A Bishop’s Reflection on Lambeth, Canterbury, and GAFCON

Brethren! I am pleased to read various opinions and thoughts on the on-going issues concerning our faith and the Church, especially in the Anglican Communion with respect to Canterbury and Lambeth, and GAFCON in Jerusalem.

I do hope that many of you are taking time to read, hear, and watch TV & internet news regarding the Lambeth conference.

It is not interesting but very sad and irritating that Gene Robinson is not only parading himself in and around the venue of the Lambeth conference but also that he is given attention, and that TEC is reported to have arranged Gene to speak with the world through the press and organizing some of the 670 bishops to hold meetings with Gene, the first openly confessed gay bishop from TEC in America.

So firstly, it seems to me that Lambeth is a jamboree and a gathering of supposed Church leaders; rather than weep and be covered with sackcloth for the shame they bring to God’s Church and the Anglican Church in particular, they seem to be idle folks who are dancing when their legs are already crippled. And there are no wheel­chairs or walkers to support their broken and fractured legs.

And Archbishop Rowan Williams does not understand the implications of this crazi­ness and the impending disaster for the Anglican Communion.

The ADV/CANA newsletter gives me a few more details of the background of Gene Robinson . . . obviously he got to this point of attempting to divide and destroy the Church with the active collaboration and connivance of other Church leaders who had been entrusted with the Gospel.

There was indication that he had his homosexual feelings even about the time he was getting married, and yet that sort of man was ordained and later preferred a Canon; then he was elected. It was here in North America in the 90’s that an Anglican bishop went ahead to ordain a homosexual. Gene Robinson disclosed that in fact there are many other ordained ministers in the Episcopal Church that are homosexuals like him, only that Gene is a forerunner to the others. Gene Robinson and his permis­sive, compromising friends need to be aware of what Paul writes to Timothy, giving a list of such persons who have missed the whole point and essence of their faith and calling (1 Tim 1:5-11):

The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.

We know that the law is good when used cor­rect­ly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed  God.

Having homosexuals in the leadership and ordained ministry in the Church did not just start with Gene Rob­in­son’s election and con­se­cra­tion in 2003. The body (like GAFCON) that is now challenging the apostates of TEC is in fact long overdue.  The problem to this sad situation in our Anglican world started with the ordination of women by TEC in the 70’s, first to the priesthood and then to the episcopate. That was the beginning of the decline in both spiritual power and potency and numerical strength of the Episcopal Church in North America as well as in Canada. That was when we should have had faithful, brave and spirited leaders firmly challenging Canter­bury. That was the time we needed an Amos to say, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3). The Anglican Church emerging from our present situation will do well to return to biblical teaching and practice, to make appropriate decisions regarding the ordina­tion of women to the ministry. I am hearing some leaders making attempts to inject their own theology and cultural sentiments into this matter. It is important that we search the scriptures to find the appropriate responsibilities God inten­ded for man and woman within family structures, systems, and in the Church in our post­mod­ern times.

Not repenting of a wrongdoing only multi­plies into committing more wrongdoings. It is now in the news that the Church in Eng­land, the historical root of the Anglican Church, will now begin to make women bishops. It is not surprising then that Arch­bishop of Canterbury cannot call TEC and the likes to repent of their consecration of Gene Robinson . . . in other words, more horrible and shameful acts are yet to come. Did the Archbishop of Canterbury not say it is time to get Shari’a into the legal system in England? Did a bishop in the USA not say that Jesus is not the only way to God? Did not another bishop say that the English wrote the Bible which Africans carry about as their authentic word of God and that they (the English) can now re-write another Bible? To these people, the Lord God Almighty who changes not and whose word ever remains true, says:

Weep and moan, you evil shepherds! Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock!   The time of your slaughter has arrived; you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase. (Jeremiah 25:34)

There is no mistake about it, GAFCON has come to stay. While for now it is a “rescue mission” as ++Peter Akinola described, it is obviously the emerging true Anglican Church that is reforming, transforming and restoring the authenticity and power of the Gospel. This cleansing of the Anglican Communion gives a new lease of life that fits into the vision of God and the founders and reformers of the Anglican Church. It is global, including the Churches in Africa, and it must challenge and engage corrupt and immoral leaders in gov­ernment and in the Church, confronting the homo­sexuals and ‘social gospel’ preachers and teachers in Europe and all around the globe.

Gene Rob­inson’s consecration and parading himself at Lambeth is destructive to the Church. This is the time for a Peter to speak at Pentecost, a Jeremiah to teach that a beautiful palace does not make a great king:

Each time the message was this; ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. (Jer. 25:5)

This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!  If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects. But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the Lord, that this palace will become a pile of rubble (Jer. 22:3-5) 

and another Amos to prophecy:

The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem! The lush pastures of the shepherds will dry up; the grass on Mount Carmel will wither and die (Amos 1:2)

For North America and Canada, GAFCON has done well to recommend that the present Common Cause Partnership metamorphoses into an ecclesiastical province. This is a welcome development. It is important to bear in mind that infectious disease that is breaking and tearing the fabric of the Communion apart started from North America and the disease has become cancerous. For sure we would confine the disease to where it is and not allow a spread especially into the emerging Anglican Church in North America and Canada. It will be helpful to avoid any complicating structural arrange­ments for the emerging Province as well give no room to the trivialities and sentiments of the three formularies of Anglicanism especial­ly in North America and Canada over the years. The emerging should go for the faith as given and practiced by the saints. TEC and her allies are not likely to repent for their apostates and are prepared to cause dis­tractions and devise diversionary strat­egies (for example with litigations on property) to frustrate the emerging Anglican Province from CCP. For all who believe that they have seen the light and are called to walk in the light by walking out of TEC, such persons and their families and friends should as well abandon and ‘let go’ the property or building. Losing property and buildings could be very painful, but we need to remember the story of Lot and his wife in Genesis 18: Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt.  If it is avoidable, all congregations who walk away from TEC should not dissipate their resources and energy on properties but on building up a body of people for Christ. Sooner or later it will be clear who is on the Lord’s side.

Let me conclude with the Scriptures:

For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unfor­giving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.). These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.

 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.  You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.  You have been taught the holy Scrip­tures from childhood, and they have given you this wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”  (2 Tim. 3:2-17)

Amos Fagbamiye

The Rt. Rev. Amos A. Fagbamiye, suffragan bishop, joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) upon its emer-gence. He also serves as vicar at the Anglican Church of the Resurrection in Indianapolis. In his CANA capacity, he assists CANA’s Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns with leading and shepherding the steadily increasing number of CANA congregations and their clergy in the Midwest. Bishop Fagbamiye is firmly committed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Apostolic Faith and Practice of the Church as it has always been preached, taught, and received.

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