Skip to comments.A Petition [Anglican]
Posted on 09/02/2006 5:19:38 PM PDT by sionnsar
Please read this important attached document on the life of the Communion of the Anglican Church from The Rt. Rev. John K. Rucyahana, Bishop of the Diocese of Shyira, Rwanda and The Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers,Jr., Chairman of The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine (SPREAD).
Questions regarding the attached document should be directed to Bishop John K. Rucyahana (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (info@anglican spread.org) 847-681-8474 www.anglicanspread.org.
Episcopal Church of Rwanda Shyira Diocese P.O. Box 26 Musanze, Rwanda Central Africa Tel: (Bureau) 011-250 -546-556 (Habit) 011-250 -546-552 Fax: 011-250 -546-449 Mobil: 011-250 -08303260 www.Shyiradiocese.org.rw E-mail: email@example.com
Dear brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ,
The enclosed document was written because I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to research the current state of the Anglican Communion and its leadership. I want to share this information with the leadership of the Church.
Some may already know the information this document contains, but I felt compelled to write this text for those who are not yet aware of the situation we face today. It is my joy to be of service to the Church by bringing this information to your attention.
This document is not written to compel or demand any action. Rather, we seek to clarify the state of the Anglican Communion and advise what actions we may need to take to defend the Anglican faith and promote the Gospel. We want to "know the times" and "understand what we should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32) as faithful followers of Jesus in the Anglican Church.
I hope this record will help us to be aware and alert as we engage in covenants with others in the Communion, so that we know fully who and what we are covenanting with.
This document is meant to help assess the level of contagiousness of the apostasy, heresy, and denial of the Bible which may be imported into our churches from the wider Communion. I am thankful to the Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine for their research and work on this document. In conclusion, I will in humility receive your comments, views and opinions after you have read and studied this document.
The Rt Rev John K. Rucyahana Shyria Diocese, Rwanda
TO: The Leadership Team under the presidency of the Most. Rev. Peter Akinola and the Primates Advisory Group elected at the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter held in Egypt on October 25-30, 2005.
The petitioner, The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine, is a society dedicated to the spread of faithful, Biblical theology, as found in the historic Anglican Formularies and such other information as will support the same, to all people and all churches, particularly to those who are members of the Anglican Communion. The petitioner wishes to thank the Primates of the Global South for their orthodox leadership, and to share with your Graces the results of some of our research and analytical thought so that we may be equipped for whatever action the Lord graciously calls us to undertake. We humbly offer for your consideration the following facts and reflections:
I. The crucial nature of the matter and the aims of the petition.
This petition arises from the irreconcilable division in the 77 million member Anglican Communion over the foundational issue of whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture. The petition's aims are to:
(1) affirm and encourage the preservation of the Anglican faith, which holds, as a major expression of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, that the Church is subordinate to Scripture's sovereign authority;
(2) protect the churches and individual members in the Communion which adhere thereto; and
(3) prevent millions of souls from being lost. The petition seeks to encourage the Primates of the Global South to continue to exercise leadership in the Anglican Communion by continuing to build on the groundwork laid at the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter in Egypt in October 2005.
From the experience in the Western churches of the Anglican Communion over the last 30 years, we are convinced of the need for the Leadership Team, led by Archbishop Akinola and advised by the Primates Advisory Group, to defend the Anglican faith from revisionist churches and bishops in the Communion or:
(1) the Anglican faith will ultimately either be extinguished or rendered ineffective in the Communion and all of its churches;
(2) those persons who still hold on to the Anglican faith will be reduced to scattered flocks struggling to survive and greatly weakened in their efforts to take the Gospel to the world; and
(3) that millions of persons who might otherwise be saved will be lost.
We are aware that the burden of preserving the Anglican faith has necessarily fallen upon churches in Africa and Asia. Western churches once carried the faith to Africa and Asia, and now churches in Africa and Asia are needed to carry it back to the Western countries, much as the grapevines of Europe were carried to America and back again to Europe. In the 1850's, clippings from Europe's greatest vineyards were carried overseas and planted in California (http://www.winepros.org). In the 1860's, the vineyards of Europe were afflicted with a disease which killed the roots of their vines. (Id.). The European vineyards were replanted with rootstock sent back to Europe from America. (Id.). The Western churches have become infected with an anti-Scriptural disease that has largely destroyed the Anglican faith in those churches, and they now threaten to spread that disease widely in the Anglican Communion, including in the churches of Africa and Asia. The African and Asian churches will need to act strongly to protect their own vineyards and are urgently needed to send the roots of the faith back to the Western countries.
Time is of the essence. Every day that the Anglican churches in Africa and Asia continue in communion with the anti-Scriptural false teachers, they give them time to spread their disease. Thereby:
(1) the teaching in the Global South is undermined;
(2) the Provinces of the Global South become further susceptible to being infiltrated, divided, and weakened by such false teaching; and
(3) more members of their flocks and other persons in the wider Communion will be led astray from the Gospel. Surely strong action is needed. "Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:181).
II. What the Global South upholds is true and historic Anglicanism. At one time the whole Anglican Communion was united in the Anglican faith, which is defined by the Articles of Religion and the doctrinal tenets contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, and which holds as a central tenet that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
From its beginning in the Protestant Reformation, the Anglican Church has held the following among its central tenets:
(1) Scripture is God's Word written and therefore true;
(2) the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture; and
(3) the Church and its members are obligated to obey the commandments and follow the teachings of Scripture. The faith is defined by The Church of England's Articles of Religion and the doctrinal tenets contained in its 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal. Article XX of the Articles of Religion provides that "it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's Word written."2 Article VII provides that the Church's members must obey the moral commandments given from God by Moses set forth in Scripture.3 The Ordinal requires the Church's bishops to vow: "with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage
1 All passages of Scripture quoted or referred to by this Statement are from the NIV STUDY BIBLE, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1985.
2 Article XX, entitled "Of the Authority of the Church," states in full: "THE Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ: yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation."
3 Article VII, entitled "Of the Old Testament," states in full: "THE Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore there are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral."
Teach others to do the same. The Ordinal also requires an essentially similar vow by the Church's priests.
The Anglican faith was purchased at a great price. During the Counter-Reformation, under Edward VI's successor, Queen Mary, Cranmer and over three thousand other bishops, priests, and lay persons, were burned at the stake for refusing to recant the reforms (Our Anglican Heritage, Bishop John W. Howe, Creation House, Lake Mary, FL. 1993). They stood and accepted death so that the Anglican reformed catholic faith might live. In October 1556, Bishop Nicholas Ridley and Bishop Hugh Latimer were brought before the stake to be burned to death. Both were given the opportunity to live if they recanted. Both refused. As they were bound to the stake, Latimer said:
Be of good cheer Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England as I trust never shall be put out. (Id.).
When the Anglican faith was embraced by peoples in Africa and Asia, often the price they paid was no less than the price paid by the English Martyrs. Converts to the faith in Africa and Asia faced persecution and death from enemies of the faith. The Christian Martyrs of Uganda are a famous example. In 1885-1886, Anglican Christian young men were put to death by the pagan King Mwanga II of Buganda (now Uganda) for refusing his command to have sexual relations with him. (http://www.buganda.com/martyrs.htm). Having accepted the Anglican faith, and having been taught by Anglican missionaries that such conduct is prohibited by Scripture and a sin against God, they chose death rather than to do so. (Id.).
At one time, the Anglican faith was held in common by the Church of England and the thirty-eight autonomous churches, sometimes called "provinces" and headed by bishops called "Primates," which grew out of the Church of England and with it, compose the Anglican Communion.
III. The controversy over whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations shows that the Anglican Communion is no longer united in the Anglican faith, but is divided over whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
The Anglican Communion is no longer unified in the Anglican faith. The Communion has become divided over the foundational issue of whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
This division has become evident during the current controversy in the Anglican Communion over whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations. The controversy puts into question whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture because Scripture expressly prohibits Christians from engaging in such conduct. The relevant moral commandment given from God by Moses states: "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable," (Leviticus 18:22) and "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable" (Leviticus 20:13). (Emphasis added). This clear and unambiguous moral commandment is supported consistently by other passages in Scripture4. (See, for example, Genesis 19:1-14; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; 2 Peter 2:6-10; Jude 1:7-8). As the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey stated in a 2005 press interview: "The Bible is one, clear, unequivocal voice on that [same gender sexual conduct] and that is, it's wrong." (Mobile Press-Register, Kristen Campbell, February 19, 2005). As the Primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America ("ECUSA"), Frank Griswold, stated during a 1997 press interview in response to a question about ECUSA's increasing approval of same gender sexual relations:
4. The claim that Scripture can be "legitimately" interpreted to permit the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations requires the dismissal of said moral commandment and all the large, consistent and un-contradicted support therefore elsewhere in both the New and Old Testaments.
Such dismissal is accomplished by a methodology that exaggerates and perverts the Scriptural doctrine of grace to "correct" whatever the interpreter regards as "repressive," "immoral," "legalistic" or "judgmental" in Scripture. The users of this methodology: (1) place Scripture against itself; (2) make God the author of error; and (3) elevate themselves above Scripture. This manner of interpretation must be dismissed out of hand for being in direct contradiction to: (1) the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 3:17-20); (2) the nature of Scripture as "God's Word written;" and (3) the explicit teaching of the Articles of Religion (Articles VII, XX).
