Dr. Noll on Holy Matrimony

Dr. Stephen Noll is starting a series on Holy Matrimony, and I think you will enjoy it.

“In the coming weeks, we shall be meditating on holy matrimony according to the Book of Common Prayer: (1) its biblical foundations; (2) God’s design and purposes; (3) the stages of human love, betrothal and vows; and (4) the sorts and conditions of those outside the married state.” 

“We shall be following the new service of Holy Matrimony in the 2019 Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church in North America. This service follows closely the classic 1662 Prayer Book but with some revisions of language and thought.”

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Gafcon Prayers Requested For Episcopal Bishop

This received via e-mail,

The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) has a long history of using
ecclesiastical law against faithful bishops and clergy and now a case later this week focuses the issues very sharply. The Episcopal Church announced yesterday (June 9, 2020) that the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, will be set before a Title IV Hearing Panel by The Episcopal Church this Friday, June 12, 2020 for Summary Judgment.


Left: Bishop Michael Curry (TEC, USA), Right: Bishop William Love

Bishop Love is charged for, “…failing to abide by the promises and vows made when he was ordained, specifically the Declaration he signed at his ordination as bishop in which he promised to ‘conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.‘” Essentially, the charge against Bishop Love is based on his unwillingness to abide by Resolution B012 of the Episcopal Church which would allow for same-sex marriages to occur in the Diocese of Albany.

So we have the tragic and paradoxical prosecution of a faithful bishop using church laws that were designed to protect the integrity of the Christian faith now being deployed to enforce practices that are contrary to Scripture.

TEC has become an institution which systematically distorts the truth of the gospel and yet enjoys the endorsement of the Archbishop of Canterbury with even those of its bishops in same sex unions being invited to Lambeth.

The Anglican Reality Check website was developed to counter such distortion and shows how predominantly Western church leaders have relentlessly sought to undermine Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference which reaffirmed the clear teaching of Scripture on marriage and specifically rejected homosexual practice as incompatible with
Scripture. 

Let us join in prayer specifically for Bishop Love and his family that God will sustain them during this time, and that His will and purpose will be accomplished.

So let us keep alert and be informed and The Bible continually warns of the danger of forgetfulness and the need to remember, both to recall the goodness and mercy of God and to learn the lessons of past failure and disobedience. And please continue to follow and support Gafcon so that together we can indeed, proclaim Christ faithfully!

Yours in Christ,

The Gafcon Secretariat

Pentecost Letter From Foley Beach

From Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Foley Beach,

Beloved in Christ Jesus: Greetings in the of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

At Pentecost we rejoice that we are indeed ‘not left as orphans’ (John 14:18), but through the crucified, risen and ascended Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us in fulfilment of God’s promise. It is by the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts that we are able to cry ‘Abba! Father! (Galatians 4:6) and even though many of us may not be able to able to sing the praises of God together in this time of pandemic, may our hearts nonetheless overflow with praise and adoration to God who so wonderfully restores us through his Son in the power of the Holy Spirit!

But this work of the Spirit in our hearts is part of a much bigger picture. When my brother Primate Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit addressed the Kenyan nation on 25th May he began with a reference to Romans 8:22,23: 

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

Much of his pastoral address is very practical, rightly directed to the pressing needs of those who are suffering, as are many in East Africa, not only from the impact of coronavirus, but also from locust plagues and flooding. But the biblical context he chose helpfully reminds us of the bigger picture of Pentecost. 

Authentic life in the Spirit involves groaning as well as rejoicing. Disease is a sharp reminder of the pain, frustration and decay built into this present world order, but these things should not lead us to despair because the groaning of our hearts resonates with the whole creation in a deep sigh of longing that comes from the Spirit himself. And just as Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23), likewise the first fruits of the Spirit anticipate all that is to come. So we can face the brokenness of the present, but with hope.

We can see that hope in action through the Anglican Church of Kenya’s B2B (Balcony to Balcony) service initiative where people have joined in worship from their balconies while churches around the world are reaching beyond their regular congregations with online services, even pressing forward with planting new churches as the Anglican Mission in England is doing. 

