Archbishop Justin – An Evangelical and No Mistake

Yesterday I, a boring, institutional, compromising (according to some of my non-conformist friends) Church of England priest had a spiritual moment. As I watched the installation (enthronement?) of Justin Portal Welby as Primate of all England and Primus inter Pares amongst the leaders of the Anglican Communion, there was a tangible sense that something awesome was happening in front of our eyes.

Just look at the hymn choices. Song after song, even those before the service officially started, were chock full of clear Biblical language. Classic orthodox themes of genuine dying to self and rising in Christ were repeated again and again in the words being sung in the Cathedral. Even the first hymn lay down the form to come.

The Inauguration of the Ministry of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.COME down, O Love divine,
Seek thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
Within my heart appear,
And kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn,
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let thy glorious light
Shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

We then moved to the classic hymn of trust in God’s sovereign purposes and the joy of knowing true forgiveness from true repentance.

The Inauguration of the Ministry of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.GREAT is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;
As thou hast been thou for ever wilt be:
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided,
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is thy faithfulness!…

As Justin moved from the Old Palace to the West Door and the Dean’s party travelled towards him within the Cathedral to greet him, we had the Dean’s own hymn utilising the I AM sayings of Jesus and finishing with the subtext of the uniqueness of Christ’s revelation of himself and salvation through himself.

Behold, Archbishop Justin stands at the door and knocksI am the Resurrection life,
The power of God whereby
Whoever truly trusts in me
Shall live and never die.

I am the Way, the Truth, the Life
And truth shall set you free
To seek and find the way to life
And live that life in me.

As the procession, Archbishop now attached, moved back down the Nave, the sound of Isaac Watt’s classic hymn “When I Survey” sounded around the ancient walls, significantly with the addition of the often dropped fourth verse re-emphasising the themes of dying to self and the world.

The Inauguration of the Ministry of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.His dying crimson like a robe,
Spreads o’er his body on the Tree;
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Evangelical hymn followed Evangelical hymn. Procession to the Quire happened as the congregation sang “The Church’s One Foundation” with Samuel Stone’s words and Samuel Wesley’s tune.

The Inauguration of the Ministry of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.THE Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the word:
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy Bride;
With His own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses
With every grace endued.

On and on it went. The cries of dismay from liberals on twitter when the Cathedral sang “In Christ Alone” were evidence of the way the service was going – clearly and unambiguously returning to the Church of England’s Reformed roots.

The Inauguration of the Ministry of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

“The wrath of God”. “Satisfied”. “Bought” with Jesus’ blood. The words echoed around the Norman pillars, carried down the fibre-optic cables and thundered into living rooms and media operation centres up and down the country and across the world. Powerful words of a powerful Penal Substitution.

And then the sermon. Oh what a sermon. If ever there was a moment to read the sub-text this was it. Beautifully crafted words that alluded to powerful messages from Scripture and left you to read on where the Word of God had been referred to and connect the dots of the simple picture Archbishop Justin was painting for us through his choices for this service.

Today we may properly differ on the degrees of state and private responsibility in a healthy society.  But if we sever our roots in Christ we abandon the stability which enables good decision making. There can be no final justice, or security, or love, or hope in our society if it is not finally based on rootedness in Christ. Jesus calls to us over the wind and storms, heed his words and we will have the courage to build society in stability.

What is “justice” if we don’t know Jesus? What is love if we have not surrendered to Jesus?

For nearly two thousand years the Church has sought, often failing, to recognise in its way of being that Jesus is the Son of God. The wind and waves divided Jesus from the disciples. Peter ventures out in fear and trembling (as you may imagine I relate to him at this point). Jesus reconciles Peter to Himself and makes the possibility for all the disciples to find peace. All the life of our diverse churches finds renewal and unity when we are reconciled afresh to God and so are able to reconcile others. A Christ-heeding life changes the church and a Christ-heeding church changes the world: St Benedict set out to create a school for prayer, and incidentally created a monastic order that saved European civilisation.

Oh yes, ++Justin is well up for reconciliation, but the primary reconciliation he points out must be the sinner to a holy God, the rebel to the Divine one he/she has attempted to supplant. If we wish to be agents of change in the world we must be ones whose whole world has been changed by Jesus. What’s more, real genuine change does not look like the world around it but rather is so often despised by the society within which it incarnates.

The more the Church is authentically heeding Jesus’ call, leaving its securities, speaking and acting clearly and taking risks, the more the Church suffers. Thomas Cranmer faced death with Christ-given courage, leaving a legacy of worship, of holding to the truth of the gospel, on which we still draw. I look at the Anglican leaders here and remember that in many cases round the world their people are scattered to the four winds or driven underground:  by persecution, by storms of all sorts, even by cultural change.  Many Christians are martyred now as in the past.

You could positively feel Katherine Jefferts-Schori shaking in her robes, if only she had had the biblical literacy to understand what was being preached to her and others present.

How to end such a litany of orthodoxy? What else but the hymn of the man ejected from the Church of England for daring to simply preach the truth. John Wesley’s magnificent testimonial was the backdrop for the return of the newly enthroned Metropolitan Archbishop to the Nave altar and the vast body of his people.

The Inauguration of the Ministry of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.

AND can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died he for me, who caused his pain?
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray –
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

And then it was done. Justin left his house and walked outside into the bright sunshine of a beautiful Canterbury afternoon, illuminated further by the bank of photographers showering him with flash after flash as they sought to get the best picture of the man who has come from nowhere to be the head of all Anglicans, a worldwide Communion of people almost everywhere on this planet.

