Abp of Canterbury: Anglican Communion is in ‘a better place’ than five years ago

“In a wide-ranging interview with the Church Times to mark five years in office, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said that the Anglican Communion is in ‘a better place’ than it was five years ago. …

The interview was conducted by the Church Times’ editor, Paul Handley, in Lambeth Palace, the official residence and offices of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

– Read the summary from The Anglican Communion News Service, or the full Church Times article. Not all would necessarily share his optimism.

(Photo: Lambeth Palace.)

Archbishop of Canterbury asked — Is it OK to attend GAFCON 2018?

Is it OK to attend GAFCON 2018? And will those who want to attend from the Church of England be encouraged to do so?

That was the gist of the question asked by Susie Leafe, former Director of Reform, at the Church of England’s General Synod yesterday.

Here is the question, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s answer:

Mrs Susie Leafe (Truro) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops: Q10

In the light of the view taken by the World Mission and Anglican Communion Panel that international relationships “contribute to the development of discipleship and mission in the Church of England” what plans have been made to support and encourage those bishops, clergy and laity who plan to attend Gafcon, probably the largest international Anglican gathering taking place this year?

The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the House of Bishops:

A We strongly agree with the view of the Panel that international relationships contribute to the development of discipleship and mission. I am personally pleased that every diocese has some link to Anglican Provinces across the world, and we are keen to continue developing these relationships. The recent Primates Meeting underlined the importance of such relationships. I have had conversations with, and listened to, the views of those planning to attend the Gafcon conference, and am keen to increase attendance at any event that encourages the flourishing of the whole Anglican Communion.

Source: Church of England General Synod website  – Page 7 of the PDF document.

GAFCON Chairman’s February 2018 letter

“We cannot truly promote the gospel if we are not also careful to preserve it from distortion or dilution and I therefore commend the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) for their recent document Gospel, Church & Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life. At a time when the Church of England’s senior leadership seems unable to resist the pressure to compromise with a highly secular culture, it is a sign of hope that evangelical leaders are able to come together in this way. …

However, the question I humbly wish to ask my brothers and sisters in England is this: will you take courage and act on these words? As members of the Mother Church of our beloved Communion you have a great responsibility…”

– GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Nicholas D. Okoh, has released his February 2018 Letter. Read it all here.

Anglican Church in Southeast Asia now in ‘impaired communion’ with Scottish Episcopal Church

Here is a statement, released today, from the Synod of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia – from the 2nd Meeting of its 6th Session in Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia, from 29th to 31st January, 2018.


31st January 2018

Noting the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church on 8 June 2017 to change its doctrine of marriage and to recognise same-sex marriages and further to amend its Canons to allow for the rite of blessing of same-sex marriages, which is a contravention of Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998; and

Recalling that as a consequence of the then Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) proceeding with the consecration of Gene Robinson as a Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003, in contravention of Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998, the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia declared in 2003 that it was in a state of impaired communion with ECUSA (now known as The Episcopal Church)

Now it is hereby resolved,

That the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia declares itself to be in a state of impaired communion with the Scottish Episcopal Church with immediate effect.


The Most Reverend Datuk Ng Moon Hing
Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia
Bishop of West Malaysia

The Right Reverend Datuk Melter Jiki Tais
Bishop of Sabah

The Right Reverend Rennis Ponniah
Bishop of Singapore

The Right Reverend Danald Jute
Bishop of Kuching.

– from Global South Anglican. (Image courtesy Scottish Episcopal Church.)

Vale Bishop Chuck Murphy

“Charles H. Murphy III, retired bishop and founder of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA), died Jan. 9 … He was 70.

Through his organization, created in response to liberal drift in the mainline Episcopal Church, Murphy gained acclaim from conservative Christians for taking a public stand against liberal theology that rejected the authority of Scripture, the divinity of Christ, and other orthodox doctrines. AMiA provided a new institutional home to marginalized conservative Christians, churches, dioceses, and bishops in the US and Canada. …

By September 1997, Murphy and other conservative Episcopal clergy believed that their denomination had thoroughly embraced false doctrine and was resistant to reform. These clergy drafted and signed the First Promise statement. It declared the church had “departed from ‘the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them,’ and we declare their authority to be fundamentally impaired, and that they are not upholding the truth of the gospel.”

– Full story at Christianity Today. (link via SydneyAnglicans.net.)


Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America:

“The reformation of Anglicanism in North America owes a great deal to his courageous and visionary leadership, and I am thankful for the ways in which God used him to spread the message of Jesus Christ.”

