Edinburgh church votes to split from the Scottish Episcopal Church

“One of the largest churches in Edinburgh has voted to split from the Scottish Episcopal Church amid tensions over its decision to become the first Anglican body in the UK to endorse gay marriage. …

The Rev David McCarthy, Rector at St Thomas’ told The Sunday Telegraph the decision had been a “very painful” one. …

‘… it is the Episcopal Church who are leaving us. They are leaving orthodoxy.’…”

– Report from The Sunday Telegraph.

(Photo of David McCarthy via GAFCON.)

See also: St. Thomas’, Corstorphine, Edinburgh.

Lambeth 98 — Scripture Rules

Twenty years ago today, the 1998 Lambeth Conference passed Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality. (5th August 1998.)

Many see it as an important date in Anglican history – as does Dr. Stephen Noll, who was there for the American Anglican Council. Read his Diary notes from Week Three of Lambeth 1998.

How was Lambeth 98 seen at the time?

The American Anglican Council’s Encompass newsletter for August 1998 featured a front page report by AAC President Bishop James Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, who wrote these prophetic words:

“I hope that the result of Lambeth 1998 will be the forming of an alliance of Anglicans from the West and the South committed to the biblical Gospel and to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.”

Here is the full text of his report:

“l am writing on the final day of the 1998 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. We are completing three weeks that have been full of the joys one would expect from a great gathering of the Church‘s leaders, ‘elect from every nation yet one o’er all the earth.’ And all this during a beautiful English summer, overlooking Canterbury Cathedral, our communion’s historic home.

But I must confess that a dark shadow hung over this Conference that was only dispelled in the final days. This shadow was the work of our American Episcopal Church.

By tolerating an overt non-theist in its midst — the Bishop of Newark — and by promoting practices clearly contrary to the Bible and the Church’s historic teaching — the ordination of practicing homosexuals and ‘blessing’ of same-sex partnerships — our Church was threatening its own unity and the unity of the Communion.

Frankly we Americans needed help. Last September in Dallas, Stephen Noll, our Encompass editor, had urged the forty Third World bishops gathered there: ‘The handwriting is on the wall. Please spell it out for us, by the grace of God that is given you and the help of the Holy Spirit.’ On August 5 they did just that when they passed a strong, clear Resolution on Human Sexuality.

This Resolution was not easily won. We faced, sadly, opposition prepared to thwart the will of the majority. Our team at Lambeth worked hard to provide support in terms of networking, information, planning, and praying (intercessors prayed every waking hour of the Conference). The crisis point came when the Archbishop of Canterbury, seeing the determination of the Third World bishops on this issue, intervened to ensure a fair and orderly debate. The dam then broke and the Conference did spell out its position by a vote of 526 for, 70 against, 46 abstaining.

Archbishop George Carey said at the end of this historic debate that ‘if this Conference is known and named by what we have said about homosexuality we will have failed.’ l agree. This Conference was not about sex. It was about the authority of Scripture in the Church, which is at the heart of our identity as Christians and Anglicans. It was no accident that the day after the sexuality vote the Conference passed a strong statement of biblical authority.

Furthermore, I think this Conference will be known as the moment when the voice of the ‘South,’ i.e., the Two-Thirds World Anglicans, became the voice of the Communion. it was a bold but caring voice –  It is the voice of the Decade of Evangelism –  It is a voice seeking help to teach, to nurture, and to employ the new converts who are the fruit of the past decade’s expansion. It is a voice challenging us to take the Gospel to our secularized societies in the West.

Our African, Latino, and Asian comrades acknowledged our role here. ‘The Conference would have been a disaster without you,’ one Nigerian bishop told us as we bade farewell. ‘We are not self sufficient. You managed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to keep us together.’

I hope that the result of Lambeth 1998 will be the forming of an alliance of Anglicans from the West and the South committed to the biblical Gospel and to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. We have seen a work of God. Our work has just begun.

With great thanksgiving to God and greetings to you.

James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas
President, American Anglican Council.”

See the original article here (700kb PDF file).

On the inside pages, Dr Stephen Noll, Encompass Editor, provided his own perspective:

Lambeth Report: Was it a Defining Moment?

“The bishops of the South did not want to talk about sex, but they did want to talk about Scripture, so the next day they passed a Resolution on Scripture that ‘reaffirms the primary authority of the Scriptures, according to their testimony and supported by our own historic formularies.” It goes on to urge “that the Biblical text be handled respectfully, coherently, and consistently …  believing that Scriptural revelation must continue to illuminate, challenge and transform cultures, structures, and ways of thinking, especially those that pre- dominate today.’…”

With twenty years’s hindsight, Dr Noll’s reflection is sobering reading. See his full comments here (1.2MB PDF file).

See also Bishop Paul Barnett’s remarks to the October 1998 ACL Dinner.

(In the older section of our website).

Lambeth Diary from the First Week of the Lambeth Conference July 18-25, 1998

From Dr. Stephen Noll:

“This is the 20th anniversary of the historic 1998 Lambeth Conference.