Broadly speaking, the Episcopal Church is in conflict with Scripture. The only way to justify it is to say, well, Jesus talks about the Spirit guiding the church and guiding believers and bringing to their awareness things they cannot deal with yet. So one would have to say that the mind of Christ operative in the church over time . . . has led the church to in effect contradict the words of the Gospel.
(Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, December 28, 1997; see also Touchstone, David Mills, www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=11-05-006-e). (Emphasis added).
As the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams stated in a 2002 television interview: "It comes to be an issue about the significance of the Bible and the authority of the Bible. And it's not for many people principally about sex; it's about what you think of the authority of the Bible."
(BBC News, UK, December 22, 2002).
The controversy thus involves two issues. On the surface is the issue of whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations. Underlying it is the foundational issue of whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
The threat to "the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" posed by the challenge to the tenet that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture is no less than the threats to the faith faced by the great defenders thereof in the past. As the Primate of Nigeria and Chairman of the South to South Encounter, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, said in his welcoming address to the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter:
So, why are we here? Let us return again, for a moment, to the world-famous Alexandrian school. They were faced with real threats about the faith and they focused on issues of intellectual liberty in relation to faith, the interpretation of Scripture and Christology. Those were the challenges of their time and how gallantly they fought and won the battles of the faith that they bequeathed to us as the legacy of their generations. So were the intellectual giants of our Communion - William Tyndale, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, Richard Hooker, Michael Ramsay and a host of others, God's gift to His Church, who over the years upheld the historic faith at great personal cost. (Encompass, December 2005).
No less now than in the past, great leaders are needed to arise to defend the faith.
IV. Our research and reflection indicates that the churches and bishops of the Anglican Communion are divided into three groups concerning whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations and whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
It has become apparent that the churches and bishops of the Anglican Communion are divided into three basic groups defined by their positions on the two issues of whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations and whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture. The three groups are hereinafter referred to as the "Anglican group," the "revisionist group," and the "traditionalist/ pragmatist group." As will be seen, the Anglican group is directly opposed to the revisionist group on both issues. The traditionalist/pragmatist group has been allied with the Anglican group on the surface issue of whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations, but is allied with the revisionist group on the foundational issue of whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
1. The Anglican group - Peter Akinola.
The Anglican group consists of churches and bishops which hold that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture and may not ordain anything contrary thereto. They are therefore compelled to oppose the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations. They adhere to the Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the1662 ordination vow and thereby follow the Anglican faith.
The leading member of the Anglican group is the Primate of the 17 million member Church of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, who is Chairman of the South to South Encounter. Akinola rose to prominence after ECUSA's governing body, General Convention, in 2003 approved of the blessing of the unions of persons unrepentantly engaged in same gender sexual relations and the selection of a priest who was and is unrepentantly engaged in such conduct, Vicki Gene Robinson, to be a bishop.
Akinola has issued statements and taken actions which make it clear that he not only opposes the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations, but also holds that the Church may not do so because the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture. Akinola gave expression to these ideals in a letter which he published in August 2005. In the letter, Akinola committed to Scripture's sovereign authority over the Church by stating (1) the Church of Nigeria upholds the authority of Scripture, (2) adherence to Scripture is "paramount" and "non-negotiable," and (3) in matters of faith and practice, Scripture "provides sufficient warrant for what is considered right and what is judged to be wrong," as follows:
THE CHURCH of Nigeria is an Evangelical Church. It upholds the authority of scripture and is unreservedly committed to mission and evangelism that results in conversion of people to the Lord, church-planting and the caring ministry. In this Church, we teach about the total depravity of man and his absolute need for salvation through faith in Jesus the Christ. For us, therefore, adherence to scripture is not only paramount, it is also non-negotiable. In matters of faith and practice, scripture provides sufficient warrant for what is considered right and what is judged to be wrong. (http://www.anglican-nig.org/Pri_obj_Homo.htm).
In his welcoming address to the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter, Akinola made it clear that the Church must not look to tradition or human reason to provide an "alibi for departure from the clear teaching of Scripture," and the Church must "return to the authority of Scriptures and leave no room whatsoever for contradiction," as follows:
The point is this: whenever the theological deposit of the Church Fathers, or Reason, become an alibi for departure from the clear teaching of Scripture, and whenever they constitute a threat to its supremacy, we must return to the authority of Scriptures and leave no room whatsoever for contradiction.
(Encompass, December 2005).
In his August 2005 letter, after upholding the sovereign authority of Scripture as previously quoted, Akinola addressed the issue of whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations. Akinola stated that such conduct is "expressly forbidden," "soundly condemned," and identified as "sin" in Scripture, and therefore may not be treated in "relative terms" or "accepted" because of "local pressure," as follows:
In recent times, we have been told that the issue of homosexuality is relative. We believe it is not a relative matter. In the context of our part of the Church and society, we see it as a behavior that is expressly forbidden and roundly condemned in scripture. For instance, Leviticus 18.22 commands: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." (See also Leviticus 20.13; Genesis 19.1-14, 13.13; Romans 1.26-28; cf. Leviticus 18.23.)
This is why it is such a crucial issue that it cannot be treated on relative terms, or accepted on the grounds of local pressure. Instead, it is identified in scripture for what it is - sin. (http://www.anglican nig.org/Pri_obj_Homo.htm). (Emphasis added).
By insisting that adherence to Scripture is "paramount" and "non-negotiable," that the Church must look to Scripture "for what is considered to be right and what is judged to be wrong" in matters of faith and practice, and that nothing may be used as "an alibi for departure from the clear teaching of Scripture," Akinola carries forth the Anglican tenet that the Church and its bishops must look only to Scripture and not to themselves or elsewhere to determine such matters. The necessity of this tenet was described by the principal author of the Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, who died at the stake for his Protestant Reformed beliefs in 1556. Cranmer, like all the great reformers, insisted that the Church must look to Scripture as its sovereign authority because Scripture is the only certain expression of God's Word. Looking elsewhere causes the Church to be susceptible to becoming a different church of different doctrine and faith under Satan and not God. In Cranmer's words, "If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God's Word; and if we be uncertain of God's Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new Church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or in the synagogue of Satan". (Works of Archbishop Cranmer, Parker Society I, p 53 - Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556. Ed. John Edmund Cox, Parker Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1846).
B. The revisionist group - Rowan Williams.
The revisionist group is composed of churches and bishops which teach that the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations. Since same gender sexual relations are expressly prohibited by Scripture, the members of the revisionist group ipso facto teach that the Church is not subordinate to Scripture's sovereign authority. The members of the revisionist group, according to Griswold, can see "the Word [of God] most active in terms of human experience and what's actually being lived by the men and women in our dioceses and congregations" rather than "in terms of Scripture." (The Source, Peter Toon, September 1, 1994). They can contend, as does Griswold, that "following Jesus [can] be found in sexual expressions outside marriage or celibacy" (Anglican Advance, July-August 1993), and that "the mind of Christ...has led the church [ECUSA] to in effect contradict the words of the Gospel"
(Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, December 28, 1997).
The most eminent figure of the revisionist group is the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The writings of Williams, who was a theology professor as well as the Bishop of Monmouth and the Primate of Wales before becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury, are reviewed in the Outline and Critique of the Theology of Rowan Williams the Archbishop Designate published by Dr. Garry Williams in October 2002 (the "Critique"). It appears from Williams's writings, as described in the Critique, that he does not accept Scripture as God's Word concerning the specific manner in which men and women should behave. (Id.). Williams teaches that Scripture only poses questions and offers a methodology for answering them by looking to "our experience of Christian humanity and reality and how our thinking fits with it."
Williams actively teaches by his words and actions that the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations. (Critique; The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2002, Issue #5617). When Williams was the Bishop of Monmouth, he ordained a priest he knew to be unrepentantly engaged in same gender sexual relations. (Anglican News Sydney, Geoff Robson, May 27, 2002). After being selected to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, Williams allowed re-publication of the printed version of a lecture entitled The Body's Grace, which he gave in 1989 to a gathering that appears to have been sponsored by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. (London: Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and The Institute for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, 1989, 2nd ed. 2002). Williams adapted the lecture as an essay entitled The Body's Grace, which was included in an anthology named Theology and Sexuality, Classic and Contemporary Readings, edited by Eugene F. Rogers, Jr., Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, and published in 2002. (Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 2002). In his introduction to The Body's Grace, Rogers states that:
"This essay represents the best 10 pages written about sexuality in the twentieth century" and in it, "Williams aims to show how committed same-sex relation ships fit well with what Christians have said about the purposes of marriage, celibacy, and the Christian life." (Id., p. 309).
Williams served as a member of the editorial board of the journal Theology and Sexuality when its March 2002 edition contained articles entitled: (1) "Men, Muscles and Zombies;" (2) "The Place for Porn in a Gay Spiritual Economy;" and (3) "Finding God in the Heart-Genital Connection: Joe Kramer's Erotic Christianity." (Evangelicals Now, October 2002, "A Line in the Sand, Reform and Rowan Williams," David Holloway).