So we see that biblical ‘waiting’ is not merely passive, but leads to action because of what we hope for. This includes a special care for the vulnerable. In my previous letter I mentioned the work being done in North America and around the world to meet the needs of those who have lost livelihoods. But there are other challenges. For example, my brother Primate Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba has strongly warned against an increase in violence, especially towards women, during the coronavirus lockdown.

Underlying all the anxiety about the current pandemic is of course the fear of death. Some have been affluent enough to sustain lifestyles which seek to deny this reality, but the virulence of this disease has broken that illusion allowing the Christian hope, imprinted in our hearts by the presence of the Holy Spirit, to shine forth with new clarity. As Archbishop Emmanuel Egbunu, Bishop of Lokoja in Nigeria, has so rightly said “If death meets you now, your inheritance is already waiting for your arrival.”

What better time than Pentecost to ask the Father to fill you afresh and anew with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). The promise of Pentecost is that ‘you shall receive power’ (Acts 1:8) to be Christ’s witnesses. As all of us witness to the saving truth of the gospel in this broken and suffering world, may Christ be enthroned anew in our hearts and lives, and may we be daily sustained by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit until that day when we see him face to face!

Your brother in the hope and faith of Christ, 

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach 
Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council

Gafcon Sunday

From here,

“On Gafcon Sunday we will be celebrating 12 years of faithful Gospel ministry since the first Global Anglican Future Conference was held in Jerusalem. This year we are seeking to reach US$100,000 in donations to support our ongoing work. 

We are asking churches to celebrate Gafcon on Sunday 28th June by praising God for his faithfulness over the last 12 years and by making a special donation to the work of Gafcon.”

Easter Services Online From GAFCON

1 Peter 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

This Sunday Christians around the world will be celebrating Jesus’ resurrection and His victory over sin and death.

This Easter will look very different, but we still celebrate the risen Lord Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

So we are giving you the chance to watch live-streamed sermons on Easter Day from around the world, starting in Australia, then moving around the clock to Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

At this Easter time we stand together as a fellowship of Global Anglicans, standing for truth and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.

We look forward to you joining us on Sunday, yours in Christ,

This is the link.

A Note From the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas

From Bishop Steve Wood,

“The season of Advent is a season of preparation as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth.  We live as some have said, “in between the times.” Meaning that we live between the incarnation and the final consummation of His return  And in this waiting, I find a sense of the high sentiments of which Robinson wrote. I find myself saying often with the biblical writers, ‘Maranatha’ – ‘come, Lord.’ I find myself waiting and wondering with the Psalmist who asks, ‘how long?”  How long until our Lord’s triumphant Advent?

So, how can Advent help us navigate the inner landscape of our soul?

Well, we do know something of Christ as we await the final consummation. We are not left as orphans.  He has come. He has given us His Spirit. And so, our waiting is a patient waiting. Patient because we have confidence in Christ and His promise to return.  Patient because of His promise that He will set all things right. Patient because of His promise that there will be a day and a place where there will be no more tears, a day and a place where we will see Him face-to-face.  This confident, patient waiting can give us – if and as we cooperate with the Spirit’s work in our lives – the opportunity to examine and address those hindrances and obstacles in our lives: our crooked paths, our rough places. This waiting though is suffused with inherent loneliness and longing.  A loneliness and a longing that allows one to, in Robinson’s words, “experience . . . radical singularity, one’s greatest dignity and privilege.” That allows one to navigate the landscape of the heart and to discover again that our high sentiments and deepest desires are pointers that point to One thing – the One man, Christ Jesus – who alone is able to satiate our heart.”

Letter From Foley Beach

The following letter came from Archbishop Foley Beach the Chair of the Gafcon Primates Council (original at this link),

Beloved in Christ Jesus: Greetings in the name of the crucified, risen, and ascended King, our Lord Jesus Christ!
I write to you from Wittenberg, Germany, where Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation 502 years ago by posting his 95 Theses on the doors of the Castle Church.

