Gafcon events - please pray:
• For the visit of Archbishop Ben Kwashi to Wales and England in late September/early October,
• For the meetings of Gafcon-supporting bishops in our region, and the Gafcon GBE Council of Reference meetings in October,
• For those Gafcon Primates and other leaders who will be attending the GSFA meeting in Cairo in October (see below),
• For preparations for the meeting of Gafcon Primates in London in November
Church of England
Dispute continues over Synod’s approval for new liturgies in November
The group of leaders of C of E organisations who told the Bishops that it was “unlawful, unconstitutional, and illegitimate” for them to commend blessings for same-sex couples received a reply… the Archbishops of Canterbury and York thanked the group for the letter, and for their stated commitment to providing “pastoral responses to address concerns around homophobia and discrimination in the Church”. The Archbishops go on, though, to say that they have been “a little surprised by the legalistic tone in some of your letter”, and invite the group to “see the matters at issue as primarily theological and pastoral rather than legal”.
The group responded on 14 August to the College of Bishops and “key officers in the Church of England” as well as to the two Archbishops. The group reiterate their objection to any form of ratification that is not subject to two-thirds majorities in the Houses of the Synod… Read in full in Church Times
How should we respond to “inclusive” evangelicals, who believe that CEEC’s position is not the only valid one? Dr Martin Davie assesses the arguments of Dr Paul Roberts.
Pray for all bible believing leaders in the Church of England, contending for orthodox faith on General Synod, in dioceses and in other ways. Pray particularly for meetings between GAFCON leaders and representatives from CEEC coming up in mid September, and for strategic meetings of CEEC and EGGS (Evangelical Group on General Synod).
Survey shows extent of liberal views among C of E clergy
More than two thirds of Church of England clergy are supportive of a ban on so-called conversion therapy, a disputed new survey has claimed.
Of the 1,185 respondents to The Times’ survey, 67.8 per cent backed a ban with 17.7 per cent against. The findings, which account for only six per cent of the church’s active clergy, also reflect a rejection of biblical sexual ethics.
Over half of respondents (53.4 per cent) claimed the C of E should allow same-sex weddings, while 63.3 per cent said ordained ministers should be able to enter same-sex civil marriages.
But speaking to Times Radio, Revd Dr Ian Paul challenged the reliability of the conclusions….
Other commentators are less sanguine than Dr Paul, saying that the rapid liberalisation of the clergy and bishops in the C of E is undeniable:
“Church of England clergy who have “lost confidence” in the Bible and biblical ethics should resign or be removed, the head of Christian Concern has said.” [See article in Christian Today].
A comment in a secular newspaper:
It’s ironic that, as a secular society, we’ve thrown ourselves into the cult of self, precisely because we’re flailing, with no basic spiritual scaffold to keep us steady. The idea of being handed out nourishment in the form of the “blood and body of Christ” is ridiculed, but we’ll guzzle down our green juices and “superfoods” in the hope they’ll give us what our empty souls are lacking – and ensure an eternal, if spiritually devoid, life. Celia Walden, Telegraph
Pray for all Gafcon-aligned churches in our region, that we would preach the biblical gospel with confidence, and be encouraged as we see people of all ages and backgrounds turn to Jesus.
Global South Fellowship of Anglicans: re-setting the Communion
Anglican Orthodox Leaders Meeting (17-19 Oct 2023)
In its Ash Wednesday Statement of 20th Feb 2023 (see here), GSFA committed itself to “expeditiously meet, consult and work with other orthodox Primates in the Anglican Church across the nations to re-set the Communion on its biblical foundation.” The GSFA is calling for such a meeting in Cairo from 17th -19th October this year. Our objective is to consult together on how we can shape our common life, as orthodox provinces, dioceses and networks, as a ‘re-set’ Communion, marked by reform and renewal. From GSFA Press Release
Europe: religious freedom
The Finnish parliamentarian and physician Päivi Räsänen this week returned to the dock to face hate crimes charges for having quoted the Bible in defence of Scripture’s teaching on homosexuality.
In her opening statement on Thursday, the Finnish prosecutor said, of a 2004 pamphlet authored by Dr. Räsänen, “The point isn’t whether it is true or not, but that this is insulting.”
Think about that: The point is not whether these words true or not, but that someone’s feelings were hurt by them.
This is the essence of totalitarianism: the demand to control reality. The Finnish state attempts to outlaw not simply expression it does not like, but facts it finds offensive. Rod Dreher, European Conservative
A survey by the Association of Christian Teachers (ACT) warns of widespread marginalisation of traditional Christian views on marriage, sexuality and gender. The government must make sure our children get a balanced education and teachers are protected….
I have been deeply troubled by the contact I’ve had with Christian teachers over recent years. …The concerns raised have included teachers being forced to deliver unscientific materials, class trips to Pride marches and drag queen story times for four-year-olds being held against a teacher’s wishes.
Are these anecdotes isolated (and possibly exaggerated, as some argue)? Lizzie Harewood, Premier
The British family is imploding. In recent decades, as the new elite’s political and cultural revolution swept through the country, Britain has become a world leader in the breakdown of family life —yet nobody wants to talk about it.
The sheer scale of the problem was underlined by a new study last week. It found that…today, nearly one in four of all households —23%— are headed by a lone parent, which is much higher than the 13% average in Europe.
As one major review of the latest evidence notes:
“A notable hallmark of British families is their greater fragility and complexity as compared with families in other western European countries. More children are born into lone mother families and there are higher rates of parental separation”.
Jeremy Marshall: a wonderful servant of God goes to glory, a selection of tributes for Jeremy Marshall, financier, Christian philanthropist and evangelist, who died on 14 August.
Building Jerusalem Blog (Stephen Kneale)