Friday, October 4, 2013

Going to GAFCON

Not me. But fourteen, maybe fifteen respected colleagues and friends are going from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia to the second Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Nairobi, 21-26 October 2013. They will be led by Bishop Richard Ellena, Bishop of Nelson. I have been told who is going but cannot remember all the names. I think five dioceses are represented (Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch). Nearly half those going are in ministry in my diocese. One or two I have spoken with have assured me that 'the issue' hardly features on the programme for the conference, which is focused on mission and renewal of the church.

GAFCON is an important event in the life of the Anglican Communion. It will gather many keen, committed Anglican leaders from around the churches of the Communion. Their fellowship together will build relationships, networks and shared commitments in mission and renewal in years to come. Other Anglicans will come, notably from the Anglican Church of North America. Together these Anglicans will be greeted by Archbishop Justin Welby via a video link. ++Justin is, of course, engaged in welcoming the next but two Governor of the Church of England into his church when he baptises baby George on 23rd October!

Not all are happy with GAFCON. For a different approach to GAFCON and summary of differing views on it, read my colleague Bosco Peters' post on GAFCON here (and the comments which follow it). For the record, and previously signalled some time back on ADU, I am not terrifically cheerful about the Jerusalem Declaration (from GAFCON I).* But that doesn't mean we cannot be otherwise happy about GAFCON

These are my reasons to be happy with GAFCON:

1. It is a forum which gathers up Anglicans from around the globe in a more inclusive way than the Anglican Communion itself does. ACNA is not yet welcome into the Communion but it is welcome to GAFCON. I am happy about that: many fine Anglicans have left the North American Anglican/Episcopal churches in good 'Protesting' conscience while yet wishing to remain part of a formal Anglican church. ACNA fulfils that wish and I am glad that it exists. (I am also glad that TEC exists as many American Episcopalians could not in good conscience belong to ACNA).

2. GAFCON is a gathering of Anglicans keen to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. There will be no hesitation, deviation or waffle about this keenness, proclamation or content of the gospel. Not every Anglican gathering (in my experience) is thus and so. GAFCON sets us all a good example.

3. GAFCON offers hope for the future of global Anglicanism. Let's face it. Many attendees will be pondering the future of global Anglicanism. Many will be concerned about the future of their own Anglican churches. I know some (I guess all) of our Kiwi attendees wonder where ACANZP is going, who is going to be part of it when it finds out its destination. But note a simple fact about GAFCON. It is not GPFCON or GEOFCON or GRCFCON. A stands for Anglican (not Presbyterian, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic). Everyone going to GAFCON is choosing to commit to the future of Anglicanism. No one has to. Life savers stand on the other sides of the Tiber, Bosphorous and Firth of Forth. But no attendee is putting on their swimming togs. Our hope for future global Anglicanism is the better for having a bunch of key leaders who choose to remain Anglican, to resist alternatives and to conference together as Anglicans.

Sure: it would be just fine if all Anglicans were 'in' the official Communion, if none had left over these past decades, and all disagreeable issues yielded happy 'agree to disagree' conclusions. But that is a pipe dream for the time being. We must make the best of an unhappy situation. GAFCON is a contribution to that making do.

*Reservations about the Jerusalem Declaration


(a) Language such as "We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils" and "the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today" is imprecise. Which "four" Ecumenical Councils (and why four and not one, two, three, five, six or seven) are meant? Are the Thirty-Nine Articles generally authoritative or is each and every article authoritative? Just one other example: this statement begs many questions, "We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships." Is GAFCON actively working on unity with Rome, with TEC, with (say) Pentecostal churches, for in those churches are many Christians who 'know and love Christ'?

(b) Statements such as "we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture" seem unworkable and unreal. Fine modern Anglican liturgies, well used and appreciated by many attendees at GAFCON are not translations and adaptations of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (though they may be theologically coherent with the same). Further, there will be Anglican ministers at GAFCON who prepare and lead services of worship which do not work from the 1662 BCP as 'standard of worship' but owe much more to a general Protestant conception of worship services as some songs, some prayers, a Scripture reading and a sermon.

In sum, I suggest GAFCON and the associated Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, has missed the theological mark. Addendum: even though there is this document to refer to, here, the theological mustard is not cut by the JD at certain points.


