“They are really growing!” — Good news from Kenya

Posted on July 19, 2024 
Filed under Africa, Sydney Diocese

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid shares this encouragement from Norm Gorrie in Marsabit, Kenya –

“This is Joseph, our first MTS apprentice in the Department of Mission (with the Anglican Church of Kenya), powerfully teaching 2 Ways to Live to around 600 students. …”

Read and watch here.

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney Statement regarding decisions of the Church of England General Synod 2024

Posted on July 18, 2024 
Filed under Church of England, Sydney Diocese

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has published this Statement on behalf of the Diocese of Sydney:

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney
Statement regarding decisions of the Church of England General Synod 2024

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

Jesus prays for his church that they would be made holy by the truth of God’s word. Anglicans affirm the ‘ultimate rule and standard of faith’ (ACA Constitution, Fundamental Declarations s2)) of the teaching of Jesus Christ and the word of God revealed in scripture. The decision of the Church of England Synod to approve the use of prayers of blessing for same-sex marriages and to begin moves to allow clergy to enter into same-sex marriages, is a grievous abrogation of its responsibility to uphold the primacy of scripture in the life and ministry of the church. To reject God’s plan for human sexuality is a failure to love people experiencing same-sex attraction and who, like all humanity, are made in his image and designed for his purpose.

This decision is contrary to scripture and to Anglican expressions of the teaching of scripture in our formularies, including the Book of Common Prayer, and Lambeth resolution I.10, clearly affirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as the standard of Anglican doctrine as recently as the Lambeth Conference in 2022.

I’m very grateful for the gracious and courageous way in which many English brothers and sisters in Christ have taken a stand in their General Synod for biblical authority and the trustworthiness of Jesus’ teaching on human identity and sexuality.

We express our support for the coalition known as The Alliance which has, in love and integrity, been a clarion voice for truth. The Alliance is a broad grouping of faithful Anglicans from across the spectrum of the church who have in common, fidelity to the scriptures in matters of faith and life, a deep love for the Church of England and commitment to its mission to the nation. Importantly, the Alliance includes Anglicans who experience same-sex attraction and who gladly and courageously affirm the teaching of Jesus concerning marriage and sexuality. We honour them all.

I’m humbled and encouraged by the stance of The Alliance and offer them the hand of fellowship and the assurance of our prayers and support as they contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

I’m grateful too for those whose conscience has not allowed them to remain in the Church of England but who remain committed to Anglican doctrine and mission as members of the Anglican Network in Europe under Bishop Andy Lines and assure them too of our friendship and fellowship in the mission of the gospel in which we are fellow workers.

We note statements from global Anglican fellowships representing the majority of Anglicans worldwide, such as the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, GAFCON and GAFCON Australia. We rejoice in our common hope, the Lord Jesus Christ, and remain committed to the faithful proclamation of his gospel in love and truth.

…the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. Col 1:5,6 (NIV)

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel
17 July 2024.

Source: SydneyAnglicans.net. (PDF file)

More background here.

New UK Government sparks fear among marriage supporters

Posted on July 18, 2024 
Filed under Culture wars

“Sir Keir Starmer has been in office less than two weeks and the evident shift in support for LGBT ideology amongst senior Government figures is already sparking concern from real marriage supporters and more widely.

The last Government’s crackdown on rainbow lanyards in the civil service has already been dropped, according to inews.co.uk. Whitehall diversity and objectivity guidance is also being reviewed.

Now, a group of church leaders representing more than 1,300 churches has written to the Prime Minister warning that Labour’s proposed conversion therapy laws could criminalise them as they put into practice their teaching on marriage. …”

Anglican Mainstream has re-posted this message from the Coalition for Marriage.

Hate Speech – Vilification Laws and Threats to Religious Speech

Posted on July 17, 2024 
Filed under Australia, Resources

Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia

“I have presented a paper today surveying Australia laws on ‘hate speech’ and ‘vilification’, as they have an impact on religious free speech. The paper can be downloaded here…”

Here’s the link.

