Former Queen’s Chaplain ‘resigning’ from Church of England

“A former Queen’s chaplain has quit as a Church of England priest after a long-running objection to what he saw as the liberalising trend of the CofE.

Canon Gavin Ashenden made the unusual move of resigning his orders on Friday, Christian Today can reveal, leaving more than 35 years of ordained ministry. … 

An ardent conservative on both sexuality and women priests, Rev Ashenden confirmed to Christian Today he had signed the ‘deed of relinquishment’ under the Clerical Disabilities Act 1870. This starts a six-month interim period before he officially leaves the Church.

He declined to comment on the move until his six-month waiting time is up.”

– Report from Christian Today. Photo from ashenden.org.

Philip North crisis: ‘Good Disagreement’ has become ‘bad bullying’

“When the house that has been painstakingly constructed on the sand falls flat, there is nothing to rejoice over. Discernment works better when unclouded by the sin of taking and giving offence.

Bishop Philip North’s election to the Diocese of Sheffield was a litmus test. … a serious test for the much vaunted ‘Good Disagreement’ that Archbishop Justin Welby has staked his archiepiscopal strategy on.

It has all gone badly wrong.

– Dr Gavin Ashenden guest posts at Archbishop Cranmer.

Those who attacked Philip North have made same-sex blessing compromise impossible

“Remember that ‘radical new Christian inclusion’ Justin Welby spoke of in the wake of Synod’s decision not to ‘take note’ of the Bishops’ report on marriage and same-sex relations? Well, you can forget it. …”

‘Archbishop Cranmer’ argues the hounding of Philip North demonstrates that ‘radical inclusion’ is not possible in today’s Church of England.

(Photo of Bp North courtesy Diocese of Blackburn.)

Exacerbating the credibility crisis

“It is with regret that we have today heard that Philip North, suffragan Bishop of Burnley, has chosen not to accept his nomination as diocesan Bishop of Sheffield.

The circumstances surrounding his withdrawal exacerbate the already acute credibility crisis for the Church of England, especially in its treatment of those with traditional Christian views. What now does ‘flourishing’ mean?…”

– Church Society Director Lee Gatiss responds to the news that Philip North has been forced to withdraw his nomination as Bishop of Sheffield.

Statement on the Rt Rev’d Philip North’s withdrawal from nomination as the next Bishop of Sheffield

Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas, has released this statement on the withdrawal of Bishop Philip North for consideration as the next Bishop of Sheffield.

I am deeply saddened that Philip North has felt forced to withdraw from his nomination as the next Bishop of Sheffield. It will be a huge loss to Sheffield and is a body blow to the concept of ‘mutual flourishing’ which lay at the heart of the agreement to introduce women bishops in the Church of England.

Philip has huge gifts to offer the Church, and his leadership in Sheffield would have given a great boost to mission.

However, the damage to the principles on which the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests is based, is profound. If all orders of ministry and all appointments are equally open to men and women, then the same has to apply to those who hold that the ministries of men and women are distinctively different. If it does not, if there is, in effect, a glass ceiling that prevents those of traditional churchmanships ministering at all levels of the Church, then the Declaration and the provisions that came with it lose all credibility.

I know that both Archbishops were personally wholly committed to the concept of mutual flourishing and it was warmly supported by the General Synod. If it is to survive as our governing motif, then urgent action will be needed to demonstrate its effectiveness. In the absence of such action, we will simply have given in to those who hounded Philip North out of office.

– So much for ‘radical inclusion’ in the Church of England. Emphasis added.

And from Bishop North’s statement:

“There is clearly much to be done on what it means to disagree well and to live with theological difference in the Church of England. The highly individualised nature of the attacks upon me have been extremely hard to bear. If, as Christians, we cannot relate to each other within the bounds of love, how can we possibly presume to transform a nation in the name of Christ?”

A Call to Evangelicals to Stand Firm — Bp. Rod Thomas

“Since the widely publicised General Synod debate about the House of Bishops’ Report on marriage and same-sex relationships, there has been speculation about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for ‘radical inclusion’ and a number of bishops have called for the Church of England to be more affirming of same-sex relationships. The latter see the Church as being on a trajectory towards change. One bishop, John Wraw, has explicitly said he hopes that in time there will be full acceptance of same-sex marriages in the Church of England.

Evangelicals in the Church of England are on a different trajectory. We hope we are not insensitive to the value of intimate relationships or the needs we all feel for intimacy and life sharing. But it is both our conviction and our experience that, as people who find their identity in Christ, there is great joy, fulfilment and blessing in obedience to the Word of God. …”

– Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas, calls evangelical Christians in the Church of England back to the saving gospel, and away from false teaching.

