The Anglican Orthodox Church
Office of the Presiding Bishop
PO Box 128
Statesville, N.C. 28687
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New Year’s Letter from the Presiding Bishop
31 December 2015 Anno Domini (in the Year of our Lord
The human heart seems obsessed with always newer things. We like to see new places, meet new friends, have a new car – a new house, a new wardrobe – etc. We make much ado about each coming New Year as if there was something good and special about that which is new. In reality, there is nothing ‘NEW’ under the sun. The sinful heart seeks the occasion of a New Year’s celebration to conceive of sins and depravities that have lain dormant in his evil and dark heart for centuries. The wise Solomon summed up the ages well: “9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.” (Eccl 1:9-11 KJV)
The ancient and sinful heart of man, conceived beneath the indecorous Tree in Eden, has only grown more and more sinful in its imaginations in ages past; and so it does today. In 1951, we celebrated a New Year’s Day in Tennessee for a coming year that was devoid of so-called homosexual marriage, abortion, uncontrolled drug abuse, and a year in which the school day began with a reading from the Psalms, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a prayer. Please observe how every succeeding New Year has resulted in an accelerating descent into the abyss of depravity and perversity. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen 6:5 KJV) And so it continues today. Wicked and false religions have emerged that are grown more brutal and horrific with the advance of years. In the name of Allah, his adherents are raping five year old girls and beheading others who do not adhere to his satanic religion.
Why do men place such emphasis on a New Year that, in their mind, will bring new opportunities for unmentionable sins? Why labor to make resolutions of your own heart when God has already provided His Moral Law to regulate a free and peaceful society? How long will your New Year’s resolution continue without violation? How long has God’s own Law been abrogated by the heart of man? Those who need their own laws for New Year have long rejected those of God. The New Year that men embrace today will only be a sad testimony of the vanity of man on the successive New Year – without Christ!
The heart of man is OLD – it matters not that the old heart is blessed to see a New Year. Years are simply a brief interlude compared to Eternity Future. Why not have a NEW heart and – not a New Year, but a New Forever! “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezek 36:25-27 KJV)
The only thing that is ‘new’ under the sun is the new life in Christ. Sin is a characteristic of the human heart across every age; but salvation and redemption results in a new life and a new heart that is eternal. It will always, and forever, be new, for what is a year compared to Eternity? This is a truth that the world cannot comprehend, for the dark world cannot comprehend the Light of Christ. Nicodemus was an educated, sophisticated, and powerful member of the Sanhedrin. He failed to grasp how a man could be born anew. But he had an honest heart and came to the point of that New Birth of which Christ spoke at that midnight meeting in John 3. Each of us need that new heart. Our society and nation needs that new heart. And our country, and the world, need that new heart – instead of a single New Year of greater sin multiplied to us.
God bless all who seek truth and light, and have a Happy New Life!
In Christ Alone in CHRISTMAS SEASON
† Jerry L. Ogles, D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary