Archbishop Glenn Davies writes in support of Andy Lines’ consecration

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Glenn Davies, has written to the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia, explaining his decision to participate in the consecration of Canon Andy Lines as a Missionary Bishop.

Read the full text of Archbishop Davies’s letter below, or click the image of the letter to download it as a PDF file (2.2MB).

“26 June 2017

Letter to the College of Bishops

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

Many of you will know of the recent decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church which amended their canons so as to change the definition of marriage, and hence endorse the marriage of same-sex couples within the Church. This amounts to another significant and sad moment in the life of the Anglican Communion, akin to the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003.

As you will all know, I consider such an action to be a travesty of the rule of Christ, of the doctrine of the Book of Common Prayer, and therefore abandonment of the principles of Anglican doctrine to which we have committed ourselves in the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of Sections 1-6 of the Constitution. I consider that such a departure from the teaching of Scripture, ‘the ultimate rule and standard of faith’, casts doubt upon the nature of our communion with the Scottish Episcopal Church, since such communion needs to be consistent with the Fundamental Declarations (Section 6). In time, given the decisions of the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church, which are yet to be translated into canon law, we shall see a similar disparity of communion with these two provinces.

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was formed in 2008, after painful court cases and loss of property, because they believed that the truths of the gospel could not be compromised for the sake of conforming to society’s obsession to normalise homosexual behaviour as part of Christian discipleship. Although I recognise that some members of our Church are open to considering a change in our doctrine at this point, our General Synod has on more than one occasion affirmed the importance of marriage as being defined as a life-long union, to the exclusion of all others, of a man and a woman. This is the doctrine of our Church. This is the doctrine of Christ. We depart from this at our peril.

In response to the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the bishops of the Anglican Church in North America, in consultation with many Primates of the Global South and of Gafcon have decided, upon the request of Anglican Christians in Britain, to consecrate a missionary bishop to those who have left the Church of England, or will soon leave the Scottish Episcopal Church, because they cannot abide the ineffective and errant leadership of their synods and some of their own bishops. That the General Synod of the Church of England could not even bear ‘to note’ a unanimous report from the House of Bishops, which reaffirmed the Bible’s teaching that marriage does not include same-sex relationships, is indicative of the challenges to orthodoxy that the Church of England faces. They need our prayers.

The decision to consecrate a missionary bishop does not come lightly. It is very different from the decision of the parish of Jesmond in Newcastle, UK, where an assistant minister of the parish was consecrated a bishop hoping, I believe, to minister within the Church of England, despite the lack of canonical process and the agreement of either the Bishop of Newcastle or the Archbishop of York. Rather, the consecration of the Reverend Canon Andy Lines at the end of this month is for the purpose of providing episcopal oversight to those faithful Anglicans who can no longer in good conscience remain under their bishop or be a part of the church they once cherished. As a missionary bishop to Europe, Canon Andy Lines would not be ministering within the Church of England (which extends to continental Europe) or within the Scottish Episcopal Church, but rather to those who have left these churches. Since the Anglican Consultative Council has not declared ACNA to be a part of the Anglican Communion, such a ministry can no more be called ‘border crossing’ than the ministry of other Christian denominations in the UK. 1

As it turns out, I shall be in Wheaton, Illinois, at the time Canon Lines is to be consecrated as a bishop in the church of God. I have been invited to participate in this consecration and after consulting the Standing Committee of the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, our Primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury, I have decided to do so.

From the Primate’s response to this decision and his counsel not to participate, I understand that some of you will disagree and disapprove of my participation. I do not make the decision lightly, nor do I wish to cause division among our episcopal ranks. However, I believe that my participation is an act of solidarity with those who contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Not to participate, since I shall be present, would send a signal of a different kind, and one which I do not believe would bring honour to Christ and his gospel.

In February 1984, my predecessor, Donald Robinson faced a similar situation when he was asked to consecrate the Reverend Dudley Foord to be a bishop in the Church of England in South Africa (as it was then known). He consulted widely and decided that to consecrate a bishop for a church not technically in communion with Canterbury was a gospel imperative. In that case the consecration took place in Sydney at St Andrew’s Cathedral and several bishops from around Australia participated, including the Primate and a bishop of the Church of the Province of South Africa (as it was then known).

