Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON needs explanation

Updated again Sunday evening

On the one hand, two papers have been [re-]published on the GAFCON site, which are “to add to the understanding of the background to the Global Anglican Future Conference”:

On the other hand, Michael Poon from Singapore, writing on the Global South Anglican site, has asked the GAFCON organisers some very good questions:

“Everything is permissible” — but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” — but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 9: 23-24)

I am saddened and shocked by the Statement on “The Global Anglican Future Conference, June 15-22, The Holy Land”, issued on December 26, 2007. Perhaps the Primates responsible need to clarify their views on the matter.

1. On what basis was the Statement “announced by Orthodox Primates”? What is the basis of orthodoxy? Historically, the Communion takes Canon A5 “Doctrine of the Church of England” and C15 “On the Preface to the Declaration of Assent” of the Church of England as the basis of its belief. This underpins Section 2 (“The Faith we share”) of the proposed Anglican Covenant. On what basis did the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Southern Cone, and Tanzania declare themselves as orthodox primates?

2. Did the Primates at Nairobi act on their personal capacity or as primates of their respective churches that “represent over 30 million of the 55 million active Anglicans in the world”? It would be helpful if the Primates and bishops are able to have their Statement ratified through due process by their Provincial/National/Diocesan Synods.

3. Has the Global South Anglican Primates Steering Committee endorsed this Statement? So far, it has remained silent on the matter. It is important to note that the authority of the Global South Anglican “movement” and of the Steering Committee arise from the South-South Encounter and most recently the Kigali Meeting in 2006. The Global South represents a broad spectrum of Anglican churches that hold onto the historic faith and ecclesiology informed by the historic formularies. It does not answer to the dictates of the radical evangelical wings within the Communion. It is regrettable that Asia, West Indies, and Middle East are glaring omissions among the “conveners” of the proposed Conference. Have they been consulted? Have they rejected the proposal? In their place, we find names of colleagues (with due respect) from a particular strand in the Northern churches. Why was this Statement issued with such haste? And without broader representation?

4. Was the Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem of the Middle East consulted? After all the proposed Conference takes place in Jerusalem? Furthermore, by holding it in Jerusalem, it makes it quite impossible for orthodox Christians from Muslim countries to attend. And yet, what is that insignificant minority in the face of powerful numerical blocs?

What should our discipleship be at this stage? Primates are pledged to uphold the unity and the faith of the church, and not their private judgments and personalities—even their interpretation of orthodoxy. Please be constructive in your decisions at this stage.

Michael Poon
Feast of Thomas Becket, 2007

Sunday Update

Michael Poon has asked some more questions, see Michael Poon asks Archbishop Peter Jensen for clarification on several crucial points. The article is too long to add in full here, but the first two questions are as follows:

1. What is the particular nature of the crisis before the Communion today?
2. What are the particular heritage within the Anglican history you wish to retain?

And, as noted in a comment below, the following editorial note appears on the Global South Anglican homepage:

Editorial note: Both Dr Michael Poon and Archbishop Jensen have articles featured on this site regularly. It will be in the interest of our readers and Anglican faithful that we continue some open conversations on the nature and direction that our Communion is taking. This is a critical time for our Communion and churches. If we are just fighting for biblical orthodoxy and nothing else, we might as well splinter into independent churches. Even ‘mission’ is not a good enough reason to be together – for we are working quite well across denominational boundaries. If it is both biblical orthodoxy AND the catholic order of our Church with our identity/mission as an ecclesial family, then it calls for careful, deeper reflection, longterm vision and clarity in our strategy – that the 2003 crisis and our subsequent responses may not tear the fabric of our Communion even further.

And, as also mentioned in comments, there is this report from a Kent newspaper:

CofE unity threatened by conference split:

GAFCON spokesman Canon Chris Sugden would not be drawn on whether or not Dr Williams would be invited to the rival conference. He said: “Of course, the Archbishop will be preoccupied with the Lambeth Conference, but no decisions have been made yet.”

A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop of Canterbury would not be making any comment on the alternative conference…

