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?

Diocese of Truro advertises for Mission leader, but “You do not need to be a practising Christian”

“The Diocese of Truro (strapline: ‘Discovering God’s Kingdom / Growing the Church’) is advertising for a Strategic Programme Manager who will be responsible for ‘the strategic leadership of the Transforming Mission programme’.

This post is not simply managerial, but one of leadership. They specify to potential applicants: ‘You do not need to be a practising Christian’…”

– This story, via “Archbishop Cranmer”, epitomises much of what is wrong with the Church of England today.

See the advertisement here, on the Diocese of Truro website. Full job description (docx file.)

Letter to the Archbishop of York: Please consecrate a second Reformed Anglican Bishop

“Your Grace, It would be quite understandable for you to be less than enthusiastic about receiving a missive from a ‘conservative evangelical’ in the light of the recent consecration of the episcopally licensed Curate of Jesmond Parish Church as a missionary bishop by the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church in South Africa. But I am writing if I may to set forth the case for a second conservative evangelical bishop, in addition to the southern-based Bishop of Maidstone, to serve as senior pastor to churches and ministers in the north of England who desire his episcopal care. …”

– Julian Mann, Vicar of The Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, in South Yorkshire, writes an open letter to the Archbishop of York.

He also responds to comments made in the last week by Church Society’s Lee Gatiss and by Gavin Ashenden.

(Photo: Julian Mann with Bishop Dr. Ben Kwashi.)

Jesmond Conference 2017 talks

Concerning the Church of England:

“One recent survey was particularly depressing. It showed that disbelieving clergy are correlated with church decline, for example, only 50% of clergy from declining churches agreed it was ‘very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians’, compared with 100% of clergy from growing Churches.

Also 100% of clergy and 90% of worshippers from growing churches agreed that ‘God performs miracles in answer to prayers’, compared with 80% of worshippers and 44% of clergy from declining churches. …”

– This excerpt from the February 2017 Jesmond Conference Statement (PDF file download link) highlights the desperate need for clear gospel proclamation in the Church of England.

Bishop Martin Morrison of REACH-SA spoke of one way forward being the irregular consecration of bishops. Conference talks here.

The Jesmond Consecration

Bishop Pryke is a godly man who is committed to the teaching of the Scriptures. He is a conscientious Anglican who believes the classic doctrine of the church as expressed in the 39 Articles and the Book of Common Prayer.

His godly character is attested by those who have observed him in ministry over many years. He is an entirely appropriate candidate for leadership among God’s people. The consecration is valid, there can be no doubt about that.

It is, however, irregular, but that irregularity is borne out of the desperate situation in which believers who remain within the Church of England find themselves. …

– In his latest post at Theological Theology, Principal of Moore Theological College, Dr. Mark Thompson, writes about the consecration of Jonathan Pryke, and why so many see it is necessary.

Jesmond Parish Church Press Statement — New Style English Bishop

“On St Athanasius’ Day, 2 May 2017, Jonathan Pryke, the senior minister, under its vicar, of Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, was consecrated a ‘bishop in the Church of God’.

This was by the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA (the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa), formerly known as CESA (the Church of England in South Africa) …

The service took place neither in a Church of England “place of worship” nor an unconsecrated place of worship designated under s.43 of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011. It did not take place in Jesmond Parish Church. The ceremony was according to the REACH SA consecration Holy Communion service with only REACH SA bishops taking part. …”

Read the whole statement from David Holloway, Vicar of Jesmond Parish Church.

Image: Jonathan Pryke at The Jesmond Conference — Reformation in the Nation and Church, March 2017. Bible Reading 1. Bible Reading 2.

Watch all the videos from the Conference for the theological background to the decision to consecrate a new bishop.

GAFCON UK Statement on the consecration at Jesmond Parish Church

“Gafcon UK are aware that Jesmond Parish Church have for some years been in a form of impaired communion with the Bishop of Newcastle, and have developed a special relationship with REACH-SA (formerly CESA). …”

A statement from GAFCON UK on the consecration, by the REACH-SA Presiding Bishop, of Jesmond Parish Church’s Jonathan Pryke. (Jesmond Parish Church is a key evangelical church in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.)

See also this story from Christian Today.

GAFCON UK response to the Primates’ Communique

“We appreciate the way GAFCON has recognised that this intervention is giving global support to one of a number of initiatives being taken by biblically orthodox Anglicans in Britain; others include the work being done to strengthen the Free Church of England. …”

– Read the full statement from GAFCON UK.

Elevation of the Blessed Asparagus: a Church of England pantomime

“Did the Dean of Worcester Cathedral not pause to think for just one second how utterly, utterly absurd this would look? Really, words fail (though some must necessarily follow).

A sacred procession down the Cathedral nave becomes an infantile pantomime as a block of asparagus is elevated and adored like the Blessed Host, and two men dressed up like Monty Python pay some sort of vacuous obsequious homage. …”

– Big news from England this week. Adrian Hilton (“Archbishop Cranmer”) comments.

Image via Archbishop Cranmer.

Bishop of Oxford and the relational dilemma for Reformed Anglicans

“On Palm Sunday in St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, their new diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, made a statement that epitomises the relational dilemma facing Reformed Anglicans in the Church of England.

Introducing his excellent sermon on our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as recorded in Matthew 21, Dr Croft said:

‘It’s my hope to come as a servant to this very large Diocese, to respect and honour all traditions within it and cherish the life of the Church in its many different forms and do my best to lead us in God’s mission.’ …

His sermon was most edifying, biblically faithful and Christ-honouring. Lord willing, he will do a lot of good in Oxford Diocese.

But the difficulty for a Reformed Anglican church such as St Ebbe’s surely comes in their Bishop’s apparently intentional commitment to theological diversity within the Church of England. …”

The Rev Julian Mann wonders what reformed Anglicans should do when their bishop endorses ‘theological diversity’.

Photo of Bishop Croft: Diocese of Oxford.

Easter meaning. C of E training. The faithful are deciding.

“… after the joy of the Easter service and the thrilling reminders of the Gospel truth, Chris found himself feeling very despondent three weeks later, sitting in his study with his two trainee lay readers. They were all having a debrief of the Lent and Easter season, and Karen and Michael were reflecting on their latest seminar with the Diocesan lay ministry training programme.

‘We heard, er, shall we say a very different take on the Road to Emmaus story, from the Dean, Reverend Doctor whatever his name is’, said Karen. ‘Yes – a good job you warned us beforehand’, continued Michael. …”

– At Anglican Mainstream, Andrew Symes illustrates the all-too-familiar story of liberalism in the Church of England. Tragically, similar stories could be told across Australia, as many of our readers could attest.

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