Archbishop of Canterbury urged to act over Vatican envoy who questioned resurrection

“A row has erupted within the Church of England as senior Anglicans are calling on the Archbishop of Canterbury to force his ambassador to the Vatican to resign because he does not believe Jesus rose from the dead.

It has emerged that Dr John Shepherd, an Australian cleric appointed last week as the new representative to Rome, had delivered a sermon in which he said Christians should be ‘set free’ from the traditional view of the resurrection. …

Reverend Dr Lee Gatiss, director of the church’s biggest evangelical group, said the situation was ‘utterly bizarre and absolutely inappropriate’ and Dr Shepherd should resign. …“

– Read the story from The Telegraph.

(Photo: Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby.)

Business ‘as usual’ for the Anglican Communion

These two stories illustrate the march of theological liberalism through the Anglican Communion:

One shows it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe the clear words of Scripture – and the other shows it does matter if you do believe the clear words of Scripture:

Anglican Ambassador to Rome denies the Resurrection of Christ – Archbishop Cranmer.

“The Anglican Centre in Rome is the Embassy of the Worldwide Anglican Communion to the Roman Catholic Church. Its Director is effectively the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ambassador to the Vatican; Justin Welby’s personal representative to the Holy See, tasked with pursuing peace and justice in the world and the promotion of Christian unity. …

The Interim Director is the Very Rev’d Dr John Shepherd, formerly Dean of St George’s Cathedral, Perth, Australia (and Chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford, 1980-1988). The Governing Body of the Anglican Centre in Rome no doubt carried out all the necessary due diligence to ensure Dr Shepherd’s impeccable record of sexual behaviour and moral probity. What a pity they didn’t delve into his theological orthodoxy.

He denies the physical resurrection of Jesus.

The Rev’d David Ould dug out the relevant sermon…”

US bishop faces “partial restriction on ministry” over same-sex marriage stance – Anglican Communion News Service.

The Bishop of Albany, William Love, has had a partial restriction placed on his ministry over his refusal to permit same sex marriages in his diocese. …

In November, Bishop William sent an eight-page letter to the Churches in his diocese, in the north of the US State of New York, saying that the resolution was “in direct conflict and contradiction to God’s intent for the sacrament of marriage as revealed through Holy Scripture.”

Today, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, announced that had placed a partial restriction on Bishop William’s ministry pending a preliminary investigation. …

he is “forbidden from participating in any manner in the Church’s disciplinary process in the Diocese of Albany in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage” and he cannot “participate in any other matter that has or may have the effect of penalising in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshipping congregation of his Diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his Diocese or elsewhere.”

And some people wonder why GAFCON is needed.

See also:

Photo of Dr John Shepherd (left) via the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Letter to the Archbishop of York on Liturgy celebrating ‘Gender Transition’

“Your Grace, This letter to you is respectfully to express concerns about the liturgy commended by the House of Bishops in celebration of gender transition in local churches. As a member of Church Society, I would support the concern expressed by its director, Dr Lee Gatiss, about the use of the existing rite of affirmation of baptismal faith for this purpose.

He wrote: ‘The repurposing of liturgy like this is troubling. As a church whose doctrine is derived from Scripture and expressed in our liturgy, transitioning the meaning and purpose of liturgy looks like changing our fundamental doctrine by stealth’.

The theological reasons for the concerns about this liturgy have been well expressed in the various resources which Church Society has published and so there is no need to rehearse those arguments here.

But the specific issue I would like please to raise with you, if I may, relates to the potential misuse of the Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy against frontline ministers who cannot in good conscience celebrate gender transitions.

Clause 2.4 of the Guidelines states quite rightly that ‘clergy should always be conscious of the power dynamics involved in their pastoral care, noting both the position of trust which they hold and the power which they exercise’. Clause 12.3 also states that ‘pastoral care should never seek to remove the autonomy given to the individual. In pastoral situations the other party should be allowed the freedom to make decisions that may be mistaken’.

That individuals must never be coerced or manipulated in pastoral conversations should not be in dispute. But gently inviting individuals in the light of the Holy Scriptures to think about the consequences of decisions they may be contemplating and lovingly warning them of the spiritual dangers of disobeying the Bible’s teaching should not, according to the Ordinal, be viewed as wrong. The Ordinal clearly enjoins clergy ‘to be messengers, watchmen, stewards of the Lord; to teach and to premonish, to feed and provide for the Lord’s family’.

The use of already canonically authorised liturgy for the purpose of celebrating gender transitions presents a new set of circumstances under which frontline clergy minister. So, the current uncertainty over whether the sensitive expression by clergy of spiritual and moral concerns about gender transition might be treated as an abuse of pastoral power poses a threat. Doubt about this would seem to leave clergy, who believe as a matter of deep theological conviction that gender transition is not in accordance with God’s good and loving will for people made in his image and who cannot in conscience affirm such transitions, vulnerable to having complaints of misconduct upheld against them under the Clergy Discipline Measure (2003).

As a parish incumbent, I ought to take my spiritual and moral accountability to my chief ministers under the infallible Word of God in the Bible very seriously. I should accept their ‘godly admonition’, which the Ordinal exhorts ordained presbyters to.

So, I think it is my duty to be clear with you as the senior pastor of the Province in which I minister that I would be morally bound to contest any CDM action brought against me for expressing concerns about gender transitions and not using the new liturgy. I would also be duty-bound to support any other licensed minister threatened with CDM action for following his or her biblically-informed conscience on this.

I believe I should show this letter to the Oughtibridge PCC so that they know where I stand on this issue as their servant in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This letter to you is also being forwarded to the Bishops serving Sheffield Diocese. It would be good to meet with them in the New Year, if they wanted, together with other colleagues who share these concerns.