Williams has made it known throughout the Anglican Communion that he is committed to the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations. Williams joined 185 other bishops in signing "A Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans from Some Member Bishops of the Lambeth Conference," which was issued on August 5, 1998 in opposition to the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Anglicans Bishops Resolution I.10's prohibition of such approval ("1998 Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans" or sometimes "1998 Pastoral Statement").
(http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~\crew, hereinafter referred to as "Crew website"5). By the 1998 Pastoral Statement, Williams and the other signers: (1) committed themselves to continue to respect and support members of the Communion engaged in same gender sexual relations; (2) apologized for Lambeth's "sense of rejection" of their conduct; (3) pledged to "continue to reflect, pray and work for [their] full inclusion in the life of the Church;" (4) "called on the entire Communion to continue (and, in many places, begin) prayerful, respectful conversation on the issue of homosexuality;" and (5) vowed "We must not stop where this conference left off." (Id.).
The scope of the injurious effect of Williams's rejection of the sovereign authority of Scripture is potentially immense. Many in the Anglican Communion look to the Archbishop of Canterbury for guidance. The 1998 Lambeth Conference recognized the spiritual leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury by stating in Resolution III.6(e) that the conference "reaffirms the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a personal sign of our unity and communion." The Primates reinforced Williams's spiritual leadership by stating in the 2005 Dromantine Primates' Meeting communiqué that "we welcome the ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury as that of one who can speak to us as primus inter pares about the realities we face as a Communion."
Consequently, Williams's teaching that the Church should approve of doctrine contrary to Scripture is a serious threat.
Williams has powers to back up and spread his teaching. As the Archbishop of Canterbury, Williams decides what churches are in communion with the Church of England and are therefore members of the Anglican Communion. He decides the territorial boundaries of the communion.
5. The "Crew Website" is maintained by Dr. Louie Crew. Crew, a university professor, is ECUSA's leading lay advocate of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations and the founder of ECUSA's leading organization for the promotion of such approval, Integrity. The Crew website is dedicated largely to the movement to obtain the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations.
The website is well worth visiting because it contains a wealth of information about the history, tactics and apologetics of the movement, and is a source for many of the materials or events quoted or cited herein. Also worth visiting is the Integrity website: http://www.integrityusa.org.
churches and whether one church may enter the territory of another church.
6. He decides what bishops may participate in the wider affairs of the Anglican Communion by granting or withholding recognition of their episcopal ministry. He controls the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops and the Primates' Meetings by calling, deciding who may attend, choosing the sites of, setting the agendas for, and presiding over the meetings thereof. He is the president of the Anglican Consultative Council ("ACC"). He creates "study" and other kinds of commissions and appoints their members.
Williams will have 15 more years to use these powers. He will be the Archbishop of Canterbury until 2020. Between now and then, he will preside over two Lambeth Conferences. Williams is already using the powers of the Archbishop of Canterbury to advance his anti-Scriptural teaching. Williams, inter alia:
(1) refuses to recognize duly consecrated Anglican Bishops John Rodgers and Charles Murphy of respectively the Provinces of South East Asia and Rwanda; (2) required orthodox Primates to participate against their conscience in a communion service with Griswold as a condition of attending the October 2003 London Primates' Meeting; (3) appointed 1998 Pastoral Statement signer Robin Eames to chair the committee to issue the 2003 London Primates' Meeting communiqué; (4) appointed Eames to be the Chairman of the Lambeth Commission and other supporters of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations to be members thereof; (5) designated Ireland with Eames as the host for the 2005 Dromantine Primates' Meeting; (6) prevented full consideration of the Lambeth Commission's Windsor Report at the 2005 Dromantine Primates' Meeting by assigning it to the ACC, headed by 1998 Pastoral Statement signer John Paterson, for a report thereon in June 2005; and (7) appointed 1998 Pastoral Statement signer Peter Carnley to be the Anglican Co-Chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, the primary drafter of the 6 Williams demonstrated this power by granting permission to the Province of Nigeria to enter the U.S.A. with missionary clergy and refusing to give permission to the Provinces of Rwanda and South East Asia to do so.
2005 Dromantine Primates' Meeting communiqué, and the chairman of The Reference Panel to consider applications by "dissenting minorities" for alternative episcopal oversight.
For a more recent example, Williams insists upon compliance with the dialogue program concerning whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations based on the "listen to the experience of homosexual persons" provision of Resolution I.10. On March 8, 2006, Williams sent a letter to all of the Primates in which he said:
...in response to Resolution I.10 of Lambeth 1998, and with the encouragement of ACC 2005, a process has begun of collecting and co-ordinating work done in the Provinces on the issue, reflecting the experience and discernment of Anglicans around the world. It will be important to allow time for this to be presented and reflected upon in 2008. (Global South Anglican website).
The dialogue program has proven to be a standard tool of the advocates of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations, which they used with great success in ECUSA and carried over into the Anglican Communion. The program: (1) implicitly holds that the Church may approve of same gender sexual relations despite Scripture's prohibition thereof, if enough bishops are persuaded to agree thereto; (2) keeps the question of such approval alive notwithstanding the 1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10's prohibition thereof; (3) puts the question in play in all of the dioceses of the Communion; and (4) allows the proponents thereof more time to infiltrate and undermine orthodox territories and build their forces before again addressing the issue, which in this case could be the 2018 Lambeth Conference, if by then they have developed a sufficient majority to reverse Resolution I.10.7 Williams is thus putting the Anglican churches and their flocks into harm's way by pushing them to wander for years in the "wilderness of morally empty theologizing" described by Akinola in his August 2005 letter:
7 The attractiveness of the dialogue program to the advocates of the approval of same gender sexual relations can be seen from the facts that the program was: (1) instituted by Carey, in consultation with advocate Griswold; (2) promoted by the Windsor Report written by the Lambeth Commission headed by 1998 Pastoral Statement signer Robin Eames; (3) affirmed by the 2005 Dromantine Primates' Meeting communiqué written by a committee headed by 1998 Pastoral Statement signer Peter Carnley; and (4) encouraged later in 2005 by the ACC headed by 1998 Pastoral Statement signer John Paterson.
With this tragic topic on the agenda of the Anglican Church worldwide, the Church has regrettably come to crossroads, but we hope that the Compass Rose will be able to give direction on the safest way home - to peace and communion. The majority of us still believe that communion is important, and it is cherished by us all. However, this is not at the expense of vital communion with God, and certainly not at the cost of shepherding more than 17 million Nigerian Anglicans into harm's way by leading them into the wilderness of morally empty theologizing. (http://www.anglican-nig.org/Pri_obj_Homo.htm).
Williams has also begun preparation for the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Williams announced in December 2004 that "New times require a new kind of Lambeth Conference," and he is laying plans for the meeting's agenda with the aid of the newly created "Lambeth Conference Design Group," headed by 1998 Pastoral Statement signer Ellison Pogo. (ACNS, December 10, 2004). In his March 8, 2006 letter, Williams made it clear that he does not intend to allow Resolution I.10's prohibition of same gender sexual relations to be addressed. (Id.).
Instead, the bishops will be occupied with the fruits of the dialogue program and a host of other activities.
The revisionist group is large. No less than 186 bishops of the Anglican Communion (including Williams) signed the 1998 Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans. (Crew website). Among the signers are the current Primates of at least ten provinces: Peter Carnley (Australia); Glauco Soares de Lima (Brazil); Andrew Hutchison (Canada); Robin Eames (Ireland); James Uno (Japan); Ellison L. Pogo (Melanesia); Bruce Cameron (Scotland); Njongokulu Ndungane (Southern Africa); and Barry Morgan (Wales). (Id.). ECUSA has, as previously described, given full approval to its clergy and lay persons engaging in same gender sexual relations. The Diocese of New Westminster of the Province of Canada has approved of the blessing of same sex unions. The Church of England has approved of its clergy entering into civil same sex unions under the new laws of England.
No one in the revisionist group has publicly shown any intention to repent. On the contrary, revisionists have committed action after action to overtake the Communion with their false teaching. They have consistently violated Resolution I.10 and Scripture, and yet no action has been taken to hold them accountable. Williams has made it clear that he will not repent and intends to continue teaching that the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations.
(November 17, 2005 news release by Williams in reply to November 15, 2005 "Global South Primates' response to Archbishop Rowan Williams," Rowan Williams website). ECUSA in its 2006 General Convention refused to repent of its actions of 2003. Most if not all of the other revisionists have demonstrated that they intend to continue to so teach. They believe, as stated in 1998 by Bishop Richard Shimpfky, "the struggle is righteous and will go forward." (Crew website). As Williams and 185 other bishops said in the 1998 Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans, they intend "to continue to reflect, pray and work for the full inclusion in the life of the Church" for persons engaged in such conduct. They believe that as a result of such efforts, in the words of Bishop John Spong in 1998, "today's minority will inevitably be tomorrow's majority." (Id.). As Bishop Vicki Gene Robinson said to a gathering at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in October 2005, "when the dust finally settles, lesbian, gay, transgender and bi-sexual people will be fully included at every level of our church." (Oasis website).