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Graham Kings
Guest

Michael Poon is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, Trinity Theological College, Singapore, and convenor of the Global South Anglican theological formation and education task force. When the leading theologian of the Global South Anglican site raises a series of serious questions about GAFCON then their significance is worth noting. For more on Michael Poon’s context, see: http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=178 There seems to have been: 1. a misuse of the name ‘Global Anglican’ in the title of the Conference, which is (deliberately?) close to Global South Anglican. 2. no consultation with the Global South Anglican steering… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Presmably, the answer to Singapore is that some of the more dogmatic evangelical types and Forward in Faith types will make the running, and then others can tag on subsequently. It is called impatience, and the Sugden-Minns African alliance has been nothing but impatient and methodical with plans.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Ah how the realignment must continue to work itself out. Players must play. I very much doubt that Ahmanson, Scaife, and colleagues are much asking themselves any questions about the pluralistically conceived goods lived by all the rest of us. Good questions though for all of us to ponder, from time to time to time. One hopes the more brash among the realignment leaders in the campaign are listening and reflecting further. Meanwhile, Orombi falls headlong into the prepared realignment traps. Presuppositional, hence, blind. He cannot understand that western scholarly textual/hermeneutic criticism has the good aim of cleaning up and… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Actually, I think this by James Packer explains all that one needs from their perspective. http://www.gafcon.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10&Itemid=1 Here are some choice texts getting my interest for later comment: The present project, however, is precisely not to abandon… …but to realign within it [Anglicanism] , so as to be able to maintain it in its fullness and authenticity… …liberal theology, which has become increasingly dominant in seminaries and among leaders in what we may call the Anglican Old West – that is, North America in the lead, with Britain and Australasia coming along behind. …since Anglo-Catholic leadership began to flag. Well now;… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

In his speech Jim Packer justifies the Anglican “realignment” of the sixteenth century because of Rome’s false doctrines. Yet virtually all these “false” doctrines are taught as Biblical by San Joaquin and Fort Worth…..they joined Southern Cone at the same time as he did. These dioceses teach things which are opposed to the thirty nine articles he so values…like prayer for the Saints and interpolate Holy Communion like the Mass. Yet again we see the heresy test reduced to homosexuality. Packer was quite content to stay in Canadian Anglicanism, with its women bishops and easy divorce…but sodomy that is the… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

I’m not surprised by the shenanigans. A recent Jensen paper on why he supported this GAFCON move expressed a concern US TEC development would not remain confined within their own borders. For some, we are not meant to unconditionally love our children, even if the Potter makes them GLBT. Nor are we to share testimony this of courageous unconditional love outside of a shameful confession to a few “insiders”. There are some who think there is a limited bucket of God’s love, and that should be meted out frugally to only those who tithe and flatter to the appropriate ideology.… Read more »

Davis Mac-Iyalla
Guest
Davis Mac-Iyalla

Where is the money coming from to finance this conference? I am repeatedly telling Archbishop Akinola that his action will lead to the formation of a orthodox liberal anglican church in Nigeria that will maintain ties with Canterbury.

Graham Kings
Guest

Ephraim Radner has just commented on the Covenant site: ‘Secretive organizational plans, lack of open consultation, ignoring of consensus, rushed strategies aimed at creating influential “facts on the ground” — we have been dealing with this kind of thing for too long. In the TEC, we have, as has been noted, had to suffer from it at the hands of innovating advocates of change to the point of splitting our American church in multiple bodies. What is interesting now is perceiving how the same tactics, carried out by factions within the “Global South” (along with allies — or is it… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

Dr Michael Poon has published another article, directed at +Jensen, on the Global South Anglican site – http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php/comments/michael_poon_seeks_a_conversation_with_archbishop_peter_jensen_on_issues_af/

Peter O
Guest

It’s a teeny, tiny point Simon, but where did you get the idea that this conference was happening in Jerusalem? Can’t see that on the (splendidly put together if I may say so) GAFCON website. All I see is “Holy Land”.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Peter
I wasn’t aware that I had said anything about the conference location!
I’m really not responsible for what either Michael Poon or Graham Kings thinks, but FWIW I had interpreted their comments to be a reference to the diocese rather than the city itself. Last time I checked, the diocese covered the whole of the countries in question, by whatever names you prefer to use…
Simon

Pluralist
Guest

Pity that Ephraim Radner has to have a dig at TEC whilst he criticises the new gathering. I was asked to write something about Michael Poon’s first comments. So I did, but what he wrote (in terms of response) is covered by more general understandings of this GAFCON crowd. I see that he is indeed now addressing himself to Peter Jensen. It is turning into a bit of a near neighbours’ squabble. To take the Militant analogy further, it is starting to get like the relationship between Labour and SDP – so close and yet getting far. Poon Questions (of… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

Have people noticed Canon [Dr] Chris Sugden’s involvement with other initiatives which have been devastatingly criticised in the past 12 months, as well as his latest involvement with GAFCON, now subject to critique by Michael Poon? In August, his ’fingerprints’ were to be found, along with Bishop Martyn Minns’, on the letter from Archbishop Akinola to the Nigerian Synods entitled “A Most Agonizing Journey towards Lambeth 2008“ published on 19 August 2007. http://www.changingattitude.org.uk/news/newsitem.asp?id=315 Canon Sugden was also associated with ‘A Covenant for the Church of England’ with Paul Perkins and others, published in December 2006. This document was subjected to… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

