Lambeth 2020 Descends into Confusion

“When the boundary markers of biblical and apostolic faith are set aside, confusion enters the Church.  …

The Archbishop of Canterbury has changed the long-established convention that spouses are invited to Lambeth Conferences and contradicted the blanket statement he made in a recent video when he affirmed “of course, bishops’ spouses will be invited as well as bishops”.

The reason for this change in policy follows from another, which was to include for the first time at Lambeth 2020 same-sex partnered bishops in contrast to the policy of his predecessor, Archbishop Rowan Williams, who did not invite Bishop Gene Robinson and his same-sex partner to Lambeth 2008…”

– The latest from GAFCON on the latest Lambeth confusion.

Screenshot above from this video produced to promote the Lambeth Conference (cued to the statement about bishops’ spouses):

Gospel Flourishing in a Time of Confusion — new book from Church Society

At Church Society’s website, there’s news of a new book to help evangelicals in the midst of a very confused Church of England.

Stephen Noll and Lambeth 2020 — Anglican Unscripted 489

On the latest Anglican Unscripted, Kevin Kallsen speaks with Dr. Stephen Noll about Lambeth 2020 and the current state of play.

(Dr. Noll also writes at Contending Anglican.)

Same-sex spouses of Bishops will not be invited to Lambeth – but the Bishops in those same-sex marriages will

“I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend.

But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies. …”

– ‘Secretary General of the Anglican Communion’, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon speaks of “the global excitement about the Lambeth Conference”. (Link added.)

Pictured:

Bishop of Toronto Kevin Robertson (left) who is in a same-sex ‘marriage’, is being invited to the 2020 Lambeth Conference, as is Bishop Susan Bell of the Diocese of Niagara (centre), who officiated at the marriage ceremony in St. James’ Cathedral, Toronto.

Mohan Sharma (right), as spouse of Bishop Robertson, has not been invited. (Thanks to Anglican Samizdat.)

The Apostle Paul and Lambeth 2020: “Have nothing to do with them”

“The faithful bishops who attend Lambeth will probably be shepherded by Anglican Communion Office ‘minders’ to various huddles and gatherings apart from their fellow Biblically faithful bishops. In past conferences, their comments have been mysteriously omitted from official reports leaving no opportunity for dissent.

They were also shepherded to a ‘photo-op’ with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other bishops. If you are a Biblically faithful bishop present at Lambeth 2020, your smiling presence in the conference photograph will be taken as your unconditional public approval of what is expected to be the reversal of Resolution 1.10 (1998), the Biblical standard among Anglicans on the clarity and authority of the Bible as it speaks to matters of human sexuality, marriage, Holy Orders and leadership standards within the Church.

Dear Bishops, what else can you expect on the agenda of the Lambeth 2020 Conference of Bishops?

The Anglican Communion Office Strategic Plan and the Redefinition of Anglican Identity 

Please note that there is no reference or even acknowledgement of the Scriptures, the Creeds or the Anglican formularies (The Thirty-Nine Articles, The Book of Common Prayer 1662 and its Ordinal) as providing the authoritative limits within which such Anglican diversity is practiced. 

The Strategic Plan goes on to hint at what and whom may be driving the redefinition of Anglican identity when it concedes that, ‘Provincial Contributions [to the ACO] have been dominated by two Provinces providing 67% of the total [income]’ and identified ‘Risk 403,’ ‘Concentration of income from small number of provinces with vulnerability to loss of support from a significant Province.’

Does anyone want to hazard a guess who that ‘significant Province’ is and the support they may be threatening to withdraw if things don’t go their way?

This week, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to the primates suggesting a season of repentance and prayer across the Communion to coincide with Lent 2020, and in preparation for Lambeth 2020.

May I offer a suggestion? …”

You really ought to take the time read the full post (and last week’s) by Canon Phil Ashey of The American Anglican Council.

Religious ‘vilification’ not unlawful in NSW

“In an important decision on religion and free speech in NSW, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled today in Ekermawi v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2019] NSWCATAD 29 (15 Feb 2019) that it is not a breach of the law in NSW to make offensive comments about a religion.

However, the case involved some difficult issues of law, and while the outcome seems correct, it may foreshadow a restrictive approach to free speech in other cases in the future…”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Never mind the naysayers: Franklin Graham’s visit is good news for Australia

“US evangelist, the Rev. Franklin Graham, has begun his Australian tour. From 9-24 February, he is holding a series of evangelistic rallies in Perth, Darwin, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney. Rev. Graham is the son of the late evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham (1918-2018), and his Australian tour is timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of his father’s epochal 1959 crusades in Australia.

Throughout his public ministry the forthright evangelist has courted controversy for his frank pronouncements on contentious issues. His occasional wading into the political fray has raised the ire of many, both inside and outside the church, yet his visit to Australia this month is good news. …”

– David Furse-Roberts writes at ABC Religion & Ethics.

Senate committee report on “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill

“The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has now (Feb 14, 2019) tabled its Report on the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018, a Private Senator’s Bill introduced last year by Senator Wong with the support of the ALP. (The background to the Bill can be found in previous posts on this blog, starting here, the most recent of which was here.)