Here’s how the Editorial of ACL News, March 2000 reported the developments at that time. It gives a sense of the turmoil being created by the actions of the Episcopal Church, and varying thoughts on how best to respond –

On Saturday 29th January, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and the Most Rev. Moses Tay, Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia, together with other bishops, consecrated two American Episcopal clergymen, John Rodgers and Chuck Murphy, as bishops.  Read more

GAFCON YouTube channel

From the GAFCON Communications Team:

“We are delighted to announce the launch of a Gafcon YouTube channel to keep people like you more informed and better equipped to stand up for uncompromised biblical truth.

There are 17 videos posted currently and we will be adding more regularly. Please take a moment to have a look.

You’ll find yourself both more aware of what’s happening – and encouraged by the words of people like you who are coming together to stand for the Bible and preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ.”

When must we break unity?

“At the recent Synod of the Sydney Diocese two important motions were passed concerning the wider Anglican communion.

The first affirmed our Archbishop for attending the consecration of Bishop Andy Lines as a Missionary Bishop for the UK.

The second expressed our sadness that the Scottish Episcopal Church had broken communion with us, and other faithful Anglicans, by their decisions concerning so-called ‘same-sex marriage’.

In those debates, the importance of unity in the church was raised as an argument against these actions. Such arguments need to be heard and considered. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Canon Phil Colgan asks if ‘unity’ is needed at all costs.

Canadian Primate announces intention to resign

“This year on December 3rd, I will God willing reach the age of 65.

I think that is probably no secret in our Church! And in the natural order of discourse around such milestones, questions arise with respect to one’s intentions about retirement. I believe it is incumbent upon me to help move us all beyond whispered speculations to clarity about my intentions. …”

– Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, announces his intention to retire “at the conclusion of General Synod 2019”.

(Via David Jenkins at Anglican Samizdat.)

GAFCON Chairman’s New Year Letter 2018

“Ten years ago, at our first gathering in Jerusalem, we dedicated ourselves to the service of this gospel. We described ourselves as ‘confessing Anglicans’ in contrast to those who were embracing a false gospel, yet had not been called to account by the traditional leadership of the Communion.

Time has shown how necessary that commitment has been. Some Anglican Churches have now adopted teaching and practice which puts them beyond the boundaries of what can be recognised as apostolic Christianity, but apparently they remain officially within the boundaries of the Anglican Communion.…”

– In his Pastoral Letter for the new year, GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Nicholoas Okoh looks forward to the third Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem.

The Gospel and the Anglican Tradition — new book from Martin Davie

Anglican theologian Martin Davie’s new book, “The Gospel and the Anglican Tradition” is due to be published next month. Here’s one commendation:

“The sweep of Martin’s new book is breathtaking. It conveys an encyclopaedic knowledge of church history, biblical theology and the worldwide Anglican tradition. Anyone wondering why they should be part of the Anglican church will find a very comprehensive answer here.

However, the book is much more than an apologia for Anglicanism. It is written to appeal for unity in the gospel. Martin affirms that order and truth belong together – but shows that both of these hinge, and have always hinged, on a clear understanding of the gospel. He takes the view that while diversity can be hugely beneficial, disagreement over the content of the gospel can never be.

Given that this is his message, some readers might be surprised to find him quoting so freely from the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration and an ACNA document. His purpose, however, is to show that these stand in the mainstream of Anglican theological tradition and are thus a great reforming influence for our own day.”

– Rt. Revd Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone.

Published by Gilead Books.

(Australian availability – should be updated closer to publishing time.)

See also:

Why the Arguments for a Third Way do not Work – Martin Davie (GAFCON website).

Can we agree to disagree? – Martin Davie, Crossway. (PDF)

Review of the Report from the Marriage Commission of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Fisking Bishop Fearon: The Lambeth Establishment takes on the Global South

“Three remarkable letters appeared this past week from Anglican sources:

These letters have to do with an important question: who is an Anglican, and in particular what is the status of the Anglican Church in North America?

The answers of the three authors could not be more divergent. …”

–  Professor Stephen Noll assesses the response of the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, Dr Idowu-Fearon, to the GAFCON Chairman’s December letter.

He warns that the Secretary General is ‘edging towards papalism’ by making relationship with Canterbury ‘the unique feature of Anglicanism’.

Canterbury strikes back

“For Anglicans, communion with the See of Canterbury – and with its Archbishop – is the visible expression of our communion with one another.

In his advent letter to GAFCON, the Primate of Nigeria says: ‘the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration clarified that the Anglican Communion is not determined simply by relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury’.

However, the relationship with the See of Canterbury is essential for Anglicans. You cannot be in the Anglican Communion without it. …”

– ‘Secretary General of the Anglican Communion’, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, responds to the December pastoral letter from Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, and probably also to this week’s statement from the Global South Primates.

(It’s worth remembering that The Episcopal Church of the USA, and The Anglican Church of Canada are regarded as full members, in communion with Canterbury, despite their doctrine and behaviour.)

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