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As long as the ANiC or ACNA remain in communion with Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the worldwide Anglican Communion I will remain in communion with them.
I believe that the church is decreasing because we have departed from Jesus' teaching and Jesus' plan, and therefore if we are not doing what we're supposed to do we need to repent.

An exclusive interview with Arctic Bishop David Parsons as he reflects on the Anglican Church of Canada and his place and role in the increasingly progressive and revisionist Church. He recently spoke out at the ACoC Synod over hot button issues affecting the Church, his diocese and the wider culture.

By David W. Virtue, DD
July 10, 2023

VOL: Bishop David your diocese is one of a small handful of evangelical dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada. Is this a threatening situation for you as you see the majority of your denomination buy into the most progressive issues of the day parroting an increasingly secular, post-Christian culture?

BISHOP PARSONS: It is a sad situation but not threatening. The majority of our denomination is solid. The Diocese of the Arctic is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. People fail to remember that the revisionists in Canada and the USA are the minority in the Anglican Communion. They just have a loud voice and often use that voice to monopolize, or bully. As an Anglican, I've grown up reciting psalm 95 to warn me about not having a hard heart. I've read the book of Judges, when the people often turned back to the world, and I've read the prophets, who warn us to not follow the gods of this age or past ages.

Two of the saddest parts that I have read in the New Testament are found in John 6:66 ("From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him") and 2 Timothy 4:10. In John chapter 6 Jesus tells us He is the Bread of life and many of Jesus' disciples turn back, and no longer follow him after hearing Jesus' declaration. St. Paul speaks of Demas, who left him because of Demas' love for the world.

It seems to me that the revisionists do not love the word of God, nor do they receive it as the bread of life, and so rather than living under the authority of Jesus Christ, and His word, they choose to be an authority unto themselves.

VOL: At the last synod you boldly spoke out in opposition to Resolution A122, authorizing Pastoral Liturgies for Journeys of Gender Transition and Affirmation. You said, "it's not correct to be politicizing the church so that we are in opposition. We've been fighting one another for so long because of these types of differences of thoughts and differences of opinion ... The word of God does not give you permission to become political." Did you get both immediate and a later response or reprimand from Archbishop Nicholls or revisionist bishops for this statement?

BISHOP PARSONS: I reminded General Synod of Joshua and said, "...as Joshua stood before the captain of the Lords army. Joshua asked, whose side are you on, ours or theirs? Joshua was told neither. The question is, are we on the Lord's side?"

The word of God has given me permission to speak to those who are in opposition, and outside the will of God. I do not intend to be confrontational however, the fact remains the gospel creates conflict within our minds. It is because our ways are not God's ways.

VOL: A Canadian Anglican evangelical blogger said this regarding the five transformational aspirations; "Notably absent is a plan to lead the unsaved to salvation through Jesus Christ. I'm quite sure that is missing because the majority of ACoC clergy no longer recognize the categories "saved" and "unsaved." Would you agree with that assessment?

BISHOP PARSONS: In speaking of the five transformational aspirations which the National Church is trying to implement, I said, the Ddiocese of the Arctic already has strategic plans to fulfill our mission, which is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit enable disciples to do the ministry. Our priorities are Education, Family Youth and Parish Development. This is the ministry that our diocese has been involved in since its conception. It is very costly to gather people together and we cannot afford to be distracted by agendas which will take us away from the Great Commission given to our diocese by Jesus.

VOL: During your last time at the microphone, you spoke to General Synod about the great ministry that Bishop Donald Harvey, Bishop Ron Ferris and Bishop Malcom Harding provided to our church and as "the Anglican Church of Canada." You then apologized for how these bishops were treated and then you said, "we speak of reconciliation and therefore should we not be reconciled with them." If you were to stand up and say that at a General Convention of the Episcopal Church, you would be shouted down, and the Presiding Bishop would recommend you to the intake officer for Title IV inhibition and possible casting out of the Episcopal Church completely? Was that a big risk for you to stand up and say that?