That Justin is an Evangelical there is no mistake. That he wanted us to know it through his choice of music and words for the service, there is equally no mistake. That he is the man for such a time as this?

I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, and I come as one seeking the grace of God,
to travel with you in his service together.

I am sent as Archbishop to serve you, to proclaim the love of Christ and with you
to worship and love him with heart and soul, mind and strength.

I come knowing nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified,
and in weakness and fear and in much trembling.

Excuse me, I have a shiver down my spine. I need to go and lie down somewhere and dream dreams.

All photos © Picture Partnership / Lambeth Palace

76 Comments on “Archbishop Justin – An Evangelical and No Mistake

  1. I fear your thesis rather falls apart on consideration of ++Rowan’s enthronement (service here

    Every single hymn is a cracker and one which I as a self-affirming “conservative” evangelical would thoroughly endorse. None of that, sadly, is any way an affirmation of Rowan’s own “evangelical” or “orthodox” credentials.

    We will have to judge the new ABC by his actions. So far the score is:

    1. endorsing a “reconciliation” between an ACNA rector and a TEC Bishop (who holds to a heretical position) with no repentance at all on the part of the bishops.
    2. inviting Schori to a seat at the Primates’ table.

    I want to remain hopefully positive but it’s going to take more than a good set of hymns to do it.

    • 1) Bauccum NEVER claimed to be reconciling, just conversing. Perhaps you would like to get a quote from Lambeth Palace on their position since the Crossan events?
      2) He has inherited that from his predecessor. He couldn’t uninvite her because until he was seated in Augustine’s Chair he wasn’t in the position to make such a decision.

        • 1) Not good enough. Give me one clear unambiguous statement from Baucum that says that he understands what he was doing with Johnston was reconciliation. Just one.
          2) Once again, you are letting what you wish Welby would do cloud a simply judgement of what Welby HAS been able to do up to yesterday’s service.

          • 1) one example will suffice from here

            “The doctrinal conflict – neither in Virginia nor the Communion – has been resolved but our ability to relate to each other without enmity while still in conflict is the kind of model ++Welby promotes as a pathway toward reconciliation. This hard won space is not an end in itself, but creates a place where the doctrinal and relational wounds of the Church can be healed. I am grateful that Archbishop Welby holds up Truro’s relation to the Episcopal diocese of Virginia as a model for the rest of the Anglican Communion.”

            Baucum speaks of “our ability to relate to each other”. In the context this was specifically speaking about “our story” ie that of he and Johnston.

            This he calls “the kind of model Welby promotes as a pathway toward reconciliation” and “a model for the rest of the Anglican Communion”.

            I think it is quite clear that Baucum therefore views his relationship with Johnston as exactly that sort of movement that Welby promotes as leading to reconciliation. Why this is in doubt is quite beyond me. In fact I’m intrigued as to why there is such a massive attempt over the past week to distance Baucum from the word “reconciliation”. It’s been the key buzzword hanging over the whole relationship while it was seen to be a good thing.

            2. Sorry, the facts are clear. Welby invited Primates to a meeting following on from his enthronement at which Schori was to be present. That’s exactly what he HAS done. He was perfectly able to signal in many ways that he would discipline TEC – he’s been quite happy to opine (as he should do as Archbishop-elect) on all sorts of subjects when asked in the media. And here we have a simple choice and action on his part – he invited Schori to a Primates meeting. If, he was not able to do anything then he was not able to call the meeting. The calling of the meeting is in his role as ArchBishop of Canterbury. Either he was acting as ABC or he wasn’t.

            • To those who engage in conspiracies, conspiracies are everywhere. What David sees as coordination or campaign is really spontaneous expressions of friendship for Fr. Baucum, a teacher and friend we know well and you know not at all.

              For anyone who spends a few minutes trying to look objectively at the facts or allowed even the smallest bit of grace to infect their thinking it is clear that Fr. Baucum’s outreach to Shannon Johnston was friendship with an eye toward persuasion. As the Truro vestry stated, the outreach was done under its supervision and there has never been the least chance of doctrinal compromise. Since the split with TEC, Truro has maintained consistently that it would love and pray for the Episcopal Church and seek the “highest level of communion possible” with it. Anyone who wants to read about that will find the document laying out this position on the church website in the Sources of Division document ( That’s what Fr. Baucum’s was engaged in – the highest level of communion possible – and it was having a profound and positive effect on the mind and spirit of the bishop of the largest Episcopal diocese in the U.S. And that is also why the vestry and the parish continues to back its rector despite uninformed commentary from those who have never bothered to pick up the phone and ask Fr. Baucum what he was doing and why.

              • If it was a merely a ‘spontaneous of friendship’ with an ‘eye towards persuasion’ why call it ‘reconciliation’ as Baucum does? Why use a word (and an important biblical word) in a way that is different from its normal meaning? And if it is just such a friendship why does it goes further and result in publically recognising and encouraging the ministry of false teachers?

                • Let me try this one more time, slowly: The “spontaneous expression of friendship” was for Fr. Baucum and not in reference to the relationship between Baucum and Johnston. The accusation was that there was a coordinated campaign which is untrue, not that I expect you to believe it.

