The Archbishop of Sydney on the Global Anglican Future Conference

28 December 2007 - Print Version

News & Views

The Anglican Future Conference is not designed to take the place of Lambeth. Some people may well choose to go to both. Its aim is to draw Biblical Anglican Christians together for urgent consultation. It is not a consultation which can take place at Lambeth, because Lambeth has a different agenda and far wider guest list.  Unlike Lambeth, the Future Conference is not for Bishops alone – the invitations will go to clergy and lay people also. But it is a meeting which accepts the current reality of a Communion in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority. It therefore seeks to plan for a future in which Anglican Christians world-wide will increasingly be pressured to depart from the biblical norms of behaviour and belief. It gives an opportunity for many to draw together to strengthen each other over the issue of biblical authority and interpretation and gospel mission

- Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney Diocese has unpacked some of the background behind the 2008 Holy Land Conference. Read it all here.

26 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Peace Prayer of St. Francis (excerpt)

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is discord, harmony;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is error, truth;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    Where there is sadness, joy.


    Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

  2. teddymak Says:

    ++Jenson reminds us that Gafcon precedes Lambeth, not in parallel with it as some uninformed have stated. It is not only preparatory for Orhodox bishops and primates with an eye to Lambeth, but serves as a review structure for those who will not attend Lambeth in company with the disreputable North American heretics. I suspect a workable Covenant will emerge from this conference. No time like the present.

  3. Steven Berry Says:

    Dear Teddymak,

    I have enjoyed reading your posts, but I do have a question for you. You seem pretty confident that both the ABC and GAFCON will be able to bring the TEC into line. Is this just your hope, or do you have some additional insight on the issue not posted here?

    I pray that your obsevations are right.

    Please feel free to contact me privately if you wish.

    Steve

  4. Father Ron Smith Says:

    If Steve’s hopes are that GAFCON will be able to convince Lambeth of it’s ‘Orthodoxy’, forget it!
    The majority strand of supposedly ‘Orthodox’ Bishops, clergy and laity slated to attend the Jerusalem meeting are already known to be evangelical-charismatics not disposed to be either friendly to, or identifiable with, any agreed standards of ‘Orthodoxy’.

    To pretend that the diverse strands of theology that exist within the dissidents’ camp could exist together ‘outside’ of the Anglican Communion, is to imagine an alliance between Calvin and Cardinal Manning. This was and is one of the strengths (and weaknesses) of the C.of E.

  5. Steven Berry Says:

    Fr. Ron,

    Reguarding the makeup of those who have declared that they will be in attendance at GAFCON you stated:

    “The majority strand of supposedly ‘Orthodox’ Bishops, clergy and laity slated to attend the Jerusalem meeting are already known to be evangelical-charismatics…”

    You then went on to say:

    “...the diverse strands of theology that exist within the dissidents’ camp…” can’t “...exist together ‘outside’ of the Anglican Communion…”

    I’m puzzled on two counts.

    First, how can you state that the “dissidents”, are simply the “evangelical-charismatics”, then state that because of their “diverse strands of theology” they can’t hold together?

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Secondly, since they represent 30 million out of 50 million churchmen, it would appear that your classifying them as “dissident” is not only incorrect but is rather pejorative.

    dissident - adjective
    1.  characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards
    2.  disagreeing, especially with a majority

    pejorative – adjective
    1. having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force

    You also refer to the “dissident” Bishops as “...supposedly ‘Orthodox’ Bishops.”

    If you are choosing the word “dissident”, as meaning that they have departed from accepted beliefs or standards, I am really confused. It was the TEC that elected, consecrated, and coronated an active practicing homosexual to the episcopate contrary to Lambeth 1.10. It is the TEC and the ACC that have broken the Anglican standards in continuing to marry (bless) same sex couples contrary to Windsor and other Anglican instruments. It is the revisionists within the TEC and wider Anglican body that have rejected the authority of the Scriptures contrary to ALL Anglican instruments and formularies. It is the revisionist PB of the TEC and her fellow revisionist and liberal Bishops and priests who have torn the fabric of Anglican fellowship around the world… need I go on?

    Fr. Ron, dear friend, your remarks continue to muddy rather than clairify the issues.

    Steven Berry

  6. teddymak Says:

    Thanks Steve.

