Freedom of faith and Israel Folau — Public Statement from Archbishop Glenn Davies

“Christians do not ask that everyone agree with us on the reality of heaven and hell, but it is part of our faith DNA that we speak out about Jesus, whatever the cost. I say again that I support Israel Folau as a Christian brother.”

Archbishop Glenn Davies has issued a public statement on Israel Folau and the issue of Freedom of Speech, Conscience and Belief.

Full statement follows:

“Israel Folau’s right to express his faith and act according to his conscience is of fundamental importance in any democracy, and it is of great concern to many Australians that this right is being denied and vilified. Many are wondering whether they will be next. No-one should suppose that there are not deeply held views on either side of this issue. But at the moment, only one side is being heard. The way in which Folau’s motives have been impugned and his avenues of support have been cut off smacks of a new and ugly Australia where dissent from narrow cultural views is not tolerated.

The original post on Instagram canvassed some basic tenets of the Christian faith. It was not the entire Christian message, but it was posted without malice and from a place of deep conscience and concern. It encompassed all people, for we are all liars. It was posted with respect and with urgency. It had nothing to do with rugby and it should have been his right as a citizen to speak of what he believes without threat to his employment.

Christians do not ask that everyone agree with us on the reality of heaven and hell, but it is part of our faith DNA that we speak out about Jesus, whatever the cost. I say again that I support Israel Folau as a Christian brother. I support the right for him to articulate his faith in the public sphere of social media. I admire the resolute way he has given his personal testimony. Why, in the diversity of views in modern Australia, is that faith to be silenced – the faith from which springs so much of the values and virtues of our own civilisation, let alone the charitable works of many Christian churches across our land.

Ultimately, this will not be decided in the media. The clear support of ordinary Christians has been ignored, marginalised and silenced. Many commentators (and many politicians) have failed to understand the precious nature of conscience and belief and its power in the lives of ordinary Australians. Loud, intolerant voices swamp the quiet faith of many. But I pray that what Israel Folau is going through may shine a light on an issue which is vital to our democracy and of crucial importance for Christians – freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom to live according to our faith.”

Dr Glenn N Davies
Archbishop of Sydney
25 June AD 2019.

Source: SydneyAnglicans.net.

Australian Christian Lobby donates $100,000 to Israel Folau

“In the wake of GoFundMe’s removal of Israel Folau’s fundraiser, the Australian Christian Lobby has today donated $100,000 to his legal defence and is assisting Israel Folaul to launch an alternative fundraising site. …

–  Read it all here.

Update: Israel Folau’s donations surge past $600,000 after GoFundMe ban – ABC News.

“The Australian Christian Lobby’s Israel Folau support fund looks set to surpass the sacked rugby star’s previous GoFundMe campaign total of $750,000 in just 24 hours.

Donations have poured in at a rate of almost $1,000 per minute with the fund now worth more than $675,000…”

(Editor’s note: The Anglican Church League and the Australian Christian Lobby share the same initials, but are different organisations.)

How might Folau’s court case impact religious freedom?

“A victory in his case would be helpful as sending a message that believers have the freedom to speak in accordance with their faith, even when saying something that offends. And perhaps in persuading employers that they should not try to rely on over-broad “codes of conduct”. …

If he loses his case, it will in my view send a message to corporate Australia that they can require uniformity of opinion on controversial topics. It may lead to further restrictions on what Christians can say in public.”

The Gospel Coalition Australia speaks with Associate Professor Neil Foster about the decision by Israel Folau to begin legal proceedings against Rugby Australia.

Bishop William Love addresses the Albany Diocesan Convention

Last year, Bishop William Love, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany in eastern New York state, directed his clergy not to use the trial same-sex marriage rites authorised by the TEC General Convention. This put him on a collision course with the TEC hierarchy.

At his annual diocesan convention, earlier the month, Bishop Love reported on the current situation.

“With the passage of B-012 by the General Convention, a line has been drawn in the sand — a line that I am unable and unwilling to cross.  As all of you know, in January of this year, the Presiding Bishop placed a partial restriction on my ministry in regard to overseeing Title IV Disciplinary Proceedings involving same-sex marriage. In issuing the partial restriction, the Presiding Bishop stated, “Bishop Love’s conduct in this regard may constitute a canonical offence…

I was told an investigation into the allegations made against me would be conducted and I should hear something in a couple of weeks.  That was in the middle of February.  It is now June. …

The jury is still out as to whether The Episcopal Church is truly welcoming, inclusive and diverse enough for those of us who cannot embrace TEC’s current progressive agenda.

If we are to have a real place in The Episcopal Church, we must be provided a way to remain true to our understanding of Holy Scripture and the sacramental nature of the Church, and to differentiate ourselves from TEC’s progressive actions and beliefs that violate God’s Word (as we understand it), and are so offensive and problematic to the vast majority of the wider Anglican Communion and Body of Christ. …”

Read it all here. (link via Anglican Mainstream.)

