Archive for July, 2009

USA – TEC General Convention Dumps Evangelism Resolution

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

GC2009: General Convention Dumps Evangelism Resolution

By David W. Virtue

At GC2000 in Denver, The Episcopal Church passed a resolution urging the church to double its baptized membership by 2020.

The doomed “‘Decade of Evangelism”‘ only got wider with the consecration of Gene Robinson to the episcopacy in 2003. The church has been steadily going downhill since then, losing more than 50,000 active Episcopalians in 2007.

Objections were raised to a numerical goal at that time, but other deputies have argued that the lack of such a goal is what “doomed” the Decade. It began with great fanfare in 1990, but actually saw a decline in the number of Episcopalians for most of its ten-year span.

Now at GC2009, General Convention was called upon once again to Affirm Christ in a Multi-Faith and Non-Faith (C069). The Rev. Dr. Peter Cook, clergy delegate for Western Louisiana, brought the resolution to the floor. Without so much as a by your leave, the House of Deputies voted to accept the Evangelism Committee’s recommendation to discharge the resolution submitted by the deputies from Western Louisiana.

It was a bitter blow for Cook, a British-born evangelical and a priest for nearly 25 years in TEC. He told VOL that if the Church of England House of Bishops could pass a similar resolution in February 2009 affirming the uniqueness of Jesus Christ in a multi-faith world, then why couldn’t the Episcopal Church do the same?

“The Evangelism Committee objected strongly to the resolution and said they thought it was the language of proselytism and exclusivism and they objected to any talk of Christianity superseding Judaism. I was blown away,” Cook told VOL.

Cook said his bishop, Bruce McPherson was “very comfortable” with the resolution. McPherson is one of a handful of remaining orthodox bishops in The Episcopal Church.

Read more ………………….

General Convention Day 2

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Report from the AAC


American Anglican Council

Organizing for Business: Resolutions of Concern/Interest

was a day for all of the legislative committees to meet and convene
themselves for business. A surprising number of important resolutions
were discussed in committees today, rather than being deferred to the
last days of General Convention and a rush to judgment as in previous
General Conventions. The American Anglican Council is seeking to
monitor the progress of some 70 resolutions of concern/interest across
all of the legislative committees. Below you will find a brief summary
of action on some of those resolutions:

Resolution/Committee Description

Social and Urban Affairs

Pastoral Generosity in Extending Blessing of Civil Marriage to Same-Sex Couples: This
resolution was referred by the committee to the chancellor of the House
of Deputies for review of potential canonical problems.
B013/Education Equipping the baptized for ministry: Still in committee discussion.
A074/Ecumenical Interfaith Dialogue: Still in committee discussion.
A185/Canons Revision of Title IV – Ecclesiastical Discipline: Significant
issues have been raised within the committee concerning the
resolution’s proposed removal of procedural safeguards and burdens of
proof in clergy discipline processes.

A069/Stewardship and Development Allocate $5 million to help raise $250 million for TEC program budget: The
resolution was unanimously supported by the committee and sent to the
House of Bishops. The House of Bishops also adopted the resolution
unanimiously. It now awaits passage by the House of Deputies.
A114/Stewardship and Development Proposes increasing diocesan assessment by 1% each year in order to provide $5 million for A069: The resolution was discharged which means that the $5 million for A069 must come from another source.
C001/World Mission Adding gender identity and expression as protected categories for purposes of ordination: Still in committee discussion.

Stewardship and Development

Litigation expense disclosure: After lively discussion, the committee voted to refer this resolution to the Standing Committee on Stewardship for further study. That committee will report back to General Convention in 2012.
C014/Education Revision of Theology of Marriage: Still in committee discussion.

LONDON: Global Anglican Leaders Affirm Faith, Deny Schism

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

By David W. Virtue in London
July 6, 2009

In forceful, often strident language, three evangelical archbishops, two from the Global South, told 1,600 Anglicans attending the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) meeting that the conference is not schismatic, church dividing or a power play, and suggestions that they are, at best, misunderstandings and, at worst, political posturing.

“The FCA exists to keep Anglicanism united, enabling those whose spiritual existence as Anglicans is threatened to remain Anglicans with integrity. It exists to keep orthodox, biblical Anglicanism inside the fold at the highest level possible; to gather up the fragments, to unite them. It exists so that evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics and mere Anglicans can continue to be Anglicans without compromising Biblical truth,” said Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen.

“The launch of the UK FCA is a great moment, a gospel moment. It appeals to all that is best in the Anglican tradition. It summons people from all over Britain and Ireland to join together in a spiritual movement for the sake of Christ and his gospel. It is a moment in which ordinary people can take responsibility for what happens in their church. It is a moment when you can say, enough is enough, we wish our church to express the Anglican faith because it is the biblical and gospel faith. It is a moment when you can say, what has happened in the USA and Canada will not happen here.”

