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WAYNE, PA: Former Sydney Archbishop and GAFCON General Secretary says Canterbury Meeting a complete Failure

WAYNE, PA: Former Sydney Archbishop and GAFCON General Secretary says Canterbury Meeting a complete Failure
Dr. Peter Jensen said it was worth doing, as it revealed theological weaknesses in the Anglican Communion
Lambeth Conference is out of date. Future of Anglican Communion lies with GAFCON

VOL recently interviewed Archbishop Jensen on the occasion of the fourth CANA East Diocesan Synod in Wayne, PA

By David W. Virtue DD
April 30, 2016

VOL: Archbishop, what happened in Canterbury? What went wrong for the orthodox Primates? You said the January meeting in Canterbury was a complete failure. Can you elaborate on that?

JENSEN: I mean, it has proved to be a complete failure, but worth doing. We had 700 of our people praying, and we thought that the result was not bad. We got the mildest rebuke to the worst offenders by the biggest number. It is what God wanted. There is no excuse for the subsequent behavior of The Episcopal Church.

VOL: Can Evangelicals really trust Archbishop Justin Welby?

JENSEN: I understand that Justin Welby draws attention to the limitations of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He says he is not the pope. However, there are two great powers which he has. The first is to teach the Word of God clearly, unambiguously, and that power requires him to call sin, sin. Recently, he was reported in conversation with President Mugabe, that he called homosexuality a sin, then I would say thank God he has used one of the chief powers he has and I look forward to him saying it repeatedly.

The second power is the power of fellowship. He can extend the right hand of fellowship to those who stand in the orthodox positon and withdraw his fellowship with those who bless sinful activity. He can do this, especially, by not inviting those in the second category to meetings such as Lambeth, given his declaration that homosexual activity is a sin.

VOL: You said decisions need to be taken, but the Nairobi Communique seemed toothless, at least according to liberals and progressives who read it.

JENSEN: The ACC-16 Lusaka gathering was irrelevant to the GAFCON bishops. We stated again that the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, only highlighted again the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion. Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates. This action has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of the Communion. I think that is pretty definitive. The Anglican Communion should be preaching the Word of God.

VOL: In Canterbury, the ABC said there would consequences, yet when the ACC met in Lusaka there were no consequences, TEC was seated everywhere and, at the end, a resolution about that was taken off the table? What is your response to that?

JENSEN: Archbishop Welby told us that consequences would be enforced, but that is irrelevant. The triumphant note of the American delegates in being there, revealed that the so called consequences made no difference. The Canterbury meeting was an invitation to repentance that self-evidently failed.

VOL: The Church should be mission minded, but liberals and conservatives define Mission differently. One is consumed by socio-economic and political concerns with immanence and this world change being their focus; orthodox Anglicans concern themselves more with transcendence and a gospel of God's grace, repentance and sin. Can the two ever be reconciled?

JENSEN: The gospel of God's grace and transcendence has the most powerful consequences for the social life of peoples. It brings with it a vision for humanity which has inspired countless acts of mercy and compassion. The first option, attractive though it may be, does not have the power or the staying power that the Gospel of God's grace has in changing our world.

VOL: You said the Lambeth Conference is "old fashioned and out of date." Can you elaborate?

JENSEN: It is old fashioned because it simply pulls together bishops, while neglecting clergy and laity. It is premised on a world of sailing ships, where people have to attend a conference for three weeks every ten years. They are old fashioned because they don't attend to the major issues confronting the preaching of the gospel in the contemporary world. The willingness of Archbishop Rowan Williams to seat at the table those who had compromised the gospel by laying hands on a self-avowed homosexual bishop who had come into conformity with the world (shows)that they were unable to effectively share the gospel which calls on men and woman to repent and lead a new life.

VOL: Would you attend the next Lambeth conference if ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach is not invited?

JENSEN: The policy of the GAFCON primates is not to attend any meetings in which The Episcopal Church or The Anglican Church of Canada are full members, and which the archbishop of the ACNA is not a full member. This is a policy as can be seen in the recent Canterbury meeting. The policy can be suspended in the interest of the wisdom of the day. We vote best by our absence, rather than by our presence.

