‘Caught Up in God’s Epic…’

Posted on July 24, 2021 
Filed under Theology

“Everyone loves a story. Stories grab our attention and draw us in. Some stories don’t satisfy – perhaps because there’s no conclusion, or injustice and evil succeed. Great epics, such as Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings stir our imagination and touch our inner longings for a better world. We don’t want epics like this to end: we become involved with the characters and the plot. But they do end, and we have to come back to earth.

Significantly, in a world that is crying out for identity, there’s a very real interest in the ‘story’ of family forebears, or culture.

The Bible has been described as the greatest story ever told. But it is an epic with a difference – it is set in the context of real events that point to a future. …”

– At The Anglican Connection, John Mason is continuing to share his challenging and encouraging “Word on Wednesday” meditations. He’s currently writing on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.

Advance Australia Where?

Posted on July 23, 2021 
Filed under Australian dioceses, GAFCON

“The creature we know as the Anglican church has a history replete with knotty problems and gritty solutions. And when it comes to the matter of problems, it is something of an understatement to say that the Anglican Church of Australia has a very serious one on its hands at present: the dioceses of Wangaratta and Newcastle have resolved to pursue the practice of blessing of same-sex marriages. This, of course, has pushed them away from a good swathe of the wider national church and further structural estrangement has the potential to rend the (already weakened) fabric of the national fellowship asunder.

Into the breach the recent Appellate Tribunal has come. Through an unusual definition of ‘doctrine’ and some eccentric exegesis the majority opinions imply that the Australian Anglican family can adopt these changes and keep toiling together in the same constitutional territory. Such opinions have stunned the many onlookers who believe precisely the opposite. Indeed, the vast majority of the submissions to the Appellate Tribunal, the Board of Assessors report, and the guidance of the House of Bishops all said in unison, words to the effect of ‘no!’…”

– At The Australian Church Record, Dr Mark Earngey explains that “the GAFCON movement is precisely what is needed for a time such as this”.

His article, republished from the Autumn 2021 ACR Journal, was written before Archbishop Raffel’s election, and before this week’s announcement from GAFCON Australia.

See also:

Dr Robert Tong on the Appellate Tribunal Opinion – 12 November 2020.

Preliminary thoughts on the Appellate Tribunal ruling – Dr Mark Thompson, 11 November 2020.

Bathurst’s “Ministry is for everyone” Conference to be in new format due to COVID

Posted on July 22, 2021 
Filed under Australian dioceses, COVID19

The Diocese of Bathurst’s “Ministry is for everyone” Diocesan Conference has had to be reconfigured due to the COVID-19 restrictions now in force.

In the video above, Bishop Mark Calder explains that they’ll be running all the elements of the conference online, over seven Monday afternoons and evenings, beginning Monday 2nd August.

And do pray for the churches of Bathurst Diocese, pray that this conference now might be a blessing to even more people.

How to create a leadership pipeline — with Craig Hamilton

Posted on July 21, 2021 
Filed under Resources

“Good leaders multiply disciple making ministry. And yet most of us would admit that our churches struggle with leadership development.

Author of ‘Wisdom in Leadership Development’ Craig Hamilton has lots of wisdom about how the average church can develop a leadership pipeline.”

– The latest on The Pastor’s Heart.

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney on ‘Alex Greenwich’s Kill Bill’

Posted on July 20, 2021 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher has released a statement about the assisted suicide legislation being introduced into NSW Parliament by independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich:

“There’s never a good time to introduce laws that sanction the killing of vulnerable human beings such as the terminally ill, elderly, frail and suffering. But to introduce such a bill in the middle of a pandemic and amidst lockdowns adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions seems especially insensitive.

The people of NSW are currently accepting significant restrictions on their personal autonomy in order to protect those most at risk – particularly the elderly. In response to the latest wave of COVID-19, we’ve had a month of lockdown already and more is likely. Many of us have been unable to visit our elderly parents at home, in hospital or in aged care. Our sick and elderly have already suffered 17 months of increasing isolation and right now that is being intensified. Meanwhile, people are losing their jobs, businesses are going under, families are under the pressures of schooling and working from home, people’s movements are severely restricted, and depression rates are up. The last thing we need to hear from our leaders in this situation is a pro-suicide message or any suggestion that the elderly and dying no longer deserve the resources or protections given to the rest of us.