This month has seen an historic step in the life of the Anglican Communion. It was my privilege to be the chief consecrator, along with Co-consecrators, Archbishop Laurent Mbanda of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and Gafcon Vice-Chairman, and Archbishop Glenn Davies, the Archbishop of Sydney, as the Revd Jay Behan became the first bishop of the new diocese of the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa, New Zealand (CCAANZ) at a joyful ceremony in Christchurch New Zealand on 19th October in the presence of a congregation of 650 supporters, with 19 international leaders present and greetings from Anglican Primates around the world.

Archbishop Peter Jensen delivered a powerful sermon in which he reminded us that the Church must always align itself with the unchanging priorities of Jesus and his Kingdom. He said,

“What we are doing is only right if it is in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to make disciples of all nations. This service is about Jesus and the gospel. We are not to become defensive and polemical but set to a grand task of preaching an authentic gospel to be preached throughout this land.”

We did not start a new Church in New Zealand. We simply did what we as confessing Anglicans have been doing since the Gafcon moment of 2008 became a movement; we are ensuring that faithful Anglicans can maintain a clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in contexts where the existing Anglican leadership has effectively made orthodox biblical faith optional.

There are of course orthodox Anglicans in Aotearoa New Zealand who do not yet believe it is time to leave their traditional home. I admire the strenuous efforts of the CCAANZ leadership to try and preserve good relationships, but their overriding conviction is that the action they are taking is about ‘Not just us, not just now’.

They are convinced that ‘not just us’ means they must look beyond their own immediate parish context to address the shift that has taken place in the wider church. And that this is ‘not just now’; we only have to look at North America and the UK to see that that once the process becomes established, the secular captivity of the Church proceeds relentlessly, and it is only wise to be prepared. Although currently only 12 parishes, it must surely be only be a matter of time before the Canterbury recognised Anglicans in New Zealand follow the example of other liberal provinces by officially changing their canons to permit same sex marriage. CCAANZ is now the future of faithful Anglican witness in New Zealand.

Indeed, the wisdom of ‘not just now’ has already been illustrated by what can only be described as an intemperate attack on the newly formed CCAANZ by Archbishops Donald Tamihere and Philip Richardson who have issued a statement in which they protest about ‘boundary crossing bishops and their alleged ‘disrespect for the normal protocols of the Anglican Communion and the lack of courtesy shown to our church’. Here we see a leadership which is quick to protest when it feels that ecclesiastical geographical boundaries are being set aside, but happily condones the breaching of God’s clear moral boundaries taught in Scripture and by the Church for two millennia.

The collect for today, the Feast of Ss Simon & Jude, Apostles, gives us the perspective of the Church through the ages as we pray:

Almighty God, who built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone; so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This is a prayer that takes us to the heart of the Gafcon movement and true Anglicanism because we find our unity first and foremost in the apostles’ doctrine. When this is abandoned, there is nothing to fall back on except appeals to protocol and ultimately, as we have seen in North and South America, litigation. This is a question which faces the whole Anglican Communion as bishops have to decide if they will attend Lambeth 2020. With the presence in good standing of four bishops in same-sex unions, it legitimizes and normalizes unbiblical marriage and will reshape the Canterbury Communion as a fellowship of churches bound simply by protocol and no longer by the Apostolic Faith.

Let us remember to pray for the renewal and revival of the Anglican Communion so that Christ may be faithfully proclaimed to our nations in the power of the Holy Spirit with a return to adherence to the teaching of Holy Scripture.

Your brother in Jesus Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach

Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council

Why Gafcon Bishops Should Not Attend Lambeth

Their communique summarizes it nicely: “Gafcon is a movement ‘to guard and proclaim the unchanging truth in a changing world.’ As we heard this week, many around the world are being tossed back and forth by waves of confusion, and blown by the wind of the latest, fashionable, false doctrine. Many are in desperate need of Jesus, who is the only one who can bring salvation. Please lift up his Church daily in your prayers, pray for us as we seek to lead, and join us in proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations.”

Lambeth is not about guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth, and that is all you need to know.