Father Ron Smith said...

I don't know whether this comment will be published on ADU (it contains criticism of GAFCON), but I will venture to offer my opinion anyway.

GAFCON is the product of mainly disaffected African Provinces whose theology cannot accommodate the new understanding of gender and sexuality that has been evident within the Western Provinces of the Communion since the ordination of Gene Robinson as Bishop in TEC.

GAFCON's opposition to any opening towards the LGBT community - in both Church and World - is seemingly based on an out-moded understanding of what the Scriptures have to say about it - not directly, because the situation in the Roman empire at the time of St.Paul's comments on the issue were addressed to a profligate pre-Christian practice of male prostitution.

Despite attempts by the Anglican Communion to come to terms with modern-day understanding of gender and sexuality wherein, for instance, Same-Sex couples are opting for monogamous, life-long fidelity in relationship; conservative sola-scriptura Church communities are closing their eyes to the fact that the world has moved on from the middle ages - where homosexual people were considered to be an unfortunate 'mistake' rather than an integral part of God's creation.

Several of the GAFCON Provinces are still urging their governments to persecute Gay people and their families - with often imprisonment and sometimes death as a result of being identified as either Gay or a family member or supporter of Gays.

If this is the attitude of GAFCON - and I believe it is - then the Anglican Communion could well do without their membership.

I am not surprised that members of the Nelson Diocese in N.Z. and their local friends are willing contributors to the GAFCON ethic of exclusion of the LGBT community.
from their understanding of Christianity.

Considering the ACANZP's official stance on gender and sexuality, I am surprised that a bishop of our Church can find the time and the will to support the GAFCON enterprise - with its implicit agenda to separate out from the Anglican Communion on matters that our Church is already addressing.

Indeed, one wonders if the Nelson Diocese, like several disaffected dioceses in TEC, will eventually seek to join GAFCON and separate out from the local Church on the issues involved. If it does so decide, I doubt whether ACANZP will allow the property to be alienated.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is happy with and supportive of GAFCON I am pleased NZ will be well represented.

The four Ecumenical Councils have generally been accepted within Anglicanism.

Good Anglican liturgies should be translations of and adaptations of the 1662 BCP. This would be far better than versions such as the one in use in NZ, which is theologically dubious, lacks majesty, has political insertions that are inappropriate, and prayers from non-Christian religions. I refuse to use the psalms from it. They are in places appallingly bad translations and were manipulated by anti-Israel fanatics. And if I never hear Benidicte O Aoatearoa again it will be too soon.

In short, GAFCON and the FCA have hit the mark with the Jerusalem Decleration. It is the NZ church that has missed the mark.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I would suggest that you are not really identifying theological issues but ones that relate more to apparent inadequacies in the parsing of the text itself.

To my mind the Statement was sufficient for its intended purpose which was as a rallying cry to global Anglicans seeking to be faithful to their reformational heritage and to maintaining a high trinitarian christology.

It was a broad-brush statement with the intention of drawing a line in the sand and with that in view was a perfectly understandable statement despite any perceived lack of precision.

For example, are you really serious when you can't make out which four councils are being referred to by the Statement? Even if one would want to question the wording, the meaning is surely clear.

Remember, it did not originate as a quasi-legal text drawn up by canonical lawyers. Rather, it was a collaborative document developed during the GAFCON conference itself and presented to the final session. As such it was well received by the delegates and I believe captured well their mood.


Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron (and other commenters)
I am happy to publish your comment as a self-identifying "opinion." I (and I assume others reading here) find it wrong-headed because it assumes to much about the total motivations of those forming GAFCON. Effectively you isolate one and only one motivation. I am convinced that many motivations are determining that there be a GAFCON II.
I ask commenters responding to Ron's comment NOT to resume arguments about homosexuality canvassed many times here before but to propose and identify the various motivations for GAFCON other than concern about Anglican approaches to sexuality.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Malcolm
I find your response quite unsatisfying. If the Jerusalem Declaration is a self-admitted line in the sand hurriedly put together in the heat of a particular moment then how come it is now repeatedly referred to as an adequate statement of Anglican-Christian orthodoxy which in turn is a potential distinguisher of true conservative Anglicans from, well, me(!)?

