Global South Releases Response to Same-Sex Blessings in Church of England

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA)

Press Release

For Immediate release 24 January 2023

CHURCH OF ENGLAND ‘BLESSING’ GAY UNIONS WOULD VIOLATE BIBLICAL TEACHING & JEOPARDISE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY’S CONTINUING ROLE IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION

IF the General Synod of the Church of England affirms the House of Bishops’ recommendations to ‘Bless’ Same Sex Marriage, or Civil Partnerships, the Church of England will be in violation of the “clear and canonical teaching of the Bible”, and it will lead to “impaired communion with many provinces of the Anglican Communion”.

The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as a “moral leader, and a figure of unity within the Communion” will also be “severely jeopardised”. So says the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) which covers around 75% of Anglicans across the globe, ahead of the Synod’s London meetings, February 6-9.

The House of Bishops’ Response to the six-year Living in Love and Faith ‘listening’ process says lawyers have advised them that the official Doctrine of Marriage would remain, despite the Church, from now on “joyfully welcoming and recognising permanent, stable same sex relationships” through services and prayers of blessing.

The Most Reverend Justin Badi, Primate of South Sudan, and Chairman of the GSFA responded, saying: “What the English bishops are recommending constitutes unfaithfulness to the God who has spoken through His written word. Their Response belies the loss of confidence by the bishops in the authority and clarity of the Bible as we have received it. They are re-writing God’s law for His creation; laws that are re-affirmed by Christ in the Gospel accounts.”

Last summer, at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, the GSFA sounded a global call to re-affirm ‘Lambeth 1.10’ (the Anglican Communion’s official teaching that the only place for sexual intimacy is marriage between one man and one woman for life, and specifically rules out blessing of same sex relationships). Archbishop Badi says the bishops’ proposals are “in clear contravention of Lambeth 1.10” , and “will lead to consequences for the Communion if the General Synod affirms. We therefore call on Synod to reject the bishops’ proposals on blessing same sex unions.”

Archbishop Badi said the GSFA “laments the bishops’ collective failure to keep their ordination/consecration vows to defend biblical truth by their life and doctrine, and are dangerously accommodating the culture of the day”. He said their 53-page Response: “turns out to be a farcical compromise, with many contradictions, and no theological case made for blessing same sex unions.” The GSFA says that the proposed pastoral resource of Prayers of Love and Faith for blessing and affirming gay couples, contradicts Holy Scripture taken as a whole, and in particular, the bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual ethics.

Theology apart, the GSFA also says the attitude towards the Anglican Communion shown by the House of Bishops in their Response once again demonstrates a problematic relationship between the Mother Province and the world-wide Anglican church.

Archbishop Badi said: “Anglican ecclesiology requires that provinces don’t act independently of each other. Even more so for the CofE in its special historical and ecclesiastical role in the Anglican Communion. Assent by General Synod would show disregard for the wider Communion (the majority of whom hold to orthodox teaching on Marriage & sexuality), and will increase the pressure for the Communion to fragment. Several GSFA provinces are already in ‘impaired communion’ with revisionist provinces like The Episcopal Church (USA), the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales. If Synod votes to back the bishops’ recommendations, then it is foreseeable that several Global South provinces will also be in impaired Communion with the Church of England.”

However, the primate says this does not mean GSFA provinces will leave the Communion. He added: “It would only double their desire to reset and revitalise the Communion along biblical lines, and in keeping with its formative theology, ecclesiology and ethos. The Anglican Church has always seen itself as an expression of God’s ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.’

“GSFA provinces are committed to our calling to be ‘a holy remnant’ within the Communion, marked by its loyalty to God and the plain teaching of holy scripture – whatever the cultural winds of the day. But a Synod vote in favour of the bishops’ proposals would be a major step in revisionism and sadly, alienate the Mother Church from large swathes of the Communion. It will inevitably lead to a re-configuration, and a re-structuring of the Communion as we currently know it.”

Archbishop Badi says it would also remove the Archbishop of Canterbury’s moral right to be an Instrument of Unity for the Communion. He said: “Archbishop Welby cannot compartmentalise his role as Primate of England from his role as ‘first among equals (head of the world-wide Communion)’. He says he will not personally use the ‘prayers of blessing’, but his “extremely joyfully celebratory” welcome of the blessing prayers, and his leadership of the House of Bishops in proposing this Response, means that he is actually advocating false teaching from a biblical point of view.”