Curtains and convictions: how not to get preferment

“Harry had felt a bit out of place ever since he arrived at the budget hotel for the ‘Pipeline’ conference. The other participants (he couldn’t help calling them ‘contestants’ to himself) all seemed terribly nice, but there was a slight aura of unreality about the earnest attentiveness in each conversation.

“Well I suppose we’re all pretending a bit”, he said to himself. He didn’t want to go, but his wife had persuaded him. After all, now that there was an evangelical ‘talent pipeline’ for appointment to senior posts, it would be wise to make use of it. Perhaps he could get on the inside track, and influence the organisation from within? …”

– Here’s a short story by Andrew Symes at Anglican Mainstream.

Slightly related: Yes, Prime Minister.

GAFCON Statement on C of E General Synod’s rejection of Report

From GAFCON:

“Canterbury can no longer be the defining centre, but through the Gafcon movement a growing number of faithful Anglicans are now recovering their true identity in the gospel itself…”

Read the full statement:

“The Church of England is in turmoil following the General Synod’s rejection of a report by the House of Bishops recommending that there should be no change in the Church‘s traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality. 

Even though the report held out the possibility of change and signalled a permissive approach in practice, it was abruptly rejected by an almost unprecedented vote against a motion to ‘take note’ of the report, usually just an uncontroversial preliminary to further debate.

After the vote, the Archbishop of Canterbury repeated his call for ‘a radical new Christian inclusion’ and it seems likely that this is a watershed moment with the Church of England now set on the same path as the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and other Provinces that have taken it upon themselves to reinvent fundamental Christian doctrine.

Gafcon UK have already commented that ‘The confusion created by the General Synod vote on 15th February makes it abundantly clear that a new vision is now needed of what Anglican Christianity in England can and should be.’

It is also increasingly clear that a new vision is needed for the Anglican Communion as a whole. Despite its enduring historical symbolism, Canterbury can no longer be the defining centre, but through the Gafcon movement a growing number of faithful Anglicans are now recovering their true identity in the gospel itself as the Bible is restored to its rightful place at the heart of the Communion.”

– Source, GAFCON.

The radical call to ‘go the wrong way’ — Archbishop Welby’s charge to General Synod

“At the end of the recent General Synod, when an alliance of orthodox Christians and pro-gay progressives defeated the Bishops’ report on Marriage and Sexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a rallying cry to a perturbed and divided Synod and whatever part of the wider Church was listening in.

It had three elements:

1. “We need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church.

2. “It must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.

3. “The way forward needs to be about love, joy and celebration of our humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ – all of us, without exception, without exclusion.”

The problem these words present, is that they involve a distortion of Christianity. …”

Gavin Ashenden evaluates Archbishop Justin Welby’s call to the Church of England General Synod.

Background:

This is what the concerns are about – Archbishop Welby’s statement – Wednesday 15th February 2017.

Statement from Archbishop Justin Welby following the General Synod’s vote “not to take note” of a Report by the House of Bishops on the report earlier today on Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships.

“No person is a problem, or an issue. People are made in the image of God. All of us, without exception, are loved and called in Christ. There are no ‘problems’, there are simply people. 

How we deal with the real and profound disagreement – put so passionately and so clearly by many at the Church of England’s General Synod debate on marriage and same-sex relationships today – is the challenge we face as people who all belong to Christ.

To deal with that disagreement, to find ways forward, we need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church. This must be founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology; it must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual. 

We need to work together – not just the bishops but the whole Church, not excluding anyone – to move forward with confidence.

The vote today is not the end of the story, nor was it intended to be. As bishops we will think again and go on thinking, and we will seek to do better. We could hardly fail to do so in the light of what was said this afternoon. 

The way forward needs to be about love, joy and celebration of our humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ – all of us, without exception, without exclusion.”

GAFCON UK responds to the Synod vote, and offers a new vision

“The confusion created by the General Synod vote on 15th February makes abundantly clear that a new vision is now needed of what Anglican Christianity in England can and should be. …

After the very expensive ‘holding operation’ of the Shared Conversations and the production of GS2055, the inevitable crisis in the C of E is now upon us; one that cannot be covered up by more platitudes about reconciliation and unity.

There is a better way. …

– Read the full important statement from GAFCON UK.

Sam Allberry explains how the message of Jesus on marriage is life-giving

Video from the Church of England General Synod debate on same sex marriage, 15th February 2017.

A very encouraging and sobering 3 minute speech.

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