What you say would be much more helpful if it was associated with a plan to bring the statement up to date re precision.

Further, could I suggest that more than imprecision is involved if (say) I vow and declare I agree with the JD but I lead worship in my parish that does not conform to the BCP 1662. Questions of integrity do arise when I say one thing and do another ...

Bryden Black said...

Dear Peter,

I think you are being a little over precious re some aspects of the Jerusalem Declaration, IMHO!

If one follows at all the debates about the recent FiFNA Declaration and its endorsement of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, it’s blindingly obvious what Four Councils are meant! Furthermore, ever since the 1960s, rampant Prayer Book revisions have gone way beyond “translations” I agree, to the point that the old Latin tag lex orandi, lex credendi has become worthless among the global AC - or perhaps all too symptomatic!! Just so, it’s in that context that JD is seeking to draw some sort of line by its use of the word “standard” of the BCP 1662. And NB that BCP itself has a context just as our global revisions have their context: the former’s are indeed the 39 Articles and the Book of Homilies. See e.g. and the quote from the late Peter Toon.

Lastly, see especially for the JD’s own interpretative context.

Now; to debate whether or not all of this cuts the mustard theologically the pair of us (and Bosco too, shld he wish!) could well use a good bottle of red - or mere coffee! But we do need to digest JD’s own hermeneutical prism before rushing to any conclusion - I suggest.

[PS. As a self-confessed Evangelical Anglican, it might be useful to appraise the theological mustard-cutting ability of JD by comparing it with say the Lausanne Movement’s various Statements, 1974, 1989, & 2010 in particular. Just a thought ... Fascinatingly, there’s a key fourth text entitled, The Lausanne Standards, which is all about MONEY. See Perhaps TEC’s 815 HQ might glean a bit of a steer here what with all its present legal wrangles. Just another thought ... in context.]

Joshua Bovis said...

Dear Peter,

I just want to respond to your criticism of Clause 6 of TJD.

The BCP being our authoritative standard of worship and prayer I believe prevents us from falling into the trap thinking that we have to cater to the latest whims of trend, fashion and contemporary culture, while at the same time, while being consistent with the theology and the rubrics of the BCP, we are not bound to using forms that are not appropriate for our culture.

For example Article XXXIV says:

Of the Traditions of the Church

It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever through his private judgement, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.

Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

Every culture is different. Even amongst Western Countries there are differences. Actually, when I think about it, even in my town where there are four Anglican churches, they are all different. The strength of this clause and of the BCP, the liturgy and the theology of it, is that each our churches does not have to be carbon copies of each other, they express different forms, but being faithful to the BCP, they still bear that same family resemblance.

Rev Jonathan Fletcher put it well when he commented words to the effect of saying that we may not necessarily use the same language of the BCP but have the same theology as expressed in the BCP.

It reminds me of the words that Anglican bishop over here across the ditch said some years back " We are liquid in form and solid in substance."

MichaelA said...

Father Ron and Father Peter,

Part of your disagreement in the first two posts above is that you appear to be using the word "Gafcon" in different senses.

I hope this clarification helps:

In 2008, various Anglican groups called a conference at Jerusalem. This was titled the "Global Anglican Future Conference" or GAFCON. At that stage it was not an organisation, but a single conference.

After Gafcon, many of the participants decided to form a new organisation, headed by a council consisting of the Primatial bishops who were present at Gafcon. This new group was called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, FCA.

BUT, and here is where confusion has arisen, many people referred to the FCA as "Gafcon", (a) because its genesis was at the Jerusalem Gafcon conference, and (b) because FCA kept using the conference web-site, with "Gafcon" plastered across the top of it! At some point in 2009 or 2010, FCA just accepted the situation and announced that it could also be called "Gafcon" (which most people were already doing) although its proper term remains the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

To add more confusion, a new conference has been called in Nairobi 5 years after the Jerusalem conference, and this is called "Gafcon II".

Ron+ in his post No 1 above seems to be talking about Gafcon the organisation (aka the FCA). Whereas Peter in his article appears to be talking about the conference Gafcon II.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
If it is the first four ecumenical councils, why is the word 'first' not used? (!)

