Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bishop Daniel a Friend of Bishop John-David

From the Living Church:

'A Problem of America' at Lambeth

“The problem we are basically facing is a problem of America,” he said. “They want to push their problems on to other nations.”

Bishop Daniel was one of 16 nominated to serve indaba group listeners on July 25. This is the group that will prepare the conference “Reflections” paper.
Issues of human sexuality do not predominate in East Kerala, said Bishop Daniel. His diocese is about 360 miles long, but averages less than 50 miles in width. It was created about 25 years ago by dividing the Indian state of Kerala in half. Western Kerala has a prosperous and growing service-sector economy, including tourism, public administration, banking and finance, transportation, and communications. East Kerala is much less developed with large tropical rain forests and agriculture as the primary source of employment. Unemployment is high in East Kerala, Bishop Daniel said.
East Kerala may not be experiencing the same economic boon as its neighbor, but the diocese is growing. There are now 200 congregations, up from 75 in 1983, Bishop Daniel said.
“There we are clear,” he said. “We respect the Bible. Whatever is against the Bible, there is no need to discuss.”
Although English is not his first language, Bishop Daniel attended San Francisco Theological Seminary from 1987 through 1989. While in the United States, he attended St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Inverness, Calif. Bishop John-David Schofield, now of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, was the rector at that time.
Bishop Daniel attended Bishop Schofield’s consecration as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin the year he graduated from seminary, but he said he has since lost touch with Bishop Schofield. He asked if Bishop Schofield had indeed left The Episcopal Church. When he received an affirmative answer, he looked down and shook his head sadly.
Steve Waring

Monday, July 28, 2008

Five Loaves and Two Fishes

Origen's Commentary on Matthew.
Book IX
2. Exposition of the Details of the Miracle.

Jesus, then, because of the power which He gave to the disciples, even the power of nourishing others, said, Give ye them to eat. But (not denying that they can give loaves, but thinking that there were much too few and not sufficient to feed those who followed Jesus, and not considering that when Jesus takes each loaf—the Word—He extends it as far as He wills, and makes it suffice for all whomsoever He desires to nourish), the disciples say, We have here but five loaves and two fishes.

Perhaps by the five loaves they meant to make a veiled reference to the sensible words of the Scriptures, corresponding in number on this account to the five senses, but by the two fishes either to the word expressed and the word conceived, which are a relish, so to speak, to the sensible things contained in the Scriptures; or, perhaps, to the word which had come to them about the Father and the Son. Wherefore also after His resurrection He ate of a broiled fish, having taken a part from the disciples, and having received that theology about the Father which they were in part able to declare to Him.

Such is the contribution we have been able to give to the exposition of the word about the five loaves and the two fishes; and probably those, who are better able than we to gather together the five loaves and the two fishes among themselves, would be able to give a fuller and better interpretation of their meaning. It must be observed, however, that while in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the disciples say that they have the five loaves and the two fishes, without indicating whether they were wheaten or of barley, John alone says, that the loaves were barley loaves. Wherefore, perhaps, in the Gospel of John the disciples do not acknowledge that the loaves are with them, but say in John, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fishes.”

And so long as these five loaves and two fishes were not carried by the disciples of Jesus, they did not increase or multiply, nor were they able to nourish more; but, when the Saviour took them, and in the first placed looked up to heaven, with the rays of His eyes, as it were, drawing down from it power which was to be mingled with the loaves and the fishes which were about to feed the five thousand; and after this blessed the five loaves and the two fishes, increasing and multiplying them by the word and the blessing; and in the third place dividing and breaking He gave to the disciples that they might set them before the multitudes, then the loaves and the fishes were sufficient, so that all ate and were satisfied, and some portions of the loaves which had been blessed they were unable to eat. For so much remained over to the multitudes, which was not according to the capacity of the multitudes but of the disciples who were able to take up that which remained over of the broken pieces, and to place it in baskets filled with that which remained over, which were in number so many as the tribes of Israel.

Concerning Joseph, then, it is written in the Psalms, “His hands served in the basket,” but about the disciples of Jesus that they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces twelve baskets, twelve baskets, I take it, not half-full but filled. And there are, I think, up to the present time, and will be until the consummation of the age with the disciples of Jesus, who are superior to the multitudes, the twelve baskets, filled with the broken pieces of living bread which the multitudes cannot eat.

Now those who ate of the five loaves which existed before the twelve baskets that remained over, were kindred in nature to the number five; for those who ate had reached the stage of sensible things, since also they were nourished by Him who looked up to heaven and blessed and brake them, and were not boys nor women, but men. For there are, I think, even in sensible foods differences, so that some of them belong to those who “have put away childish things,” and some to those who are still babes and carnal in Christ.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Common Cause Partnership Welcomes Jerusalem Declaration

The Common Cause Partnership leaders issued a statement today welcoming the Jerusalem Declaration and the statement on the Global Anglican Future and pledging to move forward with the work of Anglican unity in North America.

We, as the Bishops and elected leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are deeply grateful for the Jerusalem Declaration. It describes a hopeful, global Anglican future, rooted in scripture and the authentic Anglican way of faith and practice. We joyfully welcome the words of the GAFCON statement that it is now time ‘for the federation currently known as the Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates Council.’

The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates Council.

We accept the call to build the Common Cause Partnership into a truly unified body of Anglicans. We are committed to that call. Over the past months, we have worked together, increasing the number of partners and authorizing committees and task groups for Mission, Education, Governance, Prayer Book & Liturgy, the Episcopate, and Ecumenical Relations. The Executive Committee is meeting regularly to carry forward the particulars of this call. The CCP Council will meet December 1-3, 2008.

The Common Cause Partnership links together nine Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America. Together, the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church represent more the 1,300 Anglican parishes in the United States and Canada. The Common Cause Partnership Executive Committee is: The Rt. Rev’d Robert Duncan, Moderator; The Venerable Charlie Masters, General Secretary; Mrs. Patience Oruh, Treasurer; The Rt. Rev’d Keith Ackerman, Forward in Faith North America; The Rt. Rev’d David Anderson, American Anglican Council; The Rt. Rev’d Donald Harvey, Anglican Network in Canada; The Rt. Rev’d Paul Hewett, Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas; The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America; The Rt. Rev’d Chuck Murphy, Anglican Mission in the Americas; The Rt. Rev’d Leonard Riches, Reformed Episcopal Church; The Rt. Rev’d Bill Atwood, Anglican Church of Kenya and The Rt. Rev’d John Guernsey, Church of the Province of Uganda.

Schofield is an Anglican

From Conger:

The Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield remains a bishop of the Anglican Communion, though his exact status must be clarified, the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared.

"The long awaited decision by Dr. Williams as to whether Bishop Schofield is or is not an Anglican, avoids a confrontation at this week’s Lambeth Conference between two bishops of San Joaquin, and allows Bishop Schofield to withdraw from the conference due to his declining ill health, without conceding his right to attend the gathering.

Writing to the Presiding Bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina, on July 12, Dr. Williams rejected assertions made by the Episcopal Church that Bishop Schofield and his diocese were no longer Anglicans.

“I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion,” Dr. Williams declared."

Read it all.

Tense times behind the scenes at the Lambeth Conference

From Conger:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury’s efforts to steer the Anglican Communion away from the theological and political shoals appears to have been for naught, as the 14th Lambeth Conference began to founder on its second business day.

While the three day retreat led by Dr. Williams was universally applauded by bishops from across the geographic and theological spectrum, once the bishops were loosed upon each other the tensions that have plagued the Communion stepped back into center stage."

Read it all.

Vatican official in warning to Anglican bishops:

From Conger:

"Canterbury: The Vatican’s top evangelism officer urged the bishops of the Anglican Communion to set their house in order so that they may fulfill the Gospel mandate of bringing the world to Christ.

Cardinal Ivan Dias, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples said internal dissention within the Christian world and external attacks were hindering the spread of the faith. However, “for a disciple of Jesus Christ” to “preach the Gospel is not an option, but a command of the Lord.”

Read it all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Let us then hear, as many of us as neglect the reading of the Scriptures, to what harm we are subjecting ourselves, to what poverty.

St. John Chrysostom

Homily XLVII. Matt. XIII. 34, 35.

“Therefore every Scribe, which is instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

Wherefore elsewhere also He saith, “I will send you wise men and scribes.” Seest thou how so far from excluding the Old Testament, He even commends it, and speaks publicly in favor of it, calling it “a treasure”? So that as many as are ignorant of the divine Scriptures cannot be “householders;” such as neither have of themselves, nor receive of others, but neglect their own case, perishing with famine.

And not these only, but the heretics too, are excluded from this blessing. For they bring not forth things new and old. For they have not the old things, wherefore neither have they the new; even as they who have not the new, neither have they the old, but are deprived of both. For these are bound up and interwoven one with another.

Let us then hear, as many of us as neglect the reading of the Scriptures, to what harm we are subjecting ourselves, to what poverty.

For when are we to apply ourselves to the real practice of virtue, who do not so much as know the very laws according to which our practice should be guided? But while the rich, those who are mad about wealth, are constantly shaking out their garments, that they may not become moth-eaten; dost thou, seeing forgetfulness worse than any moth wasting thy soul, neglect conversing with books? dost thou not thrust away from thee the pest, adorn thy soul, look continually upon the image of virtue, and acquaint thyself with her members and her head? For she too hath a head and members more seemly than any graceful and beautiful body.