The GSFA says if any Communion province was considering changing its Doctrine of Marriage, and/or its Pastoral Guidelines, then this should first be discussed and decided by the Primates’ Meeting. That is, if a global Anglican Church as a ‘communion of churches’ is to be maintained, rather than “a loose network, or federation of autonomous national or regional Churches,” he explained.

To orthodox clergy and laity in the Church of England, Archbishop Badi was keen to send a clear message of encouragement and support. He said: “The GSFA is committed to care for those who abide by the ‘faith once delivered’, and who want to be true to the Communion, and its foundational roots, while responding to a changing world. In a word, we seek to continue to ‘shepherd’ those who want to be faithful to the covenant-keeping God revealed in Christ and the Scriptures. This includes Orthodox Anglicans in England, bishops, clergy and laity. We will do this as best as possible in a non-schismatic way.

“We will also be especially mindful to care for, and encourage those who are same sex attracted, but whose love of the Lord, and His teaching, mean they abstain from same sex unions. Our mission of ‘truth and grace’ in a broken world will also include welcoming and relating to those in some form of same sex relationship. We will welcome them as persons into our church communities, relate to them as they present themselves, and seek to introduce them to the transforming love of Christ that heals our brokenness, and helps all of us sinners to be continually transformed more and more into His likeness.”

Finally, the GSFA leader says he believes that particularly over the last decade, the debate on marriage and sexuality has distracted, if not diverted, the life in many parts of the Communion, and certainly the Church of England, from the main task of the Church: proclaiming Christ and making disciples of all who live in the nation, including those who increasingly, in a confused and morally ambivalent society, struggle with issues of identity. He concluded: “The mission Christ entrusted to His Church must cause us to take the Gospel out to those who have yet to know and respond to the good news of Jesus Christ, and to live out the kingdom in a holistic way. We will, in the grace of God, both defend and propagate this death-defeating, life-transforming Gospel.”

The GSFA has recently invited orthodox provinces across the Communion to formally sign up as full Covenant Members of the Fellowship. It is also in the process of offering Associate Membership to Anglican Churches and organisations within revisionist provinces who are seeking to be a ‘holy remnant’, and who may require support from the global body of Anglicans, including alternative episcopal oversight at some point.

• For more information about the GSFA, and membership, visit www.thegsfa.org

ENDS

(This copy with thanks to The American Anglican Council.)

Woe to the English Bishops – with Lee Gatiss and Ben Kwashi

From The Pastor’s Heart – a “Must watch”:

“The Bishops of the Church of England have announced that same sex relationships will be able to be blessed in Church of England churches.

In a massive turnaround, the English bishops are saying that what God says is sin, is blessed.

The prophet Isaiah says,

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. – Isaiah 5:20

Despite the u-turn, in a fudge, the Bishops claim that by not authorising same sex weddings in church, there is no change in doctrine.

We talk with General Secretary of the Gafcon Movement, Ben Kwashi and Director of the Church Society UK, Lee Gatiss.

Watch or listen here.

This present darkness and the crisis of contemporary Anglicanism: Thesis 1

“The world of the 21st century is dominated by principalities and powers opposed to God and the biblical faith.

In much of the non-Western world, enmity and persecution has come from militant religions and totalitarian regimes.

In the West, postmodern ideologues have sought to overturn the biblical worldview of God as the Creator and Lord of life and death and of sexuality and marriage as His blessing for mankind and the sign of His love for the Church. In this quest, they have enjoyed apparent success (but cf. Psalm 2).

Many Anglican churches and their leaders in North America and the UK have succumbed to this false ideology and are promoting its agenda. …”

Dr Stephen Noll publishes the first of fourteen theses toward reviving, reforming and reordering the Anglican Communion.

Photo: GAFCON.

Are We Really A Communion?

“Over the decades, and on many occasions, we Anglicans gave thanks to God for the ‘gift of the Anglican Communion’. Yes, we saw the Communion as ‘a gift’ because we enjoyed being a family of churches. A global family of Anglican churches of diverse nations, living in different countries, speaking a variety of languages and yet we are in full communion with each other.

I am deeply saddened to say that the Anglican Communion we have loved, though it has kept its name, yet has lost its heart; which is the interdependence. Provinces taking unilateral decisions without consideration ‘how it might harm the mission of other Provinces’, or how it might cause divisions, or disruption of fraternal relations with other provinces.

