Archive for October, 2016

Andrew Cain and the flag of revolution

Monday, October 10th, 2016

In this piece, Dr Joe Boot, Christian Concern’s Wilberforce Director, writes about Channel Four’s “skillful” video collaboration with Andrew Cain. The short video carefully depicts a culturally marxist ‘justice’ narrative of a victimised homosexual vicar persecuted by his bishops who do not endorse his actions or beliefs. He says it is time for the church to respond to the propaganda of Channel Four and Andrew Cain with the Word of truth, and subject him to church discipline.
Channel Four News has recently produced a slick piece of media propaganda of an all-too-common and familiar type today. Its aim? The ongoing promotion of the cause of radical sexual revolutionaries seeking, by war of attrition, to force the Christian church (in this case the Church of England) to celebrate a socially ‘progressive’ journey into a humanist utopia by means of gradual surrender to the queer theory juggernaut plowing its rapid course through our cultural institutions.

The short video features the now notorious Andrew Foreshew-Cain, the first active Anglican clergyman to ‘marry’ his male partner in defiance of both scripture, the churches teaching and the House of Bishops. Andrew Cain, still an ordained member of the Anglican clergy (to the bemusement of many), is fast becoming the new poster-boy for highlighting the churches alleged victimization of the self-styled LGBTI community. Channel Four has skillfully collaborated here in sponsoring the culturally Marxist ‘justice’ narrative of a victimized homosexual vicar being ‘persecuted’ by a nasty church because the bishops won’t support his defiance nor officially ‘celebrate’ a pagan religious movement that seeks the total destruction of a Christian (and normative) understanding of human sexuality, marriage and family, and its replacement with a pansexual, androgynous ideal. Once again the new champions of tolerance will not tolerate any disagreement with or resistance to the new religious orthodoxy of the queer revolutionaries. Heads must roll if the latest idol of human reason and progress is not enthroned in every Christian citadel.

The video claims that Andrew Cain’s church was ‘vandalized’ because someone removed the rainbow and transgender flags – the signs and symbols of the revolution – from outside his (or more accurately the diocese’s) church building. He expresses both anger and shock that anyone would dare to do such a thing, and in the face of their removal he is defiant. Yet at the same time he demonstrates no awareness of the anger and shock many people feel at his open sin and rebellion, nor their astonishment that he would dare to bring such disgrace upon himself and the church by his immoral and presumptuous action. Certainly one might rightly ask who committed the first act of vandalism here. The desecration of the church of Jesus Christ with the open display of the symbols of anti-Christianity is itself an act of vandalism to the property of the Church. There is a strong case to be made that the bishops in the church ought to remove such provocative symbols from the church’s property in their diocese; displaying the flags of the gender-queer movement in God’s sanctuary is as contradictory to the plain message of the gospel as hanging the crescent moon of Islam from the cross on the steeple. But of course such an action would be called bigotry and hate by the numerous elite supporters of the revolution. As far as they are concerned it is fine for businesses, schools and places of work to be required to display such symbols, but the church must not be allowed to remove them from its own buildings, and nor should anybody else. To do so is vandalism.

In a most telling series of images the allegedly victimized vicar is repeatedly depicted – in a brazen act of self-righteous sacrilege – draping the flag of the sexual revolution over the communion table in the centre of the church where the Eucharist is administered, symbolically declaring that sexual perversions are not sinful; that full communion with Christ is open to all unrepentant people living in lifestyles that deliberately violate God’s creational law and purpose; and that no church discipline should apply to him or anyone else for their actions.

Moreover, in the course of the piece Cain shows contempt for the authority of Scripture and specifically for the Church of England’s House of Bishops. He considers the teaching of the Church homophobic (a socially-contrived psychological label designed to silence dissenters), and summarily dismisses the House of Bishops and their ‘silly rules.’ Cain doesn’t care what the church, the bishops or scripture says – his defiance is declared, open and unrepentant. The cultural revolutionaries among the elites are on his side. God himself must not be permitted to stand in the way of the goddess of the new reason and her equalitarian regime.

