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A Statement Concerning the Consecration of Rev Dr Sarah Macneil in the Anglican Diocese of Grafton

On1March2014theAnglicandioceseofGraftonwillconsecrateitsnewBishop.The consecrationwillbehailedashistoricasshewillbethefirstfemalediocesanBishopinthe AnglicanChurchofAustralia. ThefactthatthediocesanBishopwillbeawomanisofconcern,especiallyconsideringthere hasbeennopubliclyavailableprovisionbytheGraftondioceseforthosewhocannotingood conscienceacceptherepiscopalministry1 .Themattersraisedinthisdocumenthoweverareof moregraveconcern. DrMacneilhasmaderecentpublicstatementsregardinghumansexualityandtheAtonement thatareunbecomingaBishopintheAnglicanCommunion.Atbesttheyareunclear,requiring clarification.AtworsttheyareaseriousdeparturefromAnglicanhistoricformulariesandthe Scriptures. Theconsecrationofsomeonewhoholdstheseviewsisfurtherevidencethatpartsofthe AnglicanChurchofAustraliaaredepartingfromtheApostolicfaith. WewishtostateourfullsupportoftheDioceseofGraftoninitsrecentmovestodealopenly, honestlyandfullywithclaimsofchildabusewithintheDiocese.Weofferoursupporttoany leaderoftheDiocesewhowillcontinuethisapproach.OurcriticismoftheappointmentofDr Macneiloughtnotinanywaytobeseentoimpactonourviewonthisseriousmatter. DrMacneil'sPublicTeaching Duringaseriesoflentensermonsin2013,whilstpreachingontheparableoftheProdigal(Luke 15),DrMacneilstatedthefollowing2 :

TheAustralianAnglicanBishopsProtocol,WomenintheEpiscopate,No12,2008

encouragesdiocesesto,...makeprovisionforreasonableandappropriateepiscopalministry, addressingmattersincludingthefollowing: a.arrangementsforepiscopalvisitation,confirmationandordination b.provisionsformattersofdisciplineandpastoralsuccession c.proceduresthroughwhichacommunityoffaithmayrequesttheprovisionofthisministryand d.provisionaboutthemannerinwhichthecostsofprovidingthisministryaretobeborne.


2

10March2013. http://www1.holycovenant.org.au/sites/default/files/docs/sermons/2013/Sermon_20130310.pdfaccessed1 December2013.Currentlyarchivedat http://davidould.net/media/covenant/sites/default/files/docs/sermons/2013/Sermon_20130310.pdf

Althoughwetendtohear[theparableoftheProdigal]asaparablehighlightingGods welcometoallsinners,especiallythosewhohavehadluridpasts,liketheyoungerson, itsplacementintheGospelofLukeaimsitstraightatthereligiousauthoritiesthegoody twoshoesupholdersofthefaith.Willtheyjointheparty?Orwilltheysticktotheirrigid adherencetotheTorah,tithingeventheherbsintheircupboards,butneglectingmercy andcompassion? Wecanaskwhereitisthatweareworkingwithinrulesthatneglectmercyand compassion. IsittheAnglicanChurchofAustraliasreluctancetoallowtheordinationofgaypeoplein samesexrelationships? Whilethisisarhetoricalquestion,theintendedmeaningistransparent.Macneilisadvocatingfor theordinationofpeopleinsamesexrelationshipsassomethingthatisagoodandgodlymercy andcompassion. InasermonatStLukesEnmore,Sydney,inOctober20103 ,DrMacneilgaveacleardescription ofPenalSubstitutionandthenlabelsitasmechanisticandgrim, Itisclearfromthegospel[Luke10:19]andfromActsthatLukeisnotthinkingof salvationandatonementintermsofwhatwenowcallpenalsubstitution.Thisviewuses thelogicofretributivejusticeandarguesthatitwasJesusdeathonthecrossthatsaved usfromoursinsandbroughtusintorightrelationshipwithGod.Adebthadtobepaidfor humansinanddisobedienceinordertosatisfyGodsdemandsofjustice.Thisiswhat madeChristsdeathuponthecrossnecessary.Inhisgreatloveforus,Christis thereforesaidtohavetakenthepunishmentdeservedbyallhumanityuponhimself. Thisrathermechanisticandgrimunderstandingofatonement,prevalentnotsoveryfar fromhere,wasnotpartofearlyChristianthoughtandclearlynotpartofLukesthought world.NordoesLukeregardJesusdeathasasacrificeorasanexpiationforsin.His focusismoreonJesuslifeandonthewholenessthatisbroughttohumanitythrough contactwiththesufferingMessiah. ThereisnodoubtinthegospelthatJesusistheMessiah,nodoubtthathewillsufferand die,butthewholenessthatcomestopeoplebecauseofhim,comesfromtheir encounterwithhim. Jesuspresenceiswhatbringslife,peace,forgivenessofsinsandrightrelationtoGod.