None of us forget the appeal made by the Anglican Primates during their meeting in 2003 in regard to the consecration of Gene Robinson in The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) [5]:

“If his consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy. …. This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level and may lead to further division ….”

When TEC ignored that appeal and went ahead with its unilateral decision to consecrate the practicing gay Gene Robinson as bishop, our mission here in Egypt within the Islamic world was badly affected in the following way …”

The Global South Fellowship Of Anglican Churches has released this message from the Archbishop Emeritus Dr Mouneer Anis.

When Mother loses her mind

“Over the last two weeks, several bishops in the Church of England have publicly endorsed the Bishop of Oxford’s booklet, Together in Love and Faith, which he sets out his thinking about same-sex relationships. He proposes that the Church of England should provide public services for the blessing of same-sex civil partnerships and marriages but allow a conscience clause for those who dissent. Barbara Gauthier has done a superb job chronicling all of the statements and rebuttals by Vaughan Roberts, and others.

As one of the senior Bishops in the Church of England, Steven Croft (the Bishop of Oxford) has proposed nothing less than a sea-change in the teaching of the Church of England.  It will divide the Church of England and further harden the divisions within the Anglican Communion. …”

– At The American Anglican Council, Canon Phil Ashey asks, “When Mother loses her mind, what can we do?

Anglican Church Comes to Crossroads Over Teaching on Homosexuality — Will It Compromise in the Name of Unity?

In his The Briefing for Thursday 27 October 2022, Albert Mohler comments on what’s happening in the Anglican world. He responds to an article originating from New Zealand –

“…this takes us back to an article that also ran in the Times just a matter of a few weeks ago, and the headline tells you a lot about how the mainstream media messaged this kind of story.

The headline in the article by Pete McKenzie is this, ‘Anglican Church Delivers A Kick In The Guts To Gay Parishioners.’

… Pete McKenzie in this article, which was date-lined from Wellington in New Zealand basically is unabashed in arguing that it’s the conservative Anglicans who are holding the church back, and they are doing great harm.”

– Listen or read at AlbertMohler.com.

Calls for Archbishop Welby to repent – with Foley Beach, James Wong and Andy Lines

From The Pastor’s Heart:

Claims today that the global leader of the Anglican Church is out of step with God.

The Primates of the Global Anglican Fellowship (GAFCON), meeting in Kigali Rwanda, have said that Archbishop Justin Welby has,

‘Departed from the authentic exercise of his office by normalising and praising those who have departed from biblical teaching and practice…and giving equal place to practices contrary to biblical norms, as Anglicans have received them.  We urge him to repent.’

And the Archbishop of Canterbury’s explanations are described as disingenuous if not duplicitous.

The Gafcon Primates statement comes on top of the statement from the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, which if anything, is even stronger.

The Global South Fellowship says,

‘Archbishop Welby’s first position is lamentable; his second is repugnant to our understanding of the authority and clarity of Holy Scripture. The notion of ‘pluriform’ truth is contrary to the Anglican Ordinal which binds duly consecrated bishops to be responsible for the guarding, teaching and imparting of divine truth in Holy Scripture.’

Archbishop Welby’s actions, which have provoked the criticisms, are his appointment of a new Dean of Canterbury (the lead minister of Canterbury Cathedral in the UK) of a man in a civil same sex partnership.

The Global South statement says,

‘It feels as if the present Archbishop of Canterbury has shut the door of the [Canterbury] Cathedral to orthodox bishops, clergy and members of the [Anglican] Communion.’ 

We are speaking today with:

Watch or listen here. A very sobering situation.

‘Church of England spokesman’ responds to ‘inaccurate’ statements from GSFA and GAFCON

The Anglican Communion News Service has published an article purportedly correcting “inaccurate” statements from the Steering Committee of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches and the GAFCON Primates Council about the appointment of the new Dean of Canterbury Cathedral.

The unnamed spokesman claims the statements misunderstand –

• the nature of civil partnerships into which “some gay and lesbian English clergy have entered”, and

• the claim that the Archbishop of Canterbury has no “authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion” – even though the Archbishop chose to invite to the Lambeth Conference bishops in same-sex marriages.

Read the full article here.

Related:

Communiqué from the Steering Committee of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches – 17 October 2022.

Excerpt:

“We are deeply saddened, but not totally surprised. The present ABC’s action is part of the direction he had set in the recently concluded Lambeth Conference. There, he indicated that he is not willing for the office of ABC to be used to discipline member provinces in keeping to the Church’s teaching. He also indicated that he felt that the Communion should allow for ‘a plurality of views’ on what the Holy Scriptures teach [1]. Archbishop Welby’s first position is lamentable; his second is repugnant to our understanding of the authority and clarity of Holy Scripture. The notion of ‘pluriform’ truth is contrary to the Anglican Ordinal which binds duly consecrated bishops to be responsible for the guarding, teaching and imparting of divine truth in Holy Scripture.

It saddens us that in this recent appointment of the Deanery of Canterbury, the ABC shows yet again, that his oft-expressed assurance that Lambeth 1.10 remains ‘the official teaching of the Church’ is merely lip-service [2]. If it is the official teaching of the Church, then it ought to be followed through in the ‘faith & order’ of all Provinces. The appointment of a person in same-sex civil partnership to a senior clerical position clearly contravenes the spirit of Lambeth 1.10, which not only rejects ‘homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’, but goes on to declare that the Lambeth Conference of 1998 ‘cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions.’

The GSFA Churches are committed to upholding Lambeth 1.10 in its entirety. This means that while we hold fully to the moral teaching of Scripture expressed in 1.10 , we also commit ourselves to “assure homosexual persons that they are loved by God and … that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation , are full members of the Body of Christ.” We heed the words of Jesus to all sinners: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:15).

It is in our Christian faith to love a person for who he or she is, regardless of the person’s sexual orientation. But this love for the person is always in the context of honouring and obeying God’s revealed Word. The first cannot be at the expense of the second. Indeed, to love a person is to help usher the person, by our word and deeds, into the life-transforming power of the Gospel as revealed in Holy scripture. That, as GSFA understands it, is the unchanging mission of the Church.

So, we take exception to the Church of England’s accommodation of a person in a same-sex union being appointed to an office of spiritual authority over the flock of God’s people.

Looking back, perhaps the rot in upholding biblical doctrine on this matter had set in with the consecration of an openly homosexual bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003 in TEC. The rot has since spread through the woodwork of the Communion, and this recent appointment is foreboding because the rot is now blatantly visible in the Communion’s ‘mother church’ under the guise of love, tolerance and human rights.

As GSFA Churches, we believe in the mutual accountability of Anglican provinces to one another, and that we are duty-bound to God to admonish (‘warn with tears’) one another not to compromise ‘the faith once delivered’ (Jude 3) . We shall therefore be writing a personal letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops in the Church of England on the seriousness of this action.…”

Communiqué from the GAFCON Primates Council – 20 October 2022.

Excerpt:

“The original GAFCON in Jerusalem in 2008 was born out of the tragic cost that has come from Provinces that have departed from clear biblical teaching and established historic Anglican Formularies that were unquestioned until recent years. Those departures continue and are even spreading. We were deeply grieved by the recent appointment of a man who lives in a same-sex civil partnership as Dean of Canterbury Cathedral. It is a heartbreaking provocation that such a departure from biblical standards would be thrust upon the Communion in the historic See of Canterbury and in opposition to the established teaching and practice of the majority of Anglicans.

The announcement from the Archbishop of Canterbury distanced himself from this appointment, as it was the recommendation of a Selection Panel, requiring the Queen’s approval. Yet it is difficult to see how a Diocesan Bishop, let alone the Archbishop of Canterbury, could not influence the appointment of the Dean of his own Cathedral, especially given the published process for the Appointment of Deans. Moreover, filling this position was the responsibility of Mr Stephen Knott, the Archbishop’s Secretary for Appointments, who is himself in a same-sex marriage. It is disingenuous, if not duplicitous, for the Archbishop to claim that the Church of England has not changed its doctrine of marriage …”

Mark 7:1-23 – ESV.

Image: Anglican Communion News Service web banner.

GAFCON Primates Council Communiqué: Welby’s Language “Disingenuous, if not Duplicitous”

From David Ould:

The GAFCON Primates Council have issued a communiqué with very strong language challenging Welby’s statement over the appointment of the new Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, a man living in a same-sex relationship. They write,

The announcement from the Archbishop of Canterbury distanced himself from this appointment, as it was the recommendation of a Selection Panel, requiring the Queen’s approval. Yet it is difficult to see how a Diocesan Bishop, let alone the Archbishop of Canterbury, could not influence the appointment of the Dean of his own Cathedral, especially given the published process for the Appointment of Deans.

Moreover, filling this position was the responsibility of Mr Stephen Knott, the Archbishop’s Secretary for Appointments, who is himself in a same-sex marriage. It is disingenuous, if not duplicitous, for the Archbishop to claim that the Church of England has not changed its doctrine of marriage, when he has engaged an Appointments Secretary, whose own union is a living contradiction of marriage as God has ordained it, and which the Church of England claims to uphold. …

Read the full communiqué.

Learning from Elsewhere — voices from around the Anglican Communion

The Church of England Evangelical Council asked Anglicans around the world share what happened when Scripture’s teaching on sexuality was compromised.

See the latest film (Film 5) and the previously-released resources here.

Post-Truth Post-Lambeth

“In August 2022, Archbishop Justin Welby told the assembled bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference that,

‘I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion. I will not do so. I may comment in public on occasions, but that is all.’

I was astonished by this. Because it is simply not true. …”

Church Society Director Dr Lee Gatiss spoke at their AGM on 31st August 2022.

Watch or read at the link.

GAFCON Chairman reminds Justin Welby why the Diocese of the Southern Cross is needed

After the creation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross last month, Archbishop Foley Beach wrote to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to clarify what was happening.

His letter has now been published by the Anglican Church in North America (PDF file):

“Your Grace,

Greetings in the Name of Christ Jesus our Lord!

I assume that you have heard by now of the creation of the Gafcon extra-provincial diocese in Australia called the Diocese of the Southern Cross, and Archbishop Glenn Davies’ appointment as the bishop. I am writing to remind you that this action is not done because of rebellion or defiance, but out of a genuine pastoral concern and care for the clergy and congregations whose consciences will not allow them to go along with the unbiblical and immoral practices allowed and encouraged by bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia. As Archbishop Rowan Williams encouraged a structure in North America so “we can keep these fellow Anglicans in the fold,” we will continue to offer safe harbor for those in Provinces whose leaders walk away from the moral teaching of the New Testament, the Church Fathers, and our Anglican heritage.

Some may unfairly slander us as schismatics, but you know that in reality it is those who depart from the established teaching of the Church who are causing the division (Epistle of Jude 18, 19). I implore you to call us all to repentance and to return to the Apostles’ Teaching of the Bible.

In Christ Jesus,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Chair, Gafcon Primates Council.”

The Myth of the Via Media, and other Canterbury Tales

“Sometimes it is called fudge … And I say, hey, I like fudge, it’s a lot better than killing each other.”

So said Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, on the topic of Anglican identity, in an interview during the recent Lambeth Conference a fortnight ago. Personally, I too like fudge. Perhaps as much as Archbishop Cottrell. However, I am not as convinced that ‘fudge’ is a desirable description of authentic Anglicanism.

And I trust, most of you will agree with me that ‘fudge’ is not what we wish Australasian Anglicanism to taste like; that Anglican ‘fudge’ does not supply sufficient sustenance for us Australasian Anglicans, as we seek to proclaim the glories of Christ to the nations, and as we seek to strengthen the spiritual lives of the men, women, and children within our parishes. Milk it may very well contain, but something more meaty is needed to sustain Anglican identity.

The Australian Church Record has published the text of Dr Mark Earngey’s seminar at the GAFCON Australia Conference in Canberra last week.

He says, “I want to take you through two major misunderstandings: that of the so-called Anglican via media and that of the so-called Anglican three-legged-stool.”

It will repay careful reading!

Mark is Head of Church History at Moore College.

Anglican Unscripted 753 — Archbishop Foley Beach Interview

At Anglican Unscripted Kevin Kallsen speaks with GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Foley Beach.

They speak about Lambeth, the Anglican Communion and hopes for the future, including the relationship between GAFCON and the Global South.

(The Pastor’s Heart comes in for honourable mention!)

Orthodox Bishops reaffirm Biblical teaching at ‘partial’ Lambeth

“The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches has reaffirmed a landmark agreement on marriage and sexuality, calling for a ‘resetting’ of the Anglican Communion back to its biblical roots.

The statement came at the end of a meeting in Lambeth called by the English Archbishop Justin Welby. The Archbishop of Canterbury has traditionally called a meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world every 10 years.

However, the last full meeting of bishops was in 1998, when the Lambeth Conference passed what is known as Resolution 1.10. …”

Russell Powell provides a handy summary of Lambeth 22, at SydneyAnglicans.net

Photo: Archbishops Tito Zavala and Justin Badi at the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, 5th August 2022. Canterbury. Photo by J. Trickey, GSFA.

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