Lambeth rocked as Archbishop calls on Robinson to resign

Lambeth rocked as Archbishop calls on Robinson to resign
Tuesday, 22nd July 2008. 5:34pm

By: George Conger.

The Bishop of New Hampshire must resign in order to save the Anglican Communion from chaos, the Archbishop of Juba and Primate of the Sudan, said today. “If [Gene Robinson] were a real Christian he would resign,” Archbishop Daniel Deng said on July 22.

Read it all.

Friday, July 18, 2008

GAFCON Responds to An Anglican Covenant

A RESPONSE of the GAFCON Theological Resource Team to the St Andrews Draft Text of An Anglican Covenant


The idea of a Covenant as a way out of the difficulties in which the Anglican Communion finds itself has been proposed in several quarters. The St Andrews Draft Text of An Anglican Covenant is one such attempt. The GAFCON Theological Resource Team reviewed the St Andrews Draft Text during pre-conference preparations in Jerusalem on 20th and 21st June 2008.

An Anglican Covenant was intended as a response to a crisis in the Anglican Communion which has been accurately described as ‘a rending of the Communion at the deepest level’. Determined departures from the teaching of Scripture on human sexuality by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are the immediate cause this situation. There appears no prospect of repentance from this repudiation of biblical authority on the part of either of these bodies (or from those elsewhere who have followed their lead in endorsing behaviour which Scripture explicitly forbids). Underlying these actions is a long history of marginalising, avoiding and at last rejecting the plain teaching of the Bible. In other words, the issue which we should expect this covenant to address is one of apostasy.

Many attempts have been made to address the breach of relationships caused by the setting aside of biblical teaching by some provinces, dioceses, and individual bishops, beginning at Kuala Lumpur in 1997, at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, and culminating recently, after consistent efforts in the intervening years, in the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007.

Sadly this new draft of An Anglican Covenant is both seriously limited and severely flawed. Whether or not the tool of covenant is the right way to approach the crisis within the Communion, this document is defective and its defects cannot be corrected by piecemeal amendment because they are fundamental. The St. Andrews Draft is theologically incoherent and its proposals unworkable. It has no prospect of success since it fails to address the problems which have created the crisis and the new realities which have ensued.

This document falls in effect into two parts. Sections 1 and 2 mention some matters of faith, but section 3 is in fact the critical section of the document, because this introduces the thought of Churches as being ‘autonomous-in-communion’. It is on this concept that the proposed resolution of Communion disputes rests.

Our response will confine itself to seven areas of theological concern and will briefly mention two other significant issues in its conclusion.

Serious Theological Flaws

1. A failure to address the issue

Any covenant document has to recognise fully the mischief it seeks to address. This document makes no mention of the crisis which has generated the call for such a remedy, which is a crisis of obedience to Scripture. Further, it fails to recognise that in the eyes of many the ‘instruments of Communion’ (3.1.4) are themselves part of the problem. This means that trying to use such failed instruments as arbiters of a future solution is problematic in the extreme. Put bluntly, this covenant will not allow the real issues to be addressed.

2. An illegitimate notion of autonomy

The understanding of the individual Churches of the Communion throughout this document is fatally ambiguous. The language of autonomy in communion is introduced in 3.1.2., but there has been no justification produced for this concept in the preceding sections. More seriously this language is unqualified and so fails to distinguish between matters on which Scripture is silent (and where there may be legitimate liberty and indeed diversity) and matters on which Scripture has spoken definitively (and where autonomy is therefore a euphemism for sin). Our obedience to Scripture and our responsibility to each other must significantly qualify all talk of ‘autonomy’ with reference to any congregation, diocese, province or, indeed, the Communion itself.

3. No biblical theology

The entire document, and particularly the statement concerning ‘the inheritance of faith’ in paragraph 1, is detached from the Scriptural narrative of salvation and redemption from sin, which Churches in the Communion have seen realised. The principal concerns of Scripture are ignored as the document concentrates on matters which are dependent and consequential upon those concerns. The unity of Christians flows out of the redeeming work of Christ and the incorporative ministry of the Spirit. Any attempt to generate or sustain such unity on our own terms and by our own institutional efforts without reference to this prior and determinative reality must be judged sub-biblical.

4. A faulty anthropology

An Anglican Covenant is primarily concerned with the doctrine of the church. However, any doctrine of the church presupposes a doctrine of humanity. The anthropology implicit in this document fails to capture the reality of any Christian’s life in this world as this is explained by Scripture. Christians are those who are redeemed by Christ but who remain sinful until God’s purposes are brought to their completion when Christ returns. This twofold reality has very significant implications for the life of the church. The reality of temptation and sin, a reality experienced by all no matter what their office in the church, needs to be taken seriously.