I cannot see, from this distance in time, that Archbishop Robinson’s actions caused any ongoing division in our national Church, and it is my hope that my participation in a consecration on the other side of the world will likewise cause no stumbling block to our fellowship. On the contrary, it is my hope that we would all rally to defend the Bible’s teaching on marriage, not merely for the sake of correct doctrine, but that we might preserve the message of the gospel for the salvation of all.

As we celebrate 500 years of Martin Luther’s brave efforts to withstand those whose teaching was contrary to the gospel, new days bring fresh challenges for defending the truth.

Grace and peace

Glenn N Davies
Archbishop of Sydney

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1 In response to the suggestion that such a consecration would be prohibited by the Canons of Nicaea, Dr Mark Smith, whose area of expertise is theological development from AD 381-451 has written the following article: http://churchsociety.org/blog/entry/topical_tuesday_loose_canons_andy_lines_and_the_canons_of_nicaea/

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Update

See also: Primate admonishes Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie — Anglican Church League statement, 5th July 2017.

Bishop Richard Condie writes in support of Andy Lines’ consecration

Bishop of Tasmania, Dr. Richard Condie, has written to the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia, explaining his decision to participate in the consecration of Canon Andy Lines as a Missionary Bishop –

“I have been invited to participate in the consecration of Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. His consecration, by the GAFCON Primates and other bishops, will take place while I am in Chicago attending the Anglican Relief and Development Fund global council meeting at the end of this month. This consecration is in direct response to the Episcopal Church of Scotland’s decision to change their canon on marriage to include same sex unions. This decision is a departure from the scriptures, the teaching of the church, and the consensus of the majority of Anglicans in the communion. It leaves faithful Anglicans in Scotland in a vulnerable position, and has brought schism to the global Anglican fellowship.

The consecration is an emergency measure to protect the precious gospel of Jesus Christ, his authoritative word in the scriptures, and faithful Anglicans who have been marginalised by this schismatic behaviour. …”

Read the full letter from the Bishop of Tasmania, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Condie, to the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia. (300kb PDF file.)

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Update

See also: Primate admonishes Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie — Anglican Church League statement, 5th July 2017.

Nine years after the first Global Anglican Future Conference

Nine years ago today, the first Global Anglican Future Conference concluded in Jerusalem with the adoption of the GAFCON Final Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration.

Today would be a good day to give thanks, and to pray for all involved in preserving and declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

GAFCON and Evangelical Ministry

“I’m at the annual Evangelical Ministry Assembly organised by the Proclamation Trust. Around 900 men and women, mostly from Anglican, Baptist and Evangelical Free churches are here at the Barbican Centre in London; the majority are vicars, pastors and church apprentices wanting to be inspired and encouraged in their ministries.

The primary conviction of the Proclamation Trust is that when the Bible is faithfully preached, God’s voice is heard, and that intentional training is needed for preaching and evangelism, as well as experiencing the thrill, balm and challenge of hearing God’s voice for our own souls. …”

– Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes shares a little of what’s happening at this year’s EMA in London.

Meanwhile: Church of England and Methodists to consider full communion – Anglican Communion News Service.

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?

GAFCON Chairman’s June 2017 letter

“As I write, we are preparing for Trinity Sunday. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is vital. Without it, we cannot speak truly of God in a way that is faithful to the bible. However, in the fourth century the Church was nearly overwhelmed by the Arians. They were the followers of Arius, who claimed that the Son was a created being, not really God.

If the Church had continued to follow Arius, the Christian faith would have been lost. To deny the full divinity of Jesus strikes at the heart of the Christian message that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.  St Athanasius is still remembered as the man who was willing to make a costly stand against this heresy.

I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. …”

– Read the June 2017 letter from GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.

Justin Welby and ‘Agreeing to Disagree’

“Last week, the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to alter that church’s Canon on Marriage, to remove the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman. …

In the light of this long-anticipated rejection of Jesus’s word, the Bible, as the supreme authority over the church, GAFCON have announced that they will be consecrating Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop for Europe, including Scotland. Andy is a man of unimpeachable integrity, godliness, and clarity of teaching whose episcopal leadership will be welcomed by all those Scots who have been marginalised by their leaders, and by those outside the Church of England who wish still to remain Anglican in their doctrine and polity. …

In response to this, Archbishop Justin Welby wrote to the Primates of the Anglican Communion …

In his letter, Archbishop Welby sadly seems far more concerned about “cross-border interventions” than with the schismatic and heretical teaching which has infiltrated the Episcopal Church in Scotland (and elsewhere) and emptied churches in the process…”

– Read the full article by Church Society Director, Dr. Lee Gatiss.

