Thursday, 31 July 2008

"The Church cannot heal this crisis of betrayal" says Archbishop Henry Orombi
















Have you ever been to the doctors with an ailment but felt silly describing your symptoms thinking to yourself “I am wasting my doctor's time”? Only to discover that your condition was much more serious than you feared? You were kind of glad to know how bad it was. You were grateful that your doctor could do something about it.

I feel the same way about the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Henry Orombi is like my GP. He is a godly, humble, faithful teacher and pastor. As the Lambeth Conference draws to a close this weekend, I commend to you his assessment of the state of the health of the Church of England and wider Anglican Communion. I agree with his diagnosis and the treatment he recommends if we are to survive.

Those who violate biblical teaching must show repentance and regret before we can share communion with them

Henry Luke Orombi

I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I love the Anglican Communion. So, why did the bishops of the Church of Uganda and I decide not to attend the present Lambeth Conference? Because we love the Lord Jesus Christ and because we love the Anglican Communion.

St Francis of Assisi said: “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary use words.” We believe that our absence at this Lambeth Conference is the only way that our voice will be heard. For more than ten years we have been speaking and have not been heard. So maybe our absence will speak louder than our words.

The crisis in the Communion is serious; our commitment to biblical and historic faith and mission are serious; and we want to be taken seriously. In 2003 the Episcopal Church in America consecrated as bishop a man living in an active homosexual relationship. This unilateral and unbiblical action was directly contrary to a resolution of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

I participated in that conference and we overwhelmingly resolved that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising of same-sex unions”. As a result, the 2003 action of the American Church plunged the Anglican Communion into a crisis that, as the primates of the Anglican Communion said in 2003, “tore the very fabric of our communion at its deepest level”. The crisis is about authority - biblical authority and ecclesiastical authority.

The American decision disregarded biblical authority by violating clear biblical teaching against homosexual behaviour. For this reason, the Church of Uganda and other Anglican provinces broke communion with the Episcopal Church in America in 2003, and we continue in that state of broken communion today.

Even though some scholars have tried to explain away specific biblical passages that refer to homosexual practice, the fact remains that nowhere in Scripture is homosexual practice affirmed or presented as a legitimate alternative to heterosexual relationships.

In every case, homosexual practice is considered sinful - something that breaks our relationship with God and harms our wellbeing. It is something for which one should repent and seek forgiveness and healing, which God is ever ready to do. Not only is Scripture to be taken seriously, but it is to be obeyed, because God intends for us things far better than we could ask or imagine.

If a whole province, such as the Episcopal Church, acts contrary to God’s word and the consensus of the communion, who in the Anglican Communion has the authority to discipline that erring province?

We in the Global South believed the Primates’ Meeting had this authority - the 1988 Lambeth Conference urged the Primates’ Meeting to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” and the 1998 Lambeth Conference reaffirmed this.

So, it was appropriate, after the American decision in 2003, that the Archbishop of Canterbury convened an emergency meeting of the primates to address the biblical and ecclesiastical crisis into which the Americans had plunged the Anglican Communion. The primates, including the American primate, unanimously advised that the consecration should not proceed. Nonetheless, two weeks later, the primate in America presided at the consecration as bishop of a man living in a same-sex relationship. This was a deep betrayal.

Since that meeting there have been numerous other “betrayals” to the extent that it is now hard to believe that the leadership in the American Church means what it says. They say that they are not authorising blessings of same-sex unions, yet we read newspaper reports of them. Two American bishops have even presided at such services of blessings. Bishops have written diocesan policies on the blessings of same-sex unions. It is simply untrue to say they have not been authorised.

That such blessings continue and seem to be increasing hardly demonstrates “regret”, let alone repentance, on the part of the American Church. So, when the Archbishop of Canterbury invited these American bishops to participate in the Lambeth Conference, against the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Meeting, and in the face of the unrelenting commitment of the American Church to bless sinful behaviour, we were stunned. Further betrayal.

It was clear to me and to our House of Bishops that the Instruments of Communion had utterly failed us.

Anglicans may say there are four “Instruments of Communion,” (the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lambeth Conference; the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting). But de facto, there is only one - the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The peculiar thing is that this one man, who is at the centre of the communion’s structures, is not even elected by his peers. Even the Pope is elected by his peers, but what Anglicans have is a man appointed by a secular government. Over the past five years, we have come to see this as a remnant of British colonialism, and it is not serving us well. The spiritual leadership of a global communion of independent and autonomous provinces should not be reduced to one man appointed by a secular government.

It is important that our decision not to attend this Lambeth Conference is not misunderstood as withdrawing from the Anglican Communion. On the contrary, our decision reflects the depth of our concern and the sober realisation that the present structures are not capable of addressing the crisis.

How can we go to Holy Communion, sit in Bible study groups, and share meals together, pretending that everything is OK?, that we are still in fellowship with the persistent violators of biblical teaching and of Lambeth resolutions?

The Bible says: “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked us to “wait for each other”. But how is it possible when we are not travelling in the same direction?

The Church of Uganda takes its Anglican identity and the future hope of the global Anglican Communion very seriously. We love the Lord Jesus Christ, and we love the Anglican Communion. Lord, have mercy upon us.

The Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi is Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

Times Online

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Anglican Pastoral Forum: Lets play Happy Families

Bishop Clive Handford, representing the Windsor Report Group, has offered Lambeth a typically Anglican solution to the deep and serious theological errors which are leading to the breakup of the Communion - another committee or rather a Pastoral Forum.