2. The traditionalist/pragmatist group - George Carey.
The traditionalist/pragmatist group is made up of churches and bishops which hold that the Church is not subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture and therefore may approve of same gender sexual relations, but presently teach that the Church should not do so for traditional or pragmatic reasons. While their present opposition to the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations is consistent with the Articles of Religion and the 1662 consecration vow, their view that the Church is not subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture is inconsistent with both the Articles and the vow.
The most outstanding member of this group, though perhaps unwittingly, is the recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey. Carey describes himself as a pragmatist. (The Mobile Press-Register, Kristen Campbell, February 19, 2005). Carey has publicly stated not only that Scripture unequivocally prohibits same gender sexual relations (Id.), but also that he opposes the Church's approval thereof. During the bishops' debate at the 1998 Lambeth Conference on Resolution I.10, which prohibited the approval of such conduct, Carey expressed his support for the resolution by stating that he stood:
wholeheartedly with the traditional Anglican orthodoxy. I see no room in Holy Scripture or the entire Christian tradition for any sexual activity outside matrimony. (Anglican Communion News Service ("ACNS"), Lambeth Conference 1998, David Skidmore, August 7, 1998).
Carey, however, has also made it clear that he holds that the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, may approve of same gender sexual relations. Carey gave a press interview in February 2005 during which he made the previously quoted statement that the Bible is a "clear, unequivocal voice" that same gender sexual relations are "wrong," but then said:
The issue is not going to go away. And you can take a number of views on this. One view, and the absolutist view, would be to say homosexuality is so definitely wrong that the church would oppose it in the future as it does now. A more pragmatic approach would) say at the moment it is clear that to ordain practicing (homosexuals) would divide the church greatly so let's wait and see.... In a way, I take the more pragmatic approach on this really. Although it seems to me that the biblical authority is really unequivocal in its opposition..., we simply have to wait and see how the Holy Spirit is going to lead the church in this. But we must keep in step with the Catholic tradition, with the Orthodox tradition, with mainstream non-conformist traditions, otherwise we'll be completely out of step and we'll become just a small sect. (The Mobile Press-Register, Kristen Campbell, February 19, 2005). (Bold face in the original). Carey demonstrated his pragmatism when he changed his position in the controversy over same gender sexual relations. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Carey supported Resolutions III.5, III.6 and I.10. In Resolution III.5, entitled "The Authority of Holy Scripture," the bishops stated that "God...communicates with us authoritatively through the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments" and affirmed that "these Holy Scriptures contain 'all things necessary to salvation' and are for us the 'rule and ultimate standard' of faith and practice."
(The Official Report of the Lambeth Conference 1998, p. 396, Morehouse, Harrisburg, PA). In Resolution III.6, entitled "Instruments of the Anglican Communion," the bishops called upon the Primates' Meeting, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to give "guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to our Anglican tradition and formularies." (Id., p. 396-397). (Emphasis added). In Resolution I.10, entitled "Human Sexuality," the bishops stated that the Conference, "in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage" and "reject[s] homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture." (Id., p. 381-382).
Although Carey spoke boldly in favor of Resolution I.10, he seems to have changed his position in practice after the 1998 Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans was issued on August 5, 1998. If Carey had tried to enforce Resolution I.10's prohibition of same gender sexual relations, he would have had to use the powers of the Archbishop of Canterbury to obtain the repentance or withdraw his recognition of the episcopal ministry of at least 187 bishops, including the Primates of ten provinces -- Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Melanesia, New Zealand, Scotland, Southern Africa, USA, and Wales. Since the 1998 Pastoral Statement and other individual statements made it clear that they would not repent, and withdrawing recognition of the episcopal ministry of so many bishops and Primates would have damaged the institutional unity of the Anglican Communion, Carey took the pragmatic approach of supporting them and using his powers to protect and advance their teachings and thwart the opposition thereto.
Carey began doing so by in effect heeding the call in the 1998 Pastoral Statement "on the entire Communion to continue (and, in many places begin) prayerful, respectful conversation on the issue of homosexuality." Carey joined Griswold in asserting that the 1998 Lambeth Conference authorized such conversation by the provision in Resolution I.10 in which the bishops committed themselves to "listen to the experience of homosexual persons."
Although the clear purpose of the bishops' commitment to listen to such experience was to pastorally counsel persons from continuing to engage in same gender sexual relations ("Lambeth Speaks Plainly," Stephen F. Noll, AAC booklet "Mixed Blessings," 2000), Carey and Griswold changed it to one of listening thereto with a view of possibly being persuaded that the Church should approve of such conduct, thereby continuing the debate after the bishops had declared in the Conference that such a position was contrary to Scripture.
By so changing the purpose of the "listen to the experience of homosexual persons" provision of Resolution I.10, Carey and Griswold accomplished two things. First, they provided a rationale for a dialogue program that would keep open the question of whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations and put it into play in every diocese in the Anglican Communion. Second, they implicitly held that the Church may approve of same gender sexual relations, even though such conduct is expressly prohibited by Scripture, if enough bishops are persuaded to do so by listening to the experience of homosexual persons.
Carey and Griswold thus made both the Church and "experience" superior to Scripture. They not only reversed the purpose of Resolution I.10, but also reversed Resolutions III.5 and III.6, which had placed the Church under the sovereign authority of Scripture.
Based on his and Griswold's reinterpretation of Resolution I.10, Carey promised the advocates of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations that he would institute a dialogue program to permit them to persuade the bishops of the Anglican Communion to favor such approval. Carey commenced doing so by visiting the USA, and on August 30, 1998, joining with Griswold in leading a worship service attended by representatives of ECUSA's leading organization for the promotion of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations, Integrity. (Episcopal Life, October 1998). Carey gave a sermon in which he assured them of his commitment to his reinterpretation of Resolution I.10 "to listen to one another," and also provided them hope that the resolution's prohibition of same gender sexual relations could be changed by suggesting that the proponents of the approval thereof might be "angels":
Let me assure you that the resolution from Lambeth calls upon all to listen to one another and I am committed to that, for my experience tells me that in giving hospitality to the 'stranger' we may be entertaining angels unknowingly. (Id.).
On September 10, Carey more explicitly expressed his commitment to dialogue concerning whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations in a personal letter to Integrity's founder and ECUSA's leading lay advocate of such approval, Louie Crew:
I was glad that you and others representing Integrity were able to be present at Christchurch Greenwich earlier in the month during my visit. I was grateful to you all for your gentleness!
I do want you to know I am committed to dialogue with gay people, and I have already had a discussion with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church about how we can ensure that the Lambeth Conference resolution is pursued in this respect. (Crew website). (Emphasis added).
In October, Carey gave similar assurances in a letter to the Primate of Canada, Michael Peers, who signed the August 5, 1998 Pastoral Statement:
First, let us remind ourselves that, in reality, the discussion at Canterbury was the very first time that the bishops as a body had discussed this at any length. A resolution was passed that indicates where bishops stand now on the issue. It does not indicate that we shall ever rest there. That may be the case, but who knows? (United Voice, United Voice Digest - 31 October 1998 to 9 November 1998). (Emphasis added).
Carey gave a copy of the Peers letter to Griswold for his use in ECUSA and in dealing with orthodox Primates. (Id; March 10, 1999 letter of Frank Griswold to Moses Tay et. al., Episcopal News Service ("ENS"), March 10, 1999).
In September 1999, Carey followed through on his pledge by formally instituting, in consultation with Griswold, a dialogue program among the bishops of the Anglican Communion concerning whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations. The chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council announced the program:
As part of the response to the Lambeth Conference resolution, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consultation with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, has initiated a consultation between bishops representing all shades of opinion within the Communion. The first gathering of the group will take place in November in New York. (The Herald, Glasgow, September 20, 1999; ACNS, September 19, 1999).
Carey stated in a press interview that the dialogue program would have no time limit and was designed to get the "African bishops and their churches...not to be fearful of the issue," as follows:
It will be a conversation where we will look at how we understand the Bible and hear what homosexuals are saying. There will be no time limit, it may take many years. We need to get the African bishops and their churches to discuss this and not be fearful of the issue. (Daily Telegraph, London, September 25, 1999, Victoria Combe). (Emphasis added).
On February 17, 2000, Carey sent a letter to all of the bishops in the Anglican Communion in which he stated (1) the dialogue program would, in the "spirit" of Resolution I.10, provide a means for advocates of the approval of same gender sexual relations "to engage the Church in a challenging reassessment of its teaching on human sexuality," and (2) he was seeking to carry on the program "more locally" as well as among bishops:
Let me reassure those who are deeply concerned at the direction in which some parts of the Communion are moving. I understand your fears, your worries and your frustrations. The Lambeth Conference resolution on human sexuality (1.10) provided a text around which the vast majority of bishops could unite. It reflects the traditional teaching of the Church, and that is where my own belief and understanding rests; and I hope that those bishops who have, by actions they have permitted in their dioceses appeared to reject the resolution, will recognize the substantial difficulties they have raised for many of their colleagues around the world.
Nevertheless, in many parts of the Communion, faithful Christians, some of whom are homosexual themselves, are seeking to engage the Church in a challenging reassessment of its teaching on human sexuality, because they have felt excluded from the Church for many years. I believe that it is wholly in the spirit of the resolution, and that is why the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA and I set up an international conversation between bishops of different views, an experiment which was so successful that it will meet again later this year. I have also sought to encourage such conversations more locally as well. (Crew website).
