FCA Australia commends Abp Davies and Bp Condie for their involvement in the consecration of Andy Lines

“An open letter to the members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans – Australia:

Grace and peace to you in the name of our dear Saviour Jesus.

I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of FCA-Aus following the recent consecration of Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop to Europe, which took place in Wheaton Illinois, USA on Friday 30 June 2017.

FCA-Aus Chairman, Dr Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania participated in the consecration, along with Board member, Dr Glenn Davies, Archbishop of Sydney and Bishop Gary Nelson of the Diocese of North West Australia. The consecration took place under the auspices of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America at the request of the GAFCON Primates, and the Australian bishops joined more than 50 other bishops including 11 Primates (presiding bishops within Anglican Provinces).

The Board of FCA-Aus warmly and unanimously commends and supports the participation of the Australian bishops in the consecration of Bishop Andy Lines. …”

– Read the full letter from Kanishka Raffel, Dean of Sydney, on behalf of the Board, FCA-Australia.

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.

A Tale of Two Communions

“Whenever a church leader makes an important decision, takes a strong stand and then explains their action, they not only reveal their own priorities and convictions but also, more significantly, shape the future of the church they serve and represent. For good reason, such steps are often called ‘defining moments’ and, with the passing of time, are frequently shown to be, what might be called, ‘determining moments’. A series of such moments seems to have taken place in recent days.

On June 30, 2017, Canon Andy Lines was consecrated as the Missionary Bishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to provide spiritual oversight to Anglican churches in Europe that exist outside the current Anglican structures.

As well as the principal consecrator, The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach (Archbishop of the ACNA), 11 Primates, 3 Archbishops, and 13 other GAFCON-linked Anglican bishops were involved in Lines’ consecration. …”

– Here’s a must read article from Rob Smith, in which he examines allegations made by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia concerning participation in the consecration of Bishop Andy Lines. See it at The Australian Church Record.

‘Beware C of E free-for-all, new Gafcon bishop warns’

“The Rt Revd Andy Lines, con­secrated ‘Missionary Bishop for Europe’ within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), has warned against a ‘free-for-all’ in the Church of England.

Speaking on Wednesday, Bishop Lines, formerly an honorary canon with permission to officiate in the Church of England, said that he expected a ‘small number’ of churches in England to seek his oversight. He rejected the Archbishop of Canter­bury’s description of his move as a ‘cross-border interven­tion’.…”

– Story from Church Times. Photo: ACNA.

Key recent posts — 6 July 2017

Here are some key posts which may be of interest from the last week or so –

Archbishop Glenn Davies speaks from Andy Lines’ consecration in Wheaton, Illinois:

“This is not ‘a border-crossing enterprise’, that’s a misunderstanding of the ministry. …

Anyone who proclaims Christ is where I want to be, and to have my support.”

Earlier, the Archbishop wrote to Australian bishops explaining his decision to take part in the consecration:

“I believe that my participation is an act of solidarity with those who contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”

Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of Australia Philip Freier wrote to Australian bishops:

“I have deep concerns that the participation by our Episcopal colleagues in the consecration of Canon Lines, with or without the support of their respective dioceses, is contrary to the spirit of the canons of the Council of Nicaea and, most importantly, outside of the authority of our National Constitution.”

‘Loose Canons? Andy Lines and the Canons of Nicaea’ – Dr Mark Smith at Church Society:

“the claim is made that the consecration of Andy Lines, and the episcopal ministry he would exercise, would be contrary to Canons 15 and 16 of the Council of Nicaea.”

President of the Anglican Church League, the Rev. Andrew Bruce, issued this statement on behalf of the ACL’s Council:

“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.”

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.

Gafcon events in England and USA

“The last week of June has seen a number of high profile events marking the life of Gafcon, the global movement for renewal of the Anglican Communion according to biblical orthodoxy. …”

– Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes summarises what’s been happening.

Archbishop Glenn Davies: “God bless Bishop Andy Lines”

Archbishop Glenn Davies speaks about his support for Bishop Andy Lines’ consecration in this video from the Anglican Church in North America.

Related:

Andy Lines speaks about his new role

Newly consecrated Missionary Bishop, Andy Lines, speaks about his new role in this video from the Anglican Church in North America.

And there’s an accompanying report from ACNA here.

See also this GAFCON press release.

And ‘The New Anglican Communion is Emerging’ – video from Canon Phil Ashey, American Anglican Council.

Andy Lines consecrated as Bishop for Special Mission

Video of Andy Lines’ consecration in Wheaton, Illinois, is now available on the ACNA website.

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.)

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