I have returned from Uganda, courtesy of KLM. I wasn't able to blog as the internet cafes only have dial-up connections. I did try, but soon realised that it was a money-making scam by the cafe owners - they charge by the minute.
The last three weeks have been very humbling. Uganda provided plenty of opportunities for preaching and learning. I'll share some of what has been happening in the days to come.
Flying to Entebbe via Amsterdam at 0555. Hope to visit Rwanda too. No laptop with me on this trip as I figure the internet will be a little bit sporadic where I'm going. I'll blog if I can. Otherwise, there will be a ten day blog holiday.
Pray for safety in all the travelling, especially by road.
PS - I had a nice day with the GadgetVicar kids. We saw Prince Caspian - I thoroughly enjoyed it, though GV Girl No. 2 (an avid 12 year old C.S. Lewis fan) was somewhat disappointed at any and all deviations from the book. Go see it.
How come GAFCON has been renamed FOCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) by some reappraisers? It's not capitalised anywhere in the GAFCON Statement but the phrase 'a fellowship of confessing Anglicans' is used. It's been coined because it sounds like a rude expression. Added to the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA's use of the word 'emission' to describe the Statement, I get the distinct impression that some people are upset and threatened by the arrival of GAFCON.
Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney has been speaking in London today (along with ++Orombi, ++Venables, and Jim Packer). They are speaking to 700 or so rectors and senior lay leaders, and it has been powerful stuff. The Ugley Vicar has been liveblogging it.
According to two letters I've received, apparently the Scottish bishops are powerless to do anything about Gene Robinson presiding and preaching in Scotland, even if they wanted to (and I suspect a fair number of them will be glad he's coming, even if they won't say so publicly). That makes me very sad.......
Yesterday, I took a drive down to the Dead Sea with Gary Nelson of Moore College. The goal was to get to Masada, a place I've long-wanted to see.
It was an awesome experience. Unlike the visit to Galilee the day before, the place was virtually devoid of tourists. We were directed to the carpark under the main visitor centre, and took a lift to the cable car, which took us up to the fortress itself. It was baking hot, perhaps about forty degrees, but at the top there was a strong cooling breeze. It was easy to see why Herod had his place built in that spot. It's well preserved and the evidence walls of the besieging Romans' camps are visible all around. The ramp they built to gain access for their siege tower is also visible. The views are stunning.
It's an intensely important site for the Jewish people. Some Israeli Defence Force units still travel here to take an oath which states, "Masada shall never fall again".
My understanding is that this was embargoed until now. Sadly, some posted it early. I guess there is competition among Anglican bloggers for the scoop. Then again, many people around the world are eager to hear this good news, and some couldn't contain their excitement.
Here it goes: the fruit of our labour in Jerusalem. It has been a privilege to participate in this historic gathering. It has not been triumphalistic - though there has been much joy, there has also been tears. Tears for our own mistakes. Tears for the drift away from, and in some cases outright rebellion against, biblical authority. Tears for the poor leadership excercised by many leaders of the Anglican Communion provinces. Tears that a different gospel is being preached by some. Tears that we have come to this point.
It's impact could be considerable. We stay in the Communion, praying and working for renewal, but with strong structures in place to support and encourage those in revisionist provinces. I'm excited about where this could take us......... STATEMENT ON THE GLOBAL ANGLICAN FUTURE
Praise the LORD!
It is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song
of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the
outcasts of Israel. (Psalm 147:1-2)
Brothers and Sisters in Christ: We, the participants in the Global
Anglican Future Conference, send you greetings from Jerusalem!
The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON),
which was held in Jerusalem from 22-29 June 2008, is a spiritual
movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of
salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it. The
movement is global: it has mobilised Anglicans from around the world.
We are Anglican: 1148 lay and clergy participants, including 291
bishops representing millions of faithful Anglican Christians. We
cherish our Anglican heritage and the Anglican Communion and have no
intention of departing from it. And we believe that, in God’s
providence, Anglicanism has a bright future in obedience to our Lord’s
Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to build up the
church on the foundation of biblical truth (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:20).
GAFCON is not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit, and we hereby:
- launch the GAFCON movement as a fellowship of confessing Anglicans
- publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of the fellowship
- Encourage GAFCON Primates’ Council.