It is noteworthy that Carey did not require or even urge anyone to obey Resolution I.10's, much less Scripture's, prohibition of same gender sexual relations in his February 17 letter or any of the other afore-described communications. Instead of using the resolution to bring about compliance with Scripture, he used it in a way that undermined the authority of Scripture.
While Carey was allowing the advocates of same gender sexual relations to disobey Scripture and giving them a vehicle to carry their message to every diocese in the Communion, he also was protecting their control over their home dioceses. In August 1998, armed with a resolution to protect the territorial boundaries of bishops obtained on the last day of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Carey sought to intervene in the Province of Rwanda to prevent a Rwandan bishop, John Rucyahana, from giving episcopal oversight to Anglicans in anti-Scriptural ECUSA dioceses. By his February 17, 2000 letter, Carey also officially refused to recognize the episcopal ministry of John Rodgers and Charles Murphy, who were ordained as bishops to give such oversight in a ceremony led by Primates Moses Tay (SE Asia) and Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda) in Singapore on January 29, 2000. (Crew website).
The number of churches and bishops in the traditionalist/pragmatist group is probably large. Since the difference between the traditionalist/pragmatist group and the Anglican group over the authority of Scripture has been masked by their common opposition to the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations, it is presently impossible to identify precisely all of the churches and bishops which are in each group. However, the events of the last eight years permit a rough approximation thereof.
It at first seemed from the 1998 Lambeth Conference's actions that a huge majority of the Anglican Communion's bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, were united in the beliefs that: (1) the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture; and (2) the Church may not approve of same gender sexual relations because such conduct is prohibited by Scripture. The bishops adopted Resolutions III.5 and III.6 with apparently little dissent. They adopted Resolution I.10 by a vote of 526-70 (with 45 abstentions). ("Lambeth Speaks Plainly," Stephen F. Noll, AAC booklet "Mixed Blessings," 2000).
The appearance that the bishops who voted for the resolutions were united in the belief that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture was shattered by the subsequent actions and inactions of many of the bishops that were inconsistent with such a belief. The prime illustration of this is Carey's apparent change of position. If Carey unambiguously believed that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture, he would not have used his powers to protect the proponents of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations, much less given them a vehicle to carry their anti-Scriptural teaching to every dioceses in the Anglican Communion.
Another illustration is the relatively small number of Primates who have actively sought to enforce Resolution I.10. In January 1999, every Primate and bishop in the Anglican Communion received petitions from the American Anglican Congregations on Mission ("AACOM") and the First Promise Roundtable. The petitions showed that the ECUSA bishops who advocated the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations had expressed their determination not to obey Resolution I.10's prohibition thereof. The petitions called on the Primates' Meeting, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to intervene in ECUSA to enforce Resolution I.10 pursuant to the provisions of Resolution III.6. It was then up to the Primates who voted for Resolutions I.10, III.5, and III.6 to demand that Carey and the Primates' Meeting enforce Resolution I.10 by action at the first Primates' Meeting after the Lambeth Conference, which was scheduled to be held in Oporto in March 2000.
Even though all of the Primates were so notified and called on to act, only seven Primates and the representatives of two others attended a meeting in Kampala in November 1999 to organize for enforcement of Resolution I.10 at Oporto. The Primates were Moses Tay (SE Asia), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Maurice Sinclair (Southern Cone), Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania), Livingston Mpalany-Nikoyoyo (Uganda), Patrice Byankya Njojo (DR Congo), and Samuel Ndayisenga (Burundi), and the representatives were of Richard Gitari (Kenya) and the Sudan. (A Letter to the Participants and Invited Observers Attending the Group of Primates Meeting Held in Kampala from 16-18 November, 1999). Even that small group of nine Primates showed serious tensions when Sinclair and Mtetemela and some of their supporters issued public statements criticizing Tay and Kolini, and parted from them over the procedural matter of whether Rodgers and Murphy should have been consecrated after rather than before the Oporto meeting. 8 Consequently, the "orthodox" Primates were not united at Oporto, and nothing was accomplished to enforce Resolution I.10.9.
Yet another illustration is the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter held in October 2005. Of the more than thirty churches which might be considered geographically qualified to attend the Encounter, only twenty sent delegates to the meeting. Of the Primates of the twenty churches, only seventeen attended the meeting, and only eleven subscribed to the November 15, 2005 letter calling on Williams to repent of his teaching that the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations and use the Archbishop of Canterbury's powers to require others in the Communion to do the same.
There has been no public sign that any member of the traditionalist/pragmatist group has repented of the belief that the Church is not subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
Carey in particular has not shown such an intention, as evidenced by his previously quoted February 2005 press interview. (The Mobile Press-Register, Kristen Campbell, February 19, 2005).
V. The view of the authority of Scripture held by the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups is irreconcilably contrary to the view thereof held by the Anglican group.
The members of the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups have a view of Scripture and their relationship to it that is the direct opposite of the view expressed by Akinola and Cranmer. They reject Akinola's belief that adherence to Scripture is paramount and non- 8 See February 5, 2000 letter by Maurice Sinclair, Donald Mtetemela and R. Harry Goodhew; February 2000 statement by the president of the AAC, Bishop James Stanton, according to the ENS, that "unlike First Promise, AAC was eager to see Anglican bishops working with Griswold to deal with 'liberal bishops running roughshod over their people.'" (ENS, February 3, 2000); February 20, 2000 letter by the president of Forward in Faith; February 2, 2000 letter by the Dean of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Peter Moore, and referred to in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ann Rodgers-Melnick, February 2, 2000.
9 On the contrary, the Primates' Meeting issued a communiqué written by a committee headed by 1998 Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans signer Robin Eames, which undermined Resolution I.10 and Scripture negotiable. On the contrary, they hold that the Church is paramount and that adherence to Scripture is negotiable. They can therefore say, as Carey did in a speech entitled "The Precious Gift of Unity" to a SEAD conference of conservative clergy and laity on April 8, 1999, that "our fierce commitment to truth and our stand upon it must be moderated" in order to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion: . . . how immensely difficult it is to rebuild unity once unilateral action has been taken. It is far harder, but much more in line with Michael Ramsey's views, to determine to stay together, until truth emerges. Our fierce commitment to truth and our stand upon it must be moderated within the believing fellowship. (www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/carey/speeches/990408.htm). (Emphasis added).
The members of the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups reject Akinola's belief that Scripture provides "sufficient warrant for what is considered right and what is judged to be wrong." They contend to the contrary that Scripture does not have, as stated by Griswold in 1994, "the corner [i.e., monopoly] on the truth" (The Source, Peter Toon, September 1, 1994) or, as stated by the Primate of Jerusalem Clive Handford in 2005, "a monopoly on the truth" (ACNS, November 17, 2005).
The members of the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups also spurn Akinola's rejection of any "alibi for departure from the clear teaching of Scripture" and Cranmer's admonition that "if there were any Word of God beside Scripture, we would never be certain of God's Word." They hold, to the contrary, that by their special empowerment as the successors to the Apostles they are free to find "God's Word" wherever they may feel inspired to look. As Carey said in his previously quoted press interview "we simply have to wait and see how the Holy Spirit is going to lead the Church" concerning the ordination of practicing homosexuals.
(The Mobile Press-Register, Kristen Campbell, February 19, 2005). Unlike Cranmer, Carey can consider advocates of doctrine contrary to Scripture as possibly being angelic messengers.
(Episcopal Life, October 1998). Carey thus indicates that the Holy Spirit may lead the Church in a direction contrary to the Biblical authority. It is blasphemy, an insult to the Holy Spirit, to think that the Holy Spirit will contradict Himself.
Being thus free of the yoke of God's Word written, the members of the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups may favor or oppose the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations on whatever grounds they may consider fitting. Although most of them may speak of Scripture in honorific terms, and many of them may even look to Scripture for guidance, none of them hold that they are required to follow it. They are free in their own minds to pick and choose which commandments and teachings of Scripture they will obey and teach and which ones they will disobey or not teach. They permit themselves to use reasoning from "human experience," or whatever other factors they wish, to override Scripture.
VI. The revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups can go together in the Anglican Communion because they share the fundamental belief that the Church is not subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.
The fact that the members of the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups share the fundamental belief that the Church is not subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture permits them to go together in the Anglican Communion despite their current disagreement over whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations. Since the members of both groups agree that the Church may approve of such conduct, the question of whether the Church should do so is to them a relatively small matter over which such things as institutional unity, keeping in step with cultural mores, and maintaining friendships may take precedence.
Consequently, they may negotiate, compromise, accommodate, overlook, and live with the difference as they go together.
This ability of the traditionalist/pragmatist group to go together with the revisionist group is illustrated by the dialogue program. The traditionalist/pragmatist Carey can agree with the revisionist Griswold to have a dialogue program as to whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations, and Carey can accept such approval if enough bishops are persuaded to favor it.