But that is a minor point compared to the mess engendered by the clause re the BCP 1662. A mess made messier by the confusing interpretation/explanation given in 'Being Faithful.' Laudable though some parts of that interpretation are (e.g. subjecting liturgical revision in our age to Communion wide testing), you and I know that services are held in parishes where the vicar may be inclined to sign to the JD but wouldn't dream of subjecting her/his 'informal' mid morning Sunday service to Communion wide assessment in comparison with the 1662 BCP.

It would be more satisfactory in my opinion if the JD could speak more about the theology of the BCP 1662 being a standard for Anglican worship today to aspire to than the liturgies of the BCP themselves.

I also think it would not be amiss if the JD could find some good in modern liturgical revision. Sure there are services around, even in our own church, to make Cranmer blanch. But the highroad of modern liturgical reform (e.g. our p. 404) would make a great deal of sense to Cranmer, partly because it draws on his own good work and partly because it draws on the 'great liturgy of the whole church', something Cranmer would recognise. I harbour the hope that he might also recognise, with the passage of time, that such services reform the liturgy of 1662 in helpful "apostolic and catholic" directions. Is it too much to expect that the JD also might honour what is good in our day?

MichaelA said...


Firstly, great article and thank you for covering this.

Secondly, I think you are over-reacting WRT some of your doctrinal concerns. You wrote:

"(b) Statements such as "we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture" seem unworkable and unreal. Fine modern Anglican liturgies, well used and appreciated by many attendees at GAFCON are not translations and adaptations of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (though they may be theologically coherent with the same)."

I suggest you are reading far too much into this. Adapting the Book of Common Prayer does not restrict one to slavishly following it.

For example, Canon A5 of the Church of England states:

“The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal."

Another example, section 4 of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia states:

"4. This Church, being derived from the Church of England retains and approves the doctrine and principles of the Church of England embodied in the Book of Common Prayer together with the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests and Deacons and in the Articles of Religion sometimes called the Thirty-nine Articles, but has plenary authority at its own discretion to make statements as to the faith, ritual, ceremonial or discipline of this Church and to order its forms of worship and rules of discipline and to alter or revise such statements, forms and rules, provided that all such statements, forms, rules or alteration or revision thereof are consistent with the Fundamental Declarations contained herein and are made as prescribed by this Constitution. Provided, and it is hereby further declared, that the abovenamed Book of Common Prayer, together with the Thirty-nine Articles, be regarded as the authorised standard of worship and doctrine in this Church, and no alteration in or permitted variations from the Services or Articles therein contained shall contravene any principle of doctrine or worship laid down in such standard."

The Jerusalem Statement seems to me to be in accord with these classic Anglican statements - the BCP contains doctrine (England) principles (Australia) or standards (Jerusalem Statement) which must be followed.

Anonymous said...


I find your response to Malcolm quite unsatisfactory, rude, and unfair.

Where does he say "hurriedly in the heat of the moment"? Nowhere. You put words in his mouth. Your wildly inaccurate take is not even a reasonable interpretation. It is deliberately unfair and pejoritive.

You would object if someone put words in your mouth. Do I seriously need to explain the Golden Rule to you?

Your objections make no sense to me. The Ecumenical Creeds are also very brief lines in the sand. Are they inadequate? Do they miss the mark? If not, why not? What is the difference?

The four Ecumenical Councils obviously is a statement of Anglicanism's traditional acceptance of the first four. That is surely oobvious.

Your interpretation of what the JS says about the BCP is strange. The JS simply says that the 1662 BCP should be the basis of good PB translations. Thus it does not say what you claim, and no issues of integrity are involved.

I cannot see any basis for your objections.

Anonymous said...

The assumption here is that modern liturgical revisions are "good" in the first place. I don't think so. 404 is not an improvement on the 1662, but a shadow of it's majesty.

We can do better, and it would improve modernist liturgical revisions immensely to go back to 1662 and start again.

Just in my opinion, 1662 should have been simply put into modern English (or the appropriate language of countries and cultures) but otherwise left alone. Instead we have a pale imitation of the Novus Ordo, and none of glory of Anglican heritage.

MichaelA said...

Hi Peter,

1. You queried the expression in clause 3 of the Jerusalem Statement:

"We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

This probably derives from a common anglo-catholic formulation used by e.g. the Common Cause Partnership in USA (which was at Gafcon) prior to 2008:

"Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures."

