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4th November 2016
Peter Jensen

[...] If an Anglican church in the North were to divide, the result is traumatising and horrible. But, if an Anglican church in a Global South country were to divide, the results could be catastrophic not just for the church but for the nation and especially the poor. And what helps the churches to retain their identity and unity is – or was – the Anglican Communion.

I say ‘was’, because, as we are well aware, for parts of the church of the global north, schism has been the result of a serious drift from orthodoxy. The choice has been made to capitulate to the world and embrace its teaching despite the hurt it has done to the communion of the churches.  And that hurt goes both ways as the old churches of the north decline, they will need more and more the churches of the south with their vitality and enthusiasm.

2nd November 2016
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

My dear people of God,

This month, two ancient cities have hosted meetings which both tell us much about the future of our beloved Communion. With my brother GAFCON Primates, I was present in Cairo for the Sixth Anglican Global South conference at which twenty Provinces of the Anglican Communion were represented. At the same time, a group of Anglican Primates were with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome to celebrate fifty years of ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

In Cairo, I preached about the peace which Jesus Christ alone can bring.

16th October 2016

Ahead of the Church of England's House of Bishops meeting next month, nearly a hundred evangelical leaders from a variety of backgrounds, churches and organisations have sent an open letter to every English bishop warning that 'any further changes to practice or doctrine' over same-sex relationships 'will trigger a process of division and fragmentation among faithful Anglicans'. This initiative is led by the Evangelical Group on General Synod ('EGGS').

The letter follows here:

The Church of England is at a crossroads in her calling to bring hope and transformation to our nation. The presenting issue is that of human sexuality, in particular whether or not the Church is able to affirm sexual relationships beyond opposite sex marriage. But the tectonic issues beneath, and driving, this specific question include what it means to be faithful to our apostolic inheritance, the Church’s relationship with wider culture, and the nature of the biblical call to holiness in the 21st Century.

As culture and attitudes continue to change, the Church faces a range of new social realities. These include the rise in cohabitation and the wide scale acceptance of divorce with its negative impact on children, the explosion of diverse types of family relationships, the emergence of gender fluidity and bisexuality, and the recognition of same-sex unions. These far-reaching social changes raise questions and – in some quarters – undermine confidence in our inherited teaching.

The Church has not always navigated these social realities well. We recognise the damage caused by judgmental attitudes. We have sometimes failed to recognise acts of great kindness and humanity. We have elevated some sins above others. We have ignored the plank in our own eye. There is much work ahead, not least in ensuring that our communities offer sacrificial hospitality and service to all, regardless of background, family structure or sexuality.

At the same time, we remain convinced of the essential goodness of the Christian moral vision. The Bible is clear that God has given the marriage of one man with one woman as the only context in which physical expression is to be given to our sexuality. We believe that we flourish, whether single or married, as our lives are brought into harmony with God’s intended design.

Any change in the Church’s teaching or practice - such as the introduction of provisions that celebrate or bless sexual relationships outside of a marriage between one man and one woman – would represent a significant departure from our apostolic inheritance and the authority of the Bible in matters of faith and doctrine. It would also, inevitably, be a further step on a trajectory towards the full acceptance of same-sex sexual partnerships as equivalent to male-female marriage.

There are substantive issues at stake here about the Christian understanding of what it means to be human. We do not believe that God has left us alone in the confusion and uncertainty of constructing our own identity. The gift of male and female sexual differentiation, and its unique and fundamental mutuality, is part of God’s good creation and a mirror to His own nature, and the boundaries it brings are for our flourishing and preservation.

We do not believe therefore that it is within our gift to consider human sexual relationships and what constitutes and enables our flourishing as sexual beings to be of ‘secondary importance’. What is at stake goes far beyond the immediate pastoral challenges of human bisexual and same-sex sexual behaviour: it is a choice between alternative and radically different visions of what it means to be human, to honour God in our bodies, and to order our lives in line with God’s holy will.

At this crucial juncture, as our bishops pray and discern together regarding how the Church of England should walk forward at this time, we urge them not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted.

Any further changes to practice or doctrine in these important areas will set the Church on a path of fundamental disunity. It would cause a break not only with the majority of the Anglican Communion, but with the consistent mind of the worldwide Church down many centuries. It will trigger a process of division and fragmentation among faithful Anglicans in England. Responses would vary, but the consequences for the life and mission of the Church will be far-reaching, both nationally and globally. 

We ask our bishops to commit to a renewed vision of a welcoming Church in which all hear the good news of the Gospel, all are invited to repent and receive the grace of God, and all are called as followers of Jesus to live out the Christian moral vision– in lives of self-sacrifice and mutual care – for the common good.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Those signing below do so in a purely personal capacity. They are evangelical leaders from a variety of backgrounds, churches and organisations and indicative of the breadth and depth of support for this letter. Some could be labelled as LGBTI but are living in conformity with the historic teachings of the church.

Revd Canon Dr Peter Ackroyd, Vicar, St Marys Wootton, Chair St Albans Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.

Revd Sam Allberry, Trustee and co-founder of Living Out, apologist for the Zacharias Trust, editor for The Gospel Coalition.

Revd Steve Allen, Chair of CPAS Patronage Trustees.

Mrs Lorna Ashworth, member of Archbishops' Council.

Revd Dr Andrew Atherstone, Wycliffe Hall and General Synod.

Revd Simon Austen, Rector, St. Leonard’s Exeter.

Revd David Banting, Vicar, St Peter’s Harold Wood, Trustee of Reform, and General Synod.

Revd Mark Burkill, Chair of Reform and Chair Latimer Trust.

Revd Nathan Buttery, Associate Vicar, St Andrew the Great, Cambridge.

Revd Tim Chapman, Minister, Christ Church South Cambs, Sawston.

Revd Charlie Cleverly, Rector, St Aldates, Oxford.

Revd John Coles, Missional Community Leader, London.

Canon Andrew Cornes, Sussex Gospel Partnership and General Synod.

Revd Alyson Davie, Chair of the House of Clergy for Rochester Diocese.

Revd C J Davis, Rector, St Nicholas, Tooting.

Revd Joe Dent, Rector, Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth.

Revd Dr Sean Doherty, St Mellitus College, member of the Living Out team and General Synod.

Revd Will Donaldson, Director of Pastoral Care at St Aldates, Oxford and Area Dean of Oxford.

Revd James Dudley-Smith, Rector and Rural Dean of Yeovil, Member of General Synod.

Revd John Dunnett, Chair of Evangelical Group General Synod (EGGS).

Revd Jonny Elvin, Vicar, Trinity Church, Exeter and Chair of Exeter Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.

Revd Anthony Everett, Chair of Canterbury Diocese Evangelical Network, Vicar, Christ Church and St Andrew's Herne Bay.

Revd Lee Gatiss, Director, Church Society.

Dr Philip Giddings, former Chair, General Synod House of Laity and member of Archbishops' Council.

Revd Dr Andrew Goddard, Fulcrum leadership team.

Revd Lis Goddard, Vicar St James the Less, Pimlico and Chair of Awesome.

Revd Chris Green, Vicar, St James, Muswell Hill.

Revd Tim Grew, Acting Lead Pastor, Trinity Cheltenham.

Revd Paul Harcourt, Vicar, All Saints Woodford Wells.

Prof Glynn Harrison, formerly General Synod and Crown Nominations Commission.

Revd Canon Clive Hawkins, Rector, St Mary’s Basingstoke, formerly General Synod.

Revd Dr David Hilborn, Principal, St John's School of Mission, Nottingham

Mr Stephen Hofmeyr, QC, Secretary Church England Evangelical Council.

Revd David Holloway, Vicar, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, Chair of Anglican International Development.

Mr Carl Hughes, General Synod and EGGS Committee.

Revd Dr Emma Ineson, Trinity College, Bristol and General Synod

Revd Steve James, Rector, Holy Trinity, Platt, Manchester.

Revd Henry Kendal, Vicar, St Barnabas, Woodside Park.

Revd Paul Langham, Vicar, Christ Church Clifton, Bristol and General Synod.

Mrs Susie Leafe, Director, Reform.

Mr James Lee, House of Laity, General Synod and EGGS Committee.

Revd Canon Andy Lines, Mission Director of Crosslinks, General Secretary of AMiE, Chairman of GAFCON UK Task Force.

Revd Chris Lowe, Mission Initiative Leader, St John's Orchard Park, Cambridge.

Revd Angus MacLeay, Rector, St Nicholas, Sevenoaks, Reform Trustee, General Synod.

Revd Preb Charles Marnham, Vicar, St Michael’s, Chester Square, London.

Revd Rachel Marszalek, General Secretary of Fulcrum.

Revd John McGinley, Vicar, Holy Trinity, Leicester.

Revd Jane Morris, Vicar St Gabriel's, Cricklewood.

Revd Barry Morrison, Chair of Peterborough DEF.

Revd Justin Mote, Chair of AMiE exec, and Chair of North West Gospel Partnership.

Revd Rob Munro, Chair Fellowship of Word and Spirit, Chair of House of Clergy for Chester Diocese.

Revd Dr Mike Ovey, Principal, Oak Hill College, London

Revd James Paice, Vicar, St Luke’s Wimbledon Park and Trustee of GAFCON and Trustee of Southwark Good Stewards Trust.

Revd Alasdair Paine, Vicar, St Andrew the Great Church, Cambridge.

Revd Hugh Palmer, Rector All Souls Langham Place, Chair of Church of England Evangelical Council.

Revd Canon Ian Parkinson, Leadership Specialist, CPAS.

Miss Jane Patterson, General Synod and Crown Nominations Commission.

Revd Dr Ian Paul, member of Archbishops' Council.

Revd Paul Perkin, Vicar, St Mark’s Battersea Rise.

Revd Canon Andrew Perry, Vicar, St Mary's Longfleet, Poole.

Revd David Phillips, Vicar, St James, Chorley, Chair of Blackburn Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.

Revd Simon Ponsonby, Pastor of Theology, St Aldates, Oxford.

Revd Matthew Porter, Vicar, St Michael le Belfrey, York.

Revd Frank Price, Vicar, St Matthew’s Cambridge and Chair of Ely Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.

Revd Esther Prior, Chair, Guildford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.

Revd Jonathan Pryke, Jesmond Parish Church.

Revd Martin Reakes-Williams, Leipzig English Church.

Revd Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's, Oxford.

Revd David Rowe, Priest in Charge, Christ Church, Winchester.

Revd Canon Roger Salisbury, Secretary of the Peache Trustees.

Revd John Samways, Trustee Church Patronage Trust.

Revd Dr. Peter Sanlon, Vicar, St. Mark's, Tunbridge Wells.

Mr Ed Shaw, Trustee of Living Out, Pastor, Emmanuel City Centre, Bristol & General Synod.

Revd Charlie Skrine, Associate Rector, St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London and EGGS Committee.

Revd Tim Stilwell, Vicar, St Dionis, Parsons Green, London.

Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Convenor Anglican Mainstream, and former member General Synod.

Revd Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream.

Revd Canon Martyn Taylor, Rector, Rector, St George’s, Stamford and General Synod.

Revd William Taylor, Rector, St Helens, Bishopsgate and Chairman of ReNew.

Canon Professor Anthony C. Thiselton, FBA, former member of Crown Nominations Commission and Doctrine Commission.

Revd Rico Tice, All Souls Church & Christianity Explored Ministries.

Revd Melvin Tinker, Vicar, St John, Newland, Hull.

Revd Andrew Towner, Vicar Houghton & Kingmoor, Carlisle and Trustee, Diocesan Board of Finance.

Revd Gary Tubbs, Chair of Carlisle Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.

Revd Jon Tuckwell, Associate Minister, Christ Church, Cambridge.

The Revd Dr Simon Vibert, Vice Principal Wycliffe Hall & Director of the School of Preaching.

Mr Jacob Vince, General Synod

Revd Robin Weekes, Vicar, Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.

Revd Paul Williams, Vicar, Christ Church Fullwood and honorary Canon Sheffield Cathedral.

 

8th October 2016
Global South Anglican Online

[Contains a clear reiteration of biblical doctrine on the mission of the Church in the world and sexual ethics, and strong warnings to the Church of England and other Western expressions of Anglicanism. New Steering Committee elected which contains Primates from both ‘Global South’ and ‘GAFCON’ groupings, demonstrating convergence of both movements, speaking with one voice and committed to working together to shape orthodox global Anglicanism now and for the future. ]

7th October 2016
Peter Jensen

There is only one Church of Jesus Christ, his Body and his Bride. In the upper room before his death he prayed that the Father would glorify him (John 17:1-5), that the Father would sanctify his Apostles in the Truth (John 17:6-19) and that his Church may be one, so that the world may believe (John 17:20-26).

All three requests were answered through his death, his resurrection, his ascension and in the gift of the Holy Spirit. The prayer sees the foundation of a church one, holy, catholic and apostolic. In particular it is one.

That is why the Apostle Paul can say in these glorious words, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

1st October 2016
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

As I write, GAFCON is about to launch a project which I believe will be very significant for the future of the Anglican Communion. Under the leadership of Director Dr Samson Mwaluda, the recently retired Bishop of Taita Taveta in Kenya, the GAFCON Bishops Training Institute begins its first conference in Nairobi on 29th September for some twenty recently consecrated bishops drawn from GAFCON affiliated provinces....Ungodly bishops have caused grievous tears in the fabric of the Communion, but godly bishops are being raised up to enable a reformed and renewed Anglican future with Bible at its heart. The GAFCON Bishops Training Institute serves this vision by equipping newly consecrated bishops to be courageous and discerning guardians of the faith.

1st October 2016
Madeleine Davies

"The world is our parish", Hull curate says, as AMiE agenda is set out. [Article from Church Times].

18th September 2016
GAFCON UK

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales met in Lampeter 14th -15th September, 2016. Following the press coverage of the Archbishop's address [See ‘Wales Online’ report on Archbishop Morgan’s address to Governing Body here] the executive committee of EFCW responds as follows:

We want to wish the Archbishop well in his retirement.  We note the Archbishop's final presidential address at Governing Body, and still struggle to understand how his approach to scripture is not just licence to disregard its authority.  We believe that the inclusivity of Jesus, to which the Archbishop referred, was one not only of loving everyone, but also of calling everyone to a degree of repentance which would result in following him exclusively as Lord. We note Jesus gave an invitation to everyone, but warned repeatedly and frequently of consequences for those who rejected him. We are therefore delighted that one of the closing discussions at Governing Body got people talking about the need to engage in mission and evangelism. We hope and pray that these are the issues that occupy the time and energy of the Church in Wales in the years to come.

[EFAC commends this blog post by theologian Rollin Grams: Issues Facing Missions Today: 59 Exercises in Simple Logic: A Response to the Archbishop of Wales’ Defense of Same-Sex Relationships ]

 

16th Sept 2016

 

 

18th September 2016
GAFCON UK

GAFCON UK is puzzled as to why the Church of England needs a 'Bishops' Reflection Group' on homosexuality.  Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is clear, and the Bible is universally clear.  We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are same-sex attracted, and faithfully living according to God's revealed plan for human flourishing.  As pastors, teachers, friends, and neighbours we can have no other response.  The Church of England needs to have the courage of its foundational convictions, return to them, and move on to its mission of calling the nation to turn to Christ as the only Saviour and Lord.

18 September 2016

[See original Statement from the Church of England following the September meeting of the College of Bishops, here].

13th September 2016

 

We note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a statement offering condolences on the death of David Jenkins, former Bishop of Durham. The Archbishop’s tribute makes no mention of the issue for which Dr Jenkins was best known, namely his public denial of miracles in the New Testament, including the Virgin Birth and the Physical Resurrection of Christ in the mid 1980’s.

In one sense, God used this churchman’s revisionist theology for good. The national media correctly identified the anomaly of a senior Bishop publicly questioning core doctrines of the church. This created a debate in the nation about the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and enabled many Christians to use the issue as a way of discussing the Gospel with friends and neighbours. The controversy also ensured that other Bishops who may have held similar views have largely kept quiet on this issue since.

But on the other hand, it is deplorable when church leaders use their position to teach, as the Ordinal puts it, “erroneous and strange doctrines”, and promote a version of Christian faith which denies the clear witness of Scripture. This creates serious division, and fatally undermines the mission of the Church. Tragically, some Bishops today are guilty of the same error as Dr Jenkins, for example in publicly questioning or denying biblical teaching on sex and marriage.

While we would want to offer our condolences to Dr Jenkins’ family and wish them well as they remember the Bishop’s good qualities, we would prefer to offer tributes to two other Anglican leaders who have recently died. J. Alec Motyer was a theologian and educator who influenced many with his faithful expositions of Scripture; Bishop John Ball was motivated by love for Jesus in his work as a missionary in East Africa and in his leadership of Crosslinks. We give thanks for their adherence to God's word, and their fruitful ministries.

3rd September 2016

A collection of reports and responses.

31st August 2016

My dear people of God,

I have just returned from a very encouraging visit to the United States where I met with my brother Archbishop Foley Beach and I rejoice to see how the Anglican Church in North America is growing strong and standing firm.

29th August 2016

A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.

11th August 2016

Members of the General Synod have written an open letter to the College and House of Bishops, urging them ‘not to consider any proposals that fly in the face of the historic understanding of the church’ on human sexuality.

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