I was present there, representing the American Anglican Council (AAC). In this capacity I filed a three-week ‘Diary’ of the Conference. I am posting this diary without revision, except for the final week.”

Here is the first instalment. Fascinating reading.

Commentary on the 2018 GAFCON Letter to the Churches – Part 5: Reforming God’s Church

“The second main section of the Letter is titled ‘Reforming God’s Church‘. It should come as no surprise that ‘Reforming God’s Church’ should be the longest section of the Letter to the Churches from a Conference held as a result of a ‘tear in the fabric’ of the church catholic and of the Anglican Communion.

For this reason, I shall devote two posts to this section under the headings ‘Reforming God’s Church’ and ‘Reordering the Anglican Communion’. …”

– Dr. Stephen Noll has published the fifth of seven posts on the GAFCON 2018 “Letter to the Churches”.

The earlier posts can be seen here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Experiencing the Anglican Future

“My constant prayer before we met in Jerusalem was a simple one, ‘Lord, meet us in Jerusalem’.

I believe he did. …”

– Dr. Peter Jensen offers some encouraging reflections on GAFCON 2018.

Related:

Dr. Stephen Noll has published Part 1 of his Commentary on the GAFCON 2018 Letter to the Churches.

GAFCON Chairman’s Letter July 2018

‘I will fulfil my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD – in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.’ – Psalm 116:18,19

“My dear people of God,

Like the psalmist of old, we came to Jerusalem in the presence of God’s people with great thanksgiving. Since our first gathering in 2008 we have seen the Almighty God powerfully at work. By his grace, we have provided a home for the spiritually homeless and hope for orthodox Anglicans around the world who longed to see the reform and renewal of our beloved Communion.

We expressed our thanksgiving not only in joyful worship, but also by committing to a shared vision and shared action. …”

Read Archbishop Okoh’s July 2018 pastoral letter. (Photo: GAFCON Media.)

Interview with Archbishop Ben Kwashi

“AB Kwashi seemed calm and joyful when he greeted us today. One would never know that just the night before last, his own compound was attacked, all his cows stolen by Fulani raiders, and his neighbor murdered while trying to protect his friend (the Archbishop). The terrorists seemed to be sending the Archbishop a warning. …”

This interview with Archbishop Ben Kwashi was conducted earlier this week, just after the attack on his compound. (Link via Anglican Mainstream. Photo: Patheos.)

A turning point in the history of Anglicanism — must read

“Almost 1700 years ago, on 20 June 325AD, 318 bishops concluded a very significant meeting. They had gathered in Nicaea because errors had arisen in the church which were so profound that they undermined the very foundation of the Christian message. Those bishops renounced the heresies and upheld orthodox Christian doctrine which had been revealed by God through the Scriptures.

On 22 June 2018, 316 bishops (along with 669 other clergy and 965 laity), concluded another very significant meeting. They gathered in Jerusalem because errors have arisen in the church which were so profound that they undermined the very foundation of the Christian message. Those delegates renounced the heresies and upheld orthodox Christian doctrine which had been revealed by God through the Scriptures.

Those in Jerusalem were gathered from around the Anglican communion and represented the majority of that fellowship. But as this was the third GAFCON that has been held, a justifiable question is whether this conference will make any lasting difference in the way the conference at Nicaea did?…

In order to answer that question, it is worth understanding the context in which this movement has arisen.”

– Here’s a must read article from Dr. Ed Loane – published at SydneyAnglicans.net.

(Photo: Moore Theological College.)

Church of Ireland Bishop gives thanks for GAFCON

Bishop Harold Miller, of the Diocese of Down and Dromore in the Church of Ireland, attended GAFCON 2018 in Jerusalem:

“I have just returned from the third Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem, which took place from 18–22 June. It was a wonderful experience to be with so many Anglicans from all over the world and I wanted to share some reflections and observations. …”

– Most encouraging. Read it at the Diocese of Down and Dromore website.

“Letter to the Churches” encapsulates authentic Christianity with clarity, firmness and grace

“The Conference in Jerusalem which has just ended was an extraordinarily rich experience. Not just the dynamic worship, outstanding teaching, and cross-cultural fellowship in small groups and one to one.

A huge amount of information has been presented formally from up front and informally in the form of interviews and blogs. Much of this will be lost in time; the life-changing experience of delegates may fade, but what remains is the Conference Statement. …”

– At Anglican Mainstream, the Rev. Andrew Symes provides some initial reflections on GAFCON’s ‘Letter to the Churches’.

Letter to GAFCON Primates from Anglican Consultative Council Secretary General

George Conger at Anglican Ink has published the letter from Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, to the GAFCON Primates – dated 13th June 2018.

“I am persuaded to write to you all, as members of the Primates’ Meeting and therefore and one of the four instruments that make up the smooth running of our Communion of Churches, about this month’s letter from the Chairman of GAFCON. …”

– The full letter may be read here (PDF), courtesy of Anglican Ink.

Related:

GAFCON 2018 Final Statement – read here

Read the GAFCON 2018 Final Statement – Letter to the Churches.

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