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AUSTRALIA: Former Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies Commissioned New GAFCON Bishop

AUSTRALIA: Former Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies Commissioned New GAFCON Bishop
Diocese of the Southern Cross formed as lifeboat for orthodox Anglicans in Australia

By David W. Virtue, DD
August 22, 2022

With several hundred in attendance, the former Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies pronounced that he would "preach Christ faithfully to the nation." Davies is the newly commissioned Bishop of the Canberra-based Diocese of the Southern Cross under oversight of GAFCON the Global Anglican Future Conference of orthodox believers.

It was a landmark event "down under" that shadows what happened in New Zealand in 2019 when GAFCON declared a new diocese CCAANZ under the leadership of Bishop Jay Behan.

It also signals that revisionist provinces in the West no longer hold the high ground in global Anglicanism as increasingly orthodox Anglicans breakaway from their revisionist bishops and clergy to form new faithful Anglican parishes and dioceses.

The following is an edited transcription of four orthodox bishops that included ACNA Archbishop and GAFCON chairman Foley Beach, Glenn Davies, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southern Cross, Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania and Jennifer Hercott of Central Queensland. Twenty representatives of the 23 dioceses in Australia were present for the commissioning.

COMMISSIONING SERVICE: "May God's Spirit rest upon you as you engage in this new office as Bishop of the Southern Cross.

I, Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and the Chairman of the Primates' Council declare that the GAFCON Primates' Council in agreement with the establishment of the Diocese of the Southern Cross as an authentic Anglican diocese in the local Anglican Fellowship. I therefore welcome you my brother as the newly-installed Bishop of the Diocese of the Southern Cross and commend you to God's grace.

ASSEMBLY CONGREGATION: We welcome you as the Bishop of the Diocese of the Southern Cross and pledge our support for you. As you minister in Christ's Name by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God and for the local church. Amen.

MODERATOR DOMINIC STEELE: Glenn Davies is with us, and also with us the Chair of the GAFCON-Australia Board, Richard Condie, the Bishop of Tasmania; the Chair of the GAFCON Primates' Council -- globally, Foley Beach. Foley is also Primate of the Anglican Church in North America; and the Reverend Jennifer Hercott, member of the GAFCON-Australia Board.

DAVIES: We are trying to restore and renew Anglicanism, especially in those parts of Australia where it has corroded because of revisionist teaching. And the Diocese of the Southern Cross affirms the same fundamentals as the Anglican Church of Australia Constitution.

It affirms the Bible as God's Word written, the Thirty-Nine Articles as a theological expression of that, the Book of Common Prayer as the liturgical expression. And of course, the Jerusalem Declaration which is a modern contemporary expression of what true Anglicanism is. And that's owned by 60 million Anglicans around the world.

So, the Diocese of the Southern Cross is a "new diocese" but The Old Story, The Old Faith -- it's the Faith of Jesus and the Apostles, and it's the love of Christ which we want to bring to Australia.

STEELE: Richard, you use the term "break glass" in terms of an emergency. What did you mean by that?

CONDIE: In 2014, when we decided to form, then the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, now GAFCON-Australia, we could see that a crisis was coming in the Anglican Church of Australia. We saw the revision that people were starting to talk about, we knew it was happening in other parts of the world.

I came back from GAFCON 2008 in Jerusalem and heard stories about what was happening in North America and I knew it was going to happen here. So, we set it up and we started to work and we committed to two things. One to provide for orthodox Anglicans in Australia; and second to provide Fellowship for those who would be excluded, pushed out of the Anglican Church of Australia due to the revisionist teaching that we could see coming. So, we planned for that. We have been slowly building that. So, after the Appellate Tribunal's ruling in 2020, we made a commitment to our people and we said we were going to establish a parallel Anglican jurisdiction in Australia, an extra-provincial diocese, like it has happened in North America, it's happened in New Zealand and other places around the world as a lifeboat.

We've always said this emergency was coming and one day would break the glass, like those little panels on the walls of some of the fire brigades. It's called the Diocese of the Southern Cross.

CONDIE: So, in the first phase people will join as affiliates. So, this new congregation of the Southern Cross in Beenleigh and Logan in Brisbane will be a congregation no longer part of the Anglican Church in Australia but affiliated with the Diocese of the Southern Cross.

When a significant number of those join to call a synod, we will call a synod, elect a bishop, and it will operate like any other diocese in the world under the same kind of theological basis that Glenn has pointed out to us, and it will operate like that. And, it will be in fellowship with the majority of the world's Anglicans with the GAFCON Primates.

Yes, it's an alternative structure. Yes, it's not a part of the Anglican Church of Australia, but it's thoroughly Anglican.

STEELE: Foley, this issue of revisionism, and I mean, you've been through it before, and as you hear these stories around the room today and around the last couple of days, you've been at the center of it in North America a decade ago. How are you reacting to what's going on down here?

