Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop Jensen's presidential address

The Presidential Address delivered by the Most Rev. Dr. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church, on the opening night of the 2008 diocesan synod can be found here. There are PDF and audio versions as well as the html.

He has quite a lot to say about GAFCON in the second half of the talk. That part starts out:

GAFCON

As I look back over the tumultuous months of June and July – tumultuous for me at least – I am more certain than ever that the path we chose to take as bishops from this Diocese was the right one: it was right to attend the conference in Jerusalem, and it was right to stay away from Lambeth.

I was there when GAFCON was planned. In a hotel room in Nairobi were squeezed Archbishop Nzimbi from Kenya, Archbishop Orombi from Uganda, Archbishop Akinola from Nigeria, Archbishop Mtetemela from Tanzania, Archbishop Kolini from Rwanda. As well there were leaders from England, from the US, from Canada. It was December 2007, late, far too late to plan a major conference, let alone one in Jerusalem.

But we were late for a worthy reason – there had been hope against hope that a solution would be found to the problems in the Anglican Communion. They had placed their hopes in the Archbishop of Canterbury and the usual processes of the Communion. Now they believed that all those hopes had been dashed and there would be no solution offered, apart from more delay. The time had come to act.

Persistent attempts to portray GAFCON as a breakaway movement or an attempt to split the Anglican Communion are perverse, almost malign. The ‘tear in the fabric of the Communion’ occurred in the events of 2003 with the appointment of a divorced and actively homosexual bishop in the United States, and the blessing of same-sex unions in the US and Canada. GAFCON represents a refusal on theological and pastoral grounds to act as though this major division had never taken place.

The Anglican Communion is, I believe, the third largest body of Christians in the world. It is vastly more important than we here often realise. It represents one of the chief ways in which Christians all around the world receive fellowship, missional help, and attention when they are persecuted or in other trouble. It is a highly significant entity, to be cherished and maintained, not torn apart. The aim of GAFCON is to renew and invigorate the Communion and to help bring order and peace out of the mayhem created by the American division…

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drdanfee
drdanfee
12 years ago

Ah Dr. Jensen, what is perverse – Alas, Lord have mercy – and often inexplicably near if not synonymous with being malign – is the continued trash talk preachments which bear false witness in targeting of all the groups more or less consistently on the GAFCON and other conservative Anglican realignment dudgeon lists. Worse, and often more clearly malign is the outright mistreatment of queer folks and their closely allied target group (uppity women who need Dr. Jensen telling them what to do with their daily lives just about as much as a fish needs a bicycle?) in countries all… Read more »

Robert Ian williams
Robert Ian williams
12 years ago

Archbishop Jensen is very passionate about evangelism..and one cannot doubt his sincerity. However he condemns the ordination of women priests and then upholds Duncan and Orombi who endorse it. He sees order as not being as important..yet our Lord commanded his followers to obey all his commandments. He refers to the the sexual malaise in the West and quoting Jim Packer the ” sanctification of sin “. and refers to Robinson as divorced…the fact is the Diocese of Sydney re-marries divorced persons and there were divorced and re-married bishops at the GAFCOn jamboree in Jerusalem. He makes no mention that… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
12 years ago

“The aim of GAFCON is to renew and invigorate the Communion and to help bring order and peace out of the mayhem created by the American division…” The “mayhem”–and isn’t that a bit over-the-top?–was created by those who insist that all of the Communion must think alike and act alike on what are, at best, second-order concerns and more likely third-order ones. If Abp. Jensen and his diocese can seriously consider and act upon lay presidency without creating “mayhem,” then surely the consecration of one gay bishop in a small diocese in the US should not either. BTW, the American… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

Comment by Archbishop Jensen, at the 2008 Sydney Diocesan Synod:- “Persistent attempts to portray GAFCON as a breakaway movement to split the Anglican Communion are perverse, almost mailgn”. What sort of double-talk is that, Dr. Jensen? How on earth can you expect the rest of the Anglican Communion to accept your version of the problems of schismatic activity stemming from the urging of the Gafcon Primates to disassociate members of your Group from their parent Churches – in order to toe the line with your requirements of LAW versus GRACE as the way forward for our Communion? Such incitement of… Read more »

bobinswpa
bobinswpa
12 years ago

What I find interesting is Duncan and his ilk stated at the Pittsburgh Convention that homosexuality was not the reason they were leaving. The left because people in TEC have denied the Trinity, the physical resurrection of Jesus and a few other reasons I can’t recall. The hate the gays talk wasn’t really making them popular with some of their supporters. Why are Jensen and Akinola still on the gay issue? Even in places like Fort Worth it’s less about gays than it’s about the fact that they don’t recognize women in holy orders. Ian: You did a really good… Read more »

kieran crichton
kieran crichton
12 years ago

This is just an incidental point, but why, oh why, do people keep referring to the diocese of Sydney as an ARCH-diocese?

