Category : GAFCON

An Irish Times Article on Archbishop Welby’s recent visit to Ireland

The leader of Anglicans worldwide, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, has said he hopes the emergence of conservative Anglican body Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) will not lead to a schism.

“I hope and pray not because we are called to love one another. I value them, I talk to them, I listen to them, I’m not proud enough to think I am right and they’re all wrong,” he said at Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday night.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland, GAFCON

(Church Times) Consecration of GAFCON bishop in new NZ Church is criticised

“Is this the moment . . . when the fracture in the Anglican Communion becomes irreversible?” Bishop Carrell asked the Archbishop of Canterbury in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday. “Australian bishops out of protocol control, two of their synods greeting a breakaway diocese. Archbishops from Rwanda, Australia and ACNA combine to inaugurate a new Anglican Church!”

On Monday, he said that there was a “range of reactions” to the consecration in his diocese. The failure of bishops in the Communion to inform the diocese of their intention to minister there was “bewildering to many here”.

“I fear that the significance of the weekend’s incursion goes beyond the inauguration of a new Church and is a sign that the slowly emerging schism in the Anglican Communion is speeding up,” he said. “When the two largest dioceses in Australia recognise a new Anglican Church in another Anglican jurisdiction, we have a straightforward confusion of the goal of the Anglican Communion that we seek to fulfil the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they may be one.”

In their joint statement on Tuesday, the Archbishops of ACNZP, the Most Revd Philip Richardson and the Most Revd Don Tamihere, wrote: “The disrespect for the normal protocols of the Anglican Communion and the lack of courtesy shown to our Church by these boundary-crossing bishops is disturbing, and we will be making an appropriate protest about their actions.

“We are especially concerned at the boundary crossing of bishops from the Anglican Church of Australia. We value our trans-Tasman relationship with our neighbouring Church and are disappointed to find a lack of respect for the jurisdiction of our Church….”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jay Behan consecrated a new bishop in Christchurch New Zealand

Jay Behan has been consecrated as the first Bishop of the Diocese of the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand this morning in Christchurch.

Bishops from across the Tasman and around the world took part in the service.

ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council presided, and former Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen preached.

The event was live-streamed, and a recording may be seen via the ConfessingAnglicansNZ Facebook page (a Facebook account is not needed). Audio starts about 12 minutes into the recording, just as the service proper begins.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Australia / NZ, GAFCON

Gafcon General Secretary Ben Kwashi and his Wife Gloria Honoured with Religious Freedom Award

Randel Everett, former executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and former pastor of First Baptist Church of Midland, is the founder and President of 21Wilberforce. Randel Everett says, “their life story is one of courage, faith and boundless love.”

Archbishop Kwashi is the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jos, Nigeria and General Secretary of GAFCON. He is well known as an evangelist throughout Nigeria, Africa, England, and the United States. Dr. Gloria Kwashi has been Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union, Women’s Guild and Girls’ Guild, and is the Provincial Trainer for the Mothers’ Union (Church of Nigeria).

For many years Boko Haram, one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world, has spawned unrest, displacement, and death in northern Nigeria. The Kwashi’s have not escaped the violence. Their vicarage and church were burned to the ground and they have survived several assassination attempts. In response, the Kwashi’s took in 50 orphans who lost their parents due to the violence. Dr. Gloria Kwashi also founded the Zambiri Outreach and Child Care Centre. The primary and secondary school serves 400 pupils – all of whom receive free education, free feeding, uniform, and medical care.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, GAFCON, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

The GAFCON Vice Chairman’s September 2019 Letter

This month, Archbishop Foley Beach has kindly invited me to write the monthly Chairman’s letter and it is a great joy to have this opportunity to write to you. I am full of thankfulness for God’s goodness and favour to the Gafcon movement as ordinary Anglicans around the world work together to make Christ known and encourage each other in faithful discipleship. As former Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has recently commented, the church should be a colony of heaven. It is our great calling to serve the Kingdom of God, and to strive to ensure that the world does not colonise the Church.

Gafcon is committed to strategic ministry as we proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations. This week, our Church Planting Network is holding its first annual conference in North Carolina with church planters from across the Communion in attendance and early next month there will be another Bishops Training Institute Conference, this time in Brazil and our first in South America.

Here in Rwanda there are also exciting developments. On 6th September, all eleven of our dioceses began a project coordinated by the Gafcon Church Planting network in partnership with mission agencies including CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) and the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA). Each diocese has received a new motorcycle and a Jesus Film backpack for evangelism and church planting. This pilot project will enable us to reach more men, women and children all over Rwanda. It will be carefully monitored over the next ten months and I hope it can be developed to reach many more with the gospel around the world.

