Neocons and Theocons at GAFCON?

Howard F Ahmonson Jr, and Roberta Ahmonson

GAFCON is the “Global Anglican Futures” Conference in Jerusalem, a break-away group which has almost completed the splitting of Anglican communion, mostly over the issue of homosexuality.  With leadership from Peter Jensen and a host of other conservative US Episcopalians, this group has succeeded in mobilising third-world Anglicans to break away from the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“The Religion Report” on ABC Radio National this week contained a report on one of the characters seen at GAFCON, who is thought to be a source of funding for these groups.  Howard F Ahmanson Jr (pictured above with wife Roberta)  funds the “Discovery Institute” – home of Intelligent Design, and is a member of  the “Council for National Policy” with many prominent neo-cons and theo-cons.  Ahmanson belongs to a parish which has put itself under the authority of a Ugandan Bishop.

Ahmanson subscribes to a theology which advocates bringing back Old-Testament law as the law of the land and hence  he advocated stoning of homosexuals,  whipping recalcitrant children etc.

Are the liberals the ones who are causing the schism, as Peter Jensen claims, or are there political and financial forces at work here playing out power-agendas?  And if so, is it fair for these rich first-world Christians to be using poor third-world churches, and oppressed homosexuals to further their ends?

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/religionreport/stories/2008/2292216.htm


39 thoughts on “Neocons and Theocons at GAFCON?

  1. Ironic really, just as [Anglo] ‘Retreat from Empire’ works, in some ways!

    Rather more ‘Con’ in going backwards rather than forwards- A strange little empire over the dark-skinned ‘Anglican’ brothers?- Anybody for a good whipping, boys?

    I guess theyre venting their homophobic anger in countries where this is generally permitted- ‘wouldnt get away with it in old blighty, eh chaps!’

    Just as they said in the Vietnam War “we had to destroy the village to save it!”-is this somebodys idea of “a righteous remnant?”

    Oh boy, yet another movement bringing Christ into “disrepute”, my brothers!

    Z.

  2. I’d be surprised if anyone really did advocate stoning of anyone, as it is murder. Also, I’d be surprised (a little less, but still surprised) if anyone truly advocated whipping children. It is advocating abuse that could lead to serious or permanent physical damage.

    Is there direct evidence he said that he supported these things, such as a verifiable recording?

  3. There is evidence that he supported the theology and its direct consequences. This is a regularly attributed quote to him, in wikipedia, the ABC report and elsewhere, which was originally reported by the Orange County register. Talking about Rushdoony the originator of the Christian Reconstructionist theology :

    “I think what upsets people is that Rushdoony seemed to think – and I’m not sure about this – that a godly society would stone people for the same thing that people in ancient Israel were stoned,” Ahmanson said. “I no longer consider that essential.”

    Before anyone could breathe a sigh of relief that Ahmanson is “no longer” a fan of stoning, he quickly added, “It would still be a little hard to say that if one stumbled on a country that was doing that, that it is inherently immoral, to stone people for these things,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s at all a necessity.”

  4. So do you support the ordination of homosexuals, Zeppelin? What do you man by ‘homophobic’? Fear of homo? Surely they are showing no fear when it comes to the question of whether practising homosexuals should be ordained into ministry. They are being decisive.

    They have chosen to take Old and New Testament teaching at face value, and not to interpret it in a liberal way, or to go into denial of what scripture, for them, clearly says about the acts of homosexuality.

    They have chosen to split from those who are ether in denial of this teaching and consider homosexuality to be a normal sexual practice, and break away form those who are indecisive, who prefer to dither for a few more synods, like the Uniting Church have in Australia, and, consequently, suffered, what could be, a mortally disastrous diminishing in membership and attendance, especially if they don’t make a decision soon.

    I think these Novo-Anglicans will see massive revival out of this, not loss. And the liberals and indecisive will continue to shrink.

    I believe the Uniting Church should look at this and show some courage, especially the wing which opposes homosexual ordination. They would have thronging attendances overnight if they took the step!

  5. Homophobia – George Orwell’s 1984 come to life. The basic idea being that you can control the masses by controlling their language. If the people don’t have the language to criticize you then they can’t think bad thoughts about you. What a ridiculous idea I thought when I first read it. But no, seems he was quite prophetic there.

    Are you homophobic?

    Answer Yes – You admit to being a coward, with an irrational fear.

    Answer No – Sounds like you approve of homosexual practice.

    Great choice.

    For the record I don’t fear homosexuals (rather I feel sorry for them) but I do note that it is against God’s will (as shown in both the Old and New-Testaments) to have sex with people you are not married too, including members of your own sex (which you can not marry by definition).

