Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON consecrates a Bishop for Europe

Updated again Monday morning (scroll down for new links)

See earlier announcement, which we reported here.

This event will take place today in Wheaton, Illinois. First some background articles.

GAFCON UK has published GAFCON UK Statement on the announcement of the Gafcon /ACNA Missionary Bishop to Europe.

There is also an article titled The Gafcon Missionary Bishop for Scotland and Europe which describes itself as:

Some helpful recent blogs and articles which explain and comment on the response of Gafcon and ACNA to the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change their Canons on marriage…

GAFCON has published its Chairman’s June 2017 letter by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria. He writes:

…On Thursday 8th June, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) changed its teaching to allow men to be married to men and women to women. It followed the path already taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin. It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behaviour that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behaviour, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.

Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops in dioceses led by Arians because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake. This was the principle guiding the interventions which led to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009 and it was affirmed by over three hundred bishops in assembly at Gafcon 2013 in Nairobi. It was therefore very appropriate that on the same day that the Scottish Episcopal Church formally turned aside from the historic Christian faith, Gafcon announced that Canon Andy Lines, already an internationally recognised missionary statesman, will be consecrated later this month as a Gafcon missionary bishop for Europe.

This is not a step we have taken lightly, but from the beginning Gafcon has been committed to standing with the marginalised. Requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury, had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions.

So now Gafcon stands ready to recognise and support orthodox Anglicans in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe as the drift away from apostolic faith and order continues. For reasons of mission and conscience, we can expect to find a growing number of orthodox Anglican congregations needing oversight outside traditional structures, as is already the case with the Anglican Mission in England.

The creation of a missionary bishop for Europe is an historic moment. It is a recognition that the era of European Christendom has passed and that in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, a new start is being made by building global partnerships for mission.

They also published The Gafcon Missionary Bishop for Scotland and Europe.

And this: C of E bishop responds to Scottish vote on same-sex marriage.

Two bishops from Australia, the Archbishop of Sydney and the Bishop of Tasmania are both planning to participate in today’s service. See below for the letters that they wrote to their Australian colleagues.


The Anglican Mission in England has published CONSECRATION OF CANON ANDY LINES AS A MISSIONARY BISHOP.

A video recording of the entire consecration service is available here.

The Primate of Australia has written this letter: To the bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You will have received correspondence from Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie advising of their intention to participate in the consecration of a bishop for Europe in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a church that is not a member of the Anglican Communion and is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia. That ordination will by now have taken place.

Each of our colleagues, according to their conscience, declares their intended participation to be an act of solidarity ‘with those who will act to protect the gospel of Christ’ or ‘who contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ – an issue as to the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of our National Constitution (ss 1- 6). As you will have seen from that correspondence, I advised both bishops against this course of action…

I recommend reading this letter in full.

There are also within that letter links to these:

Letter from Archbishop Glenn Davies

Letter from Bishop Richard Condie

ACNA has published this: The Consecration of a Missionary Bishop for Europe.

GAFCON has published this: The consecration of a Missionary Bishop for Europe.


  • Perry Butler says:

    Do we yet know how many congregations in Scotland will be seeking this episcopal oversight?

  • Interesting. I do find it interesting that it was thought helpful to transfer his canonical residence from the Southern Cone to the ACNA for this ministry. I’m not questioning whether it was somehow “licit” – not something I’m qualified to address, myself – but, as one who is interested in how people make decisions, I’m curious. Surely this change was thought to be useful for this new ministry.

    As for the ministry itself (and without reference to the person who is undertaking it): another straw on the back of the camel of the “Anglican Communion as we have known it.”

  • FrDavidH says:


  • Adam Armstrong says:

    The arrogant self-importance of this group reeks of the kind of triumphalism that have wreaked havoc in so many lives. To equate this event with doing as Athanasius did and the start of a new Reformation is way over the top. Can they really be so full of themselves? This is what happens when big egos and small minds come together under the guise of Christianity. To what end? To make sure that people who want to avoid gay people have a homosexual-free space where their bigotry and ignorance can hold full sway while they self-righteously oppress other human beings and accuse those who don’t agree with them of apostasy.

  • Jeremy says:

    And the wait for the Church of England to disassociate itself from this bigotry . . .
    . . .
    . . .
    . . . .