                  As to the substance of your question: asked and answered already. The Truro vestry understood the relationship to be peacemaking not reconciliation which has much deeper theological connotations. I know this is an intolerable distinction to those who are dedicate to a state of perpetual war but it nevertheless remains a true one. I know it is possible to be a Christian and be wrong on particular secondary doctrinal issue because I see it frequently in these and other pages. Shannon Johnston is wrong on sexuality; others are wrong on other matters. Since I don’t have a window into Johnston’s or your soul, I take you at your word you are a Christian.

                  • Well let’s go even more slowly still, then…

                    2John 9-11 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

                    • Depends what you mean by the question. If you mean, is sexual practice at the core (so not the periphery) of a biblical anthropology centred on an understanding of the union of husband and wife as signifiers of the union of Christ and His Church? Yes. If you mean that failure to believe this leads one to lose one’s salvation? No.

                    • 1. we are not talking about what someone might “believe” in the pews. We are talking about what leaders/teachers in the church “teach.”

                      2. These particular teachers are promoting sexual behavior that the new testament explicitly says will lead people to hell (1 Cor 6:9-10). There are explicit and deadly warnings in the Gospels relating to such teachers.

                      3. The law of God is a reflection of his character and nature. God’s commands are not arbitrary – they go to the heart of his own self-disclosure. To reject Christ’s teaching on marriage is to twist the image of Christ himself. It is not merely an anthropological error. It is a Christological error. One cannot divorce the commands of God from his self-disclosed character.

                    • Yes, yes, yes. But I still want to ask whether if one does not believe this whether one can still be saved? Is salvation a matter of having one’s sins forgiven or that AND believing the right things?

                    • I would not draw such a distinction. Justifying faith as scripture presents it involves three essential elements:

                      1. Right knowledge of the Person and Work of Christ
                      2. Assent to that knowledge
                      3.Surrender to the Person and Trust in the work of Christ

                      If step 1 is distorted then the nature of the faith is called into question: in Whom is faith placed? Can one believe falsely and be saved…I think that if one rejects what Jesus says in scripture and posits that no, in fact, the “real” Jesus says something completely different you must wonder whether the Jesus being posited is indeed the true one or an idol. And if an idol, then, yes, I think salvation is at stake.

                    • What if you were creedaly orthodox on the nature of Christ AND his atoning work on the cross BUT didn’t have the sexual ethics thing totally nailed down theologically? We’re not talking your practice, just your theology.

                    • Hi Peter, again, I do not think it possible to be creedally orthodox while actively rejecting what Christ reveals about himself (and his commands make up part of that self-revelation). There is a distinction, I think, between those who have simply not heard scripture on this or that (say the thief on the cross) and those who hear and reject. For the first it is possible to believe what is wrong and still know Christ since you are not actively rejecting what he has revealed to you. The second, however, involves an outright rejection of Christ’s self-disclosure.

                    • My understanding of what you are saying is that you believe that if you examine the theology of someone who disagrees with traditional Christian teaching on human sexuality you will be able to uncover some sort of Christological heresy. If that is the case, I challenge you to examine the writings of Fr. Tobias Heller ( and see if you can find any deviations from the Nicene Creed. I do not think that you will find any.

                      If, on the other hand what you are trying to say is that you think that orthodoxy on sexual matters is as important as faithfulness to the Nicene Creed then I apologize for misunderstanding what you are saying.

                    • Hi Whit, that is not my point. I do not know or care whether everyone who promotes same sex relationships also embrace other Creedal errors. The promotion of same sex relationships is itself a Christological distortion, the setting up of a false idol. Tobias Haller is a nice man but he is, also, a false teacher.

                    • Ok, that explains your position more clearly. I think that your using the phrase “creedal orthodoxy” was confusing to me. To me, saying that someone is “credally orthodox” means that they believe in the literal truth of the Nicene and Apostles creeds and nothing more. Since same-sex relationships are not mentioned in the Creeds, I would not consider someone’s position on them to affect their “creedal orthodoxy” regardless of whether or not it makes them unorthodox in some other sense.

                    • This is my belief also (and I don’t understand Matt’s response below). The creeds state that which is the orthodox christology. There are other elements of christology that have a follow-on from the creedal elements OR impact upon anthropology (i.e. the correct context for sexual union) but they are not in and of themselves creedal. It is possible to be wrong on these other issues and yet still be saved (except of course where Scripture seems to argue that sexual practice places one in a position where one’s salvation is in doubt – but that is different from simply believing or not believing something).

                    • Hi Peter, what exactly don’t you understand? The creeds present Jesus according to the scriptures. There is no other Jesus aside from the one presented in the NT. Those who promote same sex blessings do not promote a Jesus in accordance with the scriptures. So the way the argument was playing out on this side of the pond was: well promoting same sex blessings is merely an anthropological error because it does not touch on Christology or on the Creedal affirmations regarding the Son of God. Therefore it is a secondary issue. That is false as I explain in this article:

                    • I just don’t understand where you stop? Where is homosexuality so important? Can you perhaps provide us a list of all the other things beyond the creeds which we need to believe in order to be saved? Just so we can call be sure, y’know!

                    • Hi Peter…stop what? Perhaps I would ask: which parts of God’s self disclosure are you free to discard or reject? Just to be sure, y’know

                    • Peter, surely belief in Jesus as Lord means repentance which means a complete change – a willing acceptance that Jesus is LORD in all aspects of our life – not just our willingness to merely say Jesus is Lord in a few creedal statements. When we first believe we may not be aware of all the areas of our life that will be affected and how they will be changed but we nonetheless acknowledge Jesus’ authority over them.