    Point out that God has a problem with men sticking their reproductive organs up other men’s butts and people conclude that you must therefore be in favor of whipping small boys. Yeah the brain washing is damn effective.

    The only thing that Orwell did get wrong, is that its not really Big Brother, considering the prominent role of extremist feminism in all this, its more like Big Sister. Didn’t see that coming did you Orwell.

    (Extremist – now there’s another Orwellian word – Interpret the bible literally and you must be on a par with Muslim terrorists that want to blow up planes).

    (Of course being a matriarchy not a patriarchy, the coercion is covert not overt, i.e. by shaming and moral indignation rather than the threat of physical force, i.e. the way a mother controls rather than a father, but still just as effective in the end).

  6. Are women able to speak at your church, FaceLift? Can they be Pastors? Or have you chosen to take the Bible at face-value on this issue?

  7. So you dont take the Bible at face-value? Those verses about not allowing women to speak in the church? You take a liberal interpretation of those scriptures?

  8. FL how can you say your church dos not take a liberal view of those scriptures if it does not do what they say? To ignore them is surely to take a liberal view.

  9. In the Pente churches I’ve been in, there have always been women pastors. Never a female senior pastor.

    There also has never that I can remember ever been any preaching from the pulpit explaining why its OK to have female pastors and dealing with all the controversial scriptures.

    Rather strange really. I am OK with female pastors, but have had to look into the scriptures myself, and look into writings from theologians outside my own churches. If a church has female pastors, they should probably also teach every now and again on why its OK. Otherwise, its another case of ‘just trust me’.

  10. Any theology encouraging bringing back the law can hardly be thought of as Christian. It ignores Jesus message and the cross. As such, the gospel is brought into disrepute.

  11. I am apalled that anyone here could get side tracked into whether homosexuality is sin or not, when this guy appeared to have been talking about _stoning_ people. Torturing them to death.

    Am I a bleeding heart liberal for not caring what the person has done to be in a position that no human being should ever be subjected to? Murder and torture are a sin way beyond people struggling with sexuality. Homosexuality is something that some people struggle with. Stoning is a deliberate act of self righteousness and murder, condemned utterly by Jesus.

  12. (And yes, I know that some people embrace homosexuality. Still does not negate what I said above.)

  13. Sorry – I am just reacting to FL’s attack on Z. Why would you attack someone for opposing stoning people? That was the act of homophobic anger Z was referring to.

  14. Reading the comments again, I still think Z was referring to the entire new movement, RP, and didn’t mention the stoning bit, and if he was solely commenting on the extreme views of Ahmanson, he didn’t make it very clear.

    Of course we’re opposed to stoning anyone. I’m not talking about homosexuals who attend church, either. Or those who struggle with their sexuality.

    I’m obviously agreeing with the new Anglicans that practising homosexuals shouldn’t be endorsed as leaders in the church.

    I don’t see how they can be labelled ‘homophobic’ for making a decision about how they understand scripture.

    Wazza & Heretic’s attempt at a side issue on women in leadership is frankly misleading. I take it they don’t believe women have a leadership role in the Church.

    K E Hagin wrote a great little book called ‘The Woman Question’, which is pretty clear on the subject, and dispels all the myths about what Paul is saying, but you’re probably too biased read it.

  15. The article itself conflated reconstructionism with anti-homosexuality and stoning.

    The issues are not really addressed by anyone so far – which are separate issues and not to be confused are:

    1. Do Christians continue to be part of a church that they consider is wilfully sinning in such a way that welcomes sin rather than paints it for what it is – an eternal killer. These guys are making a stand – what is wrong with that? Can’t have people that actually have the courage of their convictions can we? What sort of example does that set?

    2. Is this group being manipulated by others for ‘nefarious’ purposes? Don’t know.

    3. Is the larger splinter group (not the reconstructionists) advocating stoning? I doubt it.

    A comment: most of what people do is form alliances with people who have the same views – very rarely do people of any persuasion act with a pure heart. The homosexual lobby is no different – and neither are reconstructionists. If men want to have sex with other men they’ll find a justification for it in the same way that Adam and Eve did for doing what God told them not to do – they added and substracted from God’s word in Gen 1 and 2 and then blamed somebody else – Adam Eve, and Eve the serpent.

    Most people throw mud as a diversionary tactic and an excuse.

    But heaven help the person who does act in accordance with the word of God because that person is the biggest threat to the status quo of all.

  16. “1. Do Christians continue to be part of a church that they consider is wilfully sinning in such a way that welcomes sin rather than paints it for what it is – an eternal killer. These guys are making a stand – what is wrong with that? Can’t have people that actually have the courage of their convictions can we? What sort of example does that set?”

