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One archbishop spends his time apologizing; another spends his time pushing a bevy of social justice issues. The third exhorts the faithful to discipleship and good works


By David W. Virtue, DD
June 22, 2021

Three archbishops in the Anglican Communion clarify what it means to lead their provinces and the future they are creating for their fellow Anglicans.

The Archbishop of Canterbury's leadership increasingly involves issues regarding climate change and a Living In Love And Faith report that will inevitably broker in a variety of sexualities to all pastoral levels of the church. One observer noted, Living in Love and Faith will be a roadmap to the extinction of the C of E. Welby's leadership also involves endless apologies for a list of his Church's sins, real or imagined, that he feels he must make to atone for the church's historic past.

Words like 'innovative' and 'transformational' drip from Welby's lips, becoming the woke language of inclusion. The words mean nothing in practical terms but give off an aura of relevance and high miteredness, as if one were sipping tea with the Queen.

Take this satirical look at what might easily pass for truth here; 'The Church's current focuses for action aim to facilitate the institution in becoming an effective, energetically conceptualized catalyst for change through delivering long-term, high-impact, sustainable holistic outputs at every opportunity. Through varying programmes of intrinsically compelling engagements with a range of under-represented actors, while being consciously aware of our white privilege and guilt for everything from civilisation up, the Church seeks to engineer growth strategies through a synergistic dynamic model of cultural self-denigration, while resource-maximizing solutions and paradigms leading to transformative annihilation'.

"What we see [in Welby] is evidence of the woke, idiotic, short-sighted 'issue-centric' obsessions of those who claim to lead the faithful in our national Church. There is little evidence, if any, of an effective understanding of the spiritual issues facing the world, but rather a succession of socio-political bandwagon-jumps perpetrated to make the good ship Church of England look as if it is relevant - to those who do not belong to it," writes VOL columnist Judi Sture, a biological anthropologist and research ethics specialist.

Recently, Welby said this; 'The crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are the most grave and existential we face: as human beings, as a Church and as a global community...We are already seeing the devastating effects of climate change around the world, and we know that the poorest and most vulnerable are bearing the greatest burden'.

The wholesale, witless acceptance that climate change is the biggest issue facing us, stands in contrast to Scripture's clear teaching that we are to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. That we are to call people to repentance, faith and belief in the gospel as the first order of business, seems to have slipped from Welby's distant evangelical memory.

Welby has already declared that the CofE is "institutionally racist" and announced a series of initiatives to address this.


No Episcopal Presiding Bishop in modern memory has made so many socio-political issues the bedrock of his denominational pull as has Michael Curry, the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church.

From LGBTQI+ issues, BLM, pro-Palestinian cant, Curry recently expounded on the latest SCOTUS ruling that allowed the RCC to say they will never give children over for adoption to homosexual couples (Fulton v. Philadelphia.) Curry sided with the homosexual couples. "For us, the affirmation of equal rights for all people is a moral and religious conviction." Never mind that Scripture nowhere approves of such relationships, nor did Jesus or the apostles ever approve homosexual behavior or that LGBTQ+ persons would be future church leaders!

"If it's not about love, it's not about God," says Curry, but nowhere does Curry define what love is, except to opine tautologically that 'love is love'. (C. S. Lewis, on the other hand, gave a very clear picture of what love in all its forms meant.)

That Curry garnered worldwide attention preaching at a royal wedding talking up love has not translated into growth for his Church. If anything, figures show the Church is regressing further into oblivion. Whole dioceses and increasing numbers of bishops have left TEC, never to return.


Contrast the above with ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach's recent Provincial Council address.

Take his opening lines, "What a year this has been! The Lord has been ever-present. It has been challenging, but Jesus is still Lord, and He is still on the Throne." Can you imagine Welby or Curry talking like that?

Beach talks about Covid-19 and says he saw amazing ministry taking place; amazing resilience; amazing creativity. "I am so grateful to our provincial, diocesan, and congregational leaders, both laity and clergy, who led valiantly in these days. The adaptive leadership you displayed to continue the ministry of the Gospel and to pastor people is truly inspiring." He went on to encourage 3,000 of them.

On Social Unrest and the Internet, Beach pulled no punches. "A number of terms were part of the 2020/2021 lexicon, and many have new definitions: racist, white supremacy, white privilege, systemic racism, cultural appropriation, Critical Race Theory, cancel culture, illiberal, woke, content modification, Christian nationalism, toxic masculinity. But what is most disconcerting to me is the tone, the vitriol, and the lack of Christian character displayed among Christians on social media. Frankly, as followers of Jesus we should be appalled by the broad labeling, assumptions, and condemning of whole groups of people, along with the mean and personal attacks on individuals. Sisters and brothers, this is not the way of Jesus Christ."

