Anglo-Catholics as Evangelistic Church Planters

Anglo-Catholics as Evangelistic Church Planters

By Canon Lawrence D. Bausch
November, 2015

Anglo-Catholics are grateful for the significant role we have played in Anglican history, especially in reminding Anglicans that our church is an organic portion of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that was established by God’s action in the first century. In previous centuries, we have participated mightily in missionary work, church planting and serving those in need, all centered on the glorification of Christ and His presence and action in the Sacraments. We have contributed to enriching our worship, restored the Religious Life to our church, reintroduced Retreats, Sacramental Confession and Spiritual Direction, and the riches of the personal prayer life from all ages of Christian history. We, as members of Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA) rejoice that we have a share in this wonderful heritage. However, we in North America are facing challenges to our continued participation in the fulness of this inheritance, and I would like to address one of these here: Church Planting.

Whether our FIFNA members are in TEC, ACNA, or one of the various continuing Anglican jurisdictions, we all face obstacles which can blind us to a vision of ministry which includes the importance of church planting. This situation is brought about by several reasons, three of which we will consider here. First, those of us who came into church life or ordained ministry a generation or more ago were largely brought into a church in which priests were primarily seen as chaplains to the faithful, whose job was to lead the faithful in worship, teach, and care for those in need. (Think of Fr. Tim in the delightful “Mitford” books, especially the early ones.) Church Planting was largely something determined by Dioceses, as “missions” became less often the work of local parishes. Mission to the unchurched was largely overlooked.

Second, those Anglicans who have been intentional in Church Planting over the last generation or more have most often been from the evangelical/charismatic elements of the church. Indeed, a “model church plant” has come to be perceived in many quarters as something most Anglo-Catholics would hardly recognize as church, most significantly in the use of language which defines worship as music, and where the actual celebration of the Eucharist becomes almost a sidebar to the music (and possibly the preaching). This distortion has led some to simply write off church planting, believing that it only serves to undermine what we believe and practice.

A third factor to consider is the understandable focus on simply preserving what we have. Many of our people are in parishes which perceive themselves to be “too small” to consider Church Planting, and struggle to keep what they have. Some serve in TEC dioceses in which they are permitted to teach and worship in their own tradition, but are essentially limited to their parish. (This number includes some who have been told by bishops that when their rector leaves or retires, things will change.)

In spite of these obstacles, the Gospel is clear that all Christians are called to be evangelistic, including support for Church Planting. Jesus has come out of love for all people, and we are His Body sent to reveal Him (Luke 2:29-32; 24:45-47, etc.). How then can Anglo-Catholics become good evangelists and support Church Planting? My first action upon my election to President of FIFNA was to appoint Fr. Chris Culpepper as Advisor to the President for Church Planting. He has started two congregations in the Diocese of Fort Worth, as well as advising other church planters in the Diocese and in the REC. He has recently formed a task force which will disseminate best practices in Anglo-Catholic Church Planting and provide individual coaching for leaders of future FIFNA congregations; more information is at the task force website at This ministry in support of the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church is crucial not only for Anglo-Catholics, but for the broader Apostolic and Conciliar Church.

One final note: It is a great joy to be able to report that the recent Church Planting leaders appointed for the ACNA by Archbishop Foley Beach, The Rev. Canon Dan Alger and The Rev Alan Hawkins, are incorporating two elements to the basic characteristics of Anglican church plants which FIFNA can heartily endorse: First, church plants need to be connected with the larger church; and second, they need to be sacramentally based. We are delighted that they share these concerns.

The Rev. Canon Lawrence D. Bausch is President, Forward in Faith North America

Who Put God In A Box?

Who Put God In A Box?

Fr. Dale Matson

The Word of God is both a mirror and a light. It reveals our inner nature to us, both saint and sinner. What I was impressed with in writing a devotional was my own lack of humility when in God’s presence and how often I fall short of His call to live a pure and holy life.

I am also impressed with how God has been turned into a charitable friend by our modern churches. We do have a friend in Jesus but He is so much more than that. He is also the transfigured and ascended Christ, Who is also God. He is also the Christ who was a co-creator with the Father. In the 1979 BCP lectionary readings, we see the compassionate human Christ but the righteous Christ Who threw the money changers out of the temple is downplayed. Christ demands that we follow Him, yoked to His pain, joy and holiness. We will all drink from His cup of suffering until we put on immortality.