Another illustration is the many bishops in ECUSA, including members of the American Anglican Council ("AAC"), who voted at the 1998 Lambeth Conference for Resolution I.10, and then turned around and voted at the 2000 meeting of ECUSA's General Convention for seven resolutions (D039) whereby the Convention approved of ECUSA's clergy and lay persons engaging in same gender sexual relations. At the meeting, all resolutions concerning sexual relations were channeled to a special committee (ENS, David Skidmore and Joe Thoma, July 19, 2000), of which two AAC bishops, John Howe and John Lipscomb, were members (ECUSA House of Bishops Journal, p. 120, July 5, 2000). The committee proposed seven related resolutions that approved of ECUSA's clergy and lay persons engaging in same gender sexual relations, by: (1) recognizing that members of ECUSA are engaged in same gender sexual relations; (2) providing that they may exercise their "gifts" within ECUSA while engaging in same gender sexual relations; (3) setting standards for their conduct of same gender sexual relations; and (4) pledging the church's "prayerful support, encouragement and pastoral care" to keep them abiding by such standards. (ENS, David Skidmore, July 13, 2000 (includes full text of resolutions); ENS, David Skidmore and Joe Thoma, July 19, 2000). The resolutions were approved in the House of Bishops by a roll-call vote of 119-20 with 2 abstentions (Crew website), and in the House of Deputies by a huge voice vote with fewer than 50 votes against them (Foundations, David Mills, August 2000).
Since only twenty bishops voted against the seven resolutions, it is apparent that some ECUSA bishops who had voted for Resolution I.10 switched and voted for the seven resolutions. It is also apparent that some of the approximately thirty-five bishops who formed the AAC voted for the seven resolutions,10 or else were succeeded by bishops who did so.11
10 It is not possible to discern exactly which bishops changed. While the votes of the individual bishops on the seven resolutions were recorded and the record thereof appears on the Crew website, no record of the individual votes on the 1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10 has been found. Consequently, for example, while the record shows that Howe voted for and Lipscomb did not vote on the seven resolutions (Crew website), it is presumed that they voted for Resolution I.10.
Moreover, an AAC bishop who voted against the seven resolutions, Edward Salmon, reportedly stood before the bishops after the vote was concluded, and stated he was "happy" with the resolutions and had been prepared to vote for them until there was a roll-call, and that his negative vote should not be interpreted as indicating his unwillingness to work with them.
(Forward in Faith Convention Daily Newspaper, David Mills, July 13, 2000).
VII. Since the members of the Anglican group believe that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture, they cannot go together with the members of either the revisionist group or the traditionalist/pragmatist group.
The same belief that permits the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups to go together prevents the Anglican group from going together with them. Since the members of the Anglican group hold as an absolute principle that Scripture is God's Word written and the Church is subordinate to its sovereign authority, the issue of whether the Church should propound a doctrine such as the approval of same gender sexual relations, which directly contravenes Scripture, is for them not a small matter. On the contrary, it is a defining one for the continued unity of the churches and bishops in the Anglican Communion. They cannot, for example, participate in a dialogue program which would permit the Church to approve of doctrine contrary to Scripture. Akinola made this very clear in his August 2005 letter when he stated the issue is "such a defining one" that persons who adhere to the belief that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture "cannot go together," with persons who hold otherwise, as follows:
THE ISSUE is such a defining one because two cannot go together except if they agree. To overlook this fundamental departure from scripture is not safe for faith or conscience; it means "walking in the counsel of the ungodly". The consequence is to risk the displeasure of God. (http://www.anglican-nig.org/Pri_
obj_Homo.htm). (Emphasis added).
Griswold recognizes that as long as the members of the Anglican group maintain their belief that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture, they cannot go 11 An example is the Diocese of Eau Claire. (Crew website). The retired bishop of the dioceses, William Wantland, voted against the resolutions and his successor voted in favor of them (Id.). together with the members of the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups. During the 1994 meeting of ECUSA's General Convention, Griswold (at the time the Bishop of Chicago) held a news conference as an official spokesperson for the Convention. During the meeting, ECUSA's House of Bishops adopted a "Pastoral Study" to be used in ECUSA's dioceses for dialogue on whether ECUSA should officially approve of same gender sexual relations.
("CONTINUING THE DIALOGUE. A Pastoral Study of the House of Bishops to the Church as the Church Considers Issues of Human Sexuality"). In the name of balance, the study set forth in positive terms "human experience" and other premises used by the advocates of such approval. (Id). In the news conference, Griswold took up the subject of the use of "human experience" rather than Scripture or tradition to determine the propriety of same gender sexual relations and said "there is no way to reconcile" them, as follows:
My own sense of things at this point is that we are living with very different perspectives on human sexuality grounded in very different ways of approaching the question theologically. Some see the Word most active in terms of Scripture and Tradition, and others see the Word most active in terms of human experience and what's actually being lived by men and women in our dioceses and congregations.
My sense is that there is no way to reconcile these different perspectives. I have no sense that any moment, ever, we're going to produce a statement that is going to include all perspectives in some kind of happy harmony. (The Source, Peter Toon, September 1, 1994). (Emphasis added).
Griswold went on to state that persons who look to Scripture or tradition for authority and persons who look instead to "human experience" therefore can remain in communion with one another only if the adherents of Scripture or tradition concede that Scripture or tradition does not have "the corner on the truth" concerning whether the Church may approve of same gender sexual relations, as follows:
I think more fundamentally the question is this: Can we, as a community of faith, live with this difference in perspective and perceive in these differences traces of Christ. And if we can, then we can continue as a community in communion.
And my sense of the House of Bishops at this point is that some of the rancor or some of the expectation of resolution has lessened tremendously; and there is a more respectful sense of our differences.
I think the beginning of the realization that probably no action of General Convention and no action of the House of Bishops, is going to bring in the new age with respect to sexuality. The fact is that we are going to live the question, live the difference for the foreseeable future. And then the question is, as I said earlier: Do we do that in peace? Do we do that with respectfulness toward one another recognizing that there is integrity in a number of positions? No one has the corner on the truth in this area."(Id.). (Emphasis added).
Griswold thus states that the only way the Anglican group can remain in communion with the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups is for the Anglican group to give up the belief that Scripture has a monopoly on the truth in matters of faith and practice.
George Carey also recognizes that the belief that the Church is under the sovereign authority of Scripture is an obstacle to the continued institutional unity of the Anglican Communion. Carey showed this when he urged his conservative listeners at the 1998 SEAD conference that "Our fierce commitment to truth and our stand upon it must be moderated within the believing fellowship." As thus put by Carey, for the members of the Anglican group to remain in the Anglican Communion with the members of the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups, they must give up their "fierce commitment" to the truth of Scripture and "moderate" their stand that it is sovereign over the Church. While Archbi shop Carey's admonition would be appropriate in matters of human tradition in the Church, it is wrong in the essential matters of the Faith.
VIII. Scripture gives clear direction on how faithful Anglicans should deal with the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups, who are essentially false teachers in the Biblical sense.
Scripture warns of false teachers in the Church who will introduce destructive heresies12. Scripture also warns believers to beware of teachers who speak from their own visions and experiences rather than the Word of God, and who use them to assure their followers that no 12 "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.
They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves." (2 Peter 2:1).
harm will come to them from what is prohibited by God13. Jesus described for his disciples the gravity of the sin of teaching contrary to God's Word, and commanded them to watch themselves:
The things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. (Luke 17:1-3).
Not only does Scripture warn us of the false teachers, the "savage wolves" Paul calls them in Acts 20, who will come in to destroy the flock, Scripture also gives us guidelines for dealing with false teachers. We are called to "be on our guard" and "keep watch" (Acts 20) against these false teachers. But we are called to more than vigilance. We are called, in Jude, to "contend for the faith" (Jude 1:3) and "preach the Word . . . correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2). The Apostle Paul, in instructing Titus on how to deal with false teachers, tells Titus to rebuke the false teachers with authority so that they may be brought to repentance.14
If the false teachers do not repent, Scripture tells us that we should not be yoked with them or partner with them, but we must be separate: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial. What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. "Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. (2 Cor. 6:14-17). (Emphasis added).
13 "Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets: 'I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.' This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.'" (Jeremiah 23: 15-16: see also Ezekiel 13:1-9).
14 "Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith." (Titus 1:13). "Encourage and rebuke with all authority." (Titus 2:15).
If we remain yoked with unbelievers, if we partner with false teachers, then we share in their wicked work.
Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.
Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. (2 John 7-11).
When Akinola warned that if those who are faithful to Jesus and His word continue to go together with persons who teach that the Church may approve of doctrine contrary to Scripture, they will be "walking in the counsel of the ungodly" and "risk the displeasure of God," he gave expression to Scripture's repeated admonition that Christians should not go together with false teachers.
The pattern in Scripture is clear. We are to be on our guard and be alert against false teachers because they will infiltrate the Church and work to destroy God's people. We are to contend for the faith: we are to teach and preach the Word boldly and rebuke those who come with false doctrines and deny the gospel. If the false teachers refuse to repent, we must separate from them or else we end up sharing in their wicked work.
IX. The ability of the Anglican churches to carry the faith will be weakened and finally destroyed if they wait too long to carry out the Biblical instruction on how to deal with false teachers.