Beach cited the apostle Paul in Eph. 4:29 and James 3:5 and Proverbs 12:18 and said bluntly, "We are falling short; horribly short." Where is the sweet aroma of Jesus? "We should ask ourselves as we pontificate to others: why do I think I am so important that I need to be publicly commenting anyway? Have you become so self-important and so self-aggrandizing that you think the world cannot live without your comments on every issue presented to us by the secular news media?" Beach was not frightened to take the gloves off and swing away. That's leadership.

On race Issues, Beach had this to say; "Ask each congregation to pray and work for racial reconciliation in their community. Intend to develop a Provincial team to lead our multiethnic ministries and encourage the development of regional networks to support those who are called to multi-ethnic church planting, evangelism, and discipleship. Invite dioceses and parishes to consider how they might actively develop more effective multi-ethnic leadership pipelines,
Invite dioceses and parishes to make a financial commitment to supporting multi-ethnic leadership.

Out of this meeting came AMEN, the Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network, whose purpose to encourage the church to better embody the universal saving power of the gospel through planting multi-ethnic churches or increasing the presence of people of color in existing churches." That's leadership.

Beach talked about the, Every Tribe and Nation Network initiative, which seeks to help those from other countries who now find themselves in North America, establish their own parishes and ministries within the ACNA. "We are also in dialogue with several Black leaders who are seriously considering and working toward bringing their denominations into the ACNA. They discovered Anglicanism and would like to become part of us. The ACNA has an opportunity to get this right if we will make the effort."

"When it comes to racial identity, sexual identity, or economic identity, as followers of Jesus we make a mistake if we focus on the specific identity in question. We get off-course when our focus becomes our race, our sexuality, or our economic status. When we are saved, when we are born again, and when we come to a place of following Jesus as our Savior and our Lord, he changes our identity. We become "Christ-ones," children of God." That's leadership.

Then he talked up the good stuff the ACNA was doing.

"We are doing our best in the ACNA to be safe places for ministry of all kinds, for leaders you can trust with training, accountability, safe-guarding systems, and reporting systems in place if issues arise. From the local member and lay leaders in the congregation, to the deacon and priest, and even to our bishops, we must be diligent about promoting and upholding personal holiness and living and practicing biblical, Christian morality and ethics."

The Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplains began a ministry called Anglicans in Action to advocate for Religious Freedom.

Archbishop's School for Young Leaders. Next Generation Leadership began its first session geared toward helping young leaders understand Christian leadership and what it means to be a leader in the Church. That's leadership.

Anglican House released our New Gospel Book for the ACNA for use in our worship. The BCP 2019 and the Revised Catechism, To Be a Christian, are receiving amazing feedback from around the Province and around the Anglican Communion.

The College of Bishops approved Asbury Seminary's Anglican Track as an official school of study for the ACNA. They join the Reformed Episcopal Seminary, Trinity School for Ministry, Nashotah House, Beeson Divinity School, Gordon-Conwell, and Regent College. (One could add the Ridley Institute as another Anglican start-up.)

Beach spoke about new bishops being consecrated and the reception into the ACNA of bishops John Howe, Bishop William Skilton, Bishop Bill Love, and Bishop Dan Herzog as retired bishops.

"One of my personal objectives as Archbishop is to encourage our bishops to reclaim the historic role of the teaching office of the bishop. Through their own diocesan channels of email, video, internet platforms, and teaching conferences, I hope that bishops will take up the mantle again that was dropped in the 20th Century." That's leadership.

On the international front, Beach told how through email, texting, phone calls, Zoom, and Whatsapp, they were able to stay in touch with most of the leaders throughout the world.

Beach said he was in Cairo for the Installation of the new Archbishop and Primate, Samy Shehata, replacing Mouneer Anis, who served as the Bishop of Egypt for the past 21 years. Beach will shortly host the Primate of Nigeria, Henry Ndukba, and his team in Atlanta for a time of fellowship and meetings.

Ndukha has made it clear he would not sit down with Archbishop Welby for his failure to uphold Resolution 1:10. He and his bishops will not be at the next Lambeth Conference.

GAFCON, the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference, continues to work to share Christ faithfully to the nations. Several primates plan meetings via Zoom and plans are underway for GAFCON 2023.

Looking Ahead. "What are the 2020's going to be like? "Why can't we so impact the culture (with our other brothers and sisters in Christ) so that the 2020's is known as a decade of spiritual renewal, evangelism, discipleship, prayer, and Holy Spirit power? Let us all work toward ushering in a new wave of Christ-centered, spiritual renewal in North America. Let's continue to keep our eyes on him as we seek to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ." Now that's spiritual leadership.


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