Primate admonishes Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie — Anglican Church League statement

Anglican Church League statement.

In an earlier post (29 June) I wrote that the Council of the Anglican Church League wholeheartedly supported the consecration of Canon Andy Lines, by GAFCON Bishops and our own Archbishop, Dr Glenn Davies, the Bishop of Tasmania, Dr Richard Condie and the Bishop of North West Australia, Gary Nelson, to ‘provide biblical faithful oversight for those European parishes that have been abandoned at this time’.

Now, in response to the letters sent to Australian bishops by Davies and Condie (see the links below for the full texts), the Primate, Archbishop Philip Freier has issued his own letter of 1 July admonishing Davies and Condie. A link to the Primate’s letter follows this post.

The Primate builds his case on constraints in the Australian Anglican constitutional arrangements and the ‘close fellowship, co-operation and collegiality of the Communion’.

As to constraints in the constitution, the Primate ‘advised both bishops against this course of action’. While an Australian Primate is always free to give advice within the bonds of Christian fellowship, there is no constitutional provision for formal advice, nor is there any sense of hierarchy in the position of the Australian primate in relation to the other 22 diocesan bishops. No Australian diocesan bishop is obligated to follow the ‘advice’ of a primate.

The Primate appeals to the Fundamental Declarations which are the bedrock statements of belief in the Anglican Church of Australia. The Scriptures are the ultimate rule and standard of faith; the commands of Christ are to be obeyed and his doctrine taught, but no conclusion is drawn by the Primate from this reference. The obvious conclusion to draw is that the Scottish Episcopal Church, by virtue of its recent decision to amend the definition of marriage and allow same-sex couples to be married in its churches, has moved away from the commands of Christ and his doctrine and the Scriptures as the ultimate rule and standard of faith.

The Primate also appeals to ‘the plenary authority of General Synod in this matter. Section 26 of the Constitution provides… Synod may make canons rules and resolutions relating to the order and good government of this Church including canons in respect of ritual, ceremonial and discipline’. However, quoting this section only gives one side of the picture. The other side of the picture is the restricting qualification to this power. Section 30(a) provides that canons ‘in respect of ritual, ceremonial and discipline’ only take effect in a diocese when adopted by ordinance of that diocese. This is the clear and plain constitutional arrangement in the Australian Church.  Each diocese has the final say, not the General Synod. So, ‘plenary authority’ is not so plenary. Further, a diocese has power to exclude canons adopted previously.

As to ‘close fellowship, co-operation and collegiality of the Communion’ this was on magnificent display at the consecration of Andy Lines. The Gafcon Primates and other diocesan bishops at the consecration represent some 75% of Anglicans world-wide. More than 50 bishops took part in the consecration. That three Australian diocesan bishops participated is a wonderful expression of the ‘collegiality of the Communion’.

But why does the Primate’s letter not include any rebuke to theSynod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, a member of the Anglican Communion’ for voting for same sex marriage? Abandoning the teaching of Scripture on the issue is surely sufficient grounds for such a rebuke. The Primate chose instead to suggest ‘Each Church makes its own decisions in its own ways, guided by recommendations from the Lambeth Conference…’ However, even just on these terms a rebuke was warranted since, plainly, the Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has rejected the guidance of the Lambeth Resolution 1.10 of 1998. In part that resolution says:

(b) 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;

(e) cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.

Even if Lambeth too is put to one side, our own General Synod in 2004 resolved (62/04 and 63/04) that it did not condone the liturgical blessing of same sex relations or the ordination of people in open same sex relationships. This should have been enough to ground some criticism of the Scottish Episcopal Church decision.

The Primate says, ‘I do not think that it is for us individually, acting independently, to determine with whom we are in communion or to act unilaterally to that end’. Whether or not there is such a principle, the ordination of women in the Australian Church means there now exists a state of impaired communion between diocesans bishops and dioceses on recognition of the orders of some priests and bishops. Bishops have acted independently on this issue. The resulting impaired communion will become even more stark if an Australian diocesan synod decides to approve same sex relationships.

The Primate’s letter raises more questions than it answers, in particular, concerning the bonds that bind us as fellow Anglicans.

For and on behalf of the Anglican Church League Council.

Andrew Bruce
President
Anglican Church League
5 July 2017

 

Links mentioned:

Photo courtesy Anglican Church in North America.

