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Ugandan church declares it will boycott upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting

Ugandan church declares it will boycott upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting

In his Lenten message, Archbishop of Uganda, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali expressed his disappointment that the Episcopal Church was not being punished for its moves towards full inclusion of LGBT persons and declared that his church would not be represented at the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting in April.

Saying that the atmosphere was the same as in 2003, when Bishop Gene Robinson was consecrated, the Archbishop insisted that the Communion is fundamentally broken and in open defiance of God’s will as expressed in Scripture;

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is like we are back in 2003 where we continue to be betrayed by our leaders. The Primates voted to bring discipline to TEC and, yet, we now see that the leadership of the Anglican Communion does not have the will to follow through. This is another deep betrayal.

As you know, I excused myself from the Meeting before the Primates voted. My sense of the meeting at the time was that the leadership was not serious about restoring godly order in the Communion. Even after the vote was taken, I confess I was not convinced that it would have any impact on the common life of the Anglican Communion and, therefore, would not restore Biblical faith and godly order in the Anglican Communion.

Unfortunately, this is what we are seeing. A spirit of defiance against Biblical faith and order has infected the structures and leadership of the Anglican Communion. It is a very sad season in the life of our Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop went on by saying that GAFCON will be holding a meeting, also in April, and suggests that the future of the Anglican Communion would be those Provinces aligned around acceptance of the Jerusalem Declaration, which is a sort of conservative Anglican confessional formula.

The 2008 GAFCON Jerusalem Statement observed that the Instruments of Communion themselves were broken and incapable of doing the needful…  For this reason, GAFCON laid the foundation for a conciliar approach to global communion through the creation of a Primates Council for oversight and the legitimising of authentic expressions of Anglicanism around the world.

…There will be a GAFCON Primates Council meeting in Chile in April, and we will discuss how to continue advancing the mission of GAFCON as a renewal movement within the Anglican Communion. As I have stated previously, we are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the Anglican Communion. We uphold the Biblical and historic faith of Anglicans and have come together in fellowship with other Provinces and national fellowships that have made the same decision.

…At the same time, I look at our beloved Anglican Communion and can only conclude that it needs a new “constitution” – the way the so-called Instruments of Communion work together is broken. Our GAFCON Fellowship seeks to bring renewal to the Anglican Communion through the Jerusalem Declaration – keeping the Word of God Incarnate and the Word of God written at the centre of our fellowship, upholding the historic Anglican confessions of faith, and using a conciliar model to order our common life.

At this point, no other Provinces have said they would not attend the Council meeting.  Archbishop Ntagali has been outspoken in his criticisms of the Communion and relatively frank in his desire to re-order the Communion along lines of confessional conformity rather than relationship with the See of Canterbury.   It remains to be seen whether his vision or the desire to remain in relationship, even under great strain, will prevail.


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Joan Gundersen

What is interesting is that the Ugandan Archbishop claims that the primates said something in 2003 that they did not. He claims, “There was an emergency meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in October 2003 and our retired Archbishop Nkoyoyo attended that meeting in London. All the Primates in that meeting agreed that if TEC proceeded to consecrate this man as a Bishop, it would tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level, and that TEC should not proceed with the consecration. Even the Presiding Bishop (Archbishop) of TEC agreed to this resolution.”

However, if you go back and actually read the 2003 primates statement, it says

“The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA) has explained to us the constitutional framework within which the election and confirmation of a new bishop in the Episcopal Church (USA) takes place. As Primates, it is not for us to pass judgement on the constitutional processes of another province. We recognise the sensitive balance between provincial autonomy and the expression of critical opinion by others on the internal actions of a province. Nevertheless, many Primates have pointed to the grave difficulties that this election has raised and will continue to raise. In most of our provinces the election of Canon Gene Robinson would not have been possible since his chosen lifestyle would give rise to a canonical impediment to his consecration as a bishop. If his consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy.”

The “tear the communion” phrase does appear, but it never says that ANYONE agreed to stop the TEC consecration. It described how provinces might not be in communion with one another and then the action it took was to call for what became the Windsor Commission.

Archbishop Ntagali is doing something that has happened multiple times since 2003. When the group that has become GAFCON didn’t get the statements they wanted, they claimed the documents really meant what they WISHED it had said, and repeatedly claimed that was the real meaning of the document.