What this piece does demonstrate clearly is that the placating apologies of weak-willed and theologically aberrant bishops attempting to appease the new cultural priesthood – who simply shout ‘tyranny’ in response from their spiritual Place de la Bastille – have predictably fallen on deaf ears. The church’s attempts at compromise with this massive religious and cultural force is a fool’s errand; it is not only pointless and ineffective, it is an implicit surrender that only encourages the revolutionaries to believe they are on the brink of total victory. According to Andrew Cain, these church apologies are akin to habitual ‘marital abuse’ (an ironic metaphor given his distortion of marriage) and nothing more, because the official policy of the church has not yet changed – as though the basic creational distinctions of male and female, and the institution of marriage, which is a picture of the gospel, were a matter of mere social policy to be reviewed and updated as fashion dictates! For Cain, until ‘the policy’ does change, there will be no peace, but only defiance and an open contempt for biblical authority structures in the church. Indeed this angry revolutionary for the anti-thesis (against God’s thesis), in open violation of his ordination vows and the teaching of the church, will continue to paint himself as the heroic victim and warrior for the new righteousness, displaying the colours of the revolution on the property of God with impunity.

So what will the COE bishops do about Andrew Cain’s very public assault on their ‘silly rules?’ I suspect, absolutely nothing. When compromise has gone as far as it has in the COE, more useless appeasement usually follows in the hope of escaping the hungry crocodile of elite opinion and social condemnation for another day. Andrew Cain is waving the trans flag but the bishops, in their failure to publically discipline Cain and strip him of his ordination and authority, are already waving a white one. By contrast, the apostle Paul, that great bishop of the church declared:

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you.… Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.… I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? (1 Cor. 5:1-2, 6-12).

If the COE bishops fail to follow Paul’s example and judge those inside by expelling the flagrantly immoral man claiming to be a brother and priest, the rainbow colors of the revolution will soon unfurl atop of every Cathedral and Parish in Britain and it will not be long before the hold-outs are unceremoniously ejected from their houses of worship. It is time for the church to respond to the propaganda of Channel Four and Andrew Cain with the Word of truth. It is time to replace appeasement with faithfulness. Andrew has gone the way of our ancient ancestor Cain and is already neck deep in the rebellion of Korah … the wise will not go with him.


Sunday, October 9th, 2016

By Peter Jensen
There is only one Church of Jesus Christ, his Body and his Bride. In the upper room before his death he prayed that the Father would glorify him (John 17:1-5), that the Father would sanctify his Apostles in the Truth (John 17:6-19) and that his Church may be one, so that the world may believe (John 17:20-26).

All three requests were answered through his death, his resurrection, his ascension and in the gift of the Holy Spirit. The prayer sees the foundation of a church one, holy, catholic and apostolic. In particular it is one.

That is why the Apostle Paul can say in these glorious words, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Of course, this unity is not only a spiritual reality: it is also a practical obligation. We are to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.’ (Ephesians 4:2-6). Our unity is founded on the apostolic truth for which the Lord prayed. We come to faith through their testimony.

I am always puzzled by the way in which the petition of Jesus, ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17:21), is so frequently assumed not to have been fulfilled. Why would it have failed, when the other two petitions were so gloriously answered? After all, one of the major themes of the New Testament is a demonstration that the gospel and the Spirit belong to all who own the name of Christ, on the same terms and conditions.

Even more puzzling is the careless way in which the petition has been plucked from its context and turned into a command. The true command is to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’. Even denominational divisions do not destroy the spiritual unity of the one church of Jesus Christ. Indeed, they may be necessary so that the apostolic truth can be preserved.