One cannot walk away from the experience of writing a Lectio Divina format devotional without being bathed in the light of Scripture. What has been missing for me is the obvious Divine aspect of Christ, the moment-by-moment presence of God the Holy Spirit and fear of the Father. I think the 1928 Book of Common Prayer gives us a much fuller understanding of God than the 1979 BCP.

Much of the 1928 prayer book is driven by a traditional catechism with questions like this. “What is thy duty toward God?” “My duty toward God is to believe in him and fear him…life.” The 1979 prayer book asks, “What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?” “God is love”. He is a loving and gracious God but to only portray Him in this way is a form of idolatry and paves the way for a false Christology that deemphasizes God’s call to Holiness.

My questions would be, “Who is God?” “Is God only love?” “Is he not also a jealous, holy, sovereign and righteous God?” “Who is man?” “Is he created in God’s image but also contaminated with original sin. “Do all humans and all of corrupted creation need a savior?”

In the 1979 prayer book, human nature is misrepresented. “What does it mean to be created in the image of God?” It means that we are free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and God.” What is described is human existence before the fall. There is no mention of the fall, original sin and the corruption of all creation. While the 1979 prayer book emphasizes free will and choices (freedom), the 1928 prayer book describes in detail our duty (responsibilities) to neighbor including “…to do my duty in that state of life unto which is shall please God to call me.”

When a church manipulates belief through the selective use of lectionary Scripture, then it is no different than Satan’s three temptations of Christ with the selective use of Scripture. What Scripture is selected for the lectionary lessons and how it is selected reflects the underlying theology of those who select it. The Underground Pewster has had several examples posted on his blog over the years, where Scripture readings are broken up to avoid certain passages. (

It is TEC leadership that put “God in a box” by overemphasizing one aspect of His being. In so doing, they also let man out of the box, so to speak. We are called to “…do our duty.” We are free but we have constraints and boundaries, duties and responsibilities. Good theology is God centered. Theology that is man centered makes God in the image of an idealized man. When man is god, the material earth becomes his kingdom and it is more important to save the earth that humans may “flourish” than to save souls for the Kingdom of God.

Father Dale is an Anglican Priest, a Retired Licensed Plumber and Heavy Equipment Operator and Psychologist. He resides with his wife Sharon in Fresno California and is a Priest at St. James Anglican Cathedral. He is an Emeritus Faculty member of Fresno Pacific University and has authored 12 books

Marriage, Human Sexuality, and the Body: From the Beginning It Was Not So (Part II)


This is part of a series of articles on marriage, human sexuality and the body. Read Part I here.

The problem we face today is actually much deeper than we realize.  The Christian church in the West has largely embraced the wider cultural views regarding the very purpose of marriage—and therefore, we get off on the wrong foot to begin with.  Marriage is, in the wider culture, broadly understood as a shifting cultural arrangement to promote happiness, companionship, sexual fulfillment and economic efficiency.  Marriage in the contemporary period is a commodity.  Like all commodities you should expect returns, (in this case emotional or romantic returns) or you can abandon or discard the relationship and opt for one which is better.

For the last forty years, the church has largely adopted the world’s definition of marriage.  The deeper vision of reflecting the Trinity, the sacramental nature of the body, being image bearers in our physicality, not just our spirits, the power of self-donation, joining God as creators in the reproduction of children, and, indeed, the very foundation for the future incarnation, and so forth have not been a prominent part of the Christian discourse about marriage.  Therefore, once we accepted the wider cultural, social, pragmatic and biological definition of marriage, we really had no proper ground on which to stand in order to oppose potentially any kind of marriage arrangements.  But, in the beginning, it was not so, as the whole creation of male and female is cast in a larger theological context; it is not merely social and biological; it is also spiritual and theological.