                    • I have no fundamental disagreement with this. What I’m questioning is whether doctrinal correctness in a whole series of things beyond the creeds is a mark of salvation.

                    • I think there is a danger in trying to frame the debate in terms of doctrinal correctness. I’d question how much belief in the creeds is a mark of salvation. The meaning of “believe” used in “I believe the creeds” is different from that used in “ I believe in Jesus” (if the latter ‘believing’ is a belief that results in salvation). “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples….”” And it transpired that they had not really believed (in the second sense) in Jesus at all because they could not stand what his word involved.
                      This is not to say the creeds are unimportant; I recognise their place in addressing the Christological issues of the time. But in a post-modern world they have less value as determinants of orthodoxy.

                    • Hi Peter, when a person claims to be a disciple of Jesus but says that he/she rejects his word, then there is reason to believe his/her discipleship is not genuine

                    • Still completely agree with you. But you haven’t answered my question yet. You obviously think that having correct sexual ethics is necessary for salvation (i.e. you can’t be wrong on this issue and be saved) so what are the other non-creedal things you have to get right? Or is it just homosexuality?

                    • Hi Peter I did not say that if you believe the wrong thing on this you cannot be saved. There is certainly room for people who just don’t know what Jesus has said about this or that matter…think, the theif on the cross. I do believe that if you know what Jesus has said about a certain thing and then reject his teaching (I don’t mean disobey – we all do that – I mean saying something like: no my Jesus would not say or inspire these words as they are recorded by the Apostles) then it is impossible to be his because you do not have faith in or follow the Lord who is revealed in the scriptures. You follow a different Jesus. It doesn’t have to be sexuality it can be anything. If I know the Lord says: I don’t do “this” in the NT…and I say: well the Jesus I serve wouldn’t tell me not to do “this”, then obviously the Jesus I serve is not the real one.

                      That is, of course, merely at the level of discipleship. If I go about as an ordained leader telling others not to heed Jesus’ words about “this” then not only is my allegiance to the real Jesus in doubt but I am at that point actively destroying the Lord’s little ones and subject to the Millstones and the lake.

                    • If we confess our sins God will forgive and cleanse us from unrighteousness. But walking in the darkness by continuing to sin or to teach sin is acceptable, is a denial of the gospel and a denial of the creeds which are derived from that gospel. Why else are we urged to avoid anyone who calls himself a brother who does this (1 Cor.5:11)? Why else are we warned that someone who does this will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9,10)?

              • Clive, the bottom line is that Baucum was engaged not simply in “the highest level of communion possible” but the public endorsement of a false teacher. What compounded the issue was that the particular heresy was that matter over which Truro split from TEC in the first place. We’ve documented all of this for some time at Stand Firm.

                What I find fascinating about these “spontaneous expressions of friendship” is that they are all pursuing exactly the same line – downplaying the “reconciliation” theme that was so prominent when Welby’s endorsement was received and not playing up the “peacemaking” theme.

                • David – repeating this endlessly will not make it more true. Fr. Baucum never endorsed Shannon Johnston and publicly repudiated his teaching on sexuality on multiple occasions, most recently at Coventry Cathedral. The critique also ignores the fact that Truro’s teaching on sexuality is, if anything, deeper and furthe reaching than anything put up at Stand Firm or elsehwhere in the blogosphere. Check out the Truro vestry statement, “By This Beauty, the World Shall Be Saved” if you want to start understanding what is really happening at that church.

                • David –

                  One point of clarification before I respond to the substance of your note. My earlier reference to “spontaneous expressions of friendship” referred to my posts and those of Peter (who I’ve never met or communicated with) in support of Fr. Baucum and not to the Baucum-Johnston relationship. You simply assume the rest of the world is engaged in conspiracy. I wonder why.

                  Your strawman is that Fr. Baucum endorsed a false teacher. This is a misreading of the facts on the ground. The Truro vestry was very clear about what the Baucum-Johnston relationship was (peacemaking) and what it wasn’t (reconciliation) from the very outset. It is a continuation of Truro’s work under the Sources of Division document. Outside observers have chosen to mischaracterize the relationship. Why? Because any lessening of tensions poses an existential threat to those whose long-term goal is the permanent splintering of the Communion.

                  Fr. Baucum made no endorsement of Johnston’s teaching on sexuality and multiple public repudiations of it. He did, however,embrace of Johnston as a brother and the assertion that one can be wrong on sexuality and still be a Christian.

                  Those of us who know Fr. Baucum, know what he has suffered at the hands of the Episcopal Church and know his heart for conversion of heart and mind to the Gospel – even for Episcopal bishops – see clearly what you cannot. You cannot see it because your narrative is one of continuous war against heresy and, peculiarly, homosexuality, rather than redemption of the lost.

                  • Note carefully the false dichotomy: “You cannot see it because your narrative is one of continuous war against heresy and, peculiarly, homosexuality, rather than redemption of the lost.” The NT Never draws such a dichotomy. Driving out heretics and redeeming the lost are inseparable precisely because heretics twist and pervert the gospel that redeems.

                    • Matt – I was so distracted by our exchange on SF yesterday that I neglected things here at Peter’s site.

                      It is one of the oddities of SF and of yours that you refuse to recognize that the way ideas are expressed are often as important as the ideas themselves. If one were dealing with a person who struggled with same-sex attraction or were involved in homosexual relationships what would be the most effective pastoral response? Hammering them with scriptures they don’t know or care about (yet) or engaging that person in a real conversation about God’s design and intention for his or her life? The way SF approaches this issue is deeply alienating and in no way advances the cause of rescuing people from the sin that threatens to destroy them. In fact, it tends to alienate them more deeply and push them further into their sin. These are bruised reeds and they need to be handled gently.

                      The outreach to Shannon Johnston was principle at a higher level: how to reform the thinking of a Christian teacher that he might repent and begin speaking the truth on this important issue?

                    • Clive, they’re nice-sounding words but there is an even “higher principle” (to use your words).

                      2John 9-11. We’ve posted it up many times and you keep ignoring it.

                      The Scriptures are abundantly clear on this issue. Shannon Johnston is no “confused disciple”, he is a false teacher in the church of God, a heretic and a wolf who is destroying the flock. The Scriptures call us to have nothing to do with them. Tory could have called him to repentance form afar, instead he went against the direct instruction of Scripture and now it seems his supporters and close colleagues still favour loyalty to him and what he did over loyalty to the word of God. I’m beginning to think there is another call for repentance that is needed here.

                    • David – I inadvertantly left out two words in the paragraph you are referring to. It should have read “The outreach to Shannon Johnston was the same principle [engaging a person in a real conversation about God’s design and intention for his or her life] at a higher level.” I apologize for my poor typing. Hard to keep up with you gents.

                      Yes, I’m familiar with your proof-texts. My point to Matt yesterday on SF was that there’s a difference between false teaching about Christ and false teaching about sexuality. Both are bad but only one is fatal from the standpoint of being branded a false teacher. If you disagree with this, your argument is not just with me but with +Guernsey and ++Duncan. If they shared your and Matt’s view on these scriptures, I’m sure they would have stepped in at the outset of Fr. Baucum’s relationship with Shannon Johnston immediately. They didn’t. Perhaps your call for repentance should be extended to these excellent and godly bishops as well as Fr. Baucum but that might be a bit more risky than going after a rector.

                      Tell me, David, do you have a lot of success at converting the hearts and minds of people from afar? Billy Graham did but then he was able to communicate love rather than judgment. That’s what is completely lost in SF-world. Your writers seem to think that if they just get their doctrine perfectly right the rest of it takes care of itself. What it misses is that people don’t care about your doctrine until they have the idea that you care about them. Once they are persuaded of your love they are surprisingly open to hearing your truth.

                      So far as I know, there’s been no call by +Guernsey or ++Duncan for Fr. Baucum to repent so I don’t see how there could be another one. Fortunately, your calls for repentence are somewhat less binding.

                    • “Clive”,

                      It’s fascinating how you keep going at this. No complaints, I’m more than happy to repeat arguments in this forum that we have made clear elsewhere.

                      ” My point to Matt yesterday on SF was that there’s a difference between false teaching about Christ and false teaching about sexuality. Both are bad but only one is fatal from the standpoint of being branded a false teacher.”

                      On the contrary, I see no such distinction in the New Testament, but perhaps you’ll be kind enough to show us where the NT makes this clear distinction. I note you try and bring Guernsey and Duncan into this but I can’t fathom why – ultimately the judge of whether Baucum was correct in his actions is the Scriptures, not our bishops. Of course, it is helpful to keep mentioning bishops in order to seek to entice some of us to speak out against our bishops.

                      As for the danger of false teaching itself, while you have no desire to be persuaded at all other readers of this forum ought to bear 2 things in mind (points we have made a number of times on Stand Firm and yet you seem to keep ignoring them):

                      1. The New Testament includes homosexual behaviour in a list of behaviours that if not repented of will lead to damnation (1Cor. 6). Johnston teaches the exact contrary to this. As a consequence it is hard to see how anyone can not define this as a gospel issue – people’s eternal futures are at stake.

                      2. Baucum/Truro’s actions have actually undermined the entire raison d’etre of the ACNA. Johnston holds exactly those views which Lee did on this subject – the very subject over which Truro and a good number of other churches and whole dioceses split from TEC. Johnston has not once recanted nor repented this position and yet Baucum proactively sought him ought, then promoted him in public as a brother and a legitimate bishop in the Anglican Communion and then promoted his ministry overseas as we have pointed out above. I wrote about this crisis a few weeks ago which other readers can see here: &

                      I say “other readers” because you consistently avoid addressing these points, preferring to shift the goalposts. At this point I see no possibility of persuading you but I am determined that others not be fed these half-truths about the situation.

                      Now, as for your comparison with Billy Graham – I am truly flattered that you would mention us in the same sentence but I fear the comparison is misguided. Graham was an evangelist – I am at this moment seeking to argue about error in the church which I love. Those are 2 different situations. If you want to come and see me at work in evangelism then I would be delighted to host you. You would, of course, have to drop the pseudonym otherwise we would never be able to have a genuinely open conversation afterwards.

                      As for “getting doctrine perfectly right” – again you simply betray the fact that you will not engage with the argument at hand. For clarity, these two pieces outline the essence of our complaint and have done so for a number of weeks now.


                      Every time you avoid the central issue it does look more and more like you have no real response. Save, of course, trying to bait clergy into open criticism of bishops. Can’t think why you’d want to do that.

