Category : Global South Churches & Primates

(Gafcon) Archbp Peter Jensen–The Mythical Middle

Think. What if the truth is actually on the boundary and not in the middle? What if there is no middle, but the choice is binary, and the middle is a mythical middle?

For example, imagine a denomination in which some ministers teach that Jesus was a merely good man and others teach that he is both true God and true man. Where is the moderate, middle view here? Would it be to say that Jesus is divine but not fully God? We can hear all the arguments in favour of this moderate position – but we know that it is actually heretical.

By using the word ‘extremist’ for those who hold a strong point of view, who make a stand, we excuse ourselves from the need to think, to make a decision, to act. Or we give ourselves permission to bless what God calls sin because it is not the most extreme form of such an activity. Or we acquiesce without protest in the activities of others doing this, in our name.

But in the present case, there is no middle. We are faced with a choice between the teaching of scripture backed by the continuous interpretative tradition of the church catholic, and a shift from scripture into what God disapproves of.

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Posted in Australia, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(GAFCON) Archbp Peter Jensen: Reflections on Truth, Division and Fellowship

At the heart of the divisions which have beset the Anglican Communion since 2002 is a profound disagreement over sexual ethics, in particular whether same sex unions can be blessed by God in the light of the teaching of the Bible. The teaching of GAFCON is that the Bible is clear on three vital points.

First, that sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage is forbidden by God and not in the best interests of humans.

Second, that persistent behaviour of this sort puts those who engage in it outside the kingdom of God and therefore at risk of losing salvation.

Third, acceptance of this behaviour in the church means that the full gospel cannot be preached, since the full gospel requires repentance from sexual sin.

But there is more to it than that. The Bible tells us that in a society in which the truth about God is supressed, the consequence is godless sexual licence. This is a sign of an unhealthy community in deep trouble.

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Posted in - Anglican: Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Daily Mail) Some Anglican Primates plan not to come to Justin Welby led Primates Meeting due to actions+theology contradicting the apostles

Traditionalist archbishops are planning to boycott a summit of Anglican leaders chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury because he is seen as too liberal over homosexuality.

It is understood at least two African archbishops will not attend the October gathering as Archbishop Justin Welby has also invited their liberal counterparts from the US and Scotland, who already conduct gay marriages in church.

Insiders said four or five other conservative archbishops from Africa and Asia could also boycott the Canterbury summit of the leaders of the 70 million-strong Anglican Communion, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is nominal leader. The snub would be a fresh blow to Archbishop Welby’s efforts to prevent a permanent split in global Anglicanism.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

Statement on the consecration of a Gafcon Missionary Bishop by Archbishop Foley Beach

I speak to you today as the Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America, and as a sitting primate on the Gafcon Primates Council. On behalf of the Chairman of Gafcon, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria, the Assistant Chairman, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, and the Gafcon Primates Council: Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

We continue to have a crisis in the Anglican Communion as the virus of revisionist theology and practice continues to spread to various Provinces. Rather than correcting and disciplining those who have departed from the biblical faith and practice which has been handed down to us from the Apostles, some church leaders are embracing false teaching, and then going even further by promoting it around the world.

The Nairobi Communiqué from the Gafcon meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013 clearly stated that the Gafcon leadership would not ignore the pleas of the faithful who are trapped in places where false doctrine and practice occur. We promised that we would provide pastoral care and oversight for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.

At our April meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, the Gafcon Primates decided to provide a missionary bishop for Europe with the initial focus on those in Scotland and those faithful Anglicans in England outside the Church of England. Today’s decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalized by their leaders. The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Christian Today) Rival ‘missionary bishop’ to be announced by GAFCON if Scottish Episcopal Church embraces false theology of marriage

Synod members are expected to pass that motion that removes the understanding of marriage as ‘a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman’.

The teaching will read: ‘In the light of the fact that there are differing understandings of the nature of marriage in this Church, no cleric of this Church shall be obliged to conduct any marriage against their conscience.’

Rev David McArthy, a traditionalist priest in the SEC and part of the conservative Scottish Anglican Network, told Christian Today there was an ‘immense sadness from many people in Scotland’ about the upcoming decision.

‘It is not simply a group of evangelical churches who have concerns about this but a fairly wide group,’ he said.

‘I pray that the leadership realise what they are about to do will have serious consequences for the church.’

Read it all.

Posted in --Scotland, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AI) Missionary bishop for Britain consecrated at Jesmond against the counsel of GAFCON-UK

A missionary bishop has been consecrated for evangelical Anglicans seeking a reformation for the reformed catholic faith in England. Participants in the 2 May 2017 consecration of the Rev. Jonathan Pryke at Jesmond Parish Church in the Diocese of Newcastle by bishops of the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) hope their ceremony will see a renewal and rebirth of the faith in England.

