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Former Australian Anglican Bishop Decries GAFCON Diocese as a 'Cult' Doesn't Understand what a Cult Is

Former Australian Anglican Bishop Decries GAFCON Diocese as a 'Cult' Doesn't Understand what a Cult Is
He also doesn't understand Puritanism. His prejudices reveal why the GAFCON diocese was needed and why the Anglican Church of Australia will ultimately fail


By David W. Virtue, DD
August 29, 2022

The breakaway Anglican church (in Australia) is a 'cult' says George Browning, former Bishop of Canberra Goulburn.

He writes; "In contemporary English, a cult is generally understood to mean a group committed to a particular or singular personality, ideology, or goal; one that distinguishes them from mainstream practice or belief."

He said the recently announced ʹDiocese of the Southern Crossʹ sadly fits this description, notwithstanding their cries to the contrary and their claim to be ʹAnglicanʹ. He said "cult" carries with it "pejorative connotations."

VOL: If the Diocese of the Southern Cross is a cult, then so is the extra-provincial GAFCON diocese in NZ; the Anglican Church in North America, The Nigerian Anglican breakaway diocese known as CONNAM, The Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Mission in England, GAFCON Europe, the entire Continuing Church movement which broke away from the Episcopal Church in 1977 and on and on.

All of the archbishops, bishops and clergy of these Anglican jurisdictions would totally refute the notion that they belong to a cult precisely because they do believe in the authority of scripture, affirm the 39 Articles, practice the liturgy found in the Book of Common Prayer, say the creeds regularly in worship, reject a lot of Romish teaching that saw many fleeing to Rome via the Ordinariate and much more. Another and better definition of a cult is a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object -"the cult of St. Olaf" for example.

To my knowledge, no one views Bishop Glenn Davies as a cult figure, ditto for Archbishop Foley Beach of the ACNA.

A better definition of a cult is "a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing" a cult of personality surrounding the leaders. I have been reliably told that the priest in charge of St George's Anglican Church Beenleigh, one Peter Palmer, will have to seek secular employment to make ends meet. He is hardly a Jim Jones cult figure who suckered 909 members of the Peoples Temple to die for him by murder-suicide. Cult leaders are usually rich. The Rev. Peter Palmer lost his house, his car, with a parishioner offering him $3,000 to buy a used one.

The late Dr. J.I. Packer, a Puritan scholar, who left the Anglican Church in Canada over its acceptance of homosexuality was a world-renown global Anglican figure whose books and sermons have, and will provide support, for generations of Anglicans to come. Who will even remember the bishop of Gollywog, Australia?

The "breakaways" are the true inheritors of the Anglican mantle. They broke away precisely because they could no longer tolerate the growing heresies in mostly western Anglican provinces. These heresies not only included imbibing homosexuality, a behavior that will keep you out of the kingdom, but the denial of Jesus' death and resurrection by bishops like Katharine Jefferts Schori, who said she could not fully embrace Jesus risen from the dead.

"There is no space within this One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church for a person or group to decide a particular aspect of biblical truth, as they interpret it, carries sufficient weight to define membership and exclude others. The Church has historically refused to be so specifically or narrowly defined. It is bizarre that views on sexual orientation and gender orientation have been chosen as sufficient reason for separation, given that primacy of marriage between males and females has been upheld by the recent Lambeth conference and no Australian Anglican clergy person is currently licensed to conduct marriage for a same sex couple. Give us a break," writes Browning.

VOL: Jude, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."

In the case of the Anglican Communion, the apostates initially "crept in" but now have been out there and visible for a few decades, becoming increasingly shrill in their rejection of 2,000 years of moral teaching. They believe they can now change God's mind for Him about how we should behave. In the case of The Episcopal Church, the revisionists have completely taken over the institution lock, stock and barrel!

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians expressed astonishment that so many were "quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the One, we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!"