Such things do not exist in the Anglican Church in Australia. An archbishop does not an archdiocese make. The term is used by the Roman and Eastern rite churches — which would be hilariously ironic if the misnomer is being promoted by Sydney Anglicans.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
12 years ago

The Sydney Synod just resolutely rejected a motion that would have recognised that there was a minority within the diocese who believed women as priests and bishops are Scriptural.

This is not a second order issue for Sydney…as it is portaryed in the Gafcon Declaration,..as one speaker at the Synod said, “If we allow this , it will change us forever.”

The real aim of the real GAFCON leadership is to eventually uindermine womens headship in the participating Gafcon “provinces” and to stop it happening in Nigeria.

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

[Speaking as one of the “perverse, almost malign”]

When you point your finger at me, Peter, three fingers point back at you! ;-/

Lord have mercy…

Cheryl Va.
12 years ago

Bob suggested “The left because people in TEC have denied the Trinity, the physical resurrection of Jesus and a few other reasons I can’t recall. “ Poppy cock. Jensen is the author of propositional revelation in which Jesus is the complete and perfect fulfillment of God. In this model there is no discrete Holy Spirit nor Father who might disagree with Jesus’ decisions nor have their own feelings and sensibilities. Jensen reduced the cloud of the divine presence to a manifestation without discrete consciousness or sensibility. Nor does the cloud of the divine presence deny Jesus. After all she baptised… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

“Archbishop Jensen is very passionate about evangelism..and one cannot doubt his sincerity.” – Robert Ian Williams – Robert. I doubt whether most readers on this site would agree with you on your assertion here – that Abp. Jensen’s sincerity cannot be doubted. In the same posting you have declared that he is double-minded in his anti-catholic theology, versus his acceptance of Duncan and Iker’s high-churchmanship. What does that say about his sincerity? Or does that word mean something else where you are? Jensen’s duplicity must be obvious even to his most devoted disciples, and when he acts in conclave with… Read more »

Kurt
Kurt
12 years ago

“He refers to the the sexual malaise in the West and quoting Jim Packer the ” sanctification of sin “. and refers to Robinson as divorced…the fact is the Diocese of Sydney re-marries divorced persons and there were divorced and re-married bishops at the GAFCOn jamboree in Jerusalem.”–Robert Ian Williams

Since when is the hypocrisy of the evangelicals news? However, I am still continually amazed that such a modern, gay-friendly city as Sydney hosts such a backward, theologically retarded bunch of Calvinists posturing as “Anglicans”! The “flogging parsons” of convict yore have left a lasting legacy in Olde Sydney Towne.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

“Thus, following GAFCON a Primates’ Council has emerged, consisting of seven of the most significant leaders of the Anglican Communion. I am not a member of this, but I have been asked to act as the honorary secretary. They have waited patiently for over five years for help to arrive for Bob Duncan, David Short, Jim Packer and the rest. Nothing effective has been done and they have now concluded that nothing effective will be done” – Abp.Peter Jensen. Sydney Diocesan Synod. Not so, dear Archbishop! Something effective has been done. The friends you mention here have been duly, and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

Another interesting paragraph in Mr. Thomas’ speech to the ‘Reform’ meeting has this to say: “Taking alternative oversight first: the reason we’re interested in Episcopal oversight at all is that we believe in being part of an Episcopal church for good theological and pragmatic reasons. We are not Congregationalists in that we believe it biblical to be connexional. It is right therefore that it should not simply be the local congregation that validates its own senior ministry” Obviously, what Mr. Thomas and his fellow would-be Reformers have not taken seriously into account is that their proposal – to seek alternative… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
12 years ago

Dear Ron.. i still think Doctor Jensen is sincere, but self-deceived on the orthodoxy issue..as he places womens ordination on a lower level than the SS issue.

Sydney Diocese is the Protestant conscience of Anglicanism…and even in your own CHCH diocese Anglo-catholics were once persecuted.

Just read that FIF and Reform have both praised GAFCON at their annual conferences.

Anglo-Catholics should be aware that just a few weeks ago in Uganda the underlining Protestant theology of GAFCON was worked out in Uganda…again Sydney are taking the lead.