http://stlukesenmore.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/stlukesday2010byveryrevsarah.html

ThissameredefiningoftheatoningdeathofJesus,isexpressedinherSermonforChristmas 20124 : Ofcourse,somewouldarguethatallthisisirrelevantthatJesussolepurposewasto provideourpassporttosalvation,amissionhefulfilledveryeffectively,ifsomewhat mysteriously,bydying.Hewas,inshort,amanborntodie.IfwebelievethatheisGod, theneverythingwillbeOK.Inthiswayofseeingthings,thefocusreallybelongsonhis deathandresurrection.Theeventsofthe33yearsorsobetweenbirthanddeathwere prettyirrelevantreallyandjustshowusthathereallywasthelongexpectedchosenone ofGod. ButIwanttoargueaverydifferentkindofline.ForIbelievethatthebirthofJesusasa humanchild,asoneofus,hasamuchrichersignificancethanthatandisindeed infinitelymorechallenging.Theincarnationisnotsomekindofcrazyrescueplanitisa systematicandtimelessrevelationtohumanityaboutwhatitistobehumanandabout ourrelationshipwithGod.Jesuslifeisnotsomuchtoshowuswhoheisbutratherto showuswhoweare,andwhoweareinrelationshipwithGod. WhileDrMacneilrespondsheretoafalsedichotomy(thatthosewhoteachtheatoningdeathof JesusinsistthatHislifeisirrelevant),thesamemovementawayfromJesus'atoningdeathto anexemplarlife,assheattemptedtodoatStLukesin2010,isclear.

How Dr Macneil's teaching conflicts with Anglican formularies and the Scriptures
TheformsandstandardsoftheAnglicanChurchofAustraliaarearticulatedintheConstitution CanonandRulesoftheAnglicanChurchofAustralia5 ,thebookofCommonPrayerandthe ThirtynineArticles. Thenationaldenominationalsosetsoutitspositiononvariousdoctrinalmatters,consistentwith theseprinciples,intheformofmotionsofGeneralSynod,statementsbyitsbishopsandother publicationsasrequired. DrMacneil'spublicstatementsintheareasofhumansexualityandthedoctrineofthe AtonementstandincontradictiontothepositionoftheAnglicanChurchofAustraliaassetout below.
4

http://www1.holycovenant.org.au/sites/default/files/docs/sermons/2012/Sermon_Christmas_2012.pdf currentlyarchivedat http://davidould.net/media/covenant/sites/default/files/docs/sermons/2012/Sermon_Christmas_2012.pdf


5

PartI,s.4.TheConstitutionCanonandRulesoftheAnglicanChurchofAustralia,2010. http://www.anglican.org.au/docs/Constitution%20Canons%20BOOK%20FINALrevclient_indexed.pdf

Firstly,theAnglicanChurchofAustraliaspositiononsexualethicsisabundantlyclear. FaithfulnessinService,ournationalcodeforpersonalbehaviourandthepracticeofpastoral ministrybyclergyandchurchworkers,statesinunisonwiththeScripturesthat, 7.1Thesexualconductofclergyandchurchworkershasasignificantimpactonthe Churchandthecommunity. 7.2SexualityisagiftfromGodandisintegraltohumannature.Itisappropriateforclergy andchurchworkerstovaluethisgift,takingresponsibilityfortheirsexualconductby maintainingchastityinsinglenessandfaithfulnessinmarriage. TheChurchhasheldaconsistentpositiononthismatter,mostrecentlyaffirmingitaspartofthe BishopsProtocol015MinisterialAppointments"releasedin2012andsubsequentlyreaffirmed in2013whereitisstated, WeundertaketoupholdthepositionoftheChurchinregardtohumansexualityaswe ordain,license,authoriseorappointtoministrieswithinourdioceses. ThisprotocolisconsistentwiththeScripturesteachingonhumansexualitywhichcelebrates healthy,activesexualrelationshipswithinmarriagebetweenamanandwoman. ThepositionthatDrMacneiltaughtin2013,lessthanoneyearbeforeherconsecration,stands opposedtothisProtocolandtothoseotherstatementswithwhichtheProtocolconcurs.Asa bishopshewouldbeexpectedtoupholdtheProtocol.Herabilitytodosoisseverely compromisedbyherpublicstatementsonthisissue. Secondly,theAnglicanChurch'sconstitutionallyapproveddoctrineandworshipupholdthe doctrineofPenalSubstitution.ItisaviewoftheAtonementthattakescentrestageinmanyof thekeytextsofourliturgyandotherdocuments: ArticleXXXI.OftheoneOblationofChristfinishedupontheCross. TheOfferingofChristoncemadeisthatperfectredemption,propitiation,and satisfaction,forallthesinsofthewholeworld,bothoriginalandactualandthereisnone othersatisfactionforsin,butthatalone. ALMIGHTYGod,ourheavenlyFather,whoofthytendermercydidstgivethineonlySon JesusChristtosufferdeathupontheCrossforourredemptionwhomadethere(byhis oneoblationofhimselfonceoffered)afull,perfect,andsufficientsacrifice,oblation,and satisfaction,forthesinsofthewholeworld (PrayerofConsecration,TheOrderoftheAdministrationoftheLordsSupper,BCP) WhenDrMacneilrejectsthePenalSubstitutionaryAtonementofJesussherejectsan understandingofJesus'deaththatiswritlargeacrossourformulariesandtheScripturesupon 4