5. An absent eschatology

This document fails to adopt an appropriately biblical eschatological perspective. Its preoccupation with institutional processes is at the expense of a proper sense of our corporate and individual accountability to God on the Last Day for proper custodianship of the deposit of Faith. There is no reference to sin, judgement, ‘the coming wrath’ or to God’s provision of a remedy in the cross of Christ and the forgiveness of sins which attends faith and repentance.

6. Neglect of obedience

Throughout this document an attenuated view of biblical authority is presented. A critical element of the Christian response to God and his Word is missing. The Church is called not merely to treat God’s Word respectfully (1.2.4.), but to obey it. The absence of the language of obedience to the Word of God throughout the document is one of its most serious flaws.

7. An isolated and vacuous appeal to unity

Throughout An Anglican Covenant, biblical values are not treated in their mutual relationship. In particular the biblical injunctions to unity are in effect disconnected from the equally serious injunctions of Scripture to preserve the truth given to us. Paragraph 3.2 deals almost exclusively with perceived threats to the unity of the Communion rather than moral and doctrinal error, once again ignoring that our current disunity is the result of departures from the truth taught in Scripture in both of these areas.


Given the profound and fatal difficulties identified in the draft covenant, the legal framework of the appendix will likewise be open to overwhelming objection. The proposed legal framework in any event exhibits the same flaws as the parent document, notably in the way unity is abstracted from biblical faithfulness and no account is taken of the possibility that the instruments of Communion themselves might be the focus of objection. Two other objections must be mentioned. First, the document describes four instruments of Communion, which it proposes will provide solutions to disputes. It fails to recognise the disproportionate influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who invites to the Lambeth Conference, chairs the ACC and calls the Primates’ Meeting. The problem of this undue influence is compounded by the lack of formal accountability on the part of the Archbishop and the prominence the document envisages for this Primate is frankly colonialist. Secondly, the prominence given to the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and Primates raises problems in increasing further the ability of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the ACC to exercise disproportionate influence over the Primates, thereby tending in effect to silence dissentient primatial voices.

In the light of these considerations we find that the St Andrews Draft of An Anglican Covenant does not meet our expectations or hopes for restoring the broken sacrament of Communion.

GAFCON Responds to the Archbishop of Canterbury

The Global Anglican Future Conference gathered leaders from around the Anglican Communion for pilgrimage, prayer and serious theological reflection. We are grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for engaging with the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. We wish to respond to some of his concerns.

On faith and false teaching. We warmly welcome the Archbishop's affirmation of the Jerusalem Statement as positive and encouraging and in particular that it would be shared by the vast majority of Anglicans. We are however concerned that he should think we assume that all those outside GAFCON are proclaiming another gospel. In no way do we believe that we are the only ones to hold a correct interpretation of scripture according to its plain meaning. We believe we are holding true to the faith once delivered to the saints as it has been received in the Anglican tradition. Many are contending for and proclaiming the orthodox faith throughout the Anglican Communion. Their efforts are, however, undermined by those who are clearly pursuing a false gospel. We are not claiming to be a sinless church. Our concern is with false teaching which justifies sin in the name of Christianity. These are not merely matters of different perspectives and emphases. They have led to unbiblical practice in faith and morals, resulting in impaired and broken communion. We long for all orthodox Anglicans to join in resisting this development.

On the uniqueness of Christ. We are equally concerned to hear that 'the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God' is 'not in dispute' in the Anglican Communion. Leading bishops in The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and even the Church of England have denied the need to evangelise among people of other faiths, promoted and attended syncretistic events and, in some cases, refused to call Jesus Lord and Saviour.

On legitimacy. In the current disorder in the Communion, GAFCON came together as a gathering of lay leaders, clergy and bishops from over 25 countries on the basis of their confession of the common historic Christian faith. They formed a Council in obedience to the word of God to defend the faith and the faithful who are at risk in some Anglican dioceses and congregations.
GAFCON, where the governing structures of many provinces were present, affirmed such a Council of the GAFCON movement as its body to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.

In their primates and other bishops, the assembly saw a visible connection to the catholic and apostolic Church and the evangelical and catholic faith which many have received from the Church of England and the historic see of Canterbury. It is this faith which we seek to affirm.

On authority. As the Virginia Report notes, in the Anglican tradition, authority is not concentrated in a single centre, but rather across a number of persons and bodies. This Council is a first step towards bringing greater order to the Communion, both for the sake of bringing long overdue discipline and as a reforming initiative for our institutions.

Whilst we respect territoriality, it cannot be absolute. For missionary and pastoral reasons there have long been overlapping jurisdictions in Anglicanism itself – historically in South Africa, New Zealand, the Gulf and Europe. In situations of false teaching, moreover, it has sometimes been necessary for other bishops to intervene to uphold apostolic faith and order.

