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EDINBURGH: Rev. Canon Andy Lines Named GAFCON Missionary Bishop to Europe

EDINBURGH: Rev. Canon Andy Lines Named GAFCON Missionary Bishop to Europe
Scottish Episcopal Church's actions to change canons and redefine marriage was deciding factor

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 8, 2017

The Rt. Rev Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and a Primate of The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), today announced that his fellow primates would consecrate the Rev. Canon Andy Lines as a GAFCON bishop to Europe, following the Scottish Episcopal Church's vote to finalize a change to their canons that attempts to redefine marriage. This action further marginalizes faithful Anglicans in Scotland who uphold Jesus' teaching on marriage, said Beach.

"Recognizing the pastoral need that arose following the initial SEC vote (in June 2016), in April of this year the GAFCON Primates authorized the consecration of a Missionary Bishop to care for those who seek to remain faithful to the scriptures and Jesus' teaching on marriage."

Canon Lines was introduced at a press conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, by Archbishop Beach, who spoke on behalf of GAFCON's Primates' Council.

"We continue to have a crisis in the Anglican Communion as the virus of revisionist theology and practice continues to spread to various Provinces. Rather than correcting and disciplining those who have departed from the biblical faith and practice which has been handed down to us from the Apostles, some church leaders are embracing false teaching, and then going even further by promoting it around the world.

"The Nairobi Communique from the GAFCON meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013 clearly stated that the GAFCON leadership would not ignore the pleas of the faithful who are trapped in places where false doctrine and practice occur. We promised that we would provide pastoral care and oversight for those who remain faithful to Jesus' teaching on marriage.

"At our April meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, the GAFCON Primates decided to provide a missionary bishop for Europe with the initial focus on those in Scotland and those faithful Anglicans in England outside the Church of England. Today's decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalized by their leaders. The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support."

Beach said the GAFCON Primates had asked his Province, the (ACNA), to take on the task of providing a missionary bishop for Scotland. "Our Province was formed at the direction of GAFCON 2008 after many of the Provinces of GAFCON had provided the same kind of oversight for clergy and congregations in North America. They have asked us to consecrate Canon Andy Lines."

Canon Lines is now canonically resident in the Diocese of the South as a "priest in good standing" after having been transferred from the Province of South America as a priest in good standing.

The Consecration will take place on the morning of 30 June in Wheaton, Illinois. The service will include Primates, Archbishops, and bishops from across the globe.

Citing Samuel Seabury, Beach said, "Error often becomes popular and contagious, and then no one can tell how far it will spread, nor where it ends. We must in such cases, recur to first principles, and there take our stand. The Bible must be the ground of our faith."

REFORM, an evangelical movement within the Church of England and the Church of Ireland welcomed the announcement. "The Rev. Canon Lines has worked tirelessly for many years to offer biblically faithful pastoral ministry to members of Reform through his work at Crosslinks and with the Anglican Mission in England. We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with him and ACNA as he takes on this new role.

"The Church has great news to offer the world but sadly it is being drowned out by those who have lost confidence in God's desire and ability to speak to us through the Bible," said Susie Leafe, Director of Reform*. "We need leaders with that confidence and our prayer is that the appointment of Rev'd Canon Lines to this role will encourage faithful Anglicans in Scotland and across Europe to know they are not alone and give them confidence to proclaim the wonder of God's saving and transforming grace through Jesus Christ alone."


The Scottish Anglican Network, a movement of Christians - including clergy and laity - within the Scottish Episcopal Church denounced the actions of the SEC to approve an amendment to its canons to permit same-sex weddings and called for the restoration of the Bible to the heart of Anglican churches in Scotland.

"As Christians, we believe that it is through Jesus Christ - and only through him - that we can truly know God, and truly know ourselves. Jesus clearly taught that marriage is a good gift from God, and is a faithful, lifelong union between one man and one woman. Though all of us
fall short of his standards, not least in the area of sexual morality, we believe that following this teaching is essential to the flourishing of his forgiven people.

"The SEC has rejected this. In doing so, it has failed to support those in our churches who are same-sex attracted but who choose to live their lives in obedience to Jesus' teaching, misleading the church and the world, and acting in a schismatic way towards the worldwide Anglican Communion and the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of which it claims to be a part.

"Our fellowship with the Scottish Episcopal Church has therefore been impaired by this action. We will continue to trust, uphold and contend for the teaching of Jesus Christ in his church in Scotland. We are thankful for support we have received from many in the Anglican Communion and we now look forward to building stronger relationships with the leaders and churches of the Global Anglican Communion who remain faithful to Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible," said the Rev David McCarthy (Edinburgh), Rector, St. Thomas Church.

There was no immediate response from Lambeth Palace, but a statement from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, revealed just how divided the communion and the danger of fence-sitting.

"Today's decision by the SEC to approve changes to canon law on marriage is not a surprise, given the outcome of the vote at its Synod a year ago. There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican Communion but this puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman."

Then he said this: "This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The Anglican Communion's position on human sexuality is set out very clearly in Resolution 1.10 agreed at the Lambeth conference of 1998 and will remain so unless it is revoked."

That is not going to happen and Fearon has made it clear what he thinks of his African brethren in an Irish radio broadcast wherein he accused them of being "un-Christlike", "despotic" and "corrupt." Hardly winning themes.


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