This is just one way in which Gafcon is reaching Anglicans at the grassroots and equipping for mission. However, we do need to ensure that we have global Anglican Communion structures which are fit for purpose and I am very much looking forward to welcoming bishops and their spouses from around the world to our Kigali 2020 Conference from 9th-14th June. The program is taking shape and I am very excited by all I believe the Lord will do among us as we meet together.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Rwanda, GAFCON

(Church Times) A C of E Priest quits for a GAFCON church plant

A vicar in the diocese of Truro is stepping down after 17 years to plant a new church community under the auspices of GAFCON, it was announced on Sunday.

The Vicar of Fowey, the Revd Philip de Grey-Warter, who is also Priest-in-Charge of Golant, said on Tuesday that he had “wrestled” with the decision since December, when the House of Bishops issued guidance on using the liturgy for the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith to mark a person’s gender transition (News, 14 December 2018).

“We have been very clear that we are making this move in conscience and not telling anyone else what they ought to do,” he said. “We hope some people will come and plant with us, and there will be others who continue in the parish church. We want to ensure good relationships are maintained.”

In a letter for the parish newsletter, published last week, he wrote: “The General Synod and the House of Bishops of the Church of England currently seem less concerned to stick with the Bible than they are to appear ‘relevant’ by changing the message to suit our increasingly secular culture. . .

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), GAFCON, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(AI) GAFCON kept in the dark about Jonathan’s Fletcher alleged misconduct

Though Mr. Fletcher was removed from public ministry in 2017, he continued to hold himself out as a priest in his retirement and led an active ministry life. Following the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Andy Lines in Illinois by GAFCON archbishops last summer, a commissioning service was held in September 2018 at Emmanuel Church to inaugurate his English ministry. GAFCON Archbishops Peter Jensen and Ben Kwashi participated in the service.

The GAFCON spokesman explained: “The service was officiated by Robin Weekes [Emmanuel’s minister]. Jonathan Fletcher did a Q and A with Bishop Lines as part of the evening. The GAFCON global folks there did not know Jonathan’s PTO had been removed.”

He added that no one informed them of Fletcher’s status or the allegations of misconduct. Asked when Bishop Lines understood his long standing relationship with Fletcher may have been unhealthy, the spokesman said:

“Bishop Lines didn’t begin to recognize the nature of the abusive relationship until later in 2018 and didn’t fully come to grasp with it until the first quarter of 2019.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, GAFCON, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Gafcon Chairman Foley Beach’s letter for June 2019

Seeking to be Biblical Christians in a global age, participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference are busy proclaiming Jesus Christ faithfully to the nations by making disciples, evangelizing those who don’t know Jesus, and speaking into corruption, economic injustices, and moral concerns in their local communities. Here are just a few stories from around the world.

Earlier this month, a truly phenomenal gathering took place in Uganda with some two million pilgrims gathering at Namugongo near Kampala where 45 young men, both Anglicans and Roman Catholics, were martyred between 1885-87 for being unwilling to give into the sexually immoral demands of the King and his friends. In recent years, attendance has increased dramatically with many people coming from well beyond Uganda itself. It has become a great festival of worship, teaching, and fellowship demonstrating so wonderfully the vitality of African Christianity.

Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit of Kenya was invited to be the guest preacher at the Anglican Memorial and Archbishop Stanley Ntagali congratulated his fellow Gafcon Primate for his recent announcement that he would not be attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference, saying:

‘The liberals have their money, but we have the true gospel.’

The pilgrims responded with cheering and huge applause because they understood the lesson of the Ugandan martyrs that true discipleship in every generation is sacrificial and marked by the courage to stand firm in the face of ungodly opposition.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, GAFCON, Theology, Theology: Evangelism & Mission, Theology: Scripture

A New Diocese & Bishop for the Church of Confessing Anglicans in New Zealand

[On May 17th]… representatives from twelve churches throughout New Zealand gathered and formed the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand. By the grace of God we are a new Anglican Diocese in these Islands, standing firmly in Anglican faith and practice, and structurally distinct from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

This new Diocese is united in the crucified, risen, ascended and glorified Christ, committed to the authority of the Bible, and dedicated to our common mission of proclaiming to all the good news of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. We praise God for his guidance and grace, and the sense of unity and common purpose we shared as we met.

We also prayerfully elected as our first Bishop the Rev. Jay Behan, Vicar of St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Christchurch. Jay is a man of humility and grace, committed to the authority of the Bible and the Lordship of Jesus. He is an excellent preacher and caring pastor, and will serve and lead the Diocese as together we seek to reach these Islands with the transforming power of the gospel.

Read it all.