    Eventually anyone with a strong conviction that the church is welcoming sin in a major way will need to take a stand, by either speaking up or leaving. I have no issue with Jensen making his stand. When the gay Bishop was ordained, it was clearly a stance that was going to cause division. They must have been prepared to split over it.

    2. Is this group being manipulated by others for ‘nefarious’ purposes? Don’t know.

    Agreed. But possibly.

    3. Is the larger splinter group (not the reconstructionists) advocating stoning? I doubt it.

    I doubt it too. There is no way Jensen would support such a thing, for example.

  17. Hi MN,

    “But heaven help the person who does act in accordance with the word of God because that person is the biggest threat to the status quo of all.”

    What actions are you referring to here by “act in accordance with the word of God”?

  18. FL: “So do you support the ordination of homosexuals, Zeppelin?”

    As usual: FaceLift jumping to illogical conclusions on zero evidence.

  19. Unless wazza, Heretic or Zeppelin fess up to support for practising homosexuals being ordained it’s had to know where they’re coming from. It seems they are defending this position, and wazza and Heretic are using women in ministry as a foil.

    Are you advocating a liberal approach to practising homosexuals being ordained? And what is that liberal approach. Clearly it is first of all to not take the Bible literally, but your own arguments. So, hen, how do we measure sin?

    Is it a sin to sodomise another man, even consensually? Is it sin for a woman to have a sexual relationship with another woman? Is it legally possible for a male or female couple to be married to a same sex partner? Would their sexual relationships violate scriptural practices?

    According to scripture joining ourselves with another man or woman sexually is making us one flesh with them, which is why the Word emphasises that only te marriage bed is undefiled.

    Are we then, according to your apparent liberal views, supposed to ignore fornication and adultery as acts which disqualify church members from leadership roles? What is e difference between premarital sex, adultery and homosexual sex, in terms of qualifying a person for leadership?

    In view of these questions, what is actually wrong with the new Anglicans taking the stance they have? Surely they are interpreting scripture the way most Christians d.

    I take it you understand that I in no way support stoning anyone for anything, and have gone beyond that silly suggestion.

    Further, what has this discussion about whether the Biblically named sin of homosexual sex has anything to do in any way with women who live a godly life being seen as fit for ministry in some way? Shouldn’t the older women be training the younger? Isn’t this a valid ministry?
    _________________________________________

    For your information, in our church, basically, the men in leadership oversee everyone, and Pastor the men, and women are also overseen by women in leadership. No woman is authorised to Pastor the men, although some are regarded as leaders. No man is authorised to counsel women, without another woman present, at least.

    I wonder how many men are qualified to counsel women, or should even be regarded as wise enough to try! Most men don’t even understand their own wives, let alone other women. Your illogical ideas make me laugh! I think you’ve thoroughly misunderstood Paul, and what God intends in this area. I guess Pricilla and such women broke all the rules. if you want to argue this, set up another post, bit stop trying to confuse the issue with foolishly contrived arguments.

    On the other hand, there is no mistaking what Paul is saying about homosexual relations, is there, or are you saying you can get away with your argument for ordaining practising homosexuals by liberalising the text?

  20. The ordination of women issue is not really a diversion, because I understand it is an issue for many of the people at GAFCON, although their leadership has been silent on the issue.

    I dont know why you would say there is “no mistaking” Pauls position on homosexual relations, and these should be taken at face-value. Yet when it comes to Pauls position on participation by women in church, people have “misconceptions” about it, which can easily be fixed by reading a book.

    It seems you are advocating taking one set of statements at “face-value” while another set needs to be interpreted. At least the reconstructionists are consistent.

  21. No, this is entirely your detour, and has nothing to do with the thread. Set up a post if you want to discuss women in leadership.

    You haven’t addressed the questions of practising homosexuality as a sin. Are you advocating that sodomy is not a sin? Are you saying Paul would have approved of practising homosexuals being ordained?

  22. FL: “I take it they don’t believe women have a leadership role in the Church.”

    As usual FL jumping to illogical conclusions.

    FL: “Unless wazza, Heretic or Zeppelin fess up to support for practising homosexuals being ordained it’s had to know where they’re coming from. It seems they are defending this position”

    Again devoid of logic. It would be handy not to make up other people’s positions. It does not smooth discussions at all.

  23. Would Paul have approved of anyone being ‘ordained’?

    New churches were founded, and started off without elders. Some years later, when they had had the chance to grow in Christ, elders were recognised by the congregation, and then the apostles laid hands on them. There was as Teddy reminds us, a plurality of elders.

