A valuable moment for clarity has been lost

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has tonight released this Public Statement –

Public Statement on the General Synod discussion on marriage

May 11, 2022

I thank God that the Synod discussion of this sensitive personal matter was conducted with deep mutual respect and care. We are conscious that the discussion takes place in some sense ‘in public’, and that there is a risk of some feeling hurt or left out. We rely on, and rest in the sustaining love and grace of Jesus for all.

The doctrine of our church has not changed. The previous Synod carried two separate motions affirming the teaching of Jesus on marriage. Today, the majority of the House affirmed the teaching of Jesus on the subject of marriage and its expression in historic Anglican rites. That is why I am deeply disappointed that a majority of Bishops voted against making a clear statement. A valuable moment for clarity has been lost.

Source: SydneyAnglicans.net.

‘Fundamentally awry’: bishops block move to reject same-sex marriage

“A statement from the evangelical Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, said ‘many people were visibly shocked. There were tears and confusion in the room … a number of orthodox bishops are concerned about the implications for our common life and work in the days ahead.’

Straight after the vote, a shocked [Archbishop Kanishka] Raffel said the failure to support the statement left the church in ‘a perilous position, and no-one should be mistaken about that’…”

The Sydney Morning Herald’s report by Jordan Baker includes these reactions to the failure of the House of Bishops to uphold clear Biblical standards.

Photo: Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania.

Bishops block marriage statement

From SydneyAnglicans.net:

“3 votes in the House of Bishops prevented General Synod from passing a motion expressing support for marriage according to Scripture.

The motion was in response to an opinion in 2020 by the Appellate Tribunal, a church legal body, that the blessing of same-sex marriages was not inconsistent with the Fundamental Declarations of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia. But it made the point that it was up to General Synod to determine Church practice and to express its view about the blessings of same-sex marriages. …

House of Laity 63 yes 47 no
House of Clergy 70 yes 39 no
House of Bishops 10 yes 12 no.

Archbishop Raffel had earlier described that the re-statement of Christian doctrine on marriage as ‘unremarkable’ and that something would be ‘fundamentally awry’ if it were not supported.

‘Failing to make these affirmations has left us in a perilous position and no one should be mistaken about that,’ the Archbishop said after the vote.

The vote does not mean church doctrine has changed.

The last Synod, in 2017, twice supported statements affirming marriage as between a man and a woman.”

Read it all here.

Related:

The Line in the Sand.

——

Here is the amended text which failed to pass in the House of Bishops –

Pursuant to the authority recognised in s.4 and s.26 of the Constitution to make statements as to the faith, ritual, ceremonial, or discipline of this Church, and in accordance with the procedures set out in Rule V, the General Synod hereby states:

  1. The faith, ritual, ceremonial and discipline of this Church reflect and uphold marriage as it was ordained from the beginning, being the exclusive union of one man and one woman arising from mutual promises of lifelong faithfulness, which is in accordance with the teaching of Christ that, “from the beginning the Creator made them male and female”, and in marriage, “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Matt 19:4–5).
  2. In 2004 (Resolutions 62/04, 63/04) General Synod did “not condone the liturgical blessing of same sex relationships” nor “the ordination of people in committed same sex relationships” recognising that both matters were subject to “ongoing debate in this church and that we all have an obligation to listen to each other with respect”.
  3. In 2017 the Commonwealth Parliament amend the definition of “marriage” in the Marriage Act (1961) to mean “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”, thereby making lawful the marriage of two persons of the same sex and presenting this church with a profoundly altered missional and pastoral context.
  4. The solemnisation of a marriage between a same-sex couple is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church.
  5. Any rite or ceremony that purports to bless a same-sex marriage is not in accordance with the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church.

——–

General Synod Day 2 – A “healing” debate?

“Day 2 of General Synod has drawn to a close and I think it’s fair to say that the consensus is that, all in all, it’s been a good day. …

As we’ve previously reported, Synod is considering a set of ‘statements’” setting out an orthodox position on marriage and sexual activity which also clearly state that we proscribe solemnisation or blessing of a same-sex marriage.

It’s fair to say that there has been some tension and anxiety leading up to this moment. Indeed previous attempts to schedule a General Synod had been designed to avoid such a debate. So it is my pleasure to report that the debate was very well handled by all involved. In large part this is due, by wide acknowledgement, to the excellent work as chair that the Primate Archbishop Geoff Smith is doing. … while we are still divided in our position, the mood was as good as perhaps it could have been with strongly-held views expressed almost universally in helpful and conciliatory manner. …”

David Ould reports on Day 2 of General Synod, with the debate on same-sex marriage taking centre stage. A vote is expected on the amended Statement (by Houses?) late Wednesday morning.

General Synod Day 1 – A Time of Healing?

“General Synod 18 of the Anglican Church of Australia is now well underway with a full day of business already dealt with.

First order of business was the Presidential Address from Primate Archbishop Smith of Adelaide.

The Primate set a gentle encouraging tone as he spoke to the almost 300 delegates.

