Category : GAFCON

(AAC) Mark Ellredge–Are you a Functional Universalist?

Somewhere in the midst of the presentation outlining some of the various reasons why Hell is often not talked about, even in our Biblically faithful churches, the term “Functional Universalism” was mentioned. I immediately thought, that is one of the saddest yet most accurate descriptions of many – not all, but many – Anglican churches.

Universalists don’t lead people to salvation through Jesus because they don’t believe people need to be saved through Jesus. If we, as Bible-believing Anglicans, don’t lead people to salvation through Jesus because maybe we’re too embarrassed to share, or too afraid to invite someone to pray a prayer to repent and believe in Jesus, or any number of other excuses, what is the difference? Isn’t that just functional Universalism? We’re achieving the same results, right?

It is particularly sad because so many of us are Anglicans specifically because we didn’t want to be a part of the Episcopal Church that largely adopted Universalism. As Anglicans, we actually believe all of the Bible is true. We believe where it says that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through” him. (John 14:6) Jesus is not “a” way but “the” way to salvation. Yet are unbelievers being saved in our churches? Are we bringing unbelievers into an eternal relationship with the Father through Jesus in our churches? Or do we just talk about local mission and evangelism and feel good about ourselves for not being those bad Universalists?

Now I’m not suggesting that we all start talking about Hell all the time and try to scare people into Heaven (although I personally have always held that I would rather be scared into heaven than blindly walk into Hell). However, I am suggesting that if we took the truth that Hell is real more seriously and that Jesus suffered Hell for us so we don’t have to, maybe we’d overcome our fear of evangelism and start doing it….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Eschatology, GAFCON, Theology

Peter Jensen reflects on the recent Gafcon 2018 Meeting–Experiencing the Anglican Future

My constant prayer before we met in Jerusalem was a simple one, ‘Lord, meet us in Jerusalem’.

I believe he did.

Together, we heard his word, we sought his face, we sang his praises, we listened to his servants, we shared his Supper. We heard teaching, we heard testimony, we heard prophetic words. We were so conscious of being in the godly tradition of the Church, from its foundations onward, singing ‘Faith of our Fathers’, heirs of the Catholic and Reformed tradition of our faith.

His Spirit was with us.

Many people have contacted me, moved and awed by the experience. I suppose that one of the chief elements of this sense of being blessed was the richness and comprehensiveness of the fellowship. We were seated with one person we knew and with six strangers. Each morning for twenty minutes we shared and prayed in these groups. Many of the people there testified to me that this was the best thing of all. In fact, you could see it, as groups migrated out of the hall into the corridors and stood together, listening then praying.

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Posted in GAFCON

Stephen Noll replies to Fulcrum’s response to Gafcon 2018

  1. Why discourage Bishops from attending the Lambeth Conference 2020, and others from meetings of the Instruments of Communion?….

Reply: Oh, please. Gene Robinson was not invited in 2008 only because he was a public relations disaster waiting to happen. Will Justin Welby invite all the practicing homosexual bishops in TEC, Canada, and elsewhere to Lambeth 2020? Will he invite all those who have laid hands on said bishops to consecrate them? As to the slaps on the wrist of TEC and SEC, how can “consequences” for violating the Word of God expire, conveniently in 2020?

We in Gafcon have our own proverb based on twenty years of experience: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

The “discouragement” of Gafcon bishops is principled and relational. I have put it this way, based on Psalm 55:12-14:

how can you sit in council in Jerusalem and enjoy sweet fellowship with brothers who have been expelled from their churches, sued out of their properties, defrocked from their ministries, and denied even the name of “Anglican” (as was stated in the latest Lambeth Primates’ Communiqué) and then turn around and sit at table in Canterbury with bishops of the Episcopal Church (and others) who have expelled these brothers?

Yes, some of the bishops at Gafcon will go to Lambeth, even though the “Letter to the Churches” urges them not to. And many more will not attend as in 2008. Is the Archbishop concerned about this division? Then let him deal seriously with the questions of biblical truth posed to him in the Letter. Perhaps he can surprise everyone by not ignoring these matters as he and his predecessors have done for twenty years. But I am not holding my breath on this one.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, GAFCON

Martyn Davie–Gafcon, The Archbishop And Lambeth 2020

The first point to note is that the Archbishop is not being asked to do the impossible. Ever since Archbishop Charles Longley invited Anglican bishops to the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 it has been accepted that it is for the Archbishop of Canterbury to decide which bishops should be invited. He can invite who he likes and not invite who he likes and he is not obliged to have the agreement of any other person or body about the matter. The buck stops with the Archbishop.

This means that Archbishop Welby can fulfil the requests made in both the bullet points in the GAFCON letter. However, this still leaves the question of whether he should do so. To answer this question it is necessary to recall what has taken place in the Anglican Communion in the twenty years since the Lambeth Conference of 1998.

