Exacerbating the credibility crisis

“It is with regret that we have today heard that Philip North, suffragan Bishop of Burnley, has chosen not to accept his nomination as diocesan Bishop of Sheffield.

The circumstances surrounding his withdrawal exacerbate the already acute credibility crisis for the Church of England, especially in its treatment of those with traditional Christian views. What now does ‘flourishing’ mean?…”

– Church Society Director Lee Gatiss responds to the news that Philip North has been forced to withdraw his nomination as Bishop of Sheffield.

Statement on the Rt Rev’d Philip North’s withdrawal from nomination as the next Bishop of Sheffield

Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas, has released this statement on the withdrawal of Bishop Philip North for consideration as the next Bishop of Sheffield.

I am deeply saddened that Philip North has felt forced to withdraw from his nomination as the next Bishop of Sheffield. It will be a huge loss to Sheffield and is a body blow to the concept of ‘mutual flourishing’ which lay at the heart of the agreement to introduce women bishops in the Church of England.

Philip has huge gifts to offer the Church, and his leadership in Sheffield would have given a great boost to mission.

However, the damage to the principles on which the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests is based, is profound. If all orders of ministry and all appointments are equally open to men and women, then the same has to apply to those who hold that the ministries of men and women are distinctively different. If it does not, if there is, in effect, a glass ceiling that prevents those of traditional churchmanships ministering at all levels of the Church, then the Declaration and the provisions that came with it lose all credibility.

I know that both Archbishops were personally wholly committed to the concept of mutual flourishing and it was warmly supported by the General Synod. If it is to survive as our governing motif, then urgent action will be needed to demonstrate its effectiveness. In the absence of such action, we will simply have given in to those who hounded Philip North out of office.

– So much for ‘radical inclusion’ in the Church of England. Emphasis added.

And from Bishop North’s statement:

“There is clearly much to be done on what it means to disagree well and to live with theological difference in the Church of England. The highly individualised nature of the attacks upon me have been extremely hard to bear. If, as Christians, we cannot relate to each other within the bounds of love, how can we possibly presume to transform a nation in the name of Christ?”

Christian street preachers convicted for quoting the King James Bible

“Two Christian street preachers have been convicted of religiously aggravated harassment after quoting from the King James Bible when asked questions about Islam and homosexuality by hecklers. … 

the claims of the prosecutor that merely quoting the Bible is both abusive and criminal goes to the very heart and foundation of freedom of religion in the UK.”

– Story from Barnabas Fund.

See also: In 2008 the UK was saved from a new blasphemy law – Barnabas Fund.

TEC Bishop Michael Curry “intervenes” in Supreme Court transgender case

“Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the US based Episcopal Church has put his name to a document going before the Supreme Court, as it examines the issue of transgender bathroom use. …

The case involves a teenager who took on male gender identity and was allowed by his school to use the boys’ bathroom for two months. But then, after some parents objected, he was offered a private bathroom instead. 

Bishop Curry anchored his support of the brief in Genesis 1:26-27…”

– Report, including an ‘interesting’ reading of Genesis 1:26-27, from The Anglican Communion News Service. Photo: Episcopal News Service.

GAFCON UK responds to the Synod vote, and offers a new vision

“The confusion created by the General Synod vote on 15th February makes abundantly clear that a new vision is now needed of what Anglican Christianity in England can and should be. …

After the very expensive ‘holding operation’ of the Shared Conversations and the production of GS2055, the inevitable crisis in the C of E is now upon us; one that cannot be covered up by more platitudes about reconciliation and unity.

There is a better way. …

– Read the full important statement from GAFCON UK.

Sam Allberry explains how the message of Jesus on marriage is life-giving

Video from the Church of England General Synod debate on same sex marriage, 15th February 2017.

A very encouraging and sobering 3 minute speech.

‘Church of England’s report on marriage and sexuality suffers setback at Synod’

“A report from the House of Bishops about marriage and same sex relationships has received a significant setback in a vote at the General Synod in London. It is an embarrassing symbolic rejection of the Bishops’ report which had stated that there should be no change in the church’s teaching while calling for a “fresh tone” on the issues. Speaking before the vote, the Archbishop of Canterbury said he believed passionately that the report that had been worked on and struggled with was a roadmap and he promised the church would find a new “inclusion.”

However many speakers in the debate said the report was not clear enough or did not go far enough. 

some evangelical members of Synod also expressed concern, fearing that the Bishops’ report was a softening of the guidelines on sexual morality.”

– This report from The Anglican Communion News Service. Photo credit: Lam Pal. ACNS.

See also: Church of England Bishops’ Report: More Questions than Answers – Canon Phil Ashey, American Anglican Council, 04 February 2017.

The Benedict Option: A Conversation with Rod Dreher

A fascinating conversation between Albert Mohler and Rod Dreher.

How can the church be a light in the darkness of the secular world?

Listen here, 62 minutes.

‘Welby risks a fatal Anglican split over homosexuality’

“Personally, I believe the most worrying element of the [Bishop’s Report on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships] is the way the bishops have reinterpreted the law of the C of E about where our doctrine can be found. They appear to sideline Scripture and the traditional formularies of the Church, in favour of finding the boundaries of freedom in Canon Law.”

from an interview with Reform’s Susie Leafe, speaking about the Church of England’s General Synod, meeting tonight (Australian time).

Link via Anglican Mainstream.

GAFCON UK’s response to the lobby group OneBodyOneFaith

“GAFCON UK welcomes the publication of the OneBodyOneFaith statement “A time to build”.

The statement is admirably clear in its wholesale abandonment of any pretence that OneBodyOneFaith has any respect for Biblical authority or any interest in the wellbeing of global Anglicanism. …”

GAFCON UK responds with clarity to yet another call to ditch the authority of God’s word.

‘Gender theory banned in NSW classrooms’

“NSW public school teachers have been banned from teaching gender theory in the classroom after an independent review into the state’s sex and health education resources.”

– Story from The Australian. (subscription only)

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