In Romans, Paul had no compunction in calling out those who gave themselves over to sinful desires and sexual impurity, degrading their bodies with one another. "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator."

This is not about 'orientation', it is about behavior. The vast majority of humanity is 'oriented' towards heterosexuality, and even that must stay within biblical boundaries or chaos will ensue. In the Episcopal Church, fornication is now acceptable (see Resolution D039 - Acknowledge Relationships Other Than Marriage), LGBTQ+ is in, but adultery is not. It is the last sexual sin still unacceptable to the PB and HOB that can get you kicked out of the church. The other most notable "sin" that will likely prevent you from becoming a bishop is NOT to embrace homoerotic marriage (Resolution B012). Just ask Bishop Bill Love, formerly of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany who got kicked out of TEC, and the wannabee bishop of Florida, Charlie Holt who is fighting to be the next Bishop of that diocese.

Browning then went on to say that "the Anglican Diocese of Sydney is not a Protestant Church; it is a Puritan Church" which he described as "a Protestant Church committed to reform within a context, a Puritan Church is committed to an ideology without a context".

Clearly, Browning never read Dr. J.I. Packer. "Pillorying the Puritans, in particular, has long been a popular pastime both sides of the Atlantic, and most people's image of Puritanism still has on it much disfiguring dirt that needs to be scraped off," writes Packer. Puritan on this side of the Atlantic got a bad rap from the theocracy that the Bostonians tried to impose.

"'Puritan' as a name was, in fact, mud from the start. Coined in the early 1560's, it was always a satirical smear word implying peevishness, censoriousness, conceit, and a measure of hypocrisy, over and above its basic implication of religiously motivated discontent with what was seen as Elizabeth's Laodicean and compromising Church of England. Later, the word gained the further, political connotation of being against the Stuart monarchy and for some sort of republicanism; its primary reference, however, was still to what was seen as an odd, furious, and ugly form of Protestant religion."

The answer, writes Packer; "In one word, is maturity. Maturity is a compound of wisdom, goodwill, resilience, and creativity. The Puritans exemplified maturity; we don't. We are spiritual dwarfs. A much-traveled leader, a native American (be it said), has declared that he finds North American Protestantism, man-centered, manipulative, success-oriented, self-indulgent and sentimental, as it blatantly is, to be 3,000 miles wide and half an inch deep. The Puritans, by contrast, as a body were giants. They were great souls serving a great God. In them clear-headed passion and warm-hearted compassion combined. Visionary and practical, idealistic and realistic too, goal-oriented and methodical, they were great believers, great hopers, great doers, and great sufferers."

Browning should take a course in Puritan theology.

Browning dishes up the usual saw, that to be Anglican one needs to be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, but that is nonsense. Anglican Online records more than 220 Anglican jurisdictions, numbering millions of Anglicans that have no connection with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England, the four instruments of communion or the Lambeth Conference; yet every one of them would say they are authentically Anglican. It is entirely possible for a church to be completely Anglican in heritage and origin, but for it not to be in communion with the See of Canterbury.

In the Puritans' communion with God, as Jesus Christ was central, so Holy Scripture was supreme. By Scripture, as God's word of instruction about divine-human relationships, they sought to live, and here, too, they were conscientiously methodical. That cannot be said for Anglican revisionists where sexual identity is everything and being "in Christ" is nothing.

Browning and his fellow Australian bishops will sooner or later vanish. They cannot reproduce biologically and they cannot grow churches because they have no gospel that proclaims repentance from sin, all sin.

The orthodox will prevail if they faint not, and they believe the truth that God is doing a new thing by reaffirming an old thing -- the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You can read George Browning's take here: https://johnmenadue.com/the-anglican-breakaway-cult-a-swan-that-quacks-like-a-duck-must-be-a-duck/

Why we Need the Puritans by J.I. Packer can be read here: https://www.apuritansmind.com/the-puritan-era/why-we-need-the-puritans-by-dr-j-i-packer/


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