Two key things have happened.

First, in spite of being repeatedly urged not to do so, a number of provinces of the Anglican Communion (The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in Canada, the Episcopal Church in Brazil, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Aorateara, New Zealand and Polynesia) have acted in ways that go against Scripture and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference by accepting, in terms of both doctrine and practice, the blessing of same-sex sexual relationships, same-sex marriages and the ordination of those in same-sex sexual relationships.

Secondly, in response to these developments, Anglicans in the United States, Canada and Brazil who have remained loyal to Scripture and Lambeth 1.10 have established the two alternative orthodox provinces mentioned in the first bullet point– the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Church in Brazil.

By acting in the way that they have, those Anglican provinces which have accepted same-sex sexual relationships have rejected the obligations that go with being a member of the Anglican Communion.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Fulcrum Response to GAFCON 2018

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, GAFCON

Gafcon Chairman Archbp Nicholas Okoh’s July 2018 Letter

In this ‘Jerusalem Letter’ we affirmed that ‘we dedicate ourselves afresh to proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations, working together to guard the gospel entrusted to us by our Lord and his apostles’. We also set out how this commitment will be demonstrated. We are reforming by creating new global structures where necessary, such as the Synodical Council, and by commending biblically principled engagement with the old structures. We are also renewing by reaching out to the world with the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed, and to facilitate this we have formed nine global networks.

In making these commitments, Gafcon claims no global jurisdiction. That is not the Anglican way. We are a family of independent Provinces, but we are not independent of the Lordship of Christ and we came together to seek the mind of Christ as we heard the Scriptures taught, as we prayed and as we worshipped. So although the commitments of the Jerusalem Letter do not have juridical force, they do have moral and spiritual authority. We have vowed to proclaim Christ faithfully. That is why we came to Jerusalem and ‘in the presence of all his people’ we have renewed our resolve to act together.

So I want to urge you to see the ‘Jerusalem Letter’ as a joyful yet solemn covenant commitment for the renewal and the reordering of the Anglican Communion. Our critics accuse of us of being schismatic and seeking to leave the Communion. Nothing could be further from the truth. The question is not staying or leaving, but will the leadership of the Anglican Communion be self-serving or gospel-serving? The spread of the gospel requires the authenticity of the gospel. We cannot separate mission from faithfulness. As I noted in my Chairman’s address to the conference, when I ask people around the world to tell me what the gospel is, I do not find different gospels, but the same gospel meeting different challenges in different contexts.

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, GAFCON

(CA) Stephen Noll–Bullying the Primates Across the Rubicon

In his report on the Africa meeting, Bishop Fearon notes the elephant in the Anglican living room, Lambeth Resolution I.10:

The Primates were honest and open and committed to holding on to Resolution I.10 (from Lambeth 1998) – but were willing to listen to other members of the Communion who find that Resolution restrictive. So there was a sense of brotherhood and belonging.

One can see here Lambeth teeing up the goal of the 2020 Lambeth Conference: to defang Lambeth I.10. If I may paraphrase:

Come to Lambeth. We shall not try to overturn your primitive attachment to the former Lambeth teaching on marriage. But you will meet some brilliant scholars and bishops who find that teaching “restrictive,” and you will hear touching stories of loving homosexual partnerships that have been blessed by the church. We can all go home then with a sense of brotherhood and belonging.

It seems that his appeal to choose Lambeth over Gafcon fell flat (one registered African Primate, to my knowledge, chose not to attend). So in what can only be seen as a desperation move (what we American footballers call a “Hail Mary pass”), the Secretary General sent out a confidential letter to the Primates four days before Gafcon began.

This letter perfectly represents what I have been calling the “Lambeth Establishment.” Bishop Fearon, a well-chosen mandarin of this Establishment, begins by flattering the Primates as “one of the four instruments that make up the smooth running of our Communion of churches.”

It is hard, frankly, to read this description of the “smooth running” bureaucracy with a straight face. It reminds me in an ironic sense of Ezekiel’s vision of the Divine Chariot, perfectly engineered with wheels within wheels and directed by the divine Spirit (Ezekiel chapter 1). Nothing could be further from the reality of current Instruments, in which the Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office have neutered the Primates’ Meeting, manipulated the Anglican Consultative Council, and turned the Lambeth Conference into an indabafest (see Essays 4 and 8 of my book for detail).

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON

(SA) Ed Loane–Will Gafcon 2018 be seen as a turning point in the history of Anglicanism?

As the invitations went out for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, those who remained faithful to the biblical doctrines which were the basis of Anglican unity found the Instruments of Communion were being employed to condone fundamental disunity. By including schismatics in fellowship with orthodox Anglicans and claiming that unity was a result of attending the same conferences the Instruments of Communion had become a conceited phantasm.