    I do not have any special “inside” knowledge.I do have a close relationship with a Windsor Bishop who is highly regarded by all Anglicans, a man whose “yea is a yea and whose nay is a nay.” He remains convinced that TEC will be reformed. He is an absolutely solid orthodox scripture believing Christian man, and I take his conviction there will be reform with great respect.

    My hopes for the reform of TEC lie in the written words and actions of +++Rowan and the GS Primates.

    ABC has known for months that the GAFCON meeting was going to happen. The GS Primates have made it known they would not attend Lambeth with TEC there. The prospect of a split, and soon, has motivated and alarmed +++Rowan.

    His Advent letter was received by the revisionists with anger and dismay because they saw that, brought to fruition, it would lead to their reform or seperation from the Communion. The proposal is couched in such a way as to ultimately force TEC to decide to acceed on its own to reforms or to leave. This would leave +++Rowan relatively unscathed by TEC basically taking itself out of the Communion. Slick, if not a little disengenuous.

    Why would ABC do such a thing, him being a card bearing leftist TEC apologist? Because of the absolute inevitablity of the complete severing of the ties between Canterbury and 2/3 of the worlds Anglicans if TEC was still around. Period. I view the Advent Letter as a rather desperate attempt by ABC to salvage the situation. He miscalculated. ++Peter Abuja and the rest apparently are having none of it, and are forcing the issue. If they were to let Lambeth 2008 go off as scheduled, they loose the momentum and the bully pulpit. Not going to happen.

    Can we reflect for a moment on the dramatic impact on the C of E of a seperation? Tens of thousands of churchmen, hundreds of priests and more than a few bishops will shift to the GS. Catastrophic to ++Rowan.

    Why would TEC ultimately reform itself? A split (“division” in Virginia law) also would completely defeat the ridiculous conceit of TEC that it is a hierarchical church while being apostate at the same time. They loose their despicable law suits, together with a bunch of neat real estate. In other words, TEC either cleans up according to the requirements of the majority of the Communion or it’s toast.

    A division is therefore anethema to +++Rowan and TEC. It will not happen Unless TEC goes suicidal. If it does, the GAFCON Primates will step in behind +Duncan or someone like him and form a new Province for North America and Canada. I would personally prefer a new Province. Never ever would I believe any thing promised by Kate Schori and Booth Beers. The first step to real reform is their resignation. Never happen. They’d have to start buying their own Amatilldo.

  7. teddymak Says:

    Amantillado.

  8. Steven Berry Says:

    Teddy,

    Thank you for your above comments. Very insightful.

    Steve

  9. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Teddy, your ‘close relationship with a Windsor Bishop’ does not entitle you to dismiss the whole of TEC as ‘apostate’. Your view on this is very subjective - considering that the word apostate principally means ‘one who has abandoned their religion, principles, etc., a renegade, deserter from any allegiance’. (Chambers dictionary).

    Are you stating, categorically, that TEC has abandoned their religion - which is founded on that of the broad perspective of the reformed and catholic principles of Anglicanism?

    To charge TEC with apostacy would mean that its adherents had abandoned their basic relationship to the historic foundations of Anglicanism, which were rooted in the reformed catholicism of the Church of England. TEC has not, as a body, done this. What TEC has done is to raise an important issue of apologetics which concerns the basic human rights of persons vis a vis what TEC has considered to be the authentic demands of the Christian Gospel.

    That this matter still needs to be further explored does not invalidate, in my view, the step that TEC has taken in good faith, and as an expression of our Anglican Way of ‘semper reformanda’ and radical inclusiveness in the ongoing mission of the Gospel.

    Using the parameters of your argument relating to the word ‘apostacy’, could equally be applied to the actions of those of the Global South Bishops who are advocating separation from the rest of the Angican Community on the shaky premise of their own ‘orthodoxy’?

    For you to treat the integrity of the Archbishop of Canterbury with such studied indifference is to cast a slur on the on the rest of the Church which claims affiliation with our historic roots in the Church of England.

  10. Craig Goodrich Says:

    To charge TEC with apostasy would mean that its adherents had abandoned their basic relationship to the historic foundations of Anglicanism, which were rooted in the reformed catholicism of the Church of England. TEC has not, as a body, done this.

    Umm, yes, they have.  Both “as a body” and as individual parishes and dioceses.  To call this a matter of “justice” or “apologetics” and “within the broad spectrum of Anglicanism” displays either sophistry or unbelievable ignorance.