Some Research on Preaching in the Presbyterian Church of Victoria

“In March each year the Presbyterian Theological Centre in Victoria runs a Pastors’ conference to encourage faithful and engaging expository preaching in our churches. … I presented an audit report on preaching in Presbyterian churches in Victoria.

In conducting the audit I listened online to 40 preachers, with at least one from each of the 13 Presbyteries in the state. …”

David Cook shares some encouragement – at AP, the National Journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

(You might remember that Peter Jensen conducted a similar exercise in 2016.)

GAFCON Sunday 2019 — 30th June

Archbishop Ben Kwashi writes –

Gafcon Sunday is coming up on 30 June, so please join this joyous time of celebrating and renewing our mutual purpose of faithfully proclaiming the full truth of God’s Word to every nation.

A year has passed since the 2018 Gafcon Conference in Jerusalem and the launch of the nine networks. The enthusiasm of that time, as you will see when you watch this documentary, is undiminished today, as we stand together – a true worldwide movement of Anglicans standing on God’s Word.

While you prepare for Gafcon Sunday, please pray about what you can give to keep the Gospel ministry of Gafcon going strong, as together we take an uncompromising stand for the authority of Scripture. Our voices will be heard only if we speak out! Your help will make a vital and real difference.

I hope this gives you a better understanding why we must continue working together. And I am praying I can rely on your support at this important time.

God bless.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi
General Secretary – Gafcon.

GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Foley Beach, (who has just been elected to his Second Term as Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America) speaks about GAFCON Sunday.

See also this newly-released video overview of GAFCON 2018 in Jerusalem:

Voluntary euthanasia to begin in Victoria as assisted dying laws take effect this week

“Patients will take a glass, mix the drug with two liquids provided by the pharmacist and swallow the mixture. …”

– The latest developments in Victoria. ABC News.

St Silas Church, Glasgow to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church

“St Silas Church in the West End of Glasgow has voted to discontinue its status as a licensed private chapel within the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC).  After a process of consultation and prayer, a members vote was held and an emphatic majority of 86% voted to leave. …

‘Recent decisions of the Scottish Episcopal Church have made clear to us that the denomination does not regard the Bible as the authoritative word of God. With deep sadness, we have therefore decided that for reasons of integrity we can no longer continue as part of the Scottish Episcopal Church. We want to leave with goodwill towards those with whom we are parting company, and sincerely pray for God’s blessing for the SEC in the future, and its renewal around God’s word.’…”

– From GAFCON. Doubtless, the members of St. Silas would value your continued prayers.

Related posts.

(Image: St. Silas Church Glasgow.)

‘Israel Folau launches extraordinary attack on Rugby Australia’

“Just days after Israel Folau launched legal action against Rugby Australia the fallen rugby star has hit out at the entire RA board.

In a scathing letter that has been published by The Daily Telegraph, Folau has demanded answers on how intimate details of his Code of Conduct hearing, which was meant to be private, came to fall into the hands of prominent rugby journalist Jamie Pandaram.

Ironically that letter has now made its way into the hands of The Telegraph and been published for all to see. …”

– Story from News.com.au.

How Anglicans in Canada found New Life after their Eviction

“You’d be hard pressed to find anyone more Anglican than David Short – which just made everything worse.

The 61-year-old is a fourth-generation Anglican minister, born in Africa while his parents were missionaries. He can even top that – his father was also born in Africa to missionary parents.

Home was Sydney, Australia…”

– This article from The Gospel Coalition tells the story of David Short and other faithful men and women in Canada.

Related: Many earlier posts mentioning Vancouver.

Folau test case expected to set a precedent for workplaces

“A senior Sydney Anglican Bishop wants Wallaby Israel Folau’s unlawful dismissal test case to challenge whether workplace code of conduct agreements impinge on employees’ expression of religious beliefs.

Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead, said religious leaders were closely watching the Folau case in the Fair Work Commission which he said had implications for workplaces nationally. …”

– Story from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Walking in The Light: A Study In Contrasts

“Two weeks ago I wrote about how Biblically faithful Anglicans are flourishing at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi Kenya. Shortly after this article was published, the Primate of Kenya, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, announced that he would not be attending the Lambeth 2020 conference of Bishops.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby then requested 1) a meeting with Archbishop Ole Sapit and 2) that he might be allowed to preach at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi…

Immediately following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to All Saints Cathedral, the Primate of Kenya in this video (with the Provost of the Cathedral standing in the background) restated with equal clarity the Biblical position of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) …

Beginning at 3:56 Archbishop Welby says ‘the Bible is clear,’ and that ‘my own personal view, which I have stated on numerous occasions in public…is the traditional view of Christian marriage…which has always been the view of Christian marriage…’

But note what else he says and what he does not say …”

– At The American Anglican Council, Canon Phil Ashey speaks about, and shares a video of, the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking outside All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi.

See also this post by David Ould, who has video from another angle, covering more of the press conference.

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