"Oversight by the forum will be a safe space into which these bodies (which have left their own provinces) can come. They will not be dependent on primates in other provinces. They will have a real link to the pastoral forum. They are being held in trust till the day when they can return to their parent bodies."

He said: "It's a bit like having a member of the family who is not getting on with the family, having an aunt or uncle who can take them under their wing while they work for the restoration of the family."

Sorry Clive - a rather patronising analogy suggesting the traditional children can't get along with their liberal parents. If you want to use the family analogy - think child abuse - because the TEC 'parents' are abusing their children. That is why GAFCON and the Global South Primates have acted while the liberal establishment are in denial mode wanting to play their surreal game of Happy Families.

The Bible is very clear on what to do:

"For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception...They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain...Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:10-16)

The Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada are not going to hold back from blessing same sex marriages or ordaining homosexual priests and consecrating homosexual Bishops. They will not abide by the Windsor Report Group Moratorium any more than they have with previous agreements. Indeed they will encourage their supporters within the Anglican Communion to follow their example.

GAFCON and the new Primates Council is also a reality. Unless the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lambeth Conference clearly and unequivocally repudiates the TEC and ACoC and separates from them until they repent of their errors, traditional and conservative Bishops, clergy and parishes will place no confidence in a pastoral forum. Rather they will continue to place their confidence in the Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the gospel, in the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures, in those biblical truths and values that are the core of Anglicanism, and in their divine mandate to fulfill the Great Commission throughout the world.

Monday, 28 July 2008

GAFCON, Boundary Crossing and the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople

GAFCON Primates have intervened in the USA and Canada to provide pastoral oversight to orthodox Anglican bishops, clergy and parishes whose faithful ministry is no longer recognised by the heretical leadership of the Episcopal Church or Anglican Church of Canada. The GAFCON Primates have been criticised for doing so by those who care more for church order than the proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Canon II of the First Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) states,

"The bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying outside of their bounds, nor bring confusion on the churches; but let the Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the Church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nice, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian Diocese administer the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the Thracian bishops only Thracian affairs. And let not bishops go beyond their dioceses for ordination or any other ecclesiastical ministrations, unless they be invited. And the aforesaid canon concerning dioceses being observed, it is evident that the synod of every province will administer the affairs of that particular province as was decreed at Nice."

However, Canon II goes on to state, "But the Churches of God in heathen nations must be governed according to the custom which has prevailed from the times of the Fathers."

see http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/const1.txt

What was that 'custom'? That custom was for them to have missionary bishops attached to the See of orthodox bishops until they were self-sustaining. Heretical bishops were removed and orthodox ones installed - even by Athanasius himself.

Canon IV states, "Concerning Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which has happened in Constantinople on his account, it is decreed that Maximus never was and is not now a Bishop; that those who have been ordained by him are in no order whatever of the clergy; since all which has been done concerning him or by him, is declared to be invalid... Let Maximus the Cynic be cast out from among the bishops, and anyone who was inscribed by him on the clergy list shall be held as profane."

See Greg Griffith's post for more on this issue. Thanks to Floridian for the quotes above.

With reference to the consecration of Gene Robinson, one senior clergyman has stated,

"The Holy and Great Councils declare that a bishop who falls into heresy loses the grace of ordination. It is a fact that Frank G. and his clique have departed from the teaching of the Church, because Lambeth and the Primates have made it clear. Canon 15 of the First-Second Synod (formerly called the 8th Ecumenical Council, but was derecognized by Rome a hundred or so year later for political reasons) states:

'But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions.'

Indeed, the heresies in question - the denial of the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ and of his atoning sacrifice, as well as the blessing of same-sex unions - have been synodically condemned (Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1:10, is just one example). So there can be no blame to those Bishops, clergy and parishes who transfer to an orthodox jurisdiction - or to Primates and Bishops providing pastoral support or undertaking missionary work in provinces with schismatic or heretical leadership. The call of the Archbishop of Sudan for Gene Robinson to resign is therefore entirely consistent with the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople. The failure of the Archbishop of Canterbury to exert any discipline over the TEC Bishops who consecrated Gene Robinson is not.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

GAFCON's 40 million vs. Lambeth's 5 million

How many churchgoing Anglicans does Lambeth represent?
Bishop David Chislett

A lot of things have been said over the last few months about just who represents whom in the Anglican world. GAFCON, for example, is pilloried by the media and the leadership at Lambeth as a "breakaway" movement.

But, is this right?

Already some journalists are beginning to realize that while the Lambeth Conference might have a large number of bishops in attendance, those bishops actually represent a small minority of the world's Anglicans.

I have done some informed arithmetic, and the result is surprising.

When provinces such as Nigeria count "Anglicans" they mean those who actually go to church. In the First World the number of "Anglicans" includes those who are "C. of E." but who never darken the door of a church, many of whom are plainly not even "believers" in any real sense of the term. Now, I'm not saying that they don't matter, that we don't love them, that we don't have a ministry to them, or that they're they're not distantly related to us.

What I AM saying is that we should compare apples with apples, so as to avoid the figures being skewed (and perhaps grossly exaggerated) by the inclusion of "non-practising" or "nominal" Anglicans in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, increasingly in South Africa, and even, I'm told, Brazil.