Posted in Australia / NZ, GAFCON

The Gafcon Chairman’s May 2019 Letter

Firstly, we elected the Most Rev. Laurent Mbanda, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Rwanda as the deputy chairman. Archbishop Mbanda is a tremendous man of God who has a proven track record of leadership in the cause of Jesus Christ. He replaces Archbishop Stanley Ntagali who has served with humility and grace; a powerful example of Christian leadership to us all.

Secondly, we recognised a new extra provincial diocese for faithful Anglicans in New Zealand. I was privileged to meet many of their leaders on a trip there just before the Primates Council meeting, and I thank God for their courage and vision in taking this historic step to secure the future of Anglican witness in New Zealand. Just this past week, these leaders held their first Synod that approved their Constitution and Canons, and elected the Rev. Jay Behan, vicar of St. Stephen’s, Christchurch, as their first bishop. His consecration is scheduled for October. Pray for him as he continues to lead!

Thirdly, we endorsed the formation of a tenth network to help us share the burdens of the Suffering Church, a reality brought home to us recently by the terrible loss of life caused by the Easter Sunday attacks on three churches in Sri Lanka. Coming out of our G19 Gathering in Dubai, this network will help us all serve the Lord with these sisters and brothers living in challenging contexts.

Fourthly, we announced a Global Bishops Conference to run from 8th-14th June 2020. This gathering, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, has been made necessary by the fact that the 2020 Lambeth Conference is being conducted in violation of its own previous resolutions, especially Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Conference, which reaffirmed the biblical teaching on marriage and human sexuality. We will gather for excellent Bible teaching, worship, training, fellowship and counsel together regarding the challenges facing our sheep.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON, Rwanda

Stephen Noll–GAFCON and the recent Partial ACC Meeting: A Response to Andrew Atherstone

Although Dr. Atherstone devotes most of his report on ACC-17 to matters of church order, he does note that “our deep doctrinal disagreements as Anglicans rumbled along in the background,” because provinces “have changed their doctrine of marriage.” It would appear that he considers “disagreement” on marriage to be among the issues requiring “discipline, differentiation, and even separation.”

His discussion of the 3-year set of restrictions – a.k.a. “consequences” – imposed on the Episcopal Church in 2016 is curious. He notes that these restrictions have now “timed out,” that “the situation is farcical,” and that the “consequences” need more substance, but he refrains from framing the issue in terms of repentance. What makes the situation farcical indeed is that fact that Communion “Instruments” did not require TEC to change its teaching or practice, and now they are talking about moving on to the “healing phase.” Common sense parenting teaches that you do not send a child to a “time-out” without requiring on his return an apology and a promise not to do it again!

Dr. Atherstone apparently considers this failure of discipline a reason for differentiation, personally at least. Hence he declined each day to take Communion with TEC delegates at ACC-17 and suggests that this practice should be offered at Lambeth 2020 because “we are all part of the Anglican Communion but we are not all ‘in communion.’” While one can sympathize with his dilemma, his response is strangely individualistic. Did he commend his position to others at ACC-17? He argues that by allowing separate eucharistic gatherings at official Anglican meetings, “it becomes possible to meet together and discuss our differences and common concern, without pretext…and the pain of our disunity motivates us to renewed efforts toward unity.” As I have argued (see here and here), sitting at table with false teachers at a church council is just as problematic as sitting at the Lord’s Table (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:12). Certainly the early church councils saw it this way (yes, Arius attended Nicaea but was defrocked and exiled from there).

Giving formal recognition to false teachers at a church council, even if it is on the pretext of “listening,” serves to legitimate their position (some call this “open reception”). This is precisely how revisionists advanced their innovations within the Episcopal Church and took them on to the Communion level.

Dr. Atherstone seems strangely naïve about how the game is played. He contrasts the “informal” way the meeting in Hong Kong was conducted with the tightly controlled agenda and autocratic rule by the chair, the table groups gagged by long lectures, and the avoidance of sensitive subjects (“we don’t do doctrine”). But this contrast is not a bug in the program, as they say, but a feature. Welcome to indaba!

His own attempt to bring resolution to the divisions at ACC-17 is revealing. On the key resolution concerning membership in Anglican bodies, he thought his “Oxford” amendment – that LGBTQ advocates should be “welcomed” rather than “included” – would make peace, and he was surprised when the Africans “found their voices and stood one after another to denounce the resolution.” Why should this be a surprise? Meeting after meeting for twenty years, they have strongly defended Lambeth Resolution I.10 and its normative statement that homosexual practice is “incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot be advised.”

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Consultative Council, GAFCON

Phil Ashey–GAFCON Gathers Bishops In June 2020 To Guard And Proclaim The Faith

…there is one development I wish to comment on: the announcement of a GAFCON Bishops Conference June 8-14, 2020 in Kigali Rwanda (prior to the July 2020 Lambeth Conference).

Of the Lambeth 2020 Conference of Bishops, the GAFCON Primates wrote:

“We were reminded of the words of Jeremiah 6:14, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored. They respectfully called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to effect the necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility.

We have not yet received a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury. We note that, as it currently stands, the conference is to include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation.”

Let’s not forget the context. The 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops passed Resolution I.10 upholding faithfulness in marriage between one man and one woman for life, abstinence in all other cases, and rejected as incompatible with the Bible homosexual “practice,” the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions and the ordination to Holy Orders of those in same-gender unions. This Resolution was passed by a vote of the overwhelming majority of bishops of the Anglican Communion (526-70).

Ten years later at the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury decided to suspend the practice of Anglican bishops declaring the official teaching of the Church through resolutions. For the first time, the Lambeth Conference engaged in small group Indaba discussions that resolved nothing. The 2002 institution of rites for the blessing of same sex unions in the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) and the 2003 consecration of a Bishop in a same gender union in New Hampshire USA (TEC), in defiance of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) were allowed to stand unchallenged by the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Over 300 bishops….[declined to compromise the gospel and declined the invitation to attend] in protest of that advance decision by Canterbury, published the Jerusalem Declaration and formed Gafcon instead.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(David Ould) GAFCON affirms it won’t attend or observe The Partial Lambeth Conference of 2020

The GAFCON Primates consulted on the matter during their meeting this past week in Sydney and have written in response to Welby. While the contents of that letter have not been made public, I understand that they have made it very clear that the presence of those who participate in the consecration as bishops of actively partnered homosexuals, let alone the presence of those specific bishops, is in clear contravention of Resolution 1.10 Lambeth 98 and repeated calls for discipline from the Primates.

Beach also noted that Welby has sought to persuade conservatives to attend Lambeth by claiming that Resolution 1.10 will be reopened for debate and that if they do not attend, they may lose the vote. He went on to observe that continuous attendance at other meetings had simply failed to achieve anything and that “we’ve found that our voice is louder when we don’t attend certain events so we’re not manipulated from within them”.

Speaking to the matter a little later in the meeting, Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney pointed out that it was “incongruous” to not invite the spouses of those gay bishops when the bishops themselves were the issue. On the question of whether they would attend Lambeth he said “we’re going to remain firm”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Australia / NZ, GAFCON, Instruments of Unity, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates Council

We were reminded of the words of Jeremiah 6:14, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored. They respectfully called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to effect the necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility.

We have not yet received a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury. We note that, as it currently stands, the conference is to include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation….

On the one hand, we have no interest in attempting to rival Lambeth 2020. On the other hand, we do not want our bishops to be deprived of faithful fellowship while we wait for order in the Communion to be restored. Therefore, we have decided to call together a meeting of bishops of the Anglican Communion in June of 2020. The conference will be primarily designed for those who will not be attending Lambeth, but all bishops of the Anglican Communion who subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration and Lambeth Resolution I.10 are invited to join in this time of teaching, worship, and fellowship. We shall meet June 8-14 in Kigali, Rwanda, and be hosted by Archbishop Laurent Mbanda and the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON

(AI) Statement from GAFCON chairman Archbishop Foley Beach on Canterbury’s invitation to ACNA to observe the partial Lambeth Conference of 2020

The Most Rev. Foley Beach, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America and Chairman of GAFCON writes from Sydney:

Yesterday I received a letter from Archbishop Justin just moments before the invitation was reported online. I read the online report first and was disappointed to see that the original “news” source had furthered a partisan, divisive, and false narrative by wrongly asserting that I left the Anglican Communion. I have never left the Anglican Communion, and have no intention of doing so.

I did transfer out of a revisionist body that had left the teaching of the Scriptures and the Anglican Communion and I became canonically resident in another province of the Anglican Communion. I have never left. For the Anglican Church in North America to be treated as mere “observers” is an insult to both our bishops, many of whom have made costly stands for the Gospel, and the majority of Anglicans around the world who have long stood with us as a province of the Anglican Communion.

Once I have had a chance to review this with our College of Bishops and the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference I will respond more fully.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON

A Statement from Archbishop Ben Kwashi, following the Easter Sunday atrocities in Sri Lanka

Greetings to you in Peace.

Yesterday suicide bombers unleashed death and destruction as unsuspecting Sri Lankan Christians gathered to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Together with those killed in hotels, the death toll has reached 310, with many more injured, and our hearts go out in prayer for all who have been caught up in these deeply traumatic events.