Gafcon Stands with the Alliance

Posted on July 17, 2024 
Filed under Church of England, GAFCON

Here’s a press release from the Chairman of Gafcon, 16 July 2024:

With faithful Anglicans around the globe, including Gafcon and GSFA Provinces, we grieve that our Mother Church, the Church of England, has abandoned her children who wish to uphold the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ on marriage and his apostle’s clear denunciation of all forms of sexual immorality.

The recent decision of the General Synod to approve the use of prayers of blessing for same-sex couples is to bless what God does not bless, and is nothing less than prayers which sanctify sin.

In answer to a question asked at General Synod (Q52), which requested assurance that such prayers were not a departure from the doctrine of the Church, the Bishop of Leicester replied that they did ‘not involve any departure from doctrine in “any essential matter”.’ Yet the apostle Paul indicates quite clearly that those who engage in sexual immorality, including homosexual acts, will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3-5), for on accounts of such behaviour, the wrath of God is coming (Colossians 3:5-7; Revelation 22:15). How can any bishop, let alone the majority of the House of Bishops claim that sexual immorality is not an ‘essential matter’ of doctrine when it affects one’s salvation?

Like the Pharisees of old, they incur the same judgment of Jesus that they are blind guides, who will be uprooted, for they refuse to believe that sexual immorality defiles a person (Matthew 15:10-20).

Gafcon provinces stand with the members of the Alliance who desire a third province in the Church of England, and who recently commissioned overseers to provide pastoral care for those who are in impaired communion with their bishops. We endorse these developments. While we recognise the legal complexities of the Church of England, we support the creation of a third province for those who wish to remain in the Established Church. While we have already made provision for the Anglican Network in Europe, which includes three biblically orthodox dioceses operating in England and Europe, Gafcon supports all faithful Anglicans, whether they choose to stay and provide a witness to the truth in their home church, or whether they wish to leave for the sake of conscience. Wherever faithful Anglicans find themselves, Gafcon is ready to support, encourage and defend them—they are not alone.

The Most Revd. Dr. Laurent Mbanda
Chairman of the Gafcon Primates Council
Archbishop & Primate of Rwanda (EAR)
Bishop of Gasabo.

– Also published at the Gafcon website.

Discover Serving in the Bathurst Diocese — on Zoom, Monday 22nd July

Posted on July 17, 2024 
Filed under Australian dioceses

This is coming up on Monday – from the Diocese of Bathurst:

“Are you interested in ministry opportunities and pathways outside of the city? Are you curious about what it actually looks like to minister out west? Are you keen to hear about what it is like to SHARE JESUS for LIFE in the Bathurst Diocese?

Come and join current workers and their spouses online as they answer these and other questions. This session is for anyone who is interested or curious!”

– on Monday 22nd July on Zoom. Details at this link.

Very much related:

On Sunday, Bishop Mark Calder wrote:

“Warm, welcoming, keen to grow and learn. Without a pastor for nearly three years. Who will come?

Great to be at St Ambrose Memorial Anglican Church Gilgandra this morning – meeting with the Uniting Church across the road as our building needs some work.”

– On the Bathurst Diocese Facebook page.

What I wish I knew before becoming a senior minister

Posted on July 17, 2024 
Filed under Resources

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“What would Dave Keun and Jon Kwan like to tell their younger selves if they could travel back in time before they took on the position of senior minister?

How has their sense of ownership changed?

What has been most difficult about the transition to the role? What mistakes have they made?

Dave Keun has been senior minister of Kellyville Anglican Church in Sydney’s North West since March  2022.

Jon Kwan has been lead pastor of St David’s Forestville (on Sydney’s Northern Beaches) since May 2022.”

Watch or listen here.