In Australia, for example, there are just under 4 million Anglicans, according to the last census (2006). But we know that the National Life Church Survey puts attendees on any given Sunday at 180,000. (Even that figure is skewed in terms of the real picture when the disproportionate chunk of Sydney Diocese is taken into account!)

However, to get a true comparison, let's subtract from 75 million the estimated number of "nominal" Anglicans:

24 million (Eng)

3.8 million (Aust)

3.2 million (others in New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, Brazil etc) and you get . . .

44 million Anglicans who actively identify with their church on Sundays.

Of those, 39 to 40 million are the "Global South", and were mostly represented at GAFCON.

Only 4, maybe 5, million come from liberal "First World" Anglicanism.

So . . .

40 million (GAFCON) as against 5 million (Lambeth).

That should put the Lambeth Conference in its place!

Bishop David Chislett

Homosexual bishops face Anglican Church ban

July 26th, 2008

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph

Homosexual clergy will be barred from becoming bishops in the Anglican communion under controversial new plans backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Liberals will be warned that they face being expelled from the heart of Anglicanism unless they respect the ban, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

The American church caused deep divisions between conservatives and liberals when it consecrated Gene Robinson as the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop in 2003.

There have been reports that it is prepared to consecrate more gay bishops while the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, told this newspaper that he would be willing to do the same.

The proposal to ban future consecrations is the most significant move yet over the issue.

The paper, which was commissioned by Dr Rowan Williams, will be debated by 650 bishops tomorrow at the Lambeth conference in Canterbury, the once-a-decade gathering of the Anglican Communion.

It is set to start the first real clash of the conference, with liberal bishops expected to fight any attempt to restrict their autonomy.

However, Dr Williams is determined to impose tighter governance of the Anglican Communion to try and hold it together.

The paper, "How do we get from here to there?", stresses that it is vital that an Anglican Covenant be agreed so that churches around the world are mutually accountable and united by a common set of beliefs. This must happen as soon as possible, it says, to prevent further haemorrhaging of the Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexual clergy.

Until a consensus is reached, the American and Canadian churches must refrain from consecrating more homosexual bishops and carrying out blessing services for same-sex couples, the paper says.

If they do not, they will face being pushed to the margins of the communion and find themselves excluded from the councils that are central to the governance of the Church.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

150 Lambeth Bishops agree Robinson should resign

According to Steve Waring, reporting from Lambeth, 150 Global South Bishops at Lambeth, agree with the uncompromising stand taken by Archbishop Daniel Bul Deng and the Sudanese Bishops over the consecration of Gene Robinson. The Anglican Communion norms have indeed been violated with the US Episcopal Church.

"The Episcopal Church of the Sudan broke ranks with bishops from other provinces at the Lambeth Conference today by issuing two statements. One statement concerned the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of the African country and the other statement repeated the Sudanese church’s position on human sexuality.

Rumors of such a letter from the Sudanese bishops started before the Lambeth Conference began on July 16. The two letters materialized Tuesday morning in the media room. Later in the day, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Primate of the Church of the Sudan, came to the media room, called for The Episcopal Church in the United States to find a way for Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire to resign, and responded to questions from reporters.

All but one of Sudan’s 29 bishops are attending the conference, said Archbishop Deng, who added that the only bishop not present is very ill. Archbishop Deng said he had just come from a meeting of more than 150 Global South bishops present at the conference, and that those bishops had endorsed both of the Sudanese statements.

“The norms of the Anglican Communion have been violated,” he said. “The question is not whether [Bishop Robinson] comes to this conference or not. The question is what happens to unity.

“We have not seen the way out in the indaba groups and the main issue has not been touched yet,” he said. “Over 300 bishops have stayed away because of Gene Robinson.”

Unlike bishops from many of the other Global South provinces, Archbishop Deng said the Sudanese bishops had decided to attend the conference and to make their concerns known from within the meeting.

“I’m not talking to individual bishops [within The Episcopal Church] with whom we have relations,” he said. “What we are pressing is for the institution to find a way to let him resign.”

Full report

Friday, 25 July 2008

Why your Parochial Church Council should endorse the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration

GAFCON is a call to vision and action based firmly on the 'faith once delivered to the saints' and revealed in Scripture, to reform the church and transform persons, communities and societies through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Every Anglican Church recognising the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures and subscribing to the 39 Articles, Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, should enthusiastically endorse the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration and join the growing Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans to help reform and renew the Church of England from within.

1. It affirms our identity
GAFCON reminds us we belong to a large, vital, growing, diverse, faithful global Anglican family; a family we can be proud of; a family which wants to be united, not just by common links to Canterbury but by the doctrine which is revealed in Scripture. GAFCON is not schism, nor a church within a church, we are not splitting or breaking away from the Anglican communion. Instead, GAFCON creates a Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans which affirms the Jerusalem Declaration, a statement of the core of simple Christianity as we Anglicans have received it.

2. It offers Accountability and Order
GAFCON is about the renewal of Anglicanism. It address the sickness of the communion and the failure of the communion structures to deal with that sickness by creating three new realities:
a. The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
b. The Jerusalem Declaration
c. The Primates’ Council
At the heart of GAFCON is the robust restatement of authentic Anglicanism in the Jerusalem Declaration.

3. It is a Movement not a Meeting
More than a joyful face to face encounter with brothers and sisters from around the globe, GAFCON indicates something of the way forward by creating a new confessing Anglican province in North America. And that is just the beginning...

