Church of England General Synod votes to ‘welcome’ and ‘affirm’ transgender people

Posted on July 10, 2017 
Filed under Church of England

A motion passed at the Church of England’s General Synod, meeting in York:

“That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”

— from the Church of England website.

“Church of England bishops ‘delaying same-sex equality’ move”

Posted on July 9, 2017 
Filed under Church of England, Culture wars


“Church of England bishops have been accused of kicking the issue of same-sex equality into the long grass by offloading the topic to a series of working groups that will not report until 2020 at the earliest.

The archbishops of Canterbury and York, the two most senior figures in the church, have established two main groups and four subgroups to advise on pastoral issues and produce a new teaching document on human sexuality. …”

– Report from The Guardian.

A clear biblical focus is not apparent in much of the discussion. Watch Saturday morning’s proceedings from York at this link.

Also from the C of E General Synod: General Synod backs ban on conversion therapy.

Blessed be the egoistic individuals

Posted on July 8, 2017 
Filed under Culture wars, Opinion

“In the litany of words about the census the core issue has been avoided — the almost certain link between the generational decline in the Christian faith as guide to the common good and the collapsing relationship between the people and the political system.

The reality is staring us in the face. Yet it cannot be spoken, cannot be entertained, cannot be discussed because there is no greater heresy and no more offensive ­notion than that the loss of Christian faith might have a downside. …”

– In today’s edition of The Weekend Australian, Editor-at-Large Paul Kelly has a thoughtful piece on what has happened, and is happening, to western culture. (Paywalled or in the print edition.)

Kevin DeYoung, The Necessary Doctrine of Sin — Preaching Matters

Posted on July 7, 2017 
Filed under Resources, Theology

“Why is the preaching of the doctrine of sin so central to the mission of the church?

Is the lack of sin-preaching in churches a new problem? Where might this emphasis begin to slip in our ministry? What can we do to keep sin front and centre in our preaching?”

In the latest Preaching Matters from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, Kevin DeYoung addresses the doctrine of sin in our preaching and teaching.

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

Posted on July 7, 2017 
Filed under Church of England, GAFCON

“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.

Why the Reformation still matters

Posted on July 7, 2017 
Filed under History, Theology

Coming up this month: Graham Cole (former member of the Moore College faculty, now Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago) is giving a public lecture at Moore College on Wednesday 19th July,  7:00pm – 9:00pm.

His topic: The legacy of the Reformation through the eyes of J.C. Ryle.

Key recent posts — 6 July 2017

Posted on July 6, 2017 
Filed under Anglican Communion, Australian dioceses, GAFCON

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.”

Recent news from Moore College

Posted on July 6, 2017 
Filed under News, Sydney Diocese

Here are a few recent news stories from Moore College. They are a good reminder to pray for all serving and studying at the College, with the Winter break now on (24 June – 16 July).

John Chapman Preaching Conference 23 September.

In September, Dr Bryan Chapell, Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois USA, will present at our next one-day John Chapman Preaching Conference considering the topic Application in Expository Preaching. (Early bird price ends tomorrow!)

David Helm’s visit to Moore helps provide clearer thinking about Bible exposition.

The College was privileged to hear David Helm, author of Expositional Preaching, One-to-One Bible Reading and The Big Picture Story Bible, preaching on Revelation 14 in late May.

Moore Renewed.

Moore’s registration as a Self-accrediting Higher Education Provider was recently renewed for another 7 years. This outcome is a testimony to an enormous amount of effort by the College’s Registrar Rhonda Barry, in particular.

Recent Two Ways Ministries Conference at Moore at bursting point.

Moore College was pleased to host a conference in its new building with Phillip Jensen and Al Stewart presenting the talks. The Annual Two Ways Ministries’ Queen’s Birthday Conference was on the subject of work.

Remarkable opportunity for MA students to join the dots on recent Reformation tour.

Moore held an MA (Theol) Reformation Study Tour unit, in which Moore students joined a tour group that travelled from Prague through Germany and Switzerland and finished up in England.

Archbishops criticised for inviting proposer of Scottish gay-marriage motion to York

Posted on July 5, 2017 
Filed under Church of England, Culture wars

“A group of the General Synod’s laity and clergy have been placed in an ‘invidious’ position, they say, by the ‘entirely wrong’ invitation to the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt Revd John Armes, to the Synod’s York meeting this weekend. They argue that it looks like an endorsement of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s change to its canons to allow same-sex marriage in church. …”

– Story from The Church Times.

(Photo of Bishop Armes courtesy The Scottish Episcopal Church.)

Primate admonishes Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie — Anglican Church League statement

Posted on July 5, 2017 
Filed under Announcement, Australian dioceses, GAFCON

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

Posted on July 5, 2017 
Filed under Anglican Communion, GAFCON

“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.

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