The Global Anglican Context
The future of the Anglican Communion is but a piece of the wider
scenario of opportunities and challenges for the gospel in 21st century
global culture. We rejoice in the way God has opened doors for gospel
mission among many peoples, but we grieve for the spiritual decline in
the most economically developed nations, where the forces of militant
secularism and pluralism are eating away the fabric of society and
churches are compromised and enfeebled in their witness. The vacuum
left by them is readily filled by other faiths and deceptive cults. To
meet these challenges will require Christians to work together to
understand and oppose these forces and to liberate those under their
sway. It will entail the planting of new churches among unreached
peoples and also committed action to restore authentic Christianity to
The Anglican Communion, present in six continents, is well positioned
to address this challenge, but currently it is divided and distracted.
The Global Anglican Future Conference emerged in response to a crisis
within the Anglican Communion, a crisis involving three undeniable
facts concerning world Anglicanism. The first fact is the acceptance
and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a
different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8)
which is contrary to the apostolic gospel. This false gospel undermines
the authority of God’s Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ
as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgement. Many of its
proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that
Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a
variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal
human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against
the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led
to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.
The second fact is the declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South
that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote
this false gospel. These declarations have resulted in a realignment
whereby faithful Anglican Christians have left existing territorial
parishes, dioceses and provinces in certain Western churches and become
members of other dioceses and provinces, all within the Anglican
Communion. These actions have also led to the appointment of new
Anglican bishops set over geographic areas already occupied by other
Anglican bishops. A major realignment has occurred and will continue to
unfold. The third fact is the manifest failure of the Communion
Instruments to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy. The
Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, in proclaiming
this false gospel, have consistently defied the 1998 Lambeth statement
of biblical moral principle (Resolution 1.10). Despite numerous
meetings and reports to and from the ‘Instruments of Unity,’ no
effective action has been taken, and the bishops of these unrepentant
churches are welcomed to Lambeth 2008. To make matters worse, there has
been a failure to honour promises of discipline, the authority of the
Primates’ Meeting has been undermined and the Lambeth Conference
has been structured so as to avoid any hard decisions. We can only come
to the devastating conclusion that ‘we are a global Communion with a
colonial structure’. Sadly, this crisis has torn the fabric of the
Communion in such a way that it cannot simply be patched back together.
At the same time, it has brought together many Anglicans across the
globe into personal and pastoral relationships in a fellowship which is
faithful to biblical teaching, more representative of the demographic
distribution of global Anglicanism today and stronger as an instrument
of effective mission, ministry and social involvement.
A Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, are a
fellowship of confessing Anglicans for the benefit of the Church and
the furtherance of its mission. We are a fellowship of people united in
the communion (koinonia) of the one Spirit and committed to work and
pray together in the common mission of Christ. It is a confessing
fellowship in that its members confess the faith of Christ crucified,
stand firm for the gospel in the global and Anglican context, and
affirm a contemporary rule, the Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the
movement for the future. We are a fellowship of Anglicans, including
provinces, dioceses, churches, missionary jurisdictions, para-church
organisations and individual Anglican Christians whose goal is to
reform, heal and revitalise the Anglican Communion and expand its
mission to the world. Our fellowship is not breaking away from the
Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans
throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism,
which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these
words: The doctrine of the Church 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. We intend to remain faithful to this
standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return
to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see,
we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily
through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Building on the
above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the
Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship.
The Jerusalem Declaration
In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit: We,
the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in
the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the
King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to
proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this
land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation,
liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree
to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical
gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following
tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.
1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by
grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth
fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God
in all things.
2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be
the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for
salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and
obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s
historic and consensual reading.
3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds
as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic
4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine
of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for
5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship
of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin,
judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the
death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection,
he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and
6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an
expression of the gospel, and 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.
7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and
deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their
ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an
authoritative standard of clerical orders.
8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and
the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one
woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the
family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call
for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and
abstinence for those who are not married.
9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make
disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to
baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s
creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief
and empowerment of the poor and needy.
11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ
and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the
orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our
global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We
pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that
13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and
while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way
he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing
The Road Ahead
We believe the Holy Spirit has led us during this week in Jerusalem to
begin a new work. There are many important decisions for the
development of this fellowship which will take more time, prayer and
Among other matters, we shall seek to expand participation in this
fellowship beyond those who have come to Jerusalem, including
cooperation with the Global South and the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa. We can, however, discern certain milestones on the road ahead.