    So where is the justification for a single man (or woman) to be given complete oversight of a local church at all?

    All this fussing about whether women or homosexuals can be ordained assumes that its OK to have them supervise entire local congregations. I don’t think there is a scriptural example of heads in one church supervising a local congregation elsewhere, either.

    All this hierarchy is a red herring in itself. If it didn’t exist, there would be no need for such dramatic schisms. There would not be such opportunity for one gay Bishop to cause such a stir as he wouldn’t have the power or clout he does, and it would be dealt with at a local level – by the plurality of elders. Who were there to offer wise counsel, and not to order people around, either.

    Having said that, when a group of elders are led by a charismatic man, they may give up the benefits of plurality. Also, if they abuse their position by taking authority over people that belongs to God alone, they can be as abusive as any single powerful leader.

  24. Wazza: “It seems you are advocating taking one set of statements at “face-value” while another set needs to be interpreted. At least the reconstructionists are consistent.”

    FL: “No, this is entirely your detour, and has nothing to do with the thread.”

    FL what Wazza said is exactly the point. How you are treating scripture is, as usual, the bone of contention. You seem to pick and choose what is clear from scripture and what is not.

    You pick leadership of homosexuals as clear and leadership of women as not when leadership of women is directly discussed and leadership of homosexuals is not.

    I just can’t see a disciplined approach to scripture in this approach. It seems more like you are viewing scripture through your view of homosexuality rather than attempting to stick to what scripture says about the issues here.

  25. Aside from all that, I don’t think its appropriate for the Anglicans or anyone to accept funding from groups that support what Ahmanson does, if it is true that he does. If the Anglicans are going to split over gay ordination, for the sake of consistency and credibility, they need to apply rigour to the rest of their associations also.

  26. What I personally am advocating is firstly that we apply scripture consistently. Secondly that RP is spot on. Thirdly I am advocating that we don’t single out homosexuals and pillory them.

    The scripture is clear that homosexual acts are not compatible with life in Jesus 1Cor6:9-10 1Tim1:10. Similarly the covetous, swindlers and drunkards and “all that is contrary to sound teaching” is also mentioned. I see regular black and white labelling and general ranting toward one of these groups but not others. Stoning was not mentioned WRT drunkards, as far as we know from the extract. I can’t see Jesus railing at minorities like some of us do.

    Similarly it seems more than clear that the church is not to have hierarchical leadership with positional titles, also to not have sects and gurus. But some of us just wish that part of what Jesus says away. You can’t pick and choose which scriptures you will follow and which you will argue away. The whole basis of how we are structured is on the whole unbiblical so no surprise the details are wrong too.

    The scripture also seems clear that we don’t associate with people who practice sin and refuse to stop once we have spoken to them about it singly and then with the elders so I would defend people’s right to walk away in response to this direction.

    Our (extra-biblical) denominations unfortunately are political/corporate bodies with assets and names that do not well fit the biblical model. Not associating means “splitting” which is a big deal splitting assets and names and makes reconciling afterwards, which is also the biblical way, pretty much impossible.

    If the godly people just left quietly where leadership wish to remain in sin and/or error instead of being “loyal” to an unbiblical denomination or institution there would be no need for splitting.

  27. RP said “Aside from all that, I don’t think its appropriate for the Anglicans or anyone to accept funding from groups that support what Ahmanson does, if it is true that he does.”

    Agreed. On the one hand, we cant hold the leaders of GAFCON responsible for every loony who might attend and have their own theory. On the other, Ahmanson is a billionaire and has been funding groups that have the express purpose of splitting the church over the issue of homosexuality. In this case we are entitled to think that he who pays the piper calls the tune, and we should know what kind of tune it is.

  28. “In this case we are entitled to think that he who pays the piper calls the tune, and we should know what kind of tune it is.”

    Indeed. It would be naive to think that any group is immune to the influence of a rich and powerful sponsor.

  29. Well, we’re all ordained. But God has certainly set some to be overseers in the flocks – as five-fold, as overseers (bishops) as elders. That is Biblical, and you can’t just overlook these things and form some kind of democratic dream-team. Voted on by whom?

    The sheep? “Oh yes, in our flock, the sheep choose the shepherds, and if they don’t like being taught, rebuked, corrected, or instructed, they vote them out again, until they find a nice, accommodating pastor they can contr… er work with!”

    Even democracies end up with some form of hierarchy, even if it for short terms.

    The point is, Heretic, that wazza threw the woman question detour in to take us off track, and you’ve gone after it. He has successfully derailed the thread, unfortunately.