    However, this is off-topic, since the judgment has already been made—at Lambeth 1998—as to what “the broad spectrum of Anglicanism” includes in this area, and TEC is beyond question in violation of that boundary.  The topic here is how best to deal with TEC’s apostasy, not whether it exists.

  11. Father Ron Smith Says:

    That is only your opinion Mr. Goodrich. And you are entitled to it. And so am I, to mine. The Church is ‘on pilgrimage’, despite your frantic protestations of a need to recess to the ‘Dark ages’. There have been other ‘violations’ of Anglican Tradition before the actions of TEC., and nothing has been done about them.

    One such was the Solemnisation of polygamous marriages in the Church of Uganda - mentioned on this site by Canon Benjamin in an earlier posting which did not call forth protest from the world-wide Anglican Communion - and certainly not from the Church in Uganda, at the time. Perhaps this was thought to be culturally appropriate, and not needing the acceptance of the Anglican Primates?

    How is it that this matter did not receive such wide publicity - or the degree of criticism being piled upon TEC for its recent actions, which could be said, equally, to have been a culturally appropriate initiative?

    Is there a degree of selectivity here, in whom one chooses to turn into a target for discipline? If you want to become a ‘Sola Scriptura’ Church, then your behavioural proscriptions must apply equally to everyone.

  12. Steven Berry Says:

    Dear Editorial Team,

    You have stated quite clearly that “personal attacks will not be tolerated”, therefore I request that you take appropriate action.

    I am making an official complaint against Fr. Ron and his continued personal attacks against any that disagree with his views.

    Statements, such as “despite your frantic protestations of a need to recess to the ‘Dark ages’, are inflammatory, uncharitable, mean spirited, and typical, as you well know, of most of his posts.

    Voicing the passion of one’s conviction is one thing, but belittling others because of the weakness of your own argument should not be tolerated.

    Steven

  13. Editorial Team Says:

    Thankyou for your request.  You are correct,  statements such as “Your frantic protestations of a need to recess to the Dark Ages’ are indeed uncharitable and mean spirited.  We are sure too,  that such statements are designed to be inflammatory,  but are they personal?  It’s a difficult area to adjudicate,  but we try to be fair and consistent.

    Thank you again,  please continue to keep us on our toes!

  14. Steven Berry Says:

    Dear Editorial Team,

    Thank you for your quick response. I know that you will do your best to be “… fair and consistent.” That is all that anyone can ask.

    Steven

  15. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Thank you, Editors of this web-site,
    for your wise counsel. I am aware of the stresses and trains of refereeing the contents of a public web-site. [edited] I thank you that your have undertaken to be ‘fair and consistent’ in this matter.

    However, in the interests of Chritian fellowship -in the agape sense of loving - I certainly will try not to offend anyone personally, while at the same time defending my own views on issues of justice and mercy in the Church. Happy New Year!

  16. Gerry O'Brien Says:

    Referring to post #11:
    Father Ron said:

    “That is only your opinion Mr. Goodrich. And you are entitled to it. And so am I, to mine. The Church is ‘on pilgrimage’, despite your frantic protestations of a need to recess to the ‘Dark ages’. There have been other ‘violations’ of Anglican Tradition before the actions of TEC., and nothing has been done about them.

    One such was the Solemnisation of polygamous marriages in the Church of Uganda - mentioned on this site by Canon Benjamin in an earlier posting which did not call forth protest from the world-wide Anglican Communion - and certainly not from the Church in Uganda, at the time. Perhaps this was thought to be culturally appropriate, and not needing the acceptance of the Anglican Primates?”

    I would like to comment on two of the points stated, the first being “The Church is on a pilgrimage” ~  Excellent statement Father Smith, one of the first that you have made that I would agree with. 
    Yes, the Church is on a pilgrimage, unfortunately for those of the liberal viewpoint, the pilgrimage has now turned the corner, the wisdom of the ages is resurfacing and now TEC and ACC are finding themselves deeper and deeper into a very large conundrum.  Whatever shall they do when the larger percentage of the Anglican Communion seperates (which appears to be where things are heading)with or without Canterbury.
    I’m convinced that the ABC is changing an attitude but perhaps it is more for personal protection and history than for any other reason (I would hope that is not the truth, but I do wonder).