Jeremy Bates

“Godly order” for LGBTI people only.

But literalism for divorcers? People who use contraceptives? People who eat rare meat?

Oh, no. Perish the thought!

Funny how that works.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Yes, Jeremy, it’s called hypocrisy. Unless it’s ignorance…

Scott Fisher

Gregory, while you observations concerning TEC acquiescence or acceptance of behaviors previously considered sinful are certainly valid and worthy of further discussion, that’s not what we’re discussing currently. The topic under consideration is the biblical definition of marriage. I believe the word of God is extremely clear in calling for a one man,one woman formula and you apparently do not. If I’m right then, the very idea of homosexual marriage is ridiculous because it does not exist before God. Now this has been church teaching for 2,000 years and for good reason. So I suppose that your affection for modernity makes you,and others like you, reject this historical teaching as archaic and are,therefore,willing to throw the church into turmoil for the sake of some sort of homosexual agenda that is frankly mystifying to many Episcopalians. What’s interesting is that there are about 1.9mm Episcopalians in this country,and declining every year,but roughly 85mm Anglicans worldwide. The Anglican Communion has resoundingly rejected TEC position on this question and has called for a return to traditional church teaching on this matter. So if TEC continues down this road,which I fully expect, of false teaching,deception,and apostasy, it would not surprise me to TEC to be formally expelled from the Communion in three years or so.
So if homosexual couples want to get married they can now do so legally everywhere in the United States in a civil ceremony.

Jeremy Bates

“it would not surprise me to TEC to be formally expelled from the Communion in three years or so.”

Actually, this is extremely unlikely, because by then other provinces will also have provided for same-sex marriages.

Besides, most provinces know that you can’t let theological conservatives run around deciding who’s in the church. Because if that is allowed to happen, then fairly soon, no one will be.

Essentially you’re looking for an Anglican Covenant Plus. You want some mechanism by which the Communion as a whole can look into the heart of a province and decide whether it is Christian enough.

News flash: Nothing could be less Anglican. Which is why the so-called Anglican Covenant was rejected. It was neither Anglican nor a covenant.

This rejection leaves GAFCON with little alternative but to split off into some sort of holier-than-thou structure. Portray some part of the Communion as apostate long enough, and pretty soon one has to leave–if only to maintain internal moral/theological credibility.

Br. Gregory Shy, CoS

Bless you, Mr. Fisher, for your consistency and passion! I think everyone else in this thread “went home” days ago, and we are the last “hangers on.” I have already said about ten times too much already. It’s not really seemly to continue to argue in a forum like this, and I ask your forgiveness if I have angered you or spoken uncharitably. It was an honor having you read my clumsy and probably ill-reasoned replies, and I thank you for daring to answer honestly and not back down from your so strongly-held position. You are a formidable warrior in the army of the Lord, and the powers of darkness should surely fear you.
As long as you hold your beliefs so passionately, I hope that you never lose your will to fight the good fight for the God you so plainly love. Even if it leaves me and so many others out in the cold, I cannot hate you for it. May you live many long years and rejoice in the sight of your Lord when he opens his arms to receive you at the last, as he most certainly will such a good and faithful servant. I ask your prayers for me and mine, and, for what it’s worth, I will pray also for you and yours. Pax.

Scott Fisher

Gregory, it’s very important for you to know that you are not out in the cold. The holy church is the body of Christ and,as such, all members of that body are welcome. However, as followers of Jesus Christ we are charged with being faithful stewards and,as a result,sometimes disagreements over correct doctrine do occur and must be worked thru. In a small way, this is what you and I have been doing over the last few days. I thank you for your perspective and willingness to continue the discussion. Also, thank you for the addition sources you referred me to as I will certainly study them carefully. As in all things; “May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God and of His Son Jesus Christ”. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Prof. Christopher Seitz

To turn Jesus into a Valentinian or Gnostic would have surprised him. The early church rightly rejected the ‘new truth’ conceptuality of both. BTW, they usually used Paul (his heavenly sojourn) for this and never John 16:12.