I understand that it originates in the Oxford Movement in the 19th century, during their arguments with Rome that Anglican orders should be accepted by the RCC for historical reasons. There were many anglo-catholic groups at the Jerusalem Conference so it is not surprising to find something like this included. It is equally clear that the evangelicals at the conference had no difficulty with it either. I personally do not have a problem with it!

2. . You also queried the expression in clause 4 of the Jerusalem Statement:

"We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today."

This is consistent with Canon A5 of the Church of England (see my previous post).

When you write, "Are the Thirty-Nine Articles generally authoritative or is each and every article authoritative?" the short answer is "All of them of course", and "properly understood of course". Article XXXVII does not require Christian men to wear swords!

3. You write:

"Is GAFCON actively working on unity with Rome, with TEC, with (say) Pentecostal churches, for in those churches are many Christians who 'know and love Christ'?"

The short answer to this is "Of course! Why would you think otherwise?"

Last year the Pope granted one audience to the Archbishop of Canterbury and one audience to leaders of Gafcon - specifically the Chairman ++Wabukala and the primate of ACNA, ++Duncan (the Chairman was prevented from attending by plane trouble).

Does that really sound to you like Gafcon is not in dialogue with Roman Catholics?

And you may have noticed also that ACNA (part of Gafcon) has been getting much more contact and praise from Eastern Orthodox leaders than either CofE or TEC!

Bryden Black said...

"I harbour the hope that he might also recognise, with the passage of time, that such services reform the liturgy of 1662 in helpful "apostolic and catholic" directions. Is it too much to expect that the JD also might honour what is good in our day?"

I utterly agree with such sentiments Peter. Yet we both know other 'liturgies' and/or "templates" would make Cranmer both blanch, and go red with anger! And perhaps these are worthy of both your theological spleen and mine. For these too are really what are in GAFCON's sights ...

Father Ron Smith said...

I wonder what Cranmer would think about modern 'Prayer and Praise' Services, which often end up as a jazz-fest with a prayer and a hymn triple-decker sandwich, with very little musical integrity.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am not publishing a comment from you that includes erroneous or out of date claims (e.g. re one of our bishops opting out of the last Lambeth: none did so, all went).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn/Malcolm

Malcolm, I apologise for writing in such a way that puts words in your mouth.

A better expression of what I want to say is that the JD itself (whatever Malcolm is thinking and writing in support of it) came out of a conference which was put together hurriedly in the heat of the moment (i.e. the significant year of Lambeth 2008) and (in my view) has the air of a document which is insufficiently thought through.

Peter Carrell said...

Re the BCP 1662 as a standard for modern Anglican worship:

It is not possible that the fervent charismatics among us, the ritualistic Anglo-Catholics among us, the informal Protestants of the 21st century with a few informal prayers, sermon and one reading of Scripture, and so forth (dare I mention the Taizests amongst us) ALL follow worship which conforms to the standard set by the BCP 1662.

That is not a problem if we also do not sign up to the JD. My problem, however poorly articulated here, is that I believe that many at GAFCON making supportive noises about the JD are involved in preparing and leading worship services which are not to the standard set by the prayer book. Obviously, in the light of comments above, Australian Anglicans and CofE Anglicans are innocent of the charge I bring. But I know the NZ scene fairly well ...

Again: to be clear, I generally delight in the creative attempts made by my colleagues and myself to engage the people of God through worship shaped by the context of the 21st century. What I am not delighting in is the attempt to make these creative moves fit with the relevant clause of the JD.

I at least have the integrity to admit that (as an evangelical, as someone appreciative of the BCP 1662 and still in agreement with its theology) I am and have been involved in worship services which do not fit the 'standard' of the 1662 BCP, e.g. services which do not have the Lord's Prayer, do not have a confession, do not follow the prescribed hand actions over the elements of the BCP, do not involve wearing the robes prescribed by the BCP ... and consequently cannot and do not agree with the JD on worship.

Theory does not fit practice!

Peter Carrell said...

On the 39A and their authority: I no longer find what the articles have to say specifically about Rome an authoritative guide as to how I should relate to the Roman church.

I have never read all the homilies and do not think one has to be a good Anglican to have read them. But I should, shouldn't I if I come under the authority of each and every article?

