Response to the ACC Secretary General’s Criticism of Gafcon’s Ministry Networks

Here is a media release from GAFCON:

As nearly 2,000 delegates from over 50 countries were travelling to Jerusalem for Gafcon 2018, Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), wrote a letter to the Primates suggesting that his office alone should have a monopoly on all ministry networks in the Anglican Communion.

In a letter dated 13 June 2018, the Secretary General criticised Gafcon for developing grassroots ministry networks, describing them as un-Anglican and inaccurately suggesting that they harbour “potential for schism.”

On behalf of Gafcon, Archbishop Peter Jensen made a strong response to these false allegations today:

“The attempt by Anglican Communion Office to challenge the Gafcon Primates for supporting new ministries is further evidence of how much the institutional form of Anglicanism is out of touch with spiritual reality.

The launch of our networks is a sign of spiritual vitality which ought to be welcomed and applauded. Voluntary movements getting involved in much needed ministry has a long tradition within the Anglican Communion.

This anxious missive suggests a fear that people are not under the control of some central organisation. Had the institutions of the Communion been clearer in their theological stance, movements of reform and renewal like Gafcon may not have arisen. Now, however, the wisdom of God is displayed in that the work and the workers are adding to the ministry of the gospel. Thanksgiving rather than criticism is surely the appropriate response.”­

The Jerusalem Statement from the first Gafcon conference in 2008 came to “the devastating conclusion that we are a global Communion with a colonial structure.” Ten years later, Dr. Fearon’s letter is another example of this persistent reality.

Background

For decades the Anglican Consultative Council and its secretariat, heavily funded by western revisionists, has shown little respect for the matters of conscience which currently separate Anglicans.  The recent history of its networks reveals a pattern of trivializing the Communion’s challenges by attempting to draw orthodox Anglicans into closer cooperation with those who continue to tear the fabric of the Communion.  Gafcon is stepping into this vacuum to provide leadership and ministry networks for those who share a common foundation in Scripture.

– from GAFCON.

Related:

“A letter has been received by GAFCON primates meeting here in Jerusalem written by Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council condemning the actions of the Primates in establishing seven new Networks to reach the growing demands of the Anglican Communion.

While the letter has not been made public, Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies confirmed the existence of the letter at a press conference today and described it as written in a fit of ‘pique’ by the Secretary General. …”

(Photos: GAFCON Media.)

“Claims the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) was denied accreditation at the GAFCON III conference are incorrect, the director of communications for the pan-Anglican gathering in Jerusalem tells Anglican Ink…”

 

Largest International gathering of Anglicans in 50 years meets in Jerusalem

“The largest international gathering of Anglicans in 50 years is meeting in Jerusalem this week under the theme “Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations.”  1,966 delegates from over 50 countries have come on the 10-year anniversary of the renewal movement’s founding in the Holy Land to launch 9 new ministry networks. …”

Encouragement from GAFCON, with links to some highlights of GAFCON 2018 so far.

To illustrate the international nature of the gathering, the Media team has posted ‘The Fashions of GAFCON’.

“GAFCON is not an alternative Anglican Communion because …”

“A recurring theme of the first two days of GAFCON has been ‘We are not leaving Anglicanism. Others have left by departing from the Anglican formularies, particularly its commitment to the authority of scripture.’  …

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali reported the May 30 decision of the Uganda House of Bishops on any participation in the Lambeth Anglican Communion.

  1. We are not attending Lambeth 2020
  2. Unless godly order is restored we will not attend other meetings invited by Canterbury
  3. Unless ACNA and the new Brazil Province are invited we will not attend any meetings invited by Canterbury

This was greeted by a standing ovation followed by spontaneous singing of the East African Revival Hymn Tukutendereza Yesu (We praise you Jesus). …”

– Chris Sugden reports on GAFCON 2018 at Anglican Mainstream.

Photo of Archbishop Ntagali – GAFCON Media.

GAFCON described as ‘ecumenical gathering’ by Anglican Communion News Service

“The third international conference organised by the Gafcon movement has begun in Jerusalem. Organisers say that 2,000 people are taking part – media reports suggest that 230 are from Uganda.