The recommendation of the majority is that the Bill not be approved, and instead that the Bill and related issues “be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission for full and proper consideration” (para 3.86). …

However, in the current Parliamentary situation in Australia at the moment … it is worth noting the dissenting ALP senators’ report.”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster provides an update on the Senate committee report on the proposed “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill.

Glorify God in Your Body – new book from Martin Davie

The latest Podcast from Church Society discusses an important new publication by Martin Davie – Glorify God in your Body. The book’s subtitle is Human identity and flourishing in marriage, singleness and friendship.

Clear biblical teaching on these topics is much in need in today’s church.

From the cover of the book:

“This study, written by Dr Martin Davie in collaboration with a representative group of other Evangelical theologians, is commended by the Church of England Evangelical Council as a resource in the discussions taking place in the Church of England in relation to the House of Bishops’ ‘Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human identity, sexuality and marriage’ project.

It explores a Christian approach to human identity, marriage, singleness, friendship, sex and family life in the light of the worldview that is laid out for us in Scripture and the classical Christian tradition. It considers the current challenges to this approach arising from the sexual revolution and from technological developments in the fields of birth control and infertility treatment and looks at how Christians should respond to them in ways that will enable them to fulfil St. Paul’s injunction to ‘glorify God in your body’. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

From the Church of England Evangelical Council website, you can download the complete 324 page book as a PDF file, or in Kindle and ePub versions. There’s also a link to purchase printed copies from the Latimer Trust.

Read the Press Release accompanying the publication of the book (PDF file).

Two current stories highlight the need to not only understand God’s word, but also to live by it.

The Reality of Sexual Abuse Hits Home: What Happened? What Do We Do Now? – Albert Mohler.

“A massive investigative report appeared in the Sunday editions of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. The headline was direct — ‘20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms.’…”

Thomas Brown elected 10th bishop of Maine in historic vote – Episcopal News Service.

“Brown will become The Episcopal Church’s only openly gay and married bishop currently leading a diocese. … The church currently has one other openly gay bishop. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009…”

Franklin Graham touring Australia

“On the 60th anniversary of Billy Graham’s historic 1959 visit, his son Franklin has started his tour to six Australian cities, including two events in Sydney.

The 1959 Billy Graham evangelistic tour changed the landscape of Christianity in Australia, with tens of thousands of people converted – including those who would later become significant leaders, such as Peter and Phillip Jensen. …”

– Russell Powell reports at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Key Anglican reading this weekend

Here are two articles worth reading this weekend:

Two weeks ago, Dr. Stephen Noll published “TAKING SWEET COUNSEL TOGETHER”: Lambeth Edition.

“On 28 December 2018 [the Feast of the Holy Innocents], the Anglican Diocese of Toronto announced, with attached photo (Bishop Robertson [left], Bishop Susan Bell [center] and Mr. Sharma [right]):

‘The Diocese of Toronto congratulates Bishop Kevin Robertson and Mr. Mohan Sharma, who were married today at St. James Cathedral in the presence of their two children, their families and many friends, including Archbishop Colin Johnson and Bishop Andrew Asbil. …

(Bishop Kevin and Mohan, who have been a couple since 2009, had their relationship blessed in 2016 according to the Pastoral Guidelines of the Diocese of Toronto and are now married under the marriage provision of the same guidelines.)

We wish them much joy in their marriage.’ [END]

This event could be a deal-breaker for the upcoming Lambeth Conference in 2020. And should be! Here’s why. …”

And the American Anglican Council’s Canon Phil Ashey writes “The Apostle Paul and Lambeth 2020”, where he quotes from Dr. Noll, but adds his own observations –

“I believe that there may yet be some Biblically faithful Bishops in the Anglican Communion who intend to go to the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in 2020 to object to false teaching and make a witness to the truth of the Gospel. I have listened to Bishops – especially those newly consecrated who have not attended these Communion wide meetings – who sincerely believe that they can make a difference by taking a stand at these gatherings which are organized and directed by Canterbury, with ‘minders’ from the Anglican Communion Office already assigned to these faithful bishops who intend to come, and with generous funding by The Episcopal Church and others who promote the very teaching contrary to the Gospel that we see pictured above.

Based on what I have observed at such official Communion wide meetings, there’s more I could say. …”

Related:

From the Anglican Communion News Service, 7th February 2019 – New Anglican Communion bishops receive induction in Canterbury, Lambeth and the ACO. (Bishop Kevin Robertson at left in this photo from ACNS.)

A Crisis in Koinonia: Biblical Perspectives for Anglicans – Canon David Short (published here 2004).

Keep Up or Die?: A Church that Won’t Hold a Heresy Trial isn’t Really a Church – Dr. Albert Mohler (on the United Church of Canada).

The Bible Theft: Guarding Against Those who Steal God’s Word from the Church

Dr. Peter Sanlon (pictured), Vicar of St. Mark’s Tunbridge Wells, has recently published “The Bible Theft” – a book to help Christians spot the various kinds of anti-Biblical teaching running rampant in the Church of England.

It’s a very timely book, and Julian Mann draws attention to it:

“This tremendously accessible and intelligent book from the pastoral front line breathes the excitement of Christian truth and thus commends the Faith to both Christians and non-Christians.”

Australian readers can order copies from these booksellers (and, doubtless, others).

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