Generally, by the way, I am very comfortable with the 39 Articles, and the wording of most is most acceptable to me. But I am not prepared to go as far as the JD goes in what it says.

Bryden Black said...

Thanks Peter for your attempts at candour and integrity - always helps!

Re the 39A: I’d recommend Oliver O’Donovan’s great wee book, On the Thirty Nine Articles: A Conversation with Tudor Christianity (1986). Not least as it was forced upon him when he moved from Wycliffe Oxford to Wycliffe Toronto and had to give more of a self-conscious account of himself and his (hitherto more or less assumed) tradition - see Intro pp.9-10. I sense it helps to engage JD and its contextual Commentary, Being Faithful, by means of another “conversation” that also itself forcibly tried to be faithful. All GAFCON is doing, I suggest, is trying to address matters of deemed faithfulness and unfaithfulness today ... For at root, as I’ve said countless times and in various fora and via various media, what we are all confronting in the AC during this, our time is the question of authority and its means of legitimation.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
I am very happy to support GAFCON as a gathering which encourages faithfulness to Jesus and the gospel on the part of Anglicans, towards which the 39A and BCP also contribute.

I remain however unconvinced that the JD provides as helpful a guide as to faithfulness as we need at this time. And certainly not any kind of authority at this stage in its 'drafting'.

Covenant reconsidered?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

One could just as easily ask what Cranmer would have thought of Roman Catholic Masses, and prayers to Mary and Saints.

Of all the Anglican Evangelical churches I have attended regularly, none fit your description. All of them used 404.

What is the objective standard of "musical integrity."

Bryden Black said...

"Covenant reconsidered?" - PC

Bull's eye!

Getting GAFCON to actually subscribe to the RCD might also demand a revised Section 4 ...

MichaelA said...

"Obviously, in the light of comments above, Australian Anglicans and CofE Anglicans are innocent of the charge I bring."

I bask in my innocence.

Anonymous said...

As I have made clear before, I am (what high anglicans call) a Roman. I do not presume to comment on your deliberations, but thought you might be interested in Lutheran Satire at
It has nothing to do with GAFCON,but
no-one is spared. Don't get offended too early. You might need to view it twice before you are laughing so loudly that people start to look.


Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
You are now shifting from claiming that one of our bishops didn't attend Lambeth to claiming that one of our bishops missed a session of Lambeth. Is that a big deal?

To publish such claims I need a link to a reliable report, not to hearsay.

Anonymous said...

"What is the objective standard of "musical integrity?""

You have to ask?

Der himmlische Kapellmeister JSB, of course.


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I agree with you that the Jerusalem Statement needs to be seen in its context and not made to carry more weight than it can bear. In that light, I am willing to appreciate its positive contribution and do not feel the need to point out its defects.

The idea of drafting and editing the Statement during the conference itself was always going to be a highly risky affair. But it was a process designed to bring a sense of ownership from delegates who came from otherwise widely different perspectives.

In that sense, I agree it was a hasty document and one that had the forthcoming Lambeth conference very much in mind. But it is also more than that.

It seems to me, that there is an on-going challenge from Global South churches to western Anglicanism as a whole to be authentically Anglican in both structure and worship and not rely solely on historic connections to Canterbury or generic non-denominationism.

For me the legacy of GAFCON and the JD is a realisation that I, in fact, know very little about African Anglicanism (or other global south partners for that matter), and yet we are called to walk in step together as a communion.

I am forced to ask what does this mean for me to be in partnership with these Global South churches? The answer, I admit, can not leave me unchanged.


Father Ron Smith said...

I am forced to ask what does this mean for me to be in partnership with these Global South churches? The answer, I admit, can not leave me unchanged. " - Malcolm -

And herein lies the rub. GAFCON set out to change the basis of orthodox Anglicanism - mounting the preposterous idea that in some way they were more 'orthodox' than the root and branch of Anglicanism, which arose out of Canterbury - but on a new understanding of their own 'confessional' status.

GAFCON, and all the other subsidiary collection of initials that have arisen from the same mistaken understanding of Anglican breadth, have spawned a new type of pseudo-anglicanism that is not to the taste of many of the original Anglican Communion, who value the historic links with Mother Church.

