Loose Canons? Andy Lines and the Canons of Nicaea

“On Friday 30th June, Andy Lines will be consecrated at a meeting of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), as a ‘missionary bishop’ for Europe. This is in response to the recent decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to modify its definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, placing it at variance with scripture and with the majority of the Anglican Communion.

In a letter to the Primates of the Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby expressed profound concern over the upcoming consecration of Canon Lines. For Welby, the Church’s continued commitment to ‘those with differing views’ (exemplified by the role of the Bishop of Maidstone in providing oversight for those who oppose the ordination of women), made the appointment of a missionary bishop unnecessary. Such an argument rests, of course, on a theological parity being drawn between disagreements over ordained ministry, and over sexual ethics – a parity that is by no means self-evident, as Lee Gatiss argued last week.

What was most intriguing, however, was what the Archbishop went on to say next: …”

– At Church Society’s blog, Mark Smith takes a look at the Canons of the Council of Nicaea, to which the Archbishop of Canterbury appeals. What do they really say?

GAFCON Chairman’s June 2017 letter

“As I write, we are preparing for Trinity Sunday. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is vital. Without it, we cannot speak truly of God in a way that is faithful to the bible. However, in the fourth century the Church was nearly overwhelmed by the Arians. They were the followers of Arius, who claimed that the Son was a created being, not really God.

If the Church had continued to follow Arius, the Christian faith would have been lost. To deny the full divinity of Jesus strikes at the heart of the Christian message that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.  St Athanasius is still remembered as the man who was willing to make a costly stand against this heresy.

I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. …”

– Read the June 2017 letter from GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.

Justin Welby and ‘Agreeing to Disagree’

“Last week, the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to alter that church’s Canon on Marriage, to remove the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman. …

In the light of this long-anticipated rejection of Jesus’s word, the Bible, as the supreme authority over the church, GAFCON have announced that they will be consecrating Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop for Europe, including Scotland. Andy is a man of unimpeachable integrity, godliness, and clarity of teaching whose episcopal leadership will be welcomed by all those Scots who have been marginalised by their leaders, and by those outside the Church of England who wish still to remain Anglican in their doctrine and polity. …

In response to this, Archbishop Justin Welby wrote to the Primates of the Anglican Communion …

In his letter, Archbishop Welby sadly seems far more concerned about “cross-border interventions” than with the schismatic and heretical teaching which has infiltrated the Episcopal Church in Scotland (and elsewhere) and emptied churches in the process…”

– Read the full article by Church Society Director, Dr. Lee Gatiss.

Be sure to also read the linked article from Crossway, “Can we agree to disagree?”, by Dr Martin Davie (PDF file) –

“There has been much talk lately of ‘agreeing to disagree’ on the issues of human sexuality in the church. In this article, I shall introduce three categories into which we can place matters on which there is disagreement within the church:

  • matters which are adiaphora
  • matters which are not adiaphora and on which the church cannot simply live with disagreement, and
  • matters which are not adiaphora and on which the church can live with disagreement.

Having introduced these categories, I shall conclude by asking which category the issue of human sexuality fits into.”

Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.

Canon Andy Lines interviewed on Premier Radio UK

Canon Andy Lines has been interviewed in Edinburgh for Premier Radio UK about his upcoming role as a Missionary Bishop.

Archbishop Foley Beach and The Rev. David McCarthy were also interviewed.

Audio files near the bottom of the page. (Photo: Premier.)

Bishop of Maidstone calls Scottish Episcopal Church to turn back to God

The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Rev’d Rod Thomas, today responded to the decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change its canons of marriage. He said:

“The decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to change its canons of marriage in order to allow same-sex marriages in church is very serious. By its actions it is denying the goodness and authority of God’s Word to us in the Scriptures.

As a result it is breaking communion with the majority of Anglicans worldwide. This leaves me with no choice but to recognise that the SEC has walked away from our communion, so I will no longer be able to accept invitations to Christian meetings where bishops of the SEC are actively participating, unless their broken communion is recognised in the arrangements.

I pray that this declining church will understand that their position is not blessed by God, will repent of their action and turn back to Him.”

He also wrote,

“I … welcome the steps that GAFCON … is taking to support those who are seeking to stand firm by the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual relationships, and wish to assure Canon Andy Lines of my prayers as he becomes a missionary bishop.”

– Read this, and another interesting development, at The Bishop of Maidstone’s website.

The GAFCON Missionary Bishop for Scotland and Europe

“Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid.

His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis.

These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching – or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching. One can trace this all the way back to Athanasius and the crisis of Arianism in the early Church. …”

– Canon Phil Ashey, President of the American Anglican Council, provides historical background for the decision to consecrate Andy Lines as a Missionary Bishop.

Faith in a Time of Crisis – Standing for Truth in a Changing World – Review

“The book could not have come at a more vital time. The Scottish Episcopal Church has just agreed to perform same sex weddings. It is only a matter of time before the Church of England follows, as it has historically done on other issues.” 

Read more

The Business of GAFCON

“I remember being part of a meeting about fifteen years ago. One of the people in the room said something simple but effective.

He pointed out that the two sides of the debate about sexuality had different strategies. If you wanted change, the strategy was long term and incremental. What you needed was courage to keep talking about the issue and constantly, though slightly, breaking the boundary. You then needed patience to wait for the institution to concede, inch by inch. It would take twenty years, he said (!), but victory would be yours.

But what if you wanted to maintain the position which all Christians had believed was the truth based on the word of God? For you, this was much more difficult.”

– GAFCON General Secretary Peter Jensen explains the need for, and the business of, GAFCON in his latest post. Essential reading.

Scottish Episcopal Church to vote on gay marriage in church

“The Scottish Episcopal Church will hold a historic vote later on whether to allow gay couples to marry in church.

If the vote is passed, it will become the first Anglican Church in the UK to allow same-sex marriage.

However, it will also leave the Church at odds with most of the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion. …”

BBC News report.

With the GAFCON press conference to be held early tomorrow, Australian time.

World Environment Day – ‘Connect with nature’

“The message today for International Environment Day is ‘connect with nature’ and this is what Jesus constantly advised his followers to do. …

Take off your shoes to listen to the voice of God in nature, hear the cry of the earth…”

– Published by the Anglican Communion News Service. Mystical environmentalism has replaced the gospel and evangelism in far too many Anglican churches.

What can Rome learn from the Anglican Church?

Would it be “processes of synodal life”?

From a Vatican Radio report:

“‘Walking together on the way’ is the title of a new document to be published by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, whose members met this month in Erfurt, Germany.

Despite some ‘difficult conversations’ and ‘hard questions’ over the past year, the Anglican and Catholic theologians who make up ARCIC III managed, at the May 14th to 20th meeting, to conclude the first part of their mandate, finding agreement on ways in which the two Churches are structured at local, regional and universal levels. …”

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