Smith suggested that the church’s mission was ‘to participate in the healing of all things – the world, its people, the planet itself’. That healing, of course, ought to apply in our own divisions.

So will we be in any way ‘healed’? It’s difficult to see how that might fully happen, particularly since the two positions on the key issue before us are genuinely polarised.

Notices of motion included 2 motions foreshadowed in today’s Australian article, ‘Anglican moderates hit back in same-sex spat’…”

– David Ould shares his reflections on the first full day of General Synod.

Please continue to pray for this gathering.

Related:

The Line in the Sand.

General Synod underway

“The COVID pandemic has had positive and negative effects for the church in Australia, the Archbishop of Adelaide and Primate of Australia, Geoff Smith has told the first day of the General Synod (or parliament) of the Anglican Church of Australia…

The Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead, who is also a member of the General Synod Standing Committee, called for prayer for the meeting.”

– Russell Powell reports at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Prayer encouraged for General Synod 2022

The 18th Session of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia meets on the Gold Coast, Sunday 8th – Friday 13th May. (Progam here.)

The meeting had been planned for June 2020, but COVID concerns meant the meeting date was changed to June 2021 – and then again to this week.

After such a long break between meetings, the membership of the General Synod has changed more than would be usual, and some will not have met each other before this meeting.

We are sure that all members, representing all the dioceses of Australia, would crave your earnest prayers as they discuss issues of considerable importance to our unity in Christ.

‘The Line in the Sand’ Author Interview: Dr Mark Thompson

The following is an interview with The Rev. Canon Dr. Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore Theological College and one of the authors of a newly published book, The Line in the Sand.

This book is a joint initiative of the Australian Church Record and the Anglican Church League. It’s available for download here.

ACL Podcast Author interview.

Listen here:

 

or Download the file (right-click to Save As).

Transcript:   Read more

‘The Line in the Sand’ Author Interview: Bishop Michael Stead

The following is an interview with Bishop of South Sydney Dr. Michael Stead, one of the authors of a newly published book, The Line in the Sand.

This book is a joint initiative of the Australian Church Record and the Anglican Church League. It’s available for download here.

ACL Podcast Author interview.

Listen here:

 

or Download the file (right-click to Save As).

Transcript:  Read more

‘The Line in the Sand’ Author Interview: Archbishop Glenn Davies

The following is an interview with former Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Glenn Davies, one of the authors of a newly published book, The Line in the Sand.

This book is a joint initiative of the Australian Church Record and the Anglican Church League. It’s available for download here.

ACL Podcast Author interview.

Listen here:

 

or Download the file (right-click to Save As).

Transcript:  Read more

‘The Line in the Sand’ Author Interview: Dr Claire Smith

The following is an interview with Dr. Claire Smith, one of the authors of a newly published book, The Line in the Sand.

This book is a joint initiative of the Australian Church Record and the Anglican Church League. It’s available for download here.

ACL Podcast Author interview.

Listen here:

 

or Download the file (right-click to Save As).

Transcript:  Read more

The Line in the Sand: The Appellate Tribunal Opinion and the Future of the Anglican Church in Australia

The Line in the Sand – edited by Robert Tong, Claire Smith and Mike Leite – is jointly published by The Australian Church Record and The Anglican Church League.

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia meets Sunday 8 May to Friday 13 May 2022.

What is “The line in the sand”? How does it affect the future of the Anglican Church of Australia?

“This volume of essays is published in the hope that all Australian Anglicans and especially members of General Synod will be equipped and encouraged to hold fast to the historic Christian teaching about marriage and to hold out the pure gospel of God’s grace in Christ to all people.”

Download your copy of the book at this link. (PDF and ePub formats.)

Take the time to hear (or read) these Author interviews:

•  Dr Claire Smith.

•  Archbishop Dr. Glenn Davies.

•  Bishop Dr Michael Stead.

•  Dr Mark Thompson. 

General Synod and comprehensive Anglicanism

“Some believe that the scriptures are quite clear in their condemnation of same-sex sexual activity and that the Church has no authority to act contrary to the clear teaching of the scriptures. Therefore marriage, in their understanding, must continue to be exclusively between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others, for life.

Others believe that what’s at stake here is an important matter of justice and that LGBTI people should be fully included in the life of the Church and allowed to express their sexuality through life-long, faithful, monogamous relationships just as heterosexual people do. Other parts of the scriptures are cited in support of this view.

In Southern Queensland we have set as a key focus area promoting ‘comprehensive Anglican identity and purpose.’

This approach recognises that there will be different convictions, understandings and priorities among Anglicans. And it is likely that each of these perspectives includes insights into the truth.

This means that in order to comprehend the whole truth we need these various insights and perspectives to be present and engaged. …”

– Archbishop of Brisbane Dr Phillip Aspinall writes about the upcoming General Synod to be held next month on the Gold Coast – and the range of theological convictions on the question of the blessing of same-sex marriages.

How ‘comprehensive’ can Anglicans be? Worth considering:

From Article 20 of The Thirty Nine Articles:

“… it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same…”

Photo: Anglican Focus.

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