Whatever the new amalagam turns out to be, it cannot claim to be authentically Anglican as many of us have lived it for many decades.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Your claim that GAFCON set out to change the basis of Anglican orthodoxy is presposterous.

If we are going to talk about 'change' of the basis of Anglican orthodoxy, could we please go back in history to the first people to change it ... but who was that: Andrewes/Laud? Newman/Pusey? Colenso and the reaction to him? The Lambeth Conference which decided against contraception or the one that said it was okay? TEC when it ordained Gene Robinson?

The preposterousness of your claim includes the presumption that there is some settled notion of Anglican orthodoxy which can be unsettled by some 'change' or other. There is no such orthodoxy. There is only a dynamic ongoing debate as to what it means to be Anglican. GAFCON is a contribution to that debate.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much no music actually being used in churches of any type works for me, at least with regards to Sunday morning worship. Standard choral music and the woefully misnamed 'Hymns For Todays Church' just puts me to sleep, But it's not much better in evangelical churches. While the music has energy and passion, it tends to be dated and to me at least comes across as saccharin.

The sad thing is that there is some very good alternative Christian music that could be used in worship. I recently came across a new group called 'The Welcome Wagon' who are outstanding, a kind of mix of 19th century US folk music and punk. Think Mumford and Sons.

I understand that Sunday morning services need to cater to a wide variety of people, but we could lift our game in the music dept.

Anonymous said...

I noticed this is Ron's first post, a claim that ACANZP has an "official" stance on gender and sexuality.

No, it does not. Especially on sexuality the matter is still being debated and no "official" decision has been made, and no "official" stand taken.

Those NZ ministers attending GAFCON are not doing so in opposition to ACANZP, but as representatives of a significant voice within our Church, and one that exists throughout the NZ church.

GAFCON is seeking to preserve genuine Anglican Orthodoxy in opposition to those who ate arguing for radical changes on matters of theology and marriage that have no connection to historic Anglicanism and are merely the importing of post-60's notions of sexual freedom and Cultural Marxism.

The Jerusalem Statement is an affirmation of historic Anglican orthodoxy.

Anonymous said...

I'll qualify my last comment by saying that, in my opinion, the JS is an affirmation of historic Anglican orthodoxy.

It certainly, to me, has a better claim in that regard than the theology of John Spong or Tobias Heller, both of whom have advocated a radical break with Anglican theology.

liturgy said...


Two points.

I’m intrigued that Malcolm sees GAFCON/JD/FCA as energised “to maintaining a high trinitarian Christology”. Please can he remind me where he was, let alone others going to GAFCON I or II, when I was a lone voice in our province on that. I was delighted Peter swung in behind me, and in the end “maintaining a high trinitarian Christology” in our province prevailed – but I have no recollection of there being significant or any involvement by GAFCON/JD/FCAites! If they want to lose the impression that theirs is a one-issue movement, then they need to put their energy beyond that one issue!

I have little sympathy with the idolizing infallibleising of 1662BCP. It misunderstood what Cranmer was up to and made alterations that would have had him spinning in his grave. Cranmer himself would have been delighted with the new liturgical scholarship available in our day and would have been the last merely to translate the 1662 confusions into contemporary English.



Father Ron Smith said...

"The preposterousness of your claim includes the presumption that there is some settled notion of Anglican orthodoxy which can be unsettled by some 'change' or other. There is no such orthodoxy. There is only a dynamic ongoing debate as to what it means to be Anglican. GAFCON is a contribution to that debate." - P.C.

Then why, pray, is GAFCON (at least via 'virtueonline') claiming to be the 'ORTHODOX' remnant of the world-wide Anglican Communion? You say there is no such animal, and yet here you are applauding the GAFCON pretenders to the title.

Anonymous said...

In my adoptive family, my mother's side of that family have been British Anglicans since the Reformation, quite a lot longer than a few decades, and they would not have recognized Roman Catholic style masses, prayers to Mary and the Saints, Liberal theology, or gay marriage as remotely Anglican.

GAFCON is far more genuinely representative of their Anglican heritage than Liberal Catholicism and gay marriage.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am (I think) saying the following:
(a) Anglican orthodoxy is a moving concept and claimants to possess it (including GAFCON) should take care when claiming to nail it down as "THIS but not THAT."
(b) I am applauding GAFCON for things other than its specific claims re 'Anglican orthodoxy' (indeed I am offering criticism of the Jerusalem Declaration).