For example, we often describe a “sacrament” as an outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace, but then we limit ourselves by thinking of sacraments only in terms of the two which Christ established: baptism and the Eucharist.  Wesley, on the other hand, prodded us to think more deeply and expansively about all the means of grace which, for Wesley, is a much larger category than baptism and Eucharist.  John Paul II makes the point that Christ is not the only one who provides sacramental means of grace.  There are sacraments which flow from the Father and the Spirit.  We will actually explore how marriage is the primordial sacrament later in this series.  But, for now, let us lay the groundwork that your physical body itself is a kind of sacrament.  It is an outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace, because we have been created in the image of God.  In Genesis, this is what distinguishes us from the animals and which roots us as spiritual and theological beings—not just a spirit inside of us, but the whole of who we are as image bearers.  We are, bodily, a living sacrament and our bodies are a sign to the world of God’s presence—ultimately fulfilled in the incarnation and expressed through the physical community of the church.  In fact, the human body is the bridge between theology and anthropology.  Indeed, without the physicality of the body the “means of grace” as we know it would cease.  Think about it. You baptize a body, you take the Eucharist into your body, you confess Christ with your lips, you lay hands on the body of the sick and anoint with oil, or lay hands on someone to set apart for ministry, etc. Even Scripture is read with our eyes or listened to with our ears.  Only the body can make the invisible, visible.  It is the ultimate outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace.  It is just so close to us that we can easily miss it.

Going Back to the Beginning

John Paul II’s Theology of the Body takes Jesus’ point and goes back to the beginning as he asks us to consider more carefully the “pre-fallenAdam.  Many of our theological constructs only view humanity through the lens of the Fall.  The first Adam embodies the Fall, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, embodies redemption.  So, theologically, we have mostly developed the two Adams: the fallen Adam and Christ as the Second Adam, because that is found in Romans 5 and I Cor. 15:45.  But, when Jesus refers to these pre-Fall texts in Matthew 19, he is referring to the pre-fallen Adam, the original, creational Adam.  When Paul says, “in Adam all die and in Christ all are made alive”, that is a reference to only Christ and the fallen Adam.  But, when Jesus says “from the beginning it was not so” he is calling us to look back even before the Fall.  We have to go back to the original design and understand something of the theology of creation, the theology of the body, and God’s original intention for the cosmic role of Adam and Eve in the original creation, which we must examine before we rush too quickly to Genesis 3 and the entrance of sin.

It has long been a complaint against popular evangelical theology that our Bible begins with Gen. 3 and end with Rev. 20, a theological omission of the opening two chapters and the closing two chapters.  The result has been a theologically reductionistic narrative which stretches from Fall to Judgment, rather than the actual biblical narrative which stretches from Creation to New Creation.  (This “whole Bible” approach was one of the many restorations brought about through the Wesleyan revivals).   But, can we fully understand the fulfillment of the New Creation unless we first understand the origin, intention, purpose and moral framework of the original creation?

The fact that Jesus, in a post-Fallen world as recorded in Matthew 19, quotes and masterfully combines Gen. 1:27 (male and female) and 2:24 (two united as one flesh)—both pre-Fall texts—is a powerful reminder that, despite the Fall and the tragic entrance of sin into the world, the original design of creation, as embodied in unfallen Adam and Eve who were created “male” and “female” and were united to become “one flesh,” remains intact as God’s plan and design for us, and He will not relinquish this even in the face of sin, hardness of heart and a whole spectrum of cultural issues which seek to cloud everything.  A few years ago, the Supreme Court of India ruled that that every person “has the right to choose their gender” because Hindus have no doctrine of creation and therefore there are no moral boundaries inherent in our creational design.  Jesus, in contrast, says to us as he said to them, “from the beginning it was not so…”  We must remember this.

CAIRO: Anglican Church in North America Declared Partner Province by the Global South

CAIRO: Anglican Church in North America Declared Partner Province by the Global South

October 16, 2015

Anglican Primates of the Global South, a coalition representing the majority of the world’s Anglicans, met October 14-16, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt.

During the meeting, the Anglican Church in North America was declared to be an official partner province of the Global South. In addition, Archbishop Foley Beach, who earlier in the week had preached at All Saints Anglican Cathedral in Cairo, was seated as a member of the Global South Primates Council with both voice and vote; participating fully in the meeting.