On discipline. Finally, with regard to the Archbishop's concern about people who have been disciplined in one jurisdiction and have been accepted in another, we are clear that any such cases have been investigated thoroughly and openly with the fullest possible transparency. Bishops and parishes have been given oversight only after the overseeing bishops have been fully satisfied of no moral impediments to their action.

We enclose a response to the St Andrew's Draft Covenant. (See separate post).

We assure the Archbishop of Canterbury of our respect as the occupier of an historic see which has been used by God to the benefit of his church and continue to pray for him to be given wisdom and discernment.


The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Justice Akrofi, Primate of West Africa
The Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentine Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzmibi, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda
The Most Rev Gregory Venables, Primate of The Southern Cone
July 18 2008

TEC Says Bishop's Are Just 'Titular Heads'

Another offer of "Spiritual Support" from TEC...


Episcopal Church under fire for parolee priest
Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Religion Writer

Friday, July 18, 2008

"James Tramel went from convicted murderer to priest while in prison, a transformation that the Episcopal Church used to successfully lobby for his parole and celebrate him before politicians and the press...

After he was paroled early in 2006, at the urging of the Episcopal bishop of California, Tramel was quickly placed at the helm of the historic Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco...

It's there that the victim said Tramel, who is married and has a young child, took advantage of her during counseling sessions...

The diocese acknowledges that Tramel abused his power and committed sexual misconduct, according to diocesan spokesman Sean McConnell, as well as a letter from diocesan Chancellor William Orrick and other documents...

The victim has asked for $265,000 for therapy and to move from her rent-controlled apartment, which is near the Bush Street church, where the relationship started. She also asked that Tramel be prohibited from resuming priestly duties...

The diocese countered with an offer for "spiritual support" - an offer the victim said infuriated her because it would replicate the situation in which she was taken advantage of...

Andrus declined to comment. He is in England at the once-a-decade gathering of bishops in the Anglican Communion, the 77 million-member global body that is represented in the United States by the Episcopal Church. The Telegraph, an English newspaper, named him this week as one of the 20 most influential Anglicans in the world...

When Tramel was placed at Trinity, Andrus approved the decision. Yet Lossing said Andrus had no power in the situation involving Tramel...

"Obviously, Andrus is nothing but the representative, the titular head of the diocese," Lossing said. "He doesn't have any individual legal investment here..."

But the victim said Andrus should have taken more action to supervise a priest with a murder rap...

Read it all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bishop Schofield Recognized by Archbishop of Canterbury

14 July 2008
Dear Bishop John-David and Beloved Brothers & Sisters of the Diocese of San Joaquin,

I greet you in the name of the Lord from the UK where the Lambeth Conference is only just about to begin. First of all, let me thank you for the wonderful prayer support so many offered when Sylvia was injured a few weeks ago. Although it was a difficult time, we were sustained by those prayers and are happy to report her recovery. Please keep praying.

Though I will be in touch about the Lambeth Conference at a later date, at this critical time in the Anglican Communion, I have several things to share with you to address some of the aspects of the current crisis. Let me tell you what a wonderful experience the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem was. There was Christ centered worship, biblical teaching from some of the best leaders in the Anglican Communion and unified fellowship centered in Christ.

The Anglican Communion has been in chaos for a number of years. As a whole, the structures of the Communion seem to have been unwilling to speak clearly and definitively about theological foundations and limits. There has also been an unwillingness on the part of some Provinces to moderate their behaviour even when told how destructive their actions are to other Provinces. GAFCON clearly articulated Anglican theological foundations that many innovating Provinces have proven they are not willing to accept. It also recognized the cooperation and mutual accountability of a group of small (but growing) group of Primates who are willing to be clear in affirming the authority of the Bible and other Anglican tenets. We have agreed that we will seek consensus before implementing changes that impact other Provinces in the circle. That is the way the whole Communion should be operating. We also agreed with the historical perspective that the structural authority of the bishop of a diocese is not absolute. The church has always taught that bishops are accountable for their teaching and their actions. The difficulty in our day has come when there are Provinces that are unwilling to hold bishops accountable to any discipline in the face of unbiblical actions and pronouncements.

We have not broken with the Anglican Communion. We have not broken relations with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Sadly, a number of people have attempted to paint GAFCON as a breaking away from the Anglican Communion and from the Archbishop of Canterbury. That may reflect their desire for us to leave so they can change the faith without challenge, but we are not going anywhere. We remain committed to be linked by shared theological principles and shared relationships that, quite frankly, should be the way the whole Communion operates. After a great deal of prayer and conversation, it is our hope that our commitments can widen a circle of health in the Communion and bring some fresh order to what has been chaos for a number of years. Though there have been some noble attempts by the Primates to address the crisis in the Communion at Dromantine and other gatherings, with the Windsor Report, the Panel of Reference and the Dar es Salaam Communiqué, these attempts have not born fruit of any substance. At GAFCON we agreed to standards of faith and order by which we will live within the Anglican Communion in hopes to build a more orderly (and less chaotic) fellowship. If there are those who reject the Jerusalem Declaration from GAFCON, I would ask the question, “Why?” What part of genuine Anglican or Christian faith do they think the Declaration forbids? What in it do they think is not compatible with being Anglican Christians?

