The greatest Russian philosopher of the nineteenth century, Solovev, said that the Russian intelligentsia professed a faith based upon the strange syllogism: man is descended from a monkey, therefore we ought to love one another.

The Proletariat is the New Israel

Berdyaev writes:

In order to understand the meaning of the sociological determinism of Marxism and of the illusions of consciousness which it exposes, one must turn one’s attention to the existence of an entirely different side of Marxism, which is apparently a contradiction of economic materialism. Marxism is not only a doctrine of historical and economic materialism, concerned with the complete dependence of man on economics, it is also a doctrine of deliverance, of the messianic vocations of the proletariat, of the future perfect society in which man will not be dependent on economics, of the power and victory of man over the irrational forces of nature and society. There is the soul of Marxism, not in its economic determinism. In a capitalist society man is completely determined, and that refers to the past. The complete dependence of man upon economics can be explained as a sin of the past. But the agent which frees humanity from slavery and establishes the best life, is the proletariat. To it are transferred the attributes of the chosen people of God; it is the new Israel. This is a secularization of the ancient Hebrew messianic consciousness. The lever with which it will be possible to turn the world upside down has been found. And there Marx’s materialism turns into extreme idealism.

Rucyahana Joins the Inquisition

The BBC did the world a service earlier this year when it produced the documentary called Rwanda’s Untold Story. Nothing in the documentary is new, it has all been said before, but in print, and sometimes in academic publications or other out of the way places that most nice Western Christians don’t read. For many people, until they watch something on a screen, it isn’t real (see the Ray Rice situation in the NFL).

A measure of how this documentary struck home is the paranoia with which Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame has been trying to eliminate it. In his own country, someone who produced something like this would disappear, be tortured, killed or never heard from again. But Kagame does not control the entire world, as much as he would like to, so he stirs up all kinds of nonsense, equating history and truth telling with genocide denial. Merely labeling something as denying the genocide is enough to silence it for many Westerners who don’t invest time in researching Rwanda.

In Rwanda, discussion is not allowed. Free speech does not exist. Debate cannot happen. The one party state rules all, and exerts its control down to the lowest level. So it should be no surprise that this week, retired Bishop John Rucyahana showed up as part of the dog and pony show Kagame has put together to condemn the BBC documentary. According to reports on Twitter, Rucyahana “testified” to the Inquisition Inquiry Committee that the documentary “poisons the minds of the people” and all kinds of other bad things.

bbc4
bbc3
bbc2

Why Rucyahana has any expertise on this subject is not apparent. As I have shown repeatedly on this blog, he is a stooge for the regime, a man who says “how high?” whenever Kagame says “jump.” He has no credibility and should be publicly disowned by American bishops and clergy, but instead, they embrace this man. He is a Micaiah to Kagame’s Ahab, if you know what I mean.

Figure 4. Bishops Rucyahana and Barnum
Bishops Rucyahana and Barnum
Figure 5. Bishop Lawrence and Rucyahana
Bishop Lawrence and Rucyahana

While Rucyahana’s support starts with PEARUSA, it by no means ends there. He sits on charities and boards all over the place. Take the Shyira Trust for example, it is a UK charity that works with the Shyira Diocese in Rwanda to fund various development projects. In February, members of the Trust from the U.K. met with Rucyahana — long after the United Nations conclusively showed his support in fundraising and recruiting for M23. You can see their meeting below.

Shyira Trust members with their friend, Rucyahana
Shyira Trust members with their friend, Rucyahana
caption

I contacted the Trust in March, after this meeting with the “amazing man.” The responses I received are typical of the shallow thinking, lack of reason, and lack of theological wisdom that are hallmarks of western interaction with Rwandans. I wrote:

Hello,
Are you aware of Bishop Rucyahana’s support for M23? In light of that, are you comfortable continuing to work with him?

The answer I received was:




Thank you for your question Joel. We have been working with Bishop John for 14 years now, and have come to respect him as a former diocesan bishop and as a Brother in Christ. Whatever the truth of your statement we see no reason to break our friendship with him – it would not achieve anything.

See what they did there? Who cares what he did? It won’t stop us from being friends. I responded:

Well, Romans 1 says that we should not “approve of those who practice them”, and the group he raised funds for practiced child kidnapping, rape, torture and other atrocities. I think this would reflect poorly on the Trust.

To this, I received the standard “do you know this man?” type of reply. Also, the fact that Rucyahana served on NURC, an Orwellian instrument of oppression in Rwanda, counts as a plus to the Trust:

Joel, I wonder if you have ever met Bishop John and got to know him as a man. I worked with him for the benefit of the people of Shyira parish while he was Bishop of Shyira. Since then I have simply known him as a friend, someone I trust and respect and visit when I am in Rwanda. In Rwanda Bishop John has done outstanding work on reconciliation, including being chairman of the reconciliation Commission. For those and other reasons I completely accept his public letter of 24th July 2012.

So because these nice Westerners have met and “know” Rucyahana, whatever he says must be true, evidence be damned. This is the same response I received from Bishop Breedlove of PEARUSA. As we have seen recently with Bill Cosby, our capacity for self deceit in the face of evidence is a massive weakness in our character.

The Charity Commission might want to investigate the Shyira Trust, to see why they have no problem working with a man who helps send boys off to die for M23, raping and slaughtering all the while. A man who now helps smear the BBC for doing journalism, something that is not allowed in Rwanda.