Scott Fisher

Well Gregory I think Carolyn has made an excellent point concerning biblical constructs. Certainly the ancients did not understand modern science, reproduction etc, all true. However,to Carolyn’s point, The principles or constructs that we are called to abide by transcend time and space. Jesus Christ himself reaffirmed the one man to one woman requirement from Genesis as the only acceptable form of marriage. While you apparently take a skeptical view of the ancients,the fact is that God choose and inspired, these people to transmit His message to us then and NOW. My rector refers to the Bible as the handbook for Christian living and I agree. Jesus Christ defined marriage to be only between one man and one woman. Are you suggesting that he didn’t understand what he was talking about? Well I think I go with Jesus on this one.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Scott, Jesus never addressed loving, committed gay couples, let alone defined marriage in the only acceptable way. And this is the fundamental problem, you “know” something that is patently false.

Biblical marriage often involved polygamy and certainly treated women like chattel. Hardly your rosy definition of marriage.

If you are going to be a fundamentalist, how do you deal with passages that support slavery? Do you stone adulterers? Tell people sporting tattoos that they are an abomination? Ditto people who eat shellfish, wear mixed fibres, refuse to forgive the debts of the poor, and mishandle incense. Methinks that fundamentalism means cherry picking the Bible to support one’s own bigotries.

Meanwhile, this archbishop supports criminalization of LGBTQ people, a human rights violation, and a violation of our Baptismal Covenant.

Which is the moral issue? Marriage by two consenting adults or sending innocent people to hellholes for 14 years?

JC Fisher

Where does this notion that “Jesus only spoke of _____, therefore the Church is limited to ______” come from? Certainly not the Three-Legged Stool! [Scripture, Tradition, and —what’s the 3rd leg? Oh yeah— REASON]

[Jesus] “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” John 16:12

Br. Gregory Shy, CoS

Scott, I think this is my “four’s the limit.” Thanks be to God! For we have likely heard more from me today than any poor persons should be subjected to.

Oddly, we can probably agree on more things than we disagree. To be clear though, and it is so hard even for us, with a common culture, history and language to understand each other, I am not sure you have got what I mean.

As regards the ancients, I don’t have a “skeptical” view of _them_, rather I am skeptical of myself that I can really read and understand what they wrote “literally” as they understood it. My mind, understanding and whole view of myself and the world are so different that I am in extreme danger of misunderstanding them. Those of us who attempt a “literal” view or reading need to understand that our “literal” reading incorporates our own experiences and understandings and world views and that this transmutes what they say as we form our own thoughts and understandings. I do not devalue what they wrote or look at them “skeptically.” I am skeptical of my _own_ capacity however to “literally” understand them, as I am not sure that’s even possible.

As for the Bible being the ‘handbook’ for Christian living, I think that’s a pretty minimalist understanding of things, but if it means that you value the scriptures greatly, then I could not agree with you more. I expect God to speak to us now even through “difficult” and “offensive” words of Scripture. To expect just to “read and understand” literally is presumptuous, however. It is a poor valuation of scripture in my opinion, but one that seems to be at the “heart” of fundamentalist religion. The word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” God has spoken, is speaking and will continue to speak in and through the scriptures, the church and the lives of saints and sinners alike. To think of the literal words on the pages of the bible as a “last word” is to have a “dead” understanding of the scriptures. We can, I hope, agree that they are a “living” witness, but the speaker and the listener are both essential and the Spirit of God is more than just the words on the page.

As for the “Jesus defined marriage as between a man a woman,” I can give you _some_ of that. I would argue, however, that Jesus was actually in the passage to which you seem to refer talking about marriage as between ONE man and ONE woman. The particular question to which Jesus was speaking was a discussion about divorce and legal practices of the time. You are emphasizing one MAN and one WOMAN but the real substance of the argument is ONE MARRIAGE, permanent and indissoluble. If you are advancing this as an argument in favor of marital fidelity and against adultery and divorce, I’ll give you that one. What this might mean for a loving, committed relationship between two men or two women, it is harder to say, I think, in my opinion. If we called such a relationship by some alien term, say “plazgar” or something, would you be happier? Jesus said that the then-current divorce practices were allowed because of “hardness of heart.” Is allowing two men or two women to experience a life of love and fidelity something that is “hard of heart?” I would also like to hear what you think of the “conclusion” of the discussion – “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made so by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” Is the “literal” sense as clear as we might assert?

Thank Heaven, however, that “getting it right” is not what Christianity is about at its core. Probably both of us are wrong and likely in ways that have occurred to neither of us. Hopefully, we can have a good laugh over it in the Kingdom at the great feast. It will probably make a good story.

