Church of England Bishop Blasts GAFCON -- UK Statement
REFORM set to form Inter Church Trusts
By David W. Virtue, DD
November 21, 2016
A statement put out by GAFCON-UK upholding Lambeth resolution 1: 10 has been met with hateful rebuff by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Roderick Holtam, who described the GAFCON statement as "outrageous".
In a letter to the Church Times, the liberal bishop cited Luke 11: 44, "Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites that you are. . ." The bishop then went on to say that when Jesus attacked people he thought were in error, there is not a single instance when he named an individual. To name individuals in this statement is wrong, creates a climate of fear, and opens them to personal abuse.
"Thou shalt not bear false witness," roared the bishop. "There is a great deal of inaccuracy in the GAFCON statement. The priest named from this diocese is not licensed, as they say he is. He has carried the cost of conscience personally. The blessing of Gay Pride in Salisbury was a joyful celebration of a people who are part of our community and among the rich diversity of all God's children. This is in keeping with Lambeth I.10, which calls us "to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals."
The bishop moaned 'love your enemies'. "GAFCON may think that the people named represent a serious error, but the way in which they are misrepresented is not the way for followers of Jesus, who usually want to represent opponents truthfully and see the best possible motives in others, not the worst."
"Do as you would be done by," lamented the bishop. "Lambeth I.10 also contained statements about the way Provinces relate to one another. Nothing is said about GAFCON's own repeated violations of these. Lambeth I.10 also acknowledged the Bishops' inability to come to a common mind on the scriptural, theological, historical, and scientific questions which are raised. The challenge to our Church is to maintain its unity while we seek, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to discern the way of Christ for the world today with respect to human sexuality. To do so will require sacrifice, trust and charity towards one another, remembering that ultimately the identity of each person is defined by Christ.
"For myself, I learned a long time ago that where you stand affects what you can see. In 2002, at the retirement of a colleague, I stood with 800 others in church to give thanks for the ministry of a gay priest who had exercised an outstanding ministry for 40 years among students, homeless people, and several parishes and congregations."
As the Diocesan Bishop's Adviser on Pastoral Care, he had cared for many clergy, and had a particular ministry among gay people, said Holtam.
Then the bishop launched into attack mode, "Though the institutional Church has at times seemed to find their very existence an "inconvenient truth", God made LGBT people, loves them, and preserves them. I knew I belonged with the people who gathered in church that evening, and Christ was with us."
The bishop's enlightened outrage needs to be examined a little more closely for its theological inaccuracies.
Jesus did name some of his enemies. He called "Herod that fox" and he called the Pharisees a "generation of vipers". While not naming them by name, most folk listening would have known who they were. The Apostle Paul also named those who taught erroneous nonsense and he included Alexander, Hymenaeus, Jannes, Jambres and Philetus whom he turned over to a reprobate mind. Of Alexander and Hymenaeus, Paul delivered them specifically over to Satan. He named them and damned them. Hardly politically correct by today's standards.
The bishop further cited "inaccuracies" in the GAFCON statement. There are some minor errors created by the passage of time and they are now being corrected, but that that does not change the sum and substance of what GAFCON is and stands for.
Gay Pride Parade days bring out the worst in the gay community. Those who publicly flaunt their sexuality often in leather and bondage gear alongside drag queens and the like do not speak for a lot of homosexuals who hold professional jobs and would not be seen dead at these parades. (My wife and I live next door to homosexual couples and they are embarrassed by such public displays of homoerotic behavior.) The most outre pro homosexual bishops in TEC like the Bishop of San Francisco, Marc Andrus, can be seen sitting in convertible late model cars blessing all and sundry. It is an abuse of ecclesiastical authority and an offence to orthodox Episcopalians.
The bishop says we need to love our enemies. Of course we do, whoever said we didn't. But to love someone means also to speak the truth "in love" because the consequences of not doing so can be eternal. As one blogger observed, "Both Jesus and Paul spoke out strongly against blind leaders of the blind who were leading people into a ditch - such as here." Indeed.