However, critics within the conservative movement warn this may be the start of the fracturing of the traditionalist coalition in the Church of England, with each faction opposed to the recent innovations of doctrine and discipline forging their own way forward.

Sources close to the participants in the ceremony state the decision to consecrate Bishop Pryke (pictured) was taken against the counsel of GAFCON-UK. At their meeting in Lagos last month, the GAFCON primates called for the consecration of a bishop to support members of the Scottish Episcopal Church who could not continue in that denomination should it enact legislation permitting same-sex marriage this summer, and for Anglicans alienated from their bishops in England over doctrine and discipline.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Global South Churches & Primates, Religion & Culture

(CEN) Coming soon: a Gafcon bishop for Europe

Admitting that news of a missionary bishop may seem to some ‘a threat to their hopes’ of ‘reform’ within their European provinces they explained that ‘the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution’.

“We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand,” said the Primates.

Gafcon UK ‘welcomed’ the decision to consecrate a missionary bishop, saying that ‘many faithful clergy and lay people’ in the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales feel ‘increasing concern’ about the ‘revisionist trajectory’ of these Churches.

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said that the news that Gafcon intends to send a missionary bishop to Britain is ‘regrettable’.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Global South Churches & Primates, Scottish Episcopal Church

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

Jules Gomes Interview: Archbp Welby risks a fatal Anglican split over same-sex relationships

Jules Gomes: The last few weeks has seen a PR disaster for the Church of England. If not a reading from the Koran that denies the divinity of Jesus at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, it is a service of Evening Prayer at Westcott House, Cambridge using gay slang and calling the Holy Spirit “Fantabulosa Fairy.” As director of Reform and committed to biblical orthodoxy, you must be hanging in by your fingernails. How long before your fingernails begin to crack and you let go?

Susie Leafe: I’m not sure we can blame the Church of England for what happens in Glasgow but I know what you mean. The great thing to know is that we are not hanging over an abyss””God has promised to build his Church””only he knows what role the Church of England will play in his future plans. As Reform, we have followed the experiences of orthodox Anglicans in North America and like them we are very grateful for the support and leadership we receive from other parts of the Anglican Communion GAFCON and the Global South. As always, we pray and work for the best whilst planning for the worst.

JG: In its recent report the House of Bishops have upheld traditional teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. But in the very same breath the report says that Church law should be interpreted to provide “maximum freedom” for LGBT people. Isn’t this the C of E fudge factory working overtime?

SL: The Report will be discussed at General Synod this week. It describes itself as a compromise and I have not heard anyone endorse it without very serious reservations. Personally, I believe the most worrying element of the Report is the way the bishops have reinterpreted the law of the C of E about where our doctrine can be found. They appear to sideline Scripture and the traditional formularies of the Church, in favour of finding the boundaries of freedom in Canon Law.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

AS Haley on the Latest Anglican Developments–Exacerbating Disunion

Just three months afterward, the Anglican Consultative Council (a deliberative body in which lay persons, clergy, bishops and Primates all take part as elected representatives of their respective denominations) held its sixteenth triennial meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. Representatives from ECUSA attended, but refused to honor the Primates’ requirement to abstain from certain deliberations of the Council having to do with “doctrine or polity.” Nor did the Council bar them from doing so.

The Episcopal delegates not only refused, but they gloated about the Council’s refusal even to consider the Primates’ requirement. In an open letter they sent to ECUSA after the meeting, which was published in the official Episcopal News Service, they reported that although Archbishop Welby had communicated the results of the January meeting to the Council, “ACC members seemed to have little energy for answering the primates’ call for consequences”.

Thus just as they flouted Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference in 2003, when they approved the consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson contrary to that Resolution, and just as they have repeatedly, in the years since, rejected all calls to change their course, ECUSA is determined to walk apart from the former Communion while keeping up the pretense that their actions have not turned it into a Disunion. (“How could it be a ‘Disunion’?” I hear them asking. “We still attend all its meetings!”)

Not only do they insist on exercising their full authority and rights when it comes to participation in Anglican-wide affairs, but they rub it in the GAFCON Primates’ faces every chance they get. For instance, Archbishop Welby has invited all Anglican Primates (with the exception of ACNA’s, whom he had invited the previous year) to another meeting at Canterbury next October. Just last week, the official news organ of the Anglican [Dis]union published a story about his invitation, and his expectations for the meeting. In the process, they rather loosely characterized ECUSA’s actions at ACC-16 in Lusaka (by serving up what is called “Anglican fudge” to describe what happened).

The ECUSA delegates to that meeting issued a response challenging the story’s accuracy, and ACNS had to add some further explanation by way of making the fudge thicker. (See the updated story here, and the explanation at the end. What ACNS added is the last sentence to the next-to-last paragraph.)

