Category : GAFCON

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s Gafcon Chairman’s October 2017 letter

Anglicanism claims to be an expression of Reformed Catholic Christianity, but the Canterbury [Partial] Primates Meeting held earlier this month shows once again that the Anglican Communion is in urgent need of a new reformation. I and a number of brother Primates (representing between us over half of practising Anglicans worldwide) did not attend as a matter of conscience. We cannot ‘walk together’ with those who have abandoned the teaching of the Bible, but that is what the Communiqué issued from the meeting encourages us to do. The painful truth is that the authority of Scripture is being replaced by the authority of Canterbury.

There is no mention in the Communiqué of Lambeth Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference where the vast majority of the Communion’s bishops reaffirmed the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, including the clear statement that homosexual practice is contrary to Scripture.

Same-sex ‘marriage’ is referred to merely as a difference of understanding while the only call to repentance is to those who have crossed provincial boundaries to support orthodox brothers and sisters unchurched by leaders who have rejected God’s Word.

The Conference also affirmed the LGBTI community and their lifestyle, while unequivocally disowning the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), an orthodox Anglican Province.

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, GAFCON, Partial Primates meeting Canterbury 2017

(Gafcon) Peter Jensen–A Statement on the Consecration of the Rt Revd Gavin Ashenden by the Christian Episcopal Church

We recognize that there is a spiritual vacuum caused by the silence and even compromise of much traditional leadership in the West and it is not surprising that new leadership should emerge. Our preference is that it will emerge from the highest level of cooperation and collaboration between these initiatives, so that those who uphold ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’ (Jude 4) work together as far as the integrity of their church polity allows. Nonetheless, we pray that the ministry of Bishop Ashenden, and all Christian leaders who love the truth, will bear much fruit for the gospel.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, GAFCON, Religion & Culture

(AI) Fallout in Australia over Andrew Lines consecration

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia has asked the church’s Appellate Tribunal to offer a ruling as to whether its bishops may participate in the consecration of bishops who are not members of the Anglican Communion.

On 16 August 2017, the Most Rev. Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, wrote to the registrar of the tribunal stating he had received a request from the Bishop of Bendigo, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Curnow, supported by four other bishops that raised objections to the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Andrew Lines of the Anglican Church in North America by the Archbishop of Sydney and Bishops of Tasmania and Northwest Australia.

The proceedings, made public in a letter to the Australian bishops on 28 August 2017, comes a week before the start of the church’s General Synod at Maroochydore, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, from 3-9 Sept 2017 and will likely overshadow its proceedings.

The Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia is not a disciplinary tribunal, but a body charged with providing legal opinions on ecclesiastical questions.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Australia, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Pastoral Theology

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s Gafcon’s Chairman Letter for September 2017

I attended the Canterbury Primates Meeting held in January 2016 because I believed it might be possible to make a new start and change the pattern of repeated failure to preserve the integrity of Anglican faith and order. I was disappointed. The Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka the following April neutered the Primates’ action to distance The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) from Communion decision making. TEC has not repented, and continues to take aggressive legal action against orthodox dioceses. For example, the congregations of the Diocese of San Joaquin are currently having to turn over their places of worship to TEC, which has no realistic plan for filling them with worshippers.  At the same time, the Diocese of South Carolina is now facing the potential loss of many of its historic buildings.

My disappointment was shared by the other Global South Primates who gathered in Cairo last October and we concluded in our communiqué that the ‘Instruments of Communion’ (which include the Primates Meeting of course) are “unable to sustain the common life and unity of the Anglican Churches worldwide” and do actually help to undermine global mission.

The only difference between the present and 2008, when Gafcon was formed, is that we have a different Archbishop of Canterbury. Everything else is the same or worse. There is endless debate, the will of the orthodox Primates is frustrated and misrepresented, false teaching is not being corrected, and nothing is being done to halt orthodox Anglicans in North America (and maybe soon elsewhere) being stripped of the churches that have helped form their spiritual lives.