Options for faithful Christians in the C of E

Posted on July 16, 2024 
Filed under Church of England

Anglican Futures has made available a downloadable PDF file, with accompanying discussion, to help faithful Christians in the Church of England think about their options:

“The Alliance described last Monday’s vote to endorse standalone services of blessing for same-sex couples as ‘a decisive moment’; the Church of England’s Evangelical Council chose to call it ‘a milestone’.

It is a day the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) knew could come.

In 2017, having discussed the issues at their Council meeting, CEEC published Guarding the Good Deposit – setting out very clearly the reasons why visible differentiation would be needed in the event of such a service being introduced and the different options structural options that might be possible. It is still well worth reading.

It is a day that Anglican Futures said would come.

In October 2021, this blog predicted that the bishops would bring proposals for same-sex blessings to General Synod in February 2023 – and that they would do it without a two-thirds vote of Synod. It was a call to pray and prepare.

The CEEC have worked hard to rally the troops, first to stop and then to find a ‘settlement’ in this theological quandry. In recent months they have been joined by others, forming ‘The Alliance’’ whose recent letter has caused so much uproar.

Many, including Dr Martin Davie, have worked hard to set out the biblical teaching and doctrinal basis for the orthodox position. Rev Dr Andrew Goddard and Rev Ian Paul (see here) have worked tirelessly to set our the twists and turns of the synodical process and to challenge the bishops lack of transparency.

But now this day has come, it is not surprising that many are asking – ‘What now?’…”

Read (and download) here.

Jonathan Edwards and the Spiritual benefits of Church Music

Posted on July 16, 2024 
Filed under Resources

“Christianity has always been a singing faith and music plays a big role in the life of the church. But church music is also controversial. Some people leave a church because of music, while others join a church because of music. Some churches split because of music, and others make a lot of money from their music.

Jonathan Edwards, a pastor-theologian from 300 years ago, can help us step away from the politics of church music for a bit to consider the theology of church music. …”

– Ricky F. Njoto writes at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Related:

Music for the Church: Mark Dever Interviews Keith Getty – at 9Marks.

On Repetitive Worship Songs – John Piper at Desiring God.

God’s Sovereignty, Moral Evil, and the Attempted Assassination of Former President Trump: The Theological, Historical, and Political Issues

Posted on July 15, 2024 
Filed under People, Theology

Albert Mohler has recorded a special (mid-Summer-holiday) edition of his The Briefing broadcast after the attempted assassination of Donald Trump.

He speaks about God’s Sovereignty, moral evil, Providence, and related topics – and reminds us that nothing happens by accident.

It’s also a reminder to pray for the USA in the election season.

Related:

God, make me a man like Corey Comperatore – Peter Heck writes at NotTheBee.

(Corey Comperatore is the crowd member who died using his body to shield his family from the incoming bullets.)

And a tribute from his daughter  – “He was a man of God, loved Jesus fiercely, and also looked after our church and our members as family.”

A Call to Prayer from the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America

Posted on July 14, 2024 
Filed under ACNA, World news

From Archbishop Steve Wood [after the assassination attempt on former President Trump]:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the midst of this time of uncertainty, social tensions, and violence, please join Jacqui and me as we pray for peace in the United States tonight:

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP, pg 654).

Source.

And 1 Timothy 2:1-4:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – ESV.

Synod: what happened and why does it matter? — Benjamin John

Posted on July 13, 2024 
Filed under Church of England, Culture wars

Christian Concern’s Communications Officer Benjamin John breaks down what happened at Synod this week in the debate about clergy entering into same-sex civil marriages…

“On Monday 8 July, the General Synod of the Church of England voted to proceed with blessings for same-sex couples and to explore allowing clergy to enter same-sex civil marriages and engage in homosexual sexual activity.

Significantly, the motion passed will allow standalone services of blessing for same sex ‘marriages’. These will look and feel exactly like weddings even though they will not be weddings in law.

The motion passed also in practice asks the Faith and Order Commission – which advises on theology and doctrine – if there is a way for clergy to be allowed to enter into same sex civil ‘marriages’ and be allowed to have homosexual intercourse. Currently, clergy are allowed to enter into same-sex civil partnerships, on the basis that they abstain from homosexual ‘sex’. This ‘discipline’ now looks set to be relaxed in 2025.