As I write to you from the Lambeth Conference, there are painful reminders that all is not well and that the clarity, hope, and charity of GAFCON are desperately needed. Those who have by their action “torn the fabric of the Communion,” are being welcomed as if all is well, and tragically many godly bishops and archbishops are not present having decided that they are bound by conscience not to attend with others who have disregarded the faith. Other godly leaders have not even been invited despite the fact that they were consecrated lawfully and in broad consultation and agreement with many provinces. This is not a joyful time, quite the contrary. For me, it is one of those necessary times to attend to the order of the church even when it is painful. Remember, the situation has been created by the actions of the Episcopal Church. Despite the fervent requests and the fact that the consequences of choosing a unilateral course would precipitate anguish at levels the Anglican Communion has not previously known, they proceeded. There are many, like you in San Joaquin, that are unwilling to continue with such moral and theological compromise. As you know, by the concerted and agreed action of both the House of Bishops and the Provincial Synod, we are glad to give you full membership and a safe haven in the Southern Cone while a long term solution is found. The imperatives of the Gospel give us clear direction.

In addition, I have been in conversation with Archbishop Rowan. Over the weekend I received the following message from him:
“I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion. However, it is acknowledged that his exact status (especially given the complications surrounding the congregations associated with him) remains unclear on the basis of the general norms of Anglican Canon Law, and this constitutes one of the issues on which we hope for assistance from the Windsor Continuation Group. Bishop Schofield has elected to decline the invitation to the Lambeth Conference issued to him last year although that decision does not signal any withdrawal from the Communion. I hope there may be further careful reflection to clarify the terms on which he will exercise his ministry.”

This statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury is clear, even though we are in somewhat new territory; you remain within the Anglican Communion. Given the rigors of international travel and the work that there is to do in the Diocese, I am in agreement with Bishop John-David’s decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference. I am also aware of statements by Bishop Jerry Lamb in which he makes statements and demands that miss the mark of Christian leadership and fall short of what many consider propriety. I would encourage the clergy and lay members of the diocese to ignore this.

We are glad to have you as full members of the Southern Cone. As you can see, you are well regarded as members of the Anglican Communion. May God richly bless you!

2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard- pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Your brother in Christ,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Original Sin of Anglicanism

As we enter into a period of radical change, equal to the Reformation of the 16th century, Anglicans are being asked to consider, to study and to adopt various statements or declarations defining Anglicanism. Documents such as the Common Cause Theological Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration have been proposed and adopted by the reforming orthodox in order to secure the foundations of our faith and common life.

The danger inherent in any Anglican statement or federation is the great original sin of Anglicanism: disobedience to authority. The Jerusalem Declaration addresses this problem in article 13: "We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord." Inherent in the rejection of the authority of the heterodox is the acceptance of the authority of the orthodox.

With these foundational statements and articles being written and promoted, our strongest temptation will be to promote and publish these declarations with no intention of actually following them.

This temptation is the strongest for me in the puzzling omission of the last three Ecumenical Councils and in the wholesale acceptance of the 39 Articles. The rejection of the Ancient, undivided church and the acceptance of a Reformation era statement of a local council is highly problematic for a church that yearns to be universal and apostolic.

From the Jerusalem Declaration:
4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

From the Common Cause Theological Statement:
7. We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.

From article thirty-four of the 39 Articles: "Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren."

At this point in the life of Anglicanism, the only way forward that I can imagine that will lead to unity and that will prevent disintegration is radical submission to authority. For my part, this would mean the end of reserving the Holy Sacrament. I would have to travel to our new preaching station every Sunday rather than consecrating enough bread and wine for several Sundays.

Also, since I believe that the unwritten reason that the Reformers could not accept Nicaea II and the end of Iconoclasm was that they were Iconoclasts, this would mean that we would have to remove or drape our icons and cease the Benediction and the elevation of the Blessed Sacrament. Without the clear statements on veneration and the place of Holy Objects that led to the Triumph of Orthodoxy in Nicaea II, our services would be impoverished but in true submission to the authorities that have adopted the CC Theological Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration.