In these circumstances, I have concluded that attendance at Canterbury would be to give credibility to a pattern of behaviour which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity. Our energies in the Church of Nigeria will be devoted to what is full of hope and promise for the future, not to the repetition of failure.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Gafcon) Archbp Peter Jensen–Looking forward to Jerusalem 2018

There are several striking things about this moment.

First, the name. The 2008 Conference was a totally new initiative. It looked forward – it is a Future Conference. The Communion of old had changed irrevocably with events in North America which denied both the clear teaching of the word of God and also the value of Christian unity and fellowship. The Future Conference did not abandon the Communion: it looked to the future and saw what the Communion would have to become if it is to survive.

Second, the location. It was no accident that we were summoned to Jerusalem. Here was the scene of the Saviour’s death and resurrection. In Jerusalem, the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and the Gospel was first preached. If we were looking and hoping for renewal and courage, symbolically there could be no better place than this. It took us back to our true roots.

Third, the participants. The key thing here is that not only bishops were invited, but clergy and laity, men and women, young and old. To have a future conference of bishops only would be a vote for the past. This was a new thing, a new day.

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Posted in GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates, Israel

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh–The Gafcon Chairman’s July 2017 letter

Chicago was therefore a foretaste of what we can expect in Jerusalem as we gather in June 2018 on the tenth anniversary of the founding of this great movement and the publication of the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. Our theme is ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations’ and invitations will be going out this month. We look forward with great eagerness to another wonderful gathering as we come together in true communion under the Word of God and in the power of the Spirit of God.

As a global family we do not want any to be excluded through lack of resources. We are looking to fund some bursaries for those in real need and I urge those of us who are materially blessed, whether as provinces, dioceses, parishes or individuals, to be generous so that our fellowship will not be hindered.

Gafcon began in 2008 as what my predeccesor, Archbishop Peter Akinola, described as a ‘rescue mission’ for the Anglican Communion. That rescue was not limited to North America. There is still much to do because history is repeating itself in other parts of the world, as the recent capitulation of the Scottish Episcopal Church to secular ideas about marriage has demonstrated.

False teaching is restless and relentless, and the Church of England itself is in grave spiritual danger. It is much to be regretted that there has been far more concern about alleged ‘boundary crossing’ than about the contempt of God’s Word that made a missionary bishop necessary. In fact, the Bishop of Edinburgh, who has strongly supported the Scottish Episcopal Church’s adoption of same sex ‘marriage’ was invited as a guest of honour to the Church of England’s July General Synod meeting.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Marriage & Family, Missions, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon Chairman Archbp Nicholas Okoh’s June 2017 letter

I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. On Thursday 8th June, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) changed its teaching to allow men to be married to men and women to women. It followed the path already taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin. It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behaviour that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behaviour, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.

Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops in dioceses led by Arians because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake. This was the principle guiding the interventions which led to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009 and it was affirmed by over three hundred bishops in assembly at Gafcon 2013 in Nairobi. It was therefore very appropriate that on the same day that the Scottish Episcopal Church formally turned aside from the historic Christian faith, Gafcon announced that Canon Andy Lines, already an internationally recognised missionary statesman, will be consecrated later this month as a Gafcon missionary bishop for Europe.

This is not a step we have taken lightly, but from the beginning Gafcon has been committed to standing with the marginalised. Requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury, had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions.

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Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates to Members and Supporters After their just concluded Lagos Meeting

Many in our African provinces are confronted by the dual threats of insurgent Islamism and drought. The targeting of Christians and churches in northern Nigeria has been in the news, and the daily dangers there and elsewhere continue to be real. Combined with drought conditions, there is the potential for widespread famine in our Sub-Saharan provinces.

In our Global North provinces the challenges are different. With the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations, our people in these provinces face dangers that are subtle, but spiritually dangerous.

Please keep each of these concerns in your prayers, and consider what God might be calling you to do in response. Our provinces have borders, but our Church does not, and the sharing of material and spiritual resources has never been more needed.