Akinola's warning that the members of the Anglican group "risk the displeasure of God" by continuing to go together with persons who teach that the Church may approve of doctrine contrary to Scripture should not be taken lightly. Scripture is replete with examples of the displeasure of God suffered by the Israelites for failure to heed the warning. (See, for example, Numbers 21:4-9; Judges 2:11-15; 2 Kings 17:1-18; Amos 3:1-15; Isaiah 5:24; Jeremiah 11:11-12; Ezekiel 7:2-4).
A more recent example of what happens when the warning is ignored is the fallen state of almost all of the some thirty-five dioceses in ECUSA that began with the AAC eleven years ago. The AAC was formed shortly after the actions of ECUSA's 1994 General Convention made it apparent that the Convention was totally controlled by the advocates of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations. Instead of leaving when they had a reasonable chance to do so as intact organizations, the AAC members chose to remain in ECUSA.
They did so on the premise that they could protect orthodox belief within their territories and provide protection to orthodox believers in other dioceses, while trying to reform ECUSA by "political" actions in ECUSA and the Anglican Communion. A number of the AAC bishops were led into believing that they could rely on Griswold to restrain the proponents of same gender sexual relations from aggressively advancing their agenda. Bishop John Howe wrote a column for his diocesan news periodical at about the time he became a member of the AAC's board of directors, in which he praised Griswold for "doing everything he can to help the Church deal with issues of sexuality in a reflective way rather than by votes that could provoke schism," because "he knows the potential this issue has for fracturing the Church," and "thank[ed] God for his leadership in the House of Bishops and the larger Church." (Central Florida Episcopalian, June1999; encompass, August 1999). The AAC's leader at the time, Bishop James Stanton, according to the ENS, stated that "unlike First Promise, the AAC was eager to see Anglican bishops working with Griswold to deal with 'liberal bishops running roughshod over their people.'" (ENS, February 3, 2000).
As a consequence of remaining in ECUSA, the more orthodox dioceses have dwindled in number, and most of them have become so impacted by apostasy that they are too weak and internally divided to protect orthodox beliefs within their territories, much less leave ECUSA as intact organizations. Of the twenty bishops at ECUSA's 2000 General Convention who voted against the seven resolutions approving of same gender sexual relations, only thirteen were sitting bishops of USA dioceses.15 (Crew website). One of the thirteen was AAC member Salmon, who as previously described, reportedly announced he was happy with the resolutions and could work with them. Another AAC sitting bishop who voted against the resolutions, the Bishop of Dallas James Stanton, saw his suffragan bishop, D. Bruce MacPherson, vote in favor of them.16 (Crew website). Thus, no more than eleven of ECUSA's USA dioceses had united leadership against ECUSA's approval of same gender sexual relations. Even these eleven dioceses were not all internally united, since many of them harbor one or more powerful congregations that promote or accept the approval of such conduct. (Gay Peoples Chronicle, November 7, 2003; Tribune Review, Tony LaRussa, October 18, 2005; Albuquerque Journal, September 26, 1999).
X. The Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter laid the groundwork to preserve the Anglican faith and save the churches that adhere thereto.
The groundwork for the members of the Anglican group to fully implement the Biblical instructions on dealing with false teachers was laid at the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter. According to the Church of Nigeria News, the Encounter embraced and encouraged "The build up of the theological structures which many see as a precursor to a worldwide Anglican realignment." (encompass, December 2005). Since it is likely that the Encounter's actions may provide the only hope for the future faithfulness of the Anglican Church, the actions and the pertinent events related thereto are worthy of being reviewed in some detail.
15 Two of the bishops were from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the other five were suffragans or retired. (Crew website).
16 In October 1998, when the Dallas Diocese's annual convention approved of a resolution to support the Lambeth Resolution I.10, thirty-nine percent (39%) of the delegates voted against it. In January 1999, the Church of the Transfiguration in the Dallas diocese hosted Bishop Walter C. Righter to give a sermon, even though Stanton had led a presentment against Righter for ordaining a priest engaged in same gender sexual relations. (Crew website). Later in 1999, Stanton's new Suffragan Bishop, D. Bruce MacPherson, was consecrated in a ceremony in which two signers of the August 5, 1998 Pastoral Statement to Lesbians and Gay Anglicans participated. (The Living Church, November 8, 1999).
A. The purpose, composition, and subject of the meeting.
The Encounter's theme was "The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church Being A Faithful Church For Such A Time As This." (The Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter Communiqué, October 25-30, 2005, Global South Anglican website). The meeting was attended by delegates from the following twenty provinces: Bangladesh, Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Hong Kong, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, South India, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, Southern Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, and West Indies. (Id; "Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams," November 15, 2005, Global South Anglican website).
The following Primates of seventeen of the twenty provinces attended the meeting:
Peter Akinola (Nigeria);
Justice Akrofi (West Africa);
Fidele Dirokpa (Congo);
Drexel Gomez (West Indies);
Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda);
Clive Handford (Jerusalem);
Bernard Malango (Central Africa);
Joseph Marona (Sudan);
Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania);
Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi);
Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya);
Henry Orombi (Uganda);
Remi Rabenirina (Indian Ocean);
Ignacio Soliba (Philippines);
Peter Sugandhar (Church of South India);
Gregory Venables (Southern Cone); and
Yong Ping Chung (SE Asia).
("Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams," November 15, 2005, Global South Anglican website). The three Primates who did not attend the meeting were: Michael Baroi (Bangladesh), Peter Kwong (Hong Kong), and Njongokulu Ndungane (Southern Africa). (Id.).
Also at the meeting were representatives of the AAC-affiliated Anglican Communion Network, an organization made up of the aforementioned eleven or twelve dioceses in ECUSA, plus several parishes in other ECUSA dioceses, and in the Provinces of Canada and Brazil, that oppose the approval of same gender sexual relations. The creation of the Network was inspired by Williams's mention of "the concept of 'a confessing network of dioceses and parishes'" to AAC members, the Revs. David Anderson and Martyn Minns, in September 2003 during an "off record" meeting to discuss the possible solution to the crisis created by ECUSA's 2003 General Convention. (encompass, December 2005). Among the Network's representatives at the Encounter were five ECUSA clergymen: Bishops Robert Duncan and Edward Salmon, and the Revs. David Anderson, Martyn Minns, and William Atwood.
The delegates addressed the issues of whether the Church is subordinate to the authority of Scripture and whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations.
Since the question of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations presented "a crisis of Biblical authority..., one of the consistent themes" of the Encounter was "the supremacy of Scripture and the clarity of its teachings on matters of Christian faith and life." ("Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams," November 15, 2005, Global South Anglican website). Four papers were presented which "strongly asserted the authority of Scripture and applied this theme to the current crisis." (Id.). Akinola gave the previously quoted witness for the need to "return to the authority of Scriptures and leave no room whatsoever for contradiction." (encompass, December 2005).
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams attended the meeting. (The Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter Communiqué, October 25-30, 2005, Global South Anglican website). He gave a speech on the subject of the Church being "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic." ("Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams," November 15, 2005, Global South Anglican website). Williams and the delegates participated in a question and answer session concerning Williams's speech and teachings. (Id.).
B. Participants in the Encounter took five initial actions needed to preserve the Anglican faith and save the churches which adhere thereto.
Participants in the Encounter took five actions which may be viewed as being in furtherance of upholding the sovereign authority of Scripture over the Church and preserving the Anglican faith, and saving the churches which adhere thereto. They laid the groundwork for the churches and bishops of the Anglican group to become organized to leave the Anglican Communion and form a new world-wide Communion to carry the faith.
1. They formed a leadership group.
The first action was the formation of an organization that may be used for those purposes. The Primates elected a Global South Leadership Team and a Primates Advisory Group "to continue the important work of strengthening our community and implementing the decisions taken during our Encounter." (Letter, Global South Leadership Team, November 18, 2005, Global South Anglican website). The Leadership Team consisted of:
President - Most Rev. Peter Akinola (Nigeria);
General Secretary - Rt. Rev. John Chew (Bishop of Singapore SE Asia17);
General Secretary Assistants - Venerable Oluranti Odubogun
(Nigeria) and Canon Martyn Minns (ECUSA);
Treasurer - Rt. Rev. Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem).
(Id.). The Primates Advisory Group was composed of the following four Primates with a fifth
Primate from Asia to be later announced:
Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda);
Most Rev. Bernard Malango (Central Africa);
Most Rev. Drexel Gomez (West Indies);
Most Rev. Gregory Venables (Southern Cone). (Id.).
2. They elected Akinola to be their leader.
The second action was Akinola's election to be the president of the Leadership Team.
The Anglican group has a bold and powerful Primate to lead it. Not only has Akinola clearly taken the stand that Scripture has sovereign authority over the Church, but he is the Primate of 17 In 2006, Chew became the Primate of SE Asia.
by far the largest church in the Anglican Communion. He immediately showed his courage to lead by heading the action of openly calling upon Williams to repent, which will be later described.
3. They privately called upon Williams to repent.
The third action was calling on Williams during the meeting to: (1) repent of his teaching that the Church is not subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture and may approve of same gender sexual relations; and (2) use the powers of the Archbishop of Canterbury to eliminate such teaching from the Anglican Communion. ("Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams," November 15, 2005, Global South Anglican website). In so calling upon Williams, the delegates were: (1) acting in accordance with Articles VII and XX of the Articles of Religion and (2) fulfilling the 1662 consecration vow. Williams did not accept the call during the meeting. (Id.).
