April 3, 2019
“We may depend upon it—that knowledge of Christ, obedience to Christ, and the fruits of the Spirit—are the only tests by which God weighs and measures any Church. If these are absent, He cares nothing for beautiful buildings, fine singing, and a pompous ceremonial.” Bishop J. C. Ryle
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” (Psalm 125:2). I pray that the Lord of hosts will surround you with his grace, mercy, and power. May he keep you and yours from all evil and grant you His peace and presence in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
I ask you to pray for me and for our diocese as we prepare for our 2019 Synod to be held in June, in Toronto, Canada. Make sure you book your room and register for the Synod as soon as possible. There are several important matters that we must address, and I strongly encourage you to be at this Synod. The Most Rev. Dr. Ephraim Ademowo, the Dean Emeritus of the Church of Nigeria, and The Most Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, the current Dean of the Church of Nigeria, will be joining us for this Synod along with other distinguished speakers and guests. Once again, pray for me, for one another, and for this Synod because the only way we can serve faithfully and succeed in the ministry of the gospel is through the power of the Holy Spirit granted to us by the Father.
The Lord in his gracious providence has given us a great Diocese. I use the word great because our Diocese is a Christ-centered, biblically-driven, Holy Spirit-empowered
Our Diocese is also great because as I have reminded you several times, though a member of ACNA, our Diocese is primarily a Diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), whose goal is to promote the kingdom of Christ in the USA and Canada. This is a blessing because the Church of Nigeria is not amenable to the shifting sands of modern Anglicanism and its continuing misdirected innovations that chip away at the foundations of our faith and tradition. The Church of Nigeria is a Church that is committed to Scripture, evangelization, global mission, the Anglican Communion, and faithfulness to Anglican tradition. We are grateful to God for being in a Diocese and a Province that are both
As we continue in our walk and work for Christ in this Diocese, I urge you to ensure that faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and the obedience arising from such faith in his glorious gracious gospel are kept at the center of our ministries, missions, worship and communal lives together.
The 19th century Evangelical Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop J. C. Ryle, in his 1886 Tract titled “The Outlook” tells us unequivocally:
“We may depend upon it—that knowledge of Christ, obedience to Christ, and the fruits of the Spirit—are the only tests by which God weighs and measures any Church. If these are absent, He cares nothing for beautiful buildings, fine singing, and a pompous ceremonial. These are ‘leaves,’ and He desires to see not leaves only, but ‘fruit’. The tree of the Church of England (and this can be said of many churches today) perhaps never had so many leaves on it, as it has just now. I wish there was a corresponding quantity of fruit!”
So, pray that our Diocese which includes every parish will be characterized by knowledge of Christ, obedience to Christ, and the fruits of the Spirit as we flourish in Christ. Paul the Apostle describes what the fruit of the Spirit is in Galatians 5:22-23:“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Is your life and that of your congregation marked by faith in Christ and the fruit of the Spirit? May the Lord make this a reality in your life for his name’s sake. Amen.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Felix C. Orji, OSB
Anglican Diocese of the West