    Secondly, the statement made above “Solemnisation of polygamous marriages in the Church of Uganda - mentioned on this site by Canon Benjamin” by you.
    I am questioning the validity of the statement and I asked you once before to confirm it from another source rather than from a statement made on one Canon Benjamin.  I have been unable to find reference to such happenings and would not like to be misled by an untruth.  Therefore, again, You are the one who brought this up again and again I am asking you to confirm it as fact on this site. 
    No doubt, there have, in the past been “other violations” BUT, does this mean that new violations should be allowed?

    It is time for a reversal of the liberalist trend and it is time for God’s Word (all of it) to start being adherred to.

    In Christ,
    Gerry

  17. Father Ron Smith Says:

    In reply to Gerry O’Brien (above)

    My reference to the solemnisation of polygamous marriages in Uganda was directly in response to the ‘primer’ for the global South, published on this web-site for all to read, on an earlier posting: details below:

    Benjamin Twinamaani:How American Anglicans Think and Act: A Primer for the Global South
    The following article is provided by The Rev. Canon Benjamin Twinamaani of Uganda, posted at Anglican Communion Institute.

    If this was considered as a statement contrary to reality, then would not the Web Adminstrators have refused its publication?

    One looks at the articles published on this site as being at least vetted by the Administrators - after all, they have vetted comments from me from time to time - especially in response to your own protestations. Presumably they have been thought contrary to the Global South view?

    I cannot answer for your inability to find any evidence for polygamous marriages having actually taken place in the diocese of Buganda - as stated by Canon Benjamin, but I guess you might get this from the Web Adminstrator, Why not ask them!

    As for your assertion that ‘it is time for a reversal of the liberalist trend and it is time for God’s Word (all of it) to start being adherred (sic) to’ - I’d heard that the Gospel was all about Christ (Word-made-flesh) liberating all humanity from due process of the Law, in order to live by Grace.

    en Christo,  Father Ron

  18. Gerry O'Brien Says:

    In response to # 17 above:

    I am not in disagreement with the Website Administrators on this site, however, it is clear to myself and surely must be clear to you that for an extended period of time, this website was not being administered or policed to any extent, if indeed at all.  Many, many, many statements were placed on this site that were not edited and we are aware that the editing only really appears to have started taking place on 28-12-07. 

    That being said, I am not of a mind that it is up to the Administrators to produce answers to my statements to you. I simply asked you to produce further proof besides that of “The Primer” statement written by The Rev. Canon Benjamin Twinamaani of Uganda, posted at Anglican Communion Institute (Florida, USA). 

    Canon Benjamin chose to stay at a parish where two-thirds of it walked away and started a new “plant” because of the liberal, revisionist leaning of the Parish he stayed at.  I am only asking you to show me other proof to back up the good Canon’s statement.  I am not saying that Canon Benjamin’s “letter” which was his “personal thoughts” not re-enforced with supporting proof is false ~ on the contrary, I am simply asking for supporting facts.  I thought in your wisdom and with your ecclesiastical background you would be happy to do same.

    We (You and I) it appears, have a very deep difference of opinion on the application of and respect for “All written Scripture” as found in the 66 books of the Holy Bible.  I base my faith on ALL, not part of them, including,

    2 Timothy 3:15-17
    “and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    I guess technically, Father Smith, that you are absolutely correct when you say that the GOSPEL was (is) all about Christ. 
    BUT,
    the HOLY BIBLE is all about GOD!  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit….the Three in One, The Holy Trinity.

    Do you not believe Father Smith, that we should adhere to ALL of the Holy Bible?  If you say No, then you should be careful.  If you say Yes, then you are going against yourself.  If you say New Testament only, then don’t forget Paul’s Teachings in his Letters.  Remember, Paul, he was the one chosen personally by the Risen Savior, to take the Word, The Truth, to the Gentiles, which you are one of.

    In Christ,
    Gerry

  19. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Mr O’Brien, I accept the Holy Bible as a wonderful and holy guide to the spiritual life.
    I cannot say that I believe in every jot, tittle and iota, simply because some of it’s specific proscriptions have been deemed to be no longer valid. For instance, that women should be stoned to death if caught ‘in flagrante’. (And what about the men? one might ask). Should a menstruating woman be ostracised from society?
    Should a woman not be allowed to speak in Church?  [Edited, personal remark]


    Washing one’s hands above the elbow? Jesus had very scathing remarks to say about various of the rules and regulations in the Old Testament! So if there is any inconsistency at all, how can one possibly say that one agrees with literally every word of the Bible?