This motion in support of all these changes only narrowly passed in the final vote:

For Against Abstain
Bishops 22 12 5
Clergy 99 88 2
Laity 95 91 2

 

Read his full report at Christian Concern.

Image: Ben John at the Church of England’s General Synod in February 2023.

CEEC commissions first set of overseers

Posted on July 13, 2024 
Filed under Church of England, Culture wars

On Thursday night, the Church of England Evangelical Council commissioned its first set of overseers, in a service at All Souls Langham Place in London:

“The introduction of the Ephesian Fund and Alternative Spiritual Oversight (ASO), followed the General Synod decision in November 2023 to approve the bishops’ proposals to change the position and practice of the Church of England with regards to sexual ethics and marriage, by blessing same sex couples as part of normal services.

At a subsequent Synod meeting earlier this week, standalone services of blessing for same sex couples received General Synod support and a timetable to work towards clergy same sex marriages was endorsed. As a result of these decisions, many clergy and PCCs have lost confidence in those bishops supporting change.

At the service, the first 20 overseers were commissioned (with more to be commissioned in due course).

The overseers comprise a group of Honorary Assistant Bishops, alongside other clergy from across the evangelical constituency (spanning charismatics and conservatives, egalitarians and complementarians). They will provide informal oversight to clergy and PCCs who feel a loss of confidence in the spiritual leadership of their bishop(s).

This informal and temporary oversight, facilitated by CEEC, does not in any way undermine or replace the legal and safeguarding responsibilities of clergy and PCCs to their bishops and/or diocese. …”

Read the full report, with names of those commissioned, from CEEC.

To note:

“The CEEC stressed that the liturgy is neither a service of ordination nor consecration. …

Together, they were commissioned by the congregation, on behalf of CEEC, to provide spiritual care and counsel to those who are now bereft of the oversight that should properly be offered by their bishop.”

Call from the Presbyterian Moderator General to “Walk for Life”

Posted on July 13, 2024 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars, Other denominations

“David Burke, the moderator general for the Presbyterian Church of Australia, has called on all people of Christian faith to defend the rights of the unborn by participating in ‘Walk for Life’.

Rev. Dr. Burke argued that there is a parallel with the abuse relating to domestic violence, vulnerable people such as children and people with disabilities as well as child abuse in all its forms. Burke said:

‘To my mind, one of the great unmentioned forms of child abuse is the fact that there is a capacity in Australia to kill a child still in its mother’s womb – a living human being with all its actuality and potential made in the image of God.’”

– See the video message from David Burke at AP, the Presbyterian Church’s national journal.

The Walk for Life to which he is referring is planned for September 21st 2024, 2:00pm – 4:00pm Hyde Park, Sydney. Tickets here.

From the ticketing website:

“Love Sydney exists to stand for truth and intercede for the preborn through gathering together with others who are in agreement with our mission.

As we walk, may our countenance and attitude of our faith be evident with all interactions with each other. We welcome everyone who wishes to stand for life with us in this respectful way, regardless of their faith, ethnicity, age or gender.

We ask that you not engage with anyone that is expressing their opposition to our peaceful Walk for Life event. Our trained marshals, professional security and police are all here to keep our event safe. Anyone making nuisance noise will be asked to leave.

Please remember no megaphones or signs. Our official signs will be available for you to carry while at this event. Please obey the marshals, security team and police on the walk.

Our role is simple – to stand in the gap and be a voice for the voiceless, as we cover Sydney in prayer and love.”

Church Society Podcast — Post-Synod discussion

Posted on July 12, 2024 
Filed under Church of England, Culture wars

From Church Society:

“Lee Gatiss talks to Chris Moore and Ros Clarke about their experiences of the recent meeting of General Synod, what was agreed and some of the further implications of that.”

Listen here.

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