A Missionary Bishop
During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

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Posted in GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates

(AI) GAFCON response to Daily Mail report on a flying bishop for Britain

“The situation in the UK is not uniform. Within England there is troubling ambiguity from diocese to diocese in their teaching and pastoral practice as it pertains to human sexuality and biblical church order. However, the situation in the Scottish Episcopal Church is of immediate concern. There has been a clear rejection of biblical truth by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and they are expected to finalise this rejection of Anglican teaching and apostolic order in the upcoming June meeting of their Synod. Alternative structures and oversight will need to be in place should that unfortunate reality come to pass. At their meeting this week, the Gafcon Primates will be considering a range of options for how to care for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), GAFCON

Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s April 2017 Letter

In our time, God is still active through his Word, the Scriptures. The Anglican Communion is a wonderful gift of God, but we see its witness degraded and confused by false teaching. What is more, the Communion’s traditional leadership responds by accommodating it. There is no hope in that direction, but at the same time, we see a new future unfolding. This is the Gafcon vision and it is being demonstrated very clearly in North America.

Last month, under the inspired and courageous leadership of Bishop Mark Lawrence, the former TEC Diocese of South Carolina voted unanimously to affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). South Carolina will be its largest diocese and already has a global reach. Its annual ‘Mere Christianity’ conferences are highly regarded and its Anglican Leadership Institute is devoted to developing faithful leaders throughout the Communion. This is a very significant moment in the global realignment of the Communion. Here we see the power of the Word of the Lord: TEC recedes into history while faithful Anglican witness grows.

Commitment to growth will be much in evidence at the ACNA’s Provincial Assembly as it meets in Chicago from 27th to 30th June this year. Gafcon leaders from around the world will join Archbishop Foley Beach as over 1,000 members come together around the theme of ‘Mission on our Doorstep’; a vision for local mission which is greatly strengthened by partnerships that span the continents. I encourage all who can to make the most of this opportunity to work together and be equipped for the vital task of gospel proclamation.

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Posted in * South Carolina, GAFCON

The GAFCON vision in action

In January 2016 the Gafcon Primates played a leading role at the Canterbury Primates meeting called by Archbishop Justin Welby. The Primates voted overwhelming to apply disciplinary measures to the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC), following its official adoption of same sex ‘marriage’. Sadly, these measures were not followed through, but the Gafcon Primates were widely quoted by the BBC and international media as the leading voice for orthodoxy in the Communion.

Meanwhile, violations of the mind of the Communion on marriage and sexuality, as expressed in Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, continue in the Church of England itself as revisionists attempt to establish ‘facts on the ground’. In November, GAFCON UK courageously drew international attention to this trend. A subsequent House of Bishops report recommended no change in the Church of England’s doctrinal position, but indiscipline continues.

An Epiphany service at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, included a liturgical reading from the Koran in which the divinity of Jesus was explicitly denied. The Archbishop of Canterbury declined to comment, but Gafcon UK leaders were prominent in the protests that followed this shocking departure from apostolic faith.

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Posted in GAFCON

(Gafcon) Archbp Peter Jensen: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners

That simple statement from 1 Timothy 1:15 has always been one of my favourite Bible verses, for a number of reasons. Pre-eminently, though, it is because it conveys the heart of the gospel. It always reminds me of the picture the Lord Jesus himself gave of the shepherd who seeks the lost sheep until he finds it, lays it on his shoulders and brings it home safely.

Whatever else you may think about the Lord coming into the world, saving sinners was his chief aim and his death on the cross was the chief means.

Those of us brought up on the Book of Common Prayer will remember that 1 Timothy 1:15 is one of those precious ‘comfortable words’ which we hear in the context of confessing our sinfulness to the Lord. For our sins, amply revealed by the Law of God, leave us with nowhere to go. And yet, the Good Shepherd finds us.

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Posted in Australia, Christology, GAFCON, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture