FCA Australia commends Abp Davies and Bp Condie for their involvement in the consecration of Andy Lines

An open letter to the members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans – Australia:

Grace and peace to you in the name of our dear Saviour Jesus.

I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of FCA-Aus following the recent consecration of Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop to Europe, which took place in Wheaton Illinois, USA on Friday 30 June 2017.

FCA-Aus Chairman, Dr Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania participated in the consecration, along with Board member, Dr Glenn Davies, Archbishop of Sydney and Bishop Gary Nelson of the Diocese of North West Australia. The consecration took place under the auspices of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America at the request of the GAFCON Primates, and the Australian bishops joined more than 50 other bishops including 11 Primates (presiding bishops within Anglican Provinces).

The Board of FCA-Aus warmly and unanimously commends and supports the participation of the Australian bishops in the consecration of Bishop Andy Lines.

At the second Global Anglican Future Conference in Nairobi in 2013, the GAFCON Primates declared their intention to assist Anglicans whose dioceses or provinces departed from the teaching of Christ and his apostles, as set forth in Scripture, in relation to faith or ethics, including human sexuality and marriage.

In April of this year, the GAFCON Primates met in Lagos, Nigeria and announced that in light of appeals from former members of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), they would consecrate a new missionary bishop to provide episcopal leadership for those outside the structures of any Anglican Province, especially in Europe.

On 8 June 2017, the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to change the definition of marriage to include couples of the same sex. Tragically, they join The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada as the third of the Anglican Communion’s 38 Provinces to depart from the doctrine of Christ in this way. This is a clear departure from the teaching of Scripture and from the historic Anglican understanding of human sexuality and marriage, reaffirmed by Lambeth Resolution 1.10. Please pray for their repentance. The doctrine of marriage cannot be considered a subject on which faithful Christians can ‘agree to disagree’. The Apostle Paul includes same sex practice, along with heterosexual sexual immorality, theft, greed, drunkenness and slander as imperilling the eternal destiny of people. We fail to honour and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, and we fail to love same-sex attracted people when we content ourselves that this issue, upon which Scripture speaks so clearly is a matter of indifference. It is, on the contrary, a matter of salvation, and the Kingdom of God.

The Board of FCA-Aus gives thanks to God for the provision of an experienced, godly and gospel-minded undershepherd, in the person of Bishop Andy Lines to provide encouragement and oversight to former members of the Scottish Episcopal Church, as well as churches that have been planted in England outside the structures of the Church of England, under the auspices of Anglican Mission in England. Allegations have been made that this step involves ‘cross border interventions’. This is misconceived. Bishop Lines’ ministry is to those who can no longer remain within Anglican Communion structures because of their own dioceses or provinces abandoning historic Anglican commitments to the rule of Christ through the Scriptures. Nevertheless, the seriousness of the issues involved may, in other circumstances, require even the extreme measure of ‘cross border’ responses. Do pray that such circumstances do not arise, and that rather, Anglicans will gladly welcome God’s good word about ourselves and our sexuality, marriage and family.

Following the consecration of Bishop Lines, the Australian Primate, Dr Philip Freier released a letter expressing concern over the participation of Archbishop Davies and Bishop Condie, both of whom informed him of their intentions and wrote to all Australian bishops to explain their reasons for attending. Links to all three letters are below.

The Primate’s letter is disappointing. First, he does not express any concern about the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church to abandon the teaching of Christ and his apostles with regard to marriage. This is deeply disturbing, and an omission that the Board of FCA-Aus finds inexplicable.

Second, the Primate says, “The consecration in the ACNA is not on any view an act in communion with the Anglican Communion and its member churches” (emphasis added). Presumably, the Primate means to say that the ACNA has not been recognised structurally by the instruments of the Anglican Communion. Sadly, this is true, though much to be regretted. However, the consecration of Andy Lines involved 11 Anglican Primates representing the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide. It is hard to see how this fails to be communion ‘on any view’. On the contrary, it might well be said that the consecration expressed the purest and most natural form of communion – the diverse people of God gathered by the gospel under the Lordship of Christ expressed through his Word and bound by his Spirit.

Third, the Primate suggests that the participation of the Australian bishops in the consecration is a matter subject to the National Constitution. On the contrary, the bishops were not obliged to seek the approval of the Primate, or any instrument of the General Synod, nor were they bound by his advice. They did seek and obtain the endorsement of their respective Diocesan councils.

As the Primate says, ‘communion’ is a gift. It is a gift of the gospel. The Lord Jesus reconciles people to one another, as they are reconciled to God the Father through his blood shed on the cross. In this way, there comes into existence a ‘unity in the Spirit’ which the parties did nothing to create, but which they are bound to express. The participation of the Australian bishops in the consecration of Andy Lines was precisely an expression of such fellowship. By sad contrast, the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church has again ‘torn the fabric’ of the Anglican Communion, by abandoning the gospel rule of Christ that alone unites his people.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON) exists to see the gospel prosper across the globe, and to provide fellowship to Anglicans who remain faithful to the doctrine of Christ in the face of heterodoxy at a diocesan or provincial level. The participation of Archbishop Davies, and Bishops Condie and Nelson in the consecration of Andy Lines as missionary bishop to Europe is entirely consistent with the goals of FCA-Aus, and we warmly commend Bishop Lines to your prayers.

Pray too for our own Anglican church in Australia. Pray that Australian Anglicans will unite in guarding the good deposit that has been handed down to us, so that such desperate measures will not be required amongst us. Pray that our nation may be blessed, and the honour of the Lord Jesus Christ may be advanced through the building of his church by the prayerful proclamation of his glorious gospel.

Yours sincerely

Kanishka Raffel
Dean of Sydney
on behalf of the Board, FCA-Australia
12 July 2017

Neither Archbishop Davies nor Bishop Condie contributed to the composition of this letter.

Letter from Bishop Condie
http://acl.asn.au/pdf/Bp_Richard_Condie_on_GAFCON_Consecration.pdf

Letter from Archbishop Davies

Archbishop Glenn Davies writes in support of Andy Lines’ consecration

Letter from Archbishop Freier

Letter to Australia’s bishops

Rob Smith responds to the Primate’s letter
http://www.australianchurchrecord.net/a-tale-of-two-communions

Can we agree to disagree?
http://churchsociety.org/docs/blog/crossway_140_Davie.pdf

Loose Canons
http://churchsociety.org/blog/entry/topical_tuesday_loose_canons_andy_lines_and_the_canons_of_nicaea/

GAFCON supporters briefing #1

Over the past year I have had the privilege of visiting Anglicans around the world and hearing how the Lord is growing his kingdom. With many of you I have also had the opportunity to talk face to face about the GAFCON movement. As you have become a supporter, I will send you three briefings to explain why GAFCON exists, the need for GAFCON and the future of GAFCON. This is the first.

The Birth of GAFCON

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) was held in June 2008. Over eleven hundred Anglican Bishops, clergy and laity met for a week in Jerusalem. Many of the Bishops chose to attend this assembly rather than the official, once in a decade Lambeth Conference, which was held a few weeks later in Canterbury, England.

Clearly there was a crisis.

In 1998, the Lambeth Conference made clear that the world-wide Anglican Communion would stay true to the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality. But, in 2003, the American Anglicans (called The Episcopal Church, TEC), consecrated as a bishop the Rev Gene Robinson. In consecrating Bishop Robinson, who was a man living in a relationship with another man, TEC was clearly in defiance of the Lambeth 1998 Conference. Likewise, some in the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) began to provide for the blessing of same-sex unions.

There were many protests both in North America and around the world. The Primates (chief Bishops) of the Anglican Communion held several meetings to seek to resolve the issue. Individual members of TEC and ACC, and in fact whole churches and Dioceses, began to leave the denomination. They could no longer stay in fellowship with those who endorsed same-sex unions. They feared that to stay would be to betray the gospel, disobey the Bible and endanger souls.

Could those who departed still call themselves Anglicans? Some of the major Anglican overseas Provinces began to incorporate these courageous people into their fellowship and even appointed bishops to care for them. The answer from these Provinces was an emphatic ‘Yes, you still belong to us.’

When the Archbishop of Canterbury invited all the bishops to Lambeth (except Bishop Robinson), a division occurred. Many of the Bishops could not in conscience join with those who had disobeyed the Bible on such a fundamental issue. That is why GAFCON met in Jerusalem. The conference included many of those who had left TEC and ACC in protest.

GAFCON was an amazing experience of the Lord’s grace. Anglicans of many cultures and traditions joined as one. From the conference came the magnificent Jerusalem Statement (JS) which includes the Jerusalem Declaration (JD).

What began as a moment became a movement.

GAFCON encouraged the North American orthodox to unite. From this has come the 100 000 member Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).

In the years since 2008, GAFCON has been led by a group of Primates who between them represent the majority of the world’s Anglicans. A second, larger Conference was held in Nairobi in 2013, which lead to a call to expand the movement. A third conference is planned for 2018.

There are about 80 million Anglicans world-wide, in 38 Provinces, some of which are very small and others very big indeed. This crisis affects many lives. But it is not only Anglicans who are challenged. Many of the major churches in the West are going through the same experience. In my next letter I will explain why this is so, and why we need to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Please pray for the leaders of our movement, the Primates and in particular the Chairman of GAFCON Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, and our Deputy Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of Nigeria. Pray for God’s blessing on their leadership and that the Lord will give them protection, wisdom and strength.

Yours in Christ,
Peter Jensen

Video of Archbishop Orombi of Uganda reading the Jerusalem Statement at GAFCON 2008