VOL: What of GAFCON and its future?

JENSEN: GAFCON is a dynamic spiritual movement. We have the Jerusalem Declaration. We are not leaving the Anglican Communion. We are the Anglican Communion. We have 5,000 supporters, we need 50,000 supporters and we will get them. We are growing GAFCON branches around the world. Recently New Zealand signed up. GAFCON is drawing Anglicans from around the world.

VOL: The Christian Faith is under attack worldwide. The Culture Wars seem to be all consuming, what is your take?

JENSEN: We live in a time of great darkness. The present contest in the Anglican Communion is only one feature of a worldwide conflict for the soul of the Christian faith. In many ways the courage of the American [orthodox] Christians who have formed themselves into ACNA is immensely heartening for the rest of us, but also for Christians all around the world. At present, the battle is focused on the clarity of Scripture - those who wish for reconciliation above all things are suggesting Scripture is not clear on Christian sexual ethics - their intention is that even if we cannot agree, we can at least accept the liberal point of view. This strategy is fatally flawed, not least because the Scriptures are perfectly clear. Those who wish to contest for the Christian Faith itself should stand with GAFCON and its friends in promoting the truth and unifying around the gospel.

IN PUBLIC LECTURES, Archbishop Jensen addressed a number of issues and said the following:

"The new Anglicanism boiling up is real, based on the Word of God. Tensions are not new in the Communion. GAFCON is the renewed Anglican Communion for the 21st Century not the 19th Century, but based on the First Century, the Lord Jesus Christ and His word. We are in for an exciting time.

"I never knew there was an ACC till 1999...who gives a fig. They passed 150 passed resolutions and 54 motions. They are irrelevant."

"We want the Anglican Communion to be the Anglican Communion, hang on for 2018."

"When we look at styles of leadership in the Anglican Communion, there are differences. The Primate in Australia has no authority; in Nigeria, the Archbishop is like an army general."

"The important person in the Anglican structure is the diocesan bishop; he is more significant than the primate. In Australia, the diocesan bishop is more important than the primate. Local people speaking have the [real] power."

"If you don't say 'the bible says' it is only your opinion."

On the ABC: "What I hope for is that he will speak the truth and unambiguously about the practice of sex outside of marriage and say it is a sin."

"The sexual practices in the Western world are deadly. If you continue to practice them, you are putting your soul at risk and risking the salvation of your soul."

"The ACNA is in the process of producing a new Prayer Book based on The 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The ACNA must find a delicate balance, producing liturgies honoring the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be a new Prayer Book available by 2019. It must be a work of the deepest theological understanding in accord with the Book of Common Prayer, the 39 Articles and Scripture."

On the ACC meeting in Lusaka: "In Welby's interest they followed the letter of the law, however during and after the meeting, the Episcopal church trumpeted nothing happened to us, we are voting on all issues. TEC did not feel any consequences. The Americans felt no rebuke at all or repentance. Because there was no repentance, we are a deeply divided Anglican communion. We can't have fellowship."

"The Church of England is moving in the same terrible direction, so is NZ. We are seeing more of the same."

"We are not going to turn Western Civilization any time soon."

On Nairobi: The GAFCON Primates are like a balsa wood on a jumbo jet. We are so culturally different. Getting people to unite in the Lord Jesus is very difficult.

"We have lived through different periods from The Great Depression, WWII and the baby boomer era. We have seen Nazism and defeat of Marxism, but triumph of secularism is intellectual and a spiritual challenge, it is insidious and powerful. The God of the bible is dead for so many people. We are seeing the floodgates open to new spiritualties and barbarism are back inside the tent. It is all reminiscent of the First century.

What we have seen starting 50 years ago is that we have now entered the darkness of the West. Your children and grandchildren will struggle with the darkness of the West. We have sexual permissiveness like we have never seen. Christian teenagers are simply collapsing before the cultural onslaught.

"Christians and non- Christians are living together There are no two virgins living together. The cohabitation craze is deeply damaging to the human spirit and family life. Cohabitation is far less stable when they get past 40. The Bible still speaks to our world and the whole business.

"This s not a minor church quarrel. You are part of huge spiritual movements...it is the triumph over the darkness and you are making a stand for something hugely significant.