Regarding where the money will come from, Davis Mac-Iyalla, we can start with Orombi’s Anglican TV interview of last September, when he expounds with great enthusiasm the money he has received from American right-wing sources: “… they give us money. Oh they give us money. Since we began to relate with our orthodox brethren they have given us much more money, much more money, oh yeah, much more money. They have given us more money.” A direct, unedited quote. http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002600.html As to the formation of an “orthodox liberal anglican church …. that will maintain ties with Canterbury”, I have seen… Read more »

Graham Kings
Guest

There is a very important note from Terry Wong, the Editor of the Global South Anglican site and vicar of St James’s Church, Singapore, on Michael Poon’s new article concerning questions to Peter Jensen. It is easy to miss because it is on the home page and not part of the article itself. It reads: Editorial note: Both Dr Michael Poon and Archbishop Jensen have articles featured on this site regularly. It will be in the interest of our readers and Anglican faithful that we continue some open conversations on the nature and direction that our Communion is taking. This… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Chris Sugden is of course the co-ordinating mastermind…..but in all the Covenants ( including his) the real meaning of heterosexual marriage is left out…whether it is indissoluable or not ( you see evangelicals can’t agree on this…and if they admit this difference,..it makes their claim that the Bible is clear on morality, very hollow)…. Please make sure that the Anglican Communion Covenant defines marriage and if there is a possibility of divorce…it will totally divide the evangelicals. Divorce is the evangelical achilles heel. As for evangelical overtures to Anglo-Catholics…the Book of Proverbs tells us, ” beware of those who wink… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

Previewing your Comment “Yet virtually all these “false” doctrines are taught as Biblical by San Joaquin and Fort Worth…..they joined Southern Cone at the same time as he did. These dioceses teach things which are opposed to the thirty nine articles he so values…like prayer for the Saints and interpolate Holy Communion like the Mass.”—Robert Ian Williams Good grief, Robert! You reject the Catholic faith which Anglicanism is pledged to uphold—with or without the obsolete 16th century Calvinist Articles of Religion! Don’t you believe in the “communion of saints”? Don’t you ask your friends to pray for you? Then why… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Pluralist, A lot of what has happened in TEC has been by unilateral action and without the consents of diocesan conventions or General Convention, and Radner is correct to point it out. Having relocated to Canada from the US, I appreciate the openness of the Canadian church, that we are discussing the issue at synods and moving forward (or not) based on consensus and synodical action. Of course, I do sometimes find it frustratingly slow. But in the end, I would prefer same-sex marriage to be authorized only after thorough discussion of its theology as well as all the implications,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Lapin
sounds like time we all started fundraising to enable Davis and other members of “Changing Attitude in Nigeria” to be present at Lambeth.

The more this story unfolds the more their public and open presence becomes a necessity.

Changing Attitude will accept donations for this purpose.

Colin Coward
Guest

As has been suggested on other sites, and as a result of the reactions of people like Michael Poon and Ephraim Radner, I have been allowing myself to think what else might be going on behind the scenes amongst the organisers of GAFCON. This isn’t rocket science, but let’s speculate. We know, as Lapinbizarre has reminded us, that Henry Orombi is obscenely seduced by money. This might explain why he seems to be capitulating to Peter Akinola becoming leader of the new Church that is undoubtedly plan B of the GAFCON team. Plan A is to so humiliate the present… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

“…if they admit this difference,… it makes their claim that the Bible is clear on morality, very hollow…” There has been a lot of oil poured on a lot of possible dissension points so that there can be full solo scriptural authority posturing over the “heretical” notion of providing love and nurturing to eunuchs (aka GLBTs). For example, the ordination of women or women as teachers, divorce, polygamy, usury. Similarly their “robust” theology has dirty big holes in it as it completely ignores God’s will to have things done on this earth as they are done in heaven (Matthew 6:10),… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I have two long pieces, wouldn’t fit here, on Michael Poon’s further questions and a criticism of J. I. Packer and his caricature of liberalism.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/12/j-i-packer-you-are-wrong-about.html

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/12/more-poon-questions-gafcon.html

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Dear Kurt… I am a convinced Roman Catholic and I use the word “false” to put myself abnd the reader in the mindset of the evangelicals and show the duplicity of their setting aside their beliefs to further their cause…By the way the Evangelicals are true to Cranmer and the historic reformation settlement

Rob.

MJ
Guest
MJ

Interesting that the Sydney Anglicans site introduces on their homepage an article on GAFCON with the following.

