Rot from without, decay from within

November  2011 

by A S Haley

Let me say at the outset that I began this blog in 2008 because I believed that there were things going on in my Church — the Episcopal Church (USA), of which I had been a faithful member from baptism — which required broader attention from those potentially most affected. Specifically, I believed that events ever since 2003 needed attention from those lay people in the Church who might not be able to interpret the legal niceties being urged in the various court and disciplinary proceedings which had been brought in the Church’s name up to that time, but who could, as traditional Episcopalians, appreciate that not all of the legal positions being taken by their Church were, shall we say, “kosher”.

Ever since my first post, I have focused on the constitutional and canonical violations by those at the head of the Church — generally the steps they took to remove from the Church’s ministry those with whom the leadership disagreed on matters such as same-sex marriage, and to alienate the Church from the vast majority of the Anglican Communion. If you are an Episcopalian, I ask that you put all of the hype which you may have read about the Episcopal Church (USA, that is) being “in the forefront” of the movement to recognize same-sex “marriages” into the context of what I shall now relate.

Read here

convictions about truth, the authority
of Scripture, and the centrality of Christ,
His Spirit and His Word. After all, the core
beliefs of both Shofar as a charismatic renewal
church and Orthodox Anglicanism
are Evangelical. Both men were “eager to
maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond
of peace” and “to equip the saints for the
work of the ministry for building up the Body
of Christ…”
With an urgency to see the Kingdom
established, the men acknowledged that
in a broken world they would need to fight
side by side in God’s army.
Conflict
In the years since the providential meeting
of these two friends in faith, the Anglican
Communion has been thrust into a worldwide
crisis over the position of Scripture as
the final authority for both doctrine and
morality. The Fellowship of Confessing
Anglicans (FCA) was formed in response
to the crisis by Orthodox Anglican leaders
from across the world and Father Gavin
was appointed as Secretary of FCA Southern
Africa in 2009.
The so-called ‘Anglican Crisis,’ which
has been well documented in previous
issues of JOY! Magazine and has crystallised
around moral issues, continues to
be about the authority of Scripture and
whether God, through His Word, has the
right to tell us what is morally acceptable
or not (Biblical Christianity), or whether
people have the right to decide for themselves
(Secular Humanism).
Convergence
Was this the battle that God had intended
these two men, representing two spiritual
streams, to engage in? Their ‘coincidental’
meeting had been orchestrated by God
years before and His reason for doing
so was becoming apparent. Shofar has
always been eager to stand with those
who stand for the Gospel, and that meant
amongst others, standing with the FCA in
the battle for the Bible.
Completion
In light of this, both leaders have identified
the need to deepen the Theological training
of Pentecostal/Charismatic pastors
and to re-establish the centrality of the Bible
in the Theological training of Anglican
clergy, as priorities. For this reason they
have jointly launched the Stellenbosch
Theological Institute (STI) as an academic
training institute which endeavours to be
Bible-based, contextually relevant, and
academically excellent.
So, like peanut butter and jam, these
two streams seem to work well together
in the form of STI, drawing from the established
and the emerging.
Historically it has always appeared that
the Traditional and the Charismatic
churches have been at odds with
each other because of theological and liturgical
differences. Yet with the proliferation
of liberalism in and out of the Church, Christians
with a Biblical worldview and correct
theological application of the Word of God
are uniting – from all sides of the denominational
spectrum.
An example of this on our doorstep
would be the new found relationship between
two significant role players in the
Body of Christ, who have partnered together
to form a Bible-based Theological Institute
in the heart of South African Liberaldom.
JOY! found out more from the stakeholders,
extracted below.
‘Coincidence’
“There are many combinations in life that
just work and seem to form a better product
in the end: peanut butter and jam, salt and
pepper, boerewors and pap. Yet somehow
the Anglican Church and the Shofar Movement
don’t immediately jump to mind
when considering successful synergy.
So how then can an Evangelical Charismatic
pastor from Shofar and a priest
from an established Traditional Anglican
Church see eye to eye on anything? We’re
talking chalk and cheese! But add a Mighty
Lord, two intuitive, God-fearing wives and
a prophetic word – and you’ve got yourself
a great friendship that has led to significant
and strategic things.
Crisis
It all started several years ago when pastor
Fred May received a prophetic word during
a Sunday service in Stellenbosch that
the Lord was going to send them ‘unlikely
bedfellows’ or ministry partners. In another
part of the Cape, Father Gavin Mitchell a local
Anglican priest, was experiencing what
can only be described as persecution in the
politics of his local church. Disillusioned and
disappointed, Gavin contemplated moving
to the Church of England or leaving the ministry
entirely. Eventually he accepted a posting
to another church to relieve the pressures
of ‘local church politics’.
Communication
At this time, Gavin and Fred’s wives “coincidently”
met each other. Lynn and Lucille,
both God-fearing women, served as the
catalyst for their husbands’ friendship.
Conviction
As the relationship deepened, both Fred
and Gavin realised that despite their different
ministry environments, they both
laboured for the same Almighty God and
that the areas of agreement far outweighed
the points of disagreement. They shared
Despite the onslaught of liberalism, the Lord is growing
His Church in unique ways – seeing the Orthodox uniting
with the Pentecostal – all for His cause and His Bride.
feature
—by Hennie Swart and Jenny Karsen
46 JOY ! MAGAZINE JOY! Magazine 47
AN unlikely marriage
The seismic shift in the Christian Church within denominations waging a war of worldviews, has seen the most surprising
development of a Pastor and a Priest partner together to re- store sound Biblical Theological Training within their ranks.
• Biography: Fred and his wife
Lucille founded Shofar Church
in Stellenbosch in 1992. He has
been committed to ministry
establishment since his high
school years. The dynamic of
cultural and generational integration
has always been a mark
of Shofar’s ministry where the
focus areas are disciple making,
leadership development
and church planting. At present
there are 29 Shofar churches in
South Africa and abroad – besides
scores of missions partner
churches planted in
Africa and Asia. Fred and
Lucille have two sons,
Stephan and Matthew.
• Contact details:
www.shofaronline.org
AN
»
Fred May
• Position: Secretary of Fellowship
of Confessing Anglicans –
Southern Africa. Director of the
Anglican Studies programme
of the STI. An Anglican priest
presently serving in the Cape
• Qualifications: BSc (Wits), Dip
TH (St Paul’s). 26 years ministry
experience in the Anglican
Church of Southern Africa
• Comments about The Stellenbosch
Theological Institute: “This
joint initiative for training is one
of the most exciting developments
for the Church for more
than 50 years. For two such
different traditions to work to
provide church planting and
mission focussed leaders for our
churches is truly of God.”
Gavin Mitchell
The STI draws on the best of the old and the new, the established
and the emerging, the staying power of the traditional
and the propagating capacity of the renewal.

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