  • Adam Armstrong There is theology, a conviction about what the bible teaches and a concern to be faithful involved as well. (though I also think they are seriously wrong)

  • Paul Bagshaw says:

    Who would have thought that love could be so threatening?

  • Adam Armstrong says:

    @David Runcorn-yes, a bad theology and a biased interpretation of scripture. Saying that these people have a theology or are “Bible-believing” is not sufficient. Any religion or form of Christianity could say the same. Their “concern” only extends to people they consider to be acceptable to themselves. It is annoying when anyone says that these people are being faithful to scripture. What scripture? Interpreted by whom? They use scripture to bolster their own views and interpret it as they please. Then they claim to be “Biblically faithful” and “Godly”. It must be wonderful to think that they are the only real Christians. Sadly, when that has happened in Christian history, nothing good comes of it.

  • David Rowett says:

    Can’t help but feel that the implications for soteriology and theodicy implicit in the Arian position posed a rather greater threat to the Christian encounter with God than do issues in human sexuality. Then again, I’m European so I would say that wouldn’t I?

    It’s a bit grandiose and overblown, isn’t it?

  • Interested Observer says:

    Most Christians deny that homosexuality, or more to the point a hatred for homosexuality, is the core tenet of their belief. There’s usually a mention of some of the other stuff which Jesus spent his time talking about, and other things their churches do, and a realisation that homosexuality was a very small part of it.

    In the case of GAFCON, they’re absolutely obsessed with homosexuality or, more specifically, absolutely obsessed with anal sex between men; they are rather less concerned about anal sex between men and women, and their hatred of lesbians seems rather pro forma. Here, again, their idee fixee – which were it not so banal would be fascinating to a therapist – comes tumbling out, and their obsession becomes obvious.

    The sad part is the refusal of other Christian denominations to lift a finger, or say a word, to distance themselves from this hatred. So this week, what does Christianity look like? It looks like George Carey covering up child abuse, the DUP opposing evolution and same-sex marriage and GAFCON piling in on gays, again. And the naive view that you shouldn’t criticise other Christians means that to the person in the street – who these days is not the person in the pews, far from it – Christian is represented, in every sense of the word, by crude bigots.

  • “Gafcon has been committed to standing with the marginalised.”

    The persecuted heterosexual meme strikes again.

  • Adam Armstrong says:

    Who knew that gay people were the biggest threat and most important issue for Christianity? It’s amazing the lengths some people will go to to keep gay people away.

  • crs says:

    One might wonder what the implications of “Europe” are in this title. I suppose it could just be easier than trying to denominate the UK portion, since they obviously are not ruling out the CofE context. The CofE Diocese in Europe is of course implicated (one supposes).

  • gerry reilly says:

    When Muslims say and do the same things as Gafcon and our own Ron Thomas et alii, we call them Islamists and persecute them as dangerous to our society.They, too are Scripture believing, hold an age-old belief in the superiority of men, and know that they are right. What is the difference? Of course: Our scriptures are superior to theirs!! ECHO>>>

  • Malcolm Dixon says:

    I was pleased to read in the Church Times that +Newcastle has (at last) written to ‘Bishop’ Pryke telling him that, while he remains a Clerk in Holy Orders in the CofE, he has no authority to act as a bishop, in her diocese or anywhere else. She has also directed him not to exercise any episcopal function and sought assurances that he will comply.
    Quite right too, but I still cannot understand why it has taken nearly two months for this to happen. He should have been suspended as soon as his spurious elevation became known, pending clarification of the legal position.
    May we hope for speedier action in this new case?

  • Malcolm
    She actually wrote the letter (which went to all clergy and deanery lay chairs) about a month ago. Here’s the relevant text:

    …I have now written to the minister in question to remind him that, while he remains a Clerk in Holy Orders in the Church of England, he has no authority to act as a bishop, whether within the Diocese of Newcastle or anywhere else. Having received legal advice, I have also issued him with a direction not to carry out ordinations or confirmations or to exercise any other episcopal function and I have sought assurances from him that he will not do so.

    However, I have also told him that it remains my hope that even now he will be able to find ways to work together with his brothers and sisters in Christ within the Church of England to promote the Gospel at a time when the need could scarcely be greater…

  • “This attempt to ____________ is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together.”