4. They issued a statement which upholds the sovereign authority of Scripture over the Church and is otherwise consonant with the Anglican faith.
The fourth action was the issuance of a public communiqué entitled "Trumpet III." (The Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter Communiqué, October 25-30, 2005, Global South Anglican website). The communiqué expressed the delegates' opposition to the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations. (Id.). The communiqué also contained language which may be read to mean that the delegates believe the Church is under the sovereign authority of Scripture. (Id.). More specifically, the delegates arguably subscribed to the Anglican faith by implied reference to the Reformation and express reference to the Articles of Religion and the doctrinal tenets contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, as follows:
42. We emerge from the Encounter strengthened to uphold the supreme authority of the Word of God and the doctrinal formularies that have undergirded the Anglican Communion for over four and a half centuries. Communion requires alignment with the will of God first and foremost, which establishes our commonality with one another. Such expressions of the will of God which Anglicans should hold in common are: one Lord, one faith, one baptism; Holy Scripture; apostolic teaching and practice; the historic Creeds of the Christian Church; the Articles of Religion and the doctrinal tenets as contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Holding truth and grace together by the power of the Holy Spirit, we go forward as those entrusted "with the faith once delivered" (Jude 3). (Id.). (Emphasis added).
5. Akinola and other Primates openly called upon Williams to repent.
The fifth action was the issuance on November 15, 2005 of a public letter to Williams in the names of fourteen of the Primates at the Encounter. ("Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams," November 15, 2005, Global South Anglican website). The letter responded to Williams's speech and his statements during the question and answer period.
(Id.). The letter made it clear that the Primates who subscribed thereto believed that the Church is subordinate to the "supremacy of Scripture," and that the approval of same gender sexual relations by some of the Anglican Communion's churches and bishops had created "a crisis of Biblical authority." (Id.). The letter described Scripture's requirement that love for and faith in Jesus requires obedience to His commandments. (Id.). The letter next stated that God's Word must be obeyed "whatever the cost" and defended against "false teachers," as follows:
After all, this truth must lie at the heart of holiness: that we so depend on the Lord that we are obedient to his word, whatever the cost. And in the Epistles, this holiness is the holiness of the Church, the holiness of those who build each other up, and also the holiness that must be defended in controversy against false teachers, whether legalists or libertines. (Id.).
The Primates' letter then called upon Williams to (1) repent of his "personal" teaching that the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations, and (2) use his power as the Archbishop of Canterbury to require the others in the Communion who so teach to do the same.
The letter did so by first saying that Williams acknowledged that the "overwhelming consensus" of the Church in time and space has been that "same-sex sex is unacceptable and cannot be described as 'holy and blessed,'" and then saying:
We urge you to rethink your personal view and embrace the Church's consensus and to act on it, based as it is on the clear witness of Scripture (Id.).
In so calling on Williams, the Primates recognized the distinction Williams has made between his "personal" teaching and his "official" position as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Although Williams will "personally" continue to teach that the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations, he has asserted that he will not use the powers of the Archbishop of Canterbury to "officially" require acceptance or rejection of such approval as a condition for churches and bishops to be members or participate in the affairs of the Communion.
On November 15, Akinola had the Primates' letter sent to Williams and simultaneously published on the Global South Anglican website. Eleven Primates subscribed to the letter and agreed with its publication. In publishing the letter Akinola was acting in accordance with the 1662 consecration vow "to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to do the same." (1662 Ordinal). (Emphasis added). The Primates had first called upon
Williams privately in the meeting to repent of his teaching of doctrine contrary to God's Word written and use the powers of the Archbishop of Canterbury to cause others in the Anglican Communion to do the same. When Williams failed at the meeting or during the following eighteen or nineteen days to manifest any willingness to comply with their private call, the Primates called upon Williams openly in the published letter to do so.
Any hope that the Primates' letter would prompt Williams to repent was immediately dashed by Williams in a news release issued on November 17, 2005. (Rowan Williams website). The news release stated in full:
The Archbishop of Canterbury has made it clear since before the time of his enthronement that neither he nor anyone else has a mandate to change the teaching of the Church by fiat. He is committed to the process to which all of the Primates committed themselves and their provinces in the Primates' response to the Windsor Report, contained in the communiqué following the meeting in Dromantine.
If this letter is a contribution to that process of debate, then it is to be welcomed, however robust. If it is an attempt to foreclose that debate, it would seem to serve very little purpose indeed. (Id.).
After Williams and the other revisionist bishops expressed their refusal to obey Resolution I.10's prohibition of the approval of same gender sexual relations by issuing the 1998 Pastoral Statement and other statements and actions, the Primates of the Anglican Communion did nothing to enforce the resolution. Now, after Williams has expressed his intention to not repent, the South to South Primates have not responded publicly to date.
XI. Unity in the essentials of the Faith is necessary and the longer we wait, the greater the chance that this unity will be lost. We humbly pray that the members of the Anglican group will act in the immediate future.
The fact that nine Primates of the twenty churches represented at the Encounter did not subscribe to the Primates' letter may reveal that we may not be as united and strong as we think. It is therefore vital for joint action that all the leaders of the Anglican group agree that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture, and that the churches that are united in the Anglican faith be fully and completely separated from all of the churches presently in the Anglican Communion that do not share the Anglican faith.
As we have seen with ECUSA, delaying action has weakened the Church and given the revisionists more time to establish and strengthen their positions. ECUSA's 1979 General Convention approved a resolution that sexual relations should be confined to marriage between a man and a woman by a large majority in the House of Deputies and a vote of 95-35 in the House of Bishops. Only twenty bishops manifested their unwillingness to obey the resolution by signing the 1979 "Opposition Statement Regarding Strictures Against Ordaining Lesbian and Gay Males to the Priesthood of the Episcopal Church." (Crew website). Only 21 years later, ECUSA's 2000 General Convention adopted the aforedescribed seven resolutions approving of ECUSA's clergy and laypersons engaging in same gender sexual relations by a huge majority in the House of Deputies and a vote of 119-20 (with 2 abstentions) in the House of Bishops. The numbers were essentially reversed in the wrong direction.
The longer the faithful Anglican churches remain in communion with heretical bishops and churches in the Anglican Communion, the more they are vulnerable to becoming internally divided by the infiltration of false teachers, as has been the experience of the conservative dioceses of ECUSA. The orthodox provinces can expect to have "no time limit" " to the "listen to the experience of homosexual persons dialogue programs" conducted by the Anglican Consultative Council in their dioceses, whereby their members will be conditioned to "not be fearful of the issue," and learn not to take the moral commandments given from God by Moses literally. Williams made it clear in his November 17, 2005 news release and his March 8, 2006 letter that he intends to vigorously push such programs and will use the Windsor Report and the 2005 Dromantine Primates' Meeting communiqué to suppress opposition thereto.
The faithful Anglican churches should also expect to have groups which advocate the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations arise within their dioceses, such as the Integrity chapter in Uganda (Christian Challenge, August-September 2004), seeking Episcopal oversight from like-minded bishops from ECUSA and elsewhere. The provision for alternative oversight proposed by the Windsor Report and affirmed by the 2005 Dromantine Primates' Meeting communiqué is a two-edged sword. Although requested by the AAC for orthodox believers in dioceses controlled by the advocates of the Church's approval of same gender sexual relations, it can also be used by such advocates in Anglican dioceses. Such dioceses can expect members thereof to apply for episcopal oversight by bishops in the revisionist group, and their applications therefore will be considered by a committee headed by Peter Carnley and decided by Williams, both of whom pledged their support to them by signing the 1998 Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans.
Given these circumstances, waiting to act until the 2008 Lambeth Conference or the 2007 Primates' Meeting is very dangerous. Akinola's words to the bishops of the Network that they "must realize time is no longer on their side" apply equally to the Primates who adhere to the Anglican faith. Time is running out for us and the millions of persons under our care.
Most importantly, every day that goes by, more souls will be lost. Akinola recognized this when he stated in his August 2005 letter that the members of his church should not be put "into harm's way by leading them into the wilderness of morally empty theologizing." (http://www.anglican-nig.org/Pri_obj_Homo.htm). The only safe way to the "peace and communion" posited by Akinola in his letter (Id.), and taking the millions of persons under their care out of harm's way, is for the members of the Anglican group to become completely separated from the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist churches and groups.
Wherefore, we the petitioner want to express our thanksgiving for your leadership, to thank God for your hard work up to the present, and we humbly pray that the Leadership Team, under the presidency of the Most Rev. Peter Akinola with the advice of the Primates Advisory Group, will find our presentation of this information and our analysis of its meaning and significance to be helpful as you fully engage the Biblical process of dealing with the false teachers in the Anglican Communion. This is a work that you began at the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter. We offer these facts and reflections as evidence for the cruciality and urgency that this work continue to completion.
The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Doctrine.
The Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers, Jr, Chairman
By____________________ The Rt. Rev. John K Rucyahana,
Bishop of the Diocese of Shyira
Eglise Episcopale au Rwanda. v
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