Sourced and adapted with thanks from: St John's Shaughnessy, Vancouver.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Chris Sugden explains: Why many bishops did not attend Lambeth


Dr. Chris Sugden , Director of Academic Affairs of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream, a network of Orthodox Anglicans in Britain, and Canon of St. Luke's Cathedral, Jos, Nigeria has written an article published in today's Herald Tribune

In his opening sermon at the Lambeth Conference, the bishop of Colombo, the Right Reverend Duleep de Chickera, insisted that the Anglican tradition was to welcome everybody. It is, he said, "an inclusive communion, where there is space equally for everyone and anyone, regardless of color, gender, ability, sexual orientation. Unity in diversity is a cherished Anglican tradition."

Given this shared tradition, why did some 230 of the Communion’s 800 plus bishops choose not to come? Because they hold that - above anything else - the unifying, formal commitment of the Anglican Church is to Scripture and its teaching, and that those who are endorsing blessing same-sex relationships and consecrating active gay men as bishops are innovators who are setting the teaching of the Bible aside. For these 230 bishops this is a matter of conscience - obedience to the Bible and the continuous teaching of the Church.

The innovators hold that these bishops may disapprove of same-sex behavior, but put this down to their conformity to the taboos of their culture. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the president of the conference, told the gathering: "We have it in us to be a Church that can manage to respond generously and flexibly to diverse cultural situations while holding fast to the knowledge that we can also be free from what can be the suffocating pressure of local demands and priorities because we are attentive and obedient to the liberating gift of God in Jesus and in the Scripture."

But the fact is that the bishops who declined to come to Canterbury this year represent over 30 million of the 55 million churchgoing Anglicans. Most of their congregations are in Africa and other parts of the global south. They are opposed outright to the ordination of practicing homosexuals, but have differing approaches to the ordination of women; some do and some do not.

The innovators argue that these differences should be set aside or overlooked because of our common faith and traditions of inclusiveness. But this misstates both the principles of our faith and our traditions.

The Anglican Communion is a family of 38 provinces around the world linked by a common confession of faith and historical antecedents that both preceded and followed British colonialism.

A New Traditional Anglican Province of North America? Common Cause Partnership Welcomes Jerusalem Declaration

From ACN

The Common Cause Partnership leaders issued a statement today welcoming the Jerusalem Declaration and the statement on the Global Anglican Future and pledging to move forward with the work of Anglican unity in North America.

We, as the Bishops and elected leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are deeply grateful for the Jerusalem Declaration. It describes a hopeful, global Anglican future, rooted in scripture and the authentic Anglican way of faith and practice. We joyfully welcome the words of the GAFCON statement that it is now time ‘for the federation currently known as the Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates Council.’

The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates Council.

We accept the call to build the Common Cause Partnership into a truly unified body of Anglicans. We are committed to that call. Over the past months, we have worked together, increasing the number of partners and authorizing committees and task groups for Mission, Education, Governance, Prayer Book & Liturgy, the Episcopate, and Ecumenical Relations. The Executive Committee is meeting regularly to carry forward the particulars of this call. The CCP Council will meet December 1–3, 2008.

The Common Cause Partnership links together nine Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America. Together,

the American Anglican Council,
the Anglican Coalition in Canada,
the Anglican Communion Network,
the Anglican Mission in the Americas,
the Anglican Network in Canada,
the Convocation of Anglicans in North America,
the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas,
Forward in Faith North America and
the Reformed Episcopal Church

represent more the 1,300 Anglican parishes in the United States and Canada.

The Common Cause Partnership Executive Committee is:

The Rt. Rev’d Robert Duncan, Moderator;
The Venerable Charlie Masters, General Secretary;
Mrs. Patience Oruh, Treasurer;
The Rt. Rev’d Keith Ackerman, Forward in Faith North America;
The Rt. Rev’d David Anderson, American Anglican Council;
The Rt. Rev’d Donald Harvey, Anglican Network in Canada;
The Rt. Rev’d Paul Hewett, Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas;
The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America;
The Rt. Rev’d Chuck Murphy, Anglican Mission in the Americas;
The Rt. Rev’d Leonard Riches, Reformed Episcopal Church;
The Rt. Rev’d Bill Atwood, Anglican Church of Kenya and
The Rt. Rev’d John Guernsey, The Church of Uganda.

The Great Commission or New Millennium Goals?

David Virtue is one of the Anglican Mainstream journalists attending the Lambeth Conference. Like most of the other journalists he is exceedingly frustrated at the lack of access to Bishops to hear their views. He wrote this about yesterday's press conference.

"The press conference today was all about Millennium Development Goals, the favorite pastime of aging social-activist liberal bishops. I raised my hand on several occasions, but got blown off publicly by Aspinall and denied the right to ask the obvious question: HAVE MDG’S REPLACED THE GREAT COMMISSION? So I asked around after the press conference and everyone I spoke to said "Yes of course they have." So if you want to know what sort of theology the liberals have to make churches grow and prosper in the 21st Century, the answer is nothing. Western liberal Protestantism will continue to wither and die, while Global South evangelicalism will continue to thrive and prosper. MDGs were the brain- child of the United Nations. The Anglican Communion has now adopted them as its new salvific mantra."

Conscience and logic: ‘I can do no other’: Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

July 24th, 2008 Posted in Lambeth Conference |

From Lapido Media

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, one of just two bishops in the Church of England to boycott the Lambeth Conference entirely, insisted today that he is being true to biblical authority.