Anonymous said...

Respecting 1662 is not idolizing or infalliblising. It is merely respecting it's theological and aesthetic superiority over modern liturgies, and certainly over the current NZ PB.

In response to Ron's claim, Virtue Online may be supportive of GAFCON, but is not a GAFCON web site. It is disingenuous to take VO's title blurb as an official GAFCON statement.

In general:

The Jerusalem Statement was released immediately after G 1 and covers a lot of ground, not just one issue. I don't think it remotely reasonable for anyone to claim or perceive GAFCON as a one issue organization.

Bryden Black said...

Just for the record Bosco: I am deeply sympathetic with the entire GAFCON movement + I was profoundly behind you and even alongside you re certain "high trinitarian Christological" truths ... if my memory serves me well!

It is possible - may be even necessary! - to coherently embrace both.

Tim Chesterton said...

As I've just said on another thread, I think we need to recognise that 1662 is one of two historic Prayer Book traditions in Anglicanism. The oldest non-English Anglican province, the Scottish Episcopal Church, looked not to 1662 (which was basically 1552 slightly rejiggered) but to 1549, a more self-consciously 'catholic' liturgy. The first American bishops were consecrated in Scotland, and part of their agreement with their Scottish consecrators was that they would introduce a liturgy more consistent with the more high church Scottish prayer book of 1637. Samuel Seabury's American Communion service is almost identical to the Scottish 1637 rite.

Peter Carrell said...

I have heard of the Scottish play, Tim. Are you saying there is a Scottish prayer book as well? Did the Bard write that too?

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

In what ways does the Scottish PB differ from 1662?

Anonymous said...

"Are you saying there is a Scottish prayer book as well?"

Och mon, hae ye nivver studied history? Dae ye no ken it triggered the War of the Three Kingdoms and cost Charles Stuart his heid? Whaur do ye think it a' began? In St Giles' Cathedral, nae less: 'Will ye say a mass in me lug?' (Jennie Geddes)

Martin Wullie Hamilton

Peter Carrell said...


Tim Chesterton said...


As you probably know, Archbishop Cranmer produced two versions of the Book of Common Prayer. The first version, in 1549, moved in a moderately Protestant direction. The second version, in 1552, moved much further in this direction.

In particular, the 1549 communion service had what liturgists call 'a long canon' - i.e. A Eucharistic prayer that continues after the words 'do this in remembrance of me' with words of oblation. This simply followed on from the catholic liturgies in use up to that point (tho' they were in Latin, of course). However, in 1552 Cranmer introduced the innovation of ending the Eucharistic Prayer at 'do this in remembrance of me', thus cutting off the words of oblation, to avoid any impression that the Eucharist was a sacrifice. Elizabeth's 1559 book, and the 1662 book of Charles II, follow this 1552 order.

The 1637 Scottish liturgy follows the 1549 order in a conscious attempt to revert to what its compilers saw as a more 'catholic' order and theology. You can find out more (and see online samples) at Anglicans Online:

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I have little idea as to what Bosco is referring. But I am not too concerned about being focussed on just one issue - as long as that issue is one of significance and priority.

It was Luther who urged Protestants to debate the issue at hand. Using the image of an army holding the line, he said it was disastrous to be holding the line the length of the battle but fail to reinforce the one point where the enemy was pressing.

I know that part of the debate is whether same-sex marriage is a primary or secondary issue. I maintain that it is a primary issue and therefore worthy of the church's careful consideration.

Part of my reason for doing so is due to my concern that the Anglican church maintain a high trinitarian christology. In my view, it has not been adequately demonstrated that a hermeneutic which opens the door for same-sex marriage, does not thereby close the door on anything resembling a chalcedonian christology.

I would not want to mistake the battle over human sexuality for the war over the person and work of Christ. But the two are linked.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Malcolm,
I would put the matter a little differently to you and simply say that it troubles me in our church that the "high christology, same sex marriage advocates" are much less visible than the "low christology, same sex marriage advocates".

I need to take care not to equate visibility with actuality re votes in synods!