I believe that the clergy and laity in churches and dioceses should submit to this authority while petitioning the Primates to include all Seven Ecumenical Councils and to reconsider the wholesale adoption of the 39 Articles, specifically in light of the articles dealing with Predestination and the Holy Sacraments (17, 35 and 38). The voluntary submission of those who yearn for a more catholic and apostolic expression of Anglicanism will only be able to effectively unite and defend an Anglicanism that is rooted in the submission to authority. While I believe that this is also true for women's ordination, that we should suspend all ordinations until the mind of the Communion is united, that is for another article and author.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Church of England crisis: Mass defections loom as rebel faction appeals to English clergy

· Hundreds may be ready to leave Church of England
· Traditionalists' conference swamped by 750 delegates

Hundreds of English clergy appear poised to defect from the Church of England to join a new conservative movement after a conference led by rebel archbishops was swamped with delegates in London yesterday.

The 750 delegates attending the meeting in central London were asked to pledge their allegiance to a 14-point manifesto issued last weekend in Jerusalem by the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), a coalition of traditionalist clergy who have challenged the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury.

According to the conservative website, Anglican Mainstream, clergy and churchwardens are asked to "stand in solidarity" with Gafcon by registering their support online.

The popularity of the event caught organisers and speakers by surprise, as only half that number were expected. The attendance level, in addition to the 50 serving English clergy sponsoring the meeting, indicated the disillusion felt by conservative evangelicals.

Read it all at

Gafcon can save Anglicanism

We are a response to the current authorities' unwillingness to check the flouting of Bible teachings and can lead it forward without a split

By Chris Sugden

For five years, the Episcopal church in US, the Anglican church of Canada, and elements of the Church of England and church in New Zealand have acted precisely like the student unions of the 1970s and Militant tendency in putting facts on the ground and defying the authorities to do anything about it. Some bishops and others have been presenting a different Christian gospel, expressed in disobedience to the teaching of the Bible, and continue to persecute and harass those who resist and object.

If the current dispute is merely a matter of different perspectives and emphases, as the Archbishop of Canterbury suggests, why are the bishops who are promoting this different gospel driving people out of their churches and removing licences from priests such as Dr Packer?

Gafcon became necessary following the persistent failure of the current authorities in the Anglican Communion to do anything about this deliberate flouting of Christian teaching and decisions of the whole Anglican Communion and its leadership.

What would be an ideal response of the Archbishop of Canterbury? The Gafcon pilgrimage was about relationships above all else. The pilgrims came to meet with God, through prayer and worship, through study of his word, and pilgrimage to recall his mighty acts of redemption in history. They came to meet with each other in fellowship, Bible discussion, meals, and pilgrimage together. One presiding bishop of a dispersed Anglican group in America, the Reformed Episcopal Synod, said he now had a family.

An ideal response of the archbishop would be to focus on relationships: to meet with the primates' council of Gafcon on neutral territory: not at the Lambeth conference, which is already a compromised gathering since those who initiated this crisis, the consecrators of Gene Robinson, will be present, and since the issues are fundamental questions about the authority of scripture in the church.

Read it all at the

Anglican Conservatives Step Back From Split Threat

by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

All Things Considered, June 30, 2008 · When nearly 300 bishops from Africa, South America and breakaway churches in the U.S. gathered in Jerusalem last week, the big question was: Will they declare schism from the more liberal churches in the West?

The answer turned out to be easy.

"We all sat around the table, and pretty well with one voice, we said, we are not leaving the Anglican Communion," Archbishop Greg Venables, who oversees several countries in South America, said from Jerusalem. "We are not going to break away and form another church."

There had been talk preceding the meeting of a theological divorce. The group did not split because, Venables says, "we are the true Anglicans."

"We don't accept that we can hand over the franchise of Anglicanism to people who suddenly, without consulting anyone, decided to create a new version of Anglicanism," he says.

Read or listen to the entire article at NPR

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

GAFCON Report by Cn Bill Gandenberger

GAFCON REPORT: Monday, June 30, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing you on the last day of the GAFCON, or Global Anglican Future Conference, in Jerusalem. It has been a long 10 days since the Bishop and I arrived, with the bulk of my time spent in our hotel, working with the other delegates on a statement that will provide the groundwork for a new, biblically orthodox, mission-focused, global Anglican movement.

The Final GAFCON Statement, which has been bathed in much prayer, was received with joy this Sunday morning by the 1148 delegates representing perhaps 70% of the world’s Anglican Christians. It lays out in relatively simple language what we stand for, in terms of historic Anglican theology, with the Holy Scripture as the ultimate authority. The Statement contains a segment called the Jerusalem Declaration. In addition, it calls for a Primates Council (of archbishops) that will lead a new global Anglican structure. For North America this will include a new orthodox Anglican province to be formed by these Primates, initially made up of the Common Cause Partnership of which we are members. The GAFCON statement with the Jerusalem Declaration may be found at and you may watch keynote speakers’ addresses and sermons at I would particularly recommend the address by Os Guiness, and the closing sermon by our own Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Greg Venables.