Be sure to also read the linked article from Crossway, “Can we agree to disagree?”, by Dr Martin Davie (PDF file) –

“There has been much talk lately of ‘agreeing to disagree’ on the issues of human sexuality in the church. In this article, I shall introduce three categories into which we can place matters on which there is disagreement within the church:

  • matters which are adiaphora
  • matters which are not adiaphora and on which the church cannot simply live with disagreement, and
  • matters which are not adiaphora and on which the church can live with disagreement.

Having introduced these categories, I shall conclude by asking which category the issue of human sexuality fits into.”

Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.

Canon Andy Lines interviewed on Premier Radio UK

Canon Andy Lines has been interviewed in Edinburgh for Premier Radio UK about his upcoming role as a Missionary Bishop.

Archbishop Foley Beach and The Rev. David McCarthy were also interviewed.

Audio files near the bottom of the page. (Photo: Premier.)

The GAFCON Missionary Bishop for Scotland and Europe

“Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid.

His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis.

These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching – or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching. One can trace this all the way back to Athanasius and the crisis of Arianism in the early Church. …”

– Canon Phil Ashey, President of the American Anglican Council, provides historical background for the decision to consecrate Andy Lines as a Missionary Bishop.

GAFCON UK Statement on the announcement of the Gafcon /ACNA Missionary Bishop to Europe

“GAFCON UK is delighted at the announcement that its chairman Canon Andy Lines is to be consecrated by the Anglican Church in North America as a missionary bishop to Europe under the auspices of GAFCON.

We believe this will play an important part in the renewal of orthodox Anglican Christianity in Britain and further afield.  Read more

Canon Andy Lines to be ACNA Missionary Bishop

In the wake of today’s vote by the Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, purporting to redefine marriage, Archbishop Foley Beach spoke in Edinburgh on behalf of the GAFCON Primates Council to announce Canon Andy Lines (pictured) as the new Missionary Bishop:

Bishop Foley announced,

“The Gafcon Primates have asked our Province, the Anglican Church in North America, to take on the task of providing a missionary bishop for Scotland.

Our Province was formed at the direction of Gafcon 2008 after many of the Provinces of Gafcon had provided the same kind of oversight for clergy and congregations in North America. They have asked us to consecrate Canon Andy Lines. …

The Consecration will take place on the morning of 30 June in Wheaton, Illinois and the service will include Primates, Archbishops, and bishops from all over the world. Although the Anglican Church in North America is the consecrating Province, this is an initiative of the wider Anglican Communion.”

Read the text of the announcements from the press conference.

See also the Press Kit released by GAFCON:

1: Press Statement by Archbishop Foley Beach – 8th June 2017.

2: Press Statement by Scottish Anglican Network (SAN) – 8th June 2017.

3: Biographical Information on GAFCON Press Conference speakers.

4: ACNA FAQs on Missionary Bishop.

5: About Samuel Seabury.

Related:

Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow ‘equal marriage’ – Anglican Communion News Service – 8th June 2017.

Scottish Anglican Network Responds  – 8th June 2017,

“We are thankful for support we have received from many in the Anglican Communion and particularly from the Archbishops who lead the GAFCON movement. We are grateful for their support in prayer, their counsel and their practical support, not least in their decision to consecrate a missionary bishop for Europe. We now look forward to building stronger relationships with the leaders and churches of the global Anglican Communion who remain faithful to Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible.

Sermon By Canon Andy Lines At The Consecration Of The Revd Ferran Glenfield as Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh. At St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh – 31 May 2013,

“Paul was able to say to the Ephesian elders that he had not shrunk from declaring to them the whole purpose of God – he preached the whole gospel from the whole Bible to them. Not all of it was palatable or easy but the ministry of God’s gospel requires complete integrity and honesty – there will be many temptations to leave the word of God, to, as I have sometimes heard, ‘move on’ from a simple biblical faith to see what is black and white actually as rather more complicated and nuanced…”

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