The ecumenical gathering attracts a large number of Anglicans. Many in Jerusalem are now members of independent churches set up in opposition to official Anglican Churches and Provinces. …”

– Here’s a rather sad news report from the Anglican Communion News Service.

‘Belonging and renewal in our Anglican Communion’

“… I sometimes encounter confusion about who is and isn’t in the Anglican Communion.

This was something that Archbishop Justin spoke about during the CAPA meeting. Let me make this clear: there are 39 provinces around the world which are part of the Anglican Communion. The latest to be added to our global family was Sudan in July 2017.

The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) is not a province of the Communion. And nor is the newly-formed Anglican Church in Brazil (ACB). Why? The answer is very simple: it is necessary to be in communion with the See of Canterbury in order to be part of the Anglican Communion. …”

– On the eve of GAFCON 2018, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, ‘Secretary General of the Anglican Communion], makes clear who is, and who is not, a part of the Anglican Communion, in his understanding. The leaders of GAFCON, representing something like 80 percent of church-attending Anglicans worldwide, would doubtless beg to differ.

Related:

GAFCON General Secretary Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen interviewed by Anglican TV’s Kevin Kallsen.

The Anglican Church in Brazil and the Anglican Communion – Dr. Peter Jensen:

“… Of course the new Anglican Church in Brazil is an authentic part of the Anglican Communion. It is not a matter of recognition by Canterbury. But, like the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Brazilians invite Canterbury to recognise spiritual reality, and to use its influence to help align the old instrument of the Anglican Communion with the spiritual reality and new growth of the Communion. Will this happen?”

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil changes its canons to permit same-sex marriageAnglican Communion News Service, referring to the liberal denomination which is ‘in communion with the See of Canterbury’.

Anglican Unscripted – Interview with Archbishop Peter Jensen, June 2018

Anglican TV’s Kevin Kallsen interviewed GAFCON General Secretary Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen about GAFCON 2018 and the future of the GAFCON movement.

Embedded above – or watch here. Most encouraging.

Proclaiming Christ to the nations

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the momentous resolution concerning human sexuality adopted by the 1998 Lambeth Conference of bishops from around the Anglican Communion.

In essence, Resolution I.10 reiterated our long-held doctrine that only marriage is the God-ordained place for sexual relations. Hence one of the opening paragraphs of Resolution I.10 states:

[This conference], in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;

The phrase “in view of the teaching of Scripture” is critical. It is the teaching of God’s word that must direct our lives, and despite its counter-cultural perspective in today’s society …”

Archbishop Glenn Davies writes on the eve of GAFCON 2018 – at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Preparing for GAFCON in seven contentions

In the run up to GAFCON 2018 this week, Dr. Stephen Noll makes a clear case:

“…Lambeth 1998 was the last true Lambeth Conference, with Gafcon as its successor, and … the 2007 Primates’ Meeting at Dar es Salaam was the last true Primates’ meeting convened by Canterbury …”

Read his introduction below –

“I have been preparing for Gafcon for a long time – a quarter century at least, although I did not know it at the time. Last year I began to assemble and edit my writings in a book, The Global Anglican Communion: Contending for Anglicanism 1993-2018.

Then about eight weeks ago, I took up blogging, which was something of a challenge for a digital dinosaur like myself. Among my blog posts, I have labeled seven Contentions. As I pack bags to leave for Jerusalem, I would like to sum up the logic of these Contentions.

I am going to begin at the end with Contention 7: Lambeth Speaks Plainly (That Was Then). I have been privileged to attend three major Conferences in 2013, 2008 and 1998. And the Lambeth Conference in 1998 is where it all began. Passage of Lambeth Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality was an historic event in three ways:

1. It articulated a clear moral case on the pressing issue of homosexual practice by stating that God ordained two and only two ways of faithful sexual relationships: marriage of one man and one woman and abstinence for those not married. This moral stance was based on the authority of the Bible and hence homosexual practice, gay ordinations, and same-sex “unions” are “incompatible with Scripture” and could not be advised.

2. It was a Resolution written and promoted by the bishops of the majority Global South churches, who overcame the machinations of the Communion bureaucracy. For these churches, Lambeth I.10 continues to be a non-negotiable statement of Anglican orthodoxy, even as the Lambeth Establishment has tried to insert “faithful same-sex partnerships” as a third alternative.