The NSW Government is rightly focused on getting us safely vaccinated and out of lockdown as soon as possible, and leading the process of social and economic recovery.

The NSW Health System is rightly focused on keeping the elderly and sick safe, and ensuring the system can cope with the increasing pressures upon it. Our health professionals do not want a bruising controversy that will further disrupt their already very pressured work environment.

In the face of our present emergency precious parliamentary time and health resources should not be diverted to other causes, and especially not to a bill that would enable a small group of highly autonomous people to make their doctors complicit in their suicide. The state-sanctioned killing of the sick, elderly and frail of New South Wales is the last thing we need right now! I call on the Government to keep us focused on the present challenges and once they have been met, let us focus on medicine at its best and not its most lethal.

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
Archbishop of Sydney.”

Source (PDF).

Related:

NSW assisted suicide bid must fail – Australian Christian Lobby, 15 December 2020.

Assisted suicide opposed – SydneyAnglicans.net, 08 September 2017.

Palliative Care It’s More Than You Think – Palliative Care Australia.

Gafcon Australia moves ahead — plans for new Australian diocese

Posted on July 19, 2021 
Filed under Australian dioceses, GAFCON

Here’s a Media Statement issued after tonight’s GAFCON Australia online gathering:

Media Statement – 19 July 2021
Gafcon Australia moves ahead

Gafcon Australia has outlined its plan to support Anglicans who leave the Anglican Church of Australia over doctrinal revision which overturns the plain teaching of Scripture.

At an online meeting replacing the postponed Gafcon Australasia conference on Monday, the Chair of Gafcon Australia, Bishop Richard Condie, expanded on Gafcon’s Commitment 2020.

“With great sadness and regret, we realise that many faithful Anglican clergy and lay people will no longer be able to remain as members of the ACA if changes allowed by the Appellate Tribunal majority opinion take place in their dioceses”, Bishop Condie said.

“We love these people and don’t want them to be lost to the Anglican fold.” he said, “We want them to be recognised and supported as they love and serve their own communities.”

For this reason, Gafcon pledged in late 2020 to form a new Diocese for Anglicans who will be forced to leave the Anglican Church of Australia.

On Monday he outlined that the new church entity will be formed through a company structure, led by a small Board of Directors.

In the beginning, former ACA churches would be able to join as affiliates of the new entity, through an affiliation agreement.

At a later date these churches will become a Diocese, establishing a Synod to elect a Bishop and Standing Committee.

Once established it is anticipated that the new diocese will be recognised and endorsed by the Gafcon Primates, as they have endorsed the formation of similar dioceses in the USA, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand, where the established Anglican Church in these countries has departed from the teaching of Scripture.

Bishop Condie also told the on-line gathering that the Board had appointed the Revd Michael Kellahan as its first Executive Officer.

Mr Kellahan has recently been the Executive Director of Freedom for Faith, a think-tank on religious freedom in Australia, and will help the Board deliver its commitment to its supporters.

“It grieves the Gafcon movement that these measures are necessary”, Bishop Condie said, “but the support of faithful Anglicans has been the objective of Gafcon Australia since its beginning.

“Gafcon Australia embraces evangelical, catholic and charismatic Anglicans, ordained women and men, and lay people, each of whom uphold the Jerusalem Declaration. We see a great future for orthodox Anglicans as they love ordinary Australians with the gospel.”

The Gafcon Movement began in 2008 at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem where Anglicans met from around the world to work to heal and restore the Anglican Communion in the face of theological revision.

The Jerusalem Declaration made at that conference is a statement of contemporary Anglican Orthodoxy that guides the movement.

The global movement now embraces over 70% of the world’s worshipping Anglicans and seeks to go about proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations. Gafcon has held further Conferences in Nairobi in 2013 and Jerusalem again in 2018.