“Archbishop Peter Jensen WILL CHAIR an international Anglican conference that aims to call the Communion back to the basic tenets of the Christian faith.”

http://your.sydneyanglicans.net/

What the article ACTUALLY begins with is:

“Archbishop Peter Jensen has given firm support to an Anglican conference…”

http://your.sydneyanglicans.net/sydneystories/future_anglicans_unite/

Typical Sydney arrogance (unless they know something others don’t!):

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Can anyone explain to me why Rowan Williams does not make any comment at all?

MJ
Guest
MJ

As a follow-up to my pointing out Sydney Anglican’s ‘slip’ in saying +Jensen will ‘chair’ GAFCON, it’s equally interesting that Terry Wong, of the Global South Anglican website, posted a comment on T19 which says: “While some may read the Gafcon initiative as a move which bypasses GSA, it can also be read as one which seeks to allow more space, especially at the leadership and organisers’ level, for other primates or leaders to participate. Thus, Archbishop Peter Jensen could act as the spokesman of the event and we have some from UK assisting in the organisation.” http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/8764/#comments (comment #110)… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

+Anis has written to +Akinola asking for a reconsideration of GAFCON, although he is supportive of the idea. It appears, amongst other things, that +Suheil Dawani was NOT aware this was taking place: “In regard to the site, ‘Jerusalem’, I doubt that we will get the support of the Bishop there for various reasons. Even if he agreed initially, things may change several months afterwards. This will put us in an awkward position. It is my region and I know it better than you. To say we will do a pilgrimage to attract Bishops, and yet it is not entirely… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The Golden Questions I wish that Michael Poon should have asked Doctor Jensen…and maybe a bishop or Rowan Williams could still ask of the self proclaimed orthodox champion : Will he give an assurance (like that which is demanded of Bishop Jefferts Schori )that he will never sign lay presidency into law in Sydney diocese. Also if he wishes to chair a conference which recognises Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical as valid components of authentic Biblical Anglicanism, will he authorise the use of the Australian prayer Book and Catholic eucharistic vestments in the handful of Anglo-Catholic parishes in his diocese. Will he… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

According to The Jerusalem Post they are expecting to host the event:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1198517248310&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

MJ
Guest
MJ

Sydney Anglicans has now removed the phrase ‘will chair’ from the piece I mentioned. I guess they must keep an eye on TA 😀

MJ
Guest
MJ

VirtueOnline appears to be down at the minute, but the article on the alleged +Anis / +Akinola correspondence regarding GAFCON can also be read here – http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-religion/1946045/posts

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

It will be interesting to see not only who is invited but also who, even with outside financial support (how much, one wonders, are the Ahmansons, Scaifes, et al. actually prepared to commit to the venture) is able or willing to attend.

“I can call spirits from the vasty deep.”

“Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?”

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“Dear Kurt… I am a convinced Roman Catholic…”—Robert Ian Williams

You sure don’t sound like one to me! You have one crazy conception of Anglican history and doctrine!

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Kurt, I think you have swallowed the Anglo-catholic line…if you go back to the Reformation roots of Anglicanism, you find prayer for the dead, to the Saints, the Sacrifice of the Mass and Eyucharistic adoration banned. Even the high church element took this line…Anglo-Catholicism as practiced in dioceses like San Joaquin developed in the nineteeth century as an off shoot of the ritualist movement.

MJ
Guest
MJ

The Jerusalem Post piece was all preplanned. This particular blogger wrote on Dec 26th (the day most heard of GAFCON) that a piece was coming, although she got the publication day wrong:

http://irenelancaster.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/12/global-anglican.html

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

Good heavens, Robert! It may be true that certain Roman pietistic practices (some of them acceptable to me, some of them not so acceptable) were introduced (or, re-introduced) in the 19th century, but basic doctrinal concepts such as “the communion of saints” and the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Mass have been with us since the beginnings of Anglicanism as a Christian denomination. The Calvinists, it is true, have often disputed such doctrines, and have done their best to obliterate them—the neo-Puritans are still trying to do so today! But, they have not succeeded—which is why,… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Kurt I don’t want to detract from Gafcon…but you should read the Black ” rubric” in your BOOK of Common Prayer, not to mention the 39 articles and Cranmer’s book on the Eucharist.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I think you have swallowed the Anglo-catholic line” Au contraire, RIW, I think you have swallowed the Calvinist line that THEY alone created/maintained “True Anglicanism” (TM). “you should read the Black ” rubric” in your BOOK of Common Prayer, not to mention the 39 articles” The Black Rubric is not in *my* BCP, Robert! (TEC 1979, as True an Anglicanism as there is). The 39 articles are merely there as historical, not definitive. As far as Cranmer goes, we honor his martyrdom for freedom of thought over Papist dictatorship, but his theology is hardly the most important in Anglicanism—Hooker is… Read more »