BEACH: First, it's been a privilege to be here and to be able to share with my brothers and sisters and walk with them in this journey. But my heart breaks because what the revisionists don't seem to understand is that they force this on everybody and they forget about the sheep. The person attending the parish who can no longer attend the parish because the parish is no longer biblical or teaching the historic faith. Where are they to go? In North America we lost thousands of people who just stopped going to church or going to other kind of churches. And it's tragic. Some people got so discouraged with the church itself that they just stopped going.

So, to be here is bringing back a lot of those memories for me but at the same time it's so refreshing to see the fire, the excitement, the commitment to biblical teaching and our Lord Jesus Christ, the passion to want to share Him with Australia. It's just so encouraging to see that.

HERCOTT: Will you be able to support female clergy who feel the need to come into the Diocese of the Southern Cross?

DAVIES: Absolutely, absolutely. I want men and women as Gospel ministers to preach Christ to our nation and I rejoice in women's ministry as well as male ministry and I want to see that as a reflection of God's gifts to us in that regard.

HERCOTT: Will you help them flourish?

DAVIES: I will help them flourish.

STEELE: It's probably important to say that GAFCON and the Diocese of the Southern Cross is broader than Evangelical. Do you want to speak to that, Glenn?

DAVIES: Correct. It's orthodox Anglican faith. That's the groundwork of GAFCON -- so there are Charismatics, and Anglo-Catholics, and Evangelicals. That has been GAFCON from the very beginning. And there are majorities of those in different parts of the world, because we have GAFCON branches around the world as well as the GAFCON Primates themselves.

So, at that level, the Jerusalem Declaration which was adopted in 2008 in Jerusalem, is the contemporary expression of Anglicanism. If anyone can sign to that, then they are a "genuine Anglican" from that perspective and they are welcome. And Charismatics, Anglo-Catholics, and Evangelicals clearly signed that. So that becomes, if you like, the touchstone that explains what that is.

Of course, in that is the definition of marriage, which of course wasn't such a big issue in Cranmer's time, but of course it's in the Prayer Book, but it's the competing issue today. But there are other issues as Jen said: the authority of Scripture, miracles, the Resurrection of Jesus ... some of these things are being corroded by leaders around the Australian Church.

CONDIE: One of the things that really troubled me is the number of dioceses in Australia now that have adjusted "Faithfulness & Service," which is our code of conduct for church workers, and watered down the sexual ethics which are required of leaders. So no longer faithfulness in marriage and chastity in singleness but an adherence to, you know, "faithfulness in relationships."

So, we could have unmarried ministers in our churches, this really troubles me ...

HERCOTT: Unmarried, sexually active ...

CONDIE: I think we would want to see faithful orthodox bishops elected to all the dioceses in Australia without a doubt. If that happened and we moved away from this kind of revisionist teaching. This would have never happened. GAFCON just blamed all the time for the division.

BEACH: Ah, hah.

CONDIE: That we are schismatics. We're responding to division which is already there. We didn't start this. The Bishop of Wangaretta (John Parks -- X Wangaretta) stood up at a Bishops' Meeting in 2017 and said: "I'm not waiting for General Synod, I'm going to bring in a Service for the Blessing of Same-sex Marriage." And that plunged us into the situation we are in. He was pleaded with not to do it, and it happened.

We went ahead in the Appellate Tribunal and all the things that have happened. The Appellate Tribunal sought advice from the House of Bishops, sought advice from the Panel of Advisors, who all told them, this was inconsistent with Anglican doctrine. Yet the Appellate Tribunal came back with a ruling that this was not inconsistent with the Constitution. That's the thing that created the crisis. GAFCON would not have responded, we would not have broken the glass, because the emergency wouldn't be there.

DAVIES: They are the schismatics.

CONDIE: I'm so upset about that. That we have been pushed into this situation. I don't want to be part of this. If we could move beyond this, I would be the first to vote to close down the diocese.

STEELE: So, at that point would say false teacher.

CONDIE: I'd say false teaching. What Anglican ... what Anglican clergyman, who has taken the Declaration and Oaths, and has been licensed by their bishop, can say: "We set aside the plain teaching of Scripture and appeal to another authority." That's the problem.

Now, whether that person is Christian or not, they need to know that before the Lord. But that is not Anglican theology to set aside the plain teaching of Scripture.

STEELE: Foley, if I could just ask you to take us to the Lambeth Conference the last couple of weeks. What's your take on what's come out of that from Justin Welby? You can't say the Conference made a decision. You can say the Archbishop (of Canterbury) made an Ex cathedral pronouncement -- papal ...

BEACH: Well, he invited, or maybe name what's always been there -- pluralism in the church. He said: "I personally believe what Lambeth 1998 1:10 says. I personally believe that l and the church hold that. But then there are these other Provinces, that I have to deep theological study and reflection" -- and I don't know of any that have really done that, but anyway that's another story -- "but basically have come to accept same-sex marriage as a part of their theological and liturgical practice and their moral practice and their Province and that's equally as valid."