Explaining a decision that he admits has been painful for a man who sought refuge in Britain from persecution, and who has been at the heart of the two previous convocations at Canterbury – first as Coordinator in 1988 and then as a Member of the Steering Committee in 1998 - he said it was a matter of ‘conscience and logic’.

He said that ‘persistent false teaching’ and ‘persistent sexual immorality without repentance’ had both led to his decision

‘I have before me a pastoral letter from the bishops of California instructing their clergy on how to take gay weddings in their churches. These people are here. How can I have fellowship with them and still teach my people what the church has always taught?’

He said the Windsor Report, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury which reported in 2004 recommended that those who were involved in the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson who divorced his wife and two children in order to marry a man with whom he had lived for 20 years should not attend Anglican gatherings until the matter had been resolved.

‘And yet I find that all fifty of the people who laid hands on him are at Lambeth. They have invited their teams to take a leading part in it. That’s fine, but don’t ask me to be co-opted on to that kind of thing.’

He added that his office prevented him from taking any other decision. ‘As a private individual I could do anything I pleased, but in my present position I could not mislead people.’

Bishop Nazir-Ali’s website carries a brief statement about his decision, citing the Windsor Report’s recommendation that Eucharistic fellowship be temporarily withdrawn from dissenters to the Windsor process. (See the section ‘On public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions’ and paragraph 157.)

Two separate altars have been set up at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, in a bid to get round the proviso. But the bishop told Lapido Media: ‘Lambeth itself is a Eucharistic gathering, for the bishops gathered around the Lord’s table teaching the common faith. I don’t think it’s right to set up separate altars.’

The Conference itself was one of the ‘instruments of unity’ in the Anglican Communion.

Dr Nazir-Ali added he was ‘absolutely willing’ to talk to anyone about the issues at stake, and the Archbishop of Canterbury had ‘thought seriously’ about having informal discussions before the Conference. He attended and addressed many gatherings of groups allied to the ECUSA position – but that was not the same as gathering to ‘teach the faith’.

‘There are some things that must take priority over fellow feeling,’ he added.

Bishop Michael gave a keynote address to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in June which he described as ‘the emergence of a new global fellowship.’ Attended by 300 Anglican bishops in Jerusalem, it also welcomed leading Anglican theologians, pastors and wives of bishops in tough locations, including Phoebe Orumbi, wife of the Archbishop of Uganda Henry Orumbi, and Gloria Kwashi, wife of the Archbishop of Jos in Nigeria. She was assaulted and temporarily blinded by intruders at her home in July 2007 – yet continued to pray for her assailants.

Said Dr Nazir-Ali: ‘These are very considerable people. Such fellowship is greatly needed because there are some parts of the world where orthodox Anglicans are in the majority, but there are others where they feel very isolated.

‘The Americans too were saying at least we feel again we belong because they have been completely ostracised by the direction their church has taken.’

GAFCON is only one among several such fellowships whose future significance as representative of the Anglican Communion as a whole depends, they say, on the adherence by the Communion to its own resolutions, namely the 1987 Synod resolution on active homosexual relationships of clergy,[1] and the Lambeth 1998 resolution 1:10 on human sexuality.[2]

Said Dr Nazir-Ali: ‘As long as that continues to hold, that’s good. But as [Archbishop] Robert Runcie used to say, the word Anglican stands ready to disappear in the cause of greater truth and unity.

‘I am not in any way wedded to any denominational expression of the faith. The reason many people are Anglican is it has been the vehicle for them for apostolic truth. If it continues to be so, wonderful, praise the Lord, but you cannot compromise apostolic truth for the sake of allegiance.’

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Gene Robinson should resign: Statement of the Sudanese Bishops To The Lambeth Conference

The Archbishop and Primate of Sudan, the Most Rev Daniel Deng Bul, has identified with the stand taken by the Primates Council of GAFCON and repudiated the unbiblical position of the Episcopal Church in the USA and Anglican Church of Canada. At a Lambeth press conference he insisted:

"Gene Robinson should resign for the sake of the Church and the entire Anglican Communion. We are pleading with them (the others at this conference) for the Anglican World, to not throw that away.

"We do not want to throw any people away, either. But we are here to determine how to remain united. That begins with forgiving one another for errors made. Gene Robinson is an error. The American church has not admitted they are wrong and we cannot forgive them until they do.

"I do not see a way out of these problems with the Indaba groups. The main issues have not been touched.

"300 bishops are not here because of Gene Robinson. Can he not resign to allow them to come? Why has he not done that?

"He is a human being and we are not throwing him away but the norms of the Anglican Communion have been violated. The question is not if Gene Robinson comes but what are we being challenged to do by GAFCON?"

"Let the Anglican world be united and be a normal, respected Christian body."

"We have not punished the American church yet. We are asking them to repent. I am talking about the institutional church in America, no specific bishops. I am here to speak within the House. I cannot be silent on this issue; I must speak to the House for the reality I know with my people. I should not hesitate to be here since I have been an Anglican since I was a child.

When asked what would happen to the Communion if Robinson did not resign, the archbishop continued, "I cannot predict what will happen if he will not resign."

Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London asked the archbishop who would pay for this conference, reportedly 2.6 million pounds in debt at this minute, and not able to pay for this by the parishes in the Church of England, if the American church was not invited. He replied very gently, "Issues of faith cannot be mixed with materialism."