When John 17 is constantly plucked from its context and quoted to demonstrate that we are to seek a form of Christianity which is institutionally uniform, we go well beyond the text. More than that, when the ‘command’ is used to make such a unity an over-ruling priority, it trumps issues which may oblige us to separate, to find different institutional homes. The scriptural basis for Christians to love and serve each other has been twisted to become an obligation to maintain fellowship between institutional Churches, no matter how far off the rails they go. The Reformation is the Anglican answer to that suggestion.

Churches can go wrong — badly wrong. Look at the case against the church at Ephesus: ‘you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first, If not, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent’ (Revelation 2: 4,5). As Article XIX says, ‘As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith’.

If the matter is grievous enough we must protest — reform them or leave them or risk compromising the gospel we preach.

It is tragic that some are arguing that leaving a church or denomination is never a possibility because it hinders the gospel. The reverse can be the case: a church may be so compromised with the world that it cannot effectively preach the gospel.

When it comes to sexual morality, the Biblical testimony is clear. Sexual intercourse is reserved for a man and a woman who are married. Intercourse outside of marriage is a sin. It is a sin from which there can be repentance and forgiveness.

The gospel is not preached in its fullness unless there is a call to repentance. We live in an age of widespread sexual promiscuity. The Bible links this with our rebellion against God and with the idolatry which follows from the rebellion (Romans 1:18-32). For the gospel to be preached without making it clear that the Lord expects sexual purity in his disciples, is to truncate the gospel and betray the people to whom we are speaking. The Lord’s wisdom in this is part of that which makes the good news so good.

When we are invited in the name of mission, or in the name of fellowship, to co-operate with a gospel which either refuses to call sin what it is, or worse, declares that sinful behaviour is actually good, the cost is too high. It is not we who have broken fellowship and unity, it is those who regard their unity with the Apostolic Gospel as being of lesser importance than their unity with the teaching of this world, who have created schism.

Only true love has the courage to name sin and call for repentance.

The Most Rev Dr. Peter Jensen is GAFCON General Secretary

From Cairo to Cape Town—Scriptural Interpretation, Authority, and Fidelity or Liberation Theological Applications Affirming Culture?

Saturday, October 8th, 2016


Issues Facing Missions Today 62:  Rev Fr Rollin Grams


When the Church becomes a mirror of the culture, it becomes irrelevant to the culture.  Its youth drift away, its numbers decline.  It throws its angelic visitors and own daughters out to the horde of Sodom knocking at its door.  When the Scriptures are used in defense of the culture, its words are co-opted by the culture and its message suppressed.  It is no longer the Spirit-inspired Word of God but becomes words in the mouths of other spirits.

A Tale of One Culture in Two Centuries: The Cases of Slavery and Homosexuality in the West

One still finds today people who try to link the Church’s use of Scripture to defend slavery in the West in the 19th century to the Church’s use of Scripture to oppose homosexuality in the 20th/21st century.  The assumption, of course, is a liberation hermeneutic (a liberation interpretation) that equates the situation of slaves to other marginalized groups, such as women and homosexuals and transgender people and persons wishing to die or to design their own babies.  This is a confusion of categories—otherwise we would find ourselves championing the causes of every marginalized group.

One might even argue, on such a logic, that once the West’s majority affirms homosexuality on the grounds of its pursuit of freedoms, the Church would then have to change its stance and take up the cause of the now marginalized orthodox (an increasingly persecuted minority) who oppose this new teaching.  However, the error is not just one of a confusion of categories (putting slavery, women, and homosexuals in the same grouping).  It is also a misuse of Scripture.  The particular mistake is to use Scripture like a puppet, making it say what you want it to say: people see the puppet’s mouth moving, but the puppeteer is the one talking.