So, all of a sudden -- rather right or wrong -- they are both right, this is basically what he was saying. And that has changed everything.

STEELE: And, our friends in the Global South have said: "No!"

BEACH: Correct. One of the objectives, I understand, from the Global South primates and bishops who went, is to raise up Lambeth 1:10 and have the Conference reaffirm it. Well, Archbishop Justin got to take it off the table; but they (the Global South) say: this is the teaching of the (Anglican) Communion, this is what we as Anglicans believe, and we are not going where the Archbishop of Canterbury is leading us."

I don't know where all of this is going to end up. But they made a very clear statement. Their communique (Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches Communique of Orthodox Bishops Present at Lambeth Conference 2022) at the end is worth reading and studying because they made some very deep statements in that.

STEELE: Justin Welby said: "We're all walking together;" and the Global South said: "No, we are not. We are not walking together with you."

CONDIE: The Anglican Communion is broken. A third of the bishops weren't at Lambeth, and of the bishops who were there, a half of them didn't go to the Lord's Table together.

BEACH: Yeah.

CONDIE: So, what communion is there? To say that "we're walking together ..." it's just not right. Like we are not walking together.

BEACH: No, we are not.

CONDIE: The bishops in Australia are in strained relationships. We are not walking together. When we meet there will be people who won't go to the Lord's Table together.

BEACH: James Wong, the Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, he said: "We've gathered together, but we're not walking together. We can't walk together with those who practice immorality."

STEELE: That's the same situation here in Australia, isn't it? We can't walk together with those who practice immorality.

DAVIES: The Primates said that it used the language of "the tear in the fabric of the Communion." The word for tear is actually that Greek word "skhizein" -- schism; "skhimsa" -- schismatics.

That tear is what is happening in Australia as well. That's why I said before, we are not the schismatics. That tear has place by those who have undermine the teaching of Scripture an Anglican Faith and Doctrine regardless of what the Appellate Tribunal might narrowly define doctrine to be.

STEELE: Now the Primate of Australia (Geoffrey Smith) has put out a statement, Richard, where he really has been quite critical here. I'll just read a couple paragraphs and ask you to respond.

Well, he says it's not Anglican as the first thing. What's your response to that?

CONDIE: I think what he says is: "It's not part of the Church of Australia." That's true.

What's Anglican? Anglicans are people who are Catholic but reformed, liturgical, who are episcopal, those things make us Anglican. We believe the Scriptures, we believe the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Book of Common Prayer, the Ordinal. Theology makes us Anglican. And polity makes us Anglican, and we have those things.

So, what I understand. And if I'm the Primate I'd probably say the same thing -- not part of the Church of Australia. I get that. But to say we are not Anglican, that's just not true.

STEELE: The next line he says it (Diocese of the Southern Cross) has no formal or informal relationship or connection with the Anglican Church of Australia. I don't think that's true.

CONDIE: Well, I certainly think they're informal relationships. It's not an instrument of the Anglican Church of Australia, it wasn't voted in by the General Synod or anything like that. But there are informal relationships.

The Diocese of Tasmania, I would anticipate at the Synod, will vote that we be in the full Fellowship of the Diocese of the Southern Cross.

STEELE: And I know Anglicans preparing similar motions.

STEELE: Let me just stop you there. Why is Welby sticking his nose in this?

CONDIE: Well, the Archbishop of Canterbury was already visiting Australia and the wisdom was that that would be a good time to meet so he can address us. We will have two days of conversations; we will continue conversations we started earlier this year.

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to speak our mind on what the issues were. A lot of hurts were aired. It was actually really a good hard meeting where people spoke honestly about where they stood. So, we were able to do that. We will continue those conversations, particularly in light of what happened at General Synod, obviously increases that anxiety.

STEELE: The House of Bishops, you presume, will take seriously that the General Synod has had a petition to them calling on them to change their view.

CONDIE: Ah, they may. I don't know. You see we will need all the bishops, rather than the House of Bishops. I would expect that if a petition had been presented to me in my Synod, that I would take that seriously. So we'll see if the Primate will do something with that.

It will be a very difficult meeting. What GAFCON has done this week increases the temperature of conflict. I understand that and people will be very upset about what we have done.

The Primate (Geoffrey Smith) is a measured, godly, faithful man, and he has done what he needed to do in a statement today. I respect him a great deal. He has really helped us have conversations about these things in a way that hasn't happened before in my experience amongst the bishops. So I expect they will be an honest conversation about that, and airing of views again.

But, you know, I think that the Anglican Church of Australia, as I have said, is in a very critical position. And it all started, you know, with that concertina built that -- what's the word I need -- of the events that kind of cluttered over each other.



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