Archbishop Beach commented on the gathering, “It is a privilege and joy to represent the Anglican Church in North America as the bonds of fellowship between faithful, global Anglicans continue to be strengthened. This was a good and important week in the lives of our provinces, and I am encouraged that some of the seeds of restoration and renewal that were planted years ago are continuing to bear fruit.”

At future meetings of the Global South, the Anglican Church in North America is invited to send official representatives, and Archbishop Beach will continue to have voice and vote in the Global South Primates Council.

Marriage, Human Sexuality, and the Body: Let’s Go back to the Beginning

 (Part I)tennet

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

This is the beginning of a series of blogs on marriage, human sexuality and the body.

Brother and sisters, we are living in the wake of a multi-generational neglect of a biblical vision of the body, marriage and human sexuality.  The church’s inability in recent years to articulate a compelling response to issues like same-sex marriage and gender reassignment has highlighted the deeper neglect of our thinking on these, and many other issues.  It is grossly ineffective and inadequate for the church to be simply against something in culture without the capacity to articulate what the biblical vision calls us to; namely, the positive vision which is so beautifully set forth in Scripture.  On this issue, we must confess that our Roman Catholic friends are about twenty years ahead of us, and we need to listen to what they are saying and find appropriate ways to bring this into our own theological frameworks.  Wesleyan theology is itself a synthesis movement, because Wesley loved to draw from and learn from every Christian tradition, including Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, the Puritans, etc.—all of which find their way into the great Wesleyan synthesis.

Between Sept. 5, 1979 and Nov. 28, 1984, the late Pope John Paul II preached a five year series of weekly homilies on the Theology of the Body, which remains one of the most beautiful expositions of this theme I have ever read.  My goal this semester is to share with you the broad outlines of that study.   I can hardly begin to unfold this in just seven installments, but I hope to provide a kind of scenic overview which, in turn, might inspire you to capture a vision for the kind of theological spadework which you must learn to do.

Think about it:  What might happen if we really took time to think through these issues?  In comparing some of the basic impulses of Protestants vs. Roman Catholics, I often joke that when a new social-cultural issue emerges—whether it be on human sexuality, nuclear armaments or global immigration—the Jesuits are called in by the Pope and told to go out and think about it and return in twenty years with a report which forms the basis of a papal encyclical.  In contrast, the Protestants jot down a few thoughts on the back of an envelope while they are in their car on the way to a mass rally to address the issue.  I am, of course, exaggerating, but I think you get my point.  What kind of robust theology might emerge if we really took time to think about these issues?  We cannot simply “cut and paste” Roman Catholic reflections into our tradition, but we would be foolish not to listen to those who have already thought about this deeply.

Discussions about marriage, divorce and issues of human sexuality are not new.  What is new is our unpreparedness for the current questions being asked.  It is way too simplistic and reductionistic to think that the task before the church is to come up with a clever answer against, for example, homosexual practice, without stepping back and seeing it within the larger picture of a whole host of sexual brokenness on the cultural landscape—like digital pornography, adultery, fornication, gender re-assignment, etc. These problems cannot properly be addressed in isolation from the larger theology of the body.  This is why when the Pharisees tested Jesus in Matthew 19:3-8 with the question “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” it is a question which, in some ways, mirrors a hosts of questions which are today being hurled at the church:  Is it lawful for a man to marry another man;  Is it lawful for a person to change their gender.  It is important to be clear about biblical ethics and historic faith, and straightforward answers are necessary.  However, we should also accept responsibility for our own theological sloppiness in grasping the larger picture.  We have about twenty years of homework which we have neglected to do.  We are like the school boy who complains that he failed an exam, even though he never actually took time to study.  The culture has given us a test, and we have failed it.  It is not the time to lament or to place blame, we just have to start doing our homework.  Personally, I think it will take us decades to get on the right side of these tests.  I may not see it my lifetime, but I am reminded of the famous reply by John F. Kennedy when he asked that certain fruit trees be planted on the lawn of the White House. The seasoned White House gardener said, “but Mr. President, it will take 40 years for those particular kind of trees to bear fruit,” and Kennedy reportedly said, “Well, then you had better plant this afternoon!”