On this matter of the misuse of Scripture, the issues of slavery and homosexuality are related (and not on the issue of liberating the marginalized).  In the 19th century, a culture that had slaves and economically depended on them to work the cotton and tobacco fields of the American South, conveniently ‘forgot’ Scripture’s calling the slave-trade a sin.  In its interpretation of laws 5-9 of the Ten Commandments, 1 Timothy 1:10 relates the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal’, to slave traders.  In its description of God’s judgement on Rome’s economic system, Revelation 18:13 highlights that the slave trade is a trade in ‘human souls’ that God’s judgement will end.  To strike at the very mechanism of slave trading is to strike at the institution of slavery itself.

1 Timothy 1:10 also mentions that homosexuality is a sin, relating it to a breaking of the commandment ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.  The Ten Commandments stand for moral topics rather than single issues, and this commandment stands for all sexual immorality, not just adultery.  In a Western world that sees things through the lenses of liberation, both a licensing of sexual immorality and an opposition to slavery make sense.  But from a Biblical perspective, as in 1 Timothy 1:10 itself, the two issues are distinct.  To allow sexual immorality and homosexuality in opposition to what Scripture says is to break the seventh commandment not to commit adultery.  To allow people to capture and enslave other people is to break the eighth commandment not to steal.

The West’s chief cultural lens has, for several hundred years, been liberation.  It is the value that determines all other values.  This explains why mainline denominations that have embraced this culture have searched for ways to remove Scripture’s concrete and clear teaching from the discussion.  Some have turned to the numerous, conflicting options to reinterpret Biblical passages addressing homosexuality: any interpretation will do other than the one that the Church has affirmed for 2000 years.  Others have acknowledged that Scripture says what it does but have tried to override these texts with the more abstract values of liberation and love—values that can be shaped into any sort of teaching one wishes.  (For example, for one person, giving a mother the right to abort her child is to give her freedom to choose, and to give her this freedom is how to love her; for another person, killing your own children is hardly loving and not a freedom the unborn child can be expected to embrace.  Vague values are little more than wax noses in the hands of whoever is shaping them.)

Thus, it should be no surprise that, when the Anglican Bishops of the Global South met this past week in Cairo, they did not sign up to the West’s cultural interpretation—or misinterpretation—of Scripture.  They rejected the cultural ‘West’s’ mainline denominations’ rejection of Scriptural authority, be they in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, or South Africa.  For the Anglican Bishops of the Global South, Scripture stands first, not some culture’s primary value over against Scripture or misinterpretation of Scripture.  In Scripture, liberation is first and foremost liberation from idolatry (Egyptian bondage) and sin (Babylonian exile), and love is first and foremost the love of God by obeying His commandments (Deuteronomy 6:4-6).  It is no use separating love of God from obeying His commandments (cf. John 14:15, 23).  Nor it is any use making ‘liberation’ a tool for redefining Biblical sexuality over against what Scripture actually teaches.

The Saga of South Africa

South Africa offers an interesting case study in the misuse of Scripture to establish rather than challenge the culture.  The Dutch Reformed Church was the actual incubator for Apartheid in South Africa already in the 1800s.  Scripture was read in such a way as to support Apartheid, the separation and subjugation of the native races under white, colonial power.  Opposition to this teaching was particularly strong in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, but it, too, turned to a particular ‘culture’ in order to articulate its message.  In the case of ACSA, the ‘culture’ was a theological cultural wind blowing from the West, the wind of liberation.  Liberation theology from the mid-twentieth century in the Americas was a ready tool to oppose Apartheid in South Africa.  Rather than the subjugation of non-white races, as in the Apartheid theology, their liberation was championed.

If the Dutch Reformed Church was the instigator of an Apartheid theology and politics in South Africa, it was also a key player in its demise.  With mounting international pressure and sanctions in the 1980s and continual opposition to Apartheid from several Christian denominations (including Reformed denominations outside South Africa and the Anglicans inside the country), certain Dutch Reformed theologians began to call for a new epoch (Kairos).  The initial call was rightly focussed on a call for Biblical justice.  But the developing call for liberation in the culture, which might have appeared to be in agreement with the virtue of justice, easily became something more.  The wax nose of liberation served the South African situation rather well to undercut misinterpretations of Scripture and Christianity in the Apartheid culture and to call for justice, but it could be shaped into other things as well.