    Then again, there is more than one story of the Creation. Does one believe every word of all?

    So, in answer to your question: Do I think we should believe in the whole of the Bible? I confess I must say, for myself only, NO! - simply because even Jesus - The Word Made Flesh, Himself, had problems with it - especially the Sabbath Law!

    I would not want to inhibit you, or anyone else from believing in every jot, tittle and iota, but I must confess I do have a problem there.

    Now, ask me whether I believe in the authenticity of the Bible, and I would have to say yes - with just one proviso, that it be seen as God’s word filtered through the understanding of the Writer. No-one is perfect - excepting the Word-Made-Flesh in Christ!

    en Christo,  Fr. Ron

  20. Gerry O'Brien Says:

    Dear Father Smith:

    Thank you for your answer to a portion of my post No.18 concerning how much of the Holy Bible one should or should not believe.  You have certainly made some points concerning stoning, etc. and these are things that have changed over the course of time.  Those changes have been for the good of the Church and for the good of mankind. They do not, however, in the changes made, further promote immorality in sexual matters, rather, they promote changes in punishment from those times to this. 

    Now, the other point, which is much more important, you did not answer, rather you chose to totally ignore the questions concerning the comments made by the Rev. Canon Benjamin Twinamaani of Uganda, posted at Anglican Communion Institute (Florida, USA).

    If you choose not to further that particular conversation, that is up to you of course, but again all I was asking for was some supporting information for The Canon’s statements. 

    To further this particular conversation would take us much further away from the intent of the thread that I see it as fruitless.  If you do choose to reply to my last question, I would appreciate it.

  21. Father Ron Smith Says:

    As you so rightly say, Gerry, to accede to your particular request in this instance, would take this conversation ‘off-thread’ - something which both you and the web-adminstrators do not allow.

    I am, therefore disposed to refer you to the article published, under the title ‘Primer to the Global South’, by the Administrators.

  22. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Southern Cone Primate Gregory Venables put the meeting in context: “Rather than being subject to the continued chaos and compromise that have dramatically impeded Anglican mission, GAFCON will seek to clarify God’s call at this time and build a network of cooperation for Global mission.”

    This is a conference about Anglican global mission work. And it is about time that Anglicans get back to God’s priorities!

  23. Father Ron Smith Says:

    “This is a conference about Anglican global mission work. And it is about time that Anglicans get back to God’s priorities! Posted by Alice C. Linsley on 01/05 at 06:08 AM “

    For Alice Linsley to make such a statement seems a little naive, to say the very least.

    Her so obvious inference here is that the GAFCON gathering, scheduled for this year in Jerusalem, is the way for Anglicans to ‘get back to God’s priorities’

    To have such an exclusive understanding of what might be involved in getting back to ‘God’s priorities’ - or, indeed, any fruitful mission in today’s world - is surely rather insulting to those who do not subscribe to the insular view of the GAFCON Organisers and their supporters.

    The world-wide Anglican Communion is much larger than the promoters of the Jerusalem meeting, in both ecclesial and material mission resources.

    To think that GAFCON could command, or even gain, the allegiance of the world-wide Anglican Church, while seeking to bring a return to feudal authority -(‘Prince Bishops’, ‘Sola Scriptura’ etc.) - is to entertain a false hope of turning back the clock in mission.

    Advance in the Gospel brings radical change - especially to out-dated mission strategies!

    Thank God for the faithful Bishops of our Church who will gather at LAMBETH 2008!

  24. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Clearly we have different definitions of “faithful bishops”, Ron. I wouldn’t follow the leadership of anybody, bishop, priest or lay, whose faithfulness is to an agenda. Agenda-driven people are not full of faith (faithful) and very often dangerous.

  25. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Well, folks, it seems that GAFCON may not now proceed! The Bishop in Jerusalem has said the Conference will not be welcome in his Diocese.

    After all, he is the Bishop in charge there!
    I don’t expect the ABC will want to intervene.

  26. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    GAFCON will happen in Jerusalem. Bishop Bob Duncan, Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership, today (January 9, 2008) issued invitations to all the members of the Common Cause Partnership College of Bishops to join him in attending the Global Anglican Future Conference to be held in June in Jerusalem. Read more here: http://www.united-anglicans.org/