                    • Per Matt’s recommendation, I was on my way to the millstone store for a fitting. The line was long so it gave me a chance to think again about the things we’ve been saying. I’m not a NT scholar and its abundantly lear from this exchange that David and Matt aren’t scholars so much as proof-texters. So I reached out to one of the top New Testament scholars in the world, Dr. Ben Witherington at Asbury Theological Seminary, and asked him for a short summary of his analysis of the false teacher references in the New Testament. Here’s his reply:

                      “One of the problems with this whole sort of line of arguing is often we have no idea what this or that group of ‘false teachers’ was teaching. And then there were perfectly good teachers who were in error on something important. On the latter point, consider the case of Apollos in Acts 18. He taught accurately about Jesus, but he was in error about baptism. Baptism is an important theological issue, but notice that Priscilla and Aquila don’t treat Apollos as if he was a false teacher or a non-brother. Rather they simply taught him more accurately about Christian baptism. In the case of the false teachers mentioned in 1 John they seem to be guilty of some Christological error. This would also seem to be the case in 2 Peter and in Jude. I don’t know of any clear case in the NT where the false teacher in question was just in error about some sexual ethical matter. In the Pauline letters the false teachers are in some cases Judaizers— seeking to impose circumcision and the whole Mosaic covenant on Gentiles.”

                      Again, we aren’t Roman Catholics so we don’t have a single, binding teaching on any topic. We have a tradition in which somethings are completely clear (the Nicene Creed) and then we have a lot of other areas (who is a false teacher, for instance) in which there is a range of opinion among the orthodox. You and Matt are trying to impose one very narrow reading of these verses as incontrovertible. Dr. Witherington’s analysis alone calls that into question. I suspect this diversity of view is part of the reason our bishops have been less anxious to step into the fray than you have been.

                      The best part was that I got to come home from the millstone store sans millstone. Good. Those things are expensive and heavy.

                    • “clive”,

                      I see that ONCE AGAIN you avoid the key issues here and keep plugging away at your shifted goalposts.

                      For the sake of those reading along, let’s just deal with one of your added assertions here:

                      “This would also seem to be the case in 2 Peter and in Jude. I don’t know of any clear case in the NT where the false teacher in question was just in error about some sexual ethical matter.”

                      Nobody EVER argued that false teaching was simply about sexual ethics. Another straw man. However, we have consistently pointed out that false teaching over sexual ethics is quite regularly an outworking or correlated with false teaching in other areas. It has now been documented that this is certainly the case with Johnston. Not only has he taught heresy on sexual ethics but he has participated time and time again in false teaching over Christological matters, as we have documented.

                      2Peter 2 is full of reference to false teachers who promote a wrong lifestyle. The allusion throughout is patently and not least that this wrong behaviour is sexual in nature (so “sensuality” in 2:2 and the reference to Lot a little later and “eyes full of adultery” in 2:14 as just a number of examples). At yet at the same time Peter refers to these teachers as those who “deny their master” (2:1). For Peter, of course, there is no distinction – to deny the words of the SCriptures is to deny Jesus.

                      There is no “rejecting Jesus”/”promoting wrong living” dichotomy. For Peter it is all one and the same.

                      As for Jude, well it’s much the same. v4 speaks of those who pevert God’s grace as a license for sensuality. v7

                    • Ouch David, that’s got to hurt. But I’m sure you’ve noticed the pattern: you demonstrate the baseless nature of “Clive’s” arguments and he just comes back and changes the subject. Interesting and revealing

                    • Heh…yes Been Witherington is a fine scholar. A bit short on discernment however, being a fan of Rob Bell…at least until recently that is.

                    • Matt – for readers interested in what Ben Witherington actually thinks of Bell (as opposed to your effort to undermine his credibility with innuendo), here’s a review Dr. Witherington wrote on Bell’s book two years ago.

                      Matt will not be content until the circle of orthodox thought is drawn to a church of one with himself as congregation, celebrant and pope.

                    • Heh…no attempt at all to “undermine his credibility” with “innuendo”. As I said, he is a fine scholar. But his discernment is as poor as “Clives” when it comes to false teaching. I read his review of love wins which was largely positive. He was also very very upset at guys like Piper who spotted Bell for the wolf he was long before. Here’s a selection from the summary of his review of Love Wins: “Could we with ink the ocean fill,

                      And were the skies of parchment made;
                      Were every stalk on earth a quill,
                      And every man a scribe by trade;
                      To write the love of God above
                      Would drain the ocean dry;
                      Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
                      Though stretched from sky to sky.

                      This is precisely what Rob has tried to do in this book. To go beyond the cynicism and sarcasm of our age, and plumb the depths of the deep ocean of God’s love. He has not always expressed himself as wisely or cautiously as he should have, but frankly, this is what happens with a lover. Rob himself is a lover, like God, and he is groping for terms and phrases big enough to describe God’s love.

                      Have you ever listened to lover’s talk? They make it sound like their beloved is clearly the best thing God ever created! In this book Rob stretches out to make clear God himself is the most loving being in the universe. I agree with Rob— God is. And it is precisely because that is the way God is, and love is freely given and freely received, that God, like all of us, experiences both love’s triumph and joy when a single lost person is saved, and the angels begin to dance in heaven, and love’s tragedy, when a lost one prefers their lostness over being found by such a Holy Lover.”

                      Rob, you see, according to Witherington is not a wolf…just wrong about a few things here and there…he is however a lover of God etc etc etc…as I said above…terrible discernment. I can see why “Clive” cites him.

                    • “It is one of the oddities of SF and of yours that you refuse to recognize that the way ideas are expressed are often as important as the ideas themselves. If one were dealing with a person who struggled with same-sex attraction or were involved in homosexual relationships what would be the most effective pastoral response?”