The first phrase of Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees receives quite a bit of space in the early homilies of Pope John Paul.  What Jesus does methodologically is very instructive for us.  Jesus doesn’t answer the question right off the bat.  They ask, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”  It is a question which, on the surface, begs for a simple “yes” or “ no” answer.  Yet, Jesus perceives that just answering the question will not help the questioner, because the problem is found, more fundamentally, in the very foundation of the question itself.   Jesus often looks beyond the question and to the questioner in his personal encounters, revealing his interest in the larger picture, not just answering a question per se.  Jesus wisely opts to expose their presuppositions and, in the process, gives us a glimpse into the deeper theological foundations upon which any answer, however simple and straightforward, must be based and built.   Therefore, Jesus calls them and us “back to the beginning.”  That is the title of this first homily, “Let us Go Back to the Beginning.”   Jesus brings up the original Creation twice in the short discourse with the amazing phrase, “from the beginning.”  In verse 4, “from the beginning the Creator made them male and female…”  and again in verse 9, in reference to Moses allowing the certificates of divorce” he says,  “from the beginning it was not so.”

The Protestant focus on the creation account in Genesis has been focused overwhelmingly in response to questions about material creation and issues around evolution and included precious little about human sexuality.  This is why false teaching is so good for the church. It actually forces the church to go back and examine texts which we have not read deeply enough.  Jesus masterfully brings together two texts from Genesis.  He quotes Gen. 1:27, that God “created them male and female,” which he joins with a quotation from Gen. 2:24: “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”  These texts deserve closer scrutiny.  What becomes clear is that when God created us, male and female, these are not merely biological categories; or, if I can put it more bluntly, these are not mere functional categories.  They are never less than that, of course, but to be ‘man’ or ‘woman’ are enfleshed realities which are deeply embedded in theological realities which reflect God himself.

In the future, we will explore how the Trinity is reflected in the creation of man, woman and child, as we join God’s creative work.  But that is to get ahead of ourselves.  The current point is to recognize the impossibility of understanding or explaining our identity from the world’s perspective.

Will revisionism save the C of E? We’re about to find out.

general synod

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream.

“Superb article, Andrew. You’ve cleared up several points on which I was confused. But then your articles are rarely less than superb.”

Sadly this commendation did not apply to me, but was the first of 640 readers’ comments on an article by Andrew Brown in last week’s Guardian Online. But more of that later.

Presiding Officers in each Diocese are this week counting the votes to elect members for General Synod for the next five years. I have a more than passing interest as I am a candidate for Oxford Diocesan clergy, but definitely an outsider to be one of the nine chosen among the 30 candidates.

Some Dioceses have already posted their results, and the headline has been the election of Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain as a representative for London. The background: In February 2014 the Bishops’ post-Synod statement reiterated that the Church of England cannot bless same sex relationships nor change its doctrine of marriage. Specifically an appeal was made to clergy in same sex relationships (which were supposed to be “celibate” anyway) not to take advantage of the forthcoming change in law (March 2014) to get married, because this would cause confusion about the Church’s teaching. Two clergy who defied this ruling became focal points for media interest: Jeremy Pemberton and Andrew Cain. What are we to make of the fact that the latter has become part of the decision making and governing body of the organisation whose teaching and practice on a crucial matter he has rejected?

London has the highest number of clergy reps for Synod – 11 – and there are some evangelicals in the list as well. But clearly, Foreshew-Cain has attracted many votes from other clergy because he represents a groundswell of opinion that the Church’s line on sexuality and marriage should be changed. He will become, then, a “focus of unity” for revisionists on Synod. Some may think the Bishops should be embarrassed, but I’m sure the official response will be that as the Church is involved in a “conversation”, all views can be expressed robustly, providing there is “good disagreement”.

For his supporters, Foreshew-Cain will be a symbol of “inclusion”. In his recent media statements he assumes that those who are concerned about his lifestyle simply “dislike gay people”. He goes on to say that the church with its teaching about sexual morality is not only alienating gay people, but divorced people as well. The implication is that whatever people choose to do with their relationships and private lives, that is ‘who they are’, and there should be no barriers. For revisionists, Foreshew-Cain’s presence at Synod will be a prophetic challenge to the boring, oppressive establishment, whose traditional doctrines about sex and marriage are excluding large numbers of people who don’t live in monogamous heterosexual marriage and are not celibate. ‘Including’ them will be the key to church growth.