'God is not making a mistake creating Adam and Eve, he said. "He would have created two Adams if he wanted.' He has just come from a meeting of the 150-plus Global South bishops at the Lambeth Conference, representing 17 provinces. And this has just come in from Bishop of Fort Worth Jack Iker: 'Those Bishops who stand in solidarity with Gene Robinson should withdraw themselves from further participation in the Lambeth Conference. Having failed in several attempts to include Gene in the Conference, his supporters should themselves feel a sense of rejection from the Conference itself. Integrity and honesty would dictate that they should stand with Gene - excluded from full participation in the Lambeth Conference. Is this all talk, or is it backed up by action?'

Watch the video of the press conference (which Anglican Mainstream says, the Lambeth Conference organisers tried to cancel).


The Most Rev Daniel Deng Bul also issued this statement:

22 July 2008

In view of the present tensions and divisions within the Anglican Communion, and out of deep concern for the unity of the Church, we consider it important to express clearly the position of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) concerning human sexuality.

We believe that God created humankind in his own image; male and female he created them for the continuation of humankind on earth. Women and men were created as God’s agents and stewards on earth We believe that human sexuality is God’s gift to human beings which is rightly ordered only when expressed within the life-long commitment of marriage between one man and one woman. We require all those in the ministry of the Church to live according to this standard and cannot accept church leaders whose practice is contrary to this.

We reject homosexual practice as contrary to biblical teaching and can accept no place for it within ECS. We strongly oppose developments within the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada in consecrating a practicing homosexual as bishop and in approving a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships. This has not only caused deep divisions within the Anglican Communion but it has seriously harmed the Church’s witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-religious environment.

The unity of the Anglican Communion is of profound significance to us as an expression of our unity within the Body of Christ. It is not something we can treat lightly or allow to be fractured easily. Our unity expresses the essential truth of the Gospel that in Christ we are united across different tribes, cultures and nationalities. We have come to attend the Lambeth Conference, despite the decision of others to stay away, to appeal to the whole Anglican Communion to uphold our unity and to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the Church.

Out of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we appeal to the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada, to demonstrate real commitment to the requests arising from the Windsor process.

In particular:

- To refrain from ordaining practicing homosexuals as bishops or priests
- To refrain from approving rites of blessing for same-sex relationships
- To cease court actions with immediate effect;
- To comply with Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference
- To respect the authority of the Bible

We believe that such steps are essential for bridging the divisions which have opened up within the Communion.

We affirm our commitment to uphold the four instruments of communion of the Anglican Communion: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council; and call upon all Provinces of the Communion to respect these for the sake of the unity and well-being of the Church.

We appeal to this Lambeth Conference to rescue the Anglican Communion from being divided. We pray that God will heal us from the spirit of division. We pray for God’s strength and wisdom so that we might be built up in unity as the Body of Christ.

The Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul
Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and Bishop of Juba

Dr. James Packer Speaks Out on Homosexuality

Besides the Bible, Dr Jim Packer's book Knowing God has probably been the most influential book in the formation and development of my Christian faith since it was first published in 1973, the year I became a Christian. It was moving to hear Dr Packer speak at the GAFCON follow up meeting at All Soul's Langham Place recently. I commend this piece by Thaddeus on Dr Packer's views on the gospel and the present lamentable state of the Anglican Communion.

By Thaddeus M Baklinski, LifeSite News
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jul/08072105.html

Dr. James Innell Packer, a noted Canadian theologian, author and a Board of Governors Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, as well as an executive editor of Christianity Today, recently addressed the contentious problem of homosexuality and same-sex unions in the Anglican church.

The Anglican Church has come to a cross-roads because of the issue of same-sex "marriage," with a massive split in the Global Communion looking increasingly inevitable.

Dr. Packer opened his remarks with a statement explaining why this issue is of such great importance in the Anglican Church today. "In brief," he said, "because it involves the denial of something that’s integral to the Christian Gospel.

"That is, whereas the Bible says that same-sex unions are off limits as far as God is concerned, and that the Gospel requires any who have been involved in them to repent of that involvement and to abandon it, this point of view against which we are standing, treats gay unions…as a form of holiness, and encourages, affirms and blesses them, rather than saying, as we believe the Gospel requires us to say, that this is the wrong track."

"You are required to abandon it and we, in the Christian fellowship, will help you to…walk chaste, not yield to your besetting temptations," he continued. "And that is God’s way for you. We are obliged by the Gospel to say that because the apostle Paul, proclaiming the Gospel to the Corinthians, says explicitly that they mustn’t be deceived…and those living in homosexual relationships will not inherit the Kingdom of God."

"In other words, they don’t qualify for Christ’s salvation in terms of the Gospel that God has revealed."

Dr. Packer asserted that the blessing of same-sex unions is a direct contradiction of Scripture and there can be no compromise on the issue.

"The Scripture teaching that is being denied is an element of the Gospel itself, that is God’s message about how we sinners can be saved. If you refuse to repent, at some point where the Gospel requires you to repent, well, you are not walking according to the Gospel, and what Paul says is that your soul is in danger."

"Now I don’t want to believe that, but I dare not disbelieve it - it’s apostolic teaching, it’s the word of God."

The misinterpretation of Scripture to suit the homosexual position is in fact a direct attack on God’s "straight forward" use of the language in the Bible, he said, which is directed toward giving us an understanding of salvation.