News of this atrocity came through just before I preached at All Souls Langham Place and let me repeat what I said then, “The resurrection of Jesus is a total defeat of death and of those who would want to use death to scare people off from faith in Jesus. His resurrection has made death powerless against all who believe in Jesus Christ.”

At our recent conference in Dubai, Gafcon resolved to stand with the Suffering Church and this will be a leading agenda item for our Primates Council as it meets in Sydney next week. Meanwhile, in this Easter week let us remember that the one who drew alongside two sad and discouraged disciples on the Emmaus road was the Risen Christ who yet still bore the wounds of the cross. By death he has destroyed death and he will be with us until the very end in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Risen Lord be with you!

 

Archbishop Ben Kwashi, Gafcon General Secretary

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Easter, Eschatology, GAFCON, Sri Lanka, Terrorism, Theology

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh–the Gafcon Chairman’s March Letter

A recent blog by Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council had confirmed that the Archbishop of Canterbury would be inviting bishops in same sex unions to Lambeth 2020, but not their partners. The exclusion of the spouses was a break with the convention, and with Archbishop Welby’s own previous statement that all bishops’ spouses would be included.

The reason given was that their presence would not be appropriate because Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, which affirmed the biblical and historic understanding of marriage, remains the position of the Anglican Communion.

But how can the same sex spouses be excluded if their partners are still invited as bishops in good standing? Both are equally committed to a sexual relationship described by Lambeth Resolution I.10 as ‘incompatible with Scripture’.

The inconsistency is obvious to all. Some in the American Episcopal Church (TEC) are now proposing that their Province’s generous financial support for the London based ‘instruments of communion’ should be reviewed, while a UK Member of Parliament has called for the Lambeth Conference to be taken to court for discrimination and it has been confirmed that at least one of the disinvited partners will come to England regardless.

The story unfolding around Lambeth 2020 shows that so called ‘good disagreement’ produces the bitter fruit of controversy and confusion, but this could have been avoided. The Archbishop of Canterbury has shown that he is willing to use his power of invitation to the Lambeth Conference by disinviting the spouses of bishops in same sex unions and he could have used that power to maintain the integrity of the Lambeth Conference as urged in our Jerusalem ‘Letter to the Churches’. Instead, faithful Anglican bishops from North and South America are excluded, while those who tear the fabric of the Communion by word and deed are welcomed.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, GAFCON

The Gafcon G19 Conference Statement

7. As faithful Anglicans, the love of God and His gospel is at the heart of who we are and what we do. We give thanks for the opportunity we have had to join with brothers and sisters in shared fellowship. Our week together has confirmed our shared appreciation of, and submission to, God’s revelation of himself through Scripture to which, by the grace of God, we seek to hold, even in the most adverse situations.

8. We shared in the joy and suffering faced by many of our brothers and sisters living in restricted situations as they seek to remain faithful to Christ.

9. We heard of the sense of betrayal they experience when the very gospel for which they are suffering is being undermined and denied in other parts of the Anglican Communion. It grieves us that those who reject the clarity and authority of the Scriptures, the universal teaching of the Church, the classical Anglican formularies and the decisions of the Lambeth Conference undermine the credibility of our witness amongst our fellow citizens of other faiths and of none.

We respectfully continue to urge that all faithful Anglican provinces, including the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Province of Brazil, be invited to future Anglican gatherings.
At the same time, we ask that those provinces, bishops and clergy who, in word or action, openly disregard the teaching of the Church as described, for example, by Resolution I:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, should not be invited unless they repent of their actions and their consequences.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON

(CEN) Second Gafcon Conference meets in the Middle East

A second Gafcon conference [in the past year] was held in the Middle East at the end of February that brought a current witness of ministry among war, suffering and persecution.

The G19 Conference director Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali told the The Church of England Newspaper that “a good number of faithful Anglicans could not attend Gafcon in Jerusalem last year, so a conference was arranged at a place accessible to them.

“More than 100 leaders from 12 nations attended (in all 4 primates, 31 bishops and ‘internal provincial’ archbishops, 44 clergy and 59 lay leaders) from the Middle East, South Asia, and East and West Africa.”

He said that these were fellow Christians that ‘we must not isolate’.

“Some churches who were able to attend Gafcon last year sent leaders to encourage but also to learn from the main participants, who bring the dimension of suffering to Gafcon –correcting any temptation to triumphalism.

“Participants said the conference exceeded their expectations – for fellowship, teaching, and engagement. All delegates were involved in prayer groups, discussion groups, and developing the conference statement which will be available on the Gafcon website.

“This was a gathering of the suffering and restricted church, but they were hungry for bible teaching, and exuberant in worship. Their witness should be central to the life and work of the Anglican Communion.”

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in GAFCON, Middle East

(TLC Covenant) Ephraim Radner–Cleaning Up The Playing Field: Six Resolutions For Lambeth

1. This Conference reaffirms the 1998 Resolution I.10.

There is no need at this conference to revisit the rationales and counter-arguments about this resolution. It has been reaffirmed several times in other Communion contexts, and in the past 20 years there have been no significant new pieces of information — scriptural, dogmatic, sociological, or medical — that have altered the shape of the theological and pastoral realities surrounding this debate. And the debate has raged unabated, so that it requires no renewed engagement. Let the conference decide.

2. Those bishops and churches who contradict or contravene this affirmation (I.10), or who punish others on the basis of this affirmation, stand outside the boundaries of Anglican teaching and witness as this Conference understands it.

This resolution is aimed solely at definition, for the sake of Anglicans and for the sake of others — Christians and non-Christians — who seek clarity about what the conference means with regard to its identity by making its affirmation regarding I.10. No penalties are proposed; no systems of adjudication are offered.

3. We request that other Communion Instruments of Unity pursue their work on the basis of this teaching and witness.

This resolution marks a simple request for Communion coherence on the matters taken up in I.10. The conference cannot impose its corporate views on other functioning councils or leaders of the Communion (though many will have participated in the conference). But by making it clear that the “understanding of this conference” is one ordered to the unity of Anglican teaching and witness, it lays out some of the parameters according to which any future rethinking of the Communion’s deliberative structures can be measured.

4. We recognize the missionary and pastoral integrity of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and its related member churches; and we urge serious deliberation, locally and at the international level, over how these churches can be integrated fully into the life of the Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Ecclesiology, GAFCON, Instruments of Unity, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A February 2019 Message from Gafcon Chariman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

It came to light last month that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s newly appointed envoy to the Vatican had a history of disputing core Christian doctrine, including a widely circulated video in which he calls for people to be ‘set free’ from belief in a physical resurrection. Dr John Shepherd has responded by issuing a statement which apparently affirms belief that Jesus was raised bodily, but has not repudiated his previous statements to the contrary. Such confusion is itself an obstacle to the gospel.

We have also learned with deep concern that the Assistant Bishop of Toronto, Kevin Robertson, entered into a same sex union using the marriage service in St James’ Cathedral, Toronto. This step by the Anglican Church of Canada underlines the urgency of our advice in the Jerusalem 2018 ‘Letter to the Churches’ warning against attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference as currently constituted. For the first time assistant bishops and their spouses will be invited, so we can expect that Bishop Robertson and his partner will be attending and received in good standing.

Over two hundred bishops did not come to Lambeth 2008 as a matter of conscience because Archbishop Rowan Williams invited the TEC bishops who had approved the consecration in 2003 of Gene Robinson, a man in a same sex partnership, against the clearly stated mind of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, but even Archbishop Williams did not invite Gene Robinson himself on the grounds that he reserved the right not to invite bishops who had caused very serious division or scandal. But now it seems to be considered that a bishop can be married to a same-sex partner in a cathedral, by another bishop, and yet remain in good standing. I strongly commend Professor Stephen Noll’s article ‘Taking Sweet Council Together’ in which he shows how true Christian fellowship is not only a joy, but also a responsibility and must be based on true doctrine. Without that discipline, the Church is prey to the ‘fierce wolves’ St Paul warns the Ephesian elders to beware of, even those who arise from within the Church and speak ‘twisted things’ (Acts 20:29,30).

With great sadness we therefore have to conclude that the Lambeth Conference of 2020 will itself be an obstacle to the gospel by embracing teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and the apostolic Christianity through the ages.

St Paul was prepared to ‘endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ’.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon’s new General Secretrary Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi Introduces Himself

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church of Nigeria, GAFCON

Archbishop Peter Jensen hands on the General Secretary of Gafcon position to Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Much is at stake. It is the testimony of Scripture that ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) and that ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23). Every single human being is so important in the eyes of God, that we will be held accountable for our sins of thought, word and deed on the Day of Judgement and the proper punishment for our sins is the place of destruction, hell itself.

The Gospel is not some children’s game, or some therapy to make us feel better. It is deadly serious. And it needs to be preached faithfully, in its full-orbed truth. It is about the salvation of sinners from hell.

‘The wages of sin is death’, but the rest of this wonderful sentence runs, ‘the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’, These words capture the grace of God (the free gift) given to us when we did not deserve it and were incapable of being good enough to receive it. It reminds us of the glory that is ours in eternal life, as opposed to destruction. And it tells us where eternal life may be found, namely in the Jesus who is the Christ, the fulfilment of all the promises of God, and the one who saves us by being our Lord.

In our times, the tendency is to omit two absolutely vital parts of this: First, the fact that we are faced with the choice between life and death. We fail to preach judgement, because we do not want to offend. Instead we preach a Christ who will fulfil all our desires – for money, for success, for happiness, because we cannot believe in eternal life and eternal death.