Jensen did concede that in this country, the Christian foundations have been shaken. “In this and the next generation there will be fought to what may amount to the last battle for the soul of the nation. It will be an ideological war, a war of ideas. But great issues will hang upon the outcome: the fate of a culture and the eternal fate of souls. Many look to you for guidance and resource and inspiration. Can we do so any longer? When we can seriously ask that question, something is deeply wrong. We are at a watershed, at a parting of the ways. Decisions have to be made.” “With persuasive power, the culture of the West has adopted and promulgated anti-Christian belief and practice. It confronts every Christian with the choice of submission or harassment. It pretends to be the true heir of the Christian faith, that it now possesses all that was worthwhile of Christianity, and that the entire structure of Christian thought can disappear into the receding past.

“It tells you that its tolerance is the choicest part of your love, that its non-discrimination is the choicest part of your justice, that its individualism is the choicest part of your freedom and that its sexual athleticism is the choicest part of your marriage.

“In the British Isles, there is a laudable tendency not to panic, not to respond to overstatement, to seek balance and nuance, to see the other point of view, above all not to take decisive and irretrievable action. I know I am a foreigner, but I care deeply what happens here. Let me say this: It is not a day in which to practice the politics of drift. There is little time left. The younger generations are largely lost. Your great inheritance is about to pass into other, heedless hands. You can no longer treat the institutional church as though it is as unassailable as the temple of the Lord; you can no longer say ‘peace, peace’ where there is no peace. You need to unite with each other in a fellowship which will sustain and protect and do mission.”

Jensen said the conflict is over the authority of Jesus Christ. “The fact that sexual ethics is where the contest is sharpest should not divert us from this basic truth. There are two areas in which special vigilance is called for if we wish to honour the authority of Christ in his church. The first is theological education by means of which the intellectual and spiritual lives of future leaders are shaped. The second is the area of hermeneutics. Those who hold that the Bible is the inspired word of God will see in it a unity which holds all things together. The gospel of the Jerusalem Declaration is the gospel of the Bible, the Prayer Book.”

Echoing that theme, Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables said the majority of Anglicans believe that the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God and Savior.

“We view the situation locally and throughout the world as extremely serious and it is need of a clear response. Many in our denomination say you can’t be sure of anything anymore. The Bible says that is just not true. There are many things of which we can and must be sure because God has spoken. God has the first word and God will have the last word.

“What FCA has specifically done is not to set up an alternative denomination or communion, nor setting up an alternative leadership. “It is not about another cockpit with another pilot. We have not divided the church that happened in 2003 within ECUSA who ignored the Anglican Communion.”

Venables said we affirm the central truth of the Christian Faith as received. “We have raised the standard in Lambeth ’98 and at successive primates meetings and again at Jerusalem. We are standing and have stood on the historic Biblical Christian Faith delivered to the saints received once for all. It is not a question of interpretation. It is revealed plain truth and you cannot change the foundation of our faith by following correct institutional procedures.

“We are called to preach, teach, affirm, defend and stand on this unchanging truth. The gospel of salvation is about life and death. It is salvation from sin, death and hell.”

Venables said that at one primates’ meeting he attended recently an archbishop got up and said that there is a hole in the Anglican boat and it is sinking. “A North American primate said, ‘let them fall into the river it won’t make any difference’.

“True orthodoxy is being outlawed. This is spiritual warfare, it is about the principalities and powers. Orthodoxy proclaims one unchanging truth at a time when that is unacceptable in western culture. Sadly truth has become relative and so to be orthodox is to be intolerant, bigoted and dangerous.”

Venables excoriated what he called a false view of institutional loyalty. “There is a great fear of being marginalized and blackballed. The reaction to the gospel is rebellion and unbelief especially in the North American Churches. The track record after Lambeth ’98 is that the structures of the Communion are seeking to accommodate antithetical positions. At Jerusalem we learned that we do not believe the same things. At Jerusalem we said we must do something. If the church is given its head it will push the liberal agenda forward. We must stand united that the world might believe.”

The newly consecrated Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, The Most Rev. Robert Duncan said, “We didn’t leave we were deposed by the American Episcopal Church. TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada are radical, revolutionary churches. We (orthodox) were forced out. We did not separate, we were forced apart. FOCA is a force within the Church of England.”


Presentation from Archbishop Peter Akinola to Be Faithful

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Presented on behalf of Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Bendel, Nigeria.