The borrowed theology from the West of liberation was (to change the metaphor) a lion let out of the cage.  What else would it attack?  Unchained to Scripture, it quickly gained a taste for other liberations from Western culture.  Who can argue against anything when ‘liberation’ is the chief value?  Only liberation that takes away someone else’s freedom can be checked; but giving people a license to do whatever they wish in all other cases is clearly the ethic of the day—so much so that enforcing people to participate in others’ liberation is also considered ethical and even a legal necessity.  (You will open your bathrooms to any gender.  You will bake the cake for a homosexual wedding.  You will call a person by the gender pronoun he, she, or it wishes.)

The West has lost the very vocabulary and the ability to articulate any ethic other than assent to individual freedoms—the right to engage in whatever sexual unions people desire, the right to define one’s own gender despite ones sexuality, the right to abort children, the right to design children (eugenics), the right to adopt children into same-sex households—and so forth.  We watch the news each week to see what the latest victim is that this unchained liberation devours.  This past week, in South Africa, the old champion of liberation during the Apartheid era, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, picked up the cause of assisted suicide.  Of course he would.  He did so in the midst of a student uprising on college campuses to demand free education and other real or imagined ‘rights’.  Of course they would.  All this is perfectly logical: liberation as a cause in the culture prowls from village to village, snatching unprotected victims day by day.

So, it was no surprise that the bishop of Soldana Bay in the Western Cape put forth a motion at the synod in September for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to affirm same sex unions through church blessings.  (Over against the canons or laws of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the diocese had already declared that homosexuality is not a sin!  The motion was defeated at the synod, but the Archbishop of ACSA has vowed to continue the cause—the cause of liberation is never sated, and the culture cheers it on even in the Church.)

Nor was it a surprise that the once Bible-believing Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa earlier in the month condoned same-sex marriage.  (With its congregational Church polity, individual congregations may be able to resist the denomination’s view.)  It has exchanged Biblical interpretation for theological application, and the chosen theology to apply is liberation theology.  Such views affirm a liberation from the Biblical understanding of marriage itself—people can be sexually united with the Church’s blessing outside marriage—and a liberation from Biblical teaching on sexuality—in particular, the Bible’s teaching on gender and marriage being between biologically male and female persons.  For a culture that marinated in Apartheid for so long and that, in the end, used liberation theology to deliver itself, this makes perfect sense.  But it is solidly opposed to Scripture and the teaching of the Church from its beginnings when it comes to the issues of sexuality and marriage.

It is also no surprise, then, that the Bishops of the Global South, representing somewhere around 2/3rds of the Anglican Communion throughout the world, rejected the liberation interpretation of sexuality from the West and reaffirmed the historic commitment to Scripture of the Anglican Church.  Individually and collectively, they are not so blinded by their cultures that they forever try to bend Scripture with the hurricane of liberation to affirm rather than challenge culture.  They have not guzzled the wine of liberation to the last drop but have savoured it along with the meat of God’s Holy Word.


There lies the challenge.  Every mainline denomination in the West imbibing the sweet wine of freedom from its culture is in free-fall.  The Episcopal Church in the USA, having severed itself from Scripture, is sailing at the mercy of every wind of doctrine.  Its numbers are half today what they were in the 1960s.  The more it looks like culture, the less relevant it is.  The Church of Wales has so few ‘participants’ in its services and has so fully embraced the culture (there are always exceptions in a few individual churches, to be sure), that it is an ossified relic of a Church that Once Was.  England is facing the same challenge, and that with an Archbishop guiding it who seems to want everyone to sing together rather than sing truth as the ship goes down.

And what of South Africa?  Will this country at the tip of the continent where the Church is growing fastest in the world continue to link itself to its Western, colonial past by reading the world through the lens of liberation?  Or will it join with the orthodox faith of historic Christianity, affirming the teaching of Scripture and prophetically witnessing in its context in the face of a cultural suicide in the name of liberation?

