Church Society Podcast with Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone

In the latest Church Society podcast, Ros Clarke chats with Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone, about his job, the situation in the Church of England today, and the unexpected joy of confirmations.

Listen here.

Anglican Unscripted interviews Lorna Ashworth

In the latest edition of Anglican Unscripted, Kevin Kallsen interviews Lorna Ashworth.

“Unless the gospel is being taught in a church – it is not a church.”

If you assumed the gospel didn’t need to be preached afresh in the Church of England, watch this.

Related:

Andrew Symes, of Anglican Mainstream, writes:

“With unfortunate timing on its part, the C of E launched its new gender fluid policy just after the resignation of Lorna Ashworth from General Synod and Archbishops’ Council.

The well-respected conservative evangelical had warned of the policy of ‘good disagreement’ being a front for a slide into heresy. This was brushed off on Friday as a complete exaggeration by Bishops, and also by many evangelical clergy on social media. She does not need to say anything more. The headlines on Monday morning about ‘Valuing all God’s Children’ have proved her point.”

Let little boys wear tiaras: Church of England issues new advice

“Boys as young as five should be able to wear tiaras at school without criticism, teachers in Church of England schools are to be told.

Male pupils should also be free to dress up in a tutu or high heels without attracting any comment or observation, according to anti-bullying rules sent out by the Church yesterday.

The instructions for the CofE’s 4,700 schools said they should not require children to wear uniforms that ‘create difficulty for trans pupils’. …”

– Report from Mail Online.

Also see the report Valuing All God’s Children (PDF), as reported on the Church of England website.

“Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel Genders, said: ‘Providing an education to our 1 million children that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big responsibility.’…”

Lorna Ashworth resigns from C of E General Synod over ‘revisionism’

“A conservative Evangelical, Lorna Ashworth, resigned from the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod on Thursday in a letter that condemned ‘an agenda of revisionism . . . masked in the language of so-called “good disagreement”’.

Mrs Ashworth, a member of Reform and the GAFCON UK Task Force, called in July for an alternative Anglican structure in Britain, similar to the Anglican Church in North America.”

— story from Church Times.

Update:

Read Mrs Ashworth’s full statement below, courtesy of Anglican Mainstream.

“For the past 12 years, I have had the privilege of being elected to serve on the General Synod of the Church of England.  This role offered further opportunities to serve on other bodies, most recently the Archbishops’ Council and the Business Committee.

During this time I have observed within Synod, an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 3).  Instead, an agenda of revisionism is masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement.’  In fact, ‘good disagreement’ and ‘unity’ have trumped the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.

In my last speech given at the General Synod in York, July 2017, I expressed this frustration by saying that,

‘as a corporate body we have become unable to articulate the saving message of Jesus Christ which fully encompasses the reality of sin, repentance and forgiveness – without this message we do not teach a true gospel and people do not get saved.’

I have been humbled to serve alongside men and women, lay and ordained who long to see the mission of the church remain true to it’s calling: to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This means following the unadulterated teaching of Christ even when it contradicts the spirit of the age.

It is these people who have recognised that the gospel of Christ Jesus is a matter of eternal life or death – it matters what we believe, what we say, and how we live.  This message is very good news.

In light of this revisionist agenda and the heretical teaching that comes with it, I am no longer willing to sit around the table, pretending that we, as a governing body of the Church of England, are having legitimate conversations about mission.  I refuse to be mistaken as one participating in the fanciful notion of ‘good disagreement.’  As such, I am standing down from the Archbishops’ Council with immediate effect and all subsequent bodies, including the General Synod.

There are many like myself, who long for clear and courageous biblical leadership from the bishops of the Church of England and we will pray to this end. Some will choose to remain as part of the Synod and they have my full support, but others will not. Whatever is decided, be rest assured that God will not be without witness in this nation and He will build His church – the question is will that include the Church of England?”

Bishop Andy Lines has issued a statement, on behalf of GAFCON UK:

“She saw that her presence as a conservative on Archbishop’s Council was no longer a moderating influence, but being used to legitimize the revisionist agenda on which she believes the Church of England has embarked. …

Gafcon UK applauds Lorna Ashworth, who has been a member of the Gafcon UK Task Group, for her courageous stand for the truth, and will look to continue working with her in her future ministries.”

Southwark Declaration

“It is with great sadness that I posted the Southwark Declaration in Canterbury Cathedral.

This building that stands sentinel over the Church of England has been a symbol of Anglican leadership with, perhaps, the greatest global reach for centuries.

Now it has become synonymous with abdication and dereliction of duty; it stands accused as a distracted and negligent parent that has abandoned its children. …”

– Kent Vicar, the Rev. Stephen Rae, has issued a press release (PDF) to explain why he posted the Southwark Declaration on the doors of Canterbury Cathedral on Reformation Day.

Anglican Mainstream has links to a number of relevant articles.

‘I should have thought that one through’

“Asked … if gay sex was sinful, [Archbishop of Canterbury Justin] Welby said: ‘You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to. Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through.’…”

– Story from The Guardian.

Related: a warning from Albert Mohler:

“This is a moment of decision, and every evangelical believer, congregation, denomination, and institution will have to answer. There will be no place to hide.

The forces driving this revolution in morality will not allow evasion or equivocation. Every pastor, every church, and every Christian organization will soon be forced to declare an allegiance to the Scriptures and to the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexual morality, or to affirm loyalty to the sexual revolution.

That revolution did not start with same-sex marriage, and it will not end there. But marriage is the most urgent issue of the day, and the moment of decision has arrived.”

– from Which Way, Evangelicals? There is Nowhere to Hide, June 10, 2015.