Dr. Packer explained that "the folk who are affirming gay sex as a form of holiness are understanding the Bible in a very different way from that in which the rest of us think that it asks to be understood."

"God uses language to tell us things, and the Bible is the language that he’s used. The Bible is personal communication from the Creator to us creatures, and in personal communication you speak and write to be understood. You don’t communicate in code; you don’t say one thing in a way which is intended to be understood as meaning its opposite."

"God is, we believe, straight forward; the Bible, in that sense, is straight forward, and Paul in 1st Corinthians is straight forward."

"The heart of the Christian message," Dr. Packer concludes, "is the transformation of lifestyle," which is enabled by the grace of God.

Dr. Packer is widely regarded as one of the most important Protestant theologians today. He has stated that the Anglican Church of Canada has been "poisoned" by a liberal theology that "knows nothing of a God who uses [the Bible] to tell us things and knows nothing of sin in the heart and in the head." He said the Church is being ruined by its attempts to "play catch-up with the culture" by adopting whatever "is the in-thing."

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Anglican Church of Canada Loses Prominent Theologian over its "Poisonous Liberalism"

Official Split in Canadian Anglican Communions "likely to get messy"


Monday, 21 July 2008

Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion ‘heartily endorses’ GAFCON declaration

From its pre-Lambeth meeting at Trinity College Bristol, Juy 8-10 EFAC issued the following commitment

The EFAC Commitment
July 2008

The Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC) is a fellowship of evangelical Christians in Anglican Churches around the world, who are passionate for biblical faith and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and who support one another’s concerns and ministries. EFAC is active in different regions of the world, and currently holds an international conference every five years, before each Lambeth Conference, and at the halfway point between.

We are thankful to God for the Gospel, which is eternally unchanging and yet ever new, and for all those with whom we share the work of proclaiming Christ. We are encouraged by the work of mission and evangelism wherever it is taking place around the world, particularly for developments in missional theological education, for extensive church planting, and for great openness to the Gospel. We give thanks for our brothers and sisters in the Churches of the Global South, for their leadership, sacrifice and example in the work of the Gospel, and for their work on the Anglican Covenant. We are especially grateful for growing relationships among all Anglicans of orthodox persuasion.

In spite of these causes for rejoicing, we acknowledge that we have not always lived lives worthy of the Gospel and that we have not always been gracious in disagreement. We repent of this behaviour. The present divisions in the Anglican Communion grieve us greatly, and we regret anything we may have done to exacerbate those divisions unnecessarily.

In view of these developments, it is our heart’s desire to seek renewal by the Holy Spirit for “the obedience of faith”, to give ourselves afresh to the ministry of the Gospel, and to work together in unity with all who affirm “the faith once for all entrusted to the saints”. We heartily endorse the fourteen points of the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and, like those at GAFCON, are fully committed to remaining within the Anglican Communion, and to bearing joyful witness to evangelical distinctives.

As a Fellowship, we commit ourselves:
• to play our part in nurturing love and mutual understanding among evangelicals in the Anglican Communion
• to seek opportunities to support and encourage one another
• to stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted or prosecuted for their loyalty to the Gospel
• to pray for one another—for faithfulness and fruitfulness in our service to Christ
• to engage in serious theological study, not least in the areas of biblical authority and hermeneutics
• to foster good relations with Christians of other traditions
• to share whatever resources we may have to further the work of God’s mission in the world.

We invite all those who are of this same mind to join us in this venture.

Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion ‘heartily endorses’ GAFCON declaration

Sunday, 20 July 2008

GAFCON Archbishops Respond to the Archbishop of Canterbury

The Global Anglican Future Conference gathered leaders from around the Anglican Communion for pilgrimage, prayer and serious theological reflection. We are grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for engaging with the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. We wish to respond to some of his concerns.

On faith and false teaching. We warmly welcome the Archbishop's affirmation of the Jerusalem Statement as positive and encouraging and in particular that it would be shared by the vast majority of Anglicans. We are however concerned that he should think we assume that all those outside GAFCON are proclaiming another gospel. In no way do we believe that we are the only ones to hold a correct interpretation of scripture according to its plain meaning. We believe we are holding true to the faith once delivered to the saints as it has been received in the Anglican tradition. Many are contending for and proclaiming the orthodox faith throughout the Anglican Communion. Their efforts are, however, undermined by those who are clearly pursuing a false gospel. We are not claiming to be a sinless church. Our concern is with false teaching which justifies sin in the name of Christianity. These are not merely matters of different perspectives and emphases. They have led to unbiblical practice in faith and morals, resulting in impaired and broken communion. We long for all orthodox Anglicans to join in resisting this development.

On the uniqueness of Christ. We are equally concerned to hear that 'the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God' is 'not in dispute' in the Anglican Communion. Leading bishops in The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and even the Church of England have denied the need to evangelise among people of other faiths, promoted and attended syncretistic events and, in some cases, refused to call Jesus Lord and Saviour.

On legitimacy. In the current disorder in the Communion, GAFCON came together as a gathering of lay leaders, clergy and bishops from over 25 countries on the basis of their confession of the common historic Christian faith. They formed a Council in obedience to the word of God to defend the faith and the faithful who are at risk in some Anglican dioceses and congregations.

GAFCON, where the governing structures of many provinces were present, affirmed such a Council of the GAFCON movement as its body to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.

