“In the latest in what seems like a long series of religious freedom cases involving Christian small business owners in the ‘wedding industry’, a New York couple, the Giffords, have been fined $13,000 for declining to make their venue available for a same sex wedding ceremony, and a New York State appeal court has now upheld the verdict…”
– in his latest post at Law and Religion Australia, Dr Neil Foster (Associate Professor in Law, Newcastle Law School) looks at a ‘religious freedom’ case in the USA, and similar cases in Australia.
“I am writing from Canterbury, England, where the staff of the American Anglican Council has been on site assisting Archbishop Foley Beach and the GAFCON Primates in their witness at the Primates gathering this week. There is a saying about the fog of war: when it descends, there is often confusion and disorientation in the midst of the fight. Here, it would certainly be fair to say that situations changed on a daily, if not hourly basis. In the fog of war, rarely are battles decisive. More often, they turn out to be one step among many in a long and costly road to victory. Read more
Enough has leaked from the gathering to be able to form a picture of what went on. The Archbishop of Canterbury and his staff had tried to direct the progress of the group’s deliberations by resorting to a standby from ++Justin Welby’s corporate days: the RAND-developed group facilitation mechanism known as the ‘Delphi Technique’…”
– The Anglican Curmudgeon, A. S. Haley, gives his take on the washup of the gathering in Canterbury. (There is one more day of meetings scheduled, with a press conference scheduled for 1500BST Friday / 0200AEDT Saturday).
The days ahead will give some clarity, however the Statement issued this morning by GAFCON Chairman Eliud Wabukala and General Secretary Peter Jensen is worth re-reading.
We have little details of discussions during the day but the most dramatic moment was evensong at 5.30pm when it very quickly became apparent that a large number of Primates were missing, not even attending as they had done on Monday…”
“Dear Prayer Supporters,
The discussions at Canterbury are at a crucial stage and we know that God is sovereign, hence we ask you to pray with us:
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
We turn once more to you in faith,
Interceding for the Primates of the Anglican Communion as they meet in Canterbury.
Please use their endeavors to hallow your great name;
May your kingdom come;
May your will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Uphold your word in the church we pray, so guiding us to live godly and obedient lives, not compromising with this world, but holding forth the gospel of salvation without fear,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Yours in Christ Service
GAFCON General Secretary.”
(Photo: Canterbury Cathedral via Primates2016.)
“A recent decision in Northern Ireland, where an evangelical preacher was acquitted after being criminally charged in relation to a sermon attacking Islam, raises a number of important issues about free speech in a religious setting…”
– At Law and Religion Australia, Dr Neil Foster takes a close look at what the UK case was – and wasn’t – about, as well as asking how free speech and freedom of religion might be protected here in Australia.
“…there is a danger that if the Archbishop of Canterbury’s meeting of global Anglican archbishops next week goes south, orthodox leaders could find themselves on the end of some New Labour-style spinning.
It appears to have already started…”
– The Rev. Julian Mann writes at The Conservative Woman. Let’s hope this is not so. Thanks to Anglican Mainstream for the link.
Possibly related: What can we learn from Jesus’s hospitality? – on the Primates 2016 website. (Logo courtesy of the Anglican Communion Office.)
Phillip Jensen, former Dean of Sydney, writes to give thanks for Bishop John Reid, “a great man of God who faithfully and lovingly stood for the truth of the Gospel”.
Here’s a taste –
- “He consistently upheld the great truths of the gospel, always graciously pointing to the Saviour by expounding God’s word. He was committed to the truths expounded in the Reformation, while diplomatically developing relationships with those who did not share them.
- He was his own man, (or rather Christ’s man) but he was a great admirer of John Stott and Marcus Loane, and ministered with the same kind of intelligent care in the use of words as those two giants.
- He was humble, generous and hospitable – always the first to wash up or put people at their ease. He never played the Bishop card, as if he were something special and above the ordinary.”
(Bishop Reid’s funeral will be held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, at 10:00am on Thursday 14th January.)
The Episcopal Church has tried to occupy that centre of influence in order to shape the communion according to its vision of the Christian faith, untethered from the authority of scripture. Canterbury under the previous leadership allowed TEC space and even support with its Communion Changing agenda.”
– With the Primates’ meeting just days away, Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden write this opinion piece (also published at Anglican Mainstream) in The Church of England Newspaper. They appear to take a more optimistic view of Canterbury than many. Time will tell.
“We are now walking in a new spiritual darkness. The churches are ill-prepared. But God is thoroughly prepared; he is not at a loss. There is nothing to fear; but we need to work out what new tactics are required for this new context. Without doubt, we will walk by faith; but what does this mean?”
– GAFCON General Secretary Peter Jensen writes an encouraging reminder of why we need GAFCON.
“Hard times come with hard questions, and our cultural context exerts enormous pressure on Christians to affirm common ground at the expense of theological differences. But the cost of getting this question wrong is the loss of the Gospel.”
Related: Thinking Theologically About Islam – Kevin DeYoung.
However, in examining Star Wars’ account of the mystery and nobility of human life, the Bible’s answer, in comparison, emerges with incomparably more convincing power.”
– At Ligonier Ministries, Peter Jones asks his readers to consider the worldview of the hugely popular movies.