The upshot is that ECUSA once again saw to it that the other Primates were told in no uncertain terms that ECUSA had never yet acceded to their demands, and was not about to change its course.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Gafcon Chairman Nicholas Okoh's February 2017 letter

There are however serious concerns. It is urged that we must look for contradictory positions to be resolved in ways which are ”˜in some way hidden from us’ (paragraph 8). No reason for this optimism is given, yet it is on this basis that the report says that it is still possible for Anglicans to ”˜walk together’ (paragraph 59) and claims this was what the Anglican Primates agreed when they met in Canterbury in January 2016.

What our resolution agreed in Canterbury actually said was that while ”˜It is our unanimous desire to walk together’, the actions of The Episcopal Church ”˜further impair our communion’. This is in line with the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which identified rejection of apostolic teaching on sexuality and marriage as a manifestation of a ”˜false gospel’ which required godly discipline.

It seems therefore that the Church of England bishops have recommended the right thing for the wrong reason. They have retained the Church’s traditional teaching, but because they think that holding opposite views together will eventually produce a consensus, not because it represents an apostolic boundary.

This understanding is confirmed by the fact that the report encourages a relaxation of church discipline and confuses pastoral sensitivity with a permissive church culture which already tolerates, in practice, clergy who have contracted same-sex ”˜marriages’….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon Statement on TEC Voting in Lusaka

From here:

The agreement from the January Primates meeting in 2016 was broken when The Episcopal Church (TEC) took part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity and doctrine in Lusaka. Equally damaging, was an attempt by the Anglican Communion Office to deny the fact by claiming that, technically, the process included no formal votes. This is sophistry.

The Primates agreement in January was never limited to the narrow issue of the method of voting. It said that “[The Episcopal Church] will not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine.” [Primates 2016 Communique]
Whether a meeting uses a consensus model, or a voice vote, or paper ballots, or electronic ballots is of no relevance. The Episcopal Church was not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine. They did.

As the GAFCON Primates Council has said: “The future of the Anglican Communion does not lie with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written.” [Gafcon Primates Communique, April 2016]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Media, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

A Remnant in Scotland find hope through Gafcon

Read it all and watch the whole video (4 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

Peter Jensen–Is Gafcon the problem? A Response to Josiah Idowu-Fearon

As we evaluate and critique the Secretary-General’s position on these matters it’s important to focus on the views themselves, representing those of the senior leadership of the Anglican Communion, rather than the person himself. In reverse order:

a) ”˜African antagonism to homosexuality has been taught by American conservatives’. This is simply endorsing the narrative of Western LGBT activists who themselves have been campaigning to introduce their views into Africa with the powerful support of Western governments and even the UN. When they find resistance they assume it to come from the other side in their home culture war, as they cannot conceive of African leaders being able to think for themselves.

b) The harsh, blanket criticism of African church leaders (“unChristlike, despotic, corrupt”) is generalizing and inaccurate.
While of course some Church leaders are like this in Africa as in other parts of the world, there are many godly men and women who lead sacrificially and wisely. To suggest that they focus on sexuality while neglecting issues of deprivation and suffering is, again, simply not true, and again appears to be repeating the views of liberal Westerners who have never seen the heroic work going on all over the continent by churches.

c) The comment that “GAFCON is not a movement of the Holy Spirit” needs to be measured against the gracious forbearance shown by GAFCON leaders towards those with whom they disagreed at Canterbury in January 2016, and the wonderful unity displayed in the Cairo meeting of early October. Such an erroneous and harsh judgement of GAFCON sadly shows a determination not to reconcile with the movement, but to discredit it completely in the eyes of a Western audience. But GAFCON is a movement to hold the Anglican Communion together around the word of God, in line with the classical position of Anglicanism. It has not created schism, but has actually enabled loyal Anglicans to stay in the Communion. Following the teaching of God’s word, it refuses to have fellowship with those who have compromised the faith on matters of salvation. They have abandoned Communion, not GAFCON. This is the true logic of being a ”˜conservative’.

d) The emphasis on reconciliation between people holding different views, so that institutional unity must be preserved at all costs is at odds with the New Testament. According to Ephesians 2 and 3, people from warring human religious and cultural backgrounds, alike estranged from God, are brought together by repentance, faith in Christ and obedience to God’s word. There is then one church and one faith. Serious disagreement over core doctrines is not good diversity which can be managed by institutional control and re-organization, but a sign of serious sickness in the body.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Global South Churches & Primates

Ruth Gledhill's Christian Today article on the Archbp Josiah Fearon interview in the Previous post

Josiah Idowu-Fearon, appointed secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council last year, said his commitment to reconciliation remained firm.

But on the issue at the root of the disagreements, human sexuality, he admitted there was “no way” of finding agreement. “It’s not possible,” he said. The alternative to finding a way to live together was to allow separate “splinter groups”.

Idowu-Fearon also criticised the leadership of Anglican churches in Africa as ineffective.

He said he was speaking from experience, and described them as “despotic”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture