Questionable ‘Virtue’? – Lambeth did not affirm 1:10!

In his inimitable style. Mr David Virtue (lay journalist with the GAFCON/ACNA separatists) issues more questionable statements about the conduct and effects arising out of what he saw at the recent Lambeth Conference, just concluded.

What Mr. Virtue discerns as one of the outcomes from the Conference was the publication of a statement from – at the most – 150 bishops confirming the validity of LAMBETH 1:10. The fact that the other 500 bishops at the Conference did not sign the statement was not really discussed in Virtue’s assumption that the statement was actually the official work of the Conference. Clearly, it was not!

For those of my readers who may have little or no knowledge of the aggressively oppositional campaigning of V.O.L on behalf of his GAFCON backers, I have decided to feature this latest diatribe against the Archbishop of Canterbury (whose hospitality he gladly accepted in order to be present at Lambeth) and the Anglican Communion in general; in order that you may understand the sort of insidious ways in which he tries to accuse us – who are loyal to Lambeth and Canterbury – of some sort of ecclesial ‘unorthodoxy’, unworthy of being linked together with those of his own (Anglican Orthodox’?) beliefs, who are wedded to the outdated theology of ‘Sola Scriptura’ – which is not, definitively, part of the ‘Anglican Way’

Classical Anglicanism has long been distinguished by its characteristic ‘3-Legged Stool‘ theology; where equal emphasis is given to ‘Scripture; Tradition; and Reason‘ – each of which charisms are given equal weight in order to cope with the day-to-day exigencies of living out the Faith – Once Delivered to the Saints; but interpreted for the context and complexities of the times we are living in. Jesus said “The Spirit will lead you into ALL the Truth”. This implies an ongoing dynamic!

In Christ’s own teaching, he took the trouble to interpret the LAW in ways that were not always consistent with the interpretation of the Scribes and Pharisees – notably about the traditions of the Sabbath. He also taught that ‘God alone is Good’-with the implication that any good on our part was a gift of grace from God – not a personally-generated ‘virtue’ (?) that we can accrue to ourselves. Jesus died ‘to redeem the World’ – not just those who accounted themselves to be worthy.

Christ alone is The Redeemer. The Church, when it humbly follows the call to the service of God and others, is one of the agents of that redemption. As Saint Paul himself is reputed to have said “My righteousness is as filthy rags” – compared with the righteousness of Christ in God.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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SPECIAL LAMBETH REPORT * A DIVIDED COMMUNION * GLOBAL SOUTH BISHOPS REFUSE TO COMPROMISE OVER HOMOSEXUALITY * RESOLUTION 1:10 AFFIRMED

SPECIAL LAMBETH REPORT * A DIVIDED COMMUNION * GLOBAL SOUTH BISHOPS REFUSE TO COMPROMISE OVER HOMOSEXUALITY * RESOLUTION 1:10 AFFIRMED

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
www.virtueonline.org
August 12, 2022

It was twelve days of dodging and weaving around the truth, as 650 bishops led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby tried desperately to deliver on his promise that he would bring reconciliation to a divided and fragmented Anglican Communion.

Alas, it was not to be.

Unity, it seemed, was more important than truth and equally elusive. “Truth and unity must be held together, but church history also says that this sometimes takes a very long time to reach a point where different teaching is rejected or received,” said Justin Welby.

But the truth he sought and pushed onto his fellow bishops was “plural truths”, truths that can and should be held together till, presumably, God decides which set of truths He alone would accept and not we ourselves.

“I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion. I will not do so.” He then cited a Lambeth 2022 trope: “As Bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues.”

Words like “listening” and “walking together” are dog whistles to make the small band of homosexual and lesbian bishops present feel they were not being abandoned or ostracized by the majority of bishops, most of whom were orthodox in faith and morals (though the largest Anglican provinces were absent). The Episcopal church, The Anglican Church of Canada, the churches of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland may believe they held all the cards, even as resolutions were banned and “call” voting was later banned. Everyone knew this was to placate the revisionists, while at the same time sticking it to the orthodox bishops by not allowing them ever to know how the bishops really felt or how they would have voted.

But Welby was dogged throughout the twelve days by the appearance of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Christians (GSFA) who held a parallel conference, blowing smoke in Welby’s face at every turn in the road.

In fact, things were so bad that “walking together” became a bad joke when the GSFA bishops announced they would not receive the Eucharist from Welby and his fellow bishops. (Shades of the Primates’ meeting in Dromantine, Ireland in 2005).

These bishops were a constant thorn in Welby’s side. They held press briefings of their own. They produced press releases. They gave reporters access to Archbishop Justin Badi of South Sudan and Archbishop James Wong of the Indian Ocean, who regularly told us that Scripture was inviolable on matters of sexuality. A group of bishops from South Sudan told VOL that they would rather starve than accept money from the morally compromised American Episcopal Church. What does that tell you about how seriously they took their oaths to be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word. and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the same?

The vast majority of western Anglicans no longer believe or practice this.

But then the GSFA turned the tables on Welby when they asked every bishop present to reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1:10 as the Anglican teaching on marriage and sexuality.

Some 125 bishops from 21 provinces, representing 7,872,629 Anglicans at the Conference, signed up to reaffirm the Resolution. They sent a message to Welby that he could fire breathe all he liked about “no resolutions, no calls and no votes”, but the Global South persisted. (The figure of 125 was not complete by the time we departed Canterbury.) I am told that 8 Episcopal bishops signed on, but because of confidentiality, we don’t know who. One suspects they were the Communion Partner bishops. The (GSFA) leaders will also allow Primates and bishops who did not attend this Lambeth Conference to vote. You can guess where all this is going.

By their action, the GSFA gave priority in calling the whole Communion back to biblical faithfulness. This action also restores the normative way the Communion should decide on its doctrine and the practices that follow — through ALL bishops or Primates meeting in council.

You see, homosexual behavior as Scripture viewed it, and as they saw it, is a salvation issue that will keep you out of the kingdom, while poverty, inequality, climate change and any other issue you want to plonk down on the table, will not.

A bishop tried to raise the issue of polygamy as an issue of sexual equivalency to sodomy, but as a British journalist informed him, polygamy was dealt with by the late Archbishop David Gitari of Kenya who saw it as a pastoral issue and dealt with it effectively to the point that it is not an issue in Africa much anymore. There was not a single African bishop there who was either divorced or had two wives.

One British broadcaster asked a bishop, that with all the issues on the table, “aren’t you supposed to be talking about dogma?” Apparently not. In fact, I could not find one reference to sin in the entire agenda. Sin is a woke word now and can only be used against those who will not go along to get along.

Several years ago, Welby was asked, “is sodomy a sin”, he refused to answer the question. When I tried to ask a question about the presence of “gay and lesbian bishops present”, I was told that they didn’t recognize the question! The revisionists refused to believe that such a category existed. The message: Thou shalt not offend…

Now you know why the massive Church of Nigeria, and the provinces of Rwanda and Uganda boycotted the 2022 Lambeth event. Welby said he thought about their absence every day and was “saddened” by their absence.

Welby refuses to believe that the Africans and other orthodox provinces of Asia and South America will never accept “gay” marriage. What Welby and his revisionist pals, like Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Southern Africa believe is this; give it time and homosexuality will be normalized just as divorce and remarriage, women priests and later women bishops was; so too, will homosexuality. They will ride out the present storm because the future is good, and everyone will sooner or later roll over and get on board. God, as they say, is doing a new thing.

That’s Welby’s aspiration. The belief here is that by the next Lambeth Conference (if there is one and has not morphed into an Anglican Congress), the communion will have accepted homosexual and lesbian bishops. Time, they believe is on their side.

But it is not.

Welby tried his best to negate the Law of Noncontradiction (that a proposition cannot be both true and not true) by admitting that the large majority of the Anglican Communion the traditional understanding of marriage is something that is understood, accepted, and without question, not only by bishops but their entire church,” and to question it is “unthinkable”, but then he said the other side’s position was equally valid, biblical and firmly held.

“Bishops in the Anglican minority have not arrived lightly at their ideas. … They are not careless about Scripture. They do not reject Christ. But they have come to a different view on sexuality after long prayer, deep study and reflection on understandings of human nature. For them, to question this different teaching is unthinkable.”

Only someone who never took a course in logic could make a statement like that.

Western Anglicanism is withering and dying. The Global South continues to grow and thrive. The province of Myanmar now has over 71,000 Anglicans. Nepal has grown from 3,000 to 15,000 Anglican believers. Bishop Jay Behan’s diocese in NZ has gone from 12 parishes to 18 parishes. Every Global South province is growing while every diocese in The Episcopal Church is in decline — one diocese — Nthn. Michigan has less than 300 parishioners!

Welby’s team consistently tried to focus attention on “restorative justice,” Christian unity and global warming — such as a photo-op with bishops planting a tree at Lambeth Palace, but such virtue signaling achieved nothing.

For Global South bishops, all of this showed that Anglicanism “is not in a healthy, working state.” The question is whether brokenness will inspire repentance.

The “revisionist Provinces,” said a GSFA communique, “adapt the Word of God to the prevailing culture … and end up condoning what is morally wrong in God’s eyes. … Failing to correct false teaching is to fail to act in love. Hence, orthodox Bishops are duty-bound to God not to ‘live and let live’ under the guise of simply walking together.”

Thus, Archbishop Justin Badi Arama of South Sudan told journalists: “A communion is where you have one belief, one doctrine and here there is an issue where there are two different doctrines. How can you walk together?” Indeed.

***

VOLs team wrote more than 60 stories about the Lambeth Conference. For our “sins”, we garnered more than 250,000 reads from Anglicans in more than 100 countries. One story got 41,000 reads and another 29,000. Stories were translated into several languages with pass-alongs to blogs and other websites. I believe we got the attention of the world’s orthodox Anglican leaders. They were not fooled by what went on in Canterbury.

GAFCON chairman and ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach summarized it well when he wrote, “The Lambeth Conference is not a source of healing and unity, and the recent gathering of bishops was little more than a place of confusion.” He said the Canterbury Communion is broken, not just metaphorically, but literally, as those in attendance could not in good conscience all share Holy Communion.

You will notice that he called it the Canterbury communion, not the Anglican communion, a very telling detail.

Whether there is another Lambeth Conference is highly debatable, but next year GAFCON bishops who represent 75 per cent of the communion will meet in Kigali, Rwanda. There won’t be any talk of plural truths so favored in Canterbury. They will affirm the gospel; they will unequivocally reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1:10. There will be no compromise.

I am posting the balance of stories written at Lambeth by myself and Mary Ann Mueller with a few others from reliable sources in the hope you will obtain a full picture of what took place.

Thank you for your prayers. On to GAFCON.

David

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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