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, do hereby acknowledge the participating Primates of GAFCON who have called us together, and encourage them to form the initial Council of the GAFCON
movement. We look forward to the enlargement of the Council and entreat
the Primates to organise and expand the fellowship of confessing
Anglicans. We urge the Primates’ Council to authenticate and recognise
confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to
encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith. We
recognise the desirability of territorial jurisdiction for provinces
and dioceses of the Anglican Communion, except in those areas where
churches and leaders are denying the orthodox
faith or are preventing its spread, and in a few areas for which
overlapping jurisdictions are beneficial for historical or cultural
reasons. We thank God for the courageous actions of those Primates and
provinces who have offered orthodox
oversight to churches under false leadership, especially in North and
South America. The actions of these Primates have been a positive
response to pastoral necessities and mission opportunities. We believe
that such actions will continue to be necessary and we support them in
offering help around the world.
We believe this is a critical moment when the Primates’ Council will
need to put in place structures to lead and support the church. In
particular, we believe the time is now ripe for the formation of a
province in North America for the federation currently known as Common
Cause Partnership to be recognised by the Primates’ Council.
Conclusion: Message from Jerusalem
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, were
summoned by the Primates’ leadership team to Jerusalem in June 2008 to
deliberate on the crisis that has divided the Anglican Communion for
the past decade and to seek direction for the future. We have visited
holy sites, prayed together, listened to God’s Word preached and
expounded, learned from various speakers and teachers, and shared our
thoughts and hopes with each other.
The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency
that a false gospel has so paralysed the Anglican Communion that this
crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the
compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The
primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is
to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.
It is our hope that this Statement on the Global Anglican Future will
be received with comfort and joy by many Anglicans around the world who
have been distressed about the direction of the Communion. We believe
the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical
gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the
I shouldn't have blogged about self publicity. At morning prayer, I found myself up on the big screen at in a snippet of a video interview I gave on Wednesday. I'm sure the Africans won't have got my accent. Actually, I'm not sure the English did either.
We travelled to Bethlehem today. We passed through the wall that separates the Palestinian Authority from Israel. A smiling military policewoman got on the bus for a half-hearted check of passports, then it was through the gate. It was profoundly sad to see in the flesh this concrete wall and observation towers. A brief mention of the wall as the border (duh!) was all we got from the guide on the issue. To open up the subject is probably more than his job is worth.
We visited Shepherds' Fields and the Church of the Nativity. We also saw some illegal Israeli settlers' houses which had been built on Palestinian land. Again this wasn't referred to, but it was quietly pointed out to me by a colleague. We ended up in a Palestinian Christian store selling carved olive wood products, icons and jewelry. Many pilgrims stocked up on gifts. This is an important economic activity here.
I can't say this these visits particularly moved me. Perhaps it was because I felt like too much of a tourist. I've always told myself that I'd never go on a package tour, and when we are not in session, I find myself on just such a tour!
Things are shaping up for the final statement. It's been a genuine process of consultation, with provincial groups consulting with one another and passing on their views. Press aren't privy to these discussions, and we bloggers have been asked to not leak the details of the draft. I know many are champing at the bit to know where all this is headed. In thirty-six hours or so, it will all be clear.
Last night I had a positive and encouraging discussion with a bishop and again today over lunch with an archbishop who had sought me out. That's been an amazing feature of this week. The interaction between everyone has been relaxed and fun. There is a powerful sense of fellowship, and a united commitment to getting the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ out to the world. I'm fired up.....
No more blogging today, I reckon, as we leave at 7am for Galilee. I might not get to blog on Sunday either, as we wrap up at midday. My plan is to head to Masada on Sunday afternoon before driving to Tel Aviv and the return flight at 5am on Monday. I should be back in Glasgow by 11am.
Jacob Aagaard, the current British Chess Champion (and who happens to attend St Silas' with his lovely family), will be playing all comers at chess at Kelvingrove Art Gallery from 10.30 am onwards. Jacob will play 12 people at the same time
and every time a game is over some one else can take that place. So far 70
people have signed up to play.
So if you fancy yourself as a Grand Master, get on down there and play or just go and support. It should be a sight worth watching.
At the Western Wall last night. It's a place of intense devotion for Jewish people and it was very moving to be there. Some of our pilgrims joined in praying with arms outstretched and touching the wall. Instead of that, I quietly lamented for what we are losing and what has been lost.