The bishop argues that the church has yet to come to a common mind on the scriptural, theological, historical, and scientific questions which are raised.
This is flat out wrong. The GAFCON bishops and archbishops came to a common mind with the birth of the Jerusalem Declaration. Here is just one very declarative paragraph:
The first fact is the acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different 'gospel' (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel. This false gospel undermines the authority of God's Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgement. Many of its proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God's blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.
For the record, the vast majority of Anglicans in the world believe this. The views of bishops like Holtam are a minority of Western pansexualists and pro-homosexual bishops. Furthermore, when the Primates met in in January in Canterbury, they censured TEC and said it should not represent Anglicans ecumenically, which was promptly abandoned when three months later in Nairobi, Kenya, The Anglican Churches of Nigeria and Kenya announced it would boycott the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Zambia over the participation of the Episcopal Church. The sanctions were explicit in saying the Episcopal Church cannot represent the communion or vote on doctrine and polity.
This happened again when Archbishop Justin Welby invited PB Michael Curry to Rome to meet with the Pope earlier this year!
The bishop concludes by saying that "God made LGBT people." Rubbish. There is not a shred of evidence He has made anything of the sort. Real science has "outed" the born-gay hoax.
In twin studies, the "concordance" answers the simple question, "Where one twin of an identical pair is homosexual, what percentage of co-twins is also homosexual?" The concordance of the twin pairs is a measure of the level of influence of biological factors (generally assumed to be the genetic influence) on whatever trait is being studied, in this case, homosexuality. If homosexuals are born gay, then whenever one twin of an identical pair is homosexual, the co-twin will also be homosexual, giving a concordance value of ~ 100%, indicating a very strong, determinant genetic influence. A concordance value of ~ 20%-30%, on the other hand, would indicate a weak, non-determinant influence of genetics, writes James Aist of Rethinking Theology blog.
Other pertinent observations from published scientific literature are:
Homosexuality is much more fluid than is heterosexuality, as 50% of homosexuals become heterosexual, but only 1.9% of heterosexuals become homosexual;
One study reported that 63% of lesbians and 50% of gay men, from age 18 to age 26, changed sexual orientation at least once;
Because of the higher levels of sexual orientation fluidity among homosexuals, at any given time there are more ex-gays than actual gays in the general population;
All of these reported changes in sexual orientation were spontaneous.
Finally, the Bishop of Salisbury professes outrageous indignation at GAFCON's actions. Perhaps his indignation is an attempt to direct attention away from his own efforts to sanctify same sex relationships in the church, relationships which Scripture universally condemns as sinful? The bishop is trying to take the moral high ground, when what he is doing is trying to overturn the Word of God and 2,000 years of Christian moral teaching. That is the height of hubris and hypocrisy.
INTER CHURCH TRUSTS
REFORM has recommended that all of their churches form local trusts to manage their finances, withdrawing from most of the customary financial exchanges which currently exist in the Church of England between a parish and its diocese. The diocese currently pays the clergy, and the parishes send money to the diocese to pay for this as part of the diocesan budget. Churches which preach the biblical gospel are twinning financially so that richer churches can partner the work of poorer ones.
In an inter church trust, Evangelical parishes will support one another financially, and promote gospel ministry, rather than send money to the diocese to be spent as the diocese chooses.
The extent to which a parish commits itself to the trust can vary, but the principle is that Evangelical churches should no longer fund activities which far from promoting the gospel, actually undermine it.
Perhaps because of what REFORM has seen happen in the Episcopal Church over the Denis Canon and property ownership, they have recommended their churches form inter church trusts. Are they doing this in the light of the gathering revisionism and possible breakup of the Church of England?
Time will tell. But one thing is certain, the trajectory the Church of England is on is exactly what we have witnessed in The Episcopal Church, USA. A fool would think otherwise.
On the Mainline
Worship with us:
Sundays at 4:00pm.
210 S. Wayne Ave, Wayne, PA