With all Christian good wishes,

Julian Mann – Vicar, the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, in the Diocese of Sheffield.”

– The Rev. Julian Mann has sent this letter to the Archbishop of York. (Photo: Archbishop of York John Semantu.)

See also:

Church of England’s plan for transgender baptisms outrages bishopsThe Telegraph.

Reformation sights in Oxford

Moore College’s Lionel Windsor shares some sights from Oxford relating to the English Reformation.

“Right in front of the pillar and the picture of Cranmer was a little stand where people could pay a pound to light a candle.”

Accommodation is not Guidance

“On Tuesday 11th December the House of Bishops published ‘Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition.’ Whilst sharing the desire to show pastoral care, the content of the Guidance causes me deep concern and I support the request from the Bishops of the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda for the reception of the Guidance to be reviewed. I note too the personal reservations expressed about it by the Chair of the House of Bishops’ Delegation Committee, The Rt Rev’d Julian Henderson, and commend the recent critiques produced by the Church Society and the Church of England Evangelical Council.

The Guidance represents a way of accommodating the request from the General Synod that the House of Bishops consider devising a liturgy for the welcome of transgender people. However, in doing so it has raised many more questions than it answers. These include:

Accordingly, I would support any move to change the status of this Guidance so that it is seen as a contribution to the LLF Project, rather than a finished product of the House of Bishops.”

– Bishop of Maidstone Rod Thomas has posted this statement on this website.

Earlier: Bishop Andy Lines on the Church of England’s guidance on liturgies to celebrate gender transition.

Bishop Andy Lines on the Church of England’s guidance on liturgies to celebrate gender transition

“… The sacrament of baptism is designed to signify the new identity that is given to us in union with Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection, so we were dismayed that this guidance commends using the same service to “recognise liturgically a person’s gender transition.”

In doing this, the House of Bishops has denied the teaching of Jesus Christ, not least by rejecting his words, ‘He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,’ (Matt 19: 4) in favour of celebrating a self-created identity. …”

– Bishop Andy Lines is quoted on the GAFCON website.

See also:

Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition (PDF file, Church of England).

Anglican bishop who hailed transgender rite as biblical calls it flawed in shambolic U-turnRebel Priest.

Wisdom and folly: the bishops’ guidance on transgender welcome – Ian Paul.

Transitioning a Liturgy

“The House of Bishops of the Church of England has issued guidance on the use of liturgy to mark and celebrate a person’s gender transition. This follows a statement from the Bishops in January (responding to a motion at General Synod in July 2017) that the existing rite of affirmation of baptismal faith could be used for this purpose.

Church Society and other groups responded then, as we also have on previous occasions (see below for examples). We continue to have extremely serious concerns.

The bishops start by affirming that all people are welcome at church and celebrating the diversity of the body of Christ. Those are things that every evangelical Christian would want to endorse enthusiastically. Our astonishment at God’s amazing grace, that embraces even a sinner like me, drives us to want others to share in that too.

However, this guidance is highly problematic for a number of reasons …”

– Church Society’s Lee Gatiss examines the newly released guidance from the Church of England.

The Derby Cathedral scandal and the alleged establishment bias of conservative evangelicals

“Derby Cathedral has given biblical orthodoxy a great boost by banning the Revd Melvin Tinker from preaching at a university Christian Union carol service.

The ban has built a tremendous platform for Mr Tinker and his supporters to demonstrate how intolerant of biblical Christianity the Church of England establishment is increasingly becoming.

But it is important to reflect on something Mr Tinker said in the course of the controversy in an interview on Anglican Unscripted. …”

– The Rev. Julian Mann writes this opinion-piece at Anglican Mainstream.

For the background, see Kevin Kallsen’s interview with Melvin Tinker at Anglican Unscripted.

What will be the cost of discipleship for confessing Anglicans in Oxford Diocese?

“A quotation from Dietrich Bonhoeffer would seem apt for Confessing Anglicans in Oxford Diocese after their bishops last week published a letter setting out their expectations for ‘radical LGBTI+ inclusion’ in local churches …”

– At Anglican Mainstream, Julian Mann examines the choice facing Bible-believing Christians in the Church of England’s Diocese of Oxford.

Evangelical Bishops open letter to Church of England: ‘Do not abandon biblical truth on sexuality’

“Eleven bishops of the Church of England have positioned themselves against opening a debate about the Anglican teaching about identity, sexuality and marriage. …

After tense debates that questioned the traditional biblical perspectives in places like Scotland and the United States, these key evangelical leaders have called to continue to proclaim the Christian “ethic”.

The open letter (download here – the original article had an incorrect link) has been signed by the Bishops of Carlisle, Durham, Ludlow, Birkenhead, Willesden, Peterborough, Plymouth, Blackburn, Maidstone and Lancaster, and by the former Bishop of Shrewsbury.”

– Read the full story from Evangelical Focus.

Church Society Podcast: Reporting from ReNew

At Church Society’s blog, Ros Clarke presents interviews and reports from this year’s ReNew conference.

Listen here.

What is ministry? Two examples

“The ReNew conference, a gathering of 470 clergy and senior lay leaders at a hotel in Leeds, has just finished.

The emphasis of ReNew is to encourage churches and ministers with conservative evangelical convictions, to continue working together for the evangelisation of the nation, through the ‘establishing and securing’ of existing healthy Anglican congregations, and pioneering new ones. …

The Gafcon movement was given prominence throughout, and especially highlighted by guest speaker Archbishop Peter Jensen.”

Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes speaks about the encouragement of the ReNew Conference in the UK.

← Previous PageNext Page →