This was called out for the fallacy that it is and GAFCON was born. In 2008 the first GAFCON arrived at the Jerusalem Declaration which was a statement reaffirming what it means to be an orthodox Anglican. Paradoxically those who had betrayed the basis of Anglican unity began ridiculing the orthodox Anglicans as schismatics. Nevertheless, fidelity to the gospel compelled the GAFCON movement forward and a deep spiritual unity, the kind of unity the Instruments of Communion were supposed to foster, was cultivated. The GAFCON movement continued to call upon the Instruments of Communion to fulfil the mandate they had been created for. Unfortunately, in the decade since the first GAFCON there has been no indication that the Instruments of Communion will return from their usurpation of the basis of unity being in shared history, doctrine and mission. Rather, they continue to contend falsely that they are the basis of Anglican unity.

GAFCON 2018 marks a significant turning point in the history of Anglicanism. The conference was not only the largest international gathering of Anglicans in the last 50 years, it represented the majority of the Anglican Communion. In the final statement the movement reiterates its earlier calls for schismatics to submit to the authority of the Bible and the Instruments of Communion to return to the purposes they were established for. But the legacy of GAFCON 2018 will be more than a reiteration of orthodox Anglicanism and a call for schismatics to return. In a highly significant move the conference endorsed the establishment of several networks which will foster the fellowship between Anglicans who share a unity of history, doctrine and mission. Nine networks were established including networks for theological education, youth and children’s ministry and all importantly, mission and evangelism. In this way, GAFCON 2018 has effectively declared that the mission of the church is too urgent and important to indefinitely wait for errant churches and corrupt fellowship structures to fulfil their original purposes. These new global networks will deepen the fellowship and expand the mission of those who share unity in Christ.

Under God, the new communion structures that GAFCON has endorsed hold great promise and there is good reason to be hopeful about the future of Anglicanism. Of course, it is desired that the original Instruments and the errant churches will return to their purpose, but now whether they do or not is quite irrelevant to the future of global Anglicanism. Some within the GAFCON movement, out of love, will continue to engage with the old structures and call for repentance. Others will see participation as a validation of a false fellowship and will choose to not be involved. Either way, the fellowship and unity of global Anglicanism will grow as the majority of the church get on with mission and partner in the gospel through the newly established networks.

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Posted in Church History, GAFCON, Instruments of Unity

(CEN) Gafcon delegates told: “This is our family home”

During conference breaks delegates visited the Exhibitors’ stands including a stand from EFAC where the General Secretary Richard Crocker reported that delegates had been ‘like bees round a honeypot.’

He said the seam of goodwill “will take a long time for follow-up. Biblically faithful provinces want to establish EFAC, and places where EFAC has never been, want it.”

Before delegates left for the Temple Steps on 40 coaches, Archbishop Stephen Tan of Myanmar spoke of the unending 64-year civil war in his country. At the age of 24 he was imprisoned and tortured by the government. Although he was uninvolved, his two brothers had evaded capture so he was arrested.

Brought up as a Christian he lost his faith in prison. He was confined with no light and no toilet in his cell for six months. Contemplating suicide he prayed one last time and then saw a purple cross. He fainted and seemed to fall down a deep hole.

At the bottom he heard someone say: “My son, I am always with you.” He shouted, “Jesus is alive” and began to preach in the jail.

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Posted in GAFCON, Myanmar/Burma

(Irish Times) Tim Anderson responds to the Irish Allegations about Gafcon

Sir, – I was surprised to read that some clergy believe that Bishops Miller and Glenfield have broken their consecration vows by attending Gafcon III (Home News, June 25th).

If the Dean of Waterford is concerned about unity, then surely their attendance at the largest global Anglican gathering in more than 50 years, along with nearly 2,000 people from over 50 countries, representing over 70 per cent of the Anglican Communion, with the aim of Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations, should be applauded?

The Church of Ireland is part of the Anglican Communion and as such, all bishops vow to maintain unity, to guard “the faith” and “discipline of the church”, based on “God’s word written” (Article 20)….

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Posted in Church of Ireland, GAFCON

(Irish Times) Irish Bishops’ presence at Gafcon alleged to be an ‘absolute disgrace’

Attendance by two Church of Ireland bishops at the conservative Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) meeting in Jerusalem last week has provoked deep anger among the church’s clergy.

They have described it as “an absolute disgrace”, “schismatic”, and as illustrating “how utterly out of touch some senior clergy” were with church membership.

Bishop Harold Miller of Down and Dromore and Bishop Ferran Glenfield of KilmoreElphin and Ardagh attended the meeting with other senior clergy from the Church of Ireland and members of Gafcon Ireland set up last April….