3. It was the culmination of “enhanced” conciliar governance by the Primates, who were authorized to monitor the response of the Episcopal Church and others who defied the Resolution. When the Archbishop of Canterbury reneged on the Primates’ resolutions in 2007, the Global Anglican Future Conference resulted, led by a Gafcon Primates’ Council.

For this reason, I have argued that Lambeth 1998 was the last true Lambeth Conference, with Gafcon as its successor, and that the 2007 Primates’ Meeting at Dar es Salaam was the last true Primates’ meeting convened by Canterbury, which has been succeeded by the Gafcon Primates. …”

Read the full post by Dr. Stephen Noll, in which he summarises the contentions he has articulated these last two months. (Also in his new book.)

New Archbishop of Toronto

While the soon-to-retire Archbishop of Toronto, Colin Johnson, is “personally opposed to assisted death on theological and religious grounds”, his newly elected successor, Dean Andrew Asbil, apparently has a somewhat different view.

From Canada’s The Globe and Mail back in April 2018, a story on a couple who availed themselves of Canada’s provisions:

“The Brickendens are at the vanguard of patients and families who are creating new rituals around dying in Canada – the kind of rituals that are only possible when death comes at a previously appointed hour. …

Dean Asbil prayed, while Mozart, Bach and Scottish folk songs wafted through the room. …”

Globe & Mail link via the Anglican Samizdat.

Photo courtesy St. James’ Cathedral, Toronto.

Lambeth speaks plainly (that was then)

“The year 1998 was the last time the Lambeth Conference spoke plainly. That it did so was something of a miracle.

The Communion Establishment had carefully prepared an agenda whereby the innovations of homosexual ordinations and same-sex ‘blessings’ in the Episcopal Church would be received with ‘good disagreement’ from those in the Global South who were, frankly, unaware of the ‘development’” of doctrine and practice in the West. These plans were foiled by an alliance of Western conservatives who had seen where the sexuality agenda was leading and courageous Global South leaders who stood up and said No.

I was present at Lambeth 1998 and wrote this evaluation of its key Resolution I.10 shortly thereafter. …”

– At his new blog, Contending Anglican, Dr. Stephen Noll takes us back to Lambeth 1998.

Related:

Dr. Paul Barnett, then Bishop of North Sydney, was also a participant at Lambeth 1998. He  shared his personal reflections of Lambeth at the ACL Synod Dinner that October, and made the text available for our website.

His contemporary account of the Lambeth meeting makes fascinating and sober reading –

“…the Third World is now where most of the world’s Anglicans are. By a country mile. And it is certainly where most of the Bible-loving, creed-believing Anglicans are. Many of the Europeans did not seem to know what they believed, while quite a few were radical liberals. One eloquent African chided us Europeans at the tension-filled plenary on sexuality: ‘You sent us missionaries, but you no longer believe yourselves what your missionaries taught us.’

Compared with the contingent from Britain, the US, Canada and Australia-NZ, how impressive those Africans were. … I want to say, they shone like stars in the night. … But they see the essentials of the faith with a crystal clarity which few in the west have. …

When we came to the Plenary Session in the last few days, which was brilliantly chaired by Robin Eames [Bishop of Armagh], our resolution was pointedly and cleverly amended by a number of African bishops. Harry Goodhew made an excellent speech, pointing to sinners like Zacchaeus and the woman taken in adultery who were shown mercy by Jesus, but who changed their behaviour. George Carey was on the platform, but not as chairman. He very visibly raised his hand at all the critical amendments, which I believe he had helped draft. Before the final vote was taken on the amended resolution he rose and made a strong speech. The now-amended resolution passed with a 7 to 1 landslide majority. I am glad that the final statement expressed the need for loving and compassionate ministry to those caught in the homosexual web. …

We give glory to God for answered prayer in the Lambeth decision which could not have been predicted during the conference. But what were the human factors? …”

Read it all here. (in the older section of our website)

Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10.