                      What on earth are you talking about. I assume that we are discussing theological issues and that you are not coming to me for pastoral care. If, in fact, you would like pastoral care, this is not the proper venue to seek it. My email is

                      “ Hammering them with scriptures they don’t know or care about (yet) or engaging that person in a real conversation about God’s design and intention for his or her life?”

                      Right, but I was not “hammering away” at people struggling with sexual desires. I was hammering away at you. `

                      “The way SF approaches this issue is deeply alienating and in no way advances the cause of rescuing people from the sin that threatens to destroy them.”

                      Oh I think the way SF addresses false teachers and those who collaborate with them is perfectly in line with the New Testament…so we’re in great company.

                      Hi Clive,

                      re: “ In fact, it tends to alienate them more deeply and push them further into their sin.”

                      Not really. But what does push them further into their sin is the picture of supposedly orthodox leaders embracing and upholding and promoting the ministry of wolves who say that homosex is good.

                      “These are bruised reeds and they need to be handled gently.”

                      The first step in that handling gently is repudiating the wolves who are devouring them. Not promoting their ministry or embracing them as brothers.,

                      “The outreach to Shannon Johnston was principle at a higher level: how to reform the thinking of a Christian teacher that he might repent and begin speaking the truth on this important issue?”

                      No. It was a sad and shameful collaboration with a wolf who was and is leading the Lord’s little ones to hell. Hope you guys have your millstones ready.

            • “I think it is quite clear that Baucum therefore views his relationship with Johnston as exactly that sort of movement that Welby promotes as leading to reconciliation.”

              I’m sure he does and at the same time he is utterly clear on what he believes the foundations of faith are AND the moral praxis of the church should be. He isn’t compromising on either of those. What’s the problem?

              • the problem, as has been outlined many times, is that Baucum promoted the ministry of Johnston, called him orthodox, and a genuine brother and shepherd – contrary to the clear instruction in Scripture. He affirmed as a legitimate bishop a man who was part of the decision-making process that decided to sue Truro church.
                He did all this despite Johnston at no point ever recanting or repenting of his positions and actions.
                Nobody has said he ought not to seek peace with Johnston – but to affirm him as a leader in the church was clearly unacceptable.

            • So Canterbury Cathedral invites Schori and you then suggest the first public action Welby should undertake as Primus inter Pares is to snub Schori? You don’t understand diplomacy do you?

              Welby’s relationship with Schori is NOT Williams’ relationship with Schori. You have to let Schori lie to Welby and refuse to do what Welby asks of her before Welby has a reason to cut her out.

              • Nice move of the goalposts. Didn’t say anything about the invitation to the service. The issue I raised was the Primates’ meeting – wholly within Welby’s control. He has exerted a remarkable amount of control over many things prior to his installation and yet suddenly on this matter he is bound?

                What was needed was a clear statement and action on the biggest crisis facing the Communion today. He has made that statement and action by inviting Schori to a meeting of Primates, thus signalling her legitimacy. The invitation came with no condition and so who can blame the GAFCON Primates for staying away? Nothing appears to have changed and none of hit is in the hands of Canterbury Cathedral.

          • RE: “Not good enough.”

            Hmm. The standard of demonstration is now being raised by the hour. Of course it’s not good enough for Baucum’s defenders, now that Johnston screwed the whole thing up by revealing his true colors. But I think it’s really impossible to read Baucum happily chortling on his blog, for post after post after post, about his relationship with Johnston and the glories of reconciliation–all in the same five pieces–without recognizing that he positively *relished* the notion that their relationship was an example of “reconciliation.” So you’ve got that, plus the relationship being selected as *the* example of reconciliation at the reconciliation conference with Baucum’s presence as the living icon of “reconciliation,” as well as his very clear words about reconciliation at said conference. No, it’s quite clear that Baucum’s relationship with Johnston was *all about reconciliation* for Baucum and he’s very clearly on record about that.

            So the question now arises: why do some observers *now* wish to separate Baucum from the notion of “reconciliation” when it was so wildly popular a month ago for both him and his supporters to be so associated with said notion?

            Earlier today the claim was “Baucum never related what he was doing to ‘reconciliation.'” I’m guessing these people hadn’t read what Baucum had written.

            And now that what he’s written *has* been pointed out to them, and they’re confronted with actual reality, they’re raising the standard of evidence.

            I’m sorry. It doesn’t wash.

      • Peter, I’m not sure why you would say this: “Baucum NEVER claimed to be reconciling, just conversing.” It doesn’t even respond to David O’s comment. It doesn’t really matter whether Baucum used the word “reconciliation” or not. Baucum prattled on for a year about how Shannon Johnston–a standard-issue TEC revisionist, false teacher, institutional-hardliner, and now (unsurprisingly, given what’s come before) promoter of apostates–was “creedally orthodox” and his “brother in Christ.” He also purported to promote this false teacher’s ministry, and appeared as the example of “reconciliation” with Shannon Johnston at an entire conference on “reconciliation” at Coventry. All of that is worse than mouthing the word “reconciliation.”