BISHOP PARSONS: As a church appointed leader, I am sorry for the disrespect that Bishop Donald Harvey, Bishop Ron Ferris and Bishop Malcom Harding received when they tried to do what they were ordained to do. So, yes on behalf of the ACoC I apologized to bishops Harvey, Ferris and Harding. I ask their forgiveness and I ask that our church continue the ministry of reconciliation.

VOL: You then went on to say at synod that "I / we in the Arctic are in communion with ANiC and ACNA and I do not want any decisions made that would try and stop me from inviting and or licensing anyone from coming from these two parts of our Communion. You then said we ask all who join us to commit to our Canons. Now that would be a red rag to an Episcopal bull to even mention the ACNA at a TEC General Convention. Were you risking your ecclesiastical life in saying that? Did you fear Archbishop Nicholls declaring you are no longer speaking for the ACoC and should leave?

BISHOP PARSONS: No! At General Synod I also questioned the affirmation of faith that was used. People should not fear that I am in communion with ANiC or ACNA. They should be very concerned if I'm in communion with everything that fights against Jesus and His church. As long as the ANiC or ACNA remain in communion with Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the worldwide Anglican Communion I will remain in communion with them.

People need to know that the Diocese of The Arctic is the Anglican Church of Canada. What they need to question is those who have turned against our doctrines, our articles of faith and stand in opposition to our Christian creeds and the worldwide Anglican Communion. The revisionists need to ask themselves how can they in all honesty say that they are still the Anglican Church of Canada when they constantly stand in opposition to the unchanged doctrines and canons of the Anglican Church of Canada?

VOL: You said, "Bishop Joey Royal also spoke of The Arctic's partnership with ANiC and ACNA. We are not hiding whom we are partnering with, and we continue to speak against and vote against erroneous policies and hopes to undermine the biblical doctrines of our church and the Anglican Communion." That's throwing an ecclesiastical nuclear bomb right in front of the Synod. Were you not afraid of public pushback even ecclesiastical retribution for what you said?

BISHOP PARSONS: By stating our willingness to partner with our own Anglican brothers and sisters, I hope other Anglican Christians will join the diocese of The Arctic.

We should not fear a defeated foe. We do not have to fight Satan because Jesus has defeated him. Satan may still can use the power of suggestion... But God has given us His Word to oppose lies with truth.

As the church we should not shrink back because of lies, deceit or threats of not belonging. Jesus calls everyone to Himself.

VOL: You said, "The Diocese of The Arctic may be one of the smallest dioceses (by members) in the Anglican Communion but by grace we humbly and boldly exercise our God given voice to resist intimidation and speak for biblical truth and abide under the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ." Fair enough, but then you added this; "I say I speak as "The Anglican Church of Canada because we are one of the few wholeheartedly evangelical dioceses with all our parishes who continue to adhere to the authority of the doctrines of the Anglican Communion and the Book of Common Prayer. God help us if we do not." Now that's telling them! Did you get any public or private pushback for saying this?

BISHOP PARSONS: No, I did not.

VOL: Have you ever given thought to pulling your diocese out of the ACoC and hooking up with either the ANIC or ACoC?

BISHOP PARSONS: I have a much broader perspective which calls me to encourage every Christian to get serious with Jesus and His command to stand up and be counted, to preach His gospel, to teach the world and make disciples who will do likewise. Jesus said, "As the Father sent me, I send You."

I try and avoid the political and try my best to encourage people to grow biblically in thought word and deed. I am not a spokesman for Anglicanism even though there are biblical guidelines and doctrines within the BCP.

VOL: The raw numbers for the long-term existence of the ACoC are not good. The ACoC was hovering around 97,000 in 2017, but guesstimates would have the figure around 80,000 today and steadily declining. David Jenkins, a Canadian Anglican blogger wrote, "the Anglican Church of Canada is declining faster than any other Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion other than TEC, which has an even greater rate of decline." If true, why stay?

BISHOP PARSONS: I believe that the church is decreasing because we have departed from Jesus' teaching and Jesus' plan, and therefore if we are not doing what we're supposed to do we need to repent.

Let me ask, after baptizing children and adults, have we done what we promised to do? Are we teaching our children and others how to be faithful followers of Christ? Have we taught them that we live in the midst of a spiritual battle?