The Kuala Lumpur Statement, 1997. (in the older section of our website)

Brazil’s Anglican Church changes its canons to permit same-sex marriage

“The General Synod of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil – (IEAB) has approved changes to its canons to permit same-sex marriages. Civil same-sex marriages have been legal in Brazil since 2012. In a statement, the Province said that the move would not require liturgical changes, because gender neutral language had already been introduced into its service for the solemnization of marriage in the 2015 Book of Common Prayer.

The move was overwhelmingly carried by the Synod members with 57 voting in favour and three against. There were two abstentions. …”

– Report from the Anglican Communion News Service.

By contrast: The Anglican Church in Brazil and the Anglican Communion – Dr. Peter Jensen:

“The basic reason why there is a division amongst the Anglicans of Brazil is because the Episcopal Church of Brazil has departed from the teaching of Scripture, and hence from Anglican teaching, concerning sex and marriage. The division is not over a matter of church politics or personal ambition. It is a matter of the fundamentals of the faith, of what makes a true church, of the authority of God’s word.

In 2005, the Diocese of Recife withdrew from the existing Church body over this issue. In so doing it was being true to Scripture and to the overwhelming majority view of the Communion’s Bishops as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 of 1998. …”

The Anglican Church in Brazil and the Anglican Communion

GAFCON General Secretary, Dr. Peter Jensen, has responded to a claim that the new Anglican Church in Brazil is not authentically a part of the Anglican Communion:

Of course the new Anglican Church in Brazil is an authentic part of the Anglican Communion.”

Why say that? Read his full statement below, dated 25 May 2018 –

“In the London Church Times (18th May 2018), Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council claimed that Gafcon had been ‘inaccurate’ in describing the newly formed Anglican Church in Brazil as part of the Anglican Communion and claimed that “To be part of the Anglican Communion requires being in communion with the see of Canterbury, which this Church is not.”

Here lies the difference between mere institutionalism and spiritual reality.

The basic reason why there is a division amongst the Anglicans of Brazil is because the Episcopal Church of Brazil has departed from the teaching of Scripture, and hence from Anglican teaching, concerning sex and marriage. The division is not over a matter of church politics or personal ambition. It is a matter of the fundamentals of the faith, of what makes a true church, of the authority of God’s word.

In 2005, the Diocese of Recife withdrew from the existing Church body over this issue. In so doing it was being true to Scripture and to the overwhelming majority view of the Communion’s Bishops as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 of 1998. In 2016, after court cases, it had to surrender much of its property. And yet, under God, the Diocese continues, grows and is now in a position to become a Province, with several Dioceses.

Throughout this period, orthodox Bishops (such as Archbishop Greg Venables of South America) upheld the Diocese and supported it and ministered within it. Because this was an issue of basic theology, the Gafcon movement recognised the Diocese and arranged for the consecration of the present Archbishop. Gafcon held on to faithful Anglican Christians whose ‘fault’ was merely that they were accepting biblical and Anglican teaching. Gafcon holds the Communion together while we wait to see if other instruments of the Communion will do what is right.

The Gafcon Primates Council was not mistaken in recognising the Anglican Church in Brazil as a Province of the Anglican Communion. This step has also been supported by leaders of the Anglican Global South. This also is a recognition of spiritual reality.

Communion with the see of Canterbury used to be a welcome, useful and easily understood way of describing the Anglican Communion. But with leadership comes responsibility. So far, the recent Archbishops of Canterbury have not used the power of their office either to discipline those who have created disorder and threatened the basis of our faith, or to reach out the right hand of fellowship to those who have stood firm.

The institution has triumphed while faithful Anglicans are disaffiliated and deprived.

It was this failure that our 2008 Jerusalem Statement and Declaration faced when it was affirmed that ‘While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury.’ The only justification for the continued pre-eminence of the see of Canterbury would be if it serves the apostolic gospel. At present it is not doing so effectively. Again, the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration brings the problem into focus when it claimed ‘We can only come to the devastating conclusion that we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’.

Of course the new Anglican Church in Brazil is an authentic part of the Anglican Communion. It is not a matter of recognition by Canterbury. But, like the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Brazilians invite Canterbury to recognise spiritual reality, and to use its influence to help align the old instrument of the Anglican Communion with the spiritual reality and new growth of the Communion. Will this happen?”

– Source: GAFCON. (Emphasis added in the pull-quote at top.)

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