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Posted in Church of Ireland, GAFCON

Russell Powell on Gafcon 2018–‘The Spirit of God moved’

There was not a dry eye in the house on Friday as we farewelled Peter Jensen. The deadpan humour of the Chairman and Primate of All-Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh showed he might have a future in stand-up when he hands over the reigns to Archbishop Foley Beach. His impression of Peter marching across the stage was a classic sight-gag. I was not surprised by the standing ovation – but by the length of it. At least two minutes of applause with everyone on their feet. Peter just wanted it to end, but the crowd was determined to give him his due.

The warm embrace of incoming secretary Archbishop Ben Kwashi and Foley Beach shows the unity of this new team. But it was the Letter to the Churches that glued the conference together. A gracious, firm and Godly statement that was worked out at the conference and passed without dissent. This is not some conference where the statement is worked out beforehand and the participants are window dressing….

Even so, I just loved it when Nicholas Okoh called out – ‘We shall proclaim’ and the crowd thundered back ‘Christ to the Nations!’. (Repeat x 3)

The Spirit of God moved at GAFCON. Hallelujah and Amen!

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, GAFCON

(CEN) Gafcon names new leadership for movement after Jerusalem meeting

Gafcon announced new officers at its close on Friday afternoon in Jerusalem. Archbishop Ben Kwashi of the Province of Jos Nigeria will immediately assume a transitional post in partnership with the current General Secretary, Archbishop Peter Jensen, whom he will succeed when he retires (for a second time!) on January 1 2019.

Archbishop Foley Beach of ACNA will succeed Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria as chairman of the Primates Council in 2019.

Archbishop Kwashi has been Bishop of Jos for twenty five years. His wife Gloria convenes the new Women’s Network which was formally established with eight others this week.

Together they have provided a home at Bishopscourt for scores of orphaned children. They also keep a pet donkey, a horse, an ostrich, peacocks, goats, cows, pigs and chickens. One night, while home alone, Gloria was badly beaten up and almost lost her sight. On another occasion intruders took Bishop Ben outside and made him kneel down with a gun pointed at his head. While he prayed, for unexplained reasons the intruders went away.

Archbishop Kwashi is on the Board of Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry in Ambridge Pennsylvania and is International Chairman of Sharing of Ministries Abroad.

“My goal”, says Archbishop Kwashi,” is to focus on World Evangelisation, taking the gospel not only in words but in deeds, in humility with simplicity and integrity; to take the love and compassion of Jesus genuinely to all, regardless of gender, race, nationality or condition of life. We have a securely bible-based ministry of reconciliation, uncompromisingly Holy Spirit led and missional.”

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Posted in GAFCON, Globalization, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

A Church Times Article on the recent Gafcon Conference in Jerusalem

Church of England bishops and priests are among the participants — estimated to number almost 2000 — at the third GAFCON meeting this week.

It concluded with a statement that urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to invite to the Lambeth Conference in 2020 the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Church in Brazil, and not to invite “Provinces which have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices which are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, unless they have repented of their actions and reversed their decisions.”

If this did not occur, the statement added: “We urge GAFCON members to decline the invitation to attend Lambeth 2020 and all other meetings of the Instruments of Communion.”

The statement also reiterated the assertion that GAFCON was not leaving the Anglican Communion, referring instead to a “reordering” of the Communion.

The gathering has returned to Jerusalem, the site of the first Global Anglican Future Conference a decade ago (News, 27 June 2008).

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Posted in GAFCON

(Gafcon) Mama Gloria: A Mother to the World

When Mama Gloria wakes in the middle of the night it is her children who arise in her heart. At this point, 50 children under the age of 16, plus a group of older teenagers, live with Mama Gloria and her husband Archbishop Ben Kwashi in their home in Jos, Nigeria.
As she lies awake she does what the Apostle Paul encourages us to do: shape our worries and concerns into prayers. So, she prays that she and Archbishop Ben will do a good job teaching their children the ways of God and educating them so they will stand firm in Jesus, love his ways, serve, be kind in a hostile culture, and be grateful.

Gratitude captures Mama Gloria’s heart. Gratitude to God for his great rescue of her own life and the grace he has poured out on her. Her story has its fill of opposition, shame and violence. But God’s goodness and mercy have captured her heart. She gives her life away in response. Porridge every morning for a household of 70+ is a large way to begin a day. But that is just the beginning; besides caring for her children, she is a pastor to the women in her Province and beyond.

An important visitor came to their home recently and she felt the need to apologize; the courtyard around the bishop’s house was not a garden as one might expect it to be but the working yard of a large family. The Kwashi’s have built small rooms against the courtyard walls to house the older children and all the supplies and equipment it takes to care for and feed a family of this size. “I’m sorry,” she said, “that we have turned to Bishop’s house into a place that looks like this.”

Her visitor replied, “Mama Gloria, this is exactly what a bishop’s house is for.”

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, GAFCON