Statement on the Consecration of Gavin Ashenden by the CEC

“Bishop Gavin Ashenden is a winsome and courageous defender of the Christian faith who has been prominent in supporting the same gospel values for which Gafcon stands, but his consecration was not an initiative taken by Gafcon. The Christian Episcopal Church, of which he is a bishop, is not part of the Anglican Communion and is not a constituent Church of the Gafcon movement.

Gafcon is committed to reforming our Communion from within and it was in accordance with this great vision that Bishop Andy Lines was consecrated as a missionary bishop for the United Kingdom and Europe by Primates representing the majority of the world wide communion in Chicago earlier this year.

We recognize that there is a spiritual vacuum caused by the silence and even compromise of much traditional leadership in the West and it is not surprising that new leadership should emerge. Our preference is that it will emerge from the highest level of cooperation and collaboration between these initiatives, so that those who uphold ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’ (Jude 4) work together as far as the integrity of their church polity allows. Nonetheless, we pray that the ministry of Bishop Ashenden, and all Christian leaders who love the truth, will bear much fruit for the gospel.

Dr Peter Jensen
GAFCON General Secretary.”

A statement from GAFCON on 28 September 2017.

For background, Kevin Kallsen speaks with Gavin Ashenden (YouTube) about the Anglo-Catholic Christian Episcopal Church.

Most people who call themselves C of E never read the Bible — survey

“Figures show that 60 per cent of self-declared followers of the Church [of England] admit they never read the Bible. Meanwhile, 36 per cent say they never attend church and one in three says they never pray. …“

– Report from Premier UK.

Fundamental shifts in the Church of England General Synod

“The decisions taken in the February and July 2017 sessions of the General Synod crossed a line never before reached.

Its failure to take note of the definition of marriage as that between ‘one man and one woman in lifelong commitment’, and its embrace of key LGBT agenda (banning so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for unwanted same-sex attraction, liturgy to mark a person’s gender transition) has caused serious consternation, anger and anxiety in the Church of England, and beyond.

It was the scale of defeat of orthodoxy in the July sessions that is most shocking. …”

– At the GAFCON website, Dr. Chik Kaw Tan, a 12-year veteran of General Synod, shares his reflections on the significant shifts which have taken place, and possible consequences.

A Letter to the Anglicans of Great Britain — how to ensure a faithful ecclesial future

This letter has been published at The Anglican Mission in England website, and elsewhere. We reproduce it here for you to read in full:

“Many will share our dismay at the recent decisions of the General Synod of the Church of England and the pursuing principles, values and practices contrary to Holy Scripture and church Tradition.

Given the persistent failure of the majority of the House of Bishops to fulfil the God-given duties which they have sworn to discharge these tragic developments were, sadly, not wholly unexpected.

Accordingly, and in preparation for such eventualities we, as some of those committed to the renewal of biblical and orthodox Anglicanism have already started to meet, on behalf of our fellow Anglicans, to discuss how to ensure a faithful ecclesial future.

We now wish that we have done so to be more widely known.

Our number is drawn from bishops, clergy and laity, from across Great Britain and from a breadth of traditions. Much more importantly, however, we meet joyfully united by a shared endorsement of the terms of the Jerusalem Declaration.

We will meet again, as planned and with external facilitation, mediation and episcopal advice, in October. It is our intention to welcome on that occasion an even greater diversity of contributors.

We would value your prayers and any expressions of interest from those who feel they might be able to make a valuable contribution to our deliberations.

Anyone desiring to contact us can do so through any of the organisations or churches listed.

Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden, Former Chaplain to the Queen
Mrs Lorna Ashworth, General Synod of the Church of England, Archbishops’ Council
Revd Nigel Atkinson, Vicar St John’s, Knutsford and Toft
Revd Andrew Bawtree, Chair of the House of Clergy, Diocese of Canterbury
Revd Mark Burkill, Chairman of Reform
Rt Revd John Ellison, Anglican Mission in England Executive
Rt Revd John Fenwick, Bishop Primus, Free Church of England
Rt Revd Josep Miquel Rossello Ferrer, Free Church of England
Ven Dr Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, Vicar St Mary’s Harmondsworth & PiC Anglican Igbo Church of the Holy Trinity, London
Rt Revd Paul Hunt, General Secretary, Free Church of England
Canon Nigel Juckes, Incumbent, Llandogo, Monmouth
Mr Daniel Leafe, Gafcon UK
Mrs Susie Leafe, Director of Reform
Rt Revd Andy Lines, ACNA Bishop with Special Mission
Revd David McCarthy, Coordinator of the Scottish Anglican Network
Revd Lee McMunn, Mission Director, Anglican Mission in England
Revd James Paice, Trustee, The Southwark Good Stewards Trust
Rt Revd Jonathan Pryke, Senior Minister Jesmond Parish Church, Anglican Mission in England Executive
Revd Dr Peter Sanlon, Convenor of Anglican Partnership Synod
Ven Dr Will Strange on behalf of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales
Revd Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream.”

GAFCON Chairman’s Letter July 2017

“False teaching is restless and relentless, and the Church of England itself is in grave spiritual danger. It is much to be regretted that there has been far more concern about alleged ‘boundary crossing’ than about the contempt of God’s Word that made a missionary bishop necessary. In fact, the Bishop of Edinburgh, who has strongly supported the Scottish Episcopal Church’s adoption of same sex ‘marriage’ was invited as a guest of honour to the Church of England’s July General Synod meeting.”

– The Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, The Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh, has released his Chairman’s letter for this month.

General Synod July 2017: Five steps away from Biblical Christianity

“In the space of four days, the General Synod of the Church of England have, in effect, rejected the doctrines of creation, the fall, the incarnation, and our need for conversion and sanctification.”

– Susie Leafe, Director of Reform, sums up the rolling tragedy of the Church of England General Synod. At The American Anglican Council.

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