The Parable of the Hyena at Night

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

The Parable of the Hyena at Night

[continuing modern parables for the Anglican Communion–and others facing similar issues]

By Rollin Grams

The disciples were walking south along a hedgerow on their way to Brecon. One of them remarked on the lovely view of the Brecon Beacons in the distance. Another commented on how they helped guide the traveller no matter which way the road twisted, as they could be seen above the hedgerows and hills most of the way.

As they continued in their conversations along the road, they came upon a most surprising sight. Heading towards them was an African archbishop, wearing his mitre that sat a tad squiff on his head and limping along as though injured. His progress was aided by three Americans from Manhattan.

When the two walking parties met, one of the Americans asked directions. ‘We have lost our way,’ he said.

‘You must just keep the Brecon Beacons in your sight to keep your bearings,’ a disciple said, ‘although you are headed in the wrong direction to see them. But they will tell you in which direction you are headed if you only look to them for guidance.’

Then the disciples noticed that the African archbishop was weeping. They asked if they could be of help. ‘No,’ the Americans said, ‘He weeps for people whom his Church will not bless. He is in great agony because most of his bishops, clergy, and laity insist on calling sin what the Church has always called sin. But he knows that sinners who wish to keep sinning will not like his Church if this does not change. He wishes to stop calling that thing a sin and instead bless it.’

The disciples were shocked to find such drama in the middle of a brambly hedge in the Welsh countryside, let alone such confusion in the mind of an archbishop. One of the Americans said, ‘Do not worry. He has already learned from us how to revise the meaning of Scripture, and we will further teach him how to control his bishops, clergy, and laity on this issue with our money, endless conversations, and new teaching.’ Then the archbishop’s face brightened, and he was encouraged to travel on. With a wry smile he said, ‘Yes, this is only the beginning, not the end. We have three years to soften them before the next synod.’

The parties continued on their opposite ways. The disciples wondered if their master would say something. One of them was about to ask when he noticed that their master was weeping silently, so he did not speak. ‘The master is also weeping,’ he told the others. ‘I think he is also weeping for those people in the care of this archbishop.’

When they arrived in Brecon, they found a place to eat and rest. While they were eating, the master said, ‘The hyena in Africa prefers to roam in the darkness rather than in the light. It steals the young and the weak, dragging them from campsites. Let no one forget the hyena’s crushing jaws when hearing its disarming laugh. The striped hyena is a scavenger, like the vultures. It is happy to eat rotting flesh and scrummage around in the garbage pits of humans at night.’

The disciples knew he was speaking of the archbishop and were shocked. ‘Were you not weeping for the people in the archbishop’s charge, just as he was?’ they asked.

‘I was, indeed,’ said their master. ‘But I was weeping precisely because these people are in his charge. Weak and sickly from their sin, he will snatch them from the true light and deprive them of the Kingdom of God. He will let them die in their sins rather than warn them of the consequences of their actions. He will crush them with his bad theology while appearing most compassionate and amiable. He will scavenge some things from the true Church but add to these the fetid errors that he finds from his foraging in the darkness.’

‘And what about the Americans helping him?’ asked a disciple.

‘They are the vultures,’ said their master. ‘They aide the hyena in its feasting. They circle about in the lofty skies, offering aid to other scavengers. The hyena sees them in the daytime and comes running at night.’

‘As for you,’ said the master, ‘show the young and the weak where the safe fire of God’s Word burns brightly, dispelling the darkness. Warn them of the hyena, and chase away the vultures.’


Global South Conference opens in Cairo

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the chairman of Gafcon, was the preacher at the opening communion service of the Global South Conference in All Saints Cathedral Cairo on Monday October 3rd, presided over by the chairman of the Global South, Archbishop Mouneer Anis.