    RP,
    ‘the plurality of elders’

    To qualify – I have tried to speak about leadership in general rather than senior pastors or hierarchies, and a leadership teams in particular, so I have not been down the track of a single person with a charismatic personality running the whole church, but I’ve asked who qualifies to be a member of a leadership team.

    So, would a practising homosexual qualify as an elder?

    Heretic makes the point that other sins than homosexual sex are not being brought up, yet this site is dedicated to exposing the alleged misdemeanours of various targeted groups like C3 and Hillsong. So, although I don’t always agree with your charges, we assume that there is agreement that swindling, theft, murder, deception, drunkenness, adultery, fornication and all other ungodly things disqualify a person from leadership. But why are you being so defensive of practising homosexuals being admitted into leadership teams?

    Which begs the important question, do you think it’s appropriate for a practising homosexual to be in leadership, even as part of a leadership team?

    And I’ve already said, I’m not talking about people who attending church with homosexual tendencies, but those who are be set apart for leadership roles.

  30. Guilty as charged unfortunately. Derailing a discussion that I started. Oh dear.. how will I ever live this down at the next meeting of the liberals anonymous.

    I thought most people would think that FaceLift derailed the discussion. I even conspired with RP to get her to say “I am apalled that anyone here could get side tracked into whether homosexuality is sin or not”. And it almost worked. We almost got Heretic on our side.

    Oh well, my cover is blown now.

  31. Shame on you wazza!

    (Hey! I had to say something! I haven’t contributed to this thread yet!)

  32. “It is clear that the church is not to have hierarchical leadership with positional titles”.

    Who says so?

    The Salvos clearly have not discovered this doctrine. Are they all going to Hell? And will you warn them?

  33. FL “Which begs the important question, do you think it’s appropriate for a practising homosexual to be in leadership, even as part of a leadership team?”

    The question is moot if we take a biblical approach.

    Matthew 23:10 “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

    11″(L)But the greatest among you shall be your servant.

    12″(M)Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. ”

    Jesus also says elsewhere do not be called teacher, father or master and not to get titles and not to seek honour greater than others.

    This is not Jesus quibbling about the titles we should use for our leaders, for instance, that we should use the title”pastor” instead or even the title “servant”.

    Jesus is saying that leadership is not positional. It is not the person who has the title “leader” that is my leader. It is the person who is leading me, that is, it is the person who is serving me. (Note that Jesus’ model precludes hierarchies).

    So elders are not people who are appointed to the role of “elder” but people who the bretheren recognise as actively eldering. This is why Paul could found church and only go back 14 years later to appoint elders – because they were already eldering, he just gave them recognition.

    From Mark 4:13-25 our role is to rightly measure what the word of God is that the Holy Spirit sows to us and to distinguish it from other words. If we do this we get a harvest of the word of God

    In theory if a practicing homosexual were speaking the word of God to me then that would be fine. Similarly if I hear the word of God from a swindler, a drunkard, a tele-evangelist, a lover of money, a proud person etc that would be fine too. None of us are perfect. All of us fall short of th glory of God. That does not mean that you can’t speak the word or that I cannot hear it.

    I cannot attempt to only hear the word of God only via perfect people. God speaks to us in many ways and we all bear God’s image and so reflect him to some extent. And I don’t “measure” the word of God by who speaks it but by the Holy Spirit and by faith (“by the anointing you will know all things”). Whether the person is 90% fleshy or 50% or 10% fleshy is not mine to judge. I am not the judge of the person, only of the word they speak as to whether it is the word of God to me or not.

    In practice I expect to hear the word of God more from those who yield to the Holy Spirit than from those who follow after the flesh. These are the people whose faith I will emulate and who therefore are my leaders and I seek them out if I can. So I don’t think it is relevant whether a practising homosexual has a particular title in some institution of men. People who speak Jesus’ words will lead Jesus’ people and those who do not will not be listened to by those that have a relationship with Jesus. The so-called “position” or job title of the speaker is irrevelant whether it be “pastor”, “elder”, “bishop”, “apostle”, “hon. dr” or whatever. We recognice Jesus’ voice, not his business card.

    D: “The Salvos clearly have not discovered this doctrine. Are they all going to Hell? And will you warn them?”

    I am warning them now 🙂

  34. You should do more thorough research. The real leadership is coming from majority world Anglican leaders like Archbishop Akinola from Nigeria, among other African bishops. No one is “using” these men, since they are providing pastoral oversight to many Western priests and bishops. This is a wonderful example of the white man following the dark-skinned man, not the other way around, for a change.

    **************
    http://meadonmanhattan.wordpress.com/

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