Beloved in Christ,

I bring you sincere love and greetings from my family and the Church of Nigeria, in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, the Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I count myself blessed to be part of this remarkable event in this great city, even though only through my representatives Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and Bishop David Onuoha.

Permit me to use this medium to express my profound gratitude to all of you who were part of the planning, sponsoring and execution of GAFCON 2008 in the holy city of Jerusalem. Those of us in the leadership of GAFCON owe you an incalculable debt of gratitude for daring to stand with the rest of orthodox Anglicans at a time when it was too costly to do so.  Some of you were deliberately misquoted, misunderstood, vilified and sidelined.  This clearly demonstrates the continuing effect of the fallenness of man, and the stark imperfection of the Church. In the words of St John’s gospel, “in the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16.33).  Your contribution to the success story of GAFCON, Jerusalem, and the continuing story of the GAFCON movement is hereby acknowledged with humility and deep appreciation.

This great gathering is significant in several respects:

i)    It is a clear demonstration of the fact that the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) held in Jerusalem from 22-29th June 2008 was divinely mandated;
ii)    That the organization, execution, decisions and declarations which came out of it were inspired by the Holy Spirit and they reflect the mind of God for our dear Anglican Church in this generation;
iii)    It shows that the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) is divinely chosen and called to be the channel of continuing this work of reviving, reforming and transforming the Anglican Church in the UK and Ireland in particular, and in God’s wide world in general.  This is  with a view to repositioning it to restore “what the locust had eaten” in this great land, for the salvation of mankind, and all of God’s creation. Read the rest of this entry »

A response to Rt Rev Dr Graham Kings – by an ordinary Christian planning to attend FCA

Monday, July 6th, 2009

July 4th, 2009 Posted in News |

Rev Andrew Symes

Dr Kings in his recent article states that true Anglicanism puts its faith in the Covenant Process to eventually solve all the problems within the Anglican Communion, and dismisses the new initiatives of the Anglican Church in North America and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. The points he makes deserve careful scrutiny as this debate moves forward.

First of all he deals with the ACNA. Dr Kings agrees with the conservative position on sexuality, but disagrees with the way that different groups have gone about protesting against the actions of the Episcopal Church. He thinks that the ecclesiology of ACNA is not right, and that ultimately it will secede and become just another ex-Anglican sect. Meanwhile Dr Kings is optimistic and convinced that the leaders of TEC will draw back from the brink and take resolutions and actions which gradually move them more back in the direction of the rest of world Anglicanism, in which case the Covenant will gradually be seen to work.

Two comments should be made. Firstly, anyone who has followed the twists and turns of this saga over the last seven or eight years as I have can surely not fail to see the continued bad faith of the TEC leaders; the reneging on agreements, the slippery doublespeak of their resolutions and statements, the continued appointments of radical liberals to key positions, the persecution and harassment of clergy and Bishops who simply want to be faithful to their vows and to preach the biblical Gospel. But for such as Dr Kings, this does not appear to matter: TEC must be regarded as the true Anglicans. Any movement set up against them, however Anglican in theology and worship, must be considered beyond the pale by the English Anglican establishment. This shows the clear position of the “institutional centre” of our church: ecclesiology is not related to theology (faithfulness to the biblical witness) but to loyalty to the processes of diplomatic manoevering within the institution.. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome the FCA – Andrew Carey

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

July 3rd, 2009 Posted in Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) |

Church of England Newspaper July 3

So why should anyone support FCA and why should it be launched now? Firstly, it’s a way of supporting Anglicans in North America who are struggling to remain Anglican in very difficult circumstances.

Secondly, it’s a direct link to the Global South provinces.

Thirdly, this is hardly a time to be wringing your hands about who you want to mix with. The urgent need is to be organised now, not leave it far too late, as it was in America.

For myself, the Rubicon was crossed in the Church of England when the Bishops’ guidelines accepted civil partnerships among clergy. Despite the pretence that these conformed to the 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality, it opened the door to the acceptance of non- marital sexual relationships. While these had been anomalous before hand, their acceptance meant that the teaching of the Church of England was now muddied and confused.

Fourthly, liberal Anglicans are lobbying the government through measures such as the Equalities Bill to ensure that the exemptions previously guaranteed to the churches are narrowed dangerously. Freedom of speech, freedom to employ those who conform to the teaching of the church in key positions, could be affected. In opposing efforts such as these, the FCA will be working with the church’s leadership, not adopting an outside strategy.

So why FCA, and why now? In the American Church too little was done by conservatives, much too late. Sniffily holding the FCA at arm’s length, as Fulcrum seems to want to do, is to repeat the mistakes made by Americans.

Read the whole article below.

Read the rest of this entry »