Cheryl Va.
12 years ago

The suggestion “Sydney Diocese is the Protestant conscience of Anglicanism…” How can it be? They are the arch proponents of solo scriptural interpretations and insist they are the only true medium of papal authority, and that only their males are capable of spiritual teaching. Their conduct and theology is more consistent with that which Jesus renounced than with that which Jesus affirmed. And what is malign? Deciding that the South African church that ended apartheid is reprehensible and requires a new chuch planting (back in 1987). Who is malign. Who has consistently fought for tyranny and censorship and imposition, and… Read more »

Ford ELms
Ford ELms
12 years ago

“self-deceived on the orthodoxy issue” Does it come as any surprise that a radical Evangelical reassessor would be “self-deceived”? I mean, he has convinced himself that Evangelicalism is somehow traditional Christianity, that what the Church has taught from the beginning is actually NOT the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. He is reported to be on side with those attempting to bring subordinationism into our definition of the Trinity, so great is his desire to keep a collar off a woman’s neck. Sorry, but while I suppose “self-deception” is something we all fall into, it seems pretty… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“It represents one of the chief ways in which Christians all around the world receive fellowship, missional help, and attention when they are persecuted or in other trouble.” I just saw this. Is he seriously suggesting that when gay Anglicans in Nigeria are in danger of being thrown in prison, or in Sudan are in danger of being killed, then they can turn to the Church for help? I have to wonder what kind of help they would receive in that instance. I’d suggest that in the case of the hypothetical Nigerian Anglican gay person, that help would take the… Read more »

John
John
12 years ago

Always enjoy reading you, Ford. I don’t myself regard Jensen as altogether malevolent on the gay issue. Although he believes homosexual sexual activity to be wrong, he was clearly publicly embarrassed by the crass homophobia of Akinola et al. at whichever GAFCON conference it was and did try to rein them in.

Cheryl Va.
12 years ago

Like you, John, I enjoyed Ford’s postings on this thread. The difficulty with the Sydney bishops is that while they might not be personally malevolent, they aid and abet souls who are malevolent. Nor can one say that Sydney Anglicans do not listen to suggestions. The whole Connect 09 is an admission that they had failed to connect with the masses and to allow them a voice. The problem is that while their words sound good, their hearts are cruel. They will give the public form of love and inclusion, but covertly they groom parishioners to shun and exclude. They… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“I don’t myself regard Jensen as altogether malevolent on the gay issue.”

I don’t either. I see him a deeply misguided and arrogantly ignorant of the Gospel. From what I have seen of Sydney Anglicans, his brand of Christianity has produced some very rotten fruit indeed, and “by their fruits shall you know them.” Not all Sydney Anglicans, of course.

Brian R
Brian R
12 years ago

“Not all Sydney Anglicans, of course”
Thank you Ford 🙂 There are some of us trying to worship in Sydney despite those in charge doing everything possible to prevent us. Today’s Sydney Morning Herald shows they were happy to see the removal of a program on National radio which often criticised them. I am sure they had some influence there. Besides outlawing chasubles, our parish was banned from allowing congregational devotion at the Cross on Good Friday after making the mistake of inviting a Sydney Bishop to attend. Normally we invite bishops from other dioceses to preach.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“Besides outlawing chasubles, our parish was banned from allowing congregational devotion at the Cross on Good Friday after making the mistake of inviting a Sydney Bishop to attend.” Am I able to guess which parish this is? I heard a likely apocryphal story of an AC parish in Sydney right next to the Cathedral parish, that every year takes its Corpus Christi procewssion as far as it can and gives Benediction in the direction of the Cathedral! Even if it isn’t true, it’s a great story. But, yeah, stories I have read of the treatment of the few ACs in… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

The Plot Thickens – in Sydney, Australia. At the recent Sydney Diocesan Synod, the meeting has “overwhelingly” endorsed the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration as “exemplifiying the tenets of orthodoxy which underpins our Anglican identity”. This report in the English Church Times also reports that a separate motion congratulated the Archbishop and Bishops of Sydney for attending GAFCON and for their moves to “continue our development as a truly Bible-based Anglican Church” A further report says that the Sydney Diocese has stated that “We don’t want to specialise the presbyters in adminstering the Lord’ Supper.. but we want them to specialise in… Read more »

Kurt
Kurt
12 years ago

“These latter statements on their own might not cause undue concern, in that Lay Ministers of the Eucharist are already licnsed in Anglican Churches around the world to ADMINISTER, but not to PRESIDE at, the Eucharist, which is what the Synod has proposed the ordained Diaconate may now undertake. So far in the anglican Communion around the world, no-one but a duly-ordained priest is allowed to preside at the Eucharist.”–Fr. Ron Smith I just don’t get this “Sydney Anglican” passion for lay celebration. If they want to be Presbyterians, why don’t they leave the Anglican Church just as the old… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“If they want to be Presbyterians,” Because it isn’t enough for them to believe sincerely and honestly that they are right. They have to force everybody else to either acknowledge that they are right or get out of the Church. Weakness of faith is the issue. They have to have the Law plainly and clearly spelled out in order to have any trust at all that they are, as the Consevo phrase goes, “right with God”. Because we all know that redemption is about being “right with God”. There’s also the added bonus of getting to feel so much better… Read more »

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