Anglican Church League statement in support of the consecration of Andy Lines

The Anglican Church League has noted with disappointment the novel developments that have occurred within the Scottish Episcopal Church. Their departure from the faith stands in direct opposition to the clear teaching of the Scriptures and prescribed Church order, so as to have a detrimental effect upon the wider Anglican Communion.

In light of this, we wholeheartedly support the consecration to Bishop of Canon Andy Lines, by GAFCON Bishops, including our own Archbishop the Rt Rev Dr Glenn Davies, the Bishop of Tasmania Dr Richard Condie and the Bishop of North West Australia Gary Nelson, to provide biblical faithful oversight for those European parishes that have been abandoned at this time.

We encourage our members to continue to pray for the consecration and the ongoing ministry of Andy Lines and GAFCON in the face of these significant challenges.

Andrew Bruce

President – Anglican Church League, 29 June 2017.

(Photo: Canon Andy Lines, courtesy GAFCON.)

Notice of 2017 AGM

For our Members:

The Annual General Meeting of the Anglican Church League will be held this Thursday, 8th June 2017, at 6.00pm, at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Chapter House in Sydney.

Need to renew?

‘There is no biblical justification, in any circumstance, for domestic violence.’

Archbishop Glenn DaviesAnglican Church Diocese of Sydney
Media Statement March 13th, 2015

Domestic violence and churches
(response to SMH and ABC)

“There is no biblical justification, in any circumstance, for domestic violence. The classic Christian understanding of a husband’s loving, sacrificial, servant-like leadership leaves absolutely no room for violence or fear.

We would be very open to participating in a cross-denominational survey of domestic violence issues, benchmarked with society in general. Whether or not such a survey is conducted, we will continue to speak out against domestic violence through education, training and advocacy.

I also encourage our ministers to explore this issue further with their congregations, making them more aware of the problem and the necessity of properly dealing with specific cases where-ever they may be found.

Archbishop Glenn N Davies,

March 13, 2015.”

First published at SydneyAnglicans.net.

A Statement Concerning the Consecration of Rev Dr Sarah Macneil in the Anglican Diocese of Grafton

Anglican Church LeagueHere’s a Statement from ACL President, The Rev. Gavin Poole:

“On 1 March 2014 the Anglican diocese of Grafton will consecrate its new Bishop. The consecration will be hailed as ‘historic’ as she will be the first female diocesan Bishop in the Anglican Church of Australia.

The fact that the diocesan Bishop will be a woman is of concern, especially considering there has been no publicly available provision by the Grafton diocese for those who cannot in good conscience accept her episcopal ministry. The matters raised in this document however are of more grave concern. …”

Read the full text – or download it – below –   Read more

2013 Annual General Meeting reminder

ACL AGM 2013The ACL invites ACL Members to attend

The 2013 Annual General Meeting
6.00 pm, Thursday 15th August, 2013
St. Andrew’s Cathedral Chapter House.

Read more

Gav Poole elected President of the Anglican Church League

Media release, 9th August 2012

At its Annual General Meeting on 9 August, the Anglican Church League elected the Rev Gavin Poole, Rector of Cherrybrook Anglican Church, as its new President. Mr Poole succeeds the Rev Dr Mark Thompson who had been the President of the League since 2005.

Dr Thompson spoke enthusiastically about the new president.

‘Gavin brings to this role his wealth of experience as a Rector in the diocese, as part of a ministry team in the United States for several years, and helped organise the FCA Leaders’ conference in London this year’, he said.

‘He is deeply committed to the evangelical character of our diocese and the importance of the work of the League in guarding and growing that critical inheritance. He is an excellent choice to lead the League into the next period of its life.’

Gavin commented,

‘I have a strong appreciation for this diocese and its evangelical heritage. We must work hard to maintain and build upon that which has been left to us by our evangelical forefathers. I am also thankful for the way Mark has served the ACL over the past 7 years. I look forward to serving in this capacity.’

The ACL Council encourages prayer for Gavin as he takes up his new responsibilities.

(Photo: The four most recent Presidents, left to right: The Rev. Gav Poole, Outgoing President Dr. Mark Thompson, Previous Presidents Rev. Zac Veron and Canon Bruce Ballantine-Jones.)

ACL Statement on developments in the Diocese of Gippsland

“The Anglican Church League expresses its dismay at the appointment of an openly homosexual man as priest in charge of a parish in the Diocese of Gippsland as announced in the December 2011 issue of The Gippsland Anglican.