In their primates and other bishops, the assembly saw a visible connection to the catholic and apostolic Church and the evangelical and catholic faith which many have received from the Church of England and the historic see of Canterbury. It is this faith which we seek to affirm.

On authority. As the Virginia Report notes, in the Anglican tradition, authority is not concentrated in a single centre, but rather across a number of persons and bodies. This Council is a first step towards bringing greater order to the Communion, both for the sake of bringing long overdue discipline and as a reforming initiative for our institutions.

Whilst we respect territoriality, it cannot be absolute. For missionary and pastoral reasons there have long been overlapping jurisdictions in Anglicanism itself – historically in South Africa, New Zealand, the Gulf and Europe. In situations of false teaching, moreover, it has sometimes been necessary for other bishops to intervene to uphold apostolic faith and order.

On discipline. Finally, with regard to the Archbishop's concern about people who have been disciplined in one jurisdiction and have been accepted in another, we are clear that any such cases have been investigated thoroughly and openly with the fullest possible transparency. Bishops and parishes have been given oversight only after the overseeing bishops have been fully satisfied of no moral impediments to their action.

We enclose a response to the St Andrew's Draft Covenant. (See separate post).

We assure the Archbishop of Canterbury of our respect as the occupier of an historic see which has been used by God to the benefit of his church and continue to pray for him to be given wisdom and discernment.

Signed

The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Justice Akrofi, Primate of West Africa
The Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentine Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzmibi, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda
The Most Rev Gregory Venables, Primate of The Southern Cone
July 18 2008

Response of GAFCON to the St Andrew's Draft Text of an Anglican Communion Covenant

Changes between the Nassau and St Andrew's Drafts of an Anglican Covenant

Here are some other excellent reports:

GAFCON and England: Judgement and Mercy


Responding to Bishop NT Wright part 1: Mystifying Vitriol

Responding to Bishop NT Wright part 2: Paternalistic Nonchalance

Bishop of Durham reveals ignorance of GAFCON

GAFCON: Why Wright is Wrong and Rodgers is Right

Williams Post-Colonial Paternalism is Underlying Cause of Anglican Angst

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Prayer for Lambeth Conference

Sovereign Holy Spirit fall upon the Bishops and Archbishops at Lambeth and empower them to be witnesses of Jesus Christ to the world. May those who have departed from the Bible on matters of faith (the uniqueness of Christ) and morality (homosexuality) be brought to deep and lasting repentance and work to repair the divisions they have caused in the Anglican communion. Dear Lord raise up godly leaders to succeed those who refuse to repent who will be bold and fearless in proclaiming the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a world that is perishing. In His precious name we pray. Amen.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Evangelical Alliance Statement on GAFCON

Anglicans comprise one third of the membership of the Evangelical Alliance. In addition, the issues that GAFCON has wrestled with affect many others within our constituency, whether Anglican or not. It is for that reason that the Alliance has considered it appropriate to comment on recent events. The primary mission of the Evangelical Alliance is the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we stand unequivocally with all who would affirm that gospel as revealed in the Scriptures. We, therefore, wholeheartedly endorse the emphasis placed on the Gospel and the Bible in the recent declarations of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). We also affirm any who stand for the historic gospel of Jesus Christ, whether or not they supported the recent Global Anglican Future Conference.

We support GAFCON in the principled stance that they have taken on issues of human sexuality and we remain as committed as they are to upholding such biblical norms. We also praise those GAFCON leaders who have clearly and unambiguously condemned all forms of violence and hatred toward gay and lesbian people. We hope that in addition to their focus on this important issue they will also be able to continue to address such central gospel issues as the uniqueness of Christ and pressing social issues as the huge inequalities in our world.

We pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishops and Clergy of the established church at this time of unquestionable crisis and we hope and pray that our fellow evangelicals within the Anglican Communion will be able to continue to proclaim gospel truth faithfully and graciously whatever the outcome.

Evangelical Alliance Statement on GAFCON


Monday, 7 July 2008

Homosexual Practice? The Biblical Answer

“In the middle of the eighteenth century the state of the Church of England was far, far worse than it is today. In the mid-1750s on Easter Day in St Paul’s Cathedral there were a total of six people. Six undergraduates were sent down from Oxford for reading the Bible. The celebrated lawyer, Blackstone, early in the reign of George III went out of curiosity from church to church to hear every clergyman of note in London. He says that he did not hear a single discourse that had more Christianity in it than the writings of Cicero and that it would have been impossible for him to discover from what he heard whether the preacher was a follower of Confucius, Mohammed, or Christ.

Yet over the next century things changed dramatically so that by the middle of the nineteenth century a third of the clergy in the Church of England, it is estimated, were evangelical, the great missionary societies had been founded, the Clapham Sect was achieving great things, and at least three-quarters of the societies that were trying to ameliorate the situation were of Evangelical foundation.”[i]

The last fifty years or so have witnessed an increasingly virulent attack upon biblical truth and biblical morality led liberal Anglican Bishops and Archbishops who should instead have been guarding both… Although it might not have been the first instance of this, we might start with the publication, in 1963 of John A. T. Robinson’s book Honest to God. At the time he was the Bishop of Woolwich. In that book he questioned the doctrine of God and many other elements of classic Anglican teaching. And this was the new thing: that a serving bishop should mount a challenge to the doctrine of the articles and the teaching of the Bible in such a public and unashamed way.[ii]

To read more of this paper, see here



[i] Jonathan Fletcher, Back to the Future, 2007 Reform Conference