whichtheyarebased. TheroleandresponsibilitiesofaBishopintheChurchofGodareclearlysetoutintheNew Testamentinpassagessuchas1Timothy3:17&Titus1:79. TherequirementsforaBishopsetoutin"TheFormofOrdainingorConsecratingofan ArchbishoporBishop"withintheBookofCommonPrayerarederiveddirectlyfromthese Scriptures. Accordingly,intheAPBAconsecrationservicethecandidatewillpromisetoguard[the Churchs]faith,unityanddisciplineandtoteachandencouragewithsounddoctrine. Itisentirelyreasonabletoexpectanypersonmakingthesepromises,especiallygiventhepublic natureoftheofficetheyareaccepting,todosowithfullintegrityandconviction.DrMacneils statementsareatoddswiththepromisessheismaking.

The Impact Upon the Anglican Church of Australia


DrMacneilhasmadenosecretofherpositioninthesemattersorsoughttopubliclyclarifyor amendthem. WearegreatlyconcernedthattherewillbeBishopsandothersupportersinvolvedinthe consecrationwhoareawareofherpositionandyetfindnoimpedimenttoconsecrate.Furtherit shouldbeamatterofconcernforallAustralianAnglicansthattheyknowthestanceoftheirown localBishop(andMetropolitan)withregardtotheirconsistencywiththeScripturesand Formulariesonmattersoftheatonementandhumansexuality. Forthesereasons,wecallonevangelicalsandAnglicanorganisationstonotsupportthe consecrationofDrMacneilasBishopwithintheAnglicanChurchofAustraliainanyway.Her elevationtothispositionsignalsamarkeddeteriorationinthewillingnessofsomechurch leaderstosubmitthemselvestotheauthorityofScriptureandthedisciplineofourfoundational formsandstandards.ThereforewefinditnecessarytocalluponallAustralianBishopstobe clearandconsistentwiththeScripturesonteachingabouttheAtonementandhumansexuality andwherethereisanydoubttoseekclaritysothatthereisnoconfusioninthesematters. TheinstallingofyetanotherBishopwhopotentiallyseekstheordinationofpracticing homosexualsanddeparturefromthechurchslongheldpositiononhumansexuality,allthe whiledenyingthePenalSubstitutionofChristdoesnotbodewellforthefutureunityofthe AnglicanChurchofAustralia.

A Call for Prayer and Alignment


WecalluponfaithfulAnglicanstoprayforourdenominationandtobedeliberateinseeking fellowshipwiththosewhoaregospelminded.

OurPrayerBookscallustointercederegularlyforourecclesialleaders. InadditiontoprayingforourChurchwealsoencouragethosewhoseektodefendthehistoric faithoncedeliveredtothesaintstoactivelypursueinformalandformalpartnershipsbothwithin theirdiocesesandthroughoutthecountry. Wealsocalluponourleaderstospeakplainlyandclearlyonthismatter. Thesedeparturescannotbeconsideredasperipheralandfurtherthreatenunitywithinthe AnglicanChurchofAustralia.Thisslowdeteriorationcompromisesthegospelwitness.Our concernisforthecentralityofthecrossandachurchleadershipthatupholdsBiblicalauthority. TherevealedtruthofGodisaprecioustreasureandmustbeproclaimedandguardedbyallwho believe.Asunitywithinthedenominationisthreatenedwetakegreatdelightinfindingcommon groundamongthosewhoupholdgospeltruthsanddaretomakethemknown.

RevGavinPoole AnglicanChurchLeaguePresident 28February2014