Andrew Brown, veteran Guardian journalist, made similar points in an article last week, entitled Opposing gay Bishops for the sake of church unity is stupid. In his first paragraph he dismisses two common beliefs about what makes churches grow: a foundation of truth, and certainty of faith and its communication. The fact that different religions are based on mutually incompatible truth claims, and all seem to survive and thrive, suggests, according to Brown, that any such claims by any religion should be treated with suspicion if not ridicule. He then refutes the idea that certainty in religion is a good thing, by using two examples of “conviction” Christianity. Prosperity preachers are “obvious charlatans”; Calvinists are “boring and wrong”. This analysis of the motives of those who disagree with you is similar to Foreshew-Cain’s accusation that all with a conservative theology on sex and marriage hate gay people.

Brown dismisses the idea that sticking to orthodox doctrine will strengthen ecclesiastical institutions, because it hasn’t worked with the Catholic church in the West. Nor, apparently, with Anglicanism – since the notoriously heterodox David Jenkins retired from the See of Durham, a succession of Bishops “of unimpeachable orthodoxy” have failed to prevent a steep decline in church attendance. For Brown, like all revisionists, orthodoxy, like “Calvinism”, is a turn off even to most churchgoers, who would prefer to be led by a Bishop who shared their doubts, and this may in fact arrest the decline.

All of this builds up to the main point of Brown’s article, which is that Jeffrey John should be a Bishop, but has been blocked by “noisy evangelicals”, who insist that he could not be a focus of unity in a Diocese. Again there is caricature – we are told that conservative clergy are threatening to “march out” of the C of E in the case of John’s episcopacy, and that being governed by this threat is “cowardly and stupid”. Brown says that making John a Bishop might cause disunity but it would not be any worse than the current decline in numbers under Bishops with conventional beliefs and lifestyles, and may even cause some to stay. The same argument would presumably be made about the election of Foreshew-Cain to Synod as a hero for the revisionist cause.

But of course for those concerned about a foundation of biblical truth in the Church of England, the hypothetical problem with Jeffrey John being a Bishop would not be his sexuality, but his heterodox teaching. The actual high profile presence in Synod of a clergyman married to someone of the same sex will be a guarantor of division, and a symbol not of inclusion of people but of rebellion against God and his word. It is delusion to think this is a brave challenge to the powers that be – it is rather a capitulation to them, to the Stonewall-controlled, secularised new Establishment.

Will the policy of inclusion without repentance and faith, of rejecting traditional doctrines and reimagining Christian faith in line with contemporary urban white Western culture, bring more people to church? The Episcopal Church in the States and in Scotland, and  the Anglican Church in Wales have journeyed along this road, and are declining rapidly. While it may be true that orthodox Bishops per se do not guarantee church growth, the evidence shows clearly that revisionism leads to church decline. And its not difficult to see why. If the Gospel isn’t true, why should I go to church on Sunday rather than go shopping or play golf? Community? Inspiring architecture? Help to be a better person? Those who want clergy to be “tentative in speaking about God” and “honest about doubts” have certainly failed to convince me why I should bother with the church if the whole thing is an “imaginative construct” to use Andrew Brown’s phrase.

If Foreshew-Cain’s presence on Synod passes without any comment from Bishops or senior evangelicals, does this signify another milestone in the C of E’s inevitable slide towards revisionism?  What will the orthodox Anglicans do in the light of the latest example of this trajectory, in England and worldwide?

See also The all-inclusive church, by David Robertson, Christian Today

Cairo meeting of archbishops to begin on Wednesday


The Global South and Gafcon primates are scheduled to meet in Cairo on 13 Oct 2015 in Cairo, the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East tells Anglican Ink. Writing in response to a story released on 12 Oct 2015 that stated the primates had begun their meeting at All Saints Cathedral on 11 Oct 2015, Archbishop Mouneer Anis stated this was not the case, as not all of the invited leaders of the conservative and center-right coalitions were present and they had not yet begun their formal deliberations. The gathering of primates is expected to discuss the invitation extended by Archbishop Justin Welby for a primates gathering in January in Canterbury. Dr. Annis stated he had written to some of those scheduled to attend warning of the pressures they would face from partisans representing the various factions within the Communion.

