Category Archives: GAFCON

The Global Anglican Futures Conference held in July in Jerusalem. Now called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans – see the website of Anglican Mainstrream for news.

Jesus the Unwelcome Prophet

309b71c13e37ffa2772f4920d7ddcb7bWhich ethnic community in the UK suffers the most abuse do you think? Nine out of 10 children from this community have suffered racial abuse, and two thirds have also been bullied or physically attacked and are scared to go to school. How do you feel about that? Which community are we talking about? Friday’s Guardian ran a report entitled, “It’s time to end ‘the last acceptable racism’ – against Gypsies and Travellers” How do you feel now you know? Shocked or not surprised?

Having been bullied at secondary school myself I have a low tolerance of bullying when I witness it – and intervening gets me into trouble sometimes. And having helped raise three lovely daughters, I have a low tolerance of discrimination against women as well. Our common imago dei – that is – that we are created in the image and likeness of God means that it is sub-Christian to mistreat, abuse, or denigrate any person, irrespective of their race, colour, age, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Let me repeat that.

That is why I am glad the final Communique of the Anglican Primates meeting in Canterbury last week, spoke compassionately about another group who suffer abuse.

“The Primates recognise that the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. Where this has happened they express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God’s love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression.”

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Do we worship the same God?

hands-worshipWheaton College is probably the best known Evangelical college in the USA. And last month, Larycia Hawkins who taught political science at Wheaton, became their best known professor.  She had pledged to wear a hijab during Advent in support of her Muslim neighbours.  But she was suspended after she wrote on Facebook, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”  “This statement is unbelievable,” tweeted Baptist blogger Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College in Louisville. “Really jaw-dropping.” Many others criticized Larycia. “A holy kiss to you who disavow the idea that Muslims & Christians worship the same God: I love you. Peace & respect,” Hawkins tweeted in response to her critics. She linked to her Facebook response, where she stated:

“Whether or not you find this position, one held for centuries by countless Christians (church fathers, saints, and regular Christian folk like me), to be valid, I trust that we can peacefully disagree on theological points and affirm others like the Triune God , the virgin birth and the Resurrection. Let there be unity in our diversity of views about all of the above.”

Wheaton have instituted dismissal proceedings against Larycia. Other Wheaton faculty have defended her.

Do we Worship the Same God? from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

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Jesus and Other Faiths

Introduction:

We live in a world in which uncertainty and agnosticism are more valuable than conviction and commitment. People can make their own way to God if they are sincere and determined.  And that everyone should find their own way to God. So my way is just as good as yours.

Sincerity and Truth
Many people think all religions lead to God because they assume that all religions are essentially the same when you reduce them to their core beliefs. They liken the religions to different paths up a mountain, believing that as we approach the summit we realise how much we have in common. But this just isn’t true and only shows they have not looked deeply enough at what the various religions teach. If you let each religion speak for itself, you find they differ greatly on the basic concepts-God, truth, reality, the basic human dilemma and the solution to that dilemma. They differ so much that many of their statements contradict one another. For example, God cannot be both personal, as Christians, Jews and Muslims believe, and impersonal, as Buddhists and Hindus believe. Jesus cannot be a false Messiah as Judaism teaches, a prophet as Islam teaches and the Son of God as Christians believe. Those are contradictory statements. According to the rules of logic, contradictory statements cannot all be true. Therefore, all religions cannot possibly be true. It is a logical impossibility. And if they are not all true, and if they lead us in different directions, then not all of them can lead to God. The Sincerity of adherents of other religions is not in question. You can be sincere but sincerely wrong.

Persuasion and Respect
Some people make this assertion for another reason. They think that it is intolerant to believe only one religion has things right. But this response shows a misunderstanding of what intolerance really is. Intolerance comes from the word “tolerate.” To tolerate means to allow something, such as a belief, to exist even though we don’t like it or agree with it. Tolerance does not mean never disagreeing with anybody. The word implies disagreement. True tolerance means allowing differing views to coexist without necessarily agreeing with them or claiming that all views are true. Therefore, we can hold that one view is true or better than other views without being intolerant or disrespectful. If we were truly intolerant, we would silence other points of view. But merely engaging in persuasive conversation with someone you disagree with is not intolerance. We show more respect for each other when we take our religious claims seriously than when we clothe them in a patronizing cloak of relativism. Continue reading

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Christianity Explored Launch in Burundi

This week, Craig Dyer (training director of Christianity Explored), Jim McAnlis (of Fields of Life and East Africa coordinator of Christianity Explored) and I are in Burundi to launch the new Kirundi translation of Christianity Explored.