Personally I am delighted and encouraged by both the conference and its results. There is no question that the Holy Spirit has been here, guiding our deliberations in a miraculous way. I am sure that there will be questions about the content of the statement, and its intentions and subsequent actions and reactions, and the Bishop and I look forward to going through it with our clergy prior to his departure for Lambeth. Dates for such a gathering, probably at the Cathedral, are now being considered.

Although I did not go on any tours, I was able on Saturday to wander, visit and pray at various sites in Jerusalem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Calvary), the Church of St. Peter of Galicantu (cock-crow), the Upper Room, and the Western (Wailing) Wall. I had almost an hour to pray at the Wall for the Diocese of San Joaquin, our congregations, clergy and numerous individuals, placing numerous prayers on paper into the Wall itself. It was a sweet time with the Lord, who protected me from too much of a sunburn. I was able to explore the recently uncovered City of David and Pool of Siloam (see John 9) and my conference friend and I entered the first 50 feet of the Hezekiah Tunnel that is knee deep with clear rushing water. As it was Shabbat it was formally closed, but the Arab gatekeeper opened the various gates to let us in for about 10 minutes. (This may be on the tour that I help lead next April 29-May 8th.)

The Bishop is relaxing today prior to our pick up for the airport this afternoon. We are scheduled to take off at 11:30 PM, so please pray there are no delays, that our connections are made, and that the flights are uneventful.

Thank you for your fervent prayers. God has answered, and continues to answer, them in very powerful ways! May Jesus be praised!

Yours Faithfully in Our Risen Lord,


Note: They have returned to Fresno safe and sound! VM+

GAFCON Final Statement

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Praise the LORD!
It is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. (Psalm 147:1-2)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, send you greetings from Jerusalem!


The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which was held in Jerusalem from 22-29 June 2008, is a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it. The movement is global: it has mobilised Anglicans from around the world. We are Anglican: 1148 lay and clergy participants, including 291 bishops representing millions of faithful Anglican Christians. We cherish our Anglican heritage and the Anglican Communion and have no intention of departing from it. And we believe that, in God’s providence, Anglicanism has a bright future in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to build up the church on the foundation of biblical truth (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:20). [the statement continues]

Read it all at

ABC Responds to GAFCON Statement

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has responded to the final declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference with the following statement:

The Final Statement from the GAFCON meeting in Jordan and Jerusalem contains much that is positive and encouraging about the priorities of those who met for prayer and pilgrimage in the last week. The ‘tenets of orthodoxy’ spelled out in the document will be acceptable to and shared by the vast majority of Anglicans in every province, even if there may be differences of emphasis and perspective on some issues. I agree that the Communion needs to be united in its commitments on these matters, and I have no doubt that the Lambeth Conference will wish to affirm all these positive aspects of GAFCON’s deliberations. Despite the claims of some, the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God and the absolute imperative of evangelism are not in dispute in the common life of the Communion [the letter continues]

Read it all on the Anglican Communion News Service

Conservative Anglicans form breakaway church in revolution led from the south

[Note: The title of this post, which was the Guardian's headline, is misleading. Conservative Anglicans are not forming a "breakaway Church". As the article describes below, they are working to preserve Anglicanism and establish reform within the Anglican Communion.]

"All around the world the sleeping giant that is evangelical Anglicanism and orthodox Anglicanism has been aroused by what happened in Canada and the United States of America. It was an act of folly." - Archbishop Jensen (Sydney)

Conservative evangelicals representing half of the world's Anglicans launched a new global church yesterday, challenging the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and vowing to rescue people from the forces of "militant secularism and pluralism" created by a "spiritual decline" in developing economies.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Foca, will sever ties with the main churches in the US and Canada, whose leaders they accuse of betraying biblical teaching. Foca architects will tomorrow go to the conservative evangelical church of All Souls, in central London, to discuss global Anglicanism and English orthodoxy.

Hundreds of disgruntled clergy, representing many Church of England parishes, will be in the audience and the speakers will include the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, and the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi.

Great swaths of Anglican provinces, including Africa, South America and Asia, are furious with their counterparts in the northern hemisphere, accusing them of being in thrall to contemporary culture, with the ordination and consecration of gay New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson acting as a turning point. The creation of Foca is a schism in all but name.

Outraged over the "false gospel" being promoted in the west, Foca pledges a return to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, ignoring 21st-century additions and interpretations. It will train its own priests by sending them to hardline theological colleges such as Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and Oak Hill, London, and will insist on more orthodox practices in its churches.

There will also be a primates' council, comprising senior bishops and archbishops who attended the Jerusalem summit that led to Foca's inception.

At a press conference Jensen said they would bring "order to a situation of turmoil" and help to deal with "the chaos caused in the Anglican church through revisionist activities". [the article continues]

Read it all at The Guardian