Second, we omit the summons to repentance which is integral to the true Gospel.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of Nigeria, GAFCON

Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s Epiphany Letter

The choice before us as a global communion is between this revealed wisdom of God and the wisdom claimed by secular ideologies. For a while the reality of this fork in the road can be obscured by an insistence on dialogue in its various guises such as ‘indaba’, ‘good disagreement’ and ‘walking together’, but in the absence of godly discipline, false teaching will continue to spread.

In the Church of England, just before Christmas, this process reached the point where its bishops took the unprecedented step of giving official guidance for what they described as ‘services to help transgender people mark their transition’ and it will be incorporated into ‘Common Worship’ (a range of services authorised by General Synod).

The guidance states that ‘the House of Bishops commends the rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith as the central feature of any service to recognize liturgically a person’s gender transition’. A form of service which is intended to mark a renewed commitment to Christ and the new life we receive through him is instead used to celebrate an identity which contradicts our God-given identity as male and female (as affirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:4) and is still controversial even in secular society.

Although Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998 did not directly address gender transition, by taking this step, the Church of England is rejecting biblical authority in a similar way to TEC and other revisionist Provinces which have permitted same sex marriage….

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Theology: Scripture

The Gafcon General Secretary Peter Jensen’s Christmas Message

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Christmas, Christology, GAFCON, Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

Gafcon Chairman Archbp Nicholas Okoh’s Advent 2018 Letter

So we salute the courage of all those Anglicans around the world who sacrifice to proclaim Christ faithfully. Some live in contexts where Christians face attempts to very severely restrict their witness and our Gafcon 2019 Conference in Dubai next February is designed to encourage such brothers and sisters. Others continue to face persecution from within the Church itself, most notoriously in North America, and I commend especially to your prayers the Bishop of Albany, the Rt Revd Bill Love, who was present with us in Jerusalem for Gafcon 2018.

With effect from Advent, TEC (the Episcopal Church of the United States) has mandated that all its dioceses must permit same sex marriage rites, but Bishop Love has issued a pastoral letter in which he makes it clear that this will not be permitted in the Diocese of Albany because the Episcopal Church “is attempting to order me as a Bishop in God’s holy Church, to compromise ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3) and to turn my back on the vows I have made to God and His People.”

It remains to be seen how Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will proceed, but TEC is relentlessly pursuing the faithful Dioceses of South Carolina and Fort Worth through the courts, as it has done with many others in the past.

Finally, let us ask Almighty God to continue his blessing upon us in this time of leadership transition.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, GAFCON

Archbishop Glenn Davies’ Presidential Address to the Diocese of Sydney

The reason why GAFCON came into existence is that parts of the Anglican Communion had departed from the doctrine of Christ. While the presenting issue was concerned with human sexuality, the underlying problem was the authority of Scripture. Furthermore, the so-called Instruments of Communion failed to address this departure from the faith ‘once for all delivered to the saints’. It is for this reason that a vast number of bishops, including the Archbishop and Assistant Bishops of the Diocese of Sydney, did not attend the Lambeth Conference in 2008. The doctrinal bond that held the Anglican Communion together had dissolved. Whereas previous Lambeth Conferences had expressed their mind through resolutions, which at least had moral force for all Anglican Provinces, in 2008 the conference was resolution-free. The agreed tenets of our Anglican faith were no longer held in common. The lure of the world’s values and the accommodation to the world’s view of human sexuality had broken the bonds of affection and the ties that bind. Echoing Ezekiel’s explanation as to the coming judgment of God upon Israel,

…for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed
to the standards of the nations around you. Ezekiel 11:12

GAFCON is a reforming instrument of the Anglican Communion and calls all faithful Anglicans to stand firm for the teaching of Christ, explicitly recorded in Matthew 19:1-12. Yet it is not a single focus movement. The establishment of nine strategic networks last June, from theological education to ministry to children and youth, reflects the global reach of GAFCON in seeking to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations. GAFCON is no threat to the Anglican Communion. It is only a threat to those who consider the Bible’s teaching on sexuality is outmoded and irrelevant, or to those who want to maintain a mere façade of unity, where no real unity exists. It is for this reason that the ‘Letter to the Churches’, overwhelmingly endorsed by the whole assembly of GAFCON 2018, expressed the view that attendance at the 2020 Lambeth Conference could not be contemplated, if bishops from those provinces who had departed from the teaching of Christ were invited. While I have a personal respect and affection for the Archbishop of Canterbury, he carries a grave responsibility upon his shoulders. If our Anglican Communion is merely defined by historical connections and heritage, rather than a doctrinally grounded commitment to Christ and the teaching of the Bible, then our koinōnia is not the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. GAFCON seeks to reform and renew the Anglican Communion by reclaiming its doctrinal foundations.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s reflections on Gafcon 2018: ‘our God is a global God and he calls us to go to the whole world which he has made’


I remember when Elizabeth and I visited the Grand Canyon (if you have not you should definitely go). At the end of the day in which it seemed at every single vantage point, in every possible way, there was more to take in, we came to a lookout and there was the sign: “it seems too grand a statement even for nature to make.”