“I am sure that you agree with me that at this time the only option for us is to be united and stand together for the upcoming Primates meeting. Divisions will weaken our stance. As you know unity does not mean uniformity. Both GS and GAFCON have their own unique approach. But our single aim is to expand the Kingdom of God and spread the Good News in Jesus Christ. At this time, if there is some weak among us, we need to do our best to embrace and encourage them to stand firm. . “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all”  (1 Thess 5:14)

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves”  (Romans 15: 1). We praise the Lord because none of us is ready to compromise the traditional faith which we received from Jesus Christ through  the Apostles. No one on earth can obligate or force us to compromise this faith. For this reason, we need to relax and to be gracious because we own our decision, by God’s Grace. We cannot be forced to do anything against the Scripture and our conscious. Our God is in charge for sure. For this reason we should not be driven by fear and suspicion but by trust in the One who called us who will do it “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)”

– See more at:

Gafcon meets in Cairo to consider invitation to Canterbury


George Conger

Members of the primates council of the GAFCON movement met yesterday in Cairo, sources tell Anglican Ink, and are understood to have discussed their response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to the January primates gathering scheduled for Canterbury. A source familiar with their deliberations said they would be communicating their decision first to Archbishop Justin Welby before any statement would be given to the media. He further noted that he could neither confirm nor deny that a decision had been reached, though it is understood the coalition of conservative archbishops have agreed to act as one. A spokesman for Archbishop Foley Beach confirmed the ACNA primate had preached on Sunday at All Saints Cathedral. Sources in Cairo report that other members of the primates council had gathered in Cairo before the start of the Fifth South to South Anglican Conference scheduled to begin today in Carthage, Tunisia. A statement is expected shortly from the conference organizers explaining the reason for the cancellation. However, unconfirmed reports from those scheduled to attend the meeting state it was cancelled due to an unspecified security threat.

– See more at:

History made as South African Church Votes to Bless Same-sex marriage and Ordain Gay Ministers

YES! for Gay People in Dutch Reformed Church – NG Kerk  – There were Tears of joy after the announcement.

By Melanie Nathan, October 08, 2015.

Dutch Reformed Church Theological College

History was made in South Africa today, when the synod of  what was once probably the most conservative church on the planet, the Dutch Reformed Church, (NG Kerk/ DRC) in an overwhelming majority,  voted in favor of ordaining gay ministers and blessing same sex unions.

Translating from the Afrikaans language I was able to determine this:

The DRC’s general synod chose to move forward with regard to the church’s position on gay relationships. Two proposals before the Synod were received as follows: Dr. Andre Bartlett  with 102 votes against the 88 votes received by Dr. Chris van Wyk’s  proposal. Van Wyk’s proposal asked that further research on the matter occur  before a decision was to be made. But it was decided that the time  to keep researching and not make a decision, is over.

“I was flabbergasted, but I think it’s a great step forward for the restoration of the dignity of our church’s gay members,” Bartlett said after the announcement of the vote.

Bartlett’s proposal noted that heterosexual and homosexual couples in a relationship of “personal faith obedience to the Lord,” must be allowed to fully participate in all the privileges of the church.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.34.06 AMIt was however stated that there would be no forcing of the issue.  Because some in the Church continue to believe marriage should be between a man and woman, an element of discretion is still given to the church councils to formulate their own practices and rules.  It was stated that no one should be forced to conduct gay marriages, because there is such a diverse amount of views within the church about it.  (Source Netwerk 24)

This new ruling where the Church in essence now approves same-sex marriage and the ordaining of gay ministers may be the saving grace for the Church’s sliding popularity.

This is the Church that once all but controlled a country which thrived on discrimination.  It may even be described the as the religious wing of Apartheid.  Drawing on an old article in the Mail Guardian,  “The Slow and Steady Death of the NG Church…”  Charles Leonard back in 2010 paints this picture:

“It was once described as the National Party (The Afrikaner Apartheid party) at prayer. But the Dutch Reformed Church numbers are dwindling. Charles Leonard finds out why.