    I invite those with knowledge of church history to fill in the blank. As a starter, here are a few I can offer off the top of my head:

    • Age for baptism
    • Vernacular Worship
    • Common Cup

    There is a long history of church conflict “majoring in the minors.” Issues that seem to be of great moment in one age prove to be momentary in the long run.

    It is hardly evident from either Scripture or church history that marriage doctrine is either unchanging or central to the faith. Others are free to believe otherwise, and clearly do — but is that a reason to go into schism?

  • Malcolm Dixon says:

    Thank you, Simon, for pointing that out. If the sending of the letter was reported at the time, I’m afraid I missed it.

  • Janet Fife says:

    ‘ “This attempt to ____________ is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together.”

    I invite those with knowledge of church history to fill in the blank. ‘

    I’ll respond to Malcolm’s invitation with a few examples of my own:

    1) The Second Coming – will it happen at all, if so when, how, before or after tribulation, rapture etc. (More of an issue in the USA than here)
    2) Predestination and foreknowledge
    3) The Holy Spirit proceeds out of the Father and the Son….

  • Bernard Silverman says:

    “I have sought assurances” … not “I have received assurances”

  • Edward Prebble says:

    A few from me:
    a) the date of Easter
    b) the wearing of stoles
    c) who, between two equally unsavoury characters, is the true Pope?

  • Victoriana says:

    The Primate of Australia has responded to the letters from Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie:

  • Yes see later article for link to letter

  • Perry Butler says:

    With so many Primates assisting in the consecration i wonder who will turn up to the next Primates Meeting.Does Nazir Ali hold any position in the C of E now?

  • Coming late to the post (and with some trepidation), might I ask the following?

    1. Could not a missionary bishop be viewed more positively (from a liberal perspective) as a conduit for relieving the Church of England of its traditionalist embarrassments? Since there will not be the same conflict over property as in the US, is not such a secession a means of relieving Anglicanism of its current discontents?

    2. Tobias (and others) set the debate over (homo)sexuality as simply another instance of culturally contingent adiaphora. With deference to the systematic theologians present (which I am not), there is surely a Theology of the Body that relates the complementarity of male and female to that of Christ and his Church? While marriage may not be one of the Protestant sacraments, it is inherently sacramental (if it were not considered so, there would surely be less pressure for same-sex unions to be celebrated in a religious context).

    3. The reason the issue has now taken on a prominence arguably out of all proportion to the great theological conflicts of the early Christian centuries is that unlike other artefacts of the culture wars it seems to entail authenticating what those of ‘reactionary’ tendency regard as outside the Vincentian Canon. Few Anglicans (even in North America) propose celebrating, liturgically or otherwise, abortion or divorce, which, quite frankly, are far more corrosive. What the SEC has now embraced (and the CoE will doubtless soon follow), however, is a doctrinal change that is fundamental. As David remarks above, you don’t have to agree with them (or do I mean us; I suppose I do) to believe their sincerity.

    I would note, in passing, that my own experience – on both sides of the divide – is that self-importance and self-righteousness are not sins peculiar to one church party. Both Archdeacon Grantley and Mrs. Proudie suffered from them!

    Apologies for repeating what most of you have doubtless heard many times already.

  • Jo says:

    If it is so fundamental a doctrine why does it only date from the second half of the last century in the canons of the SEC?

  • Jeremy, there have been efforts to develop a “theology of the body” (notably by John Paul II) but they largely fail to stay within the lines of strictly sound and systematic theology. It is true that St Paul makes passing use of an image of Christ’s relationship to the Church to that of a husband to his wife; what is largely missed by those who seek to build on this is that it is not about “complementarity of the sexes” but the “union of one flesh” — because of the connection with the primal account by which the woman is of the same substance as the man, not different to him, that enables their reunion. Paul emphasizes that the husband cares for his wife “as his own body” — so this is not about gender, but identity.

    The reason marriage doctrine is adiaphorous is that it is changeable, primarily a matter of discipline rather than doctrine (strictly speaking). Even Rome did not raise it to the level of a sacrament until rather late in the game; and even then recognized a distinction between sacramental Christian marriage (which requires both parties to be baptized) and the various forms of marriage that have existed in various cultures outside of the Church.

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