Br. Gregory Shy, CoS


You wrote, “If you’re suggesting that monogamous homosexual relationships are acceptable I think the scriptural witness does not support your case at all.”

I am afraid that I _do_ think that there is ample support in the scriptures for blessing faithful same-sex relationships today, whether they were the “norm” in the past or not. I am far from alone in that conclusion, and I am not going to concede that, no matter how many times the bible is thumped on the pulpit. We have been through the so-called “clobber texts” many times now, and they are just not as definitive as the literalists would like to assert. There are plenty of resources for you to consider as well, should you choose to do so. You might look at our own Tobias Haller’s “Reasonable and Holy” as one of many examples. The work of the Chicago Consultation is well-known and available online.

As for Anglicanism claiming to be a literalist “biblical” religious tradition, I’m afraid that the train left the station a long time ago on that one, or have we forgotten about Henry VIII, his multiple divorces and the royal supremacy that allowed that? How about allowing divorce and remarriage at all? We “did that one” yet again some decades ago now, and the only “prohibition” is that the bishop diocesan must give consent to re-marriage after divorce. Since when is it “OK” for a bishop to give permission to commit a sin? (as a literalist must surely agree) How much clearer could Jesus have been on _that_ issue? Have we forgotten the part about he who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery? How about more severe still: he who looks at another woman in lust commits adultery with her in his heart? Yet we’ve done “all sorts of mental gymnastics” to get over _that_ issue, and, in my opinion, with a lot less “scriptural” justification than recognizing faithful same-gender relationships. We could go on. How about contraception? What about a man “spilling his seed” in masturbation or when engaging in birth control? Yet we seem “OK” with this now. The hypocrisy of the “biblical literalist” position is that it is anything _but_ literalist. No one is forming a new communion over divorce and contraception, yet they are equally as biblical an issue as the “one man one woman” sacred sacrament of marriage argument. In terms of sheer numbers, there are a lot more people “sinning” through divorce, birth control and masturbation than ever “sinned” through homosexual relationships, yet why are we “on fire” so much about the latter and silent now on the former? Why is the respected archbishop not decrying _those_ “sexual sins?”

But let’s get back to Archbishop Ntagali. It seems clear that, if the primates meeting were going as he felt it should, he would not have taken off, and he essentially admits that: “My sense of the meeting at the time was that the leadership was not serious about restoring godly order in the Communion” as _he_ saw fit. Now he sees that it is not sure to go his way at the ACC, and he’ll stay home in protest from that as well. He wants a “conciliar” form of “Godly order” for Anglicanism – a true novelty for the communion that. Yet, when the conciliar model does not go his way, he has to leave and form a new conciliar group where he gets his way? Does it not seem like saying, “I’m all for democracy unless I lose the election?” It’s just more of “my way or the highway” mentality.
It really comes down to this. In a church where there is a difference of opinion on such a matter, can you stand to “live” with the others who disagree with you whether you are the minority or the majority? For the conservative biblical literalists like Ntagali, the answer seems to be “nope!”

Scott Fisher

If you’re suggesting that monogamous homosexual relationships are acceptable I think the scriptural witness does not support your case at all. In fact, throughout both old and new testaments homosexual practice of any kind is denounced completely as I’m sure you know. People have been doing all kinds of mental gymnastics to try and show this isn’t the case,but the so called new knowledge arguments etc have been repeatedly and easily been proven incorrect. I’d refer you to the work of Professor Robert Gagnon,particularly well researched,and William Lane Craig and there are many others.
So let’s get back to the Ugandan Archbishop’s view about TEC which started this discussion. He’s said that TEC has departed from the biblical definition of marriage and is therefore practicing false teaching on purpose.If so, then this is a grave sin indeed as the clergy,starting with our presiding Bishop, is the teaching the people false doctrine. The Anglican Communion,according to Archbishop, must be faithful to God’s word and must point out sin when it occurs with the hope of bringing the individual or group toward repentance and reconciliation.
Sadly, our presiding Bishop doubled down on the deception and sin when he immediately announced that TEC would continue to approve homosexual marriage and ignore the Primates. This was no surprise of course,but ultimately it is another assault on God’s holy Church from within.

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