The church in other parts of the world that are doing what it is supposed to do is growing, and so can we here in North America. The problem in Canada even with all our various denominations, the churches is in a decline. That tells me the churches are operating in ignorant disobedience or in full disobedience. I think we're more scared of the devil and people than we fear God. Bible teaching has taught me that we shouldn't fear God, but we should be obeying him. Even so if we choose to go our own way without God, we should be very scared that God allows us to spend eternity with without God.

VOL: Can you tell us what it is like being an evangelical bishop in the Arctic region? What cultural and spiritual issues and pressures are most at the forefront of your ministry?

BISHOP PARSONS: It's like a northerner who is used to swimming in cold Arctic waters going for a swim in the Caribbean. The Caribbean waters are warm and inviting. In the Arctic our spiritual waters are warm and inviting. So, to be a bible believing Holy Spirit filled Bishop in the Arctic is wonderful.

I travel for long periods of time, and I've been welcomed in every community. I have been blessed listening to people share their stories of faith. As Arctic people listen to the media and read the Anglican Journal, they have concerns when they hear people turning from the authority of Jesus Christ and the Bible's teaching.

Due to many of their God-fearing Christ centered clergy dying of old age or retiring most communities have faithful lay leaders who are carrying the load in their communities. The people are asking for clergy to join them in ministry.

VOL: How many parishes do you have? Are they all thriving? Do they all have fulltime priests? Can you get replacement priests when the older one's retired?

BISHOP PARSONS: We have 49 parishes. No, they are not all thriving. 26 communities need a priest or deacon 10 of which have no leader. Thirteen parishes are led by a paid priest 3 are led by a Suffragan bishop 13 are led by a lay leader, 7 Communities are led by an unpaid deacon, 3 communities are led by retired priests. We have had so many people retire, over 50, some in the last 30 years. We are very concerned about providing the proper training. We have been able to recruit and train people for ministry but we're not keeping up. So, while we're trying to do ministry, we are being distracted by all the politics within the South. Where people in the North are wanting to follow Jesus and be ministered to and to grow in ministry, the church in the South is operating in a dysfunctional way, not knowing who they are or what they are any longer. We are recruiting people who love Jesus and love people and we will help them understand how to operate within our Anglican communities. Anglicans. Have a parish mentality. This means we minister to the whole community and not just to a congregation. And across the Arctic, for the most part, the Anglican Church is the only church. A few years ago. I wrote a letter to every Christian college asking for students to consider coming to the Arctic. We have our own Bible college, and we are training people for ministry, but we're not keeping up. Why wouldn't I bring, vibrant bible believing clergy who are Anglican and yet part of ANiC or ACNA? The Arctic is alive and yet we have much work to do so that we do not fall into decline.

VOL: You have two women bishops. Obviously, you have resolved the issue of the ordination of women to the episcopacy. Can you tell us how you came by that theologically?

BISHOP PARSONS: My mother and father worked together as a team to teach me the Christian faith. They submitted to each other. My mother was a faithful Bible teacher who inspired me to read the Bible and submit to its teachings.

Nothing in my Bible studies has taught me that women cannot be involved in ministry and to be faithful Christian leaders. The Bible is filled with warnings about power and control. My mother and my wife are leaders and teachers of the faith. Would to God that all women were. Would to God all the men were. I have witnessed the Church being polluted by men with lust for power, control, and false teaching. And I have witnessed the same church being polluted by women who themselves have been caught up with the lust for power control and false teaching.

Why God chooses to use both sexes I do not know. But should one be prevented because they do not have the Y chromosome I don't think so. It seems to me that most churches are being run by women and I believe it is time for men to get involved and stop forsaking the ministry. But it also seems to me that if a man seems to be interested in the church work people want that man to be ordained. And I think we need to be very careful about who we ordain, whether men or women.

As for episcopacy? I think that the great and terrible day of the Lord is coming, and many bishops are going to have a stark wake up as they stand before God and are asked why they have not stood against the doctrines of demons and devils. My fear is, that day will not be a day of repentance but just justice and judgment because the day of grace will be over.

VOL: Thank you, bishop. [The diocese's website can be accessed here for more information: https://www.arcticnet.org/]

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