Gafcon Australia was formed in 2015 in anticipation of the same theological revision occurring in Australia that has occurred in other western Anglican churches. Sadly, the time has come to protect faithful Anglicans from the changes in understanding of the doctrine of the ACA, which are being embraced by various bishops and their synods.

END. (PDF file.)

See also:

Going forward with Gafcon Australia – Russell Powell at SydneyAnglicans.net

Gafcon Australia Announces Plans for Extra-Provincial Diocese – David Ould.

Violence erupts in South Africa. Umthombo Wempilo, GWC, REACH SA ask for your prayers

Posted on July 18, 2021 
Filed under World news

“Anglican Aid received urgent requests for prayer from our Christian project partners in South Africa who have links with the Sydney Diocese.

Their communities are living in tremendous fear as violence escalates across the country and the death toll continues to rise following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma…”

A call to prayer from Anglican Aid.

See also:

“Imagine your local Westfield being stripped” – SydneyAnglicans.net.

A significant apology from the UK

Posted on July 18, 2021 
Filed under Culture wars

“As the ominous tide of cancel culture continues to rise in North America, Europe, and other parts of the world (such as Australia), it is all the more important to point to significant victories on behalf of freedom of speech.

We can now report on one such victory from the U.K., a victory that is not just legal but also morally substantive. Put another way, what was said by way of apology was just as important as the victory won in court. …”

– Michael Brown at Christian Post reports on an apology from Blackpool Council in the UK. (Link via Anglican Mainstream.)

Sunday morning encouragement

Posted on July 18, 2021 
Filed under Encouragement, Good News

With thanks to Rob Smith and St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

J I Packer on the Death of Death

Posted on July 17, 2021 
Filed under Theology

Today marks one year since J. I Packer was called home to be with Christ.

It’s very appropriate that the Gospel Coalition has republished his Introductory Essay for John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

“There is no doubt that Evangelicalism today is in a state of perplexity and unsettlement.

In such matters as the practice of evangelism, the teaching of holiness, the building up of local church life, the pastor’s dealing with souls and the exercise of discipline, there is evidence of widespread dissatisfaction with things as they are and of equally widespread uncertainty as to the road ahead.

This is a complex phenomenon, to which many factors have contributed; but, if we go to the root of the matter, we shall find that these perplexities are all ultimately due to our having lost our grip on the biblical gospel. …”

Read it all here.

Image: Regent College, Vancouver.

Sydney Synod 2021 postponed

Posted on July 15, 2021 
Filed under COVID19, Sydney Diocese

Due to the uncertainties of the current COVID outbreak, Archbishop of Sydney Kanishka Raffel has postponed the forthcoming session of the Synod which was to have to commenced on 6th September.

At this time a new date has not been decided. However elections to boards, councils and committees will continue as planned.

Gafcon Australasia 2021 Conference postposed – but …

Posted on July 14, 2021 
Filed under GAFCON

 

From GAFCON Australia:

“It is with great disappointment that the organising committee has made the decision to postpone the Gafcon Australasia 2021 Conference amidst the escalating national COVID-19 outbreak.

We acknowledge the disappointment and inconvenience that this announcement will cause, however see this decision as the only reasonable course of action at this time.

Although we have postponed the conference, all supporters are invited to a special, online gathering to be held on Monday 19th July at 7:00pm (AEST).

You can register for this event here.”

The Importance of Children’s and Youth Ministry

Posted on July 14, 2021 
Filed under Encouragement, Sydney Diocese

“It is no surprise to ACR readers that Australia is radically and rapidly changing as a nation.

Whether or not it is accurate to describe the initial colonies or federated states as a “Christian” nation, it is abundantly clear that as we enter the third decade of the 21st Century, Australia is increasingly a post–Christian and post–church society.

In 2017 45% of Australians identified as Christian and 25% of Australians were de­scribed as ‘cold’ towards Christianity. Only 15% stated that they attend church monthly or more.

As confessional Anglicans, we are not specifically concerned with Australia being a culturally Christian nation. However, we are passionate about Christ and his Kingdom. We are passionate about making disciples of all nations by evan­gelising the lost and discipling the saints …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Tim Beilharz writes to encourage clarity on Children’s and Youth Ministry.

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