The teaching of Scripture about appropriate sexual behaviour for disciples of Christ and the appointment of elders who are ‘beyond reproach’, is quite clear. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008, the professional standards embodied in the document Faithfulness in Service (a document approved by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia) and the express commitment of the General Synod on a number of occasions to uphold the biblical teaching on marriage and human sexuality leave no room for ambiguity. Appointments like this put unwanted strain and tension upon relationships between the various dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia. It also contributes to the fragmentation of the Anglican Communion.

For the sake of the parish, the diocese and the Anglican Church of Australia we call upon the Bishop of Gippsland to rescind this appointment. We also call on him to make clear his commitment to the teaching of Scripture, to Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10, to the standards embodied in Faithfulness in Service and the various resolutions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church on this issue.

Mark Thompson        Robert Tong
President                    Chairman. ”

ACL congratulates the Rev Gary Nelson on his election

The Anglican Church League congratulates the Rev Gary Nelson on his election as the seventh bishop of the diocese of North West Australia. Gary has been a godly and effective minister of the gospel in the diocese of Sydney since his ordination in 1983. Having served curacies in Seaforth and Dapto, he was rector of Panania for 17 years before he took on responsibility for the Department of External Studies at Moore College.   Read more

ACL tribute to John Stott

The President of the Anglican Church League, Dr. Mark Thompson, has paid this tribute to John R. W. Stott, who was called home to the Lord this morning:

John Stott was well known and well loved in Sydney. He visited Sydney many times. Some attribute very largely to his influence a transformation of preaching in Sydney churches in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mark writes:

“Christian men and women all over the world will be sad to hear of the death of John Stott, one of the leading evangelical voices of the twentieth century. A man of first class intellect, of personal integrity of the highest order, and of passionate commitment to Christ and so to the Scriptures, John Stott enthused and equipped generations of preachers to present the word of God clearly, insightfully, and memorably. His ministry at All Souls, Langham Place in London made it a beacon for evangelical Anglicanism throughout the world. His powerful written legacy of commentaries, expositions of biblical doctrines and perhaps especially his The Cross of Christ, will continue to bless Christian men and women for years to come. Basic Christianity and Your Confirmation were profoundly influential in the lives of countless new Christians. John Stott’s strategy in providing the means for training future evangelical leaders in the two thirds world has borne rich fruit.

Those who knew John Stott well speak of his warmth and generosity, his wit and his unswerving commitment to gospel priorities. He never failed to encourage young men and women to give their lives to the spread of the gospel and the edification of Christ’s people. Even in disagreement, he was never defensive, always courteous and unfailingly humble and gentle.

John Stott was well known and well loved in Sydney. He visited Sydney many times. Some attribute very largely to his influence a transformation of preaching in Sydney churches in the 1960s and 1970s. He was always an advocate and one of the world’s best exponents of expository preaching. He encouraged young men to preach the Bible and understand the world into which they were preaching the Bible. The Bible Speaks Today commentaries, which he edited for a period and to which he contributed quite a number of memorable volumes, continues to be a valuable resource for preachers.

I last spoke to John Stott a year ago. He was being cared for in a home for retired clergy south of London. He was lucid, gracious and as insightful as ever. His smile was disarming. He was aware of what was happening in the evangelical world and in the Anglican Communion. On that occasion he spoke warmly of the diocese and its current archbishop. In particular, he was encouraged by the leadership role Sydney was beginning to take in the international Anglican arena. Though his body was failing, his mind was active and his concern for biblical truth and the spread of the gospel of Christ undiminished.

We have great cause to thank God for this giant disciple of Christ who served his Lord and us for so long and so well. He has now been called home and we rejoice that he now rests from his labour in the presence of the Lord he loved. Sad though we are, at being parted from him, we look forward to the day when we will be united again with him in the presence of the Lord and have opportunity to testify to the way God used him to nourish the faith of so many by his own example as well as by his teaching. Few men have had the worldwide impact for the gospel that John Stott had during his lifetime. May God continue to use his legacy to advance the cause of Christ until He returns.”

(Photo: Langham Partnership International.)

Notice of the ACL’s 2011 AGM

For our members — please note:

The Annual General Meeting of the Anglican Church League will be held on Thursday 16th June 2011 at  6:00 pm at The Mission to Seafarers, 320-334 Sussex Street, Sydney.

More details closer to the date!

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