It was during the one beautiful Afrikaans hymn that I closed my eyes and I was instantly transported about 40 years back to the platteland Dutch Reformed Church in which I was brought up.

I am a teenager in my dark green suit sitting close to my mom on the brown benches. My dad is sitting in the elders’ benches next to the pulpit. The grey-faced, toga-clad dominee’s droning voice and the airless church are dragging heavily on my eyelids. Not even the mint imperials my mom is feeding me are helping to keep me awake. At least the occasional singing brings variety, although the congregation lags a bit behind the histrionics of the organist.

That formerly omnipotent Afrikaner church I grew up in is in trouble. Officially it lost 20 000 members last year, even though the real numbers are likely to be much higher. It had always turned away people with different ideologies, skin colours, and sexual preferences. Now, it seems, we are witnessing the book of Exodus’s “jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”.

Three, four decades ago Afrikaners could hardly get a job without a reference from their dominee. But, at some point that all changed.

“The church lost its grip over people,” says Jean Oosthuizen, the progressive news editor of the Die Kerkbode (The Church Messenger), which once acted as National Party praise singer and the Dutch Reformed Church’s Pravda during the apartheid days. He says many lost faith in the church because of its actions in the past.

“The Afrikaans churches’ support for apartheid is now costing them a lot. Many people feel cheated and want to know, if the church lied to them about apartheid, what else it is lying about?”

They never had a proud record when it came to inclusiveness. They discriminated against women, who were not allowed on their pulpits, and black people, who were not allowed in their white churches. And, as Oosthuizen points out, women are still not allowed to preach in the Gereformeerde Kerk (Reformed Church), and the Hervormde Kerk (Restructured Church) is still arguing over whether apartheid was a sin. These days, almost all the Afrikaans churches seem to discriminate against gay people, except perhaps one.”

Soon after the end of Apartheid, South Africa enacted an all inclusive constitution which prohibits discrimination based on gender, gender identity and sexuality, protecting all LGBTI people. It seems that this is one Church that is catching up with the times, albeit 20 years into the New South Africa. There are other Churches in the country which still have a long way to go.

My comment: As a South African who grew up knowing a lot about this Church and its impact on South Africa, during the Apartheid era, understanding everything it stood for, in a million years I would not have imagined this day being possible.  I hope it stands as worldwide example of an evolution toward progress and how faith can and should embrace all.  If more faith based organizations are able to accomplish this, we will see a dramatic decline in homophobia around the world.” (Melanie Nathan)


Ds. Nelis Janse van Rensburg was chosen as the moderator of the NG Kerk’s Synod.
Suzaan Steyn interviews Janse van Rensburg  about gays in die church and this groundbreaking action.

Please note that the discussion begins with a criticism that not enough women are in leadership positions in the Church and the Church moderator makes that admission.

Discipline of The Episcopal Church will be first Item on Primates meeting in Canterbury

By David W. Virtue DD
October 6, 2015The discipline of The Episcopal Church (and presumably the Anglican Church of Canada) will be the first item on the agenda when the Primates of the Anglican Communion meet in Canterbury in January, VOL has learned.

If TEC and the ACoC are disciplined for their departure from the faith and do not leave the meeting, the Global South Primates will not be likely to stay, VOL was told.

If they are disciplined, repent and do the right thing and leave, the Global South archbishops will stay on, said the source.

A report by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada Fred Hiltz that ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach had only been invited for one day before the formal meeting gets under way — “as an opportunity for some conversation, in the ultimate hope that we might be able to find a way forward towards reconciliation,” is simply inaccurate. Hiltz described this as “a good thing.”

But VOL was told that this interpretation by Hiltz about what he thinks will transpire in Canterbury is simply not true and avoids the facts. Archbishop Beach will only come if the Global South archbishops come and they will only appear if Beach is invited and the issue of the North American departure from Scripture is the centerpiece of the discussion.

“The central issue of this meeting will be the theological innovations of The Episcopal Church and not climate change,” VOL was told.



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