"How quickly the church has compromised."

"We have become all things to all men to save some. The Bible says keep yourselves unspotted from the world. What we are seeing in the Anglican Church has led the way to utter collapse and compromise. It is the failure of teaching the Word of God, people are not being taught the Word of God.

"Congregations are being led by ministers who are poorly trained in theological colleges. It is though we have vaccinated our people, it is a capitulation to the darkness. Our business is to outlive and out love the world around us."

"What our Church and nation needs is an Elijah and the spirit of Elijah to speak the Word of God. Elijah had amazing success."

"You will get persecuted, libeled, mocked, sneered and lose friends. The cause for which we are struggling is so significant that is costs you in pain and faithfulness to the Lord God."

"The Anglican Church of Canada has taken a wrong turn."

"The west has turned its back on the Bible."

ON THE DIOCESE OF SYDNEY: The diocese has always had a tradition of conversion. In the 80's and 90's we went about converting people. At the beginning of the 21st Century, we gave ourselves 10% of funds to mission, seeking 10% new converts. I gave the diocese the ability to change, to preach and pray, multiply Christian workers and plant churches. As a result, we went from 20 ethnic to 60 ethnic churches. We grew by 7.8%...we held our own. We have a long way to go to reach our demographic goals.

QUESTION: Does the Anglican Communion have a future, has fracturing set a course for international schism?

JENSEN: Yes we have a future. It is going to be better than the past. I am sorry to say the divisions were caused by those who knowingly, recklessly and foolishly, blessed same-sex unions. They broke away from the rest of us. This is a salvation issue. God's Word says one thing and society is saying another thing. Elijah and the prophets of Baal is what this is about. Elijah asks, 'how long will you hold between two positions...make a choice.'

The communion has not gone away. CANA and ACNA is a model for other countries.

As one Nigerian bishop. "Now we know we are not alone."

The Communion is your standing for the bible, as your Nigerian brothers and sisters are doing.

I don't know if the official communion will exist forever, I would not be surprised but orthodox Anglicans will have a Communion no matter what is said and done.

"It is all too easy for clergy to talk about social and political matters and to think politicians have an easy job. My job is to talk about God, Jesus and the bible. We need to speak into the fabric of the nation and from the bible, and not economic experts."


Anglicans in America and Canada have fragmented. A split here can lead to spiritual safety. That would not be the same in Uganda. If you fragment the Anglican Church here, it is tragic, but not the end. If we fragment the church in Nigeria or Kenya, you do immense harm to the nations involved.

We need to be cautious in making quick divisions.

Why should we take the ABC seriously, what has he done for you?

TEC is absolutely heretical, do you remember Justin Welby saying that?

Why should we worry about what the Church of England thinks of us?

The road to heaven is not through Canterbury, however we can respect the office and holder of the office.

The Anglican Communion will hold together, it will stay together. It is the Lord Jesus who brings us together, not a human institution.

Breaking away from other Christians is never to be an easy thing to do. It has to be over a matter of salvation importance. I believe the activity of the ACNA and the various branches now in this diocese, the clergy and people who have taken the stand, are some of the most heroic and wonderful people I know. You would rather suffer for Christ and staying in an institution for pats on the back. You have paid dearly.

The struggle we are involved in is not just a struggle on this continent, it is a struggle for the soul of Christianity, and the struggle you are involved in is replicated in allof the West. African and Asian nations are not safe. It will happen among them. Faithfulness constitutes one of the most important paths in church history. It is for Christ and the Bible...it is a huge salvation issue. We are going to show how to be truly human.

AT THIS FOURTH CANA EAST DIOCESAN CONVENTION, Bishop Julian Dobbs welcomed five new congregations into CANA/ACNA.

They include, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Georgia; Emmanuel Anglican Church in New York City; St. Matthews Anglican church, Islip NY; Redeemer Anglican Church, Winter Park, Florida and Holy Trinity, Hillsdale, Michigan. A partnership was announced with Westminster Theological Seminary.

Also announced were 22 new pastors, 11 new church plants, six regional deaneries, and the first missionaries were sent out to Tanzania.


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