CE is a popular ten week evangelistic course, based entirely on Mark’s gospel which includes talks, group Bible discussion and personal reflection. Now available in more than 20 languages and being used in more than 70 countries, CE is designed to help participants answer three simple questions around which Mark’s gospel is structured: Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus come? What is his claim on my life? It is literally a walk through Mark’s gospel to explain, through the teaching, the miracles, the death and resurrection of Jesus, the incredible claim made in the very first verse, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1).

The course is also designed to help give church members confidence in the Word of God and learn how to share their faith as well as train new church leaders. The strategy is to train hundreds to equip thousands to reach millions. CE is distinctive among other similar courses because it simply allows the gospel to teach the gospel.

This is the fourth year we have visited East Africa to train pastors and clergy to use Christianity Explored. In previous years we have held conferences at Carlisle College in Nairobi, Kenya, at Kiwoko Bible Week, and for clergy in Luwero and Masindi Dioceses in Uganda. Working closely with the Anglican Bishops, Pentecostal leaders, the Uganda Bible Society, Kiwoko Hospital and Fields of Life, we have launched translations in Luganda and Swahili and trained several thousand clergy to use the course. It is estimated that tens of thousands have completed the course in Uganda and we know of new churches that have been planted as a result.

At the invitation of the Anglican Archbishop of Burundi, the Right Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, this week we visited Matana Cathedral and trained about 70 of his clergy to use the course. In Makamba Diocese, with the blessing of Bishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho, the Diocesan centre hosted a similar conference for over 200 pastors and clergy from 35 different denominations. This was the first time many of them had experienced a small group bible discussion. They discovered the value of group study to personalise, compliment, reinforce and apply Biblical teaching.

Returning to Bujumbura, through the beautiful mountain scenery of Burundi, we stopped by the shores of Lake Tanganyika at the large stone making the place where in 1874, Livingstone, coming from the coast of Tanzania, met Stanley coming from the Congo.

The world has changed dramatically in the last 140 years, but the heart of the human problem remains the problem of the human heart. Transcending the barriers of language and culture, people are discovering through CE and the teaching of Jesus, that we are more sinful that we ever realised but more loved that we ever dreamed.

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Anglican Mission in England (AMiE)

NEW ANGLICAN MISSION SOCIETY ANNOUNCED

The Anglican Mission in England (AMIE) held its inaugural event on Wednesday June 22 during an evangelical ministers’ conference in central London.

AMIE has been established as a society within the Church of England dedicated to the conversion of England and biblical church planting. There is a steering committee and a panel of bishops. The bishops aim to provide effective oversight in collaboration with senior clergy.

The AMIE has been encouraged in this development by the Primates’ Council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON) who said in a communiqué from Nairobi in May 2011: “We remain convinced that from within the Provinces which we represent there are creative ways by which we can support those who have been alienated so that they can remain within the Anglican family.”

The AMIE is determined to remain within the Church of England. The desire of those who identify with the society is to have an effective structure which enables them to remain in the Church of England and work as closely as possible with its institutions. Churches or individuals may join or affiliate themselves with the AMIE for a variety of reasons. Some may be churches in impaired communion with their diocesan bishop who require oversight. Others may be in good relations with their bishop but wish to identify with and support others.

At the London conference three English clergy who have been ordained in Kenya for “ministry in the wider Anglican Communion” with the support of the GAFCON Prımates’ Councıl were welcomed and prayed with by bishops and church leaders in support of their ministry.

The launch of AMIE follows four and a half years of discussions with senior Anglican leaders in England about ways in which those who are genuinely in need of effective orthodox oversight in the Church of England can receive it.

The AMIE will continue to encourage church planting and all forms of Christian witness in accord with the Jerusalem Statement of the GAFCON Conference in June 2008.

Charles Raven writes,

“The AMiE is not only committed to adventurous church planting and the re-conversion of England, but is also prepared to provide alternative episcopal oversight in cases where it is clear that diocesan bishops are failing in their canonical duty to uphold sound teaching. The key institutional innovation is a panel of bishops formed by Bishops Michael Nazir Ali, John Ball, Colin Bazley, Wallace Benn and John Ellison which enjoys the support and encouragement of the GAFCON Primates’ Council.”

See also the Jerusalem Declaration


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Archbishop Edmund Akanya

Archbishop Edmund Akanya from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Archbishop Edmund visited Virginia Water yesterday. He serves in the Anglican Diocese of Kebbi in Nigeria. In this interview he speaks about some of the challenges the church faces in northern Nigeria today.

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Rt Revd Dr P.J. Lawrence on Developing a Passion for the Lost

Bishop P.J. Lawrence on the Challenges of Mission in India from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

The Right Revd Dr P.J. Lawrence serves in the Diocese of Nandyal in the Church of South India. dioceseofnandyal.org/

In this short interview he shares about the challenges of ministering in a community that is almost exclusively Dalit.

The etymological meaning for the Sanskrit word ‘Nandi’ means a Bull, and ‘Alaya(m)’ means Temple . Traditionally it is a belief that ‘Nava Nandis’ ruled this area under Sir Krishna Devaraya dynasty who constructed 9 bull temples and the name Nandyal is derived from these Nandi Alaya [Nandyal(a)]. Hindu religion in this area is very predominant. Nandyal is major center for education, agriculture, wildlife, pilgrimage and has some of the most fertile land in Rayalaseema , as it is surrounded by water on four sides.

The Diocese of Nandyal lies in the Deccan Plateau in Andhra Pradesh, a state created in 1956 with Hyderabad as its capital and formerly it was in Madras State . The people are Telugu speaking Dravidians, prevalence of Hinduism exist. Anglicans specially the S P G Missionaries preached the Gospel among ‘Malas’ a scheduled caste whose traditional occupation was weaving. The Diocese geographically lies mostly in Kurnool District, also extended in Cuddapah, Prakasham, Mahaboobnagar and Anantapur Districts. Nandyal lies in the western part of Andhra Pradesh. This region is bounded by thick Nallamala forests. Due to meager rainfall the drought conditions frequently occur and may be followed by famines. Because of the configuration of the land, its climate and its remoteness, the area is economically poor.

Bishop P.J Lawrence : A Passion for the Lost from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Bishop Lawrence preached at Christ Church, Virginia Water last Sunday in the lead up to our Passion for Life mission. His message focussed on having a passion for the lost.

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John Coles talks about New Wine

John Coles talks about New Wine from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

John Coles, the Director of New Wine and Leader of the New Wine Networks facilitated a ‘Leaders Day’ at St Paul’s, Addlestone today. Afterwards I asked John about New Wine and about an exciting new ministry training initiative.

For more information see new-wine.org

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Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans: Theological Resource Group

Members of the FCA Theological Resource Group outside Christ Church, Virginia Water.

Orthodox Anglican Bishops, clergy and theologians from Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Australia, the USA and UK were meeting at Sunningdale Park in Berkshire over the weekend.

They also attended the morning service at Christ Church, Virginia Water. The Right Revd. Ikechi Nwachukwu Nwosu from Nigeria preached a moving sermon on Matthew 16:21-28 (front row fourth from right). Warm greetings were received from the Right Revd Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford. Members of Runnymede Deanery also attended.

Back and middle rows: Dr George Malek (South Africa), Canon Dr Kevin Donlan (USA), Revd Dr Charles Raven (UK), Revd Dr Roger Beckwith (UK), Revd Dr Mark Thompson (Australia), Revd Professor Stephen Noll (Uganda), Canon Dr Chris Sugden (UK)

Front Row: Canon Etienne Mbusa (Congo), Dr Ngozi Okeke (Nigeria), Revd Erin Clifford (UK), Rt Revd John Akao (Nigeria), Rt Revd Ikechi Nwachukwu Nwosu (Nigeria), Mrs Imsola Odunayia (Nigeria), Canon Arthur Middleton (UK).

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

GAFCON

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Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA-UK) Photos

You can view photos taken at the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans here and on Flickr here:

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