        And then, of course, Baucum *did* say the word “reconciliation” so the bizarre “NEVER” assertion isn’t accurate either. From a blog post of November 9, 2012:

        “4) Reconciliation – he worked with the legendary Andrew White at Coventry Cathedral and he has traveled the world mediating “level 5″ conflict. +Welby understands the work of mediation and he makes important distinctions often missed when discussing the minstry of reconciliation. For example, he understands that reconciliation is a process and in conflicts, like we are experiencing in the Communion, relational conciliation will often precede the theological and institutional. Honesty requires us to acknowledge that the theological and institutional division in Anglicanism will not be healed for decades (they are too deep and entrenched), but that fact must not keep us from trying to heal relational wounds, to walk the path of forgiveness and, yes, love. Only then will we be able to address the wounds inflicted against the Church’s tradition and her ministry to the world.”

        Or this one from February 23, 2013:

        The Community of the Cross of Nails is now an international society of more than 150 partners pursuing reconciliation across a wide variety of social and religious divides. This is the spiritual context into which Truro Anglican enters in the coming week to bear witness to the continuing power of Christ to bring peace into the midst of emnity and division. Without diminishing disagreements or apologizing for our deepest commitments to biblical truth, we witness that “all this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

        Or this, a comment from ++Welby that was published on Baucum’s blog on September 18, 2012:

        “Division, dislike and even hatred are the quickest ways to kill churches. The first to leave is the Spirit of God. Reconciliation and modeling difference without enmity to a world in desperate need of it is both healing spirituality and effective testimony to Christ. I was privileged to be with Tory and Elizabeth and Bishop Shannon recently and it renewed my vision.”

        • “Without diminishing disagreements or apologizing for our deepest commitments to biblical truth, we witness that “all this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.””

          This is the key point. The critique of reconciliation coming from some here is that it means compromising what you believe. Truro and Baucum have made it very clear they will not compromise what they believe. Either you think they’re lying or you’re not listening to them.

          • The problem Peter is not – as we have pointed out countless times – that anyone at Truro or Welby himself might compromise their own personal orthodox beliefs. The problem is acknowledging and legitimizing and promoting the ministry and Christian standing of heretics who are actively leading people to hell so that people with collars can prattle on about unity in diversity. The flock of God is being corrupted and souls destroyed by these men and the heresies you propound and Welby et al want to make peace with them. This is nothing short of a betrayal of Christ and his bride. There can be no common mission, no common Minisitry, no common Gospel with those who promote damning doctrines. It is shocking that you cannot see that.

            • And I would respond that Truro have on a number of occasions explicitly said that what Johnston taught on same-sex unions was wrong and was pastorally incorrect. Baucum said the very things you are now saying.

              • Peter, again, if I say that I disagree with Arius on the matter of Jesus’ divinity but embrace him as a Christian brother and promote his ministry and cooperate with him in common “gospel” mission…I am legitimizing a wolf – one being used by Satan to devour the sheep. Again, it is stunning that you have no problem with this.

    • Don’t think +Rowan’s choice of hymns was quite as “full blooded” as +Justin’s — more MOR Anglican I would have said (though still great hymns). However, it’s what we do that shows what we really believe… as James would have said?

        • Exactly.
          Unfortunately the Reformation was rather trapped in “modern” thinking and saw faith and behaviour as two distinct realms. But in Scripture, people being saved by faith (rather than theoretical beliefs – as James puts it) is set over against people being damned by their sin. As Karl Barth – put it heteropraxy IS heterodoxy…

          Sin IS unbelief.

          You can’t be saved by faith if you go on sinning (per Hebrews).

  2. The hymn choices were stellar and moved me deeply. I was not expecting to be so moved by the service. You point out well that if we are looking for this new archbishop’s theology, we see it here in the hymns. And I, a Wesleyan through and through, was nearly grousing towards the end to have not one Wesleyan hymn only to be blown away the most stellar of choices to go out into the world singing,

    Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quickening ray –
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

    No condemnation now I dread;
    Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
    Alive in him, my living head,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

    Amen, Amen.


    • “And I, a Wesleyan through and through,”. Are you saying here that you are a true, blue Arminian? I was under the impression that the Anglican church held to reformed belief and not faith chosen by man, justified by good works. When I read the 39 articles, I don’t find one whit of Arminianism there.

      • Yes, I came into the Episcopal Church from the United Methodist Church where I became a Christian through a coffeehouse ministry sponsored by the congregation. I was, however, raised a fourth generation Christian Scientist – a far cry from John Wesley! I heard years ago an interesting motto which I might ascribe to – gently. “I am a Calvinist on my knees and an Arminian on my feet.” Rather Anglican don’t you think?


  3. “An evangelical and no mistake”. Interesting – perhaps you were swayed by the sense of the occasion. I reached the opposite conclusion.

    An evangelical-and-no-mistake sort of sermon would have used the opportunity to preach the gospel. It would have talked about the cross. It would have reflected on our sin and our need for repentance. Yet the sermon contained no mention of these. At the very least such a sermon would have been faithful to the 2 Corinthians 5 passage by explaining the biblical understanding of ‘reconciliation’. Instead the term was used in a way that was divorced from Jesus’s death on the cross, divorced from the message that Jesus had paid the penalty for our sin. An evangelical-and-no-mistake sort of sermon does not leave the important stuff to the hearer to ‘read the sub-text’ and ‘connect the dots’. You’ve done that one way, I’m sure TEC and others will do it another way.

    Justin Welby’s concept of reconciliation does not seem to have any biblical foundations. This sermon was a missed opportunity to set out his stall that the cross guides his thinking, which surely is the essential ingredient of being an evangelical – the need for salvation rather than his emphasis on improving society and human flourishing.

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