That sentiment fits well with all epic events and visits—there are so many perspectives you can never take them all in, and then if you could the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Gafcon 2018, one of the largest international gatherings of Anglicans in the last 5 decades, was just such an epic event. So read widely, take in all the livestream daily and other videos, and then realize even for those of us who were there it was just so much more.

I offer only my vantage point, trusting you will drink deeply from the good well of all the resources out there to get a better sense of the whole.

Consider the people. There were those whom you did know, and those who were new, and the sheer joy on both of those scores for me personally was immense.

Imagine—there was Vaughan Roberts, who I first met in the early 1990’s at Saint Ebbe’s, Oxford, when he was a curate (he is now a distinguished preacher and author). And up one day came Bishop Ray Smith and his wife Shirley whom I hadn’t seen since the mid 1980’s! These kinds of joyous reunions went on all conference long.

Then there were new people, most notably me for my daily prayer group which consisted of 2 Americans, 2 Australians, 2 Ugandans and 2 Nigerians. What different contexts and yet what a common bond in Christ and what beautiful prayers were prayed!

I should also mention my roommate, Sam Ferguson, assistant pastor for research and teaching at The Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church, Virginia. We had so much fun talking together that by the end I had him conversing with my wife via Facetime so he could tell her I was indeed behaving. Sam is one of the promising up and coming leaders in North American Anglicanism and is at present pursuing a PhD at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he is focused on the relevant and vital subject of biblical anthropology. (I am very pleased to say that when I was finalizing this reflection, Sam had been called to be the new rector of Falls Church, succeeding one of the true giants among the senior leaders of North American Anglican evangelicalism, John Yates).

The worship every morning was unforgettable in its contagious joy. We were led by a choir from Nigeria who wore different colors for each morning, all of which matched—and oh how they lifted us into the Lord’s presence. It was a chance to experience the rich embodiment of Psalm 122:1 ‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”

In terms of the plenary sessions, a number of elements stood out. Our theme all through the conference was proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations and this was emphasized in many facets and ways–as for example when we welcomed continents and they would flash all the countries from a given continent who were at Gafcon 2018 up on the screen. By far the most moving moment of the whole gathering for me personally was when we were encouraged to pray the Lord’s prayer in our own language and nearby one could hear maybe 60-100 different dialects and languages. It was an awesome reminder that our God is a global God and he calls us to go to the whole world which he has made.

The authority of the Bible and the importance of letting the text speak on its own terms was another important feature of the major presentations. For myself I would highlight the presentations of Richard Coekin, David Short and Michael Raiter as excellent examples of people who were working hard to unearth the treasures of the text with theological depth and integrity.

As if all this was wasn’t enough, there were the individual seminar sessions, and I would like to say a word about the one I was asked to do. I was paired with evangelist Rico Tice, whom I had never met until we worked together in presenting on the Christian understanding of hell. It was Rico’s idea when we spoke over the phone before the conference to interview me as one who had devoted three years of his life to doctoral research on hell. This made for a very engaging format for the participants, especially when it was paired with Rico’s own evangelistic presentation on hell in which he went into detail about how he presents Jesus’ clear teaching on the possibility of missing one’s destiny to his own friends.

Of all the elements that emerged from the questions which came from the floor in the second half of our presentation, the one which seemed to have the most traction was the idea of practical universalism. This is the idea of the parish who says they take the clear New teaching on hell seriously but in practical terms they never present classes or sermons about it, or engage their friends in serious witness for the kingdom where hell features in a meaningful way. In such a case there is no difference between that parish and one which denies hell altogether in terms of the day to day life of the Christians in the community.

Our challenge is to reclaim the doctrine of hell in the twentieth century and lovingly warn people that rejecting Christ is a choice of eternal significance. It was of special interest in this regard that the doctrine of hell was regularly mentioned by a number of the plenary speakers at Gafcon 2018.

The mention of hell had a logical fit in the overarching structure of Gafcon2018. Because the unsearchable riches of Christ are the most precious gift in the universe, not to receive them would be the greatest loss. This was yet another reminder of the importance of proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations, the conference theme.
–KSH.

Posted in 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….

Read it all.

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.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON