Growing Old — Blessing or Curse?

Posted on September 18, 2021 
Filed under Encouragement, Theology

Equal But Different has published three reflections on growing older – by Lesley Ramsay. She writes of the dangers and blessings of growing older:

Growing Old — Blessing or Curse? Part 1.

Growing Old — Blessing or Curse? Part 2.

Growing Old — Blessing or Curse? Part 3.

Gafcon Primates Meeting, Nairobi, Kenya 16th September 2021

Posted on September 17, 2021 
Filed under GAFCON

Here’s a press release following the Gafcon Primates Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, this week:

Nairobi, Kenya – 16 September 2021

Agreement on the essentials of the faith as outlined in the Jerusalem Declaration provides a solid foundation for collaborative outreach to the world to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.

Meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the Gafcon Primates experienced a welcome of lavish hospitality from the Anglican Church of Kenya.

In a hybrid in-person and online meeting, the Gafcon Primates spent two days in prayer, fellowship, discussion and discernment about many challenging issues in today’s world. Discussions included conversations about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on worship, ministry, discipleship and outreach; the challenge of the “other virus” of departures from biblical authority; and the great hope that is seen as the gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed and embraced even in the midst of difficult circumstances and terrible persecution.

Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda said, “Even when our church buildings are closed in the pandemic, the gospel is being proclaimed and embraced. God is being glorified as lives are being changed and enriched by Christ.”

Noting that the Anglican Church of Kenya had consecrated the first woman as a Diocesan Bishop, the Primates passed the following resolution:

The Jerusalem Declaration affirms that the Bible makes a distinction between salvation issues and other secondary issues. In our discussion, the Primates acknowledged that while there is disagreement and ongoing discussion on the issues of the ordination of women as deacons or priests, and the consecration of women as Bishops, we are agreed that these are not salvation issues and are not issues that will disrupt our mission: to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.

Gafcon General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, updated current programs, and introduced a new initiative to establish a Doctor of Ministry program for Bishops that have attended the Gafcon Bishops Training Initiative (BTI). This new doctoral program will be based at the Alexandria School of Theology and will incorporate studies that are faithful to upholding biblical truths and capitalize on the rich heritage of North African Christianity. In addition, a list of Gafcon-accredited theological schools will be published allowing Bishops to readily identify institutions where they can confidently send ordination candidates for theological training.

Faithful Christians in Wales who are heartbroken over their Province’s formal decision to bless same-sex marriages, reached out to the Primates Council following the unanimous decision of the Bench of Bishops in Wales to proceed with blessing same-sex marriages. The Gafcon Primates responded with encouragement and solidarity for the sake of the gospel. Speaking for the entire Council, Chairman Foley Beach said, “To the faithful in Wales, we understand the decision to implement the blessing of same-sex marriages in your Province has been a significant disruption to the faith. It is important to say that you are not alone. As you discern your responses to the situation, you can be sure that we will stand with you in solidarity as you bear witness to the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Remember the words of Joshua: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9) – and we are with you as well.”

In Australia, circumstances have arisen that require the establishment of an extra-provincial Diocese to provide a home and oversight for those congregations who are committed to maintaining the historic, biblical faith, as expressed in the Jerusalem Declaration. The Gafcon Primates remain committed to our core values to maintain and proclaim the faith. That includes establishing Dioceses or even Provinces where needed. We recognize the establishment of such an extra-provincial Diocese as being authentically Anglican.

The Primates noted with concern the rise of severe persecution of Christians, especially in Nigeria, and the tragic circumstances in Afghanistan. Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria said: “Persecution will never stop the gospel, it only fuels revival. To those who are suffering, we want to assure you of our love and support. When they kill you, they think they are doing a good work. Stand strong, the God of Jacob is our refuge. He will never leave you or forsake you. Gafcon is standing with you!”

There was great enthusiasm at the decision to hold our next assembly, GAFCON IV, in Rwanda in May of 2023.

Contact: Archbishop Ben Kwashi, General Secretary
Gafcon.”

– Source: GAFCON.

See also:

A Pastoral Message from Archbishop Beach Regarding Gafcon and Women in the Episcopate – Archbishop Foley Beach.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing to you today from Nairobi, Kenya at the close of the recent Gafcon Primates Meeting. I am thankful for our global fellowship that is providing encouragement for many, from those undergoing persecution in Nigeria to those grappling with theological innovations in Wales. I encourage you to read more from the press release here.

There is one matter coming out of our meeting that is a challenge for a number of us in the Anglican Church in North America, myself included. The Anglican Church of Kenya recently consecrated a female diocesan bishop, and there has been speculation about how this development might affect our fellowship. …”

Jesus, Freedom and Authority in Lockdown

Posted on September 17, 2021 
Filed under COVID19, Resources

ACL Council’s Lionel Windsor is continuing his series on “Jesus, Freedom and Authority in Lockdown” at Forget the Channel.

Part 1. How should Christians in lockdown respond to authorities? 1 Timothy 2:1–7 tells us to pray. But it’s not a bare command—it also tells us why.

Part 2. God is not an alternative or enemy to human governments. Rather, he is the Lord over them. That’s why we are to pray to him.

Part 3. When our physical horizons are narrowed down in lockdown, our gospel vision can also become narrowed to ourselves and our group.

Also published at The Australian Church Record, which already has Part 4 online.

Victorian Government to Discriminate against Faith-Based Schools

Posted on September 16, 2021 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“The past 18 months have proven difficult for all Victorians. During this time 100,000s of Victorians rely on and are grateful for the support, care, and education provided by religious organisations: from schools to counselling services, and more. Churches have continued to minster to people and offer hope where disease and lockdowns have darkened the lives of so many. During this same period, the Victorian Government has moved again and again to reduce the freedoms of religious organisations for the simple reasons: for holding beliefs and practices that align with the historical convictions of their religion. …

By the end of the year, hundreds of schools and organisations will need to decide who they’ll follow.”

– Murray Campbell in Melbourne writes of yet another threat coming from the Government of the State of Victoria.

Keep the Bible Front and Centre

Posted on September 16, 2021 
Filed under Encouragement, Theology

“To state the obvious, we must let the Bible shape what we do as mission leaders.

That means that we need to keep on constantly thinking about the priority that we give to our personal reading of the Bible, to our use of the Bible in our day-to-day ministry and to the way that we apply the Bible as we think through what is happening in the world today.

I’d like to encourage you to do two things …”

– Kevin Murray, National Director of Australian Presbyterian World Mission, writes at Missions Interlink.

Queensland legalises voluntary assisted dying

Posted on September 16, 2021 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“Queensland will become the fifth state to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD) after state Parliament passed a historic bill today.

After more than two days of emotionally charged debate, the bill passed with 61 MPs supporting the legislation and 30 voting against it. …

Meanwhile, the new legislation has been described as “deeply disappointing” by the Chair of Catholic Health Australia, John Watkins.

He said the organisation had made it clear they did not want to allow voluntary assisted dying in faith-based hospitals or aged care facilities in Queensland.”

– Report from ABC News.

Jeff Bezos wants to live forever and I’d like to help him

Posted on September 16, 2021 
Filed under Apologetics & Evangelism

“Jeff Bezos wants to live forever and I’d like to help him.”

– Here’s a short video from Not the Bee (the cousin of The Babylon Bee.)

John Shelby Spong dies at 90

Posted on September 15, 2021 
Filed under People, TEC

“Retired Newark Bishop John Shelby Spong, a bestselling author and cleric known for his progressive theology and his support of LGBTQ+ clergy in The Episcopal Church, has died. He was 90. …

Spong’s more than two decades as bishop coincided with a prolonged period of decline in The Episcopal Church. Conservatives criticized the kind of liberal theology promoted by Spong, who denied Christian doctrines like the virgin birth or the resurrection of Jesus.”

– Report from The Episcopal News Service. (Photo: ENS.)

Find Life that lasts: A national co-ordinated evangelism campaign

Posted on September 14, 2021 
Filed under Apologetics & Evangelism, COVID19, Good News

“How could we build back better after COVID?  Could evangelicals unite together to rebuild the church with a national co-ordinated evangelistic campaign?

COVID has created an unprecedented opportunity for evangelism, but churches and church leaders are feeling fragile and weary.

In Great Britain, churches are getting set for a national campaign leading up to Easter 2022, under the banner ‘Find life that lasts. It’s closer than you think.’…”

– Watch at The Pastor’s Heart.

Call for all Queensland euthanasia amendments to be heard

Posted on September 14, 2021 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“The nation’s most extreme euthanasia legislation has been tabled in Queensland Parliament and the government has declared they will end the debate at 5:45pm on Thursday 16 September – whether or not all amendments have been tabled and discussion has been allowed.

This is essentially a gagging rule. 54 amendments have been tabled. Every one of them should be allowed to be presented and considered. …“

– The Australian Christian Lobby, and a number of Queensland politicians are calling for all proposed amendments to the euthanasia legislation to be debated.

How I came to know Jesus – Kirsten McKinlay

Posted on September 14, 2021 
Filed under Good News, People

“Although I knew a lot of Bible stories, it wasn’t until a specific moment as a teenager that the overarching theme of the Bible, and the centre point of Christianity itself, made sense to me.

Until that moment, I was sure that being a nice and considerate person had earned me God’s favour. …”

– In another encouraging story from the ACR, Kirsten McKinlay shares how she came to Christ.

Archbishop Raffel on Sunrise 13 September 2021

Posted on September 13, 2021 
Filed under COVID19, Opinion, Sydney Diocese

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel was interviewed on Seven’s Sunrise this morning, 13 September 2021.

The interview highlights the desire to minister to all while acting responsibly during the COVID outbreak.

The Jesus people met

Posted on September 12, 2021 
Filed under Resources

“There is no piece of ancient literature that has as much manuscript evidence to support its integrity, as John’s gospel. …

In John 3 and 4 we meet Nicodemus and the unnamed woman of Samaria, they could not be more contrasting. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook shares some insights from the Gospel of John.

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